Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Guat's Up?

First of all shout out to Grandma and Grandpa Haymond, and Mom, and Sadie for the Dear Elders.  Thanks so much!  It was so fun to hear from you all.
Its crazy that this is my third Wednesday here!!  A lot happened this week.  It was by far the hardest week yet, but its okay!  I still love it.  For a few days last week it was really hard for me to focus and put my whole heart into everything we did and our lessons weren't as good because of it.  But that little phase quickly ended and everything is fine again!!!  I'm happy.  But I'm sick.  I've had a cold for the last few days.  I feel fine for the most part but my nose is runny, so that's annoying.  And this morning I woke up and my throat was hurting so much that I couldn't talk.  So that's also kinda annoying but its okay!  There's not really anything I can take to help and I don't have time for resting.  But its okay! I feel fine!
So last Wednesday we went to this 3d relief map of Guatemala.  It was cool!  This guy went around Guatemala and made it 100 years ago because there wasn't any fancy accurate technology.  And he made it 99 percent accurate!  Crazy huh!  President explained where some events in the Book of Mormon could have happened which was cool!  And we got to see where our missions would be on the map so that was interesting too.  It was so nice to get out and see the real world of Guatemala.  The CCM is definitely its own little world. 
After the map, we went to the mercado.  Most the way there we were on a one way street.  But then all of a sudden for 1 block it turned into a two way street and there were cars coming at us out of no where.  I have no idea who thought of that or how it works.  But it happened. There are guys (even by the CCM) with machine guns everywhere.  Which I'm fine with.  Its just different.  We got dropped off at this cathedral and the Presidents wife said okay, now go down a block and cross a street and it will be down these dark stairs on the right...uhhhh yeah that sounds safe.  It was soooo sketchy!  But also very awesome (and no one panic.  They wouldn't let us do it if it wasn't safe)  So we find these stairs that look like they just go down to a parking garage.  But nope.  You go in and there are tons and tons of colorful narrow isles with little booths of stuff to buy set up.  And people are yelling stuff in Spanish and it smells weird...IT WAS AWESOME.  It was the first time I was like, whoa I'm in a foreign country.  It was cool to experience.  You could barter for all your stuff and basically get it for half the price they asked for.  Sadly, I didn't get anything.  There were tons of cool Guatemala stuff and hacky sacs and soccer jerseys and hand made colorful stuff.  But I was like meh, I have 18 months to buy this stuff.  But it was cool!  There were big fruit stands with avocados three times the size of ones in America.  And there was a whole isle for meat.  There was just half a pig hanging up in the window, or a ton of fish just laying on the table.  I was like 'ecoli anyone?' Grandpa Haymond would have DIED on the spot.  There were tons of little tiny like 2 year old kids.  SO cute!   But a lot of kids were just walking around without parents. The city is huge and parts of it are so beautiful!  But you can tell its a third world country.  The nice parts of town were not what we would ever consider to be nice.  The CCM is hands down in one of the nicest, most modern parts of the city and even then its not like anything exceptional for America. But  it was all so amazing.  Definitely a 'tadah, we are not in the CCM anymore' kind of experience.  It made me so excited to go out and teach the people and help them.
We have a new group of missionaries.  For the first time ever in this CCM there are more Sisters than Elders!!! SO exciting!  Our new roommates are nortes, which is sad because the hispanas are so fun and good to practice Spanish with.  But its fine.  We like the nueveos (newbies).
So Chase and Marshall should be proud (maybe) to know that the Elders in our district have nick named me Hermana Zelda.  Apparently I look like her.  They nickname everyone and its been quite entertaining.
Some fun things we like to say in Spanish....
Lolo (it isn't actually a Spanish word.  But Loco means crazy.  And we decided that we're going to start 'lolo' here and it will mean the same thing as Cray Cray in America)
Enserio (it means seriously or really.  So when someone says something exciting we're just like ENSERIO!)
Que es esto (Means what is this?!  And we say it when someone says something joking to make fun of you.  And you just look at them and say WHAT IS THIS?!)
Toda dia cada dia (All day every day.  For example, we are preaching the gospel toda dia cada dia)
Suegra means mother in law.  But its funny because here people use 'mother in law' for the end of a loaf of bread that no one wants.
and finally...Choca la roca  (means pound it i guess.  Like before you high five someone or something like that you say choca la roca which means smash the rock.  A Honduran hermana taught us that one and apparently its not a thing here in Guatemala.  It will be in 18 months)
So my first pen is out of ink.  That's exciting!
There has been a guy here from salt lake who is the assistant in overseeing all the international MTCs so they were a little stricter on rules.  Which was really unlike them because its usually pretty laid back on things that can be not as worried about.
I have a goal to finish the Spanish Book of Mormon by the time I leave the CCM.  Its waaayyyy hard.  I have to read 30 pages a day which I haven't been able to do yet.  It takes me like an hour to read 10.  But its a good experience.  I think I'm so behind because I've been in 2nd Nephi.  Try reading Isaiah....IN SPANISH!
I love our English fasts where we give up English for 24 hours.  It really builds my confidence in my Spanish abilities.
So we teach members who pretend to be investigators.  And Its confusing because sometimes they pretend to be inactive, sometimes they really are inactive, and sometimes they act like investigators.  This week we were told that we'd be teaching an 'inactive' we prepared a lesson on faith in Jesus Christ.  Simple right?  Then right before our teacher said, wait no,  just teach them like you'd talk to a member to encourage missionary work and get a reference.  Okay, doable but different.  So our member walks in and it quickly becomes apparent that she has decided to be a nonmember investigator.  she DRILLED us.  She asked if we worship Joseph Smith, why we don't baptize babies, what happens at the temple, what are baptisms for the dead, why don't we worship saints, why do we have the Book of Mormon.  Like everything.  Ever.  Except where Kolob was.  It was insane!!! It was hard because we weren't prepared and it wasn't what we expected but it was good practice.  And we spoke Spanish the whole time!  Wow.  I'll never forget that though.
We had 'Sleep with your Placa on' night as a district.  Basically you just sleep with your name tag on.  Because sometimes, when you're a missionary, you sleep with your name tag on...just for fun.
We had an awesome devotional by Elder Anderson last night.  It was broadcast and I saw Ryan Rockwood in the Provo MTC choir!! It was cool.  But Elder Anderson talked about sacrifice and love.  He said that we love the things we sacrifice and we sacrifice for the things we love.  And of course, he brought it all back to Christ being the perfect example of this.  He sacrificed doing what He loved, serving others and being with those He loved and teaching people.  And he sacrificed it for what He loves, us.  I just really love that.  It was a good reminder to sacrifice everything I have right now.  Because I love this Gospel and I love Heavenly Father and I love Jesus Christ. So I need to remember to sacrifice the things I love for the next 18 months because I love this Gospel so much.  The Church is true.  If you don't know that, find out for yourself because it will change your life and make your happier than you can imagine.  Miss you all!!
Love you!
-Hermana Haymond

