Kay’s Mission to Puerto Rico and Return Trip

LDS young men (18 yrs old) and women (19 yrs old) are given the choice to go on a mission. (informative video) Kay toyed back and forth about serving a mission, but finally decided that she wanted to serve the Lord full-time for 18 months, which is the amount of time most LDS girls serving missions serve. She was called by the Lord to serve in Puerto Rico speaking Spanish, which would have probably been her choice if she had it. It was the perfect call for her: far away, but civilized (a territory of the U.S.), Spanish speaking, but not so completely foreign. Since the mission committee prayed and knew her assignment through revelation, it was up to Kay to receive confirmation that this was REALLY the place for her. What her feelings were about that, I’m not sure, but she sent in her acceptance right away and we went shopping. 🙂 (another informative video)

She entered the Missionary Training Center Feb 12, 2014. She had a wonderful 6 weeks there. She loved the people of the Dominican Republic and got to visit the Dominican Republic Temple twice.

Her first assignment after entering the mission was in Antiga, an Island similar to Jamaica. Here is one of her first emails to us at home:

“Hey hey!

“It’s great to be talking with you today! First thing, I am so blessed to be a missionary. Sometimes I stare at my name tag and am surprised to see ‘Hermana Shaeffer’ along with Jesucristo’s there too. It’s a crazy good feeling. Second, I can’t believe I live in the Caribbean! It’s amazing! We see the ocean so often, somedays I don’t see another white person until I look in the mirror, and Curtis was right… everyone is relaxed here! haha That makes it easy to get along with people, but hard when others forget to be at home when we go to teach them. 

“‘Ayy mahn,’ and ‘No prollem,’ are some of the frequently used phrases here. They speak English, but it’s such a strong Caribbean/Jamaican accent that sometimes I have no idea what they’re saying! haha I miss Espanol a lot, but I know it’ll come later on in my mission. I’ve got time. In the meantime, I get some good practice with Hermana Archila!

“Being the only companionship on the entire island brings a lot of work! It’s overwhelming, considering how we don’t have enough time for everything we want to do, but it’s a blessing to stay busy. We have several investigators, extend invitations to everyone we talk to, and have some baptisms on the way! The hardest part is getting people to come to church. I think JD felt the same way. There hasn’t been much progressing with Devon yet (he’s been sick all week). We’ve also been working a lot with Wilcia and her baby Charlie (and have been meeting with her whole family!). I love her so much. She is so sweet, smart, and strong, and she knows she is ready for baptism, but I wish I could personally help her through some of her struggles right now. Hopefully we have her at church soon!

“General Conference came at the perfect time! Estoy muy agradecida por nuestro profeta, Thomas S. Monson. I was cheering through M. Russell Ballard’s talk on missionary work and Preach My Gospel! That was some good motivation. That book really is full of so much wisdom. If you want to know what missionaries do, just read it! Yesterday, Hermana Archila said I taught a lesson in my sleep. haha I guess it’s on my mind or something. haha

“Some adventures: Last PDay, we had a picnic on the beach! Fort James beach is about a mile from our house, and we are allowed to walk in the sand, so we did that for sure! It’s beautiful. Today, we went on the coolest hike along the southern coastline-English Harbour, Nelson’s dockyard, Falmouth Harbour, and Pigeon’s beach-and it was absolutely stunning. And the pictures truly don’t do it justice! We hiked early this morning with Brother Jones (who teaches physics at the big medical school here) and some of the YSA from our branch. We started first at the old navy forts where Antigua (then, a British colony) defended against pirates and their French enemies during the War of 1812 (around that time). I kept thinking of Pirates of the Caribbean! They filmed some of the movie in Dominica, not here, but it sure reminded me of the movie. haha

“Other things, there are dogs and goats running around everywhere, I got my Antiguan drivers license (it’s super weird to drive on the left side), my companion loves the recipes that Grammy gave me (thanks Grammy!), and we tried to teach a drunk guy one day (we didn’t know he was wasted until we had already started). haha

“I love you all so much!! Thanks for following along with my little emails. I wish you could all be here and see what’s happening! I’m so incredibly grateful to have this opportunity here on my mission and I am learning to love more and more everyday. Give Chloe a good cuddle for me, and tell Sally I miss her! haha And hugs to everyone!!! Thank you thank you thank you for your support,

“- Kay
Hermana Shaeffer”

Kay served in 4 areas: Antigua, Adjuntas Puerto Rico, Hato Rey/San Juan PR, and Isabela PR. She helped many people. Her mission was hard, as all missions are. She did the best she could and helped many people see the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now there is a great resource that all missionaries should read before they leave called, “Adjusting to Missionary Life.” It is also available in the LDS Gospel Library downloaded through the Gospel Library App. Unfortunately, Kay’s abilities near the end of her mission were limited by depression and anxiety.

Kay came home just after her year mark on a medical release. This was a very difficult time for her. There are details that I will not share – it is her story to tell, but we all do our best, considering everything. So many people LOVED her there and she LOVED them. We welcomed her home and supported her in the next steps of life, which for her has included: family trips, counseling, college, modeling school, work, more college and friend/dating relationships. We love Kay and are so proud of her! She is fun, spontaneous, musical, beautiful and a great sister to her brothers.

Last Convert before coming home: Martin in Isabella

We are proud of her service.

WOW! Duncan and I just returned from Puerto Rico with Kay! Going back to see her mission area was an important trip for all of us. We loved seeing the people she served, the areas she lived, the STREETS she walked and walked, her apartments where studied and slept in, and so much more. We now share memories of the sweet smelling ocean breezes, the coquis (little frogs), the generous and loving Puerto Ricans, and skinny winding jungle streets with Kay. Oh how we love Puerto Rico!

The Church is true! Missionaries are wonderful! Listen to them.A cool story of someone who did: Al Caraway. Missionaries truly are servants of the Lord. Repentance is real. Accept the Lord’s grace.

2 thoughts on “Kay’s Mission to Puerto Rico and Return Trip”

  1. Kay Shaeffer Zulanas

    I loved our trip to the island together! Sharing those experiences and sweet places with you and Dad will always be a great memory for me. It’s interesting to re-read my own emails from the time of my mission, because things certainly have changed over the last few years but I’m still me 🙂 I am proud of my service and time there. Puerto Rico will forever be close to my heart.

    1. I am glad you are the same “Kay.” You’ve always been a party on legs. The house, the park, the crowd is always funner when you are around. Puerto Rico is missing you for sure!

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