Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Year and a Few Days... Week 53

G'day all!
Again, I'm short of time- what I'll be sharing with you is what I wrote to President, and though much else happened throughout the week, I have not time sufficient enough to communicate it all... sorry! =/ First, though... HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROBBY!!! On my side of the world, you're already 11, but on you're side, you're still 10 (try to figure that one out if you can XD). You're the best little brother in the world, I love you heaps, and I hope you have heaps of fun at the zoo and Golden Corral!!! Alright, on to one of my adventures for this week.

Baby Robby and Jeffrey when he was about 11 years old.

This week was a good one (not that the others aren't good, this was just particularly good). The spiritual highlight for this week for myself would have been when we met a man on the street late one night. We'd just finished tracting, it was about 8:00PM, and we were going to head back to the suburbs closer to our flats in hopes of making contact with some formers or less-actives. We hadn't found anyone on the street whilst tracting, which had dampened our mood just a bit- my companion seemed frustrated with it, so I did my best to keep my chin up. We first contacted a lone sister that was standing on the dark street by herself. Perhaps we shouldn't have, as it may have looked bad, but I felt pity towards her- a young woman left alone on a street in the dark waiting for a ride in a fairly dodgy part of town by herself is a very vulnerable target for those with evil intentions, so I thought the least we could do is try to teach her the gospel, and if she wasn't keen, at least keep the conversation going until her ride arrived- as her brother and as a gentleman, I couldn't just leave her there by herself. As Elder H engaged in talking to her, a man rounded the corner. I wasn't so sure of him at first, and felt that maybe it had been inspired that we had met the young woman when we had, but as he passed he said something interesting.

"Gabriel's coming."

Elder H and I and the young woman exchanged various glances. Immediately I thought, "Oh no, he's one of the Revelations blokes that stay up too late reading into 'deep doctrine'" and all the rest of it, when he went on to ask us,

"Are you prepared? I'm prepared."

Fearing that perhaps my suspicions had been confirmed, and seeing that the young woman looked very uneasy at that time, I opted to inquire as to what the man was saying, with the intention of following him to his house (if it wasn't far off) and if I could manage, I was eager to try to teach him. As it turns out, his house was right where we were. I engaged a conversation with him anyways, and asked him about Gabriel. He told me what he knew as far as his knowledge was concerned, and then in surprise said, "I thought you'd know about Gabriel- you've got a statue of him on your building." I then clarified and told him that the angel atop the temple was actually the angel Moroni. He was curious- who was Moroni? I then taught very simply about how Moroni was a prophet in a distant land, and that some of his writings were recorded in what we call the Book of Mormon. This perked his interest intensely. By this time, Elder H had finished his conversation with the young woman -who had been picked up by her ride- and he joined in the conversation. We tried to control it as much as possible, but the man went off talking about all sorts of conspiracy theories and the end of the world and all the rest of it. I wasn't so sure about him, but his openness to the Book of Mormon and just the simple doctrines I had taught him about prophets intrigued me- even if he was crazy, he had more than an 8-year old's understanding of scriptures and things of the world, and maybe his worries about the end of the world could be silenced with more gospel knowledge. Regardless, we spoke for a very long time, Elder H, myself, and the man, whom we came to know as Allan.

At the end of our discussion, he actually invited himself to church and inquired as to where it was. We told him, exchanged contact information, left him with a Restoration pamphlet, and told him we would talk about the Book of Mormon and the pamphlet next time we saw him.

He never showed up to church, but I think there's definitely potential there. He said he had to be careful about what he said because the government was close to locking him up for being crazy, but I think that if one can recognize that they're crazy, they're not crazy. His eagerness to learn more was just astounding, though- whether it's real interest or not is unknown to myself at this time, but I'm excited to go see him again.

This past week we only had one MML (member missionary lesson), but he wrote down several more names and has a plan to give the Proclamation to one of his mates upon his mate's return from Bali. As for other MML efforts, we were actually more occupied this week than we thought we would be with other missionary activities (teaching, finding, etc.), so we didn't go around to see as many members as we had intended. We did have an MMC (Member Missionary Contact [just asking them to say a prayer on behalf of our finding efforts, and we call them later telling them who we found as a result]) with Brother P, and we stop by on occasion to Sister H's and have a prayer with her in the driveway- she dropped us tea yesterday evening at 5 and after we asked if we could do anything for her, she expressed that she truly appreciated it when we dropped by just to say a prayer for her or ask her to pray for our finding efforts (we have an MMC with her every now and again on top of prayers out of the blue). "By small and simple things shall great things be brought to pass" (Alma 37:6) is the scripture that comes to mind when these little things happen. I just hope -rather selfishly- that I can see what the great things are when they come around, but if it's not in my time while serving in Evandale, I'll still be happy.

