Russia June 24, 2010

June 28, 2010
First of all, thanks for all of your emails this week– they were very uplifting to me.  I took lots of time reading them, so I have about 5 minutes to write this entire email.
As far as news goes, we just got back late last night from Novosibirsk from zone conference.  The conference was with Tomsk, Novosibirsk, and Novokuznetsk (including Kemerovo) zones.  I got to stay with Elder Player (my mtc companion) (who is serving in Novosibirsk now) and we had lots of fun together.  Our sister missionaries are on a trip to get a migration card renewal, but after tomorrow evening, we’ll all be pretty stationary in Tomsk for the next 4 weeks, so it’s going to be nice to have missionary work without any more distractions this transfer of having to travel.
I’ve been thinking a lot about trials and life when it gets tough.  It’s funny how easy it is to get discouraged about things when life gets tough.  I teach people everyday that the gospel of Jesus Christ involves “enduring to the end,” the longest hardest step.  We read in the scriptures that we need to endure trials and tribulations with joy, and an apostle spoke last conference about how we should serve others in times of trials.  Yeah, it’s tough when life is hard, but at the same time, if we know our purpose here and what we want later in life, we already understand that getting through tough times is, you could say, the agenda.  The trick is to stay obedient and happy when things get tough.  If we can learn to do that, then we’ve already won the main battle in life.
A funny little note:
Erica, you wrote me a dear elder a while back, i guess.  Well I got the dear elder, but the website must have messed up, because I didn’t get anything from you– instead I got a sappy, poorly written love letter from a girl writing her missionary.  While it’s a shame that I didn’t get to read your letter, it was extremely entertaining to get some other missionary’s mail, and we all got some good laughs out of it.
Alright, well until next week– everyone take care!
–Elder Froelich
(for those who have told me they’ve sent packages– i haven’t gotten anything yet)

Russia June 16, 2010

June 17, 2010
Dear All,
So I just got back from ZLC in Novosibirsk.  Seems like we’ve been making that 5 hour bus trip quite a lot lately (we’ll be back next week, too).  We had a great Zone Leaders’ Council where we talked about lots of great ways that we can improve our missionary work this transfer and to help the missionaries in our zones feel more successful, be happier, and make some good progress.
Before I forget again– BRAD WEBER! I can’t believe I’m in Tomsk again, but chances are getting insanely high that I’ll be gone in a few weeks (i’ve already been here for 6 months).  You’ve got over here several members who keep asking about you, especially Roman Diev, who gave a wonderful talk in sacrament meeting two weeks ago.  It’s been so inspiring watching that man come back from complete inactivity into the church.  His wife is taking the discussions now (she was completely против before) and we hope to see a baptismal date from here in the next few weeks.  He always asks about you– he looks up to you a whole lot and would really appreciate a little message.  You could just email it to me and i’d pass it on.
Man, my thoughts have been very scattered this week, and I don’t really know what I want to say to you all this week.
I’ll share with you some of the discussion I had with my companion this week.  He was assigned to speak in ZLC about “how to be a happy missionary.”  It brought up many interesting things to think about.  First of all is the disclaimer: It seems that the more you think about happiness the more danger you’re in of becoming unhappy and disturbed about life– so don’t think about it too much.  But we started posing questions such as “do we have a goal as missionaries to be happy?” Often times we’re more concerned in doing good missionary work or helping people that need it, or just keeping up performance.  I still haven’t decided if I can technically say that a missionary should have a goal to be happy, but in the very least it’s interesting to look at what’s important to you right now in life and compare it to how it would be if your goal was simply to life happily.  We have an awesome friend here named Ilya.  We were talking to him about life in general and about happiness once and he said “Happiness is something that you can have when you least expect it.”  He wasn’t trying to say anything especially deep, but think about that quote for a while– it’s really interesting to think about.  Sometimes we forget what happiness is and why we’re living.  From the scriptures we know that God created us to that we could be happy.  God gives us everything in this life so that we can be happy.  God even gives us blessings and commandments and laws for the express and sole purpose of simply being happy.
Thanks for emails this week, Zoe and Alexa– long time no… read from….?
🙂 very nice to hear from you.
K, i’m way pushed for time right now– sorry for all those I forgot to write about!
amber– send me an email!
–Elder Froelich

