Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring Has Sprung


Spring has officially sprung in Long Island. Let me tell you, it's BEAUTIFUL. The winter lasted much too long for me. Hooray for spring colors, blue skies, and clouds. We woke up early this morning and drove to a gorgeous trail that leads to the beach. It was so refreshing. The clouds looked beautiful, and the light house was still blinking! I love Long Island so much. :)

M. She's darling. I want to dress like her when I go home.
This is our investigator, C. She loves Book of Mormon stories.
Last district picture :( Elder's McCann and Rogers are leaving us :(((((
Morning runs to the beach! 

So, this week was SO MUCH BETTER than last. Last week wasn't bad, it was just new/awkward being in a trio AND having a brand new missionary. One thing I've been working on developing throughout my whole mission is balance-in everything, and this week I was able to use that balance to make everything work! Heavenly Father really blessed us this week. I feel like everything fell into place perfectly, everyday. 
I loved being with the trio this week. It's been funnnn. Pretty sure they wanted to kill me because I was always happy and talking and having the time of my life, but I've truly enjoyed it! Sister Hardman is doing soooo great! I love her so much! She's super fun to teach with... We both get really into it. I love seeing her bring out her personality. A lot of times missionaries come to the mission and forget how to be themselves. I definitely forgot at first. But it's SO important!!!!! Heavenly Father made us who we are for a reason, right?

We had the neatest experience this week.... We met M :) she's our new investigator referred to us by the Chinese sisters. M is 17 years old, from China, and is a foreign exchange student here. She learned about the church in China, from her moms friend, and they attended church with her mom and brother several times there. However, she was never able to be baptized, because they aren't from Hong Kong. One of the many reasons she decided to come to America is so she could be baptized here! She reads the Book of Mormon, and knows the church is true. The Chinese sisters were teaching her for a while, but the Chinese church is like 2 hours away, and it was getting too hard to wake up at 6 to go to church. Ha I can't blame her. Luckily the Bayshore church is only 15 minutes away and she speaks perfect English, so we are working with her now! We gave her a baptism date for May 16th... She was soooo excited it was awesomeeee. She also came to church on Sunday! We love her so much! I felt like she was my sister from the first minute! And no one is going to believe this but...... She is the Chinese version of cousins CLAIRE. No wonder I connect with her so well. Yesterday at church we both looked at each other at the same time during the meeting and started laughing for no reason. Lol. Can you believe this you guys, can you believe it, my investigator is Chinese! I'm living the dreaaaaammmmm! :)))))

Ok other news... J has a job interview in Utah this week. Holllaaaa! Watch out for her. Do we know anyone who is in their early 30s and single? She took us to Chilis and guess what we did? Made her a profile on LDSsingles lolololol. Good news: is making an "I'm a Mormon" video of her! Yay. She was a fantastic member missionary this week!!!! It was miraculous to see someone so new in the church throwing themselves into the work of salvation! One night, J came with us to appointments... Which all fell through.... So what did she do? She called up G, a woman she talked to on the train last week about the church, asked her if we could deliver the Book of Mormon that J promised to bring her, and drove us there! Like what? She perfect. But wait, it gets better, G is actually very interested AND speaks Haitian-Creole!!!! Sister Hardman was having a rough time that day.. a new Haitian investigator is exactly what she needed to cheer her up!! This G is so sweet too :) I think things will go well with her!

Saturday Sister Hardman and I left Sister Ewell in Bayshore with J all day while we went to the city for a meeting! I felt bad cuz they knocked on doors alllll dayyyyy.... Who knows why.... And no one wanted to learn more! Sister Hardman and I joined them for like an hour before dinner, knocking on a different street, and we had some sweeeet knocking experiences! We met B who is familiar with Mormons, seemed very interested after we told him about the restoration, and told us to come back to see him and his wife next weekend! J and Sister Ewell were like "are you kidding me..... We've been knocking all day, with no luck, and you only knocked for an hour and already found someone......-__-" hahahah. 

Ohhhhh and on Saturday while we were driving home from the city I made a split second decision to go to Wendy's.... We walked in and the M family was right there in line. What theeeee. I've never told you about the M family, but they are a sweeet Muslim family we used to teach. They tried to pay for our meal lol. I felt like I was a missionary in Utah. The good news is- they said we can come see them next week!!! I'm tellin ya, the spirit knows how to prompt me through my appetite. 

D and A went MIA, because they didn't pay the phone bill, and then THE ELDERS WERE ABLE TO CONTACT THEM. it doesn't seem like a big deal, but I promise it's a huge deal. 
Kkkk gotta go!
-Sister Layton IV

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Training Begins

This week ROCKED.

As you all know, we started out the week by picking up our new little one from the airport. Hahahahah it was the funniest thing of my life. She was so excited but so freaked out at the same time! Made me flashback to the first of my mission... Good times :) Right when she got here we drove across the city to Jamaica Ave-most definitely the craziest street in the mission- and let her "fearless" some Haitians! It was so fun.
Then we went and lived the high life at Presidents! Ate some real nice seafood on the water and had a good old time at his house with the STLs and the APs. 

