Thursday, June 27, 2013

Time is going by fast

I cannot believe that another week has gone by, I thought the MTC was a time warp, being in the field is just as bad if not worse! I am already more than halfway through my first in country transfer and I cannot believe how fast time has gone by!
This week was, as always, really good! As I am sitting here I am trying to remember everything that we have done and all the stories that I wanted to tell, but there is just so much and I can't tell you what happened this week verses last! I guess I will just start with what I do remember and see where we end up!
Friday we had a baptism! Lydia was baptized, it was so great! We spent basically all week trying to get things ready for her baptism, including finding a place for her to be baptized. She is just so little, we were pretty sure that where we had Pavlo's baptism wouldn't work for her. It didn't really matter, because she ended up getting baptized there anyway; apparently hotels with pools is not a common thing in Ukraine.
Elder Ward baptized her, the water was up to his neck again. Lydia stood on the ladder and dunked in after the prayer. She is so cute too, when she comes back up she says "Is that all?" alle, in Ukrainian. It was pretty funny! She is a great addition to our little group. Zone Leaders came for exchanges with the Elders this week and got to be here for the baptism, which was so great. Elder Sweetin, one of the Zone Leaders was in Uzzhorod before becoming a Zone Leader, so he was happy to be back for the baptism.
After the baptism, it was done at 6 at night, we headeup, it was really funny, because you all know just how much of a morning person I am not, so she wakes me up, and starts talking to me in Ukrainian and I just look at her. I didn't say anything, I don't think that my brain was functioning at that moment, and then finally Sister Ekols rolls over and tells here d back to our apartment and packed. We had a night train to catch to L'viv for our last Zone Conference as the Kiev Ukraine Mission. The train left at 11.30, and the Elders were going to pick us up a little before then to get to the train station. That train was SO hot, I feel really bad for the Elders having 4 in their coupey, we only had 2 and it was really hot! We got into L'viv at 6 in the morning. At 5 a lady come to let us know that our stop was whatever she wanted to hear, she leaves, and then Sister Echols just starts laughing! She thinks that it is the funniest thing ever that I just stared at this lady. I didn't know what to do, she woke me up and was talking in a foreign language!
Once we got off the train we went to the L'viv Sisters apartment, and L'viv is absolutely beautiful! My 3 MTC sisters were there! I was so excited to see them! Everyone else had gone for a morning run with President. We caught up and I cut Sister Wallace's hair really quick on the deck. By the time that all the Sisters got back it was pretty well known that I am a hairdresser, I am going to have to bring my scissors everywhere!
Once we got to the conference even the Senior Couple asked for a hair cut next time in L'viv! How crazy is that?! I feel like I am at an apointment salon or something!
The conference was so great! The Klebingat's are just the best, I am so sad to not be in their mission anymore starting on Saturday. President Latin gets in on Saturday, then on the first we become to L'viv Ukraine Mission. President just shared his conversion story and gave us life advice. It was so crazy to hear their story, they truely are some of the most amazing people that I know! President made me promise to cut his hair when he comes to Provo after I am home. That will be a "no pressure" haircut for sure!
After conference we caught our train at 8.30, Elder Millard got a birthday package, so we had some fun opening that with him in our coupey, apparently Elders pack more than sisters, because they ended up putting most of our luggage into our coupey so the 4 of them could sleep in theirs comfortabley, and since we had the two extra bunks it worked, but it was just kind of funny. We then spent most of the time from the time the train left to 10.30 with our heads out the window looking at the Ukrainian country side, which is absolutely beautiful and trying to cool off while doing so. The Elders got some of the most amazing pictures of a sunset I am going to have to get from them. It really is so beautiful here, the only thing that could have made it better, sister ekolz and i decided is if we could hear the church bells that they have on Sundays, total Sound of Music. I put this in here just for Colby and Ryan.
I also cut Elder Tribetts hair at the church, and that was a crazy experience! Right after District Meeting we go into the foyer area of the church to cut his hair and then all the sudden the church is just crazy with activity. Elder Millard is talking to an investigator, Sister Echols is on the phone talking with one of our investigators, Olya comes to say hi, Pavlo brings a friend for us to meet and to give her a Book of Mormon, it was just all so crazy! ....and Elder Tribett and I are just cutting hair in the middle of all of this, and no one says a word to us! It was so funny! Ukrainians just won't say anything to you, and it is so funny! It is kind of like that taxi cab experience in Florida with Rylan and I, same awkwardness Rylan and I had after the seat broke and we didn't say anything, same concept, it was so funny!
