Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Weirdest things happen to me

Feb 24 at 2:15 AM
You know, every transfer I feel like I have just had the weirdest things happen to me. For example, getting lost, giving people my earrings, allergic reactions, passing out, things of the like. They seem to happen pretty consistantly and I always wonder how they are going to get worse, because last transfer, 10 shots, 3 x-rays, and an MRI all within the space of about 14 days seems to me like it could not be topped. It was.
I bet you are all wondering what has happened, however, I know that you have news availability and you are probably well aware of all that happened in Kiev this week, so for the sake of scaring my grandmother and mother half to death I will just let it be that there was a revelution going on while while I was safe in my bed with bronchitis.
In case you have never had bronchitis before I will just tell you that it is not fun! At all! Pretty sure that I picked it up because of how weak my lungs were after having my allergic reactions. It actually turned out that all 4 of us sisters here in K-town were sick and for some reason it put my district leader more at ease because of the things going on out on the streets. He pretty much just used it as an excuse to keep us locked up in our apartments and safe; I am not complaining.
So, I have left my house 4 times, every time having the elders escort us, so no worries about my safety, please, honestly I have not seen anything that has been going on, I just hear about it. I had to run to the sisters apartment to use the bathroom, because in Ukraine sometimes your water will just go out for hours on end, and the other times were to go on exchanges with Sister Wallace.
She was the sickest out of all of us, so one time I went to the hospital with her because she had to go get a test done, the elders came with us as well. As long as I was able to get our point accross to Elder Obiok he was able to tell the nurses exactly what we needed. Too bad the test that she needed to take they didn't have, so we have to go back on another day,  oh the joy. I can't wait for that to happen again.
The other time was when the two less sick Sisters had to go help with English. So I went to tend to Sister Wallace, because we were the sickest. Turned into a huge party, let me tell you. Walked over to her house, the two sisters left, she curled up on her bed to sleep, I curled up on her companions and slept until they came home. It was quite the exciting time.
Then, yesterday I went to church. Only to have the Relief Society President kick me out during third hour telling me that I needed to go home because I sounded awful. I tried arguing, but it was two baboosya's, one of them being a doctor against myself. Needless to say, I got sent home and as I was leaving my Branch President said that he was impressed we made it that long in church without being kicked out. Honestly, I felt bad for everyone, I sat in the back coughing up a lung during the 2 meetings I did attend.
So, that is pretty much it for me and my week. Things are normal here now, I just have a huge cough and am going on Antibiotic this week. Yay.... Hopefully things will get better with my health and we can be talking it up again with people on the streets. As much as I love reading the words of Apostles and Prophets, reading through 2 liahona's and 300 pages of Jesus the Christ is 5 days is a little sad, I think that I would prefer some missionary work.
This next week is looking up! I hope that all of you had a great time this week and we will see ya next time.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Love this city!!

Oh, my goodness! I love this city! It is just so little and so fun! It reminds me of Uzh in that way, just a little branch that has this burning desire to just grow and it is a fire that is contagious! The other Sisters are just on fire too, this week they were able to get two baptismal dates, which is just amazing! They set one up for this upcoming Saturday! We have a baptism here on Saturday, that is just the most wonderful thing ever! I am so excited for this branch! I really am just loving it here though!
This week has been good, a little difficult. Just adjusting to a new city and a new way of life. We have done a lot of area book work and talking with people because our investigator pool is just a little kind of sad at the moment. Don't worry though, we have been talking to some people and we will get that built back up here pretty soon. We need to get some fire back in this town, and back within myself. I have pretty sick again, so that has made it pretty difficult, but you know. Hey, I survived a Ukrainian hospital, tracting a million buildings to find someone elect is not going to kill me.
It has been super fun serving around Sister Wallace again. I love being able to see how much we have grown since our time in the MTC. She is just so wonderful! We were at our ukrianian lesson just the other day and I looked across the room at her and was like, Hey remember that one time we were trying to learn Ukrainian in the MTC and now we kind of almost speak this language. We laughed, it was pretty fun being with her again!
