Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Let the good times roll!

Hello everyone!


First and foremost, I’m sorry if I did not respond to your email this week! I will get to you. I promise. I just need time...just give me more time!


So El Sal is movin and groovin. I am in a city that is a city in every sense of the word. There are buses. There are chain restaurants. There are many people. There are venders. There are stop lights. Everything that there wasn’t in Belize, there is here. 


So it’s fun to have a totally new experience, but I’m not quite sure how to be a missionary in a city! I feel like a cockroach on its back. It’s a bad place to be.


But being back in El Sal, I’ve been forced to speak Spanish again. And my worst fears have been confirmed. My new companion, the darling Sister W, coming at you from Wyoming, USA, has noted that I do indeed change my voice when I speak Spanish. I like...cannot control it.  I lower my voice a few registers when I’m speaking Spanish. hahahaha. According to her, it’s really soothing and trance inducing. Alright alright. So I’m looking forward to converting people by mesmerizing them with my voice intonations. Mom I don’t know if that is the right word. 


But yeah. Actually Spanish is hard. It’s hard to form relationships with people. It’s hard to understand people. And it’s hard to say what I want to say. It’s coming. I’m probably a little awkward, but that is half the joy of the mission. 


In addition, I went to Walmart. 




Yes, the one and only. And maybe you all think that Walmart is kinda low class in the United States, but guess what. Here, it doesn’t get even ounce more elegant. Walmart is where it is at. Its super fancy pants and more expensive, but is has been such a joy to shop there. They have everything there!! It’s just so....AMERICA.


So I guess they decided that I am no longer at the bottom of the barrel, and now I’m  a sister training leader!! Wooooow. Ok ok. So I’m here to corrupt the minds of the younger sister missionaries. In reality, I’m excited to try and help them out and to learn from them. Basically I just tell them that they’re beautiful and perfect and smart and then I buy them some chocolate or ice cream and write them a nice note. Just kidding. Partly. But really, I’m a little nervous about messing them up. I’m praying a lot. For a lot of help. That I really need a lot. 


So the area is pretty barren right now. I arrived and we had like...one half of an investigator (an investigator is someone they are teaching) . Nice! So we are doing some pumping up! Sister W just finished her training too so she is young in the mission. People say I’m old now. Which is just plain creepy. Tooooo creepy.


Guys. In the words of a one Gertrude Stein, America is my country, and San Ignacio my hometown. I hope there isn’t a copyright on that. Honestly the transition at times has been trying, but it’s all about the F word. Faith.


Faith is doing what’s right even when we don’t see the results. Its persevering in being obedient and diligent even when what you expected doesn’t come through. Its keeping the commandments when you don’t realllly understand them...consistently when you may not see the blessings immediately. 


So for reals, that is what I am trying to do. I’m trying to be faithful. I’m trying to put everything I have learned in the past 11 months together and blow up the mission. But I know the results might take time. Sometimes Heavenly Father needs to test our faith and our patience. That’s fine by me. If I’ve learned anything, it’s to trust in Him. He has got it all figured out. 


As per usual, I’m short on time. Just know that there are many more adventures that maybe one day I’ll put in a book. But. I love you all, I miss you all. I pray for you. This is Christ’s church. Jesus Christ is our Savior. With Him, we can do anything He asks! 


At you from San Salvador, 


Hermana Hirschi


Monday, August 18, 2014

A Tale of Two Missions

Do you know what I love about this mission? At any point in time, my parents don´t actually know what country I am in. 


So. I have news. Big news. Big big big news. 


I have left the land of milk and honey, the land of Rasta’s and rice and beans and ruins and white roads and HEAT and Marie Sharps and steel drums and Kriol and my dearly, dearly beloved....San Ignacio. 


I’m in El Salvador. 


I know, I know. I never saw it coming. Truly never. But I got a call last week and was told to take out my criminal record...which was pretty fishy. I don´t have much to show on that thing.  Then Thursday night I got a call and I was officially informed of my departure. 


This is how I felt: firstly, surprised. I expected to stay in Belmopan. Secondly, ok with it. I cried all tears I had in my body for my entire life time when I had to leave San Ignacio. So it’s unlikely I’ll ever cry again.

