First, thanks to my Mum for wishing me a happy birthday via email! I even have a package on the way!? Well, isn't that cool!
And I just got a message from Mum who told me that Eric is going to Japan!? WHAT!?!?! Bro!!!! JAPAN!!! Hahaha, man, you wanted to go there, eh!!!! What!?!?! WHAT!?!?! WHOOHOO!!!!!! Oh man, I am heaps excited for you, mate!!! Awwwwwwww yeah!!!! Wow, I'm speechless... that's crazy, Eric, that's crazy- how many missionaries get to go to the country they wanted to go to? How much fasting did you do, exactly? XD Do you have a DIRECT-direct line with Heavenly Father or did you just walk into His house one day and say, "Hey. Japan would be really cool- can I go there?" and did He just say, "Yup, no worries!"? Man.... man, that's crazy! I am HEAPS EXCITED FOR YOU!!!!! [Eric is a very dear friend to Elder Schomburg and we are all VERY excited that he has been called to serve in the Japan Sapporo Mission!]
Phew, okay, calming down more or less. Well... man, Japan!? Nah, you're gammin' XP
ANYWAYS!!! So, first off, I've only seen the Priesthood and 1st Sunday session of General Conference, which frustrates me to no end because EVERYONE else in the world has seen all of it (or should have) except for me and Elder P because we're in Broken Hill. BLARG!!! Frustrations! But what we did see was EXACTLY what I needed. I especially enjoyed Elder Richard G. Scott's and President Eyring's talks- they really put things into perspective and helped me more fully understand our Father's mercy and our Saviour's love for us.
This week was also one full of miracles. On Saturday, we spent mostly the entire day with President P (the branch president in case I haven't said that already) teaching his investigator Mick. At first, when we showed up in the morning at the P home, we were about to jump right into it with Mick when President felt inclined to invite Brad (who was mucking around outside) to come and have the lesson too. Brad paused his work and came in and we were able to teach both of them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Mick is keenaz and solid, too- he keeps his reading assignments, prays always, and he came to church! But before we get into that, let me finish this story. So after the lesson we were able to set the baptismal date of November 9th with Mick, and we invited Brad to be baptized. He stated that if he came to know that what we were saying was true, he would be baptized no problem, but he wanted more information first. That's a fair answer and we took it. Well, the day went on, and as we continued to do missionary work with President P, he got a text from Brad, who had shot off to go comfort one of his friends who was deeply depressed. In his text he explained that he had actually taught his mate about what we had just taught him earlier that same day, and it "was working". Well, all three of us -Elder P, myself, and President P- had a minor freak-out moment in which we became extremely excited. The day went on, more missionary work was done, and next minute (Kiwi's say it like "neck minutt") President gets a text from Brad asking when church is, because he and his mate are keen to come. Again, we may or may not have rocked the car a bit as we drove on to do more missionary work. Well, Brad and his mate never made it to church, BUT the fact that Brad -not the most solid investigator (or so we thought)- was teaching his mate the things that he had just learned was... wow.... that doesn't happen. Mick was able to attend church with us however, and he found the words of the Prophet and the Apostles to be very inspiring, especially concerning his Word of Wisdom challenges.
In other news, a few things about Aussie wildlife and the Outback- the magpies here make Colorado's magpies look less than inferior. While riding our bikes one day (and we mostly walk because the wind will almost knock us over on the bikes, and pedaling headlong into the wind on hills as steep as the ones here is not conducive to being on time- walking is actually faster) and I heard a snap by my left ear. I wasn't sure what it was. I heard it again, and when I looked, I saw this black and white bird -massiveaz- swooping in again. I ducked down and he missed, and a second dived down and actually hit Elder P's helmet several times. We've learned however, that if you keep your eyes on them, and more or less stare them down, they won't attack- they only swoop in or take off to attack if your back is turned. [According to Wikipedia: Spring in Australia is magpie season, when a small minority of breeding magpies (almost always males) around the country become aggressive and swoop and attack those who approach their nests, especially bike riders. hahaha]
Also, I haven't seen any red ones, but while we were walking to a tea date we thought we'd go out bush a little ways and have a bit of a walkabout, and while doing so, we saw two kangaroos in the distance. They were too far for my camera to focus correctly and take a good picture, but I've now seen kangaroos alive in the wild.
Next, the dust storms here are quite sudden. Though we haven't been caught in the middle of one yet, we were sitting on the porch of a less active member's house conversing with her, and her house -which is situated perfectly on the top of a hill- gave us a lovely view of Broken Hill. The wind was violent -more so than usual- and some gathering clouds looked to be fairly dark. I blinked -quite literally- and the clouds were over the city, rain was coming down, and dust from the Outback had blown in and just swept through the city. We rushed to help her get her and her kid's laundry down off of the line and get inside, and her friend was able to give us a ride home, but wow, I've never seen a dust storm move that fast before. Dust and rain intermingled... now that's a curious combination, but it did happen. The flies here are horrendous as well. I hate the wind, but it keeps the flies down. Never anywhere in any of my travels ever have I EVER hated flies so much- there are hundreds of them, and they fly into your eyes and ears and nose and mouth and give you a terrible time. Just looking at my companion's back while we were out tracting I could count more than thirty flies gathered on his backpack and shirt. The same was true of me. The flies here are the bane of everyone's existence.
As far as personal needs go, I have none though it is confirmed that I grew out of my first suit, which I passed down to Elder P, so I'll be having a look-see at a cheap suit store down here sometime. I would, however, if it were at all possible and of course not burdensome to anyone... maybe kinda want a box of contacts? Just one...? I love glasses, and given the option between wearing glasses and contacts in Broken Hill I'd wear glasses just because the dust gets into your eyes and by the time you get to the flat to turn in you're coughing up dust and your eyes just hurt, but it would be nice to put on my "skux" (Kiwi for "handsome" or "sharp") face once in a while. But that's nothing really vital. It would also make swatting flies out of my face easier if I wasn't knocking my glasses around all the time, but alas, such is just the whining of an almost 20 year-old missionary ;D Other than that, no complaints =D
I love yous all heaps!
P.S. I just wanted to send one more picture so you could see what the average street looks like in Broken Hill, but I'll send more pictures soon. Also, the Alma Oval is a footie oval (not rugby - footie or AFL [Australian Football League] arena). I like rugby balls more because they're bigger and easier to kick, but footie is really fun to watch - you're not quite sure what's going on and heaps of people are just running aimlessly trying to chase the ball and score, but that's the fun part.