Tuesday, January 7, 2014

More Refinement... Week 41

G'day all!
First, I need to answer Mum's questions. I have not yet received a large envelope (but might receive it later today, I'm not sure), I used $13 for postage, I haven't heard from Ms. S (is she getting married or baptized?), I did receive a birthday tie (thank you Sister W! [but you haven't seen any photos because I loaned my camera to Sister P who has actually misplaced it]), my tooth is not really a concern anymore, and your Samoan missionary is probably interested in this mission because there are heaps of Poly's, or Polynesians and islanders, in this mission- I wouldn't be surprised if he knew one of them. D and K won't be being baptized this Saturday, but if all goes well, A is scheduled to be baptized on the 11th.
Now, to report on the past week. It was, for the most part, a week in which we did work mostly with the members. The P's were out of town on holiday for the past two weeks, so Elder P and I were forced to adapt and start visiting the members that we don't often visit. With this also came the opportunity to begin missionary lessons with them so that they can start teaching their friends about the gospel. As a result, we've more or less hyped the branch up for doing missionary work, which is always a good thing. Though there are lots of things in Broken Hill that make missionary work challenging, it is a missionary's dream come true when the members get on board as well.
Church attendance was greater than last Sunday, though no investigators came to church. A. didn't come because her ride didn't actually wake up to take her, so that was a bit of a downer, especially since this is her week, but all is well. Elder P and I were called by assignment to be the First and Second Counselors to M, who has been called to be the Young Men's President! To be honest I'm not sure how this is going to work out- M needs something to keep involved so he can continue learning and growing in the gospel, but at this point, the only young man we have probably knows more than M does. Still, M is excited and ready to fulfill his calling- probably because he has no idea what he's getting into! XD
Sleeping has been a bit rougher these past two weeks- mostly just spooky things happening in the flat, not unlike what occurred in Darwin and whatnot.  Not to worry, though- it's all part of the Plan and Heavenly Father wouldn't suffer such things to happen if He didn't think it was going to benefit us in some way.
To be honest, but hopefully keeping with the doctrine that we should not worry or concern those back home, I can only say that this week has been one of emotional, mental, and spiritual fatigue. I don't believe I've ever struggled to feel the Spirit so much -which is evidence enough that something needs to change- and I've never been so exhausted mentally- for a time, it felt as though my drive or my will to do good had just left me this week. That is to say nothing of the emotional toll that I seemed to have been smacked over the head with. I did what I knew to do to stave such things off, such as turning to the scriptures in deeper study so as to gain a greater knowledge or understanding, focusing on making my prayers more meaningful and less rote, and I even found it necessary to complete a self-assessment used in tracking a missionary's overall status in fields such as physical, mental, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual. I was concerned when I found that I ticked more things off that needed looking into than when I had been at my lowest points in Darwin. Clearly this is no good, BUT I woke up feeling good this morning -tis the start of a new day and a new week, after all- and I know where I need to concentrate my efforts. The first place to start is to stop worrying about myself- selfish and self-oriented thinking never did me any good in recovering from setbacks, regardless of their category, and so I've committed to work even harder this week and really put myself out there and do whatever it is that I can to really serve others and that means more than doing dishes after tea for the members.

But I am well- the Lord is looking after me AND this is part of His plan for me. It requires that I be stretched and tested and pulled and pushed until all my rough edges are sanded down. This is the process of becoming refined, and though it is definitely not fun in the moment, I have yet to look back at a rough or tough time and not be thankful for the experience. Usually the thanks only comes after the trial has been overcome, but I think that's okay.
I love you all and pray that you are all well and finding yourself in with the Spirit's company wherever you may be.
-Elder Schomburg

[I know that many of us experience a "let down" following the excitement and busyness of the holidays and missionaries are no different.  While the start of a new year can be exciting and full of promise, it can also be an overwhelming time filled with feelings about the need to change and grow. It appears that Elder Schomburg is doing some important self-reflection and experiencing the associated effects of knowing that he wants to do and be better.]

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