But I’m one of THOSE people. Things aren’t real for me until they happen. On the plane it began to settle in. I LOVE Belize. I love it down in my bones!! But overall, I just feel this overwhelming sense of gratitude. I’m so happy for the time that I had in Belize. It was the best time of my life! And while I’m a tad apprehensive about turning this fresh page in El Salvador, I’m excited. 




I was excited. 


Then we landed and I was back in Spanishland and I began to feel exceedingly unilingual. (that’s a word in Kriol. or I just invented it. readers: make the call.)

Despite the fact, I am looking forward to re-immersion in Spanish. It will be tough. It is already tough. I say ´´como??´´ every 5 seconds when people are talking to me. 




Today you will likely be surprised at my choice of breakfast. 

 A chocolate frosty. 


DOES ANYONE. anyone at all. Have any idea how much time has passed since I last indulged? Because there are zero chains in Belize. None at all. The frosty. It tasted alright. Also Wendy’s is super hip?? I didn’t know. But the chairs we sat in were like mini sofas and they played American music instead of reggaeton. Sad day. In fact I’m pretty sure I heard some Luke Bryan in there??


I could really expand here on the differences between Belize and El Salvador. If you´ve never trusted me before...trust me now. They are so different! I hadn’t realized how slow and chill Belize is. And now I’m in a very large city. And it’s loud. And there are skyscrapers and paved roads and men in suits and Audis and I am feeling too anxious! It will take some adjusting to get used to a big city again. 


 But man! So much good stuff happened this week! For example, I ate armadillo. For another example, we baptized three people the morning of our departure (and I LOVE them)! For another example, we had a fiesta with a piƱata. For yet another example, a family I love from San Ignacio drove from San Ignacio to Belmopan too see me Sunday morning before I left. 


Do I love these people?

Certainly I do. 


Do I love this work?

More certainly I do. 


How do I love Belize? I cannot count the ways. But really, I love being a missionary, and I´m excited to get down and dirty. The point it this: time flies. Today I have 11 months being a missionary. It is such a sacred opportunity to represent Jesus Christ. Sadly, I haven’t been perfect. I haven’t been all that I should. But I’m so grateful for the opportunity to repent and to change. I just love progress. What a great word. What a hope-inspiring word! I’m not perfect today or tomorrow, but I’m getting better. I’m progressing. 


You know another reason I was ok leaving Belize?

I know the Lord is with me. I know that now. He is with all of us. And as long as I keep doing my best to serve him and the people here in El Sal, things will work out. Things will always work out. But here is a quote I really like from president Dieter f Uchtdorf of the 12:



Sorry that is so big. But, knowing that we are eternal beings in nature, it makes a whole lot of sense to me. You know. Today I just feel so happy knowing that it’s all real...that Christ really came. That He really lives. That He really overcame everything for us. That He is really helping us to improve. That He is really mindful of me! Of my circumstances. It’s so awe-inspiring. So here is my advice. Don’t worry. Be happy. I find it fitting coming out of my Caribbean experience. The gospel is true. If we are righteous we really have reason to not worry and to be happy. I love you all. I know Jesus Christ is the Messiah. I know God speaks to prophets today and that He loves us.


Write me. Next week I will know where my new area and new companion will be. So stay tuned. But until then,


Love always, 

For maybe one last time


SISTA Hirschi


Man I love Kriol.


PS Mom and dad. I bought probably a few souvenirs before I left Belize. Hence the dent in the bank account. Ding!


psps everyone and their dog please watch the following video if you want to be SO OUT OF YOUR MIND inspired. 



Also watch this one, if you want to shed some tears and love our Heavenly Father a lot more. 

Let’s be honest, the first part is super cheesy. But hang in there and you will receive your reward.

Golfing in Belize is Ridiculously Sophisticated

Hello one and all! Short and tall! Near and wide! 



SHOUTOUT: family in Moscow. I LOVE YOU. The notes made MY WEEK. You are a wonderful, talented and good looking bunch and I miss you like a fat kid at fat camp misses chocolate cake. 

