Russia January 27, 2010

January 27, 2010
WOW.  What a great week for emails for me.  They were all extremely enjoyable to read.  Hadley, I laughed out loud at least once during yours 🙂 thanks.
I don’t even know where to start this week.  Things have been pretty crazy.
First let me say that we had a great success as a companionship this week as far as statistics go.  We were shooting for 20 meetings and we got 25.  We met with so many people my head is still spinning.  We were very blessed for all of our hard work and striving to meet the Mission President’s new challenge.  And we’re trying hard to keep up all of that enthusiasm and keep 20 meetings a possibility for each week (not an easy task).
Among those meetings this week we ran into an inactive member, Leonid.  It was quite interesting.  We knocked on his door for about five minutes, not wanting to go out into the cold. It sounded like someone was home but we weren’t sure.  We then decided to call.  We heard the phone ring right behind the metal door and someone answered.  We totally woke this guy up from sleeping, but he, for whatever reason, actually let us in.  As we started asking him about his history with the church he dropped the name “Elder Veber”.  I showed him a picture that I had taken earlier of my relative, Brad Weber, who served in 2000, i think, and he said “yep, that’s him.”  Apparently Leonid had served with Elder Veber on a “mini mission” (which is when the mission takes native Russians from the Novosibirsk Mission that are mission age and paires them for a short time with Elders, if, for whatever reason there are issues finding companions for that transfer) after Elder Veber baptized him.  So, I’m hoping this email can someone reach its way to Brad Weber (mom? grandma? see if you can forward this for me).  Leonid hasn’t been active for the past few years for some reason– we’re not quite sure yet. But he was very happy to hear that I was related to his favorite missionary.  And he says. “Respect!” and wants you to know that he still remembers you.  Brad Weber, if you get this email, I would be more than happy to pass a message along to Leonid, so if you send me an email I can print it out and get it to him.
But I’m having a tough time trying to sum up the week any more than that (we did too much stuff).  It’s still cold.  We’re still working hard and seeing some success– we have some investigators who are progressing.  Transfers are coming up.  I may have gotten some correct insider information that says that I’ll be staying in Tomsk but may be switching companions.  My new companion, if the info is correct, will be going on his second transfer in Russia, which means he is still very new.  So things should be interesting.  Also my two close friends, Elder Nelson and Sister Calderwood who were in my district from the MTC are leaving, probably to Irkutsk and Ulan Ude, so that is some sad news :(.
A thought from a film we’ve been sharing with a lot of investigators and members (the new for the strength of youth video):
Joshuah 1:1-9  Remember that if you’re doing the right things, then the Lord is always with you.  He will be your support and backup with things are tough.  Think about how much it means when you get up in front of people and speak or perform and then a friend or just one person comes and says “hey, I really appreciated that. I think you did a really good job.”  That support from a friend can be the most important thing in the world at certain times.  Just imagine– when we’re trying to follow God’s commandments and the things that Jesus taught, we’ve got the Lord behind us telling us that he supports us, appreciates us, and will reward us for doing a good job.
Thanks again for all of the emails– I feel very blessed and rewarded for having such awesome friends and family to write me so much.  (while I was in Novosibirsk in the office, one of the ladies that works in the office and handles mail came up to me and said “Elder Froelich, you get a LOT of mail.  you’d better hope that all your friends continue to remember you LATER on your mission!)
🙂
–Elder Froelich
Answers to comments about the weather:
actually, it’s rather convenient because when I say -40 degrees, it doesn’t matter C or F. They’re the same at -40.
And yeah, I don’t know about the whole “eventually getting less cold” thing, Had.  I’ve heard it stays pretty cold well into April… so… yeah.
Chris. Most of the songs you sent me were M4A’s.  i hate itunes.
I’ll listen to them when I can… hopefully sometime soon. I’m excited. Thanks!!!!!!
Had: I already said this but your email was so amazing this week. you have no idea how happy it made me.  keep being awesome.
Parker– sorry about your head! 😦 Good luck on exams!
