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

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

It's Christmas time in the city December 26, 2016

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!! We had a rainy, but good one here! :)

Sister Maes picked us up in the morning to have breakfast with her family. All of her sons + one girlfriend came to church afterwards which was so happy because only the youngest kid usually goes! Then afterwards we went to our ward mission leader's, the Lemieux's, house for dinner!

The biggest Christmas miracle of all is that earlier in the week we talked with Doug about living the word of wisdom. He said he was down to only one cup of coffee a day instead of two. We told him we'd have to push his baptism day back just a little bit. In a previous lesson, we gave him a little sticky note to remember to say his morning and night prayers and he stuck it on his bathroom mirror. He said one night he prayed for the strength to give up coffee. The next morning he couldn't even get himself to make a pot of it before he went to work! He just stopped cold turkey and so far it's been a week! :) We also asked Doug to pray about a date to get baptized and he said he wasn't sure if it was just himself thinking this or what, but he feels like January 21st is the day for him. We almost screamed because that's the same day that Sister Beck and I were thinking of!!

Other news from this week...

-We drove up to Sioux City, IA for zone conference
-Got enough other people to come with us so Diana's temple trip is all green lights go
-The seniors put on the best dinner/program on Christmas eve
-I got to talk with my parents!!

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year! Keep remembering Christ through the new year. :)

Sister Irwin

1. Fun at zone conference 
2. A sweet note from the young men/young women/leaders back home - thank you guys!! :)
3. 14 months ft. Sister Orton's face in miniature
4. The best ugly socks from my companion
5. Doug at church on Christmas!

Some pictures from around the trail center and the party and caroling on Christmas eve :)

Gingerbread!! December 19, 2016


Tis the season to be jolly! December 19,2016

Another amazing week in the good life! Besides the power outage at the trail center and negative degree weather we are doing great. :)

Doug is on a roll! He's reading his scriptures every night and is already done with 1 Nephi! Last Monday we had another lesson with him and Sister Castillo over some pizza. Also, three weeks in a row for church! He's getting to know more of the members and I think he was even invited to someone's house last night for dinner!

The Searles are also doing awesome. Amber is so ready for baptism! She studies and takes notes in her Book of Mormon, she's already been watching conference and reading the Ensign for almost all their marriage. She plays primary songs for her kids in the car and when they go to bed. Plus, she makes the best pumpkin chocolate chip cookies known to man. I just love their little girl Anastasia. Sister Beck and I sit and color with her in church. She says she wants to be a missionary when she grows up! 

Diana is doing fabulous. Yesterday she had an interview with bishop and got her temple recommend! We are aiming for the 30th to go and do baptisms for the dead.

To finish off the week we had a Christmas musical fireside last night for the other stakes and it was SO. GOOD. This time of year is the best for music about the Savior! We had a lot of different group numbers and some smaller groups that sang/played piano and violin. I sang What Child is This? But my favorite, was the Gardner's daughter, Allie, who sang a beautiful one called Son of God. President and Sister Gardner sat in the front row and both of them cried so we all started crying ugh we were a hot mess but everyone did a great job, there was a good turn out, the Spirit was strong, and we made lots of good memories.

I hope everyone has such a Merry Christmas!! I am so grateful for the reason for the season; our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ! May we all find ways to remember the greatest gift of all, and share it with others. Go light the world. 🎆🎄

Isaiah 9:6 - For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Sister Irwin

1. Catch me first in line opening day
2. Rare sighting of snow in C-town
3. This can't be legal
4. We love when Allie comes to visit!!
5. More friends :)
6. Companion!

Friday, December 16, 2016

I like to look for rainbows December 12, 2016

...Whenever there is rain
And ponder on the beauty
Of an earth made clean again
I want my life to be as clean
As earth right after rain
I want to be the best I can
And live with God again!

Saturday was the happiest day ever!!!! DIANA GOT BAPTIZED! When she came up her face was just glowing. It was a good turn out with her family, some others from the ward, and Doug! Her little 8 year old nephew gave the cutest talk ever. He just got baptized earlier this year so he was so excited for his aunt. :) 

Yesterday Diana was confirmed a member and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. Doug came to church for all three hours again! He's set for January 7th. :) We also visited with the Searles again and Amber is so awesome. She basically just shared her testimony with us the whole time. Brother Searle has the priesthood already so hopefully his work schedule lets him come to church more often and he can baptize her in the near future! They weren't at church this week because someone got sick, but the little 3 year old loves talking about Jesus and can't wait to go to primary.

