Sunday, September 8, 2013

Outback Croc-House?... Week 24

G'day all!
Today finds me in a much less wrathful mood towards priesthood holders in general and I'd like to apologize if I came off as one who thinks of himself higher than anybody else. I can't apologize for calling anyone to repentance, but I tend to apply my own standards to others and make judgement calls based off of my own code, which isn't fair at all, and for that I can say that I am sorry.
Mum asked a few questions concerning my general welfare, and I can proudly say that I am as healthy as a horse. This P-Day we will be going to the wharf (a different wharf I think, a classier one), which will be fun. We spent from 7AM to 10:30AM cleaning the outside of the flat and also straightening the kitchen. The story behind it is that the Senior Couple -Elder and Sister S- came around, dropped us some cleaning materials, had a brief look about the flat, and were sorely displeased. Elder S asked us, "Would your parents be embarrassed if they walked into this flat?" I... am a terrible Elder- the smart alec in me has yet to leave and where it has been softened and limited immensely compared to what it was, hints of it still linger within me, and it came out as I answered his question with, "Well, the kitchen maybe, but everything else looks pretty good" which is the honest truth. [Admittedly, I, Elder Schomburg's mother, have a sign in the kitchen that reads, "When I get the urge to clean house, I lay down until it passes." He comes by his smart alec and cleaning skills quite naturally. haha]  Elder S really, legitimately does have a cleaning OCD, no joke, and our flat was in good condition, save for the kitchen, which I can openly admit was a disaster. I love them, but I can honestly say that they treat the doctrine of having a clean flat with such zeal that we would have to sit in our flats all day every day spending our time looking for and squishing mites in order to meet their standards. But such is the minor whining of an Elder who was -and still may be- in need of some rebuking as far as keeping a clean flat goes. It's a little harder to do with Elder A, who likes to leave things lying around and doesn't quite understand that wiping off the counter tops will clean them, but will also transfer the crumbs to the floor, and we don't have a dog [canine vacuum], which means we actually have to sweep it up.... anyway. I do my own laundry- we have a washer and drier, but down south they don't have driers, so they hang clothes up (which we ended up having to do for a day or two because all of the outlets on one side of the flat shut off due to one blown fuse (the washer), and this all happened about two weeks ago). As far as grocery shopping goes, we basically go to the shop, buy whatever it is we need (which is typically a lot because we both eat everything and we've expended all of our cleaning supplies twice with trying to keep up with the senior couple's demands and whatnot), and hope we have enough money between the two of us to get us through the month. Up in Darwin they do give us a $30 booster in the middle of the month because Darwin is the most expensive area in the mission, which leads me to wonder what the Elders do down south- Elder T and Elder A came up from Adelaide with nothing in their accounts, yet I started the transfer with an accumulated $280 and Elder L is now up to an accumulated $500- the product of smart shopping and such.  [The missionaries are given a monthly "stipend" by the mission office depending upon the cost of living in the area in which they are serving.  It is up to each missionary to budget what they need for necessities such as food and housewares, etc.  Missionary families (and members of the congregation) contribute money to the general mission fund for the support of each missionary in the field.  The typical cost for one missionary is $400 per month for the 2 years (or 18 months for sisters) that they serve.  While they can use their own personal money for "treats" and such, it is not encouraged since some missionaries do not have sufficient support or extra resources available to them from home.] As far as needs... I can't think of anything and if I could I wouldn't tell anyone while I'm in Darwin- missionaries up here can receive packages, but they stay in Adelaide to save the mission some postage. So whatever it is that I would receive would remain in the vault until I go back south, which could be a long time (Elder L spent a year in the Territory serving in Alice Springs and Darwin). So I don't need anything as of now. =)
This week has been the worst week ever, and not for psychological or emotional reasons. Elder A busted his ankle while kicking our punching bag (which he ended up destroying, quite literally), and then he busted his knee up doing the same thing. So, having smashed his left ankle and right knee, we were out of the fight for a little bit. That punching bag is brutal- I think I've got a micro-fracture on the top of my foot from kicking it as well, which makes moving it in certain positions uncomfortable, but it hasn't hindered anything and I've got to actually go out of my way in order to make it hurt as it had been before. [Missionaries are encouraged to work out and stay fit.]  