Monday, November 24, 2014

Newton's Laws


Sister Cherrington and I hit up the Christmas Markets last weekend...holy cow, it was magical. We drank Kinderpunsch which tastes like Christmas feels, saw giant trees full of light that looked like snowmen and cupcakes, saw enough Lebkuchen to feed a third world country, and bought a couple Christmas presents to send home. (I know you said not to send anything, Mom...but come on! Christmas markets!)

Sister Cherrington and I were at this stand buying something for both of our moms (no spoilers!) when we started talking with the guy who ran the stand. He saw we were missionaries and said "Missionaries?! I`ve been baptized 3 times! Once in Brazil, once in India..." and he went on. It was pretty funny. But he was super nice. After we had paid and were ready to go, he said "Warten! Warten! Geschenk!" and ran outside and cut down these two angel ornaments. He said "Engeln für Engeln!" (angels for angels), and gave them to us. It was so nice! We both have them hanging from our desk lamps now. Some of the Elders who were also there that day were able to give out a Book of Mormon...someone asked THEM about it! We`ve been planning a lot of activities to do around Christmas Markets this season...caroling, talking to people, etc. Also, a fun thing that makes me feel good about humanity - I saw far more Nativity scenes than Santa Clauses there. :)

Sister Bushman and Sister Cherrington at the Christmas Markets

Sister Bushman with the "Engeln" from her new friend

I don`t know why but I have all these super random thoughts I want to share this week, but that`s why they invented bullet points, right? Just food for thought:
  • I ate Wiener Schnitzel 3 times in this past week. I`m not quite sure how that happened, but it did. And it was magical. 
  • Attention to all prospective missionaries, pay strong heed to my following words: LEARN. THE. PIANO. I`m dead serious. I've never felt so useless in my life than when I became a non-piano-playing missionary. Even if all you can do is learn 5 hymns out of 'hymns made easy', then do it. You'll be glad you did.
  • I hit my 5 month mark this week. I actually didn`t realize it. Sister Cherrington was like, 'Aren`t you 5 months today?' and I was like '...whoa.'
  • I`ve grown weirdly fond of handshaking since I began my mission. It was super weird at first since most 19-year-olds greet people with a hug or ''sup", but I`ve quite grown fond of handshaking. I`ll be around BYU greeting people with handshakes and weird out all my non-RM acquaintances. 
  • Peter and I made marzipan sometimes as a kid, which was freaking delicious and just the best. Marzipan is SO big here - it`s definitely my favorite treat here. I`m quite a fan of Mozart Kugeln - these truffle things that are filled with layers of marzipan and covered in chocolate. Yum. :)
One last thing before I sign off. I don`t know how to segue into this, but I think it needs to be said. I think I sound pretty hunky-dory in my e-mails home. Everything I say about the joy of the work and wonderful experiences are 100% true - but missions are hard. I`ve avoided talking about the hard parts because I want people to see how beautifully joyous this work is, but holy cow, they`re hard. I got an email from my dear friend on a mission in Southern California and she said something that literally made me laugh. She wrote: "Missions are hard. You think someone woulda told us."

But EVERYONE did. I`ve never talked to a single RM who said that their mission was easy - they almost always say it was one of the hardest things they had ever done. I get pretty stressed out by nature, but a lot of that time it had to do with marks. (Grades, cast lists, to-do lists, etc.) Since there aren`t grades for missionary service, I figured it would just be easy to just do your best and not have a grade for it.
But the OPPOSITE is true! This is the most important work in the world. Eternal life is at stake! Joy people can`t even fathom until they listen is at stake. And it`s easy to feel small and defeated when the first 39 people you talk to in a day won`t listen - and then the 40th you can`t understand. 

