Monday, April 24, 2017

So Excited For This Baptism!

Well first off, the zone leaders came this week for an interview with [...] and she passed!! So she will be baptized this week on Saturday! So excited!! We feel really blessed to be able to finish this change with a baptism, and please pray that everything can go well. We don't have a baptismal font so we're going to have to use a little set up pool haha. We are really excited too because this will be the first baptism our area has had in a year! 

The Gringo gets the record. But holding his own in soccer is another matter.

This week we found an old investigator named [...]. She is super awesome and enthusiastic when we come by. She is a single mom with 6 kids, and works a ton every day, so I am sure that it really hard. We have introduced her to a couple members of the relief society and they are already giving her some visits! She was married to a return missionary a couple years ago but now lives alone with her kids. She has been reading the Book of Mormon too in what little time she has! The hardest thing for now will be getting her to the church as she works all day Sunday. But we have faith that the Lord can prepare a way for those who desire to keep the commandments!

Colon Missionaries

Elder Opazo had to get an ingrown toenail removed this week (ouch!!) and so he stayed with Marcos Cacosso, while I left for a couple hours with a youth named Pinu. It was fun and he also wants to go on a mission. We were able to have a good lesson with [...] and make a couple of contacts. And speaking of [...], Elder Opazo and I had a really great lesson with him and his partner, [...] the other day. She had a few doubts about the Book of Mormon, and then [...], who has been searching his own testimony turned to her and started telling her he knew it was true! He told her that there was no way Joseph Smith could have known about some of the prophecies made in Helaman 8 that he read, and how ´the book wasn't written yesterday or something´ haha. Super sweet! Now, just if we can get them to church!

We have had to spend a lot of time looking for houses this week, and finally we found a brand new apartment at a really great price! The apartment building is going to be finishing up in a couple of days and if we move there we would be the only ones in the whole building haha. We have like no options though haha, but it is really nice. Now we are just waiting on the financers to get some arrangements made. 

We had a ward mission leader called this week, someone named Freddy, which has been really awesome! He is getting really involved and is a return missionary, so that has been good.

This week, we were contacting and found the grandma of someone who was just murdered this week in another city! :( We have seen the posters all over the city and the news and stuff. as it is a huge deal here, so it was pretty crazy to find a relative. We testified to her about the Plan of Salvation and she said it was really hard on her, but we could pass by another day if we wanted. Pretty crazy experience.

P Day today has been super awesome. We found this rec room place in a mall and got permission from the zone leaders to go play! It was really fun and they had air hockey and basketball games and stuff like that. Oh yeah... and I totally got the record on the basketball game haha. 

Afterwards, Elder Opazo and I went and played soccer with a bunch of jovenes in the branch. It was fun. I was totally blowing it against all of these little latinos, but I as least made a header goal haha. So that was fun. 

Colon is really awesome. We have changes in a week, and I am honestly really hoping I can stay another change here, but we will see. Also, tomorrow I have to go to Montevideo for my cedula, or residency, which will ensure I won't have any more illegal problems haha. I love you all! Thanks for all the great letters and support.

Elder Layton

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Friends in Colon


Man, I am super pumped right now as I just heard I have a nephew on the way!! Congratulations Briana!! 

We have been searching a lot for house this week, and it has been tough. Colon is really touristy, and so most options are for a week or so. A couple that we have found are really nice but aren’t really missionary houses- They have like one big king size bed haha. Asi que vamos a seguir buscando.

Elder Layton and a Friend

We have had a lot of service opportunities this week as well. One really awesome one was on Saturday where we helped the Godoy family take out the roof on their house and make some changes and additions. It was really fun and it took most of the day. 

[...] is making awesome progress! Her baptism is scheduled for April 29th and she is on track as she came to church again with her family!! [...] also came to church again with the hermanas, and she is on track for the 29th as well!

We finally found [...] this week, after so much time! She has been in Concepcion for a while, but she said she is going to be staying here for a few days each week, so we want to keep going with her. She said she has still been reading the Book of Mormon everyday, which was really good to hear after not having contact for about a month.