My mission dream came true! I handed a Book of Mormon to someone at a red light through the window! There was a couple standing with a cardboard sign that I honestly couldn't read but I'm assuming they were asking for money. Instead they got something ever greater!

Whoever calls Sundays the day of rest has never worked a trail center shift during gingerbread. We had FOUR buses with different tour groups yesterday morning which kept us all on our toes! It's so fun though. I love staying busy especially at this time of year!

Exciting news, they're coming out with a District 3!! For all you out there wondering what the District is, it's a series of training videos that we watch. And part of this one is from the one and only Arizona Tempe Mission!! We got to watch one of the segments that was filmed in the ASU institute building and Elder Kwao is in it! I can't wait until we get to watch the whole thing!

Don't forget to Light the World! Today's theme is to teach others. :)

D&C 18:15 "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!"

Sister Irwin

1. Diana!! ♥
2. The whole Rodriguez familia! 
3. #getdunks
4. Dinner at the mission home

Monday, December 5, 2016

Another one bites the dust December 5, 2016

Sooo transfers happened and our trio is back down to two! Sister Parsons is in Cottonwood again, but Sister Beck and I are still here in Bellevue. There's so many other new changes. President Gardner is starting to make this a regular thing where sisters from the Trail Center can get pulled out for full proselyting for a few transfers and vice versa. We had two sisters leave and three new get put in! 

This week was also quite an adventure for another reason. Sister Beck got cellulitis from an infection in her finger, so we had to go to the emergency room and ended up in the hospital for 24 hours. Luckily she is doing okay now! I was able to go out with our sister training leaders for the day to their area, and then to a lesson with Diana that night. Then it was back to the hospital to stay overnight! So many senior missionaries visited Sister Beck and brought us both goodies. We felt so loved! 

On Thursday we had a lot of appointments and the best one was with Doug! He's a friend of Jennifer in our ward that we've taught once before. Jennifer is so awesome because she also invited her neighbor Peggy over, but that's a different story. Doug is set for baptism on January 7th! He says he reads the Book of Mormon for a half hour each night!! :)

This weekend was the best because all the sisters in the mission had a special fireside with Young Women General President Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson! She is so amazing I loved being able to hear her testimony in person and getting the chance to talk with her afterwards. Plus we were wearing matching maroon turtlenecks so I don't know what could get better than that :) ..Except for church the next day because Diana, Doug, and this part member family, the Searles, were all there!!! I could've cried it was so happy. 

This Saturday at 12 is Diana's baptism! We have a few more commandments to go over with her and then she has her interview on Wednesday. I can't believe it's actually happening but she is so ready!! :)

I hope everyone has a blessed week! Don't drive down any hills when it snows. 10/10 would not recommend. 

Sister Irwin

1. Baby Church is going to Kearney! 
2. Orton leaving the trail center too :(
3. Hospital sleepover!
4. Gingerbread hosting at the Kanesville Tabernacle :)

Here is a picture of us with Sister Oscarson and one of the whole TC family!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Oh my gravy! November 28, 2016

Hopefully everyone had a happy turkey day! This Thanksgiving was definitely one for the books. 

Rewinding a few days...we had our second lesson with Diana on Tuesday and it turns out she went over the chapter we assigned her to read FOUR times and said she'd have no problem with getting rid of coffee! Quick someone pinch me! Ahh I just love her so much. 

We surprised Diana by raking all the leaves in her yard right before we had dinner #1! The Rodriguez family made authentic Mexican food complete with rice, corn, tamales, popusas, and cheesecake. The best part of all wasn't even the food. Diana told her brother that she's getting baptized!! We were all dying inside because she waited almost a week to say anything to anyone. She started crying and they hugged; it was a precious moment caught on film! After that excitement, we hurried over to dinner #2 at the trail center with everyone. We had a traditional meal prepared by our wonderful senior missionaries. Then came the program by us sisters that I was asked to plan! There were musical numbers, spiritual thoughts, testimonies, and a skit that Sister Chappell was in charge of. Then to finish the night off with some laughs, we watched The Best Two Years! Twas a good day. :)

The new Christmas initiative is out!! I would like to invite everyone to check out and to participate in the world wide day of service on December 1st and the Light the World advent calendar! This time of year we need to focus even more on our Savior because He truly is the light, the life, and the truth. Go watch the video! What are you waiting for?? :) - no promises that you won't cry because I do every time. 

