Monday, June 29, 2015

I Love America - Happy 4th of July!

Hi Guys!

As the Fourth of July rolls around I am counting my blessings that I'm a STATESIDE MISSIONARY! Life is so pleasant here. Especially on Long Island! It's pretty cool to be a missionary in NY and meet people from a l l  o v e r  t h e  w o r l d. I love hearing their stories. Often times when meeting foreigners I ask them why they came to America, and what it took for them to get here. For most, they worked, worked, and worked so they could finally come to America, and here 
they work even harder to STAY in America! What I think is absolutely CRAZY is the fact that families split, sometimes temporarily, sometimes forever to come to America! It is SO common for mothers to say "I have 5 kids, but three of them are still in my country. They haven't come over yet." Breaks my little heart! 

So our week was swelllllll. 
I got a little taste of my mom's life. She was always so motherly to drive me to doctors appointments and wait patiently with me, sometimes for hours for my doctors appointments! I drove to the city twice for Sister Hardman's appointments and both times the traffic was terrible hahaha. I just laughed. I'm over this NY traffic! It was super duper fun to wait in the sitting room for her appointments tho. She had 3 appointments which all lasted over an hour. So I decided to become pals with the elderly ladies in the waiting room. One lady spent about 30 minutes telling me why I should become a library scientist. No matter what I said she insisted I go into library science. Lol. Butttt then I managed to turn the conversation over to spiritual things, so we had a nice spiritual chat for about 45 minutes. Score. She actually met with missionaries when she was younger, so that's cool. Another elderly lady was vitally concerned about my future as well. I can't tell you how many times she told me to "get a degree, get a degree, get a degree, anddddd move away from Utah!" Lol.
I LOVE waiting room friends!

The good news from this week is..... We started teaching F! Did I tell you about her last week? Can't remember. We taught her Tuesday and she just accepted the restoration and committed to a baptismal date on the first lesson! Yessss. And it gets better.. J came with us! Miracles happen. It had been 8 weeks since she came with us :))) it's a BIG DEAL you guys. We went back yesterday and she's still excited, so keep her in your prayers... It seems like she might learn slow, so pray that she can understand the things we teach her! 

The funniest thing happened after we saw F.. We went to look up someone named A. This A is an 89 year old lady... And she lives in this little, adorable, red shed. HAHA it was so funny, when we knocked on the door she was like "oh! Come in! I need help!" She was hilarious. I can't describe her, definitely unlike anyone I've ever met. We helped her put together a simple lamp fixture that she had been trying to put together since 2:00pm. It was 8:15pm lollllllll. She was just sobbing because it was "such a miracle that we came to help her with her lamp." Remind me to tell you what happened as I was praying with her when I get home. It won't sound as funny over email. 

S is still doing good. Her date has been moved back a week... We felt like we were rushing her ha. We sidewalk chalked the plan of salvation with her for family night on Monday. No one else in the family showed up except her and her cousin hahah :( oh wellllll we do what we can! I'll send a pic of that. 

OH remember the Haitian girl I said hello to last week? The one whose hat I complimented? Her name is L, and we visited her this week! Sister Hardman taught her. All I did was said "hello, how are you?" She doesn't know English :((( sigh. BUT it was the best lesson EVER. wanna know why? She brought her baby outside, and her baby was only 14 days old! So I had the pleasure of sitting there and staring at the baby :))) I will adopt a Haitian baby someday. I will.

Remember M? We skyped her on Saturday. I missed her so much! She's doing great in case you were wondering. 

Our new mission president comes this week..... Which calls for a mission conference! YES! There is nothing better than being reunited with mission friends. On the 4th we have interviews with the new president aaaaand we got invited to two member BBQs. #cheeseburgers for days. It's gonna be a fabulous week, I can tell. 

Okkkkaaayyyyyy I love you all!!!
Be good. Light sparklers. Drink diet coke. Eat watermelon. Read your scriptures. 
Please Pray for me, Sister Hardman, F, T & B and co., St, S, aaaand our new President Reynolds and his wife. I can only imagine they will feel extremely overwhelmed this week. Thanks guys!