All else is well- my companion and I are helping each other to be obedient, despite my lack of understanding with some little things. I've decided that -though I pride myself on getting answers and reasons for everything and not committing to anything unless I know exactly why it is that such things should be done- I just want to be obedient; I feel better when I follow the rules and the Lord has already shown me more mercy than I can properly repay Him for- in this life or the next. The least I can do is follow a few rules, regardless of why we have them (and I'm just talking about the little things, which I understand make all the difference).
We also taught Eustina and her husband Lucas- they didn't come to church, unfortunately, and she's hesitant about what we have to say about a prophet being on the earth today ("beware of false prophets" and all) but she has agreed to pray about the message, and that's all we can ask of her. After all, we won't be the ones to convert her or her husband- the Spirit will.
Well, I'm not sure what else to say. As far as working with members goes, I have President Carter's full support and my actions are sanctioned by the top dog (Mildura shout WHOO-HOO!!!), so I fully intend to prioritize seeing the members heaps now, regardless of what anyone tells me to do (it's like on those movies when the CIA comes in and just smashes what everyone else is doing because they have permission to, with Elder H and myself being the CIA XD). I miss you all, I'm thinking of you all... and it's been over a year (shh... don't tell anyone that).
Elder Jeffrey Schomburg 

Monday, March 24, 2014

It's Been So Long... Week 52

Good Morning!
Elizabeth is officially the man for taking on the play directing- (Mildura shout) WHOO-HOO!!!
Andrew is officially the man for going on a date with such a tall girl (Mildura shout) WHOO-HOO!!!
Robby is officially the man for being awesome (Mildura shout) WHOO-HOO!!!!
My parents are the man because they are continually AWESOME!!!! (MILDURA SHOUT) WHOO-HOO!!!!
Well, I can't say very much has changed since last writing home 4 days ago. The week finished out on a bit of a flat note instead of a high note- our indicators were very low, yet we had worked very hard. It was one of those frustrating things where you're the farmer that reaps with a sickle and not a combine harvester- you work the hardest but hardly see any results. So that was a bit disappointing, and during our Call-In Summary Report last night (where the District Leader calls you up and you report on your efforts throughout the week) Elder L suggested that we work more with the members and that I specifically apply what I learned to do in Broken Hill. That was a bit of a "Well, duh!" moment in my life, but I'm a bit apprehensive about taking that approach here in Adelaide, or rather, here in the heart of the mission. Here's the thing:
In Broken Hill, the members were excited to meet us- they hadn't had missionaries in a long time, so their eagerness to do the Lord's work was already up there, and there was a buzz about having missionaries in the branch again. Once we started working with the other members of the branch, we actually took our time with it- we would go to their homes about three times, offering whatever service we could, sharing scriptures, singing hymns, and just trying to uplift and strengthen them spiritually. About the third or fourth time going over, we would introduce the MML (Member Missionary Lesson) which basically -if performed correctly, which is a bugger to do- is supposed to result in the members telling the missionaries about their missionary work, at which point the missionaries encourage the members to start inviting their friends to learn about the gospel through one way or another. We found that -because we had visited the members beforehand and had really made an effort to build friendships with them- the members were extremely ready to let us help them do their missionary work. We saw baptisms from it, and they saw even more baptisms from it after I left. 

