It's been an interesting couple of days. First, I received notice that someone had (FINALLY) signed our lonely guestbook. I went to check it out and found that it was Sister Rich, the mother of Elder Rich (also serving in the Peru Lima North Mission). You can view their terrific blog here. Rich Mission Blog
In fact, it was their blog that gave me the idea for this one. We've communicated via email a couple of times now, and she has been full of ideas and tips that will assist us in our small support role as Elder Layton serves. For example, she forwarded a listserv that she belongs to (and Brenda soon will) called missionary moms. From that we learned that some of the Elders take an oderless garlic pill to keep the bugs and parasites away. It's been very good for us to receive experienced suggestions from her.
Then, today I heard from a young man named Jose Arevalo (has a comment under the previous post), who lives in the Peru Lima North Mission - and is actually in the branch where Elder Rich is serving right now. He was baptized nearly one year ago, is about to turn 19, and has already submitted his papers to serve a mission. He was excited to meet Elder Layton (may not happen since Elder Layton won't even get to the field for another 6 weeks) and is an exceptional young man. (I have the word of Sr. Rich on that.)
For those of you who have not served in Central/South America - simply put - at least from my perspective they are the greatest missions in the world! I know, I know, that's what they all say, right? Well, Jose is an example of why they really are. The people are so kind and full of love and humility. They are without question the children of promise (see video in the last post). I love them and wish I were more like them.
The point is this...for the next two years Elder Layton will be serving the people of Peru. What will probably happen is that he will discover that he will have a very, very difficult time keeping up with their kindness, and the servant will oft times become the recipient of service. One of the many reasons we're so excited for Elder Layton is simply how incredible the people are going to be. They will be one of the biggest and most enjoyable parts of his mission experience. That's my prediction and I'm sticking to it.