Week 19 – Galaţi, Romania

Well, some fun things have happened here that might make you guys smile. The week didn’t bring anything too crazy except for three stories.

One: We got a referal from Salt Lake City (which for us is rare) about a mudslide/flood in a city close to us called Costache Negri. We looked at the map, and saw that it was a tiny tiny city, literally called a comune, and not a city. However, we wanted to go and see what we could do to help. So we got on a maxi taxi and rode for an hour north to this tiny comune. I was having a pretty Rough morning, and my mood was not good, so when we first got there, I was literally asking “what the heck are we doing here?” The comune is a ten minute walk from one edge to the other, and I don’t think I have ever seen a farm field as big as the eye could see before, but on the way there I literally got lost with how huge it was. However, we went into this comune with only a name. No address no nothing, just a name. The first guy we talk to is like “oh yeah, third house from the back.” Everyone knows each other here! So we went and looked for this guy. We ended finding him and talking about what happened. Picture the Colorado flood, but most peoples houses are made of mud. That was this town. There are a lot of houses made of concrete, but the floors and everything else are mud, and so 300 homes were destroyed and 3 lives were lost. I was shocked to see some of the homes. They were literally gone. Everything. We could also see the height of the water on some of the concrete ones, and it easily got up five feet in some places. it was bad. So we walked around and talked with a lot of people about how we could help. This is the part that touches my heart. They mumbled and grumbled about what happened, but I didn’t see one person not doing something about it. They were rebuilding!! They were working hard! This comune was helping everybody else. They are a proactive people. So we took some pictures, and talked to President Hill about it, and we are going to write a report, and then send it to Germany, where we might get supplies that they need, and go and serve this comune! I am really pumped to see what happens with this small Village.

(Oh I am staying in Galaţi for another transfer with my companion, and it will be his last transfer!! I am “killing”him).

Second story: Not as big as the flood one, but I was praying in my closet the other night, and I was having a good wrestle, when my closet started shaking. I got kind of mad and told my companion to stop it right that moment, when I opened the closet he wasn’t there. It still shook for a moment and then stopped. He yelled from the other room “did you feel that!” Apparently, we had a 5.0 earthquake here in Romania as well. Kind of crazy, but super funny. My companion said that he thought I was shaking his bed while he prayed, but I wasn’t in the room either. It was funny.

Last story, and probably the funniest one. So we teach free English, and it is probably the greatest thing we get to do as missionaries, outside of missionary work. The best service we do, because it is so funny to hear people try and speak the language that we speak! We all laugh together and have a great time. I look forward to it every week. One day, we had a few more people than normal. Not a big deal, but what happened after was crazy. The Sisters called us with a concern. (my companion is the District Leader, so it was okay for them to call). They said that a girl had texted them 15 times, asking for my number…I had no idea what to do. I had made the treat for after English class, and it was actually common for people to want this recipe (it had happened a lot already). So we thought, sure! Give it to her. We were so dumb. This girl started to send us little texts like hei, ce faci (what are you doing?)…AHHHHHHHHH I had no idea what to do. She then “beeped” us. It is a concept here, if someone calls you and then hangs up right as it starts ringing, it makes a beep in your pocket and implies that they want them to call you back. So she beeped us and we called to figure out what was going on. It was not good. She talked to us kind of flirty like and it was on speaker, and we said we were busy with stuff and hung up. We had no idea what to do. I was freaking out! This stuff doesn’t happen to me often. So we sent a polite text to her saying our rules and that we can’t communicate outside of English or Church. However, apparently the sisters met up with her, and she is now a very strong investigator. (her desires with the gospel are actually legit, outside of me 😉 ) (Commentary from Doug: It may be helpful to know that while on their missions, missionaries are not allowed to contact anyone for social purposes. They are also not allowed to have any physical contact with members of the opposite sex other than handshakes. They have strict rules about how they can interact with others and that is why garnering the attention of a member of the opposite sex in this manner raises their blood pressure. It’s awesome that this young woman is being taught by the sister missionaries!)

So there is what happened to me this week. It was fun, and I am learing so much! I am so EXCITED for General Conference. It is like the super bowl for us as missionaries. AH! I can’t hardly wait. Enjoy it as much as possible! I mean after all, we get to hear the Prophet of God speak to us! I love you guys very much! I am glad to hear that things are going okay at home. Our prayers will go out to the people in Washington.

Elder Oldham