(copyright Forkey family)



So I have some good stories for you all today. Real good ones. 


First of all, I'd like to address the experience I had today. Because, it was a 'first of the lifetime'. Firsts are generally a treat. And today...I went golfing!!! Contrary to popular belief, golfing is not horribly boring.




I am so pumped about this. I have never been golfing in my whole life. But we did it today. Our zone went out to the boonies which I didn't even know existed in Belmopan, and we ended up in the jungle and somehow in the jungle there is a BEAUTIFUL Belizean golf course. Wow. It was absolutely stunning. I felt like I was in Tarzan or something. Of course some British guy with polo owned the place and he was super genial. It wasn't exactly our most inexpensive p-day activity, but it was wholesome and entertaining. 


Turns out I am not such a bad golfer. Admittedly, I have much to learn. But I look forward to taking up this high-class sport after the mission. haha! What is it about golfing that is making me feel SO pretentious right now? Maybe because there were a lot of high-class people there. Who can say? 


But I have a suggestion for those of you who have yet to visit Belize. Do it during a time of lightning storms. Have you guys ever heard thunder? Because I had not. Not truly until this past week. The thunder in Belize is...so...loud. It is so loud that I screamed because I was genuinely shocked and afraid. It is so loud that I worried about the conditions of my ear drums. It is so loud that little children cry. It is so loud that I thought a gun was being blown off in OUR STUDY ROOM. False alarm. Point being, the thunder and lightning in Belize is quite the experience. 


Another compelling experience: a man sang a song for my compa and I this week. We were visiting some members and, as tradition requires, we began with a hymn. There was a guest there , a 76 year old man, who really enjoyed our musical number. He applauded us with some enthusiasm and spent some time convincing us that we could be a choir. Then, suddenly, "I will sing a song now". 


I wish you could have seen my facial expression at this time. Because on the mission you learn to expect the unexpected. Nothing throws you. Not one thing ever. 


I don’t think I even blinked at his announcement. 


He started, and the song was pretty catchy. It’s still in my head now. And he had a nice voice. It was rich and soothing and sometimes it reminded me of Nat King Cole which is always a pleasant experience. He got really into it. Afterwards we thanked him for his performance. But seriously, I really liked his song a lot. 


We are teaching some spectacular folks out here in Belmopan. (Even though I still LOVE San Ignacio forever). 


One lady is a force to be reckoned with. A force for good!! We introduced the Book of Mormon to her and she is reading it. She kept saying, "Yeah. All this stuff is new to me, but I’ll read. I’ll pray. I want to know if it’s true. But this is all just very new'. 


I can find no fault in that. She has a sincere desire to know what is truth. These are the BEST people to teach. So she is reading and I have no doubts whatsoever that as she continues in her sincere quest, that the Holy Ghost will teach her the truth. In fact, do you KNOW what she said in her prayer at the end of our lesson??


I quote, roughly...because this might be apostasy...."please give me the holy ghost to know if this is true."


Ah. That is the high of missionary work. 


Maybe I have mentioned this before, but I love missionary work. Do you know what else I love?? Charity. Here is what Sister Hirschi has discovered. The ails of the world. ALL OF THEM...can be fixed with charity. The theory is still developing though so don’t get too caught up. 


Charity though--being the pure love of Christ--motivates us to do all good. In the words of Preach my Gospel....


Charity is a gift from God. The prophet Mormon said that we should “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that [we] may be filled with this love” (Moroni 7:48). As you follow this counsel and strive to do righteous works, your love for all people will increase, especially those among whom you labor. You will come to feel a sincere concern for the eternal welfare and happiness of other people. You will see them as children of God with the potential of becoming like our Heavenly Father, and you will labor in their behalf. You will avoid negative feelings such as anger, envy, lust, or covetousness. You will avoid judging others, criticizing them, or saying negative things about them. You will try to understand them and their points of view. You will be patient with them and try to help them when they are struggling or discouraged. Charity, like faith, leads to action. You will develop charity as you look for opportunities to serve others and give of yourself.


Man I love this! I am obsessed with this paragraph right up there. It is so powerful. I know it is true. If we love people, if we strive to love them as Christ does, we will have powerful desires to serve others and to labor in behalf of others. 


