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


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