Mom and Dad, thanks for the emails– they were very uplifting.  I’ll be re reading them throughout the week.
Bishop Palmer– it’s great to hear from you! in the next little missionary newsletter, could you include a little list of where everyone is? It’s hard for me to remember and some people’s calls I just haven’t ever heard…
Anna Tu– HEY!!! great to hear from you! things are going great! (see my blog)  how’s it going with you? are you still in VA Tech?
Chris, can you make sure Anna gets this comment? maybe send her a message on facebook or something so she gets this email and my blog address.
Grandpa, thanks for the email 🙂
Congrats to Teresa and Stuart!  I miss New York!
K, I’m really out of time.  Bye!

January 20, 2010

January 20, 2010
I’d like to first send a big thanks for the emails I received this week.  I really really appreciated reading them all.  Thank you Justin Geldzahler, Grandma, and the fam– it really made me happy to read those emails.
So within the past week there have been quite a lot of things that have happened.  For one, we all went to Novosibirsk for our Zone Conference, which was great.  While in the mission office I was able to look back at pictures of Brad Weber and the Stewarts (relatives who have served in the Novosibirsk Mission).  I don’t know if you get these emails, Brad, but so far being in Tomsk I’ve heard a member mention an Elder “Veber” and I’m assuming it’s you… did you ever serve in Tomsk?  And for the Stewarts– there is a girl here in Tomsk who served a mission with you in Ulan Ude– her name is Lena Fyoderova. She was very excited to here that we were related.
After Zone Conference we came home and got ready to leave to Kemerovo.  We got to Kemerovo Saturday evening and participated in a fireside in the brand new building.  The next day we attended the first sacrement meeting in a church meeting house in Kemerovo in over 2 years.  I gave the first talk in that building that day– it was a very big event for me.  The building is beautiful.  It has several rooms and we talked a lot during that meeting about starting Relief Society and Priesthood and other auxiliary meetings.  The attendance is still very low, but the future is looking very hopeful for that amazing city.  I was able to see Ksyousha and Ira again and they are both doing great.  They haven’t been to church for a while because they’ve been out of town for the holidays, but I was able to come back and see that they still have a strong testimony and are still involved in the church.
(I also received some mail from Zone Conference: from the Bertonneaus and Erica Larsen– Thanks!)
Then, after getting back, we all have started to buckle down and work harder here. The president wants us to teach more lessons so that we become better teachers and so that we help more people.  So Monday and Tuesday have been very busy days– our schedules being completely full with meetings all day long, with running in between meetings to make everything in time.
I’m still working with my Alexe problem that I wrote about last week but as I’ve been praying to know what to do I’ve felt a definite peace about the situation.  I think several of you suggested to me that he will remember how he felt when we called him the first time and that he will recognize the need to meet with us in the future.  As for right now I have been able to feel comfortable about waiting until the time is right to call him again.  But it’s amazing how God answers our prayers.  I think I just wanted to get an answer of “call him right now and say this and he’ll agree to meet again” but instead the situation has simply felt easier for me to think about and I feel peace about simply waiting for a few more days before we decide on a plan of action.
For a small spiritual thought, I’ve been reading through Preach My Gospel lately and especially in the Lesson Titled “The Gospel of Jesus Christ,” when I read over “Repentance” and “Endure to the End” I realized the role that the Gospel is supposed to play in our lives.  We accept the teachings of Jesus Christ because we want to become better people and we feel peace and comfort in life from doing this.  We have the opportunity to repent and to work all our lives to continually make mistakes and become better from them.  Repentance is not simply a principle of the Gospel, but it is a way of living life that brings continual peace and overall happiness about the way that you are living day to day.
I love you all! Thanks again for last weeks emails.  Justin, those pictures are so classic.  Totally made my day.  And I’d also like to express my pain at hearing how good or sort of good the new Weezer album is.  I’m going to be in Moscow/Helsinki for the next Weezer Day (which also happens to be Valentines Day).