Sister Ekolz and I also committed a lady to baptism, which was amazing! We had a lesson on the Restoration with her, and watched to movie with her the next day. The Spirit was just so strong, it was unbelievable! I am still in awe thinking about it, feeling that witness was just amazing!
Time is cutting short, love you all! Until next week!

Monday, June 17, 2013

First Sacrament Meeting talk in Ukrainian

Another week has come and gone! They are passing by just so quickly I don't know what to do, because at this rate my mission will be over before I know what happened!
It was such a good week though, there were a lot of amazing experiences, I don't even know where to begin! Just so that you are all aware, I baked banana bread 3 times this week, and Elder Ward has asked me to bake it again... I think that if you could send me some other recipes that would be great, because banana bread is only good for so long, I am kind of sick of it. I do have making it down to a science though, we should all be quite impressed.
I am glad that you are all having a great summer and enjoying the weather. Believe it or not, it is HOT here in Ukraine and air conditioning is almost non existant. We have lucked out though, the church has AC and we have found that our bedroom does as well. It really is a blessing!!! The humidity isn't too bad though, it reminds me of San Diego weather. There is a huge river in the center of the town, the bridge over it I get to cross mulitple times daily, and everyone just hangs out in the river. I never thought Ukraine in corilation with being hot, but it does get hot here.
This week I had my first experience with Ukrainian food. We went over to a recent members house, Yeva. She is so sweet and apparently ALWAYS feeds the missionaries when they come over. Meals in Ukraine are 3 courses as well, so it is a lot of food! It was really good though, some type of soup, potatoes and sausage for the main course, and this really good apple dessert thing. It was really good, I wish that I could have enjoyed it more, but we had eaten lunch right before going over there and were already full. Yeva is so great and SO sweet! She is Hungarian and just the sweetest thing ever. She hates it when I wear my hair on my face, she is always pushing it off of my face and away from my eyes for me.
We went over to just share a message with her and get some referrals; she has only been a member for about 4 months. I introduced the scripture and then asked her to read it for us. She said this was her house and she wanted me to read... I was nervous, but I did it, I don't know that they understood, but I read it. Yeva is just so great though, and told me that if I want to learn this language I need to read outloud EVERYDAY for 15 minutes, so I have been. We saw her the next day at movie night and I was able to tell her that I read for 15 minutes outloud everyday.
Friday night we had a movie night at the church. We watched "The Testaments," we advertised it in english and with people we talked to, we used it as a tool to get people into the church and to hopefully get us some new investigators. It turned out so well too! The elders did quite the set up in the sacrement room, they made sure that it was perfect! I brought banana bread and Elder Trebitt brought some brownies. The other Elders don't have an oven, so they brought juice. After the movie people stayed until almost 9 talking with us. We ended up having to take a taxi home with the Elders because it was late by the time we left. Two girls from english class, Marta and Masha, came and talked to me the entire time! They were so cute, and they wanted to talk in english, there english is really good. We talked for a while, then another young man, whom I had never seen before came and talked to me in english. I was just a magnet for those who wanted to practice there english, I guess. I am ok with that, because my Ukrainian is still a little rough.
Saturday morning we had a baptism, it was so GREAT!!! Pavlo was baptized, it was awesome! He is just the greatest! It was a really good service to.. Funny story; so the place that we normally do baptisms at was closed for some reason or another, so Elder Ward and Elder Terry had to find a place almost the day before the baptism, luckily they were able to with the help of Yeva. Well, Pavlo doesn't have a phone, so they had no way to tell him that his baptism had changed locations. It was crazy, Elder Millard and Tribett went looking for Pavlo during the movie night to let him know, but couldn't find him and all this crazy stuff. Anyway, the Elders found him Saturday morning and we all went to the baptism.
By the way to get to this said baptism, we had to cross the river. On a bridge. A rope bridge, with would planks. It moves when you walk on it... Yeah, I died. It was terrible.
