Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Final Email

Alright, so that time has come. I have decided that this will be the final big blog email from Ukraine. Next week I will send a quick little shout out, spend my day in L'viv Ukraine, speaking Ukrainian with these lovely people, be with some of my most amazing friends from my mission and then see you all later in the week.
I am sitting in front of the computer almost in tears as I write this, I can't believe that it all really comes to an end. This week was a great week, we had fun and we did missionary things. We had random crazy events happen, we talked with people on the street, I gave my last thoughts in district meeting, and a million other amazing things and opportunities to share testimony with those around. It was great!
 Things all came together for me on Sunday. Because of the translation we had a normal church week and this up and coming week will be general conference, so yesterday was fast sunday. I went to church and everything was fine. I knew that I wanted to bear my testimony one last time, my last time as a missionary in Ukraine. The meeting started, I sat by one of my favorite members, and things were great! So many people came, 54 was the count. For those of you in America you probably think that is nothing, but for us that is a miracle.
During the sacrament prayers I was listening to the words, I have heard them so many times, but this time I realized this was the last time that I would hear them in Ukrainian, atleast for a while; I started crying. I love this country and the people here so much!
 I was listening to what they were saying and I could just feel the love that Christ has for us, He performed the Atonement for us, because He loves us so much! He wants us to come back to live with Him and our Father in Heaven. Every week we have the opportunity to partake of the Sacrament and to remember what He did for us. He did it for ALL of us! The past 18 months I have shared that message with so many people, some have accepted it and others have not. It is always incredible to see the change that happens in the lives of these people when they truely take upon themselves His name and covenant to always remember Him. There is a light that comes into their eyes that is unmatched when they truely find out who they are the divine potential that they have.
 I have been blessed to see this in the lives of so many faithful people here in Ukraine.
 Like I said, it was fast Sunday, so many people got up and bore their testimony. It was just one after another, I loved it! I would much rather have heard their testimonies than shared mine. Finally a member tapped me on the shoulder, he is one of the most amazing kids ever! Love him, anyway he asked when I was going to go, I had promised him I would. I finally got the chance to get up there.... and I made them laugh. There is an Elder leaving in my group as well, he bore his testimony at the start of the meeting and didn't cry, I told everyone that it wasn't fair because I knew that I was going to cry! They all laughed at this and then I started crying. It was short and to the point. I was a mess, however I told them that I know this church is true and that I loved them. I don't think that I needed to say much more than that. The spirit was so strong in that meeting! Such a miracle to see all those people come and worship together! The rest of the meetings were great, I got a lot of hugs and cried a lot more, the funny thing... I will still be here for part of next Sunday and I have all week to be visiting them, but that is okay. Maybe I will just run out of tears before next week..? 
 One of my favorite families came to church and I got to play with their 2 girls, oh my goodness! I was in heaven playing with the kids and having so much fun with them! Their uncle, he is 19, the one I promised I would bear testimony, pretty much he is my favorite person in this city! He is incredible, him and I had a blast playing with them. I showed him the picture of my family, the one with all the kids lined up, he was in shock! He told me that I have a family full of super women if they all have more than 2 kids. He is right, smart kid!
 We had choir practice as well after church and that was so fun! The little girls love singing, one fell asleep on his lap and the other colored in my journal and every time we would sing a new hymn she would look at me and ask "Знаеш цу пісню?" (do you know this hymn?) I would answer, "Так, знаю" (Yes, I know) then she would yell out, "Вона знае!" or she knows it! It was so cute and happened every time! We walked them home and had a great time talking and laughing! I love them so much!
 It was just a perfect day in so many different ways. I was able to talk to one of the sisters going home with me later that night, we talked about preparing to go home, how we feel and everything. I was happy to say that I know it is time to go home. I am sad that I have to leave a country, culture and people that I love, but I know that I have to go, all good things come to an end. I can look back on my mission with no regrets, I gave it all, I learned a lot and there is nothing that will compare to my mission. I was not perfect, I made mistakes, there are things that I wish could have not happened or gone better, but I learned, I repented and I know that repentance is real. The Atonement is real. Missions really are the best 18 months to 2 years. It is something that has changed me forever. The members of the church here in Ukraine are incredible, the friends that I have made here, in and out of the church are eternal. They have all impacted me in some way and changed who I am. I look back with no regrets, just with a grateful heart that I was able to serve and love these people.
 I feel like the longer I sit here at the computer the more cheesey it is getting, but I love you all! I will check my email for a quick second next week, and then see you all soon after!
  з любов'ю
     Сестра Шанесі

Welcome Home Sister Shaughnessy.  She arrives Wednesday, October 15th at 9:10 pm.  Her Home coming talk in church is scheduled Sunday, October 26th at 1:00 pm.  The church is Lehi 5th Ward church building.  It is the church building right across the street from Lehi High.  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Three weeks, Who is counting?

