Oh has this week been an adventure. I will start with packing and saying good-bye to people in Galati was hard. I mean I thought I was ready to leave but you never really know how much you love somewhere until you realize that you will probably never be back there ever again. I loved Galați, but I love Chișinău too!
We had a fourteen hour train ride, which consisted of probably the worst first class, sleeper train, I have ever seen. We went all night and around three in the morning the guy came around and woke us all up because we were at the border. Now the reason it takes so long, is because at the border they have to put new tracks on our cabins because the tracks in Moldova are narrower. That was a three hour process where literally our cabin was picked up off the ground by a crane thing, and set down onto new tracks. It was way cool!
We have been trying to recover from that though for a little while. Our apartment here in Moldova is in a place called Botanica, or more commonly known as Poarta Orasului (The Gate of the City). We live a three hour walk away from the church, and it is by far the farthest apartment from any church in the entire mission. Which is fun for us.
Random story. So two days ago we missed our bus to go home, so we decided that it would be great to see how long it would take to walk home. It was already getting late, but we still had time. We walked for two and a half hours, but there was a bonus. By our house there is a soccer stadium. In the main opening area of this stadium, they have changed it into a place to watch the World Cup on probably a 30 foot by 20 foot television. We had already seen the start and what seemed like the end of the Brazil Chile game, but we realized that they were going into a shoot out, so we asked the people behind the tables if it cost anything, and they said of course not and let us sit down and watch the shoot out on a huge television with a ton of Moldovans! It was so intense! The joy of living in a fotbal friendly nation. We may catch some other games there too. We will see, probably not.
Moldova is truly amazing, and it is very different then Romania. One story to illustrate the point. So we have had very little money to survive for five days. So we went into Number 1 (grocerey store) to buy milk, bread, cereal, and eggs (the essentials 😉 ). The next morning I sit down and open up the carton, and I instantly realize that I bought soured yogurt, and not milk…It was all in Russian, but it was a carton with a cow on it, so I assumed it was milk! It was not milk, and my companion and I decided to try a little bit of it, and it was so disgusting. Oops.
Russian everywhere is very strange, and what is stranger, is that a lot of people will use both Russian and Romanian in the same conversation. We will catch a few words, and then we know it is in Russian. So weird. I did learn the word for milk, and what the letter for s is…Success! I will probably learn greetings and things like that, so that I can at least say something. Romanian to Russian here is very interesting. Almost everyone speaks both, but Romanian is the “classy” language, and Russian is the “rebel/gangster” language. Or if you are really old then you only know Russian. It has been really crazy.
Life is really good here, and I have never eaten so good in my life! Restuarants are very very very cheap, and so very good. I will for sure get fat…HA!!!!!!!!!!!…I have Insanity, it isn’t possible ;). The people here are amazing, meaning they are way more humble than the people in Romania. They have just accepted their bad situation and live with it, instead of complaining, or bragging and what not. It is really interesting to see the difference in the two, and I can say that Moldovans seem to be nicer then Romanians…in general that is. We are just learning as we go really and hoping for things to start happening.
The Branch is super cool, but it is mainly in Russian, so I got literally nothing out of church, which made me more tired, and we went home a little bummed, and our spiritual cup could have been filled better. We are rested more though and we are getting ready to work hard.
I am freaking out a little bit here, because in less than two weeks now I will be twenty years old, and I remember exactly where I was a year ago 😉 !!!! Where is all the time flying? We are just trying our best to stay positive and grow in the work we are about doing. my testimony is growing and I am really learning what it means to truly turn away from sin, not that I am doing anything bad, but I sure feel like I could be better. However, I am learning so much more that Jesus is just asking me to keep doing what I am doing, and that is giving it my all! it is amazing to see how that change has hit me. I have literally let some things go, and He has taken them. If only I could tell everybody this! How great is my joy! Nothing else can compare to that knowledge that I am doing exactly what I need to be doing. Ah…Life is so very good.
I am so grateful to hear about what is happening at home! Please try and remember where all of your blessings are coming from. How quickly we are to forget even the simple things that come from our Heavenly Father, I mean aren’t we told that everything good comes from Him? That means EVERYTHING GOOD! Not just this or that! I have been recognizing the Lords hand in my life more, and wow do I have need to be grateful. Look around and i promise that you will see it too. 😉
Love, Elder Oldham