Russia – October 9, 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

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