Okay, wow! I literally do not even know where to start this week! It was pretty much incredible. First of all, I had exchanges, my last exchanges ever, at the beginning of this week. They were with Sister Garrett, my little trainey, who is not so little anymore! It was SO. MUCH. FUN! First of all, we were together, which I just love being with her. Second we set some pretty awesome goals, and third... so many things just fell into place or came full circle it was almost commical. 
So, we are together we set a goal to SYL all day, or speak your language, as in speak ukrainian from 10-5. I kind of do it all the time anyway because I have had native companions for a while, but I really do enjoy talking to another American in a foreign language, but whatever. We did it! We were laughing because I read in my journal about what we were doing a year earlier on that day when we were both new and I was "training" here, and it was the day that the SYL from 10-5 rule first came out. We did it then, but it was terrible. I am sure the Ukrainian that we said on that day was just.... yeah, we won't go there. This time however, we totally did it, without a problem, told stories, laughed and joked the entire time, in Ukrainian.
Also, we went home for lunch and the power was out. The power was out the first day she and I were in Uzh together. So we had to cook lunch in a dark kitchen, which is what we did the first month we lived together because we didn't know where to buy a light bulb in Ukraine and we thought we would get in trouble for buying something not on a P-day. Yeah, so we cooked in our dark kitchen and had a picnic in the bedroom to eat in the light. It was great, we were laughing and just remembering all the good times.
We saw some really awesome little miracles and got a few numbers of some potentials that we will be working with. 
After Sister Crane and Sister Garrett left for L'viv it was just Sister Bandja and I. And as usual things are just crazy! A couple of random high lights, we had a great lesson with a J.W. Those are always fun! We were so excited to get a lesson from the area book with this lady and teach her all about the Restoration and it just.... she was J.W. She was still super nice, but when people don't listen you can't really do much.
My favorite random part of the week... so for weeks now we have had our street completely torn up. Sister Bandja and I always joke that it looks like there is war going on where we live. Holes everywhere, muddy, piles of dirt just everywhere... it is kind of just a joke. One day this week, Friday, it was raining and just kind of a muddy day, we are on our way home for a late lunch/dinner and walk around the corner and low and behold they are filming a movie about WWII on our street! There were people dressed up in military uniform, normal civilians all dressed up, there was even a horse, some tanks, old army vehicles and cameras everywhere! We were in shock! It was kind of really funny, they were using our street to film a war video, we had always said that it looks like a war could have happened.
So, we were only allowed to walk to our apartment in between scenes, so we would walk, have to stop, they would film a quick scene, then we would walk, be pulled somewhere else, wait for another scene. It took us a while to get in and out of our apartment. It was kind of so much fun though! We had to text the Elders and tell them that we would be late for english because we were only allowed to go so far so often. We had picture evidence that they were filming a movie about the World Wars outside our apartment. The Russians even tried to kidnap my companion! It was so much fun! We were able to talk to a lot of the people as well, they wanted to know why we were carrying around these books and why in the world an American would come to Ukraine and live here for over a year. Never an ordinary day on the mission.
This is my embarrassing moment for the week. Sister Bandja and I went to the store really quick for something and ran into a member. Katya, she was on her way to teach Spanish at the church. She invited a lot of people to come to the church and learn Spanish, she said that she invited a lot of non-members so it might be nice if we came. We didn't have any pressing plans, so why not? See if we could find some people maybe interested in more than just Spanish. So, I am sitting in this class having them teach me in Ukrainian and Russian, which is my second language (Russian is like my "I pretend to know it but don't really language"), how to speak spanish. Let us talk about kasha in your head. It was a mess, I had 4 languages going through my head, I didn't know what was going on. So my companion and I start speaking to each other in "Spanish" to practice. These two girls, one speaks english natively, the other Russian, we communicate usually in Ukrainian, are now learning how to speak spanish. Did you follow that? It confuses me too and I lived it.
The practice was going, everyone was quite impressed with my great "spanish accent!" I must not have that good of one in Ukrainian....? And we are going along great, I can count to ten no problem (only known that since I was 5), then we got into some other stuff, like asking how old a person is, I was asked to ask a couple of other people in the class how old they are, I say it and everyone just starts laughing! I have no idea why, I am just sitting there wondering what I said, what happened that was so funny, Sister Bandja finally calms down enough to tell me that I said something in spanish wrong which made it sound like I swore in Russian. Awkward... Moral of the story, stick with your mission language.
We also had the opportunity to go over to the Hawkins this week. We had waffles, I wanted to cry! I forgot how much I loved waffles; actually I forgot about their existance as a whole, then to have them... There may or may not have been actual tears. It was such a wonderful time. I am loving it!
This week I was sitting in sacrament and I just looked at all the members there, Sister Snyder, one of my former companions that I absolutely adore, was speaking. She rocked her talk, her language is just amazing now, and as she was speaking, I was looking at everyone. All the members and missionaries and wow... I was just overcome with this love for these people. They are all so amazing and such examples to me, I am grateful for every single one of them. In some way they have all changed me and helped me become better. This gospel in so amazing and I love it! I love these people and in the end, it all goes back to love!

Sister Shaughnessy

Monday, September 22, 2014

Just a few left

This week has been crazy incredible! I don't even know where to begin.... We went into L'viv this week for a mission conference that literally changed my life. I will start with the funny stuff and then work my way up to the really good stuff. First, we were on a train for 7 hours, we met this girl that spoke english, Sister Snyder found out for us that she is from England. We helped her with her bags, and talked with her for a while. Sister Snyder and I still got it, we pretty much taught a fairly solid first lesson, in english to her. She was curious about why we were here and what we do as missionaries. She was also very curious about temples, good thing I just so happen to have pictures of the Nauvoo and Kiev temples in my journal. The temples, she thought, were just beautiful! Planting seeds...
Then in L'viv we got in at about 9 at night, the mission driver was kind enough to call the AP's for us and ask if we would be able to swing by McDonalds before going to our hotel. We felt pretty awesome that we thought to go to McDonalds and the Elders wouldn't have an opportunity because they were taking taxi's. We got to the hotel and they showed up with their McDonalds too. This time we stayed in a hotel for mission conference because there is just not enough room in the L'viv apartments. It was quite wonderful! We had a balcony and right across the street was this beautiful old church, all lit up at night. I loved it!
We got up at 5 in the morning to get ready for conference. We had to be at the church by 7:15. President Klebingat, my first mission president in Ukraine, who just happens to also now be in the first quorum of the 70 came back and taught us. It was incredible, if nothing else he has only gotten more amazing! By the way he totally remembered that haircut that I am supposed to give me, I don't think that I will be getting out of that one.
He talked with us about repentance, as he was calling us to repentance. I have never been so excited in my life to repent and change, it was awesome! Honestly, nothing he taught us was new or these secrets that have been hidden for centuries, but the way that he teaches.... I wish that I could describe it, but I don't think there are any words in either of the languages that I speak that can describe it. He literally motivates you to become a better person in all aspects of your life. He is super straight forward, makes you laugh and says it with such love that wow.... I feel like I will just insult him by trying to explain it to you.
My companion and I have just been talking about the conference all week, it was so great! She had served under him when she was in the Kiev mission and also she lives in the Kiev mission boundary, so he has known her for a while and actually sent her on a mission. 
We got home on Thursday night and on Saturday we had a baptism here in Chernivtsi. One of the Elders investigators got baptized! It was incredible, the service was small, but it was a baptism. The ones here in Ukraine just have a special spirit about them, I was thinking about it and talking to our branch president's wife about it. Baptism is such a life changing thing for everyone, but it really is only a second. 18-24 months out of your life to serve the Lord, it isn't that long, but it changes who we are. 70-80-90-100 years on the earth is nothing in the span of eternity but it determines who we become after this life.
It really is all in the little things that make the difference.
Yesterday, I just have to add this because my uncles will laugh and think that it is funny! I hate giving talks, it has been something I have disliked my entire life. On my mission it has gotten better, but still, not my favorite activity. When I was preparing my farewell talk and complaining my uncles always asked what I would do if on my mission I was just randomly called up to give a talk in a foreign language. I said I would face that trial when it comes. It came. Yesterday on sacrament meeting. It wasn't terrible. Can I tell you what I said? No. Did it make sense? I have no idea. Did I survive? Yes.
That is it for my week. It was wonderful, remember repentance is a gift from God. I love you all! :)
 Sister Shaughnessy

