Category Archives: Yeonsu Area

Transfer Time

Well, transfer calls came this weekend and I’m going to transfer to my second area- Gimpo (김포) and be companions with my first American companion since the MTC, Sister T!!!  I’m really excited to see how it is, but saying goodbye to everyone in my lovely Yeonsu has been heartbreaking.  I just love them so much, but I really am excited to open my heart and love those living in Gimpo.

Yeonsu is a little southwest of Incheon. Now I’ll be in the Gimpo area.

I don’t think I could have had a better last Sunday in Yeonsu.  Our investigator, Brother Yoon was baptized after church and everything just went perfect.  Over the past few weeks, and through Korean EFY (Especially For Youth), he has made a lot of member friends who all showed up to support him.  He seems really excited about the future (learning more about the church, going to the temple, and serving a mission).  It was great to see how much he has progressed and see him make the first sacred covenant along his path back toward Heavenly Father.

There were lots of people that were saying goodbye to me at church and taking pictures and exchanging emails and such…but one girl really touched my heart.  She came up to me and held my hands and told me she was going to miss me.  She’s a member who I love, but that I don’t always understand.  I told her how much I loved her too and she started crying a little bit.  She told me that I really had helped her feel loved and welcome in the ward when she was going through a hard time.  I had no idea that this had ever happened or how it happened, so I was a bit confused and surprised.  She told me, however, that every Sunday she could feel my love and see it in my eyes, and that meant more to her and helped her more than any words could.

Pictures of lovely Yeonsu Ward members

It taught me that I don’t have to have elaborate conversations (though I try and study my hardest everyday in order to do so in Korean) to share my love.  True Christlike love transcends cultures, languages, and any other obstacles that may stand in the way.  Christlike love is everything.  I really believe that.

I hope you have the best of weeks!  LOVE YOU! 사랑해요!

Sister Stastny ❤

 

Bugs and Baptism

안녕하세요!

Another week in Korea and I feel blessed beyond belief.  There’s been a lot of crazy bugs everywhere lately.  I attached a picture of a spider (my camera takes lots of blurry photos- sorry), and a demonic looking creature crawling on the sidewalk that belongs in a horror movie.  What is it!  I have no idea, but I was pretty intrigued with it-hence why I took a picture:)

 

MOVING ON… This coming Sunday our investigator- Bro. Y. is preparing to be baptized! Woooohh!!  It’s amazing!!! Brother Y. is 18 years old (maybe, I still haven’t learned how to convert the Korean age to American age so that’s a round about guess). His mom, Sis. P. is a member that hadn’t been to church in 20 years when Sister H. and I found her.  We started meeting with her every week and doing our 30/30 program with (30 minutes English/30 minutes Gospel).  We taught her for about 6 weeks…and there was absolutely no progress.  She was really impatient and there seemed to be nothing that was able to touch her heart.

One day, we talked about prayer.  She told us she had never felt good, peaceful, or happy, when she tried praying.  We taught about what to pray for and how we can be more sincere in our prayers, and she agreed to give it one shot.  She said the closing prayer and something was different in the house.  We all could feel it.  When she said “아멘” Amen, there were tears in her eyes and she looked at us and told us she felt it.  She felt the Holy Ghost.

Ever since that experience, she has been reading the Book of Mormon and the Liahona daily and coming to church weekly.  Her kids, after watching their mom change, were understandably intrigued and started coming to church with her.  Her son, Bro. Y., loved his experience at church so much that he actually came to the bishop and asked him how he could be baptized.  Since Sis. K. is Korean, we were summoned to teach all the lessons and answer any of his questions so he could be ready to be baptized soon.

Yesterday, we had a lesson with him and his mom, and he bore testimony to us about the commandments and the truthfulness of the church.  It was really powerful!  In his closing prayer, he told God that he knew he was living and there (“하나님 게신다는 것을 알고있습니다”), and it just was the best thing I’ve ever heard.  When he ended, his mom was just in tears.

