Monday, December 26, 2016

A Picture is worth a thousand words!!

Baylee didn't have time to "write" a letter because she got up at 4am to hike a volcano for P-day...sounds like Baylee! We had a great visit with her yesterday and she is happy and healthy and doing well.  Her companion is a challenge, but she is learning new things.

She did send all these pictures, and as they say, a picture is worth 1000 words! so we were excited!

i took a sign pic for mom! You can see the clouds around the sign 


one more of maria and ashley in their house
our christmas eve turkey, courtesy of Hna Ramona

his is my house! Were on the third floor so its a party up here. Its a tiny little thing, heres our front door
A full table of OUR INVESTIGATORS THAT ACTUALLY SHOWED UP! Ah I was so happy!!!!!!!! The hermana in red, Hna Maria, is a member and we eat at her house every tuesday
when youre homesick on Christmas Eve you eat oreos and take ugly selfies
Hnas Wonnacott and Pajaro came to visit us after their ward and we did studies together! Made my Christmas morning for sure! this is on our roof


Hermana Wonacott showing off the cookie I decorated last p day. we had a zone activity with only sisters in the chapel. Hna Wonnacott is the best and is my current mission best friend.  She is from Ethiopia, raised in California
when the clouds cooperate you can see Cotopaxi from my room
yummmmm
this accompanied our cuy dinner!
me, Maria y Ashley, y Hermana Echegaray at our ward christmas party Friday night. Such an incredible, rewarding night after a long, hard day!




why we got up at 5 in the morning... worth it. this is the view from the top before we hiked down to the lake. We were pretty pressed for time because it was a 3 hour bus ride here 
the bishop and his wife, son, mother in law and sisters in law! they run the ward it seriously wouldnt function without them
the missionaries of Barrio Miraflores


probably the smallest bathroom in the mission, according to the hermana lideres. but hey it functions and I get to take a warm shower so yeah lifes good 
our little study room! Thanks for the Christmas tree mom, it was perfect! Notice the stockings too
our room! Those wool blankets are so warm. notice the use of the stick.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

our kitchen!
 yep i love it more than i actually should, im sure the novelty will wear off!
us caroling in the town center, it was amazing! Also latins just almost always take blurry pictures so sorry hahah

So the members all LOVED to feed us and were fighting over who got to give us Christmas dinner! This is in the home of Hermana Dolores, the ward RS president, who is just adorable and so funny, so she fed us cuy, aka guinea pig, on Friday! I was super excited to try it because ya know new things, right? Hna Dolores pictured in the back haha.
here it is...(guinea pig)


outside my front door, on the roof of my house and where i do my laundry!

















classic Ecuador pic for ya right here














Monday, December 19, 2016

December 19, 2016 Feliz Navidad!

Mi Querida Familia,
Feliz Navidad! 
Ah, what's new? Its so hard to think of things to tell you!
To answer your questions, one pair of pants would be great in case I actually do get sent to the Oriente! There has hardly been any rain, maybe that's just because I'm in Ambato? All of my shoes are fantastic! Like really the clothes and shoes I brought are perfect. I found a dictionary, so don't worry about that, but a little english hymnal would be awesome! Did you guys get my letter I sent in the CCM yet? I have been doing the 12 ways of Christmas when I have the time, but not every day! 

