Sunday, August 31, 2008

Randomivity and Allovertheboardness

...picked this up from the Rich Mission site - viewed here -

"Refering to Elders Hyde, Ridge, & Layton, who are having visa problems. We need them down here. They will be good elders. If they come down by themselves to Peru, and come straight into the field, I will most likely go pick them up. That would be sweet!"

Elder Rich (shown at left with Gabo - the young man in Peru who is a recent convert and is preparing for his own mission in Argentina) is the missionary that some of the Elders had heard about in the MTC. He is now serving as the Secretary in the mission office. We're told that he may have some of the earliest information on the visa status of these Elders. Naturally we're watching carefully. It's not what, but who you know, right?

Ricky asked about Elder Layton's mailing address while in Arizona. You can find it located on the sidebar under "Missionaries Love Getting Your Letters!" Thank you all for your letters and support to Elder Layton.
The poll at the right is now closed. Andrea won - I suppose - depending on how you want to look at it. I reserve the right to comment on this at a later time (GRIN).

Friday, August 29, 2008

Lima Peru North Mission - Next Stop

(We received a package day before yesterday with some items that Elder Layton didn't feel he could take with him. Included was this letter, which was not dated, but obviously was written before the last two that we most recently posted.)

Tomorrow morning Elder Ridge and I part ways, and same goes for my whole district. Elder Harris and I get on a bus and they take us to the Salt Lake Airport, where I go to Arizona, and he goes to Ventura, Ca. I really have no idea what I should expect, even after 9 weeks of training. Today was hard because it was the last time I saw Hardy Dos (He's my teacher, we have two teachers of the same name, no relation) and leaving my district is also very hard; we're great friends.

I don't feel ready, but there's no turning back time. I have few regrets about the MTC, I think it was a good transition for me to be honest and I worked so hard, but I have the most important part ahead of me.

I can't post Elder Layton's new address yet, because I don't know where Brenda put it. She's out of town, taking the Young Women on a three day wilderness hike in the Cascade Mountains somewhere. She returns tomorrow, and I'll do what I can to add it to the sidebar on the right.
Thank you all for supporting Elder Layton with your letters and prayers. Oh, and Angie, I love ya hon! This ones for you. MMMMMMMM, roasted Guinea Pig.

Monday, August 25, 2008

At Least It's a Dry Heat

This morning Brenda got the phone call from Elder Layton as he awaited his departing flight to Arizona. He didn't know the specifics but was excited to get going. They had a nice talk.

Then just a few hours later we received an email. He flew in on preparation day and it seems that the first order of business for the Elders who picked him up was to go email their families. And of course, he was able to email his.
Hola. ?Como Estan?'s pday today and we're at a small community college here to email. I wasn't just put in with another companionship, Elder Elison (An elder I knew from the MTC that traveled with me, we weren't in the same zone or anything) and I just split one up and so we both have companions. My companion's name is Elder Diaz and he's already taken me under his wing, he's my papa supposedly. I'll have to get pictures for you.

Elder Elison is also going to Lima North so we'll travel together again, hopefully soon. I'm ready to be in Peru. Elder Diaz speaks spanish and english, and I asked him to say some stuff in spanish when I got to the apartment and I didn't understand anything...oh man. Oh well, it will come with practice. The apartment's way nice. So much better than what I've been expecting from Peru and all. It's hot here, but I really like it. It's like vegas except...well, better (sorry extended family I love you).

If we get stuck here for a while I wouldn't mind it that much, mostly because we have a truck and a car for the six of us, and two stakes to go to work in. We're actually in a city called Good Year?... I have no idea where that is, but you can tell me. The missionaries probably made it up to mess with us who knows.
Anyway, we have to who knows where, I've only been in Arizona for a couple hours. I'm not even unpacked yet. I'm like a lost puppy.
Tomorrow will be great hopefully.

Let the fun begin.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Final Pictures from the MTC

Elder Layton and his good friend from Bend, Elder Rau. Elder Rau is serving in the Rosario, Argentina Mission. This was taken on his final day in the Provo MTC.

Elder Rau's flight plan took him through Lima, Peru. Elder Layton mentioned that he didn't think that he liked the idea Elder Rau going to his mission before he did. We saw the smile in his words though.