P.S. from Alexis' mom.  I could not figure out how to make the pictures larger on the blog post so you have to click on them to see them larger.  (this explanation was mostly for grandparents :)  )
The CCM Mission President and Wife and all the Hermanas.
Alexis is on the second row from the top 5th one from the left.

Hermana Haymond's District (the group of Sisters and Elders she studys with every day)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week Dos

Hola familia!! 

So we're emailing today because this week is a little different.  We get to go to the market tomorrow!! Woo!! We are all so stoked to leave the CCM.  I love it, but it will be so nice to go out in the real world for a few hours.

This week was good!  A little more rough than the first week, but still good.  I'm just tired a lot, so for an hourish everyday I'm just soooo out of it.  But after that everything is back to being great!!!  I'm still surprisingly good at knock out sometimes.  I made a few 3 pointers this week AND I got out the best Elder in our zone.  Everyone cheered so soooo loud.  It was awesome.  We aren't teaching Alvero anymore.  He's meeting with missionaries in his area so he can be baptized.  It was amazing practice though!! I learned so so much!

The Hispanos leave tomorrow!  They don't have to learn Spanish so they only need 2 weeks at the CCM.  Its sooo sad!  We love our roommates.  And all of the Hispanas are so fun to try and talk to.  In church yesterday I was talking to one and she says, 'Your face is so pretty!  You look like a Barbie!' and I was just like oh my gosh you guys are so awesome.  It was a funny compliment.  Its sad though because I want to keep up with them but they're going to missions in different countries.  (PS its raining and thundering sooooo hard right now.  Its so so awesome.  Just thought I'd throw that in there.)  We don't have our cameras (because they might get stolen) so we can't take pictures with our roommates or anything.  But there will be new hispana missionaries coming in on Weds.  So we'll make more friends.

So for breakfast we discovered this really awesome soupy thing that they serve as an option. Our roommates said its called arroz con leche, aka rice with milk.  It tastes like oatmeal and horchata mixed together.  Its amazing.  I swear my first thought of the day was 'Ahh I cant wait to have that ricey soupy stuff' at least 3 times this week. 

