Monday, June 30, 2014

Astoria, New York - Week Two

Hey fam.

This week has been awesome! I love the mission.
This email might be boring. I'm struggling to remember the highlights
of the week.

Let's start with Brooklyn!
-On Tuesday I was able to go on exchanges to Brooklyn with Sister
Slaugh!. I'll admit I was scared outta my mind to leave my companions
in Astoria, but once I got to Brooklyn I fell in love with the place.
It's so beautiful and lovely. The sisters have the nicest apartment on
a realllly nice street. Within my first hour in Brooklyn I saw two
people I know- a friend from my art class at SUU and Elder 
who went to Viewmont. SMALL WORLD.
--In Brooklyn we did service at the parks ALL day. The parks are so
fun and family friendly, full of all sorts of fun activities. Oh and
they have gardens at the parks, like vegetable gardens  and you can
try the vegetables! It's so fun. I'm moving to Brooklyn someday...
When I have a lot of money.....
--In the evening we went to the park where Sister  played the
violin and another Elder played the guitar/sang. My job was to walk
around and fearless people! Let me tell you, I was so scaredddd
because normally when I fearless I have a companion there to back me
up if I can't understand the accent. The first few people I talked to
had the heaviest French/Spanish/German accents, so I purposely ended
the conversation before bringing up the gospel. Then I thought to
myself "Heavenly Father sent me here, and if I show faith he is going
to help me understand people!" So I said a prayer in my heart, walked
over to a woman sitting on a bench and introduced myself. I was hoping
she was American, but no, out came the heaviest Russian accent I've
ever heard. Trying my hardest, I didn't give up, I kept talking and I
KNOW Heavenly Father helped me. I perfectly understood every word she
said!! We connected and had a great conversation. She wanted to learn
more so I got her contact info and gave her our card. I think the
Brooklyn elders have been in contact with her, MIRACLES HAPPEN. I love
missionary work!
--While in Brooklyn I met the first deaf person of my mission!!!!! It
was miraculous that we saw him actually. His name is James. I
remembered enough ASL to have a conversation with him and ask if I
could get his skype number so the ASL elders could call him later that
night. It made me so anxious to get into the ASL program!
--Sister Slaugh, who I was on exchanges with, is very passionate about
individuality. She taught me a lot about how it's important to be
yourself as a missionary. She said the missionaries around me are
great examples, but I am NOT to try to become like them, rather I need
to become the missionary Heavenly Father needs me to be. After she
told me that I stopped trying to be exactly like my companions and
I've noticed that when I'm myself, preaching the gospel comes so much
more naturally!!

Another thing of interest for the Layton fam:
-So 2nd cousin Elder Cook is serving in Charlotte, right? Well, one of
our investigators, Annie recently moved to Charlotte. We've stayed in
contact with her and have lessons every so often over Skype. Well,
when we were skyping I asked her if she knew Elder Cook! She says
"yeah, yeah, Elder Cook just got here! He's actually coming over for
dinner on Saturday!" Hahahah WHAT. It's not very often that two
cousins from different missions work with the same person..... Crazy

-before I arrived in NYC my companions signed us up to teach a BIBLE
CLASS. Yes, a bible class. Do we know anything about the bible? No.
Tomorrow we start teaching the class. I don't know how we'll do it,
with the help of the spirit I guess. IVE NEVER READ THE BIBLE IN MY
LIFE. I should have paid attention in seminary, what was I thinking!
I'll let you all know how it goes. Hahahaha. Pray for us.

-This week some Spanish members accidentally gave our whole zone cake
with coffee in it. Yeah... that's all that really needs to be said.

-the people of New York..... Gotta love em. Yesterday a lady on the
street whispered into my ear "take care of your hair, you need
something to protect your scalp." Mmhmm, thanks for that, lady. I
would share other stories but my mom would flippp out if she heard

-This week I've seen quite a few Manhattan sunsets. Ahhhh they're so
beautiful. I would send a picture, but I'm afraid pictures don't quite
show how beautiful it is.

