Week 6 – MTC – New Years

Thank you for sending the pictures! I wish I could post more pictures but it is so difficult to do that here. I have gotten a package filled with medical supplies, and I could not have been more grateful. There is only one catch, I received the package the day I got better! That’s okay though because you never know when I may need it out in the field.

I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. I mean we leave in less than a week! I am more excited than I am nervous though. I recognize that I will be a complete foreigner for a time, and my Romanian will give that away. However, we were told by our teachers that it is so accelerated as we fully immerse in the language. I don’t really see it, but I look back at six weeks ago and realize that I have learned so much. I can now understand almost every question asked me during our lessons, and can normally respond with a close to grammatically correct simple answer. The language is beautiful, and ugly. I say that because there are some slavic words that are used that are plain ugly, but the Romanian words flow and are smooth.

I can hardly wait to get on that plane and finally start teaching the gospel that I love so much. I am scared. You are a liar if you say you aren’t a little bit. That is supposed to happen though, especially because this is so new for all of us.

One of the sister missionaries has actually lived in France for a time, and gave us the run down on what it was like for her. She said that the process is four months to six. First, you will probably feel alone and a loss of identity, mainly because you are giving up everything, including your language. Second, (two months in) you will probably start getting used to most of the stuff going around you, but the language may still be a bit tricky. Lastly, after six months, the language should be almost second nature and teaching will be way more enjoyable.

I think it is sound advice, but there is no way I am not going to have meaningful teaching experiences before six months. I am going to step off that plane, meet my companion and tell him what I can do and that we need to get to work. Simple as that.

Now, I guess I got a little bit ahead of myself, and should probably tell you about Christmas at the MTC. So, we woke up and ate breakfast (nothing special). We all gathered together for a talent show, and it was amazing! There were so0me seriously funny, and good performances. It instantly put me in a good mood, which was needed because I had woken up and could hardly talk because I was sick. We then went to lunch and then back to the auditorium for our devotional. Elder Bednar came!!!!!!!! it was literally one of the most spiritual experiences I have had. He did something very interesting. He got up and said that he had an Ipad in his hand and that cell phones were going to be distributed out, and that you could text (using the number he gave) a spiritually inspired question. He explained that the other MTC’s around the world that were listening live had cell phones too and could ask question!!!!!! He answered about four questions and it was so spiritual.

Something that really caught me was this. The question asked was, “even though I have repented, why do I still feel shameful or remember my past sins?” Good question. He described it as this. he said that it isn’t a sin for bad memories to come into your mind, but it is a sin to invite them in and entertain them. He gave an analogy about a jar of sand. This jar is filled with black grains of sand and there is an opening just big enough for one grain to fit in or out on either side. He said that every time you push in a white grain of sand, a black one is forced out. Eventually you will have a jar filled with white sand. A grain of white sand could be a sincere scripture study or prayer. WOW!!!! That blew me away. It was a very inspired meeting that I felt like it was aimed at me. Everyone probably thought that though. I sat in the front about three rows in. I could see the wrinkles in his face. What a crazy experience! I loved it so much and it has buoyed me up in some rough moments at the MTC.

After that we had dinner which was okay (turkey and potatoes). We then got to hear a jazz performance by Ray Smith (look him up, he is crazy!). Then we had some devotional review time, and then MoTAB Christmas special. Then lights out. Overall it was a pretty good day. As in AWESOME! Truly a once in a lifetime thing. Super fun and cool.

We got our flight plans and we will be flying from Salt lake City to Amsterdam. Straight flight… ugh. Oh well, I get to be in AMSTERDAM for three hours. Still cool though. I am excited more than I can contain. My MTC experience has been good. I love my friends I have made and I think I will stick with a couple of them. Work is work… but all we can do about it is smile and move forward. I can’t wait to share what I know to be true to people, in my broken and terrible Romanian. They will hopefully see that I am trying and maybe understand. ;). I love you all.

Elder Oldham

P.S. Next email will be in Romania!!!