Russia – November 25, 2010

November 27, 2010

С днём рождения, сестра каулдервуд!  Thanks for the emails, we all miss you lots here 🙂

Dear all,

I’m finding it hard to pick exactly what to say.  I’ve been really focusing on the trait of gratitude lately, the past two weeks or so.  We’ve been preparing for Thanksgiving all month in English club (we tape up a big sheet of paper each English club that says “what are you thankful for” and everyone is supposed to write something on it each time they come to English club.  It’s getting quite beautiful and full of blessings!) and I’ve been trying to be a more thankful person.  I found that it merged pretty well with attributes of Christ that I was trying to adopt more into my life last transfer– namely love and charity.  And I’m so convinced that being grateful is a super essential part of being happy.  Through some of the roughest times the past few weeks (I had some pretty unpleasant situations to get through) and through some of the best, happiest times I’ve tried to remember to be thankful for it all.  It’s like this girl that Spencer and I met at the rock wall who had hiked the A.T. told us: “you have to love every moment of it.  If it’s raining you have to love the rain, if it’s hot, you have to love the heat.”  I think that advice is very related to gratitude and how to appreciate not just the A.T. but a mission and life.

I jokingly told my companion, Elder Peterson, today that I’m super excited for emails– I’m going to get 73 of them.  I didn’t get 73, but man! I just don’t know what to do with all of the amazing emails that I got this week! I don’t even know where to start thanking people.  For those of you who sent me an email this week, just know that you just had a huge impact on my day, week, month– i dont know how far it’ll go.  Thank you.

I wanted to tell you about three things that have happened in the last week:

1) transfers: I’m staying with Elder Peterson for this next transfer, which means thanksgiving, christmas, new years, and Russian christmas.
Also, Elder McConnaughey, my previous companion has come back from Omsk to serve as the Assistant to the President in Novosibirsk.  My companion and I are super excited about this.  It’s great to see him again.

2) Vitaliy’s baptism last Saturday was amazing.  The elders who taught him set up the baptism so that missionaries did nothing.  Members conducted, presided, gave talks, prayers, played the piano, and performed the baptism.  This 17 year old Vitaliy is such a cool kid.  The light in his eyes is incredible, especially after his baptism.  Also, there was a baptism in Tomsk last Thursday.  My good friend Olyesya got baptized by my previous companion Elder Whitchurch.  I’ll attach a picture just because I’m so so so so psyched about the baptism.  It’s a huge highlight for me.  I was very very privileged to be the first companionship to teach her and I’ve been, from the start, so impressed with her that her baptism is one of those moments for me of “I feel like my mission was a success, even throwing everything else aside, because of ___________.”

3) Yesterday I showed to a group of about 17 Russians from my 3rd group President Monson’s talk about gratitude in English, and had a discussion about it.  It’s a project I’d been working on for a while.  I had to make it very clear that it wasn’t a part of English club, but I invited my 3rd group to watch this religious speech about gratitude in light of it being Thanksgiving soon.  I was happy that so many people came and supported me as a missionary and were open to learn more about the religious side of why I’m here.  The talk was hard for them to understand, but we had a very positive discussion about gratitude, church organization, the prophet, etc.  For some I could tell it was very boring, but for others, you could see how their eyes lit up and how they were very interested in the speech and in the discussion afterwards.  We’ve been having a really exciting problem lately with English club: sometimes we have more people than we know what to do with.  So a possibility is splitting my 3rd group into 3rd group and Gospel discussion group.  I was very nervous about the whole thing, so I’m proud to say that I pulled it off, it was well received, and I’ll keep you updated if any of those people decide they want to learn more about the church.

Novosibirsk is finally getting cold. It’s snowing often now, the temperatures are about -15 C, out are coming the big coats and fur hats 🙂

We’ll be having Thanksgiving at the President (Trejo)’s house tomorrow with our missionaries until 4:00, and then we get back to our ministry.

I was impressed with Elder Leake’s testimony in Portuguese, so I figured I’d pass along a Russian one:

Я знаю что Иисус Христос — наш Спаситель, и что Его Евангелие исцеляет людей. Я очень благодарен за мою семью, за все тяжости и трудности в жизни, за суперскых друзей дома и здесь в России, и за те моменти в жизни, которые очень хорошие.  Я знаю что всё это — часть плана Бога.

Я тоже благодарен за тех, которые понимают по Русски и тех, которые будут переводить это чтобы знать то, что Я писал. И Я тоже благодарен очень за динозавров.

I love you all! Thanks again for your emails!

Happy Thanksgiving!

–Elder Froelich


November 17, 2010

November 19, 2010


(Click or double-click on photo to enlarge)

This last week I’ve found myself doing a lot of things that are pretty far out of my comfort zone.  It’s amazing to realize how much I’ve changed on the mission especially in my attitude to doing uncomfortable things.  And, in the attitude of being thankful– ah! gratitude! That’s the word I’ve been looking for! We’ve been teaching lessons lately and focusing on being more thankful for the things that we have.  It is quite an experience to visit people who are just making it by in this country, who are pretty concerned about having enough food on a weekly basis and tell them that we need to be more thankful for the things that we have.  I think it’s generally accepted, though, that poorer people are often times more grateful for what they have.  Last night at english club we discussed what things we would eliminate from the world.  We talked about money, bad weather, sadness, bugs, and other things.  It was an interesting conversation.  Most interesting for me though was that for the past few days I’ve been consciously trying to be more grateful.  And when you’re trying to focus on how thankful you are about everything, trials and troubles and annoyances take on a new light.  I really think that being thankful is a super important key to being happy.  It’s the grateful person who has a great attitude even about awful situations.  There are moments on the mission that are really stressful and unpleasant.  And to get through some of those you really just have to laugh it off, smile, and keep going.  I’m really thankful for serving a mission about being put in incredibly awkward situations, situations where a lot of responsibility is upon my shoulders, situations that I would never have fathomed in my wildest dreams– situations that really help me grow and deepen my character and my experiences in life.

