Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Here we go 2014


Tonight my companion and I will celebrate New Years 2014 by eating 12 grapes. A Guatemalan tradition I guess. It sounds good to me because I like grapes and I like traditions. So there is an unstoppable combo. 


My companion and I
 
 

My week..It was nice. Everyone in Belize says 'nice' btw. Like when they're talking about something where Americans would use 'good'--they say nice. It’s kind of creepy to me for some reason but I am working really hard to get over that. I may have to start counseling soon. I don’t really know. 

 

SKYPING WITH MY FAMILY WAS THE BEST THING EVAAA. just so everyone can know that the Hirschis are the best!

 

So another juicy fact about Belizeans. They like Christmas. BUT. They don’t eat pie...instead they eat cake. Cake and sprite--chocolate cake to be exact. Before my mission I was something of a connoisseur of chocolate cakes. I was always team cake. I almost despised pie. But how the tides have changed. I ATE SO MUCH CAKE THIS WEEK. And it brought to mind a certain beloved childhood film. Do any of you remember the movie Matilda?? About the magical little girl that goes to the school with the evil lady? I know my details are a bit foggy...but remember the part when Bruce has to eat a HUGE chocolate cake by himself bc he stole one tiny peace? And the principal makes him eat the entire thing? And how the film supports child abuse more or less? But then how Matilda stands up and cheers him on while he is finishing the cake? "BRUCE BRUCE BRUCE" well that happened to me this week. Albeit only in my mind. But it happened. Because the 26th I ate at least 3 cakes. Solo. And at one house a lady offered us some cake, and of course we always oblige people. But the problem lies in serving sizes. Whenever people give missionaries food it’s enough to sustain a country for a minimum of 2 months. The kind women brought us chocolate cake--the size of my head. I thought I was going to die, but I put that cake down. Granted it took me almost 45 minutes, but I did it. And I could hear Matilda chanting my name the entire time.

 

Also I drank wood juice this week. At the insistence of a very kind investigator named E*** is a true champ and he loves all the herbs that grow naturally in the forests of Belize. He also loves to take the bark and brew concoctions and drink them for his health. When he swore to me that the juice would fix all my health problems I was tempted to ask for scientific research, and studies without bias, but I refrained. Instead I drank the juice. And it nearly killed me. E*** laughed but continued to promise me perfect health. That night I was very sick--hahahah I am FOR SURE putting my money on the wood juice for cause of illness. 

 

Shoot guys. One more thought and I gotta peace out. So this week during tracting, I realized that many people find what I do as a missionary to be offensive. And they let me know that they think it’s rude that I approach strangers to share what I believe. It’s seen as presumptuous and invasive. And at first...this really bothered me. Because anyone who knows me knows that I don’t like to offend people. I am a peacemaker. I hate making people uncomfortable!! But then I thought of something (100% inspired). Christ offended people so strongly with His direct proclamation that He was the Son of God that they killed Him. 

 

I don’t think anyone in Belize is ready to kill me just yet. Haha maybe I'm wrong. But I’ve got my fingers crossed. 

 

So then I learned something again. Truth is truth and to many people it will be offensive and harsh and overbearing. But. I know that Jesus Christ is the head of this church and that every person can know for themselves as well! And I love that part. We can all know for ourselves. So. Let’s not be afraid to share the gospel--always remembering that it is such a gift in our lives and that Christ died declaring His divinity and paying the price of our sins and hardships. And also remembering that our invitations made to families and friends to learn about the gospel will always be understood as an act of love. 

 

Happy New Year’s all. I hope you have a crazy fun time celebrating. Make some resolutions. Make some goals. Go nuts. Within the bounds of the laws of the country and God. 

 

Until 2014!!!

Sister Hirschi

 


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Out of Toyland and into Gotham City


MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Ahh Christmas. I love it. So much. And I also love it when it’s cold and there is snow, and family, and pie, and presents, and a fire, and music, and Jesus Christ, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Its unbeatable I'd venture to say.

I am SOOO looking forward to calling my family tomorrow!! And to my family that I can’t call: know that I love you beyond words and I am so pumped that we get to be together forever. Christmas forever!!! One day.

So this week. I am getting a feel for the people here in Belize...the culture....the traditions...the problems.  I feel like I have seen more of the world in one week than I saw in my entire life in the united states. Hence, I feel that I have left Toyland and quite literally entered Gotham City. Minus Batman. Which is a serious shame because we could legitimately use his help around here. #NOTKIDDING. ok enough of that. Hashtags aren’t even recognized as an acceptable mode of communication in the American culture anymore. I know. I know. But I have been out of the loop for officially three months now and I am not cool.

(First...maybe there should be a warning for tender audiences here?? Consider yourself warned)
It’s been a little hard to see some of these things happening in Belize. Alcoholism is rampant. I’ve seen drunk men passed out in the street in their own mess. I’ve talked to a man who had a gang threatening to kill his family. I’ve taught a woman whose husband beats her and her children. I’ve met with a family who didn’t have any money to buy food or water the next day. I taught a young man who killed someone in self-defense the night after we saw him. I’ve seen grown men--under the influence of drugs--come up to me and BEG me to help them change because alcohol, drugs, pornography DESTROY. They destroy families. They destroy happiness. I am living in Gotham city. But jokes aside. I’ve seen horrible things!! And.
every.

single.

one.

Every single nightmare I witnessed this week could be avoided with one thing. The gospel of Jesus Christ. Prepare yourself because I knew Satan existed before I left on my mission...but now...now I have seen him. I have seen the results of his handiwork. I want to literally punch him in the face. with my fist. and some knives. Because people listen to his lies and the lies of the world and they destroy themselves. So I’m getting on my soapbox for 4 sentences. Here we go.

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO LIVE HAPPILY IF YOU LIVE CONTRARY TO THE WILL OF GOD.  In other words, if you disobey the commandments of god. On the other hand, it is impossible to be unhappy if you follow Jesus Christ.

One man, this week, approached my companion and asked US if we could meet with him. He said he’d been out of prison and since then he'd started drinking and his family was ruined and all he felt was pain. He wanted to change. Then he asked me a question...he said 'in your religion...do you believe that people can really change'

It was the single best opportunity I have ever had in my life. I gloried in it. I looked B in the eyes and maybe bore the purest, simplest testimony I have in my short life time.

'Absolutely. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. He died for us so that we could change...so that we could escape any burden, if we will turn to Him'.

IT WAS AWESOME. Missionary work! Helping people! The gentleman quietly responded that that was a good answer and that we could meet Christmas day. Cool! It was a neat experience. I wish all people were that humble. alas...

I’m learning a lot. And realizing a lot. And understanding that only by living the commandments of God can we be free and have joy. Doesn’t seem too complicated?

I apologize for the preaching antics.

 

My companion is awesome.  She is from Guatemala city--also a very dangerous place and she has some craaazy background stories. She told me how she had been robbed a lot in Guatemala...but one time 2 teenage boys approached her when she had a cake and a soda for her friend’s birthday. They motioned to her that they had a gun in their pockets and demanded that she hand over the cake. Do you know what she did? Of course not. SHE STARTED BEATING THEM WITH THE UMBRELLA SHE HAD IN HER BARE HANDS. If anyone knows me at all they will know that this is my kinda humor. I am still laughing. I can’t just imagine...my little 5'1 Latina companion going NUTS with an umbrella in hand and a cake under one arm and a soda under the other. Hahah anyways she is pretty tough and you are dang straight she saved that birthday cake for that friend. So I always feel safe with her around.