I came over to hold her hand and she looked in my eyes and told me, “Thank you for waking me up.” I don’t think anything could have meant more to me.  I still can’t speak Korean perfectly, but God is helping me fulfill my purpose and invite others to come closer to Christ. It was a really touching. I’m so excited for him to make such a special covenant with God.  I’ll tell you how it went next week!

사랑해요!

Sister Stastny

International Ward

This week I taught Sunday School!!! Not in Korean, thankfully, but English.  Our ward is turning international.  We have a lovely investigator who is from London, England, who comes every week; one set of Elders have an investigator from Russia; and the others have an investigator from Ghana.  In addition to that, we also have an American family in our ward who are such a blessing… so this week I taught a separate Gospel doctrine class to all those who can speak English.  I was a bit scared because everyone is from different backgrounds and at different levels of their understanding (of English and the Gospel), but everything turned out okay.  Heavenly Father helped out a lot and the spirit was felt.

I just love our Yeonsu ward so much!  Anybody that comes in–regardless of what language they speak, what race they are or where they are from–are loved.  They are all part of a bigger family…God’s family.  Even if they can’t understand each other, they still find ways to show their love.  They really are showing me what Christ-like love is.

Mission Moments:

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On a random, fun fact note, there are millions of cicatta’s in Korea right now.  They’re so loud that it’s sometimes hard to hear people on the phone.  Little kids like to catch them by the dozens and play with them in the parks.  It’s fun.

Pictures of my perfect Yeonsu after a rainstorm. I love Korea!

 

Also, we bought Korean pizza this week. Sweet potato pizza and regular potato pizza. It’s not really anything like American pizza, but I think I like it better.

Anyway, I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

❤ Sis. Stastny

Burger King and Humidity

안녕하세요! Annyeonghaseyo!

Have I expressed to you how much I love 연수 (Yeonsu), my area?  Because I really love it a lot.  I’ve been here about 4-1/2 months and I’m pretty sure I could stay here the rest of my mission and be just fine.  I love the ward, I love the people I’m teaching, and I love our apartment.  Our bishop is great, too.  He lives in the fanciest apartment I have ever seen and his favorite place to take us and everyone he knows is to Burger King.  He loves it.  It makes me feel sick every time because I’m used to my rice, kim (dried seaweed), and kimchi…but bishop is so thrilled to have the opportunity to take us, our investigators, our ward members, and anyone else.. to Burger King, so I eat it to make him happy. I just love Koreans.  They’re the greatest.

It hit a record of about 32 degrees celcius (90~F) this week and what feels like 100% humidity, but I heard that 인천 (Incheon) is actually a bit cooler than what 서울 (Seoul) is, so I’m pretty blessed.  We don’t have any air conditioning in our apartment, but we have a big and small fan, so we just sit in front of it full blast and we’re fine.  I’ve never been in a place so humid though! It’s a bit claustrophobic-feeling because you breathe in and you don’t seem to be getting much air.  It feels like you’re half way underwater or something. It’s an adventure for sure, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I know that God lives, and that he does hear and answer our prayers!  I really am grateful to have the opportunity to share what I love so much to such wonderful people!  Missionary work is the greatest!  I love you and miss you!  Have a great week!

항복하세요! hangbokhaseyo! Stay happy!

❤ Stastny자매

 

The New Duo

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Well, I got my new companion–Sister K.  And she is really sweet.  She doesn’t know much English so I’ve been studying Korean extra hard to understand and communicate.  I realized from being with her that I actually am not the worst at Korean.  I can understand most of what she is saying when she speaks to me, It’s just speaking and explaining important things that is difficult.  There are a lot of people to take care of in our area and I want to make sure Sister K understands everyone’s situation in full.  She’s a super quick learner though.  Before she came to church last Sunday, she almost had every member’s name memorized!

Mission Moments:

The weather is getting hotter and hotter.  People have actually offered us towels when we come into their house because we’re so damp from sweat and humidity…super attractive, right!  Our investigators are really sad that Sister H left, but they seem to be adjusting nice to Sister K.  She’s really sweet and a great teacher.  I’m excited to learn from her.

