Monday, February 27, 2017

The Work, Sunsets & Minions Make For An Awesome Week!

Elders Layton & Raimnundo

It has been an awesome week! First off, I just got an email from Elder Good that Las Acacias is doing really well. He said Dario, our investigator got baptized and Sebastian has a baptismal date! So that is pretty exciting. 

Also, it was Elder Raimundo`s birthday on Thursday. We took a bus up to San Jose to have a lesson and lunch with a recent convert, Carlos Etcheveste. They gave us the best lunch ever- chicken and potatoes (hermana Etcheveste is a super good cook) and we also had a cake after :). 

Afterwards, we had a little extra lunch time and so we went and tried on a couple disney costumes that they have. Familia Etcheveste lived in the states for a few years and worked in disneyworld, so they have a whole room filled with a bunch of costumes they for some reason got. But it was really funny, and even though it was literally the hottest thing I have ever worn, it was worth a few minutes for some awesome pictures as a despicable me minion haha. 

Elder Layton said they were really hot, but it was worth it!

We found a great new investigator named [...] this week, We had contacted him a couple weeks ago but made it back to Barrio Ombu on Wednesday (a small neighborhood out in the middle of nowhere). When we got there, he didnt answer and right when we were about to leave, all of the sudden some music turned on inside. It was the band `Red Hot Chili Peppers` and Elder Raimundo was excited because that is his favorite band haha. So we waited for another minute because we figured he was home, but no one answered. 

We were just about to leave again when [...] that 13 year old kid we ran into a few weeks ago saw us and came to talk to us. He was with a few of his friends, and I am glad they talked to us because after talking for a bit, [...] pulled up in his car, and let us come in. 

Gorgeous Sunset - Elder Layton said the pic didn't do it justice
We ended up having a great lesson with him, and he is really receptive and awesome, so I am glad we had a few of those stalls happen before he came home, or we would have missed him. He was really excited when we gave him a Book of Mormon and he rewarded us with ice cream (the mission is totally worth it! haha) 

We were contacting this week and ended up finding an old investigator named [...]. We had taught her a lesson a month or so ago, but could never find her after. It turns out she had moved to her sister`s house. We taught the restoration to the both of them and it was really great! They also said they would be baptized if God answers their prayers!

I love the mission so much and I truly feel so blessed by being here! I know that God really has a perfect plan for each one of us and like Romans 8:28 says, all things will work together for our good if we love God and follow his commandments. The church is so true everyone! Don't forget it!

Elder Layton

Monday, February 20, 2017

Grateful to Know That Our Savior Was So Willing

Hey everyone!

We spent half of our last P-Day in Concepcion because our zone meeting went long and the next bus to Colon wasn't until the afternoon. But it was fun, we did some stuff with the zone. Most of our zone stayed the same this change, but we also got two more Elders, including Elder Passey from my group! So now our zone in Argentina has 2 districts, not one.

The roads were way more flooded than this before, but I never had my camera
We had another lesson with [...and...] this week. They are pretty awesome and [...] especially loves having us over. She says she has been praying a lot and said she saw her mother's face in the night sky telling her not to leave what she has. She is a lifetime dedicated Catholic, but she said she thought she had to pick between the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and couldn't leave the Bible (even though we have repeatedly told her we also believe in the Bible haha). But we are trying to make sure they understand that the Book of Mormon doesn't replace or take anything from the Bible, but only adds to it and gives us additional light and knowledge. To me, it is evidence that God loves us because he wants to give us more and help us really understand his will for us. 

She has some fears because she is receiving some criticism from her son for listening to us, and her family has been Catholic for a really long time, but she says she feels the Book of Mormon is true when she reads it, and always feels good when we come by to share a message. We am really hoping we can help her and [...] distinguish their doubts and fears and trust in the path God has laid for them!

We also found a couple new investigators named [... and ...] this week. He is 19 and she's 22, and they were recently married. They are super nice and receptive and although they didnt have a ton of time in the first lesson, the accepted a BOM and said we could come back to teach more. I love teaching people who are real seeker´s of truth, and it just makes you feel so happy when you see others making steps closer to Jesus Christ!

[...] is doing really well too! We still haven't been able to get her to church because she was out of town this weekend, but every lesson goes so well with her and her nieces and nephews across the street who come over to listen each time. Last week we introduced her to a ´quit smoking in 7 days´ program by the church, and the last we checked up, she is diligently following all the steps every day, and hadn't smoked a cigarette in 5 days! She is really awesome, and is progressing a ton- we just need to get her to church!!

Super cool to hear about [...] and her family! Also, tell Alexandra thanks for me, that was really nice of her to write that. 

I would like to thank all of my family and friends for your prayers and support as I am serving here in another country. The mission isn't easy but there is one thing I know- the Atonement was far more difficult than serving a mission. And I am so grateful that our Savior was so willing and loving to do all he did for me and each one of you! I know that He lives! And I am hoping I can do all that I can to give back, because it is really only a small sacrifice considering all I have been blessed with! And the mission may not be easy, but it is totally worth it!! I love you all, and thanks for your prayers!

Elder Layton

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Marvellous Mormon Mario Missionaries

Hey everyone!

It has been a pretty long week. Lots of walking and lots of rain but still AWESOME as always! To start, we got our changes. Elder Raimundo and I are staying together for another 6 weeks :). I am excited because spanish has gotten a lot easier to speak and understand without thinking too much this past change, and I hope it can improve a lot this change too. It is kind of nice not having to translate every word that flies out of the mouth of a Latino, but just being able to understand. 

Doing What He Loves

Anyways, it has been super rainy the past couple of days. Yesterday, not many people were able to make it to church, and it started flooding a lot. But it turned out to be a great day. 

