Monday, July 27, 2015

Another video!

video
We're in a Tuc-tuc. :)

Another Week!

Hello!!

Well this week has been good! Not tooooooo much to update, just same old missionary stuff.

We had a baptism this weekend of a girl named Marializ who is 9. Her family is starting to come back to church after visiting with them and they all came to her baptism on Saturday. It was really, really nice because her Mom is often just stressed and kind of cold when we come to visit. But she was smiling almost the whole time at the baptism and she gave both of us huge hugs out of nowhere and just seemed way happier than we had seen her. It was nice to see the whole family come together like that for their daughter.

We also had another sweet, little experience this week. The bishop's wife is currently sick in the hospital. They don't know exactly what the problem is, but she was in there for the whole weekend, so my companion and I went to the hospital to visit her on Sunday. We went into her room, which consisted of 6 people in beds to a room and visited with her for a bit with some other members of the ward who came. Then we decided to sing a hymn with her and say a prayer so we sang "I am a Child of God". The Spirit hit me like a ton of bricks. It was very strong. We then went and gave a hug to the other patients in the room and their families and they all thanked us so much for coming. It was a really special moment and I hope it gave them some peace.

Other than that, not much else is going on! I'm slowly but surely getting the hang of this whole missionary thing. Probably just in time for transfers in 3 weeks when everything will change again. Maybe. Who knows! Until then, I'm just trying to keep going forward and try to be a better missionary every day. I really, genuinely, am trying to teach the best way I can and try to have the Spirit with me and just teach as if Christ himself were teaching them. It's definitely a skill, but it all just boils down to loving every person you come in contact with because you know you're all children of the same loving Heavenly Father. So......yeah trying to do that. :)

Love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Hermana Layton

SPONGEBOB!

MariaLiz

In a tuc-tuc


Note from Hermana Layton: "Also i just watched this from lds.org - can you link it to my blog post too? It's kind of extremely relevant and gave me all sorts of warm fuzzies."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Video from Hermana Layton

video
LIZ!!  I couldn't send this video so I uploaded it here - hopefully it shows up??  It's us on a bus coming back from a place called Boxoma and this song came on that I LOVEEEEE and I don't know what it's called and I didn't know the lyrics so I couldn't sing them in the video haha.  But they play it ALL THE TIME here.  It goes, "Y tu sin mi, y yo sin ti, dime quien puede ser feliz?" and something else.  AH.  I love it.  So yeah there ya go!


Mmmmyellloowwsssss from Guatemalaz!

Ok, maybe I should be more formal with my blog post titles.......or maybe not.

But hello! Another week has passed and it was QUICK. These weeks go by really fast, I'm not going to lie. I guess that's what happens when basically every second of your day is planned out.

But yes this week was good. The highlight was the baptism of Hermano Salomon on Saturday. He and his family came, as well as the mission president and tons of people from the ward. Hermano Salomon also made AHMAHZING corn bread and tamales for it, so that was pretty great also.

I feel like I should add/edit my explanation of Salomon's baptism from last post. I feel like I literally have zero time to write, so I went back and read it and I was like - hmm, I should explain that better.

I made it seem like he had weird reasons to wait to get baptized and didn't really understand the importance of it - no he did. He waited because he is 76 years old and will not be told what to do, of course! And because he knows it is an important step in his life and there was definitely some fear of him feeling like he's going to screw up after his baptism. But his faith kept growing, week after week, and, with the support of his family, he was baptized this Saturday. His wife, Luisa, gave the closing prayer and this woman - who is normally pretty rough and very direct - was in tears sobbing for how grateful she was now that her husband was baptized. She also told me how she hopes that they both make it to a year from now so they can be sealed together for eternity in the temple. I might have sobbed.

This mission has definitely increased my faith and testimony in baptism. As missionaries, we invite people to be baptized from the first or second lesson. And that seemed extremely early for me when I first came here and it made me uncomfortable. But as I kept going and learning, I just learned more about how important it is in the gospel of Christ. When He came to earth, He was baptized. And He walked miles and miles to find the person who had the proper authority to do it - John the Baptist. And in almost every teaching that is recorded in the Bible and Book of Mormon, He invites people to come unto Him, be cleansed of their sins and to be baptized. It is an essential step for everyone and the first step on the journey back to our loving Heavenly Father. That is His ultimate goal for all of us - to return back to Him, happy with our families.

So yeah this week was good. I'm very proud of the zone I am in - all of the missionaries and the zone leaders we have work really hard and we feel like a family. We all fasted as a zone this past Friday to support all of the people planning to be baptized this weekend. It was pretty powerful.

So anyway - again, feeling like I have zero time - I hope that clarified a little bit of the sanctity that is baptism. It was a very spiritual day and one I will not forget.

Thank you for all of your letters!!! Love you all!!!!!!!!

-Hermana Layton

Hermano Salomon baptism 1

Hermano Salomon baptism 2

Ermahgerd I'm in love with the bread

Driving back in a covered pickup with Hermana Eaton from Wyoming!  It's her first change.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Such miraclezzz this weekzz

Hello everyone!!

Well this week was definitely better than last week. Shocker. But yes, definitely better this week. I felt way more focused and energized to work and it was a lot easier. And on top of that - there were just tons of miracles this week.

