Monday, March 30, 2015



This was a long week, but not because it was out-of-the-ordinary busy or out-of-the-ordinary hard. It was just long. Maybe we've been working too hard or something though, because I've had only half of my voice today and yesterday and the day before! I've been pretty hoarse, but it's fine. At least I have Holunderblüten Ricola bonbons. Mmmm. 

Anyway but this week I had this really crazy experience while trying to do some contacting on a train. I sat down across from this lady but couldn't really figure out how to start talking to her - but the lady next to me had the most fabulous missionary boots, ever. My boots totally died so I asked her about them, and we struck up a conversation. Then, the lady across from me was like "excuse me, may I ask where you're from?" and I said the States and then all of us were talking and she said that her 15 year old is doing a member exchange with this lovely family in Utah (who happen to be Mormons,) and they have a daughter on a mission so she saw my tag and knew who I was and is so excited to tell them all that they she met a missionary! It was the craziest thing. 

Speaking of crazy, Sister Threlkeld and I keep meeting people who are like "The Book of Mormon?! I've been trying to get my hands on one of those for years! How can I get one?!" And we just kind of look at each other and smile and are like "we can help you out!" Haha. It's seriously happened like, 4 times. What the heck? Way cool, though.

Sister Bushman & Sister Threlkeld with copies of the Book of Mormon
We have approximately a bazillion plans for this week because Sister Threlkeld is going home soon so there are lots of people to say goodbye to and lots of ends to tie - but we will be fed a lot this week, so that will be fun. We also have a lot of appointments with new people we've found. Finding is a huge focus right now which I think is great. So many people don't like finding, but if you get yourself to a place that you like finding, then everything in missionary work gets better. Stuttgart is on fire right now. I heard that it's the top-baptizing zone in the mission, and last week we broke the zone record for number of lessons taught in the zone in a week - the record (for the past 5 years or so) was 86 and we taught 95. It was so cool! Stuff is getting done!

One last ice cream cone with Sister Trelkeld
And I got to go on Austausch with Tübingen sisters this week. I actually got to go there this time - the last 2 tausches (exchanges) I stayed in Stuttgart. There's a drift (three sister missionaries) there right now so I exchanged with Sister Ahlm and Sister Baugh. Tübingen is this little charming college town, so it was fun to visit somewhere new. And, Sisters Baugh and Ahlm are both super great missionaries so I picked up little ideas from both of them of things I could start doing in my own work, so I'm excited to try those things. And I gave them tips on dritt life because been-there-done-that. :)

Sister Baugh, Sister Bushman, & Sister Ahlm in Tubingen

I was actually thinking a lot this week about how international my mission is. Like, it's so international. It's the "Alpine German-Speaking Mission" but it should be the "Alpine International Mission" because that makes a lot more sense. My favorite contacting strategy is talking to people about where they're from, because so often it's not Germany. And, a lot of the times I have friends serving in their home countries, so it's great to make a connection. The only downside is that you're always calling around the zone for that one language of the Book of Mormon that you need and don't have. This week was Turkish. Thanks, Ludwigsburg Elders for waiting for us at the Bahnhof to give us a book even though we were late...

Have you seen the Easter Campaign from the church? I swear they're just getting bigger and better and more beautiful each Easter and Christmas. We have all these passalong cards that link to the website with the video that we have been sharing with people, but we actually saw the video for the first time during church on Sunday (find it here - and I almost cried. What struck me is how many clips they use of different people where they're going through some kind of trial. I think everyone can relate to at least a few of those frames. And He carries us through it all.

Happy Easter; He lives; Write down some questions going into General Conference this weekend. I can't wait to watch. 


Sister Bushman

Shelley's Mom here:  A few more photos.  In the forest . . . and enjoying German bratwurst.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Half Way & Making Progress

Guten Morgen!