Elder Layton With Another Friend
Elder Opazo and I were planning a talent show for the branch this past week for Saturday but it ended up getting canceled, so we will see if we can reschedule it. The members have been getting really excited though. We are going to sing a couple songs with Marcos Cacosso- Venid Adoremos and Somewhere over the Rainbow haha. Its coming along good. I also got a cool video of a talent Elder Opazo has- he likes spinning things on his finger :)

That's about it for this week. Thanks for all of your emails! I hope you all had a great Easter. We got big chocolate eggs from Zoe and Cande haha. Super awesome. Ill send pictures. Love you all!

Elder Layton

Monday, April 10, 2017

Illegal Resident Status in Argentina & Uruguay

Hey everyone!

Crazy week. Yeah let me just start off by explaining a little about what I have been up to. This week we had our zone conference with President Olsen, but instead of him coming here this time, we had a tri-zone conference in Paysandu. So on Thursday, we went to go buy bus tickets to travel at 1:00 in the night, as that was the only bus that crossed to Uruguay that day. But when I tried buying mine, the guy looked at my passport and wouldn't sell me the ticket because apparently I was only allowed in Argentina for 90 days, and it expired, meaning I was illegal for a week. 
Most missionaries usually have their cedula who come to Argentina, which basically means our official residency here in Uruguay/ Argentina, but I haven't been sent to Montevideo to get mine yet. So yeah, we ended up having to call back and forth with the zone leaders for like the whole day, to try and figure out what to do, and how to get me to Paysandu for the conference the next day. 
After HOURS of calling around and talking with members and everything, President finally called us and said to go right then to the border and try to cross anyways. He was in Paysandu already and said he could come pick me up and figure it all out. So familia Cacosso drove us up to the border and dropped us off, as they couldn't cross. We wanted to wait for President to cross over to Argentina and then help us, but the guards started filing us over to cross as they said we weren't allowed to wait there. And of course, as I expected the guy pointed out my 90-day limit had expired and I wouldn't be able to cross. Luckily just at that moment, President walks across the border from the other side, pulls out his wallet and says, `Alright, how much is it?` Haha, after he worked some other wise words, and I finally got through :). 
That night we got to the zone leader's house super late, but we had at least made it. The conference on Friday was really awesome and I saw a lot of people from my CCM group. Our bus back to Argentina was supposed to leave at 4 in the afternoon, but the time was kind of getting cut close because there were so many interviews. 
After all the zone of Argentina was interviewed we had to book it to catch our bus since again, the next one didn't leave until the following day. So ALL of us piled into President´s truck since we had about 5 minutes until our bus left and it was 20 minutes away to walk there. The two assistants in front, four hermanas in the back seats and the eight of us Elders crammed in the back... Not comfortable; especially because the AP Elder Layton was driving like a total maniac to get us there haha. We made the bus in the end, but that wasn't the end... President was supposed to do something online to get me another 90 days until I can get my cedula, but apparently, he had problems doing so, so when I got to the border again, they wouldn't let me cross. Some other people in the zone had problems as well but in the end they were able to all get back on the bus, and we were stuck. The zone leaders called President again and he said he would be there in 30 minutes to pick Elder Opazo and I up again so we needed to wait there. And oh course as the bus left, the border people started shoving us in a taxi to take us back to the terminal in Paysandu saying, we couldn't wait there. 
It would have been fine but we didn't have any more money on the phone so couldn't call President to let him know we wouldn't be at the border. Luckily on the way back, we asked the taxi driver if he could take us somewhere us and he ended up saying yes. He took us to the church, and we got with President Olsen. So yeah, for the second time he had to bring us over. This time there were a lot more complications and we ended up waiting hours at the border, but in the end I got through again :). 
It was actually kind of a fun day though. We were with the assistants all day too. President bought us all dinner, and finally we made it to Colon. Haha, looks like I will be heading to Montevideo this change to get my residency.
We also just got word that our house owner wants the apartment next month and so we have to find a place to move. It´s been an interesting week haha.
We had a super awesome day at church yesterday. There were 72 people there, which is apparently the most Colon has ever had! Woooooo! Record! It is crazy considering we usually have had around 40-45 since I have been here. A couple of investigators came and a bunch of less-actives. Also, [...] came the 13-year-old girl we were teaching before and passed to the hermanas when they came. Apparently, she has a baptismal date for April 29th, and is progressing a lot! Super awesome.
We have also been working a lot with [...]. She is probably the smartest little 9-year old I have ever met! She went to church on Sunday, and when we had a lesson with her last night she learned so much. She basically taught us the Gospel of Jesus Christ haha. Super awesome. We are hoping she will get baptized this change! We have also been teaching English to she and [...]Candi, which they really enjoy haha. Our investigator [...] is doing really great as well and is reading the Book of Mormon a ton.
That is about it for this week. I love it here on my mission. I know this Gospel is true and am so grateful for the Book of Mormon in my life. I hope each of you are reading it TODOS LOS DIAS as our wonderful prophet challenged us to do! Love you all :)

