Monday, October 26, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is transfer no. 5

Guten Tag, my dearies - 

Points to everyone who gets the weird little reference I tried to make in the title.

I'm beginning to write this while sitting in St. Stephan's Dom. They have these really great half-hour organ concerts every day at 12 - but they are only through the summer. There are only 2 weeks left, so Sister Bishop decided to go again. This church is just breathtakingly beautiful. You have to wonder how many sacrifices over how many years went into making something so incredibly breathtaking and grand.

The biggest news to share is from transfers - I get to STAY my last transfer here in Passau with Sister Bishop!!! That means that this is my FIFTH transfer with Sister Bishop. I will have spent 7 1/2 months attached to the hip of this lovely lady. I don't have a single complaint. I'm really happy President Kohler is letting me stay my last transfer in Passau. We have a lot going on now and we're just SUCH good friends - leaving her or leaving here so close to the end would have broken my heart. But, never fear, I'm still here!

Wearing their Sister Missionary
blazers that they usually never wear

Sister Bishop and I spent some time making our goals for this final transfer. We are going to try and put a big emphasis on finding - we just want to find oodles and oodles of people for Sister Bishop and her new comp to teach after I leave. Sister Bishop promised me that she won't let me go home until we've really felt like we went hard and killed it. And she'll make sure that we'll get me packed up in time so that I don't panic about that either. Yay! I had a couple more moments this week where I was like I have less weeks here than I have fingers and I feel like I want to cry and chain myself to the bathroom sink, but then we go finding instead and that's a better use of time. :)

We had a really fun service project this week. The ward mission leader in Neuötting (part of our district) organized that we would go to these couple of nursing homes and sing some hymns and old Bayerisch tunes. It was so fun because there were a lot of people there who had dementia or Alzheimer's but they would remember all the words to "Die Gedanken sind frei" or "Zigeurnerlied" or "Bayernhymne". They were just SO happy that we were there. Way fun stuff.

I also decided on two life ambitions for my life this week. One, we have this one member that we do service for almost every week. He has three giant apple trees with THE best apples that I have ever consumed. He has this like, endless supply of apples and jelly and jam and juice and absolutely everything. We got to help pick and cut some this week. I've decided that I greatly want an apple tree one day.

That, and I also decided that I want to pick up my flute again. Fun fact: Sister Bishop and I both played the flute in middle school, but both stopped. There's a cute girl in our branch who plays flute and so she brought hers on Sunday so we could play with it. It made me so flute trunky. I think one of my biggest regrets of my young life so far is that I gave up the flute. I guess I just need a reason to play it again. Like, join a community orchestra or something. At seeing my longing to play her daughter's flute all day, the branch president's wife suggested that I try and be in an orchestra at BYU. But......there's plenty of people who KNOW how to actually play there. Naja. Not important now. But I jotted my desire down and I'll put it in my "für später" box. :)

With Elder Faux, who plays the piano for the Passau Branch

I love you all! Happy week!

Sister Bushman

Beautiful Passau -- for six more weeks!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Herbst is endlich angekommen!

(Title Translation:  "Autumn Has Finally Arrived!")

Hello folks!

Probably the most exciting/wonderful/all the things EVER is that one of our dear friends in Stuttgart got baptized this past Saturday. Sister Bishop and I started teaching her in my last transfer there, and our first lesson with her was my favorite lesson I've ever taught on my mission. The Spirit was just so strong. I got sent some pictures today from a wonderful member in Stuttgart, and I almost started to cry. I just love her, and all those wonderful members of the Stuttgart ward who now love her so much. It almost hurts. I feel so blessed that I had the privilege of being there for over 7 whole months. 

So Autumn finally arrived in Passau. It was so funny because Passau was just flirting with Fall for the longest time, but now at a drop of a hat it's cold and there are beautiful leaves everywhere, and that's that. No complaints over here. We make cinnamon-clove tea almost every day. Fall is my favorite season.

