Monday, May 29, 2017

The "Super Awesome New Investigators"

Hey everyone! It has been a great week, and we haven't had quite as many lessons fall through this week than last haha. And we have been blessed with some super awesome new investigators!

First off, we found someone named [...] on Friday morning, and she was super receptive. She is a nurse, but just a couple of months ago had an accident where she tried helping an 80 kilo patient who needed to get out of a truck. Well apparently her spine totally gave out in doing so, and so she is just recently starting to walk again, but still has difficulty. But anyways, she invited us in her house and we had a wonderful lesson of the Restoration. She is Catholic, but stopped going because she had a lot of doubts about the church. Anyways, she understood our message well, and said we could come by anytime as she can´t work right now and has a free schedule. She has two little kids as well.

Also last night, we found the most golden investigators, a small family. We taught the message of the Restoration to [...], and his 17 year old son, [...]. [...] is married as well, but his wife wasn't there. But anyway, we had the best lesson with them! The just moved to Rosario from the country and were very happy to meet with us. 

They have never talked with missionaries before but they both were very attentive and both agreed that the message we share really makes sense. They made great comments, and overall, the spirit was very strong!! They told us to come back this week, and I am so excited to work more with them!

 We had a ping pong activity on Saturday with a few youth that we are trying to teach. We also had a couple lessons with our investigators [...], [...], and [...] this week. I feel that Heavenly Father has blessed us a lot recently with more people to teach.

Church was good this week. [...] wasn't able to come since he has been on vacation for the past week, but we'll get him next week :). Elder Limachi gave a talk in sacrament meeting, and I taught the class during 3rd hour, which was Priesthood and Relief society combined. I talked about the Book of Mormon and the talk that our wonderful prophet gave to us during the last general conference. 

I am so grateful to have the Book of Mormon in my life. I have a testimony that it is true, and helps us come closer to our Savior Jesus Christ; and don't forget- all of you- to read it TODOS LOS DIAS like our prophet challenged us! I love you guys. I hope all is well back at home. 

Elder Layton 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Fasting For Miracles

Wow what a week. It sure was amazing talking to my family! Also, on Tuesday we had a really amazing zone conference with President, where I learned a whole lot and really felt the spirit.

President talked a lot about the challenges that there are in Colonia but how we should expect miracles. Let's just say that after Tuesday, this has been the longest week ever. Up until Sunday, we had only had one lesson as literally everything fell through. Elder Limachi and I kinda got stuck to contacting for like 8 hours every day this whole week, and we were not getting into houses.

Anyway, on Saturday we did what President had challenged us to do and had a companionship fast to find a family. Saturday was a lot more walking and the first three hours Sunday afternoon, everything fell through again. But then we clapped a house- some guy swung the door open and basically shouted at us to come in haha. We were laughing after the lesson because of the promise ´my sheep hear my voice´ because I had said ´Hola´ and he yelled ´DÁLE´. At first we thought he wanted us to get lost, but then we realized he was waving us in. We had a lesson with [...] and his wife, [...], who are a really interesting couple. Apparently they talked with missionaries a long time ago, but were excited to see us and were so fascinated that I was from the states haha.

Directly after that, we decided to go to another old contact named [...]. We got there and he too invited us in. We sat down in his living room, and a minute later, his wife [...] as well as their granddaughter and her husband all came in to meet us. They were all so awesome!! We had a great lesson of the restoration and they said we could come back another day! 

I feel like my testimony of fasting has really been strengthened from this experience. It has sure been a long week, but I now we are strengthened through trials. I am grateful our Heavenly Father loves us so much to challenge us.

We have a big mold problem in our house. we spent all of last p day cleaning part of the house, but didnt get to the room we sleep in. apparently because it is so humid a ton of mold has been growing around our dressers. so the other day i discovered my older suit and some of my ties covered in mold. most of the ties smelled a little like mold but i left them outside to air out and now i think they are ok. but my suit and a couple ties i am probably going to go get dry cleaned... Yuck :P 

Well, I don't have a ton of time as we had a long travel today for our district meeting, but I want all of you to know that I know this church is true and I am so grateful to have an inspired prophet of God on the earth today who I know is called of God. 

