Tuesday, January 27, 2015

This week...

Alaina and her companion "Mag Dawg"

Hey friends and family and loved onessss. 


This week. We laughed. We cried. We fought. We made peace treaties. We ate pupusas. We did insanity. We baptized. 


Juan . You golden grandpa you. It was a precious baptism. It was the fastest I’d ever baptized an investigator from meeting them to helping them to make a covenant with our Heavenly Father! So that was fun! Juan is also the oldest person I’ve ever baptized! Coming in at 67 sweet years old. He is so tender guys. So loving and sweet and genuine. And he looooves to talk. I have learned a lot about El Salvador in 1968 this week. Did you know it cost only one colon to see a movie in 68?



Alaina with the Mission President and his wife, President and Sis Hintze

But yeah. Also I realized the other day that I have been teaching English for the large majority of my mission. And...I LOVE IT. I’ve decided that the two chapinas that were living with WILL LEARN English during their stay with me. In fact I’ve gotten a little Nazi about it. Every night after we work, I teach them and we read the Book of Mormon in English. Maybe the following conversation will help you understand why I love teaching them


“Do you guys know what the word butt means?” (hey, I have to teach them slang too or they will never understand!)


Sister M “......pizza??”


I lost my head. Good guess, but no. 


We have a lot of fun. 


We had a really neat experience on Monday. We were walking down the street...late to a lesson...as always. And some girls stopped us and were like...wait can you teach us?!?! And I was flabbergasted. People asking me to teach them the gospel?!? What a beautiful experience! Turns out one of the girls is deaf...I know absolutely nothing when it comes to sign. Good thing Magdawg took sign for like 8 years in high school. She can understand a lot. So I try really hard to communicate with the girl but I feel like a new missionary again because I have no idea what’s going on when we talk to her. But now I'm all fired up to learn sign when I go home. 


Theeennn. We taught a man named Mg. We talked about the Book of Mormon. The best book evaaa!! And he thought it was a bunch of facts about Joseph Smith...and I was like, I just told you it’s another testament of Jesus Christ! How did you confuse that? Ha-ha Sorry sometimes I get a little saucy. But I never say saucy things to investigators no worries. 


Anyways, we explained that we worship God our Father and Jesus Christ. But then the idea occurred to me, what better way to teach this principal than with the literature at question. I flipped open to Mosiah 5


 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.


And then I was like, also look at this. 


26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins



was really touched by those scriptures. And we made some major break throughs.


And I love being a missionary and teaching the truth. I know this is the truth. Just study it out. Pray. I love the gospel guys. 

Be good! Follow the Savior. Nothing makes us less unhappy. Nothing brings greater joy. 



