Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas from Ukraine

I hope that you are all having a very Merry Christmas!! It has been so long since I have been able to write, we have had so much happen it will be hard to keep it all straight! Things are going wonderfully here in good old Lutsk. This past week we were able to go into L'viv for Zone Conference and it was such a great experience and I had an absolute blast. Our District Leader Elder Jolstead and Elder Lippert were in Armenia for a visa trip, so it was just Sister Edwards and I, Elder Peterson and Elder Mollinet going into L'viv. We take a four hour bus ride into the city and stay with the Sisters in L'viv.
So Tuesday morning we get ready to go into L'viv and I personally like to make banana bread for some of the Elders that I have previously served with and so I woke up to put some banana bread in the oven while we were getting ready. I hope in the shower and when I come out I hear Sister Edwards say "Um.... hey, like our stove is on fire." So I go into the kitchen and sure enough, she had gone to light to stove top to make some eggs for breakfast and we then had open flames in our kitchen. Don't worry, they were not too big, we put them out with a couple of cups of water.
I called the assistants, because we don't have a District Leader here, and his biggest concern was if the banana bread was still okay, not really but he did have to ask to tease a little bit. So, long story short, we don't really have an oven at the moment and only 3 loaves of banana bread got done, but it is all good. Normal things just don't happen to Sister Shaughnessy. We was actually pretty funny, we were laughing as we had to call to make people aware of it, and try explaining that one in Ukrianian to your landlord.
Wehen we got into L'viv we went to the church and I got to see Olya!!! I was so happy to see her, she didn't know I was coming and she happened to be at the church on a lesson with the Elders. The sisters went and grabbed her for me, we cried! She is so awesome! We talked until Elder Ward yelled and me saying they needed to finish the lesson with her. But once they were done we got to meet and she didn't leave my side until we had to go back home. AH! I love that girl so very much and miss her too! It was kind of fun at the church though because I was there, Olya was there, Elder Millard, Elder Terry and Elder Ward are all serving in L'viv, so it was like a little Uzhgorod reunion, all those Elders were in my first district in Uzh, I should have gotten a picture! It was so great! 
Zone Conference!!! Oh my goodness, we have the absolute most amazing missionaries on the planet serving here in Ukriane, hands down. Everything was just so amazing and uplifting and perfect, I really enjoyed everything that was said and was able to take things from every message discussed, it was wonderful. 
Zone Conference ended at 3 and we were given a challenge to be at the mission home, so President Lattin and his wife's house by 3:35 and to have talked to some people, having really good conversations. Which is a little more of a challenge because in L'viv we are still not allowed to be wearing nametags or openly proselyte. Sister Edwards and I decided to steal from our idea of the flowers the week previous and bought two roses to hand out to people along the way, and we were able to have some wonderful conversations with the people here in L'viv.
At the mission home we got to celebrate Christmas, and celebrate we did. It was SO MUCH FUN!!!! I absolutely loved every second of it and it is for sure a Christmas that I will never forget. After that night I feel as though Christmas has already happened. We gathered together as a mission family, we shared the experiences we had just barely talking to the people on the street, and then we sang the Christmas hymns in the Ukrainian hymn book. It was so amazing and the Spirit was just so strong! Then we each had a minute to bear testimony, literally just a minute or two a piece and it was incredible. Missions are hard, they test you mentally like you will never believe. I have never felt more inadequate in my life, and yet I can do; all of us missionaries can do it, but only through Jesus Christ. It is only with His help that we are able to do any of this. It was such a sacred and amazing testimony meeting, one that I will always hold dear to my heart.
After testimony meeting we had dinner, hawaiian haystacks(?) and some delicious Ukrainian bread that is way to good for words. Then we had some time to just enjoy each others company. 
