November 25 2009 (Photos to follow)

November 25, 2009

I just spent lots of time uploading photos, so hopefully you all enjoy those.  Most are from my visa trip that I wrote about last week.  A little pitch in for Erica– I saw your brother in Moscow, he’s doing great.  There should be a picture on my blog with him and all of us when we suprised him by attending his branch’s sacrement meeting when we were in Moscow.  We also went to see different cathedrals, libraries, buildings, museums, etc.  So these are just a few pictures that are some of the highlights of the trip.

This week has been quite busy.  On Wednesday and Thursday we had the Assistants come to Kemerovo for exchanges.  We lined up a lot of meetings with investigators and members and we got a lot of work done with them.  It was nice for them to be here because they were able to show us things that we didn’t know about– such as the branch directory that we didn’t know we had. (Kemerovo has on paper 90 members, but that’s only because when the Mission has a member move out of a major city where the church is located, they throw them into the Kemerovo branch… so we take a hit on the statistics for our mission, because is shows that a very very low percentage of members are coming to sacrement meetings (because they don’t actually live in Kemerovo).  So we found out that for reals we have almost 20 members here, and we’ve started calling and making contact with members that have left the church a long time ago.)

We have been working with members harder and have made some great plans for the future.  Last sacrement meeting was my first where the branch president wasn’t Russian and couldn’t speak Russian.  It was a long meeting seeing as people who were assigned to give lessons and talks didn’t show up….  But we are very hopeful about the work that we can get done here in Kemerovo.  The main limiting factor is still not having a church building.  We would appreciate any prayers for this building thing to work out.  The members are starting to doubt the attention that the Mission President is giving to Kemerovo because the paperwork is getting so slow and they’ve taken out missionaries from this area, etc.

Many of you have asked me about Thanksgiving here in Russia.  No, they do not celebrate Thanksgiving in Russia.  However, today we have to leave to go (again) to Tomsk because tomorrow we have been invited to a Thanksgiving fireside/party put on by a senior couple who is visiting for Thanksgiving.  I myself am a little miffed about having to be gone 2-3 days this week and stalling missionary work for a purely American holiday.  But oh well.  My companion and I realized last night that we still have an absurd amount of pumpkin in our freezer left over from halloween so we started making pumpkin pie last night as a suprise for those awaiting us in Tomsk! (see pictures) (I also got my haircut that day and my companion pulled out some styling gel and we just decided to look really cool while we were working on this pumpkin pie)

A spritual thought that I gave quite a bit this week is from Alma 32.  In verses… 38, 39 (if i’m not mistaken) we are reminded of what happens if we are not looking after the growth of our faith.  Sometimes we let scripture reading slip by or forget some prayers.  We need to remember that if we want that tree to grow we have to constantly work for it.  And we read in verse 42, 43 the blessings that we are promised and the fact that hard work and patience is required.  Sorry I can’t go into more detail, I’m really running out of time.  Maybe this can prompt a more indepth scripture study for some of you who are reading my blog.

Anyway, I love you all! Thanks so much for your letters this week

I also received more mail from….

Justin: lol, thanks for the letter, made me laugh. I really appreciated it.  And I’m glad you liked my letter.  I’ll see if i can shoot another your way soon.
Erica: thanks for the birthday present and the conference talk! conference talks are like candy to missionaries, so I really appreciated it.
yikes, I can’t remember who else I got mail from– I’ll recognize you next week.

Sara: Awesome news, i’m really excited for you. and yeah, i’m really undecided what to do about my situation that you mentioned. it’s a major problem.

hadley: send me some pics of your art studio! thats WAY SWEET that you’re doing that art program! I’m SOOO EXCITED FOR YOU! 😀

Chris: good stories, thanks! 🙂  I’m really running out of time, but I love you so much. miss you

parker: good luck on the science project.


November 18 Letter

November 18, 2009

All,

We left on Friday to Moscow and then to Finland for my first visa trip.  On the trip were about 15 of us: the group I came with from the MTC and the group that is two transfers older than us, which consists of 3 missionaries (including my companion, Elder Wheeler).  We arrived in Moscow and had enough time to visit Red Square and I was able to take (shamefully) the standard “I’m standing in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral” picture.  We also ate Mcdonnalds there :).  After several hours in Moscow, we flew to Helsinki and had a bit of trouble finding the temple.  When we arrived in the visitor’s center/temple housing we didn’t know where to check in or what to do.  There was some sort of meeting going on and a lady walked out to help us.  She asked us in broken English what we needed and how she could help, and we responded, hoping she would understand.  It was obvious that she didn’t speak very much English, and we definitely didin’t speak Finnish.  We explained we were the missionaries from Russia here for a couple nights.  Then a breakthrough was made as we discovered she didn’t speak Finnish either, but she was from the Samara Mission in Russia on a temple trip with other church members from Samara.  We then were able to communicate perfectly in Russian and she expressed her delight of seeing Russian missionaries in Helsinki.  She was just so glad to see us all and said it was wonderful that we were here and that she saw us before her group left the next day.  Finally we were all checked into where we were staying for the night.  The next day we were all able to attend the Helsinki, Finland temple, which is absolutely beautiful.  And I think that they took all of the good art that is absent in other temples and put it all in Helsinki.  Those paintings in that temple are gorgeous.