Do you know what else is fun about Fall in Passsu? THE STUDENTS SHOWED UP LAST WEEK! So Passau almost reminds me of Provo, Utah just due to how much it is a university town. But in Germany, the Uni term doesn't start until mid-Oktober. Like a week or so ago, we were walking near where the Uni is, and we noticed a lot of groups of students being lead around. We realized that it was some kind of student-orientation day. Since then, we've noticed that there are alot more students walking around. And so this past week we started dooring in the student housing - it was so fun! The first door that opened said that we could come back and share a message with her! We're definitely going to keep trying to contact students. It's way fun because we can relate to them easily - since we're the same age. :) 

Another fun thing from this week is that I got to go on tausch...with Sister BERRY! :) I loved getting to spend a bit of time with her again - she really is just so lovely and fun. I got to work with her in München. I've been to München a number of times, but we normally just go straight from Bahnhof to the church close to Bahnhof and back. I got to see a lot more of the city than I had before, plus even went to the mission office because we had to pick something up. (That was weird...I hadn't been there since I arrived in München the first time.) I always thought München was just a mini-Wien, but it was actually way different. There are tons of trees and plants all around München, even more than there are in Stuttgart. A pleasant surprise.

Sister Bushman and Sister Berry

Tausch was also SO fun, because we got to teach this CUTE girl from China. Her name is pronounced "Ee-fay" and I don't remember how to spell it, so I'll just call her Eefay. Sister Abram and Sister Forsberg had found her when they were on tausch. She's studying here and needs help with her German, so the sisters offered to help. And so we went! We told her how we are missionaries, and therefore we would love to help her with her German, and how our main purpose is to help others learn more about God and our purpose in this life. So we said that we'd love to practice German with her, and then we'd like to share a short message about God with her afterward if she would be interested. She said yes (yay!) and so we practiced German with her for awhile, mainly just getting to know each other and teaching her phrases she wanted to use but didn't know how to say as they came up. (Funny side note - I was just going through typical get-to-know-you questions and asked her how many siblings she had...........she told me that nobody had siblings in China. DERP I knew that.......also, she said that she was from a small city in China near Peking. When we asked how big her little town was, she said 10 MILLION people. ?!?!) Oh, China. You're just so big.

Anyway I'm rambling. At the end of the lesson, we talked about God as simply as we could. It was so cool, because she has absolutely no background of religion, but was really excited to hear what we had to share. We talked about how God is literally our Father, and how He loves us, and He wants to help us. We told her how we could pray to Him for help. We asked if we could say a closing prayer, and that Sister Berry would say it. She said "Okay, what do I do?" We told her that she could close her eyes and listen quietly to what Sister Berry said, and think about how we were really talking with God. It was just so cool, because I've rarely done that on my mission - teach people who legitimately have no background with God. It was so cool. And they made out a return appointment. :) 

This is super random, but Sister Bishop and I saw two really cute instances where punk-looking kids guys did really cute things. Both instances had guys with multi-colored hair and earrings and hoodies with slightly-scandalous things printed on the front, that type of thing. The first one was at Bahnhof. There's tons of construction there right now, so there's no elevator. (We often help people bring their strollers and suitcases up and down those steps between the platforms.) There was one lady who had a huge bandage over one of her eyes, and she was holding this grocery bag full of fruit. This punk-looking kid (maybe 14 years old?) came up to her and tried to take her bag of fruit. We were kind of nervous (Leave her alone, kid!) And she was like all nervous, but then he ended up taking the bag from her and taking her by the arm and escorting her all the way down those steps and up those other steps to make sure she didn't trip, since she couldn't see that well. 

And then yesterday we were at the bus stop, where there was this punk-looking guy with the cutest little 2-year-old girl. And he was just in love with this little girl and was playing with her. It was the cutest thing. I guess you really can't judge people by appearances, because you never know the story from people.

