Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Already?!

I can´t believe it´s Monday already, and we´re in November already haha I thought time would slow down a bit here in Brazil. It did for the CTM in São Paulo, but here it´s speeding up big time. But a lot happened this week. 

This is an answer to Moms question of what do we eat here haha no its usually really good food. We always eat almoco with members as a huge meal, because most of the people dont eat dinner til really late- 8 or 9 is pretty normal. Dad would die haha but Ive developed the practice of stuffing my face moreso than ever here during almoco, because I know I wont eat again until 9 or 930. But I love it.

We have had some really big success with teaching young people here. We have two people getting baptized on November 22, a 19 year old M and 14 year old G, and we´re really pumped about it because its been a while since this ward has seen a lot of success, and the members kind of lost trust in the missionaries. Now we´re working more with members than Ive maybe seen in my whole mission. We have another family, golden, M e D, who hopefully will get baptized soon, along with a family C and P. Theyre a great story.

We contacted C in the street a couple weeks back, and said we would come back to teach her, but never thought about it again for 2 weeks. We finally went over to her house last weekend, and turns out that C's daughter P had just moved in a few days earlier. P has been struggling with things in life, and we showed up at the perfect time. We taught them a lesson, invited them to church the next day, and they came! After church P expressed how much she needed something like church in her life, and we showed up at the perfect time. I know, like in Alaina´s email too, that we´re guided as missionaries, and I know that P will only find more blessings and peace in her life as she continues to learn from us. Her mom C is really funny. She offered us water, then Guarana, then cookies, then hand lotion (to keep) then really expensive perfume (to keep). Then water again. Gotta love her.

Gotta love you too family!
Thank you for everything, and Mom sorry I didnt respond to all your questions, I ran out of time. If you have more Ill answer them next week! 
Elder Hirschi

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pics from Birigui and Sao Paulo

One Month in Birigui!

November 3rd, 2014

I almost have one month here in Birigui, Sao Paulo, Brazil! 

I forget if I wrote this in my journal or my weekly email, but I always used to hear people say that on a mission, the days are long but the weeks are short. I never really experienced this until I got here. Its probably a good thing that the days are long and not short, because if the days were short too, then time would be flying way too fast- faster than it already is. But in reality, the days here are really long. I think we walk 5-7 miles every day, maybe more (I´m such a wimp- mom runs 10+ miles a day in 1-2 hours...). But I love it, seriously. The culture of missionary life is definitely different here. My whole mission in NY I wanted to compare cultures of other missions too, and now I have 2 to compare. Its great.
   This week was really great, and by the time Saturday rolled around, we had 13 people that realistically were planning on coming to church on Sunday that we are teaching. We were really excited about it, but when church started various things happened as they always do, and we only had 5 or 6 people we are working with show up. But still, this is a really big step for our little congregation of 80 (it seems massive compared to other congregations here). Our ward sees that we are working hard, and in turn the ward will begin to get excited and work with us. This is the goal- to get the ward as self-sufficient with respect to missionary work as possible. Because unfortunately, as missionaries we will also leave, get transferred somewhere else, move on. But the members will always stay in the congreagation. They have ultimate responsibility to susutain the ward, and the people visiting the ward, the missionary work that goes on in the ward. So we´re pretty excited. 
  As yes, this week was halloween too. How exciting! But in Brazil, no one has Halloween but the Americans. We didnt celebrate until we got home around 9 o clock, but we had planned ahead. At 6 o clock we called a number in the phone labeled ´Birigui-zão.´ Its the number for the store that sells the famous Birigui-zao, which is a huge platter of about 10 burgers. You have to call ahead really early, and so at 6 we asked for a birigui zao to be delivered at 930. At 915 we received the biriguizao and stuffed ourselves on Halloween. It was great.
   Im still learning a lot this week, and still struggling with the language. Ether 12:26 in the Book of Mormon is comforting when our weaknesses become our strengths through faith and humility. This is definitely a humbling experience for me, hopefully one that will help shape the rest of my life. All of our weaknesses can become strengths if we have faith in Him who created us, and if we are humble enough to be shaped. Its hard, but with experience we change, and BECOME. Thats what life here is all about- change, experience, and becoming.
Thank you all for the prayers and thoughts. i love you all!
Elder Hirschi


October 27th, 2014

Ahhh I dont have much time to email, so Ill be quick. Here we only get an hour or so, whereas in NY we got all day if we wanted.

