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

1 comment:

  1. She is so cute! It's good that she has a background in German, she will hit the ground running in the field. And her blog looks terrific, you're doing a great job Patty =)