Wednesday, January 29, 2014

We had a baptism!

We had a baptism! Yay!  I really didn't help much because he was all ready to get baptized already when I got here, but it still feels good to be there for it.
I had my first Sunday in the new ward.  ('s a ward!  Yay!)  It's almost as big as ours at home.  There are a lot of people willing to help and lots of ward missionaries.  So that's really awesome!

Yesterday for p-day (preparation day) I unpacked.  Yes, I have lived here for a week and just barely unpacked.  Missionary life is busy!

My area is kinda like Arvada.  Actually not at all.  But it's a big suburb of Guatemala City, like Arvada is.

Ah!  I have lots to do right now so I don't have a ton of time to write.  Sorry that there are no pictures and nothing exciting. 

Thanks for all the support and prayers!  I need it!
Hermana Haymond

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Yesterday an apostle asked to shake my hand

My new companion!
 It's true!  Well only partly true...Yesterday Elder Cook came and spoke to all 3 of the Guatemala City missions!  It was amazing.  I'll explain more later. But before it started he said he wanted to shake every one's hands.  So we all went and he shook every single persons hand.  Kinda cool I think.

Ah!  Tuesday I had my first change of area!  I'm now in the capital and it's so different! My companion just finished her training and is so sweet!  She's from Honduras.  I thought I knew Spanish before, but no.  Maybe I can throw a few sentences together about the gospel, but small talk with my companion costs me a mountain (Is that a saying in English?...)  Maybe it's her accent that throws me off, because I feel like I understand more of what the people here say. But anyway, this area feels like a whole different mission.  The people learn faster.  There are more cars (AND FEWER DOGS!  I have a feeling those two are related).  The buildings are different.  We have a shower! Our house is way different.  It kinda feels like my apartment at BYU.  Kinda.  The people are more well off.  There's only two of us in this area instead of four.  Way different!  But I love it!  It's hard not knowing the members or the streets or our investigators really well.  But that will come with time.

And don't worry anyone.  We've already had adventures...aka trials in disguise.  We got back to our house Tuesday night, my first night here.  And our phone wouldn't work para nada.  And we HAVE to call our leaders every night so they know we're still alive. We didn't have our district leaders number or our zone leaders number and there weren't any pay phones around our house.  So we went and asked a member if we could use their phone.  I called President for help because it was the only number I had.  He was really nice, as always, and helped me.  But it was just kinda annoying to have to get calls through the members phone.  They'd have to come knock on our door and say 'your zone leaders are on the phone.'  We had a lot of plans to coordinate with them so it was a sticky situation.  But it worked out fine in the end.  Just a nice little welcome to the area stress.

Before I forget...shout outs to mom (I got your dear elders...THANK YOU!) and Nate (AHH!!! Coolest mission call ever...Anaheim California Vietnamese speaking.  Who wouldda guessed.)

Random news...I think I'm gaining weight.  Weirdest miracle of my life!  But that will probably quickly change now that I'm not living by the Gainors. Dang.

So yesterday, lots of awesome people spoke.  The area seventy spoke and other general authorities.  Also Elder Cook of course.  Somethings they said that I really liked...

Elder Amado of the 70 said Prayer requires listening too.  Time to pray is sacred.  Jeremiah said that the gathering of Israel/missionary work would be a bigger miracle than the parting of the Red Sea. 

Elder Cook said some cool things to start.  He said that next week when he's in the temple with President Monson and the other Apostles, he's going to tell them how he felt when he shook our hands.  He also had his cute wife lead us in some hymns, because she loves doing that.  It was so cute!  She had us sing Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel and do different effects and actions with every verse. It was adorable!  Elder Cook talked to us about loving the people.  He said that in D&C 20:37 it says people need to be humble to be baptized.  He explained how the people in this country have been prepared to meet these requirements.  Also he said to love your companion, mission presidents, and most importantly the Lord.  He said to become part of the ward.  He left us with some powerful blessings and testimony.  More than anything, it was just so amazing to hear from a special witness of Christ.  I know what he said to us is just what Christ would say.  As a missionary, hopefully I can come a little bit close to saying and doing what Christ
I love you all!  Thanks for all the support and prayers as always would.  This is probably the only time in my life that I'll come close to being a true disciple of Christ.  But I'm so thankful for the chance I have to try!
I love you all!  Thanks for all the support and prayers as always!

Saying good bye to my last area

Saying goodbye

I loved this area

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Go Broncos!

Zone P-day activity at the Gainors home
I really love getting football updates.  Of course the year I'm out of the country the Broncos will win the Super Bowl.

So good news and bad news about the rat from last week... Bad news, he wasn't alone.  Last week we heard more of his buddies.  Good news, we found one of his friends dead in a mouse trap this morning. One more down... Count your blessings!

Hermana G and I came up with a new missionary work term: 'the treadmill.'  We contact every family we see.  So a lot of times when we're trying to get from point A to point B, we'll see families walking in the opposite direction and have to walk with them to talk to them.  We'll walk 2 blocks, then see a family and walk back 1 block.  It goes on like this until we finally get to where we need to be.  We probably pass the same spot 5 times sometimes.  And there ya have it...the treadmill.