So we get to the baptism, so great. We take pictures, everything is good. We go into the pool at the hotel where he was to get baptized, Elder Ward is baptizing him. They go to the shallow end of the pool, and then you hear Elder Ward say, "Someone help me, it is way to deep!" So all 3 of the other Elders go to help him and try to figure out what to do. So funny, because from where we are standing it doesn't look that deep at all. Well, Elder Ward gets in, climbs off the latter and the water is up to his neck. No joke and that is the shallow end! It is a good thing that Elder Ward is like 6'3" and Pavlo is about the same size! Seriously, it was so funny to see him be baptized and only have to go under enough to get his head in the water.
They both get out and are just soaking wet! We joked with Elder Ward and told him that we were going to have to call President and tell him that Elder Ward went swimming. It was such a great experience!
Saturday night was kind of a rough night,  I had to speak in Sacrement meeting the next morning and I was just stressing myself out over it. Elder Millard and Elder Tribett were nice enough to come over and give me a blessing. It is so nice to have amazing Elders in our mission.
Which brings me to Sunday... let us just talk about Sunday. Sister Shaughnessy was asked to speak in Sacrement. In Ukrainian, no big deal. I was freaking out!  Olya was so nice and came to church and hour and a half early to help me with my talk, making sure that my grammar and everything was correct before I go up and spoke. I was literally freaking out, I was so nervous! All the Elders were teasing me, but for real, I don't like speaking in English, much less a foreign language I have maybe been studying for like 3 months. So we have sacrement meeting, Pavlo got the gift of the Holy Ghost, which was so great! Pavlo is seriously just amazing! Sasha got to bless the sacrement for the first time! He got baptized the Saturday before I got into the country. It was so great to see him do that! He is just the best, I love Sasha, and you could tell that he had practiced the prayer and was beaming at the opportunity to do get to bless the sacrement.
Then Pavlo got to speak, right before me. And as he got up there I was seriously getting ready to run out of the room, i was so nervous, but Pavlo gets up there and WOW!!! He just bore the most amazing testimony I had ever heard in my life. Members, lifetime members, do not have the conviction and strength behind his words. It was the most amazing thing that I had ever heard in my life! I couldn't even understand it all, but I could feel it. I could feel every word, and I could understand some of it, but I knew the strength and the Spirit that come with his words. It was very powerful and amazing!
Then, as I was sitting there listening to him, being so dumb and worrying just about me, I realized, again, that it isn't about me. It is aobut Him. I was being so selfish freaking out becuase I didn't know a language. That means nothing, I love these people, they are amazing and they are why I am here. I was sitting there listening to an amazing witness of the Savior and the truthfulness of this Gospel, and it didn't matter that I was uncomfortable or nervous because I am here to represent Christ to the best of MY ability. He doesn't care if my grammar is perfect or if it makes sense. It matters how they feel. I am here to give the gospel to people like Pavlo, to help them gain a testimony like the one that he was sharing. It was just a very powerful moment.
When he was done, I got up and did my little talk, read from the paper what I wanted to say, bore my testimony and sat down. I don't remember more than that about it. Sister Ekolz got up and did her amazing talk on prayer, and everyone in the room was consumed with the Spirit, you could just feel it. They were crying and ah, the Spirit was just so strong! It was amazing! Elder Millard gave a talk as well, on repentence that was again, very powerful and so good! I have never been in a sacrement meeting where I have felt the Spirit that strongly before.
After Sacrement we had Sunday school on Gifts of the Spirit. They got to the Gift of Tongues and Pavlo talked about us as missionaries having that gift. It was really cool to be reminded of that gift, and he pointed out how I just gave a talk in a language that I don't really know, but he felt the Spirit, and Yeva said that my Ukrainian has gotten better. It is really great how the tender mercies of the Lord are everywhere.
I hope that you all have an amazing week this week, I know that I will! Lydia is getting baptized! YAY!!!
   Sister Shaughnessy
Sister Shaughnessy is requesting letters and recipes from home.  Easy and quick way is through email  She receives email Monday morning, so what a great activity to do on Sunday afternoon.


