Monday, May 26, 2014

Time Seems to Be Flying... Week 61

G'day all!
My little sister GRADUATED @.@ WHAT!? That's hectic ["hectic" is Aussie slang for "exciting" or "awesome"]... I don't really know what to say about that; it's just hectic. It was good to see the photos of Seminary graduation as well and the plaque that Robby received- heaps of good things going on back home, it sounds like. Sounds as though it's been really busy as well, what with all the graduations and whatnot. Congratulations to Desiree and Braden, by the way! Again, I'm not quite sure what to say because that is also a great deal hectic, but I imagine that they are where they need to be- nothing happens by accident.

The Graduate - before

The graduate - after!
Robby's Arrow of Light award -
The highest achievement in Cub Scouts

From my end of the world, transfers is on this next Tuesday (we get the call next Monday), so this is the last week of this transfer (I've forgotten which one I'm on, though I know it's the end of my... oi-ya-wai... 10th transfer? Which means I've got seven more...? Hocca (it's a Tongan expression like "uffda" except only the negative connotation)... I think that's where I'm at... I stopped counting, you see, because I always lose track. Anyways, 14 months is tomorrow, and then I'll have 10 more after that.
However, that's not quite why I titled this "Time Seems to Be Flying" because time is flying for everyone that isn't me. That is only because my life is not experiencing any "progression" as it were- where I am experiencing a lot of spiritual and personal growth, which is great, I'm still doing the same thing I was doing a year ago, unlike everyone back home. My sister graduated and is going to be eligible for turning in mission papers in 6 months.. 6 months!!! My older brother's probably going to be married by then to some sweet little Arizona desert flower who gets swept off her feet ('cause my brother's a skux, and who doesn't like a guy from Colorado? ;D), and Robby is going into.... is it 5th grade at the start of next year? What!? He'll be in Middle School soon... that's crazy to think about.
Elder Fishburn goes home in 3 months, and then all my mission fathers will be "deceased." Elder Aiono goes home after next transfer, and so does Elder Nay and Elder Sexton (he was my zone leader in Evandale for a transfer)... I'm slowly crossing into the realm of "oldies". Though there are more young missionaries than old ones, I haven't quite counted myself as one of the "oldies" yet, but that's just around the corner- 4 more months and I'll only have six months left, and then you will all have to duck in cover for when I come home. xD Not really, though I was recently reminiscing on who I was before I came out, and my mannerisms and demeanor and whatnot... I'm not sure I'd be friends with me a year ago. xD
Anyways, sorry for that ramble. I've just been doing a lot of thinking recently. In my world right now, nothing spectacular is happening- the district is doing well enough. Poor Sister Viaula badly twisted her ankle while we were playing basketball after the temple trip. Elder Aiono and I carried her to the bench, and some nearby people came and helped out by giving us an ice-pack (her ankle swelled heaps straightaway), and then Elder Aiono ('cause he's more musclely than me) carried her to the car, which Sister Aspinall and myself quickly prepped for her, and then the sisters (all four of them) went to the hospital (mostly because they were sharing one car for the day). Sister Viaula is okay now- she has to be on bed-rest for a week straight, and then she'll be on crutches for four more weeks before she can start to try walking on it, but she's coping. It was kinda scary- we didn't have any idea how bad it was, save for it swelling right away, and we couldn't tell if she was just being soft or if something was really wrong because she was crying heaps! But it's all good now!
Sister Farr was given two more companions for the rest of the transfer- one, Sister Belangacani (from Fiji), to stay at home with Sister Viaula while she recovers, and the other, Sister Rongomate (from Tahiti), to work with Sister Farr during the day. They're both fairly new (Sister Rongomate is actually brand new), but they're awesome sisters and I'm grateful to have them serving in the same district.
Well what else can I tell you? I still don't know what's going on or what I should be doing regarding my own trials, aside from patiently (so difficult) waiting for enough information to act, but I'm doing my best to not assume or jump to conclusions, and yesterday the Lord really helped me to have a good, productive day. I also got my only suit dry-cleaned this week; I hadn't been afraid of getting slacks or shirts or anything dirty, but after feeling how fresh and crisp it is... I'd like to keep it that way, so I've started to treat my suit more like a suit and less like everyday clothing... paradoxical, isn't it?
Aside from that, all is well in my world. I got some postcards and letters from home (Nan and Nanna and Mum [look at my Aussie terminology- I'm one of them now xd]) and mail is always welcome! I sent some home to Mum, and it includes a lot for multiple people, and if you're not in there, it's either because you're going to get something more detailed in the future, or you need to make it known that you want mail, because I don't know who wants what. I want mail, that much I know. xD
I love you all and will talk to you probably after transfers!
-Elder Jeffrey Schomburg