Sadly in my current area, it is difficult to get to know and work with the members.  Because they have been so pressed to do missionary work in the past, when any conversation of missionary efforts is brought up, the members spit out everything they know at the speed of light and then close the subject with something along the lines of "So we're doing it but our friends just aren't keen right now." Then they look at you with anxious and worried and tense smiles, and everyone becomes uncomfortable. That is not how missionary work gets done. So this week Elder H and I are going to try to do the best we can with Broken Hill-styles member work- I'm sure the members will be very surprised when we drop in for the sole purpose of saying "Hi, can we sign a hymn with you? We want to get to know you."  Missionaries should not treat members as though the members' sole purpose in life is to do missionary work, because it's not- we need their help, but members have lives and are not called to spread the gospel on such a devoted scale as full-time missionaries.
So now that I've explained all that... this week one of our families dropped us. The JW's won- we didn't have a good enough first lesson with them to get continued return appointments and we took too much time, as we feared- the main reason they cancelled with us was because they felt they did not have enough time with our missionary lessons on top of the JW's lessons. Our last lesson with the husband involved us sharing the Book of Mormon with him. Knowing that we were going to be dropped, Elder H and I bore raw testimony of the things we know to be true, taught him about the Book of Mormon and how it is another testament of Jesus Christ that cannot and does not replace the Bible, and we left him with one. Maybe he'll read it or read some passage that will prick his interest and eventually result in inviting us back. We left him our contact information and have permission to drop in once in a while to say, "hi" (on the doorstep, sadly), but we did all that we knew to do. We still haven't taught that woman from Papua- she's studying at uni right now, which makes life a bit more hectic for her, as she's also raising two children, but she texts us and gives us heads up about when she has to change her schedule or when a good time for her would be for us to come over, so there's still a lot of promise there. Another man, Frank, we've learned is a solid investigator- he invited us into his home, actually read the Restoration and Family Proclamation pamphlets (rare), and we hope to start teaching him a bit more seriously  (our first lesson with him was very brief).
I've also earned the nickname "Lightning Bolt" within the district for being quick on my feet and difficult to beat while playing at morning sport... just fyi. XD
I love you all! TTFN!!!
-Elder Jeffrey Schomburg

I think this is Elder Taylor along with Elder Schomburg
mugging for the camera.

I have no idea. :)

Elder Schomburg and Elder H at the Adelaide Temple.

Elder Schomburg and Elder T - Adelaide Temple

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Revelation... Week 51

G'day all!
First off, thanks to all who wrote me! I am really bad about writing back, so I'm really sorry! Sister Welch, Nan (Grandma), Nanna (Grandma Ruth), Ms Stiles, Sister Peterson, everyone else whom I haven't mentioned... THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL THE CARDS, AND LETTERS, AND WORDS OF WISDOM AND ENCOURAGEMENT!!! I say it every week, but I'll try really hard to get some thank you's out in writing. And thanks Mum for sharing your experiences continually- I enjoy learning from your past experiences!
P-Day was today (Thursday for me, Wednesday for you) because we went to the temple again! I must say, I enjoy going to the temple quite a lot. I feel a bit bad for the other missionaries- we have to leave en masse, and I'm always the last one out of the Celestial room... I don't like leaving the Celestial room because the presence of the Lord is felt tenfold, and the flow of revelation (hence the title) is SO much easier to receive, evaluate and analyse, and commit to. I always try to take a few questions into the temple, whether they be of a personal nature or missionary nature, because it is always so much easier to receive answers within the Lord's holy houses. I thought I might expound upon my experience after I tell of the remarkable findings this week!
We found two families this past week! Though this current week is going VERY slow, last week we found two families that we're currently attempting to teach. The first family we found... oh, I'll tell the whole story. We went at 11AM to go to a return appointment to a home of Muslim men. I wasn't expecting much to come out of that meeting- in my past experience, most Muslims are very firm in their beliefs, which is not a bad thing- it is good to be confident in your beliefs. At first, a little old nan opened the door and immediately flung it shut. Elder H and I stood in wonderment and decided that the nan wasn't going to let us get by. As we turned to leave, the man we had contacted several days prior walked up to his flat, and we crossed paths. He wasn't eager to talk (surprise-surprise), but Elder H is exceptionally skilled at getting people to slow down and give you a minute of their time. This minute turned into 45 minutes, in which the man blamed the calamities of the world on Christianity, named all Americans terrorists, called all Christians hypocrites, and explained why me and my companion were going to be thrust down to hell for believing in Jesus Christ. Elder H became a bit angered, and I could not say I was feeling a very Christlike love for this man at this point. We did not dispute anything he said in a confrontational manner and basically turned cheek after cheek, exercising as much patience as we could.  As Elder H and the man exchanged words, I was slammed by the Spirit. Though I did not hear a distinct voice or anything of the sort, I knew it was time to leave. So I stepped forward, made to look as though I was going to break them up, and Elder H caught on. He extended his hand, we exchanged false pleasantries, and as he mocked our impatience towards him, we parted ways. We proceeded to our bikes, fuming, checked our next location, and began to ride off. To say I was angry was an understatement- who was he to tell me that despite my good deeds to the world, I was going to hell for my belief in a Saviour? Regardless of the dark thoughts that occupied my head, I had time to rewind and back up. Where had I gone wrong? I had stayed there for too long- I should have cut my companion's teaching short after learning that the man's occupation was to debate with all religions in the world, and we should have left thirty minutes earlier. What could I have done better? I could have testified of what I know to be true before leaving. I could have looked at him with more Christlike eyes and seen the good and concentrated on that. I should have been more understanding of his disposition towards Christians and Americans- his wife is still in Syria which is still a war-torn country, and her safety is at risk.
We stopped outside of the flat complex where we were supposed to meet a former investigator. Elder H pulled up, we locked our bikes, and before heading up, I paused.  "Let's say a prayer." I said with much sorrow. I had not done right in the eyes of my Heavenly Father in my conduct towards our Muslim brother, and I could not bring myself to continue sharing the good news that we offer without a spirit of joy and glad tidings. I could not teach without the Lord's Spirit accompanying me. I could not let such a thing happen again. Elder H slowly walked back to where I was, and we bowed our heads. I offered to say it. I have found that the initial reason why I pray for those who I feel have wronged me is because it's mechanical- when you don't understand someone, pray for them. As I started to pray, I paused for a time, searching for the words which I should offer up to Heavenly Father. I soon found myself asking for the man to be blessed, for his wife to be kept safe, for his heart to be softened and for him to feel of God's love for him. I asked forgiveness for having not conducted myself in a Christlike manner. After I finished praying, I felt a very solemn feeling overtake me- I knew how the Lord felt towards our Muslim brother, and I knew how he felt towards us. I was reminded of when my mother once rebuked my sister and I for continually fighting, in which she made mention that it broke her heart to see two people she loved unconditionally to such extremes verbally abuse and accuse the other of treacherous deeds. I couldn't help but feel that's how Heavenly Father felt, and I was very low in spirit as I ascended the stairs to the top floor of the flat complex. I took heart in knowing that the Lord loved me, though, for recognizing such error in my ways so quickly, and for having sued for forgiveness before yet attempting to teach once more. 

