Monday, June 25, 2012

Brás Cubas - Week 6


Hello everyone,

This week was...eventful to say the least.

On Monday it was my birthday.  Thank you everyone that sent me a birthday wish.  I really love hearing from you.  Elder Todd and I were going to have pizza on Monday but decided to have pancakes for lunch instead.  Between the two of us we ate 5 kilos (11 pounds) of pancakes.  It was really, really delicious.  Then that night we went to a less-actives house and had pancakes with their family and some investigators.  It's nice that my talent for making chocolate chip pancakes has a real purpose in bringing people together in unity around some good food.

On Wednesday there was a conference because President Moreira is leaving and going home.  They took a mission picture, there were some speakers, I understood almost everything that was said, we sang the mission hymn, and it was just an overall good day.  But in all honesty my favorite part of the whole day was seeing the people I'd gone to the MTC with.  I was just so happy to see them.  I had grown to really love them in the 6 weeks we were together and it was nice to see that they were all doing well.  Learning and growing.  And, I wasn't the one to lose the most weight.  Another elder lost 15 kilos (33 pounds), so my 10 kilos wasn't so bad.  The conference ate our whole day though so we got back in time to do just a little bit of studying and then go teach our English class.  We taught them commands and then played Simon Says.  They thought that was the greatest thing.  I look forward to continuing the class.  It should be fun.
Elder Todd and I keep our house really clean, and except for the 25 flies that live in our shower and various spiders that live in cracks that I can't get to, I haven't seen more than a couple of stray ants in weeks.  Until Wednesday...  I was kneeling down to say my prayer at night.  I don't have a bed, only a couple of mattresses on the floor.  I knelt down and found a my bed.  I flicked it off, killed it, said my prayer, and climbed into bed and fell asleep.  I don't have the time, energy, or privilege to be able to worry about having bugs in my bed.  I shake my sheets out every once in a while, but bugs are everywhere here so you learn to just deal with it.

We continue to work with less actives and part member families.  They seem to really love visits from us.  We had 2 baptisms this week.  Included are pictures of the baptisms.  Flavia was baptized a couple weeks ago, but on Friday her little brother Felipe was baptized and her friend Renan was baptized.  Renan was the referral of an investigator, who was the referral of a less-active, which was the referral of a member.  The Lord has a way of leading us to the people who need to hear from us.  Member missionary work is so much more powerful than I ever understood before.  Renan has several friends that want to hear the gospel and his cousin even came to church on Sunday for Renan's confirmation.  I love this work.  Renan, Felipe, and Flavia, are all filled with a light that they didn't have before.  It's beautiful.
The quote of the week:  In Joshua there is the story of the Israelites coming to Jericho for the first time and sending out scouts.  The scouts came back and all of them (except for Joshua and Caleb) said that there was no way that they could capture Jericho.  Caleb's response was "Give me this mountain."  He volunteered to take the hardest and most difficult challenge because he knew that with the help of the Lord it was possible.  We shouldn't always ask for the hardest thing to happen, but when it does we must be ready to turn to the Lord and let Him know that you are willing to take on the challenge.

With all the energy of my heart,
Elder Tyler Andrew Bushman

Tyler with President and Sister Moreira

Elder Todd and Elder Bushman

Flavia's baptism day

Elder Bushman with Felipe and Renan

Felipe and Renan's baptism day

Monday, June 18, 2012

Brás Cubas - Week 5



This week has been...miraculous, and difficult.  Allow me to explain.

I fasted from Wednesday morning until this morning.  Missionaries aren't allowed to fast for more than 24 hours so I ate lunch every day, but I skipped breakfast, snacks, and water all day for 5 entire days.  I have been praying for greater faith, charity, obedience, and a desire to make my prayers more fervent and meaningful.  I was inspired to fast and so I obeyed.  I have never been so tired, so hungry, and working so hard ever before in my life, but I persisted, because as President Eyring says "True spiritual staying power comes from pushing past the point when others would stop."  The physical and spiritual tax on me became so immense that I could not help but turn to my Father in Heaven with a prayer in my heart, always.  My prayers in the morning and night have become a true conversations.  I no longer just say the words, I feel them.  I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers, and sometimes when we foolish humans ask for a challenge we receive far more than we anticipated, but the blessings are great too.  Many miracles came this week.  My language skills have greatly improved, and I have a deeper love and appreciation for the scriptures and for the times when I am not malnourished.  I hope that I never need to learn this lesson again, but I do look forward to the next opportunity I will have to experience a hard and almost impossible trial because as a friend of mine told me, she hopes that my mission is hard so that I can grow.  I know that trials are one of the best ways that we learn.

