MY SISSY GOT HER MISSION CALL!?!?! WHAT!?!?
Whoases, I am officially and utterly dumbfound right now! I can't believe that my little sister, my Sissy, is going to the Chile Santiago North Mission! What an adventure that will be! Can you ask the prophet for another week or two, though?, that's SO close! [Elder Schomburg returns from Australia on/about March 27th.] Way to go, Elizabeth! I am so proud of you and your decision to go on a mission.
What words could I possibly offer my little sister as she gets ready for this great journey? What is something that I wish I had done before I left for the field that I didn't do? I'll tell you what- forget about your social life right now, bury yourself in the scriptures and Preach My Gospel, and don't do anything else for up until you go on a mission, where you'll just do even more of that xDD
Jokes xD but seriously, study everything that you can about the gospel (not just the scriptures and PMG but all the books that the prophets and apostles and other inspired folks write).
In all seriousness, though, I really want to direct this letter to my little sister, so forgive me for doing so.
My sweet Sissy, what have you done? ;D You've got all grown up and you're getting ready for a mission now. I know you didn't need my permission to do that, but I wish you would've at least asked me if it was okay first xD I am so excited for you and for the place that you'll be serving. When I think of Chile and try to picture you walking through cramped lanes and busy streets, I can't help but think that the Lord picked the perfect place for you- something about it just feels very right. Coming from your older and incredibly protective brother, it amazes me that I'm not worried about the potential dangers of one such a country, and you shouldn't be worried either.
If it's one thing that I've learned on my mission, it is that the Lord is the One who is taking care of everything. A scripture that I constantly find myself referring to is D&C 101:16 which reads, "...be still and know that I am God." [See also in Psalms 46:10.] That is a powerful invitation from a Supreme Being. You may be very excited, anxious, and feel ready and able to serve a mission. As time draws closer to your departure, I daresay you might start feeling something similar to what I experienced; fear. Flying 9,000 miles out of the country over a massive body of water with not enough money to return by my own means is a bit frightening. Not knowing which of your friends you'll still have by the time you get back can be a very lonesome thing. Putting yourself out there and choosing -on your own accord- to do something that others would say is downright ridiculous is challenging, and not easy. There probably already have been -and there will continue to be- those who challenge what it is that you're doing, and they will oft times come in the form of those whom are closest to you.
"Be still and know that I am God." Your Heavenly Father is not just the Father of your spirit, my dear Sissy, but He is also the Creator of everything you see, everything you hear, everything you haven't seen, everything you haven't heard, and everything that you have yet to see or hear. God is in control. Through means unbeknownst to myself, He is capable of reading every thought that his currently 7 billion children are thinking. On top of that, he is capable of reading every single thought all of His deceased children have, and further still, He is doing the same with the populations of "worlds without number." Yet because He created your spirit, gave you existence, you have become His daughter, and because you are His daughter, He will take the time out of His impeccably planned schedule to comfort your timid heart. You are His daughter and He loves you with a Godlike love- something we mortals cannot even conceive of in this mortal existence.
Because you are the daughter of a Divine Being, you have actually inherited some of His traits, and by implication, you have most definitely inherited some of your Heavenly Mother's traits. Do you know what that means? A better question- do you understand what that means? You have the potential to become like Him and like Her because you are Theirs.
Just for a moment, Sissy, think of God's qualities, traits, and capabilities. Let's start with His nature as a Father:
He knows you individually despite having numerous concourses of children that only He can number.
He loves and cares for you with a perfect love that no mortal being can comprehend in the slightest.
He is willing to let you struggle because He knows you will grow from it.
He has been where you are... think about that. "As Man is, God once was; as God is, Man can become."
His sole purpose in creating you was so that you could experience what we refer to as "joy".
He watches over you constantly, so much so that you know when it is that He is telling you to turn right instead of left.
He cares about the mundane things of your life- the things that you don't feel are worthy to be brought before the great Alpha and Omega are the very things that He has taken an interest in.
He is a physical Being, and He can laugh, too- I imagine that He does a lot of that.
He can cry, as well- whenever you cry, He cries. God Almighty will weep with you when you are sad, lonely, hurt, betrayed, or otherwise distraught. Think about that.
This is my insignificant and certainly not all inclusive list of a few traits of our Heavenly Father as He is in His divine station as our Father. What about His role as a Supreme Being?
He spoke, and the very atoms which are called intelligences responded and formed an earth, the stars, the "void" we call "space", and everything else He commanded.
