Monday, September 28, 2015

Many Miracles

Dear Family & Friends,

Well, I absolutely loved every minute of this week!

On Monday, preparation day ended early so I could go on an exchange
with Sister Beecher from the Plainview YSA Branch. She's an amazing
missionary and we saw wonderful things happen together. She knows the
Vanhille boys, and guess what - she babysat my roommate Madeline Craft
once upon a time! Small world.

Sister Cook came to Patchogue with my companions.. I missed them so
much!! Reuniting with them was the happiest thing. They're just so
cute!!! In hopes of making me laugh, they decided to only wear my
clothes that day. And boy did I ever laugh when I saw them.

Tuesday night we had a meeting with Our stake president, President
Hardman to talk about the deaf members of the stake. HE IS AMAZING. We
love him. His conversion story is remarkable. Before experiencing the
Doctrine of Christ, he was one of those men who stood outside of
general conference and protested. He was convinced this was the church
of the devil. That is, until he read a little bit of the Book of
Mormon. He knew it was true, the spirit told him, and was not very
happy about it because he DID NOT WANT to be Mormon. He hated Mormons!
But he knew he had to follow the promptings of the spirit. It took him
a while to be baptized. He was so stubborn and wouldn't believe
anything anyone told him. He insisted on receiving every answer from
God... And he did. He is such a revelatory man! I gained so much
understanding as to how to help these deaf people as I listened to him
teach us. Really what it got down to was, all of us, especially deaf
people must receive our testimonies from the inside out. Humans are
like light bulbs when it comes to truly understanding the gospel of
Jesus Christ!
Anyways, the point was, it doesn't matter if the deaf people can't
hear what's being said in church, it doesn't matter if we can't go to
their local meeting house to interpret for them, it doesn't matter if
they can't make it to the deaf group in south shore. What matters is
that we as missionaries teach them how to learn FOR THEMSELVES...
Teach them how to receive the spirit, how to get answers to their
prayers, etc. Really, it was things I already knew, but it was SO
POWERFUL coming from him.
I love President Hardman. Good/bad news: he's moving to Utah!!! I'm so
excited. The Plainview Stake is sad... :(( it's weird, all the strong
Long Islanders have either already moved, are in the process of
moving, or plan to move soon). South shore ward is about to fall apart
because of it, that is why we are fasting as a ward for more members!!
We really really need it. South Shore might not be a ward in a few
months of it doesn't grow.

The most embarrassing thing happened this week...
There was trainer/trainee meeting in the city. It was great! The
Union Square ASL Elders and Sisters were there so it was fun seeing
BEST DAY EVER. HE IS SO FOREVER CHANGED. Not only can he communicate
with people through sign language now, but he also understands the
gospel, can read the Book of Mormon with the help of a companion, and
now he can HEAR REAL LOVE SOUNDS. he can even say his name!!! I was so
happy for him!!!! He is a modern day miracle. I guess I am too now
that I think about it.

Funny story: I was interpreting for Elder Brown at the meeting when
they turned on a movie that I could not understand for the life of me.
Elder Brown was like "come on, what are they saying?" I said "I have
no idea! I need an interpreter myself!" He turned to a plastic cup and
said to it, "you're a better interpreter than Sister Layton." HAHAH.
Ok anyways Wednesday night we came home and our neighbor said our fire
alarm had been going off for hours! There was no fire, but the Co2
detector was going off as well. We couldn't get them down... Our
ceilings are pretty high and we have no ladder. Our neighbor tried to
help us since he's a bit taller but it wasn't working out too well. So
we called the senior couple in charge of housing, they told us to call
the fire department and send someone to "investigate," JUST IN CASE
there was a problem.
Well, Sister Deuel called and explained it was not an emergency, but
that we wanted someone to "investigate." Soon enough we had the whole
crew in front of our house. Ambulance, fire truck, everything.
Hahahahhaaaaaaaa how embarrassing.
In the end, it was a false alarm and everything was fine. The
firefighters did bring in their ladder to help us get the alarm off
the ceiling, so that was a win.
Not sure why that happened.... Maybe we planted some seeds? Only God knows.

People! A MIRACLE HAS OCCURRED. Aaaahhhhh I'm so happy about this one.
So, remember how we have a bunch of deaf investigators from Brentwood?
Some young, some old, most from Spanish families. Selvin is one of
them. He wants to get baptized, but he's super hard to teach. The
language barrier is such a struggle... He doesn't understand much ASL.
For a while we've had a desire to teach our deaf investigators
families, but they speak Spanish so its rough. Well, this week we
managed to communicate with Selvin's mother enough to get her phone
number. The Hermana's called her and taught her the Restoration the
CHURCH. AND THEY LOVED IT. can you even believe that? We weren't able
to be there to interpret for him, but I have faith he felt the spirit
I have a testimony that the gospel blesses FAMILIES. even if only one
person is striving to grow closer to Christ, the whole family will be
blessed because of it. I'm so happy for Selvin because the family
truly is the best place to learn and apply the gospel, and I know that
he will understand more clearly as his family is learning with him :)
Hopefully the Hermanas will be able to teach our other investigators
families soon! Pray for that, will you?

Ok this is getting long but we SAW SO MANY MIRACLES THIS WEEK. Here's one more.
We were driving down the street when we saw a FAMILY outside
of their house. It's not often you see that. You all know Sister
Layton loves pulling over and talking to random people, on the street.
So what did we do? Pulled over and talked to them- "Hello! Have you
ever seen missionaries like us before?" Guess what comes out of the
mothers mouth, "I'm LDS!" Say what. My jaw dropped. I asked her name
and sure enough she's an inactive member we had been trying to call
and contact with no luck!

I could go on and on. I love my mission so much! I wish I had a year
left rather than just two months! We are so blessed to be on Christ's
team, the winning team! My companions and I choose a scripture to
memorize every week and recite it each morning before starting our
studies. This week we chose the Standard of Truth. It's so powerful! I
know the work of salvation will continue to progress until Christ
himself says "the work is done."

Best of luck watching conference!! We are excited out of our minds for
it. The past week has been full of testifying of a living prophet and
apostles to everyone. We've handed out too many invites to count.
Don't forget to prepare yourselves and have questions in mind... Or
else you might fall asleep.

See you soon.
Sister Layton

-This pic is for you mom! Elder Parrish and I. This is probably the
funniest picture I've taken my whole mission. I LOOK SO SHORT.
-the day they took over my wardrobe. Haha
-Sister Peterson and I fighting over Sister Deuel since her training
was split between the two of us :)
-this is probably the last pic you'll see of us before you see us come
down the escalator together❤️

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