Monday, August 31, 2015


Schönen guten Nachmittag!

Hello my lovelies! This was a LOVELY week in Passau. It's not that we set 5 baptismal dates or anything absurd like that, but I've just been appreciating my days with Sister Bishop in this lovely little town. I'm falling in love with it more every day, really. It's just so cute here.

The Passau missionaires:  Elder Gibbs, Elder Faux, 
Sister Bushman, Sister Bishop

The title of this email is maybe a little weird, but is entirely accurate about life right now. Sister Bishop the other day was like "If I were to describe Germany in the summer in one word, it would be this: Mold." And she's right. We don't know how, but food seems to go bad SO FAST here. Something with the lack of preservatives. Or the humidity. Or lack of centralized air conditioning. No idea - but it's helped me deal with my food mold phobia. :)

But holy cow, are there a LOT of Americans around right now, seriously. You have no idea. Since there's so many cruises that stop here and we are in the height of the summer tourism season...yeah. You get the picture. BUT. It's just SO FUN because sometimes there are members and they see us and are so kind and wonderful and always say hi and meet us! There was even a couple the other day who took us and the Elders all out to dinner at this yummy Bayerisch restaurant. It was so so kind of them. I've made a promise to myself to love on the missionaries when I see them randomly in my life. If I'm on vacation in Texas (or whatever) in the middle of the summer and run into the Elders biking around, I'm going to take them to Sonic and buy them milkshakes. It's not that the Elders (or Sisters, of course) can't go themselves if they want to, but you just feel SO SPECIAL as a missionary when people are so kind. If you go see the missionaries, give them a handshake and a smile. I promise it will completely make their day.

We had a couple really cool opportunities just kind of finding people as we lived life this past week. I really believe that God leads us to people in such a subtle way, that things seem coincidental. Like, I want a Bierstein SO badly. I really want to bring one home. (For root beer, no worries. :)) Aber die sind ein bisschen teuer (but they are a bit expensive). So one day we had been contacting for a while, and I saw some really beautiful Biersteins in the window of an antique shop, so I popped in with Sister Bishop to see how much they cost. The shop owner recognized us as missionaries, and said that he has a friend who is Mormon who gave him a Vietnamese Book of Mormon many years ago. He met with the Elders and LOVED what he learned, but he has a big family to support here and in Vietnam, so he's crazy busy. But he said that when he's old and doesn't have to work, he wants to come back to church! He even talked about how he really respected the Mormon pioneers, and how he kinda feels that way himself having left his country to come to Germany. He was super cool and said he would love it if we come by to talk again!

And then, one time we were simply standing on the boardwalk next to this tourist shop (I think we were debating whether to get ice cream or not, haha) and this shop lady came out to see if we needed anything...and it turns out that she's majoring in theology and wants to hear about what we believe! It's so cool how we'll just "happen" to run into people who are excited to see us. :)

Oh! And another one! We went to go visit a friend of ours who lives at a refugee home on Sunday. We knocked - and she didn't answer. Ack! We hadn't been in contact for a few weeks and we were a little worried. We were in the stairwell trying to decide what to do (which bus to take, if we should door the building or not, etc.) and then our friend walked out into the stairwell! It turns out that she had barely moved rooms, that was all that happened. So she let us in and we talked about prayer. It was great!

It should cool down a little bit next week, weirdly enough. I don't know if it will be tights weather, but I can't help but think about the fact that after the season changes, the next time I won't HAVE to wear tights with a skirt, it will be in America. :/ ENOUGH OF THAT TRAIN OF THOUGHT.

Hm, what else. It's crazy that September is this week. This time last year, I was still gallivanting around Vienna with Sister Smiley and Sister Freimann, who are actually Anna and Sarah now. Weird. Man, I can't believe how fast the time is going.


Schwester Buschman

Sister Bushman's mom here:  some more photos from the week . . . 

The missionaries worked on a service project:

Monday, August 24, 2015

God's Orchestra

Hello, lovelies!

So this email is going to be a little short and full of typos because we have less than half of our regular email time today - because something simply WONDERFUL happened.

So today for P-Day, we decided to go visit Veste Oberhaus, our local castle on the hill (what the heck is this mission, amirite?) and then we went to check out some of the cathedrals on our little peninsula. We then had just enough time to get groceries and do emails before FHE tonight, so we headed off...until somebody called out to us, "Hey, Sisters! We were looking for you!"

