Monday, August 17, 2015

Planting & Harvest


I felt like I'd share an experience to help you get feel of what it's like to be Sister Layton.
On Monday evening we were driving down the street when we looked out the window and saw a daughter of God strolling down the sidewalk. I thought to myself "maybe we should talk to her." But I brushed it off thinking she stuck out to me only because she had the most colorful hair I'd ever seen- every color of the rainbow and MORE. It looked like a bowl of skittles. So I didn't say anything except for "wow check out that hair!"

All of a sudden it was as if the Spirit said unto Sister Layton, "I hath delivered her into your hands, talk to her!" So Sister Layton said unto Sister Passey, "Sister we gotta talk to her!" Sister Passey said "ummm, sister....." And Sister Layton said "we have to! Drive a bit further down the street and pull into a parking lot. We will get out, walk in her direction, and approach her." So here come two sister missionaries "casually" strolling down the sidewalk trying to hide their smiles, knowing something AWESOME is about to happen! As we got near, Sister Layton said "Hey, sweet hair! Where'd you get that done?" Which led to a great conversation. We were able to explain our purpose as missionaries, testify of the blessings that the gospel can bring to people's lives, and ask S if she or anyone else she knew would be interested in drawing closer to Christ through hearing our message. S immediately lit up and said "I would be! I'm very interested actually!" So we got her number and texted her the next day to set up an appointment.  We found a spot on member to come with us to the appointment and everything was going PERFECT. 
And then S canceled the appointment.

We haven't been able to set up another appointment, yet :( (sorry not sure why)

So this is what happens all. the. time. We have cool experiences where we feel the Spirit lead us to someone pure in heart. We think that person is just READY for the gospel and are sooo excited to teach them! But then the person becomes impossible to contact or something else happens.
Or we have a perfect day planned- lessons all day with solid lesson plans, specific finding activities, member presents planned, etc. and then everything falls apart hahahah. Sometimes we come home and just lay on the floor staring at the ceiling wondering what we're doing with our lives. Sister Calderwood once said the best feeling ever is lying on the field of victory... And the second best feeling is lying on the field of defeat- exhausted&broken, but satisfied knowing you gave it your all! I agree with her! As much as I want everything to go perfectly everyday, there's nothing better than coming home after a crazy day feeling completely exhausted, knowing I tried my best.

Something I've learned time and time again on my mission is to trust in the Lord's timing. to realize His ways are higher than my ways. Before my mission I surely trusted God, but I definitely knew exactly how I wanted everything to work out. I thought I knew the best plan for me. I've since learned that God has specific plans for each of his children (myself included.) life goes a lot easier when I sit back and try to see the eternal perspective, try to see His plan and seek to do His will. A lot of my mission has been seed planting, just trusting and praying that the little seeds will bloom!

So far on my mission I've been blinded out of every area I've served in when the area was doing great! (That means both companions were transferred.) So I haven't had the opportunity to see a lot of the fruits. But one of the BEST THINGS EVER is hearing from missionaries now serving in my past areas that they started teaching someone my companion and I found or that people we were teaching are still progressing!

This week I received blessed news that some of those seeds I was talking about are blooming! 
Remember the T family? I told a story about them probably exactly a year ago. They're from Astoria English Ward. One day we were walking down the street in our neighborhood, saw them moving furniture, and said "Hey, need some help?!" After that we became their Angels lol. We literally ran into them ALL THE TIME out and about the town. They wanted their daughter O to be just like us, so we started teaching them. After a while we dropped them because things just didn't feel right.... Yet. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but Sister Board was sent back to Astoria for the end of her mission andddddddddddd she's teaching them again... they're GETTING BAPTIZED. I'm so happy hahaha. Tears of joy all over the place.

X is also getting baptized this week in the Union Square deaf branch! Sister Passey and I found her with the help of the Spirit in Manhattan one day and started teaching her and her husband. Now our dear friends Sisters Barker and Nash are preparing her for her baptism this week! Sisters B and N are teaching a lot of the deaf people that Sister Passey and I found but were never able to teach. It brings me so much joyyyyy yayayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

Hearing news like this gives me hope for this new little deaf group here in South Shore. Hope is SO vital as a missionary. Especially for this small, fragile deaf group we've been starting here on the island. Sister Passey and I worked tirelessly to find deaf people this week, and it just wasn't happening! We did find a few, but they weren't interested. Nonetheless, I have faith that this area will grow! It may not be the Lord's timing right now, but if we can just find the deaf people here on Long Island and plant the seeds, others WILL be able to teach them someday! 

Okay sorry that turned into a journal. Classic Sister Layton, am I right? Okay, story over. Hope you enjoyed it. This email is almost over I promise!

We actually had a lot of opportunities to teach this week! One of the highlights is F. awwww man I love her to bits. She's a 16 year old member in a solid family, but because she is deaf she doesn't know ANYTHING ABOUT THE GOSPEL. Her spanish ward doesn't have an interpreter and none of her family or church mates know sign language. Her family isn't willing to drive her to south shore for church either :( So she literally goes to church and sits there. Yet, she can feel the Spirit and knows it's good. I admire her so much for that. She knows it's true with all her heart, but doesn't know WHY.

We introduced her to the Atonement this week. WHOLE NEW CONCEPT. It was mind blowing, really. we had to explain everything from the bottom. Before the lesson she didn't even know it was possible to sin! After a lot of relying on the Spirit to teach her she was able to understand that Christ took upon himself her sins and she can repent. Oh haaaaaa and you should've seen her face when we explained that Jesus lived again after He died. All I can say is her jaw dropped right open. Another funny thing: we were explaining that you can only be baptized one time, but can renew our covenants by partaking the sacrament. She said "you can be baptized again! I was baptized 10 times in the temple!" Face palm. No one explained that she was being baptized for someone who was dead -__- 
I'm so grateful Sister Passey and I can teach F! I just can't believe no one has cared about her all this time. 
Oh, update: we aren't going on trek with F. We found an even better solution. B FROM THE UNION SQUARE ASL BRANCH IS GOING WITH HER. (She's a recent convert whose parents are deaf.) aaaahhhhh! Miracles!!!

Ok I have to gooooo we are in Brooklyn!
All my love!
-Sister Layton
P and J. Deaf investigators.
Yet another car selfie. Thought my cousins would enjoy this... "Designer shades🎶"😉

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