We reached our former's address and knocked the door. A woman opened up, holding a toddler in her arms- a second toddler ran to hide in the background, with a cheeky smile upon his face. Mustering as much of a smile as I could and as cheerful a voice as I felt possible, I introduced myself and my companion, shook the lady's hand, and asked if she was who we were looking for. She was not- she had actually just moved in from Papua just three months prior, and was attending a small church just down the road. We quickly began to teach her about eternal families, and how she could be sealed to her children and husband for time and all eternity with the proper Priesthood authority. She was extremely receptive to the message and accepted a return appointment, when her husband is going to be home. We'll be seeing her tomorrow. I truly felt the blessings of the Lord in that one- she was such a kind and sweet soul, and she was intrigued by what we had to say. I pray that her husband is just as open as she is (as we all know, the males can be a bit more... stubborn, or hard-headed).
Not only that, but in trying to contact a former investigator, we yet again met a new family. They are Hindu-Christians, and have been learning with the Jehovah's Witnesses for the past year. When we asked for a time to sit down and teach them about the Restoration, they agreed to have us over an hour after the JW's. The husband, eagerly wanted to know what made us different, and though we tried to explain a number of times, it took patience and diligence before he finally understood the message. He seemed skeptical, up until Elder H and I taught about Joseph Smith's first vision. For whatever reason, in my experience as a missionary, I have taught many people who have had heaps of questions about nothing that matters, and just when it seems like it's time to give up on teaching them because of their numerous concerns towards things that do not truly matter, or things that will be learned over time, the First Vision has always silenced all lesser concerns. Silence filled the room as we taught R and his wife about the Restoration, and for a moment, I thought we had them. We had overstayed our welcome though, and it was time to depart, but we've recently received training that I truly believe will benefit that family greatly if Elder H and I can apply it correctly. The Lord truly does bless us.
Now on to this temple experience. This week has been focused on receiving revelation. For myself, I have discovered a pattern that has most helped me receive revelation. It includes: asking a question in sincere prayer, pondering and thinking it out as we are taught to, studying the words of God, and praying for confirmation after a conclusion is made. If it's not the right conclusion, I know because I'm either still confused or I receive nothing (as is taught in the scriptures). When it is right, though, the feeling is... exciting. I know the Lord communicates to me primarily through my thoughts (as my feelings are a bit.. unstable, and difficult for me to trust). But I know the Lord has answered me time and time again by simply impressing a thought in my mind that I would not have thought to think in the first place... that is to say, the thought was not my thought, though it occurred in my head. It's difficult to explain, and that's my failing as a teacher, but I hope you understand me to some degree. On other occasions though, the Lord has actually guided me to something that was much more physical, as He did today. I entered the temple with at least three questions (as I normally do, because seeking revelation within the temple is much easier to do than outside of it, at least in my experience). The third question must not have been important because I forgot what it was (and was not answered, for that matter... those two are probably connected XD). The first question was more personal and shall not be disclosed at this time, but the second was about my area. I wanted to know what the Lord wanted me to do differently, or what I could be doing differently to increase the pace of the work in my area, to see more results. As I pondered on both questions, I felt instructed by an ever very still thought to go to the Epistle of James. I enjoy that book quite a lot, and as per the usual, did not understand why the Lord would direct me to such a book. Nevertheless, as I sat in the Celestial room, I grabbed the Holy Bible and turned to James. The first verse I read was in chapter one, verses 3 and 4 I think. I cannot quote it directly, and I do not have my scriptures with me, but suffice it to say that the scriptures basically said that through trials of faith, patience was gained, and being patient is what the Lord wants us to be. To be honest, I had received this answer for both questions prior to this experience, but the Lord was merciful and found it fit to spell the answers out right in front of my face so that one as unfaithful as me could not doubt it any longer. Patience... patience was His answer to me for both questions. Relevant to the first question, and without disclosing much about it, the Lord was telling me to watch, and to wait; to be patient and to wait and watch what unfolded. I know that the Lord has something in mind, though He did not reveal it to me- I was told to be patient, and to wait. Relevant to what could I be doing differently in the area, the Lord did not tell me. Instead, he told me to be patient. This answer is much like an answer I received while serving in Malak. My companion and I were unsure of what to do- the work was slow, the people's hearts were hard or lacking commitment, and we were breaking our backs physically, mentally, even spiritually, as we tried to hasten the Lord's work. I am at this stage once more- the work is slow, the people's hearts are -for the most part- very hard, and I don't know what else to do beside that which I am already involved in doing. I only know that time has become precious to me and I am so tired that sleeping is -as it was in the MTC- simply blinking, with my eyes opening just in time for the alarm to go off, if that makes sense. Nevertheless, the Lord's answer was clear. He wants me to be patient, and to endure faithfully and diligently. I'm sure He has something great in mind for the Evandale area, and I may or may not be here to witness it- I don't know. Whatever it is though, it is not expedient that I know it at this time, so I shall do as the Lord has directed me to do, and be faithful and patient as I wait on Him. This is His work, after all, not mine; I am just His instrument.
Well, that's about all I have to say. The rain we had this week shows signs of perhaps an early winter, but it's been sunshiny and hot the past two days (warm is more appropriate compared to past temperatures I've experienced). I'm happy and healthy, and eagerly awaiting emails and mail from everyone at home, as per the usual- I like to hear from you all, it does my heart good.
I love you all!
-Elder Jeffrey Schomburg

