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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