Monday, July 31, 2017

The Open House

Elders Vergara, Passey, Huish, Layton and ?? in an Unknown Order
Hey everyone,

It was a loooong week, and we contacted like crazy. It was funny because even though we hear similar stuff all the time, some lady practically quoted 2 Nephi 29 word for word haha. She said, ´¡Tenemos una Biblia y no necesitamos mas Biblia!´ (We have a Bible and we don't need any more Bible!) Haha I was pretty convinced she had read that chapter before, and maybe it was her favorite scripture :) Anyways, like I said, it was a pretty tough week, but we had a BOMB weekend!!

First off, on Saturday, we did a big ´capilla abierta´ (Open House) where we got these big banners about the church and had some other missionaries from the zone come. We invited a bunch of people we knew and had missionaries outside, inviting people in while others helped explain the banners and our beliefs inside. It went on for a few hours, and was great! Also, each one of the active members here came to help as well, and explained more, in their respective rooms, about each organization of the church. They were a great help. 

There was actually a pretty good number of people who came through the orientation as well, and we got the names of some people to visit this week :) In fact, right when we started, a young man named [...] came in and appeared very interested. Elder Passey and Elder Huish helped him through the presentation, and meanwhile, he was asking a ton of questions! Afterwards, he apparently told Elder Passey that he had a really spiritual experience and would love to learn more! Anyways, all the missionaries helped a ton, and it was a really awesome day.
Set up For the Open House

We also had like the best day of church EVER! Elder Vergara and I went over to Cardona to speak and help out since there was only one other Priesthood holder there. Also, we wanted to meet that young man who has come a couple of times to church. We got to church early, and it was super foggy outside, and raining. And a couple minutes before church had started only a few people had come. 

I was honestly kind of having doubts that this young man would come since he was apparently 20 minutes early to church last week, and since the weather was pretty bad. I then leaned forward a little in my chair and said a little prayer in my head that by some miracle he could make it at the last minute, as we wanted to meet him. And the second that I finished that prayer, I looked up and saw a young man walking through the doors! Wow! I guess some prayers are answered quicker than others! It was [...], and he came over to meet us. He said that he had a special feeling he needed to come that morning, and rode over on his bike despite the ugly weather. 

Right after he came, a few more people showed up behind him, including a less active lady we had invited, and her boyfriend, who isn't a member! After Sacrament meeting, another less active lady pulled us aside and told us why she came. We had been calling earlier in the week to invite everyone to church, but this lady said she couldn't come because she had an injured knee. Elder Vergara asked if he could say a prayer for her over the phone and did so. She gave him a huge thanks and said after he had said that prayer, the pain from her knee completely went away and she could walk without the slightest problem! Miracles!! 

Pizza "Chivito" 
Gospel Principles was super great as well with [...], [...], and his girlfriend, [...], who is a member. [...] is already getting over his drug addiction and [...] is apparently trying to quit, so [...] was a huge help and support! They seemed to make great friends, and are both in their early 20s. In the class we talked about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. They all participated, and at one point [...] began to cry! 

It was all such a great day of church. Afterwards, we set up a date to have a lesson with the both of them together when we come back on Friday, and they both were so excited to learn more. Yesterday was honestly a day of miracles, and I am so very grateful that Heavenly Father is giving us more opportunities to teach!

That is about it for the week. It was a bomb weekend. Love you guys! Have a great week!

Elder Layton

Monday, July 24, 2017

Reaping the Harvest

Hey guys!

I hope everything is well back at home! It has been a good week- a lot of contacting but we have had some good lessons with the investigators we are currently teaching including [...], [...], and [...]. 

Also, we received our changes this week (the zone leader called us in like the middle of the night on Saturday haha) and I will be staying in Rosario with Elder Vergara for another change and so I am excited! I have been learning a lot here. Also, I got called to be a district leader, so that will be a good learning experience!

Sadly, [...] wasn't able to get baptized on Saturday due to some last minute complications, but we are going to keep on moving forward, and hopefully we can make that goal at a later time.

We have been going to Florencia Sanchez/ Cardona once a week now to work, and invite lots of less actives to church. Also, an investigator apparently came again to church yesterday and asked for the missionaries. His name is [...], and we don't even know him, but we heard that he is really interested in the church, participated in the classes, and even bore his testimony!! Pretty cool. This is apparently the second time he has gone to church this month. Also, we are planning on going next Sunday to speak, so hopefully he comes and we can start teaching him!

