Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I am grateful for yet another 7 days in the Holy Land of Belize. 

We are counting down the days to the next change and I am becoming...nervous. 

La cosa es--all I know is this little town.
Everyone I love--apart from my faithful family and friends in the United States of America--is here.


Panic attacks ensue each night when I lay me down to sleep. But, I will go where the Lord wants me to go. He knows better than I. I Have learned enough in my years to at the very least recognize that Heavenly Father always knows best. Woo. Ok. I can do this!


Well I had a rather harrowing experience this past week. I am still less than inclined to share it due to the traumatizing effects, but I am still typing so here she goes. 


One day after lunch, sister N and I decided to make our way back to the church to use the bathroom. I don’t know how many of you have ever been blessed to use the public or private bathrooms in any Central American location--but if you have you will know that it is not an experience to be sought or desired. 


As such, sister N and I went to use the church bathroom. In order to do so, we must unlock the gate from the outside, place the lock on the chain link fence, and enter. This seems to most a very normal sequence of events, and all was well--until sister N and I exited the building and found--to our horror--that during our time inside the church building, someone had relocked the gate from the outside. We were actually locked in the church. 


I tried to get my hands through the fence and to slip the key into the lock, but to no avail apart from severe pain. Frustrated and without enough provisions to last us the afternoon, we waited for a passer-by to deliver us from our holy prison. Upon seeing a young woman coming around the corner, I politely solicited her assistance. 


"Excuse me! hello! yes hello. We are wondering if you could unlock this gate for us. Currently we are unable to do so."


We were shortly freed. 

So actually I made that sound a lot more dramatic than it actually was, and I suffered zero anything. 


The rest of the week...hmmm well Wednesday night was our regular family home evening for the branch. It was a hit and we had nearly 60 attendees! We had decided on sports. The thing is--there are ZERO movie theatres in Belize. Belizeans do not like movies. They just love sports. They loooove futbol. This week we missionaries decided on playing volleyball. 


For the first hour, I facilitated and organized teams and sent them to the court at their time to play. Then...the missionaries decided to play the reigning team. 


I just.....cant.....NOT get a little excited when I play volleyball. Elder C, igual conmigo, likes to play. Within the first 60 seconds he had dove on the cement surface and destroyed his church pants. They ripped.... in...multiple places. Hahaha still laughing.


After all was said and done--we had a good time. And I met two brothers who remind me very much of Scott and Steve (Alaina’s dad and his twin brother-very competitive with each other). They got a little out of hand at church volleyball. 


Sister N is getting better at riding her bike. She only fell twice this week. I don’t know how, but I see her crash every time, even though I always ride in front of her. She is one tough little cookie. Like probably a molasses cookie. 


Ademas, The people we are teaching are moving right along. We have another baptism scheduled for this Saturday. It is has been amazing to see how the Lord has blessed us. Absolutely incredible. 


Well everyone. I look good, I feel good, and people like me. (my motto from the 5th grade making an incredible comeback). Haha but for real, I have never been so happy in my entire life. Nothing brings joy like striving to live the commandments. 


One of the people we are teaching had a recent experience in this fact. He relied on his friends wisdom and allowed them to dissuade him from standing strong in what he knew to be true and right. As a result he went to a party. As a result he took some drinks. As a result he got into a car with people with whom he should not have been, and ended up in a horrible accident. 


 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you. And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts.


O be wise; what can I say more?


Really though. What more can I say? There is no substitute for following the commandments. Our friend is ok, but we spent a considerable amount of time nursing him back to mental and physical health. Gratefully this person has a newfound determination to trust in God and Gods law. 


O be wise. Read the scriptures. You'll feel good. You will feel happy. Choose the right! I love the Savior. I love this mission. It is the best thing I have ever done for myself or for others. 


I love you all. Hang loose. 


Sista Hirschi


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

9 Down, 9 To Go!

Here I am. Right at the half way mark. (She is halfway done with her mission, only 9 months left)

And throwing up everywhere. 





