Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Going home.

Hellooooo everyone!

So...............this is my last update from the mission. I am going home this coming week.

Just about 2 weeks after I got to my area in Reu, I found out that my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. It was a huge shock and it was really hard to handle - I was just getting used to the mission and adjusting, and then dealing with that news at the same time! It was pretty rough and pretty overwhelming at times. I was seriously thinking about going home after I got that news, but decided that I would stay, at least for another change, and keep moving forward on my mission. It was great after that! I felt like I could really focus and dive into missionary work, and we saw some pretty amazing miracles there in July.

Then, just a few weeks ago, I got another update that my Dad's condition was much more serious than previously thought and, long story short - I'm coming home this week.

This decision did not come easily and without many desperate, tear-filled prayers and a very inspired trip to the temple in the middle of it. I had the feeling that I needed to be home with my family, but that conflicted with the calling I had as a missionary, to put aside all personal affairs and lose oneself in the service of the Lord. But after lots and lots of tears and prayer, I made the decision to come home, and I feel at peace with it.

I am beyond words with how grateful I am for this experience I have had as a missionary. It's only been 3 months, but I have learned and grown so much. Most of all - I gained my testimony here on the mission.

My testimony was decent before I came on the mission - I knew I loved the Lord and I loved the church, but there were parts where I wanted it to be strengthened and solidified, and my prayers were definitely answered. I have a testimony that Joseph Smith really was a true prophet. That he was chosen to bring forth the restored gospel to the Earth again - the same that was on the Earth when Christ was here. That the blessings available for the people who come to a knowledge of this truth are amazing and because of this truth, we have the guidance of a living prophet to help us on this journey back to our loving Heavenly Father.

I know that He lives, I know that He loves us and I know that His love extends to every single one of his children, no matter where they are. I am so incredibly grateful for the people I have met and the miracles I witnessed here in Retalhuleu. I just hope I was able to make some sort of difference in the lives of the people we taught. I certainly tried and testified with my whole heart.

I am very anxious to be home to go through this challenge together as family and I know that our loving Heavenly Father is watching over us.

Sorry that this mission blog was pretty short! But I am very grateful for my mission - and I will never forget it.

LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Hermana Layton

p.s. no pictures this week. But I had one of the Elders recover almost all of my photos!! But at the risk of them being erased again...I'm just going to wait until I get home to post them haha.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Skipped a week...

Helloooooo everyone!

Sorry I didn't update last week! It's been an interesting couple of weeks!

Well these weeks have been good! Just working hard, same old stuff. We had an investigator get baptized this past weekend - Victor. He had been coming to church with his friend and that family who are members in the ward and really wanted to get baptized. He had investigated the church before, maybe 5 years ago, and now just started to check it out again and he felt that desire to be baptized.

He is really an example of people who are prepared and ready to accept the gospel. Sometimes I think missionaries get too discouraged or pushy when people do not want to listen or don't want to come to church - but the conclusion is that it's just not their time and that's ok. There really are people out there who are ready and prepared to hear the gospel and have it in their lives, and it's just our job to find them. Not force our religion on every person we meet. It was really nice to see him and his genuine desire to just be better in his life and receive that answer that this really is true. It was great.

I had a ton of photos to upload from the past few weeks, since my connector cord wasn't working, but guess what. All of them are now ERASED. I tried uploading them and they were erased. So...hopefully I can get them back somehow. But in your heads just imagine us at a baptism, doing this presentation of the Restoration for the stake with little kids and a big Goliath, me chopping wood for a member and more green fields. Use your imagination.

Love you all!!!!!

-Hermana Layton

Monday, August 3, 2015

WE WENT TO TACO BELL GUYS!! ...Oh yeah and mission stuff too


Another week has passed and we're in August. Don't know how that happened! But yeah it was a pretty good week!

We had a multi-zone conference on Thursday with different messages and speakers and it was really uplifting and nice. We also, in the middle of the conference, Skyped with a former missionary from that area who, in the past couple months, had been in the hospital for about 10 or so different surgeries on his abdomen for some problem. It was really touch and go with him for a while and we fasted as a whole mission a couple times for him - Elder Kevin Portillo. But he is out of the hospital now and recovering and he's going to be just fine and we all Skyped with him at the conference! He gave a really powerful testimony about how the mission changed his life and how he relied on the Savior and His Atonement during his hospital stays and thanked us for the support. I think everyone was in tears. I did not get to know him since he left the mission before I got there, but it was pretty amazing and I'm so glad he's doing better.

Today for P-day, we went to Mazate, which is another area just about an hour from Reu and we went to TACO BELL OH MY GOSH IT WAS SO GREAT AND IT DIDN'T TASTE ANY DIFFERENT AND I HOPE I DON'T DIE OF PARASITES OR SOMETHING BUT IT WAS SO GREAT.

Yeah Mazate has a bunch of the fast food chains there like Taco Bell, Wendy's, Pizza Hut, Dominos and a Burger King. And of course McDonald's. But that's nothing new.

All in all, it was a good week! Just moving forward and learning new things every day. I really appreciate all the letters and support from everyone. They really mean a lot. :)

LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!

-Hermana Layton

Super scary bridge that we couldn't end up crossing because it broke on the other end

Me and Hermana Mendoza at the conference in the super huge new church building in the area San Felipe

More green fields of La Bendicion

Offering our peaches to Ronald McDonald.  He didn't accept them.  Jerk. 

Playing pool with Hermana Mendoza and Hermana Saenz
Aww man I had a picture of the Taco Bell, but my stupid piece of crap camera cord isn't being read by the computer at the moment.  It's temperamental like that.  But maybe next week.