Monday, June 24, 2013

Bela Vista - Week 6


Greetings from Africa,

First off, I love being able to say that I am in Africa.  That is probably the coolest thing I've ever been to say about myself (location wise...).

Next, I am feeling much better.  Still pretty crummy, but much better.  I am still weak and my stomach still feels weird and becomes very painful sometimes, but that is life and so I keep working knowing how much better I have it than some people and how this trial is helping me develop empathy and my testimony.

Third, today is transfer day.  They are doing a "white-wash" of our area, although, not completely.  Elder Camargo leaves tonight to be a Zone Leader on Sal.  That's right, his fourth transfer in the mission and already a zone leader.  I will stay here for another week with an Elder and show him our area and introduce him to our progressing investigators as well as help him begin a new teaching pool, and then next week I will be transferred to Praia to work in the office as a mission secretary and another Elder will arrive in Bela Vista to continue the work there.  At first I was disappointed that both Elder Camargo and I would be leaving, because we love our area and we don't want to leave the absolutely amazing families we are teaching.  They truly are incredible people with great faith and progressing testimonies.  I wish that I could stay and help them, but as I explained to them, as much as I want to stay, my faith demands that I go and I hope that one day they too have the faith to do whatever the Lord asks of them.

After I finished being bummed that we were both leaving I remembered a secret that I had that I have never told anyone.  And I mean anyone.  From the time I was a little kid I have always wanted to be a missionary and serve in the mission office.  I don't remember how this desire began to grow, but I don't remember ever not having it.  My lifelong dream will begin to be realized next week when I go to Praia to work in the office.  I don't know why I want to do this.  I hate office work, but for some weird reason I am totally and completed excited to work in the mission office.  Maybe this strange desire I've always had was to prepare me for this calling, in this mission, at this time.  I think it is so neat when the Lord places desires in our hearts or talents in our lives and then gives us the perfect opportunities to realize those talents and desires.

Lastly, I had the wonderful opportunity to baptize Sydney on Saturday.  It has been an incredible experience to watch him grow and it was a great honor to be asked to baptize him.  He is in a band and I included one of there their songs.  I hope you enjoy it.  It is in English, Portuguese, and Creole. (Mom doesn't know how to post the song - sorry, we will work on that.)


Elder Bushman
Elder Bushman, Sidney, ?, Elder Camargo
Service project cleaning the beaches in Baia das Gatas.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bela Vista - Week 5



I don't think I have ever had a longer or more miserable week in my life, and yet even now I am sitting here with a stupid grin on my face, because I know that it is all worth it.  The doctor told me that I am having a problem that not enough protein is entering my blood and so all of my muscles, bones, and organs (and apparently my immune system) were/are not working at full capacity.  That is why I am so sick and weak, and why every single bone and muscle in my body hurts, and why my knee is bothering me so much that I can hardly walk, and my tongue and brain just won't produce or understand Portuguese.  But I find myself sitting here perfectly happy and at peace knowing that Heavenly Father loves, my Savior understands me, and the Spirit fills me.  I am being careful with my body and I am perfectly worthy of any blessing the Lord sees fit to bless me with, even if it's a trial.  So in fact, a large part of me is very happy to be suffering so much because it means that the Lord trusts me to overcome them if I will but turn to Him, and turn to Him I continue to do.

I read in a BYU Devotional from last year that living with gratitude in our hearts brings joy.  Joy does not bring gratitude.  And so, out of desperation one night when I couldn't sleep and I was feeling very uncomfortable, I started a gratitude list.  Here are a few entries:

- My family that unconditionally loves me and supports me in my righteousness and loves me through my difficulties.
- For good music that heals my soul when it aches and longs for peace or understanding.
- Beds, because sleeping on the floor is awful.
- The times when I feel a cool sensation surge through my body which I know is the Spirit and allows me to feel close to my Savior for a brief moment.
- Heavenly Father and the Savior's love that sometimes fills my soul to the point where it feels like my heart will burst.
- Prayer that is honestly and truly an opportunity to speak with a God, but more than just that also a loving Father, and tell Him my pains, my joys, my strengths, my weaknesses, and any desires and He doesn't just listen, He also will always help in the way that is absolutely best for me.
- Food that tastes good, fills the belly, warms the heart, and heals the soul.

These are just a few. I have nearly a hundred like this just from a few days of conscious thinking about it.  I feel like my heart is changing and gratitude is becoming a part of me.

I don't know how, when, or if the Savior will heal me, but I can tell you beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Savior is with me every step and He is guiding my path.