–Elder Froelich

I’d like to first send a big thanks for the emails I received this week.  I really really appreciated reading them all.  Thank you Justin Geldzahler, Grandma, and the fam– it really made me happy to read those emails.
So within the past week there have been quite a lot of things that have happened.  For one, we all went to Novosibirsk for our Zone Conference, which was great.  While in the mission office I was able to look back at pictures of Brad Weber and the Stewarts (relatives who have served in the Novosibirsk Mission).  I don’t know if you get these emails, Brad, but so far being in Tomsk I’ve heard a member mention an Elder “Veber” and I’m assuming it’s you… did you ever serve in Tomsk?  And for the Stewarts– there is a girl here in Tomsk who served a mission with you in Ulan Ude– her name is Lena Fyoderova. She was very excited to here that we were related.
After Zone Conference we came home and got ready to leave to Kemerovo.  We got to Kemerovo Saturday evening and participated in a fireside in the brand new building.  The next day we attended the first sacrement meeting in a church meeting house in Kemerovo in over 2 years.  I gave the first talk in that building that day– it was a very big event for me.  The building is beautiful.  It has several rooms and we talked a lot during that meeting about starting Relief Society and Priesthood and other auxiliary meetings.  The attendance is still very low, but the future is looking very hopeful for that amazing city.  I was able to see Ksyousha and Ira again and they are both doing great.  They haven’t been to church for a while because they’ve been out of town for the holidays, but I was able to come back and see that they still have a strong testimony and are still involved in the church.
(I also received some mail from Zone Conference: from the Bertonneaus and Erica Larsen– Thanks!)
Then, after getting back, we all have started to buckle down and work harder here. The president wants us to teach more lessons so that we become better teachers and so that we help more people.  So Monday and Tuesday have been very busy days– our schedules being completely full with meetings all day long, with running in between meetings to make everything in time.
I’m still working with my Alexe problem that I wrote about last week but as I’ve been praying to know what to do I’ve felt a definite peace about the situation.  I think several of you suggested to me that he will remember how he felt when we called him the first time and that he will recognize the need to meet with us in the future.  As for right now I have been able to feel comfortable about waiting until the time is right to call him again.  But it’s amazing how God answers our prayers.  I think I just wanted to get an answer of “call him right now and say this and he’ll agree to meet again” but instead the situation has simply felt easier for me to think about and I feel peace about simply waiting for a few more days before we decide on a plan of action.
For a small spiritual thought, I’ve been reading through Preach My Gospel lately and especially in the Lesson Titled “The Gospel of Jesus Christ,” when I read over “Repentance” and “Endure to the End” I realized the role that the Gospel is supposed to play in our lives.  We accept the teachings of Jesus Christ because we want to become better people and we feel peace and comfort in life from doing this.  We have the opportunity to repent and to work all our lives to continually make mistakes and become better from them.  Repentance is not simply a principle of the Gospel, but it is a way of living life that brings continual peace and overall happiness about the way that you are living day to day.
I love you all! Thanks again for last weeks emails.  Justin, those pictures are so classic.  Totally made my day.  And I’d also like to express my pain at hearing how good or sort of good the new Weezer album is.  I’m going to be in Moscow/Helsinki for the next Weezer Day (which also happens to be Valentines Day).
–Elder Froelich


January 16, 2010

January 13, 2010
Thank you for your emails this week, it was very enjoyable to hear from all of you 🙂
This week has been interesting.  Very cold. Except for the past two days it’s been close to 40 for almost an entire week.  With all the proud talk from the Russians about how cold Siberia is, they are such wimps about it sometimes.  It’s hard to convince people to walk out of their houses and meet you at a church building to talk about God when its -40.  But nevertheless we worked very hard and had what is probably my all time record so far of 17 meetings in a week. We’ve been meeting with a few new people, including Vladimir, a man who is a sucker for learning English, is a massage therapist, is very wealthy, and LOVES Frank Sinatra.  He doesn’t have the most burning desire for religion, but he did ask some very deep questions about why the Earth was created and what the Creator was thinking when He did so.