Two weeks ago I had the most terrifying experience.  We were walking across the plazuela and I saw a tall super white guy get out of a car with his iPhone taking pictures.  He had a stripey button up shirt and jeans.  His hair was reddish brown and balding.  I had to do a double take because I swore it was dad!  Coming out of a car JUST like the one you guys just bought.  It shook me up for a good ten minutes.  My home life and my mission life are sooo different and sooo separate.  It was so terribly to throw my brain back into home life for a second and then to tell it that nope, that wasn't actually my dad.  It was the weirdest feeling ever!

We have seen so many miracles this week.  Things are really starting to pick up.  Sadly, we have changes next week and I think I'm leaving.  I know exactly what Ammon means when he said he wanted to stay with the people for a long time, maybe even his whole life.  I hope so bad I get to stay to keep working here and see the baptisms of our really pilas investigators.  But I know there are more people who need me.

I cant write until the 23rd because we're going to hear Elder Cook speak next week.

Thanks for everything!  All the prayers and support are greatly appreciated!

Love Hermana Haymond

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

5 Months!

Today is my 5 monthaversery of the day I got here!  How crazy!  I cannot explain how big of a time warp the mission is.  It's going by so fast.  I'm almost a third of the way done and I still don't know what I'm doing!

I don't really know what went on this week that was exciting.  But I'll just keep writing and see what comes to mind.

So far today I've taken 4224 steps.  Fun fact.

The last month or so we've had a problem with a rat in our house.  Every few days we've discovered what food it's gotten into and find it's little hide outs.  So gross!  But it's not like we've had time to do anything about it.  So this morning I was eating my breakfast and I heard something in the trash.  I hurried and tied the bag.  We all listened and I'm 99 percent sure that the little critter was in there!  So we hurried and threw the bag outside.  As far as we know, we're rat free!  That was our miracle this morning.

All the Christmas festivities are finally dying down.  There have been crazy fireworks and parades for the last month.  I think it's safe to say that it's all over.  But who knows.

Elder Cook is coming to speak to us the 22nd!  We're so excited.  He's coming to talk to all the missions in the Capital I think.  We have a lot of big things these next few weeks.  Next week we have zone conference with President Brough.  Then we have changes. I want to stay here so bad with Hna G!  But that's doubtful.  Then we have the day with Elder Cook.  This next month is going to fly by.  I know it!

We've seen so many miracles this week!  We finally have an investigator progressing (and a ton of fireworks went off after our lesson with him. I wish I could say that's a sign, but fireworks have gone off all the time lately)!!!  And we had an investigator at church!  Ah!  Little by little we're seeing things pick up here.  We had 34 new investigators last week, but it's been so hard to find them again!  It's been rough but we are so thankful for the really pilas people we've found lately.  Every time I'm with the people who've been baptized with me I get so happy! It's so amazing to see how happy they are now and how much they love the Gospel.  I love seeing how the Gospel changes people.  It's such a privilege to see things like this.  Seeing those converts flourishing in the church makes me so excited to help other people come to Christ like that too.  I've learned a lot these last few rough weeks and I still have a lot to learn.  But I'm so thankful that I get to experience all this, even the hard times.  I've been able to come a lot closer to Christ these days.  Every day it's harder and harder to stay motivated, but at the same time I get to rely more and more on Him to help me.  When I get sad that no one is receiving us, or frustrated that no one is keeping their commitments, or when people who were so pilas stop progressing, I just think of Christ.  I know He was right where we are now, and then went farther.  He felt what we feel, and then more.  He suffered what we suffer, and then more.  He loved the people like we do, then more.  I'm so thankful for the Atonement.  Without it this perfect work could not be done with imperfect people like me.

