Monday, October 27, 2014

I'm ... a STEPMOM!

Hallo, Welt!

So...transfer calls happened on Thursday morning! We were expecting someone to call between 7 and our hour of eating and getting ready for the day, so we would know before we started studies. Sister Freimann and I were DYING. (Correction: I was dying.) It's normal to stay in the same area with the same trainer for your first 2 transfers, so I knew that last transfer calls wouldn't apply to me as much. Sister Freimann has been in Wien for 6 months (the average longest length of time to stay,) and we had had our 2 transfers together, so change was in the air.

We had kept receiving texts from all the Elders that we work with about what was happening to them, but we still hadn't heard anything. We finally got a call from Elder Bellersen, one of the APs, at 7:57. We could tell he was all smiles even through the phone, and said he had big news for both of us. Sister Freimann is being transferred tomorrow to Winterthur, SWITZERLAND! She wasn't totally excited at first since this breaks her 'perfect record' of being a European who never served in Switzerland, but has since warmed up to it quite a bit and is excited to go. 

As for me...I'm TRAINING!!!!!!!! Well, kind of. I'm finishing the training of Sister Cherrington, who is just now finishing her first transfer. It's kind of scary that I'll be a senior companion in my 3rd transfer and have to figure out our way around Wien, BUT. At the same time, I am so excited. A couple people in the zone know her a bit, and they all say she's really nice and talkative and laughs a lot, so we'll get along. She gets here tomorrow night. I'm really excited! :)

The most out-of-the-ordinary thing that happened this past week was Pfahl Konferenz! (Stake Conference.) Man, was it an event! In my home Stake we would just meet at the Stake Center, but in Austria it's this really cool event held at the International Center on Sunday with fancy invites and the whole deal! Saturday night was at the Stake Center, though. It was really fun because we also got to see all the missionaries in the Zone, which seldom happens. There's a real organ in their Stake Center, and so on the second or third verse of every hymn we sang, the player would kick it up a notch. The organ was so loud. But it was so so fun because Austrians actually sing out WAY loud in church! With the organ and the whole Stake singing it was about as fun as you can have as a missionary on a Saturday night in a Stake Center. Best.

The Graz sisters stayed with us that night, and all the Elders who don't live in Wien stayed with various Wien elders. There was a funny moment when we were heading out that all of the Elders got onto the same bus, and it was literally a bus full of nothing but young men in black and grey and blue suits. Ha. We stick out like sore thumbs.
Sister Bushman with the "Graz sisters" -- Sisters Pentz and Threlkeld --
and her companion for a few more days, Sister Freimann
The "Elders" bus
Austrian national anthem
Sunday session of conference was absolutely wonderful. There was this choir of children from the whole Stake who sang and were adorable and definitely didn't make me tear up. What was also cool is that Präsident Kohler came and spoke! We had no idea that he was coming until he was announced Saturday night. It was nice to go say hi afterward. He spoke really well (auf Deutsch!), and I noticed a huge theme with missionary work with the whole conference, which was lovely. It was all-in-all very well put together. Also, it was National Austria day! We had no idea, but Sister Freimann and I both wore trachten (dirndls) so we were adequately dressed. We sang the national anthem beforehand, which was really cool.
Adorable children's choir at Stake Conference
We were blessed to have a lot of appointments with members this week. I love member appointments - we go over to share a spiritual thought or a Preach My Gospel lesson, and then try to help them know what to do to share the gospel with friends or family that they have. Sometimes they even feed us, which is really kind. I loved growing up in a household that loved to entertain. I guess I can mainly attribute that to my Mom, but that's something I hope to do when I'm an adult. I've loved observing what different people do when they entertain - I'm stealing lots of ideas for the future. :) Something that a lot of Europeans do that I love is a different approach on dessert. This week one member fed us this delicious lunch. Afterward, we had chamomille tea and little chocolates and finger-cookies. It was a freezing day and therefore warmed up our insides before we went back into the cold. :) Definitely stealing that idea!

I have a new favorite song. If I could ask one thing from anyone reading this today, look it up and listen to it, even if while Facebooking or something. There's a wonderful family in my home ward who gave me a CD as a going-away present before I left. It`s this opera-type thing about the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that sounds kind of weird, but there's some incredibly beautiful music in it. My absolute favorite it "My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee," based on Isaiah 54:10. It's absolutely breathtaking. They sing it after talking about Joseph being in jail and wondering where God was. I love the words. Sometimes we may feel like there's a "Pavillion" covering our Father in Heaven, but He's always with us. And His kindness shall never leave us.

I'll reach my 5 month mark on my mission this coming month. It's unbelievable. It's easy to feel like we're never doing enough as missionaries. Not praying hard enough. Not studying enough. Not truly relying on my Savior.

