Monday, July 27, 2015

2 Nuns, 2 Missionaries, and a Dentist


First of all, as the title would suggest, I got (is that the right word for it?) to go to the dentist this week! Great fun. Not really. I bit into a piece of puffed rice chocolate (like a German crunch bar, but not) last week that broke the filling encasing my permanent retainer last week. UGH. So I had to search out a dentist and plead for mercy. I'm always stressed out to go into that type of situation, because my German ability tends to go out the window when I'm A. In a stressful situation, and B. Need to know words that I don't know. For example, being in a dentist office. When I went to a doctor last time, I got so flustered that Sister Bishop had to translate for me, haha. But it wasn't so bad this time. The best part of the whole situation is that when we walked into the waiting room there were only 2 people already there...2 nuns. So 2 nuns and 2 missionaries were sitting in a dentist's office. It sounds like the start of some joke.  It got fixed in like, 10 minutes though. And now I'll always have a little piece of Germany with me...attached to the back of my teeth?

Sister Bushman -- with a little piece of Germany in her mouth!
In other important news that doesn't have to do with my teeth, I went on earlier this week and saw that Laura Osnes did a concert with MoTab to do a Broadway themed concert on Pioneer Day? Excuse me. Do you mean to tell me that MoTab, Laura Osnes, Pioneers, and Broadway all came together for an evening? Excuse me, but that's like ALL OF MY FAVORITE THINGS. I tried to watch a clip of it through the MoTab website, but the videos are linked through YouTube and YouTube is blocked in the church. Gah! Will somebody please go watch it and tell me what they sang and how wonderful it was? I even saw that she's wearing suspiciously modest formalwear. Ach! Fabulous. Someone go watch it for me!

This week we experimented using an Umfrage (survey) while dooring. We had talked about it at Zone training - somebody had had this idea of using a survey as a means of starting conversations with people at the door. I've done very little dooring on my mission (Wien and Stuttgart both have a lot of foot traffic, so we just focused on street contacting,) but there's less foot traffic in Passau so we decided to give it a try. It was so fun! Within 45 minutes we had 2 people who said we could come back, both of which were super cool. The questions
are like, "Is having a strong family important to you?" And "do you believe in God?" And "do you pray, and if so, do you believe that God answers prayers?" It's been really fun watching people think about and answer these questions. It's also a lot easier to simply ask someone if they can participate in a 5-minute survey. Hooray!

A beautiful view of Passau

Yesterday we had a lesson with this cool family we know. I was honestly a little scared because they have 4 daughters - and I'm sometimes afraid of not knowing how to handle kids. (haha, I'm so awkward.) but it was SO FUN. At one point I was just sitting on the ground in my skirt with a 9-year-old, 6-year-old, and 4-year-old all around me, chatting it up. They were braiding my hair and we sang "Let it Go" together and I asked them about their lives and they tried to guess how old I am, and it was just so fun. It was a beautiful, cool
Sunday evening, and they were headed out to visit their grandma after we were there. It made me really excited about having my own family one day - and just hanging out together and going on family adventures on a Sunday evening. It was really nice.

Also, the dad asked me (and Sister Berry) if I had a Führerschein (driver's license) because it's a much bigger deal in DE to have one, not everybody does. And we both said yes and I showed him my license...and he goes, "do you know who you look EXACTLY like in this photo?"


So that was a first.

I'm really excited because I get to ACTUALLY tausch this week with Sister Arnold! Our last exchange had to be cancelled because there was a problem somewhere on the tracks between München and Passau. (#passauproblems #sofaraway :) so that'll be fun!

And, one more thing, when looking around at the videos that we can download onto the iPad, we stumbled upon all of these TV ads (?) for the church from like a decade ago and this one is my FAVORITE and I watch it over and over during lunch because I just think it's so funny. So enjoy!


Sister Bushman

Sister Bushman's Mom here:  Some food photos . . . 

