Monday, September 29, 2008

Jacob Shall Flourish in the Wilderness

Oh man, I'm loving Peru. I'm not really suppossed to tell you because you might worry, but I've been really sick this past week but I'm better now. It only lasted a couple days but they say it's normal and I might get sick another time - that's it.

It's good to be moving again though you have no idea. We do so much here - its the best. We committed another family to baptism this week, a golden family. They have kids and grandchildren all living with them. Awesome. People here ask us to visit them when we're walking, so we've just got in the habit to talking to pretty much every person we pass.

Hmmm... oh yeah, kind´ve a funny story... I'm really tall here no doubt, and the showers are heated by electricity. I accidently touched my head on the shower and got shocked. The same day I hit my head on a covering over the sidewalk. It came out of nowhere and of course I felt like an idiot.
(I borrowed the picture of the shower heater at the right from Elder Rau's (a friend of Elder Layton) blog. We still don't have actual pictures from Peru yet. I'm assuming that Elder Layton's shower heater is fairly similar to this one. Knowing President Rau, he's probably going to want some kind of royalties now.)

Peru is fun, but different than I thought. Of course I'm not in the jungle right now but I never see the sun and its dusty all the time, so we come home and fall asleep all dirty. They said we'll get used to it. It's really a great place. '

My studies are going good. Elder Kay moved in, another boy representing the states and he's been helping me out with the lessons in Spanish.
I gave my first first lesson to the family we're baptising on the 11th. Were also baptising a lady this Sunday after conference, normally we´d do it Saturday but that's when the priesthood session is. If I have to do it I'm going to have to get moving on learning the prayer. freak! Anyway, how are things going with everyone? Well, the missionary work is great. I know the church is true everyone! Love, Elder Layton

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Mission is So Much Fun - I Love Every Minute!

Okay I have a lot to tell you and not that much time. I'll make this fast. HOLA!!! how is everything. Peru is so amazing. The reason I didn't email yesterday was because I was at the offices. I'm in a trio with Elder Acevedo and Cairampoma. Elder Acevedo is from Nicaragua and Elder Cai is from here, Peru.

When I flew in we were above the clouds and it was like a carpet of clouds everywhere you looked. When we went below the clouds everything fogged up and stayed that way until we touched the ground. In the Miami airport I met up with all the missionaries heading to the MTC here. I was the only one going into the campo (field). I talked with two Peruvians and left a Book of Mormon with one and I gave another lady some Sunchips I had. It turned out when we got on the plane the lady I gave the Book of Mormon to was right in front of me and the lady I gave the Sunchips to was right next to was a big plane - go figure.

So I talked to them, and found out that the lady who I had given Sunchips to was a Jehovah's Witness, that she lived in both the United States and Peru (she spoke some English) and had been starving from her long trip so she thanked me very much for the food. The other lady I talked to mostly in the airport. She didn't speak English but I gave her the first lesson, and I think the Spirit touched her enough because it made me feel good - she wants to come to church. I got both their addresses. Tight huh? thats just proof to me that God is leading me, even when i don´t know it.

Peru is so awesome. The second day here I saw Elder Griffin (Elder Griffin was Elder Layton's first companion in the MTC - shown here on the right) at his zone conference (the office Elders took me to meet the President - I'm not in his zone) and he told me that right before he came there some guy on a bus pulled out a gun on him (Wow! Elder Griffin must really be preachin' with power if he got someone that upset - and his first week too!).... crazy stuff... haha, we played piano together just like old times. I've missed that Elder. Also there I saw my friend, Elder Nathan Stewart from BYU. He's a Bolivian Elder, but of course they're all coming here. It was random...but so good to see another familiar face. He actually looks a lot different. Way skinnier haha. He'll get more food here. We eat a lot here. Too much honestly. I always have to fight the food down. Don't get me wrong, it's all amazing. Mucho rice...corn, soup, chicken, you know, all the good stuff. The drinks are really good. We usually don't just have water. We have hot chocolate milk...herbal teas, a drink that tastes like black licorice, a lot of Inca Cola, and other stuff.

There are dogs everywhere. I'm bent at the waist in buses usually, they all drive like crazy people. Lanes dont mean nada (nothing). Freak. Everyone honks. There's party music all night too... it's not the best atmosphere to teach people, but we do what we can. I love the people. My very first night with my companions after the zone conference we had a baptism for familia Coral. Husband and wife. They're really great people. I have pictures so I'll have to send them. We're not allowed to send them over email, but maybe I'll be able to slip in an sd card.

