Monday, July 27, 2009

Back to Puente Piedra

Dearest Familia,

It was an amazing week. We had the baptism of Maryorie (That's Marjury in English) and a great on at that. Her entire family is inactive but her mother and grandmother and uncle came to the baptism service, and then came to church yesterday. Maryrie's great! A little girl 8 years old…. But she always comes to church and is an example to her family.

You Wont Believe It! Guess where I'm going again? For the third time?! PUEEENNNNTE PIEDDDRAAAA!!!! Que loco. I'm actually really excited. It's a great area, and I'll have a good companion, Elder Moreira (shown at left). He was in one of my anterior (previous) zones before so I know him a little. It`ll be my best change I can already feel it.

This week was a tough one actually in terms of finding new people to teach, or that want to progress. Apart from the investigators we are teaching there aren't tons of people in our minds because we had to leave several that really just weren`t putting in their parts. Alberto is still preparing for his baptism and everything. We`re also teaching his son. Although he didn't come to church I know he'll make it to the waters of baptism soon enough. He's really suffering with his amputated big toe…. It's getting better kind of. Give him another week and he'll be up and walking around.

I'd like to share with you something that the Lord has spoken in this dispensation for all of us through the prophet Joseph Smith:

For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and recievth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.
(D&C 58:26-29)

The word damned is like a dam on a river. These people can't progress or have something slowing them down.

Obedience isn’t just to complete with the minimum and the written rules. God wants us to follow His example and learn to create, work, experience life, love, do things without be told, avoiding laziness.

Bueno, realmente estoy muy agradecido por todos las cartas. (Well, I really am very grateful for all of the letters.) I even got on from Uncle Danny! That was cool. Also I'd like to give a shout out to Kelsey Costello. You rock.

Please keep praying for the mission and the people here that are able to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm so thankful for every one of you. Thanks for everything. The mission is amazing.

Elder Layton

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Missionary's Family

One concern in creating this Blog was that we DO NOT want to create the impression that we somehow feel that our missionary is so unique and special that he needed to have this venue for his experiences to be published for the world to see. We think the world of our son, but realize that he's not any more important to us than another son or daughter is to his/her parents and family. Hopefully this Blog has served a better purpose and will continue to provide a setting where family and friends, who want to do so, can easily follow how things are going for Elder Layton.

That said, we admit...every time we get an email or a letter or pictures or just about anything, we feel just like a kid at Christmas. There is something uniquely peculiar about the way a missionary parent feels on mail day. You have to keep reminding yourself that this isn't the first time that people have sent their son or daughter on a mission. In fact, it's happened hundreds of thousands of times before and the truth is that your son or daughter is a spec in a huge army for the Lord...a spec, but one that is known by the Lord individually. And of course, one that is treasured by his or her family as well.

So when we received a small package with letters and pictures this weekend, it just completely filled us with joy. I'll post some excerpts below and I'll also be updating the pictures link with some of the photos we've received - that haven't been included yet. Much of the letters were personal and won't be posted.

(To Mom) How's it going? I miss you guys lots.I have all the emails I get from you every week. They're the greatest. It's something I look forward to every Monday. Bueno, I'm tired. We have long days and never enough time to sleep - but that's the life of a missionary. It's harder than I ever thought but also better than I thought. I've grown so much - it's more than I can give thanks to Heavenly Father for but I know that I still have mucho more to learn and more importantly people to teach and baptize.

Truthfully, I love the mission. I miss you but I think I'll stay here, perhaps even until the day I die - like Ammon. We'll see if I get permission.

(To Eric and Curtis) There's lots of stories about brothers in the scriptures extremely cool like Nefi and Lehi in the Book of Mormon, Peter and Andrew in the Bible and others, but I'd like to talk a little bit about two brothers that were really good brothers.

Joseph and Hyrum were some of the best brothers. Joseph Smith was called of God and prepared by God and Angels in all the things he needed to know about...the Gospel and the Church, but once the Church was restored, well, actually all his life he was faced with challenges, but especially after. When many people rejected Joseph and the Saints, his brother Hyrum was always right by his side.

Before the Church was organized Hyrum was actually far away but wanted to help out his brother because of the strong testimony he had of the truth of the restoration. Hyrum travelled all the way to Pennsylvania to find his brother and ask what he could do to help...Joseph and Hyrum were best friends. In fact, I don't think there was anyone in Joseph's life than Hyrum...

I'm loving Peru. It's absolutely GREAT out here. There's nothing better than the mission...This weekend we're baptizing 3 people. I'll let you know in my email if it all goes well.