Sister Berry made this "face" lunch for Sister Bushman one day
From Sister B.:  "If you translate this directly-directly,
then this smoothie has a testimony of yogurt!"

Monday, July 20, 2015

Priesthood Power and DILNIP

First of all, we had the awesome opportunity to go to an organ concert at the largest church organ in all of Europe, the second biggest in the whole world. (If anyone knows where the biggest is, let me know...because I'm way curious.) It was wonderful and LOUD and my inner European History major was just giddy the whole time. St. Stephan's Dom is super cool.

First of all, guess who finished the Book of Mormon auf Deutsch yesterday??? This gal! I guess it's taken me a while since I've been out 13 months... I started out trying to study ONLY in German in the beginning of my mission but got so frustrated that I put down my German triple and avoided doing my main studies out of it, because I didn't want to get so frustrated again. Then Sister Threlkeld pointed out that if I tried again that I would understand a lot more than round one, and I did, and now I'm done! (And I started over again.) :) I did this activity that Sisters Freimann and Smiley were doing (I think it was them?) where they marked every reference to God and Jesus Christ in the WHOLE Book of Mormon. So I tried that and it helped me focus in the beginning when I didn't understand as much. 

We had Zone Training this week! It was really nice because we got to go all the way to München for it. I remember that Zone Training just used to be part of my day, but when you're coming from Passau it IS your day, haha. :) 2 1/2 hours there, a few hours there, 2 1/2 hours back, and the day was about finished. Crazy! It was really nice to see other people, though. Sometimes I forgot that the rest of the zone really exists. Hahaha. :)

Sidenote, walking down into the U-Bahn station smells exactly like what it smells like walking down into the subway station in NYC. Like concrete...and wind. Somehow. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? It was super weird how specifically that memory jumped out at me. 

One of my favorite things we talked about at Zone Training was "DILNIP" DILNIP stands for "Denke In Lösungen, nicht in Probleme," which means "think about solutions, not about problems." It was definitely a good reminder. When we're feeling bogged down by problems and setbacks, it's easy to get just swallowed up in everything - but that's not the Lord's way. He expects us to do all we can, get on our knees to ask for help and direction to keep going, and then to get up and keep trucking - because seen and unseen help will strengthen us. 

I want to share my testimony with all of you that I know that priesthood power is real. I had been feeling a little less than "peaches and cream," so I decided to get a priesthood blessing this week while the Zone Leaders were in Passau for Super-Tausch. (For those of you who aren't LDS, those who hold the priesthood can give blessings of healing or comfort/counsel, which we believe are inspired of God.) It was incredible how much strength I received from that blessing. It's just so obvious that priesthood power is real. I often like to ask people what their favorite "feeling" is. After explaining what I mean by that, I've heard people say things like "lying down on fresh-cut grass after school ends on a Friday and the weekend has started" or "getting a hug from someone when I know that they really mean it." My favorite feeling in the world is the 10 seconds before a priesthood blessing starts. It often starts with whoever is giving the blessing confirming what your full name is, and then there's the moment of silence that follows before you feel hands go on your head. And then you hear your name, and the Spirit just fills the room like a blanket. Exactly the same every time. And I always look forward to it. 

Also, I LOVE THE BOOK OF MORMON. For realz. First of all, lemme say that I love the Bible. Because that's also incredibly true. I have really strong memories of reading the New Testament when I was like a junior in high school, and just being in awe by Jesus Christ and how incredibly merciful he was. His teachings were really SO different and radical when looking at the context of where and when he lived. But whenever I read the Bible and the Book of Mormon at the same time, it strikes me how crystal clear the doctrine is in the Book of Mormon. It's just so straightforward. And powerful. And I'm glad that we have it. 

I have a challenge for EVERY person reading this right now. (Go write this down. :))

Tell someone important to you how much they mean to you. TODAY. Don't put it off; they might not know how much you love them!

Sister Bushman

Sister Bushman's Mom here:  Some other fun photos from the week . . .

How civilized to eat a slice of pizza in a bag!

