Monday, August 25, 2014

Lemons into Lemonade

This week was pretty crazy...we took a lot of not-quite-ideal situations and made them into the best that we could, and we had a pretty good week. Lemons into lemonade. It's real, folks.

On the steps of the Palace.
I just have to talk about last P-day; we went to...SCHÖNBRUNN! My lovely mother in a letter a few weeks ago asked if we had gone yet, so I promptly turned around to my companions and we resolved to go that next week. It's absolutely beautiful, with huge grounds, beautiful gardens, a gajillion tourists, and lots of photo-taking opportunities. There's this cool overlook that we walked up--you have to walk through all of the front/back grounds of Schönbrunn and up a huge, steep hill, but when you get up to the top you can see ALL of Wien! We had to scurry up pretty quickly because we had an appointment we had to get to, but I'm so glad we did. It was incredible!
Wien, Schonbrunn, and Me!

Sister Bushman (and her name tag) were at Schonbrunn Palace.

Tree pose in front of Schonbrunn
Sister Bushman, Sister Freimann & Sister Smiley
Beautiful Schonbrunn Palace was built in the mid-1600s.
Okay, funny story. The Wien 1 Elders set up a service project for us all to do this week; we were going to go do some garden work for a member that basically lived on the border of the Czech Republic. We were all going to catch a train together, be on the train for an hour, work for a few hours, come home, do some studies and other activities in the late afternoon, and then go to GMK (weekly meeting with the Ward Mission Leader) at 6. We were running a smidgen late as we were heading to the train, but we knew if we BOOKED it from our Straßenbahn to the train, we would be fine. As we flew up the escalator, we watched the doors close and the train pull away--with the Elders on it! We seriously had missed it by like, 5 seconds. Bummed but not deterred, we went to check the train schedule. The next train that went that far north would come in TWO hours. We went to talk with the OBB train people, but they said there was no other way that we could get there besides the train that came in 2 hours. We hadn't made any back-up plans (shame on us) because we were so sure that this was a solid, non-moving event. Oops.
Ice cream makes long walks better!
With Sister Smiley & Sister Freimann
So, what do you do in this situation? You make the most of it by quickly buying some treats at Billa, going home, and doing all of your studies, weekly planning, and stopping by some members before heading to GMK. It was pouring and only Sister Smiley had an umbrella, but we weren't in too poor of spirits. We had saved the day and made it worthwhile! When we got there our Ward Mission Leader told us that the Elders wouldn't be joining us...something had gone wrong with the trains and they wouldn't be able to make it back for a little while longer. They eventually made it home, but we all kind of laugh about that day; the day we almost went to the border of the Czech Republic. A lot of stories have been like that this week. Things would go completely wrong. Then, we would just look at each other, shrug, and get to work. In the end, things would work out. This is The Lord's work, and when we try to follow the Spirit - in missionary work or in life - it always works out. 
The past 24 hours have been really fun because the Sister Training Leaders in Graz came up for a tausch (exchange). Normally one missionary would go to their area and one from their area would come here, but since we have 2 areas and things are a little tricky with a dritt, they came up and will be here until Wednesday, and we'll split up into 2 groups between the 5 of us on Tuesday and Wednesday to work. But, in the mean time, we're having a special Sisters' P-day with them! It's so fun. Sister Smith and Sister Threlkeld are both red-headed and lovely and hilarious and while getting up in the morning with the 5 of us is a little crazy, we're so excited to work with them for the next few days. 
I love Vienna rain!
Today was also really fun because we had interviews with Präsident Kohler! Apparently they happen around every 3 months. He is so awesome. It's really apparent that he cares about the work and what's being done, but he also really just cares about us. He told me that if missionaries are legitimately not enjoying their missions, something is wrong. Missions are hard, but they're joyous. And we should be constantly learning and striving and happy as we serve. 

A couple little fun mission-slang things I've picked up before I go: 
* People refer to their mission beginning and ending as being 'born' and 'dying'. Like, I was 'born' in Wien. Sister Freimann will 'die' in 3 transfers. Sister Freimann 'killed' her last 2 companions because she was their last comp (companion) before they went home, haha.

