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 bitty....like 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 recess...love 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.