Russia June 10

June 10, 2010
Happy Birthday, Dad!
С днём рождения!
I miss you so much, dad.  Thanks for everything you’ve done for me. I was talking with my companion the other night and I told him a childhood memory that came to mind– when we were all sitting around the table eating alphabet soup.  You started violently choking and coughing and Mom got really worried and asked if you were ok.  You managed a “I just swallowed a Bee!”  There was a little more panic before Mom realized that you were just messing with us (and referring to the alphabet letter) and you had to apologize for the havoc by explaining that you didn’t really swallow a bee and that “you were just choking (joking).” I’m so happy to have a Dad with such a far-fetched sense of humor.  Thanks, Dad.  (Not to mention that my companion enjoyed the story).
So we got transfer calls on friday! drumrolllll…………….
We’re all staying in Tomsk, except for Sister Degtyaryova (who we already miss a ton!) who will be replaced by Sister Tanadadaichuk (who I’m already excited to get to know).
A change, however, is that we moved apartments on monday.  We switched to the apartment in the south of the city that used to be the ZL apartment (It’s nicer, closer to the bus station, has other ZL documents in it, etc) and the Elders Eborn and Hansen who have been there the past transfer are now up in the Kashtak apartment.
So, while I’m not changing cities, I am changing areas and apartments, so this transfer should be pretty interesting.
(there were not many changes this transfer throughout the mission)
And my big news for this email is what I just got back from in Novosibirsk.  We left on Tuesday for Novo to attend two meetings where we could see an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Elder Scott came on Tuesday to speak to the members and non members of the Church in Siberia, and then on Wednesday to speak specifically to the missionaries.  We had 21 members in Tomsk who rented a special bus to make the 5 hour trip there and back for the meeting.  We were all very excited to see Elder Scott walk in.  When he started speaking to audience (with help of a translator) he started off with some great jokes to get us all feeling more comfortable and happy to be there.  He then turned all of the time over to the audience for questions.  It was great to see members of the church here in Siberia stand up and introduce themselves and ask great questions such as “what can we do, those of us who are about to serve a mission, to prepare and be ready to serve the Lord?”  “I left another church to join this one– how do I handle the relationship with my friends from that other church, since they now treat me differently after I got baptized?”  and “how can I help repair relationships in my family so that there is a greater feeling of love and support?”
It was an amazing experience to hear an apostle answer such important personal questions on the spot.  He gave great, inspired advice, and what’s more, the Spirit was so strong that I was able to receive my own personal inspirations to problems in life that I’m currently facing.  But the most intense moment of seeing Elder Scott was hearing his testimony.  For those of you who read this who aren’t members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we believe that the Church has been perfectly restored– including the presence of 12 Apostles. An apostle is a special witness of Christ.  To qualify to be an apostle you must have a sacred, special experience, giving you personal knowledge about the reality of the Savior.  Watching and listening to this man testify of the reality of the savior, and just hearing the way that he spoke about the Savior was so spiritually intense.  His testimony of the Savior is not one that is abstract that we sometimes tend to hear.  He bore testimony that the Savior is.  He is present at times on the Earth.  He was resurrected.  He loves us.  It gave me a good opportunity to think about absolutes and what things in this life are absolute.  Sometimes trials and problems seem absolute, but we also must remember that blessings and impressions and happiness are absolute.
Also what is absolute is my time on this email.
I’ve got to go
I love you all,
thanks for your emails this week!
still trying to solve the “who will look after my facebook” problem.

