Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Lord Has His Hand In All Things

Well, it wasn't easy but we got Gladys´ baptism to go through! This whole week they have been doing construction around the church building, and when we tried filling up the font on Saturday before the baptism, the water started coming out all dirty, so we had to cancel the baptism and get things figured out. some people had to come fix the pipes and all, and so we changed it to Sunday morning before church. Luckily, Gladys took it well, and didnt have any problems. In fact, when we swung by her house Saturday afternoon to tell her we would need to reschedule it for the next morning, she told us it was ok, because she had had a dream the night before where something had happened with the water and she couldn't get baptized. So she was happy when she found out we could still do it the next morning, because she was worried about not making the temple trip this week with the ward. I felt bad though because one of our investigators had actually changed her work schedule to be able to make it to the baptism, because she wanted to see it. Bummer. But the most important thing is that Gladys was baptized, and it was really amazing. Elder Peterson got to baptize her and I got to confirm her that same day, which was cool, because it was the first time I had ever done so.

We had division with the zone leaders this week, and it was really great. Elder Honorato went with Elder Peterson to our area, and I went to Barrio 5. They got [...] with a baptismal date for January 6th too. Afterwards, Elder Honorato told me, ´Well, her parents may not bring her to church, but she will sure bring them to church´ haha. She is a really special little nine year old. She came with her great-grandma on Sunday, and apparently really loves church. Man, I sure  can´t remember sitting very reverently when I was nine :). 

Today for P-day, we went to talk to Gladys a little about the temple trip, and wanted to see if her granddaughter Belen could give us a haircut, since that is what she does for work. Well right when we got there and asked, Belen said ´ Perfect, we were actually just about to start a teaching class, and we need someone to practice on!´ Haha, so we just went with it. She had like 15 people crammed in this room haha. BUT- it was awesome! First off, she said it was free, since it was for a class. Next, we got our heads washed and massaged three times each. Then, when I got my haircut, two people were cutting it at the same time. Haha wierd, but it turned out solid :)

Also, it was really awesome because just yesterday, Gladys was at another granddaughter´s house in Barrio Torres, when the missionaries over there, Elder Parsons and Elder Tholstrom came over for a charla! Her name was [...] but apparently Gladys helped a lot in the lesson and now she wants to get married and baptized too!! And on top of that, I guess in Ferro Carrill the missionaries just contacted her boyfriend (without receiving a reference or anything), who said he would accept the charlas! So everything is coming together in T-Bo :) To me, it is amazing how the Lord guides his servants to where the should be and when, to fulfill his eternal purposes!! I love this work. I am so grateful to have seen Gladys get baptized this week! Anyways, thanks for all of your letters. Have an awesome week everyone!

Elder Layton

Baptisms of Facundo and Lucia

Hola mis queridos familiarers y amigos!

Well, we were able to have two baptisms on Saturday! Wooooh! Facundo and Lucia both got baptized, and it was such a neat experience! And the ward was so supportive! The baptismal service seriously looked just like a normal sacrament meeting, and then everyone had to squeeze in the Priesthood room for the actual baptisms haha. 

[...] is doing well too. We only saw her once this week, but she has been reading the BOM and already told us she feels it is true. We talked a little about marriage, and she actually took it really well! She said she would talk to her partner and that she doesn´t think he will have any problems with it, which is really awesome because they already have a few kids together. The only downside though is apparently the marriage could take a while because I guess the judge who would have to legally sign off on it is going on vacation until mid-January. I don´t really know how all of that works, but a few people have told us that, so that is lame haha.

Anyways, [...] is doing AMAZING! She is sooooo prepared, and seriously such a miracle. We had our first charla this week, and when we got there, she showed us that she already started reading the BOM we left her with on Sunday from the start, had prayed about it and that she knows it is true! And on top of that, she read both pamphlets we gave her, and 13 chapters of the Gospel Principles book from Sunday! She is suuuuper awesome. She wanted to know the absolute soonest that she could be baptized, and so she accepted a baptismal date for December 9th. And on top of that, she has been totally showing us up on missionary work haha. She apparently has been talking to a lot of her family and friends about the Gospel already, and gave us a few references after the first visit. She even went to go clean the church on Wednesday with the Relief Society, came to the baptisms on Saturday, and to church on Sunday, again with her little great granddaughter. She is already so excited about baptism!!

