Week 75 – Ploiești, România

I thought I wouldn’t be able to email you guys today due to some time issues regarding travel and such, but I can! So I am. Okay, business first. I think it would be great to Skype/Google chat at 2 p.m. my time, 6 a.m. your time. I believe. I am really looking forward to seeing you guys, and it is really strange to think that this will be the last time before I see you guys. I can hardly believe how fast the time has come and gone. I really don’t know. I think that that is a gift and a curse. A gift because this is hard work, and requires a lot from someone, but a gift, because it requires a lot of someone, and that said someone will grow. I hope that I have changed into a better man on my mission. I feel like I really have grown up a little. (Not too much 😉 ). I am excited to see you all soon, but I am also excited to finish this thing out strong! I am really happy that I still have this time to work. I look forward to the time I have here. I don’t want to miss any of it! So! 2 p.m. my time, 6 yours. I will plan for that. Cool!

Well…this week. We had Zone Conference, but because of the weird P-day switch thing, you already know about that. I think it was good. I am glad to hear that President Ivory thought I did a good job conducting. That makes me feel happy. I really like President Ivory, and I feel it a pleasure to serve with him.

Ploiesti_02_1200I feel like there was very little that has happened this week, and that there is always very little that happens, besides the really crazy things, that I happen to forget about right as I enter the internet place. Weird. Anyway, this week didn’t bring any surprises. We did have an interesting day the other day though. This week has really only brought one day of sunny, nice weather, and so we decided to make the most of it. We called everybody we could think of and no one answered or could meet with us, and so we were bummed. We decided to go outside though, because it was nice, and we are missionaries. In order to actually go outside and do something, I decided to go with whatever my companion wanted to do. So we decided to go slack lining in the big park in Ploiești, Parcul Tineretului. We went in shorts, t’s, and name tags. I felt a little weird because we were about to contact and I wasn’t in a shirt and tie. I did like that I wasn’t in a shirt and tie, but I felt a little off. We get to the park and it is full of families, and people. Perfect. So we set up camp and start doing our thing. After a while, we slowly start getting people to come and try. We talk to them, and try to be normal people having a conversation. (Because we as missionaries know, that any conversation can lead into a gospel one, so have more conversations). We ended up having large groups of people watching us and trying it out. It was a lot of fun. Then this group came over and they were good people and such. After they had tried it out and had some laughs, my companion goes over to give them English cards. This one guy states that he knows what we are trying to do. We are trying to convert him! So they start a heated discussion. I didn’t mention anything or participate in the conversation. I really hate those conversations, because it isn’t what Christ would do. We never prove others wrong, we show them what we have and cherish. I don’t care how learned you are in the scriptures, it is better to stick with your testimony and then walk away. This guy told us that we were all in trouble because we added to the Bible. The funniest thing was that he also told us that all we needed to do was believe in Jesus Christ to be saved. So my companion said, “I believe in Christ.” This guy said that it didn’t matter because we added to the Bible. It was really bad. I kept on talking with those who were trying the slack line. After a while I could tell that the other missionaries were getting fed up with this guy, and the conversation was starting to deteriorate. Bad place to be. I walked over, stated that I felt there was some contention, and that it would be best if they went on their way. I was shot “I feel peace in my heart. Don’t you?” I said yes I do, but conversations that lead into arguing about what one truly believes is futile and just leaves everyone with a bad feeling inside. They walked away. I was happy to help a little bit.

After he left, there was a temptation to bag on him a little bit. That, frankly, is spiritual immaturity. It is not okay to slam someone behind their backs, even our “enemies”. We don’t know what was in his head, and so we need to be stronger and understand just that. I was happy that I didn’t get caught in it all. And on a happy note, one of the guys in the group came to our English classes, and told us that he wants out of that little gang! That was cool. In the end, everything works out.

So we ended up slack lining for a while in the park. It was a lot of fun, and I felt really good about it. I love talking to people, and people seemed to like talking to us. I don’t know if that was because of the no shirt and tie, or something else. I hope that we will see some of the people that we talked to come around and want to meet with us, or come to English. We will see. That was kind of the bigger news/story of the week.

