Family and friends,
Note from Mom: Tyler’s companion Elder Todd has been sick all week so they have not been able to get out at all. Tyler had just a few minutes on the computer and asked me to post something on his blog from his letters home. He sends his love to everyone and told me he will find out later today if either he or Elder Todd will be transferred tomorrow. Here is an excerpt from last week’s letter to the family:My dear family,
I read a story this week that inspired some new ideas. It is titled “Smiles to Share” by C. J. Gudmundson –Friend, June 2009 – you can look up the full text but it talks about a child learning a lesson about the importance of discovering and sharing our talents.This story demonstrates some important principles.
1. The importance of sharing our talents.President Hinckley once said, “We are here to accomplish something, to bless society with our talents and our learning.” That’s easy enough to say and to comprehend, but actually putting it into practice is much less simple. It shouldn’t be, but somehow developing our talents always seems to be put on the back burner to things that are “more immediately important.” Satan is incredibly clever and hardworking. He likes to show us 1,000 things we could be doing to distract us from the few we should.
I know first-hand how powerful a gift from God can be. I have been blessed with a “quick and ready” smile. No one ever said it would be pretty, just that it would be there. We reactivated this woman and the reason she didn’t come to church was because she has anger issues. There are several people in the ward who have severely offended her, but her first few weeks at church when I could tell that she “ficon com raiva” (was with anger) I would smile at her. My smile is so awkward that she always starts to laugh. She told me that now, anytime she feels herself getting angry she picture my smile and the anger dissipates.2. The importance of audience participation when teaching with the Spirit.
Elder Richard G. Scott (my hero) states: “Creating an atmosphere of participation enhances the probability that the Spirit will teach more important lessons than you can communicate. That participation will bring into their lives the direction of the Spirit. When you encourage students to raise their hands to respond to a question, while they may not realize it, they signify to the Holy Ghost their willingness to learn. That use of moral agency will allow that Spirit to motivate and give them more powerful guidance during your time together. Participation allows individuals to experience being led by the Spirit. They learn to recognize and feel what spiritual guidance is.”If that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what does. In the church we call them teachers, but a more appropriate title would be facilitators. They prepare with the Spirit so they are guided to the correct words to say, but then their job is to stand in the front of the room, present truths, and invite class members to think and open their minds to the ministering of angels and of the Holy Ghost. The world we live in today teaches that answers must come instantly and that silence is awkward, but both of those things are exactly contrary to the way the Spirit teaches. If we accustom ourselves and those we teach to quietly contemplate during classes in church and school, alone or in a crowd, then the Lord will “open you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10) Then we “shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures.” (D&C 89:19) if we have the faith to let silence reign and then have the courage to share what the Spirit bore witness to you, everyone will be blessed with the ability to “be still, and know that [He is] God.”
I wish I had some funny story or experience, but missionary work is a lot of the same. We wake up, work out and study, go to lunch, and then walk and teach. Occasionally something different happens, but generally it is pleasant and spiritual monotony. I pretty consistently walk around with a silly grin on my face that I’m sure occasionally makes people wonder about my sanity, but such is life.My testimony has grown so much. I love the church more than I thought I ever could or would. I can’t wait to learn and grow more.
Para Sempre,Elder Tyler Andrew Bushman