Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rediscovering applesauce

The thing is. My last few emails have been straight out of loserville. Wow. I am extremely apologetic. I am going to try and ramp things up today for you all. 


The mission is flying by. Its crazy how the weeks slip and slip and slip right through your sunburnt fingers. August is upon us! Which means Kylie has reached a year in the mission. Which means I am not far from a year on this wild experiment called a mission. 


Holy Hannah. 


This week brought its fair share of laughs, battles and spoils. First of all, I ate applesauce. 

To most readers, this is a normal, if not everyday or every week experience. But. I have not eaten applesauce in like, 11 months. Deprivation is the name of the game. Haha but seriously there is an American military family living here, and they have us over for dinner from time to time. How strange it is to step into their home--which is like little America. Last night they gave us a couple cases of applesauce. Such a simple leisure. Such great joy in consuming it. It was quite nice. 


Additionally, my companion and I met Lucifer this week. Evidently he lives in Belize. If you can imagine the jokes are flying. We were worn and tired on a Wednesday afternoon when I asked my compa if we could stop and buy some bread. In the process of doing so, a man whizzed up on his bike, came to a screeching halt, and introduced himself to the ladies selling the bread as "Lucifer, son of the morning. It’s a fine name! Nothing wrong with it!!!" then he turned to us, "oh!! I didn’t see you there!! Oh well don’t you think Lucifer is a great name?" Use your imagination to finish the conversation we had. Actually we didn’t get a word in edge wise. But Lucifer was actually pretty kind. Maybe a little insane and a Bible-hater, but he was cordial. That's the least you can ask. Now when anything goes wrong, my compa and I throw our heads around searching for our friend Lucifer. He must be near....


We recently baptized a man named G. G is a pearl. He has come out to teach with us three times in the past three days. If I’m not mistaken, he is batting 100%. Nice! Well he is a crack up and sometimes I love the conversations that ensue between visits, as we are traveling. 

Yesterday, we came to the topic of childbirth. G explained to me that when his wife gave birth to his sons, he realized that nothing could be more painful. I asked him how he knew...like if she had screamed or something. 


"No. she just squeezed my hand really tight"


I was undone. Why is that so funny to me? Who can say? 


The work is good in Belize. The people are more receptive here, more willing to listen to us. I have been studying a lot about the atonement though. Just trying to understand it and use it. The incredible part is that it is two-fold. Through it we are cleansed from our sins and made more than we are. We are enabled and strengthened. I love this incredibly succinct and true statement from a prophet of the Lord, 

President David O. McKay said: “The purpose of the gospel is . . . to make bad men good and good men better, and to change human nature”


While I think I have been conscious of this fact for some time--that the atonement of Christ is not only for sinners but to make good men saints--I don’t think I had internalized it, or really tried to use that power of Christ, His grace, to become what I cannot on my own. The mission has a funny way of humbling you so severely, that you HAVE to rely on that strength of the Lord to become more than what you are through your own "sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and... obviously limited capacities" 


There is a cap on our human abilities. There will come a point in our lives where we need to be more than we can on our own. Maybe Sister Hirschi has hit that point. How grateful I am for a loving Father and a perfect older brother, who--through his atoning sacrifice, gives me the power to change my very nature. 


In addition, I read another great talk this week by President Uchtdorf


We shouldn’t wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was already available—all the time! Life is not meant to be appreciated only in retrospect. “This is the day which the Lord hath made … ,” the Psalmist wrote. “Rejoice and be glad in it.”6

Brothers and sisters, no matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something in each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it.

How true that is. I can testify of that! No matter what, the Lord is blessing us. There are things for which to be grateful. Always always. 

I love you all. I love America. I love applesauce. I love my family. I love the Lord. 


Stay safe, choose the right, and avoid encounters with Lucifer. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

A quick recap

A quickie right here right now. One time. 


Another week flown by. I will try to recap and summarize to the best of my abilities. 