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Transfer 9!!! What??... Week 50

G'day all!

This is a bit late in coming, but transfers are pretty hectic. Nothing hectic really happened with me- I'm staying in Evandale with Elder H for this transfer. Yesterday we ate at Hungry Jack's and there were heaps of transferring missionaries there! I saw Sister B (it was really good to see her! She's been in Darwin for 5 transfers now and -like me when I first came down- doesn't know anybody, so I think she appreciated seeing a familiar face), Elder A (I still love him heaps!), Elder D (it hadn't been too long but it was still good to see him), Elder F (from Mildura), Elder B (my little "brother" by Elder L), Sister M and Sister C (from the MTC; heaps good to catch up with them!), and Elder B (Elder P's last companion) was down to pick up a new companion that he was taking back to Broken Hill. Elder P dropped in to our flat briefly and we had a brief exchange... he seemed different; quieter, maybe a bit more humble. He's been assigned as a district leader in another new area south of Adelaide (always knew he would be a district leader someday). Aside from that, apparently the mission is getting heaps of new missionaries every transfer and there are more yet to come next transfer. They expect that the numbers are going to die down as 2014 goes on, but suffice it to say that exciting things are going on in the mission... unless you're serving in Evandale. Sorry, that probably sounds bad, but it is a bit teasing to see such exciting things happening all around while being assigned to an area that has been saturated by missionaries because of its close proximity to the mission office (in other words, the work is going slowly here right now).

