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.

1 comment:

  1. She is just a doll! What a blessing to be trained by a native German speaker--and IN VIENNA AHHH!