Sunday, March 30, 2008

Peruvian Points of Interest

Here is a picture of the downtown area of Lima known as "Centre de Miraflores" (Look at the flowers). Peru is an interesting mix of the modern and ancient, the rich and the poor, the European and the Amerindian. It contains gorgeous mountains and lush jungles, but the coast is nearly entirely desert.

The food is a mixture of authentic Indian dishes, with heavy influence from European and African cuisine as well. But we're going to change the subject from food since today is fast Sunday. I'm sure there will be much, much more on some of Elder Layton's favorite dishes as this Blog takes shape over couple of years. But for now, suffice it to say that mom and dad are looking forward to the firsthand experience, at the conclusion of Elder Layton's term of full time service.

Here are some quick facts about Peru:

  • Home of several ancient civilizations, including the Inca
  • Conquered by the Spanish in 1533 - Became independent in 1821

  • Located on the western side of South America - You can see a map here South America
  • Population 28.7 million
  • It is comprised of 1,285,220 sq km (just under the size of Alaska)

  • Capital Lima

  • Currency Neuvo sol

  • Languages Spanish, Aymara, Quechua

  • People 54% Indian, 32% Mestizo (European-Indian), 12% Spanish descent, 2% other
  • Religion 81% Roman Catholic, small Protestant population, 16% unspecified

  • Government constitutional republic

  • Major industries Pulp, paper, coca leaves, fishmeal, steel, chemicals, oil, minerals, cement, auto assembly, steel, shipbuilding

  • Literacy rate 87.7%

  • Natural hazards earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, landslides, mild volcanic activity

  • Climate ranges from tropical in the Eastern portion to very dry along the Western coast. The temperature is generally temperate, except in the Andes mountains, where it can become very cold.

  • Elevation changes are from 0 feet above sea level along the Pacific coast, to over 22,000 feet in the rugged Andes
  • Peru is home to the incomparable ruins of Machu Picchu, the pre-Colombian Inca civilization. The buildings were built with the "dry stone" style of the Incas. It sits in the mountains at nearly 8000 feet above sea level. Conquered along with the rest of the Incan empire by the Spanish, it is considered one of the "Seven New Wonders of the World."

      • The Lima Peru North Mission is comprised mostly of jungle. Exotic animals such as Jaguars, Monkeys and Boa Constrictors are common. Sean told me that there are spiders and llamas everywhere, which shouldn't be too much of an adjustment for him since we have spiders and llamas in Central Oregon. The jaguars, exotic constrictors and monkeys however are a different story.
    • Many of the homes in the jungle are built either in such a way as to float during the rainy season, or on stilts. Homes in the city of Lima are generally very poor (but not always), often with dirt floors and are built one right next to the other.
The wet season lasts from November to March. During this time, it can rain anytime but generally only rains for several hours at a time.

...and of course, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is doing very well there. There are some 27 Stakes of Zion in Peru and the gospel is taking hold in that land very well. This is the LDS temple in Lima. Sean has lived in two other areas (Portland and Las Vegas) which have shared the basic design with the Peruvian temple.

Speaking of temples, Sean will be able to receive his endowments in just a few weeks. That is just unbelievable! We are all so excited for him. Things are moving so fast now.

"Elder Layton" Receives His Call

This is a picture taken of Sean in the Fall of 2006. He was seventeen years old, but even then it seemed (at least for mom and dad) as if things like college and a mission were far, far off in the future. But all of a sudden, reality set in as we found ourselves driving him to BYU-Provo so that he could attend the Summer term. Several months later, he submitted his paperwork for service as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

On March 19th, 2008, Sean received an envelope in the mail. He actually received the call before noon, but wouldn't open the envelope until his family and a few friends could get together...via phone or a webcam that he had set up, or in his dorm room at BYU. He must have received that patience from his mother (who always insists on such things as waiting until Christmas to open the gifts) because dad would have opened it and informed everyone else later.

So, with friends and family present or...e-present...Sean opened the envelope and read out loud: "Dear Elder Layton:You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Peru Lima-----Mission." Many of us didn't hear the words immediately following "Peru Lima" because it had gotten rather loud. I went in on the computer to see what I could find on the Lima Peru mission, only to find that there were four Lima, Peru missions. I still didn't know exactly where he was going. Several moments later he clarified it for us. Sean would be serving in the Peru Lima North Mission.

We will miss Sean, but we know that the work that he will be doing is the will of the Lord. We couldn't be any more pleased with his desire to be a full time missionary and know that he will work as if everything depended upon him, but pray with the knowledge that everything depends on God. This zeal will bring success, not only on his mission, but throughout his life, and this is a perfect training ground.

We're also very excited that he is going to serve the children of God in the Lima Peru North Mission. It really wouldn't have mattered to us if he went to Burns or to Brazil, but we take great comfort in knowing that this call came from the Lord Himself.