[Elder Schomburg is doing well, however he was busy with some administrative items this week and was unable to send an entry for his blog. Because it is one of our family's favorite talks, I have included Come, Join with Us from the October 2013 General Conference. It was given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. Enjoy!!]
Come, Join with Us
(The above link will take you to the video if you prefer to watch/listen to the address.)
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
As the title may have implied, I have yet to hear from my family! This is a rare occurrence indeed, and I hope to hear from them soon! I'm sure something very worthwhile has temporarily kept them, and that's okay!
[It was simply a matter of Elder Schomburg now writing much earlier than he has been. I was in mid-email when his message arrived in my inbox.] :)
This week was an average week- Elder Taylor and I are stuck in some kind of rut and I'm trying to be the one who acts first and gets us out of this rut. He's been in the area for 3 transfers and is therefore becoming a bit less excited for going out and doing the work. Unfortunately I haven't contributed very well to the situation because I, too, am feeling a bit more... apathetic. This is not good. The scriptures teach us that bad things happen to those who are apathetic in the work. I am aware of this, and have been feeling very uncomfortable in my state of apathy, which is why I am striving intensely to repent. I suppose I was just hit by a wave of thoughts that went somewhat like this: "Wow, it's almost been a year... that was a long year... you've got one more year... it'll probably be a long year (despite popular belief that it goes fast- a 24 hour day is 24 hours no matter how you look at it)... I'm kind of tired... this routine is getting old..." and things of the sort. However, I've been trying to remind myself of my conversion, the blessings I have seen in the work, the blessings the gospel has brought to me and my family, and how much of a happier person I am because I have what I do. I have then taken these thoughts and tried to use them as a motive for preaching the gospel more intensely than I have been. As I expressed my feelings to Elder Taylor, he agreed with me and has committed to help change things and spice it up a bit. The mission -as we've learned through various trainings and musings during our studies- is much like a miniature life experience. You're born, have no idea what's going on, don't know anything about anything, but you have the gospel (something very few are blessed with)! Then you get a bit older (6 months) and you start to figure things out and start to find your stride and are working pretty well. You're pretty strong in the Church at this point.
This is where I'm at: almost a year, which puts me at halfway through my life, and I'm less-active. I'm getting kind of anxious with doing the same things, I'm starting to become a bit more rebellious because I have at least an idea of what the mission is like and there are things that I'm finding that I don't like that I think should be done differently (so this would be experiencing more pride than usual), I don't really like the idea of having to repeat that which was just done one more time (because it was hard and difficult and it took a long time), and I've already experienced some success (which makes it easy to rationalize and say "Yep, my two mites are in there!"). None of this is very good, and it makes me pretty mournful to be in such a situation because I don't want to be where I am currently in my spiritual life as a missionary. I want to be the hard-working, never-failing, can-do, the-man type of missionary who everyone knows can get it done. The worst part is that the other missionaries know that I can be exactly that when I'm in the mood, which makes it look pretty bad when you're not doing all of the things that you are capable of doing. I feel really bad. I feel really really bad, because I know that I can do better than that which I have been doing in recent weeks. I know that I am a better missionary than this; I know that the Lord called me to be here for a reason that was divinely inspired, and that reason is more than likely to find, teach, and baptize those whom He has prepared to enter His Church. I know that I have not been doing my part in re-exciting my companion to do the work in an area that he has been in for some time. I know that the Lord is probably not smiling at my performance right now, because He knows more than anyone that there is a very large gap between what I have put out this past week and what I am capable of putting out. I just need to square my shoulders and work.
