Monday, December 7, 2015

Gott sei mit euch bis auf's Wiedersehen

(Title Translation:  "God be with you until we meet again.")

Well, folks. Here we are.

This was a fun week - we got a big dose of missionary-Christmas fun, German-Christmas fun, and preaching-the-Gospel fun. Who could ask for anything more, amirite?

First of all, I have an experience from last week that I wanted to share but COMPLETELY slipped my mind, which is crazy, because it was so funny that Sister Bishop and I were literally laughing for days. So. Last week on Pday, Sister Bishop and I were checking out the Christkindlmarkt in front of Stephan's Dom, and decided to pop in and look around the cathedral again, just because it's absolutely beautiful. There was a little group of Asian tourists (3 cute young adult girls) who were flitting around taking pictures of random things in the Dom. One of them came up to me and Sister Bishop and, in broken English, asked if we could take a picture of "us three." So Sister Bishop and I are like "of course!" and prep to take their picture inside the Dom...but, no. The cute girl (who ended up being from Korea,) straightened up her shoulder and posed with us. Then they quickly shuffled around and switched who was at the camera so they could all get their picture with us. And then they ran away, as quickly as they showed up. We were laughing for forever about it. We were like, "...did they just take our picture because we're white?" We felt pretty celebrity.

Sister Bushman in St. Stephan's Dom -- one last time

We had Christmas Conference this week, which was pretty fun. I was sad because I thought I wouldn't get to have Christmas Conf this year because I wouldn't be here for Christmas - but I got to play! Hooray! We went to München and talked about the Christmas initiative, A Savior is Born, and talked about Präsident Kohler's awesome Swiss ancestor's conversion story, had Hawaiian Haystacks for lunch (yay!), and had a gift exchange. I got a huge chocolate Santa from Elder Threlkeld. (I find it funny that I was with a Threlkeld during both of my Christmas Confs on a mission.) We got to watch a movie: "Silent Night," which is about the Austrian priest who wrote the carol Silent Night. Präsident and Sister Kohler gave us these beautiful temple recommends with the mission logo and a picture of Christ on it for Christmas. It was really nice of them; I'm happy that I'll have that mission reminder in my wallet constantly for a really, really long time.

The Christmas Conference

Sister missionaries in the Munich Zone

We found somebody really, really cool this week! We were alone at a train station getting ready to head back to Passau, so we were just sitting at the stop talking. Then, out of nowhere, we hear this guy speaking English with a distinctly Southern accent, and he asked "Hey, where are you from?" Basically, it's this cool guy named Tom who has dual-citizenship and is fluent in English and German and has a couple kids. We got chatting with him just about life and stuff, and why we were there as missionaries, and what we believe in. We asked him if he believed in Christ. And he said that he believed in Jesus Christ, but had problems with the Bible becuase he "knew how it came about" (meaning that it had been translated and changed so much). And we got really excited, because of course that's a big reason that the Book of Mormon was prepared so long ago - so we could have a second testament of Christ. And so we tried really hard not to explode with excitement and not freak him out. :) But as we neared Passau, he was all like, "man, I'm kinda bummed that we're already in Passau! I would love to keep talking with you guys about this stuff!" And so he invited us to come meet with him and his wife! We were SO excited. It turned out that they had a family emergency so we had to move the appointment (so I won't get to be there! :() But Sister Bishop and her GOLDEN will be able to go! Yep, Sister Bishop is training!!!!! She'll be so good. 

Another fun thing. So Germany does this thing where their children's folklore is sometimes a little grim and scary. (Just read real Brother's Grimm if you don't believe me!) And there's this fun tradition associated with this time of the year. On the 5th of December, St. Nikolaus is accompanied by Krampus, this super creepy, horned, clawed, furry monster guy, who goes and visits all the children. If you were good, you get goodies from St. Nikolaus. If you were bad, then Krampus gives you coal and twigs and he punishes you. We were about our business doing our missionary thing on Saturday when we saw that there was going to be a big Nikolaus event-thing in the city center, so we rearranged our day a bit so we could see what was going to go on. I took a video of all the St. Nikolaus guys and scary Krampus guys walking down the street. Fun stuff!



