Monday, March 30, 2015

Not a Boring Week

Well, my friends, this was not a boring week. Weeks on the mission are never boring, but this one was quite something.

To hit some of the highlights.....
-->To start off the week we got a text early Tuesday morning from one of our investigators that our pal, L passed away. We were pretty sad/surprised.. She was supposed to go home from rehab the next day! We have been visiting L about every week since I got here! We didn't teach her, because she was too sick, but we read Bible stories, bonded, and learned lots about her life. She will be missed! She is the mother-in-law of our investigator J and the mother of P - also our investigator. Every time we went to see L someone new was there, so now we know their whole family!
The last time we visited L I said to Sister Ewell- "L probably won't accept the gospel in this life, I just don't think she will be able to. But I think that after knowing us, her heart will be softened and she will be more likely to accept the gospel when she meets missionaries in the spirit world!" I hope this is true.

-->Also on Tuesday the Elders came to our door to tell us a sweeeeet story. Long story short, they felt prompted to stop by our investigator T's house. We had been telling her about Priesthood blessings, so she asked the Elders for a blessing to help her stop smoking. They gave her the blessing and the strangest thing happened. Throughout the blessing she kept smelling lemons!!! A very strong, distinct, smell of lemons. Then, the taste of nicotine came to her mouth and it tasted disgusting to her, she never wanted to taste it again. Then, she smelled lemons again! No one else in the room smelled lemons, only T. She said when she was little her mom always taught her that "sweet smells, like lemons, are from God." So when she smelled lemons during the blessing she knew the Elders indeed held the Priesthood and were from God! Sweeeetnesssssss. Literally.

-->I turned 20 on Wednesday. Ohhh yeahhhhhh. You better believe we ate burritos to celebrate! The Elders surprised me with French Toast Bagels for breakfast! That was so kind of them. 
Best part of my Bday: we finally contacted a less active we've been trying to meet for agessss... And she's LOVELY. she wants to come back to church, hallelujah :)

-->Thursday was swell! Remember that lady I shoveled water for? She and her daughter are doing great! We finally taught them the restoration and they lovedddddd it! We showed them a video clip of the First Vision and D shivered and said "I love this, wow, I really like this, I just love this!" With a big smile on her face. They really wanted to come to church and were planning on it, but then the member who was going to pick them up decided not to come to church. Major bummer! 

-->We were invited to L's funeral on Saturday. It was a Baptist funeral :))) It was WEIRD. Lovely, but definitely different than a Mormon funeral. Sister Ewell and I were the only white girls in the big chapel. Lololol. There was lots of singing, "praising," and clapping. Sister Ewell was loving it-- she wishes she lived in the southern states with all them black people! 
Now, I haven't been to many funerals in my short life, but that was definitely the saddest funeral I've ever been to because this family was devastated! It broke my heart to see their pain. 
I can't imagine what a funeral would be like if I didn't know my family was eternal...
I felt so blessed as I sat there. Sister Ewell and I were the only people in that whole congregation who knew the truth of Gods plan for us!! We are SO BLESSED. It doesn't matter what trial we are facing, whether big or small, the gospel can give us peace and happiness through it!
Anywho, I'm glad we went to the funeral. It meant a lot to the family! Even the family members we barely knew gave us big hugs and thanked us for coming. I hope and pray we can help them accept the gospel!!

Well, have a happy pday everyone ;)
And happy, happy birthday to my brother kybo! 

-Sister Layton

Birthday lunch with the district.
T got me balloons for my birthday!
Who'd have thought it'd still be snowing at the end of March? 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Happy 20th Birthday Week

What a week!
It was totally crazy.
Almost all of our appointments fell through, which is weird. That
almost never happens to us. BUT, we didn't let that get us down, we
had a wonderful week nonetheless.
It snowed this week which was awfully annoying. My Yahoo weather app
shows it's nice and sunny in Utah! What's up with that? Jealous. :)

K I just want to share one story this week. Let's talk about P.
P is sweet! Aw mann I just love her to bits. Sister Ewell had only
taught her once before I got to Bayshore. We've been to see her quite
a few times since then. The first time I met her she explained that
she had some strange fungus rash on her head, so she always wore a
bandanna over it. No one could diagnose it, and no medicine could make
it go away. She says it n-e-v-e-r stops itching. Since I've known her
the rash has spread down her neck, back, stomach, and arms. Every time
we visited her she was itching more and more throughout the lesson.
From the beginning she wanted to have a Priesthood blessing. We had
tried to stop by a few times with the Elders when we were in the area
with them, but both times she wasn't home ://

