Russia – October 27, 2010

October 27, 2010

All,

Things are going great here in Novosibirsk! It’s getting pretty cold– just hovering above 0 and we’re all waiting for it to drop and start snowing like crazy.  But until then we’re enjoying being able to get by not wearing hats.

In our zone we’ve been really pushing hard for each companionship to talk to at least ten people each day.  Seeing as there are 6 companionships in Novo, that means that hopefully 60 people are being approached to hear more about the Gospel or to come to English Club each day.  I’m proud to say that yesterday was the first day that every single companionship made it– they all talked to at least 10 people! 😀  We’re all seeing great changes coming from this– an increase in referrals received, a better attitude towards missionary work, and things just generally working out better for us!

We’ve got a baptism coming up on the 6th of November– a girl named Marina (her mother Lena was baptized a month or two ago).  She’s asked me to baptize her, which is pretty exciting.  It’ll be the second person that I’ve personally performed the ordinance for.

Last night I shared a spiritual thought with the (my companion and I are convinced) best family in the entire world.  Amazing parents, amazing children (five of them), super happy and loving family– you feel it immediately when you come in. they’re extraordinary. Anyway. The spiritual thought came from Alma 20:3-6 about Ammon and King Lamoni.  Ammon tells King Lamoni that he has to leave and go to a different city because his brothers are in prison. The king’s reaction is very interesting. He says that he knows that Ammon can do all things with the power of God– but he happens to be friends with the king of that other city, and he can use that friendship to help Ammon free his brothers.  In talking to strangers on the streets and metro and buses about God, you notice some very interesting things.  One of them is the reaction to certain statements we make such as “God has called a prophet for our day, just like he did in the Bible.”  People immidiately think that is ridiculous.  I often follow up with the question “Do you think that God could call a prophet today if he wanted to?” The obvious answer is yes, he could. Of course God can do anything!  So why is it so hard for people to accept the message that there is a prophet on the earth today?  I think in part it is because people lack the attitude of King Lamoni.  He acknoledges that God can do anything, but he couples that with his opportunities to act and make things happen.  Sometimes when we have problems that we want solved we would admit that, yes, If God wanted to he definitely could solve the problem and make our life great.  I think a lot of times we just sit there, though and don’t have enough faith to act and use all the resources that we already have– to act in the knowledge that God can do all things.  As a missionary I get to see this every day, both on the side of the people that are talking to me, as well as for me personally, as I am the person talking to people, hoping for God to work with those people and help them accept the message I have to share with them.

Well, I’ll hopefully have some interesting photos for you all next week.  I’m officially in charge of the “room of fear” for the Halloween party.  I welcome any and all photos from Halloween– people in English club are pretty interested in the holiday.  They didn’t believe that Americans actually still trick-or-treat like in the movies 🙂

Hey, also, as far as photos go, here are some other photos that would be cool to have to show people.  Maybe readers of my emails/blog with cameras can go on a type of scavenger hunt for me and email me some good pictures during the week:

transportation, especially in big cities: buses, taxi’s, roads, etc
houses and apartment buildings– what the average american lives in
halloween– trick or treating, costumes, decorations, etc
maybe family activities– stuff you do for family night or family dinners or something

k, well, thanks for the emails and stuff

if anyone is sending me a package or letters soon– slip a few stamps in there, i’m running a little low

–Elder Froelich

PS… Here is a photo of my zone! My comp is the one wearing the Murray shirt.  (Click to enlarge, double-click for full size.)



Russia – October 20, 2010 (Sorry, looks like I forgot to post this last week!)

October 27, 2010

Dear All,

It’s snowing! 😛

Things are going great. My new companion is a great missionary.  His parents or grandparents or something have even met Grandpa and Grandma Froelich in the temple! (by the way, I got your letters and package, grandma and grandpa– thanks a bunch! I really appreciate everything you sent me!)

We’re really focusing on talking to more people on the streets this transfer with each of our missionaries.  We have a goal for each companionship to talk to at least 10 people each day.  So far it’s going great and we’ve already seen vast improvement over the last 3 days since we’ve started.

I’ve most notably had a lot of success with English club.  You may remember reading how much effort we were putting into this English club in starting it up again.  Last time at English we had 90 people there– there weren’t enough chairs to seat everyone in the “cultural hall”!  English is getting lots of fun lately– we’re always seeing new faces as people seem to enjoy it enough to bring lots of friends.  I’m making great friends there– the people in my 3rd group are so amazing!  We’re finding people from English club who want to hear more about the Gospel, and it looks like a very promising activity for this transfer.