But then, at the same time, I don't feel like the same person I was before I came out. I look forward to being molded and humbled and improved the rest of my mission.

I love you! This is the best work on the planet!

Remember, if the book is blue, the church is true. ;)

Sister Bushman
Shelley's Mom here:  Some additional photos from this past week!
New homemade socks, made by Sister Freimann's mother!
"FINALLY I found some graffiti I agree with!"
On the streets of Wien with Das Buch Mormon


Monday, October 20, 2014

Wandering in Wien

First of all, Go Royals? I've been waiting my whole life for the Royals to get good. And now I'm half a world away, and they are going to the World Series. People! Missions bring blessings! :)

Anyway, this week I went on my first-ever real Tausch! (exchange.) It's weird that I'm in my like, 4th month on a mission and had never had a real Tausch. For the Elders, the district leader goes on exchange with every Elder in his district every transfer, and the Zone leaders go on a tausch with every district leader in his zone every transfer. For the Sisters, the Sister Training Leaders go on tausch with every set of Sisters in their zone. The Wien zone only has 4 Sisters total, so that's just one tausch a transfer. Basically, you trade companions for 24 hours so that you can learn from other missionaries and get feedback on how you can improve. Last transfer we did a 'super tausch' where the STLs came up to Wien for 2-3 days, so I finally had a real tausch this week! 

It's a little tricky because the STLs (Sisters Threlkeld and Pentz) are in Graz - 2 1/2 hours by train south. They picked a train station half way between the two, and we all rode there, switched companions, and went back. We had a bit of a mix-up where Sister Freimann and I called right before we bought our tickets about what kind of tickets we should buy, and the Sisters were like 'you aren't on the train right now?' Oops. We were supposed to get on the train that had left an hour previously. Oops. Everyone makes mistakes? So we got on the next train and finally tausched. The views were beautiful! Neither Sister Freimann nor I had ever ridden south before, so we enjoyed the views.

Sister Threlkeld came up to Wien with me. I was honestly a little nervous...I had never been in Wien alone before without Sister Freimann. We never got seriously lost (thank heavens,) but there were a half-dozen times where I had to declare "Sister Threlked! We are going in the wrong direction." And we would turn around and go the other way. We never missed any appointments though, so that's good! The FHV asked us to go visit this lady in our ward who was in the hospital, so that was one of our items on our agenda for the tausch. On the way to the hospital we came upon the cutest little flower stand, so we bought this pretty pink flower to bring to her. BUT. When we got there, we found out that she had just checked out! Thankfully she is better, but we didn't know what do with our flower. I ended up carrying it around Wien all day. It was actually fun. I planned on casually putting it into someone's bag on the Bahn, but it didn't work out. Bummer. Oh well. 
Sister Threlkeld and Sister Bushman

The whole experience just made me super grateful for Sister Freimann, and that she knows how to get around Wien. I don't know if I could manage on my own! Wien is HUGE. But, I may have to manage, because transfer calls are this week! We have no idea what willl happen. Transfers have been a smidgen wonky recently because normally they are 6 weeks, with transfer calls on the last Friday of the transfer, and transfer day is on the Wednesday of the first week of the new transfer. Präsident Kohler has this Europe Mission President's Conference in Portugal normally when we had transfers, so everything is different. This transfer was 7 weeks, the next transfer is 5 weeks, we'll get our call of fate on Wednesday, and transfers will be next Tuesday. Gah! It's going to kill me knowing what's happening for almost a WEEK before I can tell anyone! But I'm excited. We'll see what happens.

Random, I wanted to write about mission family trees this week. It's this fun little mission thing. You establish a bit of a 'family tree' with who trained you, and who trained them, etc. My family tree is pretty funky though, because I was trained in a dritt. Sister Freimann is my 'mom' and Sister Allman is my 'grandma'. Sister Smith who tausched with us last transfer is my 'aunt` because she was also trained by Sister Allman. Sister Erdenetsogt is my step-sister, because Sister Freimann did the second half of her training. When I met Sister Smiley, she told me that she was my 'Fairy Godmother' because they didn't know what else to call it. So. Sister Smiley is my fairy godmother, Sister Powell who trained her is my fairy-god-grandmother, and Sister Wilkes (who is currently being trained by Sister Powell and my pal from the MTC,) is my fairy-god-aunt. So funny. 

A couple funny things from this week : 

- There are these ads all over Wien with people holding signs that say different stuff. I don't quite know what it's for (Austrian Radio?), but all I know is that I saw this ad that said "Liberte...Egalite...Beyonce", and if I could, I would buy that product or listen to that program.
- Sister Freimann had never heard of grilled cheese before her mission. (What?!) She tried to make it for the first time yesterday, and didn't do a half-bad job! I was counseling her through the experience. Missions are fun.
- The other day we were cutting through a park because it was faster to get to Bahnhof, when we heard this man call from across the park "Hakuna Matata!" We turned to the direction, but kept walking. This man was like, "No joking. You guys are awesome. I love what you're doing. Mormons? (we nodded) God bless!" It made us laugh. Sister Freimann said he was drunk. I'm just impressed he knew that we were Mormons.