(To Briana) You appear like a princess in your graduation pictures. You are beautiful and have changed a TON! I won't be showing them to any more missionaries. Elder **** from *** already saw them when I was opening your letter and he started drooling. That's not appropriate, is it?

Honestly, I can't believe you graduated. It's weird. Listen - I know you're going to BYU - I (by the way, the "I" stands for illiterate (Briana says it stands for intellectual) - no, I think it's a good school) BUT you are hereby restricted from having a boyfriend until I come home and until I release the suspension.

PSS - Kelsey Costello writes me a ton. We're BFFs for sure.

(To Dad) You know - sooner than you think, you'll be a grandpa. (Not if Briana believes him about the boyfriend restriction.) Weird. Sorry to make you feel older than you really are. So rumor has it that I'm leaving Independencia - but who knows, it's what the hermanas told my zone today. They were at the office and I think they saw the changes. Whatever, not important. I've really learned to follow the advice of President Uchtdorf to Lift Where You Stand. It doesn't matter the calling - the area - the situation - we lift where we are.

(The following was written in Spanish - and is the English translation)

I don't know why I'm writing in English. Dad, I'm working the best that I can. There's no way I can express my love and appreciation for the Lord and you and my President...

Well - you told me that I should find recipes of the food that I like...well - truthfully, after two years I don't really want to eat this food again, but I'll look. Tell mom that everything's good. I don't need anything. Only candy and toothpaste. I truly love you and miss you.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I Make Weak Things Become Strong Unto Them

(At left, Elder Layton's apartment in Independencia. Pretty nice, huh? On Mother's Day he had this to say about his apartment." Our apartment is great. There's only 2 things. We have a cement floor and there's no hot water. In the jungle that doesn't matter, but in Lima, it's cold in the mornings. There is no hot or cold water. There's only water. You have to buy it.")

Hola Papas!

(The picture below is another picture of his apartment.)

Como estan? Mama, you asked about my companion. Elder Soto's a funny guy. He's always happy and ready to work too...that's good. Only one Zone at a time goes to the temple.

I received the package. THANKS! I loved the chocolate even though it wasn't enough… we ate it all in a minute. My packages always come good. There's not really that much risk in sending things here.

Everything gets here without damage, etc. Thanks for all the letters and pictures. Briana, Eric, and Curty have all changed a bunch. Crazy! I especially loved the performance gel insoles. "Outrageous Comfort” I'm wearing them right now actually. Also, I sent you a package. It's a little unorganized. I had to take things out at the post office cause it was over weight, but I sent pictures and letters. I hope you like them. I sent copies for the C5. I was thinking maybe you could put a picture in the letters with some things from the blog in their letters.

The area is doing really well. Honestly it's a hard place to be a missionary compared to other places (in Peru), but where's there an easy place in this world? Only 4 of our muchos investigadores came to church yesterday (I'm sure you can understand my spanglish).

I'm really stressing out about finding more families before the change is over. It's really the goal I have to be helping complete families. We do have several individuals that are progressing. Alberto's in the hospital again for complications he had with his foot…. We have to wait for him to leave before we can start visiting him again.

It does feel a little discouraging when people aren't in the house for their appointments, which happens just about every day, but I feel so much hope when people are waiting for us to come to their house (which happens much less often) Most of the adults, including the members here have jobs that run their lives, so we usually find youth and older people in their houses during the day. You can probably imagine that the nights are always crazy cause that's when we can visit families.

A man named Marcos came to church for the second time yesterday, so we're helping him prepare for one of these next Saturdays to be baptized. He hasn't accepted a baptism date but continues progressing so we´ll keep on visiting!

Hmmm… we contacted 145 people this week. Of 145 maybe 15 were really interested. We'll be visiting them through the week and I'll let you know how it goes. I'm sure we'll have success with some of them. We haven't had baptisms for the last couple of course I feel like I need to repent and do something better. The question is always where to start. I love the scripture (in Ether 12:27) that's always in my head "y se humillan ante mi, y tienen fe en mi, y hare que las cosas debiles sean fuertes para ellos." That's my job right now.

(Shown below - Elder Layton burns a shirt in recognition of having served for 12 months.)

Today we're going with the whole Zone to watch Ice Age 3 in the Church! Chevere. I haven't seen a movie for a while… and the Elders told me this one has dinosaurs! Peru Lima Norte I love you.

Estoy trabajando, gracias por entender si no les escribo. Despues. (I'm working, thanks for understanding if I don't write. Later.)

Mucho amor,

Elder Sean Ryan Layton

Tuesday, July 14, 2009



That's "Hola" in Quechua (which is "Hello" in English), the Inca language. I bought a Book of Mormon in Quechua hoy dia so Ill be learning a bit of it now. It's a lot more difficult learning a language like this than Spanish, but there are people in my area that speak it, so I'll give it a good hard go.