After that we let Sister Hardman jump right into the #missionlyfe. Haaaa she was kind of in shock. On Wednesday she was falling asleep as she blow dryed her hair lololol. Being a new missionary is very exhausting so we've been sure to take lots of breaks and relaxation periods for her to make sure she doesn't get overwhelmed. But guess what, she's theeee best new missionary I've ever met! I've never seen someone come out so prepared! And she has so much greenie fire.... She's such a blessing. She's from Salt Lake, graduated in 2014, went to BYU for a semester and wants to be a dietician. We are having lots of fun as a trio :)))

We had a pretty busy week, and it was fullll of miracles :) actually it might have been one of the best weeks ever, not gonna lie.

Andddd I just really don't have any time this week so that's all I got for ya.

My favorite quote from this week is "You missionaries are like therapists working for God." Said by our investigator J. No worries, we don't counsel anyone... But we did spend a lot of time just LISTENING to people this week. It seems to me that if you can just listen to your investigators for a few minutes, try to understand their concerns, and pray for them as they're talking, then by the time they're done talking they will have already resolved their concerns by talking them out, leaving us the perfect opportunity to testify! 

Ok I have to goooooo we are playing monopoly! But I shall attach some pics.
Sister Layton

1. Sister Ewell, J (our investigator), Sister Hardman, and myself after church.
2. This is F! We've been working with her forever!
3. Dinner with the APs and STLs.


Monday, April 13, 2015

I'm Training

Dear Family,
Well, I have close to no email time today. But this email will still probably be long, knowing me. I can never cut things short for some reason.

We are driving to the airport in Queens... to pick up my new trainee. 
Im training! Finally! I didn't know if I would ever train due to the fact that our mission is downsizing a lot, and the number of sisters coming in is decreasing each transfer. I think when I came in we were at the peak of missionaries! The mission was HUGE, idk how President handled so many missionaries! It's much smaller now :/
ANYWAYS, we had President Interviews on Thursday, and President asked me to train. Didn't see that one coming, but I about fell out of my chair I was so excited. Her name is Sister Hardman- I know nothing about her except she's a Haitian-Creole sister and she's coming to the mission early because she's smart and passed the MTC quicker than expected. 
She's coming in alone, so Sister Ewell and I are picking her up from the airport, and then driving her to presidents for dinner, a fireside, and a sleepover there!! Sisters Peterson&Peiper and APs will be there at presidents tonight too! It's gonna be a partyyyyyy.
Also, I'm training her I'm Bayshore, which means I get to stay here 2 more transfers :))) heck yessss! Bayshore in the summer is going to be heavennnn.

Other than that we had a wonderful wonderful week! It was really just lovely, everything about it, right down to the weather. 

Alright, who did as I requested last week and prayed for us to find and teach some pure in heart families? Whoever did- thank you! It worked! Keep praying for this! 
Remember that lady I shoveled water for-A? We had been having a hard time getting in and teaching her and her family. On Thursday we finally got in and had an AMAZING lesson!  It was great. We taught the plan of salvation and didn't get past the creation hahah. They were both mind blown that we had a pre-mortal existence. It had never even occurred to them! D (the daughter) had so many wonderful questions and it was very evident the spirit was helping us answer questions according to her needs. By the end, D accepted a baptismal date! A didn't, she's not understanding quite everything because she's actually a Haitian-Creole speaker, but it's okay because MY TRAINEE SPEAKS CREOLE. A will be sooo happy to meet her!

Another cool experience: 
Saturday all of our plans fell through. We had literally nothing to do, which is weird because Saturday is usually our busiest day. So we went home and prepared for our teeny tiny studio apartment to become a 3-woman pad. Then we decided to do lookups and clear out the area book... Because like I said before, there was NOTHING left to do!
The second house we looked up was the daughter of a member in Arizona. Her name is J. She spoke to us through the glass door and explained she is catholic, respects our beliefs, has a Book of Mormon but doesn't want to read it, is really really busy blah blah blah. I was thinking "oh great, we are going to get this door slammed in our face any second now." But something pushed me to keep trying, so after an awkward pause I said "well.... can we come in and read the Book of Mormon with your daughter?" She said "oh... Sure, why not! Come on in!"
We didn't end up reading the Book of Mormon with her daughter, but got to know her VERY well and definitely won her trust! I kept feeling that we should offer for the Elders to come give her a Priesthood blessing. Guess what, before I could even say anything about the Priesthood she says "you know, I was meaning to contact your church this week because I want the thing where they put their hands on my head and pray over me." Her father had given her a blessing once before and she wanted another one during this time of need. So we called the Elders right then and there. They came to the rescue and Elder Rogers gave a powerful blessing. The Spirit was strong! She was bawling! I couldn't stop smiling! After the blessing we played some games with her daughter and her daughters friend and have an appointment to go back and visit this family next week :) I'm so grateful the spirit led us there! Please pray for J :)
It's been interesting.... Our district has been seeing so many miracles from the Priesthood lately. I feel like it's really helped us build Zion. MIRACLES ARE HAPPENING. 
I'm going to be very sad when we aren't a district anymore in two weeks. :(  

We picked up a former investigator named M this week. And you know what, I think it might be the right time for her to accept the gospel! We shall see. She's super sweet :) I was pretty happy about that. 