In case you are wondering, they don't really have Valentines Day in Ukraine. It is something that is kind of new and not really an official holiday. We had english that night, so we talked about funny phrases we say about love and made some valentines in english that they could hand out to people. It was really fun. Afterward we put on the Resoration Film for all who wanted to stay and watch. We had quite the good turn out, which was just awesome! I am so excited! 
One of the Elders investigators brought a friend and she stayed for the movie and took 3 Books of Mormon when she left. We talked to her as well. I tried to set up an appointment with her, but it didn't work out. Next time though, she said that she will be coming, we are just praying that we can get an appointment with her.
Things are moving forward here, I am excited to see where this transfer takes us!

Monday, February 10, 2014


Hello all, from Khmelnitsky! I really hope that your week has been wonderful! Happy Birthday to Cherylee and Morgan this week, and a Happy Valentines Day as well!
What a crazy and wonderful week it has been! I am now in Khmelnitsky, which is just crazy, I feel like I am in my first transfer except I can understand and speak the language better, but other than that I have no idea what is going on!
This week was wonderful and so hard, I really didn't want to leave Lutsk, it broke my heart! We took our District picture and it is quite a doosy, you just have to love it! I think that we are the only ones that fully understand or appreciate how wonderful it is, but that is ok! It is just for us anyway!
Wednesday we went into L'viv by bus. It took us 4 hours and we enjoyed the last 4 hours that we had together. With everything that happened our District was super close and we all knew that it wouldn't be the same once we all got split up. In L'viv, kind of funny, the mission driver, Ihor, picked us up at the bus station and we were just telling him about all of our adventures this transfer and he said that it all made sense now. We were like what? What made sense? He said that we don't act like a District, he said there was something different from us as we interacted with one another, he said it was more like a gang. Like, we all had each others backs. He speaks english, so it was kind of funny to have him say that phrase.
It was really cool to hear him say that we even put off the vibe of being really close. When we dropped Elder Jolstead and Elder Mollinet off at one of the apartments before getting to the church, Elder Lippert gets back in the car and says, "I feel like my family just got torn apart by divorce." So pathetic, but that is just how we all felt. Trials will bring you together.
In fact, my little story became the central point in the training meeting this time. I guess that President asked Sister Edwards to go into training meeting and tell them all about our last transfer together and all that happened to let them know that missions are hard and that it is just ok to sit on the ground and cry sometimes, but after the trials you are blessed. It was quite ridiculous. My new District leader was like, I knew that the Elders joked about you being high maintanence but I had no idea that all that had happened. It was quite funny! I guess I have a reputation now, I just hope that it doesn't hold out for too long, or that it doesn't get topped by anyone.
I got into Khmelnitsky on Thursday and it is just wonderful! We had english that night and that was great! I got to meet one of the members here, Dima is his name. He actually just got his mission call the the L'viv Ukraine mission. So he will not being going far from home to serve. He is great, and his english is wonderful! He helps with my Ukrainian and english as well, by correcting it. When I gave a talk yesterday he took out a piece of paper and wrote down all my mistakes so that I could work on fixing them. Thanks Dima...
Friday and Saturday I just got acquainted with the area and id our weekly planning and some area book work. My new companion, Sister Plewe is just wonderful, but really shy. I think that I have talked her ear off and asked a million questions. I just want to know all about this town.
I am so excited to get out and do some missionary work here, I have missed it so much from being sick! This transfer is going to be interesting, that is for sure! So, here in K-town, it is really new still, like Uzh. It was almost like coming home on Sunday when there were only about 20 people at sacrament meeting and it is just small and lovely. I missed my little kids at church too! Oh, and p.s. our church shares a building with a club. So, you can go upstairs to the church or you can go down the stairs to babylon. It is quite interesting, there are always choices and consequences in life.
On Sunday we met with the branch president and some of the members. The members here are just SO excited to help with missionary work, they want the church to grow so badly here, it is just wonderful! I want to work with them and help them be able to share the gospel, it is going to be so great! I am excited!