But that is exactly why we have the Atonement. It doesn't  just cover for sins - it`s our pains and shortcomings as well. I received a letter this week from Sister Fenton and her wonderful companion this week. I had shared with Sister Fenton some of the frustrations and struggles I had been having, and her companion sent me this quote, which is now one of my absolute favorite quotes about the Savior:

"We know that Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane. It’s our faith that he experienced everything- absolutely everything. Sometimes we don’t think through the implications of that belief. We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family. But we don’t experience pain in generalities. We experience it individually. That means he knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer- how it was for your mother, how it still is for you. He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election. He knows that moment when the brakes locked and the car started to skid. He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia. He experienced the gas chambers at Dachau. He experienced Napalm in Vietnam. He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism. (...) He knows all that. He’s been there. He’s been lower than all that. He’s not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don’t need a Savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He’s not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief."
-Chieko Okazaki

We can face the hard things, because we have a friend who has literally felt every pang of disappointment and frustration and inadequacy and pain that we have ever, ever felt. My pains and frustrations as a missionary are miniscule in the scheme of the sadness and grief experienced by this world, but He is there for our huge heartbreaks, and the small heart aches. He`s there for everything.

Have you seen the new Mormon Message yet?  It is heartbreaking, but so beautifully done. I won`t say much more about it, just go watch it. I love what she says about Newton`s Laws. Watch for that.

I know this took a turn for the poignant, but I'm just really thankful for a Savior who has walked every path with us.

All my love,

Sister Bushman

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

All That, and a Chocolate Cake

Before I dive in about this week, let me just say that for P-Day today, Sister Cherrington and I are going to Christmas Markts. In Vienna. What is life. There's apparently like 29 of them, but we're starting with a handful. Last week we just lounged about and cleaned a TON and watched movies from the church and made Marzipan Muffins (shout out to Sister Freimann's mom for the recipe, we`re addicted), so that we`d have time to just spread Christmas cheer today. Yay!

But anyway, we had a great week! This week was different because we had our monthly Zone Training as well as a Super-Tausch with the Graz Sisters! At Zone Training we did all these roleplays to help make us better teachers - and it was so mindblowingly-awesome that it almost hurt, but Sister Cherrington and I have been practicing this week, so now it`s not AS hard. :) We then had a Tausch! Both Sister Pentz and Sister Bishop (who is in her first transfer) stayed with us for a night. While eating lunch we realized that we were all American, but had all lived outside of America at different points of our lives. (Sister Cherrington - Saudi Arabia, Sister Bushman - Russia, Sister Pentz - Switzerland, Sister Bishop - Germany). Except Sister Cherrington is the only one who vividly remembers being exotic, but oh well. :) 

Sister Bushman, Sister Pentz, Sister Bishop, Sister Cherrington
I got to work with Sister Pentz, which was SO fun. She`s an absolute rockstar of a missionary. We had so much fun just trying to connect with as many people on the street as we saw! She's about halfway done with her mission. I love tausch - it´s so energizing to just learn from another awesome missionary for a day. Kind of a funny story...while Sister Pentz and I were out working, Sister Bishop & Sister Cherrington went to contact a referral that we had received. When people go on and request a copy of the Book of Mormon, (, it comes through as a referral to us. We try to go within 24 hours to bring them the book and meet them. We had received a referral in my last days with Sister Freimann, and on one of my first days with Sister Cherrington, we went to the address...which was a university! Apparently he worked there. We figured out when his office hours were, and Sister Cherrington and Sister Bishop went to try and meet him. Well...when they told us the story later, they told us how the man they found had no idea who we were or what the Book of Mormon was. He was like "how did you get my contact information?" Haha. Awkward. He thought that one of his students referred him as a joke, and apologized profusely for taking their time. We all laughed about it later. Missions are full of fun stories. :)

Sister Pentz and Sister Bushman with cupcake-in-a-cone treats.

