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.we had lunch with our distrikt at Milaneo, the magical mall that requires a compass to navigate, basically. It was super fun. , (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.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 research...so 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 misssssssssssionarrrrrinnnennn
nnnnn"... 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!