Monday, September 8, 2014

Whoa-ses!... Week 76

Whoa-ses (wo-z-es) is a common expression here used by missionaries when they want to communicate shock, surprise, excitement, or express their surprise at still being alive after a near miss in a car or on a bike (happens a lot... don't be worried)- it is purely missionary lingo. The reason why I've titled this "Whoa-ses!" is because that's really all I could think to say when I saw the picture of my sister that is going to be her missionary photo... WHOA-SES!!!! I might not get to see my Sissy for a long time... =( but compared to the things the Lord blesses us with, I see it as a small sacrifice, if that. I'd be being selfish if I told my Sissy to stay home at least a little while longer so I could see her off...

Sister Schomburg - eek!
She will be submitting her mission papers
on Sept. 20, 2014
...and then we wait :)

Well, anyways, what can I tell you of my week? I'm getting to know the area fairly well, and it is a relatively small area. Nevertheless, we've had positive growth in our teaching pool, but it's still a very shallow pool. Deeper than Clarence Park's, but shallow nonetheless. We've invited all of our investigators to be baptized and a few said they'd think about it, and others said no, and others still said yes but didn't commit to a date to work towards. The work is sort of all over the place and I'm still trying to readjust to working in outlying areas. When I was in Darwin, Elder Traconis and Elder Aiono both mentioned that the work seemed slower than down in Adelaide. I didn't know what they were talking about and they had difficulty explaining it, but I can see now what they mean. Trainings given down in Adelaide are -for whatever reason- slow to make it to outlying areas, and perhaps it's just me, but I'm sensing an overall lack of urgency. It almost seems relaxed, working in Mildura, yet despite the easiness of it all, work still gets done. I haven't quite figured it out yet.

We're teaching a less active Fijian family. The father's name is Masi and he is the man- we're definitely great friends with him and he understands what we do as missionaries as well, so it's about as good of a relationship as you can get with anyone. Elder Hefa has been teaching this family for a long time, but only yesterday did Masi come to church. Not only that, but when he got home (and we were told these things by his wife Sophie) his daughters approached him and said confidently, "Momo (father or dad in their language), we're coming with you to church next week." Sophie really wants to get the kids going back as well, but a lot of things relied on whether or not Masi wanted to go.

This past week, Masi invited us to a dinner with him and his family. He said it was a club-sponsored dinner (he plays for a rugby club [the Warriors] in Mildura) and they were having a dinner to celebrate the season that just ended. Masi wanted to bring us with his family and whatnot to the dinner, but was very concerned that the environment wouldn't be good for missionaries. We got there and sussed things out, and it was determined that it was a good family setting up until 10PM, at which point the party for the adults would start. That wasn't a concern for a pair of missionaries- we'd be home by 9. So we stayed with them and socialized for a time, but as time went on, they were still working on getting dinner going. It was about 8PM and Masi looked to us and said, "Okay, we're going- I'll get you Hungry Jacks." We had been having a great discussion about church and the gospel just as we sat down at the table, so we continued it in the car. He dropped us off at the appointed time and then went back for his family.

Sophie told us the rest of the story last night, but here's what happened: Masi got back to the place just as dinner was getting started. Because it's Aussie culture, most of the people had been drinking and were already getting pretty tipsy, but things looked like they might get out of hand before 10PM. So Masi and his family scarfed some food and did their thing with receiving a number of trophies , and then Masi said to his wife, "Come, we're going home now." Well, she was a bit bewildered and asked, "Are you sure?" to which he responded, "I need to go home because I'm going to church tomorrow." So they left. 

At 6AM Sunday morning he woke up and asked Sophie, "Are the elders here yet? Did I miss them!?" She calmed him down and explained the time (we weren't even awake yet). He couldn't get back to bed because "[he] was just too excited for church" and when we showed up at 8AM,he was ready to go in a white shirt, slacks, purple tie, and a black jumper [sweater]- he looked like the man! He only came to Sacrament because he had a 12 hour night shift (he's a security guard) later on, so he gapped it back to his house, but most everyone said hello to him, and he said hello to everyone else as if he owned the place (the man doesn't forget a face, you see). So last night when we went over there after church to see how the family was, everyone was eager and excited to talk about church and excited for next week. They've got four children, all little ones, and the whole family wants to come back to church after being less active for... awhile. Miracle number one!

Miracle number two is this: I survived a Tongan lunch session. Straight after church we went to a Tongan sister's home to have a bit of a party; her baby had been blessed that day, so they were having a celebration. When we got there, I was the only palangi (awkward xD) until Brother Pioch showed up (older Aussie fellow, really cheeky bloke but awesome company to have). There was some kind of speech, they sang "Love at Home" in Tongan, to which -after I discerned that it was "Love at Home"- I was able to offer an English accompaniment, and then a prayer was said in Tongan. Then they all looked down the line and someone started giving orders in Tongan. My companion wasn't reacting -out of shyness maybe- but one of the sisters was sympathetic to my language barrier and said, "Come elders, missionaries eat first!"

Well, talk about intimidating- the only palangi around leads the charge to the head of the table surrounded by Tongans to start eating at a party that isn't even for him... worse things could have happened. xD

Anyways, I think I left that party 5 kilos heavier than when I first got there. I want you all to know that in the past 36 hours I have eaten KFC twice, Hungry Jacks once, bacon (ham) and eggs twice, and more than can be mentioned at that Tongan feast... I'm going to have to be rolled out of the terminal when I get home if this keeps up! xD I am well fed- don't even worry about that. Mildura is where they send missionaries to make them fat, and this one is going to be fat (192lbs, 86 or so kilos... watch out xD).

Anyways, that's about all I've got to talk about for now. I love you all heaps and hope to hear from you soon (meaning before I see you in person next xP that would be awkward for you xD)!

-Elder Schomburg 

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