Who authorized this? Who sanctioned this?


I gotta admit it’s been one buuumpy ride. Who knew at day one, that Belize was going to be holy ground for me? Who knew that I would climb ruins, be chased by drunk men with machetes, fall off my bike numberless times, learn Kriol, drink wood juice, watch great canoe races, and meet my best friends in the world?? Who knew!? Only God. 


This week brought another onslaught of awkward moments, mistakes, and pure ecstasy. 


Firstly, K and his daughter R made the decision to be baptized. I love their family with every little tiny proton and neutron and electron of my heart. Every little string. Their baptism was well attended and they were so happy. So was I. R has really begun to read the Book of Mormon and she is falling in love with it. I felt to cry when she told me that, because I too love the Book of Mormon. She said when she started she couldn't stop! Her mom wanted her to help with the cleaning, but she didn’t want to put it down. It is a sacred book. 


The baptism was beautiful--except for one sharply painful learning experience for me. Do not ask the elders to sing with you a special musical number 15 minutes prior to the baptism. 


Secondly, do not allow peer pressure to persuade you to sing a solo with 0 practice. bad iderrr. 


Are you kidding me?!!?!?! I am not a soloist! Who thought this was a good idea? No one. But I did it. Because I  hate it when people are like...'I can’t do it!' Just do it. So I thought, 'alright I’ll just do it.' Phil knight and I are on the exact same wave length. 


So I started the song, which was fine. But I was nervous, and the first two notes I sang--well we will just say that I saw two birds drop out of the air dead. But. After that I was fine! Everything on tune. Until the Elders had their part. aaaand they slaughtered it. So I jumped in to sing with them. But I think the spirit had left long before we could salvage a normally beautiful song. What have we done to the reputation of this gorgeous and touching hymn.(Oh My Father). 


Evidently my comp and I weren't too abhorrent, because the Branch President asked us to sing the same song the next day in church--without the Elders. 



Sorry boys!


Apart from that, I FINALLY learned how to make flour tortillas this week. I am STOKED. I can do it all on my own! Now I have the power to raise my future children on Belizean cuisine! This has been my dream since day 13. Maybe I will open up my own tortillaeria. (shoot spelling on that...wrong). The point is that Ii am very happy about all of this.


Additionally, I made a giant twister for our branch family home evening this week. What a hit. What a blockbuster. The people--they loved it. If you've never played giant twister before, its highly advisable. Of course it always draws a laugh. I never knew Belizeans were so incredibly inflexible. 


Also Zac Quist
. Yesterday I met a girl here named Sabrina from Payson. She knows you. I think you are the most popular person in the world because every country I go to I find people who know you.


So I think beyond doubt the most precious part of my mission thus far has been two-fold. One is seeing the growth and change in others. Two is seeing the growth and change in myself. Hot dog! I have learned a ton! Secular leaning has occurred (considering the fact that I can speak Spanish!) but more valuable to me has been the spiritual growth. I am just so GRATEFUL that we can change. That we can grow. That we can learn. 


So I read a talk this week--it was from the Priesthood session of General Conference which is super good without fail every time. I read this story which touched the depths of my soul! 


So often it is so easy to get caught up in this world--in the day to day. But we must remember that we are eternal beings! We lived before this world, and we will live again thanks to our Savior. 


I have a friend who learned this truth in a very personal way. His son was raised in the gospel, but he seemed to be wandering spiritually. He frequently declined opportunities to exercise the priesthood. His parents were disappointed when he declared that he had decided not to serve a mission. My friend prayed earnestly for his son, hoping that he would have a change of heart. Those hopes were dashed when his son announced that he was engaged to be married. The father pleaded with his son to get his patriarchal blessing. The son finally agreed but insisted on visiting the patriarch alone.

When he returned after the blessing, he was very emotional. He took his girlfriend outside, where he could talk to her privately. The father peeked out the window to see the young couple wiping away each other’s tears.