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sick again!!!

So, I am sure that you have been waiting without patience to hear about this wonderful week and all the miracles that we have seen here in Chernivtsi as we work as hard as we can to help, serve and love these people. I hate to break it to you all, but my life is just not simple. I have literally gone through 500 different ways to break it to you all in a very humorous and sarcastic way, but sorry I just couldn't find one good enough.
Here it is, I got bronchitis. Again. Not kidding. Trust me, if you are sick of hearing that I am sick again, you should feel even worse for all the missionaries that I have served around. It has now become a mission joke that we are going to put instructions of how to deal with me on the GoogleDrive of our mission because it is just a topic that is all too often frequented.
This time around, I have given up. I have done everything that is possible to get healthy again. We are talking antibiotics like the doctor and mission president said to take, to sleeping with a warm bag (yes, milk in Ukraine comes in bag) on my chest to get rid of it, according to the Ukrainian homemade remedies. It has been an adventure.
I have pretty much been dead, my companion had world wars in our kitchen and our study tearing them all apart and cleaning and putting it all back together. I got to do an exchange for a day, kind of, with Sister Snyder so that Sister Bandja could get out of the apartment for a little while. It was fun to be with Sister Snyder again, I have really missed her. She also knows the drill of me being sick, when we got together I was just getting over bronchitis. Her 2 transfers of hard work getting me healthy again and it is all wiped out.
The Elders have been great, they brought us food and tried to do all they could to help us out. I was able to get a blessing from Elder Ballif, that was incredible! The Priesthood is real and this is the Lord's work, He really has a plan. He knows us perfectly and knows what we need to hear, how to comfort and guide us. 
The few times that we were able to get out of the house we attended the weekly Youth Night, always just a blast! Our branch is incredible and they love to have fun with one another, and always manage to succeed. Sister Bandja came with new games to play and everyone was laughing and having fun!
We also had the opening of institute here. That was a fun night, Church Histoy Jepordy (I have no idea how to spell that, my english is getting really bad!), that is right up my alley! My team may or may not have lost because we may or may not have been caught cheating because one person was giving all the answers..... It could have happened. There was also home made mexican food from the Hawkins, that is always a blessing. Not very often do we find mexican food in Ukraine, so you need to enjoy all that you can when you get the opportunity to eat it!
That is pretty much it for our week. 5 days dying, still feel like I am dying, but I got up, did my hair, make up, studies, put on a skirt and a smile. This will be a good week, President Klebingat is coming, we will be in L'viv and we will have a blast! Health with come, can't let it get me down! 
Love you all, hope you have a wonderful week! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Heavenly Father has a plan!!!

Okay, so let us just talk about the best week I have had in Chernivsti! It has been quite wonderful, I think that it is almost a little too perfect with all the little blessings. I don't know how all of these wonderful things come together, Heavenly Father has a plan! His plan is truely so much better than what we could ever dream of!
So, this week I said goodbye to Sister Matsiyashik, that was kind of sad. I will still see her one more time before I go home. President Klebingat, remember him? My first mission president who just got called the Quorum of the 70, well he is visiting our mission on the 17th of September. Kind of really excited for that, I get to hear from him for my last mission conference, ironic because he was the one I got to hear from at my first mission conference, and that means that I get to see ALL my missionary friends one last time before I leave. It was a tender mercy from the Lord.
So, after our companions left for the train Sister Moffitt and I were left on a 2 day exchange that was pretty much a blast! I have never eaten so much amazing food in such a short amount of time. She introduced me to a Ukrainian dessert that pretty much changed my life, and all I am saying is it is a good thing it was discovered in my last transfer or else.... it just would have been bad. We spent 2 days together talking it up and getting our area books reorganized, which included a lot of time in the area book to get it up  to the new mission standard. It was worth it! We made it fun and it was so nice to have 2 area books and 2 phones to be working with. It made it just so much more convenient. Plus if you make a double batch of chocolate chip cookie dough with brown sugar from America, it can help!
Thursday late night, we got to meet our companions at the train station. I got to see Sister Snyder again, kind of hugged her forever and was way beyond excited to see her! Oh, how I love her, she is the best! I am so excited to have her in my city! Then I met Sister Bandja for the first time, we went home and just went to sleep we were so tired.
However, Sister Bandja and I have a HUGE problem.... WE NEVER STOP TALKING!!! We have had so much fun together after that first moment that I am almost thinking that there is something wrong because it has just been so good! She is from Odessa, in the Kiev mission, she is 23 years old, been to American twice and speaks Russian as her native tongue, knows Ukrainian, and speaks fairly decent english. We speak a fluent Ukraine-glish at home and I love it! The only thing that is suffering from this companionship is my journal because at night we are talking and telling stories all the time, I never have time to write in it!
The last couple days we have been together we have cleaned our apartment and done some weekly planning and sports day! I love sports day! (Sarcasm) And, I would just like to say that on this sports day I went from always being the last one picked to being team captian. I thought they were kidding when they said that I would be captian, however I was. I was awful at it, but I did it!
That was pretty much our week. Not a whole lot, but a whole lot! We are ready to take on the city of Chernivsti (or maybe just our area that we are confined to), but it is going to be great! I am so excited! I love the people here so much!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Last Transfer