Another investigator, Alexe (alex – aye… i can’t think of how to spell that in english at the moment)… well.  We called him up and met with him.  He met with the missionaries 2 years ago.  He said that when we called him on the phone it was an answer to his prayers and that he saw a dream that told him that he needed to meet with us.  We met with him once, invited him to church, then met with him again on Sunday.  In that meeting he told us that he has decided to be baptized, but doen’st konw when yet.  We set up a meeting with him on Tuesday at his house to meet his family (wife and two teenage daughters) so that we could discuss with them the whole baptism thing and set a date.  This man is ready for baptism.  He understands so much about God and how we are meant to have more light in our lives than what we can find on our own.  He showed us how just in the last few days so many of his concerns have been answered by the Book of Mormon and he says that he is a kind of guy that doesn’t need solid proof– he already believes that Joseph Smith really did see God and Jesus Christ and that he restorted the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   After that meeting we went downstairs where we introduced him to a member, Brother Boris.  Those two talked for about an hour about families and how this church can have such a positive effect on unifying families and how this church can change a man’s life so much for the better.
Then on Monday night we received a strange text saying that the meeting set on Tuesday was cancelled forever and that we should not come to see him or try to communicate with him again.  We called him up and he was very confrontational saying that we were charlatans and that he has his Russian church and it is enough for him and that he never again needs to meet with us.  It was one of the most frustrating things I have ever heard in my life.  He was simply not being honest to himself. It was obvious to me that he was simply repeating a lecture that he had just gotten from someone else– probably a family member who freaked out when he said the mormons are coming over tomorrow.  So needless to say, that whole event was pretty earth-shattering.  We’re thinking we might have one more shot with him– we’re going to talk with Brother Boris today and see if he will call and try to talk to him about things.  But if any of you are going to send some prayers my way this week– please play for Alexe– so that he will realize that he cannot base his beliefs in God on things that his friends and family says– he has to be honest to himself and God and find that answer for himself through prayer.
This week is essentially ended.  We’re going to Novosibirsk tomorrow for Zone Conference, coming home Friday night, and then on Saturday I’m leaving with Elder Zabrodin to Kemerovo, for the first church meeting in their new building! 😀 😀 😀
So, while I’m excited beyond words to be able to see all my friends in Kemerovo again, it’s frustrating because missionary work is so restricted this week.  We essentially have to wait until Monday to get things going again, which is hard when we have to think about all the investigators who really should be meeting with us this week to keep them on track…. but oh well. cest la vive.
Well that’s about it on my end.  We might try to go rollerskating today for p-day 🙂
Sorry for not having pictures recently– I can’t figure out how to get this computer to send them…
Justin– thanks for the newsletter– how’s life? are you back in school yet?
Chris– i’m glad you got my letter. I listened to like half of your song last night– it was WAY awesome.  the piano part especially sounds nice and clean.  I can tell you’re making progress on the piano.   I’ll try to listen to the rest of it later (when i was listening to it it was in a noisy room and stuff, so it was kind of frustrating)
Hadley– keep the art going.  see if you can find the weezer song “Hey Domingo!” It’s way cool.
Parker– are you stil playing roller hockey? how’s that going? i might be able to roller skate today, which would be WILD!
Amber– thanks.  i miss you too
Dad and Mom– thanks for the encouraging/spiritual emails. It’s great. as a missionary the conference talks and spiritual thoughts are like candy
As far as food that i might want… uhm alfredo and pasta sauce mixes are great.  brownie mixes and stuff would be great too. Oh– the soup mixes you sent me look really tasty but there are no instructions on how to make them.  It’s quite frustrating.  I’ve got enough gravy mix… although, how about some of that white breakfast gravy mix (biscuits and gravy).  But I’m really doing quite fine as far as food goes in general.  I like cooking Russian food more anyway.  But no, i haven’t gotten a package since dad’s package with the socks in it.  But we’ll see tomorrow when I get to Novo.
Thank you to the Roth Family!  I got your package. The tie is beautiful. I love it.  And I have no idea what to say about the hedgehog massage balls…. possibly the most random thing I’ve ever gotten in the mail 🙂
Oh! Andrew! You can’t mention Google Wave and not tell me what it is! What are you thinking!?
