Monday, September 29, 2014

Incarcerated and Indignant:Why Solitary Confinement is Really Bad and Pretty Boring.


Hahahaha ok alright. I know. This subject line is ridiculous. Just, bear with me for one moment. 


Sister W fell grievously ill this week and I have been in our house...doing next to ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for 5 days. I am a social person....I am not doing well under these conditions. 


But as promised, during my 500 hours of free time, I produced the top ten of El Salvador. I love  El Salvador more every day. So I proudly present, 




10. I'm in a city, and there are two modes of transportation...your legs and the bus. The drivers earn their cut based on how many people ride their ship. So...get on and get off fast. it’s not uncommon to see people hanging out the doors. They PACK THOSE BABIES TIGHT. Like sardines. The concept of personal space doesn’t exist on these shores. 


9. There are vigilantes in front of every residential street along with a huuuge gate. You either have to live in the community to get in, or you have to be an American girl. Sweet talkin to save souls 200%. The houses in all the communities look freakishly similar, and I can’t help but remember that one episode in SpongeBob when Squidward moves to his Squidward land and everything is the same. Great episode. 


8. The streets are extremely picturesque. They are made of cobblestone and on every corner. There are flowering trees with bright orange, purple, and red blooms. Add to that the volcanoes and the misty clouds in the background and you’ve got yourself a national geographic cover.


7. It’s probably a tiny bit less safe than my good ol hometown of Snohomish Wa and maybe a little less dangerous than Brovo, Utah. (not a spelling error mom:))) If you realllly wanna know, MS is my side of the street and 18 is on the other. I actually have no idea if I’ve ever even talked to a gang member, but we talk with everyone, so I probably have. But let’s just say...hay lugares donde no nos metemos durante la noche. (There are places we don’t go at night)


6. The Latin culture is really into romance. It’s....super cheezy. The cheesier the better. Their culture is also really into Christianity. Every bus sports 800 decals ´DIOS ES AMOR´dicen.


5. El Sal is waaaay ahead of Belize developmentally. The kids all dress like Americans and everyone has a smart phone. Pizza Hut and Wendy’s are like the coolest places in town. This area is a lot more affluent than my first in ES. I’ve seen some seriously cool cats strut down these streets. 


4. It is a city of couples. I’m not even joking! It blows BYU spring time right out of the Great Salt Lake. There are couples EVERYWHERE. So much love in this congested air. 


3. A surprisingly large amount of people speak English. Especially in the church. It’s nice to be able to speak in my native tongue from time to time. 


2. There is a vigilante right next to our apt, guarding ´elsy´s cakes´ with a loaded shot gun on him at all times. To be honest, I’m not sure what this is doing for elsy´s marketing approach. But I’m not too stupid either, and I’ve become fast friends with the guy. So...if anything ever goes down, I’ve got Jose and his shot gun to help me out. 


1. Of course. You knew this one the whole time. PUPUSAS. Live happy, die fat. Everywhere....every ten feet there is a pupuseria. Also a barber shop...which continues to baffle me. How do they all stay in business???


Well folks. There it is. You can probably really understand why I love it here so much. In addition, I found out last night I’m going to be a trainer this change!!! woohoooo. I’m scared...I’m going to corrupt some poor little missionary. Can’t wait. 


Also. I gotta tell you guys about M
. She is a ROCKSTAR. So much faith. So much trust in the Lord, so willing to do what she needs to, to find the truth. The work is really picking up. I want to introduce all of you to all these people but that would be weird because the majority of my readers don’t speak would result in a fairly awkward meeting.


But. Yeah. I hope all of you...EACH AND EVERYONE...are preparing for general conference!! THE PROPHET WILL SPEAK TO US! And we will be edified. 


I just want to testify. God is our Father. Faith in Him means that we will act. If we want to know if something is true...we have to put forth the faith first to try it out. God knows us. He knows our struggles, each of which is a blessing because we need it to achieve our divine potential. 


I know Christ lives. I just know it. His sacrifice was real and is eternal in every aspect. In depth and breadth. We can turn to Him, we can have faith and be healed! I just know that these things are true! I am so, so filled with joy and happiness to know these truths for myself! I love this gospel. 


And, I love everyone who still remembers my name. 

Be good. Follow the Savior. Just do it! He has done so much for you...much more than we can pay back. So just choose to be happy! Follow Him. 


And watch general conference. The Lords church is on the earth today. There is no doubt in my mind of its truthfulness. รง


Love always, 

Hermana Hirschi

Monday, September 22, 2014

You Crazy Cats-the Chikunguya's back!


Wha di go ahn bway??

que tal como estan¿

What up.