We went to a cool park and broken down river at the edge of our area last P- day to take some pictures and it was pretty sweet. Also, we woke up one morning this week and found a baby calf in front of our house!! We still aren't really sure who´s it is, but it is still there and is really sweet :)

That´s about it for this week. I miss you guys all so much. But the mission is really worth it! Talk to you next week.

Elder Layton

P.S. Forgot to mention- [...], an investigator Elder Opazo and I were teaching in Argentina is getting married tomorrow and baptized next week! Awesome!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Lessons I've Learned This Past Year Have Changed My Life

Hey everyone!

I´m OLD now!!! I reached a year on Wednesday here on the mission... Weird to think. We made pancakes to celebrate in the morning, y salieron muuuuuy buenos! 

One Year Pancakes
The personal lessons I have learned this past year have already changed my life. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here serving the Lord. I can feel His love each and every day as I try to reach out to some of His other spirit children. Being a missionary isn't easy, but it is WORTH IT! 

I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who guides us at all times and has given us of the opportunity to return to Him through His son Jesus Christ. We are so very lucky to have such a perfect plan laid out for us, and I know that God does everything in His power for us to be happy like Him. The mission has been so far the most humbling year of my life, and I don´t have any doubt that Jesus Christ is at the head of this church that I have the amazing opportunity to spread the teachings He has given us!

The sun came out on Tuesday, which has been pretty good for us because people have at least been willing to open their front doors to talk to :) We found a couple of new people who we found and taught this week, one named [...] and another named [...]. They were both really receptive and we have return dates set :) 

We also found a CAPO this week named [...]. We were out in the middle of nowhere searching for an investigator we had taught before, but he wasn't there, so we contacted a couple houses that were in the area. We then found [...], a young man a couple years older than us who was in the middle of smoking a tobacco cigarette. He decided to let us in and we went to the backyard where we met his wife [...] and their little newborn baby :) We got to know them a little and they are both from Fray Bentos, another department here in Uruguay. [...] told us she was actually baptized in the church when she was nine years old, and went to the temple to do baptisms when she was 12, but then she and her whole family inactivated, so she said she didn't remember a whole lot. They are a super nice young couple and the Restoration went super well! The spirit was really strong and I guess [...] remembered something from church because when Elder Vergara was reciting the first vision, she joined in too and recited it with him!! Wow, it was amazing. And afterwards [...] was so happy when we left them a Book of Mormon, and promised us he would read it. We are so excited to follow up this week!

We went to our other area, Cardona early Saturday morning to work, and got to the church before Juan opened it up so took advantage of taking some model shots on a cool tree in front

We also found [...] again this week, and had a great lesson! After reading Moroni´s sweet promise, I asked him who should really ´convince´ us of the truth. He understood that that testimony shouldn´t come from us or any other person, but from God. He looked at us and said that he had never heard another religion acknowledge that it is God himself who must personally convince us of the truth. After we finished, his wife [...] came home and was super nice, so we are hoping on teaching the both of them the next time we swing by!

[...] passed his baptismal interview a couple of days ago! So we should be going through with it on Saturday! We were planning on going to Nueva Helvecia since our pool is broken, but now we can do it here in Rosario because people with be coming here to fix it. So we are excited!! Hope you guys all have a great week!

Elder Layton

Monday, July 10, 2017

One Year Anniversary

Hey everyone!

Well I am glad you guys all seem to be enjoying a nice warm summer in Bend because here has been the wettest week of my life hahaha. In fact, I haven't seen an inch of sky since Wednesday, as we have been completely fogged out for five straight days now! I´m not too sure when it is gonna clear up, but hey the work of the Lord goes on :). It is apparently like this in all of Uruguay right now. 

The good news though is we have been offered various ´tortas fritas´ (which are like scones) from different people haha. Uruguay has a tradition of making them whenever it rains. We also visited a less active family this week and they gave us milk that had come straight from the cow just a few minutes earlier. Haha, I actually thought it was pretty good.

It has been a pretty tough week, but we found a couple of great new investigators on Saturday! We found the parents of our investigator [...] while we were contacting. They let us in and are super nice. And before we had started the lesson, their other son, who is [...]´s younger brother came by for a visit. His name is [...]. Anyways, we had a feeling we needed to talk about the Book of Mormon with them. 