Another week down and guess what?! I got my last transfer all from President and the verdict.... I AM STAYING IN CHERNIVTSI!! Kind of super excited and also, one of my favorite companions ever is coming down here too, so I get to serve around her before I leave, that will be a blast!!!! She is not my companion though, my new companion is Sister Bandja and she is also from Ukraine. I have seen her maybe twice, so I literally know nothing about her, but I am excited, it will be good.
This week has been crazy stressful, we can start by saying that we had an open house on Saturday and so we spent all week getting ready for that. This included a musical number. Our district is great, we have very talented people in our district when it comes to music, but still when I am one of the more musically talented in the group we have a problem, understand? So, anyway I can now say that I have a piano solo.
No, you read that correctly. We did musical number and we were to sing "Joseph's First Prayer," just so happens that is one of the only hymns that I know really well. So.... I played the piano for people including my nice little solo parts that were just.... yeah. My mom will be so proud, but let me tell you it was just awful! We survived and it really wasn't that bad, but it was still not the most professional thing, I wouldn't count on it being sang at a sacrament meeting or zone conference any time soon.
The open house went great though, we had a blast putting it together as in it was stressful, but it all came together and was worth it. We didn't have the best turn out, but people came and this was just the first one of many that will happen here to get the word out about our little church here in Chernivsti.
This week we also got to visit a lot of people because my companion is leaving. We got to visit my favorite little family this week, they have the most beautiful little girls and we had a blast taking pictures with them. Edik, the 18 is my favorite person ever in this branch, literally I love that kid!! He is a rock star and just the most solid person, helping his 20 year old sister with her 2 girls... AH, I seriously there is so much I could say... It was just a wonderful time with them. I would send a pictures, but my camera is currently with Elder Kelley getting fixed and debugged. Next week.
We also had Zone Leaders here this week, Elder Peterson, from AF and also was in my MTC district, that was fun to see him and catch up. It was kind of just a crazy week overall, extra missionaries as well as trying to get things ready for the open house. It was just the kind of chaos that I am known to thrive on, so I loved it.
I am so exhausted though, I think that 18 months has finally caught up with me. It has been great though! This next transfer is going to be a party and we are going to be seeing some of the most incredible miracles around here!
I hope that you all have a wonderful week, pay it forward and do something nice for someone else this week. It may not change them, but it will change you!
 Sister Shaughnessy

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ten weeks to go

So, remember that one time when I had an allergic reaction and went to the hospital? Or the other time when it happened to? Or the 10th time it happened that one time. I remember and guess what, it happened again. Don't worry this time, I survived and all is well. And I am so done with Ukrainian hospitals, so that is that story. Nothing more to explain there.
This week was good, I don't even know what we did, but I am tired and I know we did a lot. Those investigators that were going to get baptized... they have kind of fallen off the face of the planet. We have gone to their home, they were home, but wouldn't answer the door. It just breaks my heart to know that they are SO close to the truth and.... we are going to keep trying, we will see what happens.
President Lattin was in town this week! That was a crazy wonderful suprise! It is always to great to have them here. So we had some meetings with him and just a blast and we learned so much. That man is called of God, that I am sure of. We also had Sister Lattin call us one morning while they were here to go on a walk with us. She just wanted to walk with us in the park. That was so much fun and we were able to talk to a few people as well. It was really funny, my companion doesn't speak english and so I was translating back and forth for each of them to have a conversation. At one point my companion did say something in English and just almost without thinking, translated to Sister Lattin in Ukrainian. That was kind of funny! All 3 of us were laughing, whoops... my brain just got a little confused with the 2 languages going back and forth.
 So funny, I feel like we do so much, but when I sit down at the computer today my mind is just blanking out! So, I think that I will just make this short, I hope that you all have a wonderful week and I love you all! Happy Birthday Jamie!!!
  Sister Shaughnessy

This is a big deal

Okay, so kind of a big deal here, I GOT TO SEE SISTER EDWARDS AND SISTER PETERSEN!!! Don't worry, I am not freaking out about that at all, it was just pretty much the best thing ever! I have never been able to see them together at the same time, and I have only seen Sister Edwards for like 2 seconds since we got split up a million transfers ago, so that was a HUGE blessing to be in the same apartment with them at Mission Conference this week.
 We had mission conference this week and it was absolutely incredible! President and Sister Lattin are so wonderful and everyone that helped as well, it was just great! So many of my questions were answered in SO many unique ways, it was just incredible to see the hand of the Lord work, He truely loves each one of so very much it is incredible!
 We talked a lot about consecration at mission conference which has been a topic of study lately for me, I want to understand it better. Not just as a missionary, but as a member of the church. We truely need to be consecrated to this gospel and not just members of the church. There is a difference. Consecration involves sacrifice as well, not the most confortable word for most of us. I am just very grateful that this gospel allows room for mistakes and growth.
 Because of Mission Conference we spent most of our time in L'viv,or on long train rides, which was fun, I got to eat some mexican food in Ukraine, which is a blessing in and of itself. I got to see some of my best friends that I have made on the mission and I got spiritually enlightened by some wonderful people. You have to love being a missionary! :)

