I don't have a lot to report this week because not many people are keeping appointments or progressing. It's really frustrating because last week we had so many people who were listening and then they all seemed to drop off the map. It makes me sad because I know that if they had the courage to embrace the change, try some hard things, and then persevere, that they would be blessed beyond what they understand. I come to know more each day about how much I truly need the Lord in my life. I will give an example.
This week I have worked harder than I ever have in my life. Because people haven't been keeping appointments we have had to walk a lot more. Upwards of 6 hours every day. On Saturday we did not have a single person open their door all day. We taught a couple of lessons to people in the street, but other than a few 5 minute breaks Elder Todd and I took and a 15 minute meeting with a member of the bishopric, I was on my feet from 1:00 until 9:30. At one point we were trying to arrange a ride to church for a guy we had met that week. The phone connection was bad so the guy on the phone told us to come to his house, but he was leaving for a date with his wife so we had about 10 minutes to get to his house. He lived 20 minutes away. Elder Todd and I took off running. We had already been walking for 7 hours, but we needed the ride for our investigator. We get to his house and he agrees to pick up this person.
The same thing happened again on Sunday. I have a blister that is so bad I am walking with a limp and I must look ridiculous. And yet no matter how badly my body hurts, and the fact that no one answers their doors, I am doing the work of the Lord and it will all work out. Maybe no one will accept the gospel, and maybe I won't baptize a single person on my mission, but I will plant seeds in every person I meet and talk to.
My family and friends, and anyone reading this is being blessed because I'm here, and that blessing is what keeps me going sometimes. Every night when I kneel down in prayer before I sleep I praise the Lord and thank Him for the hard times I had that day, and I ask Him to continue to bless me with difficulties because the hard things in our lives chip off the rugged edges of our souls and makes us more closely like the Savior, more loving, more strong, and just more. I feel the terrible pain in my foot at this moment, but I relish this pain because sometime in the future I will need to draw on this strength I'm receiving and do another hard thing. The faith I build here will be my fount of blessings and preparation. Every night I kneel down and pray for more faith and greater wisdom. I know that the trials of our lives, especially the one I am going through now, are an answer to that prayer.
I don't know all of you who are reading this, but I love you and I hope that message comes through in my writing. Continue to smile when life is hard, tell a joke when someone is sad, hug your mom and tell the people in your life that you love them. Become the light that other people need to see to give them hope.
The quote of the week is about service. I translated it from my Sunday School class in Portuguese. "The difference between doing service and serving is that we must make a sacrifice to serve. We can have love for someone and do service for them, but to really serve someone is to show love to that person."
Elder Tyler Andrew Bushman
The view of São Paulo from my CTM window.
My roommates at the CTM.
Elder Sena and I. Elder Sena was a Brazilian going to Paraguay and he taught me tons of Portuguese and was one of my good friends.
My district in the CTM - Elders James, Arné, Burnett, Allen, Pearson, Shipley, Bassett, Richardson, and my companion Elder Steele, Sisters Fernelius and Fitzgerald, and one of our teachers Irmã Pozete.