1. I have been concerned about the state of my health/diet during the course of my mission. Belizeans aren’t really into vegetables. Or fruit. Or anything except for chicken and flour tortillas. So I made the decision to begin the exercise regimen 'insanity'. It is truly insane. The first few days I was sure my legs would fall off of my body, but luckily they remain attached. I suffered severe pain, but i am coming to enjoy my time with Shawn T in the mornings. It’s kinda addicting. 


2. Belize throws yet another curveball. Adding to their cultural mix-up are the Maya and Ketchi. This also means that I have to learn another language. Which means now that Belize has like, 14 languages. It’s just a little too much for me. Whenever I see a little brown lady on the street, my inclination is to speak to her in Spanish. I have done this only to be met by blank stares--because these are MAYAN people. they speak Maya and English. It’s pretty wild. But the Maya are very kind and docile. 


3. We had three baptisms this weekend! It was a baby miracle. It felt so amazing. Sister C sang a song and I played the piano...we practiced just a few minutes before the service and it was super fun to play a song that was NOT a hymn. 


Sorry folks. next week’s email will be better I swear it. My two cents for this week is a little bit about courage and compromise. Sometimes we have to compromise--sometimes we have to be willing to compromise, but also need to stand for truth. Truth and commandments should never be compromised, no matter the consequence. 


You are all lovely people. I miss you all. Belize is beautiful and you should come visit me. 



Sista Hirschi

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Oh say can you see by the dawns early light...

(I was on vaca over the 4th and missed posting this letter. -Jackie Hirschi)

Happy Independence day to one and all. 




Can you truly appreciate the United States of America until you have lived outside of the United States of America? I attest that one cannot. It is a blessed country.



But I write as one with a heavy heart. Changes will be this Saturday, and while I STILL (incredibly) cannot say whether or not I will be leaving San Ignacio, I have a hankering. 


Regardless, I will be grateful. Grateful for the time I have been allowed among these beautiful people and grateful that the Lord trusts me enough to send me to destroy another town with my nefarious undertakings. 


hahahaha what does that even mean. 


I regret to inform you all that I have fallen mildly ill this week. Nothing drastic, but I sound pretty masculine. Funny thing is--Belizeans keep asking me if I drank something cold. or if I took a shower after I ate something hot. According to their science, Belizean science, one may become sick when indulging in the above mentioned activities. I have tried refuting them, and asking for some supported scientific evidence. But they are insistent! 


Apart from that we enjoyed the baptism of B. His father and sister were baptized just a few weeks ago! My dear companion and I had everything ready to go on time, but Belizeans are extremely casual. I was ready to go at 11 am--the decided start time of Brandon's baptism. His family showed up at noon. By that point I was on the floor having a nervous breakdown and convulsing. But once we finalllly got started everything went wonderfully. There was a lot of support and B was beaming! 


Can I just say. Nothing. Absolutely 




compares to the joy of bringing a family together in following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ! I am amazed at this family's understanding of the atonement so quickly, but they are our new best friends in missionary work. They are sharing the good news with alll their family and friends. And B and his sister are both looking to serve missions! Ah my joy is full.


Well ya'll. Life is good. The tender mercies of the Lord are always pouring down. Could be a crazy week for me. we'll see. Trust in the Lord and everything always turns out good. 


Have a nice week. 


Sista Hirschi

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Coconuts-The spoils are sweet!

Some things happened this week.

As I am sure you all can imagine.

Soul-stretching, sucker-punching, and character-building type things. The good stuff.

Let's begin with my eye infection. The first I have endured in many years. It was weird and I was perturbed and I had to wear my glasses which makes my new compa and I look even more similar which makes literally every person in Belmopan stop and ask if we are sisters.


Ha ha ok it’s not that big of a deal. But also literally every person here asked me if I was German this week.
Maybe that is due to my last name--which is in fact German--but something tells me it had more to do with the fact that Germany was playing in the world cup this week. So I am white and naturally must be German. It is only logical.

Then on Sunday something pretty fun happened. Due to some wild and unusual circumstances, the missionary who normally translates the Spanish church meetings into English was unable to do so, and thus, I was called upon to translate.

