as of September 11, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013 – First week in the field

Dear Mom, Dad, Lauren, and Elder Froude 1,

Goodbye MTC, hello mission field! The transition was really fast. In the morning, we all got onto our buses to the mission office where we would receive our trainers and areas. My trainer is Elder Rocha from Guatemala. He only speaks Spanish so I´d be pretty immersed in the language! Anyway, our area is Bavaro-Punta Cana, a 4-hour bus ride away from the mission office. (Note: Google says that Bávaro is a touristic area in Punta Cana, located in La Altagracia province, the easternmost province of the Dominican Republic. Bavaro was developed together with the resort area and tourist region of Punta Cana, as a town for resort workers.) A good chunk of that day was spent just getting to our area! It was about 8 o clock when we got to our apartment. We ate dinner, got to know each other a little bit with the little Spanish I knew, and then went to bed.

For the most part, I spent the week with Elder Rocha getting to know the Branch and its investigators. The people are the nicest, most loving, and happiest people I´ve ever met! Some of them have very little and live in very humble conditions, yet they treat my companion and I like family. Even strangers that we meet that day would let us into their house and put a fan on us for the heat! It´s really humbling…I could learn a lot about charity from these people.

I learned a really big lesson about being a missionary this week. During the week, we made a lot of visits to people. Although I noticed that when we visited the investigators we had to teach, we didn´t teach them. We´d give a little spiritual thought, but not a full lesson. That can´t be right, I thought. We need to teach these people and bring them unto Christ! We can´t just waste time talking with them about this and that, we need to teach them doctrine! I even started to think that my companion was just too relaxed with missionary work. I came here to teach the people, I thought. Then a thought came into my head; it said “Do you love them?” That´s what it was that I was missing! The MTC had prepared me for teaching people, so much that I had almost forgotten that I have to love them too. I think that maybe the only thing more important than teaching the people about the love of Christ is that we should love them as Christ would. We are representatives of Him after all. I am learning to love the people.  I was blessed with the opportunity to teach a youth, Adolfo, how to play the guitar this week. He and I are already good friends! I´m really glad.

No exciting stories of baptisms or stories this week but I do have some big news! While I was wondering where all the work I was supposed to do was before I learned I had to love people, Elder Rocha called the mission president to ask for more missionaries in the area which is something we really need. Our area is huge and it is only Elder Rocha and I that serve the area. We need more missionaries here. Well, the mission president essentially said that if we successfully set up another branch in a place called Friusa, a few miles away, he´ll send more missionaries. Well, the Lord always did say “Ask and ye shall receive.” I have a lot of work to do! Well, I´m going to be really busy right off the bat, yet, I´m excited to get to work! I know that through the strength of the Lord, I can do His will! Oh! I almost forgot! I have to teach English too!  I will be teaching at the church every Tuesday.

Spanish is coming along nicely but I still have a lot to learn. The people I’ve met are all surprised I have only two months in conversational Spanish and they always ask if I´m Latino. I chuckle and say that I´m Filipino. Then they try to insist that I´m Latino! They´re so funny, though, because they made it a goal to turn me into a Dominican, so I can be one of them.  Lol! One member asked me if I spoke English when I met him. He was surprised when I started talking with a gringo accent. Apparently, I can sound like I know what I´m saying. That´s a good thing because more than half the time, I can barely understand what they’re saying. Lol!

I´m eating well (Dominican food is good!) and showering and have a good source of water. And yes, I know how to say “allergic to peanuts” in Spanish!  XD Sorry I forgot my camera cord at the apartment so I can’t upload my pictures.  I promise I’ll have lots of pictures for you next week!

We´re logging off now.  Bye mom! I love you! :) Thanks for your love and support, you and dad :) It keeps me strong!

Until next time,

-Elder Froude2

Thursday, October 24, 2013

October 24, 2013 - Letter from the Mission President

Presidente Heriberto Hernandez


Republica Dominicana   Santo Domingo   Gazcue   Avenida Bolivar #45  

Dear Froude Family,

For me, it is a great pleasure to inform you that your son, Elder Ryan Froude, arrived at the mission home safe and sound and ready to start his mission.  We want to thank you for having sent him to serve in this marvelous work.  His own life and that of his family will be greatly blessed.