 

I’m glad you (my family) got to try cucumber kimchi. I really like cabbage kimchi cooked up with water and meat or tofu–it’s called a kimchi stew.  It’s really yummy.   All is going well!

❤ Sis. Stastny

 

New Companion

This week we had our transfer calls and….I’m staying in 연수 Yeonsu and being put with  곽 남희 자매님 (Sis. Kwak N). She’s Korean if you didn’t guess already.  I haven’t met her yet, but she looks really lovely!  I’m really lucky to have her as a companion because we don’t have as many Korean missionaries compared to other missions, so I’m really blessed.  It will be a great opportunity to learn more Korean and to help her learn more English (since lots of the people we teach are more comfortable with English than Korean).  I will try to send some photos next week 🙂

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Sister H is moving to a different zone to be a sister training leader 🙂 I’ll miss her.  Last week she told me about how her mom accidentally decapitated a kangaroo while driving through the bush in Australia.  I’ll miss her and her crazy Australian stories–haha!  It might be a good thing being with someone else though because I have picked up an Australian accent involuntarily.  I didn’t really think so, but Sister Morrise (our mission president’s wife) called up the other day and we chatted for a couple minutes, and then she asked if she could speak to Sister Stastny!  She seriously thought I was Sister H by the way I was talking!  We laughed so much about it!  Hopefully I can pick up a Korean accent soon.

Mission Moments:

This week we had a massive thunder and lightning storm.  I woke up at 3 in the morning because it was literally shaking our whole apartment building.  It was pretty scary at first because I wasn’t sure if it was a thunder storm or not…But it was! And lightning was cracking and thunder was roaring like nothing I’ve ever seen.  It was massive!  It was really neat.  The best part was after we had woken up and done our studies the next day, everything was completely dry and fine.  I love the summer in Korea.

Anyway, all is going well and I’m excited to see what miracles this next week bring!

❤ Sis. Stastny

Missionaries and Members

First off, I’m really excited that you might get to try 오이김치 cucumber kimchi!  [Mom’s note: A Hawaiian sister in our ward asked if she could make the family some]  Ummmm!   Jealous!  It’s so good!  I learned that you can kimchi-fy almost anything.  This week I tried octopus and squid kimchi.  It was really good.  Octopus and swimmy creatures used to freak me out, but they’ve grown on me a lot.  They’re quite a delicacy.  This week I ate a whole baby octopus at a Chinese restaurant that a member took us to (dead, not alive thank goodness).   It was really good, kind of chewy, a bit inky, but good 🙂

Wow!  This transfer, our goal as a mission was to pray for our ward and the leaders of the ward!  We’ve seen a lot of miracles from it.  When I first got to this area, there weren’t any investigators coming to church, and the missionaries weren’t invited to any of the ward meetings.  Now, however, we have investigators coming to church and less-active members being reactivated, all of the missionaries are invited and involved in ward meetings, and the ward is just stoked about missionary work!

Lately, lots of the members have been texting us for the phone numbers of our investigators and the people we are working with because they really want to help.  They are so excited about missionary work!  It’s great!  We actually have to regulate who can teach with us lately because so many people want to help!  The Yeounsu ward is my absolute favorite!  I love everyone.

It’s amazing what happens when the ward members take simple steps to befriend and just sit by those that are new or looking into the church.  Because we can’t watch out for everyone that comes to church, the trust that is between us and the member keeps the work progressing and everyone taken care of.  Every week our small ward keeps getting fuller and  and it keeps becoming more like a family!   I really have a testimony that missionary work is 100x more effective when members and missionaries work side by side!  It’s the only way to do things!

Mission Moments:

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I think this V shaped thing is famous, but I’m not sure.  I just thought it went well with the cute Korean vegetable garden:)

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A view of Korea from an apartment on the edge of Songdo.

A view from the top floor in our bishop’s apartment.  Holy smackeroles.  Songdo is so cool! I don’t know what he does for work, but he has the nicest apartment I’ve ever seen.  He’s always inviting people over and having huge meals with the ward.  The view from his apartment is spectacular!