Anyway! I insisted that Elder A call it in- his knee has been like this for two weeks now and his ankle immobilized him, so I told him to call Sister C and receive instruction, because he'd been in pain for so long. Well, he refused to. Not much more you can do after that. So, we stayed in the flat for a day. He rested, I studied and wrote letters. The next day I asked him how he was. Nothing had changed, and I told him to call it in. Again, he refused, and again, we stayed in the flat. I studied, wrote letters, and studied some more. The third day, I asked him how he was. He was a bit better, so we went out. Our appointments fell through, and he was falling way behind on the bikes, so I slowed up, asked him how he was holding up, and it was very obvious that he was suffering. I asked him what he wanted to do, and he called it- game, set, match, back to the flat! So we stayed in the flat the rest of the day. I studied, wrote letters, and studied even MORE. The next day was the same thing; I asked him how he was and we went out to a few set appointments and made a few return appointments, but as a whole, did about 2-3 hours of work before again returning to the flat. We added up our numbers last night and were awaiting our accountability call and the feelings that had settled in were just yuck. Our numbers were SO low. We didn't do anything at ALL. Of course I was feeling a plethora of emotion- part of me wanted to tell myself that I had done what I could given the circumstances and that it was alright and we'd fare better the next week. The other part me was tearing myself to pieces- numbers were the lowest I have ever experienced on my mission, we'd spent most of a week sitting in our flat vegging, and we hadn't accomplished anything! I didn't come here to sit in a flat and stare at the wall! I came to WORK! Well, after feeling these feelings, I felt anger towards Elder A- if he had called it in, we could have gone to the hospital, gotten the proper medical materials to help him recover faster, and we could have gone back to work sooner. We could have worked out an exchange in which Elder A could have worked in a car area and I could have worked in our area. I quickly quelled these feelings though- it was all in the past and voicing them really wouldn't help anyone. I thought and pondered a bit, and did my best to love my companion and to have more sympathy for him. He'd smashed his ankle and knee while trying to work out, he couldn't work either, and being the one with the issues, he had probably pinned it all on himself.  He wasn't the one who decided to smash his ankle and his knee- it just happened. Sooooooooo... I've absolutely nothing of good report this week. I spent most of the evening last night feeding on all of the above feelings and making sure I sunk my teeth into the bitter tasting results of having done nothing- I wanted to remember the feeling, and then I committed to never feel it again. I now know what doing absolutely nothing tastes like, and I do. Not. Like it. Needless to say I spent a very long time in conversing with my Heavenly Father.
I'm sorry I have nothing better to say. It's hard to talk about the week when you ended up staying in for most of it. We did a service project here and there and talked to a few former investigators, but that was it. I suppose there is one spiritual something that happened. I've planned and written down this one street that I've always wanted to tract and have NEVER gotten around to doing while up here. So yesterday evening, at around 6PM, I'd finally coaxed Elder A out of bed and I told him that we were going to tract Wolfram (who doesn't want to tract that street!?). We went down there and found that it was a very little street with lots of dogs and only about half of the houses on it actually had people in them at that time. I was already slightly discouraged, but I'd planned and prayed for this street for months and never gotten around to doing it. We said a quick prayer and started down, and lo and behold, the third house down received us! It was a brief conversation because we'd interrupted dinner, but we were met by a lovely middle-aged mother and her little one, and she was just a pleasure to talk to. She agreed to let us come back at a more convenient time and offer a blessing on her home. She was the only one on that street that agreed to let us come back, but that was all I needed- my entire evening was made, I was so excited! It had been the first work we'd done in far too long AND she had been on the street that I had always wanted to go down and felt that we should go down, but had never gone down. Isn't it interesting how sometimes the Lord places little blessings in our path and we sometimes get too busy to even pick them up?
Well, I just looked at the subject and see that I failed to talk about that at all. I've written a more detailed letter for the family, but suffice it to say that we went to Crocodylus Park for a zone activity, and we saw some massiveas saltwater crocodiles (the biggest one being a suspected man eater and weighing over 700 kilos)... and I got to feed one! XD We also got to hold on to the baby "Salties" as they call them, which was good fun. I'd include pictures.... but I forgot to take my camera... you may now throw tomatoes at me. Elder A's got me covered on that one and I'll send some photos home, but yeah, forgot my camera... sorry! =(
So, that's been the week of Elder Schomburg. I love you all, thanks for writing me and I'll try to write back as soon as I can!
-Elder Schomburg

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