April 13, 2011 – Final Letter from Russia

April 16, 2011

Well… this is it….

In wrapping everything up here, I cannot completely express my emotions.

On the “exciting missionary news” side, I forgot to mention last week that we found a miraculous new investigator– Yustina. She came to an English sign up a few weeks back and she expressed desire to learn more about the church. We started meeting with her and she described how she felt during the spiritual thought at English club– a warm, happy feeling inside; i just love being here. She described the moments in the Russian Orthodox church that really bother her, and we were happy to tell her about what we believe on those topics (baptism for infants, praying through icons, etc.). She is full of light and is a really happy person. She also has a husband and she told us that he’s catholic. We were suprised when he showed up on one of the meetings when we talked about the Book of Mormon and watched the Restoration. We thought her husband would not be supportive of her, but instead, when we read some verses from the Book of Mormon he opened up to us: “wow– in my life i’ve always just said “i don’t have time for religion,” but really it was just because i didn’t understand any of it. This that we just read– that’s how I feel about prayer in my heart– and it’s phrased so wisely and perfectly. I’ll definitely read this book.”

We had the senior couple, Elder and Sister Rolfe, with us on that meeting and they testified to the young couple of the love that they see within their relationship– how much Yustina’s husband respects her and how in this church they’ll find more happiness as a family and as husband and wife than they could even imagine. The spirit was super strong and crying took place.

It gets better. The next meeting they unexpectedly invited a friend, Sveta, to English with them and we had a lesson afterwords with Sveta. That resulted in Sveta asking at the end “alright, so this book… you guys sell it? how much does it cost?” (while we started to explain that it’s free, her friend, Yustina, jumped on that one: “I’ll sell one to you!”) 🙂

So that’s a little taste of what I’m experiencing here my last few days in Irkutsk.

Reflecting back on these past two years I’m simply in awe. I feel like I’ve just experienced first hand one of the most beautiful, simple, complex masterpiece. Simply looking at how things were in the beginning and how they ended up– it’s all so perfect. I think that’s one of the major lessons that I’ve learned serving on a mission for the Lord Jesus Christ– His hand is in everything; the hardest times and the happiest times. It’s only a matter of patience and faith, and then he’ll show us. Life has meaning, everyday things have meaning. All it takes is the right perspective– trying to see through “heaven’s eyes” (to quote a song that Elder Sage Petersen likes a lot), following the footsteps of the Savior and everything becomes clear. We are built to understand things and to learn, and we can know truth– God intends us to learn truth.

Thank you all for your support and thanks to anyone who read this since I’ve left home. Thanks to those of you who gave me some advice and encouragement these last few days/weeks. Thank you so much for all the letters and packages you sent me– there was no way to respond to everything you all sent. Some of it i tried to respond to and I have a stack of unsent letters– sorry. But know that your testimony and written thoughts gave me strength and reasons to smile when things were hard on the mission.

So…

…i guess I’ll see you guys in a few days….

*shrug*

–Elder Tyler Froelich


Russia – April 7, 2011

April 8, 2011

Dear All,

Wow, so much stuff has happened, I don’t even know where to start. Here we go– for starters, I talked to the office and they told me about some complications in my flight plans home– so I’ll know dates and times soon, but as of right now I’ll get home probably on either the 20th or the 21st. But I’ll have concrete information hopefully by next week.

It’s really wild serving in Irkutsk having so little time left on my mission. There are lots of things that weigh on my mind lately and I find myself generally more tired. I feel pretty stressed; not going to lie, but things are doing really well in general and I’m really enjoying this last bit of time on my mission.

I just got back at midnight from Zone Leaders’ Conference. I flew to ZLC with my companion and the elders from Ulan Ude. It was quite a mind blowing experience for me.

For starters, as we drove through the city of Novosibirsk my heart rejoiced in seeing all the familiar streets, buildings, monuments, etc. I was really lucky and was able to make it for the last part of English club! 😀
I walked in right when they were starting up closing announcements and was welcomed by a round of applause. I was greeted by familiar faces of great friends who I missed dearly. It was so awesome to be back and get to talk to everyone again (there were some people who weren’t there that I really was hoping to see…. but just in general if any of you end up reading this who didn’t get to see me while I was in Novo– большой привет вам!). (And a special shout out to Kostya, who, I found out, reads this blog. 🙂 He’s a great friend and I was really lucky to be able to talk with him for while while I was in Novo. Thanks, man.)

And then the next day ZLC started and I was able to see all the zone leaders– all my great friends and old companions and old zone members– shuffle in to the mission house. I can’t even express how great of an experience it was to get a “one last time” at ZLC. I could go on writing about it for the rest of the email, but I won’t.

And then we got on a plane back to Irkutsk. This time it was a propellar plan that creaked when we turned and that vibrated and roared loudly for the 4 hour flight back to our area. And now I’m back.

It’s hard to find what to write about, even. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and awe for the way that God is so involved in everything. All of the rough times in life are definitely worth those precious moments when you see unfolded before you the reasoning and the intention of it all. It’s such a beautiful plan and it’s such a beautiful Gospel.

–Elder Tyler Froelich