Wednesday, October 29, 2014

ASL Struggles In Queens

It's been a good week.
I really love New York, you guys. It's thee best. I'm moving back here one day.

It has been a little bit hard opening a new area. Sometimes we feel discouraged and wonder if the area can grow! But then we remember we are here opening this specific area for a reason. There may not be many people open to hearing the message, but I know that because the Lord placed us here there must be AT LEAST one soul who is prepared, ready, and waiting for the gospel. Until we find that person(s) we will keep doing lookups and asking everyone everywhere if they know deaf people! They cannot run and they cannot hide from us. We will find them, one way or another! 

Last week I emailed my mom telling her I was frustrated and whatevs, she emailed back about agency! One thing she said was "imagine how Joseph smith and Christ, Himself, felt when they were rejected, they didn't always see success either!" I always knew agency was important, and that its great these people I meet have their agency, but for some reason when I heard it from my prime gospel teacher (mom) I had more gratitude for agency. I've been pondering it all week. Isn't it the greatest gift?! We have freedom to CHOOSE! I love it. 
We do have one progressing investigator. Her name is K. We've been working with her for a few weeks. She lives more than an hour away from us so we only make it over there about once a week. She is from Guyana and doesn't know much ASL. Hahaha teaching her is a struggle. We try to gesture and teach simply. I can't ask questions because she doesn't know the meaning of how, why, or what! We're working on it :) K has SO MUCH FAITH. She can't read so we gave her an ASL video Book of Mormon. She is going through it so fast. She doesn't understand it, I hardly understand the ASL Book of Mormon, but she will sit there and watch it for hours because she is showing faith. And she loves it. If she doesn't know how to answer a question, she will sign "DVD good. Kiss-fist DVD." Yesterday we brought her to church with us and to a baptism after. Maybe she didn't know what was going on, but I know she felt the spirit, because she really enjoyed it and is coming again next week :) She wants to get baptized in November yay! It might be December though. Idk if she will understand everything by November. We will see!

I wish we all could have as much faith as K. She will watch the Book of Mormon every day because we have asked her to and because she knows it is good, even though she doesn't understand anythingggg. Last week was stake conference and an RM talked about someone he baptized who couldn't read, but every day he would just stare at the Book of Mormon and pray, pray, pray, for help! Now that is faith! Reading the Book of Mormon everyday is so simple. Yet it is so hard. Simple, hard, but SO worth it. I know that holding on to the word of God will help us reach our full potential and keep us on the straight and narrow path. The Book of Mormon is TRUE, no doubts! I looooove studying the Book of Mormon... even if I have to do it with the seminary manual, which I do, because well, I'm not that smart. ;)

Anywho. We went on splits this week, I stayed and ran the pool with Sister M. She's the cutest little missionary. We had a great time spreading the good news of the gospel in Manhattan together. I was a bit scared to do ASL without my Sister Passey, but it worked out and I was fine! We were fearlessing Chris when an old woman came up to us crying because her husband couldn't breathe! So Chris called an ambulance while we calmed the old woman down. It was so random. But we got a bunch of referrals for the english missionaries from the ambulance thing so that's good.

HALLOWEEN SEASON IS SO FUN HERE. everyone gets on the subway in their costumes to go to parties. :))) fun fact: New York children go trick or treating a week before Halloween because all the crazy psycho people come out on Halloween and it's dangerous! We have to be in the pad by 6 on Halloween. 

We finally got a video phone! It's sooooo nice. We can do daily contact and follow up phone calls now. Plus I can do language study with the branch members :))) oh, here's a miracle- we got S vp number. You guys it's a big deal, everyone keeps telling us about S, they say that she knows EVERYONE. We are excited to call her today, because if she knows EVERYONE she must know someone we can teach!

Ok I have to go. We have to take our suitcases full of food back to our pad. Praying a nice person will help me up the stairs.... #subwayprobs

I love you all soooooo muchhh.
-Sister Layton

Monday, October 20, 2014


Hey Fam sorry no time to email today! I have been busy doing this.....
Now that's a good pday.
Love you all.
-Sister Layton

Monday, October 13, 2014

ASL Branch

Well, well, well, it's Pday once again.

Today I am emailing you from my bed! That's right, we got our own
wifi. Thank you Verizon man!

I have nothing to write, but I'm sure something will come into my head soon.

Oh, Sister Passey just said right this second "Sister Layton, why are
things so..... Weird?" I say "what, like that piece of bread?" She
says "No, just life in general. We are living the weirdest life right
That pretty much sums up my week. It's been weird! Which is good. The
Layton family motto is after all "the weirder the better."

We did lots of look ups in some weird places, had some AWESOME
meetings, picked up some new investigators in a very weird way, and
had some very weird lessons hahahaha. Oh man I love the ASL program.
It's always an adventure.
Hold on a sec, let me ask sister Passey how my ASL is doing...
She says "pretty much you're fluent."
I say "let's be real here."
She says "for your first week, it's really good, next week you really
will be fluent!"
Lol lets see if I'm fluent next week.

Tuesday was my 5 month mark. Weird right? We went to DQ and ate a
pumpkin pie blizzard for dinner to celebrate.