With Krampus

It's hard to believe that I'll be home in just a few days. I've been all over the place emotionally recently. Most of the time I feel fine and it just feels like another transfer - and then it will dawn on me that I won't get to wear my tag anymore soon, that I'll soon leave this beautiful country and all the people I've grown to love and adore here, I won't be authorized to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ like I was anymore, and that this unique, painful, beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime experience is almost done for good. Church was hard yesterday, saying goodbye to all of these wonderful branch members who have made us feel so at home. I started crying in the cereal aisle today looking at all the types of Müsli that I'll never get to try now. Overall, I am just grateful that God gave me the opportunity to be here. To be completely honest, there were many, many days when I didn't think I'd finish in one piece - it was just so hard. I've wept countless tears and spent so much time pleading with Heavenly Father on my knees - sometimes getting answers, sometimes not. I feared I would make it to the end of my time too soon, and if I did finish, I wouldn't be glowing with the glow of the Gospel and missionary work as much as I was supposed to. But here I am, klinging on to each moment. I am so, so, grateful that God let me come here and be refined by this experience. As Alma would say, "I cannot say the smallest part which I feel". 

President Kohler asked me in my last interview to write down a list of things I've learned on my mission. I'm not quite done, but here is a small sample of what I've written down so far (in no particular order of importance):

- Faith is a choice, and God will never force us to believe. But when we make the choice to have faith in Him, it is one of the most powerful forces on earth.

- Faith, Hope, and Charity are super connected.

- I don't actually like chewing ice, I was just super iron deficient. (Bummer, right?)

- Everything always works out in the end - God is at the helm.

- God is able to do incredible things with really dull tools.

- I love musical theatre, and I always want it part of my life as a hobby, but not as a career.

- I'm super great at planning things.

- I learned to cook...........at least better than I could before. 

- I learned a lot about the Atonement. I learned a little bit more about what Grace is. Mainly, I learned that I will never really understand the Atonement or Grace - they're just too magnificent. 

- I'm currently in the MTC so I can be a missionary and disciple of Christ for the rest of my life.

- The Widow's Mite is one of my favorite stories in all of the New Testament. 


Well, here we are. I love you all. I know that this last year and a half was one of the most formative periods I'll ever had in my life. I have seen the power of the Book of Mormon, and seen prayers answered. I'm so grateful to Heavenly Father and for His Plan of Happiness. I'm so grateful for every moment I've had out here - even the blistery, painful ones. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. His grace is sufficient for all of us.

I'll see you on Friday

Love,

Sister Bushman


Final moments of Sister Bushman in Passau:






Monday, November 30, 2015

Ich bin dankbar fur ...

(Title Translation:  I am thankful for ...)

EUCH!

Happy Thanksgiving, lovelies! I don't know if it was the amount of turkey we ate, or the combination of thinking about what I'm grateful for in combination with my ever-nearing release date, but I did a lot of thinking this week. I'm really grateful that I came out here. I think I've learned a lot about what it means to serve, and what God wants from us. God isn't expecting perfection from us. He's not angry when we slip and fall. He is ever-encouraging us to get up again, face the sunlight, and, linking arms with someone who's feeling a little weaker, try to follow the steps of Jesus Christ the best we can. Yes, it's easier said than done, but I think the happiest moments of my life have been the ones when this has felt crystal clear to me. Everything is in perspective - and I realize how much God loves me, and how much potential I have in my life and in eternity. You just want to jump up and rejoice! Sadly the adversary knows this, and tries to sneak muck in without us realizing it. But with the power of the Atonement, we can always wash that mud off and cast it away. And that is incredible.

Lots of fun food this week, as you would expect during the week of Thanksgiving! I brought Mom's classic Southern Pecan Sweet Potatoes to the meal that we and the Elders were invited to (although the German who invited us to eat ate them for dessert because he thought they were so sweet) :) Also, they weren't made with pecans...they were walnuts that one time we found on the ground. But it worked, haha. :) Elder Gantner, our awesome Swiss visa waiter headed to California finally got his visa - but flew out to fit with the transfer day in his real mission, and therefore flew to the states like, 3 days after American Thanksgiving. Hahaha. He'll get it next year, right? What's REALLY crazy is that Elder Gibbs is coming back to fill his place for the rest of the transfer. Just like old times! Also, an awesome family in the ward taught us how to make Knödel, which is SO GOOD and I can't wait to make it for the family...on my third or fourth try, because I don't know if I'll be able to make it work on the first few tries. :) It tastes a lot like American stuffing, but it's in balls and you can eat a variety of different sauces with it or can fry them with bacon and cheese inside...waaaaaaaay good. I'm not sure if I'm ready to adjust back to American cuisine just about yet. 