Love you all– have a great week!,
Elder Froelich

Thank you for your emails this week, it was very enjoyable to hear from all of you 🙂
This week has been interesting.  Very cold. Except for the past two days it’s been close to 40 for almost an entire week.  With all the proud talk from the Russians about how cold Siberia is, they are such wimps about it sometimes.  It’s hard to convince people to walk out of their houses and meet you at a church building to talk about God when its -40.  But nevertheless we worked very hard and had what is probably my all time record so far of 17 meetings in a week. We’ve been meeting with a few new people, including Vladimir, a man who is a sucker for learning English, is a massage therapist, is very wealthy, and LOVES Frank Sinatra.  He doesn’t have the most burning desire for religion, but he did ask some very deep questions about why the Earth was created and what the Creator was thinking when He did so.Another investigator, Alexe (alex – aye… i can’t think of how to spell that in english at the moment)… well.  We called him up and met with him.  He met with the missionaries 2 years ago.  He said that when we called him on the phone it was an answer to his prayers and that he saw a dream that told him that he needed to meet with us.  We met with him once, invited him to church, then met with him again on Sunday.  In that meeting he told us that he has decided to be baptized, but doen’st konw when yet.  We set up a meeting with him on Tuesday at his house to meet his family (wife and two teenage daughters) so that we could discuss with them the whole baptism thing and set a date.  This man is ready for baptism.  He understands so much about God and how we are meant to have more light in our lives than what we can find on our own.  He showed us how just in the last few days so many of his concerns have been answered by the Book of Mormon and he says that he is a kind of guy that doesn’t need solid proof– he already believes that Joseph Smith really did see God and Jesus Christ and that he restorted the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   After that meeting we went downstairs where we introduced him to a member, Brother Boris.  Those two talked for about an hour about families and how this church can have such a positive effect on unifying families and how this church can change a man’s life so much for the better.Then on Monday night we received a strange text saying that the meeting set on Tuesday was cancelled forever and that we should not come to see him or try to communicate with him again.  We called him up and he was very confrontational saying that we were charlatans and that he has his Russian church and it is enough for him and that he never again needs to meet with us.  It was one of the most frustrating things I have ever heard in my life.  He was simply not being honest to himself. It was obvious to me that he was simply repeating a lecture that he had just gotten from someone else– probably a family member who freaked out when he said the mormons are coming over tomorrow.  So needless to say, that whole event was pretty earth-shattering.  We’re thinking we might have one more shot with him– we’re going to talk with Brother Boris today and see if he will call and try to talk to him about things.  But if any of you are going to send some prayers my way this week– please play for Alexe– so that he will realize that he cannot base his beliefs in God on things that his friends and family says– he has to be honest to himself and God and find that answer for himself through prayer.
This week is essentially ended.  We’re going to Novosibirsk tomorrow for Zone Conference, coming home Friday night, and then on Saturday I’m leaving with Elder Zabrodin to Kemerovo, for the first church meeting in their new building! 😀 😀 😀
So, while I’m excited beyond words to be able to see all my friends in Kemerovo again, it’s frustrating because missionary work is so restricted this week.  We essentially have to wait until Monday to get things going again, which is hard when we have to think about all the investigators who really should be meeting with us this week to keep them on track…. but oh well. cest la vive.