Hmm, what else? We have several people with dates... the people are so receptive. I love it. My companions work very hard. I love it. The Mission President's my favorite. This missions my favorite. Its so great. I'm already great friends with the whole district. We have a lot more unity here with zones and districts for some reason than we did in Arizona. I like it.

It's way expensive to send one letter.... 2 bucks each. Also... you CAN'T send beef, cheese (pretty much food), clothing, anything expensive like cameras, ipods, money, basically nothing of value, ties, etc.... I guess the airport here opens everything thats sent and if its any of these things will either take it or make the recipient pay a tax on it which can be up to $200... and the Church won't pay for basically dont send those things.

The work is good. I'll probably email mostly because I only have $25 a week, but don't worry. I'll try to send letters when i can. I love you guys. The mission is so much fun - I love every minute. I just hope I can do my best.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Peru Is Awesome

Since missionaries are only allowed limited time to send and receive emails to and from their immediate families only, we very much appreciate the time that both Elder and Sister Rich took to provide us with this information about Elder Layton.

Yesterday we picked up Elder Layton at the airport in the morning. Elder Layton just chilled with us all day, slept with us here in the offices, and it was so interesting to see someone right out of the states come to Peru and just be AWWWed at Peru. He was tired though, he slept from 10 in the morning until like 6 in the afternoon. A good little nap. Then we went to dinner, it was good, his first Peruvian meal!!! I will tell you one thing, I’m sooooooo glad I’m not new anymore… I would like to be in his shoes again, BUT with the things I know now and being able to speak Spanish. He is in the field with his comp, and I bet just lovin’ life…. He will be a good missionary.

The green text is in recognition of the greenest missionary in Peru. Elder Layton had been traveling from early Wednesday morning through Thursday morning. We expect to hear more from him on Monday.

(Update: I had a question about Elder Rich. He is a missionary, currently serving as secretary in the Peru Lima North Mission. Brenda corresponds with a few of the missionary moms of Elders in that mission through an email group.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chilly Lima

Hi People,

Im in lima!!!!!!! finally. i just came from the airport, saw a bunch of, well, things Ive never seen before, almost died in a taxi the entire ride to the mission office, and now im here just waiting for president to show up. hes going to be here at 830,oh man!

im right here with a bunch of cool missionaries...landon rich included (hes a big deal everybody) and i have no idea whats going to happen next. i think theyre going to let me sleep a little tonight since ive been up for who knows how long. i have a bunch of really cool missionary stories from the airport too ill spill em all out later. i dont know how much time i have. yeah.... thats basically it. its kindve foggy here which i wasnt really expecting. not very hot. anyway, i love you all and will be praying for you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Heading South For the Winter

It's finally time...
We got the phone call tonight. Elder Layton called to inform us that he had received his notice that he leaves for Peru tomorrow morning. His plane departs at 10:40 A.M. He wasn't even sure yet where his connecting flight would be.
It was so SWEET to be able to speak with him. Our love has grown for him, and we can tell that his has for us. A mission is, without a doubt, the best thing that can happen in the life of a young man. He was a great kid before. We're already seeing him develop into a man of God.

But the time has finally arrived. Elder Layton will be in Lima, Peru tomorrow. He's definitely excited and so are we. It feels like now he will finally be doing what he was called to do.

The Stone Cut Without Hands Shall Roll Forth

(Pause the music on the playlist at the sidebar prior to viewing the video below.)

If you love the gospel of Jesus Christ, you will love watching this! I can't help but think of the scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants...

"The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth." (D&C 65:2)

The army of young men and women is perhaps the primary tool that the Lord has used in bringing to pass the fulfillment of the prophecy. Elder Layton is only one of nearly 60,000 in this particular part of the army of the Lord. My own desire to more fully engage in that army has been pricked. Prophecy is being fulfilled before our eyes.

Monday, September 15, 2008

VISA IS APPROVED!!! (so the rumor goes)

On Friday we heard that another Elder headed to the Peru Lima North Mission had his visa approved. So today I called the MTC travel office and found out that Elder Layton was in the group that had their visas approved. Exciting stuff. So we're hopeful that he will be headed to Lima sometime later this week.

I knew that today was preparation day, and that we would likely be getting an email later. So I got an email off to him, thinking that he had probably not heard anything yet. Here's his reply.

That's so crazy my visa's approved... I figured it was about time though. I'm really not ready to leave
because things have just started getting really good. I'm sorry I've written so little. I'm sure it will get easier for me but so far it's been really busy learning the ropes out here. We committed a girl to baptism yesterday and our goal right now is 30 lessons a week... but so far it's been tough getting that many. We have been doing about 3 or 4 a day and of course we visit as many less-active families as we can. There are so many and a lot of them just need a push.

