Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Welcome to my town , Mr. Cumberbatch.

That is right. 


Benedict, Cumberbatch. 

You see the thing is that I met him yesterday in Belize. 


Well, I’m pretty sure. Somebody check his twitter account. I’m starting to doubt myself. Here's the story anyways. 


It was p-day.(Prep day when they shop, do laundry etc to prepare for the week)  I was with my comp, Sister H, just doing some souvenir browsing. No big deal. We start in one store and a couple walks in. The lady is real pretty, and also very nice. She smiles at me, I at her, and we exit the store. 


Next we move to a Rastafarian shop. I am quickly making friends with the Rasta-man who is also owner of the store. His dreads are down to his knees and he is extremely affable. The same previously mentioned couple follows us in, but I continue chatting up my buddy. Then. Something a little nuts happened. 


I looked up, to see the presumed-Benedict remove his glasses and say, 'thank you' while stepping out of the store. I stopped mid sentence. 


the curly brown hair. 

long thin frame. 

frosty blue eyes. 

deep British voice.......



I start going nuts. I’m yelling at my newly acquired Rasta-friend. "DO YOU KNOW WHO THAT IS?!!?!?!?!? DO YOU KNOW!!"


"No who is it??!"




"no! no what is that!"




Me, Sister H and Rasta-man run into the street to chase down Benedict. He goes into another store and I pulled out my well-developed stalking abilities (learned at BYU for a myriad of reasons--normally following Kylie's my cousins boyfriends to get some private details)


But then I panicked. I felt super awkward for legitimately following Benedict for a solid 20 yards. Then I got on my bike and caught up to him and his nice girlfriend. I’m starting to wonder if stalking is illegal. The conversation went like this, 


"Excuse me!"


Fear. Fear. Fear. So much adrenaline in my body.




"do you know where cahal pech is??"--me


I am star struck at this point. He says to me, 


'what is that?" British accent.

'a ruin.'


'Oh. No I don’t know where that is.'

'Ok. how long have you been in Belize?'

'a week.'


Then I stared at him. But he had glasses on.  I strained to see through them. They must have some serious UVB protection bc I couldn’t get through them. So I said, 


'Ok! Thank you!'


And that was it.


 So I actually don’t know if it was Benedict. If it was, I am very happy with my life. If not, I got a Rasta man worked up for nothing at all. Please check his twitter account. I imagine one of his recent posts would read something like this, 


"Wow I am having a great time here in Belize with my girlfriend who is American". 


Let me know what you find.


So apart from that, Sister H and I are tearing it up out here. It’s getting warm, but I prefer the heat to the cold. I’m getting a niiiice tan. What’s upppp.  Sun-kissed skin is the way to go. 



I can relate to Nephi and Moroni (prophets in the Book of Mormon) these days. My blood, sweat, and tears have all been laid down in Belize. Blood for falling off my bike, sweat for walking up these COLOSSAL hills every day and night, and tears for people who I love who know what we teach is true but won’t change.


My favorite sweet little old lady in the world died this week. Her name is M.  M is a Mayan fireball. She had more sass than I had ever before seen in all the world. She was so cute and every time we asked her to pray when visiting her she would tilt her head back and squint her eyes and smile slowly...and then come up with a ridiculously witty line to try and pawn off the prayer to someone else. Also she had one tooth. ALSO. One time. It was midday and about 95 degrees outside, and little 80 year old M walked to church at the pace of a snail. All alone. Love her.


She died because her grandson was drinking and his wife was throwing bottles at him in anger. This always upset M. She stepped in to stop the wife, and got her foot stuck, fell and hit her head. She was in a coma for 4 days before she died. 


I played piano at her funeral. How I loved that woman! She was a great example to me. I miss her a lot. But I am so grateful for the plan of salvation. I know God really does have a perfect plan for us. I know I will see M again. I can’t wait. 


You are all really wonderful people. I love hearing from you. Thanks for the many letters. I wish I could convey my feelings to all...the depth and breadth of my testimony. But I just can’t. But how beautiful it is to read the words of prophets every day! Both living and dead...we have countless testimonies of Christ and God the Father, and they fill me with faith! The testimonies of the living prophets are available on lds.org.  Google LDS.org general conference, you will hear prophets speak…you won’t regret it!  I love Heavenly Father's perfect plan for us. 