On Wednesday, we were eating lunch like usual.  And all of a sudden a mariachi band comes strolling into the cafeteria and everyone (mostly the hispanos) went wiiiilddd!  And they had this huggge colorful cake and started singing.  It was a surprise for the President of the CCM's bday!  It was sooo cool!  Everyone was so excited and we just sang and dance and cheered for the rest of the hour!  It was quite the fiesta.  It was so cool to be there and be like this isn't a Casa Bonita mariachi band.  This is the culture!

Last Friday I planned a "match your companion" day for our district.  Which I was so excited about!  And everyone looked awesome.  Hna Griffin and I looked way good.  We each wore a navy polk-a-dot skirt with a white shirt, red belt, and grey cardigan.  We were basically twins and it was great!  But then I had to go change because this semi-mean guy said that if we matched then everyone would want to match....Uhh okay.  It was weird and not what I expected but we looked dang good until that happened.  Match your companion day was crushed after that.

So we're quickly learning that some Spanish words sound very alike, and sometimes mixing up those words could be really bad.  It hasn't happened yet, but there are some that we laugh over.  For example, diario is journal and diaria is diarrhea.  So you would want to be careful saying 'I've have my journal for 3 years.'   And pescado means fish and pecado means sin.  So, you would not want to teach someone learning about the church that 'We all have fish, everyone has fish.  I even have fish.  But we can help you be free from your fish.'  You also wouldn't want to say at lunch 'Can I please have extra sin today?'  This whole language barrier thing is really fun.  But Spanish is coming along well.  I really like learning it.  Its frustrating teaching sometimes because you want to explain something in a way that makes sense but I don't know the words or the grammar to do it. I'm really glad to be at this CCM instead of Provo though because you are forced to speak Spanish way way more.  I like it.  Just talking to people normally is better than it was 2 weeks ago, but still really shaky.  I'm more confident in trying to talk to people but still not great.  I can teach a whole lesson in Spanish about the church though.  It's literally a miracle. 

(The power keeps going out so I'm going to send this in parts, in case the computer shuts down)

Week Dos cont'd

We decided that Sundays here are awesome.  Its so refreshing to be taught instead of planning and teaching all day.  And its sooo cool to hear the gospel in English!!!  Its incredible how big of a difference it makes.  It motivates me to learn more Spanish so that the people here will appreciate the message more.  Sunday is movie day.  The teachers have the day off and the branch presidencies don't want to talk all day so we watch movies.  Last night we watched the Testaments, Legacy, Mormon Messages, and a recorded Devotional.  Its nice.

You guys need to keep me updated on what's going on.  Like football games and Whodunnit and such.
And I got your Dear Elder Letters, mom and Sadie!  It seems like that's an awesome way to write me here at the CCM.  We get the letters every Weds.  Just an FYI.  And I only have an hour to email people every week, but I basically have all day to write physical letters.  So I might respond to some emails that way instead. 

The temple was awesome!  Its small but beautiful and you can tell the people here really treasure it!  Hermana Griffin and I are doing well teaching our fake investigators.  Its hard work, but really rewarding.  I think that's all for now!  Good to hear from you guys!!!

Love you all!
One More Thing-
Oh!  And we have a new teacher at night.  His name is Hno Sian.  On the first day he was going over rules and stuff  and he said, "We're going to fast every week.  This week we'll fast one day , two days next week, etc. until we fast the whole week." and we all started freaking out.  I was like I might starve but if the Lord wants me to do this I'll do it hahaha.  Then he says "Don't worry it will be a fast of English" and we were all like whew! we can eat!!!  So today we are "fasting English" for the first time.  From 3:30 today until 3:30 tomorrow we're giving up English.  Which wont be too awful, but by week 6 we will have a week JUST in Spanish.  I'm excited (:
okay that's all for now


Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Hola everyone!
I am so exciting to be writing home!  I have so much to say and an hour seems like not enough time to say it.  So I'll try.  It might be disorganized and my English writing skills are lacking these days, so sorry!
Some things before I forget...They said the quickest way for me to get mail is to make sure you write Hermana (all spelled out) Alexis Haymond on every letter and such.  Seems simple, but they said the mail people wont go through it or charge you for customs if you make it clear its for a missionary.  And there is no need to put pictures of Jesus or anything.  Just make sure its Hermana so they know its going to a missionary.  And I bought Spanish scriptures here with my debit card and it reminded me that there's a charge.  Can you check with the bank to see if there´s a 3 percent charge on ATMs and a 5 dollar charge on using the card, or is it the other way around.  IDK!  I just know there´s something weird.  Can you check?
Okay. So I'm here alive.  We were able to email last Weds just really quick to say we made it.  But it didn't sound like mine went though.  I tried to send it again.  There were about 30 missionaries on the plane from LA to Gua City (we joked that there was no way Heavenly Father would let the plane crash).  And then quite a few Hispanic missionaries came in the CCM later the same day we arrived.  So we were the biggest group to ever arrive to the CCM here.  Its very small.  There are 138 (I think) missionaries here total.  We don't have dork dots (aka bright stickers so everyone knows you're a newbie here).  And we wear our name tags on our right shoulder, which is new apparently...Its weird.  I love my name tag!  I forgot to put it on when we changed to workout one day and I seriously felt naked when I realized I didn't have it.  We ran soooo fast to get it.  It was funny.
Its so green here!  There are mountains everywhere and some are volcanoes I think.  It still kinda feels like I'm in the states because we´re in the CCM 90 percent of the time.  But there are sooo many trees!  On the bus ride from the airport to the CCM there were pine trees, palm trees, normalish leafy trees, all kinds of trees in the same place!! Its also rained like once a day since we´ve been here.  Its my favorite.  Ah!  Its beautiful and the rain sounds awesome.  We cant drink the tap water in the CCM (which they announced right after Hna Griffin and I brushed our teeth and such.  But I'm not sick, diseased or dead yet so I'm not worried.)  and We have to wear shoes at all times so we don't get fungi or anything on the floors.  The CCM is really nice and sanitary and everything but some things are just unavoidable here.  And they gave us a water bottle with a filter to take when we leave the CCM and they gave us an extra filter.  SO I'm glad we didn't buy one there.
Hna G and I share our room with 2 Hispanas.  One from here and one from Nicaragua.   They are so fun to talk to!!! The Hispanos are soooo funny and just so sweet!  They're so patient with our Spanish.  It was funny because for Church each Sunday everyone has to prepare a talk to share in Spanish and they randomly choose who will speak.  And I was telling our roommate how I hadn't translated mine to Spanish yet and how they should whisper my talk into my ear like they do to little kids in primary.  They thought that was funny!  And then one of them, who is itty maybe 5 ft., said she´d put a sheet over her and stand next to me to whisper everything and she said I could just say 'Oh this is just the Holy Ghost.  Don't pay attention to the sheet.'  It was so funny to just picture this teeny little sheet following me up to give my talk.  Ah!  I love the Hispanas.
So the CCM (aka the Missionary Training Center in Guatemala)... First, the food is AMAZING.  The cook tries really hard to slowly introduce the nortes (north americans) to the native food.  So we'll have like reaaaaaally good pizza or pasta or something one meal, and then something nativish like plantains or beans or rice stuff the next meal (which is also soooooo good).  Our district is awesome.  There are 8 hermanas and 4 elders.  My companions name is Hermama Griffin from Utah.  She's awesome.  Very musical.  Its been good working with her. The CCM is under construction a little to make room for more missionaries, so that keeps things interesting.  Our water will randomly get shut off and we have to use the bathroom in the gym.  But its fine!  Keeps it adventurous.
So each day we wake up at 630 and get ready.  Eat DELICIOUS breakfast.  Do personal scripture study, then companion language study.  Then we have classes.  Like Spanish grammar or lessons from the Preach My Gospel manual, etc.  Then we have lunch.  Then more classes.  Then deportes (basically it).  Then shower and eat dinner.  Then we teach our investigator at night until 9.  Planning for the next day from 9 to 930.  Get ready for bed.  Bed at 930.  Being here we're super busy.  But we never feel rushed.
Apparently I´ve developed some new talents since I've been set apart.  For example, Hna Griffin plays the piano super well so she always gets asked.  Then one day NO ONE volunteered to conduct the music while she played so I said I could (I mean I haven't tried since I was 8 in achievement days, but I thought I'd be able to wave my hand around as people sing.).  So I led one song...then got asked to lead in Sacrament meeting...then in a fireside. So apparently people think I'm musical or something.  Boy have I got them fooled.  I'm also suddenly decent at basketball.  One day at deportes we all started playing knock out with the elders and a lot of them were crazy good.  And guess what...I got second place once and made several 3 point shots.  It was so weird.  So those are my random talents that I now have apparently.
Our district is so awesome, like I said.  We need to work on focusing a little, but we have a lot of fun.  Some funny things I heard this week...
"I will beat you.  I bet your testimony!" while elders were racing to finish a Spanish assignment
"Bless your souls."  "...He only has one."  "Bro, what about his shoes!"
And when the power went out one night during our district meeting I said, "Are we allowed to be in the dark with the Elders"
And we were talking about how we can be sooo tired after 8 hours of sleep every night and I decided it´s just a Spiritual hang over from the day before.
Maybe they're not actually funny, but they were in the moment.
Our investigator is sooo amazing.  He's a real investigator wanting to know more about the church.  He's working construction on the CCM and was interested so our district is teaching him.  We taught the first lesson in English the second day here.  Then the third day we were supposed to teach the whole lesson in Spanish.  Its an unusual way to teach because our whole district needs practice.  So each companionship teaches him 1 principle or a 15 minute lesson or something.  SO he basically gets a relay of lessons for like 2 hours.  But he is sooo amazing!   He is so humble and open minded.  Its been the most amazing part of my experience here.  At first he just wanted to know more, but guess what.....HE COMMITTED TO BE BAPTIZED LAST SATURDAY NIGHT!!!! He´s going to be baptized on August 31!  Which means we need to turn him over to the missionaries that aren't in the CCM.  But its still so exciting.  He went to church on his own the next day and he reads the Book of Mormon and prays and he is so faithful and diligent.  It's been so wonderful to see that, even though my Spanish is awful otherwise, during a lesson I can say almost anything that comes into my mind is Spanish.  Heavenly Father loves Alvero (our investigator) and has prepared him for this.  And I know that Heavenly Father allows me to speak Spanish when I teach the gospel because that´s when He needs me to speak it most.  Its incredible.
Being a greenie (aka a new missionary who is excited about every little thing) is awesome.  Like Alvero didn't want to pray out loud at first so we were like ok  we'll say the prays during the lesson.  But then one day a companionship came in from their lesson and was like HE PRAYED:  And we all went wild!!! We were so happy.  Its just as exciting for everything.  'We asked him to be baptized and he said he's not sure yet!'...YAAAAAYYYY  'He went to church!´....YAAAAYYYY!  'We gave him a copy of the Liahona!!'  YAYYYYYY!  Every time he takes a little step of progress we just get so crazy happy.  You would think the Broncos just won the Superbowl or something.  But it is literally like the scriptures say.  How great will be your joy if you bring one soul unto me.  Teaching him and seeing him grow brings me joy beyond anything I've experienced.
Its all so amazing!  Love you all and thanks for writing!  Pray for me, but more importantly pray for Alvero that he will keep working hard! 
This is the best thing I've ever done.  The Church is true and God loves us.  If you don't know those things, then learn them.
-Hermana Haymond