Those are the three languages that I am partially fluent in. Cool. Moving on. I am a little bit of a liar this week. I promised you guys the top ten of my new area and the truth is that I did NOT have time to meditate on that. I am profusely sorry and I swear by the hairs of my chinney chin chin that next week I WILL produce the top ten list. Just...patience.

So my love affair with this area is steadily deepening. This place...this ghetto so COOL. Mostly because the people are bumpin...even though I feel inadequate in their language still. But we can understand each other always. Sometimes I employ the use of a childhood favorite-charades-but if we’re clear we’re clear.

It was a stupendous week! Absolutely stupendous. The Lord has been merciful with us. We enjoyed the visit of a one Elder Alonso, a general authority from the 70 (A leader in the LDS church). And he blew my MIND. In every sense of which something can be blown. His testimony and faith inspired me, his words cut to my very soul and moved me, and his machetes (missionary slang for reproofs or reprimands) made me feel like the smallest missionary on the planet--albeit DETERMINED to rise up and be better. So it rocked.

In other news, I hit one year. Know what I did? I bought Ben and Jerry´s from Walmart for 7 dollars, or in other words 50% of a missionary’s monthly budget, and ate it. Half Baked. What else? It tasted good. We also had Pupusas and took a few pictures. Next week pictures mom I prooomise. Time time time. A missionary’s worst enemy.

Also, I am still recovering from the Chikungunya. ugghhhh. Last Monday I woke up with arthritis in my knees, or so I thought. Upon doing some furthering questioning, I learned that the side effects of the chikungunya can last for up to TWO YEARS. whaaaaa. Okkkkk. So I walk around like the hunch back of Notre Dame with a lot of pain whenever I’ve been sitting for long periods of time. hmmm. Mom, do me a favor and google this stinking disease and the lifelong effects I will suffer!! Curse malfunctioning mosquito nets. Imma sue. (Of course I looked this up when she first came down with Chikungunya, and she’s right.  She may have pain for up to 2 years.  Older people can suffer lifelong effects. –Alaina’s mom)

In other news, our zone was asked to sing a -special- musical number in the multizone conference with Elder Alonso. Hahaha. So. Latinos and Americans. We are different. I played the piano and we chose a fancy pants version of “Come thou Fount” but the missionaries sang the lyrics of “O My Father”. I was pretty nervous about the whole ordeal . But it turned out really well! hahaha. I miss playing the piano.

MAN sometimes I really hate not having sufficient time to tell you guys what happens.

So, check out this scripture.

 And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.  Mosiah 5.8

I know that covenants with our Heavenly Father ties us to Him and increase our faith! I know He lives! I love testifying of Him every day! I love focusing myself entirely on this work. It brings a joy that I have never found in things of the world. No worldly success can replicate the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Love you all!!


Hermana Hirschi

Monday, September 15, 2014

A few more adventures

waaazzzz up Americanos!


Soooooo HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY. From El Salvador, to America. 


Today is Independence Day, so luckily there was a parade-or 4-that passed in front of our house today. I was in the shower when all the going-ons began, so I missed a bit. 



I would like to start off with some great times we had this week, beginning with a hair-raising experience. Last week, my companion and I decided to do some shopping in order to buy some food. Here, everyone uses public transportation, or, buses. Mmhmm. They are a lot of fun. And as to rules of the road here...there is only one. Don’t get hit. Or in the positive form, survive.


So, my compa and I unassumingly jumped on a bus making our way for the store. The driver was possibly inebriated. I can’t say. But, I can say he that he was driving like a MANIAC. A certified PSYCHOPATH. And, when it came our time to disembark, we had to jump out of a moving bus. My first time ever. The driver slowed down a little for the stop, but I knew he wouldn’t stop completely. So I kinda shoved my compa out and jumped after her. Oops! We both stuck the landing. My ankle hurt a little, but apart from that, we’re alive and well. 8/10 danger factor.


Additionally, Everyone in Belize had taken a rapt interest in the state of my skin. Everyday people commented on it. But for 9 months I labored, each and every day, to achieve a golden glow. I was bent on returning from my mission with glowing, beautiful, sun-kissed skin. And, when I left Belize, I had a nice tan going for me. But I regret to inform the world that, in a mere month, MY TAN IS TOTALLY GONE. All of it. I am whiter than new fallen snow. What kind of injustice is this?? I cannot say. All I know is that I will suffer skin cancer in my old age due to my time in Belize and I don’t even have a tan to show for it. That’s what you call a rip off. Thanks a ton El Salvador. But at least it isn’t burning hot here. 


Soooo Sister W and I are working really hard on our Spanish. We placed a few goals this week and one of them was to speak only Spanish outside of our humble abode. And man. We are killing it! I am proud to report that our Spanish is improving at lightning speed. I almost feel like a native...just give me ten more years. Haha no I still have a lot to learn but I don’t sound as horrific as I did last week. 


