Week 73 – Ploiești, România

Well…first week in Ploiești. It has been good.

I was thinking about my last few emails and I realized that they haven’t been happy, or at least I have shown a lot of the sadder parts in my missionary work, or in my life in general. I don’t mean to sound like a pessimist, because I am not. I do believe that if I can keep moving forward, and leave the past behind me, then things will get better. I do want everyone to understand that hardship is a part of this mortal journey and that missionaries are not exempt. I am doing fine. Not great but getting better. I really don’t understand why I am such a target for Satan, but I have really been tempted and tested this week, with lots of different things. Basically, I am just going to forget that last week and move forward. I am just sick of all the little voices in my head telling me all these lies. I want them to leave and be gone forever…but I know that that won’t be the case right now. So instead, I will look at these voices and kick them out of my head.

Anywho…This week has been long. We aren’t exactly full of investigators or members to visit or less actives to work with, and so it has been very easy to slip down the priority list, and make silly priorities the top ones. Our missionary work to the Lord should always be first. I understand that there are certain things involving missionary work that must be taken care of, especially as a Zone Leader, but that shouldn’t take longer than it should. My companion is a good guy. I think we will get along fine. I don’t know if anyone has the same desire to be as obedient and try-hard as me. I just really really want it. I am trying to focus on making happy though. I am learning that as I try to help those around me be happy, they in turn want to be good. Which then inspires an inner desire to change. That inner desire is what changes hearts, and attitudes. I can only fling so many words onto people, and have them not stick, before they get upset that I am trying to tell them how to change their lives. However, we show them how to be happy, and better, than naturally they will want that for themselves. I have been trying to do that with those around me. Maybe with this new responsibility to be a Zone Leader I might be able to have a little influence.

This week thus brought few lessons, and lots of zone leader stuff. I feel like we could have gotten a lot of the stuff done faster than we did and then had time to do other wonderful missionary things, but oh well. We will try to work harder this week, and make this week even better than last week. I will have to be on the phone a lot though. As missionaries here, we make lots and lots and lots of phone calls, because going through our old potential investigator sheets is almost more effective than going outside and talking to everyone on the street. We still try and do that sometimes, but it can be pretty ineffective.  I am still kick’n though! I always will, and I have really felt that as a blessing. I feel very blessed to be given an attitude of never give up. I found a poem in my small journal that I have thought about a lot lately, and I feel like it applies to me, and also has something to work towards.

Out of the night that covers me
black as the pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be
for my unconquerable soul

Under the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
under the bludgeonings of chance
my head is bloody but unbowed

It matters not how straight the gate
how charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate
the captain of my soul.

-Invictus by William Ernest Henley

I really, really like the last two lines. Maybe it is because at times, I don’t feel like I actually am in control of myself. However, I know that with the Savior’s Atonement and His infinite grace, I can be given back to me. I can be the master of my fate, and the captain of my soul. I chose to be here right now, which means that I can choose, this very moment in which direction i want to go. Towards Heavenly Father, or Satan. I have read a lot lately about Courage and how, frankly, I need more of it. My last week has been nothing but studying this particular topic and I have found and felt many different things. I have really realized how easy it is to be a coward. Not like a serious one, but a little one. In everyday situations it takes courage to hold back our tongue from saying something rude about someone else behind their back. It takes courage to fight temptation, and it takes courage to get back up after you have lost even. I read a BYU devotional called “Healing=Courage+Action+Grace”. It was an amazing talk, and I have really felt the influence of what he said from the talk. I wish I could tell you all that I have thought about, but I feel like it would be too long of an email and I am limited on time. I just encourage all of you to really think about courage and what it means to have it. I also encourage you to think about being courageous against yourself. I have noticed that when I am in the worst situations, temptation wise, I am normally alone. I think this is because a testimony is the greatest weapon and tool we will ever have in all of time and eternity. It is what we used to even get to this earth. Naturally the adversary of all that is good in this life, would attack the very base of our homes. I feel that I must take courage from myself sometimes, because it seems that that is what the adversary is trying to use against me. My doubts, and fears. As I have been applying what I have been learning, I feel like I have a new footing on this little scrimmage between me and the adversary in my head, and I feel like I am winning. In saying this I hope that you all will feel the same way one day about the little battles you may go through. I feel like it is important to be courageous.

I too also encourage dad to go out for the coaching position! Please save that soccer team! I played soccer on Saturday for an activity and I realized how much I miss moving with a ball. I miss playing a ton, and I remember how bad our team was, and that was sad for a moment. I think it would be a lot of fun and that you would really enjoy it. Why not? I mean it is a growing experience, and you may not get this chance again. GO FOR IT!

I love you guys a lot, and I hope that you keep praying and finding those happy things!

Love, Varstnicul Nick Oldham