Your son will have very special experiences in these two years of service.  The people of this country are very kind and have the desire to know the truth.  We are sure that with your support and love, and the guidance he will receive here in the mission, Elder Froude will obtain success.

We are at your service to respond to any inquiry that you may have with respect to your son or his mission.  We expect him to communicate with you each week via letter or e-mail.  He will also communicate with you personally by telephone on Christmas and Mother’s Day.

Elder Froude will receive all of our love and care.  Without any doubt, he will be a blessing in the lives of the many people he will bring to the light and the truth.

May you receive blessings in abundance from the Lord.


President Heriberto Hernandez
Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo East Mission.     

Elder Froude and his trainer/companion, Elder Rocha
With his mission president and his wife, Elder and Sister Hernandez

Thursday, October 17, 2013

October 17, 2013 – Goodbye, MTC. Hello, Santo Domingo!

Dear Mom, Dad, Lauren, and Elder Froude1,

I have lots to tell y'all about! First, my trip to the campo, the country side.

After lunch last Friday, the East Mission missionaries and I got onto a bus to see what it was like to proselyte in our mission for the day. We were out from about 1:00 to 9:00. It was a very sobering experience. All the MTC staff tells us that the temple and the surrounding area is the nicest part of Santo Domingo. Not 5 minutes away from the MTC, we saw hillsides covered in favelas of shanty homes. We didn't proselyte there; we went to a place that was close to it. Funny enough, I was assigned a Spanish-speaking companion! Two other Elders got a Spanish-only companion too while everyone else got one that could speak English. I didn't mind though, I was excited to see if my Spanish lessons paid off. And they have! We were able to communicate very well! His name was Elder Cruz, he liked to Beat-box (I love to beat box), liked to sing, and loved anime (Japanese cartoons)! We got along very well! We spent the day going to teaching appointments and making contacts with people. My companion understood that I could barely understand what our investigators were saying so he did a lot of the teaching. But he had me talk about a few things and bear my testimony so I was able to practice! The people are so nice here. Even when they don't want to hear about the church they are the nicest people about it! They also all thought I was Spanish; it was funny! But all in all, on the way home I realized that what I did that day, it was something I wanted to do for the next two years. Despite the heat and the sweat and knowing only a handful of Spanish, I was happy. I can't wait to go out and do this 24/7!

That's the biggest thing that happened since I last emailed but I have a few little things to share that just made me super happy! First, the other day we were in class. My teacher handed us a sheet for self-improvement on our teaching and one of the elders in the room said "Oh, it's in Spanish." And I said jokingly, "Claro! Gustaríale in Alemán?" (Of course! Would you like it in German instead?) After I said that, my teacher started laughing heartily. I asked what was up and my teacher said "You are almost Dominican!" and he laughed some more. Apparently, I made a joke that a Dominican would make. I think I'm gonna fit in just fine here!

On Sunday, I sang in a quartet for a musical number for church.  I sang with my companion, Elder Merrell, my roommate, Elder Barnet, and Elder Curtis.  We sang How Great thou Art in harmonies. I sang the tenor part! It took a lot of work because tenor was the hardest part, but we sounded great! The mission president's counselor and his wife thanked us for the song and it felt really nice that people felt the Spirit.

There is a brother that works in the temple where I go every Thursday named Hermano Kanyanga.  He is hilarious! He knows a little bit of English and he is always there to welcome us to the temple. He also makes it a personal goal to joke about my name every time he sees me. This is not a bad thing, I love it! Anyway, he welcomed me this morning and he said "Elder Frood (how most people here pronounce my name)... not Fruit!" I love the guy!

Crazy thing! Last Tuesday, we had our Area Seventy talk to us.  It turns out he was Richard's mission president!!  Richard served in Bilbao Spain, right?  Yeah! His name was Elder Zivic and I told him that Richard served there and he asked what his name was. He said he knew Richard!

I'm doing great! These are my last few days in the MTC so I'm getting excited!  The next time I write, I will be in the mission field doing the Lord's work. I'm super excited to go and I can't wait to tell you all about it!

