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

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