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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