Unfortunately I do not have as much time to email anymore (dang) so these are going to be brief and hopefully to whatever extent the Lord wills, spiritual. This day finds me in Adelaide, serving in the Firle Zone in the Evandale area. My companion is (drum roll) Elder Taylor!!! haha, who would've guessed that!? You're not supposed to whoop or shout for joy in transfer meetings, but I really wanted to! XD It was funny though, because as Elder Taylor and I talked about ALL of our past experiences and swapped manly stories about Tennessee and the MTC and our areas here, we couldn't help but feel that maybe it was too good to be true. I didn't unpack my bags until I knew for sure that I was staying in Evandale, because part of me still thinks this is all just a big misunderstanding and I should be serving somewhere else, but I guess that's always been my initial reaction when good things happen! XD
[Elder Taylor and Elder Schomburg spent some time together in the MTC in Provo while waiting for their visas. They also traveled to the Tennessee Nashville Mission where they served temporarily while still waiting for their visas and then they traveled together to Australia. I do believe Elder Taylor and his former companion were the host companionship to Elder Schomburg and Elder Prouting when they visited Adelaide for the mission Christmas celebration as well.]
I had the opportunity to drive from Mildura to Adelaide, so I guess you could say that I embarked upon my first great road-trip from the driver's seat while on my mission in Australia. The drive was scenic, and long, but Elder F helped to keep me entertained with more than the road... until he fell asleep for a time. We spentnight in Modbury, and then had transfers . The Evandale area is the closest area to the mission office- I fear that I may have done or hinted that I was going to do something wrong in the eyes of President Carter, but there are other solid missionaries here, so I suppose I'm not all that bad.
I'm excited to use what I learned in Broken Hill out here. I can see at least a little as to why the Lord brought me here- some missionaries are still smashing old ways, like actually planning to tract places (no good). I'm excited to share the success that I was able to experience by working alongside the members in Broken Hill with these missionaries, and hopefully everyone will cling on to "the wave."
I was heartbroken when I left Broken Hill... I love Broken Hill... nothing else I say can truly relate just how much I do love Broken Hill, and the people there and the members and investigators... I loved it, and I'm grateful to the Lord for having granted to me such a wonderful experience that has truly blessed my life.
I was humbled this week by President Carter (last week I sent a letter to him in the spirit of rebellious contention) and I want to spare the details, but suffice it to say that I'm learning that obedience to the Lord's commandments are not so much about reaping blessings that will make us successful missionaries- it's more about showing love for the Lord. I love the people, and have learned to love them... now I have to show the Lord that I love Him, too, and if I can come to love Him as much as I love His children, I know that it will be well with me.
I can say though, as a point of interest, that this transfer I did not feel anxious or worried or concerned, at least not as much as usual. I assume my blood pressure probably spikes around this time because my heart doesn't really slow down for days leading up to and during transfers, but this time I was comforted by the Lord's Spirit. Elder Prouting and I knew something was coming, and we both knew that one of us had to go... he just ended up being the one the Lord needed to stay in Broken Hill, and to be honest, he is the better missionary for it- I don't know what I would do with a new companion in Broken Hill- it's so unique that unless a missionary is willing to adapt, nothing will happen in that area. But that's another story for another time.
Evandale... that is my new area. Elder Taylor had been praying for a companion that he could work with, someone humble and diligent and someone he could have righteous fun with. I don't know about humble, but I can promise that he'll get at least 2/3 of his prayer answered. XD He told me that he always knew we would be companions someday- I was hopeful in that but didn't believe it would ever happen. How blessed am I to be with such a well-refined, patient, humble, and loving companion! I love Elder Taylor, and we're extremely unified- the other missionaries have already told us that it is evident in the way we teach during role-plays.
I do feel the pressure- coming into an area that hasn't baptized very much with a track record of having baptized twice in a newly opened area definitely turns heads, and I can be honest in saying that I definitely feel hawks' eyes on me... the Lord will provide for my comfort and ability in delivering more than what is expected of me here. I can feel it, though... I can definitely feel the eyes, and I don't really like being put under a microscope, but if they are looking to learn, then I hope they learn heaps, even if it comes at my pride's expense.
I love you all so very much- the only exhortations I have to you is to please keep the Lord close in all that you do. Focus on your personal prayers- you are conversing with our Heavenly Father, who is our Father, of course, but He is also the Creator of All, and if not for Him, we would simply not exist. Read the scriptures with purpose, and not just to read them- study them out, dig into them, and learn from them. Be humble enough to be taught from on high. Prepare yourselves properly for receiving spiritual insight before praying and studying from the words of the Lord's prophets. I promise that if you will do these things, you will see the Lord's hand in your life so much more; you will be humbled because of the knowledge that He will bless you with, and you will be strengthened and learn and grow as you put to practice that which you learn. A gift is meaningless if we do not use it, and revelation from on high is a gift to be truly treasured indeed.
I love you all very much, I hope I don't sound too preacher-esque, and I pray that the Lord will watch over and guide you all in your ways continually, no matter your circumstance, trials, or successes.