Elder Gantner (before leaving for California),
Elder Faux, Sister Bushman and Sister Bishop

Snow has continued to flirt with existing this week, but hasn't quite committed to a serious relationship. We had a lot of barely-not-freezing rain, which I've decided is much worse than snow. Snow is pretty and will just kind of bounce off of you. Rain gets into all the little crevices and is cold. Sister Bishop and I have both decided that we would have made awful pioneers and are glad that we were saved for this day and age.


We went to Altötting's area again to sing for some people in an old folk's home, which was so fun. We've been learning a bunch of old classic Bayerisch and Deutsche songs. There was this funny moment when we showed up. The member of the Neuötting branch who had organized the event went down the line of us missionaries, and when he got to one elder, he was like, "And here is Elder Red*, who is obviously the most attractive/schönste of our group." And one of these old ladies from the back of the room calls out, "Der Elder Blue* ist der Schönste!"(*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.) It was pretty funny; we all laughed quite a bit at that. We'll try to not tease him too hard. :) After we were all chatting with them afterwards, there was this sweet old man who kissed the back of my hand. So that was also pretty cute.

All in all, I'm feeling good. I have moments where I can't see everyone, and moments where I just can't think about leaving or I feel like I'll cry. So I'm grateful for every day.

I love you.

Sister Bushman

More photos:  Christmastime in Passau . . .


Sisters B & B at the Christmas Markets

These stores were turned into a gingerbread house!

In matching Christmas pajamas!
Sisters B & B celebrated early as Sister
Bushman will leave Germany in 12 days!


Monday, November 23, 2015

. . . and then there were Bison?

Hey, folks!

So, a couple of fun stories from this week. 

This one needs a bit of background. So Passau is called "die dreiflüßestadt" (the City of Three Rivers) because 3 rivers come together, and Passau is built on the peninsula of said rivers. In other words, major flooding is a thing that happens every couple years. In the summer of 2013 it flooded super badly, and ever since then I think people have been more emergency-preparedness-conscience. In other words, we have gallons and gallons and gallons of water stored in jugs under our water heater in our apartment. 

SO. Our water heater broke this last week...again. So we had no heating and no hot water. It was funny because it had barely been repaired a few weeks later, and here's the funny part. So last time, when the people came they were there for like, 45 minutes and tinkered with it until it ran again. (And it started acting up like, that same day again.) This repair guy came this week to look at our water heater and was there for over three hours, but replaced like, five different parts in our water heater. But what was funny is that at one point one of the jugs broke and he was like "...why do you have all of this water?" (Keep in mind, these jugs are super beat up, and some of them are completely broken and crushed...and dirty...etc.) And we were like "...uh, in case of an emergency?" And he was like, "If you drink that water, there will be an emergency!" And then before he left, he was like, "so what do you believe exactly?" So we grabbed a Book of Mormon off of our shelf and talked to him about it before he left. Afterward, Sister Bishop was like, "I don't think I've ever missionaried in my pajamas before!" (We were holding out on showering in case we had the opportunity to shower with hot water.)

Second of all, we have a really large area. Not the largest area in our mission by any means, but it's about 80 km in diameter...so basically, our area includes many little dorfs (villages). (I literally do not understand the state-side missions where your areas are so small. What can you do??) We got a referral through the mission for a girl who lives in one of those random little dorfs - and there was no phone number. So we would just have to trek out there and try and find her. Hmm. We looked at lots of bus and train options, and eventually decided on one that was only 45 minutes and went directly - not bad. 

So we take the bus on the appointed day, and Sister Bishop and I get off in the appointed city, and looked at our little google map we printed out. Turns out, we needed to walk about a half hour south. So we go there, and then do you know what happened? Do you? False. You are all wrong.

WE FOUND MINI AMERICA. 

It was literally the strangest thing, ever. This is in the middle of nowhere. And basically, we found this country-western-America-themed vacation destination. There were American flags with Harley Davidsons printed on them, Texas flags, and confederate flags (um?) everywhere. We looked over the fence and we saw a playground complete with teepees, stagecoaches, and conastoga wagons. Literally, what on earth?

And there were Bison. REAL BISON. IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE IN SOUTHERN GERMANY. I sang a rousing rendition of "Home on the Range", no worries.



