Monday, December 29, 2014

2015 Mission Vision

Hello Family :)

We had a gooood week.

The Christmas Eve mission conference was the best day ever. So. Much. Fun. I love the NYNYCS missionaries. We have some of the best!
President announced our 2015 mission vision. It's a lot like the old one, with a few changes. This is how it goes:

I am SET APART from the world to serve WITH the Lord JESUS CHRIST. (Jacob 5:71-72). I am privileged to survey during the HASTENING of HIS work (D&C 88:73).

Through my exact OBEDIENCE and perfect FAITH, miracles in others will happen (D&C 82:10; James 2:18, 22, Mosiah 28:3). By studying and applying Preach My Gospel, I am FOREVER CHANGED. (PMG page v.).

BAPTISM is the gate,
The TEMPLE is the goal,
The MEMBERS are the key,
The DOCTRINE OF CHRIST is the path,
The ATONEMENT is the only way (2 Nephi 31:21)!

Powerful, right? We recite the vision every morning during our studies, and I feel the spirit every time!
As President talked about the upcoming year, I felt the spirit so strong. I've never felt the spirit so much in one day as I did that day. It was really cool.
President and Sister Calderwood bought custom-made NYNYCS Mission temple recommend holders for everyone in the mission :)))) They're sweeeeet.
After the conference we went to our Christmas Eve dinner with the other ASL sisters. C, a non-member who is basically a member fed us. She is the mother of B and C who are both members. She has been investigating for 10 years and comes to church every week. I'm pretty sure she even pays tithing, but she has some things to sort through before she can be baptized. Anyways, she made us lasagna, turkey, and stuffing. Hahahah :) It was good :)

Christmas Day we spent some time with M. She was sooo happpyyyy. No one ever visits her on Christmas! She kept saying "sisters are much better than those silly elders, they never visited me on Christmas Day, nope, not ever." 
Would you like to know what she gave us for Christmas? Keep in mind she's deaf. For Christmas her gift to us was singing to us, O Come All Ye Faithful, with her VOICE. I was so surprised, didn't even know how to handle the situation. I've never heard someone sing so loud with so much confidence as M did that Christmas Day. I thought the building might fall over it was so loud! But she was so excited about it, and it was so sweet. I will never sing O Come All Ye Faithful the same again, that's for sure.
For our Christmas dinner U and J had us over. J mom is Muslim and from Bangladesh, but she made us a Bangladeshi(?) feast for Christmas! Mmmm, my favorite. I made a very important decision as I ate my food... When I am a mother my Christmas feasts will consist of Bangladeshi foods. Goodbye funeral potatoes and ham! Bangladeshi food has changed my life, ITS SO GOOD. You gotta try it.

The rest of the week was good. Oh, I must tell you about S. She was baptized a year ago in Rochester while attending RIT. When last semester ended she moved home to Queens to get ready for her mission.(!!!!!!!!!!!) On Saturday she came out teaching and finding with us. It was so wonderful. I love her so much, it was like having a best friend spend the day with us! At the end of the day she asked us to teach her hearing Dad and Grandma. We had a sweet lesson with them about the restoration Book of Mormon, my fav lesson to teach :) the Book of Mormon is TRUE, no doubt about it! It was also so so so nice to teach in English.

K love you all :)
Happy New Years!
Stay safe. Choose the right.
-Sister Layton

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!
Are you excited? I sure am.
I don't even know what to write about this week. It has been TOO GOOD.
The Spirit of Christmas is floating in the air here in NYC.
I love this time of the year.
It's only once (or twice) you get to spend Christmas as a servant of
Christ! I am SO excited!

Christmas Eve we are spending most of the day with the mission for a
lunch/devotional/conference. It should be wonderful, I'm sure the
spirit will be on fire. I love when the whole mission gets together! I
had the idea to make a version of the 12 days of Christmas for our
mission... The zone liked the idea and together we wrote a song! It
goes "in the twelve zones of Christmas these are the things we
see......" And then we say a stereotype or something funny that each
zone is known for. We're going to to sing it at the conference! It's
so funny! Here's an example... "In the first zone of christmas these
are the things we see- a bunch of chinos and a big bridge," Because
zone 1 covers Deiker Heights (Asians) and Brooklyn Bridge. We are also
singing a spiritual song, and I guess I'm signing it since I can't
sing to save my life.