Well that’s about it on my end.  We might try to go rollerskating today for p-day :)Sorry for not having pictures recently– I can’t figure out how to get this computer to send them…
Justin– thanks for the newsletter– how’s life? are you back in school yet?Chris– i’m glad you got my letter. I listened to like half of your song last night– it was WAY awesome.  the piano part especially sounds nice and clean.  I can tell you’re making progress on the piano.   I’ll try to listen to the rest of it later (when i was listening to it it was in a noisy room and stuff, so it was kind of frustrating)Hadley– keep the art going.  see if you can find the weezer song “Hey Domingo!” It’s way cool.Parker– are you stil playing roller hockey? how’s that going? i might be able to roller skate today, which would be WILD!Amber– thanks.  i miss you tooDad and Mom– thanks for the encouraging/spiritual emails. It’s great. as a missionary the conference talks and spiritual thoughts are like candyAs far as food that i might want… uhm alfredo and pasta sauce mixes are great.  brownie mixes and stuff would be great too. Oh– the soup mixes you sent me look really tasty but there are no instructions on how to make them.  It’s quite frustrating.  I’ve got enough gravy mix… although, how about some of that white breakfast gravy mix (biscuits and gravy).  But I’m really doing quite fine as far as food goes in general.  I like cooking Russian food more anyway.  But no, i haven’t gotten a package since dad’s package with the socks in it.  But we’ll see tomorrow when I get to Novo.Thank you to the Roth Family!  I got your package. The tie is beautiful. I love it.  And I have no idea what to say about the hedgehog massage balls…. possibly the most random thing I’ve ever gotten in the mail :)Oh! Andrew! You can’t mention Google Wave and not tell me what it is! What are you thinking!?
Love you all– have a great week!,
Elder Froelich


January 6, 2010 E-mail

January 6, 2010
Happy New Years!
well, just putting it out there: i don’t have much to respond to this week. mom, sara, taegan, and a short email from chris. but no worries
Mom, here is how I celebrated my New Year’s in Russia:
We’re not allowed to wear tags new years eve after it gets dark (4:00 pm) and we shoudn’t be on the streets that night or the entire next day.  We met up at the other elder’s place to celebrate after cleaning our apartment.  We sat and talked and just relaxed (a sister missionary here said “how to missionaries celebrate holidays? we just relax and do nothing!! :D”).  Close to midnight the sisters called so we could all hear eachother screaming once it hit midnight.  We stood at the windows with some poppers that Elder Nelson got from home and when the New Year arrived we opened the windows a bit (it was like -35) and pulled the little strings on those popper things and watched as the fireworks started.  It was cool because it was a panoramic firework show: everyone does big rocket fireworks for New Years (although I heard it was quite pathetic this year as compared to other years because of the financial crisis and because it was so cold).  There was a guy doing fireworks directly below our window, 8 floors down, so we essentially had fireworks exploding a few meters from our windows.  It was pretty cool.  Then we watched a BYU- Utah football game that was approved by the mission president and we one by one eventually went to bed.  The next morning we slept in (wow), the sisters came over, we prepared a Ukrainian salad, watched a few approved movies, had a New Years dinner and played Risk.
And then it was time to get back to work.  Although working at this time is rough. There is officially 10 days of holidays in Russia, so no one wants to meet, no one is on the street– someone told me everyone is just home doing puzzles.  So needless to say it’s been a little frustrating trying to meet with people, and contacting on the street is pointless– hardly anyone is outside.  I actually had a pretty discouraging period of time a few days back.  Things were rough, I wasn’t getting along as well with my current companion as I had with Elder Wheeler (come to think of it, Elder Wheeler and I became REALLY good friends.  Luckily we’ll see eachother every 3 months to explore Helsinki, but I hope I get to serve with him again some day), and the area was still new to me so that I didn’t feel like I knew what work needed to be done here and what needed to be taught to certain church members and investigators.  It was a rough Saturday and the next day was Fast Sunday– so I started seriously thinking about what to fast for in order to get things back under control.  And I suddenly realized:  I hadn’t been relying on the Holy Ghost.  I’d been so worried about the language and about planning good lessons that I wasnt’ letting the Holy Ghost lead the lessons.  The fast and testimony was an answer to prayers and more questions than I know I had.  It really strengthened my testimony that when we feel like we’re going under and life is too hard– it just means we’re relying on ourselves too much and not enough on the Lord.  When we rely on the Lord we can do all things.