This, like any other Christ like attribute, is a work in progress. But I know the only way to really and truly to be happy is to love people in this way. That's it. 


Guys, I am sending out the love. You are all wonderful people. I know you are. And you all have SO MUCH POTENTIAL. So much. In the words of Uchtdorf, "compared to God, man is nothing. But man is everything to God." ok that is rough but that is true. And it BLOWS MY MIND. We're so weak, but so important to Him. I don’t know how or why, but it’s true. 


Have a great week.

Be safe. Choose the right. Belize is amazing. 


Love, Sister Hirschi


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Im running out of funny subject lines!

Maybe you won’t believe me, maybe you will. This week, we were again invited to an American family's house for dinner. And this time they showered us with more American goods. 


Do you guys fully appreciate America? I am unsure. THIS time, we were the recipients--EACH--of an entire bottle of Skippy smooth peanut butter, a 6-pack of applesauce, and a Ghirardelli chocolate bar. Also, I got a tube of crest toothpaste. 




The Lord is merciful. You may veritably think I am joking but I am not!! Haha I am so grateful for those luxuries! Largely because my fear of diabetes is worsening. Everyone in Belize seems to have diabetes, and I am questioning whether or not I too will be struck if I don't clean up my diet of tortillas, coke, and cookies. Yikes! At least I do insanity. 


Speaking of coke, Belizeans LOVE coke. More than water. They drink so much coke. It is statistically speaking, out of control. Nearing an epidemic I fear. The thing is, when I entered Belize I didn’t' even like coke. But then I got offered so much coke so I started drinking it. And then...I began to like it. And now...I begin to love it. 


No worries Dad, I saw where that was going real fast. I have ended the love affair with coke. We broke it off about a week ago. Now I am a once a weeker with coke. Sometimes twice. It’s a self-control thing. I have seen what coke has done to other missionaries...and the effects can be devastating. IN place of water, they drink coke, and in place of health, they have kidney stones. 


NOT my cup of cocoa. 


But, bringing things back to Belize, it was a long week. But a good week! One filled with the spirit and tender mercies. I learned some valuable lessons. Like this one:


a. Don’t let wet laundry sit in the machine for 8 hours. It will smell. BAD. Then you'll have to wash it another three times with some heavy-duty, this-means-business cleaners. Boo. 


Also, it is HOT. As in 103 degrees with 100% humidity hot. I think I got a lil dehydrated there one day and I personally was feeling a pinch under-the-weather. I guess 100 ounces a day is not sufficient in these conditions. Who knew? My head and my stomach knew. They both revolted. But I have repented and I drink plenty of water. Mom--it's all good in the hood. 


We are teaching a wonderful lady named Sister W right now! She has cancer and her husband is a recent convert to the church. She is just so sweet and kind...aaaaaand she is from San Ignacio! So naturally, I love her. This week we shared this video with her:



If you feel like crying your eyeballs out right now you should watch it. Anyways, Sister W is getting closer. She wants to be with her husband and she wants to have an eternal family, especially in the face of all this uncertainty. I know that is possible through the gospel of Jesus Christ! 


I have been focusing a lot on how the purpose of this life is to become Christ like. How Christ commanded us to be like His father--who is perfect! And I know we are here to change our very nature--to change what we are. I know we need a vision for that. We plan so much in our lives--career, education, exercise routines, everything. We plan everything--even though this is not an exhaustive list. But do we plan for what we want to be? When you strip away all the titles and the awards...what is our nature? When you take away 'accountant' 'doctor' or whatever it is...what are we? 


Are we kind, humble, patient, selfless, faithful, courageous. What is in our core? What are our desires? 


Do we plan for what we want to be? Well I haven't...until this week. There are qualities that I want incorporated into my character...things I want to be. I know I can change and become something that I'm not...only through the power of Christ's atonement. That's the only way. That's why He came. That's why we're here! Good stuff. 


Guys. I love you. Thanks to all those who write. It means the world to me. It really does. 

SO hang loose. Have a great week, and live the gospel. Nothing will bring you greater happiness. 




Sista Hirschi