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 :))))

Monday, November 17, 2014

Life of an ASL Missionary


In case any of you were wondering, in one day I was told I look like Hermoine, Tinker Bell, a 9 year old, and Boo from Monsters Inc. with my bangs. All of the Relief Society sisters think it's so funny to tease me. I love it! 

So apparently I've gained a lot of weight from New York pizza because our bed broke this week. I'm on the top bunk and I was laying down to sleep and well, it broke.
HAHAHAHAHAH it was so funny. No worries everyone Sister Passey was still saying her prayers and didn't die. 
When the office elders set the bed up they didn't have enough screws and only used like 6 screws out of the 14 screws the bed needs... Hah. We kept telling them it's going to break and we are going to die, but they insisted it was fine! Silly office elders.
My mattress is on the floor now :))))

We had many many many appointments fall through this week. That's the life of an ASL missionary for ya. :) 
But it was still a good week!
K is doing so gooooood. I love her more and more every week. As her sign language improves she gets funnier and funnier. I was crying from laughing on the subway with her yesterday, that's how funny she is. She wants to get baptized so bad, but she doesn't understand we can't baptize her until she understands the gospel! She needs the gift of hands more than I do, people, so pray for her. Oh, AND, we met her family this week. They are all hearing and so pure in heart. THERES SO MANY PURE IN HEART PEOPLE OUT HERE. They love us because we love K. They say they know it's no coincidence how we met K. I think the whole family will get baptized as they see K's life change! 

N came to church!!!!.... She was a bit late... Got there 30 minutes after it ended...
It was still great! She got to go watch B and her daughters be baptized after church and it was totally amazing. I think the spirit got to her. We were having a lesson before the baptism started, talking about the commandments and following Christ. It was great, she was very interested in it... Sister Passey starts extending the baptismal invitation for the second time (she rejected the first time) and says in ASL grammar "will you follow Jesus Christ, his example, how?".....
And then an Elder cuts into the lesson and says "everyone needs to stop signing right now, the baptism is about to start." 
I was like nooooooooo! So Sister Passey didn't get to finish the last word in the baptism invite-"baptism." It was sad, but afterwards all us missionaries had a good laugh about it, including the Elder who interrupted the lesson.
We will get her on date this week :)

Yesterday a drunk man fell on me on the subway!!!!!
I repeat, a drunk man fell on me on the subway!!!! Lolololol.
Has a drunk man ever fell on you on the subway?
Didn't think so.

N got baptized. She did it! I was privileged to speak at her baptism. It was such a sweet experience. I could literally see the change in her. She was beaming! From meeting Sister Board and I on day one to her baptism day she had completely changed her life around. That is exactly what the gospel of Jesus Christ does. It changes people. 
It has changed me. And it can change you. But it can't change you if you aren't willing to change and if you don't have a desire to change. It can't change you if you aren't willing to act. Think about Joseph Smith. Did he pray and say "which of all the sects is right?" No he did not! He prayed and said "which of all the sects is right so I might know which of them to join." He prayed with a plan to act. My invitation to you, brothers and sisters is to pray to know how you can change this week. What do you need to sacrifice to become a more devoted disciple of Christ? Pray to know and plan to act after you pray. It will do miracles!

That's my week.
Love you all.
-Sister K. Layton

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hair Cut & Happenings

Hello Family!!!! 

I chopped my hair. Well, Sister Peterson did.
She gave me bangs.! (Pics attached)

-Did I mention R ever? She is a lost sheep we found. Let me give you some background info. A few years ago there was a branch in Brooklyn, but then it collapsed. Many (maybe 100) of the members records didn't transfer safely to the Union Square Branch. They kinda just went floating out there. R was one of those. Somehow we found out that a deaf person lives at her address, so we went to check it out maybe 2 weeks ago. She answered and was soooo happy to see us! We went inside and taught the most spiritual plan of salvation lesson ever and invited her to be baptized. But she's like "oh yeah, I've already been baptized into your church, years ago!" So we looked into it and sure enough she is a member. And her son David is as well, he actually still remembers quite a bit about the church. 
This week we were doing a lookup. We were amped about it, because it said "family of 6." Like are you kidding me, a deaf family of six is a dream come true! So we go knock on this family of 6's door and guess who answers. R. Turns out she's their aunt! 
All these families here in Queens confuse me, they're all either related, best friends, or whatever. I love it, it's like a mystery. It gives me a headache sometime, but Sis. P. and I shall figure it out.
And after we figure it out we shall bring them all back to the straight and narrow path.

-We found the pure in heart. Her name is M. Actually, we randomly met her in a hallway, our second week in Manhattan, but there was some drama with the North Elders (there still is drama with the north elders), and she was busy, so we didn't get to meet with her til this week. She took us to thee best Thai food place and we had a nice chat about the restoration of the gospel, my favorite topic. Oh my heavens, she had some deep questions that would have been hard for me to answer in English, so it was hardddd to answer in ASL! But she said she felt the spirit when we showed her the Book of Mormon!! and she accepted a baptism commit. Score! She didn't accept the date hahahaha but she accepted the commit! 