CLICK FOR FULL PHOTO

Christmas Day

I also realized during that Sacrement meeting why it is so important for us to go to church every week, more than just to follow a commandment of God.  For some people it is very very important for them to come to church and see friends and other members– people who are also struggling in life but trying hard to live the gospel and do what is right.  We go to church to serve others.  Just by showing up and sitting through meetings we are helping others– especially those who have had a rough week and are at a hard point in their lives and just need to see that they are not alone in trying to do what is right.

Well… I haven’t had my camera on me the past few days, which, of course means that I saw some of the most interesting things lately– pretty ice sculptures, huge new year’s trees, cars completely buried in snow (i got a pic of that, actually).
So things have been quite cold, but managable.
To answer some questions: my music limitations are as follows
Mormon Tabernacle Chior (but I have almost everything they’ve done)
EFY (which I listen to only when I have to)
Classical Music (which I could always use more of)
Reverent Arrangements of Hymns (very vague…)
but I’ve also heard that if I want something else approved I just have to get the Mission President’s wife to listen to it and people say she approves a wide range of stuff– as long as it inspires and uplifts.
As far as format goes: something that would play on a CD player is the safest.  Also, most apartments (like where I’m at now) have an MP3 CD Player.  But you could even send me dvd’s and worse comes to worst I just have to ask a church member to transfer it onto an mp3 cd for me– no biggie (but please: mp3’s. not M4a’s or MP4s, etc).
K well that’s about it for today, I think.
Oh yeah– In less than 2 hours Kemerovo gets a building.  They are exchanging the keys at 2:30 Kemerovo time.  WOW.
I love you!
Oh yeah– for those of you who have received letters from me– please let me know.  I hear letters from Russia to the US only get there some of the time and I’d like to know who got something that I sent.
–Elder Froelich
Chris, yeah, i got that email and the attachment– haven’t listened to it yet though. hopefully today or soon.
Hadley, keep up the art work! 🙂
Parker– how are things going? when do you start school again? how’s roller hockey?!
Sara– sounds fun.  the girls in this mission have to have their hair above their shoulders. fun fact.
Mom– thanks for the email, it was great.  You can send them as PDF’s– that’ll work fine. then i can print off multiple anyways.  but also: if you go through this website pianofiles.com you can get lots of sheet music for free. Chris knows how to use it and I’ve got an account and stuff– you can get pdf’s from there and send them to me.
Brendon– I don’t know if you read this, but if you do– did you get the letter I sent to Cooper Union? I sent it to the actual school in your name, so they should have delivered it to you if it ever made it to New York.
Turners/Froelich family– thanks for the pillow case! It’s very cool– I especially appreciate the attempts to write messages in Russian 🙂
Also– shout out to any old piano students who may read this! for those of you who aren’t taking lessons right now, find a teacher! don’t quit! you’ll regret it! :O

Happy New Years!
well, just putting it out there: i don’t have much to respond to this week. mom, sara, taegan, and a short email from chris. but no worries
Mom, here is how I celebrated my New Year’s in Russia:
We’re not allowed to wear tags new years eve after it gets dark (4:00 pm) and we shoudn’t be on the streets that night or the entire next day.  We met up at the other elder’s place to celebrate after cleaning our apartment.  We sat and talked and just relaxed (a sister missionary here said “how to missionaries celebrate holidays? we just relax and do nothing!! :D”).  Close to midnight the sisters called so we could all hear eachother screaming once it hit midnight.  We stood at the windows with some poppers that Elder Nelson got from home and when the New Year arrived we opened the windows a bit (it was like -35) and pulled the little strings on those popper things and watched as the fireworks started.  It was cool because it was a panoramic firework show: everyone does big rocket fireworks for New Years (although I heard it was quite pathetic this year as compared to other years because of the financial crisis and because it was so cold).  There was a guy doing fireworks directly below our window, 8 floors down, so we essentially had fireworks exploding a few meters from our windows.  It was pretty cool.  Then we watched a BYU- Utah football game that was approved by the mission president and we one by one eventually went to bed.  The next morning we slept in (wow), the sisters came over, we prepared a Ukrainian salad, watched a few approved movies, had a New Years dinner and played Risk.