God spoke -just spoke- and the cities of the unrighteous were toppled.
God told the earth to rain for ages, so it did.
He organized a star to exploded billions of years in advance so that it would be visible to those on earth in exact coordination with the birth of His Only Begotten (again, impeccably timed schedule).
Because we're on the subject, God found a way to impregnate a virgin with His own DNA without violating His own law. Figure that one out and I will be more than impressed xD I do have a theory about that one, though- ask me about it sometime if you really want to know ;D
God lifted up mountains and dropped them on wicked armies.
God made it possible for a stone slung from a youth's sling to fell a 9' giant (keep in mind that the stone would have had to penetrate Goliath's helmet, which -if proportionate to his size- would have been -I'm guessing- at least a quarter of an inch thick).
He told a whale to swallow His wayward prophet, so it did. When He told the whale to give him back, it did.
He destroyed whatever it was that was occupying earth's current position until it became "matter unorganized." (Jacob 5: 43-44- the Lord destroyed something so that He could plant His "vineyard"). He probably killed the dinosaurs in the process, and they're probably awaiting the Resurrection (that last bit is not doctrine, just speculated guessing supported by doctrine... ;D).
He has called you to serve in the Chile Santiago North Mission.
Now I ask you, Elizabeth, my Sissy... are you still worried? If you are, that's okay- we would only feel something like worry if it was something we inherited from our Parents. I dare not say that They are ever worried, but to some point, They must be. They would only ever be worried about who finds the truth in this life and the next, because having the truth -and acting upon it- is what helps Their children return to live with Them.
That is your commission; to help Father's children get back to Him. Worry about that, but nothing else.
A few things to remember that have helped me on my mission:
-God is in control of what you are not, so be in control of what has been given to you to control, and let God handle the rest.
-Father will not ask how many people you baptized or how many people you helped save at that great and last day; He will ask you if you did your best, if you gave it your all, and if you endured to the end.
-You cannot convert anyone beyond your own conversion. If you don't know something is true, believe it is true and work towards gaining a knowledge that it is true.
-At the end of the day, everyone has their agency to choose for themselves if they will accept or reject the restored gospel. Don't worry- this is part of God's Plan.
-There are a lot of things said about what a good missionary is, what a great missionary is, how to teach this and how to teach that; you'll get a lot of trainings on how to do certain things a certain way. Don't you EVER let the amount of trainings or programs you receive block out your receptiveness to the Holy Ghost. Just because you didn't do it the way the training says to do it does not mean that you have not done your job properly.
-Your loyalty is first to the Lord! Listen to the Spirit before you listen to your mission president, your assistants, your zone leaders, your district leaders, your senior companion. If what they say feels right, it is right. If what they say feels wrong, pray about it and see what you can take from it. Your leaders are not perfect and they will not always tell you the right thing, so pay attention to the Spirit. If someone teaches false doctrine, be the first one to say that's wrong. If someone teaches correct doctrine, be the first person to support and sustain it.
-Adaptability in Application. Take whatever you learn and look for ways to apply it in ways not originally intended and you will become a master missionary, and that ability will help you throughout your whole life.
-Obedience. I've heard some crazy stories about missions that are not as obedient as my mission, and to be honest, my biggest worry for you is not even that you're leaving home or the people you'll be talking to daily; it is that of the obedience of your mission and fellow missionaries. The ONLY thing that I regret from my mission is the time I spent in disobedience to God's commands. Remember the Spirit of the Law, but never rationalize or justify disobedience, and don't condone or take part in it. You have a job to do for 18 months, and after that you can be as silly as you want to be.
-HAVE RIGHTEOUS FUN!!! Sissy! Have fun! You're going to be a missionary, and it the best, most gratifying work you could ever involve yourself in (aside from that of being a mother, but that'll be later for you xD).
-Remember that the most important work you will ever do will be done within the walls of your own home. You won't be a missionary forever, so give it your all in the homes of others, take what you learn, and use it for when you get to organize your own home.
That list was longer than I wanted it to be but the counsel just started flowing. I think the most important thing to remember is to listen to the Spirit before you listen to anyone else, and that includes yourself. If you get that down, you're set to go.
I love you, Elizabeth. You're my Sissy, my only Sissy, and I will miss you SO much!!! I wish I could give you a great big hug and tell you just how proud I am of you and how amazing I think you are. You're my Sissy, and I love you! <3
Love you all heaps!
-Elder Jeffrey Schomburg