-We had 80 people at Sacrament Meeting for the second week in a row. Miracles are happening. The norm for the branch is like 45! #deafward2k15

-N is our investigator and she is starting to progress! I'm freaking out! I didn't think it would ever happen!!! We had been praying for her to have a spiritual experience with the atonement, Welllll, on Tuesday she walked in on district meeting right when Elder Harris was giving a POWERFUL testimony of the atonement, Sister Passey and I looked at each other in awe. It was so cool. We are going to hearing YSA FHE with her tonight. Oh goodness I hope I don't have to interpret flirting................. ️Pray for me?

-K IS MY BEST FRIEND. She gives me candy :))) She's started to pick up some of the funny little things I do when I sign. I LOVE IT AND I LOVE HER. I don't really know how I love her so much. We ride the train with her to church and she always analyzes everyone's shoes- guessing where they're from, how much they cost, if they're warm, comfortable, etc. It's so funny. Her bap date is December 16th. I think.

-I hit my 6 month mark. I HIT MY SIX MONTH MARK. So I cut a tie. I didn't want to burn down the entire building so I cut it instead of burning it.

-Sister Passey had a birthday! So I shaped her eyebrows up, did her makeup, let her wear my socks, and chose her outfit. It was fun. I love that kind of stuff. We also ate carrot cake.

Family I am so grateful for you!!
I have the best most beautiful family in the whole world!
Thank you all for praying for me and my investigators the past 6 months, for emailing me and loving me from across the country. I can't believe it's been 6 months. It's been the hardest but happiest 6 months of my life :) Luckily I still have 12 months left... I have so much work to do and so much to learn! I am "forever changed" from serving in the NYNYCS mission, and I will always be "forever changing" because of the things I've learned here.

Sister Layton

Monday, November 3, 2014

Miracles Happen Every Day!

My Spanish is coming along. Yesterday a Hispanic man started singing to me with his arms wide open. Normally when this happens I just roll my eyes and keep walking, but this time I smiled and said "Soy misionara de Los iglasias de Jesu Christo de Los santos......." I can't remember the rest now, I'll keep practicing.

Oh, yeah, the ASL is coming along great too! Improving little by little. We randomly met 3 deaf people on the streets this week. One gave us his number.... Score! It's s fun life, the ASL program is. 

This week we were able to meet with a less active, G, whom we have been trying to get in with forever. She lives an hour and a half away from us in Jamaica. I felt like I wasn't in New York anymore. It looked like Farmington and I walked down the middle of the street just because I could. Anyways, it was raining, freezing, and windy as we walked from the bus to her house. Sister Passey didn't even have a coat on! Well, soon we realized she gave us an address that didn't exist. So we kinda hung around the area knocking on doors and asking people if they knew of the deaf lady we were looking for. She wasn't answering her phone either :/ We finally decided to humble ourselves and say a prayer for help to find her house. I said "please lead us directly to her house so we can share the message we have prepared and get to the rest of our appointments for the day on time....." We wandered up and down a few streets, then we decided to give up and do a lookup in the area. Well, we couldn't find the lookups house either! Then, I picked a random house and said "Hey, let's go ask these people if they know of the lookup." We knocked on the door, and guess who opened the door..... G! Sister Passey and I both dropped our jaws. It was a miracle! The house we knocked on was nowhere near the address she gave us, but because we prayed with faith the first house we knocked on after we prayed was hers. I love it when things like that happen.

K's DVD player broke so she can't watch the Book of Mormon! #prayfork idk what to do! We can't just buy her a new DVD player. And the computer is broken too -__- technology these days..... But she came to church so that counts for something!

Halloween was fun. We broke our companionship rule-buying candy is not allowed- for a day. Mmm yum, I bought chocolate. One way my mission has forever changed me is that I love chocolate now. Stress does that to you I guess. We were in the ghetto all day which made it even more fun.

Shout out to Aunt Jer for sending me her fabulous pumpkin bar recipe with the cream cheese frosting! I made it successfully without an electric beater. The frosting sure gave me a work out, but it was worth it because the members treated me like a pro chef when they tasted it.

Also huge bday shout out for Shirley! Hope it was a great day and I hope that you and Grandpa love your new house!

It's been a good week, really. Yes, almost all of our lessons fell through, but we tried our very best to make them happen and that's what matters! We did find some new investigators :) I'm excited to meet with them again! I feel like these families we recently found might be the ones we were sent to Queens to find... We will see.

THE ASTORIA ELDERS JUST MESSAGED ME AND N who we found and started teaching before my transfer IS GETTING BAPTIZED THIS WEEK. I'm so stoked. It's gonna be the best day of my life! I love her soooo much. 

Be good, kids. And dress warm. It's getting chilly out there.

Claire sent me the lyrics to her favorite hymn today "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". It's also Grandma Robinson's favorite hymn and one of my favorites. I love the last part...the 5th verse which is only included in the original text by Robert Robinson, a pastor and hymnist that at age 22 wrote the lyrics in 1757.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Ponder that verse for me, will you?

Sister Layton