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Sent on Mormon-News: 18Jun01

By Rosemary Pollock

LDS Missionary Returns with 'Lifetime of Stories'

GRAND ISLAND, NEBRASKA -- Two years ago Mike Hayman left for a two-year mission to Colombia for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Willing to serve while leaving most of his personal possession back home, Hayman returned with only the suit on his back and a lifetime of stories and memories.

"Everything I brought with me to Colombia, I left there," the 21-year-old Grand Island resident said. "I took what was most special to me, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and taught them, and they taught what was most important to them."

"If I had advice to other missionaries, it would be to learn from the culture and live with the people," he said. "A few people go over there expecting to live as they did here, but if you learn something from everybody you meet, you'll have a more rewarding trip."

Coping with 110-degree temperatures, a dangerous political climate and mudslides, Hayman faced his challenges with dedication and heart. After visiting with a family one day, Hayman went back the next to find that the house had been destroyed by a mudslide. "I just sat with them and cried," he said.

"The people there are great and very, very humble," he said. "They almost always asked me in for something to drink or something to eat. It's when I realized they couldn't afford to give me anything but did anyway that I was really amazed by the Colombians."

Jeff Hayman, Mike's father, said his son had shown interest in serving in Central America since he was young. "We've seen great strides and change in his life, and it is something to be proud of," Jeff said. "It was difficult to understand what he had gone through when he got home, but we are proud of him."

Overall, Mike believes his mission experience taught him more about himself than he expected to learn. "I had a spiritual experience, I had a life-saving experience, I had witnessed a lot of odd and great things, and it was just wonderful," Hayman said. "I would like to go back and visit my friends."


Two-year missionary trip teaches lifelong lessons
Grand Island NE Independent 12Jun01 P2
By Mike Bockoven
Mike Hayman returns from Colombia


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