I am more like my mother and grandmother and all my aunts than I would like to admit, and while everyone was socializing a bit I was talking with Tanya, she a member in L'viv that works for the Lattins and helps with the mission home. She and I did all the dishes in the kitchen and got all the food cleaned up, I kicked Sister Lattin and Sister Bodell, the senior sister missionary, out of the kitchen to go have fun with everyone. There was no way they were going to cook all day for 30 missionaries and clean it up too!
After dinner was cleaned up we got Christmas!!!
The Lattins had kept all of our Christmas packages at the mission office for this event. President, Sister Lattin and Brother and Sister Bodell put on Christmas hats, had us all close our eyes and sing christmas songs like, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer while they brought our packages out then we all got to open them all at once. It was so fun, I felt like I was at home with everyone again as we opened our packages... Which P.S. MOM!!!! That package was ridiculous, it was the heaviest and biggest out of everyone and a christmas tree?! WOW!!! And enough goodies to feed all of Ukraine?! Literally, the only thing that I don't have this Christmas that I normally would have is my family and even with that I have my mission family, whom I love SO MUCH!!!! Thank you so much! Grandma too for the pajamas and everything! (I opened it all that night because I was with everyone and it felt like Christmas) You are the BEST!!!! Thank you so much! It couldn't have been better.
The Elders that had to help me carry it all back to the apartments and then back to Lutsk probably didn't appreciate it, but I did. :)
Thursday we left early in the morning and had an adventure on the bus ride home. Thankfully Elder Mollinet and Elder Peterson are wonderful Elders that don't like it when drunk men try to get to friendly with their sisters. It was an adventure, but we survived.
When we got home life all went back to normal with missionary work. Elder Lippert and Elder Jolstead were still gone and barely got back Sunday night from Armenia. Visa trips are crazy! Our investigator pool is still small to nonexistant which is kind of frustrating. We have met some wonderful people though that have potential.
On Sunday we were walking home from church when I saw this little old lady, she is 87 I later found out, carrying a bunch of cardboard boxes along the road. She had a pile that she was trying to get to the paper factory where they give you 7 hrivnya for every so many boxes you bring. We crossed the street to go and helped her. We spent the next hour or more helping her carry all these boxes to the factory with her. She was so nice and just a sweet lady. Her husband and son passed away 21 years ago, she has one other son that lives here in Lutsk with his children and grandchildren. After helping her she agreed to meet with us this week. She is just the sweetest! I can't wait for her meeting.
Transfers are also happening this week, so we got all the information for that. Sister Garrett, my first little trainey is getting moved! She is not in Uzh anymore, but will be in L'viv! I can't believe it! Other than that, things are staying the same here in Lutsk, which I am grateful for! I absolutely love the Memebers here, the kids (cutest kids in Ukaine), and the Elders which we serve with.
Yesterday we had District meeting and it was wonderful, great things are about to happen in Lutsk. We also got to celebrate Christmas Eve a little with our english class, it was so fun! We did "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and all sorts of fun games and singing songs. I LOVE CHRISTMAS!
Last night Sister Edwards and I wrapped little cheesy gifts for one another and put it under the tree in our room.. but neither one of us could wait, we were still awake waiting to see who would break first. Finally we both hopped out of bed and opened the gifts by the light of our Christmas tree. It was so fun!
Studies this morning we both focused on Christ, seeing as we had already kind of did the celebrating of the holiday in L'viv and a little bit last night. We are so blessed to have this knowledge that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. That He knows us SO personally; He knows it all every heart ache and joy in our lives and he can help us overcome everything, comforting us along the way, He can make our happiness even happier. The Savior is the reason for this season and time of year, He is also the reason why I am here in Ukraine. I miss you all, but I know that there is no other place in the world that I would rather be than where I am right now, in Ukriane with these amazing people and bringing them to this knowledge.
I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas!

Oh, and here is a little poem that Sister Edwards and I (mostly Sister Edwards) came up with to try and explain the wonderful experience that we had this morning.. The grinch literally stole our christmas!

