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.