Single digits and then home bound

Wow, I am getting down to the single digits when it comes to the amount of weeks that I have left.... that is pretty scary!
This week was good, I got some startling news yesterday. My mission President called to let me know that a member in Uzh that I had taught, she was my first lesson in Ukraine, and helped to baptism passed away. That was kind of startling news, I was in shock to say the least. It was an interesting experience, I shed a few tears, but then it was all okay. I was just so grateful that she found the gospel before she passed away, and now they can do her temple work for her, she has been ill for several months. It really is just incredible to have the knowledge that we do about the plan of salvation. I honestly know that she is in a much better place and that it is all okay. If nothing else it gave me more of a motivation to share this message with others, they need to know this!
 On a happier note, this next week we have a baptism a little boy in our branch. His mom was actually taught and joined the church thanks to my trainer. Talk about many things coming full circle. That is kind of crazy, so we are preparing for his last second baptism and a trip to L'viv all within the next 48 hours. Needless to say, it is going to be a little crazy, but it will work out. I hope amid all the preparation things we will be able to get some good solid missionary work in as well.
 Unfortunatly a lot of our investigators couldn't meet this week, we had a lot of time. A lot of time. I am just grateful that at the end of the week it finally starting cooling down here. One day it was 96, imagine that will almost 100% humidity. All I am saying is... deodorant is a luxery here. It was an adventure. On that day, I literally had the best time. I just chose to laugh and take it for what it was, I couldn't change anything, so I might as well enjoy it.
 We went on an adventure that day, so we got to ride in a marshrutka, a ukrainian bus, that has NO air conditioning for 30 minutes to go and find this lady that was a referral from the Elders. They had talked with a man that was drafted into the war, he left that day, but asked the Elders to send someone over to meet his wife and take care of her. He left no number, just an address. So, we decide to go to this lady, in a celo. Find the street, get the right bus number, sit on this us that was just a sauna and headed out. I was laughing, it was just so funny to me, because honestly it was so much past the point of being miserable that you just had to laugh.
 We rode the bus to the end, got off and asked this guy were the house would be located, he told us down the rode two houses. So, we go down there to find this Baba Anya as he called her (a little disappointed, we thought we were going to a younger lady), turns out that the house we were looking for was ruined. We asked the neighbor and the lady that lived there passed away two years ago.
 So, I don't really know what that whole adventure was all about or who this man was, guess we will never know about that story. We got to take h\our hot marshrutka back home.
 We got to go to a culture museum that was way fun with the Hawkins, the senior couple down here. I love them, they are literally my new favorite people. 
 What else... my ukrainian companion still likes to eat hot borscht even when it is hotter than hot outside.
 I got a suprise opportunity to play the piano on Sacrament meeting, that was just terrible, no practice or warning. We don't need to talk about it.
 There was man that came in from Kiev and talked to the branch for 4 hours about family history work.
 That it pretty much it from our week. I wish that there was more, but it was just a lot of street contacting and more street contacting. Misisonary work! :)
I hope that you all have an amazing week!
  Sister Shaughnessy

Monday, August 4, 2014

11 Weeks left

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Only two transfers left and home

WOW, we started a new transfer this week. I only have 2 left, let us just talk about that for a second... I am in SHOCK! Where did time go? This week some of my favorite missionaries went home, I started my mission with them and now they are home. When did this happen? Missions don't come to an end, they was just a myth and rumor that I had heard. It is crazy to think that I only have two transfers left... Do you know how fast transfers go?! Kind of freaking out here, I can't believe it!
Okay, mental breakdown over. 
This past week has been incredible! First of all, it was Pioneer Day. I love pioneers, so that is always a great holiday in my book. My companion doesn't know a whole lot about pioneers and I have had a great time telling her EVERYTHING that I know about pioneers all week. For one, I have learned a lot of new words so that I can explain the stories appropately and also, it is just something that I love to do; tell stories, just talk in general, actually, and also, I get to strengthen my testimony and be continually grateful for their sacrifice. Getting to share my testimony of the pioneers just strengthens me, especially on a mission. If they did all that for the truth, I can be here and share what I know with the people in Ukraine.
This week has been amazing! I feel like so many things have happened! On Pioneer Day, actually this was kind of ironic, we went with a potential investigator of ours to help her clean up the gravesides of her parents. We helped pull weeds and plan flowers on their plots and she told us all about her family. It was really cool to be there on that day for many reasons, it was just an amazing experience for me personally. After we had finished we sat on a bench and talked with her. She has before expressed no interest in learning about the gospel, even when we have asked her about it, but she had asked us to help her today and we are here to serve. As we are sitting on the bench with her she just asks us, tell me something about God. I want to know what you believe about life after death. So, we told her a little bit about the plan of salvation. You could just feel the spirit, it was so amazing to have that experience. Now we are going to start working with her so that she can know that she will see her parents again.
As we were helping her clean the grave it was interesting to hear her talk about her parents. They lived in the communist age, they had no belief in God and lived basically their whole lives that way. It gives you something to think about when you hear about how they lived without God.
That was one amazing miracle this past week, then.... On Sunday we go to pick up this older lady in our branch, she has recently had a stroke and has a hard time getting around. We helped her get ready and to come to church. This was our first time doing it, and we tried calling her, but her phone was off. We decided to just go anyway, what can it hurt. We get there, she tells us that she wasn't expecting us, she had already called a friend of hers to come and get her to come to church with her. Turns out.... that friend would be a former investigator we had found in our are book, that we had been trying to work with. She has two boys that we had gone and picked up last week to come to sports day with us. It was incredible! They came to church and stayed all three hours.
After church we were able to meet with them and they introduced us into their family. We talked to them about the Book of Mormon. It was such an incredible miracle that we had! Things are happening here, people! This is amazing!
Anyway... this week has been amazing! Things are working out. I finally have gotten over the loneliness of being with an all ukrainian speaking ukrainian and now, you know what... Life is good! 

