Week 20 – Galaţi, Romania

Ah this week has been a really interesting week. Meaning boring like normal but, fun moments. I shouldn’t say boring! When you live in a foreign land for two years, every single day brings some new adventure. It has been a very spiritual week.

Oh so transfers! I am staying in Galaţi for another transfer with my first companion! It is crazy, because this is his last transfer! In five weeks he goes home! I love this guy so much. He has this huge heart for everyone around him, and I want to be like him. I have also learned that you are still you, even after the Romania/Moldova Mission. In fact, I think he is a bigger kid than me at heart! It has been a pleasure to serve with him, and I am grateful for his work and example.

I also did a little calculating, and it is possible that I may stay in Galati for the next three transfers, not including this one. Here is how I see it: Now, with my current companion, then I will probably stay and introduce the new District Leader here to Galaţi, then (this will be the start of my fifth transfer) I could become a trainer, which means two transfers at least. However, Who really knows, but it is possible that I will be typing a lot from this lovely city. Going down to Bucureşti for transfers was really different. Everybody was moving so fast in that huge city! I was kind of freaking out. My other MTC buddies were right at home, but I was a small town boy in a big town world. It was really crazy. I Wonder how much concrete is used in that one city?  I was able to see my companions from the MTC and we had a lot of laughter and fun. It was so nice to see people I know and have inside stories with! The zone I am in is a very old zone, meaning everyone here is older. So, I don’t really have friends here. I don’t want that to sound like I am all alone, because I am not, but something I have noticed is that there are like these clique groups here. I am trying to become more personable to that older group of missionaries. However, the entire Iaşi zone, with a few exceptions, will be getting replaced in the next two or three transfers. That is crazy! Oh well.

Lets see, any stories…hmm. I only have a few sad ones. We have been Meeting with a young man. He is our investigator with a bapsitismal date. However, every single time we meet with him, he is not interested. In fact, we actually talked about having a “drop”lesson. I feel so lost. It was so sad to see someone say they will do something so amazing, and then not keep commitements. It was really hard for us to see that happen, and we frankly have no idea what to do for him. We are going to teach him some more, and see what he really wants. Oh, well. Other than transfer day, nothing really happened. We talked to people on the Street, but contacting has been really hard lately, because it has been cold, and wet. Oh well, the work still goes on! I am trying everyday to keep my chin up and thinking about others!

Okay, spiritual. I have had a very, very hard week. I don’t think I have ever felt what it was like to have “bitter tears” as described in the scriptures, until a few days ago. I wept bitterly to my Heavenly Father, and I let Him have it, with everything I was feeling and everything that was seemingly wrong. I got it all off my chest and I was once again taught in a loving way. In the past I have really beaten myself up for my failures, however, now I feel not anger but something else. I know for a fact that I was being chastised by the Lord, and he taught me a very important lesson that I don’t think I will ever forget. That lesson was evident when I listened to General Conference. It was that our trails are given us for OUR BENEFIT. I realized after, much, much prayer, that I was being taught something. I recognized that the Lord saw who I NEED to be and how I get there. So, he sent temptations and trials so that, if I choose His path, and His plan, then I will grow into that person. I feel like mom a little bit, I believe that we were being warned at General Conference. I believe more than anything that the Lord put trials in my life early, so that I would be the best fighter against evil in the future. I know that my Redeemer Lives and that living in the past mocks the very nature of the Atonement. I will not look back like Lot’s wife! In reading my Patriarchal Blessing, everyday this week, I realize more and more how much I need to fight to have the home that it says I can have. I have never felt the Spirit more in the past few months than when I read about my future family. They are infinitely important to me, and I don’t even know them!

I am growing here on my mission in miraculous ways. I am not scared for what the future holds for me, because nothing that the World can do, will ever take me away from the path of Discipleship, we should all strive for. I know that this Church is true, and that we are lead by a prophet of the living God! One of the many blessings that have been given me, is that over the past few weeks, I have thirsted and hungered for more of the Word of God. I can’t set down my Liahona (I have a collection of 7 right now that I read out of). I read page after page, marking and marking the words of the prophets and Apostles. If this is what it feels like to feast upon the Word of God, then I will never go back to anything less than full covenant keeping membership in this gift of a Church! I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I believe him in everything he has said. I love that man. I love the life I get to live here. I am not perfect but I will never give up the fight.

I learned a little bit about the Book of Life today in my studies, and I want it to be written of me, that he never gave up! Even after he fell so many times, he always strived to do his best! I know that the Atonement is real and that Christ did come, and that he will come. Far to often we forget that He DID come to earth, and that he DID atone for all our sins. It actually happened! We never need fear that it didn’t. I am so grateful that I am a part of this work, for this is the very work of salvation! Is life hard here, yes it is. Is it worth every single moment of every single day, yes…yes it is. The Lord has blessed my life with trials so that I can be prepared to defend my family and my religion with all my might mind and strength.

I love you all so very much, and the success in my heart, is far greater than my success on paper. We are told that “how great will be your joy, if you bring one soul unto me”. I think I have brought my soul to Christ. I love my life, poor as it is. I never want anybody to ever doubt that I dont know it is true! I want to say it as clear as Elder Holland! This is what my week has brought me. This week, has probably been the hardest most devastating week of my mission. But like Alma in the Book of Mormon, I have never experienced this much joy either. I have not failed, in fact the only time any of us fails, is when we stop trying! I know that to be true. I have a very special opportunity to testify in the name of Christ as if he was here. I testify to you my family, that this is the true Church of God. I want to be grateful for my trials and for my opportunity to grow, because I know that He has a plan for me. I love you all so very much.

Love, Elder Oldham