I wish you all had the opportunity to sit down and chat with ****. He is also an ex-con...and boasts a variety of talents. He found the church and has quit all drugs and is the most awesome missionary ever. He comes and works with us often. But he doesn’t have hardly any money and also will go some days without eating food--because he first always feeds his three year old son. These people reduce me to tears. There are a lot of problems here...but also a lot of really incredible, Christ-like people.

So moral of the story. I’ve seen a lot of hardship that comes from not following the gospel of Jesus Christ. But I also revel in the fact that hardships have humbled a lot of people who are ready and willing to change. It’s hard--but it’s possible. Nothing is impossible with God.

On that note...Merry Christmas. Remember Jesus Christ who suffered all. Not only do we have the gift of repentence and change...but we have the gift of knowing that a God has felt all our pains and knows EXACTLY how to succor us in our hour of need. I love this gospel. What’s new right? I hope you all enjoy your Christmas with your family and remember that to have a happy family is to live the principle that Christ taught.

I Love you all. Merry Christmas!

Sister Hirschi

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Coma Has Ended!

Whoa.

So let’s jump on in.

Belize has brought many new adventures.

Many eye opening experiences.

Horizon broadening moments. Get the gist? yeah?

First, I’m going to employ the tried and always true list approach because I’m a freak for lists. Here is some gooood stuff about  Belize friends.

1. Everyone here is trilingual. This is absolutely incredible to me because no matter how amazingly uneducated a person may be in this beautiful Caribbean country, they know 3 languages....THREE. I’m struggling for two-- and they're spitting out Spanish, English, and Kriol in one wild conversation. I kid you not--I will start teaching a lesson in English, and halfway through, we’re suddenly speaking Spanish and my brain REVOLTS. I start spewing out Spanglish like a complete moron. hahaha ok it’s not really that bad, but my brain is pretty upset about the transitioning. It’s really very hard. I don’t know why but your brain gets into a track and when you have to go back and forth its nearly painful. one day...
2. Everyone here also enjoys the pastime of smoking weed. I know approximately zero things about weed but I am learning...haha. All I know is that in a lesson last week an investigator told us he smoked 11 rolls (maybe packs? or containers? or bins? I don’t know what the dope smoking mechanism is called!!!) every day. We had a member there with us who formerly smoked weed and so I just watched his every reaction to try and discern how I should react to the drug stats we were being given. So when the member was stunned at our investigator saying he smoked 11 'things' a day, I tried to mimic his facial expression, and would offer a deep and contemplative 'oh yeah man that is a lot of dope...' to help aid the conversation. But in all seriousness. It’s a huge problem here and we are trying to help people understand that it is wrong to smoke weed and that they will destroy themselves! It’s a work in progress.

3. So… my coma subject line. I feel like I have come forth from a coma. Why? Because everyone here speaks English and I finally, FINALLY, understand what is going on. It’s literally, using no exaggeration whatsoever, like I have awoken from a coma. I love teaching in English. I love knowing what people are saying to me. I LOVE COMMUNICATION. It’s a gift from above. But I’m simultaneously obsessed with Spanish and I miss hearing it 24/7. No worries. My Latina companion is under contract--I told her she must speak to me in Spanish at all times.

4. Sis Simon says my Spanish accent is very good and that I speak almost perfectly!! I just need a bigger vocabulary...you know I’m working on it. But that was the validation I have been looking for for 3 months now. What a sweet relief. #blessings

Ok. Kriol is the bees knees and I will learn one day. The accent is literally beautiful.

WHY IS THERE NEVER ENOUGH TIME IN THE EARTH FOR ANYTHING EVER.

On that note I need to wrap this baby up. I want to share a quick little story. But first, I want to share my testimony. again. I know,  I know. I share it all the time. But I can’t get my fill folks. I’m insatiable. I LOVE THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. It fills you with so much life! and joy! and love! and peace! Its indescribable. And I love sharing it. Even though I have 439,834,502,847,509,427 things to learn still.

But here’s a fun quick lil story…There is a member of the church in Sweden. At the time of this experience, she was a new member or a recent convert.  She was riding her bike to her aunt’s house one day--and this was a long bike ride, 90 minutes. On her way home...the winds started and it was mostly uphill on the way home so she is really struggling and also feeling very alone bc many of her friends and family had ostracized her after her conversion to the church--mainly bc she no longer participated in activities that they enjoyed. So this woman-Natalie for our stories sake--is riding in the wind, uphill, struggling. She decides it is time to test God, time to see if He is real. She stops and offers a prayer, and says, God if you exist and you are listening to my prayers--I want you to do one simple thing--stop the wind. Then Natalie jumped on her bike and kept going. Uncannily--the wind did not stop. So she gets to the top of the hill, right by her house, and cynically gives a thanks to the heavens. Immediately after she heard a still voice which said, 'I didn’t stop the winds, I gave you the strength to overcome them' after which Natalie noted she had made her ride in 60 minutes and not 90.
 Ok, so I loved this story. Not to prove God exists. Nothing like that. But to demonstrate that we need trials. We need struggles. We need hard things in order to make us stronger. And the Lord always gives us strength. Always. HE. WILL. NOT. ABANDON. US. He loves us and all his children. EVERYTHING CREATED IN THE UNIVERSE...EVERYTHING...was created for us. For the purpose of our joy. To teach us to become perfect.

Christ lives. He died. And now he lives. What can we do for him this Christmas? I know I have a lot I can give to the Savior. There are a lot of things I can do a little better. So with that, Merry Christmas... if I don’t write again before the holiday, I add my solemn witness that He lives and that He loves us and that God is our father and that the truth and the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth today. Also john 21. http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/21?lang=eng
ALL MY LOVE
Sister Hirschi

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Unbelizeable!


           

HERE WE GO WITH THE BELIZE PUNS… for the rest of my life. 

 
I am in Belize. and I am in love with Belize already. I wish I could describe it appropriately. But I will never do it justice. Never in 6 billion years. Just satisfy yourselves to know that it is stunning--absolutely stunning. 

 
When I first found out I was going to Belize...after only six weeks in El Sal, I was in utter disbelize. (haha sorry that one was sooo lame). I literally thought the AP (Asst. to the President.  This is another young missionary) was lying to me. but then I got a plane ticket. (for first class btw??? first and last time in my life I will fly first class. But it was enjoyable)

 
The Pupusa ladies
I was actually really sad to leave my area. I love the Hma's in my house. I love the crazy neighbors we had. I love the Pupusas and the orange juice and the Spanish. I love my ward. I
just LOVE IT .

 

But. Belize. It’s spectacular. It really is. We have a cute little house which is about 80,000x nicer than my apt in El Sal. When I walked off the plane it wasn’t one of those big fancy ramps right into the airport, it was a staircase like the one the Beatles came off of in that one picture that everybody knows. So I’m coming off the plane like 'HELLO WORLD' and its tropical and there are Creoles everywhere and they are speaking Creole and I am just having a genuine ball only walking down the stairs. The majority of my dreams came true in that moment bc Belize is a combination of the Caribbean, Africa and Britain, Asia, India. (if you’re confused on why...google Belize. The diversity here is amazing) Seriously how does it get better? 