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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I survived the first week in Ukraine

This week went by so fast! I can't believe that I am writing again, it has been so great here! The sun has been shining and we have been having a great time!
First off, I need to tell you about my new reputation I have received here in Ukraine, becuase it is the EXACT opposite of one that I had in the states... So last Monday I got this bright idea that I was going to make banana bread, I know what you are thinking right now,
"Sister Shaughnessy and an oven?" I know, but however, it went really well! I baked it all by myself, two loaves and it was so great! We gave one loaf to the Elders at District Meeting, which they loved it! The other loaf we gave to Baba Lydia (baba is the term they use that is short for Babooshka or grandma), Baba Lydia is one of our investigators that has a baptism date on the 22 of June. She is just the spunkiest old woman you have ever met in your life!
I love her, she is the greatest! She loves the bread that we gave her as well. She, infact, thinks that I am this amazing baker! On Saturday she brought me some cooking items, like cookie cutters and small metal bowls, kind of like what we put pies in on Thanksgiving, the little ones that grandma lets the little kids make pies in..? She brought me those and then this recipe of some hungarian dessert that she wants me to bake! It is all in Ukrainian, but she drew pictures for me so that I can understand it.She is so funny! I walked into the church on Saturday to clean the church and Elder Ward tells me Baba Lydia brought me a suprise because she knows that I love doing baking stuff! If that isn't the funniest thing you have heard I don't know what else is, because really...
Baba Lydia also knows that I do not understand a word that comes out of her mouth, however that does not deter her from speaking to me, at all! She is always just chatting away at me, and she completely explained how to make the recipe to me, all in Ukrainian. The only thing that I caught from in was "stir it beautifully." That was it! How great is that? I also understand when she asks me if I do understand her, but other than that I just smile as she talks a hundred words a minute.I love her, and she is just an amazing woman! On Saturday she outcleaned the Elders by a long shot, and she brings us flowers all the time, we now have 4 flower arrangements in the church thanks to her kind efforts. Also, yesterday, on Sunday, she told me that I need to make bread on Wednesday for FHE, and on Friday night for Pavlo's baptism on Saturday. She told me that she will bring me the supplies for me to do it.
Ukrainians are just the greatest! They don't have a lot of material things, but what they do have they share! So far I have yet to meet any that have been rude. We go out contacting and they are really super nice even when they don't want to hear our message. Contacting is still not one of my favorite things to do, but I am getting better. I am pretty sure that people only stop because of my accent when I do speak Ukrainian, but hey, it gets them to stop for a second, if only to ask me where I am from. We spend most of our time contacting because we only have 2 investigators, one, Baba Lydia, has a baptism date, the other, Olya, can't get baptized because her parents won't allow it. She is only 17, and the sweetest girl ever! She is the one that says that I am very American. (But if you ask Lydia, I look just like her neighbor on the 3rd floor, she tells me everyday.)
Olya is super busy with her exams, she has two left. We just meet with her from time to time to give a spiritual thought and to lift her spirits. She is in the process of teaching me Ukrainian, her english is perfect so I don't need to teach her any. It is so great, because she even understands sarcasm, most Ukrainians don't. I will send a pictures of me with Olya on Sunday.
I am trying to think of what else we have done this week, a lot of contacting and a book table at one point with the Elders.
To tell you a little more about the members; Viktor has been a member for a couple of months. He is really great, and just funny! He tries to speak english with me, he will say something in Ukrainian then I will have to say it back in English. He is quite goofy! Sasha is the best! He was baptized the Saturday before I got to Ukraine. He received the priesthood on Saturday and is just a funny kid! He loves to just hang out with us at the church! It is amazing to see how these peole just enjoy being at the church all the time. They come to every activity to just feel of the spirit there. Then you have Baba Lydia, who actually yesterday told us the Baba Lydia had died and that she is now the new "Sister Lydia," such a great lady! And Yeva and Nadiya are both members as well, I don't know as much about them. Nadiya has been a member for 5 years and her family is super against the church, she just went through the temple thought and that is just so amazing! Yeva is hungarian, and I have heard that she makes the best food around, I wounldn't know. I met her for the first time this Sunday because she has been sick. Pavlo, he gets baptized on Saturday! Yay, he is just the greatest thing ever! Yesterday in church he like whips out this scripture to help answer a question that Olya has, and he isn't even a member yet! He hasn't even read the book of mormon all the way through! How great is that? He has also given out like 5 books of mormon to his friends to read! But yeah, those are our members in our cute little group, I don't know what you would call us. We have a district leader, Elder Millard who keeps us missionaries in line, haha, and "President" Ward, aka Elder Ward who keep things going and presides over our meetings on Sunday.