Heavenly Father knows best

You know, you think that you are doing pretty good and then Heavenly Father has a way of just knocking you right on your butt again. Sometimes it is even literal. So, let me just start out by saying that this past transfer has kicked my butt. I decided that I just wanted to be the most unhappy person in the world and see what it was like. I hated it.So many different things were just going on and I wanted to shy away from the trials rather than face them. I was wanting to look inward rather than out at others and serve them.
From this, I have learned that I would much rather be happy. I would rather face hard things with a smile than a frown, and you truely are more happy when you are in the service of others. It is hard to be doing things when your heart is not in it, it really is, and it just took me a while to learn this. SO... at the beginning of this past week I got a blessing, decided that life was going to be great! Guess what?! It is! And guess what?! I still have a knack for attracting some of the weirdest experiences ever, I don't know how it happens, but it does. I have seen SO MANY miracles this week, just little ones, but they were still there (I totally include an elder giving us a kitkat that he got from a member as a miracle on a Sunday when you are craving chocolate and there is none at the house! I am a sister missionary okay, I still love chocolate.) I have learned that the promise "Ask and ye shall receive" is some serious business and it happens! Oce, the chocolate!
This week, I don't even know where to begin.... We went to a bag remont place to get Sister M's bag fixed and there we had the best conversation with this kid and he just happens to be from Khmelnitsky, that was my home for 4 months, I love that city! He was also totally interested in our message, that was even better! From there we leave and there is this guy speaking english, we follow him for a second and I wanted to go talk to him and then he ducks into a building.. Dang. I turned to my companion, who speaks little to no english and said to her in english, "Dang, I wanted to talk to some Americans today, I kind of miss english." She gives me a funny look and we move on. We are walking down to the church and all the sudden I hear "Hey, do you speak english?!" I pause and turn, because I forgot, but I do speak that language! Turns out this lady is from california. She came to Ukraine with her husband to visit the city from which they had adopted 3 of their 8 children. She was leaning against a building smoking. I talked with her for a while. Turns out that she is LDS, her brother is on a mission in Philipeans and her neice is on a mission in Russia. She has been inactive for years, but was more than friendly. We had a great conversation, once I got over the shock that they were American. Americans are so loud!!!!! Wow, I didn't realize how odd it would be to talk to Americans again. I am in for culture shock when I get home. It literally was the weirdest thing ever.
Also, this week I did get a marriage proposal. That was great! You know I always welcome those, this guy asked me to marry him, and this was all said in english, so I understood perfectly, because I am an Irish girl and he could tell that I was not lying because of my..... you think that I am going to say last name, but no, because of my teeth. Apparently I have irish looking teeth. I don't know what that means, but I have them. (I didn't think they had yellowed that much but....)
Then on Saturday we had a huge miracle! This family that we have been trying to work with came to sports day! It was so great! The boys had SO MUCH FUN! They are so cute as well and they had a blast getting to play with the big kids.
There were so many more miracles that happened. Just little things throughout the day that were just perfect! I was SO happy, my companion and I were having so much fun, we were working hard. No huge baptism or crazy things like that, but those little moments that just let you know that God is there, for everyone. It was incredible!
I was thinking about that a lot yesterday, it really is incredible how much God loves us! He also has a sense of humor too! 
Because... we went to choir yesterday with the branch. Only 2 members and 1 investigator showed and Elder Mollinet and Elder Obiux, and us. So, I get called upon to direct the music, no big deal. I stand up and start directing. They didn't need it, so I was going to sit back down. I grab a chair go to sit and the next thing I know... I am on the ground. THE METAL CHAIR BROKE UNDERNEATH ME!!!!!!!!!!!!  No, I am not even kidding. It kind of was the funniest thing ever. I was dying. Ukrainians however, do not think this is funny! They got mad at Elder Mollinet for laughing at me, and he was like (we served together in lutsk, when I was on my death bed) are you kidding, that is not the hardest fall I have seen that girl take, she is fine. It was funny! We were laughing. The best part about the entire thing is that all the ukrainians made sure that I was okay and just went on singing. They did not even skip a beat or laugh or anything, once they new everything was fine they just wanted to start singing again and nothing. 
Elder Mollinet and I were dying. The only Americans and we are just thinking this is the funniest thing ever! The ukrainians did not say ONE WORD to be about it the rest of the night! That is what made it even funnier. They didn't think that it was funny! I called Sister Moffitt and she and I were like rolling on the floor no one else got it! 
Anyway, moral of the story.... I don't really know. But I just attract humorous situations. Anyway, this upcoming week is going to be great! This work is true, love you all!!!!!!!
 Sister Shaughnessy

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Work is going Forward

Well, I don't know where this week went! It really just flew by and I don't even know where to begin! First of all the Sister Training Leaders were here, which ment that Sister Garrett was here! My first little trainey is all grown up! I love that girl so much and I got to spend an entire day with her and we had a blast! We went with one of our investigators here, Ilona. She is wonderful and also happens to be the Ukrainian Women's Tennis Champion, not even kidding. She is awesome, but can't get baptized because of her parents right now. However, she is just amazing! We had her take us on a tour of the city just to be with her for a little bit.
We went to the university! OH MY GOODNESS IT IS BEAUTIFUL! That place was seriously straight out of a Jane Austin novel. It was lovely! We walked the grounds and it was beautiful! Seriously, we just took so many pictures of the grounds, there is a church there. They have a sealed well outside of the church and the legend is that they took all the vampires in the city and put them in that well and sealed it. It was quite cool!
The grounds are just beautiful and green, we had a blast walking around and talking with Ilona. She soon is going to the US to play tennis at University and is hoping to be baptized there. We want to help her stay in contact with the church in the states so that she can be baptized! She literally is the coolest. At one point we went into the university and into a corridor... just my luck, we get locked in the corridor and had to literally bang on the doors for someone to hear us to be let out. Sister Garrett and I were just laughing, it would be out luck to get locked in the university! We were just laughing!
After the sisters left we had a little miracle. A lady that we contacted from the area book a couple of weeks called us and wanted to meet. That does not ever happen! It was quite amazing, we were in shocked and ran to the park to go meet with this lady. It was so great! She took a couple of pamplets and we were able to just have a good conversation with her and set up another time to meet more formally. It was amazing!
Also, this week we had a culture fair... let us just talk about that for a second! That was the coolest thing ever! We contacted at the fair and talked to so many people as we enjoyed ourselves at the fair. It was so great! You just have to love Ukraine! The culture here is so rich and they are all just such wonderful people and so religious! Ah, just the best!
We got to have dinner with the other sisters as well at the Hawkins house. The Hawkins are the senior couple here. They made us a roast with potatos and carrots in a crock pot and jello. Pretty sure Sister Moffitt and I were in tears! It was like being home, both she and I were just eating it and loving it so much! Probably more than was necessary, but we were just like "Home." Our native companions were thinking we were crazy, but you know... it just happens when you are away from home for a while!
Pretty much, I think that is it for this week! We literally just have been having a blast and the work is going forward! LOVE YOU ALL!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Zone Conference