 

My new companion is a Latina also. But she speaks English too which is so nice. Turns out that communication has some real perks. 

 

But before I get too far, I want to share some experiences I had right before I left. First off. When I got the news I was going to Belize, I was super pumped to tell Hma Stewart--my bff. (We live in the same apt but she is in another area). We became very good friends in the past six weeks and she just came back to El Sal from Belize so I was looking forward to sharing my news. 

Hma Hirschi and Hma Stewart
 

Well the Scott Hirschi is my blood demanded that I pull a fast one before coming outright with the news. So when we were all home that night together  I acted very sad and informed Hma N and S that I had some news (Hma A was in on this with me). I proceeded to sit down, and maintained a somber attitude. haha then I started crying (this is a skill I didn’t formerly know I possessed, but I can cry on demand??) and after a few minutes I told the sisters that I had to go home. Then I slowly looked up and cried 'PSYCH IM GOING TO BELIZE!' and at this point I’m pretty happy. But. BUT. Hma Stewart was crying!! Oops. I got her good guys. I got her good. Probably a little too good actually!


 

Then a family in the ward wanted to have a little goodbye dinner for me before I left. I obliged them and showed up for dinner. There were about 10 of us enjoying this dinner, when suddenly one of my friends, Samuel, who is about 25 years old, decides to change the subject of conversation. So he says to me, I kid you not, 'Hma Hirschi how much do you weigh?' OUT OF THE BLUE. And I think I stared blankly at him. Then I said, 'Samuel, you just committed a criminal offense in the United States' and the American sisters laughed with me, but everyone else was like, 'oh yeah, how much do you weigh??' And then. AND THEN. They started shouting numbers out, guessing my weight!!! What sin is this!?!? 

 

After that we had a super interesting conversation about cultures. Because in the US, you don’t ask a woman that question ever. But in El Sal, it the topic of dinner conversation. They just don’t really care about their weight too much. They consider it endearing to call someone fat...'gordita'. So there is a fun fact for you. Maybe that experience was the most surprising culture shock so far. 

 

Also... sorry for the organization in this email. Everyone in Belize speaks English, Spanish, and Creole. Creole is like degenerated English but it is a legitimized language and I can’t understand them very well. We’ll see how much I pick up. 

 

I’m excited to be here. It’s raining today and it makes me miss Seattle. It was so hard to leave El Sal but I also trust that this is where the Lord wants me and I can’t wait to work with the people. I know this is the work of the Lord. I saw part of a movie last week on a bus while I was traveling to San Sal. It was about a man who was trying to save his marriage and he kept serving his wife in little ways...but whatever he did she rejected. She wouldn’t take the flowers, drink the coffee he made, or eat the dinner he’d prepared. So this guy is chatting with his dad about his frustration and he says, 'how can I love someone who rejects me?'. And the dad is trying to help his son understand our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ...and then I got to thinking... How many people reject the Savior--even after all he has overcome for us, and still He loves them. With a perfect, unending love. We are so impatient with people--especially when we try to serve and our efforts go unnoticed or unappreciated. But I know that I need to remember that it is possible to love those who reject us. Because the ultimate sacrifice was rejected--the perfect being who suffered all our pains and sins has been rejected--and he still loves every single sheep. Every single human being.

 

It’s unfathomable to me. The more I learn the more I realize I don’t know. I love being a representative of Christ. Read the scriptures. john 14:15 yeah?? http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/14.15?lang=eng

 

 

That’s all I have for now. Stay righteous. Here is another Charles Dickens novel for you all. Thanks for the support and letters. I can’t wait to share more of Belize. The church is true. 

 

Love always, 

SISTER Hirschi

(English!!!!)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lessons in Humility...and other supremely horrific experiences


 
 
Hahahaha ok, ok. No one get up in arms. I only wrote that title for my email because I thought it was funny. BUT, I am learning a lot about humility in the mission. More than I would care to learn. You feel me?
 
But first, hello everyone! I hope you all had a marvelous week with your families during Thanksgiving, and that you didn’t hesitate to consume 10,000 calories on the fourth Thursday of the month of November. I wonder if in 3000 years when America is no more, and people study our traditions, if they will explain thanksgiving that way. 'They slaughter millions of turkeys and gorge themselves on the same Thursday every year'. It’s pretty strange from that perspective. 
 
Ok shoot. Sorry for the side story. 
 
 Humility. Here is one secret about the mission. 
 
 It crushes your pride. I remember when I didn’t think I was particularly prideful. Then I came to the mission and 18 year old boys started telling me what to do because they were my leaders and I felt the flame of insubordination burn within me. 
 
And then, slowly yet surely, I felt my pride get crushed out of me. I think I’m still in the process of being crushed?? But I hope that one day I will be truly humble. I also hope that one day I will not have to heed the advice of 18 year boys anymore. All in good time right?
 
Holy Hannah, I had some adventures this week. Let’s start with the bug bites.
 
I’ve had bug bites before in my lifetime. Haven’t we all?? But in this country the bugs don’t bite...THEY FEAST. And they crave my blood. I wonder if you know what it’s like to have 20 bug bites on each leg. I wonder if you know what it’s like to wake up at 3 in the morning because your legs are BURNING for need of being scratched. I wonder if you know how incredibly awkward it is to sit in a lesson, and try to casually bend over and then nonchalantly rip into your legs with your nails for sooome relief of the itching. And then it’s never casual and its never nonchalant and then there is an inevitable comment about how white I am and about how the mosquitos love white people’s blood. And then they always give me alcohol to rub on my legs and then it always burns because just 8 seconds ago I was scratching until I bled. 
 
 FYI--DEET IS GOOD FOR NAUGHT. Because my legs itch nigh unto death. (Scripture speak. Does anyone remember when I did p90x and I started talking like Tony Horton? I used his phrases and his intonations, his hand movements--everything. Well now all I do is the study the scriptures...basically....and the terminology is seeping into my everyday conversational language.  Good. Bet you didn’t see that one coming did you El Salvador??)
 
I’m just being a big baby. I can live through a few bug bites. But then again maybe not...because I’m pretty confident in the fact that I have contracted at least 14 diseases already. Dengue is calling my name. I’m only alive because I’m a missionary. 
 
Another adventure. Here in Sonsonate they have a little treat called the December Winds. The weather here is without doubt bipolar. Monday, it was about 98 degrees. Tuesday, I got outside, and there were winds blowing at 4000 miles per hour!! So if anyone has the movie twister you can pop that into your VHS player and you can get a good look at the life I am living. Haha the first day of winds was just absolutely mad. I was wearing my pleated skirt that day. For shame, because that thing can FLY. And fly it did...at every gust...every 2.34 seconds. How I battled that skirt...and how I lost. Buuut! AT least it is a lot cooler these days which is a lovely respite. But the first night with the winds was truly mortifying. 
 