Our investigators continue to progress except not really because they don't come to church haha. I think there were 30 people in attendance in our ward on Sunday? Definitely not the Alpine 10th Ward! Our investigators are amazing. Some are practically illiterate but their faith is incredible.
This week, I am grateful for the USA. For sidewalks, yielding to pedestrians and traffic laws, for the FDA, water heaters, garbage disposals, washing machines, cars and emissions regulations, clorox wipes, and hand sanitizer. But also I love Ecuador! I love Ambato! It is known for its bread -- good thing and bad thing haha -- and it most definitely could be worse! The roads are paved, there are no bugs, and I found out how to have a hot shower! Yay! Also I super love washing my clothes by hand, I feel soooo self-sufficient! It's fun to just wash and listen to music and enjoy the sun!
My companion is great. We have a lot of fun together!  She is definitely still new to the mission as well, but she very much loves to be my trainer and be in charge. She is very efficient and very focused, not easily distracted from anything. She really isn't much of a people person, but I am, so we are balancing our abilities to both be formal missionaries but also to still be real people. She says we are not here to be friends with our investigators, and I agree, partly. We are here to help them come unto Christ, but they don't need to know that we don't want to be friends haha. So all last week I HATED companion study with all my heart. and it got to the point in our weekly studies that I had to stop her and talk to her a bit. Can we please, please, please slow down? I need a little more time to process the Spanish, and if we are studying can we discuss the scriptures we are reading? In my twelve week program we are on week 4 and yeah I just started week 3. She was really frustrated with me and she started crying and told me I only have one week in the mission. But the good news is that we worked it out! Even in my limited Spanish abilities! And now I love companion study! So we are both learning together, learning how to teach and how to be good companions.
So one funny experience that happened this week was a correlation meeting with the ward mission leader. Me, my companion, the elders in our ward, and the ward mission leader. We were sitting in a classroom in the church and sang Angels We Have Heard On High to open the meeting. To put it nicely, I was the only non-tone deaf person in the room! It was seriously all I could do to not burst out laughing. Oh my goodness. 
On Tuesday we traveled to Quito for Wednesday zone conference and Christmas dinner in the president's house! Traveling is crazy and I love it. I love those three hour bus rides because theyre comfy, non-crowded buses and I get to spend so much time talking to the other missionaries! I talked with Hermana Wannacott for quite awhile on the way back, and she shared with me her life story and why she decided to serve a mission. I will talk about that in a minute!
The buses in the city itself during rush hour -- woah. People cram so tightly on the buses the doors can't close, and it's nuts to try and hold on to not fall over into someone and guard my stuff so nothing gets stolen and try not to breathe because it smells so bad haha. I am grateful that I'm not in Quito right now because the big city is GIGANTIC and more out of my comfort zone and I can adjust to the mission a little more slowly! 

So my daily life consists of studying four hours a day, walking through the streets contacting, and hoping to have more than one or two citas every day. Most of our appointments fall through. But my contacting skills have gotten way better! We are working with a part-member family too, and doing lots of service. We were helping do dishes and clean one night with a nonmember sister but her husband is less active, and as she mopped the floors I watched the bugs crawl up the walls. OOooh fun haha.  One afternoon this dog ran up to us, and it was Hermana Ramona's lost dog, Gomela! She feeds us lunch every Friday and almost every Sunday too, so the dog recognized us and started whining at us. And Hermana Ramona lives in the Elder's sector, so we had to jump in a taxi and take her home haha. I refuse to touch the dogs because a) its a mission rule and b) I really don't want fleas, but luckily Hermana Echegaray loves dogs so it wasnt a problem haha. We leave lunch every single day in so much `pain because it is so much food. So much soup. So much rice. Sometimes theres popcorn in the soup and thats interesting. I tried patacón this week and actually really liked that. Jake, sorry buddy, if I am fed cuy I have to choice but to eat it!  The only time I've felt sick was when we had shrimp in our rice, and yeah it's not shrimp like in the US haha. But the members are so sweet and love to feed us!
We had divisions with the Hermana Lideres this week and that was so amazing. It made me excited to hopefully have an American companion at some point in my mission! Hermana Riley is from Provo, she has 14 months in the mission and is an incredible teacher. I hope to be able to teach like her some day! With her district, we went to the Center in Ambato and sang Christmas hymns in a park. So many people stopped to listen to us and we got tons of contacts! I think we're going as a zone tonight!
So Ambato has the really poor sections and the more ritzy sections, and in the ritzy section there is a MALL. It has a grocery store about the size of Kohler's and I found AMERICAN FOOD like special K cereal and trix and oreos for super cheap! Ah it makes me so happy every time I get special K for dinner haha. Imported products are really expensive, but I found Pantene shampoo and my same face soap from home and these little things are awesome! Oh theres also a dominos pizza and a baskin robbins ice cream! So P-days are a little treat, like being back home! 

One cita we had this week was with an inactive sister on a narrow sidewalk of a loud, busy highway, and we had a really cool lesson and it was one of those times where I felt guided by the Spirit and I taught her about the Sacrament and her baptismal covenants. She still didn't attend church this week, but I know she felt the Spirit and right now that's how I'm going to measure my success! The Spirit is what changes lives, not me, and not my companion.