-Sister Layton IV

1. Elder and Sister Bushmann. Oh my lands, I LOVE THEM. We go to their institute class every Saturday morning with J.  In fact, since I've been in the area for so long they decided to give me institute credit hahaha. On Sunday during sacrament Bishop called me and J to the stand to get our institute certificates.😂
2. FHE sidewalk chalk.
3. Pday pupusas!! This is the Hermanas, myself, sister Hardman, and elder Ashby!
Sorry I did a terrible job taking pics this week. image3.JPG


Monday, June 22, 2015

My Week in Pictures


We had a WONDERFUL week!  Did you? I sure hope so.

Yesterday was the first day of summer, and boy oh boy, we felt the
heat. Gotta love sweating through teaching appointments!
I think I will talk about my week through PICTURES. I have a bunch on
my iPad that I may as well share with you.

#1. We spent most of Tuesday traveling to, in, and from Manhattan for
Sister Hardman's doctors appointment so it was a wee bit boring and a
tad bit long. But we made it through just fine! And oh my goodness
when we left the doctors appointment it started POURING. well, I was
not prepared because I had forgotten that sometimes in the city it can
be nice and sunny and the start raining cats and dogs. So I ran
through the city to the subway and got drenched! Good times. The only
photo we took that day was of me and Elder Goff! His companion was
seeing the doctor as well, so we talked in the waiting room for a bit.
He's from bountiful so we have lots of mutual friends!

#2. ZTM (zone training meeting) WAS WONDERFUL. we have a good zone. We
played jeopardy for online prosecuting rules and listened to inspiring
workshops. One of my favorite feelings as a missionary is the feeling
of unity you get as you sit with a group of consecrated missionaries
and counsel together! For a break the zone leaders and STLs bought
cereal and milk for everyone, so that's why we're gathered around the
table in the picture.

#3. An inactive member, J and her son had us over for dinner! She
prepared a FEAST, I tell you. A feast. I hadn't eaten so fancy
since..... Idk when. She doesn't remember anything about the church,
really, so we had a nice conversation about the restoration as we ate.
We think/hope her son will meet with the elders! And thennnn as we
were about to leave she says "oh, I picked up some groceries for you
all. My mom reminded me you only get $30 dollars a month for food..."
She didn't just pick up some groceries for us, she picked up enough
groceries to last my last 4.5 months as a missionary!!!! I was
shocked! The elders were pretty happy about it. We shared with them.
(By the way we get more than $30 a month for food. Her mom was mistaken)

#4. This is T and 4 of her 5 little girls. They are adorable but
such a handful. When we pray with them at the beginning and end of
lessons it gets a little crazy, everyone is climbing on top of each
other and touching each other ha! We always teach them outside and
they are always in their swimsuits hahahah. We acted out the tree of
life with them this week.. It was fun!! They neeeeed prayers! Pray for
them :)
OH, when we went to T's on Thursday, a young man named T was
there! When he saw me he said "Hey, I know you!" I didn't remember
him, but he went on to tell me that one time during a blizzard I
walked up to him at a bus stop and said "it's cold!" and then started
talking to him about his family and all sorts of random things and
gave him a little card inviting him to church. After he told me that I
remembered the one day in February when I randomly said to Sister
Ewell "Let's go walk to that bus stop by our house and see if anyone
is there to fearless!" So we did. And we met T. I just find it so
interesting that the one time I decide to go fearlessing on Long
Island I run into the person again! Coincidence? I think not. He gave
us his phone numbers so the elders can go teach him :))) yay for T!
#5. This is my companion Sister Amanda Mae Hardman. I love her
dearly!! It's been a BLAST training her. We have lots of fun together
:)))) Last week was very hard and emotionally exhausting for Sister
Hardman :( we have more doctors appointments in the city for her this
week, so please keep her in your prayers!!! I don't want her to go
homeeee. This picture is when we got pizza with the elders after doing
service for a man that runs the West Islip Beautification society. We
weeded a beautiful flower garden. I love doing service!!! Oh, and then
the old man kissed me (on the cheek) as we were leaving. The elders
thought it was hilarious.

