I'm staying in Stuttgart?
That wasn't expected. Sister Bishop and I were in mourning all week about the possibility of being split up, but I was feeling that maybe it was my time to leave since I've now been in Stuttgart for 6 months...morning we got our calls. Elder Ridd called us and was like "who should go first?" And I said Sister Bishop (I was putting it off, haha) and Elder Ridd was like "Sister Bishop, your companion I've known for a while now, she's way awesome. Her name is...Sister Bushman! You're staying!" And we both just stared at the phone, completely speechless. It was SO unexpected, but we're really happy about having another transfer together. Also, Elder Ridd is becoming the new Assistant to the President, which is kind of fun. So I've seen the entire Zone Leader reign of Elder Sharp AND Elder Ridd. And I'm still here, just holding down the fort, I guess. :)
Sister Bishop and I had the opportunity of teaching big groups of people not once but twice this week, which is always fun/incredibly scary and stressful, depending on which moment you ask us about it. We had Zone Training this week, where Sister Bishop and I were asked to speak about the "4 Safeguards" that have to do with our technology training before we receive iPads. (Still no direct word - but we've heard that they may come sometime in May, and Frankfurt is getting them...so it really IS coming up!) We talked about how these safeguards were similar to the equipment you use in rock climbing, which was really fun for Sister Bishop because I've never been and she had to teach me about belaying and ropes and stuff and she thought it was cute. Ha!
We also got the opportunity at speaking at the baptismal service in our ward yesterday! It was really fun, because there were a lot of what we would call "language barrier problems." We had a like, 3 day notice for the talk that we were supposed to give about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost in English AND German. Ha, what? I think it went well - there's no doubt that the Spirit was there, because we never would have made it through without that. We brought in a clean white plate and talked about how when we come to this earth, we are perfect and clean, but then when we make mistakes (we colored on the plate with chalk,) we become imperfect, and these mistakes make us feel sad, and we aren't so perfect. But, when we repent, we can be baptized and have everything washed away. (We washed the plate.) And it's like a fresh slate! The little 8 year old was watching really closely, so I think she understood it, which was cool. It was just a beautiful service.
Sister Bishop and I have been talking a lot about the Spirit this week, because Sister Bishop and I have been trying to do more things to really invite the Spirit in our lessons. This past week, we had a first lesson with these two women we had never met before. We were really nervous since we didn't know what to expect - but just prayed and kind of tried to do our best and hope for the best out of it. We talked about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and bore our testimonies of it being true. One of them asked how we knew what we were saying was true, and we just simply talked about how we knew. For me, I talked about how I noticed in my life that it simply always felt better to pray than to not. And it felt better to read in the scriptures than to not. And it felt better to go to church than to not. And how I've felt peace at times of when friends and family members die. And one of them said "I feel like I'm about to cry right now!" And the other said "I have goosebumps." And Sister Bishop and I were just astonished at how strongly they felt the Spirit, because we didn't feel like anything particularly crazy was happening. But they felt it. As recipients of the Gift of the Holy Ghost, I don't think we realize the warmth that comes from having the Spirit - but it made a difference to them. That Spirit, the Comforter, however you want to call him, can bring comfort when nothing else can.
I know that when we stop people on the streets, the message we have to share with them is true. Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration. God loves each of his children. Because of Christ's Atonement, not only can we be resurrected and be forgiven of our sins, but Christ felt all of our pain and sorrow - and will therefore help us through our trials. I'm greatly grateful for the "daily bread" God blesses us with to help us make it through.
Sister Bushman's Mom here:
1) Translation of the title of this post: "What a surprise . . ."
2) Pictures of life in Stuttgart:
|"The most wonderful, magical hole-in-the-wall burger place in all of|
Stuttgart/THE WHOLE WORLD!"
|"Eating delicious Spatzle at a ward (congregation) member's home."|
|Stuttgart transit bus|
|"There's a huge chess set set up in the middle of town. Why not?"|