Hello friends! :) I am currently serving as a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Nebraska Omaha Mission. I'll be emailing home every week for the 18 months that I'm in the Cornhusker state; my amazing mom will be the one posting them on this here blog. Interested in church history? Come on down to the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters and I might just be there to give you a tour!

"As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness." - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas December 28, 2015

...Except it's not a dream, it's real life! We weren't supposed to get
any snow but we got about a foot on Christmas Eve! I shoveled my first
driveway. :) We had quite the adventure that day. I always wanted one
of those crazy mission stories and well, here is one! The weather was
awful and we got the text saying our cars were grounded but we were
already on our way to the trail center! Luckily Sister Strong is from
Utah and she knows how to drive in snow! We were fine all the way
there until we started going down a hill to pick up some other sisters
in their apartment. We thought we could make it slowly down but we hit
the curb and ended up turning completely around and slid down the hill
backwards! It was the scariest/funniest thing of my life because it
was in slow motion and the whole time there was a lady standing
outside in her front yard looking at us with a look of horror on her
face! It was priceless. We slid to a stop next to the curb so we
decided to just leave the car there and walked the rest of the way
with the sisters because the trail center was only a block away. About
an hour into our shift, we got a phone call saying that someone had
hit our car! We drove with the Crandall's over to where our car was,
but before we got there ANOTHER car had hit the car that hit us! But
wait, it gets better. We were going to park at the top of the hill and
Elder Crandall started putting the breaks on but we slid down and hit
yet another car that was parked. Luckily no one got hurt that was
involved but we kept slipping and sliding all over that hill; it was a
scene. It took about two hours to move all the cars down to a safe
spot and we were blessed to have all the neighbors and some other
missionaries come out and help us with their snow blowers and shovels!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! Holidays are really fun on the
mission and I'm happy we got to go caroling a few times last week. We
went Monday with the Van Haaften's, Tuesday with the zone, Thursday
with the trail center sisters! Christmas Eve we had a wonderful dinner
and program put on by the senior couples. They are the best! It's like
having a million grandparents and I love them all so much. Christmas
was so much fun! We opened gifts and had brunch with the Ellis' and
got to facetime our families!!! That was the best gift ever. :) We
also spent the day with the Van Haaftens, Bennetts, Cardys, and
Andersons, playing games and eating food!

There's another family in our branch, the Hettingers, that has 11 kids
and we were over at their house last night for dinner! Everyone was in
the kitchen at once helping with the food and it was so crazy and loud
but it was a party! They are such fun to be around. I think I have
almost all their names memorized haha still working on it. They
measured us on the height wall and we got to write our names! Even
though all the kids are younger than me, like half of them are taller.
But it's okay they already called me on a mission and I didn't even
have to grow a foot or two! ;)

The other day I took this awesome family on tour and they took three
Book of Mormons! Books of Mormon? Books of Mormons? Copies of the Book
of Mormon! That was so exciting.

Well, I love you all and Happy New Year!!

Sister Irwin

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

In a cornfield far far away...‏ December 21, 2015

It's almost Christmas!!! And it seems like the only thing people ever
talk about is the new Star Wars movie that just came out. I'm sad I
can't go, someone tell me if it's any good! Apparently there's a
special new movie theater somewhere in Nebraska that's all Star Wars
themed! Nebraska is just the best all around. The people here are so
friendly and they LOVE to talk. My companion and I were able to meet
with an inactive family and we were probably sitting there listening
to them talk for about an hour until we got to our lesson! But it was
still awesome to see them because I think what they really need right
now are some friends.

This week after district meeting, Sister Strong and I went with Sister
Funk and Sister Fronk to this little French cafe and I had a croque
monsieur! Maybe the reason I thought I'd be serving my mission in
France is because there's quite a bit of French culture here believe
it or not. We actually live in a suburb of Omaha called Papillion -
which means butterfly.

Other happy new from this week:

I took the cutest bunch of kids on tour the other day and they loved
it! Miss Grady's 1st grade class.

We found three potential investigators while tracting who already know
people in the branch!

Sister Strong and I are still in Walnut Creek! Plus President wants us
to also cover part of Cottonwood since it's such a big area and ours
is pretty small. That means working with the other sisters and somehow
trading off when we go to their ward/meetings/a whole other group of
members to work with. We're still not exactly sure how that's going to
work but it will be great! :)

Since Christmas is this Friday, I just want to share a few of my
thoughts about the Savior. I know that God loves us so much that He
sent His Son for all of us. I know that without Jesus Christ we would
not have the hope, peace, and joy that come from having faith in Him
and His infinite atonement. Make sure to remember the true meaning of
Christmas and share it with others! Do something nice for someone. Do
something nice for someone anonymously. Charity is the pure love of
Christ. :) I'd like to challenge you all to think of a gift you want
to give the Savior this coming year. Whether it be a positive
attribute you want to work on or a bad habit you want to quit, the
choice is up to you! When we think about all that the Savior has done
for us personally, it shouldn't be hard to think of just one think to
give him. I know that doing this will bless your lives and help you
become more like Him!

