I can't believe |'m really here! It's crazy!! So wednesday afternoon we landed in Donetsk, got through customs with no problems and met the Camperos and the Assistants. The Camperos are literally the sweetest most adorable people on the planet. President Campero's english is okay and Sister Campero hardly speaks any but she is so great. They just kept telling us over and over how we were making history in our mission. Before we arrived there were 11 sisters and now there are 21! So yep if you do the math, every single sister who came before us is training right now. Crazy town. So we went to President's house to have dinner and have interviews with president. It was so nice to be in a real house! Then we all stayed the night in the Assistants' apartment and they stayed at President's house. The next day we had transfer meeting where we all met our trainers and found out our areas. It's so funny, i don't know if this is how they do it everywhere but when they announce the transfers we all stand in a big circle and when your name is announced you run into the circle and hug your companion and everyone claps. It was way funny because they called my name and I ran into the circle and hugged this sister but then they were like, "wait actually it's sister parker not sister shrek" so i hung my head in shame and walked away.Haha it was way funny because everyone thought I actually felt bad but I was just making a joke of it. Anyways, I'm serving with Sister Erekson (yep that's how it's spelled) in Lugansk! Some people claim that we're the first sisters ever to serve in Lugansk, but we've also heard that there were some sisters here about 7 years ago, (but that was from Lance this crazy guy in our branch who just showed up here from america 3 years ago and no one knows why he's here. he's really entertaining but not necessarily the most reliable source on information). Anyways, we're gonna stick with the story that we're the first sister missionaries ever to step foot in lugansk because it's a way cooler story! Making history left and right here people! My trainer is amazing. I'm the fourth sister she's trained so you know she knows what's up She only has 2 transfers left (she actually extended so that she could help train the new sisters, she's gonna miss her older sister's wedding because of me!) but she's determined to finish strong so don't worry, we're working hard. But listen to this scary news: in 6 weeks we're gonna get a brand new companion who sister erekson and i will kind of train together although sister erekson will technically still be training me (the training program is 12 weeks) but then sister erekson goes home and i have to finish training this sister by myself! that means 12 weeks from now i'm supposed to be the one in charge who makes phone calls and navigates the bus system and understands all the crazy old people at church! I can't even do any of those things in english!! I actually don't feel as scared as I know I should be, but everyone I've talked to said that their Russian really started to come once they were senior companion and they had to understand because there was no one there to fall back on. Hopefully that's true for me!After transfer meeting we went back to President's house and had a sisters conference with all the 21 sisters in our mission. We started off by skyping with the counselor/psychiatrist for all the missionaries in the eastern european area. She pointed out something that I really needed to hear. She told us that most sisters don't follow the commandment "Love thy neighbor as thyself" because we forget about the last part. She said she thinks someone snuck into our house at night and opened our bibles and crossed out the "as" and wrote "instead of." It's true in missionary work that you need to forget yourself and "lose yourself" in the work, but you also can't be an effective missionary if you don't take care of yourself. I really liked that and I'm glad she shared that with us.
Anyways, I'm sure the rest of the sisters conference was really good, but I wouldn't know because I missed it. Sister Rohrbaugh's kidney stone started moving and she was in a ton of pain. We went into a bedroom in Presidents house and she laid down on the bed. I held her hand and sang her primary songs as she screamed and rolled around in pain. It was probably the hardest thing I've ever done. It was so hard for me to see her in so much pain and know that there was nothing I could do about it. She asked me to come up with some reasons as to why this was happening to her right then. It was actually really good for me to think about why God gives us trials. I told her that maybe the Lord wanted her to know how strong she was, and the realize that she can handle a lot more than she ever realized. I said maybe she needs to be able to empathize with people that she will be serving. I reminded her of what Elder Scott promised us when he came to the MTC. He said that we will never be asked to do something we cannot accomplish. At one point it got really bad and she asked why Heavenly Father wasn't there to help her. I promised her that He was there, she just couldn't see Him and she calmed down a lot. I have never felt so humble or helpless in my life. I don't know why Sister Rohrbaugh had to go through that but I know why I did. I realized that the hardest thing for me on my mission will be to see people suffering whom I cannot help. I know that my message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can literally help every person no matter what they're going through, but they have to accept it. I can handle trials and pain because I know where to turn, but it kills me to see other people suffer when they don't know how to find peace. I am grateful to be on a mission so that I can help more people find peace and comfort in this life. Anyways, she got a priesthood blessing and started to do better and eventually president campero called some paramedics who came and took her to a clinic where she got stronger pain medication. The next day she had a scan and they confirmed that there are actually two kidney stones. This was a few days ago so hopefully they are both passed by now and she's doing all better but I haven't heard from her yet. It was kind of a scary welcome to Ukraine but i'm just glad that I was there to help her. It was so hard to say goodbye and not be her companion anymore!