Australia Adelaide Mission
P.O. Box 97
Marden, SA 5070

Thursday, May 22, 2014

More Revelation! ...Week 60

(Hey Mum! So no doubt you might be a bit surprised to be getting an email on a Thursday, but there was a little bit of confusion on Monday and we found out that Thursday was our actual P-Day, which is why I didn't send anything larger than I previously did on Monday. So here's what I would've sent!)
First, update on my life. About two weeks ago... or a week and a half ago (time is becoming a bit fuzzy) Elder Aiono and I were requested to report to the mission office by the Assistants. We weren't sure what was up, but we automatically assumed we had done something wrong somewhere along the way and were mentally preparing ourselves for a thrashing of some kind (I was also rethinking my past actions in the week, looking for anything that I had done or hadn't done that would require a visit to the office). By the time we got down there, we never made contact with the Assistants, but instead were greeted by Elder Sheffield (the senior) who asked us if we were the Clarence Park elders. We confirmed that we were, and he threw us... car keys. Aww yeeeeaaahh- the mission just became a lot cooler xD We have a car! My first car area! How exciting is that!? I had to get used to driving again, but it's all good now, for the most part- my loathing for the Adelaide road layout and size and design will probably never subside, but I can't complain because I have a car now!
So that was the first update. The Glenelg Sisters had a baptism last week and the ward actually couldn't find anyone who could or was able to do the baptism, SO Elder Aiono got to baptize her. What a special event! There is nothing more satisfying for a missionary than to hear the waters of a baptismal font splash. The service was lovely and she will be confirmed this coming Sunday (Saturday for the rest of you).
This week I wanted specifically to talk about some of the revelations I had received recently. To be honest, this week has thus far been one of the most emotionally difficult ones, but I am thankful that it hasn't been worse and that it will all be okay in time. At this time, I actually don't have enough information to disclose exactly what it is that has beset me, but suffice it to say that I've been going through some emotional strife.
Having been so tormented in mind, I decided that the content of the issue was suitable to be brought before the Lord. With such matters, I'm finding that specific questions can actually be answered very quickly in the form of inspired scripture. So, like I have before, I knelt at my desk, scriptures in front of me, Patriarchal Blessing nearby, and I asked the Lord a few questions, spoke my mind, and then waited.
I pondered about which book of scripture the Lord would have me turn to when the Doctrine and Covenants came to mind, and I knew that I should look there with confidence. I waited and pondered a bit more on where to search, and for whatever reason, felt impressed to turn to D&C 58- I did not previously know the contents of these scriptures. As I read them, I found verses 1-6 and 15 to be particularly relevant, and the scriptures were made even more personal when I felt prompted to insert my name instead of the name of the man mentioned.
For those of you who do not know, D&C 58: 1-6,15 talks about persevering through tribulations, and how the blessings come after tribulations; they also warn against unbelief and hard-heartedness. Because I hold these personal revelations to be sacred to myself, I'll refrain from relating exactly how these scriptures applied to my situation, but they did apply as if the Lord Himself had spoken it. [I greatly encourage you to click on the link and read the scriptures referenced.]
Unfortunately... they did not satisfy my desire for knowledge. They didn't answer the questions I had of "What is to be right now and how shall I react?" I again took this question to the Lord the following morning and received this (isn't it awesome how I got two immediate answers in a row? I'll tell you how in a second). 
I repeated the above process before praying and asking the Lord my question. Again, I felt impressed that the Book of Mormon held the answer this time, and I felt like perhaps turning to Mosiah 16 was the answer. I was disappointed when I found the reading to be completely irrelevant, even after I had tried to look for ways to liken the scriptures to myself. I said another prayer and tried again, and this time felt impressed to go to 2 Nephi 32. Three words: "What a rebuking!"
I applied the scriptures I read to myself, and again, it was as if the Lord Himself had spoken them to me. I was shamed for still pondering so heavily what was troubling me despite having received an answer for the big picture, and then I was rebuked for not relying on the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide and direct me in my response to the situation, as well as for not looking for examples in the scriptures. Then I came to know that the Lord was grieved by my unbelief in His promises that everything would work out in the end for the better; regardless of how it played out, it was going to be better than before. I was then rebuked for ceasing to look for answers myself and for having not continued to pray for further understanding about that which I had already received, and then I was exhorted to pray before I did act in any way or take any action towards the situation. Wow...
