Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Week 4 in the CTM

Hey everyone,

Another week has gone by.  I only have the opportunity to be a full time missionary for 100 more weeks.  I can't believe that 1/24th of my mission is already gone and I still have two more weeks here in the CTM.  How is everyone?  I hope you are all well.  I know that I'm doing fantastically.  Working hard, praying harder, learning Portuguese, teaching people, and preparing to change lives and bring people to the one thing in this life that makes me happier than anything else: The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Not a lot happened this week.  My companion and I are continuing to learn how to be friends and how to learn and teach with each other.  The irony of the whole CTM experience is that by the time we become really great together we’ll be separated and probably never serve together again.  The Lord works in mysterious ways.  My companion has really taught me a lot.  He frustrates me to no end sometimes, but I truly love Elder Steele and am so glad for the opportunity I have to learn from him.

We get to go to the temple every week.  That is pretty amazing.  The temple is about 40 minutes away, but the sessions are in English which is nice.  I'm finally beginning to understand the words that the workers say to me.  It is wonderful.

Oh.  I just remembered my big news...  I started a permanent English fast on Friday.  I have spoken probably 100 words in English in 4 days.  It's very hard, and stressful, but my language skills have almost doubled since then.  Our investigator was having some pretty hard questions about the church, but I was able to answer all of them without any problem.  My companion still has to prepare the words he's going so say, so he will generally prepare a lesson about a specific topic and I will just work on generally increasing my language, that way he will teach the lesson and I answer questions and we each do about the same amount in the lessons.  I love teaching.  Even though my Portuguese is still very much lacking, I am able to bear my testimony comfortably and with power, enough that our investigators feel it.  Also, my prayers are now almost entirely in Portuguese, and not just my prayers in lessons or in class, but all of them, my personal prayers included.  It's a wonderful thing to pray in another language.

On Fridays or Saturdays we do a program called TRC.  It is where members of the church from here in Brazil, members who don't speak any English, come in and act as investigators and we teach them.  They film it and then we are able to watch our lessons and get feedback.  Last Friday they were short on investigators, and because my teacher is the director of TRC I got to play an investigator for some other missionaries, and then on Saturday they had too many members and so I got to teach a lesson with my companion.  It was really great.  My first week I was deathly afraid of TRC - last week I had a blast.

I'm running out of time to email, so I’ll get to the quote of the week.  "We are a product of the agency of every person who has ever lived, all the way up to Adam and Eve.  And yet despite that we still have the power to determine our own destiny." - Elder Dille, the 1st Counselor in my Branch and CTM doctor.  I hope this quote means as much to you as it did to me.

I love you all,

Elder Tyler Andrew Bushman

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