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

Monday, June 16, 2014

First week in Chernivtsi

Well, another week has come and gone! It has been an adventure and so many great things happened! So, on Monday we did the normal things and then Tuesday we said my final goodbye to a couple of members and then that was it. My life in K-Town was over. Wednesday morning I got on a train with Sister Wallace and the Elders and headed into L'viv.
Funny story.... we literally almost missed our train! We had to hop train tracks with all of our baggage (Sister Wallace had to be wearing heels that day as well). Literally, it was getting ready to pull away and we had to scream and wave to get them to wait for us as we jumped tracks and hopped on really quick. It was quite stressful!
The train ride was great into L'viv, we had a lot of fun talking, Sister Wallace and I, also with Elder Terry. In L'viv we got all our bags off and it was great, we were waiting for the mission driver to come and pick us up. As we waited a little gypsie boy came to beg. Sister Wallace and I successfully ignored him (missionaries can't give money out), so he decided to go over to Elder Terry and would NOT leave him alone. It was SO funny! He was punching his arm and begging. At one point, Elder Terry the mission President called him and as he was on the phone with President a huge spider was crawling across his face, so I start freaking out and was like screaming that he had this spider on his face, meanwhile this kid is still hitting his arm and begging for money and he just remains completely composed. So, to get the spider off, since we can't really touch him, we grabbed a shirt that was in a plastic bag that we were using to transport things and smacked the spider off. Mind you, this ENTIRE time he remained completely composed and did not do anything out of the ordinary as he was talking to President. It was so funny! When the mission driver finally come to get us the little boy tried to jump on the suitcases and tried to ride them. It was quite hilarious. We tried to get a picture, but it didn't work.
L'viv was so great! I got to have an interview with President. It was so awesome and he literally is just the best. I don't know how he does it, but he always says exactly what I need to hear. It is incredible. I got to be with Sister Petersen for a day as well! I LOVE SISTER PETERSEN! She was sick while we were there, so she slept and I studied and cleaned after having all those sisters in the apartment. It was still so great to see her though, we caught up and just laughed. We had so much fun! I also went to dinner with Sister Wallace, it was so great! There is a restaurant in L'viv that is owned by an American and it is a mexican restaurant. I literally cry everytime I walk in, there is just so much good about it! You have to love Mexican food in Ukraine! (Especially when they play American Country music at the restaurant, not that I listen to it...)
We also had a traumatic experience getting onto the train. We had so much stuff with all of us moving, we had two elders with us as well, and all the mail and Books of Mormon and everything else. It really was incredible to see how much stuff we had. It literally took the mission van and 2 taxi's to get all the stuff there. Also, they forgot to give us our train tickets, so as the elders are taking trips to the platform with the luggage Sister Moffit and I waited for another set of Elders to bring us our tickets they had forgotten to give us. It was SO crazy and SO stressful and I was laughing with Sister Moffit the whole time over it. We literally got all the stuff loaded on the train 2 minutes to spare, and it was not placed correctly yet, just thrown on. We had to orginize it later. It was just crazy!
The train ride into Chernivtsi was quite long, I was with Sister Moffit, a sister that is going to be a companion to Sister Radjhabova, another native. Those two are the other sister companionship in the area. It was really cool, I didn't know here very well before, but she is a sweetheart and really funny! She was coming from Uzh as well, so we had a lot that we could talk about since she just spent six months in my home city. It was really fun! We got into Chernivtsi super late that night.
I met my companion, Sister Matsiyatschik. She literally is the sweetest thing ever and she speaks NO english at all! Like, not kidding. She can count to 10 and say a couple of animal names and a few other random words, other than that, nothing. We are working on it though. So yeah, I speak the language literally 24/7 and the first day it killed me. I fell in bed at 10:00 and my head was just killing me. It has gotten better and I can also feel that my language has already gotten so much better and it is a lot smoother to speak. I genuinly miss english though, it sounds weird, but I sometimes put music on just so that I can hear some english words around me. Missionary work with a native is also very different. They are just treated differently than we are, it is really interesting how they do treat her verses how I have been treated before like a missionary.
Cultural things at home are weird as well, it is kind of funny! I don't think that she comprehends that I have already survived Ukraine for a year, like I know my way around and how to do things. It is so funny, she is shocked that I can and will do certain things and know how to do them. I am like, well yeah.... I have been here for a while. Also, their cooking. I LOVE UKRAINIAN FOOD! I mean, traditional dishes. On a regular basis it is just a ton of butter, rice and macaroni. That has been a bit different. Ever since being with Sister Edwards I have always eaten mostly just veggies and eggs and chicken, some fruit as well. Sister M, told me that it isn't healthy to eat just that everyday...? So I was like okay, well then lets do some macaroni with veggies and chicken that would be great and healthy, I can handle that. Yeah, butter in the noodles and the veggies and chicken were fried in oil. I was like, well, I tried. Needless to say, it is really good, but there are just some funny cultural things that throw each other off. She is SO BEYOND SWEET! I am suprised at how much we talk though, pretty sure that we are talking all the time. In Ukrainian. LOVE IT!
So, let us just talk about the city for a second. WOW!!!!!!!!! I literally just stepped into a postcard! Honestly, it really is beyond beautiful! Everytime we are on the street I am just looking around at all the architecture and the gardens and everything! LOVE IT! Then, the branch! WOW, it is a HUGE branch compared to the 6 active members we had in K-town. It pretty much functions with only the members and the members are just champs. A lot of have served missions and are endowed. They also are rockstars at missionary work! Really, incredible. We were on a lesson the other day and this lady started asking about God's wife and all these crazy things, like just imagine all the questions posed in the hymn, "If you could high to Kolob," (pretty sure that is what it would be in english) and that is pretty much what she was asking. Thank goodness for native speakers!!!! Like I would be able to answer that?! After the lesson the member set up another meeting for us with the investigator according to her schedule and then asked us if that would work so that she could help us again. I was like in shock! Ummm... yeah. That is what we are talking about people, member missionary work! It is just so incredible! I am excited to be here and to be doing this work!
How can you not love being a missionary!?
So, I have decided that I am in LOVE with LOVE! Like, have you ever heard about this gospel?! IT ALL GOES BACK TO LOVE! Let us just talk about it for a second... because I am obsessed with love! Everything, God created us because He LOVES us! We have free agencey because He LOVES us! Christ suffered for us because of His LOVE for us! I could go on and on... pretty much, just so you all know. It all goes back to LOVE! Love is the greatest commandment!
        Sister Shaughnessy