Anyways. So while contacting recently, I`ve found that if people aren`t interested in our message, their answers fall into one of two categories. It's generally either "Ich bin Katholisch und ich bleibe Katolisch" (I'm Catholic and I`m staying Catholic,) or they say they're atheist. I've started asking the people who are atheist why they don`t believe in God. It renders some interesting responses. What`s interesting is it feels like there`s answers to a lot of their reasons why they don`t believe. If they still aren`t interested, I like to just bear my testimony that if they don't at least I know that they have a Father in Heaven who loves them more than they can imagine. And we tell them to have a nice day.

I'm also continually amazed by the gift of tongues, and how I see it working in myself. As a kid, I remember hearing about the gift of tongues and honestly thinking yeah rightI can`t just speak Chinese or something if I feel like it. Well, that`s true. Last week Sister Cherrington and I taught Sunday school about die Gaben des Geistes, or the Gifts of the Spirit. One of the points of the lesson is that when we seek spiritual gifts to just get attention or make us cooler people, they won`t come. But when we seek them for the sincere reason of building the Kingdom of God and helping others, they come. We struggle and struggle to learn this language. And even then, we can`t always understand everyone. But I`ve had these cool experiences of having full-on conversations with people on the street, who are shocked when I tell them I only started to seriously study German this year. (I had some in high school, but not much.) I feel like my German has jumped since I became comps with Sister Cherrington. It`s as if with Sister Freimann my German didn`t need to be that good, because Sister Freimann could speak. Now that it`s just us, the Holy Ghost has helped us step up to the plate a little more. It`s beautiful stuff to feel a part of.

On a not-as-spiritual but still totally-wonderful note, remember how I mentioned before how the Elders in our ward bake really well? When at a member`s house a week or two ago, we tipped them off about how Elder Pugmire in our ward can make really good chocolate cake. Like, so good. Mind-blowing. They invited them and an investigator over this week...and asked them to bring chocolate cake. At 8:30-ish that night, we got a call from the Wien 1 Elders, who asked what we were up to. We told them that we had just gotten home and were updating the area book & sending some needed text messages and such. They told us that they had half of a chocolate cake that they'd love to give us if we met them at the bus station. We scurried there, handed it off, and made it home by 9. Holy cow, were we happy. Don`t get me wrong - missionary work is awesome. But sometimes, half of a chocolate cake just makes it all that much better.

Sister Cherrington and Sister Bushman with chocolate cake!

I love you all, have an absolutely wonderful week.

Sister Bushman

To friends of this blog from Sister Bushman's mom:  Sorry I'm late again...have been in a location without WiFi.  Will be on time again next Monday!  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sind Sie in Deutschland geboren?

Hi everyone!

So, we do a LOT of contacting as missionaries. A lot of people really hate it. It can be kind of scary to like, approach random people on the street or on the Bahn or whatever. It wasn`t my favorite in the beginning, but I've learned that youcan make it fun, and when you do that, it's a total blast and you get a lot of fun stories. We actually had a ton of really fun stories this week. Here are some of my faves:

 So I`ve found the easiest thing to do is to say hello to everyone. Sometimes when you just initiate contact, people will be super friendly and you can have a conversation. This happened this past week when we were heading to the U-Bahn, I said hello to this woman, and all of a sudden she was telling us about her sons that play classical piano and spent 10 minutes writing down all of her contact info to visit Romania. Whoops. But, she gave me THE best compliment I`ve ever had. We were just chatting on the Bahn, and she said "Sind Sie in Deutschland gebornen?" In other words, SHE ASKED IF I WAS GERMAN. I almost died. What she doesn't know is that I run out of vocabulary after about 20 minutes...but still. Good stuff. She was so nice! And then as we needed to go (we were late for an appointment,) she said "Beten wir!" and grabbed both of our hands. And we prayed with this Romanian lady in the middle of the train station. Good times.

 We were using this same approach on the streets, when one guy seemed taken back by the fact we had said hello to him, and he reached out his hand to shake both of ours'. He asked how we knew each other. We said that we didn't, we just had a message to share. He then shook both of our hands like, 2 more times before we parted. He performed a total of like, 6 handshakes within 2 minutes. We laughed for the rest of the day about it. 