President Beck, our mission President just talked with us last night at a mission conference, who just met with Elder Hales in the temple, and we're making a plan to work a lot better with the Bishops/Stake President/Mission Leaders. So far it seems like we really don't talk with them a lot so I know it could use improvement.

Hmmm... other than that though, we've all been really sick. I was only kind've out a couple days but of course we did stuff anyway. Elder Diaz was the worst.. he had the flu/fever/cold...kind've everything haha, and then the other Elders in my apartment have just started to get better, so I've had a little extra study time. Of course it didn't really affect the work that much... we went on a bunch of splits so that was good.

That's insane that Bryan's already getting ready to leave! FREAK. Bryan, if you're reading this - I love you man, you'll be a great missionary! I wish I could have been at the farewell. (see Bryan's blog link at the right)

I love sharing the gospel. It's so true, and I'm reassured of that all the time. I've watched the 20 minute restoration video a bunch of times out here so far, but the last time was the best. I felt the spirit so strong and I know our investigators did too. I love it...

Spanish is going okay. A lot of people speak English so it's hard, and Elder Diaz prefers speaking English most of the time... so that's a little tough. I think that'll be a + for being in Peru, I'm sure we'll be there soon!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


There are rumors of several missionaries who are waiting on visas for Peru. Word is that quite a few were approved recently. We're planning on checking with the travel office on Monday, and will let you know (via the blog of course) as soon as we do. Of course, Monday is also when we expect to hear from Elder Layton.

So, the anticipation continues, at least for a couple more days...

In the meantime, did anyone else see that BYU-UCLA football game? BYU beat 'em 59-0!!! In fact, it was UCLAs worst loss since 1929. Is UCLA really that bad, or is BYU really that good? UCLA just beat Tennessee! A bit off topic, I know, but I can tie it in (if I really try) since Elder Layton was at BYU recently as a student - AND we have pics of him as a missionary with LaVell Edwards stadium in the background. That qualifies this observation as "blog worthy".

Monday, September 8, 2008

Arizona's Hot But at Least the People Are Chill

Okay, okay, okay....I really don't have that much time to email today I'm really sorry I've been busy with a lot of things.

Arizona's still hot, the people are still chill ("Arizona's still hot" is a good thing. "People are still chill" is also a good thing. This is not to be confused with Arizona being chill and the people being hot, which, we believe, is also a good thing. We are consulting with the kids and will let you know if we need to change that around...), and of course my companion is doing great. He's helped me a lot over the past couple days. Thanks for the package from all of you, it meant a lot. I loved the letters from everyone it was great.

We had a chance to go to the Mesa temple with some families and of course we've still been doing lessons.

It's really hard for me to give the lessons in spanish for some reason...well, other than not knowing the language, but it just seemed so much straight-forward at the MTC. You know, when they say the language you learn in the MTC isn't what you speak in the field, they're not lying. Remember that? Best Two Years? Yeah.... I'm feeling it.

I'm glad the C5 is doing so well, I would love to hear what's going on with all my guys, and of course the ward back home. We have a feeling we're leaving this week but no se. I love you people. The church is true.

Monday, September 1, 2008

First Report from Arizona

ARIZONA is just Great! It's been so busy I don't even remember everything we've done in the past week... or maybe it's just my bad memory. I don't know. Elder Diaz and Elder Aguilera told me that I was meant for this mission, and I kind of feel the same way. I really don't want to leave this place. Elder Diaz is a great papa. At first I thought I was going to have to kick them in the back of the feet to get working, but I guess that was only because I came in during P-day. Tuesday came and I almost wished it was Pday again...jaja. Seriously though, these Mexicans know how to work.

Basically since Elder Elison and I split up Elder Diaz and Aguilera we trade off different areas each week so we have to work together. Elder Diaz was from Phoenix orignally but moved to Michigan where he's been living since.

He has a twin brother and they both were called to Arizona. His brother's in Mesa. ;)
I have so much to learn... Elder Diaz knows way too much, for serious. I've already made friends in and out of the ward. On Saturday we had an activity where we took all the little kids around the Church and they went to different rooms like they were missionaries. They all had little future missionary tags on :) One of the doors was called: La Familia Grunion...The grumpy family. They rejected the kids and told them that they weren't interested. It was so great. The kids loved it so much they didn't want to stop being little missionaries, and the ward had food for everyone after.

Anyway, I'm keeping busy, and I hope I can be here as long as I can. Oh yeah, yesterday they had me bear my testimony in the Spanish branch, that was interesting... I love you all.