 I was lying in the top bunk, on the second floor of our apartment. And the noise of the winds woke me up because they’re so ridiculously loud and they bang things around! And I was legitimately petrified. I knew--I just KNEW--that the wind was going to rip our roof off and that because I was on the top bunk, I was going with it. Well I was right. Just kidding. Our roof stayed put, but the moral of the story is that the wind in this country is unreal!! 
 
Ok one more really funny thing. I was trying to help this little girl learn English. (Btw our class is a hit. We have a lot of students are we grow every week. And now I am teaching the beginners by myself which is super challenging because I’m not exactly fluent yet in Spanish.) I’m trying to teach this little NiƱa. And I swear...she did the most amazing things with our grand English words. Por ejemplo, I say:
 
Ok, Yasuri, say 'has'
 and she replies 'hasckgch'
 (In my mind… 'wait what? wait how did you do that?')
 Yasuri, no. its 'has'
and then she looks like she’s going to throw up, 'haschzkgkklkk' 
How is that even possible??!?!
 
Every word I gave this girl in English...she made it German. Every one. I remain completely befuddled as to how she accomplished this feat, but she did. Yasuri is ten years old. I am holding out for her, but I seriously doubt her ability to learn English right now. I’ll keep you updated on this nail bitter, no worries. 
 
I guess my adventures are never ending in this land. We also had a little thanksgiving celebration as a mission on Friday. President spoke to us and we ate turkey and pumpkin pie. I bless the hands that purchased that pumpkin pie from the super selectos here in San Salvador. It was not homemade, but it was divine. 
 
So this week, as I was reflecting on missing my family during the holiday, I was blessed to read about the original 12 apostles and their ministry. Basically, after the death of Christ, Peter and the other 11 apostles went about doing the same thing I am currently doing...preaching the word. Declaring their witnesses of Christ. Stephen the disciple died first for his testimony of Christ, but before any of their deaths, the apostles suffered incredible hardships. They were tortured, rejected, and abused. And the amazing thing is that they counted themselves blessed to be worthy to suffer in the name of the Lord. They were grateful for the afflictions they carried in the service of our Lord and Savior. And my attitude shifted a little…about my bug bites, about missing my family during the holidays. Am I making a few miniscule sacrifices? You bet ya. But I am beginning to feel grateful that I am worthy to suffer these things for the Lords sake. 
 
Sometimes it’s very hard to walk down the streets and to genuinely feel your testimony of Christ burning and to not have people listen or understand the importance of what you have to offer them. But we hit the streets anyways...because I have faith that there are people who are ready for the gospel. And I’m beginning to develop a true love for getting out there and working each and every day. I love working with people. I love making people laugh. I love teaching and testifying. I love trying to improve every day. 
 This email is so long. But everyone, take a peek at Alma 32-34 (In the Book of Mormon...it’s online too  http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm?lang=eng). Ok I know none of you will, but those chapters are so prime. The church is true. I love you all. Have a wonderful week. Count your many blessings. Share the gospel. It’s hard...but it’s easy. 
All my love!
 Love Hermana Hirschi
 
 

 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The wall of Jericho is in El Salvador?



The Wall of Jericho is in El Salvador…Maybe?? I think. 

 
Last week our zone was at the church building...which has on one side a 30 foot wall, and suddenly...it starts coming down. At first us 20 missionaries were pretty stunned and we just looked at it. Then we saw a crane...doing some work on the other side...and knocking OUR wall down. We notified the workers of our annoyance with some mildly raised voices, but they continued. So, I’m not sure who is financially responsible for this, but we didn’t blow any trumpets so it’s not us. 
 
La vida in El Salvador is good everyone. There were some crazy adventures this week. I feel like I’d like to try something new this week. A top ten, because a top ten is always a good idea. Here are ten fun things about this country in Latin America that I have moved to. 
 
10. There are bugs everywhere. Not only outside...inside too. In my house. On my books. On my food. On my shower. In my hair. On my wall. In my backpack. On my skin. The weird thing is that I’m totally over it. It doesn’t bother me anymore--and this is a far cry from the person I used to be. I probably almost even enjoy their companionship. I’m truly never alone with my bug friends.
 
9.Geckos screech here. They live on our walls and they make weird calls at night. It freaked me out SO bad the first time. why?????

8. The people here love music. And they love to blast it at 80000000 decibels from their tin houses every day. On every street. This is taking music appreciation to a new level.

7. Gringos stick out like sore thumbs here. One time I saw a gringo who wasn’t a missionary and I almost passed out. Seriously, I think I got light headed. And whenever people see US they like to speak to us in English. Broken, heavily accented, barely recognizable English. It’s HILARIOUS every time. Sometimes I think to myself, ´when you opted to learn a few phrases in English, why did you choose to learn those particular words?’ Ever an adventure. Ever learning.

6.There are 4 million stray dogs in this city. That is not an exaggeration. I counted. Maybe. 
 
5. The people here love Christmas. It’s about 80 degrees and they have zero pine trees, but EVERYONE and their 4 million dogs have a fake Christmas tree. Its magical. 
 
4. God is heavily infused in their culture. everyone loves God. But they don’t know anything besides the fact that they love God. haha its pretty funny. On their bikes, their buses, their stores, their houses...stickers that say ´gracias a dios´in super sick fonts. I can’t get enough. 
 
3. They diiiig pupusas. So much. Pupusuas are literally sold on every corner. Not complaining!!

2. Well that is all I have so this is a faux top ten. But, we’ll continue. 

 
This week. my comp and I had a cita (lesson, or discussion) with this little old lady. She was enjoying some sorbet. Great! That is great. Well I swear to you. I looked down and looked up--in 1 second flat--and somehow, this grandma with superhuman powers has moved across the room and is standing over me and a spoon full of orange slime is shooting towards my face--moving unspeakably fast. And she’s shouting...open your mouth!! I have a split second decision. Open my mouth...or no?? But do I really have a decision??Like not really. So I open my mouth. And in goes the sorbet. ON the same spoon Grandma had been using. Guys I was sooooo close to losing the contents of my stomach. It was NAAAASTTTYY. But I kept it down. 

So then a few minutes later Grandma tells me that there is a ´rata´under my chair. Remember that I am still learning Spanish. Now, I’ve never before been formally introduced to the word rata. but I was blessed with decent intelligence, and I used my faculties to discern that rata was very likely rat. I discerned correctly. So I get a little crazy bc I am used to bugs...but I’m not on good terms with rats. So I jump out of my chair...and I’m looking underneath for a rat!!  I couldn’t see anything. Finally...I see a little picture of rat pasted onto the wall. What in the?? Grandma starts busting a gut. I guess it was funny. I would give it a 4 on the practical joke scale though. Which isn’t that good. I love it when weird things happen though. 

 
Our ward (a congregation in the LDS church,300-500 people, is called a “ward”.  About 10 wards constitutes a “stake”)had a talent show this week! And I borrowed a guitar from one of the elders which was da boooomb. Except my fingers got blistered from playing bc my calluses are gone! And guys. I did my first ever performance!! Us four sisters sang amazing grace and I played guitar! it was quite the spectacle.  When the children saw us going home at night with a guitar they demanded a song. Now the neighbor children come banging on our door every night for a song in English. I dunno why, but they love it when we sing in English. It’s a good time I won’t lie. 