#6. This is S (in the middle), her cousin, and N!  S is getting baptized
 soon- on July 12th, so keep her in your prayers.
She's the smartest 12 year old I've ever met. She understands
everything we give her to read and completely absorbs the truth. She's
going to girls camp with the young women before she gets baptized
hahah. She actually will get baptized the day after she gets back! I'm
excited, I think it will be SO good for her! Tonight we are doing FHE
with her fam :)

#7. Hermana Zambito and I! Her and Hermana Eberhard still come write
in their journals with us every night after planning. I LOVE them! My
favorite Hermanas ever!!!

Okkk that's all!
Love you all bunches. This work is the greatest joy. God is a God of
miracles, I know that for sure. Idk what to say, I'm just really
grateful to be here!
Have a wonderful week and don't forget to PRAY!

-Sister Layton

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hey Peeps!

Hey peeps!

What's up?

This week was eventful. Lots of good things happening here. There are always good things happening when it comes to building up the kingdom of God, am I right?

I would like to know how the work is going over there in Utah, or wherever you might be. Anyone finding new investigators? ! I sure hope so. 

We are trying to here in Long Island. It's been successful when it comes to Hispanic people. Unfortunately we don't speak Spanish... I WISH. Oh well, it's great for our good friends the Hermanas! We love them. They come chill with us every night after planning and I just laugh and laugh with them.

Oh buuutttt we did get one new investigator named S! She's sweeeeet. 12 years old, but super mature for her age. Her mom was baptized a few years ago and has been a bit less active. We've been trying to get her back to church and teach her family as well!  Sjust moved rooms so we are going to help her make some decorations and personalize it this week! Yay. if you know me, you know I LOVE that. 

One great thing that happened is that we were welcomed into a very very nice home when we knocked. This never happens! The reason why we were welcomed is because 1. The man loves Mitt Romney and 2. Because I'm deaf and he found it very interesting. He and his wife loved us but were not interested unfortunately :( 

Soooo on Friday we knocked on doors allllll day longggggggg until 8pm because everything fell through. It was the hottest day yet, too!  Around 3 or 4 I started to feel tired of it, and was praying in my heart thinking "Heavenly Father, I'm so tired of this, no one is accepting us and we really felt like we should knock this area. I'm so hungry, it's so hot, my companion is very discouraged, blah blah blah." Oh, also I didn't eat lunch because I didn't feel good during lunch so I was literally starving lol. WELL, my prayer was answered! We knocked on the next house and it happened to be a member of the Spanish Ward!!!!  She was soooo happy to see us and of course made us eat her delicious food. We happily accepted hahah. Then after visiting for like 20 minutes we were getting ready to go and she gave us little gifts and said "I know missions are difficult, but you just gotta keep going!  We both left teary eyed hahah. It meant a lot to us.

We are teaching a family with 5 cute little girls.... It's T and her daughters- F, H, C, G, and P. They haven't come to church or accepted a date yet, but we are getting there. It's kinda hard to teach when there's 5 little girls trying to talk at the same time as you!  So they're getting there... Slowly but surely :) 

OH transfers happened and the new district is WONDERFUL. We said goodbye to Elder Bennett and Elder Thelemaque, but welcomed Elder Ashby and Elder Sainteran. Elder Ashby is Eli Brady's twin... Both in looks and personality. Elder Sainteran is from Haiti, but lived in the DR the past 5 years. He makes HAITIAN FOOD. YAyyyyy. This transfer is gonna be soooo good.

Welllllp that's about all I have to tell ya. 
God is GOOD. His love is real. 
My love for all of you is real too!!!
Have a wonderful summer week. Behave yourselves :)

-Sister Layton

The pic is with St. She bought us a squid hat hahahaha. 


Monday, June 8, 2015

Service Softens Hearts

Hi Guys,

Here is a picture of the district :) 
And a pic with the Hermanas. Don't judge the not matching outfit. I had nothing to wear this morning..... And missionaries stop caring what they're wearing on the mission lollll.


Wellll, what should I tell you about this week?

We've had lots of opportunities to do service, which is something we've been praying for, so that was good. I love service :))))) I feel like people in New York are so bad at letting people help them! We went and raked with N, who hadn't come to church since the first week of February, and lo and behold she came to church on Sunday! Service softens hearts, my friends :) Fill up your summer with SERVICE.

