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

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