Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Goodbye England . . . Hello Munich!

Sister Bushman's Mom speaking here:
Sister Bushman is in transition right now and we will not hear from her until next week, so I thought I would fill in as guest blogger.  Friday we heard from the President's office at the MTC (Missionary Training Center), informing us that she would be leaving England on Wednesday, July 30th for Munich, Germany.  Here are the official pictures of the groups that would be leaving on that day:

"The Kimball Zone" -- which is primarily the Alpine-German Speaking missionaries,
preparing to leave England in four days (Sister B. is in the tan dress in the middle).

The Alpine German-Speaking (AGS) missionaries are at the MTC for six weeks, and the English Language-Speaking (ELS) missionaries are there for two weeks.  During Sister Bushman's duration at the MTC she met and interacted with three different groups.  The ELS missionaries will serve in all areas of the British Isles.  The photo below are both the AGS and ELS missionaries that would be leaving the same day to start their missions:

Sister Bushman is on her knees, third from the left.
We heard from Sister Bushman briefly yesterday, telling us that she would be leaving at 4:45 AM on Wednesday the 30th for Munich.  She sent one more picture of the AGS missionaries the day before they left.  Her district's German teacher is on the far left, Brother Eckelt.

The sister missionaries proudly hold the three flags of the countries
where they will be serving.  Sister Bushman holds the Austrian flag.
Just an hour ago we heard from President Kohler in Munich, assuring us that Sister Bushman had arrived safely and after a long day of orientation was tucked away in bed.  He then told us where she will first be serving.  Here is a clue:


If you need another clue:

Your last clue:

If you guessed the State Opera, Johann Strauss II, and Schonbrunn Palace, then you'll know she will be going to VIENNA, AUSTRIA!  President Kohler kindly sent us two pictures of her arrival in Munich today.

Sister Bushman points to Vienna on a map of Austria, and holds up
a picture of Sister Friemann, from Germany, who will train her.

Sister Bushman with President and Sister Kohler in Munich.

From now on, the weekly blog post will no longer be on Wednesday.  It will be on MONDAY.  I'm sure she will tell you all about her first assignment in detail, so we will see you next Monday!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Last P-Day in the MTC . . . (Wait, what?)

Hallo, Leute!  (Hello, People!)
With Sister Edwards and Sister Hansen --
wives of the Mission Presidency
 Today is my last P-Day in the MTC; I can hardly believe it. One week from now I will be in Munich at the mission home, where I'll meet the Mission President and his wife, the Kohlers, and my trainer, and I'll find out where I'm assigned for my first area! I'm so flipping excited. I know that my whole mission will be a time of incredible growth, and I know that my first transfers will be a huge part of that. I can't wait to get out to the real-life, wonderful people of the Alps and get to work!
When I leave the MTC I will no longer meet all of the wonderful ESL sisters (English-Speaking
Language).  Sisters Finassi (Italy), Xie (China), Monroy (Guatemala) & Dias (Brazil)
One month!  What?  This is my last P-Day
Preparation Day) in the MTC
I know it's a little late, but I might as well acknowledge to the world that DEUTSCHLAND WON THE CUP. We got updates through our teachers every day who was playing who. We're hoping that everyone is still a little revved up about it when we get to Germany. So so fun.

We had lots of celebrating this week, because we hit our ONE MONTH MARK. What? Where did all of the time go? The MTC has literally flown by. I'm actually kind of scared because I only have 17 months left. I want to make every minute count and it just seems unfair that a whole month is already gone, haha. Also, it was Sister Fenton's 22nd birthday on the 22nd! It was a looot of fun. Also, just to make things interesting, all of the Alpine Sisters switched tags for a couple hours, and some people totally went with it. (Brother Field called Sister Wilkes 'Sister Bushman' in class, and some people wished me happy birthday while wearing Sister Fenton's tag. Ha.)