Hermana Hirschi



Monday, January 19, 2015


The Seahawks won. 
I may be in El Salvador, I may only hear Bachata and Cumbia, I may only see Futbol games, but I still know that the Seahawk’s won. 
Atta boys. 
Well. This week Sis M and I did our thing. Putting fechas, preaching the gospel to every creature in every corner of San Salvador. In full or part health. Because one time we ate some skeeeetchy chicken at Mister Donut and I was not feeling on my a-game. Menos Mag dawg who spent the night throwing up. 
But I'm pretty convinced that after 16 months of hard labor, my body is breaking down. Just down and out. Who knows the kind of intensive recuperation I will need after this. At least 4 months in a spa I’m thinking dad. :))))))
But by this point, I'm feeling 100% El Salvadorian. I’m just like...in it you know? I’m a professional at hand washing my clothes in the pila. I’m whipping them out faster than the Latinas these days. Pupusas are my main sustenance. I need the basics to get by. No sheets? No problem. 
Also, I realized recently, that I have been teaching English almost my whole mission. 
And I really enjoy it. It was kinda hard at first...because I didn’t know any of the rules of our ridiculous language, but now I do. It’s pretty neat. Our class right now is a blast. This week I made them write get well cards to Elder P, who is another missionary that also teaches with us. (He got his appendix taken out and was pretty ill). Well the idea seemed promising from the start. But the students delivered much more than I had ever anticipated. Let’s take a look at some of their best phrases for our all-American friend Elder P:
-your presence necessary in the community
-let you to be healed the Holy Ghost 
-you are a great person, a best friend
-welcome to the club appendix
There were some more charmers, but I forgot them. Hopefully these will suffice to give a taste of the laugh we had. Clearly we have a little more work to do. 
Also. One time I took a young investigator to church with the blessing of her mom. but then a little demon girl took her out of her class while Mago and I were in our own class and the girls decided to play in a plant that the young investigator was highly allergic too. Of course.  After church we found her almost hysterical and scratching her arms like crazy. 
I got a little panicky, but then I remembered that I had American meds at our house. AMERICA. We poured water on her arms and ran to our house and gave her an antihistamine!! Never have I been so grateful for antihistamines ever. Add to that, we gave her some cookies and pudding and she calmed down right quick. I was about to offer her peanut butter, but was afraid of further allergies and further law suits.
Her mom was super chill about the situation. 
JA, another investigator, also came to church. He is super tender and last week got to church literally an hour and a half early. I have NEVER made it to church and hour and a half early... We met him like...2 weeks ago. And he’s getting baptized! He is an elderly gentleman, but he is full of faith. He trusts in the Lord and is getting baptized this coming Sunday!  He lost his wife about 5 years ago, and he misses her something terrible. He had many questions about the plan of salvation. It was so fun to teach him that God has a plan--a perfect plan even--and that he WILL see his wife again:)) In fact, families are the central part of that plan, and it’s all possible thanks to Christ. 
Also, I’m rereading the general conference talks. What else. Ah. I just love learning. Mago and I have been using the talks a lot. 
So basically I am extremely grateful that God still speaks to us today. That He calls men to be His servants, His mouth piece, so that we can know what is going on. Also, here is a warning, I’m about to put in a really long insert. But just...hang in there. It will be worth it. 
As an airline pilot, I flew numerous hours across continents and oceans during the darkness of night. Watching the night sky out of my cockpit window, especially the Milky Way, often made me marvel at the vastness and depth of God’s creations—what the scriptures describe as “worlds without number.”1
It was less than a century ago that most astronomers assumed that our Milky Way galaxy was the only galaxy in the universe.2 They supposed all that lay beyond our galaxy was an immense nothingness, an infinite void—empty, cold, and devoid of stars, light, and life.
As telescopes became more sophisticated—including telescopes that could be launched into space—astronomers began to grasp a spectacular, almost incomprehensible truth: the universe is mind-bogglingly bigger than anyone had previously believed, and the heavens are filled with numberless galaxies, unimaginably far away from us, each containing hundreds of billions of stars.3
In a very short period of time, our understanding of the universe changed forever.
Today we can see some of these distant galaxies.4
We know that they are there.
They have been there for a very long time.
But before mankind had instruments powerful enough to gather celestial light and bring these galaxies into visibility, we did not believe such a thing was possible.
The immensity of the universe didn’t suddenly change, but our ability to see and understand this truth changed dramatically. And with that greater light, mankind was introduced to glorious vistas we had never before imagined.
It seems to be a trait of humanity to assume that we are right even when we are wrong. And if that is the case, what hope is there for any of us? Are we destined to drift aimlessly on an ocean of conflicting information, stranded on a raft we have poorly pieced together from our own biases?
Is it possible to find truth?
The purpose of my remarks is to proclaim the joyful message that God Himself—the Lord of Hosts who knows all truth—has given His children the promise that they can know truth for themselves.
Please consider the magnitude of this promise:
The Everlasting and Almighty God, the Creator of this vast universe, will speak to those who approach Him with a sincere heart and real intent.
He will speak to them in dreams, visions, thoughts, and feelings.
He will speak in a way that is unmistakable and that transcends human experience. He will give them divine direction and answers for their personal lives.
Pres. Uchtdorf
I know this gospel is true. He lives. We can find truth, but we would be wise to not rely on our limited experiences. I know we are children of God! 
 Good luck this week. Be righteous. 
Hermana Hirschi

Monday, January 12, 2015

My week started with a BANG!

Hello. So here I am. Another Monday. Writing home. Just finished up with insanity and personal scripture study.



I loooooooooooooooooooove it. I literally got a little freaked out last night when I realized that yet another week had passed by. Que pasa...

The week started out with a bang. Literally. As in, our bus banged into another vehicle. hahaha. Honestly, if you’ve ever experienced driving here in Central America, you’d be amazed that this was the first accident I’d seen in El Sal. They are MANIACS. But yeah, we’d had a meeting with Prez at his house,  and on the way home we took a bus. The good news is that no one was hurt. But some advice for taxi drivers, don’t take on a bus. You’re gonna lose. Every time.

Also sometimes when I do Insanity in the morning with Mag dawg, Sis M joins us. She is from Guatemala and she is probably about 4´8. She is part of the indigenous people of Guate though, which means she isn’t Latino. She’s like...Mayan and her first language is Kiche (??). And sometimes I just have to wonder if Shaun T ever dreamt that the indigenous people of Guatemala would be doing his workout program.

Who can say.

Well hopefully that story can attest to the absence of anything exciting happening this week. I did do an interchange with Sis P though. She is currently in an area right next to me...and we started together in the MTC about...16 months ago. In other words, we’ve been together for a loooong time. It was fun to catch up. We talked a loooooooot. A lot happens in a mission in 16 months.

