This week was incredible. The main thing that pops out is STEPHAN GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!! I haven't really talked about many people who I've met in specifics, but Stephan said I could share his story with you. :) Sister Threlkeld and I actually met him together - just at the U-Bahn station. I remember the day super specifically; we had been struggling to find people to work with and I remember resolving personally that that day I was going to spend absolutely every minute I could speaking with every person I could find. (Well, it wasn't that perfect - but I certainly tried,) and while waiting for the Bahn we saw this man who had a Raiders hat and a camo jacket - looking kind of American. He saw us looking at him and he actually talked to us first - and we ended up talking about the gospel and giving him a Book of Mormon and inviting him to learn more! In our first lesson we brought up baptism and how it's the first step in a life of following Christ, and how to know if the things we were saying were true, he needed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.
We weren't quite sure what to expect because you start teaching people all the time - but then in our next appointment he said he had read and received a sign that it was true, and Sister Threlkeld and I'll never forget the words he then said: "I think it would be okay if you baptized me." We were pretty surprised but so happy for him that he wanted to make that commitment. He's come so far since we met him; it was such a blessing to have the privilege of teaching him - and beginning to end! It's strengthened my testimony watching him strengthen his. He said that his life has completely changed and he's been able to do things he never even thought were possible, (like stopping smoking after 30 years!)
|Elder Sharp, Stephan, Sister Bushman, Sister Threlkeld|
at the Taufe (Baptism)
This was the first baptism I've ever had to completely plan, and it's amazing how many little things have to come together. Luckily Sister Threlkeld is better in pressure-situations than I am, (although I've become so much calmer in stressful situations thanks to her - thanks girl!) and everything came together beautifully. Lots of people came, the talks were lovely, and Stephan asked if Sister Threlkeld and I would sing, which was way fun. (We did "Ich bin ein Kind von Gott" ["I am a Child of God"] because what else do you sing at a baptism? :)) The one almost-hiccup was with filling the font. Our cool GML/Ward Mission Leader got there a few hours early to fill the font; we heard it takes about 1 1/2 hours. Well, we showed up after it had been running for about an hour (and there was an hour left,) and there were six inches of water at the bottom! Ahh! So the three of us worked together and filled up all the huge cauldrons we could find in the kitchen with water and dumped them into the font. It was taken care of in a half-hour, no problem - so it was kind of fun participating in such a classic "When I was on my mission..." story of filling the font by hand.
Right after the baptism was General Conference! Can you talk about a big day? In Germany because of the time difference we just watched the Women's sessionafternoon, and then the morning session live that evening. Then the men watch the Priesthood session, we watch the afternoon, and then the morning live that evening. I still haven't seen afternoon. But I digress. What was your favorite talk of Conference? From what I saw, I really loved Elder Michael T. Ringwood's and Wilford W. Andersen's talks. I want to be more Shiblon-y. Also, how about those NEW TEMPLES?! Sister Threlkeld and I were crossing our fingers for Vienna, Austria, but the whole chapel gasped at Bangkok, Thailand! So cool! (Mom - I guess we'll just have to go there and go to the temple and eat Thai food, huh? :)) All of the missionaries were laughing though because so many talks had a focus on strengthening families and the blessings of marriage and stuff. It was making all of the missionaries feel a little trunky. Haha! Everything in it's time. So that was pretty funny.
But another crazy thing. Right after the Women's Meeting this woman who I didn't really recognize came up to me and was like, "Sister Bushman. I have a surprise for you! Follow me." And took my arm and started walking with me out of the chapel. (I'm thinking "what the heck?") Then we make it outside and THERE IS SISTER FREIMANN. What on earth?! Then of COURSE I realized that the woman was Sister Freimann's mom and of course we screamed and hugged and it was just so random, but her grandpa lives near Stuttgart so they were there to visit him - and she didn't want to tell me so that it would be a surprise. That little sneaker! :) She told me and Sister Threlkeld that she was wearing her dirndl the next day, so obviously we participated. (Even if dirndls totally aren't a thing here - they belong in Bavaria. Or Austria. Whatever! :))
|Sister Threlkeld, Sister Freimann (her first companion), and Sister Bushman|
Holy cow, I didn't even mention the fact that we got TRANSFER CALLS! I was a little nervous because things have stayed the same (and going into calls we were pretty sure that they were going to stay the same) for like, 4 months - but I get to work with the lovely Sister BISHOP! Who I totally have tausched with before when I visited Graz! I really, really like her already and was actually kind of secretly hoping that we could be companions, so I was just floored. Obviously it's going to be hard to say goodbye to Sister Threlkeld (we've both come SO far together,) but it's nice to know that I already know/like my next companion. It takes the stress off of things. :)
Besides that, it's been a pretty crazy week. I swear, the weather almost killed us. It had totally become warm, and thenwe had the craziest winds and rain I've ever experienced, ever. Like, cyclone scene from Wizard of Oz conditions. The wind snapped my umbrella! I still tried to use it anyway - even though the jagged metal kept getting caught in my hair and it wasn't actually helping and the locals of Malmsheim, Germany were laughing at me. Whatever. I eventually threw it away - right next to another Regenschirm [umbrella] that had kicked the bucket. Then, the next day we literally experienced total gray skies, hail, a complete stunning double rainbow, and beautiful blue skies and sunshine within 10-15 minutes. Why are you trying to kill us, Deutschland? (But it's fine because I still adore you. :))
I also really wanted to share a sweet experience we had this week with this girl we met. We had had a "power hour" as a district (where we all go hard with finding for an hour at the same time,) and talked to this girl who looked a little distressed. We found out that she's actually homeless right now and is about to get deported. We met her in the park a few days later and she started to tell us about everything that was going on - and just started to cry. Sister Threlkeld and I were just speechless; we didn't know what to do or what to say. After a few minutes of silence I went over and put my arm around her, and she just kept crying. And after a few more minutes, I opened up in the Book of Mormon to Mosiah 24:10-16, (which I've probably shared with you 1,000 times,) because during a certain painful season of my life I remember it being one of the only things in the world that brought me comfort. I tried to just tell her about how much God loves her and how Christ understands what she's going through perfectly because he literally felt it - and how with some patience and faith and trust in the Lord, it would work out. Some day, eventually. And while there was literally nothing Sister Threlkeld and I could really do to help - the Spirit was really strong and it really felt like we were helping. And I was so grateful for that moment and just pray that her life will be blessed. I'm never going to forget that hour close to Hauptbahnhof.
By the way, how was your Easter? :) We did a lot of Easter contacting this week, understandably. We gave a lot of the #BecauseHeLives cards out (mormon.org/easter) which was really cool - but then on one day when the weather stopped freaking out for 10 seconds and the weather was shining we decided to mix up our contacting for a while. Downtown there is a beautiful Schloss [castle] next to this giant duck pond. There are a lot of ducks, and some swans. But we saw the weirdest birds I have ever seen. And we couldn't figure out what they were. So we asked random passers-by. Nobody knew. Somebody please solve the bird mystery for us, because we still want to know.
|How they decorate for Easter in Germany|
I've never been somebody to be really good at change. It's amazing that I came on a mission without having a total panic attack. But isn't the whole Gospel of Christ about change? Just putting off the natural man a little more and a little more until we're that much closer to becoming what Heavenly Father wants from us?
I love you so much.