G'day from Darwin!
First, big thanks to those who wrote me this week, I was happy to have received your emails. I sent some letters home and am planning to send a few more, so I hope that those whom it may concern recieve that which has been sent. I cannot express enough how much I appreciate those who write me emails and letters and send me cards and whatnot- though I may be slow in responding, your continual support is greatly appreciated and deeply needed.
This week has been one of the most laid back weeks I've ever had as a missionary- I really do not like it... I REALLY do not like it. I have fallen and subjected myself to the temptation of lowering my own standards and conforming to those of my companion's, thus the work has suffered, I have suffered, and to be very honest, I am not happy nor proud of myself, and recovery will take some time. We were lazy this week, and my personal studies lacked in quality, our companionship studies were more like two teenage boys talking and discussing things of the world, and the Lord has rewarded us with that which we have earned: Ben has become a dropped investigator. He's not been retaining anything and will often times be home when we stop by, but will refuse to come out to have a lesson, let alone talk with us. He's just become stagnant, and is unwilling to progress. The potentials that we attempted to see were either not home or refused to see us again. A couple of people shouted at us to get off their property and continued to offer harsh words thereafter. I wish I could say that was all Satan, but in truth, all of that is/was caused because an absence of the Heavenly Father's presence. Now do not mistake me, the Father never forsakes anyone, but through our own actions we are more than capable of pushing Him further from us. I've not really felt the Spirit as often as I would have liked to this past week, and I know that this time it wasn't Satan actively influencing the surroundings to get me into a down or angered mood, but was in fact my own weakness that brought these results. If I had not yielded to that temptation to "take it easy" and relax some as a missionary, we would have had a smashing week. I wish I could report that we had a smashing week- we did not, and it is our fault. Repentance is something that may or may not take very much time- attitudes and behaviors must be modified, and restitution must take place. As always, personal forgiveness will take the longest (as is the case with myself). I'd like to take a moment to apologize to those back home who have contributed funds for my mission and to those who think I am representing them and the Church well; last week I did not represent the Lord well, I did not represent the Church well, I did not represent those who have given me SO much support well, and I did not represent myself well. I've had a pretty painful spiritual smack in the face, but it's definitely been necessary. I am better than what I have been, and I am committed to reattaining that drive to work and the diligence that is needed to be a performance-minded and consecrated missionary. I'm not going to lower my own standards to conform to those of my companion ever again- I do not conform to anyone's will save for my Heavenly Father's and that's the end of it! I'm not going to be "that guy"!
I'm feeling particularly fired up right now, and it's because I really did not perform as well as I should have. The result of that has shown in the numbers this week. Elder Traconis is convinced that we did what we could, and we certainly did all that we knew to do and what we could, but we could have done it more diligently. I can and will do better. If I am not physically and emotionally spent at the end of the week, then I have not worked hard enough, and today I still feel energized and strong. That's not right. As a servant of the Lord -especially as a missionary- I have covenanted with Him to work until I've collapsed from exhaustion, and then to work even more. This should be true of all members of the Church (did you know that only 13% of Home Teaching is actually getting done within the Church?), but being a missionary, this is my life for two years, and when I fly home in two years, if I can still walk off of that plane on my own strength then I have not worked hard enough- that's all there is to it. A common theme that I've learned while being a missionary is that there is always room for improvement. You can take that two directions, and I've done both: you can look at it and say, "Wow, every time we get together and evaluate how the work is proceeding our leaders always tell us to step it up, and nothing we do will ever be good enough". That's true, it will never be good enough, ever, not in this life. But the direction it should be taken is this- "Wow, there are a hundred different things that I can be doing better at- let me start with these five and we'll go from there." That's what I intend to do- there are fifty billion things I can be doing better at, but how do we "eat the elephant"? One bite at a time. Again, I'm sorry that I did not represent all of you back home very well last week and I hope that you will forgive me. I am going to do better though- my mind is set and if you know me, you'll know exactly what that means.
I love you all and I hope to hear from you guys again soon!
[Please keep in mind that the opinion expressed here is that of Elder Schomburg and not his leadership or anyone who knows and loves him. He's a pretty tough nut but we are always very proud of him. :)]