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 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 Niña. 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’s online too 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


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