I'm trying to stay in a positive attitude as of late. The mission is very hard right now, but I appreciate all of the prayers that are said on my behalf and I am ever thankful for all of the love and support you all continue to give me.
President Carter sent me an email in response to last week's email, and he told me very simply midway through the email, "don't stress about what's not happening". Well, easier said than done. But his words of counsel were something I needed. For the past week my companion and I were committed to finding someone to teach. Our efforts, despite one miracle last night, have been fruitless. I have never talked to so many people in all of my mission and received so many "no" or "not interested" answers in my life as a missionary, let alone my life at all. It had (and most probably still is) dampened my mood and my disposition towards the work, and I found that I was becoming a very bitter person. A missionary who is bitter cannot spread a message of hope and joy and happiness. But that's the truth of it- I was (and still am) mad about the situation. My poor companion has been given the rudest welcoming into the mission that I can imagine, but as I've been watching him and his experiences, his own mission life reminds me a lot of mine- I recall being the new guy in an area I didn't know charged with doing a work I didn't know how to do, with very little happening. I keep asking myself how I got through that because this is just ridiculous.
Anyways,we said a prayer with our ward mission leader and asked him if he could pray specifically for us to find a family. We went out and did our thing (finding for eons) and didn't find anyone. When Coordination Meeting came, the areas reported in on what they were doing and what was going for them. Everyone has someone to teach and people to find and it's just dandy, for the most part. Then it was our turn to report for Clarence Park... let me tell you something; being a leader is hard, because you have continually do difficult or hard things for as long as the Lord will suffer you to. One of those hard and difficult things is -in front of all of my missionaries, missionaries who are supposed to be looking to me to be their example, missionaries who I am assigned to steward over- telling the truth about the area, and how we don't have anyone to teach, and how our ceaseless finding has been largely without reward. But I'm an honest bloke so I told it how it was without any negative connotation. We don't have anyone to teach, there is no update for our area, we are working hard to fix it. That was basically the report, worded in a more eloquent manner.
You could see Brother Li Santi (the ward mission leader in case I haven't previously mentioned that) drop- he was hurting for us and his prayer for us hadn't been answered. I wondered if I hadn't tried hard enough to find that family, and I felt a great deal of responsibility for having not built his faith by finding a family. Then there was the district- no one made any eye contact with us at all, save for Elder Dos Santos, who as my leader was most probably trying to discern my own needs (that's what I would be doing). The mood was just dropped. So I tried to lift it and began asking if it were possible for us to advertise the chapel as a place to hold a scripture study class, in an effort to find more people to teach. Elder Fleming mentioned later that night that he felt gutted when we had to report in front of everyone, but said that I still looked confident (funny, I felt pretty gutted too) and not concerned, meaning it was all just part of the work.
So later that night we were finding, and we had tea with some members whom we've never had tea with and it was a blast! Then we started trying to follow up with former investigators. A lot of them had moved, and when we went to follow up with a former family, we found that they had moved as well. We started teaching the woman who had answered the door as soon as we learned our family had left, and she told us that we could come back and teach their family, if they weren't busy. I'm not sure of the sincerity of her or the family (listen to the analytical missionary side come out), but beggars can't be choosers, and at this point I just want someone to teach (and that's the missionary that really just wants to teach someone). It's hard trying to fulfill your missionary purpose when you've got no one to teach; maddening, is what it is. President keeps telling me that because I'm striving to find people and because of my determination to fulfill my purpose that the Lord will bless me regardless. I don't know how those blessings will come, and I wish they would come in the form of some investigators and a baptismal date, but that's not what's happening right now.
But I have a fixed mind about it- I am going to enjoy being a missionary. I am not going to let outside influences disturb my own sense of happiness, because if I am doing what I know to do, then I am a successful missionary.
I love you all heaps!
Elder Jeffrey Scott Schomburg
Australia Adelaide Mission
P.O. Box 97
P.O. Box 97
Marden, SA 5070