Not gonna lie, this week was really hard! The CCM was like my Garden of Eden and the real world is a whole lot harder! There were definitely trials (did I tell you my comp in the CCM didn't talk to me for 2 days the last week there?) but I loved it so much. I try so hard to not think about you guys but it's not the easiest thing to do! But I stay really busy and all is well! The 17th was Sydney Price's wedding, and I thought about that a lot. Sunday morning I was listening to MoTab and I missed my mom, and Where Can I Turn for Peace came on and I bawled because I missed my grandma. And then I was reading in D&C 123:17 and I cried again because yeah mom (how funny that you mentioned that scripture in your email) and D&C 124:41 and I missed my daddy. Also I don't know if my 3 weeks in the MTC will count towards my mission, so I might be coming home in June instead of April. I know towards the end of my mission I will want that extra time but right now it just makes me sad. But a few little miracles this week helped me to remember why I am here and I had a little lesson of my own. Why I am here, away from my family at Christmas time. Because Jesus left His heavenly home. That's the point of Christmas. And I'm trying to be like Jesus, I'm following in His ways. Because His life, His mission, and His Atonement, and His death, are personally for me. Because the bet gift I will ever get every single Christmas -- even better than being with my family, hard as that is to believe that something could top that -- is the gift of Jesus Christ. God sent His Son. Oh it is wonderful that He should care for me enough to be born, live, atone, and die for me. I stand all amazed. And how could I be anything but grateful for this time, this short time even though it feels like an eternity right now, to be an instrument in God's hands and try my best to give Jesus my meager little present, the consecration of my time and efforts, that perhaps a little bit more of His Atonement could make a difference in someone else's life. 

So yeah. She shared with me this story and then gave me a copy the next day at district meeting. I cried and cried a lot. It was a good reminder to me that my mission is not about me at all. Finding my friends is not easy, and it sure would be easier if there was a spiritual find my friends app, but right now I am just so incredibly grateful to be here in Ecuador!
Merry Christmas! I love you. Thank you for your prayers and support every day!
Hermana Baylee Hasleton

December 12th...What a Week!!

Mi querida familia,
Wow. What a week. I don't know how I'll ever be able to describe my life here in the mission. But I'm going to try!
My companion is Hermana Echegaray. She is from Peru! This is her first time training, because this is her 3rd transfer in the mission... Yeah, she just finished her training last week. We are learning together! She is 22 and has already finished college. She is very mature, very kind, and an awesome trainer.
My zone is Ambato, about 3 hours away from Quito by bus. Our sector is really small geographically, probably the size of BYU campus. And I love it! The climate here is absolutely perfect. I am rarely cold and I'm rarely hot. Never sweaty, never goosebumps. PERFECT.  I wear a sweater at night but that's it. I haven't seen it rain yet, but I've heard when it rains, it POURS. The altitude is insane, and it's hard to breathe, but thankfully no altitude sickness! I gave up on wearing makeup after the first day, sorry Mom. It's just way too humid! I got a little sunburned this week, so don't worry Dad, I'll put on suncreen from now on! Look up Avenue Quis Quis if you want to see my sector! There are no real addresses here, only streets and then you describe the house after that. Haha pretty fun when we're trying to find people we contacted earlier.
All day Tuesday and Wednesday, I was in Quito for training, dinner with the president, etc. My president is so awesome! Since I didn't sleep at all Monday night, I was pretty out of it Tuesday. Wednesday I was assigned my trainer and we took the bus to Ambato! At first when we got to our apartment, really late at night on Wednesday, I was a little taken aback by the condition of our apartment. By the time we returned home after my first day in the field, it felt like a palace. I was humbled by the poverty that the members here live in.
The food here is definitely interesting! Every morning for breakfast we have rolls and hot chocolate. Lunch every day is in a home of a member, scheduled by day of the week. And it is always, always soup and rice. SO much soup and SO SO much rice. It's always a struggle to eat everything, but I have to or the members will be really offended. Theres usually a hunk of meat in both the soup and the rice, which is always fun for me to eat. I have been blessed with a strong stomach and haven't had any stomach pain as of yet, which apparently is rare for Gringos.
So anyone who knows me knows that if there's something I don't know, I look it up. Which is actually a bit rough without internet access, surprise. So, could somebody please look up the conversion from celsius to fahrenheit? Also kg to lbs and km to miles. Gracias, gracias, gracias. Also I left my spanish-english dictionary in the CCM. Because they wouldn't let me leave unless my carryon was less than 10 lbs. So yeah, that means I had to leave behind a ton of stuff like shampoo, mouthwash, vitamins, etc because also they gave me like 20 lbs of books when I got to the CCM. And guess what? They didnt even weigh my carry on in the airport! Oh well, lo que sea! But I've got my fluffy bathrobe, so life is good! ;) haha love you Mom. I wear my fluffy robe in the morning during personal study when it's a little cold and I think of you!