So. Go forth with faith! I know God always prepares a way. 



Sista Hirschi


ps the health fair was fun. I handed out a lot of fliers. Good things these days. I am a pro at talking to strangers on the streets:))



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Whatever is happening right now....the result will involve physical pain"


Here comes a quickie. 
I have little time. 
Sorry for always complaining about that. I will repent and do better. 
So what goes down in Belize, you may be asking yourself. The following:
1. Your investigator E*** who is AWESOME and from a tiny town in El Salvador and speaks purely Spanish, wears a BYU football shirt to a lesson you have with him one day. I think I fell down on the ground when I realized what he was wearing. All I could think, "where did you get that shirt.' Still don’t know where he got it. 
2 My bike, Shadowfax, has shown me the meaning of haste on multiple occasions. But this week, he became a living death trap. I was pumping hard--going all out--on this hill that drives me INSANE, when suddenly,  the chain quit. I heard this: 
"asdlfkhdfhadfhad"--that is metal grinding and going nuts.
then I thought this:
"Whatever is happening right now....the result will involve physical pain"
I proceeded to lurch forward, backward, and slam down to the ground. I walked away with only minor injuries, but a strained relationship with Shadowfax. He's trying to murder me. Not grounds for a happy relationship. 
Never a dull moment.
3. Baby cockroaches were living in my retainer case. good. I soaked my retainer in Listerine after that. How else do you disinfect a retainer that was a home to cockroaches?
Additionally, my best friend R*** accepted to be baptized May 11th. It is my birthday present even though he is unaware. Oh I'm so happy!! He has made so many changes in his life. He prays, he doesn’t drink, he comes to church, he feels the spirit, he still makes fun of my physical appearance--mostly my hair. Ah. He loves the Book of Mormon. Because...he reads the Book of Mormon. He always asks for more stories to read. 

Alaina with her last companion, Sis. Reyer (pink), new companion (right)
Apart from that, my comp and I have been engaging in some fun local service projects. We teach English classes 4 nights a week for free which is a huge crowd pleaser. And I love my students, they are so funny. This week we are also helping a local charity run an event!! They serve lunches to kids who don’t have enough to eat. I am excited to work with them. Additionally...we are starting an alcoholics anonymous group. Some senior missionaries in Belize used to host it back in the states...and this is a community in serious need of that kind of help. It’s hard to feel the spirit when you’re totally glazed. I am hoping our area will respond well. So  many people are so lost and so controlled by alcohol. I’ve seen a lot of lives destroyed by liquor. I hate it. Hopefully we can help out a little bit. 
I am doing well. I am not cold. and I love this scripture. 
And Jesus said to him, "'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes."24Immediately the boy's father cried out and said, "I do believe; help my unbelief." 
Ii believe, help thou mine unbelief. Do you know what I like about this example of Christ’s compassion? He did not scold the man for his doubt. He helped him! It gives me hope for myself. I am doing my best to be faithful and to believe and to increase my belief, and I know it is acceptable to God. He will heal us, and He will help our unbelief. 
I love Jesus Christ. I love Easter. He is risen! I love the gospel of Jesus Christ...and I know through it and the atonement...even our smallest flaws can be mended. 
I love you all. I love to pray. I love America. Please....PLEASE. If you want direction, purpose, and peace....live the gospel. Read the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Go to church. Pray pray pray. Keep the commandments. WIth all the energy and feeling of my soul I implore you!!! Trust that these things will bring you joy. I know that they will. 
Be true.
Love, Sister Hirschi


Thursday, April 17, 2014

I'm sorry… Did anyone else put together the fact that burrito means little donkey??!?!?!?!? I cannot stop laughing, especially because the Latina that lives with me calls people burros allllll the time. But sometimes it’s more fun in English. Give 'er a spin. Call someone a little donkey. And then repent. 


So another fast-paced week in Belize. But let us begin with some shout-outs. 


1. SCOTT J.  You dirty dog you. I got your letter this week. I LOVED reading your letter, it was such a privilege. Congrats on getting engaged! Please send me an announcement. You are the man. And please, other people- send me mail. (contact me at shirsc@yahoo.com for the address)


2. NATE AND JULIE !!!!!!Wow you guys are married. I love you guys. Congrats. I hear the wedding was a smashing success. You two. Tear it up in married land ok?? Love you both. 