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The adventure begins!

Just dropped Alexis off at DIA.  Her original flight was delayed so she had to be moved to an earlier flight.  She is excited to get this adventure going.  It was hard to say good bye but know she is going to be a wonderful missionary and we are so proud!  Watch out Guatemala here she comes!

See Ya In Eighteen Months!

It feels weird to say goodbye on the first post of a blog...But this is it!  I leave for Guatemala City in just a few hours!  I want to stay in touch with everyone, but I don't know how much time I'll have to write people.  So my parents will be posting my emails on here to keep everyone in the loop.  There should be a new post every week, so keep checking back!  You can also find other stuff about my mission on here, like how to write me and such.

Some last thoughts before I go...
  • Thanks for all the love and support as I've prepared to go on my mission.  There are so many people who have helped me and encouraged me.
  • Read the Book of Mormon!!  It's awesome and it's true.  I have a challenge for you if you feel brave enough to take it. If you read one page (or 12ish verses) of the Book of Mormon every day, I'll be back right around the time you finish.  Easy, right?!  >>>click here to accept the challenge!<<<
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church on the earth today.  I have been so blessed to have a knowledge of Christ and His gospel.  I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that Heavenly Father instructed him to restore the fullness of the Gospel to the earth just as it was when Christ established it.  I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  It's impossible to read it with an open heart and not feel closer to Christ.  I know that God continues to reveal His word through a living prophet on the earth today, Thomas S. Monson.  Following the Prophet will keep you safe and happy.  I know that families can be together forever through the blessings of the temple.  I know that Jesus Christ lived a perfect life to set an example for us.  He atoned for our sins, sorrows, weaknesses, and any trial we might face.  When we call on Him for help, we cannot fail.  He lives.  He and our Father in Heaven love us more than we can comprehend, and if we follow their counsel we can live with them again someday.  Knowing these things has blessed my life so much, and I hope I can share it and help others feel the power that comes through this knowledge.
I think that's it.  Keep checking back for my letters!  I love you all!