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

Monday, January 30, 2017

When in what the YSAs do! January 30, 2017

Hey everybody! :)

So last P-day we met the coolest kid ever here at DoSpace. (DoSpace is this really fun library type place that only has computers and technology, is super hipster, and the only one of its kind.) His name was Chickadibia which means God is supreme in Nigerian. Such a nice guy! There were a million missionaries here all at once last week and so many people were getting the gospel shared with them at the same time, it was so great. 

On Wednesday, we had the worldwide mission broadcast and it changed the game forever! We now have a completely different schedule and I love it so much! Instead of coming home and planning at 9:00, we don't plan the next day until that next morning. So we have a whole hour and a half to chill before bed at 10:30! We only have 30 minutes for lunch now, but the other 30 minutes is in the morning so we have more time to get ready, exercise, or study. We now only do 30 minutes of studies on P-day, so this morning we were out of the house by 8:30! It's great. There's a few other changes with that and our key indicators that we set goals for and submit, but that's mostly it! #teachrepentance #baptizeconverts That night was institute again, and Judith came! She's actually an investigator of the BV1 elders and is super far from us, but she's been coming to YSA too.

Thursday was game night! We had three less actives and one nonmember there yay!! We played pool and apples to apples. :)

This week we thought of street contacting downtown in Old Market. It was slightly snowing but we didn't care, we were excited to be there! Sometimes it's awkward to stop people when they're walking but hey we put ourselves out there and made it work. We talked to a lot of people that weren't interested or didn't know anyone, but a lot of nice people regardless. On our way back to the car, we saw a girl cross the street coming our way. I almost didn't talk to her, but she looked like one of my cousins and I felt like we needed to reach out to her, because I'd want someone to reach out to my family. It turns out that she's a less active in our ward that hasn't come to church in years. She is so sweet and she gave us her number! It was such a tender mercy for our hard work that day. She even recognized that it wasn't a coincidence; I am a solid believer that everything happens for a reason! I really hope we can help her. 

Heaven'y Father has a plan. The church is true.

Sister Irwin

1. I met Page in our ward who grew up with cousin Maria! Small world.
2. Inside the fancy apartments in Old Market
3. S/o to Tanner
4. 5. 6.? I lost count, but P-day adventures on the pedestrian bridge and huge slides!

More adventures! :)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Nothing more beautiful than a full font January 23, 2017

It's official! Doug is a member! Saturday was a happy day indeed. :) It was so good to see everyone again and get some more pictures. Brother Huey had to dunk him twice which was a little funny but they got him the second time! Also his two kids, and non-member friend Peggy were there!! This was such a great experience to see him progress so much, and it's a huge testimony builder for me of how simple member missionary work can be! Doug found out that Sister Castillo was Mormon and asked her lots of questions to the point where she just referred him to us! Piece of cake! Doug is so funny, he says he used to hide from the missionaries...and now he's best friends with them. ;)

Let's see what else happened this week...

Sister Firth and I took our sweet less active Brookelyn on teamups with us! We visited Ben and tried a few potentials. She said she felt so much love when she was serving with us. :)

We also got permission to do some proselyting around the UNO campus! It's super convenient because it's right across from the institute building. It's like the perfect YSA hunting ground! We talked to a couple people but no one was super interested. We'll try again later this week. 

Wednesday night was institute and Alexis came! She hasn't been to church in a while, but she's been coming to some activities lately which is awesome. She's a body builder and looks intimidating but really she's a big softie and has a strong testimony. And she's so fun! We made a deal that she's going to come on teamups with us and also be our personal trainer haha! She even gave us some of her protein packed food.

Then on Friday night we got to eat dinner with Sarah and the rest of the Kosmicki's from Walnut Creek! It was like a big happy family reunion. Also their daughter Julianne and Jake got sealed on Saturday! So much love.

Keep the faith baby!

Sister Irwin

1. One more pic with the Crandalls! 
2. The Whittles 
3. The Clarks 
4. Doug's baptism!!!!
5. 3 generations with Sister Harden and Ruth haha
6. Ward mission leader Brother Lemieux!
7. Caught him smiling :)
8. Us, Peggy, Doug, Alex, Hannah, Sister Castillo

15 months

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

It's fun to stay at the YSA! January 17, 2017

Sooo transfers happened! After moving twice in one week, I am officially back in the Papillion Stake - now in the Cold Spring Young Single Adult Ward! :) My new companion is Sister Firth who is a cute one. I love her!