We have changes this week, and sadly, the whole district is getting torn apart :( Only Elder Peterson and I are staying. Elder Heaton and hermana Hibbert are both finishing their missions and Elder Ribeiro is going to be the new AP. It was a super awesome district :) Lots of fun. Gonna miss these guys!

Elder Layton

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Baptisms on the Horizon

Well, it has been a super solid week here in Tacuarembó Barrio 6! We are starting to see a lot of progress and potential here and Heavenly Father has been putting a lot of great opportunities in our path! 

First off, [...] is doing really well. He is a stud and this morning he committed to being baptized on December 9th! Elder Peterson has been teaching him guitar too, because [...] got one for his B-day but doesn't know how to play. Also, this week, a guy named [...] called us over (right when a charla fell through too) and said he wanted to receive the charlas again. 

Apparently he listened to the missionaries a few years ago but just a few months ago, he began to really clean a lot of things up in his life. We had a wonderful lesson and he almost committed to be baptized, but said he needs to read the BOM first. We also found an old lady upon the first door we knocked on Saturday morning, who was apparently one of the first converts in T-Bo many years ago. She was with her great granddaughter [...], who is nine, not baptized, and wants to go to church. Now we just need to coordinate with the parents. We also found a lady named [...] from a reference this week who has her parents and a lot of extended family who are members, but she never went since a little girl. She isn't married to her partner but was so incredible and even had the BOM and missionary lessons already from her parents which she has been reading before we came. She has never listened to the missionaries before but said baptism was something she would like to get to, because so many of her family are members of the church! And on top of that. there is a girl who has gone to church a few times in Barrio 5 with her friend, but lives in our area, so we are going tomorrow. I guess she wants to baptized tambien... Wow, how has so much happened in one week.....

And here is the best part... We had a real miracle on Sunday! So, we were a little bummed out at first because on two investigators came, when a lot more had committed for this Sunday. But then, 10 minutes to Sacrament meeting, a lady named [...] walked in with her little great granddaughter. We got to know her more in Gospel Principles, but she is SO amazing. She told us that she has gone to many churches in her lifetime, but has always felt that she couldn't ever find the true church of Jesus Christ. She told us that she has been praying all week that the Lord would guide her to His church, and that on Sunday morning before leaving the house, she specifically asked in prayer that she would be led to His church as she walked around. Well, she said she saw this one and felt to go in. Then after Gospel Principles, she told us that she knew this was the true church of Jesus Christ and that she wanted to be baptized!!! She told us that this is what she has been looking for all her life. WOW! How incredible!! Also, apparently in Relief Society, the President afterwards told me that Gladys had volunteered to come clean the church this week! We have a lesson with her tomorrow. So excited :). She is a miracle.

I am so grateful to my Padre Celestial for hastening His work! He truly has been blessing us with many opportunities recently. I love being a missionary. There is no greater work than this! And it brings so much happiness seeing God´s children progress in His Gospel!! I love you guys. Have a wonderful week! We sure will :)

Elder Layton

Update on Investigators

Hey everyone! Como estan??

I hope that all is well back at home. Things here are heating up, but Elder Peterson and I are starting to get so real solid tan lines :) Anyways, we have been working with a couple named [...] and [...], but this week they told us they weren't interested anymore. Well we asked if we could continue teaching their 12-year old son [...], who had sat down in the last lesson and seemed really interested. Luckily they gave us permission. 

We came back this week to see him, and he is doing really great. We left him with Alma 37:35-37, but he ended up reading the whole chapter, as well as various others! He said he prayed about it too! And then we came by on Sunday and brought him to three hours of church with us. And despite not having any jovenes his age, he seemed to like it so that was pretty awesome! 