Also, we started teaching English this week. You have to know that I am in my element when that happens. I love teaching English. Our students are great. some of them are legitimately crazy. But crazy people are forever more entertaining than sane people. I walk into the room, and student Jorge shouts at me, 'you are the most beautiful pretty wonderful teacher in the world!! THANK YOU!!!!' Class wouldn’t be the same without Jorge. love him. 
 
So I just want to reaffirm to you all that I love this gospel. This week I was studying the final week of the Saviors life. And it moved me. I am always inspired to share the gospel after studying the life of Christ. When he was being crucified, the paschal lambs were being offered in the temples of the Jews. They didn’t understand. A pagan man, a heathen, Pilot--tried to defend Christ, tried to persuade the people to spare an innocent man...but the chosen, covenant people refused their Lord and King. It’s amazing to me! I just knoooowwww that He lives. That he died. That he lives again. I am learning so much every day about patience and being glad in trials and being long suffering. I wonder how different we would all be if everyone studied the scriptures...especially the Book of Mormon for 30 minutes a day. I wish I could describe how I feel about the Savior and his gospel. But hey...if you love him keep his commandments. 
 
I’m starting to fit in guys. I really am. Also...my companions hair started on fire this week but I don’t have time for that story. I love you all. I’m doing well I promise. HAPPY THANKSGIVING. It’s probably my favorite holiday. 

Also*****(the man they started teaching in last week’s letter)  is doing well. We have begun teaching his wife but we gotta get him to church!!!! He hasn’t come yet. 
 
Ok, the  dl (district leader…a missionary responsible for group of missionaries in the area) is breathing down my neck!! next week!!
 

Love,

 Hermana Hirschi

 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

'Pikachu' and other surprising Spanish slang

At the San Salvador LDS temple

So, there is a word here in San Salvador...

Puchika. 

 It means gosh. Or dang. Or wow. 


Get the gist??
 

I have the hardest time remembering this. So the other night I was with some great el Salvadorians, and I just said 'pickachu!!!' bc I couldn’t remember the correct word. Man, they loved it!! They thought I was a comedic genius!! So now that is sorta my thing. I love dropping pikachu everywhere I go. I’m hoping to replace the actual word puchika with pikachu by the end of my mission.. 
 

But what a week y’all. Always what a week. What happened?? Honestly I don’t really remember. All I know is that the person who said the days are long and the weeks are fast is correct. It’s crazy how fast the time is here. I feel like I have blinked and a week is gone. 
 

I have been thinking a lot here in El Salvador. Here’s the thing. In long conversations with people...it’s like supermega difficult to follow along in Spanish for extended periods of time. So I have cultivated a new talent. Back in America if I had to entertain myself I needed something. A book, an iPod, a phone. something. Or I went absolutely nuts. But here? Here I have developed a little something I like to call 'Thoughtland'. Thoughtland is the best. Because now all I need is my thoughts and I am content for hours. I think about all sorts of things. Life. Love.
 

There are actually some benefits to thoughland. One is that I meditate a lot. And that mixed with being saturated in scriptures leads to a lot of spiritual epiphanies. Like this week. I thought about the world vs. Jesus Christ. And how I have to love Christ more that the world...but not only the bad things of the world....the good things too. True religion has to transcend culture, friends...everything...in order for it to be the truth for everyone everywhere. And I thought about the rich man who approached Christ and wanted to know how to obtain eternal life--even though he already kept the commandments. Christ asked him to sell all and follow him. And he couldn’t do it. And I found myself evaluating my own life. Could I really sacrifice everything--my traditions, my culture, my country--everything which I love, to follow Christ? It’s a hard thing to do. 
 

I also thought about faith, and how faith is not blind at all because we have been given things to increase and augment our faith, namely the commandments. All the commandments help fortify faith--they back it up so to speak. Faith is an action, and when we keep the commandments, like reading the scriptures, our faith is made stronger and our minds our enlightened and we receive more. Ok, I’m doing a pretty awful job of explaining this. All I know is that each time I learn more about the plan of salvation I realize how  incredibly perfect and brilliant God is. It’s brilliant. Trust me. 
 

So the food here... let’s get to the down and dirty. It’s awesome. It’s actually been pretty easy for me to digest. It’s primarily rice and beans. Also platanos, which are soooooooooo crazy good. Mom, you gotta try um. They are divine. Chocobanas are also pretty popular round here, and those are good. The members feed us probably 3 times a week and the rest is up to us. We buy food a lot from the little stands...but it’s like a buck for a meal so it aint no thang. But it’s good. That’s all I know. The food here is goooood. 

 
It’s also very hot here, and I think I am continuously dehydrated. So be it. I sweat pretty often. You know. It happens. 

 
Ok I have lots more to say as per usual but I am out of time. Sorry crowd. This is a pretty rough email. But I want you all to know that people all over the world are the same. I mean really and truly. We all have traditions and cultures sure...but at the heart of it there are pretty few differences. I’ve really only been to 6 countries but its fine. And I love the people here. They are so fun. They crack me up each and every day and now that we can actually communicate a little I am eating it up. Meeting people is the best. 

 Well. I love you all. The church is true. Read the scriptures. Have a wonderful week. Cherish the cold weather. Choose the right. 

 

Peace out.

Hma Hirschi

 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Let the miracles begin!


Oh hey everyone. 

 I want to start this email off with a spiritual note, or song--more appropriately, because the most amazing thing happened this week. The sorta thing that you read about in the ensign or the new era or something. I can’t believe still that it happened to me. Honestly, I am just grateful the Lord let me be a part of his miracle. 

 One night, me and Hma A are looking for referrals. We are walking the streets lost--as per usual, and so we go up to a door to ask for directions as we do nearly 56 times each and every day. The door is open, and on the couch is a man--and I’m gonna stick him at around 41 years old. He is chilling with his shirt off, as do most Salvadorians, and I’m thinking, “oh brother. Another person who will nonchalantly dismiss us.” I judged amiss. (As I normally do mind you). When we addressed him, he jumped up, put a shirt on, and immediately came to the door to greet us. After asking for directions, we explained that we were missionaries. 

 “Can we share a message with you about Christ??”

 “Yeah sure. Come on in.” 

“???? Are you under the influence right now or what?” haha nope. Just a nice middle aged man wanted to hear our message. 

So we entered, and we started to teach him. He was catholic, but he was EXTREMELY receptive to our message. When we taught about Joseph Smith...the spirit was illuminating the room, and this man--he just understood everything. It clicked for him. We taught him about prophets and he was like “ yeah...yeah of course we have prophets today.” 

 
He actually WANTED to read the Book of Mormon. Cool. Well, at one point in the lesson he started ranting and I got lost. He was speaking Spanish and what hope do I have when they are going 200 mph? None. We finish the lesson and he wants to meet with us with his family. Awesome. I was stoked about all this. 

 Well then Hma A and I get home. Hma A tells Hma S the story. Hma S then tells me my own story filling in the details I’d missed during the rant. I learn that I missed A LOT in that rant of his. 