Miracle #1
One of our long-term investigators - Salomon - finally decided on a baptism date. He's the bishop's dad in our ward. My companion said that he started coming to church with his family earlier this year and has been more and more interested, but never gave us a baptism date. He always said he wanted to be sure beforehand and didn't want to be rushed. Which is completely fine! But this week he decided. Last month he said he decided he was going to be baptized for sure, but wanted to wait until the end of the month because he was doing this diabetes treatment or something and he wanted to have cake at his baptism....so he was waiting until July. Long story short, the treatment didn't make much of a difference so he decided to get baptized. So he is scheduled to be baptized this Saturday, July 18. :)

Miracle #2
Another one of our investigators came to church with us on Sunday. We've been teaching her for a while, for over 4 months, and she's always been very interested and positive. She knows that the Book of Mormon is true and has a testimony, but just hasn't come to church yet. We didn't know if she felt nervous because she doesn't know anyone or if it was too much to get on the bus in the morning to come, or what it was. But she finally came with us this Sunday. :)

Miracles #3 & #4
Just two small moments this week. First, we talked to this one girl briefly who works at this paper store in our area and we started just giving here a quick message about prayer and she all of the sudden burst into tears and said that we were an answer to her prayer. She said that she moved down here from home and is starting a new job and is very stressed and said she was praying for help and said we were her answer. 
 
Second, we were walking home at the end of the night and the place where we live is right in the center of Reu and is surrounded by bars. There's always music blaring from all corners - I love it actually. But we were walking home and there was a woman sitting in front of one of the bars in tears. We stopped and asked if she was ok and if she needed help. She asked us if we were Mormons, and we said yes. She then gave us her address and number! She went on to say that she was baptized a while ago, but that her husband left her recently for another woman and she started drinking after that and hasn't been able to give it up. We took her information and shared a quick message with her about the Atonement and gave her lots of hugs - and we plan on visiting her this next week.

These two little moments were really sweet. I'm not sure if these two people will completely accept everything or not - but just the fact that we were able to be there for them when they needed us then, was really special. I'm so glad we were able to help them in some way.

So yeah this week was good. Our zone leader gave us the goal to fast once a week this month, and I really believe that there is a lot of power and strength that comes from that.

I am grateful for my Savior and His Atonement that allows us to each grow and progress in this life and I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to share this message of love and happiness with others.

Thank you for all of your emails!! I love you all!!!!

-Hermana Layton

Hermana Felipa and Hermana Silvia: these ladies have a one way ticket to the celestial kingdom.  They're amazing. 

In the rain!

Activity with the primary kids where they were missionaries for a day and went out and sang songs to less-active members. 

Me skeptical that Retalhuleu is the capital of the world...

Monday, July 6, 2015

Such photoz. Have been erasedz. By virusez. Merp.

Liz told me to come up with more entertaining blog post titles in my updates. I thought she would maybe put something funny or clever or something but WHATEVER I can do it myself.

Just kidding Liz. :)

But yes. I discovered that when I tried to upload photos today, there were no photos in my folder. I have heard from pretty much every missionary that this has happened to them, so I was kind of expecting it, and I didn't have TOO many new ones, but it's still a bummer. Hopefully my memory card isn't completely fried and I can take some new ones.

But anyway. Well this week.

This week was extremely hard I'm not going to lie. About 3 weeks into my mission, I got some tough news from home and, without going into details - it's been very hard to focus since then and I have been seriously considering coming home since then. Some days I found my self focused and pumped to move forward, but lots of days, my mind was exhausted with the divide between trying to focus on missionary work and thinking about the possibility of going home and how GREAT that sounded.

And of course this news comes right when I'm starting and adjusting, right? It's already hard enough for missionaries to adjust and get the hang of things without this extra struggle. It's been hard. Very hard.

This past week, I prayed extremely hard and fasted this past Sunday to know what I should do. The mission president gave me permission to call home today and that I could make a decision. It was a very hard fast and Sunday morning, I was 99.99% sure I was coming home. But extremely torn with that decision because I didn't want to feel like a failed missionary who can't persevere and find the blessings in the struggle. I knew that I could decide for myself either way - but my heart was torn and the answers from God were not coming. I don't know if I've felt more desolated, if I'm going to be honest.

Ok, sorry uplifting thingz coming soon...

Well Sunday afternoon, we had divisions with another pair of sister missionaries and they were the hermana leaders. I was paired with Hermana Keltner, who is leaving on Wednesday. This was the answer to my fasting and prayers. It was so refreshing. I not only was able to express to her my whole situation and my doubts and fears, among floods of tears I might add, and not only did she listen and offer advice - but when we went out teaching people, my whole being was lifted.

I was able to see how she taught and how it differed from my current companion and how I liked the way she did it a little more than my companion. And it made me feel like I can do this. Because when you don't have a very good lesson with someone, you not only doubt your ability as a teacher, you doubt your entire testimony and it spirals into - do I even believe in this crap??? (sorry, but I might have thought that exact phrase many timez in the past month).

But when I was at my absolute breaking point of the mission and ready to give up, He lifted me up. And I can't express how grateful I am for that.

I know that in extremely hard times, it is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to stay positive and continue forward with faith and prayer. Trust me - I know. And I know that God pushes us to be better. And even though the changes hurt - EXTREMELY BAD - if we trust in Him and still follow Him, it will ALWAYS be for our benefit and learning. Always. Because God knows each and every one of us personally and knows where our breaking points are. And He will let us be pushed right up to the edge, to see if you still trust Him the closer and closer you get to falling off.

The love of God is real. And if we feel a lack of it in our lives - I know we can feel it again. It's either lacking because our faith is being tested, or He's waiting for us to strive a little harder to follow Him.

Mmkay I'm getting off my soap box. But doesn't being a missionary mean that I'm on a soap box 24/7 for 18 months? Who knows.

Anyway. I need to sleep because the stress of the past month is catching up to me - BUT - I am filled with renewed hope and strength and am ready to go out and find the people who need this wonderful gospel in their lives.

I love you all!!!

-Hermana Layton