So that was pretty weird. And the referral we were looking for? It turns out that she barely moved to München. Bummer. But we got the phone number of someone who should have her phone number, and we'll try and get her hooked up with the sisters in München. :)

All in all, a good week. We showed the Restoration video to this lovely lady and asked her what she thought of it. She said that she completely believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet. The Spirit was super strong in that lesson. It was way cool.

And it snowed yesterday. And today.



I'm content. I just want to make sure I accomplish everything God wants from me before I can leave. :)

Love,

Sister Bushman

Monday, November 16, 2015

Therefore, they hushed their fears

Hey folks.

I'm really sad to hear about what happened in Paris. In actuality, I haven't heard much - people tend to assume I already know what is going on in the world and therefore only tell me tiny pieces of news...but I've eventually pieced it together. Disturbing stuff. I've been praying for the families of those people since we heard of it; we were in the mall today and they had a moment of silence, all across Europe. It really was beautiful. These moments are the ones that really strengthen my faith, though. Because in these kinds of situations, the Gospel is the only thing that brings comfort. I read David A. Bednar's General Conference talk from this past Spring, "Therefore they Hushed their Fears" about dispelling worldly fears through Godly fear this morning. It brought me a lot of comfort. It took me a while to read (it's pretty dense doctrine,) but I encourage you to study it this week. What I really love the most about the Gospel is the fuller understanding of our purpose in life here on the earth. It just puts everything in perspective. Here it is: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/04/therefore-they-hushed-their-fears?lang=eng

Our week wasn't the most exciting we've had, because I got kinda sick. And then Sister Bishop got sick too. We were homebound for about 3 days, which is an eternity if you are a missionary. We were so stir crazy by the end of it! And we had to cancel some appointments, which was a bummer. But we both feel a lot better now! And Sister Bishop was basically the cutest person ever and took care of me so well, so I have no complaints. :)

Before we got sick and incredibly boring, we had Zone Training! And then we had tausch! I got to go to München again with Sister Brinkerhoff, Sister Berry's new companion. She is super cute and was just trained by Sister Angeloudis (who is from my group and I adore,) so it was fun hearing stories and stuff about how she's doing. :) 

With Sister Brinkerhoff in front of the
statue that welcomes people to Passau

At Zone Training with Sister Cherrington (her "daughter" who she trained)
and with Sister Miller (her "granddaughter" who Sister Cherrington trained)

A few weeks ago as I had my interview with Präsident Kohler, he invited me to start thinking about things I've learned on my mission. He'll ask in my exit interview. I've been pondering that a lot this week. It's hard to put a year and a half into simple statements and words. I'm still feeling pretty scatter-brained, but I think one of the most long-lasting, impactful lessons I've learned is about faith, and what faith is, and what it is not, and how it can strengthen us. I've come to learn that faith is one of the most powerful things on the entire planet. That, and I have learned that faith is a choice. So often we want to see miracles to strengthen our faith - but really, when we truly believe and know that God is there and believe in His majesty and abilities, that's when the miracles happen.

Just a snippet.

I love you so much.

Sister Bushman

More photos: . . . visiting castle ruins outside of Passau last P-day.







Monday, November 9, 2015

Durch kleines und einfaches

(Title translation:  "By Small and Simple")

Guten Morgen!

We're mixing up the time that we're emailing today, because we're going on an adventure today - we're hoping to go visit some good ol' castle ruins. We pass them on the Ostbayern bus we take every week to teach someone...so we finally figured out how to get there and we are hoping that it'll work out!

This was another really good week work-wise. We were able to teach a lot of cool people - and a lot of those people we've been meeting with have been starting to read in the Book of Mormon and pray more regularly! Hooray! That's one of those really exciting moments - when you go to an appointment and it turns out that whoever you're meeting with did what you challenged them to do. Yay! 

But, through all of this, my testimony is getting strengthened almost every stinking day that how through "small and simple things", great things happen. (Alma 37:6.) I'm sure I've talked about this in my emails before, but I seriously can't get over how true that is - especially in regards to spiritual matters and missionary work. We actually sent the Gemeinde an email about it this week (We email them every week.) Passau Bahnhof is currently under construction - and it's far from being completed, but we love the days when we have to roadtrip out to some dorf, because by the time we come back that night, there has always been some kind of progress made! And by these small and simple things we get a new Bahnhof. It's way fun. 

