Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Final Email

Alright, so that time has come. I have decided that this will be the final big blog email from Ukraine. Next week I will send a quick little shout out, spend my day in L'viv Ukraine, speaking Ukrainian with these lovely people, be with some of my most amazing friends from my mission and then see you all later in the week.
I am sitting in front of the computer almost in tears as I write this, I can't believe that it all really comes to an end. This week was a great week, we had fun and we did missionary things. We had random crazy events happen, we talked with people on the street, I gave my last thoughts in district meeting, and a million other amazing things and opportunities to share testimony with those around. It was great!
 Things all came together for me on Sunday. Because of the translation we had a normal church week and this up and coming week will be general conference, so yesterday was fast sunday. I went to church and everything was fine. I knew that I wanted to bear my testimony one last time, my last time as a missionary in Ukraine. The meeting started, I sat by one of my favorite members, and things were great! So many people came, 54 was the count. For those of you in America you probably think that is nothing, but for us that is a miracle.
During the sacrament prayers I was listening to the words, I have heard them so many times, but this time I realized this was the last time that I would hear them in Ukrainian, atleast for a while; I started crying. I love this country and the people here so much!
 I was listening to what they were saying and I could just feel the love that Christ has for us, He performed the Atonement for us, because He loves us so much! He wants us to come back to live with Him and our Father in Heaven. Every week we have the opportunity to partake of the Sacrament and to remember what He did for us. He did it for ALL of us! The past 18 months I have shared that message with so many people, some have accepted it and others have not. It is always incredible to see the change that happens in the lives of these people when they truely take upon themselves His name and covenant to always remember Him. There is a light that comes into their eyes that is unmatched when they truely find out who they are the divine potential that they have.
 I have been blessed to see this in the lives of so many faithful people here in Ukraine.
 Like I said, it was fast Sunday, so many people got up and bore their testimony. It was just one after another, I loved it! I would much rather have heard their testimonies than shared mine. Finally a member tapped me on the shoulder, he is one of the most amazing kids ever! Love him, anyway he asked when I was going to go, I had promised him I would. I finally got the chance to get up there.... and I made them laugh. There is an Elder leaving in my group as well, he bore his testimony at the start of the meeting and didn't cry, I told everyone that it wasn't fair because I knew that I was going to cry! They all laughed at this and then I started crying. It was short and to the point. I was a mess, however I told them that I know this church is true and that I loved them. I don't think that I needed to say much more than that. The spirit was so strong in that meeting! Such a miracle to see all those people come and worship together! The rest of the meetings were great, I got a lot of hugs and cried a lot more, the funny thing... I will still be here for part of next Sunday and I have all week to be visiting them, but that is okay. Maybe I will just run out of tears before next week..? 
 One of my favorite families came to church and I got to play with their 2 girls, oh my goodness! I was in heaven playing with the kids and having so much fun with them! Their uncle, he is 19, the one I promised I would bear testimony, pretty much he is my favorite person in this city! He is incredible, him and I had a blast playing with them. I showed him the picture of my family, the one with all the kids lined up, he was in shock! He told me that I have a family full of super women if they all have more than 2 kids. He is right, smart kid!
 We had choir practice as well after church and that was so fun! The little girls love singing, one fell asleep on his lap and the other colored in my journal and every time we would sing a new hymn she would look at me and ask "Знаеш цу пісню?" (do you know this hymn?) I would answer, "Так, знаю" (Yes, I know) then she would yell out, "Вона знае!" or she knows it! It was so cute and happened every time! We walked them home and had a great time talking and laughing! I love them so much!
 It was just a perfect day in so many different ways. I was able to talk to one of the sisters going home with me later that night, we talked about preparing to go home, how we feel and everything. I was happy to say that I know it is time to go home. I am sad that I have to leave a country, culture and people that I love, but I know that I have to go, all good things come to an end. I can look back on my mission with no regrets, I gave it all, I learned a lot and there is nothing that will compare to my mission. I was not perfect, I made mistakes, there are things that I wish could have not happened or gone better, but I learned, I repented and I know that repentance is real. The Atonement is real. Missions really are the best 18 months to 2 years. It is something that has changed me forever. The members of the church here in Ukraine are incredible, the friends that I have made here, in and out of the church are eternal. They have all impacted me in some way and changed who I am. I look back with no regrets, just with a grateful heart that I was able to serve and love these people.
 I feel like the longer I sit here at the computer the more cheesey it is getting, but I love you all! I will check my email for a quick second next week, and then see you all soon after!
  з любов'ю
     Сестра Шанесі

Welcome Home Sister Shaughnessy.  She arrives Wednesday, October 15th at 9:10 pm.  Her Home coming talk in church is scheduled Sunday, October 26th at 1:00 pm.  The church is Lehi 5th Ward church building.  It is the church building right across the street from Lehi High.  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Three weeks, Who is counting?