Elder Raimundo and I were out in the edge of our area and went to go visit an investigator and a couple of good contacts we had made on other days. Of course, nobody was home, or they were taking an extended siesta (nap time) due to the weather, and so we really had nothing to do. We were about to start walking back to go contact more in the city, when the rain finally stopped for the first time in about 24 hours. So that was nice. And then I heard someone trying to get our attention a little ways down, and we went to go talk to him. 

Yes, he's the Gringo

His name is [...] and is only 13 years old, but is so curious about religion. He at first thought we were Jehovah's Witness´, and has never met missionaries, but we got talking to him and he is a really neat kid! He said he is just so fascinated by different beliefs, and is always looking for more truth! We wanted to go in his house and teach him, but he said his mom was sleeping, and would get mad if he brought strangers in. 

We started looking around for a place to sit outside, but there was really no where way out there and everything was soaked anyways, so we just decided to teach him the restoration there standing in front of his house. And it was super awesome! He understood the message really well  and even before we taught about the first vision, and were talking about the great apostasy, he said he would think that if God wants to guide us he would call a prophet again like he did in ancient times. That led perfectly into the first vision and restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and he said it all made sense to him. We testified of The Book or Mormon, and when we gave him one he was so happy! He said that he wanted to read it all in one day, and was so grateful! Also that we can come back any day. 

Elder Raimundo Doing His Best Mario Impersonation

Not even five minutes after we left our new friend, the rain started up again, this time even harder! I think it was a miracle, after all the rain we had been consistently getting, it stopped for just 30 minutes, allowed us to find him, and then continued when we left. I am really excited to go back to teach him! 

Anyways, as Elder Raimundo and I were walking in the wind and rain, it was so bad that our umbrellas literally did nothing. So then we just kind of embraced it, and stopped trying to avoid the more flooded parts of the street. It is funny, we were completely soaked, trudging through calf high water, and getting rejected by every person that wasn't sleeping, but I just felt so happy, I can't even explain it. I love being here on the mission. I know that the Lord comforts us, when times are hard. Even when we feel like turning back, like in Alma 26:27, the Lord somehow raises our spirits. We were so soaked, cold, and kinda tired, yet felt so happy. So awesome. 

 I know the church is true. I am grateful to be a missionary. The power of The Book of Mormon is so very real because it is from God and for us. I know that. I will never neglect the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon and of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am so grateful to have the Gospel in my life and to have the opportunity to share it with all of my brothers and sisters here in Argentina/ Uruguay. I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Layton

Monday, February 6, 2017

Recognizing the Fruits of the Spirit

Elders Raimundo and Layton
Well, it has been a super awesome week and we have found some really awesome new investigators!! To start, we found this 11 year old stud named Thomas earlier this week and taught him the restoration. It was super awesome, the spirit was there, and he understood everything pretty well. He said he believes the message is true and we encouraged him to study and pray about it too in order to gain a witness from the spirit. But we extended him a baptismal invitation and he accepted! We are going to follow up with him today for another lesson, but he is super awesome and seems really interested.

We also found an older couple named [...] and [...]. We contacted them last week and gave them a restoration pamphlet. When we came back this week, She invited us in, sat us down and said she had all of these questions about the folleto she read, and we had to explain it better to her. So we taught her this message, and she started understanding very well, saying that it all made sense. [...] was cooking during the beginning of the lesson, but then joined us part way through as well. But it was seriously an incredible lesson. They were really receptive and fun to teach. 

[...] has been a lifelong faithful member of the Catholic church but said there was something different she felt about our message. Then she started telling us how she was feeling, and mentioned every witness of the spirit that I can think of- peace, joy, comfort, love, and that it just feels right. Seriously so awesome. We definitely think we are going to extend a baptismal date in the next lesson for the both of them. She is an author, and loves to read, and became really excited when we gave her a Book of Mormon!
This is a Sapo (Toad), quite large. They make a WAAAAAAAAAAA sound.

And now for [...]- she is making SO much progress!! We had a Noche de Hogar (FHE) with her and the Cacosso family last Monday. We watched ´Un Legado Sigular, El Libro de Mormon´ , shared some scriptures and thoughts, and then ate homemade ice cream (sooooo good!). She really enjoyed the video and I think it made a big impact on her, because we have had a couple more lesson with her this week as well, and each time she has been reading a ton more than just what we leave her with. She is progressing a ton!! I can see her testimony growing a lot and now each time we come over she is waiting for us with chairs out, her daughter, and three of her nieces and nephews that like listening! 

In our last lesson with her, I was here with Elder Castro on divisions and after we finished the lesson, she started showing me all of the answers to her questions she had found just in one night. And then, when Elder Castro was talking to her other family members, she told me that she received a really direct answer to her prayers and that she wants to share her spiritual experience with us when it is more private, because her family was all there. But she is seriously so awesome, and has been diligently studying, seeking, and pondering about the scriptures every day!

The Lord is surely giving us blessings and it is awesome because I know He is preparing people to hear His message. Seriously, even though this area hasn't had a baptism in nearly a year, I feel super excited about this next change and think that we might have a couple. 

By the way we just learned that the new assistant to the President will be.... Elder Layton! Haha, it is true, but that is the other Elder Layton that is in our mission right now :) 

On Saturday, we had the most BOMB asado with family Godoy. Man, I wish you all could experience this asado I had. Literally the best thing ever. I feel spoiled haha.

Elder Raimundo and I still haven't received our changes yet for Wednesday, so I will have to let you all know next week! But I love this work. The Lord seriously blesses us when we are obedient and follow His Spirit. I know this work is true and that there are unimaginable blessing in store for those who choose to follow Christ. I love you all so much! 

Elder Layton