And then it was time to get back to work.  Although working at this time is rough. There is officially 10 days of holidays in Russia, so no one wants to meet, no one is on the street– someone told me everyone is just home doing puzzles.  So needless to say it’s been a little frustrating trying to meet with people, and contacting on the street is pointless– hardly anyone is outside.  I actually had a pretty discouraging period of time a few days back.  Things were rough, I wasn’t getting along as well with my current companion as I had with Elder Wheeler (come to think of it, Elder Wheeler and I became REALLY good friends.  Luckily we’ll see eachother every 3 months to explore Helsinki, but I hope I get to serve with him again some day), and the area was still new to me so that I didn’t feel like I knew what work needed to be done here and what needed to be taught to certain church members and investigators.  It was a rough Saturday and the next day was Fast Sunday– so I started seriously thinking about what to fast for in order to get things back under control.  And I suddenly realized:  I hadn’t been relying on the Holy Ghost.  I’d been so worried about the language and about planning good lessons that I wasnt’ letting the Holy Ghost lead the lessons.  The fast and testimony was an answer to prayers and more questions than I know I had.  It really strengthened my testimony that when we feel like we’re going under and life is too hard– it just means we’re relying on ourselves too much and not enough on the Lord.  When we rely on the Lord we can do all things.
I also realized during that Sacrement meeting why it is so important for us to go to church every week, more than just to follow a commandment of God.  For some people it is very very important for them to come to church and see friends and other members– people who are also struggling in life but trying hard to live the gospel and do what is right.  We go to church to serve others.  Just by showing up and sitting through meetings we are helping others– especially those who have had a rough week and are at a hard point in their lives and just need to see that they are not alone in trying to do what is right.
Well… I haven’t had my camera on me the past few days, which, of course means that I saw some of the most interesting things lately– pretty ice sculptures, huge new year’s trees, cars completely buried in snow (i got a pic of that, actually).
So things have been quite cold, but managable.
To answer some questions: my music limitations are as followsMormon Tabernacle Chior (but I have almost everything they’ve done)EFY (which I listen to only when I have to)Classical Music (which I could always use more of)Reverent Arrangements of Hymns (very vague…)
but I’ve also heard that if I want something else approved I just have to get the Mission President’s wife to listen to it and people say she approves a wide range of stuff– as long as it inspires and uplifts.
As far as format goes: something that would play on a CD player is the safest.  Also, most apartments (like where I’m at now) have an MP3 CD Player.  But you could even send me dvd’s and worse comes to worst I just have to ask a church member to transfer it onto an mp3 cd for me– no biggie (but please: mp3’s. not M4a’s or MP4s, etc).
K well that’s about it for today, I think.
Oh yeah– In less than 2 hours Kemerovo gets a building.  They are exchanging the keys at 2:30 Kemerovo time.  WOW.
I love you!
Oh yeah– for those of you who have received letters from me– please let me know.  I hear letters from Russia to the US only get there some of the time and I’d like to know who got something that I sent.
–Elder Froelich
Chris, yeah, i got that email and the attachment– haven’t listened to it yet though. hopefully today or soon.Hadley, keep up the art work! :)Parker– how are things going? when do you start school again? how’s roller hockey?!Sara– sounds fun.  the girls in this mission have to have their hair above their shoulders. fun fact.Mom– thanks for the email, it was great.  You can send them as PDF’s– that’ll work fine. then i can print off multiple anyways.  but also: if you go through this website pianofiles.com you can get lots of sheet music for free. Chris knows how to use it and I’ve got an account and stuff– you can get pdf’s from there and send them to me.Brendon– I don’t know if you read this, but if you do– did you get the letter I sent to Cooper Union? I sent it to the actual school in your name, so they should have delivered it to you if it ever made it to New York.
Turners/Froelich family– thanks for the pillow case! It’s very cool– I especially appreciate the attempts to write messages in Russian 🙂
Also– shout out to any old piano students who may read this! for those of you who aren’t taking lessons right now, find a teacher! don’t quit! you’ll regret it! :O