I have a testimony that the Lord knows each of us personally, and He knows what we need and the moment that we need it in.
Now I wish I could say I was satisfied, and I was for the day. But that night I was again troubled, and sleep did not come easily (nor for the previous nights). The next evening, I was enjoying some good readings and I flipped open an Ensign from 2006 (I forget the month). I flipped through to the talk I had been reading previously, and having become bored with that particular topic, flipped the page. The next talk was -I'm fairly certain- directed straight towards me. It was -perhaps but not for certain- the answer to the more immediate issue at hand; a part of the "tribulations" if you will. I did not like what I saw or read one bit -in fact you could say that I despised what was before me- but when I showed my companion, we both had a good laugh. As sorry, painful, and disappointing as the whole scenario was shaping up to be -at least in my mind and by educated guessing (this is the part where lack of information really proves to be a pain in the neck)- we were able to laugh at the irony of it all. I came to the conclusion that it was either an inspired reading, or Satan was playing with my mind (he can use scriptures and the words of life to teach false things, ya know).
That night was a very low one for me- perhaps the lowest of my mission thus far, as I pondered and thought of all the possibilities that could come from the situation I was and currently am in. But the next day (today) was the temple trip for the district, and so I again prepared to receive the answers I so desperately longed for.
In order to receive such answers so "quickly" I prepare for them by asking the question the day before- this gives me the appropriate time I need to ponder and think it out myself, and to prepare myself spiritually. I also inform the Lord -without asking for anything- of my intentions and the questions I will be asking throughout the day in prayer, and tell Him exactly when it is that I will be searching for an answer. Then, when the time comes to actually receive the answer, I'm spiritually prepared and ready to receive it (because not all answers are answers that we want to hear [but they're always the answers we need to hear])- that's when I ask the Lord my questions, and so far, it has never failed to bring an answer immediately after asking, save for that short period of time in which I have to listen to the Holy Ghost's promptings. Some might say this is a slow or ridiculous process, but I receive answers to my prayers, which is something that many people struggle with.
So anyways, I again informed the Lord of my intentions, validated everything I had already received as revelation, informed the Lord that I would be asking for a confirmation of those answers to be sure, and prepared to go to the temple.
Today I was expecting again to be taught out of the scriptures as I pondered in the Celestial Room. No such teaching took place- I flipped through the Bible and Book of Mormon but never felt impressed to search any one book. I read from different gospels and flicked through multiple chapters, but never did I receive any direction as to where to go in the scriptures. It was then that I knew that the answers I was looking for didn't really even have questions- I had the answers I needed according to the information I had, and even then some; what I was really looking for was some comfort. The things which I think are going to take place very shortly are -should they take place- going to be very difficult things to accept.
As I pondered in the Celestial Room, I placed my scriptures down, and waited for the Lord to talk to me- not through the words of any of His prophets or apostles, but from Him, and He did through the Holy Ghost. He reminded me of what I had already read, especially about how I need the Holy Ghost more now than ever. The Lord was and still is teaching me to rely and trust in Him, and if you know me, you know these are very difficult lessons to learn. He also reminded me to not be unbelieving in His love, kindness, or mercy, and to expect blessings to come after the tribulation. I still don't know what is going to happen or how these blessings will be conveyed or in what form, but I know that the Lord is going to help and direct me so long as I rely on Him, and that no matter how it turns out, it will be far better than it currently is.
But that's all the ramblings I have for this week. I'll let you know how it all goes!
Please keep me updated on what's going on back home! I love you all heaps, and especially my Mum, who is the best person ever! And I don't say that lightly- my Mum is the best!
-Elder Jeffrey Schomburg