* The average time a missionary spends in an area is four 6-week transfers. Typically there will be a comp change every 2 transfers, so when someone new comes in, there is someone who knows what is going on. When 2 new missionaries start simultaneously in one area, it's called white-washing. I've heard white-washing is crazy stressful.
"Personal Touch" (chocolate) from the Weiner Neustadt Elders
* People give "personal touches" to other missionaries, or to ward members or people they are working with. They can just be a nice little note, or a little gift, or something like that. The Wiener Neustadt Elders gave us chocolate this week. (Speaking of, holy cow. Chocolate here is so good. I will never eat Kit-Kats again.)

So these are a few fun little things. I think of you oft! I love Vienna, but there is no place like home! :)

Sister Bushman
Two more photos:
 The adorable 'Kino' that has been set up in the Wiener Neustadt town center for the past two weeks...I want to come back and go see a movie there after my mission!
 I meant to send this last week but didn't...THIS is what it takes to get me to give a talk in church (auf Deutsch). The red are Sister Freimann's corrections. Natives are so handy!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Addiction Recovery & American Cookies

Hi everyone! One of the struggles of trying to straddle two areas is trying to serve two wards. As missionaries, we're here to strengthen the ward in any way that we can - it's hard to befriend the members when you only see them every 2 weeks! Every day we have 30 minutes to an hour of language study, which is frustrating for Sister Freimann since she...speaks...German. (Obviously.) So what we've started doing to solve both problems is bake cookies! Sister Freimann often makes chocolate chip cookies while Sister Smiley and I study, and then we'll drop them by less actives and members in the areas that we already have plans for that day. It's so fun! It's a great way to meet the members, it works with our schedules really well, and who doesn't love cookies? It's actually pretty funny, because a few times when we'll bring cookies by, the people have said "Amerikanische cookies?" I guess chocolate-chip cookies are pretty American. I had never really thought about it before! It's just funny because the American cookies are made by the German. Oh well.
The most magical rainbow of all time over Wien
With Sister Smiley, Sister Freimann, Elder Pugmire, and
Elder Pingle after church last Sunday in Wein 1

Treats from the Zone Leaders
Last Tuesday was awesome because we had Zone Training! I got to see everyone in the Wien zone for the first time. Apparently it's one of the smallest (if not the smallest) Zones in the Mission - there are 20 Elders, 5 Sisters, and an Ehepaar. (Married Couple) So 27 in all! Apparently our district is extra-special because it has Sisters AND the Ehepaar. We talked a lot about diligence, and what diligence really means. Mosiah 4:27 (in the Book of Mormon) talks about how diligence doesn't mean running faster than we have strength for, but doing things in wisdom and order. We obviously still need to work hard, but instead of focusing on working harder, we should focus on working smarter! Zone Training was also the best because I got to see Elder Howarth! He's the only other 'golden' who came to Wien - only 6 of the 17 that even came to Austria but the rest are in Salzburg. It was so fun to see an 'old friend.'
With Elder Howarth last week at Zone Training . . .
it was nice to see a familiar face.
Most Elders get 'Comp Ties' with their companions--
just matching ties.  Sisters have to be more creative,
but we found these at Primark for 3 euros!
So. Funny story. Last Monday we decided to venture to Primark, which is basically the European equivalent of Forever 21 except that it's 20 times better. We ventured there with Elder Durrant and Elder Rodgers, the Elders that we work with in the Wiener Neustadt ward. What we didn't know is that we were unintentionally flash-mobbing Primark with missionaries...we got a text that the Zone Leaders were also there, then ran into 4 other Elders from the wards in Wien. All in all, there were at least 11 missionaries there together. That's a lot of Priesthood in one room! Ha.
Another silly little story. If you didn't know. I'm a hardcore nail-biter. I bite my nails when I'm happy, sad, anxious, peaceful, breathing, etc. I've always felt like I should probably stop, but have never been able to do it for more than a few months at a time. Well, Sister Freimann wisely told me last week that I really should just figure out how to stop. We do so much growing on our missions - might as well shatter some bad habits as well! Preach My Gospel has a section in the back with the Word of Wisdom that talks about addiction recovery and how we can help people who are trying to overcome I'm following the addiction recovery program! Haha! One of the first steps is telling people about your plans to overcoming addiction. So there you go. You've been told.
What it takes to adequately express yourself
 in Sacrament meeting...the red is
Sister Freimann's help with grammar
 I gave my first talk in church this week. Ah! I was so nervous. I had given my testimony in Wien 1 on Fast Sunday and briefly introduced myself in Sacrament Meeting in Wiener Neustadt, but this was my first full-on talk. It was about Agency and the decisions that we make. I talked about 1 Nephi 3 (in the Book of Mormon). We often think about Laman and Lemuel, Nephi's brothers, as the epitome of disobedience...but think about it. Who went into the Wilderness with Lehi? Who went all the way back to get the plates? Nephi...AND Laman and Lemuel. One of the biggest gifts that we have from our Heavenly Father is our agency. We have the choice whether we choose righteousness and goodness, or whether we choose to heed the natural man and not progress in this life. (2 Nephi 10:20) However, not only that, but how we choose to use our agency is important. Laman and Lemuel were totally obedient most of the time! They just had a really bad attitude about it, and that's what paved the way for all the destruction and heartache that occurred in the Book of Mormon. Choices matter - but attitude matters too!
I love you all to the moon and back! Have a wonderful, wonderful week.