Below is the photo that is being used as part of the blog header. The quality of the picture quality is better however, so I included it here.

We assume that Elder Layton's companion, Elder Ridge, is probably taking the picture.

Shown from left to right are Elders Monk, Layton, Harris and Braden.

"We're great buddies"

Same Elders, slightly different pose.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Final MTC Letter (we think)

Before getting to the latest email from Elder Layton, it is noteworthy to point out that this is probably the last letter we will receive from him while at the Provo MTC. Although he wasn't able to spend time in the Peruvian MTC as originally planned, we know that the experiences he has had in Provo are unique. We expect a phone call from him on Monday morning, before he departs to Arizona.

Even though his attitude has been upbeat, we know that on the inside he is extremely anxious to get to Peru, and that it must be very disappointing to get put on hold. And of course there are several missionaries who are in the same position right now. We previously mentioned that Elder Ridge was going to go to Tucson. Elder Hyde is going to be temporarily reassigned to Chicago. I believe that there are others as well. With that in mind, we include the following video for all of those missionaries who have been delayed recently. It's coming soon Elders.

Now, on to some excerpts from his latest letter...

Dearest People,

Normally they don't let missionaries email other than pday, but the District President made an exception thankfully. I'M GOING TO PHOENIX ARIZONA!!!

cool huh? only for several weeks at the most. The Travel Office said we'd have our visa's within two weeks for sure. I told Elder Ridge before I was reassigned that if I was to end up going somewhere else I would want it to be Arizona, and I also told him I was definitely going to Arizona... I'm not going to lie, it was suppossed to be a complete joke! For some reason I feel way good about going there.

Today, my teacher Hermano Hardy shared pictures and stories of his mission and gave us advice of how to be great missionaries. He's amazing... I hope to be like him one day. He's taught me almost too much. I feel like there's so much to do once I'm in the field, and so little time. It's crazy I'll be out there, in Arizona, on Monday. I miss you all.

(We are deeply indebted to Hermano Hardy and all of the instructors and others who have helped prepare Elder Layton for this incredible experience he is about to embark upon! Seriously, thank you Brother Hardy.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Phone Call

So...I'm sitting at my desk working on a playlist for the blog (new feature here - you can turn it off if you prefer - over at the right side) in a quiet moment, and the phone rings. Caller ID says it's coming from an "801" area code. Sure enough, Elder Layton was calling.

He started speaking Spanish to me - and I have to say, it sounded pretty good. Actually, he sounded really good. There was one little spot I had to ask him to repeat, but for the most part, he was doing great...better than I did when I was at the MTC getting ready for Mexico. When I first got to Mexico and spoke Spanish, little kids laughed at my accent. And I once testified that the Father and Son have bodies of meat and eggs. Ouch! Fortunately my companion was a Native and corrected my false doctrinal teaching.

Mom, dad and the kids all got on the phone (aren't speakerphones great?) and had a chance to speak with him for about 5 minutes. These moments are a bit of a rush, with a little panic, a lot of joy and excitement, all mixed together. It's a wonderfully strange experience.

He is being temporarily assigned to the Phoenix, Arizona mission...which is an amazing coincidence since that is where ANDREA lives! Well, okay, she actually lives in Mesa, but close enough.

About two weeks ago Elder Layton was kidding around that he wouldn't mind being temporarily reassigned to the Mesa, Arizona mission. We all laughed... yeah, like that's going to happen.

Elder Layton expects to be in Phoenix for up to two weeks. Nearly as soon as his visa arrives, he will be shipped out to Peru. Elder Layton's companion, Elder Ridge is also headed South. He's going to Tucson, and I assume is dealing with the same situation. Elder Layton will be travelling to Phoenix with Elder Ellison.

He reaffirmed that he is definitely going to Peru. He is going to call again on Monday, we assume just before he leaves. I expect to have more posted then.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Two More Weeks!?!?

I'm loving the MTC more and more but honestly, when are they going to let us start talking to people??? Elder Ridge and I are so ready to get to Peru it's not even funny. We have had a room to ourselves ever since our companions left for Peru, but today we get two new missionaries!