With Sister Bishop at the castle

Long story short, it turns out to be the son and daughter-in-law of the late apostle Marvin J. Ashton, who are on vacation through Europe before becoming the new MTC Presidents of the South Africa MTC. They said that they had been praying to find missionaries, so that they could buy them lunch or dinner. And then they ran into us. So we sat down at a little cafe and they bought us pizza, and I cannot even begin to express how wonderful it was to sit and talk with them. They just brought the Spirit so strongly. They asked to hear our testimonies, and we all laughed and talked together about our mission experiences, and we heard about their experiences running a mission in Washington. It was just so amazing and such a miracle that they found us. It just strengthens my testimony over and over that God is really there and he orchestrates everything. It was so, incredibly wonderful. I have such a strong testimony that God's hand is in everything.

With the Ashtons

We also got to have exchanges this week! I tausched with the lovely Sister Abram, and it was lovely working with her. She's a really great missionary, and an all-around classy person.

With Sister Abram

I know that the Gospel is true, because I've seen God's hand in my life. I know that when it seems dark and dreary outside, it's not the end. And Jesus Christ is the Light in the darkness. If we look to Him, we'll never be lost.


Sister Bushman

Sister Bushman's Mom here:  a few photos of lovely Passau . . .

Umbrellas in the sky

Half of the windows are painted on

Monday, August 17, 2015

As Corny as Kansas in August

Guten Nachmittag, liebe Familie und Freunde und Bekannte und und und...

(Translation:  Good afternoon, lovely family and friends, and acquaintances, and, and, and)

First of all, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to the bestest parents a gal could ask for!

This week had a disproportionately large amount of doctor appointments and sleeping - but no worries, we're all feeling much better now and are back up to speed. :)  We also had a lot of train riding. We had to truck out of our area twice this week, much more than usual. Sister Bishop has been stressing about how much time it takes to get to Landshut and München - she gets kinda antsy on trains. It's just really funny because that was me a month ago. :) Now I've come to terms with being on the edge of the zone.

But yeah, we got to go to München this week for interviews and training with President Kohler! Normally for training (it's with two distrikts) he has some specific things he wants to cover, but this time he decided to do it "Elder Bednar" style and we got to just ask questions. We talked about everything from consecration to pride to how to talk to people on the street when they are content and don't realize how the Gospel could bless them. My favorite part was talking about what it REALLY means to be a "consecrated missionary". That used to be something that really stressed me out. "Am I focused enough? Giving enough? Turned outward enough?"

There's this famous talk called "The Fourth Missionary". President said that he has never doled it out because people get SO STRESSED when they read it. (It basically describes 4 missionaries - from the first missionary who is lazy and disobedient and doesn't care about about serving the Lord, to the fourth missionary who is dedicated and focused and basically perfect.) President talked about how really nobody is the fourth missionary at all times. We hop between the different missionaries described on different days. Basically, the most important thing is this: where is your heart? At the end of the day, do you WANT to be here, and do you WANT to do good serving the Lord? That's the most important. Then breathe, do your best, and be happy doing the work of the Lord.

It was really nice. I want to be here, but I'm sometimes not very good at breathing while I do it, haha. :) My interview with President was also really nice. We just had a good chat and he answered some questions I had, and he got me endorsed to go back to BYU. Yay! I love the whole Kohler fam. They're so cool.

Sister Bishop and I started a new project for us to complete throughout this transfer. She has this voice recorder, and we have made a lot of voice recordings together just talking about what we are up to, etc. We've decided to make a voice recording every day. We try and talk about how we've seen the hand of the Lord in our work that day. We had a really cool experience where we felt that 100% the Lord had helped us out.

So, we have to do a lot of planning to get to appointments in Passau, because busses and trains only come so often. We needed to take a train in the early afternoon to make it to our appointment, but we weren't exactly sure when it came, so we ended up deciding for whatever reason that the most effective thing to do would be to go check the train times right at 8, then come back and study, and then catch our train. When we went to print out our travel itinerary, we decided that we might as well just buy our ticket for the day then.

When we came back to Bahnhof that afternoon, the office an Bahnhof was closed! There was a bit of a situation and the Bahnhof office was closed down for the afternoon. We could still go to our train, but nobody could buy tickets. If we hadn't bought them that morning, we would have missed our appointment. It was crazy!