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a missionary was stirring, EXCEPT for the MOUSE
The bread loaves were placed on the table with care,
In hopes that Christmas morning soon would be there.
The missionaries were nestled all cozy in bed,
While visions of peanut butter and bread danced in their heads.
When in the midst of the kitchen there arose such a clatter...
They stayed in their beds not wanting to see what was the matter.
The alarm clock buzzed loudly, and on with the day
When a sudden gasp from Sister Shaughnessy hinted something wasn't okay
I ran to the kitchen still half asleep
"WHERE IS THE BREAD" she yelled, much louder than a peep.
We searched on the table, and then below
The nice loaf of wheat bread- Where did it GO!? 
We checked in the fridge and then in the cabinet
We discussed the possibility of our furry nosed bandit
The search continued until evidence was found:
little pieces of plastic, stuck to the ground.
Our rat friend had feasted, caring not one bit
Of the dreams of bright peanut butter, now dimly lit. 
The grinch literally stole Christmas, bread wrapper and all
Eggs it is.... Eggs for all.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Flowers for everyone

I don't even know what to tell you about this week. It was actually quite fun, yet a rough one at the same time. Pretty much all of our meetings we planned on having fell through this week, which was quite unfortunate because we have a great message, but what can you do? Keep trying and find people who will be interested, they are out there. One day in particular my companion was really struggling with the fact that our plans had fallen through again, it was pretty awful weather outside and we had had a back up plan to find the apartment of a lady that was interested in our message that Sister Edwards found on exchanges. We went to find the apartment and it does not exist, at all. We searched and searched and could not find it at all. Asking people if they knew where it was and they said it was not an actual building.Yay! It was kind of the last straw and we still had a lot of time be out talking to people, so I decided that I hated being disappointed and I needed to do something happy to make people smile. I pretty much decided that my problem was that I had not smiled enough that day.
SO..... We happened to be down by a flower shop and I just decided to go and buy 20 pink roses to hand out to people to make them smile. Oh, my gosh! It was so fun! I handed them all out that day or the next talking to a bunch of people. I would just ask if I could give them a flower and then it just naturally goes right into the "Girl, why are you so young and here all the way from America." and that just leads us all the way into "Well, I am here as a missionary for my church, have you heard of our church?" It was so much fun! I met some of the nicest people ever and had great conversations with all of them. I loved it! Pretty sure the Elders just teased me for my idea and "cheeseyness." I didn't care, I got to talk to so many wonderful people, it was great!
We were able to find a new investigator out of the area book as well. She has met with us twice and still wants to meet, we just need to get some simple doctorine issues worked out and all will be great! Larissa, the lost earring lady, she met with us as well, in a strange twist of events. She called me this morning to tell me that she was wearing the earrings that I had given her. She is the sweetest!
Sunday was a huge miracle, we had 2 less actives we have been working with come to church and stay for all 3 hours! It was so great! One of them is Olena, she is Vika's (the 10year old) older sister. She is absolutely wonderful! This is the first time that I have ever met her face to face and I love her! Oh my goodness! She gave the closing prayer in Sunday School, after making rock solid comments the entire time, gives the opening prayer in Relief Society, participates fully the entire time. Olena also brings Bika with her and her non-member boyfriend. I love her! She is awesome, I really hope that this is a  permenant change in her life for the better. The ward members were just so great with her as well, so happy to see her, hugging her and just so awesome! AAHH! I just love the Lutsk Branch! People here are the greatest! The members are really just so willing to help with Missionary work, and the blessings and miracles are coming!
Plus, I am pretty sure that we have Ukraine's cutest children ever in our branch as well!
This upcoming week we get to head into L'viv for some Zone Conference\Christmas fun! Next Monday there will not be a letter because they have moved P-Day to Christmas. So, I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas and remember our Savior, Jesus Christ.

