Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm Happier Than Ever

Dearest Familia,

This week was awesome. Yeah, I'm blessed to have a great companion and a bunch of investigadores de oro (golden investigators). Really there are so many people that are ready to hear the message of the Restored Gospel.

A local "taxi" in Pucallpa

The green jungle of the Amazon - this just outside of Pucallpa

Saturday and Sunday were kind of crazy. Two different people in our ward died, so Elder Rojas and I had a full weekend. Actually, one of the people that passed away was one of my investigators who had a baptism date and everything. It was a good thing though because he was suffering. We gave him several blessings last change and this change.

Last night and the night before at the viewings, there were tons of people and we had the opportunity to share the plan of salvation with them. It was crazy. We had to yell almost so everyone could hear. We sang too (Families can be eternas). There were tons of investigators there and in the church, so everyone that believed in what we taught we're going to visit. The plan of redemption is something amazing. It wasn't a very sad weekend, because we knew exactly what happened thanks to the plan our Heavenly Father has given us.

A Small Farm on the Banks of the Ucayali River

To correct my email a couple weeks ago thank you Angelique and Nana for the letter too, and also we're not marrying 9 people. 9 Families. Cool huh? I don't know exactly when now because it's been postponed.....dang.... but were waiting and teaching patiently. Plus it gives us a little more time to get all the paper work from everyone and make sure everythings perfect.

I love my mission more than anything..... I can't even describe it, but I'm happier than ever. I love you all.

Nos Vemos,

Elder Layton

Monday, January 19, 2009

Beder's Baptism

Dearest Famila,

We baptized a boy named Beder (8 years old) on Saturday. Awesome!!! It could have gone better. We started late because we didn´t have another witness....but other than that it was great. We sang and I bore my testimony at the end to Beder´s parents, both non-members, that the Church was true and that Beder´s decision would change his life. We´re going to baptize his parents now.

Elders Layton and Hoton. I lifted the pictures from this post from Elder Rhoton's family site. Hopefully, they won't want them back. They fit right in here.

A Beautiful Peruvian sunset in Pucallpa.
This week has been crazy. The Zone Leaders are preparing a wedding for the 31st now because they missed a appt. With the municipalidad. people not married here is a problem so my comp and I are working right now to marry 9 people.

It´s crazy how the Lord´s helping us too. A couple days ago the stake president told us we can get financial help for the people to get married, which has always been the main problem for the people. They need to get a physical from a doctor and go to a notary. The great thing is our stake president told us members in the stake can help us out with those two things too. !!!!!!!

Btw, Those boots aren´t boots here because they´re not up to my knees. Yesterday....funny story, we were running between appointments, and it was dark out, dogs were chasing us, and I didn´t see a mud hole. The first step from foot came out of my shoe, the second step the other, so I was standing there in the mud in my socks...... people were laughing, but we got two great contacts out of it.

One of the streets of Pucallpa.

We randomly contacted an older couple the other day, bore our testimony´s and they came to church!!!! Oh man, I was so excited. That almost never happens. The Lord is really helping us.


Elder Layton

Monday, January 12, 2009

It Was Great and a Very Spiritual Experience For Me

This week has been the best! I'm grateful for my new comp. He's Columbiano, se llama Elder Rojas, and he's great. He's an awesome missionary. Before the mission he had long hair and played in a metal band. He's a hard worker and teaches well too.

(Above - The City of Pucallpa from the air, a city of about 250,000)
So before I tell you about all my investigators I'll talk about the Peru experience yeah? Well, I ate another fish which is HUGE called Doncella. Two dogs bit me this week... they just came out of nowhere. The river by Pucallpa is called the Ucayali. It's big. We have some investigators by the river so we'll be going back. We also went down there the other day and found some less active members we never knew existed. Haha, then we had an appointment with an hermana called Leyla but we couldn't get to her house. It took us forever to get into the area, climbing on whatever floats, but they haven't built bridges yet and the water's not deep enough for canoes. I don´t know if we'll be able to go in the canoes but there's always the puentes.

(The Ucayali River at Pucallpa)

One thing that I've found out that's key for the mission is that you have to love the people, yeah. But you have to take that love and turn it into diligence. It talks about diligence all over the Book of Mormon. I still haven't totally figured it out but I know I can work harder.