I hope you have a good week!

사랑합니다!

Sister Stastny

 

Baptism and Promises

This week was amazing!  Our 사랑하는 Sister investigator was baptized!  It was such a beautiful day!

A pair of Elders in our ward came to the church early to scrub the font and get rid of spiders (our font hasn’t been used in a year, I think).  We also came early and deep cleaned the girl’s bathroom so Sister L wouldn’t have to walk with her bare feet on dirty tiles.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThere were a lot of ward members that came to support her (which was nice, because none of her family and friends could make it).  I really love everyone in our ward.  They were so excited and supportive.  They have treated her like family since the beginning.  A couple of sisters in the ward even wrote her notes and brought food for after the baptism, even though they’d only met her a couple of times.  I love the ward!

Sister L was a bit nervous when it came time for the ordinance.  She understood how important baptism was and didn’t want to do anything wrong.  The first time she went under the water her hair came up, so they had to perform the ordinance again.  She was shaking from her head to her toes.  But the second time they performed the baptism, she was completely immersed and she relaxed a lot.

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As she walked out of the font and we handed her a towel, she just started sobbing.  During my entire time with Sister L, I have never seen her cry.  She’s a really strong-willed and independent lady, and it shocked us to see her crying.

She told us at first it was because she forgot to bring dry underclothes to change into, so Sister H ran to get help and a sister in the ward volunteered to run to a store.  As Sister H was out though, Sister L started crying into her towel and I heard her say 약속 Yaksok, which in Korean means “promise.”  Then she told me how she had fulfilled her promise with God.

A while back, before she had any religion, or really any belief in God, her sister was diagnosed with heart cancer.  During this trial, she decided to pray to God, and told Him that if He would heal her sister, she would do her best to follow God the rest of her life.

She made that promise with God before she even knew about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but she knew that by accepting the ordinance of baptism by someone holding the proper authority of God, she was fulfilling her promise with God… and nothing had ever felt so special to her.

Even though she was soaking wet, after she told me this, I just hugged her as tight as I could and cried tears of joy with her.

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I wish I could write exactly what I felt at her baptism, but it was almost beyond words.  It was one of the happiest moments in my life.  It reminded me of a quote by President Heber J. Grant:

“I know nothing that brings greater joy to the human heart than laboring at home or abroad for the salvation of souls.  I know nothing which gives us a greater love of all that is good, than teaching this Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

For Sis. L’s baptism, we wanted to do something really special.  So last P-day we started making a baptism Memory Book that has a bunch of things about why we love her, and a bunch of scriptures that we hope will prepare her to someday enter the temple. We had people at her baptism and at church the next day sign it and write notes, or their favorite scripture or hymns.  We even had a cute primary girl draw a picture in it for her 🙂  We seriously have such an amazing ward where I am serving!

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Also, after her baptism, you better believe that we went to Taco Bell and got Mexican food (it was only triple the price of what it is in the U.S., but Sister L wanted it, so we got it. 🙂

I know this is the true church of Jesus Christ once again restored to this Earth.  I know Heavenly Father lives and loves us, and that He does answer prayers.  I know Jesus Christ is His Son and the Savior of the world.  I’m so thankful I have the opportunity to share what I know and love with others!

❤ Sister Stastny

Happy Days

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Me and my new friend –and the V for Victory sign

This coming week our 사랑하는 investigator is going to be baptized!!!  She is the one I told you about a couple weeks ago who started keeping the Word of Wisdom before we even taught her about it and a million other miraculous things!  We are so happy for her!  It’s amazing because we haven’t had to push her or anything.  We simple teach and testify, and she studies and acts on what we teach her to see if it’s true.  She’s a miracle.

This past week, we taught her about temples and how she can be baptized for her ancestors who didn’t have an opportunity to receive the gospel while on this Earth.  She was so excited because she really wants to live in the 해의영광 (Celestial kingdom) someday, and she’s excited that her deceased family can have the opportunity to live there, too.