Have great week. Be a light to someone. 🔆

Sister Irwin

1. Raking leaves
2. "Where's the food?"
3. The big reveal!!
4. Best text ever
5. Festivities
6. 13 month

Monday, November 21, 2016

Count Your Blessings November 21, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!! :)

On Friday, the Council Bluffs zone went to the temple and when we got out it snowed for the tiniest of tiny bits! It was so fun because Sister Ibanez is from the Philippines and had never seen snow before! 

We had the Gingerbread Festival ribbon cutting on Saturday morning and some old sisters came to visit as well! Then that night Sister Beck and I secretly arranged a surprise dinner for Sister Parsons with the Chappells and roped their good friends Bob and Lucy into coming. :)

Super happy news!! Shauna's nonmember fiance, Michael, came to church! Last thing we heard was that he didn't want anything to do with it. His heart is softening!

The biggest blessing of all is named Diana. She is Brother Rodriguez's sister who is also a nonmember. She has been coming every Sunday and is ready to be taught. The elders were teaching her for a little while, but then she moved away - now she's back and Brother Rodriguez was the one who told us about her. Diana is such a sweetheart and a single mom with two kids. She already has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith! She is GOLDEN! We set her for baptism on December 10th!!! Last night was our first lesson with her and there wasn't a dry eye in the room. Then we all had hot chocolate and Mexican pastries. We have another lesson with her tomorrow and then Thanksgiving dinner with her and her family on Thursday! I just love her so much already!

And I love all of you! I am grateful for everyone's support while I'm out here. I'm grateful for my parents, family, friends, companions, and dog. Most importantly, I'm grateful for my Heavenly Father and my Savior. Alma 26:37 - "Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen."

Sister Irwin

1. I love to see the temple
2. #lighttheworld coming to you soon in T-10 days
3. Gingerbread at it's finest
4. Reunion with Fronk, Hyde, Slater, and Murphy!
5. Birthday surprise for Sister Parsons 


Friday, November 18, 2016

...And then there were three! November 14, 2016

Hello Friends! :)

Newsflash - I am now in a trio!! Sister Parsons' companion sadly went home on medical release so she's with us for the rest of the transfer! We are getting along great. We made up a great name for us: Beckwin and Sons!

In other news, exchanges were fantastic the other day! We met this kid named Billy outside working on his truck. We taught him a little bit about the Restoration and then asked if he had a family. He brought us to his apartment where he lived with his girlfriend and her friend! They were all about our same age. We taught the whole Restoration and gave them all Book of Mormons! The friend was more interested than the others and she really wants to come to the gingerbread festival, so hopefully the other two tag along as well. We also had a lesson with their investigator Kale, who is so golden he believes everything is true and has already been to church twice in a row!

I am so glad that we were placed in Bellevue 1st ward. I can't count how many times people have said they've really missed having sister missionaries, or they have someone they want us to talk to and think sisters would be a better fit. (No offense to elders they are still great!) There are a lot of single sisters/part member families where only the wife is active. Yesterday at church, we got three member referrals! Last night, we met Annie who is so sweet! She's a single mom with four kids. She hasn't been to church in a few years, but she wants to come back so bad. Annie also wants us to teach her son who is 10 because he wants to get baptized!!! :)

I hope you all have a fantastic week and that everyone is getting in the holiday spirit because I know I am!

Sister Irwin

1. Sloth buddies with Sister Farmer, Mo, and Eddy ♥
2. Exchanges with Sister Orton!
3. Good times behind the desk with Sister Clark 
4. Our trainers sent us the cutest package for our year mark in Nebraska! The signs say "We are one" and "Love mom"
5. Hopefully this video works...adventures with Beckwin and Sons​