So, let's fast forward to SundaySunday was going to be the BEST DAY
EVER. we had appointments set up with our favorite investigators, and
the day was just full of appointments. One by one the appointments all
fell through. Since it's the end of the month, we are nearly OUT of
miles, so we knew we couldn't keep doing lookups as a backup plan. It
was starting to get dark, and we aren't supposed to knock on doors
after 7... So what did we do?
We said a sincere prayer and explained to God our situation (even
though he already knew) and told him we were simply trying our best to
do His will. We asked Him to please lead us to where He needed us
tonight. We ended the prayer and sat there thinking for a moment. The
thought popped into my mind "let's go see P!" We'd never gone to see
her at night... She's usually only available in the afternoon, but we
decided to try anyways.
P  gave us big hugs and welcomed us right in. Her two grandkids were
there as well, so that was a bonus. I love little black kids :))))) as
we sat there I noticed P could NOT stop itching! I could see the
pain in her eyes! It got so bad that she was standing at the corner of
the wall itching her back on the wall! I was like "alright sister
Ewell, call the Elders, i don't care if they're not on the area, she
needs a blessing now!"
To our delight the Elders were only a few minutes away and they came
to the rescue!
We went onto the porch in the cold (there were no other men in the
house), and Elder Poole blessed her!
We went back inside, talked about how she felt during the blessing,
and then randomly started talking about reincarnation..... And how
it's not real lol. But something was different this time. What was
different is that P didn't itch her body for a good 30 minutes. She
didn't realize it, but Sister Ewell and I sure noticed. She looked so
calm. I couldn't believe it, I kept looking at Sister Ewell to see if
she noticed hahah.
Eventually we closed with a prayer and when we said "amen" P gasped
and said "ohhhh myyyyy gosssssshhhhhhhh. I haven't itched since the
blessing. Oh my gosh my head doesn't itch. My head has itched non-stop
for 3 months, and..... It doesn't itch! I don't feel anything! :0"
She looked at us in awe with her jaw dropped and her eyes wide open.
It was sweeeeeeeeet. We were able to bear solid testimony of the
Priesthood and how it has been restored to the earth.

That's all I wanted to tell you. Oh, also.... As we were talking about
how reincarnation isn't real P's 5 year old grandson was sitting in
the corner drawing a picture on one of those magnetic whiteboard
things. I didn't think much of it. As we were leaving he showed us
what he drew. It was a picture of Jesus. I didn't understand it, but
he explained to me "it's the guy you talk about and say his name when
you pray (Jesus), see he was buried in the ground, and there's arrows
because he was resurrected and then went to heaven."
It was cute! I didn't think he was listening to us talk!!! I'll send a
pic I took with him.

I gotta go! Have a blessed week and eat lots of cake for me on my
birthdayyyyyy. :))) for real tho, you got to, I'm turning 20 for
heavens sakes!
-Sister Layton

-Me and sister PETERSON. she's out of ASL and here on the island with
me :))) so excited. And she's my STL to make it even better.
-P's grandson.
-P's granddaughter. They're craaaazzzzyyyyyy little things.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Soooo Busy!

My Dear family,

We have been soooo busy :) just the way I like it.
I don't even know what to say....

We had 2 back to back exchanges this week. It was exhausting! I missed
my little comp Sister Ewell so much! Not that I didn't enjoy
exchanging with Sisters Hartley and Slaugh, I just love my companion
so much! I was able to go to Hampton bays with Sis. H. It's SO PRETTY.
So many trees. I've never see anything quite like it. My exchange with
Sis. H was greaaaat :) I exchanged with her a few months ago, and
lemme tell you she is a FOREVER CHANGED human being. It was so fun for
me to see the change that had taken place in her in just a few months.
Missions change you, they truly do. #foreverchanged

As for the work, let me tell you what's been happening...

-We found a cute family. Remember the picture I sent of me shoveling
water for A? We've been back to visit her a few times, and we've
met her daughter and son. They are PURE and I think they actually see
us as representatives of Christ! Her 23 year old daughter kept saying
"I just feel Iike you guys are angels!" And she even started calling
herself "Sister D" when we explained why we go by "Sister" on our
mission. On our third visit with A she told us she met with Elders
about ten years ago, so that is why she immediately loved us when we
jumped out of our car to help her shovel water. Boy, I am grateful for
the Elders who planted that seed ten years ago... Who knows if she
would have been so open to us if she'd never met them. Please please
pray for A and her family :)

-Our less active, K, is CHANGING. Awww man it's so cool to see
her find herself and feel the spirit again. Sometimes it's hard to
"teach people, not lessons," but with K I always feel like the
spirit guides us to match her needs. We've had some cool chats. I
think I leave lessons with K having learned more than she did,
even though she was the one being taught.