Also this week, we started meeting with a Nepali girl who we met while talking to people on the street.  She’s doesn’t know much Korean, so she’s pretty happy to have someone who can speak English with her.  She’s Hindu, and is the first person I’ve met that has had an arranged marriage.  She told us about it and how it took a pretty long time (11 days) to get married, but she’s completely head over heels for her husband.  It’s pretty adorable.  She loves to talk about everything good about her husband and is so kind and dear.  She’s definitely filled with the pure love of Christ.  We like her a lot.

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In other news, I ate 순대 sundae (not like an ice cream sundae, but pronounced ‘soon-deh’).  In essence, it’s pig intestines filled with coagulated blood.  The dish I had was topped with some nice liver, too.  It didn’t make me gag, so I would call it good.

Mission Moments:

Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful week!  I loved hearing from everyone!  Tell Norbert, the bearded dragon that Curtis bought, “안녕!”  from me! Ha ha. McCall looked beautiful by the way!!!  So glad you are having a great summer!

❤ Sister Stastny

 

Speaking by the Spirit

Annyeonghaseyo!

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This week has been pretty fun!  Yesterday was the best.  We had a surprise person come to church.  She is this gorgeous 40-year-old girl (who looks like she is–no exaggeration–21).  She used to attend our English class, but got so busy she had to stop coming.  We met with her once and gave her an overview of the Gospel, but she told us she didn’t have much interest.  She does, however, have a couple friends in the church because of English class and has been hanging out with them a lot lately.

Anyway, on Sunday, we see her walking up to church in high-waisted mini shorts, high heels, and a Marilyn Monroe crop top.  Haha!  She didn’t seem to feel out of place, and because we were so happy that she came at all, we decided we would tell her about church dress code another time.  She sat next to her friend that she knew from English class and seemed really comfortable.  We even noticed her during the passing of the Sacrament with her head down and eyes closed–praying!  She’s wonderful! She told us that our church was a lot different from any other Korean church, but that she liked it a lot and wanted to come again.  Sweet!  We love her and we know God loves her too!

Mission Moments:

I also ate a whole chicken filled with rice at a member’s house yesterday.  That’s random, but because I only had metal chopsticks to take the meat apart with, I would say it was a feat for sure.  It was really good!  I’ve never eaten anything like it before.

Everyone seems to be asking how I’m doing with the language lately.  I’m not fluent, but everyday I’m picking up on new words and understanding something that I couldn’t the day before.  It’s a slow process, but I’m trying my hardest and Heavenly Father helps me with the rest.

Something I learned early on about the Gift of Tongues is that it’s not the ability to speak fluently, but the ability to speak by the Spirit.

We’ve been teaching this less-active lady for a while that told me this week that even though I don’t  speak perfectly, and it’s hard to understand me at times, she feels the spirit when I speak because of simple sincerity, and that’s what’s been moving her to read the Book of Mormon and pray a little more every week.

It’s humbling, but once I rely wholly on the Lord, He provides the way for His work to get done.  Not knowing the language perfectly doesn’t hinder the Lord’s work as long as I’m doing what He wants me to do.  So don’t worry! Have a good week!

❤ Sister Stastny

More Pics of Songdo-the crazy man-made island in our area. Check out the picture of me and a mural of a Van Gogh painting I came across in an apartment complex one day.  So sweet. I love Korea!

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Looking to Serve

안녕하세요!

This week we worked really hard to find another service opportunity in addition to teaching our free English class on Fridays.  We didn’t find a weekly activity like we had planned, but we did find a plethora of unplanned service activities and it was so great!

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We helped a girl in our ward sew her wedding dress this week since her parents don’t approve that she’s marrying another Latter-day Saint and aren’t supporting her with the wedding.  This is a funny service activity because we both don’t know how to sew, yet somehow Sister H and I were able to pin and stitch things so it looked pretty nice.  It helps a lot that this girl in our ward is absolutely gorgeous.

