I have received emails of love from loved ones and today, find myself in the lush greenness of Mildura. I didn't notice how green Mildura was at first, but given the fact that I've spent almost two months in a desert now, I can finally appreciate some green patches of grass (still miss the snow-capped mountains of home, though). What a blessing! Our entire zone is actually together and this is probably the only time it will ever be like this again! Robinvale came down for a fireside that Mildura was holding, so Broken Hill also came down with the Paewai's and Brother C to watch it as well. What a packed house! There were over 200 people who came, and half of them weren't members! Brother C and the Paewai's loved it- I think they needed it, to know that there are more out there like them and not just the 20-30 that come to Broken Hill.
There was another miracle yesterday as well- two less active members (Sister E and Sister F [with three of her kids and one of them, A, our investigator who wants to be baptized on the]) came to church! Not only that, but DJ turned up! It was really awkward with him, though- he lets his guilt get in the way and the relationship that we used to have is strained because of it. So we had two rescues yesterday and wow! What a miracle! The fireside was the perfect way to end the week as well- what a great success it was! The only sad thing from last week was that two baptisms in Mildura fell through on the day of... that was a hard one to take, BUT this is the Lord's work, and "[His] hand is in everything" so we must not fret!
After reading through various emails from home... I've decided that home is under stress right now, and this is saddening to me. Elder P and I were discussing it recently (because I had been writing a letter to Mum in which I had been venting all these negative waves) and he did tell me something that I suppose I just hadn't yet accepted. He said something along the lines of, "There are tender hearts at home Elder and they care about you. They worry about you! They want to know that you're doing well and that you're happy and when you send things that are negative, you're doing more damage than good." When I first sat down to write home, I thought about getting some things off my chest, but now I see that -because home needs some strength and comfort- it would be unwise to do so.
[Please remember when writing to Elder Schomburg to avoid the temptation of pouring out your heart of worries or stress. While he has always been a wonderful and compassionate listener, he is on the Lord's errand now and needs to be able to focus on his current mission. Always send uplifting and positive messages so that he may feel the strength and support that he needs to "carry on" in the Lord's most important work.]
My first trainer sat me down one day when I came to him with all the troubles in the world. I was stressed, I was scared, I was angry, I was filled with wroth, I was uncomfortable, and I questioned my ability to press on. We sat down and Elder L pulled out a pen and paper. He looked at me and said, "Elder, tell me everything that you are concerned about." I let it all out! The floodgates were lifted and I vented like I'd never before done. He wrote down everything, and ended up filling both sides of the paper. Then, he looked over the list, and with a long sigh, looked back up to me. He asked me, "Elder... what of these things can you change?" We boiled it down and eventually came up with about three to five things. Then he asked me this, "Elder, which one are you going to start with?" So I picked the one that seemed the most important. There were probably fifty things that I had been troubling myself with, to the point that I was considering coming home (thankfully the fear of returning early and the shame that would come with it were still stronger than my utterly depressed state and desire to give in).
Why do I mention this? There are times when we feel like we are on overload, when we feel like the very world's survival rests upon our shoulders. How much of that stress comes from things that we cannot change? We cannot decide who issues the tests we face, nor the difficulty thereof. However, we can decide how we will respond to them. We have our agency to do whatever it is that we will; the consequences of our actions are out of our hands, but we have that initial choice that sets the pace. There will be hard and difficult times in our lives, this is completely unavoidable, but we can still choose our reaction. Sometimes it is difficult to remain completely at ease because it is in our nature to be initially negative, but there is One who we can always turn to.
My time is so very short in Mildura, so I cannot finish this (curses!) but please please please don't forget to pray! And don't worry about things you cannot influence! The only really important thing you can influence is your own reaction to life's many hurdles. Sometimes we hurdle and trip and fall on our face. It hurts, but we should always be getting back up! We don't have to get back up alone- there's always a helping hand available.
I love you all heaps!
Here is the hymn which Elder Schomburg referenced in his title:
Christmas is coming - cards and letters greatly appreciated!
Elder Jeffrey Scott Schomburg
Australia Adelaide Mission
P.O. Box 97
Marden, SA 5070