Sister Bushman
Blast from the Past:  I didn't have many pictures from this week, so here are some great pictures I hadn't previously posted of our last week at the MTC.
I just loved being part of this Distrikt!  Elders Killpack, Howarth,
Hunt & Annen; Sisters Bushman, Smith, Fenton & Angeloudis

When Germany won the World Cup!

Just before getting on the bus for the Manchester Airport
With Sister Fenton on the bus ... goodbye Chorley, Lancashire, England!

Last Photo -- From Wein:  We have '5 Minutes of Fun' every day, and Sister Freimann wanted to check out this playground one time. This was 2 seconds before I fell.  Hope you don't fall down today!


Monday, August 11, 2014


Hello everyone!

For those who didn't know, I absolutely love sunflowers. Kansas is "The Sunflower State," so they have always reminded me of home. What I didn't know pre-mission is that Kansas has nothing on Austria concerning sunflowers, or Sonnenblumen. They are absolutely everywhere! And absolutely gorgeous. I have untold numbers of sunflowers on my camera. Absolute best!
Sonnenblumen!  A little reminder of home.
Our street out the window in Wiener Neustadt.
It is absolutely beautiful!
I am currently reporting from the chapel in Wiener Neustadt, area #2, that we finally were able to visit this week. It is absolutely beautiful! It's about a half hour train ride from Wien south to Wiener Neustadt. Sister Smiley and I both think that it looks like Arendelle from "Frozen." (Sister Freimann can't agree or disagree because she has been on her mission since the movie came out!) It's this charming little town with a town square and candy-colored buildings. The Bishof and Gemeinde here are incredible. (The "Gemeinde" is the church congregation or "ward", and the "Bishof" is the Bishop, and the leader of the congregation.)  As soon as we got in, we set up an appointment with the Bishof where we went through the ward list and talked about how we can best help and serve and boost the Gemeinde here in WN. Now that we are more settled in both apartments and have met with all of the key people, we are excited to dive deeper and get to work!
A happy, happy missionary on her first night in Wiener Neustadt

One of the beautiful churches in Wiener Neustadt...they just
have these giant beautiful gothic cathedrals on EVERY CORNER here!

Something that I have reflected a lot on this week is how Heavenly Father answers our prayers. I am beyond happy to be out in the field and finally doing what I wanted to be doing as a missionary - but I didn't realize how much I would miss my support group at the MTC until we had split. Not only that, but there's only one other Golden (a new missionary) in my whole Zone, so I will seldom see anyone from my MTC group for these first few months of training. I was feeling really overwhelmed at first with two areas to try and learn - bus systems, Bishofs, Gemeinden, etc., and I knelt down and prayed for a sense of peace and for comfort, to know that I need to be in these two areas, in Austria, away from all of the wonderful people I had gotten to know. I prayed for opened eyes to see miracles and blessings around me, so I wouldn't dwell on what was hard and what I didn't understand.
"On the way to the airport.  Miss you all!"  Sister Cook and Sister Wilkes in front;
Sister Fenton and Sister Bushman in back. On the way to the Manchester airport last week.