Okay, wow! I literally do not even know where to start this week! It was pretty much incredible. First of all, I had exchanges, my last exchanges ever, at the beginning of this week. They were with Sister Garrett, my little trainey, who is not so little anymore! It was SO. MUCH. FUN! First of all, we were together, which I just love being with her. Second we set some pretty awesome goals, and third... so many things just fell into place or came full circle it was almost commical. 
So, we are together we set a goal to SYL all day, or speak your language, as in speak ukrainian from 10-5. I kind of do it all the time anyway because I have had native companions for a while, but I really do enjoy talking to another American in a foreign language, but whatever. We did it! We were laughing because I read in my journal about what we were doing a year earlier on that day when we were both new and I was "training" here, and it was the day that the SYL from 10-5 rule first came out. We did it then, but it was terrible. I am sure the Ukrainian that we said on that day was just.... yeah, we won't go there. This time however, we totally did it, without a problem, told stories, laughed and joked the entire time, in Ukrainian.
Also, we went home for lunch and the power was out. The power was out the first day she and I were in Uzh together. So we had to cook lunch in a dark kitchen, which is what we did the first month we lived together because we didn't know where to buy a light bulb in Ukraine and we thought we would get in trouble for buying something not on a P-day. Yeah, so we cooked in our dark kitchen and had a picnic in the bedroom to eat in the light. It was great, we were laughing and just remembering all the good times.
We saw some really awesome little miracles and got a few numbers of some potentials that we will be working with. 
After Sister Crane and Sister Garrett left for L'viv it was just Sister Bandja and I. And as usual things are just crazy! A couple of random high lights, we had a great lesson with a J.W. Those are always fun! We were so excited to get a lesson from the area book with this lady and teach her all about the Restoration and it just.... she was J.W. She was still super nice, but when people don't listen you can't really do much.
My favorite random part of the week... so for weeks now we have had our street completely torn up. Sister Bandja and I always joke that it looks like there is war going on where we live. Holes everywhere, muddy, piles of dirt just everywhere... it is kind of just a joke. One day this week, Friday, it was raining and just kind of a muddy day, we are on our way home for a late lunch/dinner and walk around the corner and low and behold they are filming a movie about WWII on our street! There were people dressed up in military uniform, normal civilians all dressed up, there was even a horse, some tanks, old army vehicles and cameras everywhere! We were in shock! It was kind of really funny, they were using our street to film a war video, we had always said that it looks like a war could have happened.
So, we were only allowed to walk to our apartment in between scenes, so we would walk, have to stop, they would film a quick scene, then we would walk, be pulled somewhere else, wait for another scene. It took us a while to get in and out of our apartment. It was kind of so much fun though! We had to text the Elders and tell them that we would be late for english because we were only allowed to go so far so often. We had picture evidence that they were filming a movie about the World Wars outside our apartment. The Russians even tried to kidnap my companion! It was so much fun! We were able to talk to a lot of the people as well, they wanted to know why we were carrying around these books and why in the world an American would come to Ukraine and live here for over a year. Never an ordinary day on the mission.
This is my embarrassing moment for the week. Sister Bandja and I went to the store really quick for something and ran into a member. Katya, she was on her way to teach Spanish at the church. She invited a lot of people to come to the church and learn Spanish, she said that she invited a lot of non-members so it might be nice if we came. We didn't have any pressing plans, so why not? See if we could find some people maybe interested in more than just Spanish. So, I am sitting in this class having them teach me in Ukrainian and Russian, which is my second language (Russian is like my "I pretend to know it but don't really language"), how to speak spanish. Let us talk about kasha in your head. It was a mess, I had 4 languages going through my head, I didn't know what was going on. So my companion and I start speaking to each other in "Spanish" to practice. These two girls, one speaks english natively, the other Russian, we communicate usually in Ukrainian, are now learning how to speak spanish. Did you follow that? It confuses me too and I lived it.
The practice was going, everyone was quite impressed with my great "spanish accent!" I must not have that good of one in Ukrainian....? And we are going along great, I can count to ten no problem (only known that since I was 5), then we got into some other stuff, like asking how old a person is, I was asked to ask a couple of other people in the class how old they are, I say it and everyone just starts laughing! I have no idea why, I am just sitting there wondering what I said, what happened that was so funny, Sister Bandja finally calms down enough to tell me that I said something in spanish wrong which made it sound like I swore in Russian. Awkward... Moral of the story, stick with your mission language.
We also had the opportunity to go over to the Hawkins this week. We had waffles, I wanted to cry! I forgot how much I loved waffles; actually I forgot about their existance as a whole, then to have them... There may or may not have been actual tears. It was such a wonderful time. I am loving it!
This week I was sitting in sacrament and I just looked at all the members there, Sister Snyder, one of my former companions that I absolutely adore, was speaking. She rocked her talk, her language is just amazing now, and as she was speaking, I was looking at everyone. All the members and missionaries and wow... I was just overcome with this love for these people. They are all so amazing and such examples to me, I am grateful for every single one of them. In some way they have all changed me and helped me become better. This gospel in so amazing and I love it! I love these people and in the end, it all goes back to love!