At the train station

I had a really great time studying the scriptures this morning. I studied about faith. I've been so fascinated about how faith and hope and love are SO connected. You can't be without faith and still have lots of hope for the future. You can't be empty of love and still be full of faith and hope. They're all linked. And I had a thought about faith. People often talk about how faith  and the Gospel strengthens them through hard times. I think that there are two reasons for that. First of all, God blesses us with the tender mercies necessary to make it though our hard times. And, at the same time, I think that a lot of power and strength comes out of faith itself. Having that passionate confidence and trust that God is there and that he's looking out for us is incredibly strengthening.

We're never alone!


Sister Bushman

Sister Bushman's Mom here:  More photos from the week . . . 

"This statue commemorates 30 years of jazz in a little town near
Passau; it reminded me of Kansas City (which is famous for its jazz)."

A beautiful ironwork fence on a quaint German home

Monday, August 10, 2015

Bushman und Bishop 2.0

Hello lovelies!

The Berry Bush was cut down this week, earlier than expected. Sister Berry and I had a fun last couple of days together, though, including visiting this all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet a la 'Mongolian Barbecue" in the states because you picked your meats and veggies and they would cook it up for you. I was adventurous and tried ostrich, crocodile, and kangaroo. In a shocking turn of events, they all tasted like chicken.

The end of the Berry Bush

Transfer day was Thursday. It baffles me that in many missions transfers aren't an all-day event. I looked at the complex excel chart and did the math and I realized that I spent more time on trains than any other missionary in München this time around. There's some construction on the tracks between Passau and München this time around so we had to take another way, and it was like 3 1/2 hours there and 3 1/2 back. But it was beautiful! I'm going to really miss riding on trains when I get back to the states.

Elder Gibbs, Sister Bushman, Elder Faux, Sister Berry

Transfer Day at the Munich train station --
lots of missionaries and lots of luggage

But I picked up Sister Bishop! It's been really fun to be back together again. We've spent a lot of time making goals how we want to tear it up this transfer. We just picked up right where we left off.

I wanted to share a little bit about the Spirit. I remember when Elder Bednar came, that he spoke a lot about how we are guided by the Spirit a LOT - way more than we realize. Sister Bishop and I have noticed a couple little examples of that in the last few days. For example, on Sunday we were praying by the door before we headed out for the day. After we finished praying, we both simultaneously realized that we had forgotten a prop for an object lesson we were planning on doing that day. Totally prompted by the Spirit! It's actually incredible how often that exact scenario happens - when we're praying by the door getting ready to head out, and we remember something we need.

For P-Day today, we went to St. Stephan's Dom again so Sister Bishop could hear the organ play. (Don't worry, it sounded just as fabulously loud and medieval as last time. Fun fact, apparently there are only 3 people in the whole WORLD who can play that organ because it's so big and complicated.) Bazillions of Americans always seem to be there because of the cruise ships that come through Passau - many people come to see the Dom. This older American couple came and sat next to us, so we asked where they were from and started chatting - and ended up talking about what brought us here, our missionary service. She asked one of the golden questions: "So, what do you actually do every day?" And we smiled real big and told her about how our purpose was to invite others to come unto Christ - how our faith had really strengthened us, and we wanted to help others also feel the love of God and of Christ in their lives. We talked about how that came in many forms - in challenging people we talk to on the street to pray for the first time in years, to invite people to be baptized and make that covenant with God to serve Him, or strengthening people who are already on the path, etc. And somehow through all of that the Book of Mormon came up, and she said "I've already read your Mormon Bible." 

Whoa! No way! We were really excited, and got talking with her, and it turns out that she was learning about the church a loooong time ago from some Elders, and she read the Book of Mormon looking for differences between "your Bible and my Bible." She thought that we worshiped Joseph Smith, and didn't understand why we would "need to replace Jesus Christ." We explained how we believe in the Bible and The Book of Mormon - and how one isn't complete without the other. We also got to explain how we revere and love Joseph Smith the prophet because through him, Christ's church was restored on the the earth, but we don't worship him like we worship Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. It was a really cool conversation because we got to clear up a lot of misconceptions for her, and we realized that her big "hang up" with learning about the Gospel the first time is that she didn't like the idea of having a prophet, because she didn't understand completely why we needed a prophet. We realized later how the Spirit had guided our conversation, because if we had started talking about modern-day prophets from the beginning, she may have not realized that Jesus Christ is the most important for us. So that was really cool. We gave her a pass-along card. It's so easy to not take those experiences IN - to not realize when we are being guided by the Spirit. But when we truly realize, then it can build our faith SO much.

It's still been pretty hot. Turns out this is an unusually hot summer. But we're surviving.