3. There were changes this week. And my heart is bleeding because I lost my dearly-beloved companion Sister R. She was moved to El Salvador. We had a lot of precious moments together. In fact, we were so synchronized near the end that we rode our bikes side by side, and dismounted the same side, at the same time, in the exact same fashion. Truly, we were one flesh. And truly, I cried to see her go. But God needs her somewhere else. And He needs me in Belize. Belize and me forever you guys. 


Apart from that, this week my north face back pack died. I am mourning the loss of this faithful friend who went through 3 years of BYU with me and 7 months of mission life. But actually I am hanging onto her. The bottom may be blown out, but I am placing my items inside her very precariously and she lives on. 


Additionally, I cut my hair. Bad idea? Sure. Luckily, one of our great investigators works at a salon and fixed it for me. Initially, I literally appeared to have a mane identical to a lions. Our investigator R*** spared no pains in letting me know it looked crazy. 


So my new companion is Sister H and she will be going home soon. But we are teaching a young man named J****. End of our first lesson he says, ‘‘So...what does one have to do in order to serve a mission like you guys?'' and we said, ''get baptized''. And he said, ''Ok. Sounds good''. In short, J**** is awesome. And he will bet getting baptized very soon. As will R***.


I learned a lot this week. True to mission form. And my zone split in half! We are now a baby zone. I don’t know what my bit is about this week. Maybe that God's ways are higher than ours. And His standards are perfection. His church will require the best of us--nothing less makes any sense. In fact He requires more than our best--which is possible--but only through Christ. So here is a classic missionary scripture that I love more every day. 


12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak;therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast  of my God,for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mightymiracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise hisname forever.


Sending my love always from Belize. Change is rough, but new adventures are smooth. 


Go to church and say your prayers. And listen to bachata music. And Enrique Iglesias singing in Spanish. It will transform your life.


Sista Hirschi



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

All my dreams came true; through the power of General Conference.


Do you know God is the same yesterday today and forever?

Do you know He has called prophets since the beginning of man on earth?...beginning with Adam?

Do you know He continues to lead and guide his children on the earth through a prophet?

Do you know the prophet is the mouth piece of the Lord and that he spoke to all the world this last weekend in the bi-annual general conference??

Do you know you can ask God if this is true and He will respond with a personal answer?

Because that should knock your socks right off. 

They should be lying on the floor. Right now. 

No longer on your feet. 


It was a fantastic week in Belize. 

It began with a flood in our house, which actually hurt the level of optimism I felt about the week...but many events which I will soon unfold rebuilt this week's ratings. 

Some guys were power washing our roof and didn’t bother to say anything about the matter. They did it to find the holes in our roof…because they knew there were holes in our roof. Translation? The water ends up in our house destroying many precious materialistic things.  

I’m over it. 

 In other news, I want you guys to come with me for one sec to see how it is that I introduce myself to strangers on the street. 

''hi. how are you?"

"I’m good thanks."

"Great brother! My name is Sister Hirschi"

"Sister what?"

"Sister Hirschi--like the chocolate?"

"oh....ok...ha. haha. hahahaha."


Do you have any idea how many times I have rehearsed that joke. So many times that I hate myself for it. It disgusts me but I continue to use it. Do you know why? Because the Belizeans laugh at it every time. It never fails. So while it now makes me physically ill, I press on. 


In other news, our weekly excursions to ruins continue. This week presented a new adventure...GUATEMALA GENTE MALA. We went to Guatemala!! so I can add another country to my list. You all know you have the same list. 


I made the following observations about Guatemala and the ruin we visited, namely Yahxa. 


1. Guatemalan Spanish is infinitely more beautiful than Belizean Spanish. 

2. Guatemala is a beautiful country. 

3. it was hot. 

4. I like ruins but I liked the jungle more. 

5. I am getting bored of ruins. once you've seen 8 piles of organized rocks, you've seen them all. 

6. Yahxa was pretty cool though, because it was a complete city, totally excavated. It took us hours to walk around each temple. The views from the top were spectacular.


I have gotten smarter. I took an umbrella with me. The result?? I suffered dehydration and great humiliation, but I did not burn.  

I consider this a victory. 