[I discovered early on that any name/person included in Elder Schomburg's blog can be found by a simple Google search; therefore, in case they don't want to be listed publicly, I choose to simply use their initials to protect their privacy. Sometimes I miss a name here and there and for that, I do apologize.]

Now, aside from my frustration with the pace of the work, I find it expedient to mention to all those interested that I have seen a real life koala in the wild... so to speak. Seeing a wild koala is rare apparently, and seeing it in a suburb is more rare, but it was right there, sleeping in a gumtree outside of the mission office, which is located in a quiet suburb.

This week I had an experience with Elder H in which we had just finished trying to follow up with yet more potentials that must no longer exist. My companion and I hit every suburb in our area, and he was very tired and irritated with the lack of results. I opted to take a break from follow-ups and sat down to make some phone calls to investigators and members. I was trying to give him an opportunity to rest and clear his head a bit, but he wanted to be staunch and tried for a brief time to do street contacting. Having yielded nothing from it, he shortly came back and asked me how the calls had gone. I told him we had two set appointments with some recent converts and had made arrangements to talk to a member about his MML investigator. Then we debated about what to do next. It was clear that he was done with what we were doing, but he also wanted to stick to the plans. I was a bit more lenient with the plans (as I was taught, planning is more or less showing the Lord that you're invested in your area, but sometimes the Lord has different things in mind, so He makes it known to you the following day and you have to change plans... at least that's how I've looked at it). I asked Elder H if he wanted to stick with the plan (follow up even more) or go street contacting. He made an argument to do both, which sort of confused me because he made it sound as if he wanted to do the other as soon as we made a decision, but finally he decided on street contacting, and left choosing the area up to me.

I picked a direction and started to go down it. The street was vacant to start, but I knew that it would come out on a busier one. As we went though, I kept my eye open for the wandering person, if there was one. A small green hill at the end of a lane perked my interest and I was drawn to it. I tried to argue with myself that going back was a waste of time, but then I remembered what Elder Pe taught about how the Holy Ghost would "work THROUGH you". I wondered if my curiosity was divinely inspired and was a means for the Holy Ghost to take me somewhere we should've been going, and I heard the still small voice confirm that ever so softly. I turned around and as I passed Elder H, who looked a bit irritated at the change in direction, I said, "I want to check something out." I went back to the lane and turned down it, and after riding down the lane to the green knoll, a park was revealed to the left. A father, with his two children, was at the park, which was in all aspects of the term, secluded from all distractions. At first I was intimidated- I didn't want to distract the man from his children, but I knew the Holy Ghost had led me there for a reason, and I'm sure that reason was to actually get Elder H's teaching skills to the father. We engaged him and he was very open, but did not accept a return appointment. Nevertheless, we left him with a Restoration and Proclamation pamphlet and Elder H proved to be a master teacher. He delivered the Restoration almost single-handedly, with me acting as his support and testifier. It was just a very cool experience for myself.

[I have learned through reading and listening that Australians frequently use “myself” where we would use “me” in American English. I have been correcting Elder Schomburg's usage in the past few blog posts, but will no longer be doing so. If you listen in your mind as you read, you can hear his Australian accent developing nicely. :) ]

Elder H mentioned that I somehow keep going and don't seem to have an off switch, which is a good thing, I think... I get just as tired as the next guy, but I think the thing that drives me is knowing that I'm not doing this for me- if it was for me, I might've thrown in the towel already, but I know that I'm serving for the Lord. The Lord has blessed me with so many things that I can't count them, and I find something(s) new to thank Him for every day- the least I can do is square my shoulders and work like a missionary should.

I should probably get going. Just know that I love you all heaps!