 One of my new faaaaaaaaavorite ways to contact is by using languages. Wien is a super international area, so you here people speaking not-German all the time. It's great though, because most of them can speak German as well. If they're speaking English or some other language you can't make out, it's so easy to be like "Excuse me, where are you from?" and then they're super friendly and after you've had this nice language about they're home country and you said that German isn't your second language either, they're all like, "Why are you here?" Ding ding ding! Perfect question! :)

I did this earlier this week when I heard this couple speaking something I didn't recognize...I talked to them and they were speaking Russian! When I told them I was American the man seemed a little skeptical to continue our conversation, but when I told him I lived in Moscow as a kid he was totally impressed! They were both super, super cool. The guy said he had actually read a lot of the Book of Mormon and had even heard of the Pearl of Great Price! They wished us the best with all of our work. My little Russia connection has been such a handy ice breaker with so many people. Dad, why didn`t you ever teach me anything?? :) That'd be pretty nifty.

Speeeeeeeeeeeaking of nifty. Remember how Sister C speaks Arabic? We were at an internet shop doing e-mails the other day when she overheard the men in the front speaking Arabic. So when we went up to pay, she spoke to them in Arabic! They were both totally caught off-gaurd and totally impressed. They were like, "but you`re blonde!" It was so funny. They were both really cool. Yay for cool companions!

Last Monday for P-day we were classic tourists and went to the inner-city to go to Stephansdom and the other cool stuff there. We ran into the Wien 1/4 Elders there! That was fun. Afterward we walked over to Peterskirche, where we saw a sign for an organ concert that started in 20 minutes! So obviously we stayed. It was absolutely beautiful.

Sister Bushman and Sister Cherrington outside of Stephansdom

We also had this really great ward activity last Saturday! I have come to really appreciate those since I came on a mission...not only are they simply fun, but it`s a great opportunity for members to get to know each other better, and people we`re meeting with to come and meet tons of ward members. I also ate the most scrumptious pumpkin-creme soup that has ever come to pass. I'm going to buy an immersion blender after my mission and live on that stuff for the rest of my life. THE BEST.

Anyway. I found a new favorite passage in the Book of Mormon. (How's your reading coming? :)) It's Mosiah 24:10-16. The people with Alma were in bondage, and poured out their hearts that the Lord would strengthen them. I love how it says that because of their faith and patience, they were delivered from bondage. Everyone is in some kind of bondage, oder? To sin, temptation, selfishness, sadness. But God hears all of our cries, and will always stay with us. :)

I love you all! Have a wonderful week and share the gospel!

Sister Bushman

More Photos:

Sister B. & Sister C. found the soon-to-be-spots for the Viennese Christmas Markets!

GO ROYALS!  (Mom sent her clippings of our almost-World Series champs)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Guten Morgen!

I have a new companion!! Sister Cherrington is awesome. She's American but basically grew up completely in Saudi Arabia. She can speak Arabic too, and it's really fun picking her brain about her upbringing on the other side of the world. Now that I think about it, all of my comps in the field have been pretty exotic. Sister Freimann is German, Sister Smiley lived in Taiwan and Denmark, and Sister Cherrington grew up in Saudi Arabia. Man. So cool.
Sister Bushman saying good-bye to Sister Freimann at the train station.

Sister Bushman with Sister Cherrington (they switched name tags!)