Exciting....not really. haha, our room is smaller than all the others and it only has two desks instead of four so it'll be cramped once again, but we're looking forward to meeting them anyway.

The Temple was great this morning. We did sealing's today. Also, yesterday Elder Dallin H. Oaks came and spoke at the devotional, and we were able to get right up front, so that was cool. I was hoping to get a hand shake or something...but he left right when it was done. Oh well, his talk was great.

The travel office keeps saying we'll know that 28th, so that's what it looks like. I'll keep you posted. Most likely they'll give us a days notice before we leave :) That's just how they are. We've already seen two groups of Peruvian Elders come and go and there's another one here. If they leave before us that would be just awesome! ;) We're having good attitudes about the whole Provo thing. I miss you all. And I love hearing from you.

Update from Dad: I decided to call the travel office myself today to see what was happening. They really don't know much more than this...the Elders who are being delayed WILL (according to them) not be relocated - they are definitely going to the Peru Lima North Mission, but it will probably not be going for at least two more weeks. The delay is on the Peruvian side. It appears as if he will be definitely be finishing his MTC training in Provo.

It doesn't sound as if Elder Layton is compeltely aware of this yet, but he and the others are still having a great attitude. That's all that really matters at this point. Peru will come soon enough. Brenda and I are grateful that he can joke about it - as much as is obvious that he really wants to be down in the mission of his calling. Besides, if he had gone already, he would have missed Elder Oaks!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Peru or ??? - We'll Find Out on the 28th

The MTC is basically the same, schedule-wise. WE finally finished pretty much all the grammer there is to know in the language, but we have no idea what to do with it. :) I'm almost done with Alma in the Book of Mormon so I'll finish before we leave. More new missionaries today. That's always fun.

There's a slight chance we might get reassigned somewhere. We'll know for sure on the 28th.

Our district gets their flight plans in 2 days. We're going to be district X, just me and Elder Ridge, after they leave. No teachers. Studying all day! The Church is true.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More of the Same from Provo, Utah

How is everything back home? I just got back from the temple, and it was great.

After the temple we always eat the temple food because it's so amazing, compared to our normal stuff anyway. What I'm looking forward to most is the Peruvian food though. Grandma said that a Peruvian family sacrificed their household dog for the missionary's down there. I'm hoping they'll be as gracious for us.

The spanish is coming along very well. There's no way we'd be learning this much without the help of the Lord. It's like having all the spanish I had in middle school and high school compacted into one week.

Most of our Zone left this week to Mexico because the country's finally letting them in. Most of them had been here 13 weeks, and now we're the second oldest district in our zone. Also I found out the Elder Rau will be flying through Peru on his way to Argentina. I don't know how I feel about him visiting my country before me... I think I'm just ready to be in Peru already as I've been held back four weeks already. It's all good though.

They told us we find out on the 28th of this month where we're going, but we've actually heard a rumor about the 20th so who knows. I say "where we're going" because there's a chance we could be reassigned for six weeks just until they figure out what's up with the visa's, but I don't think that'll happen. We've been praying. We may just stay in the MTC a couple weeks longer if they know the visa'a are on their way.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lima Peru North Mission Still Awaits Pending the Visa Approval

Yes, he's still in the MTC and no, we still don't know exactly when he will be sent to Peru. Elder Layton is still studying the gospel, the missionary discussions and Spanish. He is learning the articles of faith in Spanish right now.

Elder Layton had mentioned a couple of weeks back that he hadn't been feeling well. At the time, we didn't think much of it. Well, the rumor has it that he has bronchitis and didn't want us to worry. He's been to the doctor - or so the rumor goes. Great, so now when everything really is good, we'll worry, wondering what it is that he isn't telling us. Of course, when he actually gets to the Peruvian jungle, we should have nothing to worry about.

Last week the kids all got letters from their brother. Most of them were rather personal, but I would like to include a couple of brief comments he made, the first to Eric (in the picture at the right at the MTC with Elder Layton), and the second to Curtis (shown above, also with Elder Layton).

I want to tell you that I know how true the Church is. Do everything new to prepare... I really do miss you.

Curtis, you'll love the mission.

Short, sweet but very typical Elder Layton. We really are grateful for the example he is setting for his younger brothers.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Prayers from Peru - We Appreciate Them All

Sister Rich emailed me yesterday with correspondence she has had with a young man in Peru named Gabo. I'm including a portion of that correspondence below.