Later that day we had free time to see Helsinki.  My companion and I went to the “Old Helsinki” part of the city and saw some of the important buildings, statues, etc.  We also found a Modern Art Museum designed by the famous architect Steven Holl– the building was amazing and it was sooo nice to walk through that building and see other architecture in Helsinki that was just such blatantly contrasted with the Soviet concrete apartments that are EVERYWHERE here in Russia.
Helsinki was a great city.  Everything was clean, nice, designed well, efficient.  I approve.

And now we’re back and ready to work.  We spent the day yesterday doing some hard core planning and setting goals for all that we can get done here in Kemerovo this transfer.  The assistants are coming for exchanges today and tomorrow, so we’ll be able to meet with a lot of people, including females that we wouldn’t normally be able to meet with (because we’re only one companionship in this city).

Thank you all for your letters today.  I almost read them all, and I’ll finish them up on my camera later today.

Grandma, thanks for your letter.  Do you know what city the Stewarts served in?

Jisu, my companion Elder Wheeler is great friends with Elder Barwick and we were frustrated that we couldn’t tell in the picture which one is Whitney.

Chris, thanks for the email– i really hope things lighten up for you.  College can be tough– you just have to push through until things get easier.  And that time will come, don’t worry. You’ll have a relaxing winter break, just hold on until then.  Do your best and remember that I’m praying for you.  Also, I’m putting your letter in the mail today.  It’s long.

The rest of the fam: mom, dad, parker, hadley: I should be getting letters out to each of you in the next couple weeks or so.  Just a heads up.  Dad, thanks for that story– that was really touching.  I’ll tell it to my companion, thanks; it was very encouraging.

Taegan: I’m excited for your book publication thing, lol

Amber: Letter coming your way too, and thanks for the emails 🙂

Sara: I really like your little update emails; thanks.  I’m glad your wisdom teeth worked out, haha

and Justin– thanks for the music update.  Along the lines of music, we were talking to a guy at a market the other day trying to buy ties from him.  Once he found out we were from America he said “I love american music” (all in Russian) “Without a doubt, the first place of music for me, absolutely has to be Michael Jackson.  He’s just– ahhh, amazing.  The Beatles? Yeah… maybe number two… and Frank Sinatra, number three, but Michael Jackson will always be number one.”  I told him I also really love Michael Jackson.  It’s actually not rare to hear a Michael Jackson song playing on the radios in buses around here… so yeah… props to Michael Jackson.

Alright, I’m out of time.

Again, thanks for all of your encouraging emails.  Pray for us here in Kemerovo– we’re going to try to have more people than we ever have had before at sacrement meeting, and we just made contact recently with a former investigator– he says over the last few months he has lost everything.  But he still reads the Book of Mormon, he says it gives him inspiration, and he still prays.  He is very excited to meet with us and he sounds like a very humble guy. I feel that he may be perfectly prepared and ready for baptism.  We meet with him tomorrow.