I hit my HALF WAY WITH MY WHOLE MISSION mark this week. It was really weird. I almost completely forgot; I guess it's good to be wrapped up in the work, but then all of a sudden it's March 19th and you've been out since June 19th and it's just like where did all the time go. So weird. Honestly in the beginning I started to panic a bit with those "I haven't done enough!" type thoughts, but then I took a step back and thought about how at the beginning of my mission when I prayed, every third word was "um". And it was hard for me to roll with the punches of missionary work. And now, I don't have the most eloquent vocabulary, but I can say a unique prayer each time I pray, I can talk with people, and if things don't go according to plan, I can usually stand back up and just go with plan B. So it's been good. :)

Hitting the "Half-Way" mark

But that obviously doesn't mean that it's always perfect or I always know what to say. I had a really interesting experience talking with this woman on the S-Bahn this week. I complimented her earrings to start chatting and she was really nice. She saw that I was a missionary and we started talking about the church and what we believed. It started okay, but she soon started to tense up and started firing questions at me - none of them were too difficult, simply things that need discussing. She'd fire a question, and another, and without letting me respond to the first question fire a third question and ask why I hadn't addressed her first question, and then tell me that it was because I didn't know the answer, and there simply wasn't an answer. (Even though the Gospel gives answers to such questions.) Turns out she was an Evangelical priest. She told me she used the "Comparative Historical Method" (I think she called it that) of studying the Bible - and told me how I really should do the same because she had learned so much from that way. She told me about how she had been able to pick apart the Gospels of Luke and Matthew and this and that and this and that...I left that S-Bahn completely drained. It reminded me of the Book of Mormon when it talks about the people who will "draw near to [the Lord] with their lips, but their hearts are far from [him]." Obviously scripture study is important. I'm not saying that we shouldn't study the scriptures. But holy cow - it was like she had picked apart the Bible so much that she didn't even pay attention to the doctrine anymore. It was crazy how much the Spirit wasn't there when we were talking. 

Sister B & Sister T -- wearing out their shoes on the pavement

But like, there's also been some good and fun moments - like, last Thursday (?) I believe. We were a little frustrated because we had been trying to do some finding that afternoon and it was totally fruitless. We were at the Bahn stop waiting to go home when Sister Threlkeld and I started looking at this huge ad for Tarzan the Musical that's apparently in Stuttgart or coming to Stuttgart or something. Sister Threlkeld was like, "Wait. How can he have long hair, but no beard? Gorillas don't shave!" And I guess it had been a long day because we were like cracking up at this and I saw this man a few paces away from us so I asked him what he thought about the monstrosity and then he started laughing too, and then we got talking, and he said we could come visit him sometime. It was really cool! And pretty funny. 

We also got the oppotunity to go to the Relief Society activity this past week - it was the cutest and most fun activity, like, ever. The whole purpose was that they wanted everyone to get to know each other better, so everyone brought 3 items that represented them and put them in a bag with an explanation of why those items were meaningful, and then someone would show all the items, read the papers, and then ask "Who am I?" It was so fun. Everyone was just laughing and smiling and I learned a lot about everyone. This is what I did:

- I really love musicals and theatre. I've been in over 50 musicals and plays. (Theatre mask necklace)

- I love Disney! My favorite Disney films are Tangled and Pocahontas. (Deutsche Disney CD)

- One of my ancestors was one of the 3 first people ever to be baptized into the church in Germany. (Das Buch Mormon)

Sister Threlkeld and I struggled to come up with stuff, because as missionaries we mainly own scriptures and clothes. Haha. Not much it was hard to come up with knick-knacks that represented us in our past lives.

After that we all got food and split up to these tables where there were different questions ("What's your favorite dessert?" "Any hidden talents?" "What does your name mean?") And we would chat and answer questions and then rotate and it was just really fun and well done.

While on that note, I just want to shout from the top of the Swiss Alps that I am literally like, obsessed with all the members of this ward. But not in a weird way. (Maybe weird?) Whenever we're invited anywhere or run into random people on the Bahn I'm always like "Sister Threlkeld! She's like, my favorite member of the whole ward!" And Sister Threlkeld is always like " said that about this guy and that guy and the other person too." But it's totally true. I wish I could just take every person by the shoulders (mainly the members of the Relief Society and Young Women) and be like "do you realize how wonderful you are?!" and shake them until they get it. But that just got a little weird.

I sang in church yesterday! Sister Threlkeld is going home in like, 2 weeks so we wanted to take advantage of having 2 (at least slightly) musically inclined people together one more time and do a musical number. To make things simpler, she played and I sang. (We were also trying to use it to motivate a friend of ours to come to church...) Getting up in front of people used to never make me nervous, but I was shaking! I definitely was a little shakier than I would have like to have been, but that's okay. Someone afterward told us afterward that they felt the Spirit, and that was our goal, so that was nice. :)

Man. I can't believe Sister Threlkeld is going home in 2 weeks. We've been together for so long, I don't remember what it's like being a missionary with not Sister Threlkeld. I feel like we've come SO far together. It's been fun.

Anyway. Before this gets even longer. Sending love! Muah!