This week was another great week! It was tough, and annoying at times, but Im tired of reading my emails and reading myself complain about the language haha 

This week we got to travel to nearby Penopolis for a baptismal interview of Elisabete, who was baptized last Saturday. The congregation in Penopalis is really small, and it was cool to see her so strong in the gospel, and have such a strong testimony. Her congregation really needs her, and the Lord prepared her to be in his fold in Penopolis. I think things like this were prepared before this life- where we would live, who we would meet, who our family would be- and everything works out perfectly if we follow the commandments of God. Everything will be easy? No! But everything will work out perfectly- in this life or the next.

We also had divisions, which was cool. I spent a day with Elder Mendon, my zone leader. I taught a lot more than usual because Elder Mendon needed to know how I teach, to help me improve. It went well, and I came to the realization that mastering the language is going to take a lot of work. Seems logical, right? But I think I somehow expected something amazing to happen, where one day I wake up and suddenly understand people, but I am now more motivated to practice more, exert myself more, and be more willing to put myself out there and not get discouraged if I cant understand someone. Its going to take work. Everything in this life thats worth anything takes work (Dad, I think Dave Ramsey would like that one;)

I am looking forward to another week in Birigui. Actually another 6 weeks. Our transfers were this week, and unsurprsingly, Im staying with Elder Oelkers haha

Elder Hirschi

Another Week in Neverland

October 20th, 2014 I think it´s interesting that God doesnt take away our agency, our ability to choose certain things over others, but He has the ability to sometimes change our circumstances as to help us learn things on our own-circumstances that, if we choose correctly and lean on and trust in the power of God, will benefit us in the end and help us become better people, and better disciples of Christ. That being said, I think my week this week has been a week of learning to cope with and embrace the challenges that Heavenly Father gives you, knowing that regardless of what happens, it will be fine because you´re relying on the hands of a higher power, not your own. This week has been a tough week, just like last week, with language dificulties and culture differences, but I think there was a different feel this week than last week. I am learning to realize that I can struggle and not be totally stressed at all times. I can have an imperfect day and not understand someone throughout an entire conversation, and still know that Im where I need to be because I have hope and faith that I am experiencing struggles that will help me in the end. This week we saw a lot of miracles. Nothing too outstanding that deserves an article in the Ensign, but more like many small miracles. Many times we have somehow run into a bunch of less actives who havent been to church in a while, but really need to. Throughout my mission both here and in NY, Ive seen this many times. God will put you in the right place at the right time, if you are willing to work for Him. One thing I can say in Portuguese is basically if you do your part, God will do His. But we have to do our part. So many people here say that theres no difference between the different denominations, and if you love God in your own casa youre good. Loving God in your own casa is really really important, but I think this is an easy answer when you dont really want to put forth the effort to try and find truth. When we do our part, we are blessed and are closer to God in the end. When we pray with a sincere heart, we get closer to God because we actually feel a tangible spirit working within us. It´s great. As far as cultural differences, there are many here. Ive been blessed with a desire to embrace almost all the cultural differences here. Different food, rice and carne every day (love ittttt), no ac anywhere except in the Chapel for an hour every week, 40 degrees celsius every day, etc etc But theres one that is particularly hard to embrace. The toilets. The toilets are weaker than the Royals the last 29 years (exempting this year). My makeshift plunger I made out of a broom and a coca cola bottle did not work....but after a cheap investment of an actual plunger today all should be well. I seriously am grateful for all the emails, and all the prayers. I think Heavenly Father inspires us to do things that will help others in ways we dont really know when we do those things in the first place. Love, Elder Hirschi ps I know youve heard this a thousand times but I forgot my pics