It is just super great here! I love it all! I have to walk over a bridge 2 times a day, which is like the scariest thing ever! Other than that I love it here! I don't ever want to leave, these people are so amazing and have taught me so much, and I can't even really communicate with them!
 We have a lot of fun though! We do a lot of activities, English twice a week, Clean the church on Saturday, Church on Sunday, FHE on Wednesday and every other Friday we are going to start doing movie nights to bring some attention to the church. This week we get to watch the Testements. I am supposed to bake for that too!
How did I get this rep? I don't know, but look out for when I get home because I will be pro! LOVE YOU ALL!!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sister Shaughnessy made it to Ukraine

Can I just tell you how freaking amazing Ukraine is?! I have had quite the experiences already and I just can' wait for more! I will start at the beginning, and I promise that you will all be entertained even though this will probably be the longest email yet!
So we left the MTC at 4 a.m. and it was so early, but so great! We got up at 2 to make sure that everything would be ready for us to go. I went to go take my bags down to the bottom floor so that I could help the other girls, well this action got me locked out of our floor. My card wasn't working, so I sat there for 10 minutes praying that I could some how be let in, well, my prayers were answered. Some other Russian girls were getting ready to leave and let me onto the floor. As I walk down to what I thought was our room I realized that it was the wrong floor, and I had just tried unlocking the door of some poor sleeping sisters!! I probably scared them half to death at 3 a.m.! So I went back down to my floor, which my card key let me onto and grabbed another suitcase to take down to the main floor, longs story short.... when I was trying to get onto the wrong floor they alerted security. I had to explain what happened to them, and feel so ridiculous! However, they did carry my suitcases down the 4 flights of stairs for me, so it really was a blessing. Once we got out of our room we all ate breakfast in the cafeteria and got our passport/tickets. Sister Wallace was kind of getting stressed out and then the guy who was helping us with our tickets told her that her name wasn't in the system and that she would have to wait until they talked to the Presidency of our branch before confirming she could leave the MTC! It was all a joke, but she was freaking out!
We finally got all stuff organized and onto the bus, the Elders almost missed it though for who knows what reasons. Once we got the airport it was typical airport stuff, a lot of security. They NEVER weighed my bags though! I could have brought a ton of stuff and they would have not known because all they did was ask if I was underweight! It is all good though, because hauling those bags was not fun!
We flew from SLC to Washington DC, I had a window seat for that flight; I don't like the window seat. Once we got to DC we said goodbye to our Donetsk group of Russian speaking missionaries and we headed off to Vienna. Vienna is absolutley beautiful! We flew in an hour late because our flight in Washington DC was delayed. Well, we only had an hour layover in Vienna before our flight to Kiev took off. All 12 of us missionaries sitting in the back of the plane missed the flight, 8 of them made it onto the flight. So 12 of us were stuck in Vienna. It was the funniest thing ever! Elder Peterson got stuck at security and patted down and it was all just taking so long that yeah, we were stranded in Vienna. Sister Kelley and Sister Lewis from our district made the flight though.
So, we had no idea what to do. We finally got this payphone working, called the mission president. Elder VonSchelgell and I were totally good with spending the night in Vienna at the mission home there, but it was a no go. We ended up spending 7 hours in the Vienna airport. At one point we had sisters washing their hair in the sinks of the bathrooms. All of us were so beyond tired that we found this kids play pen hopscotch thing and most of us fell asleep. I am not even talking like kind of nodded off, I am talking like Elder Peterson was snoring, Elder VonSchelgell was face down asleep, Sister Wallace had her blanket and pillow out sleeping on the floor. It was just so great! I thought that it was the funniest thing that has ever happened in my life.