So my new Zone is cool. Elder Nathan Stewart is in my Zone. Ha. I was stoked for that. We were friends at BYU and he's from the Bolivia misison. My District leader's Elder Garnica, and it just so happens that his brother, Elder Garnica, is in our district. Haha, weird huh?

When Elder Stewart came he brought my letters from Lima, bless his soul. I want to thank the following: Mis Padres, Grandpadres, the Rau's, Elder Rau, and the Greene girls for great letters!!! Everyone else, I would love to hear from you. Oh and yes i got Bryan´s letter, I still haven't written back. I'll work on that today...

Okay I had the oportunity to baptize Cesar Jr. on Saturday and be part of the confirmation yesterday . He's a great kid, and he want to become a missionary just like me. When we were changing on Saturday I told him a lot of the same stuff Dad told me when I was about to be baptized. It was great and a very spiritual experience for me. His parents want to be married now for sure so we're going to get 'em married and baptized. One big Mormon family.

Also we have the best families. Gonzalo y Luz are getting married. Luz was a little discouraged yesterday because they don't have enough to be able to get married. We explained that they needed to pray with all their faith, and do everything possible. Of course they will. They always pray and always read their scriptures. We talked to Bishop and the ward is going to have an activity to raise some funds for them this week, so they can get married, and get wet on the 24th. We're hoping and praying everything can work out. Please pray for the investigators that need marriages here. It's a huge sacrifice for them, and prayers do make a difference. (Mosiah 27!!!)

I love all of you.

Elder Layton

Monday, January 5, 2009

We Can Choose Who We Want To Be

Man, this week has been busy. I was just thinking about everything that's happened in my mission so far and I can't really believe I have 6 months out already. We found out our changes Saturday night. I'm staying here!!! I was definitely elated, if you could call it that, to hear that I wasn't going to move somewhere else like I've been doing every other change. This area is getting better, mejorando.

We have 4 baptism dates set for January and I'm sure we can manage to get more. My new companion's name is Elder Rojas. There are a lot of Elder Rojas but I've met this one in Lima one time.... no more than a handshake but I know who he is. He's from Columbia, and I'm going to work his little tush off. Elder Paz leaves tomorrow, Tuesday, and Elder Rojas comes tomorrow too. So I´ll just be waiting.

Yeah... I've eaten lots of pretty cool stuff. Mostly fish. The turtle an hermana promised us never happened so I was kind've bummed about that. We ate part of a huge fish called Paiche. I didn't have my camera but it was good. We also ate Yahuarachi. I have pictures of that I'll send you in the future. When we ate it, it still had everything there. The eyes, the head, the tail. You'll see. Yeah.... what else.... My favorite fruit of all time is called copoazu. Barely any of the people here even know about it. I ask everyone where I can find it... Nobody knows except one hermana. Mmmmmmm...

We're baptizing a 10 year old boy this Saturday named Cesar. We're trying to get his parents to get married but so far they say no. No, just means we haven't tried hard enough. Haha, no, they're great and they'll be baptized in the future just watch. Also, we have a golden family, familia de oro, that we're baptizing on the 24th. His name is Gonzalo and her name is Luz. They're going to have a baby any day now, she's past her due date, but they've come to church the past two weeks. They're not married, but we're teaching them and committed them to be married the morning of January 24th and to be baptized that night. Marriages are always a pain cause we have to get tons of paperwork, but it's worth it. They are awesome! We have a appointment with them this Wednesday...if Hermana Luz isn't in the hospital that is.

Other than that we have two really great girls, Daisy y Cecilia, ready to get baptized but are scared of their parents. We gave them the permission slips so we'll see what happens. I really want to talk with the parents but they're never at home. Luckily they get a lot of help from a young man in the ward....who happens to be their cousin. I told you about Juan Carlos yeah? Yeah he's great. The assistant to the president right now, Elder Herschi, baptized him. Elder Herschi's basically my model missionary. He´s an example to all of us, and when he came with me and my companion to teach a couple weeks ago I learned a ton!

2 Nefi 2:27-29 – We can choose who we want to be and who we follow. Always choose the right. The Church has all the truth we need in this life. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and The Book of Mormon was written by prophets other than Joseph Smith. Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet, along with his counselors and the twelve apostles. I know Christ lives.

I love you all, and for the C5 specifically always remember: We live together, we die together, bad boys for life. Tienen un buen dia!

Elder Layton