Monday, July 15, 2013

Well Done Hermana Layton

Wow.. I cannot believe that I am writing my last email! It didn't really hit me that I was leaving until I packed up all of my stuff last night. Uhh... It's going to be hard to leave... but I am excited to see everyone back home. 

It has been an amazing last week here in the mission field. Our investigators are doing great. _______ got confirmed on Sunday and he looked so happy. :) Also, ________ got baptized on Sunday and will be getting confirmed next week! I was so happy that I was still here for it. We had such a powerful lesson with him last week. He had a few doubts, but the spirit was so strong in the lesson and he couldn't speak because he was going to cry. He told us later that he doesn't cry in front of people so thats why he couldn't talk. Anyways, he felt ready for baptism after that. I am very grateful for the spirit that guides the lessons we teach. Without that guidance we would not be able to meet their needs. Anyways, we are teaching a lot of other people too and should have some baptisms coming up soon. I know that my companions will take good care of this area and the people here. 

This week I had some of the most interesting food on my mission. For district lunch I had tacos de lengua y tacos de cabeza (tongue and brain tacos). I actually really liked it. Maybe when we visit the mission we can go there so mom and Curtis can have the experience. Yeah that sounds like a good idea. :) What do you think dad?  We also were at a members this week and and she was feeding us tacos. When she brought it out it looked a little funny so I asked her what kind of meat it was. She kept telling us it was chicken but then her daughter came out and said, "Umm... I don't think thats chicken..." Haha turns out it was pig neck. It was kinda weird but it wasn't too bad I guess. Dad I'm sure you had all kinds of food like that on your mission right? (Not to my knowledge, no -  but probably.)

I am sooooo excited that Alexa is coming to this mission!!! The companions that I have had are all spread out now and a couple of them just got training calls for this coming transfer. There is a good chance that she will be with one of them, or at least be able to meet them. Most likely she will be in my same zone because that's where most of the sisters who are coming in will be. She is absolutely going to love it!!!!! I really hope I get to see her in the airport! :) Sister Budge just took my place as the coordinating sister so she might be able to go on an exchange with Alexa.

Well,  Sorry I don't have a lot to say. If I forgot anything I will tell you tomorrow. :) Love you all! 

~Hermana Layton

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I Love Them So Much & the Mission Has Changed My Life

Hey everyone!

It has been another great week! We just got back from the temple. I am so happy that we went before I came home, because some of the zones aren't going until next transfer. I know I say this every time, but I just love being there! It amazing how much you learn every time.

__________ got baptized on Sunday. He was so happy and it was amazing to see his whole family there. It was kinda a stressful baptism for a lot of reasons. It was combined with the elders baptisms and there were some confusions with who was making the program. ____________ and his family showed up almost 20 minutes late and everyone was waiting. Then [one of the recent converts] got scared because she was supposed to give that talk and she told us that she couldn't do it. Luckily we found a member that was willing to do it instead so we were happy about that. 

The elders asked us last minute to do the musical number and lets just say it didn't sound too good... Haha! Then during the baptism they said his name wrong and neither of the witnesses caught it so I jumped up there to tell them (I don't know if I was supposed to do that or not...) but I just wanted to make sure it was done right. And on top of all that, both the stake president and mission president decided to come.

The stake president pulled all of the missionaries aside after and wasn't too happy with how it went. We definitely made some mistakes but it's just too bad that that was the one baptism that he decided to come to. There were just a lot of miscommunications. Anyways, other than all of that it was great, and the important part is that he got baptized right? :) He has changed so much in the last couple of weeks, it really has been a miracle.

As for [another investigator], he is still planning on getting baptized but there were a few things that we are helping him work through. Hopefully it will be this coming weekend but if not then the next. He just started school and has been really busy with that and work. We didn't get to meet with him a lot this last week but we are seeing him tonight so we should know more then. 

I don't know if I already told you about [another investigator], but we have been teaching him for a while and he accepted a baptism date. His wife was not interested at all at first but now she has opened up a ton! We couldn't get him to come to church but his wife came with three of her kids. She is planning on coming again and said it was really interesting. 

