Monday, September 25, 2017

The Restoration Taught in the Bible

Elders Layton and Claros
¡Comó están todos allá en casa? Les extraño a todos!!

It seems like bastante has happened this week. I´ll try to keep it short. First off, the hermanas in my district apparently had a really scary experience happen to them this week at night, so we went over to their house with the zone leaders late at night to give them a blessing. We also all had to wake up the next morning at like 4 for a multizona conferencia in Rivera so, none of us slept haha. But it was actually a suuuuuper good conference. 

Man, President Olsen is such a stud. You can just feel that guy's light when he teaches us. Jaja he also always tells us that we are ´los mejores misioneros en el mundo´... Y claaaaaaro! :) After the conference, our zone sang hymns in the van for two straight hours until we got back to T-Bo. It was so awesome. There were some harmonies, some jazz mixups, and some beatboxing included in our hymns haha. It was actually super cool, we got a good group of singers :)

We went back to [...] this week, and had a great lesson. She refused to read anything from the Book of Mormon or the Restoration pamphlet, and told us the Bible was the only true scripture, so we taught here the Restoration straight from the Bible! It actually went really awesome, I have never taught it just using the Bible before. to finish, when we read in Isaiah 29:10-14, 18, she seems really surprised... She was like, ´Wow you guys are right!! It talks about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith in the Bible!!´ Haha she said in the next lesson she may be more open to the BOM in the next lesson.

[...] is doing really well! She came to church this Sunday, and each lesson has been going well. She has been praying, reading the BOM, marking it up and coming to each lesson with a list of questions for us! She still seems hesitant to accept a baptismal date, because she wants to receive an answer to her prayers before she commits, but anyways she is doing great, and has quite a few member friends already too!

P-Day was super fun today! We celebrated Elder Heaton´s birthday, and also had a big zone activity ´Los Olimpicos´. We also ate some killer Lasagna despues. Sadly my group only came in second place out of four haha. Next time!! Although, I did beat my good University of Utah buddy Elder Rawson in each activity we had together :) I think he has some regrets for what team he supports!

Anyways, I am so grateful for the blessings of the gospel. Being a missionary is really really hard, but I know I am here for a great and marvelous work and that nothing could stop it from progressing. I am also grateful because I know it is preparing me a ton for the rest of my life. But really I am grateful for the growth that I have been gaining in my personal testimony each and every day. We are so lucky to be members of the restored gospel!

Holy cow, I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited for conference next week. although I am not 100% sure they will let us gringos watch it in english in a ´gringo room´ because of some past problems that have apparently occurred here.... That would be a huge bummer because it seriously would not be the same in spanish, but I am hoping we get a way to see it in english. 

Love you guys! Have a great week!

Elder Layton

Sunday, September 24, 2017

On to Tacuarembó

Wow, what a week it has been! It seems like a lot has happened since last P-Day.

Saying Goodbye to Elder Vergara
I´ll start with the last couple of days in Rosario. We were able to make visits before I left with some of the investigators we have been teaching these past couple of changes. [...] is starting to feel really well about the BOM, and started it from the beginning, he just still lacks that step of coming to church. We also swung by the hospital to visit [...] one last time. And hear this.... Her dad read the ENTIRE Book of Mormon in under two weeks!!!! Wow! He said that he wanted to come to church too, to see how it was,and we emphasized to the family the importance of asking God as it says in Moroni 10. Really amazing people!! 

Elders with Jesus (pronounced Hey - Zeus)

Saying Goodbye to the Familia Santucco

Saying Goodbye to Gustavo, Maria, Augustino and Florencia
I got to Tacuarembó on Wednesday, and it is super awesome here! Our area contains the majority of the inner city, and we have got a solid ward of over 50 members. The first night, we went to go play basketball with the zone leaders, and the sister training leaders, which makes up my district, as well as a bunch of jovenes. It is really cool because we play basketball every Wednesday and fútbol every Thursday with jovenes, and so it is a really good source in finding new youth. We all share the stake center, and it is huge. Totally rocks haha. Also, there is a member in our ward who lets us use his gym to workout some mornings. He also gave us lunch on Friday, and had his maid cook for us :O! That was a first!