Monday, June 9, 2014

Being Transferred

Well, I don't even know where to begin for this week. It has been a week, that is for sure! I feel like a lot of things came together and a lot of things fell apart. It was good though, all are learning experiences right?! Well, let us start with the big news..... I AM BEING TRANSFERRED!!! Yup, next week at this time I will be going to a new area, my 4th area, and the weird thing, this will probably be my last area. Only three transfers left and I have spent 3 transfers in every area that I have been in. So that is weird. I am NOT old enough in the mission to have this happen. I may or may not been in denial!
However, I am SO excited to be transferred! Honestly, I am so sad to leave K-Town, part of my heart is being left here. However, there are so many exciting things that are coming up in the next couple of transfers that I am just SO excited!
Let us start with where I am going, I will be going to Chernivsti. Which, I heard, is beautiful! I will also be training, again! I guess that is my calling in life, to train. (I complain, but honestly, I really love training.) Just so you know, my new companion, Sister Matsiaschik is a native. She also speaks little to no english! WOW! President told me I was put with her because I like to talk so much, so I will learn Ukrainian  better and she will learn english. Or he just wants me to be quiet for once. I don't really know. I am SUPER excited though! All of you who make fun of how bad my english is right now... oh you just wait. It is all down hill from here, my friends!
Yesterday, I gave my final talk in K-town. It was an interesting experience. After speaking I was sitting in Sunday School and the lesson was on Gifts of the Spirit. I specifically remember this lesson from Uzhgorod. It was given on the first Sunday I ever spoke in Ukraine. Elder Terry was there as well, he was with me in my first area. We were talking after, we both remembered it. Really weird, things are coming full circle. It is so weird to see how much I have changed in this past year.
I have had to come to terms this week with the fact that I am just an old missionary! That is just how it is... I was on exchanges with Sister Wallace this week, we were companions in the MTC. We were talking about how tired we are, missionary work is just tiring. It is kind of cool to see that we literally have worn out everything that we have to this work. On that depressing note...
It has been a good week though, we did exchanges with the other sisters, that was fun! I colored some hair, putting my hairdressing skills to use and had a great time with Sister Jardine. I have never served around her, so it was so fun to get to know her. She has also spent a lot of time in Chernivtsi so I got to hear all about it from her. It was so lovely!
Then, I got to excersize one of my other "talents" as my companion, Sister Snyder, likes to put it. I got sick. again. I spent days pretty much in bed dying from some kind of flu that killed me. I was so tired, headache, I felt like I had literally got hit by a truck and some throwing up in there for good effect. It was quite fun, I just love being sick. :( Don't worry, all is good now. Sister Wallace had been sick earlier in the week with some kind of bug, we think that is got passed along from exchanges. You know, my luck here in Ukraine.I am good now, so that is a plus. It gave me time to pack as well, so that was a plus.
That was pretty much it for the week! I am getting old, I have to leave part of my heart in another wonderful city in Ukraine and fall in love with another. Crazy, at the beginning of my mission to leave a city was the worst thing that could happen, now I am always sad to leave, but I know that where I go it is where the Lord wants me to be and there are amazing people there that I get to love.
I hope that you all have a great week!
Sister Shaughnessy