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Another week has come and gone! I honestly don't know where it went, but it was SO MUCH FUN!!! We had Zone Conference, I don't know if you know this, but in our mission socializing is a BIG don't. Obviously between Elders and Sister, but even between other sisters. We do not text, call, meet up, nothing other than the meetings at church or to communicate information, that is it! So, Zone Conference is kind of a big deal, we are able to see other missionaries and catch up, make sure that we are still all living. Then, to top it off.... We have this AMAZING zone conference, we talked all about the temple, which I miss so much! And how we can be better missionaries, it was great! I got to push my language skill and kind of translate for my companion. That was interesting!
THEN, after Zone Conference they had an activity for us missionaries. As in we could socialize! That is crazy and rare and it was a blast!
We had sports going on, ate some pulled pork sandwiches and enjoyed it! And we also got to watch a movie.... that doesn't happen either. It was Ephraim's Rescue, all about church history. I was not disappointed when I think of a movie a church history movie is perfectly entertaining for me, whether on a mission or not! It was such a great time! AND I also got to see Sister Petersen, kind of like the best thing that had ever happened to me! I LOVE THAT GIRL! It was so great! I also got to spend some time with Sister Moffitt, she is so great! Never served with her, but we have now become lifelong friends! We spent a day in center L'viv. It was so great! We had lunch, talked to some people about english and witnessed some beautiful Ukrainian folk music. It was so great!
Because of Zone Conference we were on the train and in L'viv for most of the week, it was such a great time! We talked to the Hawkins, the senior couple that is in our city. They literally are my new favorite people. Elder Hawkins is also a chiropractor.... needless to say we are friends now.
It was such a good week, things are coming along, summer is definately here!
LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Olya in Town

Another week has come and gone and I don't know where it went! It has been quite a week, we have had some great times!
First of all, let us just talk about the Armor of God lesson, pretty sure that my branch now thinks that I am officially crazy! We had an 18 year old member here, Edik, the cutest kid ever, we had him help us with our spiriutal thought for game night. So we made these little clothe ball type things and got his armor all ready to go. So, at friend night we gave everyone a ball and had them throw the balls at him, he had to block as many as he could. It was a little difficult... So, we then took him into the hall and put him in his armor. This armor consisted of Elder Mollinet's belt, a sword made out of a wooden spoon covered in tinfoil, a pot for his helmet of salvation, and a back pack put on backwards, also covered in tinfoill for his breastplate and don't forget the shield from cardboard covered in tinfoil. Yeah, it was great! He was eating it up as everyone was laughing at him as they again got the throw the balls at him and he was protected more from them. It was so great! I am kind of loving this companion thing that she speaks well enough that if I can get my crazy idea across she can explain it a lot better than I can. It was so great! 
We also had the AP's here this week. Elder Jolstead and Elder Lippert, I served with both of them in Lutsk. I was SO happy to see them again, they are so great! They were the ones that were with me when I was in the hospital, so I love and adore both of them, they are great! For some reason though, whenever they are around I decide that I need to visit hospitals. Don't worry, I am not sick. We just have a couple of members that are in the hospital and one investigator as well. I met them for the first time this week, and we also took Elder Newton and Elder Lippert (they were on exchanges) to meet them as well. Elder Lippert and I were just remembering the good times, I told him for some reason whenever he is around I feel this need to go to the hospital. We laughed. Then we made this great joke as I asked him a question about my apartment contract and needing to get that done. He thanked me for always being on top of everything... except maybe the stairs. So funny. (Remember that one time I passed out and fell down the cement stairs)
Also, this week one of our members had a birthday, Natasha is her name. She is really great, return missionary, actually she is even a really good friend of Olya's, my friend that got baptized in L'viv in March. Anyway, it was her birthday and I wanted to do something nice for her. So, we got balloons and posters and colored paper and made some phonecalls. We didn't know where she lived, but her brother said that it was okay if we decorated her door for her birthday. So, we called a taxi to take us, figuring he would know where it was and we wouldn't have to figure it out ourselves. Well.... turns out he had no idea where it was, so just imagine... we are on this dirt road in a lada, a lada people, it is muddy and rainy and we are going up hills and just in this random, village part of town. I have no idea how we were getting up these hills, trying to find this address, the taxi driver was getting frustrated because he had no idea where he was going, Sister Matsiyashchik was getting frustrated because we were not finding it... I was sitting in the backseat with a million balloons, a poster and paper hearts thinking this is the funniest thing ever. Go figure, only the American would be the one crazy enough to laugh! Let us get real though, we were in a lada! You can't not laugh!
Also, on Friday I got a phone call from Natasha, the same member whose door we decorated for her birthday. She wanted to talk to me, strange, most of the members are content talking to my companion since, I don't know, she speaks the language better. So, I take the phone and she tells me that she has a favor to ask of me, okay, I am a missionary, I kind of do service for a living. Turns out, OLYA WAS COMING IN!!!!! She was taking a train down to stay with Natasha over the weekend for her birthday! Ummm...... YEAH!!!! I was on cloud nine, she needed us to pick her up from the train station and keep her entertained until Natasha got off work. As big of a sacrifice as that was, I think we handled it well. We picked her up, ate dinner with her and just talked! Ah, I have missed that girl SO much! We wanted to have her sit in on a lesson with us as a member, but the lesson canceled. So, we taught her a new member lesson because she hasn't had all of them yet. Then we played ping pong with a couple of the kids from english for about 20 minutes before the class started! It was wonderful!
Saturday was sports day. Ukrainian women for some reason do not play sports. Like at all. It is a culture thing, they don't play sports. Men even are not very good at sports in Ukraine, it is kind of weird, well, they are good at soccer, but that is about it. We went to sports day and played volleyball, others were playing frisbee. I chose volleyball, I like it a little bit better. Just to tell you how it goes, I was one of the best players playing. If I, Sister Shaughnessy, am one of your better players on a sports team there is a problem. It was really fun though and everyone had such a great time! I got to be with Olya again, so I was happy.
Olya left yesterday after church. It was still so great to see her again! It was quite the week, I loved it! Next week we are in L'viv for Zone Conference, that will be a great time! Love you all, until next week!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Back to K-Town