It's a lot like that with the Gospel. Like, the best way to show people that the Gospel is wonderful is not shoving it in people's faces through something outlandish and crazy - it's just living it. And then people can see it. Or, the way we read the Book of Mormon is one verse at a time. We meet with one lovely lady who has issues concentrating - so we send her a verse every day to read and think about, because that's a lot easier for her. Yet, slowly, she's reading the Book of Mormon! Alma 37:6 is so true! 

On Tuesday we had interviews and training with Präsident Kohler. It was my last interview before my exit interview, which was weird. It was nice, though. We just had a good chat. He challenged me to think about who I wanted to become when I first came out on my mission, and to think about where I'm still falling short of that, and to work on those things this last transfer before I go home. He also challenged me to start making a list of "things I've learned on my mission", because he'll ask me about that in my exit interview.

It's a 2 1/2 hour train ride between Passau and München, so that makes for some pretty great roadtrips with the Elders. A pretty funny thing happened on the way back...there's one stop about 45 minutes away from Passau where the train typically stops for like, 15 minutes instead of the usual minute-or-so. Elder Faux was dying of thirst and really wanted a soda, and so he told Elder Gantner to hold the door, and when we made it to the stop he bolted from the train. (We were watching their stuff.) After a minute or two, we hear the conductor's voice on the intercom asking everyone to stand free of the door...uh oh. And another minute later we hear Elder Ganter call, "Sisters!" We ran over and he said, a little flustered, "Uh, can you get our bags? He's gone!" So we ran back and grabbed their bags, but by the time we got there Elder Gantner had to get clear of the door, and the door wouldn't open again...meaning that we were left with all the Elders' stuff, (including Elder Faux's suitcoat, and it was so cold that night) and went back to Passau without them. The trains only come every hour! We met them at the train station when they eventually got back to Passau so that they wouldn't have to walk in the cold without coats...but it turns out that one of their investigators was on that other train, so they got to teach a lesson. So everything works out somehow! It was pretty funny.





I've been really inspired and humbled this week by how God uses the meek and simple to do incredible things through His Spirit. I strongly believe that half the time when we're really inspired...we don't realize it like, at all. I've seen so many examples of that in the past year, as well as in this past week especially. Sister Bishop and I had the feeling to shoot someone a text of love - just a passing thought, so we did. And it ended up being significant for them. We didn't think we were doing anything that out of the ordinary, but it ended up being that for someone else. I've tried writing about these types of moments in my journal, so I'll never forget how important it is to act on those passing thoughts. I truly believe that having a casual thought to write an old friend on Facebook or bring cookies to someone you know isn't casual at all - that could be just the day when they need a message of love from Heavenly Father. But he needs us down here to be messengers of that love. :) It's so incredibly humbling that He, in all of His greatness and majesty, can work through beings as awkward and as clumsy as humans.

I found a new favorite scripture passage this week. I knew it was there because it's the favorite passage of some people that I love, but I really love 2 Nephi 4:16-35. It just brought me a lot of comfort.

Ich habe euch Lieb. :) Ich würde euch so gerne umarmen, wenn ich dass machen könnte. :) (I love you, and I would like to hug each one of you, if I could.)

Alles Liebe,

Sister Bushman

Sisters Bushman and Bishop built a tower to represent
how great things happen through small steps . . . 

. . . and then they destroyed the tower!

Monday, November 2, 2015

GO ROYALS!

Hey world!

I'm pretty cut off from the world, but through emails today, one thing is for certain....

GOOOOOOOOO ROOOOOOOOYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This was a really fun week. First of all, we had a lot to do. We have a big list of investigators - but often it doesn't work out to meet with everyone. We met with basically every single person we know this week, minus one - because we met with her last Saturday! We had one afternoon where we went by on a couple of people (very often nobody is around or wants to meet with you) and every single person we went by on was there, happy to see us, and let us come in to teach them! It was so cool! No idea if all those lovely people will want to see us again this week - but we had a lot of fun during this past week. :) 

We did a lot more with dooring students this week. We didn't quite have as much success this week as we have had in weeks past...but we had some funny experiences, as one would expect. :) We knocked on this one door and we heard somebody inside, but it took a second for them to get to the door. Eventually, this guy with a pony tail opened the door, and there was kind of a funny smell coming from the room...we asked if we could share a message with him (or something like that, can't quite remember that conversation super well) and he just stared at us with these super wide eyes. Eventually he was like, "Ich.....glaube.....nicht" ( "I ... think ... not") and then slowly closed the door. He was 100% super drugged. He looked kinda scary for a moment, but we laughed about it later.