Good news, a miracle has occurred! A part member family invited us
over for Christmas Eve dinner! We didn't think we would have any
appointments on Christmas or Christmas Eve! I'm so excited!
C is making us lasagna!!!! My favorite :)

So Sister Passey and I taught RS about the second coming yesterday.
Good stuff right there.

We found 4 new investigators this week from He Is The Gift. Yes,
they're all deaf! Don't ask me how it happened, I have no idea. But oh
my goodness, they are all wonderful!! Two of them- C and T
are MARRIED, and they live in a HOUSE. Both rare things. I'm proud to
say I entered a house this week for the first time in a very very long
time. Pray for them, PLEASE, they are golden.

Sharing the gift is going very well over here in the city. You better
believe we've been sharing it not only in English, but also Spanish,
French, Korean, and Mandarin! I downloaded it in Indonesian on my
iPad. I WILL find someone who speaks Indonesian!
Anyways, We found the key place to #sharethegift.... THE MALL! We had
such a cool experience. We went to a zone finding activity outside of
the mall, wrapping gifts for free! But my companion and I found
ourselves wandering into the mall sharing the video with everyone we
saw..... And we were able to share it 43 times during our time
there!!!!! It's the best place to share the video, when the people are
running around stressed about gifts and whatevs, then they remember
it's about Christ, that HE is the gift. I love showing it to African
Americans, they get SO INTO IT.
Also, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings with the sisters, and the waitress
spilled ranch alllllllll over my coat. I said "no worries, if you let
me show you a two minute video I won't get mad and talk to your
manager!" Yessss. The video touched her :)

Funny story: a woman asked me if I was a nun, and I said yes, I
thought she said something else! My companion heard the conversation
and didn't even step in to tell her I'm not a nun! Hahahah. But what
the, do I look like a nun???

It's going to be the best day ever.

Til next week.
-Sister Layton

The only pic I took this week..... On the train with K :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Share the Gift

This has been the best week of my life!!!
The joy I feel as the Lords servant is indescribable.
I have felt Gods love for his children more than ever before this
week. At one point I could feel it radiating through my body, it was
exhilarating! I know our Father in Heaven loves us dearly. It's His
love that motivates me to work harder, laugh more, and sacrifice

I am SO THANKFUL for the #sharethegift initiative. My friends, I don't
think you realize how many miracles are happening because of this
short two minute video. I've never seen anything soften hearts as much
as this short clip about Christmas. My companion and I were very
motivated to reach beyond our limits and share, share, share this
video, with everyone! Our days of handing out the card with the website on it are over. We don't hand out cards
to anyone without sharing the video first. Then, we are able to
testify, give a card and commit them to share the
video with someone else. ITS SO COOL, the change that happens to
people in two minutes. We've met people who are harsh when we ask them
to watch the video, but we don't give up, we hold the iPad in front of
them and push play anyways. By the end of the video those harsh people
are soft and willing to talk to us, they remember the gift they have
been given, and continue on with their day edified. We've found some
sweeeet referrals for the Spanish and English missionaries, and even
one new deaf investigator of our own from the video! Evette is our new
investigator. She didn't really want to talk to us at first and was
about to walk away, but we shoved the video in her hands before she
had a chance to say no. After the video she was like "wooooow! Come
back and visit me again!" Miracles!
Our mission has a goal to share the video to 50,000 people by
Christmas. As of now that buckles down to 15 shares per companionship
per day. It's a great goal, but I believe we can do better than that.
After all, this is New York, there's people left and right. You can't
escape from them! I believe this will be the best Christmas NYC has
ever experienced, with the He Is The Gift video floating around.

