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

1 comment:

  1. As always I just loved this letter. She is such a wise young missionary! Loved all of her analogies this week and what a beautiful story about the angel ornaments. It is so neat how the Europeans often recognize the special Spirit missionaries--angels on earth--carry.