It's amazing what a change in perspective can do. As I tried to forget myself and serve, I started to see so many more miracles around me- and little 'coincidences' like one of my companions happening to put on our favorite CD from the MTC, and seeing the exact same flower bush on the street that we have in my front yard at home, made me feel less small in this wonderful new country I have found myself in. I think Heavenly Father is sending us little blessings of love and comfort all the time - we sometimes just don't notice. When we pray for that changed perspective, it is impossible to feel alone!
Pretty door...bring 'em the Gospel!  (Also, there's a belt
in my hair because I couldn't find a hair tie!)
Proselyting selfie, with Sister Smiley and Sister Freimann.
(Does Sister Bushman look a wee bit apprehensive?)
Last week on P-day we ventured into the Inner Stad (inner city), which was tourist central, but still really fun. We saw Stephansdom and Peterskirche, went to fancy European H&M, and heard people speaking English (which was weird). But great!
St. Stephansdom (Sister Bushman in foreground)

Looking inside the dome at Peterskirche

Beautiful Wien!

In front of H&M with Sister Smiley and Sister Freimann
The other day in transit from Wien to Wiener Neustadt, there wasn't really anyone to talk to on the train, so we just sat and enjoyed the Sound of Music Mountains, rolling green hills, Gothic parish churches, and Austrian vineyards that rolled by. Suddenly, Sister Smiley turned to Sister Freimann and me and exclaimed, "Life is so unfair! How are we so lucky?!" There we were, in the most beautiful part of the world, with silly Mary-Jane suntanned feet and copies of Das Buch Mormon, doing the Lord's work in the best way we could think of doing. It's good life. It's hard, but holy cow, is it good.

Much love! Be wonderful this week!

Sister Bushman
More photos from my first full week in Wein:
Fabled Spaghetti Eis( yummy ice cream!) 
The initiatory Austrian drink - Bananen Traum

Ich liebe Wein!  (I love Vienna!)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Seeing double . . . in Wien!

Guten Morgen!
This week has been the craziest of crazy; so I'll start from the beginning!

So, Wednesday morning, we flew to München (Munich)! I have never flown internationally when one of the countries in question was America, and MAN it was stressful. The Manchester airport was packed, and due to a few different setbacks, we thought we were going to miss our flight. Yikes.

BUT, Brother Wilkinson (who woke up so very early and brought us to the airport) was able to pull some strings and get us in the fast-track security line, and we were able to get to our flight on time. Our big pack of Elders and Sisters got a lot of looks as we went through the airport, but it was so fun. We were actually on the way!!! It was so exciting. I was even able to have a couple of nice conversations with a handful of people in the airport and on the plane about the church. I was being a real missionary, and it felt incredible. Finally!
Will I ever get out of this beautiful Munich airport?!
...Until we made it to München. We had no issues with the literal flight; all went well. But, when we tried to go through immigration again to get INTO Germany, there was a miscommunication about our visas. Long story short, they wouldnt let us in and the 16 of us spent an hour and a half detained in the airpot until the security people finally called Präsident Kohler over the intercom and he cleared everything up. Understandably, we were really excited to finally get into Germany. We were surrounded by love and hugs and handshakes from the get-go. Präsident Kohler, Sister Kohler, their 2 kids, the Assistants to the Präsident, Sister Mehr, (also a golden but she went to the Provo MTC) and a handful of Zone Leaders and Office Elders were there to greet us. They were full of smiles and almost as happy as we were to get past security.

Then, the Präsident took our luggage and we went with the APs to do the activity we had been fearing for weeks...finding. It takes about an hour by train to get from the airport to the Mission Office, and we were to try and chat with people on the way about Jesus Christ and the church, and try to place a Book of Mormon. I was so nervous. I had prayed and prayed in the days leading up to that day to just have one good conversation with someone -- nothing huge, just something where the Spirit could be there and the Holy Ghost would be generous with the gift of tongues so that I could understand. It went better than I could have hoped for. I chatted with a lot of really kind, warm people (I love Germans) and was able to have a lot of really cool discussions about Christ. There was this one old man who told me how he hates organized religion because it never ends well...he felt like it just always ended up turning to hatred and politics. I bore my testimony that this was different...the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is ON the earth and can help EVERYONE become more Christlike and filled with love. He ended up taking the Book of Mormon I had! I showed him Moroni's promise how anyone who reads the book and prays with real intent can know that it is true. And that was that. My heart was so full. I'm a real missionary!

