First I must say: I am only allowed to write one email/week. So, to all of my friends and family members, etc that i told that I would definitely email– you’ll have to settle for this one weekly email that i can send out to my family (who can they forward it to you) and then letters written with the pouch system and regular international mail. (the pouch system DOES work.)
So I left the MTC on Monday, the 17th, arrived in Novosibirsk on the 19th, and then I arrived in my assigned city: Kemerovo a couple days later. My companion is Elder Kolpakov– from the Rostov Mission of Russia. He’s really cool- He’s served in the army as well as gone to school for a mathematics degree. He’s known for being able to ‘fix anything’ so we get along alright.
The city of Kemerovo is the second newest city in the Novosibirsk mission. it was opened in 2006. There are two companionships of Elders in the city, including ours. The church had a few rough times here– we used to have a building, but there were some issues with the government, etc, so now we meet in our apartment. There were about 8 people that attended church last Sunday, including the four missionaries. One of the biggest challenges right now is this limitation with not having a building to meet at. The church is working on it, but apparently it’s hard to get people to let a church rent a space because the government kind of frowns upon it. Once we get a building we can start leading English club, which is apparently a really good way to get investigators.
We went and did some service for a member of the branch yesterday– sister Tamara, our branch’s babushka. It was wild to see her house– i could not even guess how long ago it was first built or how many additions were added on over the years. We fixed a hole in her roof and sharpened some tools for her and did some other work around the house/yard before she fed us a HUGE meal.
It’s being ridiculously frustrating not being able to speak russian. I have to just try to pick out words i know when my companion is having conversations and it’s hard b/c I can say something to a Russian, but there’s a 80 percent chance I won’t be able to understand their response. But It’s way exciting to be in Russia. The other day there was a gorgeous sunset that we watched as we rode back to our apartment in a marshutka ( a really small, sketchy bus).
I love you all. Write back to me with your responses or questions or whatnot, and next wednesday I will send another email. I’ll be checking both my firstname.lastname@example.org address and this one for a while, but I hope to be able to switch over to this gmail account permanently (our mission president allows gmail! :D). K. I dropped my memory card behind the computer. I going to see if i can fish it out to upload some photographs to this email. This one picture that i’ve included are the 13 missionaries who were with me on the way to Novosibirsk– now we’re all spread out over the mission, the Mission President, his wife, and the two Assistants to the President (missionaries).
Also, post this stuff on my blog and Chris, will you put something up on my facebook asking people who want to hear from me to tell you their emaill addresses and then get them to dad? Thanks.
–Elder Tyler Froelich
ps. i can read emails– i have an hour to read emails and write one to my fam. but ify ou want to write me something long, then maybe pouch system would be better, although i’ll only get mail about once every 6 weeks.
Also, i’ll send a lot of pictures next week. i won’t be able to get my card back for this session.