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!!!

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