(before I forget, I have some requests: fam, could you send me a copy of general conference issue ensign as soon as it comes out? it takes for ever for us to get those here (for example, we got april’s general conference magazine in english just 3 weeks ago) also, i dont know if the request got out from Hadley, but i’d really love a copy of “celebrating the light” cd somehow…)

As some of you may know– Spiderman is one of my heroes.  I especially love the scripture in the Docterine and Covenants that came from the Spider man movie– to whom much is given, much is required.  This verse has become important to me on the mission.  Sometimes in life we question why we have so much on our plates and why we have to deal with the situations we have.  Wouldn’t it just be so much more easier to have less responsibility?  That verse was an answer to that question for me.  It brought be great hope to know that Super heroes really do exist today.  God does work that way.  Some of us are given great powers, and because of that we do have great responsibility.  I see some leaders in the Church here in Russia.  There are a few outstanding Russian men here who are just… super heroes.  They are an example in every aspect of their life to members and us missionaries.  I’m sure each of us have these heroes in our lives and we say “wow, I could never do it like he does. I could never fill that role.”  It’s a wonderful part to God’s plans that he stacks some of his children differently.  We can all be heroes to eachother at certain times of our lives.  Most importantly to realize though, is what powers you were given and where your responsibilities are.  Don’t deny your super powers.  You’re given more for a reason– it’s because you’re expected to run faster.  But there will still always be other heroes to help pull you along, inspiring you to keep going.  (I’m sorry for the jumbleness of these thoughts– after a year and change on a mission I still haven’t found a way to organize thoughts right within my hour allotment of computer time.  I also haven’t figured out how to tell this computer that I’m not writing in Russian, but English.  I know I misspelled some words here, but my screen tells me that every word is wrong)

Well, I love you guys!  Thanks for the letters (keep them coming!) I’ll continue to try to ignore the fact that it’s getting colder and colder and colder here…

–elder froelich

ps– lyric! (Had, maybe you can shoot this girl a facebook message for me) a friend from english club was supposed to write you. she needs info on some stuff about cooper– i told her you could hook her up.  wicked wicked wicked awesome letter by the way. love you! take care!


Russia – October 13, 2010

October 14, 2010

Dear Family,

Real quick I think I’d better answwer a few questions that you asked me in previous emails. Let me just say that this computer is going ridiculously slow, so please exciszse any typos– i’m typing this and then the text shows up about 10 seconds later.

So mom, you asked about my birthday package– the va is for lovers t shirt was great. I actually found out after the jeans you sent me were slightly too big, that the mission president’s wife has a dryer! That’s a huge rarity here. So I asked her to shrink my jeans as well as the t-shirt you sent me and now it fits great!

The dictionary was PERFECT– the EXACT one that i wanted and i was SUPER impressed that you sent it to me so quickly! I’ve been bashful to ask for that dictionary for a long time b/c I just figured it would take so long and be such a hastle. Thanks 🙂 !

You asked if there’s anything that I’d like in a future package– yes. A friend of mine recently asked me for an “american constitution”- you know how they’ve got them in little pamphlet book things that they give out to students at school? If you could get a hold of a couple of those little things– several would be great, actually– I’d love to use them in my english classes.

chris– i got your package too! a while back. it was wierd– instead of it going to the main office it was sent to the mission presiden’ts home… but I got it and am thoroughly enjoying the pencil, candy, food, pen, and… other stuff…. (lol)

Brother Edmunds asked about mail– while I’m in Novosibirsk I get mail multiple times a week b/c as a zone leader there is usually stuff to do every once in a while at the office, etc. So pouch, regular, whatever– I get it as soon as it gets to the office, so send as much mail as you want! 😀 (And I could always use a few more american 44 cent stamps too, while you’re at it)

Chris– I’ll write more later about what works for me to find people. I don’t have very much time for internet today. and about the christmas call, idk, i’ll look into it. I imagine we could get it worked out pretty easily. But how would that work? You’re on one phone and I’m on the other? it seems like the volume would be pretty bad.

As far as a thought goes for some of my experiences this past week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the application of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. I’ve recently made lots of close friends from my English classes and they’ve mentioned problems or concerns they have in life– maybe they don’t know which job offer to take, or what to do after college, or what they should do with their future in general. I’ve been thinking a lot and reading a lot about the role that God plays in our lives when we need to make a big decision. Lots of people would say that sitting at home and reading the bible and praying isn’t going to help me get my life on track– and that’s right. But there is something very valuable about being close enough to God to be receiving answers and inspiriation from Him when you really do need guidance. Maybe you won’t read in the scriptures and find a direct answer to your prayer like “you should accept the job offer you just got,” but as you read the scriptures and pray continually to our Father in Heaven, you are so much more sensitive to the messages that he is trying to tell you. You can recognize his answers and recognize that they come from him.

I’m glad that I have this stability in my life for when I don’t know what to do. It’s a big task for me out here in Sibieria to help show people that God really does exist and does give real inspiration and real help for your problems. He is there for us to guide us– we just need to be in tune with his guidance and be ready to receive and follow it.

Thanks for the letters! Brother Edmunds, you give good advice about not letting music be a distraction– but you get to see a SUFJAN STEVENS concert!?! 😦 I love that guy’s music soooo much. I actually got some christmas hymns he sings approved for missionaries to listen to…. dang…

love you all!