-My fav girl T has a baptism date, buttttttt it's going to
require a lot of prayers and a lot of faith. PLEASE PRAY FOR T.
I beg you! She made a date to quit smoking by March 23 and be baptized
on April 21. We hope two of her daughters will be able to be baptized
with her. I gave her my CTR ring during a lesson ha, it fits right
above the knuckle on her index finger. It's perfect because she can
see it when she smokes :) I'm soooo pumped about Tiffany, her family
needs this gospel more than any family I've met here in New York. I
also know the adversary will work harder on them than any family I've
taught. That is why I beg you to include T and her family in
your prayers.

-I found out this week that................. They are opening a deaf
branch/group here on the island soon! Woooohooooo I'm so pumped. Looks
like we are going to start going ham on deaf hunting! I wish you could
have seen the joy on J's face when I told her the news. She was
literally screaming! She's been waiting for years for a deaf branch!

-Two minutes ago we had transfer calls. Im soooo happy. My girl Sis.
Ewell and I are staying together! I thought for sure she was out.
She's already been here 6 months! This is going to be the best
transfer EVER. eeeeeeee I'm on cloud 9 right now, seriously so happy.
All the elders in the loft are staying, except Elder Booth. So glad we
get to keep this Zion we've worked hard to build up.

I could go on and on. This week was amazing.
All I can say is I am HAPPY. Exhausted, but happy as can be :)))))
thank you for your prayers. We neeeeed them. Prayer is so real! I
can't even believe how real it is. My prayers are answered every
single day! Sister Ewell and I are never afraid to ask Heavenly Father
for very specific blessings, and never cease to be amazed when those
blessings are given to us.

Love you ALL. Keep the faith.
-Sister Layton

Monday, March 9, 2015

Roller Coaster Ride

Hello again, 
This was once again a very good week!!!
I can't really remember what happened.... I just feel like I'm on a roller coaster or somethin.

Well on Thursday we went to a mission-wide meeting in the city. We rode with the Palmers, our senior couple, so I didn't have to drive :)) it was very nice to see my peeps and bffs there, and most importantly it was wonderful to hear from two general authorities! Elder Evans and his wife Mary came with Elder Allen. Boy, it was an edifying day. We thought they were coming to educate us on the new iPads we are getting, but nope! Rather, they trained us on how to be disciples- young disciples of Christ in the digital age. Lots of sweet revelation was received in that meeting :) some of you might have seen, from my facebook post, that we are putting facebook on hold for two months. The reason is this- the NYNYCS mission was a test mission, and now many more missions are receiving iPads to hasten the work. So even though our mission already knows how to use facebook effectively and use iPads as a tool, not a distraction, we have to take a step back and learn it again step by step with the other missions. How we are going to daily contact our investigators without facebook.....I have noooo clue. Pray for us. :)

You guys, our primary has the best missionaries in the worllllddddd! They are pumped about spreading the good news! We went to activity days and talked about the Book of Mormon. We had them write their testimonies in it and gave them the option of either giving it to someone, or having us give it to someone. They all wanted to personally give it to someone they know, and asked that we go with them to deliver it. Yayyyy I love kids! One of our investigators is 10, she's our members best friend, and she's pretty legit! 

So on Saturday we were doing lookups for daysss. J, our recent convert, was driving us. Then our less active member, K, called and wanted to come with us for some reason so we picked her up. IT WAS SO FUN. I couldn't stop laughing. K is this sweet black chick from South Carolina. We said "k, we can't take you home til you give away this Book of Mormon." She's like "yeaaaaah that's right I'm gonna give away a book of mormmmmon." Haa and she did give it away to someone we saw on the side of the street. He was actually very happy to receive it so that was cool. Aaaand we got a new investigator that day! Yay.

We taught Relief Society on Sunday. That was cool. We pushed visiting teaching, what else?! 

When Elders Evans and Allen came they talked about filters on our iPads. They didn't really say whether or not the new iPads will have filters, undoubtedly they will, but they did say this- "filters are good, but the real true filter is the heart and mind of the missionary." I thought about that for a minute. I thought about what "filters" I have set up for myself, not only for social media, but for the world around me as well. I thought about what more "filters" I can put up to become a more consecrated missionary. I thought about where my heart and mind really is. You can do the same! Are your heart and mind focused on the things Heavenly Father has in store for you, or are you swept away by the things of the world? If so, what filters will you set up for yourself? How will you get your heart and mind to where they need to be?
Just a thought :)

Xoxo love you ALL.

-Sister Layton