Elder Layton

Monday, April 3, 2017

We Are Finding Gold

Opazo & Layton
Wow, every week seems to get better and better now here in Colon! Elder Opazo is a real stud and we are like brothers. It has been a lot of fun.

First off, last Monday, when we finished writing, and were heading to the house, someone stopped us the street. Her name is [...] and she said she moved here from Buenos Aires a couple of weeks ago, but didnt know where the church was. So we got talking to her and is turns out she was a less active member, and had started going to church again just before she left Buenos Aires. Also she has two daughters, 7, and 9 named [...] and [...]. [...], the 9 year old isn't baptized and wanted to be baptized here since they had just came back to the church! So we have started teaching her, and she should hopefully get baptized this change!

[...] and [...], our new investigators from last week are doing soooooo awesome! We went on Saturday, and taught the restoration to [...], but [...] wasn't there, so we came back the next day and taught it again, this time to the both of them. And I don't have any doubt they are going to progress. They are super interested and a lot of really great questions. In fact, on Saturday, the lesson just with [...], he asked us if he needed to baptize his kids, who are all younger than 5. He said some friends had given him a rough time that he hadn't baptized them yet, but he said he felt it needed to be their decision, when they could really choose. And that set up for a perfect discussion about the great apostasy and Moroni 8, and the needed Priesthood authority! It went really great and at the end [...] said he would be baptized if he prayed and felt it was true! On the next day, with the both of them, we had the best lesson ever, and this time talked more about the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was so strong, and they were having light bulbs going off in their heads. And I have never seen someone so eager and excited as Luciana to read the Book of Mormon! Anyways, in the next lesson, we are planning to give them a baptismal date to work towards. The main task with [...], is I am pretty sure he is going to work on a ship at the end of this month. He apparently works on sea for 6 months and then stays at home for 6 months, but we are going to start meeting with them a lot more. They are seriously golden.

We found another totally golden investigator on Friday named [...]. A couple of her kids were contacts that Elder Raimundo and I had made and we found them this week. They let us in and the mom, [...] decided to listen to us too. She has listened to quite a few different religions, and has heard a lot about ´the mormons´ from her neighbors, but didnt really know too much. In fact she was pleasantly surprised when she learned we believe in Christ. Haha, I kinda wonder what things go around the communities about us :) Anyways, she really understood the message of the restoration, and had a lot of questions concerning our beliefs, but she too was super attentive and interested. After she gave the closing prayer, she asked us, ´Sooooo, when can you guys come back?´ Haha, so awesome!! Man, I just feel like the Lord is really blessing us with people who he has prepared to hear this message!

Something else funny that has happened this week, is about an older lady named [...], who we taught a couple of times before, but she isn't too interested in our message. But anyways, we have run into her a few times this week, and she always has something to give us haha. One time was a pie she had just bought as she was walking out of a bakery, another time a couple bags of these super good chips, and the last time as we were passing by her house, she stopped us and gave us each a super nice cologne hahaha. Totally awesome!

We had a fun service project with familia Cacosso this week. I had no idea they were so wild, but in their backyard they had a ton of pumpkin plants. And these things were crazy! They were growing everywhere, and some of them even made it all the way to the top of their roof and were all tangled up in the gutters. So we got to remove them all :) It was actually really cool, and a fun service project.

Conference was amazing! Man, seriously the best time of year. I had a couple that really stuck out to me in the Priesthood session, but I also really enjoyed Elder Renlund´s talk about the difference between the sinner and the sin, and how we can develop more love for others. Man, I learned a ton in these past two days, and I could go off, but we've got to go haha. Anyways, I have a testimony these people are truly called of God! I love this work and it is so great to be a missionary!!

Elder Layton

P.S. Thanks to sister Gainey and the beehives for the great package! :) Loved it haha