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