З любов'ю
    Сестра Шанесі

Monday, December 9, 2013

Three days of the flu

Where to even begin! I can't even tell you all that has happened since the last time that I emailed, but at the same time a whole lot of nothing has happened! I will just start at the begining with our miracle of all miracles!
So last Monday Sister Edwards and I were just ready to go, so excited to start this new month, we had made plans and set goals, it was all good. Our mission president was in town and his wife called to see if we had a lesson that night because she wanted to come on it with us. Sadly, our lesson with a less active fell through, and we had to tell her "No," our back up plan was tracting and I was pretty sure that she did not want to do that, it is getting pretty chilly here.
Well, then our LandLord called and wanted to meet, I told him yeah of course such and such time. We changed our plans to tract a building that was closer, but then was like no, we need to stick with the plan, so I called the LandLord back to have him meet at a later time, he was totally okay with it.
So, at 6 we head out. It is getting pretty chilly here at this point, but nothing too bad, and I kind of only knew the street where we were going, but not really. We get on a bus that will take us to that street and I am just following where we are going on a map with my finger, pretty pathetic, but if you know my sense of direction (or complete lack there of) it is pretty impressive. We ride the bus, and I totally get us lost, I thought. I was thinking that this was not where we needed to be, what are we doing, we can't get much farther, we have to find these people, ect. So, I signal to Sister Edwards to get off at the next stop.
Get off, no idea where we are. We start walking trying to figure it out and can't, and all the people we were passing that could help were either men, which it was dark and I wasn't going to ask them for help, or women on their cell phones. Why not just stop and pray then? Because we were lost. So we did! And the next person that we pass, I try to talk to her, she was a young girl 20-30's, and she just says "What do you want, I speak english and I can help you." Can we say blessing?! Her name is Katya or Katie as she likes to be called in english. She is super believing and just loves to help people and was praying to find some people to help. (You think that God had a plan for this to happen or something?) She helped us, called her grandmother to find the exact building that we needed to get to.
She walks us right there, just chit chatting her little heart out about her belief in God and all about her life. It was great, at the end she says "So, can I meet with you to find out what you believe?" Well, yes actually you can, that would be why I am here. She showed us the building, we took down her number and told her that we would call her and if she is interested we have a free english class every Tuesday and Thursday, to please come.
We left her, and both Sister Edwards and I were like, dang we should have asked her to meet right then, both of us had the thought but didn't say anything. Unfortunate. We go tract this building and try to talk to as many people as possible and I think that we found the only Russian speaking building in all of Lutsk. Oh, my no one understood me and I didn't understand a soul. I was so frustrated by the time we left. We got to the bottom floor and said a prayer before we knocked on these doors, we wanted to find someone ready to hear the Gospel. Knocked on the doors and....... NOTHING! We left kind of disappointed, but we were still going to talk to people. We went to bus stop and right next to it was this little shop and the lady in there was on the phone. Sister Edwards says, "Ok, we are going to go in and talk to this lady soon as she gets off the phone." We waited, two buses that would have taken us home pass, we wait. She finally is off the phone, get ready to go in and.. it is locked. It was closed. AH! So close. We were so sad, but nothing to do about it. We were just going to go home and hopefully do some area book calls.
We get on the bus, sitting seprately so that we can talk to more people and this lady gets on, stressing out. She had lost her earring and wanted to find it. The driver was not very nice to her, but she searched and searched. She was so upset and sobbing by the time the driver kicked her off of the bus and she was unable to find her earring.
Poor lady, losing an earring is a rough thing. I think Heavenly Father used my earring obsession for something good, because of course I was trying to help her find it and when the driver kicked her off we got off with her. I asked if there was anything we could do to help, she said no, she just wanted her earring. I asked if we could pray with her, she agreed. I prayed that she would be comforted and find her earring. Then, I took off my gloves and gave her the pair that I was wearing and told her that I had a lot at home and to keep them. She wouldn't take them, but I insisted, she said that she had to give me something in return, so she gave me her coffee mug (so sweet) and we asked if we could wait with her until the next bus comes. She agreed. 
