Week 83 – Ploiești, România

I am glad to hear, once again, that things are going well at home. I think about how much you guys have been blessed as much as I have been because of the service that I get to be a part of, and I realize that the Lord really does watch over our families as we go out and serve Him. He has a weird way of watching our backs and our fronts all at the same time! I love Him. I hope that the work we do is according to His will and thus to glorify His name. If I can come home and say I did that, then nothing else will matter to me.

Ploiesti_Brasov_05_1200This week did bring a few roller coasters of fun and not so much fun. This week we had Zone Training Meeting, which is basically run by the zone leaders. I am fine by that. So we planned hard and thought about it for a long time and I ended up giving a presentation on Learning. I thought it went really well, but it kind of flopped right at the beginning. I tried to play a round of Family Feud to get the words on the board that I wanted to get up. People didn’t really get into it like I had expected, and the words were all harder than they thought they were, or at least I thought they were. It got kind of sloppy. However, once I got going I felt pretty confident in what I was talking about.

I could have talked about lots of different things, but I decided to focus my attention to 8 habits of good learners. I thought that that would really have the most impact on anyone. I mean we all know how to study the gospel. That isn’t something new to us. So I thought that giving them something to think about and try to apply in their lives would be really good. All the presentations went well and my interview with President Ivory was also good. He is an inspired man, and I feel blessed to have him as my mission president. All the nerves and anxiety that went into that then turned into giddiness for a few hours after, which was probably not a good thing for those around me, but it will be a good opportunity for them to practice patience, and forgiveness 😉

The giddiness left and focus took its’ place as we prepared for the “Meet The Mormons” showings. We spent all afternoon at the church cleaning it. We had planned on having one showing at 1:30 a period of time for tours, and then a last showing at 5. We were are really excited, and we prepared really hard. The church looked so good, and I feel bad that I didn’t get a picture of it. Oh well. We had planned on over 100 people coming and we were all stoked about it. I had had my hopes up for that event for so long, because finding new investigators has been really hard for us, and I haven’t had a lesson with an investigator friend in over two transfers. Well…very very few. I could count them on one hand, kind of a thing. That didn’t get me down, and we still have kept our spirits up. However, I was really praying for someone to be there with whom we could teach, testify, and baptize. I was really nervous and excited at the same time. So the morning came and we had English classes. They are always fun, and I think we do a decent job of teaching English. I have been teaching medium level this transfer, and it has been fun. I think we have the biggest class. I love it. So after English was over we invited everyone to stay for the movie. Most of them actually did! It was really cool to see that. They loved it and so we then took them for a tour of the building. I am lucky because I am the oldest out of the group so I was lucky enough to take them around the building and show them all the cool things about it. Really what I did was take them around to all the pictures and explain, simply, the doctrine behind the painting. It was really cool, and I felt so good. I felt the spirit there. After they left, I was feeling like a million dollars. I wanted to do that again. SO we waited and waited, and no one came to the tour. I told myself that that was okay, because we didn’t really advertise for the open house. We kept waiting and no one came to the second showing. Eventually, five minutes late, we had a few members show up. Overall, we had 4 non members and 7 members. It was stinky. I was so disappointed. I had my hopes so high, and wham, straight down.

We cleaned up the church, and prepared it for Sunday. Cleaning allowed me to just push everything out and just focus again. As we left, I felt a calm. I was actually a little bit surprised by it, and that frustrated me. Wasn’t I suppose to feel disappointed and be in a furious rage about how terrible that was? I was shocked to feel a calm, a peace even. I was still disappointed, but it was a calm feeling balanced by a feeling of acceptance. I think that that is the greatest blessing I have had in a long time. Maybe because it was the most recent, but that is exactly how I wanted to feel as a missionary. It matters not that we get tons and tons of baptisms, but rather that we work hard and leave it up to the Lord. This is His work after all. I felt that even though we did not have the success that we thought we deserved even, I felt that it was accepted, and that the Lord was pleased with our work. What a testimony builder to me. That really strengthened me in what could have been a pretty low of lows.

Ploiesti_Brasov_06_1200This week was tough with all the events and hard work, and that brings lots of failure, but we keep moving. In the end, I didn’t fail. I merely learned a lesson. I learned that as long as we do our part (and this can apply to outside of mission life as well) the Lord will bless us with the knowledge that all is well. It wasn’t a peace of the past or of the future but that in that moment, He was happy with what we had tried to do. The whole “Meet The Mormons” event was a huge success around the mission and it was a strength to a lot of members. I may not know exactly how that helped someone that did come, but I know that I must keep my chin up and keep working. It was a good week.

I hope that the rest of the week goes well. You guys mean a lot to me. I love you all, and even more important, Heavenly Father loves you all! Go near to Him and He will come near to you. 🙂
Love, Varstnicul Nick Oldham