Thanks for all of your prayers and support while I am serving. The mission is amazing, and really worth every sacrifice!!

Elder Layton

Monday, May 15, 2017

Pioneers in Colonia

Hey everyone! And happy Mother's Day!!

Working the Streets of Rosario, Colonia, Uruguay
Elder Limachi and I have been having a lot of fun here in Colonia. I don't think I mentioned too much about my companion in my last letter, but he is from Bolivia, and we are from the same group in the CCM. He is really funny and we always joke around with each other and so even on the hard days when everything falls through, I never really feel discouraged or anything, because it´s just been fun. He is a great missionary and I think we are both learning things from each other.

Anyway, we found a new investigator named [...] this week. She is really receptive, and the restoration lesson went well. We came back for a second visit and she had read a few chapters already in the Book of Mormon! Pretty awesome. We are also working with a 13 year old kid named [...]. We played soccer with him and a few of his friends on Saturday, and he came over to tell us that he read the introduction to the Book of Mormon and was interested to keep learning from us and reading. He also came with us to church on Sunday, so that was really awesome! [...] came again as well :) 

Elder Limachi and I gave talks in sacrament meeting for Mother's Day. We had a special music number prepared too- we were going to sing love is spoken here. But our branch president forgot to announce it haha.

Service Project
We had a funny experience contacting this week. We clapped (knocked on) a door and a Jehovah Witness lady opens up and shouts at us, ´DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE DIE PER SECOND?!?´ We were just like ´uhhhhh no se´ (uh, we don't know) and then she shot her hand out at us and said ´DOS´ and just kind of stood there like that. 

I also have discovered something very funny about my companion- he talks in his sleep. Last Monday, I woke up in the middle of the night and heard him saying something. I was confused because at first I thought he was reciting scriptures, but then I heard something like, ´...porque se que su Padre Celestial le entiende y quiere lo mejor... (I know that your Heavenly Father understands you and wants the best for you)´ After a minute or so he stopped and I said, ´Elder Limachi?... Elder Limachi?´ Then he woke up and asked me what in the world I was talking about haha. My great companion has such a powerful testimony he practices it in his sleep. Now we always say ´Nunca deja de testificar!! (Never stop testifying)´ Haha, now I always catch him bearing his testimony in the middle of the night :) Such a stud.

Elder Limachi
I am so excited to talk to my family tonight!! Wooooh! Love you guys all, and I hope you have a wonderful week!

Elder Layton

(Note from dad: Our phone call allowed us to learn quite a bit more about his area, companion and the work in this area. The area has been closed for two months and Elders Limachi and Layton are just trying to re-establish it. There are only a small handful of members in the area and so the missionaries are probably going to speaking in church - a lot. They DO have a member who was called to be the Branch President, but beyond that, not much structure exists. 

We were also able to find out where he lives and of course, I ended up stalking his house out on Google Earth. It's a very modest place but it's clean and they have hot water -- so he's in great shape there.

He forcefully told us how much he loves the mission and particularly the Book of Mormon. He bore testimony of it. He said the only thing he doesn't like about his mission is the limited time he gets to study the scriptures.)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Where Two or Eight Are Gathered Together in My Name

Hey guys!!! Wow, it seems like a lot has happened this week. It has actually been a big change from Argentina back here to Uruguay for me. But anyways, before I left Colon, Federico Godoy made us a BOMB asado. It was definitely a good way to go haha. I also bought a maté cup from Marcos Cacosso, which is super cool- I´ll send a picture. It was sad saying bye to everyone. Colón definitely has been good to me :)

Dinner with the Godoy Family
The Hasta Luego Dinner
A Bomb Asado


The Mate Cup

I left early wednesday morning and had to wait in the Paysandu terminal all day with some other missionaries, as a ton of people were making changes. I took a bus late in the afternoon, and got to Colonia at around 1 in the morning. Elder Limachi, my new companion was waiting for me with the zone leaders at some side stop. I got off, and we split off as I had a ticket to our area in Rosario for 3:30. We took a local bus over to the terminal, but when we got off, it was closed. Even though I had a ticket, some night watch said it didnt open up until the morning. To make things better, we didnt have a phone to call the zone leaders, because apparently Elder Limachi´s last companion lost it. So yeah, we had a long night until we finally found our way back to the zone leaders house to sleep a couple of hours haha.