Sister Bushman

Monday, March 16, 2015



Sister Threlkeld and I both started new years this year! I started a new decade, personally. I kind of feel weird about birthdays because I feel weird when people make a huge fuss about me but people have made a fuss about me and Sister Threlkeld together this week, so that has been really fun. On Thursday we had lunch with our distrikt at Milaneo, the magical mall that requires a compass to navigate, basically. It was super fun. Sunday, (my birthday,) Sister Threlkeld made me pancakes and I opened up my package from home (thanks, Mom!) before heading to church. Everyone just loved on us the whole day - a woman in the Relief Society made us both cakes and sang happy birthday to us, (except it sounded more like "Börstday" because Germans don't use the "th" sound and it was wonderful), and the Bishop even announced that we both had birthdays over the pulpit in Sacrament meeting. Ha! Lots of people were very kind. And we were invited over - where there was even MORE cake AND Wiener Schnitzel. Man, I love that stuff. By the end of the night I must have been sung happy birthday to at least 8 or 9 times, ( even if 3-4 of those times were Elder Sharp & Elder Ridd.) :) All in all, I feel really spoiled with the love from the people here in Stuttgart and from the people at home who have been kind enough to send me little notes. I love ya!

Celebrating Sister Threlkeld's birthday on Thursday
Celebrating Sister Bushman's birthday on Sunday at home

Celebrating both birthdays at church

Celebrating both birthdays at a member's home
But sitting in Relief Society/FHV yesterday, I figured out something way cool. I've looked through my family history before, and found out that "Bushman" used to be "Bussmann" when they were still in Germany, a few hundred years ago. (Or something.) I was kind of disappointed that it wasn't "Busch" or "Buch" or something, because I couldn't find a translation for "Buss." Bummer. WELL. On Sunday in FHV we talked about Umkehr, or repentance. The teacher started the class by talking about how another, older word for "Umkehren", or "to repent" is "Bussen." I was so stoked! So I guess the name used to translate out to repentant-man or something like that. Or maybe not. But I'd like to think so. It reminds me of Alma the Younger. 

Speaking of Family History, Sister Threlkeld and I planned to do something fun last P-day - we had heard about a Bible museum! Well, that sounded perfect. We showed up and found out that it wasn't really a museum - but more of an archive for family history research. Perfect! They had all these super cool old church records (and even a few Bibles.) I held a church record (births, deaths, marriages) from 1711! And I found this super cool braille Bible from the 1800s. It had raised bumps, but just spelled out the words anyway, so I could read it. They had all these flyers everywhere for family history we're going to go back this week and leave some Family Search cards. :)

We also had Zone Training this week! I love Zone Training, this one especially. It was really well prepared and I felt super spiritually super-charged afterward. We then had a finding day! It was actually my first finding day I've ever been on on my whole mission, and I'm almost half-way done. I have no idea how that happened. Basically finding days are when all the missionaries in a zone get together and contact super hard in an area and try and find a lot of potential people to meet with for the missionaries of that area. It's also fun because you get to go on splits with other missionaries! I worked with Sister Priest, who is in her first transfer. It was SO fun, and we ended up finding a couple cool people. Sister Threlkeld and Elders Sharp/Ridd all think I'm going to train next transfer. Nobody really knows - it would be fun to full-on train, but it also sounds really scary to take the full-on lead for a companionship. It really eased my fears though, because Sister Priest and I had a lot of fun and did a lot of work. So either way, I feel a lot better about it. :) But HOLY COW were we dead at the end of the day. We went so hard for those few hours that that night when we made it home, Sister Threlkeld and I just crashed. Easily one of the most tiring days I've had on my mission. But it was great. :)

Also at Zone Training the Zone Leaders told us that we were going to start weekly "power hour" in our zone, which was a thing in Wien Zone slightly before my time there. Basically, there's one hour every week where every companionship prays together and then tries to talk to as many people as possible in their own areas. Then the Zone Leaders send out a text to everyone about how many people were found within that hour. We did it for the first time this week and it was so fun! It's comforting to know that everyone is doing it at once. It was super motivating to talk to people on the finding day because you could see other people out of the corner of your eyes sometimes having great conversations with people. Sister Threlkeld and I found a few people in that hour...but we could have talked to more people if we hadn't been warding off a drunk guy who was following us all like "Morrrrrrrrmoooonen misssssssssssionarrrrrinnnennnnnnnn"... haha. We've seen him before. We lost him eventually.