I'm so grateful for the Spirit. We had Stake conference on Sunday, and since München is 2 1/2 hours by train, our stake is too big to all fit in the stake center probably, they broadcast it to Landshut and Augsburg in addition. So we only had to go on a train for 1 1/2 hours for it. :) To be honest, I wasn't super excited...I feel like when I've attended locally-broadcasted church meetings in the past there are technical problems more than not (dang it, Satan!) that get in a way and are frustrating. But, it ran pretty smoothly - and it was cool, because a couple of the speakers talked about how although we were in different locations we could all take part of the same renewing Spirit. I totally felt that. There was this super cute college girl who spoke and told her conversion story and I literally got shivers half way through - she talked about how she was invited to a baptismal service and just cried. And she had no idea why and felt like an idiot but it just felt so good to be there, and she couldn't stop crying. And it made me think about the spiritual experiences in my life, and how I've felt pieces of that. I'm so grateful for how the Holy Ghost can renew and heal us in that way. 

We carved pumpkins for FHE last week, and they rotted after like 3 days, because this is Germany and they do that here. Hm, what else. It's really foggy at all times and in all things and in all places in Passau, we've learned.

"A foggy day . . . in Passau town"

Passau in the fall





I'm grateful to be alive. I'm grateful for the strength that comes from exercising faith. It's not that we exercise faith and then miracles happen that strengthen us - the very act of holding to faith and hope and love buoy and strengthen us in themselves. I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ and how he's felt everything - and how though Him, we can become clean and always start again. 

Love,

Sister Bushman

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is transfer no. 5

Guten Tag, my dearies - 

Points to everyone who gets the weird little reference I tried to make in the title.

I'm beginning to write this while sitting in St. Stephan's Dom. They have these really great half-hour organ concerts every day at 12 - but they are only through the summer. There are only 2 weeks left, so Sister Bishop decided to go again. This church is just breathtakingly beautiful. You have to wonder how many sacrifices over how many years went into making something so incredibly breathtaking and grand.


The biggest news to share is from transfers - I get to STAY my last transfer here in Passau with Sister Bishop!!! That means that this is my FIFTH transfer with Sister Bishop. I will have spent 7 1/2 months attached to the hip of this lovely lady. I don't have a single complaint. I'm really happy President Kohler is letting me stay my last transfer in Passau. We have a lot going on now and we're just SUCH good friends - leaving her or leaving here so close to the end would have broken my heart. But, never fear, I'm still here!

Wearing their Sister Missionary
blazers that they usually never wear

Sister Bishop and I spent some time making our goals for this final transfer. We are going to try and put a big emphasis on finding - we just want to find oodles and oodles of people for Sister Bishop and her new comp to teach after I leave. Sister Bishop promised me that she won't let me go home until we've really felt like we went hard and killed it. And she'll make sure that we'll get me packed up in time so that I don't panic about that either. Yay! I had a couple more moments this week where I was like I have less weeks here than I have fingers and I feel like I want to cry and chain myself to the bathroom sink, but then we go finding instead and that's a better use of time. :)




We had a really fun service project this week. The ward mission leader in Neuötting (part of our district) organized that we would go to these couple of nursing homes and sing some hymns and old Bayerisch tunes. It was so fun because there were a lot of people there who had dementia or Alzheimer's but they would remember all the words to "Die Gedanken sind frei" or "Zigeurnerlied" or "Bayernhymne". They were just SO happy that we were there. Way fun stuff.

I also decided on two life ambitions for my life this week. One, we have this one member that we do service for almost every week. He has three giant apple trees with THE best apples that I have ever consumed. He has this like, endless supply of apples and jelly and jam and juice and absolutely everything. We got to help pick and cut some this week. I've decided that I greatly want an apple tree one day.





That, and I also decided that I want to pick up my flute again. Fun fact: Sister Bishop and I both played the flute in middle school, but both stopped. There's a cute girl in our branch who plays flute and so she brought hers on Sunday so we could play with it. It made me so flute trunky. I think one of my biggest regrets of my young life so far is that I gave up the flute. I guess I just need a reason to play it again. Like, join a community orchestra or something. At seeing my longing to play her daughter's flute all day, the branch president's wife suggested that I try and be in an orchestra at BYU. But......there's plenty of people who KNOW how to actually play there. Naja. Not important now. But I jotted my desire down and I'll put it in my "für später" box. :)

With Elder Faux, who plays the piano for the Passau Branch

I love you all! Happy week!

