Monday, April 29, 2013

And It Rained for the Space of Many Days... Week 5

Hey y'all (there, I did it :P),
First off, my mother sent me photos of my sister and her play. Elizabeth, not only do you look like the perfect Queen of Hearts but DANG! You make a fine red-head (and I should know ;D). Just watch out for the boys, yeah? I may not be there but if anyone ever gives you trouble, I still have friends (and some are in very high places) and you still have a big brother there... XD

Alright, enough of that. Now to answer a couple questions my mother asked. As far as church is concerned, be very grateful you have the Monument Ward; there's nothing wrong with the Lebanon Ward, in fact there are GREAT people there... but no one really sings the hymns... Sacrament meetings are... sad. The ward is also MUCH smaller than the Monument Ward, and about half of it -if not two thirds- consists of converts (I kid you not, the missionaries who came to Lebanon before me basically established the Church in Lebanon).
Things between me and my companion are very well. Elder Fishburn and I get along just fine; I think I was just having a day ;) I will say this though; going on a mission really teaches you what to look for in a spouse, simply because you're learning how to live with (and sometimes cope with) another individual. And while I'm on that subject, I have not yet had an opportunity to clean ANYTHING which frustrates me to no end... it only lasts for about ten seconds and then I get over it (time is precious in the mission field - too precious to spend being mad about anything).
This week in Tennessee, it rained... and it rained some more.... and then it rained even more. It rained to the point where I felt like I was going swimming every time I stepped out the door. It rained more here in two days than it has rained in Colorado for the past ten years. It rained... a lot. Speaking of rain, all of the houses down here (the middle-class ones and up) are made of brick, and stand out like a sore thumb when looked at with the incredibly green backdrop that makes up Tennessee. All of the driveways are a mix of pebbles and concrete, like that of the floor in the reptile house of a zoo, and there are moats around the houses and yard. At first I couldn't figure out why there were these one foot deep, two foot wide trenches dug around EVERYONE's houses, and then it rained... without the moats, the massive amount of water that falls would have nowhere to go, and Tennessee would have been washed away. Fun fact for the day: Tennessee homes are castles with their own moats.
This week was also "Elder Schomburg Shares His Conversion Story" week; I shared my conversion story with three different people: a progressing investigator named Zach who is SO close to being baptized it's not even funny, a member family (the Dickerson's [Fun Fact Numero Dos: Brother Dickerson served his mission in Quito, Ecuador, and believes Andrew {whom I boasted of ;D} to be a stud, which he is]), and Josh. I believe my story spiritually edified everyone I told it to, particularly Josh and the Dickerson's. I emphasized different parts of my story to fit the immediate needs of those I told it too. With Zach, I emphasized how prayer had played a MAJOR role in my conversion. With both Josh and the Dickerson's, I emphasized the role that member missionaries play and how important it is, because (and I really hope the girl I'm talking about turns red in the cheeks right now because I am going to boast of her for a little bit) if it had not been Amber, my family might not be where they are, and I would not be where I am.

Our sweet, courageous "Amber" and beautiful, brave Elizabeth.

Before I do more boasting of her, I find it expedient that I tell my story (only a handful of the people reading this actually know it). About two weeks after I was baptized my family went inactive [it was about a year after actually, but time goes by differently for an 8 year old] and we were inactive for eight [six] years. I will spare details (Mom, feel free to edit what you will), but suffice it to say that Mom and Dad were going through a separation, my older brother was in places he should not have been, I had no purpose, no motivation, nothing to live for, and my little sister and baby brother had no guidance. Pretty dark place. But then my little sister was invited to a youth activity by none other than Amber [12 or 13 years old at the time]. Elizabeth started going to church, and she went for two or three months (if I recall correctly) [it was about 7-8 months] by herself before my mom made me go with her.  So I went to church, and sat through Sacrament meetings, and eventually Sunday school, and I did so GRUDGINGLY. I went through the motions for a year, and over the space of this time, my parents came back together, my older brother went to BYU and eventually went on a mission so we can see how that turned out, and my little sister and little brother were just... awesome. I cannot say a lot about their conversions, because I am not them and do not fully understand their conversions or how it happened. But I understand mine, so that's what I'm going to share.
About a year or a little more [it was about 6 months] of going to church eventually brought me to Aaron's Camp (my mother made me go because I am just that stubborn). It was about the third or fourth day into the five-day long camp, and Bishop Bradley handed me two letters from my parents. We were told to go find a quiet spot in the woods, and pray, particularly with questions in mind. I did as asked, finding a quiet, secluded spot on the side of mountain in a deeply forested area. I prayed, with five or six different questions on my mind, questions I had never told anyone about. No one but God knew what was on my mind. I opened the letters then, and began to read...
Each and every question I asked was answered in that letter from my mom, in the exact same way I had worded the question. My main question to our Heavenly Father was this: "Am I on a path that is pleasing to you, and are you pleased with me?" Keep in mind that at this point in time, I did not see myself to be worth the Lord's time. The question as answered: "You are on a path that is pleasing to your Heavenly Father, and He is very pleased with you." Now as I said earlier, my mother would not have known that I would have asked this. The same thing happened with every other question, answered TO THE LETTER in the exact way I had worded it.
Now I say this not to boast of myself or of the long way I have come, but to point out how it all happened. If that member missionary, oh so long ago, had not put herself out there, had not had twenty seconds of insane courage to ask my little sister to come to a church activity, would I be here? Would my family be where we are? Words cannot express my appreciation for Amber and her courage in sparking a spiritual fire that I know will never die. Members of the church, you have a great knowledge... share it with others; you never know whose life you will change.
-Elder Schomburg

1 comment:

  1. Elder J Schomburg
    Very awesome! Never ever forget that experience! I too, have had a very important prayer answered "in order". Heavenly Father truly does hear and answer prayers.
    Sister Castaldo
    BTW it seems a bit odd to stop by the house and not have you answer the door.