Her name is Larissa, ironically. We talked about our families and naturally she wanted to know why we are such young, cute girls, not married and living in Ukraine, so I tell her. We talked with her for a while and we could not get any bus to stop for us and it was getting close to the time that we needed to meet our land lord and be home for the night. He had called looking for us and we told him that we would be there as soon as we could. We finally got a bus to stop and Larissa paid for us to get on, pretty much the nicest lady ever! We got her number and told her that we would love to come over and talk with her about what we believe and why we are here. She willingly agreed. She hopped off the bus and I still had no idea where we were, turns out we were outside of Lutsk, in a village. So I got to call the District Leader and tell him that we would be home soon, but didn't know where we were. No worries, we made it home on time and our land lord was not upset that we were like an hour late meeting him.
Miracle moment. We got home that night and didn't even know what had happened. The hand of the Lord was so prevalant in those 3 hours that we didn't do a thing, we just happened to be watching all these miracles come to pass. It was just amazing! Katie came to english the next night, on Tuesday and told us that she had been praying to find people to bring her closer to God, then she found us! It was really amazing to have met her, she is the best!
Tuesday we had President in town and enjoyed our meetings with him, Wednesday and Thursday we had the L'viv Sisters in town for exchanges. Yay!
Exchanges were rough for me this time, but I can't really pin point why. They were kind of just thrown on us and we didn't have much time to plan what we could do, so the poor sisters got to hit the streets hard with us. We got to visit the Zhuk family and they were just wonderful as always.
Thursday night we had english, all 4 of us sisters where there. We were standing in the hallway welcoming people to english and Elder Peterson looks over at me and says, "You do not look so good, you feeling all right?" Nope, no I was not. About 5 minutes later I handed Elder Mollinet my books and ran to the bathroom to throw up.
YAY! I love the flu! I woke up the next morning long enough to say good bye to the L'viv Sisters as they left and to say that I hurt. My body ached, my head, my throat was sore and all I wanted to do was sleep. We calculated that I slept for 18 hours that day. It was awful! At one point I was sick of being in bed, so I went in the kitchen to talk to Sister Edwards, I laid on a rug on the kitchen floor and slept there for an hour. Then went back to sleep in bed. The Elders came and gave me a blessing and brought sprite, I love Elder Jolstead and Elder Mollinet, seriously, so nice of them! Later Elder Lippert and Elder Peterson brought us some food and sprite. I slept. My poor companion got to do area book and clean and make a lot of food.
Saturday, I woke up long enough to make a few area book phone calls in Ukrainian, my companion has only been in the country 3 weeks a phone call on your own is a little freaky. I slept only 16 hours that day. I went back to sleep, woke up to do a few more, slept, pretty much the whole day. The Elders again brought us some food and sprite. I love them! Oh my goodness, they saved my life. I also had to call Sister Lattin and the Mission Doctor. I had the flu, go figure. So, I got banned from leaving the apartment until Monday.
Sunday, I woke up, slept. Made some calls and was actually up for most of the day. Still couldn't leave the house though, sitting up was a challenge without getting nauesous. We left once to go throw the trash out and that was it. I am so impressed that Sister Edwards didn't kill me or wasn't sick of me by that time. She just plugged away at the area book. She was the greatest and she makes the best home made chicken soup on this side of the world. We also had people calling to meet with us and I couldn't get out of bed. It was crazy, this upcoming week will be great though, a lot to do before we are in L'viv next week for Zone Conference.
A week full of miracles and sleep! It is wonderful to be here, we finally had our first snow fall and it is beautiful and cold. I love my huge puffy coat, (don't tell anyone because I curse it all the time), but it keeps me nice and warm. We are going to have to hit up the market for some warmer socks and to get my boots fixed, because literally as I am sitting here typing this email the zipper broke. 