I really, really wanted to talk about the power of the Book of Mormon this week. People always talk about the power of reading it (especially for people who never have before,) but I don't think I ever really even got a glimpse of it until this week. I don't know why, but we ended up reading Alma 32 where it talks about faith a lot this week. When we were reading it with this one man, after reading a certain verse he exclaimed "That finally answered my question!" We read the verse with him again, and honestly, I don't see how it solved the concern he had. But it did. As we read in the Book of Mormon (and other scriptures as well) it opens our minds to revelation, which is so personal. We also read Alma 32:26-27 with this lovely woman in the ward whom we stopped by on (we had had an appointment nearby) and she talked about how it reminded her of her conversion story. It was really beautiful.

To the moon and back!


Sister Bushman

Monday, March 9, 2015

Krone richten, weitergehen

Hello my lovely loves! 

I just bought a new journal (my third on my mission!) and it says "hinfallen, aufstehen, Krone richten, weitergehen," which translates to "fall down, stand up, adjust crown, keep going."

I'm kind of laughing as I write this because Sister Threlkeld and I TOTALLY lived my journal motto this week. Like, I feel like we had a great week, but if you were an outsider looking in, you absolutely wouldn't think so. Statistically speaking, exactly 75% of our appointments fell out, and although I did some of my best contacting this week that I've done my whole entire mission, we found a tiny fraction of the normal amount of interested people we find in a week. But it has been cool, because it was like we were resiliant enough to withstand it. Like, when the appointment didn't show up (for the first and second and seventieth time), we just went outside and kept talking to people. It was actually really fun. Then, on Friday when we did our weekly planning, we made up the in-a-bag cookie dough from my mom (thanks, Mom! :)), sat down, and talked about what we could do to make this week better. It felt super empowering. And we didn't even eat the whole bowl of dough in one sitting. BOOM.

Sister Bushman ... empowered!
This week was also really great because we had Stake Conference. It made me think back to the last Stake Conference I was at, in Wien. It was my second transfer and I remember spacing out a bit because it's a little lengthy when you can't completely understand everything. Sitting there I realized how much more I could understand. Like, besides one guy who was a smidgen dialect-y, I could understand basically everything. That felt so good. Elder Axel Leimer of the Seventy (we aren't quite sure which one, but he was cool) came to both Saturday and Sunday sessions, and the president of the Frankfurt temple also came on Sunday, and the Kohlers also came on Saturday. Way fun. Saturday was really cool because it was almost ENTIRELY about missionary work. Elder Leimer talked about how all members of the church should be involved in missionary work - but that doesn't necessarily mean giving out Books of Mormon like hot cakes or this or that, it's just loving people. Flat out Nächstenliebe/charity. The root of the gospel is love, and so loving other people is just naturally a part of that. He also had all the full-time missionaries stand up at one point. It was really cool. I heard one lady near me say "there's so many of them!" It was cool.

Also the Tübingen Sisters spent the night between sessions, so that was fun. We fed them homemade soup for dinner and homemade pizza for breakfast (we didn't have enough of anything else for 5 people) and they were super impressed. Those cooking skills are still on the rise! But anyway. On Sunday Sister Threlkeld and I got to sing with the Stake choir (the director is the bishop of our ward and he asked us to come sing with them,) and it was really cool because he's way talented and there was a good turn out, so the choir REALLY brought the spirit. It was so lovely to be a part of. 

The Stuttgart Zone Sisters:  Baugh, Priest, Ahlm, Bushman & Threlkeld
Okay, random. So as missionaries ideally we're supposed to spend 3 hours or so doing flat-out service projects each week, so Sister Threlkeld and I have been searching for something new to do as a project. I've become totally enamored with the idea of cleaning up a graveyard (I mean, how can you not adore old European graveyards?) So we stopped by one this week to see if there was anything we could do. Whenever I go to graveyards it reminds me of my childhood when Mom was researching for her book so we spent a lot of time on family vacations trying to track down the gravestones of people who were involved with the 1961 US World Figure Skating Team plane crash. I remember it really made me uncomfortable when I was like, 9... ("But Mom, we're walking on dead people!") but it just felt so peaceful walking through in the sunshine. And we have no reason to be sad about these people who have left this earth - they're back with Heavenly Father. It was really lovely.