 E*** is the man’s name. What he told us was that he had missed a church activity that evening by only a few minutes and so decided to stay home. As he was home, he decided to pray bc he had a lot of problems with his life and he wanted help with knowing what to do. So he prayed sincerely, and he asked God to help him out. He said 5 minutes later, we knocked on his door. 

 And then he said—“I will believe everything you tell me, because I know you are answer to my prayers from God,  and I know he has sent me the truth through you. 

HOW DID I MISS ALL OF THIS!!!! ehhhh????

This was a true blue miracle. In the flesh. In my life. Before my very eyes. E***! You are amazing! Your faith is amazing! God is omniscient! The gospel is true! How am I privileged to witness this??

 All I know is that God will answer sincere seekers of truth. That’s it. That’s the only thing I know worth anything in this life. If we seek the truth, God will show us the way. Always. 

 Needless to say, I am stoked to teach E*** and his family. They are those who are kept from the truth only because they know not where to find it. Can we all just say that the Lord is hastening his work?? Good stuff. The best stuff. Right here in Sonsonate. 

 In other news, I am adjusting, and I am building character every day. I am starting to really appreciate this country and the people. And the language is coming! It’s so exciting! This week I can separate words! I can recognize them! My comprehension still has much to be desired, but at I am progressing and it’s so encouraging. 

 PS God answers prayers. 

In other other news, the children here... Ah I love them. And when they see me....I mean, not to be a braggart...but they come running, and cheering, and this is a pretty excellent reception in my book! I am not sure why the kids and I are such good friends round these parts, bc I never know what they are saying to me and I teach them ridiculous American traditions… like how to pound it, how to say holy cow and how to say--upon seeing me--'our queen' haha ok just kidding on that last one. But I love the little children. We have way too much fun together. 

What’s more. The gospel is true. Prayer is so real. I have never felt so close to my Heavenly Father in my entire life. Because I have never prayed so sincerely!  I am, as always, so grateful for the Savior...who gives me all. You know a mission is pretty intimidating from day to day. I’m supposed to talk to everyone and share the news with all work 16 hours a day and be totally selfless. On occasion, this is a pinch trying. And I am not sure I can be what I know I need to be. But I also have trust...I trust that the Lord would not call me to this task if I could not be shaped to it. So here is an important lesson. The Lord never calls us to fail. Never. He will always make up for the strength we lack. So real-time, in my life right here, right now...this is hard to accept and understand and rely on, because it’s raw and it’s real. But I can feel the Gods love when I pray...and I can feel the reality of the Savior when I study the scriptures. Umm has anybody read King Benjamin’s discourse lately? He tore it up! It’s so amazing. All prophets from the beginning of time have taught us about Jesus Christ. Just do as he does. Just read the scriptures. Just pray. What is asked of us is not always easy, but it is for our good. That I KNOW is true. 

 That’s all I’ve got this week. My skin is thicker, my Spanish is better, my faith is stronger. I love you all. Thanks to all who wrote me. You are super stars and heroes. Have a wonderful week! 

 Love, 

Hma Hirschi

 PS I almost forgot my first name this week. 

PSPS I ordered 12 Pupusas in one sitting this week. But I saved some of them. Now I have the record and the Pupusa ladies are my number one fans because I am their number one customer. It’s a good relationship.

 

 

Monday, November 4, 2013

El diablo es en mis zapatos!!!!


For those of you checking out Alaina's blog for the first time, she has been in Mexico for 6 weeks training for the mission field.  She arrived in El Salvador last week, and is adjusting to life there.  Missionaries are called "Elder and Sister" in the mission field.  In Spanish that is "Hermano and Hermana"  which she shortens to Hma. Missionaries are always in pairs.  They are called "companions" so when she talks about her "comp" she is speaking of the other missionary she is serving with.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I'll try to answer!- Jackie (Alaina's mom)
 
 
Hey there everyone. What’s up?

This week… I don’t think anyone can understand a first week in the field unless they’ve been there. It was hard.  Really. Really. Really hard.  So here is the first take away lesson.

Be careful what you wish for ok???

Wednesday I got my new companion. The other American sisters that came here with me got Americans. Now I had kind of wanted a native Spanish speaker. Maybe I have changed my mind. Because Pres. Hintze had a lil interview with me when I first got to the country, and just asked me about my life and the ccm and school and stuff, and my new companion is named Hma A(shortened for privacy). From Guatemala. She doesn’t speak a lick of English. I speak maybe 4 licks of Spanish. At first I was super pumped, because I knew it would make me learn Spanish really fast. This is true. BUT I LOVE ENGLISH. And I miss itttttt. Communicating each day is a serious challenge...but I am learning tons. I don’t really have a choice? I am doing my absolute best to learn this language as fast as possible so I can be the most effective missionary possible. But yeah. Just think seriously about your wishes in the future ok?

So we got to our apartment here in my very first area, Sonsonate. Guys, it is so raunchy. Dirty and nasty and a serious health hazard. haha. We also randomly have the worst apartment in the whole mission? Hma S and her companion live with us, and she has 15 months in the mission and said this is the worst by far she has ever seen. We don’t have running water....except for in the shower? And you can bet that that shower has 0 hot water. The toilet is a fun situation. It’s just like a bowl, and deceptively has a little flusher handle on it. The first time I used it I asked Hma A how to flush it and she just came running at me speaking rapidly and holding a bucket.  All I could think was: “please no. I don’t want to use a bucket. I just don’t. Please let an angel come down and allow this toilet to operate.”
NO WORRIES. We just have to fill our bucket up with water from our pila outside (kinda like a little font... photo of a pila in El Salvador on the right.)So, we just fill the bucket and poor it down the toilet and it flushes! Good stuff. This is the epitome of adventure. I can’t count the times I threw a prayer up for all the things I had in America this week. But all you, all you people in America, be grateful for what  you have ok?????? Oh my gosh, be grateful.

So sketchy apartment. But the hardest part has been the language. I hate not knowing what is happening ever. The people will start talking to me and then realize I know nothing and stop. It’s fine. But I love the kids here. They talk to me all the time. Also the country. I am in a very poor area. It’s dirty and they don’t have much. The houses are decent I guess...at first I was pretty revolted by their conditions. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that I questioned how a loving God could allow his children to live like this.  But then I had an epiphany...are these not the people that our Lord and Savior visited and taught in his earthly ministry? The poor, the destitute? The infirm and outcasts? And I was immediately ashamed of my prejudice. The Lord is humbling me and teaching me so much right now. And he is blessing me beyond belief. Everyday I look back and see all the little miracles that happened that helped me move forward.

 And I am trusting in the Lord for everything right now. Literally everything. Because plain and simple...

I can’t do this.
Not alone.

Not without a firm faith in this gospel. How many times did I want to go home this week. AT least 40000. And I miss the CCM so badly. I miss all my friends from the ccm with my whole heart. But this is what I am here to do. So like, my 5th night here, I realized I had two choices.

1. I can be miserable and passive and just let this mission happen to me while I don’t know the language.

2. I can exercise all the faith I possess, and try to exert all my might each and every day and love these people and do everything I can for them.