PREEVEET! I sure hope that you all had a great week. I am sitting in the internet cafe trying to figure out what I did the past week of my life. I literally have no idea...
I got to go back to K-Town!!! That was the best! When I got the call that I had to go back, I literally called the AP's to make sure that this was not a joke, I wanted to know that this was so real before I started getting myself excited! Elder Jolstead probably didn't appreciate my screaming into the phone when he confirmed it.! I was so excited to have to go back and see my old companion, apartment, and Sister Lewis. She was in my MTC district, but I haven't really seen her since the MTC and now she is in my town. It was so fun to see her and everyone. I had to say goodbye to a few people that I am sure I will not see again until America and some that I don't know when I will see them again.
It has been a good week, taking the time to go to K-Town was a lot of time out of our schedule. We took a bus, like 5 hours, through some of the most beautiful country side that I have ever seen in my life. It was really fun, I pretty much just stared out the window trying to ignore the very drunk men that were sitting just opposite of us. Ukraine, oh the adventures that we have had!
I got to K-town just in time to sit in on their Family Night, LOVED IT! I was so happy to be back, and not a thing had changed. I guess no one told them I was coming, I walked in and the branch president was in shock. He told me he was planning on never seeing me again, He is kind of a teaser and loves my reactions. It was so fun, we had a seat and played our traditional "Uno Crazy!" President still cheats and looks at everyones cards....yup! It was home again!
I was only there for a day, we had to get some legal things worked out so that I didn't get kicked out of the country. You know, just the little things. It really was quite the miracle to get to go back! I even got to sit in on a district meeting, loved it! Probably a little too much! AH!
Well, back to Chernivtsi... It has been a good week. All of our investigators have dropped us. I have been told that I don't speak the language well enough to be here, so what am I doing here, we have done a lot of time on the streets... Yeah, you know. It was all good.
Saturday we had a service project, we cleaned up a lady's yard and weeded it for her. She is a member and had a stroke just a month or so ago and has been really struggling with half of her body being paralyzed. We went over and had a great time doing service for her. It was so fun, and she is Ukrainian so she had to give us something to drink and eat, so we hate cherries fresh off her tree. We literally stood around the tree and would take some down. It was so fun! She also has chickens that ran freely around her yard as we weeded. Apparently Elder Mollinet speaks chicken as well, he gave us a great demonstration on his "chicken whispering." I don't know that there are words for that.
We also have just the best members ever, honestly. They do so much with each other, it really is quite amazing! I am in shock at how often they come on lessons and activities and everything else they do; they truely have caught the fire of building the kingdom here in Chernivtsi.
This week I have had a lot of time to study because rides and stuff, I was reading this one talk that literally has changed my life, then we have a relief society lesson that is all on the same subject. Hands.
Weird, I know. I have had this obsession with studying about hands lately. Hands and love have literally been themes for my studies on my mission. It has been awesome, and I am obsessed with President Uchtdorf; literally I have read every talk I can find from him. I was reading this one, and literally it has been amazing! 

You are my Hands
Presdient Uchtdorf
A story is told that during the bombing of a city in World War II, a large statue of Jesus Christ was severely damaged. When the townspeople found the statue among the rubble, they mourned because it had been a beloved symbol of their faith and of God’s presence in their lives.
Experts were able to repair most of the statue, but its hands had been damaged so severely that they could not be restored. Some suggested that they hire a sculptor to make new hands, but others wanted to leave it as it was—a permanent reminder of the tragedy of war. Ultimately, the statue remained without hands. However, the people of the city added on the base of the statue of Jesus Christ a sign with these words: “You are my hands.”

We Are the Hands of Christ

There is a profound lesson in this story. When I think of the Savior, I often picture Him with hands outstretched, reaching out to comfort, heal, bless, and love. And He always talked with, never down to, people. He loved the humble and the meek and walked among them, ministering to them and offering hope and salvation.
As we emulate His perfect example, our hands can become His hands; our eyes, His eyes; our heart, His heart.
Without this love for God the Father and our fellowmen we are only the form of His Church—without the substance. What good is our teaching without love? What good is missionary, temple, or welfare work without love?
Love is what inspired our Heavenly Father to create our spirits; it is what led our Savior to the Garden of Gethsemane to make Himself a ransom for our sins. Love is the grand motive of the plan of salvation; it is the source of happiness, the ever-renewing spring of healing, the precious fountain of hope.

If you have time, read this talk! Honestly it is amazing! I have been thinking about how much it is true! LOVE is everything in this gospel and we really can be the hands of Christ! 
Sister Shaughnessy