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.

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