I'm writing today Tuesday because we went to the Temple and today's our Pday for today. The temple was great. I love the temple. As far as I'm concerned the Dengue was a blessing that the Lord's given me in the mission, because now I can go all the time.

We've been working, working, working.... and one day we were walking down the street on the border of our area when someone ran by. His arm was all bloody. Somebody was throwing rocks at him and his friend from behind us so we were in the middle of the fight....but I pulled my companion into a side street really quick so we waited until everything settled down. The crazy thing is that the guy with the wounded arm came back looking for his attackers with a handmade gun on his motorcycle in the same minute. It was crazy but we ran to a safe place out of harms way.

We've started finding a bunch of good families to teach. Thomas the really old guy has been having problems understanding everything. They didn't come to church... even though they said they would. The good thing though is that a bunch of new people we've never met came, and so we'll be teaching them during the week.

I know the mission to me feels normal now, but maybe you'd like to know how it all is. I hate being in the street. That's how we find people sometimes but it's not effective nor the best way to spend our time. I like to have lessons every hour. If plan A fails, we have plan B. Every night I look up the directions (direcciones is really a "false friend" in English - it means "address" - he's just writing a bit of "Spaenglish") of investigators, future investigators, members, etc. to visit. It might seem a like a waste of time to some people, but I like to put plan C's too. That way we have a lesson every hour, in a perfect world, and we're in the houses more that the streets. Even the house of a member is better. We pump 'em up, be their friends, wash the dishes, and tell them that we're not going to stop washing until they give us a reference. I find it usually works cause they always hate when I wash the dishes. Every day at lunch we eat with the members of the Church. I'll tell them something like this: Hermano, do you like games? We're going to play a game. I'm going to write 5 names here in my agenda of people you know who aren't members. They hesitate, because usually they think I'm asking to visit 5 people. Then I explain, no it's part of the game. Then they give me five names. Then I say: Okay gracias hermano, now we're going to pray and we'd like you to pray for which one of these we can visit. It works every time.


I can't even begin to describe how that one verse has impacted the misión that I'm serving in right now. It is who I have to be. I've been extremely blessed in ways I can't even describe. I honestly feel sorry for the people that reject what we have to say, but then again I have a lot of work to do, because either they rejected the message or we failed to do our part. One or the other.

I understand most everyone that reads the Blog are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints... but I also heard not everyone. For those who AREN'T members of the Church:

"God is our Heavenly Father. We are His children. He weeps with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right. He wants to communicate with us, and we can communicate with Him through sincere prayer. He has given us this experience on the earth so we can learn and grow. We can show our love for Him through our choices and our obedience to His commandments." (Preach My Gospel, pp. 1)

Padres, gracias por sus emails. Creo que voy a recibir mi paquete esta semana. De verdad estoy muy feliz y les quiero bastante. Tambien voy a enviarles un paquete hoy dia con cartas y fotos!?

Elder Layton

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Legs and Arms Want to Fall Off Every Night

(Once again, thanks to Elder and Sister Rich for the picture to the left. You can click on it to enlarge. I think we get more of our photos from Sister Rich than we do from Sean!

I can't completely read what the sign says - something about trust...those that believe in...for them - , but from his earlier letter, we know that it is the Banner of Liberty - Peruvian style.

That first step is a real doozy!)

Dearest Family and Friends,

How are all of you doing? I'm having the greatest time! Well… it's a little different than what most people in this world would consider having a good time. I feel like my legs and arms want to fall off every night when we get back to the room but it's great.

Today we're going to a jail. I'll take pictures of it all for yas. I'm going to try and get pictures sent off today. And letters! I have a stack to send home.

My mind's pretty much blank this morning.

In Doctrine and Covenants it talks about taking the things of the Lord lightly. I don't have my scriptures right now to quote anything, but it's true. Especially in the mission many times missionaries, investigators, members, take things lightly. I think everyone has or does at times… but we shouldn't take the things of God lightly.

Our family came to church again! We challenged them to be baptized right there in church and they accepted. It was the second time they came so we're preparing them for this Saturday. It'll be a challenge to do it but I think they ready. Thomas is more or less on board but the rest of his family are all ready. I let you know what happens this Saturday. Also we've been visiting all the old investigators, menos (except the) actives, future investigators, etc… and we found an investigator that the missionaries left a while back because of a surgery. We visited him and he came to church and he wants to be baptized!

!!!!!!!!!! Bye…. I love you all