I’m opting for number 2. it’s hard, but it’s also possible with Christ. I know He lives. I know it.
The first few days I couldn’t even try to figure out what people were saying. I was so overwhelmed and exhausted and confused. But then I realized I had to try. At least try. And last night, during each lesson, I discovered that I can understand every conversation. Every. One. !!!!!! Breakthrough! I have to concentrate so hard, and I don’t know every word, but I can get the gist of what’s being said. This is a great leap forward for me...bc at the beginning of the week the people could have been speaking a mix of Russian, Finnish, Mandarin and Navajo and it would have made no difference to me. So I am at least progressing! My goal is to be rocking it at about 4 months.

Alright. Some funny stories.

Thursday night we went to M****’s house, and we are standing on the door step chatting when I feel some EXTREME pain in my foot. Like a little fire. And it’s spreading, and spreading. And I am freaking out. So I look down trying to discern what on earth is happening to me!!  There are these nasty little ants going nuts on my foot! So I am swatting at them like a mad woman but then they got on my hands and started biting my hands!! Meanwhile, the woman and my comp are like...what is happening? And thinking I am clinically insane. And because I know about 9 words in Spanish, all I could think to say is 'el diablo es en mis zapatos!!!!' Haha and I proceeded to take my shoes off and jump around and kill those dang things. Turns out they were fire ants. What the heck! Those things are evil and so now whenever I see an ant I make sure to kill it. Some may call this petty, others may call it vindictive and still others may tell me that violence is never the answer. But I care not. I am making the ants species pay for the pain and embarrassment they caused me. No regrets.

Entonces. This was a rough week. I have never had to exert so much faith before. But I am doing it. I know this gospel is true. I can’t tell you how many times I cried out to the Lord this week, begging Him to carry me. And CAN TESTIFY. God answers our prayers. He loves us in our weakness and imperfection. I know that is true. I love you all.
You are all great. I love you all. I love families. I love pupusas. They are a food native to this area and they are dang good. I’m obsessed.

Ok. Literally I love you all more than you can possible imagine. Have a good week, and remember. God lives. And He loves you! And we already have a baptism btw. Yay!!

Much Love,

Hermana Hirschi

PS  Mom, I wrote thank you’s to everyone who gave me gifts, but I don’t know how to send them....but I am so grateful!!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Hasta la Vista Mexico!

Ok. Ready, set, launch.

I leave for San Salvador on Monday. I know. I know. it is a difficult thing to believe that 6 weeks have passed. Nigh impossible. But thus it is. And I will be nearly devastated to leave Mexico. But as usual, some good stuff occurred this week. So let us begin.

Ok first off.
I HAVE THE BEST PARENTS TO EVER ROAM THE EARTH. Adam and Eve may give you guys a run for your money but I am doubtful. Because this week, this blessed, glorious week, I received a package, and you know what it was?? The best thing to ever come out of America...KRISPE KREME DONUTS. Oh how I danced and sang of my gratitude. My companions by now know that I am a little janky in the head so they joined in. I savored that donut, and I shared with my district. I’ve never seen 18 year old boys more grateful in my entire life. hahah They were so tender. But mom. dad. Thank you. You guys are the bomb.com. That is my second package in 2 weeks!! Unreal. So donuts. Great things.

I just want people to know that I have finally learned how to eat here in Mexico. For a while there it was rough. But I received a lot of concerned emails about my gastrointestinal tract and I want you all to know that I have finally learned the ways of navigation. I avoid all forms of beans, and most forms of meat, which means that pretty much I eat corn!! And rice!! And I pray every day that my body will be able to live in this nutrient deficient state for 17 months. So far so good. Carbs. What else do you need? Am I right?? This is me embracing another culture ok. haha.

This week I officially became Maestra Alaina. Not really, but sorta. My fellow district missionaries asked me to teach them Spanish and I obliged. I love it. I eat it up. I love teaching and I love Spanish and i pretend to be bashful about the whole situation but inside I revel in each and every moment. My district is learning! It’s great. Also missionaries always refer to each other by their titles (Hermano, Hermana), and this week I learned that my missionaries thought my first name was Adrian. I am not quite sure how this is possible because to my knowledge, I look and act and appear as a girl. Yeah Elders, my first name is Adrian. Also, sorry to any girl who actually has this name.

Also, remember the elder who exploded his head open on his comps elbow last week?? Well I neglected to inform you all that after this incident, he bled. Profusely, you might say. So Hma Patterson and I cleaned up his blood with our bare hands while he attended to his wound. Just kidding mom!! We cleaned up his blood with paper towels. But that night...sweet Elder Johnson brought us a huge goodie basket at the store to say thanks. He got me a ton of chokis (like chips ahoy but 6000 times better!) so I had my fix for the week. Also, DAD. I love Andrea Bocelli. He sings with the motabs (Mormon Tabernacle Choir)  so my teacher plays his songs with them in class and I just go nuts. I literally sob every time in my heart. HOW HAVE I NOT APPRECIATED HIS VOICE BEFORE? I don’t know. BUT I AM OBSSESSED WITH ANDREA. Someone send me an album. I am begging you. (We got this letter in time to get a cd in her Christmas package!)

Shoot, I hate this!! Seriously I have at least 20 more stories. GOOD STORIES too. Ok but Jakers--(Alaina's cousin)if you read this, do you know sis Pellegrini?? I ran into her and she had Book of Mormon with you at BYU!! I was so pumped to finally find someone who knew you. Also, she is going to my hometown mission! She’s serving in Everett which is pretty sweet! It’s a small world after all.

Mom, do you know anyone in our ward who is in Mexico City for business?? Apparently a 50 yr. old man at the temple asked some sisters there if they knew me. ?? And they did, but they couldn’t remember his name.

My favorite part of the week… last Thursday evening, my teacher Hma Bair asked us to share our favorite scripture about Christ.  Immediately came to my mind the words of Isaiah, because they are great! Isaiah chapter 53:4-7. Stay with me now…

Surely he hath borne our grief’s and carried our sorrows yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of god and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions he was bruised for our iniquities the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray we have turned every one to his own way and the lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and he was afflicted yet he opened not his mouth, he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Wow. Never had any scripture struck me with such incredible force before in my entire life. Never. It was the most amazing experience I have ever had!! I wish words could do the spirit justice, but they never can and they never will. Because the spirit bore testimony, surely and undeniably, THAT THESE WORDS ARE TRUE, and I came to know the Savior a little more in that moment. We are the sheep and we turn from him so easily. But he still willingly gave himself. Oh I cried. I cried and cried when I bore testimony of that passage. I know that he is the Messiah. Yes that is correct. I do not believe, I do not hope, I do not think, I KNOW CHRIST LIVES. I wish all people could have this knowledge...and they can. That’s the best part.

One more thought. We read a quote this week along the lines of ´I think if we could see the hearts of the people we knew, and could understand their struggles and their challenges, we would all treat each other with more lovingly, more patiently, and with more gentle kindness’ and I love that. That is the epitome of Christ-like love. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Love them. Our world has got it backwards. We preach--take care of yourself first. Tend to your own needs and then look out for others. nononononononoNOOOOOO!!! Is that what Christ did? NO. We cannot be happy until we understand that. We have to love others. So be gentle! Be kind!!