Sister Shaughnessy

Monday, September 22, 2014

Just a few left

This week has been crazy incredible! I don't even know where to begin.... We went into L'viv this week for a mission conference that literally changed my life. I will start with the funny stuff and then work my way up to the really good stuff. First, we were on a train for 7 hours, we met this girl that spoke english, Sister Snyder found out for us that she is from England. We helped her with her bags, and talked with her for a while. Sister Snyder and I still got it, we pretty much taught a fairly solid first lesson, in english to her. She was curious about why we were here and what we do as missionaries. She was also very curious about temples, good thing I just so happen to have pictures of the Nauvoo and Kiev temples in my journal. The temples, she thought, were just beautiful! Planting seeds...
Then in L'viv we got in at about 9 at night, the mission driver was kind enough to call the AP's for us and ask if we would be able to swing by McDonalds before going to our hotel. We felt pretty awesome that we thought to go to McDonalds and the Elders wouldn't have an opportunity because they were taking taxi's. We got to the hotel and they showed up with their McDonalds too. This time we stayed in a hotel for mission conference because there is just not enough room in the L'viv apartments. It was quite wonderful! We had a balcony and right across the street was this beautiful old church, all lit up at night. I loved it!
We got up at 5 in the morning to get ready for conference. We had to be at the church by 7:15. President Klebingat, my first mission president in Ukraine, who just happens to also now be in the first quorum of the 70 came back and taught us. It was incredible, if nothing else he has only gotten more amazing! By the way he totally remembered that haircut that I am supposed to give me, I don't think that I will be getting out of that one.
He talked with us about repentance, as he was calling us to repentance. I have never been so excited in my life to repent and change, it was awesome! Honestly, nothing he taught us was new or these secrets that have been hidden for centuries, but the way that he teaches.... I wish that I could describe it, but I don't think there are any words in either of the languages that I speak that can describe it. He literally motivates you to become a better person in all aspects of your life. He is super straight forward, makes you laugh and says it with such love that wow.... I feel like I will just insult him by trying to explain it to you.
My companion and I have just been talking about the conference all week, it was so great! She had served under him when she was in the Kiev mission and also she lives in the Kiev mission boundary, so he has known her for a while and actually sent her on a mission. 
We got home on Thursday night and on Saturday we had a baptism here in Chernivtsi. One of the Elders investigators got baptized! It was incredible, the service was small, but it was a baptism. The ones here in Ukraine just have a special spirit about them, I was thinking about it and talking to our branch president's wife about it. Baptism is such a life changing thing for everyone, but it really is only a second. 18-24 months out of your life to serve the Lord, it isn't that long, but it changes who we are. 70-80-90-100 years on the earth is nothing in the span of eternity but it determines who we become after this life.
It really is all in the little things that make the difference.
Yesterday, I just have to add this because my uncles will laugh and think that it is funny! I hate giving talks, it has been something I have disliked my entire life. On my mission it has gotten better, but still, not my favorite activity. When I was preparing my farewell talk and complaining my uncles always asked what I would do if on my mission I was just randomly called up to give a talk in a foreign language. I said I would face that trial when it comes. It came. Yesterday on sacrament meeting. It wasn't terrible. Can I tell you what I said? No. Did it make sense? I have no idea. Did I survive? Yes.
That is it for my week. It was wonderful, remember repentance is a gift from God. I love you all! :)
 Sister Shaughnessy

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sick again!!!