This was fine, except that I have never once translated before. I put on the headphones and set to work. I will be honest and say that I was extremely nervous at first, but miraculously, it was a breeze to translate the Spanish speakers. The difficulty came when I had to translate the Americans speaking Spanish back into English. Why? Because their accents are challenging to decipher. This resulted in something of a train-wreck and me apologizing to my listeners for my inability to discern what the heck the Americans speaking Spanish were trying to say.


But actually. Translating is super fun. I'd like to try again. But I think I am probably fired. I'll let you know.

Yesterday we were surprised by a baby emergency. We lost power. Boo! Well it was fun until we realized how poorly prepared we were and that we had nothing to eat. As night fell, the situation grew dire. Danger seemed imminent to me and another sister in the house-Sister C. We decided to patrol the perimeters of our home and to search for alternative food options, fully realizing that soon we may need to cultivate the land.

The coconut...our dinner
To our delight, we found a coconut tree. I hoisted her up and she secured a coconut. (After I dropped her about 5 times). We spent the next 15 minutes trying soooo hard to bust the dang thing open. It was a test of our strength, wit, and intelligence. But the spoils were sweet! Finally we got the thing open and ate! And surprisingly the coconut was really good. We wanted to make coconut meal but realized we needed a blender--or in other words power. And we were back to square one.

Also Sister C's parents have recently purchased a house in Spain and she has invited me to come live there with her after the mission.

Porque no?

I can dig it. So yeah. It has been hard still dreaming of San Ignacio but still waking up in my new area. But I am getting nearer to loving the people and the place. There was a function this week though for all of Cayo and many of my San Ignacio friends came. What a joy. But my already cracked and healing heart was re-opened when a little girl from SI ran up to me, gave me a big hug, and looked up and said, "are you coming back now?!"


The thing is, I am doing my very best to learn charity--or the pure love of Christ. I know He knows more than I do. I know I have to love like He did and does. To me charity means that you don't always have to be right, it means that you clean up your companions puke, it means that you don't envy the missionaries who have more baptisms, it means that you are kind to those who everyone else thinks are strange, mean or rude, and it means that we are patient. It means we do the right thing for the right reason. Not to be glorified of men, but to glorify our Father. It means not getting angry when we are in the grocery line too long and we have somewhere to go. It means not freaking out on people when they utterly disappoint you. It means always, always, ALWAYS, giving people the benefit of the doubt.

"Charity is the pure love of Christ. It is the love that Christ has for the children of men and that the children of men should have for one another. It is the highest, noblest, and strongest kind of love and the most joyous to the soul (see 1 Nephi 11:23). "


I'm trying to be like Jesus. I trying to do as he did in all that I do and say.

Love that song.


Guys I love you all. I’m on my way to loving my new area
. Another day another story. It’s neat. Keep me in your prayers. You're in mine. Christ lives. God lives. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. The Book of Mormon is true in Spanish and English.

Love always,

Sister Hirschi

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A New Beginning

Hey ya'll. 

So here I am. NOT in San Ignacio. Normally my emails include humorous overtones, undertones, and in-between tones, but maybe this one won't. I'm too sad.

The thing is...my area got changed. I am no longer in San Ignacio! I am now stationed in a new area in Belize.

My week was a bit trying then. Here is a run-down. 

Wednesday: I found out I was leaving. I cried. 
Thursday: I cried. 
Friday:  I cried. 
Saturday: I cried. I got in a truck with two strangers and I left. And then I wept.
Sunday: I cried. 
Right now: I am crying. 

The thing is, I am not a crier. Do you believe me?
Mom? Back me up on this. I just don't really cry. 

But my heart is buried in a little box under the chapel in San Ignacio. I will love it always and forever with every particle in my body. The people there are truly amazing souls and I am so grateful that I was counted worthy to labor among them and to serve them and to love them. And how i do love them. Is it too much to say that I have neverdone anything as hard as leave San Ignacio?