Another piece of good news: my cooking skills are improving immensely!
I learned how to boil an egg this week. I also cooked some chicken.
Learning new things every dayyyy. I'll be a chef in no time.

Ok I can't really remember anything else......
Life is SO good!!!! Thanks for all the prayers.
Have a fun 4th of July without me. We're gonna try and eat
cheeseburgers here. Should be FUN.
Next weeks email will be better, I promise.
Sister Layton

Monday, June 23, 2014


FAMILY. I miss you all so much!
But hey, IM IN NEW YORK. I'm here. They tell me I'm still I'm America,
but I'm not so sure. This place is so AWESOME. Unlike anywhere I've
ever been. By far different than centerville in so many ways...
Garbage everywhere, constantly saying "WHAT is that smell?", 500
languages, metro cards, bible discussions on the subway, men on the
bus telling me my calling in life is to study economics, humidity, all
conversations awkwardly pausing as the subway passes by, gum all over
the bottom of my shoes, hand sanitizer for daysssss, foreign food, etc
etc etc. the only thing I can complain about is the fact that I can't
see the clouds very well because of the buildings.
Letters are always very appreciated!
-I'm serving in Astoria! After we arrived at the mission presidents
house last Monday, two sisters asked me where I thought I would serve-
Jamaica, Astoria, or YSA. I didn't know anything about any of the
areas, but I immediately felt that I would be serving in Astoria.
Well, the next day President announced that I would be serving in...
Astoria!! Haa, called it!!! My companions are Sister Samantha Board
and Sister Abby Robertson. You can add them on Facebook if you wanna
see pics of me because I won't be allowed to use Facebook for a while.
I came out in the middle of transfers, so they stuck me in a trio for
now. I don't know who my trainer is, but I'll find out in 2 weeks at
transfers! I'm being trained English, and I don't know when I'll go
into the ASL program, hopefully ASAP. I'm forgetting all the ASL I
learned in the MTC, but it's ok, I'm loving being an English
-Astoria is one of the best areas in the mission. Yes, it's the only
area I've been to, but it's by far one of the best in my opinion. I'm
so happy I get to spend the first 12 weeks of my mission here! Mommm,
I told you I would probably have car my whole mission...... Wellllllll
surprise, my first area is walking!!! I wouldn't have it any other
way. We get to walk, take the bus, and ride the subway! There's people
EVERYWHERE, and most of them are friendly. I love (most) New Yorkers.
Street contacting ("fearlessing") is really big here. People won't
always listen, but there's ALWAYS someone to talk to and invite to
learn more. Plus, we have an amazing view. I see Manhattan every day,
whether it be in the distance while on our morning run or riding past
it on the subway. It's pretty cool I guess. Oh man I can't believe I
live here now!!!
-Our district holds what we call an elliptical 3 times a week... An
elliptical is basically a creative way to let the community know who
you are. For example, on Wednesday we walked up and down the streets
picking up trash... and on Thursday we held signs that said "honk if
you prayed today," and "" at a busy intersection. It's so
fun, New York rockssssss.
-Yes, it's humid.... But I love the humidity. I love it. For reals
tho, because of the humidity I don't have to do my hair. It curls on
its own :)))))
-Everyone who told me it would be too dangerous to go for morning
runs, I'm proving you wrong. I am blessed to have companions who love
to run. Sister Robertson has actually ran marathons, she's amazing!!!
Every morning we wake up at 6:00 and run a few miles to start our
morning. (No better way to start, right pops?!) In my past life
running in the morning was quiet and peaceful because no one was up
and about, but here there's just as many people on the streets at
6:00am as there are at noon! It's funny to me that even at 6 in the
morning you have to use crosswalks because it's impossible to cross
the street.
-I feel like people can tell I'm not a New Yorker just by the way I
stand on the subway. I find myself holding onto the bar with two hands
for my dear life... But everyone else is casually standing there
playing on their phones not even holding on to the bar! Someday I
shall be as balanced as them. Someday. Someday I will also understand
the 29384738 different accents. Someday. Someday I'll be able to
navigate myself around this crazy maze. But for now I just laugh at
-Guess what. I have my own iPad and it's the best thing in the world.
I don't know how missionaries live without them. They're so convenient
to teach and plan with. Whenever I think about not having an iPad as a
missionary my shoulders start to hurt. Idk how missionaries can stand
to carry around books all day. All I need in my bag is my iPad, some
candy, a Book of Mormon, and my metro card! Life in the NYNYCS mission
is too good.
-Astoria is blooming!!! In the 6 months Sister Robertson has been here
she's never had an investigator come to church, until yesterday. We
have many new and progressing investigators whom I love to teach.
Missionary work is so much better than I thought it would be, it's not
a game, it's a real thing with real life people! Of course I can't
remember any of their names yet because none of them are American
names... The struggle is real. and of course I can only understand
what they're saying 60% of the time because they've got ACCENTS and
I'm totally deaf, but I love them and hope that we can bring them
closer to Christ.
-I could go on and on about NY, but you'd all get bored. I love this
gospel and I love this work. Some parts of ny can be sketch, but I
always feel safe. Sometimes we will stop and immediately turn around
in our paths because we have a bad feeling come upon us. I know that
we are so guided and protected as missionaries.
Ok gotta goooooo bye.
Sister Layton