Aside from that, I don't have very much to report. We had a solid Member Missionary Lesson with a family that's not in our area. As it turns out, most of the members we work with are not in our area, but are actually in the Assistant's area- I think this may be due to the Assistants always having administrative things to do within the mission, which makes it a bit more difficult to do missionary work. Regardless, most of the members that like to have us over for meals are in their area, so -with permission from the Assistants- we've started working with them on a missionary level. This has fed us twice now, and we have a really good relationship built with them! They love to have us over and love to talk with us in church and all the rest of it, which is really cool! When we shared the MML (Member Missionary Lesson) with them, they were open about who they were working with personally, and they even felt comfortable enough that they were willing to discuss their fears and apprehensions about doing further missionary work with their friends, or rather, taking their missionary work to the next level. We were able to uplift them spiritually and give them the encouragement they needed in the moment. The Lord's Spirit prompted Elder Taylor and I to extend the promised blessings the Lord had in mind for their family if they continued doing their missionary work, and in the end, the three of them committed to inviting their friends over for tea the next time we came. Elder Taylor and myself are eager to see what happens- the Restoration is a great lesson to discuss over the table, and we'd love to have a few strangers over to listen in on it ;D
That's about all I have to share this week. I love you all heaps!
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
G'day from the Land Down Under!
This week, I have felt inspired to clear up a few things concerning myself and my missionary work. I also wanted to ask some questions for those who are back home, share my spiritual experiences from this past week and last night, and of course, let you all know that I love you!
First off, Monday's are P-Day's- I've emailed the past two timesand due to a mixed up schedule within the mission, at least in Adelaide, so I apologize for throwing things off. I'm grateful for those of you who wrote me anyways in hopes that Monday's were still P-Day's, because they are! Thank you! I also received some mail from home (indirectly from home, as well!). To clarify a few things, I'm not sure what I wrote home the week of or before, but to shed some light on the situation, I am not coming home early, and I apologize for leading anyone to believe that I would be. I know that sometimes I am very transparent with my writing home and will tell you just about anything you want to know in as much detail as my vocabulary can conjure- HOWEVER, no matter how low I may seem, this is the Lord's work that I am involved in, I LOVE it, and I am not leaving it until the time comes for me to leave it. I have found that early on in my missionary service, I was very tempted -should it have been offered- to come home early; the first three months are the HARDEST months for a missionary and one cannot really comprehend how or why until they've been there and done that. As time has progressed, I have become a better missionary, more skilled in finding and teaching and baptizing, and now that I have more than my testimony to rely upon, I can say that I LOVE being a missionary! It's interesting, really- when the time was still 24 months left, I wasn't opposed to coming home; as the time has gone on, I feel a little more anxious with each passing day about the prospect of actually coming home in 14 months, and that is because I am starting to fall in love with doing the Lord's work and I do not look forward to the time when I will have to part from it- if I feel this way now, I will feel tenfold in 14 months, and having to leave it will be a very difficult change to adjust to indeed. Nevertheless, I will be thrilled to come home!
Now, onto my questions for home! Where is everyone!? What is Elizabeth doing in school!? What's Robby occupying himself with!? How's work for Dad!? What's Mum doing and how fares the business thing!? What is Andrew doing at Uni ("Uni" is short for "university" which is what the Aussie's and Kiwi's call college)!? Has Grandma gone on any trips lately!? How much snow is there!? Are there any new things in Monument!? What's going on for Spring Break!? Does Elizabeth have a hopeful Valentine (if so, he must first get through me, and I am not afraid to call down angels or Cherubim and flaming swords to defend my little sister in my absence... and they will come...)!? Has Amber smashed anyone in Lacrosse yet!? Is she getting ready for her mission still?? Is Elizabeth getting ready for her mission?? Someone should quiz them both on random scriptures or controversial topics and ask them random as questions that missionaries get asked all the time - keep them on their toes and all ;D
Seriously though, I really REALLY wish that I had done more of that kind of thing before I came out into the field. I know that no one is obligated to do anything that I say or think they should do, but at least specifically for you, my dear sister Elizabeth (and I say this only because you are my younger sister so I can) you really really REALLY should start prioritizing prayers, scripture STUDY (not laid back reading), and delve into Preach My Gospel like the Lord' coming . I promise that if you study and start to memorize the key points found within Chapter 3, you will be much more prepared for your mission than anyone else who goes in with you. If you prioritize it, and if you really are serious about serving a mission, you must show the Lord your level of commitment, and as you do all you can to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ now, you will be all the more ready and prepared to serve the Lord in the field. He will be ready and willing to help you in a moment's notice if you show Him that He is a priority and comes first because of your desire to serve a mission. Trust me, Elizabeth- I understand that you are probably super busy and overloaded with things to do, but if you're going on a mission, all the things you're doing now are not going to matter for a year and a half in the near future. If you do this, Elizabeth, I promise that you will thank me later, and you will be a far better missionary than me, or Andrew, or anyone else ever was. Please don't put it off and say "I'll prepare later" because there is not time enough. The Lord needs sharpened razors as instruments to perform His work, not hacksaws and bone-breakers (like me!), if you know what I mean. Teenage life can definitely make it seem as though everything you're involved in now is the whole world and always will be and nothing is more important, but you will learn as a missionary that there is a LOT more to this life (mortal and eternal) than filling your days with running around doing random things (even if that is really fun... I kind of miss it...). Remember, our time here is given with a purpose as a time to prepare to meet God.