The best part about El Sal?? You can buy any American film for a dollar here. 


So what did me and my compa purchase?

Insanity, and every other workout video we can get our grimy missionary hands on. We are starting a collection. But hey--if anyone needs any Spanish granted...let me know and I’ll pick it up for you. 


We started English classes again! There is a huge interest in learning English here so were hoping for a good turn out! I love teaching a lot. I love their accents. 


Believe it or not folks....I am hitting ONE YEAR in the mission this week. I can barely believe it. I can barely believe the time is gone, and all the crazy experiences I have had. And all that I have learned! I am sure I learned more in this past year than i learned in ten years before the mission. Including...a new language! Here is a compiled list of a few things I learned a little bit about


1. People are the same all over the world. They are different, but really, they are the same. We’re all children of God. 

2. Not everyone lives like we do in America. MOST people just worry about living day to day. Where their next meal will come from...etc

3. In some countries, it’s acceptable to eat with your hands. You won’t get threats from the head of the household about being kicked out into the barn you don’t have. 

4. God is with His servants. 

5. Missionaries work hard. Elders may drive you up a wall, but they are tender.

6. Some of my very best friends live in San Ignacio, Belize

7. Kriol, while not a written language, is an official language, and is hard to speak. 

8. My blood is actually Latina. 

9. I have a third set of grandparents named the Rinderknechts. 

10. You can fix a lot of things around the house with creativity. 

11. Cockroaches really aren’t that bad. 

12. How to be humble

13. How to not be proud

14. How to work. 

15. How to love other people. 

16. How to pray and really talk to my heavenly father. 

17. This is Christ’s church. He lived here on the earth. He walked among the Jews and performed numerous miracles. Then He gave His life in a manner more excruciatingly painful than we can understand or begin to fathom because He loves us. The Father has a perfect plan for us. Christ’s church is on the Earth. The scriptures are the word of God and have the power to change us if we permit. They are a treasure. 


THIS WORK IS TRUE! I love this gospel. I love the people of Mejicanos. Although this mission experience has been a challenge, it has been the greatest blessing of my life. Every day is hard, and every day I am more and more grateful for it. I love you all, and I love Jesus Christ. He is our Savior! He lives! I KNOW IT. Let us do all we can to love Him. 


Guys, be good. Next week, to whet some appetites, you’ll be getting the top ten of Mejicanos! Get pumped!! Until then, love life. 


Hermana Hirschi

Pupusas are not healthy

aaaand we are movin. 


Another week...gone. I am happy to report that I was not ill this week, which made the world of difference. But I do think I will single handedly keep ´´OFF´´ in business. I am kind of a freak for Off these days. I really don’t want to get sick again. If I get bug bite...I have a nervous breakdown. I am happy to report that the smell has even become pleasant for me. I actually enjoy it. I no longer associate off with camping. I associate it with health, fortune, and happiness. 


I had a lot of meetings this week. One time I heard something funny...there are actually 14 Articles of Faith. The 14th being- We believe in meetings, all that have been scheduled, all that are now scheduled, and we believe that there will yet be many great and important meetings scheduled. We have endured many meetings and hope to be able to endure all meetings. Indeed, we may say that if there is a meeting or anything that resembles a meeting or anything that we may possibly turn into a meeting, we seek after these things.


So I can testify of this now. Meetings aren’t always bad though. I learned some good stuff. 

For example, in one meeting, President showed us a three minute clip of Rocky 3. As missionaries, we haven’t seen or heard any a long time. We got pretty pumped up. And who doesn’t love a good montage with Sylvester sprinting on the beach, swimming laps, and boxing his little heart out. It was a lot of fun and I was newly inspired to double my exercise efforts.


So the people in El Salvador. While they are so different from my lovely Belizeans, they are SO KIND. So so so kind. Everyone is so happy to see me and it’s really nice. 


One challenge that I am facing here in El Sal is the currency. I think everything is dirt cheap, and then I realize that it is in US dollars, and not in Belizeans. It’s tough, but I am retraining my brain. 


Once again, I am out of time. Shoot. good. Think of others before you think of yourself. That is the key to happiness. I heard this week that humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking less in yourself. 


Be kind. Be patient. Be loving. 


I love you all. Jesus Christ lives. Next week will be the best letter in the world I promise. 


Love always, 


Hermana Hirschi

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Chikungunya survivor

So, let’s give a nice warm welcome to September!!


I can hardly believe that the fall is upon us yet again. Except that...there is no fall in Central America! So for me, the perpetual summer continues! 


