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.