We also had one of my favorite lessons we've ever taught this week. We teach up to 2 lessons a day, depending on the day and our schedule. I felt the Spirit so strongly, and I know our 'investigator' did too. Not going to lie; speaking German is scary. Sometimes it's so scary, I have no idea how on earth I'm going to get through our lessons. But even in these fake appointments, we can feel words being put into our mouth. In that particular appointment, I bore my testimony about the Holy Ghost and how its guidance and peace strengthens me and my testimony and just thought: This is happening. I'm speaking German after basically starting it a month ago, and my investigator is feeling the Spirit and feeling God's love for him. This is incredible.
Taking a brief break from studying German . . . with Elder Annen
On that note, I've decided that learning another language teaches you a lot about the gospel. For example, in German, the verb that we use for 'repent' is 'umkehren'. When you look that up in a secular dictionary, it literally means 'to turn' or 'to turn back'. Isn't that what we're doing as we try to follow the Savior? Just turn to Him bit by bit, degree by degree, always? And as we continue to turn, our joy just increases. I love that. Also, I think it's really cool in English that we address our Father in Heaven as 'Thee' and use 'Thou', 'Thine', etc. In German, there are two forms of 'you'. 'Sie' is formal, and we use it with our companions, investigators, and strangers. 'du' is only for children and family and very close friends. I love German because we adjust our Heavenly Father as 'du'. The Supreme Creator of the ENTIRE universe, we get to address as our Father, which He is. Isn't that cool?
In my new Tim Gunn-ed ASDA
white skirt and new floral top
 Some fun little stories for this week. First of all, last week at ASDA (a British Walmart-type store) I saw this super cute white skirt on clearance that was long enough and perfect, except for the fact that it had a transparent strip near the bottom. SO. I Tim Gunn-ed it (made it work) by buying a plain white T-shirt and putting them together. Sister Edwards let me borrow her sewing machine, and I cut up the shirt and sewed it under! It totally works! (Also, in the picture that I'm wearing the skirt, the top I also bought at ASDA. Gosh, I love ASDA.)
 Finally, German Rs are not at ALL like American Rs. Brother Field, one of our teachers, told us that the main way to REALLY sound authentic is to figure out how to say the German R, which is like rolling a Spanish R, except it's in the middle of your throat. Holy cow, we Americans are not very good at it yet! It's actually quite funny. We gargle water quite often to practice, and if you're walking around the MTC it sounds like beasts are hiding. Don't worry, it's only the Alpiners trying to sound authentic.
Can we be spiritual one moment and a bit goofy the next?  Oh yes!
Sister Wilkes, Sister Bushman, & Sister Cook
Sending lots of love to the States! I probably won't get to say much next week since we'll be travelling, but I'll catch you up soon.
Much, much love! 
Sister Bushman

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Happy Christmas!

Hi everyone!
So about two weeks ago, we were trying to pick a hymn to sing and someone suggested a Christmas song. Someone in the district scoffed and said that you absolutely could not sing Christmas songs when it wasn't Christmas.
And I had an idea.
What if we had Christmas in July?!
Our paper Christmas stockings in the classroom
I told Sister Fenton my idea and she was immediately on board. We told Sister Smith and Sister Angeloudis and they both were really excited. We planned it for last Saturday. Through some sneaky sleuthing, the other sisters found out all of the Elders' favorite candies, and we set to work. We made a paper Christmas tree (everyone got "ornaments" they could tack onto it,) stockings, paper chains, stars, snowflakes, the whole deal. The morning of we set up the room and turned on Christmas music. The Elders had a look of pure confusion when they walked into the room. We just looked blankly back at them and said "Santa came!" Hahaha. They eventually caught on and all ran upstairs to take pictures of the room and of the stuff "Santa" brought them. We sang Christmas hymns all day. All of the Sisters in the other districts knew of our plan and also wished us "Happy Christmas" (that's what they say here in England) all day. So that was great fun.
Taking a selfie with Elders Hunt, Annen, Killpack and Howarth
on Christmas Day, July 2014!
Speaking of, those wonderful new sisters have come and gone. It's so crazy, there were 6 of them and I already miss them like crazy. First term we had 20 sisters. Then we had 16. Apparently there are only 2 coming tomorrow, so there will just be 12 of us. The testimonies of those girls were incredible. I'm so glad I got to rub shoulders with them for a while!
All the Sisters together -- both English and German-speaking:
Back:  Sisters Angeloudis, Cook, Wood, Sandelin, Kofford & Wilkes;
Front:  Sisters Smith, Fenton, Wright, Bushman, McNamee, & Molholt
 Okay. I have a lot of bad habits. (Don't we all?) One of my favorite vices is chewing ice. (I know it's bad, stop telling me!) :) Anyway, I think Heavenly Father decided to force me to break this habit because ice is not a thing in Europe. And I'm going bananas. I just want to chew an ice cube! Just one! I can't wait until the time I have a freezer and can freeze my own cubes. Ah. That will be the day.
Even though I can't chew ice...I love being at the MTC!
(jumping up between the Austrian and German flags)
I thought it might be interesting if I shared the "typical day" at the MTC (Missionary Training Center). They vary, but they generally follow this pattern:
Sister Angeloudis made me Vegamite toast (truly
Australian) and it wasn't that bad.
6:30 - Get up. (Or at least try to.)
7:00 - BREAKFAST. (Normally toast/cold cereal/oatmeal/fruit.)
7:30 - Personal Gospel study. (Sometimes I study by topic or read chronologically or try and read auf Deutsch, depends on the day,)
8:30 - Language taught by one of our 3 awesome teachers.
9:30 - Coaching missionary study (We study with our companion for our appointments and a teacher is there so we can ask for help if necessary.)
10:30 - Companion study! (Mainly studying the doctrines we need for lessons)
11:00 - Investigator appointment.
11:30 - Additional study/practice time we use to our discretion.
Sister Fenton and I studying our favorite book.
12:00 - LUNCH. (We have a big variety of food choices.)
12:40 - Additional study/practice (although one district works during this time to clean the building once a week-ish. Vacuuming and dusting and emptying bins, mainly.)
1:40 - Personal language study.
2:00 - TRC visit (We teach an ivnestigator, but it's filmed so we can watch it later.)
2:30 - TALL. (Technology-Assisted Language Learning, that we all have a love/hate relationship with. It can be really helpful, but you end up just chanting to yourself into a computer the whole time to study.)
3:30 - Prep for exercise.
3:50 - Exercise time! It's nice to go outside and run around for a while.
4:40 - Shower/dress.