K was baptized on Sunday. Miraculously, it happened! Everything
was falling apart, everything!!!! She wasn't answering our calls,
members calls, text messages, facebook messages, ANYTHING. We didn't
know what was going on. Finally on Friday we decided to cancel some
appointments and go to her house to see her. She wasn't home, but a
series of miraculous events happened and we were able to and share the
He is The Gift video with many people. During the time we were sharing
she came home. Hurray. So we sat down with her sorted things out, and
she was once again excited for baptism.
Her baptism was wonderful! The members were all in on it, eagerly
supporting her. I hope they continue to be patient with her as she
learns sign language. President Calderwood and the Assistants to the
President also came to support her! It was great to have them there.
I'm so grateful to have witnessed the miracle of K from day one,
for Gods hand was certainly in every detail making sure that K
was given a way to return to live with him again.

Good news, I'm not being transferred. Neither is Sister Passey. We
have one more transfer together to build ZION and get this new area
running!!! I'm so stoked. Also, Sister Barker, who came out with me
and Sister Peterson is coming ASL this transfer. It's going to be so
sick, I expect this will be the best transfer of our lives!

This week it has been increasingly apparent to me that sacrifice is
worth the blessings of heaven. The challenge of our investigators or
less actives working on Sunday's is happening over and over again. It
seems to have no end! As we have repeatedly testified to our
investigators the importance and blessings of keeping the sabbath day
holy my own testimony has increased. As we have knelt in prayer with
our investigators and together ASKED God how they should go about
keeping the sabbath day holy, we have received very powerful answers.
However, it's not the answers that matter. It's the faith that
matters, if our investigators do not show faith and ACT on the answers
they receive and make sacrifices, those answers will be meaningless!

Thank you dearest friends and family.
I love you all!
Hope you're enjoying this holiday season, I know I sure am!
And don't forget to "get weird and stay weird cuz it's almost Christmas."
Sister Layton

1. K and I. (No we have NO IDEA what she is doing with her hand
in this pic. It's not sign language, that's for sure!)
2. Sister Peterson, K, and myself.
3. Our fav. member, M.
4. All of us together :)))

Monday, December 8, 2014

Good News

Hey Family,
Well, that sure was a quick week.
Someone once described a mission as a paddle boat on a stream. You start out paddling as fast as you can, just trying to make it to the finish. Then you hit a point in the stream where the current(is that the right word?) is strong and the boat is carried swiftly down the stream without the need for a paddle, so you kinda just sit there, enjoying the journey as it passes by. Well, the current starts getting faster and faster and before you know it you start back-paddling because the boat is going too fast and you don't want the journey to end! That's me now. I know I'm only seven months old, but I never want this mission thing to end! I love it.

We did a trio exchange with the lovely Sister Myers. I love Sister Training Leaders, I really do. They bring so much happiness and energy. For this exchange Sister Myers brought a bit more than the usual happiness and energy. She brought the car!! Sister Passey and I never realized how much more effective the work is with a car! Especially in our never ending area. We felt like it would be a good idea to take advantage of the car, so we cancelled appointments and spent the whole day doing lookups. It was GREAT. we found some p u r e in h e a r t families who gave us their vp number and we're hoping they'll become new investigators soon. :)))

I've realized something this week. The area book is like our Liahona! The iPad I have is the coolest tool ever! And like Liahona, it works according to our faith and diligence. For weeks I let the area book overwhelm me. Since we are still reopening the area from 8 years ago there's SO MANY unfamiliar names in unfamiliar places. Plus most of the people have moved and hardly any of the phone numbers are in service. However, I firmly believe there are people in our area book who are simply waiting for us to find them!! Because of that belief we have been studying our area book like crazy! We spent hours clearing it up, and it looks a little bit better than before. :) 

You guys, our stake had a Christmas concert this week. IT WAS AMAZING. We went with some members and potentials. New York Christmas concerts are the real deal. It was like Broadway, really. Many of the performers actually work on Broadway for a living. Sweet, yeah? To make it better they had Broadway interpreters there signing for our deaf members. They were beautiful, it was like a dance. In fact, I took off my cochlear implant for part of the concert and just enjoyed the interpreters. 'Twas a good experience.