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we had 7 new investigators! That may seem like a lot but none of them showed up for church, so who knows how it will go this week! But it seriously is so much fun. Every single day I am grateful that I can speak the language and that I rarely have trouble understanding. I still can't communicate everything I want to because I have a limited vocabulary, but I'm learning every single day. Hopefully this week I'll be able to help a little more in the lessons, but right now I'm feeling pretty good about it!
I definitely stand out here! There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not whistled at (ew gross leave me alone), and people try to talk to me in English. But the people are so friendly and so accepting of me. I use hand sanitizer a thousand times a day. Luckily our house is super close to the chapel so we don't have to use public transportation very much!
Music here is hilarious, because seriously everyone is tone deaf. I showed up to church and they asked me to play. And I also played for the primary program, suprise! But it was so fun! And I had to play for the stake devotional Sunday night, as well as a baptism of some other missionaries in our stake on Saturday night.
So contacting is so fun. I have to gather all my confidence to do it, but I love it. I want to talk to everything that moves. Except the dogs, I actually really hate the dogs haha. Hermana Echegaray is more reluctant to talk to people, so that's something I'm hoping we can change this week. 

Friday night, we had a noche de hogar (FHE) with the Bauz family and two investigators, and it was so much fun! Their house is definitely the nicest Ive seen here, and theyre definitely the only family who really understands the gospel so far that I've met. The couple is in their 70s and their son was there, I think hes about 30.  Hermano Bauz makes shoes and theyre super cool, so Im gonna buy some before I leave! 

Our ward has about 120 members, and probably about 60 active. Some elders have a sector in our ward boundaries as well. Theyre super cool, but the one from Colombia I can't understand at all! The bishop is great, which is such a blessing, because another bishop in our stake showed up to a baptism wearing lipstick... it was HILARIOUS. There are a handful of members who are fantastic, and the rest are pretty shaky. On Sunday, I was really discouraged. I couldn't help but think, what is the purpose of me being here? Anyone I teach the gospel isn't going to change. They're just going to be another name on the list of less actives for the missionaries to try to rescue. How is the culture supposed to work with the church? Nobody wants to do anything! Nobody is converted, nobody gets it. But God loves these people infinitely. They're doing the best they know how. I feel like I've been given 10,000 talents and they've been given one to share. HOw in the world could I have been so blessed?!
But Sunday night, we had a visit with some inactive members. Maria is 17, and Pedro is 22, pierced and tattooed and pretty gross. They aren't married, but live with his mom, because they have a daughter named Ashley who is 18 months old and is SO adorable and I wish it wasn't against the rules for me to hold her. They didn't really want us to visit, but we did anyway. Their whole house is one room, and the only furniture is two full size beds. As Hermana Echegaray and I sat on one bed with Hermana Dolores (an older sister in the ward who always, always wants to help, shes so sweet!) and we talked about eternal families, I watched Pedro with Ashley. Maria, the 17 yr old mom, listened intently. Her life is so, so, so hard. And I couldn't help but think of my own sister, her same age. As we finished the lesson and were getting up to leave, I told her that my sister is 17. That I understand how hard her trials are, but the Savior understands infinitely better, and He can help her. We both cried and cried and hugged. All she needs is the gospel of Jesus Christ. She deserves to live in the blessed and happy state of those who keep the commandments of God, but first, she needs to keep the commandments of God. I am praying that if I can accomplish anything in my 6, 12, 18 weeks here in Ambato, it will be to help her come back to church so she and her sweet little daughter can have a bright future. After we left I cried a lot too because I miss my little sister. Sydney, you are so blessed. Jake, Brinley, and Macey, too. Don't take it for granted. The gospel and our family are the only things that really matter. Don't ever forget it.
So, that was my first week here in Ambato! Although it feels like an eternity! I love the big cloudy skies, the mountains, and the uneven sidewalks. Every morning feels really long, but by the night time I am loving life and loving the mission! I try not to think about you guys and the Christmas season without you. But I am learning to forget myself and go to work. Thank you for your emails, I get to print them out here for super cheap in the mornings and that is a blessing because I have lots of time to read them! Mom, my paper Christmas tree is taped to the wall! I took pictures but just realized theyre on my camera storage, not my card, so I don't have a cable to send them! I'll try next week! Love you all! I'll call Christmas Eve in the morning to set up a time to Skype on Sunday. It will be in a members house, the poorest I've seen so far, but apparently they have internet so we'll see how it goes!
All my love,
Hermana Hasleton


Oh, a mission rule, I am not allowed to email back and forth. So you can respond now but I won't write back till next week. Also there are specific rules on how to send a package, so ask Hermana Christensen for details :) LOVE YOUUUU

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Adios CCM!

Wow, what a week! This is going to be all over the place but here we go. 

First of all, my flight out of here is 12:28am on Tuesday! I'm so excited! I have a layover in Colombia and then on to Ecuador! I'm definitely going to have to check a suitcase!