As missionareis, we're limited to what books we can read. It's mainly limited to Scriptures, 'The Mission Library' (4 books including Jesus the Christ), and anything our mission president says is also okay. I made a goal in the past week that I want to read the whole mission library before I go home. I started with Our Search for Happiness, by M. Russell Ballard. (He's a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles.) I can't put it down! He says in the intro that it is written for people who aren't members of the church, so they can get a better understanding of who we are and where we are coming from as a church. It's so well written, next time we start teaching someone new I just want to sit them down, give them a copy, and tell them to read! I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to know more about why I'm on a mission, or anyone who just wants to get better at explaining the 'big stuff.' It talks about everything - from the Plan of Salvation and how that gives us perspective to make it through trials, to why we don't have crosses on our churches. Good stuff.

Last week on P-day we ventured to the great world of Ikea, where Sister Freimann and I discussed which backsplashes were better, and when we excitedly told the Elders about our adventures, they didn't understand why it was so fun. Agree to disagree.
Sister Freimann and Sister Bushman
Since we aren't sure how long we have left in Wien, we're running around today - get Sister Freimann a Freitag bag, me some cute winter boots, go dirndl-thrifting (it's so addictive,) and stop by the Manner Schnitten factory shop if we have time.

Bis zum Mond und zurück!

Sister Bushman

Monday, October 13, 2014

Even if you're little, you can do a lot! ..."

" mustn't let a little thing like 'little' stop you!
If you sit around and let them get on top, you
might as well be saying 
you think that it's okay
and that's not right!"

Hi everyone!

This past week, Sister Freimann and I were doing some work in a district not super close to where we live. We suddenly came upon a big pink office building, and huge flags that said "Manner." We found the Manner Schnitten factory. I repeat, we found the Manner factory. It was the best day ever. The whole area for 2-3 blocks just smells like chocolate. It was like Willy Wonka. Talk about a pick-me-up in the middle of the day.
The Manner Chocolate Factory
This last Saturday was the best because I had my first-ever Zone Conference! We have Zone Training every month, but Zone Conference is every 3 months. President Kohler and his family comes down and he teaches us, and it was so much fun because we were combined with the Salzburg zone! All of the missionaries in the entire country of Austria got to come together for a few hours of the Spirit and joy. Our Railjet was at 7:30, so Sister Freimann and I got up at 5:15 to run, eat breakfast, and get everything ready for the day. We were so excited, it was seriously like Christmas. We then made it to the Banhhof (train station), where the two of us sisters rode the 3-ish hours to Salzburg with like, 20 Elders. (Haha.) I`ve decided I really like travelling in big groups of missionaries, because we all stick out a lot...especially the Elders. Its awesome because it often gives us opportunities to talk with people about who we are and why we are here, but it's also just really funny to see 20 18-22 year-old guys walking around together in suits.
Anyway, so on the train, our distrikt leader brought two giant tupperware bins of the most delicious homemade scones you`ve ever tasted. I keep being shocked by the Elders' baking skills. Seriously. Every Elder in Wien is better at baking than Sister Freimann and me. The other day some Elders brought the most delectable chocolate chip cookies that have ever existed to the YSA Center, and Elder Pugmire often brings from SCRATCH cinnamon rolls to distrikt meeting. I don't get it. It's so impressive. Anyway, so we all enjoyed our vast spread of scones and spreads on the way to Salzburg. And it was so gorgeous! It was nice to get out of the center of the city. Huge green fields, the actual hills-are-alive mountains, it was the best.

Zone conference is like family reunions. You see all these missionaries that you used to be with, and it's SO fun to catch up with everyone. I saw Elders run across the room to give each other bear hugs. I got to see Elder Mourik & Hunt, and Sister Wilkes and Sister FENTON from my MTC group; they are all in Salzburg zone! It was so nice. I missed them all. Also, funny thing.
Sisters Wilkes, Fenton, & Bushman at Salzburg Zone Conference
So there is a whole slew of LDS-EFY-pop music on Sister Freimann's and my ipods, and there's this one song that makes us laugh every time. It's like, "I'm gonna find my cousins!," about doing family history work. Apparently there is a music video, but I can't find it. Schade. Anyway, I heard about an Elder Lyman who is a brand new missonary in Salzburg this transfer in Salzburg zone. I'm descended from generations and generations of Lymans, so Sister Freimann and I were joking for weeks about how I was finally going to find my cousin. So I tracked him down at Zone Conference, and we talked, and we totally are at least 5th cousins (or something. It may be closer, but we weren't entirely sure.) So anyway, I found my cousin! Yay!
Sister Bushman with new-found cousin
As fun as all of that was though, it was so cool to just hear from President Kohler. I really really like the Kohlers. I'm glad he's my mission president. I learned a ton from what he had to say. We talked a lot about member-missionary work. I shared the gospel with my friends when they asked before my mission, but I've since realized that there is so much more I cold have done! We talk to people on the streets and on the bahns, but the work is soooo much more effective through the members. The missionaries don't always know who exactly on the street is ready to be blessed by the gospel...but I know who my friends are! So we have a new push to try and strengthen and work through members. It was way cool. It makes me just want to start sharing it more specifically with people I love at home, but I don't have everyone`s address! Gah! :)