Also, I don't know if I told you about la familia _________, but she is a member and her husband is not. A few of months ago he had an accident at work and was in a coma for almost two months. They didn't know if he would live or ever be the same but they have seen a miracle with him. He is back home and can talk again. He can even walk with a walker. Anyways after all of this happened he has been way more open to listening to us. He even came to church on Sunday and loved it! He wants to come again next week. 

Mom, to answer you question about the guy that we found a while back who we felt prompted to visit... We actually met with his wife this week and she seems amazing. We have another appointment to meet with both of them together. He has been really busy with work so we haven't met with them as much as we would like to, but I still have a very good feeling about them. :) I know we were led there. 

Lets see what else... We met a guy named [investigator] this week and he actually stopped us while we were on our way to an appointment. He said, "Why are your people always so happy? How can we be that happy?" We made an appointment to come back and teach him. He seemed really into learning more. We also are teaching [still another investigator] and [yet one more investigator]. [The gentleman] has cancer so the elders came to give him a blessing. They both felt the spirit very strong and he even said that he was feeling better after that. We invited them to get baptized and they both accepted! It was a special experience. There are so many other amazing people we have been blessed to meet and I am just so happy to be here and be a part of this work. It is not going to be easy for me to leave but I'm not going to worry about that yet. I still have some time to work! I love these people so much and the mission has changed my life. :)

The 4th of July was fun! It was hard to find people that day though. No one really wanted to listen, and there were parties everywhere. When we came home to plan we kept getting distracted because there were about 10 firework shows going around our apartment. It was fun to watch even though we get to see disneyland fireworks almost every night. Yesterday was also fun. The members think its really funny to feed us chiles.

Dad you know chiles de arbol? (Yes, I know about the chiles de arbol. Pretty hot, but only about 10% of the habanero. Weak stuff that! :) ) Our members gave them to us. My companions reactions were soooo funny!!! It was hot but I actually like chile so it wasn't too bad especially when I put it in my food... This week for district lunch they are making me eat tacos de lengua and cabeza (tongue tacos and brain tacos). Yeah gross. They are doing it with me though. Haha I have to have the experience before I go home right? :) 

Ok well nothing else exciting happened this week besides the fight I watched outside of our apartment window this morning and the homeless man that crawled out of the preschool... Haha! Ok, I have to go! Love you all! See you next week! :)

Love you all so much and I can't wait to see you. :)

~Sister Layton

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Mission is So Amazing and Life Changing

Hey everyone!

We have had a great week full of miracles and blessings. I just love being a missionary! 

The first miracle was with _______. When we first met him he didn't believe in God. He didn't want anything to do with us. Slowly he started opening up more and more. Well this week when we were teaching him we asked if he believed in God. He said yes because he has been feeling something different. Then we asked him if he believes that this church is true and he said, "Yes because everything you taught just confirmed the feelings that I have been having." He really understands what we are teaching and asks very good questions. This Sunday he came to church with his family for the first time. It has been such a miracle to see the change in him and in their entire family. 

Church has been a little hard for ___________ because she doesn't understand as much spanish, but her mom doesn't understand a lot in english. We hope she will start to like it more. Anyways, _______'s baptism date was for the 14th of July but his mom has to work that afternoon and so they asked if we could do it on the 7th! We are so excited for him. Also _______ is still doing really well. He was supposed to get baptized this last Sunday but we needed a little more time so he is planning on doing it this weekend on the 6th. He is going to be a great member! 

Lets see what else... We went over to our investigator _________'s house to drop him because he was not progressing at all but he pretty much asked us to keep coming and said that he is ready to act and start reading and coming to church. Hopefully he will start progressing now. We have been teaching __________ for a while now and he finally accepted a baptism date for the 21st of July, and we have started teaching his family as well. He is really trying to change bad habits in his life and come closer to his family. We know that the Gospel is going to help him a lot. :) 

Early this week we found another lady and she accepted a baptism date for the 21st of July as well. She wasn't home for our last appointment though so hopefully we will be able to find her again. Lately we have started working with a less active family. They are coming back to church but it is actually really sad. Their 8 year old son has cancer and tumors all over his body. He probably doesn't have much longer to live. He is the sweetest little boy and it has been a special experience to be able to teach him. Their family has been so strong and we are just praying that they will be ok. Well, I am definitely going to miss it out here when I have to go. The mission is so amazing and life changing. 