Gabo: I read at landon's blog that Elder Layton and others missionaries have some problems with their visas.

Gwen says: Yes - they went in the Provo MTC on June 23rd, along with other missionaries headed to Peru - and 1/2 of the visas came through and 1/2 didn't . I don't know what the problem is, but those elders are sure bummed - they want to come to PERU !!!!

Gabo says: I'm gonna pray for them.

We appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers and wishes of goodwill that have been extended on behalf of Elder Layton. We know that these things are in the hands of the Lord. But the support is appreciated. Thanks to Gabo, Sr. Rich and all of you. - Don and Brenda Layton

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Growing, Waiting, Joking and Even a Threat of Letter WithHolding

The Provo MTC is so great! They cram so many things into my head. I never actually thought that reading the scriptures would be exciting, but for some reason they are now. I'm almost through the Book of Mormon, and I want to read the New Testament after that.

During more than one of our family scripture studies, I knew this day would finally come. Hallelujah!

I think that I'm going to write a lot less after I'm in the field. Missionaries here have so many things to do and so little time. I barely can fit writing this into my schedule. Now I see why Jesse hasn't written anybody forever. It only means that he's working harder than I am right now. Jesse, Jacob, Logan, and Nate are all working hard. And I'm sure when Bryan gets our there he will be too ;).

Hmmmm...he thinks he's going to start writing "a lot less" after he arrives in Peru? So, naturally the question is this...are you allowed to un-hallelujah (threat of diminishing letters) after you've already hallelujahed (learning to love all things spiritual)? I'm not sure about that, but I bet a single letter from his mother will help set him straight.

So because of some regulation change that's why the visa process started so late. Elder Ridge and I will be here for 9 weeks for sure, and then we'll see from there. We may be reasigned* for a while until we get our visa's.

Whatever, It'll be an adventure. I'm hoping for Mesa Arizona a month or two ;) jk.

Elder Layton always has had more patience than I have had. It's no different now. I'm just chomping at the bit, ready for him to go. He's the one who's affected and is able to take it all in stride. This is definitley one of those times where the father needs to learn from the son.

Wherever he goes and whenever that is, we're just grateful that he has chosen to serve the Lord.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

!Elder Layton Ya Puede Testificar En El Espanol!

The photo to the left is of Elders Layton and Ridge. Elder Ridge is Elder Layton's second companion in the Provo MTC. One thing I really appreciate is getting all of these pictures out in front of the temple. It has to be one of the best parts of being in the MTC...going to the temple every week.

There are more photos posted in the photo section as well. Click the link at the right to view them.

Again the MTC is swell. We've had really nice weather here, except it's poured a couple times. That's okay though. All the sidewalks are covered. I don't know what we're going to do in Peru when it pours and we have nothing to walk under...I've been here two weeks too long. I really want to start eating monkey brains and snake and Guinea Pig. Compared to the cafeteria food here, that sounds delish! Just kidding.
From the perspective of one very biased and opinionated parent, I love this photo. Elder Layton and Elder Ridge both have a very kind look on their faces. Kindness is an element of charity, and is so necessary for a missionary to be successful. May the love of God grow in Elder Layton and in all missionaries everywhere.

Yo se que Jesucristo es mi redentor. Tengo un testimonio muy poderoso concerniente el Evangelio restaurado. Jose Smith fue un profeta de la restauracion. Me encanta mi mision. ha ha. (I know that Jesus Christ is my Redeemer. I have a very strong testimony of the restored gospel. Joseph Smith was the prophet of the restoration. I love my mission. ha ha.)

Well that was just a few things off the top of my head. I love you. Sorry my letters are so short, Pdays are one of our busiest days. Write back soon! Tell Andrea that she's not distracting me at all. I'm focused. I miss her a lot but it's good.

This picture is of Elders Layton and George. We assume that Elder George is one of the new Elders that Elder Layton referred to in his last letter. If so, he is probably headed to the Lima Peru North Mission as well.

The room is Elder Layton's (and three others) living area while at the MTC. It is very typical of where most LDS missionaries begin the best two years of their lives.