I received a very good message from my mother this past week (and I also received Year Mark lollies from Nan [that means candy/treats from Grandma] and Valentine's lollies from Mum a few weeks ago and a letter from Dad most recently). I do so hope that you all know that my Mum is the best of them all and nothing anyone says can change that. Transfers were this week as well, which is why none of you heard from me until now (sorry how it works out like that sometimes). I don't recall much of what happened in transfer meeting after they called my name. It went something like this:
"Serving in the Marion Zone in the Clarence Park area as the new Marion District Leader will be Elder Schomburg and his new companion Elder Aiono." After that I sort of lost track of what was being said and tried to trick myself into thinking that Elder Holmes (one of the Assistants) had just read it out wrong and that Elder Aiono was the district leader, as he was the district leader for one transfer in some far away place. It would've made more sense for it to be like that. But then, when the transfer meeting was over and all the hustle and bustle began, a short islander elder, Elder Pulalasi, approached me and handed me a binder, saying as he did so, "Elder Schomburg, how are you, district leader? Everything you need is in that folder." Then I got corralled into the primary room of the chapel into what is known as "Leadership Training" and sat down with my Zone Leaders, Elders Dos Santos and Cook. Then, I pulled out my journal (because it was all I had on me) and started to furiously take as many notes as I could about everything. To be honest, I think my brain must have shut down and gone into some kind of autopilot in which I was able to do that which needed doing without my conscience being present- I may have been having an out-of-body experience... actually not, that's a bit exaggerated, but I still couldn't believe my ears.
So there you have it. President Carter said that this hadn't been one of those transfers where they were scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for those who could fill the proper roles, but that it was divinely inspired. Therefore, the Lord has seen fit to make me a steward over several of His missionaries, and I was very (and still am a bit) overwhelmed with it all. I held my first district meeting today (they're supposed to last an hour and a half) and I actually ended up crunched for time because I had planned to train on too much... I was very worried about filling the time appropriately. It probably wasn't the best district meeting in the world (especially since I've got a throat cold and cannot actually speak....) but I was told that it was good by everyone else. Filling leadership shoes is hard... I have no idea what I'm doing. But the Lord assigned me, so here I am, and He will sustain me in my assignment as His district leader in Marion. [Marion is a suburb of Adelaide - approximately 10km south.]
I've got a solid district- the Zone Leaders are in my district, as well as two companionships of sisters, and then myself and Elder Aiono. It's fairly small but there are very good missionaries in this district, and the Marion Ward has been referred to as Zion. After meeting with Bishop Davidson and our Ward Mission Leader Brother La Santi, I could definitely tell that Marion has got it down. It was a very spiritual meeting in which we discussed how Bishop would most effectively employ us, and he had very high praise for the work the previous missionaries (and some of the current ones) were preforming. I am very blessed, to be honest.
I didn't get a chance to unpack my bags until this afternoon, and last night's sleep was pitifully poor- between not being able to breathe properly and still pondering heavily on the training that I had to give the following day (this morning), I didn't really sleep.
The companionship with Elder Aiono is great- we've both changed a lot since our time together in Malak and I'm happy to be his companion again, just as he was equally happy to be my companion again. I suppose that either we didn't learn what we were supposed to learn from each other the first time, or now is the time in which the Lord knows that -because we've become a bit more seasoned since our first round- we'll actually be a great companionship together. I know he's been a great help to me so far, especially with seemingly running around performing district leader duties. In a military analogy, the district leader is the sergeant in a platoon, with the zone leaders as the lieutenant. If you know anything about the military, you'll know that -as far as my district is concerned- it's up to me to make things happen, and that has me a bit worried. I have to conduct my first baptismal interview after church, and that same night I have to conduct Call-In Summary reports with the missionaries, which is what district leaders dislike doing, or so I've heard. That may have something to do with the general nature of the call- celebrating success with the missionaries, and then correcting them in their ministry. It has to be done with love, but I just hope that the district trusts me enough to actually let me have good call-ins with them...
I suppose I don't have much more to say for now- busy, busy, BUSY. The nature of the assignment I've been asked to fill leaves very little room for personal time, so any letters I write home (and I've got a few pending for Mum and Robby) will be very. Very. VERY. Slow in coming.
I love you all very much, and I know you do so everyday for me, but I could really use your prayers at this time. I'm excited and scared out of my mind, but what can you do? Just keep on doing!
-Elder Jeffrey Schomburg