We shifted our focus this week.  We did not even try to do any street contacting this week because we have decided to re-activate less active members of our ward.  There are about 600 people on the ward list, but 100ish come to church each week.  A soul that returns to the Savior is just as valuable as a soul that finds Him.  We spent a lot of time walking, but we were also able to teach many more lessons than we have in the past.  We contacted many less-actives; all of the people that we have taught in the last week have been less-actives or referrals from members and less-actives.  This has been a huge blessing because as we demonstrate to members the Spirit's ability to teach through us, our willingness to work, and our pure love of the people they feel like they can tell us about their friends that are prepared to hear our message.  We have 4 baptisms marked for the next 3 weeks solely from less-active and member referrals.  The members are a crucial part of missionary work and I never understood that before.  When I get home I will be so much better at being a member missionary.

The quote of the week is from my grandfather.  He has been reading my letters and he commented and my mom forwarded it to me.  He said, "Often, after a time of toughing it out, something will happen to make it all worthwhile. Jesus walked all the time; no bikes, cars, airplanes or skate boards, just feet.  The blisters will become calluses.  All WE can do is pray for strength of body and mind."  I am so grateful for my Opa and his example in my life.  He is such a powerful servant of our Savior Jesus Christ and I will follow his wise words and continue to pray for strength and guidance.


Elder Tyler Andrew Bushman

Monday, June 11, 2012

Brás Cubas - Week 4

Howdy y'all,
(I'm running out of random greetings...This is bad.  I've got another 94 weeks and I can't think of any more random ways to say hello.  I will keep trying.)
Some business first:
- I've been in the field for 4 weeks now.

- Next Monday, the 18th is my birthday and Elder Todd and I will celebrate.  If you would like to write me, my address is "Elder Tyler Andrew Bushman,  Brazil São Paulo East Mission,  Rua Caa-Açu, 229 Belenzinho,  03171-020 São Paulo - SP,  Brazil.”  If you write me, I will write you back, always.  I hope you know that on my birthday I will be thinking about you and praying for you.

- I know that many people who are reading this have never met me and I'm glad that my words are still meaningful to you.  If you have any friends who you think would enjoy this blog then please share it with them.  I am a missionary but that does not mean that my work should be exclusively for the people of Brazil.  If I am saying things that are meaningful to you, then they can bless someone else's life too and my work as a servant of the Lord will be magnified.  Thank you for your love and support.  I feel your prayers.
Now for my actual message:
I have been praying and reading a lot about charity and faith.  In my studies I have found a list of attributes or activities that help us to build charity but also embody what charity is.
Charity is:
- loving someone enough to give up what is pleasant or easy to help them.
- demonstrating your love for someone and making sure that they know you love them.
- loving someone enough to hurt them so that they may grow.
- losing yourself in the service of others.
- giving the last thing you have to give to someone else who needs it more.
- serving the Lord and giving back to Heavenly Father the only thing that is truly His, our free will.- teaching a man to fish even though it would be easier to give him a fish.
- allowing the pure light of Christ to shine from your eyes so that others can see it and want what you have.
- always writing thank you notes and remembering birthdays.
- forgiving someone who has hurt you, but more than that, it is helping them to make a better choice next time.
- remaining worthy to receive revelation or exercise the priesthood, always.
- not just the outward expression of love, but the inward transformation caused by love.
- an experience, not a feeling.
- never faileth, ever.
- one of the greatest blessings and responsibilities of this life.
- the pure love of Jesus Christ.
- to begin to love as God loves.
We worked hard this week and a girl that we taught was baptized.  She is so happy and filled with a light and glow that she did not possess.  She is filled with the Spirit and has a greater desire to choose what is right and keep this feeling with her always.  It is sad that the feeling of cleanliness does not remain with us always.  We have the opportunity to feel like that every Sunday after we partake of the Sacrament, but that feeling become commonplace and we take it for granted.  We must try to understand what the Sacrament is and how meaningful it can be.  I will strive to be more worthy to feel that clean feeling, that closeness to the Lord, and that true love from God in my life.