Bushman and Bishop -- reunited

One little funny story before I sign off. Sister Bishop and I generally like to plan 2-3 things to cook each week. We plan what we want to eat that week Sunday night so we can make a grocery list. We have a couple favorites (homemade pizza, this certain type of yummy spätzle, tacos, etc.) but we were thinking of things we could add to our list. I had the idea of making McDonalds-style breakfast sandwiches, with biscuits and egg and cheese and sausage and stuff. And we were thinking through what we would need to buy vs. what we normally have, and without thinking I busted out, "Do they even have sausage in this country?" And Sister Bishop looked at me and we realized what I had just said and just busted out LAUGHING. Umm, sausage is from Germany. 

Have a good week! 


Sister Bushman

Monday, August 3, 2015

A Mile in Our Shoes


(A little bit of Schwäbisch dialect for you there, like all that I learned :))

I guess the most sensible place to start off is with transfer calls, that happened. I remember counting down to/loathing transfer calls for like days and weeks on in the past, but now it's just so casual. I guess I'm getting old and boring.

But we got a bit of a surprise - Sister Berry is going to München 2 to work with Sister Abram (she tausched there just this past week,) and I'm staying in Passau with........Sister BISHOP.

Yeah. That's right. My comp from 6 weeks ago is coming to be with me for a THIRD transfer together! I'm really sad that I've been gypped a transfer with Sister Berry (we were guessing that we would have two, since that's typical) but if anyone were to come right now, I'm SO excited that it's Sister Bishop. They just couldn't keep us apart. :)  Apparently Stuttgart ward was happy that we'd be serving together again.

With Sister Berry

I already mentioned it a smidgen, but we had Austausch this week! I got to work here in Passau with Sister Arnold. I was so happy that we were able to get tausch rescheduled, because Sister Arnold and I have had 2 mutual companions (we served with each others' MTC comps - so Sisters Smiley and Fenton) and I've heard SO much about her and how wonderful she is. And it turns out that everything that was said was correct! Sister Arnold is just lovely. And she reminds me JUST like my friend Katelyn from chamber choir at home. They're both super loving and spiritual and even look similar....pretty trippy. But it was lovely! She had a transfer in Passau so I think it was fun for her to come back for a day.

With Sister Arnold

Sometimes I get random musicals stuck in my head. I usually try to sing hymns to make them go away because they can be distracting, but if it doesn't pull my head and heart too far from the work in Germany then I'll indulge myself for a few minutes of whistling old tunes. I had "Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" stuck in my head this week and then busted out LAUGHING while hanging my laundry up to dry because I realized that it's actually about missionary work.

Me at door: "Hallo, wir sind Missionarinnen der Kirche Jesu Christi der Hei-"
Person at door: "Keine Interesse" *slam*
Me still at door: "CLOSE EVERY DOOR TO ME"

So I got a good laugh out of that.

A happy sister missionary from Kansas:  wearing a dirndl in Germany and
holding a sunflower--the state flower of Kansas.

I had a beautiful experience this week when I had a prayer answered. I had been having a hard time with something, and someone was able to help me with my specific situation, because she had walked that same road. I thought about that blessing a lot. If she hadn't experienced the same things that I was going through, she wouldn't have been able to help me so much. I'm really grateful for that help - because my road to walk was probably much less lonely than hers was, because I wasn't completely alone in it.

I got a letter this week from a missionary friend that I once tausched with. She told me that I had helped her with something when we worked together. It wasn't a big thing, but I was able to help her with that because I had been where she then was. (Is this making any sense? I know I'm using a lot of Subjunctive II right now.) But it was so humbling to know that I had helped her without even knowing it.

I was thinking about how these two experiences related one night while laying in bed. Heavenly Father is so perfect at orchestrating things. We go through life and have challenges that prepare us to help strengthen others. Then, when they must walk down lonely roads, their journey mustn't be as lonely as ours', because we can accompany them. We know how we can strengthen others when we've felt it ourselves. (This reminds me of the "Refiner's Fire" Mormon Message)

And then it dawned on me. Isn't that exactly what Jesus Christ did? Isn't that the whole point of the Atonement? Jesus Christ not only paid for the sins of all mankind and overcame the hands of death, but He has walked EVERY road that we have ever walked and ever will walk. Because He has been everywhere that we've ever been, He knows "how to succor them who are tempted," or hurting, or struggling, or trying their best and still coming up short.

Today we took a little scuttle about the grounds of the castle that looks over Passau. That was one of those moments where I punched myself and wondered why Heavenly Father was kind enough to send me to the place of my dreams.

Have a great week.


Sister Bushman