Funny little thing. There is this pizza place in Passau Monastero or something like that - it's a pizza place called "monastery", and we always found it so intriguing and funny that we finally went...right inside there is a huge statue of Christ on the cross, and all the waiters are dressed like monks. It was the most random thing in the world, but it wasn't expensive and such good pizza

My very last transfer call (that means anything, of course) is this Saturday. I feel like I wasn't old on my mission and still wasn't old and still wasn't old and then all of a sudden I was about to go home. What on earth? It kind of dawned on me yesterday that it was actually going to happen and I was actually going to have to go home soon and may or may not have teared up with Sister Bishop. I just love these people and this country and this message and wearing this tag. I don't want to give it up. Is it hard? Flip, yes. Have I had days where I wished it would be over as soon as possible? Many. But here I am, nearing the end of the road, and I just wish I could travel it again and again.

Sister Bushman and Sister Bishop
in the town of Gumperting

The joy of serving a mission!

Anyway. So we'll see what happens. You'll certainly find out next week. :)

Alle meine Liebe,

Sister B

Monday, October 12, 2015

You never know who's watching

So a happy thing happened last night. When somebody gets married in Germany, all of the guests' cars follow the bride and groom in their car and just HONK THEIR HORNS SO MUCH. So last night we were reading in our scriptures, and all of a sudden we hear a bunch of car horns going at it. We looked at each other and were like "Yay, somebody got married!" Isn't that fun?

We had the best testimony meeting ever yesterday. The Spirit was so incredibly strong that I felt really bubbly and I got up and said "Ich fühle, wie ich explodieren könnte, weil ich einfach so glücklich bin dass ich hier sein darf!" (I feel like I could explode because I'm just SO HAPPY that I can be here!) 

Earlier in the meeting, one of the men got up and told a story from a few weeks ago. One of his friends (who is Catholic) came up to him and asked if he was still a Mormon. He said that he was, and his friend asked if it was possible that there were also girl missionaries in addition to the boy missionaries. He smiled and said that there were. And his friend went on to tell him how one of his favorite things to do is to look for the Elders (and now the sisters, since he knows that they exist) in the city center of Passau. His friend told him how the missionaries always have this glow about them and are just happy and reflecting light. He never says anything to the missionaries, but he loves seeing if he can find the missionaries talking with people or even just each other. He said that in the last week or two he saw both sisters and both elders at the bus stop, and they just seemed so happy. It was really cool to know that other people see us and see the joy of the Gospel. I know that I'm not a bucket of rainbows all the time - but it's cool (and incredibly humbling) to know that we can be seen that way by people we've never met. 

And I thought about how that applies to all of us, really. We never know how our actions are being watched by those we love and those we don't know. 

Have a lovely week!

Sister Bushman

Photos from the week:  a short boat ride on the Danube in lovely Passau . . . 

Friends of a former AGS missionary
take a picture with Sisters Bushman and Bishop

Monday, October 5, 2015

Whenever there is rain . . .

Hey, folks.

This week was by far the hardest of my mission, and maybe the hardest of my life. I don't want to go into super detail, because I don't want to skim over such a tender situation, but Sister Bishop and I were up close and personal with some friends of ours that were really in a lot of pain. But, at the same time, it really strengthened my conviction in the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement of Christ. Because although that pain was unbearably hard for our friend, the insights she shared with us due to her faith were astounding. I was forever changed by that.

I'm grateful for General Conference and for the loving leaders of this church who help guide us to following Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for the Plan of Happiness and that we know why we are on the earth. I'm grateful for eternal families and for the beautiful saving and enabling power of the Atonement of Christ. 

I love you all so much.

Sister Bushman

Shelley's Mom here:

Some photos from earlier in the week . . . 

At Oktoberfest in Munich:

Running into Elder Threlkeld --
her former companion's brother

At Munich Zone Conference:  Sisters Poll, Bishop, Bushman, Earnshaw