Elder Bushman

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bela Vista - Week 4


Bon dia,
Boa tarde, or
Boa noite depending on when you are reading this,

My week was really rough.  I am sick as a dog and have been since Tuesday.  I did get permission from the president to go to the doctor so we are going to do that after we finish emailing and I should have more information next week.  I have been wracked with a sore throat, a headache, stomach ache, a cough, and my ears have been hurting.  Needless to say, we did not get a lot of work done in our area.  But, I did do two 24-hour divisions, we moved out of our apartment into the apartment of some other elders because I'm sick and our apartment ran out of water, and I went to a baptism and five hours of church yesterday.  But Elder Camargo is a good nurse and in between all of the running around we're doing he takes good care of me, like making me food and forcing me to take several hot showers a day (because the other elders have hot and unlimited water in their apartment).  He loves me.  And through all of the pain and sickness I always keep this stupid "quick and ready smile" on my face. 

One sister even said "Elder Bushman, you don't have to smile."  To which I cheerfully, albeit without much energy, responded, "Yes I do.  For every trial given to us by the Lord there is a reason and a blessing.  I don't know what the reason is yet, but I know that whatever blessing is coming is going to be big."  She just laughed, but in that moment I said something profound and I've held onto that thought and it's given me courage to stand strong.

This week I met an incredible man named João.  He is in the picture with me.  He was one of the very first people baptized in Cape Verde 25 years ago.  Shortly after his baptism he moved to Portugal, but he lived several hours by foot from the nearest ward and he didn't have a car.  Then seven years ago he moved back to Cape Verde, but to an island that didn't have missionaries.  Since he never saw missionaries he didn't know that the church was on that island.  He has kept studying the gospel with the materials he had and he knows a lot of it a lot better than I do.  We met him on Thursday, but just six days before missionaries opened his island to proselyting.  We gave his number to the missionaries there and he already has 10 or 15 friends that he has talked to about the gospel and are ready to get baptized when they talk with the missionaries.  What an incredible story or being kept from the truth only because they knew not where to find it.  Amazing how the Lord works, right?

I don't have much more to say this week because I've been pretty sick, but I'm happy.  So, so happy.  I love the gospel.  My family.  My companion.  This work.  And our God.


Elder Bushman

Elder Bushman and João.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Bela Vista - Week 3


Hey everyone,

Guess what.  My shoes fell apart and so I had to go teaching for a few days in my tennis shoes because my boots haven't arrived yet, my second set of shoes is on Praia, and my shoes were at the sapoteiro, or shoer, being fixed.  But, while my shoes were being resoled I was looking for something in our apartment and I found my purple ties that I have been looking for and so my tie inventory has gone from three to five.  Whoo-hoo.

We had a number of really incredible experiences this week.  First, we had a baptism.  Her name is Arminda and she is incredible.  Her son was baptized last month and she took a little longer, but she followed in his footsteps and is very happy she did.

Next, we had an unexpected visit from the assistants on Friday and one of them came and spent the day with us.  His name is Elder Christensen and he is incredible.  Elder Camargo and I learned a lot from him and we are teaching more in unison, switching more often, testifying more often, and allowing ourselves to be guided by the Spirit like never before.  I am learning better every day how to trust the Spirit.  All I have to do now is open my mouth and the words just come out, sometimes faster than even I understand them, but other people seem to, and that is enough.  I pray every day for the gift of tongues and the gift of the interpretation of tongues, and the Lord is truly granting that for me.  I understand Creole better than Elder Camargo, and like I said before, the Portuguese is coming faster than I want it to sometimes.

I've been studying about grace, and the more I understand, the better able to use it I seem to be.  Grace is not the power that comes after we finish all we can do; it comes before, during, and after our effort.  As long as I trust the Spirit and work hard then I will be able to do all the Lord asks of me.  I gave the training in our district meeting on Friday about how humility (the understanding of our dependence on the Lord) can give us confidence to trust the Lord enough to take that first step into the darkness trusting that the Lord will place a pathway beneath our feet.  If we don't have confidence in the Lord and in ourselves in everything we do those around us will see it and they won't trust us.  We cannot, on the mission, at home, or in any location, effectively do the work of the Lord without confidence.  As long as I am constantly striving to learn and grow, I am enough.  You are enough.  And the Lord will always make up the difference.

We're preparing for a zone conference in a few weeks and there's going to be a big competition where all of the missionaries from São Vicente, Santo Antão, and Fogo are going to come together.  In preparation for that we are all memorizing one scripture from each section from each of the lessons in Preach My Gospel.  It is going to be an amazingly powerful day filled with the Spirit.  I cannot wait.

Até mais, (“see you” or “later”)

Elder T. Drew Bushman
Arminda's baptism day.

View from the top of the mountain in Drew's area.

A group of Cape Veridian children.

Elder Camargo and Jerry - a member that often serves with them.