Actually, one more thing. Yeah I’m on my soap box. It’s happening so roll with it. After Christ is resurrected, the apostles are fishing one night bc they didn’t know what to do after the death of the Savior and they didn’t understand his calling really. So, they went back to their normal jobs. Alright cool. Well, Jesus comes to the shore (and I’m skipping some of the story because I have no time) but eventually Peter, the apostle, jumps out of the boat and swims to the Savior. On shore, Christ asks him three times if he loves him and Peter was confused...but Christ ended with this...”if ye love me feed my sheep”. At that moment, Peter became the great apostle. He left his nets once and for all and taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. Guess what? My mission is that moment for me. I am never going back, “for no man having gone to plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom”. I am devoting everything that I have an am to the Savior. I have left all to follow in his footsteps and nothing has ever brought me any semblance of the joy I feel now in this work. IF YE LOVE ME FEED MY SHEEP. What a great call to all who desire to follow the Son of Man!! He is the light and the truth and the way and happiness and the joy and the fulfillment and I love him. Nothing I ever do will come close to what he sacrificed for me and for all mankind. The Book of Mormon rocks.

I am out of time good people. But I love you all. I am so ready to go to El Salvador. I am ready to share this news with all who want to listen. Pray for me. haha not kidding. I will need it this week.
I love Mexico.
I love the ccm.
I love America.
I love this gospel.
Have a stupendous week.

LOVE
Hma Hirschi

Thursday, October 17, 2013

DEET>Oxygen


Happy one month anniversary everyone!!!

Ok to be honest that is pretty freaky bc my whole life I was going to have 18 months in the mission.  now I have 17 months. how in the world...???

But onward. Because I have little time and I am going to be moving at the speed of light to finish this baby in time.

This week. It began with a new calling for me and Hma S. Our previous sister training leaders left the ccm for their missions, and so Hma S and I were called!! I am psyched. I love serving and I can’t wait to help these girls out and to serve them. Sunday Hma S and I interviewed them all and for the first time I empathized with bishops. ahahahah. Oh man, we only have 12 girls under our care and it took foreverrrrrr to talk to them all and make sure they were doing ok and to give council when we found out they were struggling with stuff. But yeah. Go Bishops. It's exhausting and a huge service.

Ok, so maybe some of you are a pinch curious about the title of this email. Here is a great discovery I made this week. Deet is a gift. A gift to mankind. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, mosquitos love me. Literally they love me and my blood. My roommate has exactly 0 bug bites. I have at least 40. ???? ok that seems really fair mosquito population!!! NOT. So I stopped wearing any sweet smelling lotions and perfumes. And STILL. Mosquitos are drawn to me. AWESOMEE. One  morning I was just trying to enjoy my breakfast and some little nasty mos. is feasting on my little knot on wrist and my comp points it out and I freak and beat it to death with my other hand and I think I screamed a little accidentally...like a battle cry type scream and this whole table of Latino elders turns around and just look at me. Like I have gone nuts. Maybe I have gone a little nuts. Actually that is certifiable so someone send me a psychiatrist.

 Then I decided I was done with the mosquitos. So the next day, before we left our apt, I sprayed it with deet.The windows, the doors, and lights. Everything. I would not be made a fool in the fight of man vs.
mosquito. and a miracle has happened. Yes, I can no longer breath when I am in my apt, and yes, the door handle is sticky and yes, people think I am weird. BUT MY ROOM IS 100% MOSTQUITO FREE. In faccct, at night, when I come home, I find roughly 20 dead mosquitos in front of my door. They have suffered death at my hands and I am perfectly alright with this. I am super happy about my decision to embrace deet and to relinquish my devotion to oxygen.

 Que mas. Ok CRAZY stuff going down in Mexico. so one day I am just studying some Spanish, bc I eat drink breath live play sleep and consume Spanish. and the elders run into the room. Hma Hirschi!!! come look! Mistakenly, I followed them and found to find that they were playing with  a GIANt MOTH. You might be having a hard time determining how giant a giant moth is, so I will help you create a visual. if you a full grown man, take your hands, spread them wide out, and conjoin them at the wrists. THAT IS THE SIZE OF THIS VILE CREATURE. ahhh Man it was so sick. haahhaa. And it was going crazy. It was literally a small bird and I was super frightened and I didn't want to touch it so I didn't.
The elders did. 

Ok another quick story. Sometimes the elders are a liiiitle rambunctious. and sometimes they run down the hallway and trip and smash their face into their Samoan companions sharp and extremely large elbow and cut their head open and receive 9 stitches. hahahah oh eldersssss. But the good news is that after this I bought the elder a sprite---which by the way tastes like America?? I don't know if you are acquainted with this fun fact but the flavor of sprite is America. It's a strange phenomenon---but anyway, I bought him one and with the Hma's we wrote a new label which read "we hope this spritens your day". I mean, can I get some credit for that!! What a pun. One of my greatest works. Also, this week Hma P and I are going to have a rap battle with the elders about our teachers. The elders are writing a rap for our male teacher and we are writing a rap for our female teacher...and then we will go to war. hahah we are getting pretty excited for the whole show down.

As usual, I am short on time and long in stories. Hma P and I have begun running in the morning. I thought this would be a breeze but turns out if you don't run for 2 months and then you run again you are going to feel a little pain. Too bad so sad!

 My Spanish is improving. I love learning Spanish! Probably too much but it’s fine. I think I have read the entire grammar book though. The problem is that while I know the rules I can't speak them. A minor issue seeing as I will be leaving among the people of San Salvador in one and a half weeks.

So I don't know how this has happened, but I am an entirely different person. It has been such an incredible transformation for me. I mean, I am still the same, but my understanding and my view of the world have broadened and deepened a hundred fold. (scriptures speak; you better believe it). Seriously though. I love this gospel. So much. And I love the Savior and I am pretty sure my thoughts are always on Him. But as you come to know Him--really know him and what he wants for you---your joy becomes more fully developed and it becomes enriched. we studied the doctrine of Christ yesterday...and yes Christ taught that His doctrine was faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. But it is also so much more than that!! His are the words of life! Our teachers asked us to really think about what the doctrine of Christ means to us in our lives. And I had to really ponder and think hard. I started to think more about Christ and what he teaches.  I believe that ultimately, and the very heart of His doctrine is love. A love with the power to redeem. How amazing. I love my family a lot, but I have no power to save them or to make more of them than they are. Christ's doctrine of love can. It's a real miracle! Ask of God. We can always always ask of God. He loves us. I love the story of Alma and Amulek. Way too much probably. But they talk about all the afflictions they endured...and it didn't matter bc their afflictions were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Everyone needs the doctrine of Christ, and everyone needs the gospel--restored to the earth. I love the Savior and I am striving so hard to know Him and to become like Him. I am so excited to share my witness of Him and His divine authority and power. HE IS OUR LORD AND HEAVENLY FATHER IS OUR GOD. They are far more than we are at this time...and it is absolutely right for us to worship them. But....let the enabling power of Christ's atonement work in your life. IT. IS. REAL.  That is what I have been trying to do bc I am not enough without Christ. Never has this fact been more real to me than now on my mission.

Ok, well that's all I've got time for. I love you all...and I miss you all...and the next time we have an exchange I will have 3 days left in the ccm. Unreal. I can’t wait to be a real missionary.

All my love,

Hma Hirschi