I hope that all of you are having a wonderful time preparing for christmas! We truely are so blessed to be here and to have this Gospel in our lives. The Lord has a plan for each one of us, better than we can even imagine. Love you all so much!
Picture of Sis. Shaughnessy and Her companion
out on the streets of Ukraine.

Monday, December 2, 2013

House Cleaning

I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday, mine was definately one that I will never forget, and super anticlamatic so don't get all hyped up! It has been a crazy awesome week here in the lovely land of Ukraine.
Where to begin... We now have a new investigator, kind of, well let me just tell you the back story, because it seriously was a blessing from the Lord that the lesson even survived! SO... Elder Jolstead and Elder Mollinet have an investigator who is just a rock star! Literally the most incredible person, and they have been working with him for a while because he has been athiest, and he is older, late 40's. Anyway he speaks english perfectly and they have been teaching him for a while and trying to make progress with him but because of the Soviet background he doesn't trust organizations and all this stuff.
Anyway, so we go to teach a girl who has been coming to english, her name is Nina, and she is awesome, 21 years old, been to the states twice, interested in what we believe, get a lesson with her after english, and somehow the elders investigator ends up on the lesson too and this random kid, named Alex, literally have no idea where he came from, plus 3 missionaries (we were still in our threesome at that point) and Lucy a member here, she has served a full time mission and speaks english perfectly, better than me at this point. That is a lot of people for a first time lesson. It was insane, but somehow it worked and the church is true, because the spirit was there and it saved the lesson that we had.
During the lesson though the Elders investigator had so many questions and was really just asking everything that he could and we were able to explain it to him. He kept using words like "persuade," we are here as missionaries to persuade people to believe in God and all this stuff, it was so weird and kind of bugging me. He also was saying the our church was no different, that services and everything were not any different. He also the complimented the Elders, he said that he felt that they were picked from thousands to be here in Lutsk. So, what happens next is exactly why I was called to speak Ukrainian on my mission and not english, because when you teach in english I have a little more freedom of speech.
First, I addressed the persuading thing. I told him that I could have people listen to me talk all day and not ask them to believe what I say. I am here to simply invite people to come to Christ, I can teach them how to become closer with their Savior, but it is up to them to ask God if it is all true. I don't want him to believe me, I am not here for that, I am here to help him develop a relationship with his Savior.
Second, I asked if he knew how we are called as missionaries. He didn't. I explained the process and told him that he was right! The Elders were called at this time to this place, by God. I think that took him back a little bit. I explained that he was right, they are called by God to be here at this time, doing what they are doing, they are amazing and they were sent to teach him about his Savior at this time.
Lastly, we invited each one to church. They were all busy and according to the Elders investigator it is all the same, our church isn't unique. He said that, then I asked, "How do you know? You have never attended church with us." He replied that he just knew, I again told him that he didn't and he can't say anything unless he comes and sees first before making opinion.
This sounds so bad, but right after I said that to him, Nina, who the whole lesson was for anyway, said that if it will only take a few times of coming to church to know if this is all true than she will come! OH MY GOSH! I was not waiting for that to happen. Sadly she still couldn't make it to church yesterday, but it will happen next week. It was awesome! I was so excited!
I almost felt bad for what I had said to the Elders investigator, until they called me last night and said that they talked with him about church again and he agreed to come next week. Guilt gone! He is just so close, all he needs to do is awknowledge God and pray! It was awesome!
This week we also had the opportunity to go visit the Zhuk family again, the one that I looked like the girl that they had helped raise. It was so great! I love them so much and I think that it was really great for Sister Rudolphi, she wanted to see them before she left. They are the sweetest and his wife was doing really well that day. She was smiling and talking, it was really great!
That pretty much brings us to THANKSGIVING!!!!