It was a whirlwind week my friends. In other words, I can recall two times in my life that I have desired death. The first was when I was in 7th grade. I had the first and last migraine of my life, and I remember consciously thinking that if I had died in that moment, I would be peachy with it. 


The second time in my life that I wanted to die was....this week. I have always held a healthy dislike for mosquitos, but this dislike has bloomed and flourished into a thriving, living hatred. But to tell this story adequately, I’ll have to begin in Belize. 


So about three weeks ago, I found out I was coming back to the ES. Perfect. I had to get a few things together, I had to make a few purchases, and I found myself running a little low on money when I arrived to this country. Shouldn’t be a problem. I bought pastas and beans and other inexpensive and filling foods to tide me over. 


But, I had to leave my sheets and my mosquito net in Belize to get the weight down for flying. Alright. Not the end of the world. Sister W had an extra mosquito net that I could use, but it was a little small so it didn’t cover my feet. With the application of OFF, I thought little of the situation. 


Until Tuesday of this last week. I noticed a strange...rash you might say....on my arms. Red spots everywhere. I ignored it though, thinking I was seeing things. Within a few hours I felt pretty light headed and a little extra toasty. 


Sis W and I made our way for the apartment. I noticed that I was rapidly developing arthritis in my knees which seemed unusual given my age. Every stair was climbed in agony. Then...the cramping spread to my neck. Tuesday afternoon and night I was down for the count


Wednesday I hit the height of fun with a fever of 103°!!! What in the world? Sis W and I live alone and I don’t have any money! hahaha. Good thing there was acetaminophen in the house. All day I wallowed. I lay in bed because I could literally not move my body. Going to the bathroom was akin to running a marathon in energy exerted. Every muscle in my body screamed when I tried to sit up. And, I was freezing cold. So what does one do in this situation?


Deal with it. 


haha I tried to sleep most of the day. But I did nothing. I just...laid there.  Thursday was similar except some darling elders brought me Gatorade and more meds. Bless their souls. 


Friday I was feeling better, but it wasn’t until Saturday that I felt on top of things again. But Chikungunya is like a hurricane. Saturday was merely the eye of the storm. I noticed that evening those strange red dots returning. I was MORTIFIED. But as they developed, I realized they were actually hives. Not hives you get when you brush up against a mysterious bush, but hives that cover every square inch of your body. AND THEY ITCH. booooooooooo. I went off the chain at this point. I thought I was allergic to something I ate and I kept racking my brain. Nothing came. Then I was informed that I was actually in the final stages of Chikungunya. PHEW. ish. 


So basically, this is what I learned from Chikungunya. 


1. There was actually a mistake in the bible. In the book of genesis. God did not curse Satan to crawl on his belly. He cursed him to take the form of the most hated creature in my world. The mosquito. 


2. It is possible to be both burning hot and freezing cold. If I had not experienced it myself I would not have believed it. But as such it is. 


3. You need money in life. Even to buy things like medicine.


4. When you overdose on Benadryl because you realize you’re having an allergic reaction, don’t do it before church. I...passed out. I could NOT stay conscious. Great example for the investigators ooookkkk.


5. I was a braggart before this week, saying, 'I’ve never had to take a day off of my mission because I have superior health'. I ate those words this week. Be humble. 


So apart from the atrocity which was Chikungunya, I have little to report on. My Spanish is picking up even though I still often feel frustrated. It’s a slow yet sure process.


Good thing I had sweet Sister W to take care of me this week. Speaking of which, she is pretty young in the mission, and I guess I didn’t realize how much the mission has affected me until this morning. She was freaking out about this little baby larvae all over the floor in our kitchen, and I was kinda like...oh what? there’s larvae? And then I kept eating my cereal. She spent a good 15 minutes debugging the house. I’m just used to living among the creepy crawlies these days. 



Well everyone. There wasn’t much time for proselyting this week. And I couldn’t concentrate long enough to study, but I did watch 800 Mormon messages. All I have to say is that the church is with it! 


Man. Heavenly Father loves us. He is mindful of us. I may have felt absolutely terrible all week, but I also felt very comforted. I knew Heavenly Father was there. I could feel His love for me, helping me out when I otherwise felt pretty much all alone! Sorry for a lame spiritual boost guys, to make up for it, I’ll include this quote. 


Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances—whatever they may be.

Elder Uchtdorf


Sometimes we mistakenly may believe that happiness is the absence of a load. But bearing a load is a necessary and essential part of the plan of happiness. Because our individual load needs to generate spiritual traction, we should be careful to not haul around in our lives so many nice but unnecessary things that we are distracted and diverted from the things that truly matter most.

Elder Bednar


So I guess I should be happy for chikungunya. 


Love you all. Have a super duper week. Stay healthy ok??



Sista Hirschi