The title of this entry refers to the "Stress Level Colors" which are used to describe where a missionary is emotionally and mentally. Simply put, green is good to go; yellow is sort of stressing it; orange is pre-mental breakdown; red is breakdown. I find myself, on this beautifulmorning, in the orange! Why is it that, you might be asking? Because being a district leader is HARD! Holy Moses- when they gave me the assignment I didn't want it, but I didn't know that I wouldn't want it this much until after my first Call-In Summary Report with my Zone Leaders! What a joy it is to be the district leader, which is (and I'm not saying this to sound boastful) arguably the most difficult assignment to receive as a missionary!
Last night I started Call-In's atwith my Zone Leaders- they're in my district, and therefore are my missionaries, and must first report their efforts in the Lord's vineyard to me. They had a very clear "vision" for the week which they opted to present in SWRT format (which is to say that they found the Strengths of the area, the Weaknesses, their Resolutions, and possible Threats). It was very thorough and I enjoyed it. At the same time I really didn't like conducting the call-in because I felt like I had no idea what was doing. I had been hoping to received further guidance from them afterwards but none came- we said a prayer and that was it. Then I started with the sisters in my district... a training that they gave to all the district leaders was to not dictate how a vision is presented, but it was highly recommended that missionaries use the SWRT or "Where We Are, Why We're There, Where We Want to Be, How We'll Get There" formats (I haven't come up with a short version of the latter type). Well neither companionships of sisters presented their visions in either way, and the information I received was limited, but I had no idea what exactly I was looking for or what was needed. Call-In's ended at about (a bit too close for comfort). I thought the call-in's had gone relatively well.
This morning I had to account for the efforts of the district to my Zone Leaders. As the call-in began and they started asking questions, I came to realize that I did not have the information that I was supposed to have received from the sisters in my district, I did not have answers to unexpected questions, and I did not truly understand what it was that the Zone Leaders were expecting. I felt angry and frustrated and annoyed about a great many things by the time they hung up the phone. I felt even more adamantly about my dislike for being assigned as a district leader, and I reckon I'll have this assignment for awhile because I don't want it, and I would like to be released from it- there is the cold, hard, honest truth. I. Do. Not. Like. My. Job.
[Elder Schomburg is nothing, if not honest. :) Keep reading...]
But what I like and want is completely and utterly irrelevant- the Lord has chosen me to watch over this district, and He did it for a reason, and He chose me because He knew I could do it. SO, even if I am experiencing a pre-meltdown, I have resolved to do all I can to be the best district leader there is. That being said, I am going to sit down with my Zone Leaders today, apologize profusely for not having been properly prepared for Call-In's, and ask them to set an expectation so that I can meet the demand and get things running smoothly. All I need is to know what's expected from me and I'll deliver, but it's hard to deliver something if you've got no idea what it is that's supposed to be delivered.
... sorry this isn't more spiritually filling... I'm sort of angry at the moment, which is just a masked emotion for something else... probably insecurity or self-doubt and what have you... such is my nature.
Something spiritual did happen this week, though! After District Meeting last week, Elder Aiono and I were lost coming home, but he felt like he was being led and I felt like it was the right way to go. We preached by the way as we traveled and found a young family. The mother, Meegan, and the father, Travis, were both going for a walk with their little one in the stroller. Elder Aiono -being very blessed with being able to go where others are spiritually before bringing them to his level... if that makes sense to the outside-of-missionary-work-
realm- was able to talk with them and they accepted an invitation to be taught more. Later on, as we checked the address they gave us, we found that it was out of our area. We passed it on to Sisters Moss and Aspinall and didn't hear about it until last night during Call-In's. As the sisters reported on their baptismal dates, they said that Meegan was set for the - Elder Aiono and myself were thrilled (I told him after the call-in's)! We knew that, even though we had been lost, the Spirit still led us down the roads we traveled, and now a whole family is being taught the gospel and at least the mother has a baptismal date! What a good start!
Some unusual things have been occurring in one companionship of Sisters area, though- they called last night at aboutand sounded very frightened. After they had calmed down, they explained that they had been in a certain suburb in their area that they were growing ever concerned about. They explained that whenever they did finding there, or went to teach lessons, that a few select others would watch them very closely. In time, they came out to their car one evening and saw the wipers put up. This is easily written off as a prank pulled by other missionaries (it's popular -if you see another missionary car- to leave a sticky note that says "Tag!" or to flip the wipers up). Then it happened again in a completely different suburb, and again in the sketchy suburb last night. So, Elder Aiono and I talked it out with the sisters, and after exhorting them to report anything else unusual that occured and to travel irregular routes, Sister Farr asked us to keep praying for them. Well I didn't like the idea of hanging up and then saying a prayer separate from them, so I offered to say one over the phone with them. I don't typically find myself doing this, but I was very grateful for the Priesthood allowing me to do it; having the Aaronic Priesthood allows those who hold it to command the ministering of angels, so I asked the Lord for a number of his angels to be placed between the sisters and any evildoers that were seeking to do them harm. Unable to actually do anything myself at the moment, I knew that the Lord would, and having a firm belief that angels do still minister to God's children, I was very confident that my request would be answered. It was just at when Sister Moss and Sister Aspinall had just gotten back to their flat, and they called up and asked us if we had been serious when I told them they could spend the night at Sister's Farr and Viaulla (that's another story). I had been serious then, but now I had yet another reason to let them, so all four sisters stayed the night together. I think it did them some good... though I should probably keep that in check... sisters LOVE sleep-over's...
Oh! I had my first baptismal interview this week as well with a woman named Val. She's being taught by Sisters Farr and Vaiulla, she's an older lady, but the most kind woman ever. She was SO nervous coming into that interview! I thought I was nervous, but she was REALLY nervous. I can honestly say, though, that as soon as I had closed the door for privacy, the Spirit calmed me straight down and I felt like I did right before Tae Kwon Do belt tests- it was game-time, and I felt really confident. I treated the situation with as much love and patience as I could possibly muster, and I must've done something right because afterwards she shook my hand and expressed just how appreciative she had been of all that I'd done for her. I was a bit confounded- all I did was get to know her, say a prayer, ask the questions, ask inspired questions, read a scripture, and fill out her record. I tried to picture Sister Welch during the whole thing so that I would better know how to talk to her. Sister Welch, thank you for helping me to hone my gentlemanly skills because they really pay off when it comes to reassuring more mature ladies that there isn't any reason to be nervous about a baptismal interview. =) Now that I look back at it, that was a pretty cool experience to have. So I guess being a district leader isn't all that bad... but it sure is difficult @.@
[The frustration of being a new district leader has been resolved in less than a letter.] :)
I'm not sure what else to say, so I should probably end this. We're having a district activity at a park by the beach today- going to play some volleyball, put on a barbie, and watch the ocean (at least I will- Elder Aiono isn't as fascinated by it because he's surrounded by water in American Samoa).
I love you all heaps! Um... my family and friends have been really REALLY good about this, but sending cards and postcards is good for my sanity. =D Just food for thought... ;D
-Elder Jeffrey Schomburg
P.S. I wanted to send you some pictures, but this silly computer is actually too old-school to do any such thing. Maybe I'll just send print-outs sometime. [Due to Elder Schomburg's lack of photos, I chose to add some of the beautiful photos Elizabeth took at Temple Square this weekend when we went to retrieve Andrew from BYU.]
|LDS Conference Center collage - |
exterior, auditorium, and sunset from the roof
|Christus in the North Visitor's Center|
|Hand-crafted door knob on Salt Lake City Temple door|
|SLC Temple Doors|
|SLC Temple at dusk|