Also, while we were walking him to church, we came across some guy named [...] who we met last week at a community service project we went to. He told us he was baptized as a little boy. but hasn't gone since. We hadn't been able to find him for a charla yet, but upon running into him again in the street, we invited him to church, and he actually ended up coming! 

On Wednesday, the two missions in Uruguay went to Montevideo for a big conference with Bishop Dean Davies from the General Bishopric of the church. He is a really amazing and humble guy. After his talk, it was super cool because he and his wife sand a duet of ´Amad a otros´ and the the two missions joined in to sing a second verse. The Spirit there was really strong.

After the conference, the new missionaries (Elder Peterson) and the finishing missionaries all got to go to the temple and so returned to their areas a day later. Meanwhile, I was on divisions here in T-Bo with Elder Ribeiro and Elder Bowler. I was a fun day. We went to a recent convert in Barrio 5 for a lesson but he wasn´t home, so we instead ended up teaching this convert´s great-grandma who was aactually super cool. She accepted fecha in the first lesson, and came to church on Sunday (for Barrio 5). We also visited another one of their investigators named Gladys who has fecha for this week as well. And she is SO funny! She kept shouting ´HALLELUIAH´ in the middle of the lesson because she couldn´t contain her excitment to get baptized hahaha. I love Uruguayans, they are the funniest people.

Les quiero a todos tambien. Gracias por ayudarme estar aqui. La mision es una gran bendicion la verdad! Siento muy agredecido por tener un Padre Celestial que me conoce y tambien una familia tan especial. Yo amo el Evangelio de Jesucristo!! Sé que esta es su iglesia! Es una bendicion ser parte de ella. Espero que todos estan leyendo el Libro de Mormón!! Just do it! Que tengan una buena semana!! Chau chau!

Elder Layton

Monday, November 6, 2017

Crazy Weather in Uruguay

The Rambla´
Hey everyone! It sounds like it has been a solid week back at home for everyone! Thanks to everyone who has written to me! Anyway
, we have had some overly rainy days this week- nothing new. On Tuesday a little before we left the apartment it started to rain and the river behind our house or ´la rambla´ as it is called filled up in about 10-15 minutes. Then we left, and about five minutes later due to to the strong winds with the rain, my fourth umbrella on the mission got destroyed hahaha. And then I couldn't stop laughing because Elder Peterson was having the same battle with his umbrella and it is just really funny to watch as we walk around. 

So what happens here is when it is raining, there is usually a lot of wind involved, so if you try holding it above you body to protect against the rain, the wind immediately catches it, either turning it inside out, or causing it to catch like a sail. So what you kind of have to do is position the umbrella more downwards to prevent catching the wind. Well that makes the umbrella sorta useless because then most your body gets soaked since the umbrella isn't positioned directly above.

Umbrella Fail
Anyways, this week we saw our nine year old investigator [...] who we have fecha for this month (he's on schedule for baptism) and we came to the charla planning to give him a Libro de Mormon. Well when we got there he already had a ´O Livro de Mormon´ (Portugese). Haha interesting. Apprarently he had gone to Brazil this week with his parents and the missionaries there happened to come upon them. They gave him a Potugese BOM, so that was pretty cool :) Anyways, he is a real stud. He sometimes gets shy with us, but reads suuuper well, like better than me haha. We have been trying to incorporate some fun, creative lessons too to help him enjoy them.

We also found another english professor this week named [...]. She was really nice and wants us to come help her teach English this week. But it was awesome because she allowed us to have a charla as well, even though it was really late when we contacted her. She first off told us that she believed in God, but not in churches. After teaching the Restoration, we asked her what it would mean to her if God answered her and she came to know that Joseph Smith really saw God and Jesus Christ. Well, luckily she answered perfectly, and said it would mean that our church is actually true, and that one should follow the guidance that was given to Joseph Smith. Awesome! Her husabnd seemed really nice too, but he was too busy watching fútbol... Uruguayans :) Gotta love ´em. They sure love their Maté. fútbol, greasy food and overly loud motorcycles hahaha. Love you guys. Have a great week!!

