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.