The quote of the week is from President Eyring.  He said "Form a habit of pushing on through the fear and fatigue that might make you think of quitting.  The Lord's great mentors have shown me that spiritual staying power comes from working past the point when others would have taken a rest."  We have potential within ourselves to reach out to the Savior and find Him reaching back and then discover that together the impossible becomes just another stepping stone.  We can work harder, love deeper, and change the world, if we have the Lord helping us.

With great love,

Elder Tyler Andrew Bushman

Monday, June 4, 2012

Brás Cubas - Week 3


Family, Friends, and other Readers,

This week was...eye opening.  Not in a bad way, just factually.  I will explain by talking about
specific events that occurred.

First, Friday was Elder Todd's birthday on the mission.  We had a cake and we made our own burgers.  We mixed garlic and onions into the meat and spiced it to taste.  Elder Todd is a flavor junkie, so they were strongly flavored.  It was delicious and a lot of fun to take some time to just relax and celebrate for a couple of hours.  Today marks my 2 month mark and I've already completed 1/12 of my mission.  The time is truly flying.  I thought it would feel like so much longer, but in reality, each day takes forever to pass, but the weeks just become a glaze.  I will not get trunky while thinking about this.  I have 2 more years to be focused.

The second realization that occurred is that we have an investigator that has been coming to church for more than a month, but this last week his son became sick and has been in the hospital.  His wife hasn't been home and he sold the shutters to his house to pay for a bus ticket to visit them in the hospital.  They have no food left in their house and he can't work because he has 2 small children at home to take care of.  He's heard the members of the church talk about love, charity, the relief society helping people out, and yet no one has come to help them.  Several members know about their situation, but the only people who have come to visit him are Elder Todd and me.  He even quit drinking for a couple days in the hopes of a miracle and nothing came.  He was very angry with us, with God, and with the ward when we talked to him yesterday.  Where is his help?  Where is his love?  Where is his miracle?  That opened our eyes.  Have we been doing all that we could to help... I don't know, but after we left his house we went directly to the bishop's house and then to the house of the ward mission leader.  The help will now begin to pour out, but it took longer than it should have.  Elder Todd and I committed to be more strictly obedient because things like this should not happen, we should have caught this sooner.  In the future we will.

The third thing and the one that has grown close to my heart is about Family History.  I have never done family history in my life.  I've filled out a 4 generation pedigree chart, but that is it.  It had always struck me as wildly uninteresting.  I have been told that one day my deep love for the temple would lead to a love affair with Family History.  I never believed it before, but on Thursday one of the assignments for our study was to go learn about Family History.  As I was watching the instructional videos I fell in love with the process and now I want to do Family History.  I want to find and fill out my ancestors.  They need the saving ordinances completed, and within me, at my fingertips at this very moment, is all that I need to find my ancestors.  I'm on a mission so I don't currently have time to do family history, but I will hold onto this deep love for 2 years and become a Family History junkie after my mission.  I love this gospel and the programs that are in place to bring us closer to our family, our ancestors, our friends, and our Savior.  Families truly are the focus of everything we do because families are our greatest source of joy in this life and eternity.

The quote of the day is from Elder Russell M. Nelson.  He said "If you really want a certain blessing, you'd better find out what laws govern that blessing and then work on becoming obedient to those laws."  We have the potential to do almost anything, including moving mountains and changing lives, but to do so we must be obedient to the laws of God and submit ourselves to the will of the Father because the only thing in this life that we can give Him that is not already His is our will and our agency.  When we turn over our will to Heavenly Father there is nothing we can't do.


Elder Tyler Andrew Bushman