Mom, the 6 of us girls ate all 2 dozen donuts! I didnt get them until thursday because I didnt know to check for them! Were they expensive? Hna Castañeda and I ate them for lunch one day because we accidentally overslept during our 15 minute nap and we slept through lunch haha. 

My biggest accomplishment: I learned to teach in Spanish this week. Hallelujah. I still have to struggle for words and Im slow, but I can do it!


All the days feel the same now. Wake up, study, eat, practice, study, eat, practice, study, sleep. Yep, thats about it. But in between its filled with the Spirit and so much fun. 

I love my district! Its incredible how ive made such good friends in such a short amount of time! 

Yesterday, my teacher Hermano Gonzaga paused in the middle of class and said to me, "Why is there such a difference in your knowledge of the doctrine? What are they doing differently in the US that we arent doing here?"

Hmm. Well. In my slow spanish, i tried to explain to him that it really isnt a fair comparison. Its because of my city, my ward, and most of all my family. Its because ive grown up with prayer and scripture study every day, FHE, going to the temple weekly. That the gospel isnt a part of my life, it is my life. And that that isnt the case all over the USA. I AM SO LUCKY. 

People come up to me all the time and say, "are you the Hermana thats fluent?" Well, yes, but no. Im that hermana but I am so not fluent! So funny! I stick out everywhere we go. 

This week I found out that if I dont have the Spirit, I cant understand ANYTHING! There was an incident with a couple elders whispering to each other at dinner, and they kept looking at me, and i knew they were talking about me and i got SO MAD. Haha so yeah after dinner, class was a struggle.  But that also just testifies to me that the Spirit is helping me every step of the way!

So, my companion. We have our ups and downs, and weve had some really good days, but she doesnt like me much. If the elders talk to me too much and not to her, she gets so upset with me. Girls are catty and Im not a fan. But were learning! Shes had a lot of hard things in her life that she doesnt open up about, and its been a learning experience to learn how to love her and how to help her. A few days ago, a few of the Elders gave her a blessing. It was amazing for ME. I needed that experience. It touched my heart to see them holding up the little white missionary handbook to make sure they got the words right, and then they proceeded to give a beautiful blessing of peace and comfort. It was a little but powerful reminder that these 18-yr-old boys may be rowdy and immature (and hilarious), but they also have INCREDIBLE potential as leaders of the church in Peru, El Salvador, the DR, etc.

The Elders from Honduras are TROUBLE. Its kind of hilarious but also kind of sad. 

I spend so much time just listening. And learning. And laughing. My amigas teach me movie quotes in Spanish and Spanish sign language. They call me their gringa haha. 

So you know how I love sleep? 10:30-5:30 is not enough sleep. But luckily for me, Im a missionary, and that means I get blessings for being obedient, and I have the energy to make it through the day!

Things I love about the culture:
they are unified and nonjudgmental. They are accepting and loving. They love pretty things. And they love to share!

Things Im not a fan of:
Attitude. Its pretty hard to get them to work and follow rules. 


One of my favorite parts of the week was our service activity, folding sheets in the laundry room. I was talking with a little old mexican worker for a long time. He asked me if I noticed anything different about me, different than my companions. Um, my hair? My language? No, my attitude! He said all the Americans come and never want to leave, but the Mexicans cant wait to get out of there. And its true. The culture is just different. 

Im learning vocabulary I never thought Id need! Like Donald Trump vocab, math, physics, chemistry,etc. Right now I dont feel like I speak either language because its so hard for me to switch back to English. You know those red Christmas flowers we have all over the kitchen every Christmas? Yeah theyre all over the CCM now too but it took me a full hour to remember that theyre called pointsettias! Goodness gracious. Its a struggle. 

Im glad there was so much snow! Because it was so much warmer here this week and Im loving the warm weather haha. Sorry guys. 

One thing I wish I had was google. If you know me, you know that if I dont know something, I have to go learn it. And that is a struggle right now! 

The CCM president is so cool! He is an emeritus general authority. Go look him up!

Anyway, I love you guys and I love being a missionary. These latinos are so accepting of me and my slow spanish. They even make me pray all the time, its kind of hilarious. Yesterday I led a Book of Mormon discussion (Alma 26) and I really just want these guys to go out and work hard and learn. 

I believe in miracles. I believe that God will answer every prayer. But at times, we need to be more SPECIFIC. That is my challenge for you all this week! Ask for specific blessings, with detail, and trust him! He LOVES to bless you. 

So much love,
Hermana Hasleton




Attended the Mexico City temple today.  It was so peaceful.






Mom can't send cookies, but she CAN send Krispe Kreme!