Week 31 – Galaţi, Romania

Well, I do have some news. This week was in fact my last week in Galaţi, but before I tell you where I am going I want to talk about this week! This week was fun, and long. It always is. Whenever we have transfers we find out through an email sent out at 10 in the morning on Saturdays. So we basically rush over to the church as fast as we can to see the news. It is always a little high stress, but good stress!

Anyway, this week brought some very fun things. My companion and I decided to do 1 block every single day, but the catch was that if we didn’t, we had a punishment. My punishment was easy, and it may sound silly, but I had to eat a plate of plain spaghetti noodles. (That is a big deal for me, because I dislike spaghetti noodles.) We were having a hard time with what to do with Elder Lenhart, so I came up with a really good one. He would have to shave his legs. For every night or day we missed he would have to shave a different part of his body. Let’s just say he is walking around with his right leg (knee down) shaved, and I had one very unpleasant experience. It was really funny.

Random story: So that whole shaving experience led me to an idea, or an experiment. It has been really hot and humid for a while now, so I thought…hmmmm. how can I cool down? SO I decided to try an experiment. I would shave one leg, excersize and see if that caused less or more sweat! Surprisingly enough it has actually helped cool down my body more. We wear long pants all day, so none else knows about it, so it was a good experiment. Now I know…

In our block adventures we have found some very interesting people. We always go to the top of the block in the lift, and go down. Our first door we knocked one day, this guy opened it up, and started yelling at us. He was telling us that God doesn’t exist that we are all brainwashed nuts, and he got right in my face and was spraying all over me. (You know…saliva). That was a hard door to do, but we walked away from that one laughing, and wiping myself off. Same block we had this lady open the door, and she said that she had a problem with our church, and that made me think and so I asked, You have a problem with us? (Pointing to my companion and myself). “Well, not with you personally.” She started to close the door and I said “Dar Suntem amabili!” (But we are nice!). It was really funny. Block knocking is hard because you never know who will be behind the door, and there really are a lot of crazy people. We knocked this other door, and the lady behind it yelled “Cine?” (Who is it?, a very common thing for people to do) We gave our normal reply and she said back. “suntem dezbracati.” What! She said that she was naked, but the really funny thing, was the pronoun…suntem (we are…). We laughed at that one too. A lot of really funny moments. It can be hard though too, because nothing seems to be happening.

Okay…now on to the news. I am not serving in Galaţi anymore, and in fact I am moving to a very big city. My new companion is going to be one of the Elder’s I was in the MTC with and I will be serving in the Republic of Moldova in Chisinau! AH!!!!!!!! I am super excited! This will be another white wash (Or in other words, where two missionaries are placed in a city neither of them have been in). We will have no idea what is going on. However, I am going to learn a little Russian, because it is a 25-75 percent Russian-Romanian speakers there, and some of our church meetings will be in Russian. So weird. It was really sad my last Sunday here with the branch. They have been family to me in many ways, and they all have their very unique characters. I had a few write in my journal, and I have their contact info too, so that’s good.

I was asked to speak (5 minutes before church started, oh our church is flipped, sacrament meeting is last). So I ended up speaking for 15 mintues, all in Romanian! AH! That was crazy. I will miss Galaţi, but I am super excited for Chisinau! I didn’t even think that was an option for me. Everything will be changed. So crazy.

Other than that, not much here. Even though That is a very big change! I will have to figure out mail over there. It will be a huge adventure now! I wonder if my card will work over there…

It is a bummer with our investigator we had to drop but I know he will get baptized someday, it just might be in five years from now. I am kind of ready for a change though. Although, I was warned pretty heavily by everyone in the branch to be very careful out there. They “do things differently out there”. This change will be good for me though. Don’t get me wrong, I love it here, but after a while, the same old nagging things you don’t want to come back to ever again, come back and it is hard to get rid of them again. Change is what the Gospel is all about anyway! We as missionaries need to be experts on this matter! I have accepted the sad feelings as needed and necessary, but I am going to work my heart out, and love a whole new group of people! That is what I am excited about!

I am so bummed to hear about the World Cup. If America had won…ugh, my pride would have been a little high, that’s why they only tied. humility right? I hope things are going good at home. I am sorry to hear about Great Grandma. I didn’t know until now. However, it is best for her now, I promise that.

SO this is my more spiritual side of this email. There are many things that I have been wanting to get better at out here in my mission, and one of those things is finding true, sincere joy, in other people’s success, even if I am seeing nothing. This has been very hard for me, because all my other college friends are seeing lots of success, and I have had seemingly none. I have had lots of opportunities to practice this already, and I am amazed at how much more the Lord is putting in my path. I recognize that a true friend would truly be happy at seeing others succeed and wouldn’t get all up tight and envious about it. Well, I am learning more and more that it all comes from this pure love of Christ. I am learning that Christ rejoices in every bodies successes no matter the size, and is right there next to you just as happy as you are! I feel that the more I can radiate this kind of love, the more people will see Christ in my countenance. I want that more than anything. It can be really hard though, but I have noticed that when I let go of those silly feelings of envy, disgust, or even malace I am way happier, and the other person is happier too! We rejoice together. When others can see how happy we are for them, they are more willing to listen or to open up to us. Isn’t that cool! The Gospel really is a Gospel of change. Time to go and show that to the people in Chisinau!

Love, Vârstnicul Oldham