This week I went on exchanges with sister Morley and Rollins in Anaheim. It was fun to be back there and get to see some of the members again. It was also fun to be with my old companions. They are working so hard and definitely taking care of our area in Anaheim. :) Mom to answer your questions about Sister Nnah's hair, yes we had to take out all of the braids but we cut it so short because those were actually extensions. (That makes more sense.) Her hair is shorter so I wasn't actually cutting her real hair. It just makes it go a little faster doing it that way. It was definitely a project though! Haha. Under all of those pretty extensions she has a fro! It was pretty funny. She is from Boston, but her parents are from Nigeria. Cool huh?

Next week I might not email until Tuesday because we get to go on a temple trip. I was so happy that I get to go again before I go home! :)  Well thats it for the week. Love ya all!

Hermana Layton :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

So They Brought Their Little Children and Set Them Down Upon the Ground Round About Him (3 Nephi 17:12)

My dearest family,

Things here in the mission are great as always. It was kind of a slow week because we had so many meetings and random stuff come up. 

We had district meeting, presidents interviews, and also a 9 week follow up training meeting for sister Nnah and all of the missionaries that came in with her. We went to the broadcast as well. 

Sister Nnah Must Be a Trusting Soul

Also, every few months sister Nnah has to do redo the braids in her hair, which takes hours to take them all out, and then hours to get them done again. With that and our studies it almost took a day. It was quite the project but we had fun. 

Is Sister Nnah Under There Somewhere?

We went on a couple of exchanges this week which was so much fun! I went back to Santa Ana 10 with sister Budge and they happened to have a big service project with the ward that day so I was able to see a lot of the members. It was fun to be there and see everyone! We also went on another exchange, but this time I stayed in my area.

We were doing our language study outside and a little group of six or seven kids came up to me to get stickers. Then they sat across from us on the bench and asked what we were reading. 

We showed them the Book of Mormon and they were surprised that we were reading in spanish and so they asked us to read to them (See 3 Nephi 17:11-25). They were silent as we read about when Christ came to the Americas and blessed the little children. We showed them pictures and they asked us questions about Christ. No wonder we are supposed to humble ourselves as the little children. They were so cute! I just love the little kids here. :)

She Loves the Kids

Lets see what else... ___________ got a calling on Sunday so that was exciting. They just forgot to tell her so it was kinda a surprise. It will be really good for her though. Hopefully they will give one to __________ soon too. She really wants to serve and help out in any way that she can.

Well thats about all of the exciting news for the week other then the crazy drug bust that we watched right outside of our apartment this morning while we were doing companionship study. Haha. Well, sorry I didn't have much to write today. Have a great week! Love you all! :)

Hermana Layton

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Beatboxing with Sister Nnah

Hey fam!

First of all HAPPY FATHERS DAY DAD! I hope you had a great one. I was thinking about you all day and how lucky I am to have the best dad in the world. I love you so soo much and am very grateful for your example. Thanks for all that you do. :)

Well, it's been another great week. I just love being a missionary! :) [The new convert] was confirmed yesterday in church and she looked very happy. [A current sister investigator] has been doing really well. She shared her testimony in gospel principles and was answering questions that investigators had. It is amazing to see how much she has changed already and how happy she is now. [Another investigator] also came to church again and he is still planning on getting baptized on the 30th of June. He is progressing really well. Its funny because he is already best friends with most of the ward since he talks so much. He is very social. We are hopefully having a family home evening with him and a family in our ward tonight so that should be good for him. 

Last night I was able to go back to Santa Ana 10 because one of sister Withams investigators was getting baptized. It was great to see everyone again! :) I miss that ward. I am grateful to be here in Fullerton though because I absolutely love the members here! It is probably my favorite ward out here on the mission. 

Yesterday I gave a talk in sacrament meeting which will probably be my last one on the mission. It was nice because they pretty much let my pick any topic I wanted. On Friday we had a Fathers day party and had a talent show. They asked us to do something and so we sang a hymn but added a little beatboxing thanks to sister Nnah. I will try to send the video, it was pretty funny. 

Anyways, sorry this is kind of short. I love you all so much! :) 

(With just over 3 weeks to go, the letters seem to be getting shorter. Next week we might get a paragraph, we'll see.)