Speaking of Amber, what is the Mather family doing!? Who's gone on missions!? What's Sister Slade's mission like? (Can I get addresses for all of Monument Ward's missionaries somehow?). What about Sister Betts' mission (my mind is still blown that she left- I thought for sure she was getting married or something along those lines...)!? And Austin Bradley, has he turned in his papers yet!? Is he old enough to?? What about Brayden Baker? What of Mac!? Has he converted any Mexican cartel's yet!? GAH!!! I must needs have information please!!! Are there any new cars!? Tell me about the movies that I'm sure Elizabeth will take me to in the probable 6 weeks we'll have together when I get home! Details, details! Does home still exist in the way that I left it, or has it changed dramatically?? What is happening out there??? Please tell me everything you know! The little rote and boring things to you are actually of the most interesting things to me! Tell me about the last cheeseburger you ate for all I care, I want to hear everything from everyone!!! If it's not too much trouble to ask...
Okay, now that I've finished asking all the questions I could think of asking about anyone or anything... how about my week? This week, Elder Taylor and I found it expedient that we repent of a somewhat lazy streak. I love our companionship though, because he's humble enough to recognize that there are things that we both need to change and he's excited about making the changes that will make us better missionaries in the Lord's eyes, and more effective in His work. We've had a lot of fun this past week, though... perhaps a bit too much fun, and this is a danger we both felt straightaway when they told us we were companions. We knew that we'd be instantly unified and able to work seamlessly with each other, which would automatically make our companionship a suckerpunch to Satan's gut, but we also knew that the real danger was going to be mucking around too much and working too little. We recognized that we'd fallen victim to that this past week, and so we decided that some repentance was much in need. We fasted and worked harder than we have in awhile yesterday, and we hope to keep the trend up.
Last night, we also viewed an address by the Pacific Area Mission Presidency, in which we heard Elders Hamulla, Pearson, and I forgot the third one's name (blast!) but they're from the 70. They spoke on hastening the work, and how it wasn't just a catch phrase. The address was intended for the entire Pacific Area, and addressed all Pacific Area Missions (including mine, haha!). They exhorted the missionaries and members to start working together as full partners, and for the regular members not in full-time service to start doing missionary work anyways. The Lord's church has always been designed like this, and just because 2014 is being called the Hastening of the Hastening, there is nothing more special in this time than there should have been in any other time. The Lord truly is hastening His work, but we should've been doing this kind of thing a LONG time ago- the scriptures teach us that. Truly, when the elders of the Church began to teach and exhort, it became very clear to me that full-time missionary service is but a small fraction of the overall missionary work that needs to be done. It is essential and key, of course, to have full-time missionaries within the church, but there are 15 million members, and only 80,000 of them are full-time missionaries. If every member was doing his or her duty, and fulfilling their covenants to stand as witness of Christ in all things and in places, the work would hasten indeed. There are SO many ways for members to do missionary work, and coming from a full-time missionary, we really need your help. If you plan to serve a mission, don't look at it like you'll serve the Lord's children in however long and then serve as a missionary- serve them right NOW; they need your testimonies, and you have been given your conviction for a wise and divine purpose. If you've already served a mission, your service is not -and will not be- over until the Lord says the work is done! Every member is a missionary, every member has promised to do missionary work, and every member is expected to! The Brethren have not asked for the extreme- we know, and they know, that you have families and jobs and things to do. They asked specifically in this area for leaders and their quorum members to do something missionary-like, such as reach out to recent converts or less-actives, once a week. Surely the members of the Lord's church, who have been so richly blessed by the Lord, can set time apart enough for a 45 minute visit to one who is less active, or one who is struggling to make the adjustment that comes with becoming a member of the Lord's church.