Since we haven't received any photos from Elder Schomburg lately
I decided to share a photo of his beautiful sister Elizabeth
who, after four years of dedication and sacrifice,
graduated from Seminary last week.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mother's Day...Week 59

G'day all!

Today was Mother's Day, and I got to call home, and it was really fun because I got to Skype as well, at least for a time. It was great though, and I really enjoyed seeing my Mum and my Dad and Elizabeth and Robby! Then the Skype cut out, and so I switched to just calling, and I cried and became a snot-nosed missionary when I was saying goodbye... I guess that's healthy but I certainly don't like doing it because it makes it impossible to say everything you want to say! Anyways...

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the wonderful mum's out there! My my mum is the best and there's nothing any of you can do about it- the truth cannot be debated. I already told her how amazing she is and how much I appreciate her and all the rest of it, so to all those who have mums, make sure you do something extra special for her today! Mums are so incredible and they sacrifice so much for their children; they really are the epitome of selfless service, charity, and sacrifice. Everything mums do is for their children, or it should be, so children of mothers (all of us), make sure that you are showing your mother the respect that she deserves. She may not be a perfect person, but she carried you for nine months, changed her eating diet so you could come out properly, sacrificed endless hours of sleep and rest so that you could be fed, and then suffered you to remain alive and living as you grew up in age and rebelliousness. I look back now and feel bad for all the trouble I put my mother through because I know from observation and analysis that being a mum is the hardest thing that anyone could sign up for. There is no greater trust shown from Heavenly Father than to that of a woman who is willing to sacrifice everything she has to raise up one of His spirit sons or daughters in this world. Indeed, there is no "higher calling" issued to anyone else.

I love my Mum, and she is the best there is- she might not be perfect (and she's darn-well close to being there) but she is a perfect mother, and I love her.

Until next time, though, because I've got to go!

-Elder Jeffrey Schomburg 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Think Happy Thoughts... Week 58