So, I am sure that you have been waiting without patience to hear about this wonderful week and all the miracles that we have seen here in Chernivtsi as we work as hard as we can to help, serve and love these people. I hate to break it to you all, but my life is just not simple. I have literally gone through 500 different ways to break it to you all in a very humorous and sarcastic way, but sorry I just couldn't find one good enough.
Here it is, I got bronchitis. Again. Not kidding. Trust me, if you are sick of hearing that I am sick again, you should feel even worse for all the missionaries that I have served around. It has now become a mission joke that we are going to put instructions of how to deal with me on the GoogleDrive of our mission because it is just a topic that is all too often frequented.
This time around, I have given up. I have done everything that is possible to get healthy again. We are talking antibiotics like the doctor and mission president said to take, to sleeping with a warm bag (yes, milk in Ukraine comes in bag) on my chest to get rid of it, according to the Ukrainian homemade remedies. It has been an adventure.
I have pretty much been dead, my companion had world wars in our kitchen and our study tearing them all apart and cleaning and putting it all back together. I got to do an exchange for a day, kind of, with Sister Snyder so that Sister Bandja could get out of the apartment for a little while. It was fun to be with Sister Snyder again, I have really missed her. She also knows the drill of me being sick, when we got together I was just getting over bronchitis. Her 2 transfers of hard work getting me healthy again and it is all wiped out.
The Elders have been great, they brought us food and tried to do all they could to help us out. I was able to get a blessing from Elder Ballif, that was incredible! The Priesthood is real and this is the Lord's work, He really has a plan. He knows us perfectly and knows what we need to hear, how to comfort and guide us. 
The few times that we were able to get out of the house we attended the weekly Youth Night, always just a blast! Our branch is incredible and they love to have fun with one another, and always manage to succeed. Sister Bandja came with new games to play and everyone was laughing and having fun!
We also had the opening of institute here. That was a fun night, Church Histoy Jepordy (I have no idea how to spell that, my english is getting really bad!), that is right up my alley! My team may or may not have lost because we may or may not have been caught cheating because one person was giving all the answers..... It could have happened. There was also home made mexican food from the Hawkins, that is always a blessing. Not very often do we find mexican food in Ukraine, so you need to enjoy all that you can when you get the opportunity to eat it!
That is pretty much it for our week. 5 days dying, still feel like I am dying, but I got up, did my hair, make up, studies, put on a skirt and a smile. This will be a good week, President Klebingat is coming, we will be in L'viv and we will have a blast! Health with come, can't let it get me down! 
Love you all, hope you have a wonderful week! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Heavenly Father has a plan!!!

Okay, so let us just talk about the best week I have had in Chernivsti! It has been quite wonderful, I think that it is almost a little too perfect with all the little blessings. I don't know how all of these wonderful things come together, Heavenly Father has a plan! His plan is truely so much better than what we could ever dream of!
So, this week I said goodbye to Sister Matsiyashik, that was kind of sad. I will still see her one more time before I go home. President Klebingat, remember him? My first mission president who just got called the Quorum of the 70, well he is visiting our mission on the 17th of September. Kind of really excited for that, I get to hear from him for my last mission conference, ironic because he was the one I got to hear from at my first mission conference, and that means that I get to see ALL my missionary friends one last time before I leave. It was a tender mercy from the Lord.
So, after our companions left for the train Sister Moffitt and I were left on a 2 day exchange that was pretty much a blast! I have never eaten so much amazing food in such a short amount of time. She introduced me to a Ukrainian dessert that pretty much changed my life, and all I am saying is it is a good thing it was discovered in my last transfer or else.... it just would have been bad. We spent 2 days together talking it up and getting our area books reorganized, which included a lot of time in the area book to get it up  to the new mission standard. It was worth it! We made it fun and it was so nice to have 2 area books and 2 phones to be working with. It made it just so much more convenient. Plus if you make a double batch of chocolate chip cookie dough with brown sugar from America, it can help!
Thursday late night, we got to meet our companions at the train station. I got to see Sister Snyder again, kind of hugged her forever and was way beyond excited to see her! Oh, how I love her, she is the best! I am so excited to have her in my city! Then I met Sister Bandja for the first time, we went home and just went to sleep we were so tired.
However, Sister Bandja and I have a HUGE problem.... WE NEVER STOP TALKING!!! We have had so much fun together after that first moment that I am almost thinking that there is something wrong because it has just been so good! She is from Odessa, in the Kiev mission, she is 23 years old, been to American twice and speaks Russian as her native tongue, knows Ukrainian, and speaks fairly decent english. We speak a fluent Ukraine-glish at home and I love it! The only thing that is suffering from this companionship is my journal because at night we are talking and telling stories all the time, I never have time to write in it!
The last couple days we have been together we have cleaned our apartment and done some weekly planning and sports day! I love sports day! (Sarcasm) And, I would just like to say that on this sports day I went from always being the last one picked to being team captian. I thought they were kidding when they said that I would be captian, however I was. I was awful at it, but I did it!
That was pretty much our week. Not a whole lot, but a whole lot! We are ready to take on the city of Chernivsti (or maybe just our area that we are confined to), but it is going to be great! I am so excited! I love the people here so much!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Last Transfer