Thanks for all your prayers and support,

Elder Froelich


November 11 Letter

November 11, 2009
Wow, a lot has happened; I have no idea how to put everything I want to into this email.
First off, some general information about what is going on visa/transfer-wise:
We got transfer calls late Friday night and were surprised to hear that my companion, Elder Ignatyev, will be going to Irkutsk to be a zone leader, I will be staying in Kemerovo, and an Elder that was in Kemerovo with me my first transfer, Elder Wheeler from Washington (state) will be my new companion.  Elder Wheeler has been in Russia just 3 months longer than I have and he is going to be the new branch president in Kemerovo.  Needless to say this will be a very interesting transfer, being the first time that I haven’t had a Russian companion– and Elder Wheeler doesn’t know a whole lot more Russian than I do… so we’ll probably have some fun meetings.  We’re still crossing our fingers hoping for a building to meet in, but as of now, it’s still in the apartment.
I leave for Helsinki on Friday and I come back late on Sunday.  It’s going to be hard for me not to get “Architecture in Helsinki” songs stuck in my head.  It’ll be a pretty big visa trip, seeing as there are 11 missionaries from my group, 4 from Elder Wheeler’s group, and I don’t know how many more might come along.  We’ll be able to attend the Helsinki temple; it should be pretty cool.  Although we’re worried about church with us gone. We might be able to give our apartment keys to a member for them to try to hold it without us… but… we’re just worried about it b/c of all the work that missionaries put into each meeting, such as conducting, blessing/passing sacrement, music, talks, prayers, sundayschool, etc.
And last friday we also received mail!!!  So I’d like to thank everyone who wrote me a letter back in September 🙂
Chris/Amber, Taegan, Erica, Mom, Great Grandma Sara, The James Family, Grandma and Grandpa Froelich, Parker
(I think that’s about it, but I didn’t get the time to prepare for this email like I wanted, so I’ll be responding to your letters either via a letter in the mail or over the next few weeks of emails, as I find time, etc)  I feel like there’s so much I want to say to each of you who wrote me a letter and each of you who wrote me emails this week and other weeks– there’s just so little time! I plan on writing a lot of handwritten letters over my visa trip, so we’ll see how that goes.
Chris, thanks so much for your letter: I’ve got a letter written to you that I just keep adding more stuff to; that’s what it’s not sent out yet (that and I just BARELY got your address to you in college… but i’m nervous now. should I sent it there or send it home? when does your semester end? and just b/c I can’t wait for you to get my letter to respond– what are your plans for a mission? My input is that I think it should be as soon as possible– a)we’ll get to see eachother sooner, and b) it helps to put your life/college in perspective so that you can buckle down and work better when you get back)
Amber– I hope you’ve gotten the letter that I sent weeks ago. I’ll write you another one in response to the Chris/Amber letter.  I miss you and hope things are going alright with job/family/life.  I’ll get this next letter sent right when I get back from Helsinki.
Parker– It’s SO AWESOME for me to hear about all the stuff you’ve been doing lately!  I loved your poems.  All my friends in Russia think your costume was really cool.  And mom says you’re really good at honoring your priesthood, which makes me so happy!  Wow, you’re such a cool brother!  I love reading your letters.
Taegan.  Congrats on the publishing! I can’t believe it. that’s really cool.  I got your two Dear Elders in my mail package and I was very very very happy to hear from you and how you’re doing.  And I’m even more happy to read your last email– it sounds like things are going a little better.  Keep me updated on that publishing thing– i’m really pshyched for you.
Jisu– thanks for the Halloween pictures!!! 😀 I’ll be seeing Elder Barwick when I’ll be in Helsinki, so I’ll be sure to show him the pictures and we’ll talk about you lots!  Keep me updated on the possible-mission.
Heather Leake– thanks for the recepe and, ahhhhhh yes, the wikipedia article.  I miss wikipedia so much.  Thanks.  Has spencer gotten my letter yet? I sent it weeks ago…
Spencer– have you gotten my letter yet? I sent it weeks ago. Email me man.  You’re well known here as the cool guy that Elder Froelich goes rock climbing with.
Erica- I really enjoy reading your letters. I think its funny how ‘flying’ is in the list among homework, church, life and other things. I’ll try to get around to a handwritten letter soon.  Keep me updated on how Elder Larsen is doing!
Hadley– I LOVE YOUR EMAILS!  and hearing about your art and stuff! I miss doing the friday art walks! actually I only did it once, but i saw the fire dudes too.  Oh man, I’m so jealous of hearing all the fun stuff you’re doing. I love you.
Great Grandma Sara– i hope you get this maybe through Grandma.  I really appreciated your letter, thank you so much.  I am very interested to see if I can figure out what city the Stuarts served in.  The senior couples in this mission are regarded very highly here.  The Bowden’s, who served in Kemerovo for a time and then visited several times after they went to Tomsk, who were also very essential to the baptism of our two newest members here, are so loved by everyone in Kemerovo.  They are spoken about as if they have a Midas touch– everything they said and did was just miraculous and all of the members and non-members have very dear feelings towards them.  Thank you for the encouragement and support.
James Family– thanks for remembering my birthday even when I’m in Siberia.  I’ve been extremely blessed to hear from my parents some of the things that Jordan wrote about before he died.  I have felt some very dear comfort and revelation come through some of the things that he wrote and hearing about things that other people said about him.  I printed out his last facebook post and I read parts of it often and really feel a strength from them.  It was very special for me to get these birthday cards that he signed– it was a very special encouragement and sign of support for me.
Grandma and Grandpa Froelich, I’m not 100% sure if it was you or the James family or someone else who put it 20 dollars as a birthday present (that card wasn’t signed) but I want to let you know that it was very appreciated.  I was a little short on the emergency american cash that I should have on hand and that 20 dollars made up what I was missing and then some.
Mom– thanks for your letter, it meant a lot to me. I know you wrote that a long time ago and you said it was hard for you writing it knowing that it wouldn’t come to me for quite a while, but I really really loved the letter.  Thanks for keeping me so updated with things going on at home.  It’s so special for me to feel so involved with things on the other side of the world through my serving this mission.  I love you.
Dad– missed hearing from you this week, but that’s alright. We gave a blessing to a nonmember the other day and it was nice for me to be able to tell him how great of a role my dad played for me in providing me with blessings and all of the comfort that came along with those blessings, and just the knowledge that my Dad holds the priesthood.  Thanks. I love you.
K, I’m running out of time and space. I just really felt like thanking all the people hwo have been writing me lately. I know I missed a ton of people and I’ll hopefully get to you next week or in a written letter or something.  I’m very excited for this next transfer seeing as Elder Wheeler is a very fun guy and how much potential Kemerovo has.
Thank you all for your prayers. I feel your support and it was very special to hear from each of you in letters how you were praying for me and the people here in Kemerovo.
I love you all.  Yes, it’s cold here.  -25 C today and I’ve seen nothing but snow for since early November.  But, mom, I’m doing fine– very warm, and healthy.
Love,
Elder Froelich