I promise that these are not the words of a 20-year old full-time missionary who is caught up in the Lord's work- these are the words of the Brethren, who receive revelation from the Lord as to what His chosen people should be occupying their lives with. If we truly believe that there is a life after this one, we should all be anxiously engaged in doing all we can to prepare ourselves and our brothers and sisters in Christ for that life. Once this doctrine becomes internalized, I promise that your perspectives will be changed, and you will see just how trivial many of our occupations or issues or trials really are. The Lord is calling His people to repentance; we have ALL been called to serve as His missionaries, full-time or not. It is your choice to answer the calling in whatever fashion that you will, but it is my prayer that you will all do so in a manner pleasing unto God. I do NOT want to return to the same home I left- I want to return to a ward where the missionary work is pumping, and everyone is doing all they can to save as many souls as possible- not just cheering because the prophets have proclaimed that the work is hastening. Be actors, and not spectators. I know that by acting and doing our part, the Lord will sustain our efforts and bestow his miracles upon us, and I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
-Elder Jeffrey Scott Schomburg
Australia Adelaide Mission
P.O. Box 97
Marden, SA 5070
This day finds me very well- much more well than I have been in such a long time. Before I go into explanation, let me first recount what has happened this week. Apparently, because of some wise comments I shared in our past two district meetings, I seemed to have built an image of myself within the Firle district as being some master missionary- I just got back from trade-off with Elder L, my district leader whom I love dearly and am so grateful for having as my leader, and he told me that the zone leaders and even Assistants feel that I am an "asset" to the Firle district. I don't know how that happened. I told Elder Li last night that I felt as green as ever, as if my knowledge was comparable to that of a new missionary like Elder A, but Elder L, in a loving way, rebuked that straight away. Regardless of it all, I certainly know now that there are really are eyes watching my every move, and not just those of the people on the street, but also the leadership. I would voice my concern over this, but I know that it is taking place for a reason and I'm sure it is for a "wise purpose" known only by Heavenly Father at this time.
So, why is it that I am feeling so... at ease about everything? For the first time in 10 months, I was blessed with an opportunity to go to the Adelaide Temple. Because of the sacredness of the ordinances found within, I am not at liberty to divulge much of what I learned, but I can say this: for the past week and a half I have been preparing myself mentally and spiritually for the temple. I knew that the temple trip was coming up and I was determined to have a better experience than my first time going. In defiance, I even wore the same tie as I did when I went through for myself. I wish I could share openly all of the things which I was taught from on high as I was within the walls of the Lords' holy house, but some things -such as answers to prayers and revelations given- are of such sacred quality that I dare not give them away- such precious, spiritual enlightenment must be cherished and protected as though they would shatter if they were ever uttered to anyone.
For those of you who may not recall, I did not receive my own temple endowment well. I don't look back at my first temple experience with much fondness, and this is not something that I am proud to admit. I was scared and felt overwhelmed; Simply put, I had not prepared myself properly.
Of course, I was not going to write off going to the temple after going through once- that is not fair in any situation. I am grateful to Brother Christensen for having helped and guided me along my way by taking me to the temple continually before I set out for the mission field. These experiences -as I slowly came to humble myself- proved to be much better than my first time; I was learning more and began to understand that any covenants made could only bring a full measure of happiness- the kind that Heavenly Father wants ALL of His children to experience. Nevertheless, even as I attended the temple while at the MTC, I was still lacking (and am still lacking) in understanding. Having thus said that, however, I can say that if one properly prepares themselves to being taught by the Spirit of God, they will be taught, and they will experience miracles.