We’re going strong here in El Salvador. Constantly looking for new people to work with. Trying to strengthening the members and their testimonies. Just teaching the doctrine as clearly as we can. I’ve been reading the New Testament, and it’s been pretty instructive. But last night I had a great conversation with a man who has been a member since his mid-twenties, about 30 or 40 years now. I asked him his conversion story.

And it was awesome.

He was studying some form of engineering at the university when he met the Elders. He said they were friends, but then he moved. Then he met some other Elders, and they told him about the prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

He said he argued with the Elders and told them they were stupid. That everything they said was stupid. But they left him a Book of Mormon anyways.

He read it that night until like 1am. ´me golpeo´ he told me...which is like saying, the Book of Mormon hit him. He just said the book was so powerful, and the promises from Moroni struck him. But even more interesting, is that he said it changed him. He wanted to live the gospel. He even broke up with his then-girlfriend now-wife because she wasn’t too psyched about the gospel. (They worked it out later...)

But I was like. That is true. Sometimes people ask me how things are going in the mission...like if people are accepting our message and changing. And I’m like.

If they read the Book of Mormon, they always change. They come to church and they get baptized.

If they don’t read it.
Game over.

It’s a powerful witness of Jesus Christ, and spirit that accompanies it is startling sometimes. It changed me and it changes me each day because it draws me closer to the Savior.


Watch this video.

Love you all. Until next week. Read your scriptures.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Felize ano nuevo. 2015..................

Well folks. 2014 has come to an end. 
Alaina and "Mag Dawg"


How very odd. 


I set a couple of goals this year. 

One-read Don Quixote in Espanol. 

Two-learn how to make Pupusas

Three-go back to Belize. (Loving life Á.Merino)

Four-relearn English. 


But really. I got super nostalgic New Year ’s Eve. Why?

Because I really, really, REALLY loved 2014. It was the year of the mission! A year of serving and loving and teaching and getting wet and getting angry and meeting new people and laughing and growing through faith and trials. It’s fun to look back on all the stuff you do in a year. I learned more this year than I probably ever have before. In any other year! I was a little reluctant to kiss her goodbye. 


Ni modos. 


2015 will be just as lovely. And just as busy. I’m already learning lots. 

For example, we fasted this Sunday. In the mission, we go hardcore. It’s a 24 hour fast from all sides. No water. No juice. No food. No gum. No mints. Nothing. 

And I was dying this one. Mostly from thirst. So when we broke our fast Sunday evening, I chugged a liter of water in like 30 seconds on an empty stomach. 


I quickly learned that that was a foolhardy decision. Lots of water on an empty stomach equates to lots of pain. 


Ni modos. 


Apart from that, the teaching and the finding and the adventuring continue. 

This week, considering the new year, Mag dawg and I decided that we wanted people to reflect on some goals they could set and on a new life they could achieve...always of course...though the gospel of Jesus Christ. And more specifically through baptism. 


1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4


New life! How awesome is that thought. To start over. To forget what we were and to become something new. I think this is my favorite theme of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is always hope. There is always a new beginning. Well then Mag dawg, my ever faithful companion, showed me this awesome video that came out in April that I missed because as a missionary, you’re so cut off from the world that you don’t even know what your own church is doing. 



WATCH IT. Even if you’ve viewed it before.

But holy hannah. That is a powerful video with a POWERFUL message. I’m so grateful that He gave so much so that we can start again. I’m grateful for this time of year in which I can reflect on things I’d like to improve and start doing. 



We showed the video to one girl who is super awesome. She is a member but has gone inactive. She expressed difficulty in believing that we are really going to resurrect. She lost her mother and her aunt and used to believe they would see each other again, but recently has lost that hope. 


I reflected on her situation for some time. And I came to an interesting conclusion. I believe that many people believe they are acting independently--neutrally you might say--when they abandon a faith or a belief that they once cherished. They believe they have reached a middle ground or superior reasoning. Although it even may be painful to desert those beliefs they once held, they feel that they are facing reality. 


But there is more than one force at work in this world. The moment we stop doing the things which are necessary to cultivate faith and to nourish it, we are not reaching neutrality. In its place, we give room for another force--that of Satan--to start working on our minds and hearts, and to convince us that there is no God. There is no possibility of a resurrection, and that faith is a human creation. 



How faulty is that line of thinking! The reality is that there is a creator, and that He loves us and that He sent His son to live and die and resurrect for us. 


So. I’ve set a goal this year to acquire more attributes of Christ. One of the most powerful testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel is the principles it requires us to live. Because I know of no happier people than those who put in practice the teachings of the gospel. Those who truly strengthen their faith, repent, and follow the Lord WILL receive a testimony of the truth of these things! 


I love the gospel. I love my Savior. I love you all. I love El Salvador. I love Belize. I love President Hintze. I love new year’s. 


Set some goals. Be good. 


I love you all. 


Sister Hirschi