–Elder Froelich


Russia – October 9, 2010

October 12, 2010

Dear Fam/All,

Wow– so there’s lots to write about!

Transfers:

I’ll stay Zone Leader in Novosibirsk
Elder McConnaughey is leaving me to serve in Omsk
I get Elder Peterson as my companion (he’s just a few transfers younger than me and he’s a really cool kid)

also-
Elder Player is leaving Novosibirsk 😦 to serve in Irkutsk
Sister Antonova is leaving to Omsk and in her place- a new sister from Germany– Sister Schwab.

October 3rd:

I woke up on October 3rd, being 21, and walked out to my desk.  My companion had decorated it with pink toilet paper and he had wrapped a present for me– a Russian Dinosaur coloring book (so know I know how to say in Russian all my favorite dinosaur names).

Then we went to church, came home, I made some borsht (which I really enjoy doing) and we went to a fireside where some missionaries had made me some cake and they sang for me and I blew out 21 candles (totally got them all).

The highlight of my birthday lies in the gifts that I was given later.  From Elder Player– a Weezer staff (I was “Gandalf” in our LOTR themed calendar) that was expertly made, an AMAZING (wearing it right now) orange and white striped shirt with a handicap-man-symbol-but-not-a-human-head,-a-giraffe-head, a zone gift of a cool scarf, a notebook and cool notes from some church members, and the gifts from my family (of course).

Things that I would otherwise forget to say for a long time:

Hey Mom! The office elder here in Novosibirsk, The McCauley’s are totally good friends with the Webers! Cool, huh? Clide and Ursula and all them.  That made for an interesting nightly phone call to make sure our senior couple was safe and sound.

I left my planner at home! Agh! There was something else I was going to write….

Missionary stuff:

So we just had our training for our zone (it was my second time since I was a part of the guineau pig training session), and it was great! One thing that I had been focusing on before that was talking to more people everywhere, all the time.  There are lots of situations here in Novosibirsk that really tend to stop you from talking to certain people: nuances in the metro (noisy, crowded, short stops, shifting crowds, etc) being really late for important zone leader stuff that means you have to run everywhere you go, etc.  But I really wanted to set a goal for myself to try to talk to 10 people each day.  So far it hasn’t worked out very often– but the coolest part is that when you’ve got a goal like that written down and when you’re focusing on it every day you find yourself working on it more subconsciously.  I have, from the past 2 weeks, so many really cool stories I could tell you of people that I’ve met, just from this extra effort I’ve made to talk to more people.  These stories include meeting really nice neighbors that have invited us over to their house in the future, having people show up at English club more and seeing a lot of success with that, running into people who have seen us for quite a while and who are actually interested in meeting with us, and random encounters with people we already know, which is resulting in us having a much better relationship with them and possibly teaching them more about the Gospel.

And speaking of English…

We had a really cool English club activity the other night! We had about 30 missionaries in Novo for this training thing, so we decided to plan a few things slightly differently.  I held an entertaining discussion about dating and relationships, and then for story time I hurried to get any missionaries who were standing around informed.  I quickly explained the idea of the skit, gave them their parts and someone put their bag on my back, which was covered by my coat.  Elder Wheeler (visiting from Tomsk) wrapped a huge scarf around his waste so it was like a skirt and walked out infront of the 60-70 people from all 3 groups of English club.  I bent over and hobbled in after him and offered him an apple.  He was flattered, took the apple, I left the stage, he fell on the floor and died, and then 7 missionaries raced into the room, panicked, and went to put her body in a glass case for the prince.  Then we exited.  Then my companion, the narrator, explained to the audience that they would see the same scene– but “grumpy”. (all the speech is being translated into Russian by English club members)  We then were all very upset and perturbed as we showed the same scene. Then bashful.  Then Happy! And then (we thought we were done) an audience member requested “slow motion”.  So we showed the scene in slow motion.  The room was roaring with laughter– everyone really loved it!  (I can’t count the compliments I got that night “you make an EXCELLENT babushka (grandma), Elder Froelich!!”)

Then we invited everyone to stay for the spiritual thought, which would begin with a musical number.  I had my secret weapon– Elder Whitchurch from Tomsk.  We did our musical number that we did in Tomsk together– Where can I turn for peace?  The room was silent and the Spirit was strong.  Sister Calderwood then got up and testified strongly and explained that we just had lots of fun laughing at the skit– and now you all just felt this great peace that came from this music.  She testified that peace really can be found in life.  Heavenly Father wants us to give us peace and that’s why he sent his Son.

That night we made meetings with English club members who had not yet had any official meetings with the missionaires, found a new investigator, and other missionaries got several people’s contact information.

K, well I’m almost out of time– like I said, lots of stuff happened this week.  There were many highlights– I just can’t cover them all.

Thanks for the many emails and for all of you who wrote on my facebook wall (I got the facebook notifications).

Weather is getting pretty cold now– it should snow soon.

Well, that’s about it, i think!

Sorry, no pictures this week– this place has no USB inputs.

–Elder Froelich