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