In the countryside

In Passau

Monday, July 13, 2015

Immer Unterwegs

(Title Translation:  "Always on the Move")

First things first, what did you do to come closer to Christ this week? I tried to spend my quiet moments reflecting on the Savior instead of having my mind wander here and there and everywhere. It was actually really nice. I found myself having some nice reflectory revelation-y moments. 

So, this week, I think I spent more time on buses than I did not on buses. I seriously spent more time on buses this past week than I have my whole mission put together. So the way the public transit works here. We have bus passes for the Passau buses, and then if we want to go outside of the city we have to order a "Bayern" ticket. (Ticket for the state.) It's actually pretty cool though, because that little daily ticket will get you on ANY public transit (buses, trains, etc.) in all of Bayern that day. Pretty nifty. So we ordered 2 for this week from the office so we could truck out into the boonies to visit some less active members. From that, we ended up having all of these incredibly charming bus rides through the German countrysides, looking at fields and fields of corn as we drove. Often times, there wasn't even anyone else on the bus besides us, crazily enough!

Sisters Bushman and Berry on the bus

Charming view outside the bus

The corn that is "high as an elephant's eye"

One of these days when we had a Bayern ticket, we were trying to track down this lady from our ward so we could visit her. Because of how the bus lines were set up it was kind of complicated - and required taking a train, and then a bus, and then another get the picture. Also, we didn't have very good schedules or any maps of said dorfs (villages) that we were planning on visiting - so it was really a leap of faith to go all the way out there. We just had to hope that the next bus that we needed would come. NOT only did it come, but as we were trying to figure out where to go, we just started asking the locals around us for help. And we ended up talking about the Gospel with two of them, and it was incredible! We have an appointment with one of them for this week, and the other one has a Book of Mormon and is super excited to learn more.

It was really cool with the second lady, because she had a "great quesiton of the soul" as we would call it, and we were able to answer it with The Book of Mormon. That's my favorite when we can answer questions SO easily with The Book of Mormon. She asked if it was possible for people to become perfect, and we shared Moroni 10:32 and she just LOVED it. It was so great. Those are the moments that make all of the "keine Interesses" worth it. 

Church this Sunday was also bonkers! I had prepared a talk for that day, (and was a little nervous,) when all of a sudden TONS of visitors started pouring in! Sacrament meeting was like, twice as full as normal. There were many people who were on river cruises. I suppose a lot of cruises stop in Passau on Sunday. FIne with me - we get to see more people! But not only that, FOUR children showed up! And there normally aren't children at all! So we grabbed a member and did impromptu Primary. I was so freaked out at first, but it ended up being super fun. I've learned that I want to treat children like small adults, but I'm getting better at teaching them on their level. Thank heavens that Sister Berry is SO good with kids!

And I think my talk went well. I talked about Alma 37:6 and how it pertains to missionary work - how we never know what impact we can have by just being examples of a disciple of Jesus Christ, and how members are incredibly important in missionary work. I think it was well received! 

Here are some other things that I want to share but don't fit anywhere else:

- I think I'm turning into a German. Seriously. Because I used to beat around the bush for everything but now if I want to say something I'm gonna SAY it because there's no sense in talking around it. It's refreshing. Yay Germany! :) 

- I have been reading in the New Testament, but didn't feel like I was getting AS much out of it as I could have been. So I started using the Institute manual I had downloaded on my was SO GOOD. Helped my studies leaps and bounds. I understood a lot more of the historical and gospel contexts of things, which was really beautiful. Go use the manuals!

- Holy cow, I cannot speak Bayerisch.

When people told me that I would be learning a new language here, they weren't kidding. Except I probably won't even be able to learn it. Most of the time people speak Hoch Deutsch, but if I'm speaking with an elderly person I don't even get my hopes up that I'll understand. :) We ate with a really cool family this week and at one point they were all talking together about something - and they spoke SO fast and with such an accent, I could not really make out much. Crazy!