K is getting baptized. Next Sunday, the 14th. She's getting baptized! She's come so far, I'm so proud of her. She has such a desire to be baptized. She doesn't know everything, but she knows the simple truths. When you ask her why she wants to be baptized she... Oh gosh I can't describe sign language in English..... But the point is that she reallyyy wants to be clean again and be happy.

How is everyone doing with #sharethegift? This is something we all must do! Mosiah 3:20 says 
"And moreover, I say unto you, that the time shall come when the knowledge of a Savior shall spread throughout every nation, kindred, tongue, and people." That time is now. Jesus Christ is that Savior. He is the greatest gift. Why would we not invite others to discover him?! I LOVE CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK. Here's a common occurrence for me: when trying to give out He Is The Gift cards I say "are you excited for Christmas?!!!" Sometimes I get "YES!" But oftentimes I get "I'm Hindu......" Or "I'm Jewish....." So I say "oh! Wow! You probably wonder what Christmas is all about then! Hey, our church actually made a two minute video that explains why we celebrate Christmas, here, you can watch it at this website" and proceed to either give them a card or show them the video on my iPad. It's so fun! 

Shoutout to my dearest family for sending me the most darling package ever. The 25 days of Christmas thing is theeeee best. I love opening a present every morning! I'm excited to talk to you in 17 days! Also, my branch thinks you're beautiful human beings, because you are. I showed them pictures.

Transfer calls are next week.... If I don't stay ASL I will be very sad.

Sister Layton

Friday, December 5, 2014

It's December

Hey Fam!

It's December!!
That was the fastest no-shave November of my life! Time flies.
I'm currently sitting outside, it's 61 degrees out. It's lovely.

This Thanksgiving week was wonderful.
The mission-wide turkey bowl was a success. I love that my mission is
small enough to gather everyone together and do things like that. The
NYNYCS mission is the place to be, I'm tellin ya.
After the turkey bowl we rushed to Manhattan for Thanksgiving with the
members who don't have family. We had a feast, some good laughs, and
played some games with the deaf children. They loved it! Everyone was
nice enough to say they liked the pasta salad and pumpkin bars I made.
The Elders loved the pumpkin bars lol, they ate piece after piece! I
thought I might feel homesick on Thanksgiving, but I didn't! I love
our members sooo much, I always feel at home with them!!

Oh! The #heisthegift initiative started! Gotta love spreading that
Christmas cheer. It's been humbling. I thought I was good at
fearlessing, but I felt so awkward placing my first #heisthegift
pass-along card. Hahaha. Still figuring out the best way to
effectively do it so people will actually want to watch the video.

K I really can't remember what happened this week....
We did lots of deaf lookups from the area book. Everyone had moved
hahah. It was a bummer, but we had to get it done!

Ok I have to go no time to write!! But I willl send some pictures :)
-the MTC crew back together. I LOVE sisters Barker and Peterson.
-Thanksgiving with theeee cutest little deaf girl in the branch. She
has the bluest eyes and gives the longest hugs.

Love you all!!!
-Sister Layton

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Win, Win Week

Hello, my peoples!
This was one of the best weeks of my life! I do not lie when I say preaching the gospel causes me to rejoice more than ever before. I am so blessed to be serving here in New York among so many great people.

