Monday, April 27, 2009

It's Deja Vu All Over Again

Gwen Rich received pictures from her son Landon a few days back. She forwarded on some of the pictures with Sean in them. THANKS SISTER RICH!!
The letter today was great. It's posted below.
All LDS missionaries perform regular service. Shown below are Elders Rojas, Layton, an unknown Elder, and Elder Rich.

Elders Rich and Layton

The Pucallpa Zone

Elders Rojas and Layton in Pucallpa

This was a skit put on by the missionaries in Pucallpa. We don't know what it was for or why the missionaries were involved, but it looks like they had fun.

Elders Layton and Rich

Dearest Family and Friends,
This week was great!!! It was a little out of the ordinary cause I had an emergency change and now I'm back in Lima. I don't care. It's the same work and I'm eager to get to my new area. I say new area cause right now I'm in the same Puente Piedra that I started in. The same pension, Hermana Silvia, and I loving it. I'll be leaving here at the change almost for sure so I'll let you know.

I had the best experience ever. When I think of Puente Piedra the first family that pops to my mind is familia Romani. They were a family Elder Acevedo and I found about a week before I left here. They came to church but I never knew what happened to them. Thursday was my first day here from the Jungle, and we were walking by the church. There was a group of members getting ready to go to the temple. They were part of the members going to the temple!!!!!! That is happiness. I gave hermano a hug, and he was pretty excited to see me since I was the one to start teaching him. I guess the missionaries after followed up and they got baptized really quick. I can't really describe it. It was just the best reunion ever.

At church I bumped into all the first members I got to know. They gave me a hard time because they all remembered how I barely spoke anything when I was there the first time. It's weird now cause I can get to know them better. I saw some members I knew from Pucallpa. The nieces of Leyder and Romi that we married and baptized go to church here. It was cool.

My companion for the couple weeks I'm here is named Elder Gomez. He ends in November so he has a lot of time. Just to let everyone know I've never been happier. We're working hard and working with references so we might even get some more baptisms before I leave (We baptized 3 this week). I don't really miss the jungle. I mean, the air's a little better over there but we do the same stuff.

I was able to make a CD finally and I'm sending it out today for sure. That's the awesome thing about Lima. Things aren't ridiculously expensive. I can send letters again!!!! Well keep writing. I love you all very much. Keep reading the scriptures, praying, and growing!

Peace, Elder Layton

Friday, April 24, 2009

Letters From a Missionary

So our other children received letters from their brother today. They were dated April 13, 2009, so that's not too bad. Here are a few exceprts.

To Curtis:
The mission is fun. I've learned that studying the scriptures is actually one of the best pastimes ever. You'll learn how to read better too when you read the scriptures. That's how I learned Spanish.

We have an investigator named Sintia. one day when I was on divisions we went to her house and I felt impressed to sing "Praise to the Man". We sang it normally...we were about to start the lesson. She asked, "what's the song that talks about the pajaritas?" (little birds) I remembered Joseph Smith's first prayer, and knew that's what she was thinking about. We began to sing it, and she started bawling! Curtis, I know the church is true. She's getting baptized on April 25th after she's known about the Church forever, almost her whole life.

Keep choosing the right. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. The Book of Mormon is true. We're children of God. Remember, give Eric the monkey claw if he tries to beat you up.

To Briana:
We are busy busy. Everything goes just right when we're obedient. Briana, I've had so many experiences I can't even say them all, even if I had an entire day. My last change in Pucallpa we left our Pension, Hermana Rubi. It was sad because she's one of my favorite people in the world. Yeah, that's right. I even left my monkey.

Jesus Christ didn't want to suffer for us when He felt the pains of His INFINITE atonement, but He submitted to the Father, and completed His Messianic mission, and made it possible to overcome death, both physical and spiritual. Nana, we're blessed. Always be obedient.

To Eric:
Iquitos is great! You would ove it. It's different than you think. There aren't monkeys running around or animals everywhere. All the houses are made of cement or wood and generally in the more populated places the houses are all together. There's not really anything called a yard.

The average person working hard here could make $325 a month. That's just an estimate from listening to people. The average person here in Peru has a T.V. and good speakers, a couple tables, pictures, beds, the occasional hammock.

The average cement house is cement, including the floor. Once in a while someone will have a computer. Only the richest homes have glass in the windows. Normally it's rebar with blinds made from sheets.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Private Letter, Great Talk

I'd like to thank each of you who look forward to and follow the letters from Elder Layton each week. Thanks for your support, both in love and in prayers for Elder Layton.

Elder Layton is doing well, working hard, and loving his mission. He loves his area in Iquitos (except for the Mosquitos). He's doing what missionaries do. This week's letter was rather personal. After consideration, we will have decided to not post it on the blog, but plan on resuming this coming week.

While you're here, take a bit of time to review a classic by the late Elder Wirthlin, fitting for our times. I will miss him during General Conferences in the future.

Thanks, and all of our love to each of you ~~

Don and Brenda

Monday, April 13, 2009

It Was One of the Best Baptisms Ever


We had a busy week. We live in a small house that's divided into two parts. Mariela, Alan, Oscar, and Patricia live on the other side of the wall. I think I told you a little about them. Hermana Mariela always invites us to eat something after the lessons… she's like our mom. We've been teaching them almost the entire time I've been here and we had the chance to baptize them on Saturday. Well, Hermano Alan passed his interview and went to the baptism but didn't want to get baptized. We're going to challenge him for this Saturday and if all goes well, we'll be able to complete the happy family.