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

last week at MTC

helllooooo fam.
this week has been rough.
i've been close to death!! ok that's an exaggeration, but i've been awfully sick. Starting Tuesday I've had a fever and sore throat. I still have a fever and my throat is worse than ever before. The MTC health clinic ran tests on me for strep, flu, and mono, (hahahah) but I don't have any of them. We don't know what's wrong with me!! They didn't give me medicine.... should they have given me medicine, mom? I feel like they should have, because I'm not getting better by taking motrin and all the other weird medicines my sisters feed me. 
In the 17 years I've been getting my blood drawn every month I've never cried, untilWednesday. Lol the nurses did not know what they were doing. I was poked a billion times and finally cried out of pure pain hahaha. 
We leave the MTC on Monday morning at 3:30.... and have a layover in Detroit. (ky and em come visit me?) And then I'll finally be in NEW YORK. Can't wait. I really am sad to leave the MTC, I love all my Elders and Sisters here, but it's time to move on. This week the wave of new missionaries came and the MTC is PACKED. I'm so thankful I got here before the wave and had a peaceful MTC experience. 
Oh, I forgot to mention, if my fever isn't better by Sunday I have to stay here......... so you all need to pray your hearts out for me. Thank youuuuuu.
Ok that's all I have to say. I can't really think right now hahahah I'm so sick.
xoxo love you all.
-sister layton
Here's a pic my companion took to capture the moment. (notice her signing mercy hahaha. Love that sister.) 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Hello Everyone!

hello everyone!

Here's the updates for this week..... :)

-I only have 10 days left here!! Thank the heavens. Yesterday my companion and I wasted 20 minutes of study time walking over the Brooklyn bridge and through the streets of New York on google maps, so yeah I think it's safe to say we're ready to be there NOW. I still love the MTC, but things are starting to slowly die down. 

-My district has been practicing the hymn "come thou font of every blessing," the past few weeks, and we were chosen to perform at the departure devotional on Sunday! We have a sweet arrangement on the piano with 3 singers, and 2 signers. I'm signing, of course. I'm slightly nervous, I've never performed in my life!! You're all invited to come watch, but not really, because no visitors allowed at the MTC -__- In case you're wondering what an ASL song might look like you can type in "his hands ASL Susan Layton" on youtube. She really gets into the song hahaha, and we even have the same last name.

-In case anyone was worrying, my Cochlear Implant isn't broken anymore. I went home on Wednesday and got it fixed. Hallelujia, I can hear again! Here's something funny- when I returned to the MTC from my first Cochlear implant appointment everyone felt so bad because I was so depressed that I couldn't hear.... everyone except Elder Leinenger (the deaf elder). Hahahah he was stoked I couldn't hear, he was seriously cheering! He wants me to take off my Cochlear Implant and be deaf forever and always hahah. I don't think he was too pleased when I got it fixed. :)

-In the 4 weeks I've been here, I've yet to hear my teachers voice. In 9 days Sister Daniel (my teacher) is going to talk to us with her VOICE. It's going to be so weird. I don't know if I even want to hear her voice. 