The good news is that last week I had a cold which persists still. SO I have been able to play off the copious crying as just this blasted runny nose going out of control. I think people have been pretty-well fooled. 

Man guys. Do you know that San Ignacio is the best place in the world and I will extol her virtues until the day they put me 6 feet beneath the earth? 

Thursday and Friday I spent running around and trying to say goodbye to all those whom I loved so dearly. I took many pictures. I cherished every waking moment. I gained 14 pounds because everyone wanted to give me a last dinner. Well after my 5th last dinner I asked them to roll me home. Actually it was so pleasant. I love that town.

Man. The mission. 

Friday I packed until 2:30 in the morning. 
Saturday morning I got up at 6:30. I went and said goodbye to one last family. 8:00 a.m. I came to my new area. 

And once more, I have NO IDEA what is going on. Limbo. Ah how I loathe limbo. Talk about humbling though. The thing is—this new area seems super neato. The people were really welcoming in church yesterday, and I already know some of the peeps because I have been here before.  It is super open and reminds me of Africa which is impossible since I’ve never set foot on African soil.

Some pros of my new area:
1. There is a washing machine. 

I have been hand washing my clothes for almost 8 months. Can anyone imagine the joy that penetrated my heart when I put some clothes in to a machine and pushed a button and walked away?

So far that is it. Wait one more. 

2. The Bs. A hilarious family who I knew before and I loved. 

I promise I will add to this list next week. 

The good news is that when we face things that we cannot overcome on our own, we get smart and we learn a little humility. We pray a little harder. We learn a little faster. I am grateful for a Father in Heaven who knows all and who is so acutely aware of my weaknesses and strengths and knows where to put me and when. I trust him. I am also so grateful for a Savior who can relate perfectly to how I feel and who will carry me. It’s been a hard week--but it has also been a tender week. I have felt very profoundly the love of Christ for me, and the depth of his sacrifice. When I thought I really couldn’t do it, I remembered what He endured and I felt so much love and so much peace and so incredibly close to Him. They were sweet moments.

I look forward with so much hope and surety to that day when I will enter His presence again and never have to depart. So this week has reminded me a little of this story that I have read a few times. I can’t say the suffering Ihave endured in leaving San Ignacio compares in ANY measure to that of what the early saints endured, but I do love this man’s unyielding faith and perspective on the trial the handcart saints faced.

Some years ago President David O. McKay (1873–1970) told of the experience of some of those in the Martin handcart company. Many of these early converts had emigrated from Europe and were too poor to buy oxen or horses and a wagon. They were forced by their poverty to pull handcarts containing all of their belongings across the plains by their own brute strength. President McKay related an occurrence which took place some years after the heroic exodus:
“A teacher, conducting a class, said it was unwise ever to attempt, even to permit them [the Martin handcart company] to come across the plains under such conditions.”
Then President McKay quoted an observer who was present in that class: “Some sharp criticism of the Church and its leaders was being indulged in for permitting any company of converts to venture across the plains with no more supplies or protection than a handcart caravan afforded.
“An old man in the corner … sat silent and listened as long as he could stand it, then he arose and said things that no person who heard him will ever forget. His face was white with emotion, yet he spoke calmly, deliberately, but with great earnestness and sincerity.
“In substance [he] said, ‘I ask you to stop this criticism. You are discussing a matter you know nothing about. Cold historic facts mean nothing here, for they give no proper interpretation of the questions involved. Mistake to send the Handcart Company out so late in the season? Yes. But I was in that company and my wife was in it and Sister Nellie Unthank whom you have cited was there, too. We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? …
“‘I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it.’”
He continues: “‘I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.
“‘Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.’” 1

This. workistrue
I do not doubt it.
Jesus Christ is the Messiah. 
God is our Father. 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lords kingdom here on the earth today. 

Never a dull moment. I know this gospel is true. I KNOW. 
Mom and Dad I am moving back to San Ignacio after the mission to live there forever. 

I Love you all. 
Sista Hirschi

PS--more next week on the cultural differences between San Ignacio and my new area