Encourage us to read the Book Mormon

WOW!!!!!!!!!! What a week... I literally don't know where it went! Sister Snyder and I have literally had an adventure full week. First, we got lost trying to find an investigators house, on what I think was the hottest day of my life. We had totally forgotten to write down her number because we had rushed out the door for registration things that morning and just never had the chance to run home. We finally got to her house, 2 hours late. We made it though and were able to have a lesson with her on the Plan of Salvation. We also got to meet her two neighbors that were sitting out front. They were so nice and sweet! They were just so cute, sitting out on the benches and talking in the shade trying to find any relief from the heat.
Wednesday was just the best day of my life. Literally, it was so funny! We spent most of the day out contacting. It was hot and muggy, but fun! We randomly ran into SO many people that we knew, being able to help them with a little thing here or there, so those were mini miracles that were lovely. There is also a park here in K-town that has bears, so we went and contacted there. We got to see bears, swans and some ducks. Oh, and turkeys. It was so fun! It was a good chunk of time to be out on the streets, but we just had so much fun, laughing the whole way! We talked to a few people, but no one was super interested.
On the way home, we took a very long, round about way that made no sense. We, ourselves, got contacted by this perfume sales lady. That was weird. I really hope I do not sound like that when I talk to people about the gospel, that was a strange experience. Walked away from that one laughing. We were almost home, so hungry and ready to eat dinner and then Sister Snyder said hello to this lady on the street. She stopped and asked from where she knew us, I told her that we didn't know each other. We are from America as missionaries and we just simply like talking to people on the street. Her name is Maya and she is super sweet.
She was on her way to her great-granddaughter's dance concert and asked us if we would like to go with her. I told her "Sure! Why not?!" So, we just follow this randome lady we met 2 minutes before to a concert hall to watch her 6 year old great-granddaughter's dance concert. Funny story, we actually ended up running into a girl and her mom that we had been working with. That was fun! We talked with them for a minute. So, we go to this concert, and we meet her daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter. They were all super great and nice! We had a great time talking and laughing as we waited for the concert to start!
The concert started.... the first number -no joke- 12-14 year olds doing the chicken dance. Second number, the macarana. WE WERE DYING! Sister Snyder and I were like, what did we get ourselves into, this is hysterical! We were thinking it was going to be some kind of really great cultural dance thing. NOPE! The chicken dance!
The little 6 year old, she was a doll. Her group was all dressed like gnomes and they did their dance. It was cute. Sadly, we couldn't stay for the full thing, we had to go to family night. So, we leave early and walk outside. Downpour! It was raining SO hard! It was ridiculous... oh and I look down. Totally was wearing a white shirt. That was embarrassing! Wel literally ran to the church and were completely soaked by the time we got home, it was ridiculous! It was so fun though.
It has not stopped raining since, that is incredible! It was so hot last week and this week we are back to coats and boats. Ukrainian weather, what the heck!?
This week has been full of adventure and miracles, we have had so many tender mercies. We were able to find a new investigator and have a potential from one of the Young Women in the branch, she is a rockstar! We went to her friends house the other day with her and we colored her friends hair. It was so fun to have a good time laughing with them, and just rejoicing in the light of this gospel as we drank tea and ate polish chocolate.
This gospel truly is such a light in our lives! I am so grateful for it and the opportunity I have everyday to grow and to share this message with people, whether in a lesson, service or even a smile! :)
Keep on smiling!
I would like to encourage everyone to read the Book of Mormon with me.  I have about four months left and I am starting to read it again, so I would like to come home with everyone just finishing the Book of Mormon.  Take notes.