Elders Layton & Limachi Stranded at 1:00 AM
 I met the entire branch on Thursday- the whole 8 of them! Haha. Yeah it is crazy small. Elder Limachi just opened up this area after it has been closed for over 2 years! So we definitely have a lot to do :) the few members that we have are pretty cool. One is named hermano Bonilla, and it is crazy because he has been a branch president here 7 different times! I also met a small family called familia Santucho. Hermano Santucho is an insane artist. I will have to send pictures another time of the giant sculptures he makes. Super cool!

On Saturday, we went to another area that we are in charge of as well called Florencia Sanchez. And man, do I feel humbled. Lets just say I now feel grateful we had 10 of us at church on sunday here in Rosario. Apparently Florencia Sanchez only has like 3-4 actives members and they are a group. We spent the whole day there with a returned missionary called Juan. He is really incredible. He was so grateful to have us for the day and had a whole list of people he was dying to visit. We had a lot of lessons with less actives. Juan has been one of the only active members there for a long time now and never once did I see him complain that he talks every week at church or anything. Spending the day with him made me a lot more grateful for what I have. We also got another big asado for lunch :D

We did have one investigator at church, someone named [...]! He is 80 years old and reminds me so much of Max Williams back at home. Haha super funny awesome. Like I said, there were 10 of us there, so every person bore their testimony haha. It´s been fun, and I am really looking forward for all the opportunities to learn this change. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

First the Baptism, Then Back to Uruguay

I have had a wonderful 3 changes here in Argentina, and have learned so much in Colon!!! I will be headed back to Uruguay, to a zone called Colonia. The city is called Rosario, and honestly I don't know much about it, because although hna Ortiz, Elder Bowler, and the zone leaders have all served in Colonia, apparently Rosario wasn't opened up when they were there. I have heard that Colonia is really beautiful though! My companion is going to be Elder Limachi, who is actually from my group haha. I think he is from Bolivia or something, but I haven't really seen him much on the mission, so don't know him too much yet :) I am really excited though.

I went to Monetvideo this week to do another part in the cedula process, but I still didnt get it so I should go back in a few weeks. The good news though is Colonia is just a couple of hours from Montevideo. It was a long trip on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I didnt get to much sleep as we had to travel all night. I did get to spend half a day in a place called Paysandu though and went on divisions with Elder Espinosa from my group. It was super fun. I also saw almost my whole group in Montevideo as they were all there for their cedulas. It was great to catch up with everyone and see what they have been up to! The bus on the way back to Argentina broke down for a while so we had to wait until another passing bus could pick us up haha. 

The Colon "Baptismal Font"
The process this week in preparing for the baptism had its fair share of complications but we got it through! The baptismal pool.actually started leaking all around but we got it patched up. That was a little sketchy because the new church we have has dry wall, and apparently the water would completely destroy that if the pook broke. But, even though the plastic connector parts started coming undone as the pool filled up, we made arrangements :). We also had issues with filling the thing because our source of water didnt work. We actually worked on it all day Friday, and thank you all for your prayers because after a couple of hours, the water started working a little bit. It took ALL day, but we were able to fill it. It was also a process as we had to use buckets as the hose was broken haha. BUT the important thing is in the end it all worked out and Zoe was baptized!!! Wooooooooh! It was such a great experience, and the branch was so supportive!

Zoe's Baptism

Ward Support at the Baptism

We played soccer with a lot of youth again this week and [...], our investigator came. He is pretty good! He is also making a ton of progress. He has been keeping commitments, and reading the Book or Mormon. The other day when we went, he had read way more than we left him with, and said it was starting to make more sense. I love seeing people starting to develop their testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It really makes any sacrifice here on the mission so worth it!

I will miss this area so much. The members have been really awesome, as well as all of the other people I have met. I am so grateful to have had a baptism my last week here :) I leave for Colonia early tomorrow. I hope you all have a wonderful week!!

Elder Layton