Many other great things happened in the space of the last 7 days... But I gotta go soooo just use your imagination to envision how great it is to be a missionary on Long Island in New York. 
I'm living the dream. 

Spiritual thought of the week: pray with FAITH. and remember you're not praying with faith if you're not working for what you prayed for. On my mission I've noticed a common phrase: "all you can do is pray and do your part. the lord will do the rest." Sometimes I will say "and what do you have to do to fulfill your part?" They will think for a moment, not really sure what their part is. "Do you read the Book of Mormon everyday?" I ask. Most often the answer is "no, not really." I have a testimony that no matter what the situation is, if you are not reading the Book of Mormon everyday, you will never fulfill your part. Do your part, read the Book of Mormon, keep the commandments, and the Lord will do the rest! 

-Sister Layton
The Jessen ave one is for cousin Jessen. Just for fun.
Yet another cute district pic. I apologize if I already sent this home.

Monday, April 6, 2015

General Conference/Easter Week

Hi Everyone!

Ok this week was greaaaaaaat!

It started off on an exchange with the one and only SISTER PETERSON, my gurl. Boy oh boy it was so nice to be with her again. It was refreshing, really. Felt SO GOOD. I just pray we can be companions someday! We taught her g o l d e n investigators and then, we were literally kidnapped by a member who drove us to the beach. There was no escaping it! So we took a walk and took some pics while we were there :) ALSO, we found deaf peeps together and taught a deaf less active. I've missed ASL! 

Here's an ASL miracle: (I'm copy and pasting it from Sister Petersons email)
"Who's ready for some ASL Miracles?! This week we figured out that Sorenson (the company that sells VPs aka Video Phones) buys VP numbers in bulk, which means that we have just tapped into basically all of the VP numbers in New York. I'm really bad at explaining this, but if you don't understand, just know that this is a breakthrough for ASL Missionary work and we have just found the most amazing way to do finding through calling people. Sister Layton and I spent our language study just testing it out and we were able to get in contact with so many people."
God is SO GOOD. The ASL mission is going to explode now that we've cracked the code and figured out all the deaf people's numbers! It gets me pumped to go back to the ASL program :) Miracles on miracles on miracles :)
Sis. P informed me we only have 4 more transfers left here in New York before we are on the airplane together flying towards Utah. What the heckkkkk right? Time flies!

Other than that it was a fairly strange week. Can't really describe what happened. It's the strange weeks that are the best weeks.

News about J - the one who is always with us. She invited us to her family's Easter brunch! It was a MIRACLE. I don't think they even knew she was converted. They still don't know! She doesn't want them to know. She gave us strict rules such as:
"1. No preaching of the Book of Mormon. 
2. No discussing J's conversion. 
3. No showing of #becausehelives. 
4. No discussion about J's recent trip to Utah. 
5. No talk about General Conference. 
6. No talk about how close missionaries are with J." 
Hahaha J is so funny. I thought her family was gonna be craaazyyy. But much to my surprise they are the coolest and most normal family I've met in New York! I felt like I was with my family in Utah! In fact, her brother in law looks, acts, and talks just like cousin Cade Robinson! You all know it's never dull when Cade's around. As we left her mom said "you are welcome back anytime, I know J isn't going to come back (she avoids home at all costs), but you can come back anyways."

Other good news: Sister Ewell found a pure in heart family with Sister Peiper on exchanges. Miraclessssssss. All I want is to find and teach pure in heart families!!! Pray for us to be led to them :) we pray for that every day!

Well, conference was good! Something was wrong with my hearing (as always) and I couldn't hear the first three sessions, so I have absolutely nothing to say about that :/ but it's okayyy because I can watch them later :)) However, I heard everything in the fourth session and it was just beautiful! I especially liked Elder Pearson's talk- about staying by the tree. He's right, giving in, giving up, and giving out are not options! There is no room for average disciples, and average commitment will prevent us from enduring to the end. We are either in or out!!!!! The only way we can be valiant disciples is by studying the Book of Mormon. EVERYDAY. I don't think we even realize the power and rewards this simple deed will give us! If you aren't reading the Book of Mormon EVERYDAY, start now! It doesn't matter how young or old, or what stage of life you are in, you still need to stay by the tree. You can't stay by it without the Book of Mormon. Maybe everyone should just go listen to his talk again :) 

I'm so happy, you guys! My companion laughs at me every morning because I wake up smiling lol. I love the Lord's work. I love building up His kingdom the best I can. I love my investigators and the members of the Bayshore Ward. I know the gospel is true. It does change lives, everyday. It has changed my life, and can change your life too!

Peacin' out. 
-Sister Layton

1. Beachin it with Sista Peterson.
2. Best district I ever did have. (Yes I wore the same dress twice in one week. Get over it.)
3. My gurl, P.
4. I was trying to show her how to take cute Layton girl Easter pics hahaha it didn't work out.