Spectacular Skies on His Way to Tacuarembó
My first Sunday here was really awesome too. It was funny because some of the first people I saw as I walked in were Gonzalo and Melina, who are members in my first area, Las Acacias. They happened to be visiting Gonzalo´s mom Teresa, who is in our ward. It was really cool to see them, and also nice to see some familiar faces as I gave a talk during sacrament meeting. It is funny though because they knew me when I still didn't speak a lick of Spanish :). 

On Sunday night, we found a suuuuper capito (stud). He was actually a reference from a joven in another ward. He is only 11 and his mom immediately told us we were free to talk with him, but she wasn't interested at all in hearing from us. Anyways, we had a super great lesson with [...], and he accepted a baptismal date for October 7th! He called his mom into the room for permission, and she said she didn't have a problem with it if it was something [...] wanted to do. She then started to bombard us with questions about the church, and now I think she is really interested haha. It ended with her planning on what days we could come back, and also how they would be able to get the whole family at church next Sunday. She then proceeded to volunteer for the closing prayer hahaha.

So yeah, the people here are super awesome, from what I have seen so far. The weather has honestly been kind of feo since I have been here, but today it is starting to clear up, so that is good! I am super excited for the many things that I yet have to learn from this area, my companion Elder Claros, as well as the awesome people in my district! I love and miss you guys all! The mission is pretty stinkin great. I am grateful for the things to learn and the people to help and meet! ¡Que tengan una semana buena!

Elder Layton

Monday, September 4, 2017

Transferred to Tacuarembo

Hey guys!

Well we got changes late the other night, and I will be shipped over to Barrio 6 in a zone called Tacuarembo! This might be kind of a change because I am currently in a branch of 7-8 people and am pretty sure my next area has at least a hundred active members.... Haha but honestly, I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity to have come here to Rosario. Preparing talks and classes each week has been good for me, and I have learned so much about being a missionary. I am also grateful for the example of the few faithful members here who show what enduring to the end really means!! It is also exciting because since the missionaries have come back, there have been a few less active members coming back regularly! [...] also made it to church yesterday!

Anyways, in Tacuarembo (also called T-Bo) I am going to be with someone from my my same group again! His name is Elder Claros, and like Elder Limachi, is from Bolivia. It´s funny because he actually replaced me in Colon, Argentina a few changes back and was with Elder Opazo there too. But, yeah I am super excited, and have heard really great things about T-Bo!

This last week here in Rosario has been really great actually. We have been able to follow up with many of our new investigators from the past couple of weeks , which is cool, because sometimes it is a challenge getting into a second lesson. 

We also found someone named [...] who was apparently baptized in the church when she was little, but hasn't been to church for about 40 years. She is really awesome though and as she finished the charla with a prayer, she committed to reading the Book of Mormon every single day. 

We also had a super awesome day in Cardona on Friday. We came across an old investigator named [...] who was with her granddaughter [...]. They were both really awesome and in fact [...] came to the ´Noche de Rama´ that we had later that night. It was such a great activity and there was a ton of support! In fact, six non-members as well as well as some less active members there made it.

A few of those were people we invited and a few were friends the members had brought with them, so- Bien hecho to the members in Cardona :) To put that in a little perspective, Cardona usually has 5-6 people at church on Sunday, so it was a good turnout and a super fun activity!

 Anyways, I am so grateful for the opportunity to be on the mission. Our Heavenly Father blesses us so much every day, and I know that the Gospel that he has entrusted us with is for our benefit. 

One of my favorite scriptures is in 2 Nephi 26:24- He truly does not do anything that isn't for our benefit. (It reads: "He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.")

We are very very lucky and blessed to have the Gospel of Jesus Christ and such a perfect Plan prepared for us!!! I love all of you so much!!! Have an amazing week!

Elder Layton