With my past temple track-record in mind, and knowing that I may possibly not see the temple again for some time, I decided that I was going to have an uplifting, spiritually filling, revelatory, celestial temple experience, and I was going to savour every last bit of it. I studied the areas of the scriptures that mention the temple; I studied the Church's other reading materials regarding the temples of the Lord; I prayed and earnestly sought to have a good temple experience. I am more than happy to report that I absolutely loved my temple experience this day (I just got back probably 2-3 hours ago).
Words are very ineffective at describing the spiritual and emotional feelings that accompany a truly celestial temple experience. As mentioned by countless prophets and apostles before, a detailed and well-written description of the temple -of the highest quality in writing and in the most accomplished language spoken today- could not clearly communicate that which is felt within the walls of the temple. Upon entering the Adelaide Temple's humble Celestial Room, I remained with Elder L until everyone else had gone (he stayed with me as he was my companion for the time being). I did not want to leave. I would say a prayer and thank the Lord for allowing me entrance and the honour and privilege of entering His holy house, but just when I had flexed my muscles in an effort to leave my chair, I found that I did not want to rise. I stayed for who knows how long, because I can truly say for myself that I felt God's love.
I will probably write more later, but I must go for now. I love you all so very much... and so does Heavenly Father...
|Adelaide Australia Temple|
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
[As of right now, we have not heard from Elder Schomburg, so with permission I have chosen to share a letter from our dear, sweet Sister Aubrey Sperry, who is serving in Brazil. She is an amazing missionary full of inspiration and love! I hope you enjoy taking a look at the missionary experience from the perspective of a wonderful young woman.]
Hello dear family,
I have decided that being a missionary is unlike any other experience because you literally feel a love for people that you have never felt before. You also feel a pain for them when you can see that the choices they are making are not helping resolve their problems. In Alma 31, it says this about his experience with the people:
´´O Lord God, how long wilt thou suffer that such wickedness and infidelity shall be among this people? O Lord, wilt thou give me strength, that I may bear with mine infirmities. For I am infirm, and such wickedness among this people doth pain my soul. O Lord, my heart is exceedingly sorrowful. Wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ. O Lord, wilt thou comfort my soul, and give unto me success in bringing this people unto Christ. Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.``
That is exactly how I feel. The other day I was incredibly tired, and although I love being a missionary it has been a rough road lately. A lot of our investigators are stuck in decision making and it is difficult at times to be patient with them and just love them through the process. I need to realize that while I can be part of resolving their problems, I alone cannot make this decision for them. They have to walk on their own two feet because salvation is individual. It's just that Heavenly Father has put a bunch of His angels in our path to help us all get there.
So I decided to fast for more love, patience, and strength. I know that when I do not have enough of these things, Father always does and is willing to give them to me to help His children. The fast went well. I decided to bear my testimony in church. But this time something was different. As I sat there at the front, looking out at those Brazillian people, something overwhelmed my heart. It was a love I had never felt before. Tears came to my eyes as I realized that I loved these dear people; that indeed their souls were precious to me, and I would do anything, even give my own life for these people that I love.
I bore my testimony of the unique experience that a mission is because we can feel just a tiny portion of what Christ felt when He felt the ´pains of the world.´ Truly you feel a love for others that is indescribable. I told them that I cry when they cry and am happy when they are. I am truly here to serve and love them. That´s why I decided to leave my wonderful life for a year and a half. Because more than they needed me, I needed them. I needed to know how the Savior feels about each and every one of us. Although I cannot comprehend a love that great, I do believe that I felt His love for them this week. How grateful I am for this experience.
Through all of my experiences, I am being molded into who Heavenly Father needs me to be. Sometimes it hurts, and sometimes I don't understand. But I am truly happy and different than I was. For this I am grateful. I know that my life will be forever blessed from all that I am learning. I can't believe 6 months have passed. I still have a lot to learn, so here's to a great year up ahead!
I love you all so much. When you are tired and you need energy, pray for it. When you are in need of patience, ask for His patience. And when you are lacking in love for others or yourself, His love is waiting there to be given.
Stay strong and have a wonderful week.
Love, Sister Sperry