November 4 2009 Letter

November 4, 2009

 

Thank you so much for your emails and pictures and everything– I’ve already spent lots of my computer time just reading and looking at the pictures you all sent me. 🙂
This week we had our Halloween party in Kemerovo!
Elder Ignatyev and I worked very hard on decorations, activities, food, etc.  It was amazing.  We had about 10 people there, including 3 nonmembers.  We set up a very scary haunted house-like entrance to the room where all our guests had to walk through. We carved pumpkins, everyone dressed in costumes, we had a scary story with food that feels like gross body parts (peeled grapes = eyeballs, etc), bobbing for apples, we baked pumpkin seeds, had plenty of candy, ate chili, etc.  It was a very fun Halloween party and the Russians all got a big kick out of it.  I’ll include pictures if I have time.
Thanks for the Halloween pictures that you sent me, family.  A request that I forgot to made to anyone else who is reading my blog– I’d really appreciate any Halloween pictures so that I can show my friends here what costumes are like in America for Halloween 🙂
The second big event this week was Sacrament Meeting on Sunday.  I was feeling discouraged about not being able to speak Russian as well as I’d like to and so I was having a rough morning, but as soon as people started baring their testimonies during our meeting the Spirit was so strong and I felt so comforted.  I especially enjoyed the testimonies of the two new converts, Ksyousha and Ira.  Ksyousha later shared a verse during Sunday School that had an impact on me: Alma 7:23-24.  It was just a great couple of verses to really think about and reflect on how humble we are and how we can improve.
Third big event was family night.  We were trying to come up with a spiritual thought for family night and I remembered back to a talk that Elder Uchtdorf gave a while ago entitled “lift where you stand.”  The Novosibirsk Mission has recently made a lofty goal of 64 baptisms before the end of the year and in order to make that goal we’ve decided to ask the members for more help to let the work go forward.  I told the story of the men trying to lift the piano from his talk and then we talked about the solution that was used in that story: to lift where you stand.  Then we tried the activity where each person uses two fingers from each hand to, as a group, lift one person laying on the floor.  Its fun because when you look at your two fingers you are sure there is no way you can lift someone, but then when you actually try it the person easily is suddenly elevated above the ground as everyone puts in a little bit of effort.  I then explained how we all need to do our part no matter how big or small it is to ensure that the church can stand and grow here in Kemerovo.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the spiritual thought and I especially felt it was a successful way to ask for help from the members and nonmembers to alleviate some of the pressure that we, as the only missionaries in Kemerovo, feel as we try our best to ensure that we can meet every week for church and that Family home evening happens every week, etc, etc.  Then we played a very intense game of Uno, with all of the rules that the Russians/missionaries have added over the years (the way that we play turns the simple game of Uno to an overly complicated mess, in my opinion).
Transfers are coming up and next Wednesday I don’t know if i will be sending an email or not– i don’t know my schedule for leaving to Helsinki yet.
Justin, thanks for the email and for mentioning me to the Jared and Jerusha Hess of Napoleon Dynamite 🙂
Sean, Spencer, and others who are D&D fans…
The two girls we baptized said something about “dungeons” last family night and I said “wait, what?”  They told me that they play a game called “dungeons and dragons and they started to explain it to me” I told them that I knew exactly what they were talking about and that my have played it.  And I said that I’ve got a webcomic for them to see.  I showed them the XKCD about the vyouyier manuscript (sp) that Andrew sent me back in July and they LOVED it!  In fact, one of them even knew what that manuscript was.  So, to my amazement, I found out: Dungeons and Dragons is played in Siberia.  FYI
Again, thanks for all your support, emails, pictures. I’m running out of time and I want to send some pics from Halloween.
Hadley, I loved your email– thanks, that was amazing to read
Mom, Dad, I love you– thanks for everything.
Love,
Elder Froelich

