Elder Layton; "It's hard to talk English (He kept slipping back into Spanish throughout the call. He didn't have much of an accent though.). I don't think I've ever been happier. We have a ton of really good families to visit. It's hard because so many people aren't married - it's different from Lima. Most people don't have the papers they need to get married. We have to wait on papers from other areas. Right now we are waiting on papers for a guy who's from Iquitos. So we have to contact the other missionaries and wait.
Our apartment is really nice. It's one of the nicest buildings in Pucallpa." Above is a picture of Avenida Saenz Pena, very close to where the Elder's apartment is.
Don: "What's been the hardest part of your mission so far?"
Elders Zepeda and Layton with Hermana Angelica & Friends While in Puente Piedra
Elder Layton: "No, it will stay here - it will bring joy for some other missionaries."
Elder Layton: "Our Mission President is the best, he's a great guy - the "best ever". He even lets us watch a movie once in a while. The last movie we saw was "Night At the Museum". They show it in Spanish, sometimes with English subtitles."
Family: "What do you normally do on your p-days?"
Elder Layton: "We plan weird things. We have to be with the zone until about 1:00 or 2:00. We play soccer all the time. Our pension does the laundry. We eat breakfasts and dinners with the pension. We have lunch with members and we get referrals."
Family: "What's your favorite food so far and what's the weirdest things you've eaten?
Elder Layton: "I love a lot of the food but in Ventanilla and Puente Piedra we ate a lot of Arroz con Pollo (chicken and rice). We had it all the time but there's some really good food. We have all kinds of fresh fruit and drinks made from fruit. There's a lady in our ward who let's us get fresh coconuts whenever we want.
We were supposed to have turtle day-before-yesterday, but she wasn't there and so we had fish instead. We've eaten a lot of alligator - it tastes kind of like chicken. We eat a lot of venison - there are a lot of deer in the jungle. The weirdest was pig stomach. It's so gross. Oh, and they always put chicken feet in soup. They're mostly cartilage - nasty."
Don: "What advice would you give Eric, Curtis and maybe Briana as they prepare for their missions?"
Elder Layton: "Study the scriptures."
Don: "That sounds good - anything else?"
Elder Layton: "Yeah, study the scriptures - memorize scriptures. Have good experiences you can share with other people - become good teachers."
Brenda: "Do you play the piano for your ward?"
Elder Layton: "I play all the hymns now. I played in Puente Piedra and Ventanilla, but they don't have a piano here. They have a keyboard, but it's broken. Two nights ago, we went to the Plaza and sang with the choir. It's funny...all the Churches had time to sing or whatever. The Catholic Church took about an hour right before us and just banged and whistled. We sang hymns. Everyone loved it. Most of the Churches just blasted rock music and rap. Christmas is different here. Everyone works."
Brenda: "Is it hot there?"
Elder Layton: "Yeah, it's hot every day. We take cold showers - we don't have hot water. It's really, really cold water."
Don: "What are some of the best things you've learned so far?"
Elder Layton: "Not really - I had to leave one of my suitcases in Lima when I came to the jungle - they only allow one suitcase on the plane. I'm going to have to leave a couple of things here when I leave. My suitcase is already overweight.
People send me letters and I really feel bad. I can't write back. It's really expensive here to send letters. We only get about 90 soles per month (Peru currency) and it costs about 10 soles just to send out one letter. Tell everyone that I love them. We have to take mototaxis to church - it's pretty far away. That costs money too."Brenda: "Grandma and Grandpa told me to tell you that they love you."
Elder Layton: "I love them too. I love all of my family and friends."
Family: We love you, we miss you, we pray for you all the time and are very proud of you.