This week my focus has been gratitude and about forgetting about my needs to fulfill the needs of those that I am serving. As I have done this I am more easily recognizing the miracles and the evidence of God's hand in my life. I will tell a few stories to demonstrate.
First, last transfer we reactivated a family. The mom hasn't been active in years and the children didn't know a lot about the church. The dad... is not a member of the church and is not living almost any of the church standards. The reason this woman went inactive is because she is not married to her "husband" and so she was embarrassed to go to church. Her family is in the ward and after she came once, felt their love and support, she came every week afterward. She had been feeling lost and lonely for a long time. She was coming to church for about a month when we went over to her house to talk to her and her kids. She told us that they would be moving out of the house, just her and the kids. She has since moved. She is living the law of chastity, going to church, and is happier than she has ever been. It is a wonderful privilege to be a tool in the Lord's hands, helping this woman to have the courage to do something difficult and feel the blessings. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this work.
Second, we have an investigator that is the friend of a less-active member we are working on re-activating. They both came to church this week and loved it. We went to see them after church to see how they felt and the investigator was running around introducing us to all of his friends, inviting them to hear the truth he learned and to find God. He is inviting them to youth activities, ward activities, church, and to let us teach them. He truly has the spirit of missionary work and wants nothing more than for every other person to feel what he feels.
Third, last week was really hard and we weren't feeling discouraged, just a little...disheartened. We were still working hard and talking with as many people as we could, but things just didn't seem to be working out. My companion was taking it harder than I was and I didn't know how to make him feel better. It all culminated last Sunday when none of our investigators came to church and we hadn't taught a lesson all day. We had been on our feet for hours and sat down for just a second to rest. A man walked by with a bunch of pastries that he was selling in the street. He came over, gave us each one for free, and walked away. That gave us the energy to finish the day. Then on Tuesday we were going home after another hard day and decided to stop for churros. As we went to pay the woman told us that a man on the other side of the stand had already paid. We arrived home and the sister who lives in the house above mine gave us half of a hot quiche that she had left over from her family's dinner. It is amazing how wonderful unexpected and free food can feel sometimes. Since then we have been so blessed and I know that it is because we kept working hard and not getting discouraged even when things didn't look very bright. I think our greatest blessing this week, besides having 2 investigators at church yesterday, occurred on Friday. We went to the house of a referral that we had taught a couple of times. During the course of the lesson 6 of his friends came in and sat down listening, totally hooked. It was wonderful. We were able to teach 7 people in a single lesson and many of them want us to come back. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but He does always make things work.
The quote of the week is from Proverbs 17:22 "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." There is a story of a man who was very sick in the hospital. His friends came over and brought a bunch of their favorite funny movies. He spent days laughing and joking with his friends. Miraculously he recovered surprisingly rapidly. If we can smile and laugh through the worst of situations then our trials will always pass and make us stronger.
Elder Tyler Andrew Bushman