Our District leader, Elder Asay, he is a good old farm boy from Wyoming, and I just adore him. He is just awesome and that typical farm boy, he wrestled, grew up with 5 brothers, he is just so great! He told me the other day that if I ever brake any bone just to call him and with some pvc pipe and duct tape he could fix me right up. It worked for his cows plenty of times... yeah. This is only his 4th transfer and he is district leader and training. His little trainey.. oh my goodness, he is just so little, especially compared to Elder Asay. Elder Obook, I guess is how you would spell. He is native. Actually, he speaks hardly any english at all.
I talked to him the other day for a bit and it is quite interesting for both of them. They really can't communicate super well. The other night they called me and Elder Asay had me translate for him so that they could have a real discussion about something. It is kind of crazy, he is such a great little missionary though, kind of shy. I have been trying to talk to him to help him out a little bit.
We also have another set of sisters in our district, this is a first for me, I have always been the only set of sisters. It is Sister Wallace, my MTC companion and her companion Sister Peterson, who was actually Sister Edward's companion in the MTC.
Our district is quite young, which is so crazy! I have always had older elders to kind of look forward to for help with language or translating. Not anymore! All I can say is that my language will be getting a lot better this transfer!
I am so excited for this next transfer, new city and I am healthy! This branch is just so little and I want to help it grow, the members want it to grow so badly, they are so wonderful! There is no place like Ukraine!
Love you all!
 Sister Shaughnessy

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Transfers are here.....

What a great and crazy time it has been here in Lutsk this week! We had the sisters from Rivne come in and do an exchange with us. They are in a threesome right now, Sister Kelley, one of my sisters from the MTC, Sister Razhabova, she is a native, well kind of, she is from Russia. In fact if you watch the Kiev Temple dedication video she is in it, and Sister Wind, she is from P.G. and got into the country with Sister Edwards. It was so fun having them here, and the Zone Leaders from Rivne as well Elder Ream and Elder Pockrus, he is from A.F.
It was crazy having so many missionaries in the city and the five of us sisters in our apartment. We had so much fun and learned so much from each one of them. It was really amazing to be with Sister Razhabova, the people treat her so differently because she is a native. It is really neat to watch the way that she is with the people and how they respond to her, and she is SUPER helpful because Ukrainian comes very easily to her and Russian is her native language. I didn't know how much I really didn't understand until I served with her for a day, now I know.
We had such an amazing week though, for real! Oh, my goodness. Lutsk is just on fire with people who are ready for this Gospel. We have so many potentials and phonenumbers that we get to call, I am excited for the work here! Sister Edwards and I were talking this week and before this transfer we were all talking and all 6 of us in our District were sure that something big was going to happen this transfer here in Lutsk and I don't think I can say that their was one HUGE event that just happened that was life changing for the work here. We didn't have baptisms like crazy, nor did this monumental event happened that revolutionized the work going on here, however SO much happened and SO many great and wonderful things happened here for the missionary work, for the branch and for the people here and for the missionaries. I know that I learned so much about myself in this last transfer and these people here... I couldn't have done it without any of them, members and missionaries alike. There are so many amazing things happening here!
I am so sad that I won't get to be here to continue the work here in Lutsk. I am now being transferred to...... Khmelnitsky, I think that is how you spell it in english. Elder Jolstead is being transferred to be Zone Leader in Rivne and Elder Lippert is also being transferred, he will be Zone Leader in Ivanofrankivsk. So half of our beloved District is leaving. We are all so sad, we have spent 2 transfers together and I think that we had great unity because of certain events that have happened. I love these missionaries and members here SO MUCH! My heart is going to break having to leave.
Sunday was the best day of my entire mission, I also don't think that I have shed that many tears and that is saying a lot, I was crying quite a bit in those hospitals. It was fast Sunday yesterday, testimony meeting. There are so many families here in Lutsk that are just amazing, two of them being our Branch President's family, and the Voytook family. The Krokovsky's, our Branch Presidents family, have 4 kids, three daughters, Darinka is the olderst, 6, Olya, 4 and Nadia, 2, and there son Petro, 3 months. The oldest one is my best friend and shadow. Darinka follows me around the church and I just love her. Nadia, the 2 year old.... OH MY GOODNESS! She gets into my bag now and finds my lotion, perfume, and lip gloss and puts it all on then smiles as I tell her that she is a very beautiful girl. All three of them sit next to me during church, I now bring a coloring folder for them with pencils and all. I swear the hardest rule not to break on my mission is not being able to pick up or hold children!
