Monday, May 4, 2009

Missionaries + Members + Mushroom Cloud = Service Opportunity

(At left, about one month ago, the missionaries from Pucallpa staged a skit based on the Plates of Laban. Everything was authentic, down to the cotton T-Shirts and the tie-headbands. We "borrowed" this and other pictures of the event from Sister Rich (thanks!), whose son is also serving in Peru.)

Hola, This was one of the best changes ever! Well…. 2 weeks of a change. Don't worry about anything. An emergency change just means you get changed in the middle of the change. I'll tell you about it on Mother's Day.

I'm happy everyone's doing so well. Nana, congrats on getting your braces off. I'm sure you have a fabulous smile. Eric and Curtis, good luck on scouts and school and stuff. Yes Nana, I did get your letter.

The last couple weeks with Elder Gomez has been a good experience. He has a lot of time and was in the offices as personal secretary before Elder Rich, so he knows a lot about the mission and I've learned a lot from him. I found out my new change just 10 minutes ago. I'm going to Independencia with an Elder in my Zone named Elder Chan from Guatemala and he has 15 months in the mission or something. I'm stoked to get working in the new area.

I was glad to get all your letters and packages. Thanks for the easter candy.

I thought that was awesome Ricky's teacher is Dane Brock. He was always my example growing up. I even went and listened to his band several times while I was at BYU and it rocked btw. Elder Pullan should be doing good by the way so don't worry about not being able to talk to him Uncle Rick and Aunt Michelle. I miss him and sure he's going to be one of the best.

I had a kind of scary experience this week. Yesterday actually. I was in church finishing up some paperwork with my companion when there was a huge explosion. I literally felt air and I could see the plastic windows bend in. We ran outside and I saw a mushroom cloud. The hospital's right next to the church. The ambulances left, and we followed because one of the hermanas jokingly said that Doctor Espichan's house was probably part of the explosion cause there was a Propane gas station right across from his office and house.

We were only 3 or 4 blocks away. As we were getting closer I could see all of the windows of every house were broken. Even some doors were thrown in and broken down. Honestly I was just scared for Brother Espichan cause he's an old friend of mine and he'd already left church. Nothing happened to him or his family thankfully. 13 people were injured from the bomb's explosion. We changed into our street clothes and called all our appointments to reschedule and just helped them all yesterday clean up. Doctor Espichan's office and house was full of huge glass windows, and glass containers for the medicine. Because of the bomb it was broken all over the floor and counters.
The greatest thing I saw though was that more than 20 members all helping out yesterday. The inspectors and city cleaning crew asked me who everybody was helping out. I told him our religion helps, serves, and blesses the people. I know it's true. I saw so much love from all the members yesterday. These people were really just serving God. Someone told me they saw us on tv so that's cool, and I saw BOMBA (bomb or explosion) on the front cover of the newspapers this morning on the bus. The craziest thing though is most the missionaries in my Zone all heard it from their areas.

I love you all. Keep writing and everything. I'm excited for our goal of 505 this month of may. That's 505 baptisms in the month of may for our mission. 505 baby! Work's hard. Love, Elder Layton


Skye said...

Elder Layton,

I just saw your blog after searching for news about Sebasthian (the 3 year old boy who died in this explosion.) I am a branch president of the ohio river spanish branch in the Cincinnati area. I got a phone call from the Shriners hospital, (one of the best children burn hospitals in the world) asking for a church leader to come help the father of a child who had just passed away. This was going to be the beginning of a very spiritual experience, I won't go into details, but I want you and your companions to know that Sebasthian was the son of a less- active part-member family. The mother is in the hospital being treated for burns which she got after hugging her son, extinguishing the flames from her little boy. I have gotten to know the father, Jose Alexander, this last week while he was waiting for the long process of documents to be able to take the body of Sebasthian back home. He is a very special Son of our Heavenly Father, he is determined to do everything he needs to do to be able to get sealed to his family. Her family had been investigating the gospel since before the explosion, you elders have the great opportunity to touch their lives at this critical time. Jose was baptized about ten years ago in the Las Brizas ward, he went back there after the explosion to speak with bishop Arenas who is coordinating with bishop Molina. Thank you for being a good example, and rushing to help those in need.

Don Layton said...

Wow! I had no idea that anyone had died in the explosion. I'm not sure Sean was either. But I'm definitely going to pass on your comments to him and ask him to see that the family involved has continued support. Thanks for finding us.