Sister Threlkeld leading the way at the cemetery.
We got a new Ehepaar (a senior missionary couple) in our district, Elder and Sister Bos. They'll be working with Military families and are way cool. Sister Threlkeld and I both have birthdays this week. My half-way mark is next week. Spring is finally starting to spring, and it's gorgeous outside. Ich bin fast nicht erkältet - I'm almost over the cold that I got from Elder Wiberg who may or may not have gotten sick from Sister Threlkeld, then Elder Harvey, then Elder Ridd. (But we're all still alive!)

All in all, I'm feeling in very high spirits. As was said in Stake Conference yesterday, "Es gibt kein schlechtes Wetter - nur schlechte Kleidung." There's no bad weather, just bad clothing. Everything is in our attitude. 

Sending love! Go eat ice cream this week.

Sister Bushman

Shelley's mom here:  Sister Bushman and Sister Threlkeld came upon an 80-jump hopscotch board that someone had drawn on the sidewalk, and they couldn't resist (it's exercise, right?).  Here are three of the hopscotch photos Shelley sent:

Monday, March 2, 2015

D&C 123:17

Hallo hallo!

I don't actually know really what I should talk about this week. We've been pretty busy, but not much of what happened seems like it's appropriate and/or interesting to share with everyone. Oh! Here's something interesting: we found out last week that on April 25th, Elder Bednar will be visiting our mission!! The WHOLE mission will come to Munich for the event. It's right after Sister Threlkeld goes home. Sorry, girl.

As far as P-day news goes, last week a member of the International Ward took our whole district to the Ritter Sport chocolate factory in Tübingen! It was way fun. The outing had been planned for a few weeks earlier, but due to last minute snow didn't work out. We went, bought too much chocolate (including some of the experimental flavors - I tried "tortilla chip" flavored. It tastes more like popcorn, we believe,) and then she took us all on BASE to Taco Bell. It was the second time I've been on base. It's crazy because it's like literally American Territory, so you have to show your passports and stuff. It was also Elder Sharp's first experience with the place (he's from Australia). He liked it! Yeah America! All I know is that they had a soda machine with unlimted refills, and, better yet, ICE. I took a whole cup of ice with me and enjoyed it the whole way home. Today, Sister Threlkeld and I actually had an appointment in the morning and therefore are emailing in the evening, strangely enough. We went and bought me some earrings, because my 6 weeks are up today and I can change them. woo-hoo! I'm like, an adult or something.

After pushing a button, a tiny truck would bring
a tiny Haselnuss or Mazripan chocolate bar.
Other interesting things this week. Well, I was teaching Sister Threlkeld how to make bread, and burned my finger when the oven was 230's blistered. And everyone around us keeps getting sick, but we somehow haven't been hit yet and are just waiting for it to happen. Oh! And this really wonderful thing happened on the way home from our day's work one day. I sat down across fom this black man who seemed to be asleep. (He was wearing leather pants and cowboy boots - way cool!) After a while I heard a drowsy voice that said "Jesus is Lord". I looked up and saw him smiling at me. I smiled and said that I agreed and asked him where he's from. He said Nigeria, and then just kept repeating "Jesus is Lord" over and over again. I couldn't help but smile. He got off before me, and on the way out turned around, pointed a finger straight at me, and said: "Proclaim to all the people. That Jesus is Lord." It was great.

We've done a lot of finding this week, but it's been awesome. It's really easy to not love finding, but in my own personal mission experience I think that if you can get yourself to a mental place/state where you are enjoying finding, every part of the work gets easier. Sister Threlkeld and I found more potential people to meet with this week than we did like, the past month put together. It was so fun.

Holy cow, I just feel like things are really going in Stuttgart. I'm so obsessed with the ward. I kind of hope I never leave. (Well, I do eventually...but if I were to leave with Sister Threlkeld, I would be really disappointed.) The ward is SO supportive. I've been blessed in strong wards my whole mission, thankfully. Like, there's this lovely old member who always asks us over and over if we have gloves and if they're warm enough. And another family baked us yummy goods and gave us a huge bag of them to take home after church last Sunday, just because. I just feel spoiled.

"I love Germany!"

I want to close with my new favorite missionary scripture, which is Doctrine and Covenants 123:17 - 

Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

I could easily pick this little sentence apart into a 15 minute sacrament meeting talk, I just love it so much. I love the sentiment here - we simply need to do what we can do. So much of our lives our out of our control - and if we try to control what we can't control, it's not going to be a very happy or fulfilling time. But as we do what we can personally do with joy, we can wait "with the utmost assurance" on God to make up for what we can't do. Simply beautiful.

Have a wonderful week.


Sister Bushman