I'm all out of time :( I'll write you on my next P-day which is probably the next Monday since I'll be getting there Tuesday.  I love you!

May the Spirit be With You,
-Elder Froude 2

Saturday, October 12, 2013

October 10, 2013 – Life changing talks from General Conference

Dear Mom, Dad, Lauren, and Elder Froude1,

There's a whole lot I need to write about! I'll start with the University trip from last week:
It went very well! It was definitely much easier this time around. We were able to understand what people were actually saying this time! More or less, lol! But it was still lots of fun. Nothing too different from last time, but that's ok! It gives me more time to write about other things.

Last Sunday, I watched all the Sessions of General Conference (Mom, explain what General Conference is, my cruise friends are gonna keep up with the blog now :) ) and boy did I take notes!

What is General Conference?

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide gather twice yearly for what they call “general conference.” This is in addition to their weekly worship services each Sunday.
General conferences are conducted each April and October and comprise five two-hour meetings held over two days. The April meetings are called annual conferences and those in October, semiannual.

The sessions on Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon are open to everyone, while a session on Saturday evening is for Latter-day Saint men and young men who hold the priesthood.

Latter-day Saints travel from all over the world to attend general conferences, which originate in the 21,000-seat Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Since the vast majority of the Church’s 15 million members are unable to attend general conference in person, the meetings are broadcast via satellite to over 7,400 church buildings in 102 countries. Members can also watch conference on television through Salt Lake City-based station KSL or BYU-TV. In addition, the Church streams the meetings live on the website and on the Mormon Channel.

During the conference, Church leaders speak on a variety of spiritual topics. They address Latter-day Saints as well as government, faith and community representatives and other conference guests. Speakers include the worldwide leader of the Church, President Thomas S. Monson, and his counselors in the First Presidency, the governing body of the Church. Talks are also given by the members of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and other leaders.

General conference talks vary in length from about 5 to 20 minutes. Topics are not assigned; each speaker chooses his or her own subject matter. Talks usually cover basic gospel principles or address significant issues of the day, with speakers encouraging individuals and families in their efforts to follow Jesus Christ.

Today, the conferences are simultaneously interpreted into 92 languages ranging from Albanian to Yapese to serve a large and growing international membership. American Sign Language interpretation and closed captioning are also available.

I know most everyone at home says that their favorite was one of the 12 apostle’s talks, or one of the First Presidency's talks, and I agree that they were fantastic! But this year, my favorite talk was by a member of the Seventy, Elder Edward Dube, entitled Look Ahead and Believe. 
Elder Edward Dube of the Seventy from Zimbabwe
Right off the bat he had my attention because he said something that I decided to make my motto for my whole mission. He said that his mother taught him when he was a boy, "Don't look back on what you have done; look at what you still have to do." I really take that little quote very personally. I'm going to be working and studying non-stop for the next two years of my life. And I have lots of work to do! It may make me sound very cold right now, but in this moment, thinking about home and all the fun I had with my video games and my friends will make me homesick and distract me. If I can keep myself focused on the things I have ahead of me, which is A LOT, I'll be 1-year and 11months into my mission before I know it!

Another thing, my MTC (Missionary Training Center) President showed us a devotional given by Elder David A. Bednar, about the Character of Christ. I now understand why Elder Bednar is Elder Froude 1's (my brother) favorite apostle. OH. MY. GOODNESS!!! It was so rich with doctrine and teaching that I actually had to stop taking notes so I could soak it all in! In the church, we are always taught to try to be like Jesus. Elder Bednar taught us exactly how to be like Jesus in this devotional. He also said something that makes me shiver just thinking about it because it is so profound! He said, "A testimony is simply what you know to be true. Conversion is being true to what you know." Wow! My brother always told me since he left for his mission that the first person I should convert is myself. Now I know what he means. Don't get me wrong; having a testimony in the church is fantastic! It's a great thing! Unfortunately, it is pretty common for return missionaries to fall away from the church soon after coming home, and Elder Bednar explained why. He said that it was because even though the missionary had a wonderful experience, all they had gained out of it was a testimony, and a testimony was not enough. We have to be truly converted to the gospel, and being converted to the gospel is how we can be like Jesus. Wow, I just preached! Just a practice ;) My point is, what I learned was really special to me and I wanted to splurge a bit because it was so awesome!
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
As for what's new with me, I'm getting much better in Spanish. We did a challenge to speak at least 95% Spanish for the whole week ending tomorrow! It really helped! Not to sound prideful, but I think our district is progressing much faster in the language than the other districts O: Also, tomorrow, the CCM is sending out my batch of missionaries to go out into "'el campo", the country, to go on real splits with full-time missionaries for the day!! Already??? I'm really excited for that! :D I'll be sure to write all about it next week when I get back.  Anyway, I don't have much time left so I have to make this next bit fast.  Thank you for all the love and support you and Dad give me; it's really comforting to me. ^_^