Sister Bushman's name in Arabic

Anyway, as crazy as all of that is, the craziest thing is that we had a class together at BYU. Seriously. We both did a year at the Y last year, and when we were comparing schedules we realized we both were in the exact Speech Language-Path class last year. Isn't that crazy? We bonded over memories of funny things our TAs said. Also, both Sister Cherrington and I really love Manner Schnitten and aren't crazy about birds, so we get along great. I'm her 'step-mom', but it doesn't quite feel right to say that she's 'my golden', so we've decided that she's my 'silver'. Good enough. It's definitely been an adjustment turning into a senior companion over night. Instead of asking the questions, I have to know that answers! It's been a blast running around Wien this week. Holy cow, this city is huge. I could always generally find things, but I realize now that I took Sister Freimann's sense of direction for granted. I can't count how many times we've been laughing running after U-Bahns we've barely missed or we've had to spend entire minutes consulting our pocket-maps trying to find where our next appointment or local S-Bahn station is. It's been a lot of fun.

But this week was AWESOME because we were busy. Holy cow, we had so much stuff on the agenda this week. It was great! There's nothing more you can ask for than to have lots of stuff to do. Not only did we have places to go and things to do, but they were actually all worth-while. This week we had a ton of some of my favorite things - service activities and member appointments!

I. love. service. projects. It's really fun talking to people on the street and teaching lessons, but sometimes it's really fun to put on a pair of jeans and use your hands! A few weeks ago we called this lady we found in our area book. She hadn't been met with for a while, so we called her up to visit. While we were there we asked if there was anything we could do for her! She said that she was actually in the middle of flipping her apartment upside-down and could use some help. We said we would love to and would wait for her call. She called this past week! So we called the Elders and went over. It was so fun! We helped empty these bookcases and box up their contents so that the bookcases could be moved into another part of the apartment. It was so fun to chat with her about her life and work and laugh with the Elders. We literally had a blast. Then, at the end, she told us how she had been super overwhelmed with everything and had prayed to God for help with her apartment. She said that she prayed, "God, I can't do this by myself!" And then we called! She said that we were a huge answer to her prayers and that when her apartment is done she'd have us all over for dinner. We were so touched. We hardly felt like what we did was worthy of her words...we simply called up someone we had a good feeling about, then came over with some friends and tried to be useful. But that's what she needed. It was such a cool experience!

Also, members are the best. Seriously. Whether they feed us or we just go over to do a little Preach My Gospel lesson, it's seriously the best. This past week we went to a member appointment, and as we were leaving they asked if we had a lot of work to do in the area where they lived. They live near a pretty big U-Bahn station, so we said yes. They told us that if we were ever in the area and were cold, to give them a call and we could come over and warm up with hot chocolate. I wanted to cry. It was seriously the nicest thing. Members are the best!

Okay, funny thing...Actually, it's not really funny at all. But it makes a good story and it's all resolved now, so whatever. Saturday morning we got a call from President Kohler. We were kind of freaking out...for President to call, something huge has happened. We thought a family tragedy for one of us had happened or something! I picked up the phone, and it was for me. (gulp.) Turns out my mom had reached out to him - there had supposedly been some fraudulent charges on my card and they needed to get it figured out ASAP to limit the damage. He told me to text him later if I had any more questions about the situation later. That night I found myself texting with the President of the entire mission about my stolen identity. Well, as Granny B says, either things go well or you have a good story. Ha!

Oh, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Halloween definitely isn`t as big here as it is at home. I saw a couple pumpkin-related treats or skulls here or there, but it wasn't huge. I had this weird realization, though. It was my first major holiday away from home. It was surreal to think about how while I was walking the streets of Vienna, there was probably a bowl of Kit-Kats waiting on my piano for trick-or-treaters, like every year. So weird. We were planning to just go about business as usual, but last minute this really awesome member invited us over for lunch and pumpkin carving. It was so fun! It was Sister Cherrington's first actual pumpkin. (Apparently they're hard to find in Saudi Arabia...she said one year they carved watermelons painted orange, which I definitely want to try one day.)

Speaking of Pumpkins, Sister Cherrington has this really cute thing on her wall from her mom, about how we're all like jack-o-lanterns. We're 'picked' by God, and then he scoops out all of the 'yucky stuff' like greed, envy, and hate, and then carves a big smiling face. I thought that was really cute.

I love you! Have a good week!

Sister Bushman