Experiencing my first "Doner" with Sister
Freimann (left) & Sister Smiley (right)
We then headed to the beautiful Mission Office for some orientation-y stuff, and to the Mission Home for dinner. The whole Kohler family is just lovely. I am excited that I'll have the same Mission präsident for my whole 18 months. That night, we found out where we were going to be serving... and I'm in WIEN (Vienna)!!! I was so so so excited to head to Österreich (Austria) for my first area. That being said, I've been dealt a bit of an odd hand for my first area...I've been put in a dritt! Because there is an uneven number of sisters this transfer, we are in a group of 3. My trainer is Sister Freimann from Hannover, Germany (yay, a native speaker!) and my other lovely companion is Sister Smiley, who is from Chicago, but just came from Ludwigsburg. (You can check out our adventures from her perspective at We are the only Sister dritt in the mission. Now is the time when all the original sisters who put in their mission papers after the age change are getting ready to go home, so a lot of areas are having to close temporarily due to shortages of missionaries. So, because of that, we have TWO areas. We cover Wien 1 as well as Wiener Neustadt - so we have two wards, two phones, two sets of Elders and Bishops, and GMK leaders to work with, and even two apartments. We're definitely busy. But it is great!

An Austrian vineyard outside our train window
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before I knew that any of that was happening, I experienced my first transfer day. Holy flip, it was bananas. Out of the 17 'goldens' (new missionaries,) 1 went to Switzerland, 10 stayed in Germany, and 6 went to Austria. I had heard tell of the madness of transfers, but apparently this transfer was extra madness because a lot more changes than usual happened. From München I got on a train with some Elders/Sisters headed to Salzburg. There was a whole lot of throwing luggage around on and off trains, but everyone was super friendly and I don't think I ever carried all of my luggage once. (Ha.) When we made it to Salzburg, we had THIRTEEN MINUTES to get all of our things off the train, run down a flight of stairs, run across the Banhhof, and get us and our stuff onto the other train headed for Wien. We then spent another 2 hours on that train, and made it to WIEN!
Sister Bushman in the foreground; the Austrian Parliament Building
(built in 1883) in the background


My new home in Vienna--the gray apartment building
Sister Freimann was there to greet me and Sister Smiley, and we dropped our stuff off at the apartment before we went to go stop by the house of a potential investigator. Sister Freimann said we didn't know much about them; they were just in the Gebietsordner. (Area Book.) We took a frew Straßenbahns and eventually made it to the apartment. A scared looking woman opened the door a crack, and she called to her husband. We then heard from the room inside. "Those crazy Americans!? I thought we made it very clear that they were to never come back here!!! Tell them to get out!!" And the door slammed. Ahh! What the hey just happened!? Then Sister Freimann turned to Sister Smiley and me, and with a big grin said that it was a joke. She knocked on the door again and it opened to reveal the Elders from one of our areas, our awesome GMK family, and dinner for us. Apparantly Sister Freimann has been planning that for a while. It certainly will be a story I treasure, eh?
At the Vienna church building
I had my first Sunday in the field yesterday, and everyone told me my German was good! I think they're just being nice, but I still really appreciate it. I feel so so so lucky to be a missionary, especially in this day and age. So much is happening. I get to talk to people every day about my rock and redeemer. Thank you for the prayers and thoughts - it's almost unreal how much I can feel them.

 Haben eine gute Woche! Ich LIEBE ÖSTERREICH!
(Have a good week!  I love Austria!)
Liebe grüße,

Sister Bushman
Inside my Wien apartment

Selfie with the BEAUTIFUL cathedral that is just around the block from where we live...we hear the chimes alllllll the time. It's the best!
This picture is for my mom.  When she lived in Salzburg during college she had her first Manner Schnitten (these cookie wafers originated from Vienna).  She fell in love with the Hazelnut Manner and would buy it whenever she saw it in the States.