G'day all!
First things first! Mum, I will be calling at around 8-9am my time, I think... if not then, it'll be around 12-1pm, and I really hope that's not too late for you back home. I'll be calling on my Sunday, so it'll be Saturday evening for you (sorry... I tried to get the Zone Leaders to let me and the District call home on Monday [which I feel makes more sense anyways... P-Day and all] but they said no). I might also be skyping so if you could send me those addresses again so that I can jump on the email beforehand and get them when it's time to Skype or whatever, that would be great!
Now, for a brief status report. It was about Tuesday night when I got to thinking seriously-seriously about my new station as District Leader (I know, I talk about it a lot but it's not because I'm trying to put on a "Look at Me" show). I decided after some pondering that my overall attitude about the whole situation was just negative and bad- more like Laman than Nephi. So, I squared my shoulders and decided to be Nephi instead. I made a concentrated effort to look at my station positively, and I noticed on about Friday or Saturday night that the reason I was so unhappy was because I was still worried about me. The assignment to serve as a leader is an assignment to serve selflessly, or without care for one's own well-being, so instead of worrying about myself, I started to worry more heavily about my missionaries. Because of that increased concern for them as opposed for me, I actually saw more blessings come to myself as a bonus to having switched my priorities, and all I can say is that the Lord has blessed me to start performing my assignment much more effectively than when I first started. Oh, Mum... my poor sisters don't have any winter gear, so I went out and got them all gloves and scarves... and I got myself a nice jacket as well (matches with the one Elder Aiono got xD)... just FYI.
So I admit... I'm starting to enjoy being a District Leader. I felt really bad for how I had accepted the assignment at first, and I offered up a number of repentant prayers. During the week I came to the conclusion that having this assignment is actually a gift from the Lord, and He has given it to me so that I might serve His children more fully, and also become more refined myself. Such assignments are seldom conveyed and to know that the Lord trusts me is very humbling- I felt very badly for having accepted it so negatively. So, just know that I've since repented of my negativism, and am thinking more upon the happy thoughts that come with being a district leader.
As far as the work goes this week, Elder Aiono and myself only taught one lesson to one investigator, and a few lessons to some recent converts and less actives. The most spiritually filling/fun time was when, as I pondered how to strengthen and excite the missionaries about the work, we called up the District Sisters (Sister Moss and Sister Aspinall) and asked them if they were up for some healthy competition. The name of the game was this: whoever found the most potential investigators in a 2-hour block of finding time was the winner. If the Sisters won, we would have to wash their car on P-Day and shout them KFC (which is to buy them KFC). If we won, they had to bring us a number of assorted lollies and a tube of Pringles. To ensure that we stayed connected to the purpose of finding, we started with a prayer and asked the Lord to help us find as many of His prepared children as possible. Then we wished the others luck, shared in some harmless taunting, and got to work.
During the night -and it was very cold and wet- Elder Aiono and I took to keeping our spirits high by singing hymns and the occasional Disney song in between knocking the doors on a street he had picked the day prior. His street was an inspired street- we found 10 potential investigators, one of which is a young Christian family who were very kind and easy to talk with. We called the sisters later that night, feeling pretty confident but still a bit weary of losing the competition (sister missionaries have this way of pulling miracles out of the air). At the end of the day, though, we both hoped that they had found heaps as well, regardless of who won our game. The first thing Sister Moss said was that they had found 15! Elder Aiono and I were shocked! I was ecstatic for the work they had accomplished, but a bit mournful at having to shout KFC (I'd clean their car regardless- all about serving and whatnot). We then told them we had found 10, and then they told us the truth- they had found 7... we won! At first I felt a little bad about winning, but I think it was actually inspired because the sisters' reaction after finding out that we won was to say, "Elders, we're doing this again next week and we're going to smash you- rematch next week!" So there you go- a pair of sisters are super excited to go finding now and we're "playing" again on Wednesday... hopefully they win this time. xD Since it got them eager to do the work (I was just testing the waters with the District Sisters before I made it a District thing), I thought I would call up the Glenelg Sisters and have the same game with them, so they should be in on it as well before the day is done.
I love my missionaries- they're the best! Just in case anyone was wondering.

Elder Schomburg's District

Call-In with the Zone Leaders went heaps better this time, but it's because last Monday, after my first call-in, I went out and bought a notebook which I have made into my District Leader notebook. I have organized it according to the way it should be, in which information from the different areas can be easily accessed. With this new setup, I was able to manage the flow of information very efficiently this go-around, and the Zone Leaders were actually pretty pleased (ten points to Griffendor!). It really helps me to know what I can do to help the missionaries grow their areas as well, which is something that I am very grateful for. I have seen the Lord's hand helping me all this week, and I will continue to look for His hand in the work.
I also assigned the District Sisters to give a training last Wednesday for District Meeting on the Book of Mormon and how to use it. It was funny because they accepted it with a laugh as in "Are you serious?" and I was completely serious- they had the most progressing investigators, so it only made sense that they give a training to help the rest of us out. Of course I prayed about it and pondered quite heavily, and they were the ones the Lord told me to pick. Well they gave the training and it was inspired- I knew the Lord had inspired me to pick them because they definitely delivered what needed to be said. Afterwards, as I thanked them for the training (it was Sister Aspinall's first, as well, and she did great!), Sister Moss chuckled and told me that the training was exactly what they needed too- it was as if the Spirit was reminding them to use the scriptures more in their teaching, which was actually something they hadn't quite been doing prior to me asking them to give the training. Now that was cool to hear- revelation is real. I didn't know why the District Sisters should have given the training, but I knew with confidence that they were the ones to do it. Lo and behold, they needed a little bit of "spiritual rebuking" as Sister Moss put it, but they learned from it, so all goods.
But all is well in my realm! I love you all heaps! Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful mums!
-Elder Jeffrey Schomburg