Thank you so much for your emails and pictures and everything– I’ve already spent lots of my computer time just reading and looking at the pictures you all sent me. 🙂
This week we had our Halloween party in Kemerovo!
Elder Ignatyev and I worked very hard on decorations, activities, food, etc.  It was amazing.  We had about 10 people there, including 3 nonmembers.  We set up a very scary haunted house-like entrance to the room where all our guests had to walk through. We carved pumpkins, everyone dressed in costumes, we had a scary story with food that feels like gross body parts (peeled grapes = eyeballs, etc), bobbing for apples, we baked pumpkin seeds, had plenty of candy, ate chili, etc.  It was a very fun Halloween party and the Russians all got a big kick out of it.  I’ll include pictures if I have time.
Thanks for the Halloween pictures that you sent me, family.  A request that I forgot to made to anyone else who is reading my blog– I’d really appreciate any Halloween pictures so that I can show my friends here what costumes are like in America for Halloween 🙂
The second big event this week was Sacrament Meeting on Sunday.  I was feeling discouraged about not being able to speak Russian as well as I’d like to and so I was having a rough morning, but as soon as people started baring their testimonies during our meeting the Spirit was so strong and I felt so comforted.  I especially enjoyed the testimonies of the two new converts, Ksyousha and Ira.  Ksyousha later shared a verse during Sunday School that had an impact on me: Alma 7:23-24.  It was just a great couple of verses to really think about and reflect on how humble we are and how we can improve.
Third big event was family night.  We were trying to come up with a spiritual thought for family night and I remembered back to a talk that Elder Uchtdorf gave a while ago entitled “lift where you stand.”  The Novosibirsk Mission has recently made a lofty goal of 64 baptisms before the end of the year and in order to make that goal we’ve decided to ask the members for more help to let the work go forward.  I told the story of the men trying to lift the piano from his talk and then we talked about the solution that was used in that story: to lift where you stand.  Then we tried the activity where each person uses two fingers from each hand to, as a group, lift one person laying on the floor.  Its fun because when you look at your two fingers you are sure there is no way you can lift someone, but then when you actually try it the person easily is suddenly elevated above the ground as everyone puts in a little bit of effort.  I then explained how we all need to do our part no matter how big or small it is to ensure that the church can stand and grow here in Kemerovo.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the spiritual thought and I especially felt it was a successful way to ask for help from the members and nonmembers to alleviate some of the pressure that we, as the only missionaries in Kemerovo, feel as we try our best to ensure that we can meet every week for church and that Family home evening happens every week, etc, etc.  Then we played a very intense game of Uno, with all of the rules that the Russians/missionaries have added over the years (the way that we play turns the simple game of Uno to an overly complicated mess, in my opinion).
Transfers are coming up and next Wednesday I don’t know if i will be sending an email or not– i don’t know my schedule for leaving to Helsinki yet.
Justin, thanks for the email and for mentioning me to the Jared and Jerusha Hess of Napoleon Dynamite 🙂
Sean, Spencer, and others who are D&D fans…
The two girls we baptized said something about “dungeons” last family night and I said “wait, what?”  They told me that they play a game called “dungeons and dragons and they started to explain it to me” I told them that I knew exactly what they were talking about and that my have played it.  And I said that I’ve got a webcomic for them to see.  I showed them the XKCD about the vyouyier manuscript (sp) that Andrew sent me back in July and they LOVED it!  In fact, one of them even knew what that manuscript was.  So, to my amazement, I found out: Dungeons and Dragons is played in Siberia.  FYI
Again, thanks for all your support, emails, pictures. I’m running out of time and I want to send some pics from Halloween.
Hadley, I loved your email– thanks, that was amazing to read
Mom, Dad, I love you– thanks for everything.
Love,
Elder Froelich

 


November 4 2009 Photos

November 4, 2009
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Halloween Celebration

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Carving the great pumpkin

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Handy photo

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Hmm...

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The 5th Jack-o-lantern