Such was the sentence written in a card given to me by the Mildura Zone, or the majority thereof. So true, though- there's something about turning 21 that punches you in the gut and says "Wake up, good sir- you're a man now." Legally speaking, we become adults at the age of 18, but let's be reasonable- no one at that age is an adult. No, 21 I reckon is the age in which one can call themselves an adult. As told by Sister Hartley, in Maori culture, no one becomes an adult until they turn 21, and I reckon that's a bit more accurate.
G'day, by the way! I was blessed with a simple birthday this year- Elder Callahan and I purchased a cheesecake and ate it, we spent the day proselyting as per the norm, and that was about it. Simple albeit enjoyable. It's like I said in one of my previous letters- it's more fun when you're little, but what a blessing it was for me to "celebrate" whilst in the service of our God! That's good enough for me, but I am thankful for all the cards and package and emails! Thank you all for thinking of me!
It's starting to warm up around here. That's nothing I'm going to complain about- being a Broken Hill veteran (xD) a decent 36C isn't worth getting worked up about. It'll be time to mourn when it hits the 40's in coming months. I keep trying to explain this to my Canadian companion, and sometimes I worry for him- he doesn't take the heat very well. But he's a good missionary and I like him. Sometimes he asks a lot of unnecessary questions, and when myself and the older missionaries are making plans for multiple missionaries when we have certain things to do, he sort of gets nervous and tries to but in by asking things like "What's going on?" "Who's going where?" "What are we doing?" before we've even formulated a whole plan, which is patience-testing. I'm trying to be patient; I understand he just wants to be in the loop, but sometimes I wish he could just roll with the punches- it's a good skill to have.
We have seven investigators and haven't been able to see any of them, not really. We dropped by M the other day and thought he was out or sleeping, and just as we were about to leave, we heard the most ungodly noises from within. The man -or some man- was screaming and gasping as if in pain and so for a moment, my companion and I tried to figure out what we should do. The thing that came to mind was perhaps a bad acid trip (e.g. he was using drugs and was seeing/feeling unpleasant things). We debated as to whether or not he was physically in trouble and we should break down the door, or if we should just let him do his thing and come back when he was more sober. Ultimately we came to the conclusion that it was best if we leave, so we did.
We saw him later in the week, and he looked fairly unhealthy. He set up another time for us to come by, and so we saw him again, later in the same week. This time he looked worse and told us that he would give us a call (in other words, we're not going to see him for a long time).
One of our other investigators -the next potentially progressing investigator, if you could call him that- is on his honeymoon right now; after a long awaited year, he finally was able to take his Misses out for a 3 week holiday of sorts. Well, my companion and I talked about it, and decided that neither one of us would want to be called by anyone during our honeymoons, so we decided not to call him; we'll wait until he gets back to set up a time to see him.
Another investigator, Mk, is slipping into the very dark and lonesome cavern of depression. We showed up, briefly taught him about the Priesthood after he had his yarn, and offered to give him a blessing. He declined- that's the first time I saw the Spirit working on someone and then have them refuse it, deny what they knew they should do. He told us he didn't want to be rude, but he was going to go and take a nap and he wanted us to leave. You can't do too much when you're invited to leave, so we left with a prayer and departed. I sort of wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake him whilst loudly proclaiming that sleeping does not make problems go away, it just delays the inevitable moment in which one must square their shoulders and deal with their issues. Sad, disappointing, frustrating, painful to watch... that's how I've chosen to describe that encounter.
We went to follow up with a potential investigator, A. He's got some sort of speech impediment but that was no concern for us. He's just getting over ending a marriage of 2 years. He asked us to teach him what we were teaching everyone else so we went into teaching the Restoration, personalizing it to himself, of course. He admitted that he believed Joseph Smith could have seen God the Father and Jesus Christ, but as we went on to explain how he could know for himself through prayer, he suddenly pulled back and expressed his disinterest in joining a different church or being baptized into a different organization. The Spirit had yet again been present and bore witness that what we were teaching was true, yet he denied it, just as Mk had. I was appalled, star-struck, in awe- call it what you will, but in the same week I'd seen the Holy Ghost -with a surety- been rejected. I'm sure it happens all the time when we teach people in the streets and on the highways and byways, but in a formal teaching environment when we all had felt the Holy Ghost testify to us of truth... and then to have them reject it...
Maybe it's because I'm a bit more seasoned now, and you'd reckon such a seasoning would just make my heart sore for them -and it is- but really, honestly, I just felt angry; angry at the increased hardness of men's hearts, angry that God could be denied despite His very presence being there via His Spirit, angry that my companion and I were working so hard yet yielding nothing. You would think I would have learned this divinely instituted lesson by now, whatever it is, because this is yet another area that I am assigned to in which nothing is happening... nothing that I can, anyways, and my own eyes are very prone to missing the long-term effects of missionary work.
I think the most frustrating thing for me at this time is that I know and understand the doctrine- I know that I should take heart in the fact that I am doing my all and that is all the Lord asks. I should take courage in knowing that I'm fulfilling my purpose by inviting others to come closer to Christ. I should be confident in knowing that, despite their choice to reject the gospel at such times, it's part of the Plan. Yet for whatever reason, knowing all of the above does not make me feel any better about not having any investigators progressing towards covenant-making with our Father in Heaven. I don't really care that I'm giving my all or that I've done my best- I want to see something come from it. This is a selfish desire, but perhaps I feel this way because I have yet to accept the Lord's timing; I'm still trying to get things done according to my timing, and right now, it just looks like my timing is not in alignment with the Lord's timing.
But what can you do? Pray to accept the Lord's timing, look for opportunities to accept it, and then accept it. Such is my battle plan, if you will.
That's about all I've got to say, though. Working and working hard as usual, but trying very hard to not get caught up in the motions, and trying very hard to not get too excited about doing all of the things ever in the next 5 months or so- that's me xD
I love you all!
-Elder Jeffrey Schomburg