On Saturday we had the branch party. Wooohooooooo. Deaf parties for
life, I'm never going to a hearing party again. Jk I probably will.
Here's the thing, deaf people don't get get to see their friends very
often, so parties last alllll day. It went from 2-8pm! It was good
language study, and I got to meet most of the members. By the end kept
eyes hurt so very bad. I think I fell asleep for a sec on the subway.
Oh funny story, sister Passey and I kind of forgot we can talk after.
we were signing on the subway and a man offered us his seat. We sign
"no, no, it's fine, thank you." And he looks at us weird. Then we
remembered we can talk and said "oh ha, sorry, we've been at a deaf
party all day and forgot not everyone knows ASL!" He was like "wait,
you can hear?" Lol that happens almost every day. We will be signing
on the subway and then I'll start talking to the person next to me.
They're always surprised!

Church was cool! Best Sunday of my mission to be honest. It's more
different than I could ever imagine, but I love it! And I understood
the teachers, so that's good right? Oh, I bore my testimony and
introduced myself in sacrament meeting and only saw one person
laughing. Success!!!

To sum it all up, I'm loving it!
Until next week.
Oh wait, pics,

2. I'm being transferred again! Jk, we went grocery shopping. That
suitcase and the bags are full of food for the month. Gotta do what
you gotta do to shop in New York, right?
3. A little girl, on a windy day, in a big city. I love manhattan and
am so happy sister Passey and I get to work there. Other missionaries
refer to us as the "covenant missionaries" because we are allowed to
work in Manhattan! Wooh!

K bye.
-Sister Layton

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Transfer to ASL!

Hi Fam!!

It's me, Sister Layton, emailing you once again from the subway. We're going to Grimaldies pizza! WORLD FAMOUS PIZZA. 

Well, much has happened. 
I was transferred. Let's talk about that.
-My new companion is Sister P. She is an ANGEL child. I've loved every minute spent with her. Ahahahaha she's so sweet, and innocent. The most innocent person I have ever met. I love it. We are two of the four ASL sisters. They opened up a new apartment and pool for Sister P and I in the Union Square ASL Branch. Yup, we got blinded in, but we are PUMPED. It's such a blessing. 

-Our pad is located in the most lovely part of Astoria (same as my old area), but our area consists of all of Queens and all of Manhattan. And possibly the island if needed, idk. In the words of Sister Bradford "President instructed us to get you a pad as close to Manhattan as possible, so your pad is 1 minute away from the train stop that will take you right into Manhattan." Everyone in our mission is jealous of Sister P and I because we can go to Manhattan to work whenever we want hahah. In fact, we are pioneers! It's the first time missionaries from the south mission have been assigned to work in the north mission. We are a little bit overwhelmed because our area is HUGE, and ASL sisters haven't been in the north mission for years, but we are figuring it out one step at a time. :)

-In previous emails I mentioned working with the zone almost every day for finding, service, etc. We won't be doing that in the ASL program. :/ It's a bit of a bummer, but it's fine because really there's no time and it's not effective for ASL. It's so weird though, I'm used to seeing all 14 of my peeps everyday, and now we're lucky if we get a text message from other missionaries!! On the bright side we're getting wifi in our pad next week!!!!! And there's a fruit stand right by our house. Yep, a fruit stand.

-I really reallyyyy don't know how to sign that well. But hey, I can understand it 50% of the time so that's better than nothing!! Sister P is pretty skilled. We practice a lot. Whenever we are on the subway or bus, we only sign. It's great! Sometimes I will sign something to someone, for example "I like your shirt" and Sister P will interpret. It's funny, the people freak out and don't know what to do or how to act! I [KISS-FIST] ASL.

THE MUSICIANS JUST GOT ON THE SUBWAY. Yesssss, they always make my day. We aren't allowed to give them money :/ Two old black men singing their hearts out while holding out a blue bag for people's monies. I don't think they're under the influence, which sometimes the money begging people are.

-Anywho. CONFERENCE WAS AMAZING. We watched it in ASL, but with sound at the Union square church on Saturday and at a members house on Sunday. I loved all of it. Like why have I never before stayed awake and attentive for all four sessions?! It is such a precious time to hear the words of living prophets and apostles and to receive personal revelation from our Father in Heaven! Boy, I sure received answers to my prayers and concerns. One thing that stuck out to me was when on Saturday afternoon someone, I can't remember who, talked about repentance, real time repentance. He spoke briefly about real time repentance, but it clicked when he did. President Calderwood is always preaching "real time repentance." Right in the very moment you realize you've made a mistake, repenting!! Why wait until we kneel down for our evening prayers to repent if we can repent anytime, anywhere? Oh and Elder Uchtdorf's talk, top notch. Loved it.
I also loved the emphasis on prophets in Sunday afternoon session. I love President Monson! One thing I love testifying of is the truth that because our Heavenly Father loves us, He still communicates with us today, and He does so through a living prophet! I remember telling Nelly these things, she was mind blown- "Well why did no one tell me this before?!? No one even told me there's a prophet now! I knew there were prophets a long time ago, but I just don't understand why no one told me!!!" Hahaha. It's true my friends. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God, and he does indeed hold all he priesthood keys that have been restored to the earth. I know that as we choose to follow his counsel, we will be filled with joy.
Have a grand week everyone.

-Sister Layton