-Elder Schomburg

Monday, March 3, 2014

That Moment When... Week 49

G'day All!
Sorry for not emailing last week- 'twas a bit hectic around here. Suffice it to say though that I have been very well-fed down here (to the point that I'm very heavily considering passing our tea-dates on to other missionaries because I feel quite fat), I've been in good health, and I feel very happy. =D

Well, yesterday (my Sunday) was really quite interesting. As we were sitting there during Fast and Testimony meeting, a woman decided to take the stand. [The Church designates one Sunday each month, usually the first Sunday, as a day of fasting. Proper observance of fast Sunday includes going without food and drink for two consecutive meals, attending fast and testimony meeting, and giving a fast offering to help care for those in need. Members of the congregation are then encouraged to go to the pulpit and share their testimony of the gospel with everyone in attendance. It is typically a very spiritual and uplifting meeting.]   You would have thought that my interest would have been perked when she said, "This is not a testimony," but instead I was just as interested as with anything else. She had a sheet of paper that she started to read off of, and it listed various facts and dates when certain events happened and all the rest of it, so to be honest I became a little bored. This wasn't a testimony at all, and while I was waiting for her to tie it all back into the gospel, I became bored. Well, before long I saw members of the congregation start to exchange questioning looks. Sister G (the Relief Society president) leaned over and asked, "Is she allowed to be saying that?" Elder Taylor leaned over to me then and said, "Wow, this lady is just bashing Christianity." This perked my interest and I started listening in. Unfortunately, her voice was still sort of soft and we were in the back, so it was difficult to decipher everything she said, but it wasn't long before I got the gist of it- she was preaching against Christianity and trying to convert the congregation to Judaism... as a missionary, a representative of Jesus Christ and care-taker of His church to some degree, I wasn't sure what to do- approach the stand and ask her to step down, or wait to see what happened? There were a number of investigators and returning less-actives at church as well which made the situation all the more concerning. Bishop C then stood up, put his arm around her, and told her, "It's time to go, Lynn." She argued passively at first, finished her speech, and was taken from the pulpit. She walked back to her seat, stayed until the closing hymn, and then left early. I looked to President Carter for guidance, but when I didn't receive a "Go after her" motion or expression, I didn't move. Bishop then went to chase her down, and I don't know how that went. It was an interesting Sunday, to say in the least.
*Pause To Read Message From Home* =D
Sweet, wow, some crazy news! Elizabeth is going to BYU-I and Amber is going to Provo! As we do in Mildura (even though I'm not there, it's stuck with me) *high, girly pitch* WHOOOO-HOOOO!!! That is so COOL!!! My little sister is going to be Student Council President at BYU-I (don't even doubt or argue with that- some things are just indisputable truth ;D)! That is really cool! =D Elizabeth, if it's one thing I've learned it is that where you end up is where the Lord wants you to be and most probably needs you to be. I am a high-school anomaly, will have to take some remedial math courses, and it'll be a wonder if I get into BYU-I - But I know that the Lord needed me in Options [alternative program in high school]- for my own growth or for others, I do not know, but I was needed there. So maybe you didn't get where you wanted to be- that's okay! Because you are definitely going there for a reason! =D You are going to have SO MUCH FUN!!! Maybe that's why you're going- the Lord just wants you to have some fun for a little while (I might be a bit biased, but I've heard BYU is for the preppy people... who wants to hang out with preppy people? And don't you worry, I give Amber just as hard a time about that as anyone else who goes to Mormonville XD). No matter what, though, I want to tell you something I read just awhile ago. I won't get it exact, and I forget which apostle or prophet said it, but it went something like this: Someday, we're all going to have our personal interview with the Lord Jesus Christ. He won't care who we married- he'll ask us if we loved and cherished our spouse regardless. He won't care how many kids we have- he'll want to know what our relationship was like with each individual child. He won't care about what our job was or how much money we made- instead, he'll ask us if we did our best at it.

Just with this in mind (and he said a few more things of course), I don't think the Lord is really interested in where anyone ends up going to get their education, but rather, I think he'll want know if -once there- they did their best at it. Regardless, I know you'll be well-off in lovely Idaho! ;D
By the way... Elder Taylor just received a call from Elder L (our district leader) and our zone activity (which was supposed to involve running and chasing kangaroos and holding koalas) got cancelled... and he's (Elder Taylor) being ET-ed (Emergency Transferred)... well, I guess it was only a week until transfers anyways, and I didn't think we'd be staying together to be honest, but it is what it is... we'll see what happens and what it's all about...
I wish I had more time because there are more things that I'd like to talk about, but unfortunately I have to go now- my companion has to pack, say good-bye to some folks, and we've just got heaps more things to do now. Awesomesauce!
I love you all heaps!
-Elder Jeffrey Scott Schomburg