-I've been reading the Book of Mormon like a madman! Last week I decided i wanted to try to read/mark the whole Book of Mormon so I can give it to someone at the airport. So far I'm only at Mosiah 11, but maybe I can finish the next 364 pages in the next 11 days..... yeah maybe not... but the book is just so good! I feel like I'm reading Harry Potter and can't stop! The only difference is the Book of Mormon is a real life true story, and Harry Potter isn't.

-Every night my companion and I study outside on our bench. Yes, we have a bench, and everyone knows it's our bench. Right next to our bench is a tree that for reals smells like cream soda. So sometimes when we're studying Elders will randomly walk by and start sniffing the tree. It's so funny.
-Here's another funny story: So, my mom got me some new cute shoes. On Wednesday as I was wearing them for the first time I noticed the shoes were starting to give me a blister. We were two steps away from the medical office, so I walk in the office and say "hi can i have a bandaid?" Well, instead of just giving me a bandaid they made me fill out a bunch of papers and go through a whole foot exam... And then after all that they gave me my bandaid. The MTC is so weird, I'm tellin' ya, so so weird.

okayyyy that's all the news I got. 
Everyone write me. I neeeed fan mail.
Sister Layton III

the district signing cheese. 

Sometimes in ASL its easy to find yourself mouthing every word as you sign it. Wellllll, you arent supposed to do that because, well, I don't really know why. It's just weird I guess. so yesterday our teacher brought tape to class and taped our mouths closed

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Hello Everyone!

Hello everyone! 
Today I get to email you all from home sweet Centerville! That's right, I'm back. No worries, it's only for a day. Today I got a new Cochlear Implant.... I'm not very happy about it, I can't hear anything! The audiologist said I'll get used to the new sound in a few days, but in the mean time, it sure is a good thing I don't have to worry about talking in the MTC!

So. Major news this week....
-Sat front row at yet another apostle... this time it was Russell M. Nelson. I don't really remember anything he said to be completely honest, but his wife gave a great talk about desperation and being desperate in all things. At the end of the devotional they made me interpret the prayer and let me tell you, I failed miserably hahahaah. I have a loooong ways to go until I'll be able to interpret.
-Oh I got a new companion... no big deal. Her name is Sister Peterson! On WednesdayI was innocently sitting in my class when all of a sudden we get a call from the intercom saying "Hello, we need Sister Layton to come to the front desk (long long pause) she needs to pick up (looooong pause) her new companion Sister Peterson." WHAT! I had no clue I was getting a new companion. Sister Peterson and I connected on Facebook when we got our calls to the same mission and texted/called each other all the time, but she had things going on at home and we didn't know when she would be able to report to the MTC. I was sooooo excited to finally see her! She's such a blessing. It doesn't really feel like I have a new companion, it just feels like another Sister joined our trio because we still do everything with my old companions.
-This week the imaginary cell phone pocket vibrations stopped. Thank the heavens. 
-Today at the doctors office they asked me to sign my name and I had to think for a good two seconds about what my first name is hahahahah. It's not even weird to be called Sister Layton anymore.
-Perks of being an ASL missionary: we have deaf investigators!! Do you realize what this means? It means that if at any time of the lesson you desperately need to tell you companion something, you can pretend you're itching your nose and cover your mouth while quickly whispering to your companion. We do it allllll the time, especially when the investigator is looking down at a picture or something. Lessons are so fun, I love teaching...... when I can understand, that is. :) 

I no other interesting news to report. 
Here's pics.... one of me and sister barker at the temple, and one of me and my new comp... she's the blonde one :)

Huge shout out to all my Viewmont grads... So proud of y'all. It's weird to think that a year ago today I was graduating. Time flies!!

Have a fabulous week everyone!
Sister Layton