Anyway– that’ll be it this week.  If i can get this internet to work then I’ll be sending you baptism pictures and pictures from helsinki (i don’t think I’ve sent you those pictures yet…)

Good news: we’ll have a baptism of Vitaliy this Saturday, and tomorrow, from what I understand, Olesya in Tomsk will get baptized!! (I started teaching her and she’s possibly the coolest people in Siberia.  Def. in the top 10)

и всё.

–Elder Froelich

 

Caitlin:

You also mentioned sending me stuff.  I have only gotten a post card from you so far– the one that you decorated yourself. You’re sending it to the right address, right?
Elder Tyler Froelich
Russian Novosibirsk Mission
46 Kirova St.
Novosibirskaya Oblast’
Novosibirsk 630102
Russia

Spencer:

It’s so cool that you’re on a mission!! Send me the name of your mission and address of where to send letters b/c that’s more convenient for me than sending emails.  Plus, I’ve found out how to take advantage of the mission pouch system. 🙂  The sooner you get me that address, the more letters you’ll have waiting for you when you get into the field!


Russia – November 11, 2010

November 10, 2010

Hey everyone! I just got off the plane a couple hours ago from Moscow from Helsinki– what an adventure.

My brain is pretty fried from the events of last week– I think I may have mentioned them in my last email– various stressful meetings, conferences a baptism, and this visa trip, etc. That all went well– I made it through. The conferences were great, the meetings worked out, and the baptism was excellent. The girl named Marina was very happy, had a great experience, and was confirmed a member of the church the next day and was given the gift of the Holy Ghost. Her and her mom have such a light in their eyes– it’s incredible. Grandma and Grandpa Froelich– thanks for your letters to Lena (Marina’s mom). She really enjoyed them and between the two of them they could make out the English 🙂

Visa trip started with the “death” of Sister Calderwood (you are “born” in the mission, you have a “father”– your trainer/first companion, and you “die” when you go home). It was pretty big for me because 1) she was in my district in the MTC– I knew her from day one on the mission and because she’s gone means that I have not very much time left (sister missionaries serve for 18 months, not 24) and 2) she has become such an amazing friend to me here on the mission. and 3) she’s an astounding missionary. So she was probably released not too many hours ago. Our visa trip group (including all of the district in the MTC that is serving together in Novosibirsk) somehow lucked out and got on the same flight as her from Novo to Moscow, so we got to help her until she got that far and said our goodbyes.

I had an amazing experience in Helsinki. We had just gotten into the city and were taking a bus into the down town. I saw a snazzy art store and mentioned it to Elder Wheeler: “Oh man! An Art store! I haven’t seen one of those in forever!!” (Russia has very scanty art supplies). Elder Wheeler said “you wanna check it out? We’d have to get off right now!” He pushed the “stop” button and Elder Wheeler, Nelson, and I hopped off the bus. After the art store (which made me feel that everything will be ok) we randomly decided to stop in this cheeseburger joint for some milkshakes. After asking the manager for some explanation in English as to what kind of ice cream they offered, we some how started talking about random stuff. We got eventually to the fact that he’s planning a trip for next year to North Korea. As we ordered more food and he kept bringing it to us, we kept up conversation– he was a really cool guy. We decided to ask him for some recommendations of things to see. He gave us a few and said “you know what… I get off in 30 minutes. If you wanna meet up at the metro station right there, I can take you and show you this stuff myself.”
To make this a little shorter, we ended up spending the next four hours with this guy who decided to show us the city on a whim. We talked about everything from Finnish politics to Mormonism to our families. He showed us a store that specialized in American products, where we found out that the cashier was from Salt Lake City and was a Mormon (married a Finnish girl and moved to Finland, which is, according to him, the “classic story”) several Finnish design stores that have pretty books and ingenious little gadgets that maybe someday I’ll be able to afford, and then to his favorite restaurant in the city for hot chocolate. We shared parts of life stories and pretty much– this guy is super cool. He finally took us to a bus station where we could easily make it to our reservations and we exchanged contact info. Next time we’re in the city he’s going to plan a Finnish night for us, have us at his place and cook us authentic Finnish meals. Not bad for not having any idea what we were going to do whatsoever in Finland.

The next day I spent largely at the temple, except for sending out a package to you guys, fam– be ready for it. I’ll explain next week what it’s all about and when you can open it, etc. Don’t open it yet, in other words.

Well, I think I’m probably out of time for this one. I’m going to go sleep! 😀

I love you all,

(Taegan– I just got your letter– thanks!)

–Elder Froelich

Click to enlarge photo