Later the son shared with his father what had happened. With great emotion he explained that during the blessing, he had a glimpse of who he was in the premortal world. He saw how valiant and influential he was in persuading others to follow Christ. Knowing who he really was, how could he not serve a mission?

"A Choice Generation"--Elder Ridd

I wonder what I was like. But regardless, every single one of us on this earth chose to have faith in and trust the Savior. I hope we will not let ourselves become distracted from our incredible potential and from our true selves. Christ is the redeemer. He is also our brother. We trusted him enough when we lived before this life to follow Him--let us trust Him enough now to continue to follow Him in all things. He always fulfills His promises! 


I love the Savior. I love this work. I KNOW He accomplished what He said he would. He overcame death and sin for us. This is Christ's church.


I love you all. Please remember who you are. SImba style. 


Love faheva, 

Sista Hirschi


PS--the World Cup is the coolest. go Portugal! and Espana!




Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mango Mania

Alaina with her new companion Sis N

Hello world!

It's raining mangos here in Belize. 

So mango season is upon us and seriously it’s a mango flood. Everyone sees the missionaries and thinks,

“Ah. Poor missionaries! They probably need some food! I will give them these 4,000 mangos that fell from my neighbor’s tree". 


Thus it is. As such thinks every person in Belize. We graciously accept every mango donation, but I literally do not know what to do with all of them. At first, I did not even like them. But due to necessity I ate them, trying to put a dent in the mass of mangos we had accumulated.


Then, I started to like them. 


I can’t stop. 

3....4....5 a day. I’m on a mango craze. I’ve lost taste for all other foods. I just want MANGOS. 

Still, I couldn’t manage to keep up with the incoming flow of mangos. So I have started re-gifting them. At first I tried making them into other things--like juice, face masks, lotions. Then I began burying them and after that burning them. But, al final, I decided to just give them away. (Any true SpongeBob fan will appreciate that quip. best ep evaaa)


Additionally, R GOT BAPTIZED. R is a super cool kid actually. But I will admit that with this weekend I experienced the highest levels of cortisol I have ever known in my whole life. I was trying everything to get my heart rate down to a normal pace the day of his baptism.


If only you knew him. 


R was engaged in some not-so-constructive-activities before we met him. But this is a gospel of change. The night before his baptism, we asked him if he reallllllly believed what we had taught. 


"Of course it’s true. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t true. I know I’m ready"

Which leads me to this:


During the 1940s and 1950s, an American prison warden, Clinton Duffy,was well known for his efforts to rehabilitate the men in his prison. Said one critic, “You should know that leopards don’t change their spots!”

Replied Warden Duffy, “You should know I don’t work with leopards. I work with men, and men change every day.”1


Also I like this quote a lot--courtesy of President Thomas S Monson. So the point is, we need to try and see others as they may become--not as their currently are. Another one of my favorite quotes is this, from the one and only C.S. Lewis. The thing is I know you will see this quote and tremble at its exceeding length--but--just read it. You will thank yourself afterwards.



"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no 'ordinary' people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations -- these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit -- immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously -- no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner -- no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment."


Whaaaat. Yes! We all have the potential of becoming like our Father in Heaven. People do change. Through our Lord and Savior. So I am trying to work on patience. With everyone. Because patience means that we trust in the Lord, that we don't get angry in traffic or in the line at the grocery store when things don't go exactly according to our plan. And that we trust that if we are doing the right thing, nothing can go permanently wrong. Christ is, as in all God-like attributes, the perfect example of patience. Love people. Believe in them. Help them change. Be kind. Please be kind.



Guys. Not a lot of crazy things happened this week. I just grew a lot. In faith mostly. Also in patience. I love the gospel. I love learning! I love learning so much and it’s amazing how clear your mind is when you pray. Prayer is something really neat. It will be the iPhone 4000 I think. #Godstechnology>mans.


