Monday, November 25, 2013

A Week of Learning... Week 35

G'day from down under!
First off, I just want to congratulate Elizabeth on her performance-best musical production ever is what I heard. That's awesome! What an amazing experience and opportunity! It was cool to look at pictures of Elizabeth with her fan club, signing things and whatnot- that is cool =D What an awesome little sister I have! She's not so little anymore, but she always will be to me. XP 

Mrs. Anna and fans

Mrs. Anna, King, and children

Hello Young Lovers

This week I was also blessed to have a Thanksgiving dinner at Sister D's- she used American recipes and cooked up almost all the traditional Thanksgiving meals there are (she forgot the cranberries, BUT she did have them- just didn't cook them XD) and it all tasted amazing! My American taste buds were overjoyed, and the funny thing is that most of the things she cooked were using Aussie ingredients. They must've doubled the amounts of sugar in everything though, because Aussie sugar is weak as. So that was cool, and probably the only time I'll get that on my mission. The only thing that was missing was a game of grid-iron playing in the background, and the usual Halo ads (Bungie always seems to time their new games near Thanksgiving time). But that's alright because the food (and the quality thereof) was lovely.
This week has been relatively quiet as far as missionary work is going- it's kind of hit and miss in Broken Hill. But we've got a good week planned and we're hoping to start teaching heaps of people. The members here are keen as to do missionary work, and President Paewai told us the other day that he didn't want us to have any time to do any tracting. We've already filled up this evening and all of Tuesday with teaching appointments and hosting FHE [Family Home Evening] with a few families the Paewai's want to introduce to the gospel.
I think the most spiritual thing that happened this week was probably at church. Our recent converts weren't there, our only investigator A who is 10, so she was in Primary. Not exactly wanting to go into the Gospel Doctrine, Elder P and I opted to help Sister Q teach her Sunday school class, just to mix it up a bit. Unfortunately, the only ones in that class are Sister Q and her daughter E (13). Well we sat in, not really teaching but more so learning from Sister Q, and then K (a recent convert) stepped in as well (surprise), and it was actually a really good lesson. We talked about choosing a life motto -something to turn to and live by in times of duress- and we ended up doing a simple maze activity, but it was revelatory for me.
The maze began at "Birth", eventually led to "Fulfilling the purpose of life" and ended at "Death" (the lesson had been oriented around the Plan of Salvation with the focus on Mortality). I eyed over it briefly, found a path that would roughly get me from point A to B to C, and then attacked it. The surprising thing was that I was often times on the path I had eyed out, but was surprised when the maze took me in a completely different direction. I didn't hit any dead ends, but definitely didn't go the original direction I had planned out. Eventually I did complete the maze. So what does this have to do with anything?
Revelation for me comes during the most mundane activities, I'm finding, such as doing something so small and trivial as a maze activity, but I did get this out of it; as we strive to live gospel standards, and stay on the strait and narrow, sometimes we go through paths that we do not anticipate. The more I pondered about it, the more the revelation came. This one thought stuck out to me, though: "You don't always go the direction you think you need to go to get where you want to be, but you'll still get there." That is SO true! I thought about it and decided that there have been a number of times in which I had the finish line in sight, so to speak, and ended up taking a much different, and very little anticipated path. I did not see myself going through Tennessee to get to Australia, but I still got here. I knew I was going to mature and grow on the mission, but I did not think that I would have to go through so many varieties of trials to get to where I am, and I doubt that I'm actually going to take the path that I can "see" as I continue on in the service of the Lord.. The path we want to take is often not the path that we are going to take, and that is ultimately because Heavenly Father knows that even if we did end up where we want to be by going our own way, His way -while it is probably not the easier way- will leave us feeling more satisfied and with more knowledge and experience gained than if we had taken our own path.
I might also mention that this morning -via conference call- we were given a training by our Area 70, Elder Hamulla(sp?). He mentioned some things that really helped me with prayer. For the past couple of nights I've been in prayer with my Father in Heaven, and I haven't been receiving many answers. I had evaluated my questions to make sure they were relevant to me or those I was in connection with, answerable, and to make sure an answer would benefit me or others in some way, missionary work or personal. I evaluated my own worthiness to receive one such an answer and did not find any flaw that would disqualify me for receiving revelation. Why was I not receiving any answers then? I didn't challenge my Father in Heaven and ask Him why He was withholding answers, because I've learned thus far that everything happens for a reason, and Heavenly Father KNOWS what He is doing, and if He didn't see fit to answer my prayers, I'm sure I was supposed to be learning something. Elder Hamulla put it like this (paraphrasing and poetic licence have been claimed): "Sometimes -even though we're worthy and our question is one that is worthy of an answer from God- we don't receive an answer. That isn't because you aren't worth answering, or because God didn't hear you- He just wants you to use your intellect and reasoning skills. In other words, Heavenly Father is telling you that He trusts your judgment." What a humbling, if not indirect, answer to my own prayers!
I felt extremely humbled after I heard that, because the Spirit made it manifest to me that Heavenly Father was doing that exact thing with me. Ultimately things were going to work out in whatever category, regardless of the action I took, or Heavenly Father knew that I was going to make the right call. Either way, that is humbling, and just made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, knowing that I have earned Heavenly Father's trust- enough so that, as far as some things are concerned, He knows I will make the correct choices. How cool is that!? The God of All trusts me to know how to act on my own in some given scenarios. I do not say this to say that I'm above praying all of the sudden- I have a firm testimony that praying is essential and necessary, no matter how in tune with the Spirit or how trusted by God you are; the Prophet that God has chosen is still required to pray, and yes, he still NEEDS to pray, just as we all do. All I'm saying is that sometimes the things we ask for are not necessarily things that Heavenly Father needs to answer. I picture this when I think of it: just as I've fallen to my knees to pray, wondering what direction the Lord would have me take, He gives me "that look" that says "You know what you need to do." Sometimes it'd be nice to get an answer anyways, but as the scriptures say, "It is not needful that I command in all things." [Doctrine and Covenants 58:26-28]
It is dangerous to rely on the Lord for ALL things. We must rely on Him, absolutely must, don't get me wrong, but as is taught in the Book of Mormon, "The grace of God is sufficient for all, after all we can do." [2 Nephi 25:23] We must do all in our own power before turning to the Almighty for help. We must do as the scriptures say and "ponder it out in your heart, and if it be right, I shall cause a burning to rise up in your bosom." If it's not right, we're taught that we'll experience a "stupor of thought" which to me basically means you'll start to wonder why you're even asking what you are, but it's different for everyone I suppose. I stick to what I know, and I know that simplicity and plainness is of God, and complexion is of the devil- that's always helped guide a few answers to my prayers.
Well I didn't thing I'd go that direction, but I did- what can you do? I've got more time today, so I'll try my very best to write everyone. I'm very sorry for last week- that was a rushed as letter home and I feel bad for it. I also didn't get around to writing a few people I promised I would write that day, so I'm very sorry. Speaking of that, I've sent out some letters for the family and I'll try to pick up the slack on that- I feel bad when I don't write back. Oh yeah, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! Oh, one more thing... 8 months in two days (not that I'm counting, I just know the month mark)... XD The sisters I came out with have 10 months left... what!? @.@ Time seems to be speeding up recently... how strange -and very inconvenient- that Time be so finicky with it's chosen speed.
I love you all heaps! Keep smiling!
-Elder Schomburg

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