Thank you for all the support and prayers and love!  Love you all!  Thanks for everything!
-Hermana Haymond 
* Alexis sent us a letter in the mail the other day with 30 fun interesting facts and told me I could post it if I wanted to . I thought it was fun so here it is. -Jenn
1.  I had to stop myself from writing Spanish thus far in this letter.  That's a good sign right?!
2.  You can buy 4 fresh tortillas for 1 Quet (5 if you buy from this on lady who likes us). editors note: I looked it up and one quet is 12 cents in U.S. dollars.
3.  Corn tortillas aren't actually yellow like the ones in the states.  They're actually nothing like tortillas in the states.  They're smaller and thicker.
4.  December 7th is a holiday here where they burn piƱatas of devils.  It's suppose to get rid of Satan before Christmas
5.  "Christmas" is the 24th here.  The 25th is just a day for everyone to sleep and recover from Christmas.
6.  The hymn Called to Serve  has 4 verses in Spanish.
7.  The Spanish Bible has more Joseph Smith Translation footnotes.  Maybe it doesn't have more but it has different ones than in English.  So if you understand English and Spanish you get twice as many Joseph Smith Translation's!
8.  There are some people here who think squirrels are mutant rants.  We had an investigator who had a squirrel stuffed and put on his all because it was so cool to find a mutant rat.
9.  We had over 60 quetz  in in our piggy bank (in the shape of a bull so a bull bank?) for speaking English.  Only because Hermana Hansen charged 15 quetz one day for every English word we spoke.  She had to pay the most that day :  )
10.  People just laugh at us when we offer to help them make tortillas.
11. There's a verb that means to make tortillas.  Tortillar, like "No puedo eschuchar.  Estoy tortillando!"  which means "I can't listen (to your message).  I'm tortilling!
12.  Tortillas here are made with just corn and water.
13.  A lot of people don't know their birthdays here.
14.  Canchita means white girl.  There's no such thing as racism here basically.  People call us canchitas all the time.  Or is a kid has squinty eyes they all cal him China.
15.  I've only seen 1 snake.
16.  This morning in the shower/bucket I killed a centipede with my razor.
17.  Little things in Spanish make a big difference.  For example:
el papa pronounced papa with the last a stressed = the Dad
el papa with the el stressed = the Pope
el papa with the first a stressed = the potatoe
18.  People here thing chile (like hot sauce) is one the things in the Word of Wisdom we can't use.
19.  We say "Buenas" insteadof "Hola" a lot of the time.  If you say "Hola" to men it's kind of like flirting.  Like "Hello" versus "Heyyy"
20.  The primary song Once There Was a Snowman is about a monkey in Spanish.
21.  You know where a bus is going because there's always a man hanging out the door yelling "Antigua! Antigua!" or "Guate! Guate! Guate!" or "Chimalt! Chimalt!"
22.  Hermana Godfrey and I ask each other one get to know you question every night.  Fun Fact:  if Hermana Godfrey were a kitchen appliance she'd be a kitchen aid mixer (a red one).
23.  Hermana Hansen broke her fast in her sleep the other day.  We woke up and there was a ton of bread on the floor.  She sleepwalked  and ate the bread DURING HER FAST!
24.  The roads here are kinda set up like Utah's system.
25.  There are a ton of fireworks this month.  Small children light them all the time.  And they're not pretty JUST loud.
26.  If I had a super power, it'd be to turn dogs into trash cans.  Too many dogs and not enough trash cans. 
27.  In Hermana Evan's old area they burn people at the stake.
28.  The grocery store we go to is owned by Walmart.
29.  A ton of kids wear Smurf shirts.
30.  As of today I have taught 576 lessons in the mission field. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

The Arch in Antigua with the old and new year posted on top
So I didn't realize it was New Years Eve until I saw the arch today.  The mission is a giant time warp and nothing feels real, even holidays.

Christmas in Guatemala...Wow.  I'd suggest putting that on your bucket list.  It was one of my favorite Christmases ever!  We taught lessons until 9.  Then we went to the Relief Society president's house.  She bought all kinds of treats for us and we decorated her Christmas tree!  They eat a lot of tamales, ponche, and marshmallows.  We hung out there and had a really cool lesson about giving gifts to Christ with some recent converts.  Then at midnight it was a war zone.  There were sooo many fireworks!  Big ones and small ones.  It was like a 4th of July firework show but EVERYWHERE!  It was so cool!  We were so tired though.  It totally felt like we were dreaming.  We opened presents that night.  Thanks sooo much for everything!  I loved it all.  I also loved the little book of pictures with the 'Merry Christmas' sign!  Thanks SO much to everyone who did that!  It was so cute.(editors note: before Christmas clear in October we went around and took pictures of Alexis' friends and ward members here with a Merry Christmas sign and sent them to her with her Christmas package)   Christmas day we got to talk to family...WOOO! It was such a weird experience.  It didn't feel real at all.  It was so crazy just to have a normal conversation with my family like I never left.  Such a surreal experience.  We also went to a really neat part of our area that we hadn't been to before.  We could see over our whole zone!  It was so pretty and green with the volcanoes.  It was a really awesome Christmas.  Even though it wasn't with family, they take really good care of us here.  We are really blessed.

We had divisions again with the training sisters, which is always awesome because we learn so much and get so much better.  I went to Chimaltengano which was way different.  Its crazy how other areas feel like different missions.  At first I was kinda down on myself because the people there really understood so fast.  But every area has people who learn differently.  It was cool to meet their investigators who are progressing and getting baptized.  It made me excited to find people who are prepared to get baptized this month.

Things are still rough finding people who are prepared and ready to progress.  We also had to leave some people that stopped progressing this week, so that was sad.  But we've seen lots of miracles.  We found a family of 7 the other day!  And we had a really good turn out at church, especially with recent converts which was a miracle.  I'm so thankful for these little tender mercies because even when we can't see the fruits of our labors, I know that the hand of the Lord is still in everything.
Alexis ate five tamales Christmas eve 
Guatemalan sisters preparing tamales for Christmas Eve

Celebrating Christmas Eve with the Relief Society President
 (leader of the women's group at church)

Christmas day site seeing