Quick side note, Elder Lippert was making fun of me for saying that not being able to hold children is the hardest part of my mission. He is like, so when people say "Wow, you served in Eastern Europe and spent most of your time tracting and street contacting," you will say, what?! "Yeah, but even worse was that I couldn't pick up any children!" Funny person he is! However, that is probably very true, I don't know missionary work to be any different, but I really want to hold those cute little kids so badly!
Then, you also have to Voytook family. They are just living proof that the gospel blesses families. Oh my gosh! There son Illya, I was here for his baptism, he is 8, then their daughter Leah, 6 and Mark, 3, and Mark is a wild child! They are so great though! Brat Voytook is the MCL right now and is just wonderful. That family is wonderful...
So back to the full purpose of this story, yesterday was fast and testimony meeting. The Branch Presidency asked all three missionaries that were leaving to come and bear there testimony. I am already crying at this point as I sit next to these 4 little girls in church for the last time. They kept asking why I was crying and I would just smile and say that all was okay. I got up and bore a very quick and simple testimony, as I cried. Elder Lippert gets up and his testimony was great, as was Elder Jolsteads.
Then, Illya Voytook gets up to bear his testimony...
He says, "I know this church is true, I am grateful that my family can be together forever, and ......" He just starts tearing up and says, "I am grateful for the missionaries and all they do for us." Then he just starts bawling, and finishes his little testimony and runs down to his dad just sobbing because we are leaving.
Elder Lippert was on the stand, he is 1st counsleor, and he is just crying opening after that, I am bawling like a two year old, Sister Edwards is crying, I look back and Elder Jolstead is getting teary and same with Elder Peterson. It was the most powerful testimony I have ever heard in my life and I will never forget it, I am crying right now as I remember it.
It is all worth it. Everything that I have had to go through this transfer, everything that all of us 6 missionaries have had to do, all the disappointments, the cold, the contacting, the rejection, the crazy midnight hospital runs, the everything else that has happened this transfer... I would do it again, I know that all 6 of us would, if it ment that we could hear that testimony again. We are only in an area for a short amount of time, missionaries are only missionaries for a short amount of time, but that time is precious.
We find, teach and baptize so that little boys like that can have this gospel and know that their families can be together forever. It was powerful!
Another example of children being great examples, right after church we had a lesson with Zhenya, our lady with a baptismal date. We met with her on Saturday and it was wonderful. She has given us two referrals of people that she wants us to teach as well. She came to church yesterday, sadly, just at the tail end of sacrament, but stayed for the rest of the time. We wanted to watch the Restoration film with her and talk about her baptism.
We wanted to have a member on the lesson, but that didn't work out, however, my little shadow wanted to come with us, Darinka. We told her that she could come if she would like, but she had to sit and watch it. She sat through the whole movie and was so excited to point out Joseph Smith to Zhenya. Right after the movie ended Darinka left to go play with her sisters. As we talked to Zhenya about her thoughts on the movie, she said that she knows that it is true. She said that it was just a testimony for her to watch Darinka sit and watch this movie, knowing who Joseph Smith is and being excited about him. Zhenya has talked to the Krokovsky's and said that she can just feel the blessings that have come to them from this church and why would she not want to join!?!
I just want all of you to know how amazing this gospel really is and how much it really blesses families. Kids are such a great gift! They are so innocent, they trust so easily and laugh so freely, they are really our examples.
I love this work so much! I love that I can help people come closer to Christ through this Gospel, I love being able to tell people that they can be with their families forever! That is the biggest blessing! Lutsk is just on fire and they people here are being blessed by this gospel and prepared to receive it!
See you all next week, I will be in Khmelnitsky!
 Sister Shaughnessy