Last P-day, Sister Freimann and I decided to make the trek up to Kahlenberg and Leopoldsberg. Basically you take this bus up a super windy, steep path to these two different look-outs, where you can see all of Wien. It was super cold, but totally beautiful! I remember making the comment to Sister Freimann something along the lines of "If a half-hour bus ride up a hill makes Wien look like this, can you imagine what God looking at the earth sees?" Holy cow, we are so tiny in the scope of the universe.
Sister Freimann and Sister Bushman at the Kahlenberg look-out
Beautiful Wien at the Leopoldsberg look-out
Sister Bushman overlooking Wien
In the weeks leading up to when I left this summer, I started to become obsessed with Matilda, the Musical. I really loved when Matilda sang these words-I don't remember the title of the song, but I began my letter with my favorite lyrics from it. It's so easy to feel little in this world. We're just tiny ant-people crawling along on this earth. There's no way one missionary can make any difference in a major city. But that's not right! We never have any idea what impact we're making. I felt the spirit so strongly looking out over Wien. We may feel little, but we can do anything with God on our side. And I felt so joyous sitting in a chapel with every single missionary in the country of Austria, reciting D&C 4. There was such power in that room. We may be only 100 missionaries in a country of 8.5 million people, but we can do a lot!

And so can you! Have a wonderful week!

Liebe Grüße, 

Sister Bushman

Monday, October 6, 2014


Hallo liebe Freunde!

First of all, before I say anything else, HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY, PETER!!! I sent you a package, it should get there soon.

Okay. HOW great was General Conference? (the semi-annual conference for the worldwide LDS church)  It was interesting to watch it here in Europe, because the timing was totally off! Saturday morning we watched the Women`s Meeting from last week, and then Saturday night we watched the Saturday morning session live. On Sunday, the Priesthood meeting was screened in the morning, we watched Saturday afternoon session in the afternoon, and we watched the Sunday morning session live that night. I still haven't seen the Sunday afternoon session, so no spoilers! :) It was cool to watch all the sessions in a Stake Center in Vienna, surrounded by a bunch of other missionaries and members. It was so cool that some of the speakers gave their talks in their native languages! It`s like we are really a world-wide church. My favorite talk was from Elder Jörg Klebingat. Go look it up! It`s way good. 

We also all got a big kick out of when President Eyring was doing the sustaining of the authorities, and he pronounced Dieter F. Uchtdorf`s middle name as "Fredericks" instead of "Friedrich". We all giggled a bit. It`s fun living in a German-speaking country.

Saturday, before conference, my distrikt in addition to the International Ward Elders all went together to Herb`s. Herb`s is this schnitzel place that missionaries have been frequenting for years and years. It`s not actually called Herb`s (Schnitzelwird 52 I think?), but that`s what we all call it! It's so fun - they know us there, and will seat us and give us all water (instead of alkohol) without question, because they know we don`t drink. It`s always a little funny to walk in because a group of 8-12 young people in suits and long dresses definitely stick out, but they`re super nice and always happy to see us, so that was a really fun way to begin conference weekend!
At Herb's with Sister Freimann and our steins of water!
Random thing, I`ve really grown to love the morning routine of missionaries. I look forward to getting up in the morning because it`s so enjoyable. The alarm goes off at 6:30, and Sister Freimann and I put on our tennis shoes and go running. (I`ve started memorizing scriptures sometimes as we run, too.) We`re back by 7 and I hop in the shower and get ready, and then have my regular hard boiled egg, Müsli/vanille yogurt combo, and glass or orange juice, and then we start personal studies by 8. It`s a type of regularity I hope I`ll take with me after my mission. It`s so nice starting the day with exercise and decent fuel - and then filling up spiritually. :) 

I hope you're all doing well. Can you believe it`s already Oktober? I`ll be Skyping for home for Christmas before we know it.


Sister Bushman
P.S.  Some fun photos from the week:  Sister Freimann and I took a photo shoot in our apartment with both our dirndls and some lederhosen sweat pants and shorts.