Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Week 3 in the CTM

Weekly Email 4/24/2012

Howdy everyone,

It's been another great week.  I'm working my tail off, but it is paying off.  I'm at the top of my class for language acquisition and I continue to become a better teacher in Portuguese.  It's a lot of stress, and a lot of crazy activities we have to do, but I know that it will all be worth it when I get to the field and will be able to teach real people.

The food here is really amazing.  A lot of meat, rice, and beans.  I end up having a Taco Salad for almost every meal.  I have probably had more meat (and kinds of meat) than I've ever had before in my life in the last three weeks.  If Tom Perkes is reading this, Guarana is the most amazing drink I have ever had the opportunity of consuming.  Thank you for the tip.

My investigators are progressing and both have committed to baptism.  I know it's not real, but the preparation is.

Last night my Brazilian roommates Elder Nunes and Elder Lima both left for the field.  It was really hard to see them go because Elder Nunes has become one of my best friends.  Sister Fernelius, a sister in my district said "I understand how you feel.  Just because we can't speak with these people doesn't mean we don't have a relationship with them."  It was a very emotional goodbye.  Both of us had tears as we said our final goodbye.  I miss him already but I saw him this morning.

Elder Cook came and spoke at the CTM yesterday.  He said some really great things and had some wonderful insight.  The most noticeable thing about him though, was not what he said, but the fact that every time he said "We love you" or "We are so grateful" I felt that we.  I could feel the love off the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, the First Presidency, and the Savior emanate from him like a fountain.  The quote from his talk I want to share with you is this "What you're doing is the most important thing you can do.  It will bless not just you, but everyone you love.  You will realize one day that this is a seminal experience and everyone in your life will be blessed and protected.  They may still pursue bad things, but this mission will bless them sometime.  This mission is important.  At the end of the Gospels is the only record in the New Testament of the Risen Lord.  His almost exclusive message in that time is to proclaim the gospel.  You are doing that.  You are devoting our lives to this cause.  The most important cause on Earth.  The apostles don't see themselves as better able, but just given the opportunity to be special witness of Jesus Christ.  You have that call for two years."

Quote of the week: Elder Holland once said "Plan right now for the stories you can tell your grandchildren.  That you were so happy and worked your head off, that you felt like a prophet.  Live for the deacons and beehives that don't understand what serving a mission means, and inspire them.  Pierce their hearts and touch their souls."

With love always,

Elder Tyler Andrew Bushman

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Week 2 in the CTM

Hey everyone,

Another week has passed.  Life is really crazy here.  So much is going on and at the same time I feel like I never do anything.  I am constantly studying, reading, speaking, and teaching in Portuguese.  In my journal I have to scratch out every 8th word or so because it is accidentally in Portuguese.  It's frustrating but absolutely thrilling at the same time. 

I love my companion. Elder Steele is very patient with me.  We still are getting used to each other, but every day is getting easier.  He's from Pasco, Washington so we talk about farm life often.  He reminds me a lot of Keith Bushman...  He's a great guy.  Today we are going on a shopping trip to find shorts...  They almost exclusively have soccer shorts (which are too short for missionaries) so this should be an adventure.

We are currently teaching 3 "investigators" which are just our teachers pretending to be investigating the church.  It's really hard because of the language barrier.  I find myself writing out 3 pages of text for a lesson but then when we get there our investigator has a completely different thing they want to know about.  It's very hard, but as we learn from the scriptures and the apostles, we must do our best to prepare, and then after all we can do the Grace of the Lord will make up the difference.  I feel His help and His guidance in all of my studies and lessons.  We heard a quote last week that said "Obedience brings blessings, but strict obedience brings miracles."  My companion and I committed to live that and we have seen the change in our growth spiritually, as a companionship, and in the language.  It truly is a miracle.

I don't know how many of you knew that I thought I was going to the CTM for 3 weeks, but there was a misunderstanding and I'm here for 6.  I thought it was a 6 week program being shortened to 3 weeks, but it is actually a 9 week program being shortened to 6 weeks.  It is still going to be a real test to see if I will be ready for the field by then, but I have faith and when the time comes, whether I think I'm ready or not, the Lord knows I will be.

I've been feeling really discouraged lately because my sleeping has been bad.  I was having doubts about whether or not I was cut out for this life.  On Sunday there was a fireside and a mission president from a mission here in Sao Paulo came to speak.  He talked about our purpose as missionaries.  I know that he was sent to me because I needed every word he said and I wrote down almost 4 pages of notes.  In his talk he gave a quote from Elder Holland that went roughly like this "You have 2 years to be a missionary, and regardless of the work done, if you are changed by the end, then every moment was worth it."  I have no doubt that this will change my life, and now that I know that is enough, I feel much less pressure on myself.  I look forward to letters from you.  Letters are like the currency in here.  I hope that you know I love you.  All of you.

Elder Tyler Andrew Bushman

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Week 1 in the CTM (MTC in Portuguese)

Ola meus familia e meus amigos.  Como vai?

I am having a blast in the CTM (MTC in Portguese).  I have a really awesome district and some really great elders that I have the honor of being here with.  I even have 5 Brazilian friends that we eat meals with everyday.  Three of them don't speak any English so we have conversations in broken Portuguese.  It is a lot of fun.  They're hilarious.  I can feel my testimony growing each day.  I heard a quote on Friday that changed my outlook on my entire mission.  It said "You do not go to the MTC to learn Portuguese, you learn Portuguese to fulfill your calling as a missionary."  When I understood that my language learning skyrocketed.  I'm in the top two of my class, tied with a sister who has joined our companionship because there are no other girls in our district.  I heard another great quote about missionary work that changed things for me too.  It was the MTC Presidente paraphrasing Paul in Corinthians about putting off childish things.  He said "Don't act your age, act your calling."  I think that's a beautiful thought that when understood can really make the difference between a good missionary and a great one.  The final quote I want to share is about obedience.  It reads "Obedience brings blessings, strict obedience brings miracles."  We have rules we need to follow as missionaries, but if we do the blessings of Heaven will not be held back and people will be touched and lives will change.

Elder Tyler Andrew Bushman

P.S.  The food here is far better than I expected.  Guarana is the best soda ever.  There are a few scary foods, but generally it's really good.  Lots and lots of meat, rice, and beans. ;)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Arrival at MTC

Dear Parents,

We are happy to send the good news that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil MTC.  What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they come through the front door of the MTC for the first time. We promise to take good care of your missionary.

They now have companions and are settled into their rooms.  They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study.  The branch presidents and their wives, will soon give them a second greeting.  These couples are rewarded in their callings through the love they always develop as they embrace and watch over the missionaries.

The MTC has a full time live-in physician to care for their health needs.  He is assisted by his able wife. We are also happy to report that the Cafeteria food is abundant and very good.

Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple.  This will be either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on individual assignments.

Your very important young person is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of others.  We hope you will be encouraged and comforted by this quote by President Lorenzo Snow. "There is no mortal man that is as interested in the success of an elder when he is preaching the Gospel as is the Lord who sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord's children."

Please accept our love,

President Ralph Degn and Sister Mary Ann Degn

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Off to Brazil

Hey everyone.  Last night I was set apart as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I want you all to know that I love you and will miss you.  I hope that life treats you well. If you want to write me, my permanent address at my mission home (after my time at the MTC) will be:

Elder Tyler Andrew Bushman
Brazil Sao Paulo East Mission
Rua Caa-Acu, 229
03171-020 Sao Paulo - SP

or, if you want to email me: tyler.bushman@myldsmail.net

I am not supposed to send emails to anyone but family while at the MTC, but I can read all emails and would love to hear from you.