[...] and his wife are really religious, but [...] who was sitting on the couch in the background said he had doubts about the Bible because everyone seemed to understand it so differently. We started talking about the BOM, and in the middle of the lesson [...]´s wife had to leave, so [...] decided to take her spot at the table. He took a Book of Mormon and a Bible sitting on the table and started to analyze them while we were talking. I noticed that he found the cross references in the Book of Mormon and started flipping through the Bible to compare. 

Well it was really awesome because after [...] said the last prayer in the lesson, Elder Vergara got talking to Angel to see when we could come back, and so I turned to [...] and offered him his own BOM. He asked me to leave him with something to read and when I gave him a chapter, he said he wanted me to mark more! Haha, so we gave him to chapters to read. He gave us his address and said he was only available on the weekends, so we are going to visit him this Saturday! Pretty amazing experience!!

We have visited [...] a couple of times this week and we are planning his baptism for July 22nd! Our baptismal pool is broken, so we will actually be planning a double baptism with the Elders in Nueva Helvecia!! We have been going over some of the missionary lessons with him again and this week went to his house to make burritos as we reviewed the Word of Wisdom. Estuvieron muuuuuuy rico (they were really good) :).

But that´s about it for the week. So weird to think that I hit a year on the mission in just a couple of days!! It is going by super fast. I love you guys all so much! See ya next week!

Elder Layton

Monday, July 3, 2017

So Sensitive to Hear Even the Smallest, Most Fervent Prayer

Hey everyone!

Overall, it has been a pretty chill week. We had our zone conference on Tuesday, and it was super awesome. I learned a lot from President and Sister Olsen, including ways to avoid falling into the `pride circle` that we so often find in the Book of Mormon. 

Personally one of my favorite scriptures that explains why becoming prideful is so foolish is found in Helaman 4:13, which tells us when we boast in our own strength and abilities, the Lord truly can leave us in our own strength (which is nothing). We must recognize this if we desire the divine guidance that the Lord makes available to us when we are humble. 

Anyways, we had a super awesome lunch as well with our zone and with the zone of Mercedes. We had `all the chicken you can eat`. I also sat by President's youngest son Luke who was there and he filled me in about all the sports in basketball and football that has happened in the past year haha.

Elder Layton was RAVING about this chocolate
[...] and his family invited us over for dinner this week, which was super awesome. He used to be a chef in fact. Anyways, he made all of this really good gourmet pizza, which was actually really funny because Elder Vergara and I happened to make pizza for lunch that day :) But anyways, they are a super awesome family. They go to the Evangelical church, but have been reading a little of the Book of Mormon, and even asked for some Liahona magazines, which we brought them. They are pretty fun to teach as well :)

We had a funny dog experience this week. We were walking to a lesson down a street I have been on various times before. We were walking along the side of a building and when it cut off at the corner, it was continued by a gate. Well we make it to the gate, and this MASSIVE dog like halfway lunged over the gate at us. Elder Vergara was on the nearer side so he got the bigger scare as the dogs face came right in front of his. I have actually never seen it before but seriously, this thing was like a bear. I`m not to sure what the owner`s feed it, but it was cuadraro. It was pretty stinkin` vicious looking haha.

President Atanasoff and Elder Layton

We went to the other area in Florencia Sanchez this week with President Atanasoff, and it was cool. We visited a whole ton of less actives, and Juan, who I met last change when we went is a total stud and helped us out the whole day. 

I also finished reading `Our Heritage` for the first time this week. And man, the history of the church is so amazing! It blows my mind how much faith the pioneers of the church had and what they were willing to sacrifice. It also is such a testimony to me how the church was able to blossom under such heavy persecution and opposition, to bring to us the full blessings of the everlasting Gospel! I know that only the divine guidance of Heavenly Father, through his true prophets in these times could help the saints overcome the incredible efforts of the adversary to stop this work from progressing. We are so very blessed today as members of the church of Jesus Christ. I know that President Monson is a true prophet on the earth today.

Something I have seen in my mission- it is crazy how the most powerful being in the universe who has control and conscience over all things, is so sensitive to hear even the smallest, most fervent prayer. I have really seen that. I offer these little desperate pleas all the time in my head to Heavenly Father and I truly know that he directs me for my good. 

It is super awesome about Eric! Super exciting and cool to say that my bro is a pilot :) 

Love you guys so much!!! Couldn´t even describe it with words! Thanks for you wonderful example to me. Sorry, don't have a ton of time so I gotta go, but I hope you have a good week :) Chau

Love you guys! 

Elder Layton