My little nook!  This is where my day begins and ends.
(I brought the Mom-made quilt).
5:10 - DINNER! (We eat a lot of different things; potatoes and freaking delicious chicken are common players. Dinner is also the best because we get dessert, which is always incredibly delicious.)
6:00 - Language in the classroom.
7:00 - Companionship study (while other people teach).
8:00 - Some kind of activity from the teachers, we often pair up with the other district. We'll practice teaching each other things, or discuss topics like "The Doctrine of Christ" or "Revelation through Prayer."
9:00 - Daily Planning.
9:30 - Shower, journal writing, all of the above.
10:30 - Lights out.
It looks a bit scatter-brained, and sometimes we teach no appointments or 2 appointments, or sometimes we TALL twice, but that's your generic day. It's pretty busy, but I woudln't have it any other way. I can't believe we fly to Munich in 2 weeks. I've already learned so much; I can't wait to soak up more and more!
Today in the Temple (we get to go each week,) I had a scripture pop into my head I hadn't read in a while. It's 1 John 4:18:  "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."  I love thinking about how there is absolutely no fear in love. When we feel afraid or inadequate, it is always from the adversary and never from God. He loves us so endlessly, (1 John 4:19) and only wants us to be happy!
It makes my heart hurt that there are so many people in this world who just don't know how much God loves them. It's incomprehensible how much He loves us and wants us to be happy! I feel so blessed that I get to be here in England right now; but I just can't wait to get to the Alps! Only two weeks to go!
My German is coming. Sometimes I can't think of hymn lyrics in English, only German. I often capitalize nouns in English on accident. Vorwärts, immer vorwärts! 
Thanks you for the letters and prayers and good wishes. Sending the best!
Sister Bushman 
Sister Bushman's Mom speaking:  You want more photos?  Here they are!
On the way to the magical world of ASDA (a British supermarket chain, like Walmart,
on P-Day [Preparation Day]) with all the GSL (German-Speaking Language)
Elders from the Helaman district.  B:  Elders Samuelson, Hunter, & Carr;
M:  Elders Griffey, Albrecht, & Mourik; Sister Fenton and Bushman in front.
The front entrance of the MTC
Inside the entrance of the MTC
Sister Angeloudis (from Australia) did some doodles on the board
of the Alma Distrikt -- Sister Bushman is third from left.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

(Still) Not in Kansas Anymore

Guten Nachmittag, Familie und alle!  (Good afternoon, family and all!)
No guarantees that that was correct. I'm back! I can't believe I'm already emailing again. This week just flew by! First of all, let me just tell you that even when you're in Europe and chatting with Scots and Brits and pseudo-Germans (investigators,) everyone will still bring up Wizard of Oz when you say you're from Kansas. Hahaha, some things never change! There's no place like home!