Highlights of the week, idk if I'll share all of them. There were simply so many!!
-I went to the temple!!! Finally. I've been waiting for this day for months!! In this mission, missionaries get to visit the temple quite often with recent converts or less active members, we also are able to go every six months with other missionaries. I've yet to have the opportunity to go with a recent convert or less-active member, unfortunately. So it was an extra special day for me. I was the only one in the group who hadn't gone yet! This might be a little bit dramatic, but I felt like one of those people who lives out on the islands and had been waiting their whole life to finally go to the temple! I hear that for people who live far from the temple it is a sacred experience when they finally get to go, and it was the same for me! Having lived so close to a temple my whole life it became almost routine to me to attend often. I hope that for the rest of my life I won't think of it just as a "routine" or something we are "supposed to do," but that I will remember how I felt on Wednesday and always remember how sacred and special going to the temple is. The Manhattan temple is SO pretty. There's so much contrast from the city. It felt nice to be in a clean, quiet place again :) 

-So. I won a TV. A 50 inch flat screen Sharp TV to be exact. All of the people who own video phones were invited to a deaf game show/pizza party. Everyone in our district has a video phone so we were invited!! We went together as a finding event. As we entered they asked if we were deaf or hard of hearing, and if we were they gave us an ID card thing with a number on it. If your number was chosen you got to go up and play a game, kind of like the price is right. A few people won t-shirts, and one person won an iPad. I just knew I was going to be chosen, I could feel it, but I didn't want to be chosen! I didn't want to go up and play a game in front of the whole deaf community of NYC!! So the announcer got up and explained the rules to the next game, or so I thought. I wasn't paying attention, I was talking to Sister Peterson. Sister Peterson said "Just watch, they're going to choose......." and then her jaw dropped. Anyways before she finished her sentence I looked up and my number was on the screen. So I walked up there ready to play a game and win a t-shirt. And then Jody (the guy in charge) says "are you excited about your new TV?!" I was like "uhhhhhhhh. My tv?" Turns out I was chosen to win a new tv!!! I was kind of shocked and didn't know what to do, I looked at the missionaries in the audience and they were all shocked with their hands over their mouths. It was so funny. I introduced myself, "Hello all! My name is Sister (showed my Nametag for a good 5 seconds) Layton, I live in Astoria! But, I'm from Utah, I live here now because I'm serving a mission for my church!" It was great! I was a celebrity afterwards! People flocked to me and wanted to meet me and hug me and shake my hand. And now they all know who missionaries are!!!! We got soooo many phone numbers and addresses of deaf people. It was insane. 
But now I have a tv and idk what to do with it............ Such a burden ;) President said to send it home, so I think I'll do that. He thought it was the funniest story.
It was so weird. But I know without a doubt Gods hand was in it! If I hadn't won the TV everyone would have ignored us and we wouldn't have had a very successful finding event. But because I won the TV people were happy to talk to anyone wearing a badge like mine! In fact, I saw people who I had previously looked up who were very rude to us at the door, but were acting like I was their best friend after I won the TV. God works in mysterious ways :)))

You guys it was just the greatest week. We had wonderful lessons with wonderful people whom I love very much! Our schedule was booked, it was crazy! We didn't even have to fill time with lookups, thank goodness. 
We also had Zone meeting to get pumped about 4th quarter. 
Everyone must pray for the missionaries here in the NYNYCS mission. We have a goal set for 500 baptisms this year, 5000 people attending sacrament in one week, and 500 people back to the temple. We have reached the temple goal, nearly reached our sacrament goal, but we are very far behind on our baptism goals. We need like 204 more by the end of December! Will it happen? Of course it will!!! We have faith. 204 in a month and 6 days? It will be hard, but it's very doable, IF we are doing everything in our power to make it happen. I know God will do the rest. As I sat in zone meeting I felt the spirit testify to me that these are not simply our mission goals, but they have been inspired by God. He knows his children, and knows that there are at least 204 souls out here prepared for baptism! I love extending baptismal invitations. It's my favorite! We have 3 people on date for baptism and a few people without set dates who have accepted the baptismal invitation.

Goodbye everyone I love you.
Enjoy thanksgiving without me...
We are having a mission-wide turkey bowl on thanksgiving morning, it's tradition! Then we are having thanksgiving with the deaf people who don't have families at the church in Manhattan. I'm making pasta salad, of course. 

-sister layton

1. Proof I won a TV.
2. I've always wanted to take a picture like this with the subway rushing by, so I did.
3. Hipster pic for my 6 month.
4. The temple :))))