Monday, March 24, 2014

Olya is a member

First of all.... OLYA IS NOW A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS! Kind of a big deal people, I have been so beyond happy all week because she is now a member! That was one of the best experiences of my life and be prepared, it is going to be a long email my friends, you are going to get every detail!
So, we went into L'viv on Wednesday, by train. It is a 6 hour train ride from here to L'viv. I pretty much slept because I tell myself I am healthy, but I really am still just dying, but it is okay. I am better than I was before. When we got into L'viv we were picked up by some Elders and Igor the mission driver, then we went to pick up Sister Edwards and her companion coming in from Lutsk. Sister Edwards didn't want us to pick her up, but I am a high maintainence sister and I don't like to carry my bags and so I pretty much make my district leader arrange it so I don't have to and I wanted to share the great generosity of the Elders with my beloved former companion.
We picked up them, then ran to grab something to eat, then got ready in the church bathroom for the baptism. Yes, you do not wear the some clothes on a train to a baptism. You just don't. Then it was 5:00 and I met Olya at the church to help her get ready. We got the food put out and everything ready for her baptism. She was SO happy, it was wonderful!
I kind of lost my companion, AKA, when Sister Edwards and I are together we kind of forget that we have companions. So we went on splits for the rest of the night. It was just wonderful, President Lattin and his wife came, the Bodells came, the senior couple, and there were so many missionaries that came as well. It was just wonderful! The orginal Uzh group was there, well, those of us who are still left in the country. We all got a picture together. It was perfect! We were all saying how happy we were for her and that we had been waiting for this day for a long time. It was so wonderful!
The room was completely full for the baptism. There were so many people there! It was wonderful, and she needs that support! Elder Hadfield gave a great talk on baptism and told the story of how she was found, since he had found her. We all cried. Then it was time for her baptism. Sister Edwards and I went with her. They have a building with a font in L'viv, which is super nice! We got to watch from the top of the stairs as she was baptized by Elder Ward. 
Funny thing, the ordinance of baptism doesn't take that long, really. It is just a few short seconds and in the span of eternity it is just a blink of an eye. Yet, it is just so important that we are baptized. Those few seconds are truely sacred and in such a short amount of time we really do so much by covenanting with God. It is truely just amazing!
She was baptized and walked up the stairs. I got to hug her first as I put the towel around her. Olya was baptized. We both cried as we hugged. She had done it. It was long wait for her, but she finally did it. She was so happy! 
I was with her as she got dressed and then we dried her hair, then the Branch President came and told us that we were taking too long. Whoops... it was all good though. There was a talk given on the Holy Ghost by a member in the branch then treats afterward.
It was so wonderful! Olya was off the wall, as you see in the pictures she was jumping all over me! We have so many goofy pictures, she was so excited! Sister Edwards and I stayed at the church cleaning up, and cutting her hair in the bathroom of the church and just talking. Olya was running in and out talking to us and talking to the Elders in the other room. 
Elder Terry, Elder Ward and Elder Millard were in the other room, we talked with them for a bit after, Olya was still there as well. We were laughing and talking about the days back in Uzh. I got to tell them my year mark was this month, they all said that it wasn't possible, I am the "baby." It was so fun to have us all together and celebrating Olya's baptism! AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I still am on cloud nine about it all.
I having been talking to Olya almost everday leading up to her baptism and then afterward as well. She was confirmed in sacrament meeting yesterday by Elder Hadfield. It was so wonderful! She called me right after church and told me all about it and how at peace she felt. I am so proud of her and so beyond happy for her. It was such a wonderful blessing in my life to watch her baptism and I am eternally grateful for her! She is just the best!
That was the main highlight of my week, mission, life.... pretty much everything. It was so wonderful! I am so eternally glad that I came on my mission and I can't imagine my life any other way. 
This week has just been wonderful, I have now been called as young women president, yay! So that is fun, we did an activity with them on Saturday, hair make up, pictures, they are all 14-16 and they love taking pictures of themselves. It was fun, we went to the park across from the church and enjoyed the really beautiful weather and took pictures. 
I also have a new companion, Sister Snyder. She is awesome! She is American but graduated high school in Ethiopia (cool, right?). We have had fun together. Sister Snyder has only ever served in L'viv, which is a big branch, so coming here is definately a little different than normal for her, but it is great though! I am excited to see how it goes! She just finished serving with my first little trainey, Sister Garrett. So, it is kind of funny to hear stories or things that Sister Garrett still does that she and I started together.
This week has just been a blast! I ahve been a little reflective because soon (as in like this Thursday), it is my year mark on my mission! WOW, can you believe it? I can't! It is just so crazy to think about, a whole year here and what a year it has been! It has been so hard, literally trying to kill me sometimes, but I would not trade a single second for anything else! This week Sister Wallace, my MTC companion, and I are going to go on exchanges on Thursday, we have to celebrate our missions the way we started them! I'm so excited! I hope that your weeks are awesome!

with love,
 Sister Shaughnessy

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