Until next Thursday!  I love you!

-Elder Froude2
Santiago Dominican Republic Temple.  I've gone every week since I got here!  It's beautiful inside and out!
With Elder Villeta
Creepy faces with Elder Neely
Elder Farnsworth gives the best hugs!
With Hermana Winger and Hermana Despain

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 3, 2013 - Vamos a la Universidad!

Dear Mom, Dad, Lauren, and Elder Froude1,

It seems like the P-days come faster and faster! It's always really nice emailing back home. And thanks to everyone that keeps me updated on what is happening, and If I'm missing anything. It means a lot!

So this past week, the MTC sent us out once more to the local University campus and do first contacts with Dominican college students. For those of you that don't know what first contacts are, essentially, it is a first impression of the church given by missionaries. We don't necessarily teach full lessons, but we do summarize very briefly what the church is all about and what our message is. We usually hand out pamphlets for the questions we don't have the time to answer, or even Books of Mormon. We're supposed to keep the meetings brief so we can talk to as many people as we can. Anyway, the experience was absolutely fantastic! My companion and I stretched the little Spanish we knew and talked with people about the church. The people here are soooooooooo kind and nice! Even if they aren't interested in our message, they'll still listen and talk quite happily about what we have to say. Not one person turned us away, or even showed reluctance to listen! Well, there was one lady we tried to talk to and said no, but she was on her way to a big test, so that's totally understandable! There was one instance where while we were talking with someone, the subject of singing came up. My companion had the idea that we could sing to this lady since she liked it. I thought why not! I can't remember the title now, but we sang I Know That My Redeemer Lives in Spanish. She thought it was awesome! What a great idea too. If we can't speak our testimony, we can sing it! I play piano and I always felt that playing hymns were a way I bore my testimony about the Gospel. It'd be especially handy out here since I can't bear my testimony like I can in English! One more thing about going to the university; I'll be completely honest, I barely understood half of what the people were saying to me. XD As discouraging as it would be to some, it's encouraging to me. It encourages me to learn as much as I can soon so I can talk to these loving and humble people. They're so much fun to talk to!

So that's the progress on my language, but what about my progress as a missionary? I have one name to tell you about… Ramón. Ramón is a practice investigator that one of my teachers, Hermano Ramirez plays so we can practice teaching. It also so happens that Ramón is the HARDEST practice investigator in the entire MTC. He's a lawyer, likes alcohol, reads the Bible a lot, thinks that all churches are businesses, and thinks Mormons are the CIA (it's a common belief here in the DR). However much my companion and I are struggling with trying to teach this guy and how discouraged we get when lessons don't go well, we learn three times as much about how to be a good missionary. Hermano Ramirez is seriously one of the best teachers here. He would come into the class room after the lesson and teach us something fantastic about being a missionary. He prepares us so well; I know it will be a huge help when I get out into the field. I'll be sure to write back when we finally commit Ramón to baptism! ;D

So this coming week, we go to the University again tomorrow and to the store on Tuesday. I need to stock up on my snacks again. Chistes Chistes! Jokes Jokes! I'll write again next week; more adventures and stories to come! Hasta proxima semana...Until next week!

-Elder Froude2
Important things that I got when we went to the city. :)
My companion, Elder Merrell, and roommates, Elders Barnett and Hill.