Russia June 2, 2010

June 2, 2010

The first official day of summer was yesterday.  It was a miserably cold, rainy, and windy day. And we were out there as a zone once again passing out invitations to English Club.  I’m scared to death that my time in Tomsk is coming to a close.  Maybe not– but by Friday night I’ll get a phone call from President Trejo telling me where I’ll be for the next 6 weeks.  I’ve been in Tomsk for 6 months which is the standard “longest time” that elders usually stay in one city.  So we’ll see.
Man, I don’t know what to write about to you guys this week– a lot of stuff has happened on my end, and it sounds like a lot has happened on your end too.  Sounds like there were some pretty exciting events taking place at the Froelich home the last few days. I’ll take some time right now and upload photographs, because i’ve got some pretty exciting stuff to show you!
Thanks for all your emails this week!Especially…  Amber, Lyric, and Taegan– thanks! I really enjoyed hearing from you.
Well, tomorrow is my year mark.  It feels pretty weird already being at the half way point.  And it feels weirder that my brother is leaving to the MTC in a few days– exactly what I was doing this time last year.  Chris, when you’re writing this email home on your year mark, you’ll be hearing about my homecoming, just like i’m hearing about your farewell! Wild, huh?
Hey, so an event I don’t think i’ve mentioned.  We have a friend here named Ilya.  He’s a student at this university– the oldest in Siberia.  It just had it’s 133rd (i think) birthday and for that event, all the students organize by class (faculty) and march down Lenina street in costumes, with floats, etc.  Ilya was taking part and he told us we couldn’t miss it.  So, we got there right in time for this amazing parade.  I don’t htink i’ve ever seen more students in one place.  Ilya says there were approx 10 000 students on the street that day.  We just stood there enjoying the parade and several people came up to talk to us (something about wearing a white shirt, tie and nametag attracting attention) and we were able to invite lots of people to various activities (without us doing ANYTHING! :D).  It was a super cool parade. See the pictures that should be on this blog site.
Anyway, i spent all my time uploading pictures.
I love you all. Thanks for all your support.  Next email will be transfer info! :O
–Elder Froelich
ps.  So Chris has been taking care of my facebook lately.  He’s leaving. So i need to find someone new.  Any friends out there up to the task?  Or maybe sis hadley?  Let me know if any of you think you could do a good job for me with my facebook.

Russua May 26, 2010

June 2, 2010

We (Elder Whitchurch, Hansen, Eborn and I) just got out of being stuck in an elevator.  We weren’t in there for very long– only about 20 minutes.  Elder Hansen thought it would be a bright idea to try to open the elevator doors a little bit– kind of like your story at EFY, Chris.  So anyway, that’s not my first time having to explain to an elevator operator in Russian that we’re stuck and we need someone to come and get us out.
Also, yesterday we decided that we needed to put in more effort for English club to get tons of people coming.  We had recently printed new invitations that are beautiful and fun to hand out to people, and so yesterday we all dressed in our “Free English” t-shirts and stormed the main streets of Tomsk talking to anyone and everyone, inviting them to come speak English with Americans.  The weather was beautiful and it was actually a holiday– the graduation of middle and high school– so there were lots of people out on the streets (although there were a lot of 14 year olds dressed in their graduation outfits: either suits (guys) or what i would compare to a skimpy french maid costume with huge white bows in their hair (girls), which was frustrating b/c people under 18 can’t come without written permission from their parents, but oh well).  We passed out hundreds of invitations, had a lot of fun together, and hopefully will soon see some fruits from out labors.
Sacrament meeting last Sunday was especially good for me.  We got there a few minutes, enough for me to start playing some prelude music on the piano and to glance at the hymns that I would have to play that day.  It just so happened that most of the hymns were ones that I was very comfortable with and can play well– which was a relief for me.  The chapel gradually filled up with people– we had an attendance of 59 that day.  The whole meeting just went really well.  There were really interesting and uplifting talks (including my companion’s) and as I looked around at the congregation of Russian people there to worship I felt very strongly that this was all right.  It’s so amazing to see the Church of Jesus Christ operating so well and almost independently from missionaries even in the vast reaches of Siberia.
On monday we had a family night on the armor of God.  We found a place behind a small grocery store that gives out boxes… sort of… (we walked up to this ware house in the back and waited until an employee walked in.  He looked at us funny and we asked if we could take some boxes. He looked at us funny again and asked what kind of boxes we wanted.  We just said… idk, the boxy kind?  He pointed to a stack and we said that’d be fine.  He gave us two stacks and we walked away with a bunch of used boxes. success!). We got home and whipped out the scissors, tape, and twine and started constructing a set of armor.  We got to family night, where all the youth had gathered at a members house and started out lesson.  There was about 8 youth, plus the member, Olga and her two children.  We dressed up her 9 year old son named Misha in this ridiculous box-armor as we read the verses from Ephesians 6, with the conclusion, of course, of everyone pelting this kid with “fiery darts”.  Then we watched the cool, totally-from-the-80’s, amazingly dramatic seminary video about the armor of God.  We prepared taco soup with the help of sister Rivas and then people proceeded to try on the armor and hit each other with the sword of the Spirit. I got some great pictures, but I don’t have my connecting cable to day. Next week.
Today for P-Day we’re going to make a fort at the other elders’ apartment and celebrate Sister Rivas day by making macaroni and cheese.  I’ll have some exciting pictures for you all next week.
Although it snowed about 4 times last week, i think the weather might be coming around for good…. a taxi driver says that it’ll be warm for good (until fall) in a week or so.
Love you all,
Elder Froelich