Sister Bushman

Beautiful Passau -- for six more weeks!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Herbst is endlich angekommen!

(Title Translation:  "Autumn Has Finally Arrived!")

Hello folks!

Probably the most exciting/wonderful/all the things EVER is that one of our dear friends in Stuttgart got baptized this past Saturday. Sister Bishop and I started teaching her in my last transfer there, and our first lesson with her was my favorite lesson I've ever taught on my mission. The Spirit was just so strong. I got sent some pictures today from a wonderful member in Stuttgart, and I almost started to cry. I just love her, and all those wonderful members of the Stuttgart ward who now love her so much. It almost hurts. I feel so blessed that I had the privilege of being there for over 7 whole months. 

So Autumn finally arrived in Passau. It was so funny because Passau was just flirting with Fall for the longest time, but now at a drop of a hat it's cold and there are beautiful leaves everywhere, and that's that. No complaints over here. We make cinnamon-clove tea almost every day. Fall is my favorite season.



Do you know what else is fun about Fall in Passsu? THE STUDENTS SHOWED UP LAST WEEK! So Passau almost reminds me of Provo, Utah just due to how much it is a university town. But in Germany, the Uni term doesn't start until mid-Oktober. Like a week or so ago, we were walking near where the Uni is, and we noticed a lot of groups of students being lead around. We realized that it was some kind of student-orientation day. Since then, we've noticed that there are alot more students walking around. And so this past week we started dooring in the student housing - it was so fun! The first door that opened said that we could come back and share a message with her! We're definitely going to keep trying to contact students. It's way fun because we can relate to them easily - since we're the same age. :) 

Another fun thing from this week is that I got to go on tausch...with Sister BERRY! :) I loved getting to spend a bit of time with her again - she really is just so lovely and fun. I got to work with her in München. I've been to München a number of times, but we normally just go straight from Bahnhof to the church close to Bahnhof and back. I got to see a lot more of the city than I had before, plus even went to the mission office because we had to pick something up. (That was weird...I hadn't been there since I arrived in München the first time.) I always thought München was just a mini-Wien, but it was actually way different. There are tons of trees and plants all around München, even more than there are in Stuttgart. A pleasant surprise.

Sister Bushman and Sister Berry

Tausch was also SO fun, because we got to teach this CUTE girl from China. Her name is pronounced "Ee-fay" and I don't remember how to spell it, so I'll just call her Eefay. Sister Abram and Sister Forsberg had found her when they were on tausch. She's studying here and needs help with her German, so the sisters offered to help. And so we went! We told her how we are missionaries, and therefore we would love to help her with her German, and how our main purpose is to help others learn more about God and our purpose in this life. So we said that we'd love to practice German with her, and then we'd like to share a short message about God with her afterward if she would be interested. She said yes (yay!) and so we practiced German with her for awhile, mainly just getting to know each other and teaching her phrases she wanted to use but didn't know how to say as they came up. (Funny side note - I was just going through typical get-to-know-you questions and asked her how many siblings she had...........she told me that nobody had siblings in China. DERP I knew that.......also, she said that she was from a small city in China near Peking. When we asked how big her little town was, she said 10 MILLION people. ?!?!) Oh, China. You're just so big.

Anyway I'm rambling. At the end of the lesson, we talked about God as simply as we could. It was so cool, because she has absolutely no background of religion, but was really excited to hear what we had to share. We talked about how God is literally our Father, and how He loves us, and He wants to help us. We told her how we could pray to Him for help. We asked if we could say a closing prayer, and that Sister Berry would say it. She said "Okay, what do I do?" We told her that she could close her eyes and listen quietly to what Sister Berry said, and think about how we were really talking with God. It was just so cool, because I've rarely done that on my mission - teach people who legitimately have no background with God. It was so cool. And they made out a return appointment. :) 

This is super random, but Sister Bishop and I saw two really cute instances where punk-looking kids guys did really cute things. Both instances had guys with multi-colored hair and earrings and hoodies with slightly-scandalous things printed on the front, that type of thing. The first one was at Bahnhof. There's tons of construction there right now, so there's no elevator. (We often help people bring their strollers and suitcases up and down those steps between the platforms.) There was one lady who had a huge bandage over one of her eyes, and she was holding this grocery bag full of fruit. This punk-looking kid (maybe 14 years old?) came up to her and tried to take her bag of fruit. We were kind of nervous (Leave her alone, kid!) And she was like all nervous, but then he ended up taking the bag from her and taking her by the arm and escorting her all the way down those steps and up those other steps to make sure she didn't trip, since she couldn't see that well. 