I’ve always wanted to help an old lady cross the road like they do in movies, but I’ve never had the opportunity.  Well…fancy that, because this week we happened to notice at a cross walk a sweet old lady with a walker who looked petrified by the cars going by.  So like a cliche right out of the movies, we slowly but surely guided her across the road holding her hand.  Once we got to the other side of the street she touched our faces and then told us thank you and we just felt so good our hearts were about to burst!

We also had an opportunity to help a lost old lady find her way to the police station and that was beautiful.  She was so kind and thankful.

The point of sharing all these experiences is to let you know that if you are searching for service, Heavenly Father will place opportunities in your path…and it’s awesome!  Service is the thing that always can lift me up even on the hardest days.  I know that “when you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of you God,” (Mosiah 2:17), and serving God is the best!

I love you!

사랑합니다!

스타스니자매

Mission Moments:

 

Staying Put

This week we had transfer calls.  Every 6 weeks the mission President and the assistants to the mission president give us a call to let us know if we are staying in our area with the same companion or not.  All the new missionaries stay with their trainers for at least 12 weeks (which is how long I’ve been with Sister H).

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Anyway, the night of transfer calls we were pretty nervous to see what was going to happen and I stress-cleaned the entire apartment, but Sister H and I got the call AND… We get to stay with each other another transfer!!!  Boo-yah!

President actually told us a little before transfer calls that he loves and thinks we’re one of the best companionships in the mission.  I’m not sure if that’s true and he just says that to everyone, but we do get on really well.  We are so excited because miracles are starting to happen in 연수 Yeonsu and we have high hopes that more miracles are yet to happen.

We have a beautiful investigator who we met last week.  She saw the elders in our area on a bus speaking Korean and English, and she approached them and asked if she could buy a Korean Book of Mormon for her sister who lives in America. So naturally, they gave it to her for free and got her number and referred her to us.

She is one of the prepared people that you only hear about in stories.  After meeting with us once, she started researching online all about the church and talking to her friends and family that are members.  Before we taught her the Word of Wisdom, we learned that she was already trying to keep it (which isn’t easy since green tea is in almost everything in Korea, and she loves coffee).

In short, she is wonderful, and she, through the Spirit, her studies, her LDS friends and family members, is changing her life to come closer to God. It’s amazing.  Sister H and I know that we really aren’t the ones that are doing anything in her conversion process.  It’s the Spirit that is doing everything.  We just are sitting back and watching it all happen.

Our lessons with her usually consist of us teaching her what she already had been studying and cheering her on as she commits to live the laws and principles of the Gospel.  We extended to her an invitation to receive baptism and the Holy Ghost and she’s really working hard to be prepared for her date.  After we taught her the Plan of Salvation and the requirements to get into the Celestial Kingdom, she really is excited about baptism.

Yesterday she came to church and was writing notes about what the speakers during Sacrament Meeting were saying (which members don’t even do), participating during Sunday School and Relief Society, and talking to all the members.  Sister H and I were blown away.  We are trying really hard to become the kind of missionaries that a person like her deserves.

Holy Schamoles!  Your hike looks so fun and beautiful! [The family did Angel’s Landing and The Narrows in Zion National Park this past week}  Someday when I get back from my mission I want to go there 🙂

People love hiking in Korea.  They’re so active.  In Korea, when people go hiking though, they always where legit hiking clothes that cover their arms and legs completely, and they usually have a hat/visor on too, because everyone is trying to be as pale as they can.  They think it’s the weirdest thing that westerners want to be tan.  Because it takes more effort to try not to tan (especially in Korea during the humid summer where everyone bakes like cakes), it’s a sign of beauty the more paler you are.  People think I’m really pretty because of how pale my skin is haha. It’s my least favorite compliment:

“Ooh!  Your skin is so pale!”

“Thanks..I guess”

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Me and a friend from the ward

Anywhere else I’d be a pasty translucent mess, but I think it’s smart not to try to be tan.  Less chance of getting skin cancer and everything.  Anyway, it’s amazing what’s happening and I’m excited for more miracles!

❤ Sister Stastny