Merry Christmas – December 29, 2010

December 31, 2010

Dear Family,

I had the Best Christmas Ever.  I just want to say how extremely pleasant it was to be able to talk to you all on the phone.  You all sound great and happy and funny and weird– It put me in the best mood ever to hear your voices and talk to you for a while.  I’m still giddy about it.  Chris– you speak such great Russian! Oh my gosh!! It was SO COOL to be able to speak to you in Russian!!! You understood what I was saying and you speak Russian– it blows my mind!!

These past few days have been monumental for me.  Something about having Christmas, Christmas phone call, an awesome family, a letter from my Dad, conversations with my companion, a realization that I may be leaving Novosibirsk soon, a realization that I’ll be leaving Russia soon, New Years coming up in a few days, and lots of other things has really given me some out-of-thin-air desire and encouragement and excitement to work a million times harder and be a million times better. My companion and I have talked about some amazing plans to help missionary work take off and to help all of us feel better about ourselves and our service in Russia and our use of time.  It’s going to involve a lot of personal sacrifice and focus, and this week we’ve already discovered some amazing things.

 So a big ‘thank you’ for all the Christmas cheer, Christmas pasts, and this Christmas.  I think the best part about life is when you can look positively, brightly and enthusiastically towards the future– having a vision of exactly how awesome things can be.  All Christmas really is is a message that tells us “we can make it; the future is going to be so great.” Seeing how Russians don’t really celebrate Christmas, it makes my experience here very interesting.  These two or three weeks just sort of bleed together and you have the awkward “American Christmas celebrations,” the Russian New Year’s Celebrations, and then the “I hope I won’t be disappointed with the downplayed (but I know I will)” Russian Christmas.  Merging Christmas into New Years is great.  I’m greatful to have the “start off fresh”/”clean slate” feeling and to know where it comes from.

Thanks for the christmas packages and letters that continue to appear in my mail box, family/extended family/friends/ward members.

We moved into a new church building (Novosibirsk 1st branch).  I’ll get you pictures soon. It’s incredible.

С любовю, Рождественской Радостью, и жирафами,

–Elder Tyler Froelich

hey– here are some pictures.

ahem.

I’m epscially proud of the bird one and the ice house/book one, Hadley, for their artistic qualities.  The book falling on the ice house is actually “Shakespeare” in Russian.

There’s the Christmas morning photo, of course.

There’s my companion and me at the Christmas party at the Trejo’s.

There are some close up shots I did on random nativity sets in the mission home that I thought were pretty cool….

And there is me with my yet-to-be-named future wife… *sigh*….

And last but not least– i made some delicious orange rolls today. they were so good. mom– see the letter that you’ll be getting in about 3 weeks.

Love you!

(double-click on individual photos to enlarge)


Novosibirsk – December 22, 2010

December 22, 2010

Dear All,

Last night at English Club I was able to carry on the family tradition of telling the story about the lamb.  It wasn’t Christmas Eve, like last year that I was able to tell the story to my English class, but it was the closest I could get.  I’ve really learned a lot on my mission about the value of really putting your whole sincere heart into something.  That is what English club in Novosibirsk has been like to me.  I’ve been meeting with some of them now for about 6 months.  As they’ve seen how sincerely and seriously I plan for and take care of English Club, they’ve started to respect me and we’ve made some really strong friendships.  It’s then very special for me to invite them to learn more about Christ and to trust me as a missionary to teach them how they can find peace and happiness in this life.

There were tons of really really cool things that happened to me this last week.

One evening my companion and I were walking through a park on the way back from an activity when I decided to approach two guys walking towards us.  I asked “Вы не занимаетесь английским языком?” which translates out to “do you occupy yourselves by the means of the English language/tongue?”
and one of them said “…were you ever in Kemerovo?”
I said “….yeah….”
and he said “I think you talked to me in Kemerovo”
“when?”
“about a year ago.”
“wow… yeah, it just so happens that exactly a year ago I was in Kemerovo”
My companion the rest of the night was офигетьing (freaking out) about how many things had to be exactly in place for me to talk to someone that I talked to a year ago in a different city.

Another one:
As we walk up to the door of Anton, our investigator with the hugs movie, and knock, an Anton dressed in a sharp grey suit with a pink shirt and a light blue tie opens the door. He’s also wearing a Chick-fil-a name tag that says “hi my name is: ANTON.”  He says “please– come in!”
As we take our coats off we’re wondering to ourselves what is going on with his get-up.  My companion offers “speed dating?”  As we sit down, we ask him why he’s dressed so nicely.  He explains very clearly “now we’re on the same level.  See? I’m Anton. You’re Elder Peterson and you’re Elder Froelich.  Ah, let me go get the tea.  I decided to take up your habit and now I only drink herbal tea,” he says as he leaves the room.
We were in complete shock with how awesome Anton is and how he decided to start living the word of wisdom without us even mentioning it to him.

Well, my whole week went something like that. It was a pretty good week.

Anyway, I love being a missionary, and I love this city.  Attached is a picture I took on the way here.  This is what Novosibirsk looks like on a -35 day at about noon.

I’m super excited about Christmas and New Years and all that great stuff– fam, I can’t wait to talk to you!