Oh, M moved :(((( to Texas. We are so sad, but so happy for her. Honestly, we are just happy we had the privilege of knowing her and helping her receive the restored gospel. She taught me so much! I think Texas will be SO good for her, temporally and spiritually. Her family has a summer home there, so her mom and brother are coming from China for the summer, as well as her aunt and uncle. She also got accepted to a new high school down there, which is great, because her host family here was..... Well, they were very rude people. We called the missionaries in Texas with her, and guess WHAT! There are two recent converts preparing to go on missions who are Chinese! I think M about passed out she was so happy. I, myself, was ecstatic! This means they can teach her mom and brother too! Yayyyyyy! It was so sad to help her pack and say goodbye, but you know what, I think I'm actually gonna keep in touch with this one. :)

Oh, on Friday the most awkward thing happened. We had an appointment with M.... But she wasn't home. We decided to wait for a little bit to see if she showed up. Well, there was a woman who had an appointment to inspect her house waiting with us. She was all dressed up... So I said jokingly, "you look nice, are you a missionary too?!" She goes "no, I'm just here to inspect the house!" I said "oh, good, I was worried she sent a missionary from another church, maybe a Jehovah's Witness, to come see her at the same time as us!" Well, that was stupid of me because E says "oh, well, I am a Jehovah's Witness missionary, I'm just working right now." Haaahah oops. We got stuck there talking to her for like 20 minutes discussing the bible. It was so fun! It wasn't bible bashing, don't worry. We mostly talked about the spirit world! Because JWs believe after we die we are just dust til the resurrection. Sounds boring if you ask me. They're missing that precious truth that we live on after we die, in the spirit world!! We showed her a few scriptures, and I think we actually left her curious after reading 1 Peter 3:19-20 with her. She just paused for a second and said "ummmm, I'm going to have to research that one..." 

Per President Calderwoods request, half the mission signed up to volunteer at a "global family reunion" in Queens on Saturday. It was like a family history fair of some sort. The event was expecting 10,000 people to show up, but there was a max of 3,000 people. Because of the lack of people, there was really nothing for us missionaries to help with..... And we had been asked not to proselyte.... :( Sister Hardman and I would have just gone home, but J drove us so we were stuck! But it's okayyyy, it was so much fun to see all my missions friends! A few of them for the last time :(( including Elder Felix Daniel Martinez IV, my Viewmont friend. For those of you who are interested, he and Molli already have a date set up for June 18th hahahah. Can't wait to hear about how this one goes.

Transfers is tomorrowwwwww! I am staying here to finish Sister Hardmans training as far as I know. Yippeeee. It's a swell companionship, and Sister Hardman is getting happier and happier every week! Just so you know: there's a 95% chance I will never go back to the Union Square branch! Sister Barker and Sister Peterson were called to train the new ASL sisters there in a few weeks! I'm a little bit sad, but mostly relieved ha. The city is a very wonderful, but very stressful place. In Sister Peterson's words, "it makes you feel 45 years older than you really are."

Alrightttt our pool needs some prayers. Pleaaase pray for these people: J, T & fam, C & fam, and really just pray that we can find people who are ready to accept the gospel. We are going through another phase where our teaching pool is dying and we have to build up a new one! We found J this week, and if she meets with us again I'll tell you the sweet story of how we found her :)

I feel like I should mention Plantains in this email. After all, I'm always talking about food. So, PLANTAINS. Have you ever had fried plantains? If not, you should try them this week. They're like fried bananas, but better! We went to this amazingggg Dominican restaurant with the hermanas. Like why am I not Spanish? Their food is so good. Their soda is good too- inca cola for the win.

Speaking of the Hermanas, we LOVE THEM. seriously, it's okay that we don't have Zion with our district, because we have Zion with them!!!! Hermanas Eberhard and Zambito are my favorite peeps ever. I will take a picture with them right now so you can see their beautiful faces.

Have a great summmmmer! And congrats to my 2015 grads :) can't believe that was 2 years ago for me :0

-Sister Layton