Sunday, July 28, 2013

Is It Worth It? Week 18

G'day Everybody!
I received a handful of emails and I'm hoping to get some expected pouch after I send this, and so as always, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING TO ME (be it in email or hand-written, I accept any and all forms of love)!!!! Really and truly, if you could see my face every time I open an email from home you would come to truly understand how much I appreciate mail!
This week was good for me, perhaps a bit rough on Elder Traconis. So far he's seen a naked man, witnessed a woman breastfeeding, got a chin-full of bat (flying bat, not baseball bat), ran over a rat, and this week he stepped on a pile of feces as well as rode through one. Some of the less fortunate homeless people who roam the streets of Darwin don't exactly have any care for public toilets, so they'll just do their business wherever. Consequently, my poor companion has suffered the wrath of various sicco's ("poop" or "feces" in Tongan) and it's rather put him off, understandably so. He talks about his last area often and is sometimes quite homesick for Adelaide. I can't see why- Darwin is the place to be! I'm not anxious for transfers because I don't exactly want to leave yet. As I'm finding out, through spiritual promptings I will know a week beforehand if I am leaving or staying, so at the end of this week I should know. I think I've got one more transfer up here, and then they'll send me packing.... I don't want to leave Darwin, especially now- the work this week was solidas.
It was yesterday during Priesthood meeting in which Brother Baqinquito (our new ward mission leader [has been for three weeks]) informed the Priesthood body that there are 8 baptismal dates for the Darwin district. Just taking the knowledge that Elder Traconis and I have, we were able to deduce that -by using our own numbers- half of those dates are mine and Elder T's. To say that I have been battling pride this week would not even do the struggle any justice. I've been trying very hard to understand that without the Lord those dates would not exist AT ALL. Elder T and I smashed it this week: our member-present lessons were off the charts, we blasted a number of goals out of the water, and we've got four investigators preparing for baptism. Unfortunately (and I think this comes with being a more down-to-earth realist) I'm also struggling with having any faith in those dates. The investigators with them are solidas, and I'm not kidding when I say that. But in my experience, baptismal dates have only ever been pushed back repeatedly before being dropped. I really REALLY don't want that to happen with our investigators. One of them, Dennis (a former Catholic), recently committed to living the Word of Wisdom. [We believe that the Word of Wisdom is God's law of health and obeying this commandment will bring blessings.] He said, "I don't like it, but I will do my best," because he doesn't agree with not being able to drink tea or coffee. In the end, our final argument was nothing health related- we said (paraphrasing, of course), "Dennis, we've often taught you about the Holy Ghost, and the momentous blessings that having his companionship brings us in our lives. You yourself have experienced this. Now, we can't tell you what's unhealthy about tea, but we can tell you this: the Lord has said that the presence of the Holy Ghost in our lives is dictated upon whether or not we live and follow the commandments, and this is one of them. We don't know why tea is in the mix, but we do know that if we have a glass of tea, we're telling the Holy Ghost to take a hike for the next hour or so, and in that hour or so, we might have received a life-saving prompting that could have helped us or someone else, had we been accompanied by the Holy Ghost. You have to ask yourself, 'Is that glass of tea worth it?'" Is it worth it?  After putting it into perspective, Dennis -with a smug grin and a discontented huff- said, "I don't like this, but I will try to follow the commandments." He knows how important having the Holy Ghost in our lives is, and he understands that not having the Holy Ghost leaves us very exposed and, in a sense, very alone. He's retained all of our previous lessons, and he knows that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and he knows that Joseph Smith is a prophet. That is how he was able to commit to living the Word of Wisdom. "If the Church is true, then what else matters?" as the saying goes. He's probably the most solid investigator we have right now, and we're very excited for August 24th (his [as well as everyone else's] baptismal date).
Didn't think that was where I was going with this, but hey, that's where it went (and chances are, that's where the Lord wanted it to go). I myself know that the Holy Ghost is something that I need, and I need him all the time. If I don't have the Holy Ghost accompanying me, I won't know which street to turn down, which person to talk to, or what to say when in the middle of a lesson. You can memorize lesson outlines and scriptures all you want, but without the Holy Ghost, you'll never be able to teach anyone according to what it is that they need at that moment in time. It's pretty cool how it works, too; I've been in lessons where an investigator will have a concern -something that I didn't even think of- and a scripture that I had previously read a month ago will pop into my mind, and as soon as I read it to them (or have them read it) their concern is resolved. Experiences like that are nothing extraordinary or out there, but without them, working as a missionary would be absolutely miserable. I know that the Holy Ghost's company is a blessing, and something that everyone should strive to maintain. If you've got him right beside you, you've got nothing to worry about.
That's about all from this week. Again, I appreciate all of the letters and emails that everyone sends me! I am eternally grateful and I love you all!
-Elder Schomburg

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