Week 10 – Bacău, Romania

Things in Bacău have been really slow. Mainly because we only walk and over the past four days we have gotten 3 feet of snow. This typically makes walking hard. I can handle the snow here though. It is a lot lighter than Minnesota snow. There is one catch to the weather here. The wind is Siberian winds that literally blow right into your face, no matter which direction you face. Then because of the way the buildings are laid out it makes a perfect wind tunnel.

It has been really cold and so we can only contact for a few hours which has become pretty ineffective. We go block knocking instead! (knocking doors). That is typically warmer and we have more success. However, when I say success I mean people actually talking to us. If anybody stops and even says anything, then I count that as success.

I look back at the past four weeks that I have been here (ish it’s about four weeks) and I see the “progress” we have made. My companion and I have started from literally zero. Zero everything. We had no contacts, investigators, and there are very few members (Four out of the five regulars say that the missionaries are their only friends). We have had it really tough.

The man we met on the taxi we haven’t seen since, and the woman on the street, is super busy with trying to find a job, but when I talked to her last she was still interested and intent on calling us when she had free time. Other than that we are still stuck with nothing.

Bacau_Winter_06_1200I have had a few rough days this week, where everything seemed to be coming down on me. I felt completely useless and wasting my time. I couldn’t understand even the simplest words, and I didn’t have the spirit with me. I was so frustrated. However, I have noticed something amazing and I think this is the gift of tongues in every sense of the word. I know I have the gift of tongues because I can understand people. I talked recently to another missionary I served with in the MTC about how he was doing, and he said he was doing bad. I asked why and he told me that he couldn’t understand or say anything. I felt really bad for him but I looked back and realized how blessed I am. I can now stop someone on the street explain who we are and tell them about our message, all in perfect Romanian. I am now even starting to be apart of conversations and I can teach lessons okay in our role plays. This is the gift of tongues to me, and I know this because when I am frustrated or mad, I can’t understand anything. Even the simplest things.

I can also testify about the tender mercies of the Lord. We read about them in the scriptures and I never really thought about them until a few days ago when I went on an exchange with my Zone Leader. He said that even the simple things, like having a good Gospel conversation on the street (even if nothing happens out of it), can be a tender mercy given to us by the Lord. I thought about that all day and I realized how ungrateful I have been for not seeing these. We are surrounded by these all the time, and we take it all for granted.

I would like to share one of these mercies with you all because I think it might have changed someone’s life. We went English class contacting again which is to basically hand out cards that say we teach free English. Very simple and I can do it very well. When we were going we stopped this girl who already spoke very good English. We learned she actually didn’t live in Romania (even though she is Romanian) and was now living in Belgium with her parents. She had come for an exam at a college and would be soon leaving. We talked and explained why we were in Romania and what we left behind to come out and do what we were doing. This shocked her. She said that she felt so proud of us for learning her language and was really happy to talk to us. So happy that she gave us Belgian Chocolate!!!!(and it is very good 🙂 ). We thought fast and gave her all we could give, which was a Book of Mormon with our names and our testimonies written in it. She said that she would read the book cover to cover and will find the missionaries in Belgium. That was a tender mercy. We might have changed Larisa’s life. Made my whole week. Things like that are important to remember.

It seems people here do not like us. It makes us laugh because it is like asking for a weird moment and we love those! 😀  Even thought things are hard, I have noticed that I am actually a happier person then when I first came out here! it seems crazy but it is true!

Keep serving the Lord and always remember that he loves us. We know this through His works. We studied this a little bit and found something interesting. In the scriptures heavenly Father rarely if ever says I love you. Instead he blesses them through His actions. Likewise, we should do the same and through our actions show Him that we love Him. I am learning a lot.  Life is a huge adventure and things do get better.

I Love the work of the Lord because of what the Gospel entails. This is REAL life! Many members don’t fully realize that this is all real. That Jesus Christ actually died for our sins, and that through Him we can be made PERFECT! I love knowing this and I want to tell everyone about it! That’s what we do too! I can’t believe I only have 22 months left! That is not enough time to do all that I wan to do!

– Elder Oldham