I love you all. More on the mangos next week.

Love faheva,









Thursday, June 5, 2014

Among other meanderings...

J's baptism
I don't really know what to say. I mean life in Belize is life in the fast track.

For example. This week I got locked out of my house. Not because I left the keys inside, because I would never make such an amateur mistake, but rather because a giant bolt in the top of the door was stuck. And the owner of the house never gave me keys to ANY of the four other doors that go into the house and did not have them in her possession.

So what did I do. I called Elder R, the senior missionary who used to be a cowboy. I did not know how, but I knew he would get me in. Elder R came to the rescue. We walked the perimeter of the house a few times. I outlined the situation on each of the locked doors. One in the back had the dead bolt unlocked, but had another lock on top. We made our way for that door. Elder R pushed on it a little bit. He rammed into it a little bit. We examined it a little bit. I said, "I’ve seen this in the movies.' And then he said, "I’ve seen this in the movies". He backed up for a running start and smashed that door right open with one solid kick. The plate was stripped right out of the wood and went flying!! Characteristic of myself, I screamed and laughed. And then Elder R and I high fived. It was a moment to be remembered. And he crossed something off of his bucket list!

Then one day, K was giving us a ride to our house from a family home evening. The car was having a bit of a hard time getting started, and then as we started moving I thought I saw a piece of the car ripping off of the vehicle. Mine eyes did not deceive me. Back on the road was a huge piece of the vehicle lying on the road. I would love to specifically name the part, but I have next to no  knowledge of cars. K just kept driving. His daughter and I...man did we laugh.

Sister N is great. I have never seen a tougher soldier, but she is still getting a handle on the whole bike thing. We went to visit someone on Saturday who happened to live on a huuuuuuuuuuuge hill. The person only lived about one-third down the hill. In other words, you must demonstrate great skill and mastery of your bicycle in order to ride and stop at the intended destination. I cautioned my compa, telling her to stand up in order to have greater control over the brakes. (We have the old-school back breaks that you had when you were 8). So I am nicely riding down at a slow pace--fish-tailing on occasion but in general exhibiting great expertise. Suddenly, Sister N shoots past me at somewhere around 75 mph. "SLOW DOWN N****!!!" I cry. To which she responds, "I CANT". In the next few moments I was left to watch  what I was sure would end in certain death for my poor little companion. She swerved a few times, but in the end, stayed atop her bicycle and rode all the way down the hill, nearly breaking the speed of sound. I am just glad she is alive. President would have been a little annoyed with me I imagine.

The work is going on. I looove teaching our English classes.  I think I have more friends in this little town than in any other town in the world. K and R continue to astound me with their desires to learn. They just want to know all there is to know about the gospel. J is basically MVP of our little branch.  I love that our little branch is growing!

And for my insights. Hmm. I guess this week I have been pondering about the reality of all these things that we teach....all these things that I believe and live. And I thought about pride for a sec. Pride is defined as pitting our will against God's. It makes itself manifest in envy, competitiveness, disobedience, it’s enmity, rebellion, and easily offended.
Basically it’s no good.

Pride is a sin that can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves. Most of us consider pride to be a sin of those on the top, such as the rich and the learned, looking down at the rest of us. (See 2 Ne. 9:42.) There is, however, a far more common ailment among us—and that is pride from the bottom looking up. It is manifest in so many ways, such as faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous.
Thx President Spencer W Kimball. Allowing any of these feelings or behaviors will make us unhappy. Of that I testify.
Christ lives. I know He does. He is our ultimate example of humility. He was completely obedient to the Father, but in nowise cowardly or passive. He boldly asserted the truth at all time. How I desire to be more like Him.
Guys. Have a stellar week. Stay strong. Stand up for what is right, even if it means you are labeled as odd, outdated, bigoted, hateful, dumb, or strange or mad, flechone, or whatever else.
All my love.
Love Sista Hirschi