Special shout out to all those December birthdays! (Especially to Taegan because I just got her letter– thanks!)
Caitlin, I also got your letter– thanks!!
While you guys are all bored, not having anything to do for Christmas break– you could write me a letter!! 😀

Thanks to sis warnick’s seminary class for their testimonies.  I still haven’t translated them, so I’ll let you know when they make their way into Russian and into the hands of the seminary teacher.

Also attached– a Russian bench in the park that I talked to the guy from Kemerovo and that’s my companion sitting awkwardly on the bench.  (Russian babyshki or grandmas get furious at people who do stupid stuff like sit on cold surfaces (if you sit on a cold surface it means that you won’t have kids))

I love you guys!

С Рождеством!!

-Ст. Фройлих

(Double-click photo to enlarge)


Russia– December 15, 2010

December 20, 2010

Dear Family,

Isn’t it wild how soon Christmas is?! I can’t believe it! Next week will be Christmas week!

I love being on a mission during winter and Christmas time. First off, just because I LOVE Siberia. As I was walking to this library today I was thinking to myself how much I love the snow, the ice, the way of life here, the people, the ridiculous fur coats and hats. It’s sad to think that this will be my last winter in Siberia. So! I’m soaking up every minute of it!

This last week I had some really interesting experiences. They’re hard for me to describe– I just tried typing it out and it just doesn’t flow. There were some really intense meetings, some really good spiritual thoughts heard from other missionaries, and some great personal studies of reading about Christ’s ministry in the America’s.

It’s hard to sum everything up. Christmas is going to be so great.

I miss you guys a ton, I’m excited to talk to you on Christmas! Chris, it’s going to be SO wild to speak to you in Russian!!!.

Well, that’s all that I’ve really got for this week….

I love you!

–Elder Froelich

(Double-click on any photo to enlarge)


Russia December 9, 2010

December 10, 2010

All,
Hey! Let me start of this week’s email by posting a link to an awesome video! One of the members of my 3rd group, Anton, wanted to try the “free hugs” experiment at a mall in Novosibirsk. My companion and I were intrigued when we heard about this, but were convinced that this couldn’t possibly go over well in Russia– people here are just too closed to strangers, especially in public! But alas, Anton proved us wrong. Here’s a short (I think it’s about 2 minutes long) clip that Anton created. It’s pretty great. 🙂

This week has been an interesting one: we had a Zone Leaders’ Leadership Training and Zone Leaders’ Council, so I got to see lots of good friends who are servin in distant cities, and it was especially exciting to talk amoungst ourselves about new ideas, problems, challenges, solutions, and exciting news from cities that we’ve previously served in. I got to go with Elder Rupper (I shared a room with him in the MTC) and Elder Brightwell (I served with him in Tomsk) to a recent convert’s house and we had a really amazing meeting. There is definitely a special feeling of friendship that is formed between missionaries who have served together in similar circumstances.
Something that I’ve been thinking a little more about, which is kind of related to the above Anton’s film, are the teachings of Christ. I talked to a man on the metro yesterday who wanted to know what in the world “Старейшина” meant (“Elder”). After I explained what I was doing here and asked if he believed in God he said yes; he was even baptized. Unfortunately in Russia that means nothing, and I started asking him questions about Jesus Christ and what Christ expects from us. There are an overwhelming ammount of people in Russia who do not know the simple teachings of Christ. In our English Club we’re sharing spiritual thoughts about the parables of Christ and explaining specifically how we’ve applied them into our lives in a very real sense. I’m so glad that, when it comes down to it, the doctrine of Christ is so simple. He asks us to have faith in him and to repent. He asks us to come, follow Him, and to love others the same way that He did. My brother wrote a little bit about minimizing distractions in life. I think that was a very timely message, considering the upcoming hustle of Christmas. President Monson shared a message similar to what the Flaming Lips share at rock concerts: Life is too short; we never know when it will be too late; tell the people that you love “I love you.” If we slow down a little bit and remember how happy we are to be alive, remember Christ and follow his example by serving others, not being offended, forgiving, and loving, I think we can all be a lot more happy, and life becomes more managable and enjoyable.
Family– I love you!
Friends–I love you!
People who may send me packages in the near future– I have recently uncovered a craving for lemon drops!
Christmas is so close!
–Elder Froelich


Russia — December 1, 2010

December 2, 2010

Dear Family,
I just spent lots of time sending stuff to my brother, Chris, about English club. So while I put in all the time already, for those who are interested– here are some lesson plans that i’ve made in the past (I actually made them back in Tomsk, but I use them occasionally here). Just thought it’d be interesting for you guys to see some of the things we do for English club.
Speaking of English club– last night in 3rd group it was really cool. My beloved, amazing, spectacular, cool 3rd group just ended up asking lots of questions about missionaries in our church: rules, reasons, patterns, life styles, etc. It was really fun!
Another amazing event for me was when Lena and Lyooda visted me from Tomsk! They just showed up in Novo for the church meeting and I got to spend lots of time talking to them! I am really really grateful for the amazing friends that i’ve made in Russia. It’s been a huge highlight for me and a huge strength for me lately.
…and I’m going to have to cut this one short, too, like Chris.
I love you! I’m happy to hear from you!
Good luck to Spencer– i hope you get to mozambique alright 🙂
and that’s it from me this week!
–Elder Froelich