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