I love you all dearly and hope everyone has the best Christmas ever!
It really is the most wonderful time of the year. :)

Sister Irwin

tc sister love :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

It's Official!‏ December 14, 2015

So today Sister Strong and I went to downtown Omaha to this cute
shopping center called Old Market. There's a bunch of antique stores
and boutiques that I probably could've spent all day in. The sisters
in this mission all have matching sister rings and I finally got mine!
Now I'm officially a NOM missionary. ;)

This week was awesome! We went with the Snyder family to carol to a
member in the hospital. He's recovering from a bad car accident and
was really glad that we came to visit! On Wednesday we had Christmas
zone conference and a talent show! Our whole zone wore ugly sweaters
and sang happy birthday to president since it's his birthday today. We
had him come up on the stage and threw balloons at him, it was great!

Transfers are this week! We're both most likely staying together in
Walnut Creek so that's a relief! It's sad though because Sisters
Howes, Durrans, and Gray from the trail center plus our sister
training leader Sister Allen are all going home this week. On a
happier note, I was able to take a really great tour on Friday. The
two ladies were Helen and Emily and we had a good discussion. I shared
with them why I decided to serve and they asked so many questions
about our church. At the end they both took a Book of Mormon! That was
the day we tried to switch shifts because I had a doctor's appointment
that I've been needing to go to but I had to reschedule for tomorrow.
The tour was around the same time that I would've been at the doctors.
Heavenly Father knows our needs better than we do! I know I needed to
be there for that specific tour.

EXCITING NEWS! Connie and her daughter Makaela both came to church
yesterday!!!! That was so happy! More details to come on them. :)

Hope everyone has a fabulous week and good luck with finals!

Sister Irwin

Monday, December 7, 2015

Don't try this at home kids‏ December 7, 2015

Hello hello!

So I went sledding for the first time! Three others sisters and I went
down a hill right outside the trail center. First we tried a piece of
cardboard...wasn't the best idea. Then we found a trash can lid! It
was so much fun but we got all wet and a little muddy and we happened
to be on shift right after. There were no regrets :)

We have a new investigator! Woohoo! Her name is Connie and she's
friends/ neighbors with the Stake President's wife. She came with us
to the lesson and it was fabulous! She says she will be coming to
church this week so that's exciting!

Every Saturday morning we have training for the trail center sisters
and senior couples. Every first week of the month we have a birthday
brunch! They spoil us so much here. We were about to walk out the door
when Santa showed up! That was random but a good time was had by all.

I bore my testimony in sacrament yesterday and accidentally called it
a ward instead of a branch. Oh well it's just a foreshadow for the
future because we're going to turn it into a ward and it will be grand
and glorious! Right now we are tiny but mighty. We're only like 20
people away from being a ward though; my goal for the mission would be
to see it grow.

Last night a few of us got to watch the Christmas devotional at the
mission home with the Gardners! I love them so much and just realized
I don't think I've gotten a picture with them yet so that will have to
change. They are honestly the most loving, selfless, and gospel-driven
people I've ever met!

Sorry I feel like this email jumped all over the place but I love you
all and hope everyone is doing awesome!

Sister Irwin

Friday, December 4, 2015

What's all this white stuff falling from the sky?‏ November 30, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!!! :)

Today it has rained/hailed/sleeted/slushed/iced and now it's snowing!
I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving. We ended up having two
huge meals within three hours of each other; one at the Van Haaften's
and one at the trail center with all the sisters. I've never eaten so
much food in my life! We put on a special Thanksgiving program for the
trail center directors, president and his wife, and all the senior
couples. Then we got to watch The Best Two Years! If you don't know
what that is, it's a movie about missionaries and I remember watching
it when I was younger but probably didn't think it was that funny. Now
that I'm actually a missionary it was hilarious! We all had a great

This week Sister Strong and I helped the Scotts decorate their
Christmas tree and make homemade applesauce! They are so sweet and
gave us some to take home and also some strawberry peach jam that
Sister Scott had made.

Some good/bad news! The bad news -  Christy canceled last week so we
weren't able to have the lesson at the member's home and we still
haven't been able to contact her. :( Good news - I invited someone for
the first time to baptism and she said YES!! Her name is Jenny and
she's already praying and reading her scriptures so we just need to
get her to church and she'll be set! We still haven't decided on a
date but she leaves for the peace core some time in January so it will
need to happen before then.

That and going to the temple would probably be my highlights for the
week! Everything is going great in the area and the trail center is
busier than ever!

The church came out with a new Christmas campaign the other day and
it's so awesome! If you haven't seen it already you should check it
out. There are two videos (A Savior Is Born and Imagine A World
Without A Savior) so make sure you watch both of them, and then
there's also a fun advent calendar and other fun stuff.

That's it for this week! Everybody stay warm. :)

Sister Irwin

P.S. This is a week late but the Nebrasquad has reached 1 month! Black heart (cards)

Gingerbread Village