Elder Layton

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Welcome Elder Peterson!

Elders Peterson and Layton - Not the Ordinary
Hey everyone!

So we had a solid final week to our change. Elder Claros and I found an awesome couple named [...] and [...], who both had some family members baptized in the church many years ago. We also went back to the family Machado, and they are doing really well! They actually ready all of 3 Nephi 11 as a family from when we first saw them. They seem to enjoy the lessons, but still are hesitant to pray when we are with them. We also taught [...] the Word of wisdom, which she accepted, and the law of chastity, which she is thinking about. She lives with a guy right now so we are going to try to help her develop the faith necessary to follow all of the commandments!

Anyways, we got our changes on Saturday, and I am training now! So I am very excited for this learning experience. My new ´oro´ is called Elder Peterson and he is from Idaho. He is a total stud. It was awesome because when we were waiting in the Montevideo terminal, we contacted some lady. I handed Elder Peterson over a folleto to give it to the lady. We started talking to her and she was nice, but then when Elder Peterson tried giving her the folleto, she rejected it! The cool thing though was that afterwards, Elder Peterson said´Hey lets go do that again!´ So he has got a good attitude and we are going to have fun together :)

Today, for P-day, we played dodgeball and ate tacos. It was great :) Also, it is funny, because now, our whole district is gringos, and so we just had the district meeting in english haha. Wierd! Best district ever though!!

The mission is suuuuper awesome. Elder Peterson and I are gonna see miracles this change, I am sure!! Love you guys!!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Following the Example of the Good Shepherd

A Grateful Lamb
Hey everyone!

This week, overall was a little pesado, but we had the day yesterday! We found two suuuuper awesome families- one a family of five and one a family of six! Seriously miracles always happen after a good day of fasting on the mission. 

The second of those is the [...] family. And wow, when they opened their door, they immediately invited us in, put us in a room to talk with of few of their kids for a good while, while they were preparing food for us (I had hardly shook the parents hands coming in and didn't even know their names yet while they were preparing food for us). I totally thought they already knew the missionaries or something, but the wierd thing is that this family had NEVER even talked with missionaries before. So when I found that out, I was absolutely shocked how open and friendly they were to us before hardly even presenting ourselves haha. 

Another Good Shepherd?
The funny coincidence though is that their ten-year old nephew was there too and was apparently baptized in another ward just a few months ago! So, before we started teaching, we were getting to know him and the other few kids there. [...] was saying ´Hey, I have that Mormon book!´ haha. Also, he made some good little comments as we taught the Restoration to the family. It was incredible though, during the lesson, there were eight of us squeezed in a little room, and while we were teaching, they all listened quietly and reverently. 

The dad, named [...], seemed very fascinated when we introduced the Book of Mormon, and committed to reading it. It was cool because yesterday, when we came was also his birthday! I hope we were able to give him a good birthday gift :) Not sure how you can beat the BOM!!

A Rainbow Tacuarembó
Also, yesterday after the familia [...], out of nowhere came seriously the HUGGEST lightning storm I have ever witnessed in my life. Man, it was actually so incredible. The first strike of lightning lit up the whole sky, and literally stretched all the way across. In fact, the crazy thing is it lasted for like two seconds, rather than just being super quick, so it was like blinding! Wow, I wish you all could have seen it. It was sure something. That was followed by many more huge stormy bolts of lightning. but it was just so insane how long they were lasting, so we could just stare at them haha. Then came the flash flood... Yeah that one wasn't so nice, because we weren't too prepared...

Anyways, yesterday was really the only eventful day of the week. It seemed like a lot of other wierd stuff happened yesterday too haha, but I´ll just leave it at that.

Love you guys so much. Thanks for all of your support. Have a wonderful week!!

Elder Layton