Well apart from all the funnies, there was General conference this week, and I soaked in every word. Among my favorites were the talks given by President Uchtdorf. Also this week Sis R and I continued to teach our young friend RY about the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is actually Andrews age! (Alaina’s 17 year old brother)


Last night we asked RY what he would do if he got an answer from God that what we were teaching him was true, that Christ's church is on the earth today--same as He organized when He was here. RY responded, 'I would go to church, and then I would tell my friends about it and I would do what you guys do and preach the gospel.'

Have I ever been more impressed with spiritual insight or maturity from one so young? no.  Have I ever seen such great faith in Belize? no. Is RY going to change his life and the lives of his family and friends? of course. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power to change.

 “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel.”


We have living prophets whose words are the words of the Lord. I testify that God lives and that he is gathering his elect and that we all need the words of the prophets in our lives to motivate and uplift us. We can all speak more boldly and with more understanding about the restored truths of the gospel. 

I have a lot of fav moments from general conference. Go here-- lds.org --to read and watch those talks. Study them. Pray about them. How I love them!


I love you all, but above all I love our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. 

I am so grateful to be here.


Happy April, 

Sista Hirschi



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Di harse gahn!! Escape of Chalupa


Today is a great day in Belize. 

Do you know something I have struggled with on my mission??

Every day, until about 10am...give or take an hour, I think I am on vacation. 

(This would be an interesting vacation…missionaries are up at 6:30 every morning with 30 minutes for exercise, 2 hours of scripture reading and study and another 30 min-1 hour of language study.  Not how I envision vacation mornings!)

Add to that the fact that I am burnin, burnin, burnin…another common characteristic of every vacation I have ever taken.

I am extra crispy and red. EVERY Belizean loves to comment on that fact. I'm all, 'hey I’m tan!' and said Belizean is like, 'you are red. are you ok?'


 Sunblock is good for nothing in this sun. 

 Enough rants on that topic. there is always chemo. [Just between you and me(Alaina’s mom) I contacted the Mission Presidents wife today to get some help on the sunburn issue.]

So something else marginally cool happened this week. At the end of a lesson I found a TARANTULA in my backpack. I remained relatively calm and ordered the investigator to please, kindly, remove the arachnid from my personal item.  He did so without delay, but also noted that if I had enough faith the spider wouldn't have been there. 

 Still working out on sorting the correlation between spiders and faith. It'll come. Give me another week. 

Additionally, Sister R** and I enjoyed dinner with some members last night. They were celebrating a birthday for Dad with the ENTIRE extended family. It also so happened that grandpa had bought the granddaughters a horse that day. 

 A 3000 dollar horse name Chalupa.

 First. Whose grandpa actually buys them a pony?

Second. The horse was tied up outside to the porch. We were all enjoying some birthday cake, when the conversation returned to the horse. Someone nonchalantly decided to check on the whereabouts of Chalupa the pony. Suddenly, all the family members of this large family reunion/birthday party started shouting: DI HARSE GAHN!! (kriol). 

 We sent out a search party for Chalupa. 

It took us about 10 minutes. But we located her in a greener pasture. 

Where is the mission reality TV show? But seriously. Still laughing about that slippery little pony.

Also. I am wondering if everyone else knows of the reality of the power of prayer?? And that God answers prayers? Sometimes REALLY SUPER fast. It will blow your mind. Like it did mine, this week. Because I was struggling with a personal trial this week...and it was not fun in any way, shape, or form. Notice that I have omitted further details.

One night, I got on my knees and poured it all out--but it still hurt. God often lets us to continue to hurt in order to grow a liiiittle bit more. 

But then, the next morning, He comforted me immediately. I opened up a Liahona (a church magazine with articles written by church leaders) right to an article which contained all the answers I needed to be soothed, to move me to repent, and to solve the issue I was confronting. I still hurt, and it wasn't easy to accept the message, but God showed me how to be whole. He knows us. The gospel has alllll the answers. What a gift!

 So. General conference anyone?? (A meeting held every 6 months when the leaders of the LDS church speak to the general membership of the church. There are 5 two hour sessions that are broadcast around the world).  I've never been so excited. Ever. Hahaha. Bring on the revelations!!! I am ready to feast on the word. And this feels like my only connection to the outside world.

I love you all. I love our Heavenly Father. 

As per usual, I implore you all-be righteous. Have a nice week. 


Love Sista Hirschi