I say this only because it's part of my mission experience, but I'm starting to see a great number of changes occurring in my life and a few lives back home and ALL of them are happening at incredibly peculiar times, as if the timing was intended or something. Now that may sound cryptic and I hope it does because I like to keep my readers at the edge of their seats with suspense, though I daresay that's probably not what anyone is feeling- frustration and impatience is probably the more appropriate emotions I would guess you're feeling as you read this, but maybe not; maybe you're all just laughing. I hope you are; laughing is the best, and joy is a fruit of the Spirit so laugh away!
Here's what I mean. I recently wrote to and received an email from someone back home that has put an end to a very long relationship on good terms. I have mixed feelings. Don't ask me about it; I'm a missionary and I need to focus to the best of my abilities, and where I can talk about a lot of things, I can only mention this subject briefly because this subject has a tendency to linger on my mind, which isn't very helpful when I'm trying to street contact and teach people. So that's no small "change of seasons" as it were, at least in my own life.
The second "change of seasons" would be the role I have taken in the mission field. I am still a regular missionary with the only assignments issued being that of Senior Companion in my area (and what a blessed life that is, though... well, I might mention it later). I find that I am the one who talks too much (there was a time and place when Elder Covey said he talked too much, and he promised me there would be a day in which I said the same. I denied him, yet lo and behold, the man was right... I talk too much xD), who conducts most of our initial contacts with absolute strangers, who will ask random blokes out of the blue for directions, and has no fear in walking into stores asking where the best merchandise can be found and if not in that store, then where? Things of that sort- these examples are not all inclusive. Now there was a day and age when the last thing I would do is ask any store clerk for assistance in finding something, I would have sooner dug a hole to China than ask a stranger for directions, and the idea of talking to complete strangers just for the sake of holding conversation, let alone teaching the gospel, was not something that appealed to me. Now, it bothers me (really bothers me) every time I pass someone without talking with them, and I've never been so "comfortable" in teaching anyone about a gospel truth (practically walk into their homes like I've lived there for ages, with respect of course, don't go thinking I'm some brute that just goes charging in... brute... Brutes... Halo... my old life? What? Where have you been? xD). So what has been the change? [Halo is a favorite video game from Elder Schomburg's former life.]
I'll tell you what has been the cause of the change! As soon as the Saviour left the Apostles in Jerusalem for the last time, Peter, a once unsure, confidence-lacking disciple of the Lord (and I say that not in a condescending way because I have the utmost respect for Simon Peter) suddenly became a bold teacher, one who could stand before angry mobs, armed soldiers, kings, and even Caesar, and testify of his Saviour Jesus Christ and the truthfulness of the gospel. This mighty change of heart could only be wrought by the Spirit of the Lord, and I know that the Holy Ghost has done the same with me. Maybe this sounds like it's verging on narcissism, but I was comparing my past self to my current self, and the Lord truly has caused a mighty change of heart to occur.
Such changes of heart cannot, however, occur unless one is willing to let them occur. The Lord does not force anyone to do anything- He never has and He never will. Concerning changes, sometimes they are very difficult to make, and I've had to make a lot of them, a few fairly significant ones recently, but I know from past experience that the Lord has designed such changes to occur. He presents opportunities for us to progress, to learn, and to grow, yet in His infinite wisdom, He leaves it up to us to decide if we will or will not make the most of the opportunities presented.
Breaking up, no matter how softly, is painful. Leaving home for two years, no matter how rewarding, is frightening. Moving houses, no matter how organized or disorganized, is uncomfortable. Deciding to cross the street to talk to that bloke with the tattoo sleeves, sunny's to hide the eyes, and a scowl that says, "Say something and I'll drop you" so that you can tell him that God loves him is nerve-racking. Inviting your most valued investigator to be baptized, though you risk losing an investigator, is intense. The thing that all of these examples have in common is this- they obligate us to move from where we are comfortable and safe, and make a change.
Though it's not easy for me to change (especially regarding issues of the heart), the Lord did give me a bit of a "cheat code" if you will; within my Patriarchal Blessing, it states that I have been blessed to know when the time is right to change, and not only that, but that if I exercise faith and put trust in the Lord, making the changes will be exciting, rewarding, and I will experience miracles. Those are quite the promised blessings for moving out of my comfort zone.
It's interesting to note that Lord made faith-testing and trust the two conditions of such blessings for me, though. If anyone knows me, they'll understand that my trust is one of the most difficult things anyone could hope to gain, and that I would sooner like to act with a sure knowledge than put my trust in something that I cannot see or that is not foreseeable (thus my slow conversion xD). I daresay the Lord works the same with all of us. Why would God, our loving Father in Heaven, weigh the things we desire most upon acting on the things we least want to act on (i.e. trust Someone I cannot see and have faith that that Someone will make it all work out in the end)? It is so we can grow.
Something President Carter told me was this- "We draw close to God when we are asked to do things we don't think we can on our own power. It is during such times that we plead for the Spirit because we know we can't do it alone! We would never seek or feel the Spirit if we stayed in our comfort zone. There is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone. As the pioneers said after their experience of crossing the plains in deathly chill of winter, 'We became acquainted with God in our extremities.' -- you can come to know God no other way my son."
What inspired words. I've never really looked at change the same way. As I recall, he wrote me this email whilst I was in Clarence Park, and if you have been keeping up with me, you'll know that Clarence Park was my proving ground.
I guess I don't have much more to say. We've built a few strong relationships with the members which is great, and we have an Elders Quorum president now, and I love him- the Lord picked the right man for the job, but He never really picks the wrong man.
I love you all heaps, I can't wait to see you in 5 1/2 LONG months, but until then, I must work! Work work work! Kinda like "Wort wort wort!" Hahaha, only my Halo mates will understand that one. Whoas-es, why does that keep happening? Okay, really quick- I'm starting to really miss some things, like watching awesome movies with my mates, and going shooting, and having random adventures with Dad, and wrestling my brothers, and teasing my sister, and talking about anything and everything with my Mum, and eating American food, and writing my books, and reading other books, and watching races, and watching football, and going to parks, and sitting on the porch basking in the sun doing absolutely nothing but pondering deeply, and takingafternoon naps... I guess those are mostly summertime activities, but it's summertime here, and I like it because I just finished a really wet winter in Adelaide... okay, now that's of my chest... thank you for tolerating me.
Love you heaps!
-Elder Jeffrey Schomburg