The baptism was great. Our Mission Leader planned and did everything. That was a first for me…. And I consider myself blessed. It was one of the best baptisms ever. Yesterday we helped enroll Oscar and Patricia in Seminary and got permission to accompany them at 4:30 this morning. They're great and ready to start a new life. This week we helped them sand all the paint off in their living room. I almost died.

Last Monday we went to a place called Quistococha.. It's a Zoo. Elder Ridge and I were witnesses to a family of monkeys escaping for their cage. Cool… there was a dolphin and a bunch of other stuff. I'll send you the picture of the snake I got to hold for 30 cents.

Bueno…yesterday I gave a talk… on the Atonement. I can't help talking about it. It's really the center of everything we teach. I never really understood that before.

Good news, I'm not as skinny as before. I'm not going to say I'm anywhere near being fat, but I'm growing. Hope that makes you happy mom. Today we're going to the big stadium to play soccer with the two zones here in Iquitos. Fun fun.

Easter here was great. Everyone was in the house watching movies about Jeramias, or Moses, or Jesus. Something else I observed this week is that the kids here have the same obsession with High School Musical 3 in English as the kids in United States.

Oye. I feel bad for not sending letters for a while. Every Monday we've had service projects and no time for anything else. If someone can pass these messages on, it'd be great!

Nathan - I love you man and I hope you're doing well in Argentina, having tons of success. I miss all the good times and everything but I know these experiences that we're having right now are the best we've ever had. I love my mission more than anything. The people are amazing. Peru is probably better than Argentina, but I have respect for every Child of God. Thank you for working hard and loving the people.

Andrea – Thanks for everything. My Mission Leader is sending a letter for you and my parents today. I hope everything's just great and you're doing well in school. Keep doing your best, I always love to hear from you.

Briana – Beautiful Sister, I know you're doing well. I just was thinking about you today and wanted to say you should keep up with soccer and everything…. And good luck in school. I don't really know what´s going on with you, but I hope you got the easter egg with the 5 dollars.

Eric – You're the best. Always work the very hardest you can with everything you got! I know video games are cool….but, really, they're not that cool. Stay in school. Read the scriptures and pray everyday. That´s something we can all do better on. The scriptures will help you with everything.

Curtis – Thank you for finding and being a friend to a member of the Church. That's great. You should talk to all your friends about the church. Tell them that they can go with you and mom or dad will pick them up. I know it's kind of crazy, but it´s the right thing to do. Don't be afraid about choosing the right.

Listo. Everyone else I love you guys. Keep sending the letters. I'm always grateful for everything. Especially candy and ties.

Love, Elder Layton

Monday, April 6, 2009

He's Your Savior, The Son of God

Dearest Family and Friends and Anybody else Reading this,

How's it going amigos? I loved hearing from a lot of you. My package absolutely rocked by the way. Thank you Lacey/Costello Family! I think Kelsey's letter won the contest of making me laugh the most. Great STUFF!!! The cookies exploded but everything else came in perfect condition. Thank yous. Andrea, thank you! The ipod came and I'm really happy about it….the only thing is that my charger is in Lima with my other suitcase...poochikana!! Well, today I'm going to go find one after we go to the Zoo!!! I'll take pics.

This week has been good. My new companion Elder Hernandez is awesome, and I'm excited to be working in this area. We had the chance to see all of conference in the church. We had several investigadores that were really impressed by it as well. I just have to say that I liked Jeffery R. Hollands talk the best…. It was really serious, but that´s how all his talks are. He takes his work extremely seriously. I felt the spirit a ton, and enjoyed it the most I think because I've been reading Jesus the Christ. Jesus Christ really is the Savior of the entire world. For the people that don't believe in doesn't matter. He's your Savior, the Son of God, and because of him all mankind is saved. For those that believe, are we really following His commandments?

I really enjoyed the part in Jesus the Christ when Talmage talked about the temptations of Christ. Jesus was able to sin. But every temptation that Satan gave him, he overcame. If we could only have the faith and the strength to overcome every temptation. Some of us overcome sin without realizing it. On the other hand, some of us sin without realizing it. If we really just focus on why we're here it's not impossible to live the gospel.

Yeah…. What happened this week? Our neighbor Mariela gave us suri (picture at left - yes, they're big fat juicy worms, or grubs), just like I asked for. She's great! We're baptizing her on the 11th with her daughter Patricia. But anyway, I ate six of em. I did feel like Timon and Pumba a little…

I really miss all of you. Thank you so much for all the letter!!! Keep 'em coming. Only Elder Griffin's in my Zone. He's doing well….sitting next to me right now, eating sunflower seeds. Thanks to whoever sent those. I've been taking advantage of the gift as well.

Bueno….I'm out of time. Remember read the scriptures every day. Pray always. For those of you who find it hard to believe in Christ, look around, and you'll know God exists. You'll come to understand the reasons Our Heavenly Father had to give us His son Jesus Christ to redeem the sins of the world. I'm more convinced everyday that perfection is not impossible. Impossible is nothing.


Elder Sean Layton