The new Sister Trainer Leaders!
So, craziest thing happened last Wednesday. Sister Fenton and I hadn't been off of the computer for an hour when President Edwards saw us in the hall and called us into his office. We nervously glanced at each other and went in. He offered a prayer and then told us that we were called as the new Sister Trainer Leaders! What? We were shocked. The last ones were English speakers so they had left. We have responsibilites to try and keep an eye on all of the sisters and make sure they're okay and help meet they're needs if they're struggling, we try and set the example and the bar for how to behave and act, and we attend a weekly leadership council with the Zone Leaders and District Leaders. It's been some work but we feel humbled at the privilege.
With Sister Xie of China
We got our new set of missionaries last week! They're all great and settling in fine. We got 6 new sisters to replace the 10 we lost and we gained more Elders than we lost, so our proportions of missionaries is slightly more off-kilter than it was before. We've swapped some of our old countries represented for Sweden, Denmark, Wales, England, and Holland among other places. I just love how we represent so many countries. It's the coolest thing.

 That being said, there are a toooooon of Americans here. At least half are American, and you know what last week was...the FOURTH OF JULY! It was really fun trying to celebrate in the country that we like, declarled independence from. We all wore red and blue and pledged allegiance to the American flag in the front. (There's a lot of flags; even Sister Angeloudis from Australia pledged with us. Why not?) We tried to write "God Bless America" on the white board, and our British teacher who makes fun of us the most wrote "...and all other countries" below. Hahaha. That night we had corn on the cob, barbeque chicken, apple pie with ice cream, and American Root Beer! It was the best. Celebrating is fun.
With the Alma Distrikt (German-speaking)
missionaries celebrating the 4th of July
If anything I've learned in my time here at the MTC, it's that the gift of tongues is real. I'm legitimately much better at German than I was last week. 7 days ago. That's not possible without the Spirit of the Lord. Last Sunday was Fast/Testimony meeting, and was also the Sunday that we were supposed to start speaking German in our Sunday meetings. My heart was beating so fast, I knew I just had to get up and say what I knew was true. So I got up, and bore my testimony completely in German. It was simple and I'm sure I had grammar mistakes, but it happened! I couldn't believe it. The Spirit of the Lord is truly in this building. It's so strong.
Sister Bushman's German study tools
We also started teaching two appointments a day. And we started watching them! Our lessons have generally been going pretty well, which is really really encouraging. We have a long way to go, but all of us are really amazed at our progress.

Watching ourselves (Sister Bushman and Sister Fenton)
as we prepare to teach the gospel in German.


With BYU Folk Dance instructors Ed and Vicki Austin at MTC
Two days ago when we were watching the tape of our TRC (Teaching Resource Center) visit I did a double take out the window because I saw Ed and Vicki Austin walking down the sidewalk! (Vicki was my folk dance teacher at BYU last year, and Ed is the head of the department.) I yelled to Sister Fenton to come with me and we booked it outside of the building and where they had gone. It was them! Apparently they had some work to do in the UK and Vicki knew I was still here so they were walking around to see if they could find me. It was the greatest thing and such a tender mercy. So cool!
I feel like my testimony just grows every day. I've never been so aware of my weaknesses and faults, yet I've never felt so close to the Lord. I've never sang so much and laughed so much and knelt in prayer so much in my entire life. I love singing the hymns in German. Last night we sang "Beautiful Savior," a beautiful German hymn that many Americans know but I don't think is in our songbook. I remember when I was a kid and my Dad was choir director, they sang it. It reminded me of home and brought the Spirit and reminded me why I'm here. There are so many people who aren't even aware of the incredible gift they have from their loving older brother. There are so many people who don't know how much their Heavenly Father loves them. There's just so much joy to be had!
Thank you for the letters I received this week! It's literally like Christmas when a letter comes. And I got some Dear Elders this week, so we know it works! Haha. Anyway. I think of you all often and love you so much!
Have a good week!
Sister Bushman
Shelley's Mom speaking:  here is Sister Bushman showing the new current line-up of missionaries at the England Missionary Training Center (and a clearer picture than last week!)
Last week the missionaries visited local LDS historic sites.  Here they are standing in front of the flat where President Gordon B. Hinckley lived during his mission in Preston.
Sister Bushman is in the middle in the tan dress.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hallo von England!