~Hermana Layton

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Referrals from Members Are So Powerful

Hello everyone!

It has been another great week here in Fullerton! __________ got baptized last night and the spirit was so strong. She had the biggest smile on her face the whole time. She said that she felt really good and she looked so happy. She was so nervous for her interview and the baptism but she did such a great job. _________ and her mom were wanting to wait to do the baptism until ________'s birthday in August but we had a very powerful lesson at the beginning of the week and they realized that she was ready now. I am so grateful for the guidance of the spirit and that ________ and her mom were both able to recognize it. She is so happy with the decision that she made. _______, came to the baptism but we have not been able to get him to come to church. He has opened up a lot since we started teaching him but when we talk about baptism he doesn't seem very excited. We will still be working with him though and praying that he will see the changes in _________ and ___________. They are great examples to him.

The members in this ward are so amazing. We have a member in the ward named Hermana Bautista and she is the most amazing member missionary I have ever met. She brings us around her neighborhood to everyone she knows so that we can share the gospel with them. When she doesn't know some of her neighbors she goes over there and gets to know them so that she can introduce us to them later. She doesn't have any fears at all about sharing the gospel. We have already gotten 12 member referrals from her and she said that she still has a lot of people that she wants to introduce us to. She is such a good missionary and an example to everyone. I know it's not always that easy to find friends to share the gospel with, but referrals from members are so powerful and I am just so grateful when the members understand that. Something that I have really learned out here is how to be a member missionary. Even though I might not be able to stay out here on the mission as long as I want, I know that I can still be a missionary once I get home. 

______ is still doing well. He came to church again on Sunday and loved it. He is still preparing to get baptized on the 30th of June and we are excited for him. He has been working on living the word of wisdom and said that he has felt a lot better as he has been doing it. He has already seen a difference and its been about a week. I am grateful to be teaching him. He was a referral from a member. I know they progress so much faster when they have that member support. We are also teaching a girl named _________. She is also a friend from a member in our ward (Thank you members!) and she's progressing really well. She has been coming to church for a couple of weeks now and really likes it. Her older sister is also talking lessons from the singles elders. Their parents are not really into it but are very willing to let their kids learn and choose what they want.

Well, thats about it for the week. I love the gospel so much! If everyone who reads this finds just one person to share the gospel with I know that there will be miracles. :) Have a great week everyone!

~Sister Layton

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Staying in Fullerton

Hey fam!

This morning we had transfers. I will be staying here in Fullerton as my last area! I am super happy! Sister Budge went back to Santa Ana 10 (The city of Orange), and sister Witham came here with sister Nnah and I. Sister Witham is from Utah and she got out here a couple of transfers ago. I am excited for another great transfer!!!

Things here in Fullerton are great! __________ is doing really well and is very happy that her kids are both listening to us now. __________ came to church again. She loves the first meeting but not the second class as much because its hard for her to understand what's going on. She is more comfortable with english but her mom is way more comfortable with spanish. They want to go to the same ward so it makes it hard for her. We have also still been teaching __________ and he is actually really enjoying it. He still hasn't made it to church, but hopefully soon. He has opened up a lot and we are excited to keep working with him. We are also still teaching __________ and he is progressing really well. He finally committed to a baptism date For June 30th but seems a little bit nervous. He came to church again and loves it. He participates a lot in the classes. He also wanted to come see the baptism last night but his ride fell through and so he ended up getting there late. At least he was able to eat some food and talk with all of his new friends, so I think he had a good time. We also have just started teaching a lady named ________. She has loved the lessons so far and seems to be progressing really well. She came to church yesterday. She seemed to like it but said it was really long for her. She has visited a lot of different churches and likes learning about new ones. Hopefully all goes well with her.  

Lets see what else... I went on exchanges again this week with sister Rollins so that was fun. I am always learning so much from the sisters in the mission. I don't think I will be going on as many exchanges this transfer because they called a few more coordinating sisters since they are splitting the mission right when I leave. The few that got called will be moving to the Irvine mission next transfer. It is so crazy that the mission will be splitting! Anyways, I hope all is going well back home. Thanks for the emails and letters! Love you all! :)

Have a great week!!!!!!

~Hermana Layton