- Also a funny thing we learned. So in German, you say "Gesundheit" when somebody sneezes. Like "bless you", but not, because it literally translates to the noun for "health". I found that pretty funny in the MTC.

A member told us this week how in the "olden days" (during the plague or something?) If people sneezed they would say "Gesundheit"/"health" to mean like "I'm healthy and you are not so therefore get away from me so that you don't make me sick."

So technically it's not very nice to say that if you look at the history books. Isn't that funny?

This week should be great fun. I'm tausching with Sister Arnold here in Passau, and we have Zone Training in München. I got a call from the Zone Leaders last night asking if I would sing "Be Still my Soul" with Elder Pingel at Zone Training. So that will be fun!

Ich habe euch Lieb! Sei stark!  (I love you!  Very much!)

Alles Liebe,

Sister Bushman

Monday, July 6, 2015

I see PRIDE! I see POWER!

Lovely lovelies, 

HOLY COW IT'S HOT. We're melting. Well, Sister Berry is melting. Poor thing. Alaska did not prepare her for this. Also, Germany doesn't really do air conditioning. We've just kind of accepted the fact that we eat and contact and sleep and study in a state of somewhat-wet. Oh well. I can't wait to talk to my friends who served in Taiwan and Ghana who will NOT be impressed at the heat of Deutschland.

We've been trying to do some finding this past week, but it's been difficult just because of the heat. Luckily we live close enough to the city center that we can coordinate breaking up our day so that we don't die of heatstroke. (2 hours of studies at home - 2 hours in the heat - German study and lunch - 3 hours in the heat - dinner - back outside for the cooler(ish) evening.) It's been working out so far. We did have a nice moment this week when we talked to this lady in front of her house who totally wasn't interested - but she still went inside and brought us a bottle of Sprüdel (bubbly water) since our water bottles were empty. So that was nice. Yay Germans!

Not Passau, but a cute little town in their area

I had my first District Meeting with my new district this week. We had to take a train for an hour and a half to get to Landshut. This district definitely feels different than any of my others because it doesn't have an Ehepaar, and has 3 sets of Elders. So it's just the Elders and us. But it was still a really good meeting. 

There was this really memorable section prepared by the Elders in Neuötting that I wanted to share with you. They showed us this beautiful video about how we are all children of God and therefore have worth - and then talked about finding. It's universal that finding is difficult sometimes - it takes a lot of faith and a lot of work and sweat and rejection before you even find the potential of someone wanting to learn more about the Gospel of Christ - so it can be discouraging. I even like finding, and I still get burnt out after a while. So they talked about the movie "Cool Runnings," when one of the main characters gives a pump-up talk to another character after they were smack-talked by someone else. (I've never seen the movie, can you tell?) And apparently the first guy brings the second to a mirror and is like "what do you see?" And the second guy doesn't say much. And then the first guy says, "I see PRIDE! I see POWER!" 

And the Elders wrote up on the board:

I see PRIDE!

I see POWER!

I see a MISSIONARY of GOD who preaches the Gospel to EVERYBODY!

And then they started YELLING the little pump-up chant and didn't stop until everyone in the district was yelling along. It was actually a really refreshing pep-talk. We underestimate ourselves so much. When I've had moments of discouragement this week, I've tried to start yelling that to myself. :)

Sister Berry also found an incredibly beautiful scripture this week, which has become my current motto: Doctrine and Covenants, 64:33-34.

Go read it; it's lovely.

Sister Berry

I love you! Have a lovely week!

My cousin Elder Silver in the Idaho Twin Falls mission challeneged everyone in his email a few weeks ago to try and think of one way that they could come closer to Christ that week. So I'd like to extend that to all of you. I'm going to try and spend more quiet moments just reflecting on the Savior.

Alles Liebe! Schöne Woche!
Sister Bushman

Shelley's Mom here:  This week she and Sister Berry came upon a statue called "The Book of Wisdom ("Buch der Weisheit").  I like the pictorial analogy!