Another week down and guess what?! I got my last transfer all from President and the verdict.... I AM STAYING IN CHERNIVTSI!! Kind of super excited and also, one of my favorite companions ever is coming down here too, so I get to serve around her before I leave, that will be a blast!!!! She is not my companion though, my new companion is Sister Bandja and she is also from Ukraine. I have seen her maybe twice, so I literally know nothing about her, but I am excited, it will be good.
This week has been crazy stressful, we can start by saying that we had an open house on Saturday and so we spent all week getting ready for that. This included a musical number. Our district is great, we have very talented people in our district when it comes to music, but still when I am one of the more musically talented in the group we have a problem, understand? So, anyway I can now say that I have a piano solo.
No, you read that correctly. We did musical number and we were to sing "Joseph's First Prayer," just so happens that is one of the only hymns that I know really well. So.... I played the piano for people including my nice little solo parts that were just.... yeah. My mom will be so proud, but let me tell you it was just awful! We survived and it really wasn't that bad, but it was still not the most professional thing, I wouldn't count on it being sang at a sacrament meeting or zone conference any time soon.
The open house went great though, we had a blast putting it together as in it was stressful, but it all came together and was worth it. We didn't have the best turn out, but people came and this was just the first one of many that will happen here to get the word out about our little church here in Chernivsti.
This week we also got to visit a lot of people because my companion is leaving. We got to visit my favorite little family this week, they have the most beautiful little girls and we had a blast taking pictures with them. Edik, the 18 is my favorite person ever in this branch, literally I love that kid!! He is a rock star and just the most solid person, helping his 20 year old sister with her 2 girls... AH, I seriously there is so much I could say... It was just a wonderful time with them. I would send a pictures, but my camera is currently with Elder Kelley getting fixed and debugged. Next week.
We also had Zone Leaders here this week, Elder Peterson, from AF and also was in my MTC district, that was fun to see him and catch up. It was kind of just a crazy week overall, extra missionaries as well as trying to get things ready for the open house. It was just the kind of chaos that I am known to thrive on, so I loved it.
I am so exhausted though, I think that 18 months has finally caught up with me. It has been great though! This next transfer is going to be a party and we are going to be seeing some of the most incredible miracles around here!
I hope that you all have a wonderful week, pay it forward and do something nice for someone else this week. It may not change them, but it will change you!
 Sister Shaughnessy

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ten weeks to go

So, remember that one time when I had an allergic reaction and went to the hospital? Or the other time when it happened to? Or the 10th time it happened that one time. I remember and guess what, it happened again. Don't worry this time, I survived and all is well. And I am so done with Ukrainian hospitals, so that is that story. Nothing more to explain there.
This week was good, I don't even know what we did, but I am tired and I know we did a lot. Those investigators that were going to get baptized... they have kind of fallen off the face of the planet. We have gone to their home, they were home, but wouldn't answer the door. It just breaks my heart to know that they are SO close to the truth and.... we are going to keep trying, we will see what happens.
President Lattin was in town this week! That was a crazy wonderful suprise! It is always to great to have them here. So we had some meetings with him and just a blast and we learned so much. That man is called of God, that I am sure of. We also had Sister Lattin call us one morning while they were here to go on a walk with us. She just wanted to walk with us in the park. That was so much fun and we were able to talk to a few people as well. It was really funny, my companion doesn't speak english and so I was translating back and forth for each of them to have a conversation. At one point my companion did say something in English and just almost without thinking, translated to Sister Lattin in Ukrainian. That was kind of funny! All 3 of us were laughing, whoops... my brain just got a little confused with the 2 languages going back and forth.
 So funny, I feel like we do so much, but when I sit down at the computer today my mind is just blanking out! So, I think that I will just make this short, I hope that you all have a wonderful week and I love you all! Happy Birthday Jamie!!!
  Sister Shaughnessy