And then yesterday we were at the bus stop, where there was this punk-looking guy with the cutest little 2-year-old girl. And he was just in love with this little girl and was playing with her. It was the cutest thing. I guess you really can't judge people by appearances, because you never know the story from people.

Funny little thing. There is this pizza place in Passau Monastero or something like that - it's a pizza place called "monastery", and we always found it so intriguing and funny that we finally went...right inside there is a huge statue of Christ on the cross, and all the waiters are dressed like monks. It was the most random thing in the world, but it wasn't expensive and such good pizza



My very last transfer call (that means anything, of course) is this Saturday. I feel like I wasn't old on my mission and still wasn't old and still wasn't old and then all of a sudden I was about to go home. What on earth? It kind of dawned on me yesterday that it was actually going to happen and I was actually going to have to go home soon and may or may not have teared up with Sister Bishop. I just love these people and this country and this message and wearing this tag. I don't want to give it up. Is it hard? Flip, yes. Have I had days where I wished it would be over as soon as possible? Many. But here I am, nearing the end of the road, and I just wish I could travel it again and again.

Sister Bushman and Sister Bishop
in the town of Gumperting

The joy of serving a mission!

Anyway. So we'll see what happens. You'll certainly find out next week. :)

Alle meine Liebe,

Sister B

Monday, October 12, 2015

You never know who's watching

So a happy thing happened last night. When somebody gets married in Germany, all of the guests' cars follow the bride and groom in their car and just HONK THEIR HORNS SO MUCH. So last night we were reading in our scriptures, and all of a sudden we hear a bunch of car horns going at it. We looked at each other and were like "Yay, somebody got married!" Isn't that fun?

We had the best testimony meeting ever yesterday. The Spirit was so incredibly strong that I felt really bubbly and I got up and said "Ich fühle, wie ich explodieren könnte, weil ich einfach so glücklich bin dass ich hier sein darf!" (I feel like I could explode because I'm just SO HAPPY that I can be here!) 

Earlier in the meeting, one of the men got up and told a story from a few weeks ago. One of his friends (who is Catholic) came up to him and asked if he was still a Mormon. He said that he was, and his friend asked if it was possible that there were also girl missionaries in addition to the boy missionaries. He smiled and said that there were. And his friend went on to tell him how one of his favorite things to do is to look for the Elders (and now the sisters, since he knows that they exist) in the city center of Passau. His friend told him how the missionaries always have this glow about them and are just happy and reflecting light. He never says anything to the missionaries, but he loves seeing if he can find the missionaries talking with people or even just each other. He said that in the last week or two he saw both sisters and both elders at the bus stop, and they just seemed so happy. It was really cool to know that other people see us and see the joy of the Gospel. I know that I'm not a bucket of rainbows all the time - but it's cool (and incredibly humbling) to know that we can be seen that way by people we've never met. 

And I thought about how that applies to all of us, really. We never know how our actions are being watched by those we love and those we don't know. 

Have a lovely week!

Sister Bushman


Photos from the week:  a short boat ride on the Danube in lovely Passau . . . 
















Friends of a former AGS missionary
take a picture with Sisters Bushman and Bishop


Monday, October 5, 2015

Whenever there is rain . . .

Hey, folks.

This week was by far the hardest of my mission, and maybe the hardest of my life. I don't want to go into super detail, because I don't want to skim over such a tender situation, but Sister Bishop and I were up close and personal with some friends of ours that were really in a lot of pain. But, at the same time, it really strengthened my conviction in the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement of Christ. Because although that pain was unbearably hard for our friend, the insights she shared with us due to her faith were astounding. I was forever changed by that.

I'm grateful for General Conference and for the loving leaders of this church who help guide us to following Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for the Plan of Happiness and that we know why we are on the earth. I'm grateful for eternal families and for the beautiful saving and enabling power of the Atonement of Christ. 

I love you all so much.

Sister Bushman



Shelley's Mom here:

Some photos from earlier in the week . . . 

At Oktoberfest in Munich:







Running into Elder Threlkeld --
her former companion's brother

At Munich Zone Conference:  Sisters Poll, Bishop, Bushman, Earnshaw