Pitesti_02_1200Right now we are on an exchange with the Pitești elders, because they got ET’d into Pitești, and they have both never been here. My companion has, and so we came down to show them around and go on an exchange with them. It has been fun. I just have a hard time doing nothing. Even walking slow is hard for me as a missionary, because walking slowly (strolling speed) means I have nothing else to do, and as a missionary I should always have something to do. Ugh. I get frustrated at that sometimes. I like working, even if that means failure. Not everyone sees it that way. I think it is a fear of failure, or the feeling of wasting time. I think differently. I think that as we work hard, we will be rewarded, and that can be through many things including fun times. I don’t know. I just want to be a good missionary, doing the right thing, at the right time. I feel like I am doing much better at that. Still room for work, but I look forward to the change now.

That’s it really for me this week. I have had lots of really good studies again, and things are looking upward. I am very hopeful for the future, and I feel that that peace is one of the many blessings from the Lord.

Sibiu_01_1200I am glad to hear that mom got out on the trails. I miss those trails still. I will get back to them eventually though. There is just something about the woods and nature that just feels good. That and high speeds, and exercise. I love to hear that Abby loves track. I am proud of her. I liked track because I could focus on my own thing, and if I wanted to, I could ignore everyone else. it felt nice to get home after a good work out or track meet. I am glad to hear that Oliver is doing good. I think that he is a smart kid. I KNOW he is a smart kid. I want him to be happy too. I love that kid so much. In any story I hear, especially elder Holland’s talk this last conference, I can just see me and him. I am so proud and happy that he is my brother. I love him so much. I even brag about him out here. He is funny and intelligent. So cool. I am also happy that Lilly is doing well. I knew she would be the one to grow the most out of the lot before I got home. Oh well. I have the best family ever. I hope you all can feel how wonderful it is to have a good family at home. I feel safe there. I love it so much, and the more I serve the more I realize that the family is truly the most important unit in all of time and eternity. I hope that you can all feel that. What a good time to live.

Ploiești is an awesome city. It has bad rap because it is mainly a bloc filled city. While that is true, I believe that as soon as you start working and start loving the people, every city is the best one. So I love it here. The branch is probably one of the strongest branches in the country. I am happy about that. It feels good to walk into a church building made for us. I really do like that. That’s pretty much it. It is cool, and i will try to get you guys some new pictures later.

Okay…one little thing that I feel like you should know about, only because it is a little freaky. There have been a few news stories that have gotten around to us. We mostly stay out of the news, but these ones have been very interesting. Apparently there are some rumblings between Romania and Russia and there have been some threats issued. I lost sleep over this. I heard it from my district leader, and many other missionaries have received this news from their parents. Needless to say that I am afraid. I have never been this close to any serious conflict in my entire life, let alone the threat of complete destruction. I fear for the Romania people whom I love. I have been thinking about this topic for a while now. I have been very afraid for myself and those around me. Only a few hundred miles from here is a conflict, a war. I guess I never really thought about it like that. I didn’t mean to worry you guys about this, as I am sure you are now very worried. through the midst of all these rumors and news and fear, I have felt something interesting. I had a thought the other day. I thought that I must do everything I can to serve the Lord now!  I then felt a peace. A strange peace, because I was not at peace. I felt like things would be okay. My mind reflected to my Patriarchal blessing. I have promises in there that are very real. I cherish that blessing now, more than ever. I felt that we would be taken care of. I know that we would be pulled out before anything happens to us. However, even if we weren’t pulled out and things went down here. I would still be at peace. I know that this church is true. I have looked back and realized all the pain and fighting I have had to do to defend it, and I have asked myself why I didn’t give up? I have never given up on my battles, because I feel in my soul, that this is true. I feel it. I am not perfect and sometimes I make the same mistakes over and over again. However, I know that that’s okay. I have a Savior that has been there every step of the way with me, and that is how it will be forever and ever. I am happy, even amidst the calamities around me. What a joy the gospel is, and the blessing it is to have it in my life at this time. I love my Savior and I know that in the end, as we follow Him, everything will be okay, and for our good even! What a blessing that is. I hope that you guys can see those blessings in your lives more and more. I love you all super duper much, and I will talk to you on Sunday!

Love, Varstnicul Nick Oldham

P.S. That was some heavy stuff to end on…sorry. I am happy and safe!