Hello world!

     OKAY. Round two. I wrote this letter, but it deleted. Sigh. I can't believe another week has passed at the MTC! I remember "pre-mission me" asked everyone she could find about mission life. What is it like? How did you feel? Now I see why they could never really answer adequately. There is no way to describe what it feels like to be a missionary. You laugh a ton, learn a lot, cry a bit, and feel the Spirit so incredibly strongly.  And I'm not even out of the MTC! The best way I can think of describing MTC life (at least) is it's like this weird, wonderful EFY boarding house that is just overflowing with the Spirit in a language you don't understand. And that's such an inadequate description. But seriously, I love it here. We have class most of the day with our two different German teachers. Apparently we're getting a third soon. They're all Brits who either served in Germany or grew up speaking it in their home.
All of the missionaries in the England MTC and where they are from.
It's easy to find Sister Bushman in the heartland -- in the middle of
the U.S.A.  (the people in the ocean are from UT or CA)
Sister Riesen and Sister Bushman
     The English-speaking districts left this morning, so there's only 20 of us here today. More come tomorrow. We know we'll love them, but we can't help but be partial to the people we suffered through UK immigration with. The Alpine sisters quietly sang "God Be With You Til We Meet Again" outside of their rooms quietly last night. Sunday night we had this awesome testimony meeting in honor of the English speakers leaving. I had to give the closing prayer. Praying was one of the first things they taught us, so we've been expected to pray auf Deutsch in all of our meetings since then, even if there are English speakers there. There has been an awesome Swiss sister headed to Scotland/Ireland named Sister Riesen. We adore her. Whenever she would see us German speakers we would try to talk to her and she would say "Ich verstehe dich nicht," or "I don't understand you, forcing us to practice our German. She thought we were all super cute trying to learn her native tongue. She told me after my prayer that my accent sounded great - hardly American at all! That was really nice.
     Speaking of Deutsch, remember how I joked pre-MTC that I was going to be frustrated wth myself if I wasn't fluent after a week? Haha. Seriously kind of happened. Dieter F. Uchtdorf told us to "forget not to be patient with yourself," so I've had to do that. Once you step back and realize that you've been studying the language for like 12 days, you go a little easier on youself. I'm finally starting to really see improvement though, which feels awesome! I never realized how much German I knew beforehand until I got here. So many things from my German in school have been coming back. (Thanks Frau Dark & Frau Schlumpf!)
Sister Bushman, Sister Wilkes, Sister Fenton,
& Sister Cook before the church history tour
The 20 of us left went on a church history tour today! It was so cool. We got to go on a bus and leave the campus of the MTC (which was exciting in itself) and visit places like Preston, and Downham - key cities where the gospel first blossomed in England. We saw Gordon B. Hinckley's mission apartment, the river where the first baptism happened, and the obelisk where the gospel was first preached! Everything was so beautiful and old and green, Sister Fenton and I probably took forty photos. Each.
     Okay. Funny story. I am not athletic in the slightest, but we have 40 minutes each day (besides Sunday) to exercise. When it's sunny you can play football or run, and when it's rainy, we play volleyball or basketball as a zone in the stake center next door. It was nice for the first few days, so Sis. Fenton and I would run. Then the English rain settled in, and we had to play basketball. My sports terror set in. We had 5 teams of 4 and would play half court until someone scored, then switched teams. Luckily I was with 3 elders who were really athletic and I could exercise by running away from the action. This was fine until they started to notice and would insist on passing me the ball despite my recoiling horror. Long story short, it soon became an ordeal that involved the entire room. When I finally shot the ball (and totally missed,) the entire room erupted into cheers. I did a little curtsy. We all laugh a lot during exercise. Since then we've played basketball again and football twice. It's actually kind of fun. Who'da thought! Missionary life will make an athlete out of me yet! (Haha, yeah right.)
Happier posing for pictures than playing basketball!
     Spiritual thought before I sign off -- this week I was reading in Alma and found a scripture that so perfectly captures how I feel about being on a mission:  "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it.  I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."  Alma 29:9
     Thank you so much for the good wishes and prayers. And letters! It's like Christmas whenever Elder Hunt (our Distriksleiter - district leader) goes to get the mail. It takes about a week for them to get here.
Love from England!
Sister Bushman