We got to be on a bus for 8 hours, wahooo!!!! That was the day that we had to take Sister Rudolphi into L'viv to meet her new companion. We got up in the morning and the Elders took her bags and met us at the bus station. The first 4 hours were not bad, I was so excited to get into L'viv! It is always fun to get to see other missionaries and it was Thanksgiving. (Trust me, I knew that it was Thankgiving, I had to bake A LOT! Elder Ward and Elder Robinett wanted 4 loaves of banana bread.) We got there and went to the church. Elder Robinett and his companion met us there to let us in and take the banana bread while we waited for the sisters. They also gave me a little thank you note, it was awesome, just a trace of their hand with feathers drawn on it like a turkey, silly little Elders! Sister Olds and Sister Webber came and picked up Sister Rudolphi, Sister Edwards and I only had time to really eat, run to the mission office and go. We decided to all have lunch together. We went to McDonalds. Then there were no seats at McDonalds, so we ate it outside on a park bench, surrounded by pigeons because they kept throwing their fries to the pigeons, and it was -5 degrees celcius. IT WAS SO GREAT! I was just laughing the entire time, thinking to myself "My family is going to read my email and laugh! Next year too, they will be like "Hey, Sister Shaughnessy, what was your Thanksgiving like that one time in Ukraine" and I will say "You know, just ate McDonalds in freezing weather on a park bench surrounded by disgusting pigeons that were fluttering and I was freaking out and laughing."" Pretty much the best thing ever!
We then had to say goodbye, run to the office, to pick up mail. I got to see Elder Millard and Elder Terry. I told them that they had banana bread left with Elder Ward and they had better get it from him before he eats it. Elder Ward also called to thank me, I told him no big deal and he can call me a taxi to the mission office as a thanks because I don't like to speak Ukrainian on the phone and I don't know the address.
We had another 4 hour trip back home to Lutsk. It was great, we made it just at the end of english, we got to say hi to everyone as they were leaving and talk to the Elders investigator again, with Nina. We showed family pictures. The most popular one that I have is the one of grandma and grandpa with all 23 of us grandkids, it gets them everytime. They cannot believe that we have so many, it blows their minds. The Elders investigator (same one from the other night)... wow! He loved looking at my pictures and he loved seeing our family. He asked how well I knew everyone, I told him I could tell him all the names and birthdates, that floured him. He wanted to know how we were so happy. I told him. I bore my testimony to him, and he was in shock. Asking me why I would leave all of that to come here. I simply said, I know all this is true. It is the secret to my happy family. He also was shocked that I was so happy here being away from all of you, there was a light in my eyes, he said. I told him that I love my family, I know that this is all true and that is why I am here. I want the families here in Ukraine to experience that same joy that I know can come from this Gospel, from the knowledge of the plan of salvation, eternal families and all of it. It was really cool.
Also, so on Saturday, this will make my mama so proud of me! On Saturday our mission President said that we all need to clean our apartments from head to toe, he is going to make it a 2-3 times a year thing and it should take all day. Oh, it did! It was so fun! We got up and did studies that I got to tear our bedroom apart and wipe down walls, moved furniture, rearranged, mopped floors, vaccuumed, took apart the lights and wipe down all of that... spring cleaning, in short. We did it throughout our entire apartment all day, other than the 2 hours for sports night. Wiped out the fridge, the whole time we were listening to MoTab or Christmas music, cleaned the bathroom, got all the hardwater stuff off because of Malibu miracle. It was awesome! Then, as we were cleaning we found a small christmas tree from previous missionaries! SO... I got to clean everything, then put up a christmas tree. Pretty much feels like home! I was so excited! Our bedroom looks so cozy now with our tree and rugs on the ground. Pretty awesome! Cleaning should not have been that fun, but I loved it!
That is pretty much it for the week! We had church yesterday and that was great, Brat Voytook is now the official MCL and Elder Lippert in first counselor in the branch! Crazy things are happening!
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, because I did. I love you all and am grateful for each one of you! I am grateful to be here, this is where I need to be right now!