This week has been really difficult. I received some hard news that I had been expecting, but nevertheless it was unpleasant. I will almost certainly be coming home very soon. I will find out for sure in the next few days what the final verdict is, but at this point I am preparing myself to return to California in the next couple of weeks. I will explain in more detail for anyone who cares to read on.When I arrived in the field 13 weeks ago it became apparent very quickly that I would have a problem performing the work in the manner required of me. My body ached, but my heart and spirit hurt too. I did not want to admit (to myself or the Lord) my weakness and so as I continued to work and pray I became numb to what I was feeling. A missionary cannot feel the Spirit effectively or teach well if there is not an open channel between them and the Lord. I prayed that the burden would be lifted, that the pain would dissipate, and I could feel the Spirit guiding me and helping me the way I needed. The impression came several times to talk to my mission president about what was going on inside me, to allow him to help me fight this battle, but I ignored this feeling because it wasn't what I wanted. The thing with me is that I may not always do what I should or what I think, but no matter how ridiculous it seems I always do what I feel. To ignore this feeling was my signal that I couldn't put this off anymore.
One night while Elder Todd was sick and I had already been trapped in the house for more than a week with the only thing for me to do being to study; I was closer to the Savior than I had been for a while. As I lay in bed this sick feeling came over me, not physical sickness, but a deep and penetrating feeling of sadness and disappointment. I got out of bed and walked to my desk to study some more. After hours of reading and not feeling relieved I finally humbled myself enough to fall to my knees. For the first time in months I prayed with the intent to follow any and all promptings that came to me. My terrible feeling increased and then gave way to a simple thought that alleviated the tension inside of me: "There are some pains that only the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ can heal. Whether they are physical, emotional, or spiritual, it is the same."It had finally come the time to turn my will to His will. As I continued in my prayers I felt again the need to talk with my president and tell him what I was thinking, feeling, and doing. I set an appointment with him and went into his office a few days later. I felt his deep love for me and he agonized with me over what I was experiencing and the opportunities I had missed by blocking myself from the Lord. He let me know what the steps would be and he commiserated with me at the percentages that looked so grim against me. By this time I was truly at peace with whatever would happen because I knew I was following a true answer to prayer.
As I have said before, Elder Holland has promised that regardless of the work done, if I walk away from my mission a better person than when I arrived it was all worth it. When I told my mom I'd probably be returning home she reminded me of this and told me that the principle is true even if my mission is shorter than expected. I testify that even separated from the full influence of the Spirit because of my own pride I have witnessed miracles, blessed lives, brought joy, and more than anything else I have learned to study and ponder the Gospel, and to never ignore a feeling again. I came into the mission thinking I was ready for everything, but now I understand that only with His help are we ready for anything.I love being a missionary, and I am not happy to be leaving the mission field, but I am ready to return home and I'm excited to continue learning, growing, and being a lifelong member missionary. I may not return to the mission field again, but never will I lose my missionary spirit. This Gospel is too important and the message too powerful to let it sit in the back of our minds. We must fight the good fight. In the movie "The Other Side of Heaven" they are traveling to an outer island when the wind stops. The branch president instructs Elder Groberg to get in the rowboat and he begins to row. The young elder asks him why he is doing it and he responds, "I didn't decide to serve the Lord until I was old and tired - tired from all the sin. But you - you are young and already give your life to Him. I cannot be young again. But today, I can be the Lord's wind." We may not be old and tired from sin, but we can still decide that today, and every day, we can be the Lord's wind. I bear testimony to you that God lives and loves you. Jesus is our Savior and is there for you when no one else can be. I say this in the name of our Lord, Redeemer, and Savior, even Jesus Christ. Amen.
Elder Tyler Andrew Bushman