On Tuesday night, Sister Beck and I had my last lesson with Doug. We went over the baptism interview questions and brought Diana since she's basically a pro. I can't wait for this Saturday!! Doug is so great and his kids are coming to support him. :)

Slowly but surely I'm meeting the YSAs here: Tanner, Devin, Brookelyn, Rachel, Josh, Alexis, Alyssa, Max, and more. Sarah and Janelle from Walnut Creek are here too; it will be fun to see them every week again! The ward is actually pretty small compared to San Marcos back home. We've got work to do!

Our ward mission leader, Tanner, took us to Chick-fil-a on Friday for dinner and we went over the ward list. He's a funny one! It's slightly weird associating with normal people my age again...we get to hear all the college life drama! #dontgettrunky

We are getting new directors at the Trail Center! I'm so sad that the Crandalls are leaving. :( I love them so much. It won't be the same without them, but I'm excited to meet the new ones this week.

The ice storm of 2017...wasn't actually that bad! There was some freezing rain that made the roads impossible to drive, but it didn't kill any of our power or last very long, so that was good. We were grounded from our cars Sunday night and most of yesterday. To stay productive we hardcore updated the area book and ward list. We called all the former investigators!! We made pumpkin waffles and smoothies while we watched The Testaments (now one of my favorite church movies by the way). We cleaned our apartment, did laundry, wrote letters, and prayed that the ice would melt!

I finished reading The Book of Mormon for the third time on my mission, and it's still true! If you've never read it - you should. If you've read it before but aren't currently - you should start again. It truly is another testament of Christ. It is the word of God written by prophets of old. It offers peace, direction, hope, and answers. It supports the Bible. I know it changes lives, because I've seen it. Pray and ask God if it's true! I promise He will answer. 

Sister Irwin

1. Sister Firth! :)
2. Goodbye to some of my STLs Youngberg and Lewis
3. Did some doodling at the UNO campus and left our number!
4. The Crandalls are leaving! Who will supervise the children?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

God loves us January 9, 2017

God loves all of His children, including you! He's given us prophets, scriptures, prayer, the plan of salvation, and so much more. This week we had two lessons with our Sudanese investigator Achol. In one of our lessons we were having a difficult time understanding each other. We asked her multiple times why God gives us commandments and she wasn't getting it. It was quiet, then all of a sudden she said "because God loves us". Yes!! He just wants us to be safe and happy, and that's why we have commandments.

Exciting news! Diana got visit teachers and a companion/route! Also, Brother Searle had an interview with Bishop - one step closer to Amber's baptism! :)

This week we also taught Doug about tithing and fast offering at Bishop Rose's house. Doug said the closing prayer and it was honestly the most sincere and sweetest thing ever. He promised to start paying his tithing after baptism, even though it scares him a little. He thanked Heavenly Father for leading him to His church and finding an extended family that was the missing piece in his life. That's what the gospel of Jesus Christ and the atonement do for us! It makes us perfect - complete, whole.

Transfers are this week and Sister Beck and I have no idea what's happening. We've both been here for two transfers. In fact, we actually just moved out of the Davies' old place on Saturday into an apartment a few blocks from the trail center. We are currently living out of suitcases until we find out tomorrow. Stay tuned for next week's episode on...La Vie en Corn ft. Irwin and friends. 

Sister Irwin

1. Exchanges with Sisters Orton and Lewis!
2. The Searles ♥

Monday, January 2, 2017

New year new me January 2, 2017

Hello 2017!!

For the last week of 2016, it was a good one. We had a lesson with Sister Rowley, and her son Ryan decided to join us for the first time! They have some more family coming to live with them, so we're hoping they can start going back to church with them.

Sister Beck and I got a media referral to this sweet lady Achol. She is from Sudan and has three kids. We gave her the Bible she requested, then we had a lesson and gave her an Arabic Book of Mormon. She was going to come to church on Sunday but then her phone broke. There's always next week!

On Friday night, we went to the temple for Diana to do baptisms! The elders, Sister Mejia, Brother Huey, Brother Brown, and the Turners were also able to come. It was such an amazing experience! Diana was a little confused at first because she thought she needed family names. We told her how temples keep a file of names that need work done and she ended up having a great time. :) I'm so grateful for temples and the opportunity we have to do service for people who didn't have the same opportunities during their life on earth! I know that everyone really does have the chance to hear about Jesus Christ and His gospel, which is only made possible through the priesthood power. 

For New Year's Eve we had a little potluck with any sisters who could come. We played games with the seniors and had too much fun! Sister Beck and I thought about setting our alarm for 11:55 to celebrate at midnight, but were too tired for that haha. 

In closing, here is a stellar quote to ponder from Elder Holland:
"The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future."

Sister Irwin

1. Twinning with Sisters Whittle, Ibanez, and Crandall
2. Temple with Diana
3. Last goodbyes with the Laings
4. Get better Sister Pinhey we love you ♥
5. Last time for dress up