We finally got to Kiev on a different airline, so we had to pay for baggage all again, it was ridiculous! President Klebingat reimbursed us all because he wanted us here that day. We finally got to Kiev though, and I even talked to the lady sitting next to me on the plane in Ukrianian/English with the help of Elder Peterson's TALL book. It was really great to get into Kiev. It is so beautiful! Once we got there though they checked our passports and we got our luggage. 4 of the sister's lost their luggage. Sister Wallace was one of them it was really just not good, but we were all beyond tired and didn't really care.
We met with President for like 5 minutes at the airport then headed to the church with the AP's. Sister and Brother Ricks, the senior couple in our mission gave us dinner, at 11 at night. They are so nice!!! Then we got to walk around the temple! The first thing I did was go touch it! I couldn't believe that I was actually here!!! Like, I am living in Ukraine right now! It is the best thing that has ever happened to me! We then went to our hotel, which was so nice and had the most amazing view!
The next morning we got up went to a meeting and got our trainers. It is so weird not being with my sisters anymore, I love and miss them SO MUCH!! I know that they will be doing amazing things though!
Sister Eckles is my new trainer. She is so great! Really quiet and timid, but amazing at Ukrainian! She has been my life line here, because I don't understand a word. After we got our trainers the Elders were headed on their merry little way! It was so sad saying good by to the Russian Elders because of the mission split we won't see them anymore. It was even harder saying goodbye to my Elders, but they really will do great things! I am so very happy for them.
The sisters got to stay an extra night and have a sisters conference because all but 2 sisters are now trainers. Let me just tell you how amazing the Klebingat's are! President Klebingat is the most amazing person I have ever met in my life! And freaking so funny! He is so blunt and will tell you how it is! To give you an example on our second day in Kiev we got some cake ordered with our lunch because it was a sister's birthday... after everyone had pretty much eaten it he took a piece, the cake had alcohol in it! So all of us are just eating along and he leaves the room, comes back in and tells us to enjoy another 20 minute break, eat, talk, laugh, trying not to get drunk on the cake because it totally has alcohol in it and just have fun! Word for word, that is what he says to us! It was so great! He really is just the most amazing person, I am sad that I only get to spend the next month with him as our president.
Once we were kind of done with our mission sister's conference we went contacting! Holy freaking scary! I didn't talk a whole bunch, but I did do it! We went out on the streets of Kiev, definately not like American, you guys thought I was a paranoid passenger in American... in Ukraine, man I just pray the entire time we are in a vehicle.
We left Kiev at 4 in the afternoon and took a train, how cool is that? Took a train to my area, which is Uzhgorod. It is a 16 hour trainride and I am right on the border of Hungary and Czech, like I can go for a morning jog to those countries. How amazing is that?! So we got on the train and that is where we spent the night.We got into Uzhgorod at 10 the next moring. I passed through some gorgeous Ukrainian country side though! To give you some background on the area, they just opened it. This is only the second transfer it has seen. There are 5 members total. Yesterday at church we had 13 people, 2 members, 6 missionaries, and 5 investigators.That was a good turn out. It truely was so humbling to be at church with these amazing people. One girl, Olya, she is 17 and we went to her graduation our first night in town, her english is really good. She told me I am very American, I told her that she can teach me how to be Ukrainian and how to speak Ukrianian as well, she agreed. These people are so great!
Oh, and I know that you all want to know what my apartment looks like, so let me tell you.... IT IS NICER THAN OUR APARTMENT AT HOME! I know, right?! I am being completely serious. We have the nicest apartment in the mission. It is one room, we have a deck and air conditioning. A washer, no dryer, I was hanging my clothes out to dry this morning before I came here to do emails, but I have a stove, microwave, and the most amazing shower you have ever seen in your entire life! It has an overhead shower head, a hose with a shower head on it and body sprayers jets, plus it is round and looks like a time machine. It is the nicest thing that you have ever seen in your life!
Anyway, that is kind of what I have been up to! We go contacting everyday, teach english classes 2 times a week, we have not had any lesson's yet, but hopefully we will have one tonight. I absolutely love it here! I pass the Uzhgorod castle everyday on the way to the church. It is so great! The Elders in my district here are awesome! Elder Millard says hi and thank you for sharing me. I love you all! :)

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