Monday, August 31, 2009

Recent Converts in the Temple

Something I learned this week is numbers don't matter. Because Peru grows so dramatically fast sometimes it´s easy for us as missionaries to get caught up in the excitement of numbers… but…. We WON! Hahahahahhaha. This month the offices tried something new. They put out in our weekly mission news letter that the Zone with the most confirmations gets to go to lunch with President and his wife. I don't know HOW we did it but we had more than the jungle, here in good old Puente Piedra!!!!!

That's not very important though. Almost all of our converts are going to the temple this Saturday. We even have a couple investigators that are going up with the group to be able to see the temple. It's exciting to see the people we baptized on Saturday be able to go. Edith, Shirley, Geosselyn, and Junior were all confirmed on Sunday and had their temple interview after church.

I was able to baptize them all again… which I feel little bad about. The people in their baptism interviews almost always choose the Gringo….and honestly I would LOVE to give my companion more opportunities….but I guess it doesn't really matter that much.

15 Investigators came to church. The ward is growing dramatically because of how much the ward is working. We've done almost nothing! We helped the Mission Leader make up a ward mission plan a few weeks back, and we've been sharing it with all the members.

I still play the organ in church. The mission leader asked Elder Moreira and I to give the gospel doctrine class (Which is overflowing btw) so we taught about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then after that I was able to present the mission plan to the adult members of the ward (on the 5th Sunday we teach about the missionary work). I feel thankful to be able to be in this ward. Our Bishop, Bishop Cabellos is inspired and loves the members. We finds time for everyone.

I just wanted to express my love for all of you. If you're reading this go to and write me a letter and tell me what's up, okay? I love hearing from you.

This week I had the experience of being attacked by fleas again. I love Peru and all the fleas….. just to describe the experience, it's worse than a mosquito bite and there are more of em. I'm on garlic pills again so hopefully that helps. The Lord will bless me according to my obedience to the laws of health….AHHH it itches!!! Hahahaha.

Bueno, perdon for the short letter.


Elder Layton

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Word From President Perez

This evening, we received an email from President Perez. It was sent via the assistants to the President, one of whom is Elder Landon Rich, now an Assistant to the President. It was sent to all parents of missionaries in the Peru Lima North Mission. The following are a few excerpts from that letter.

Dear Families of Missionaries in the Peru Lima North Mission,

It is an honor to be able to write you and express our thanks for the service that your sons and daughters are carrying out here in the mission. My wife and I are happy to have so many valiant young men and women that are giving all they’ve got, and even more.

Every six weeks we have the blessing of being with them, to interview them, train them, and visit their houses. It is in this way that we see the sacrifice they make every day with glad hearts, and we know that they are living many spiritual experiences.

Your missionaries know that if they work well and plan intelligently, the Lord will be with them. (D & C 84:88)

We want to again express to you our deepest gratitude; and please know that your missionaries are giving all for you. (D & C 118:3)

With much love,

President and Sister Pérez
President and Wife

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thanks to Heavenly Father We've Been Blessed With Success

Hey what's up?

Things out here in Zapallal 1 of Puente Piedra are doing amazingly. I just got out of the temple. We woke up at 4:30 in the morning.... so of course I feel a little exhausted right now. I think we'll go home and sleep an hour or two before 6pm. We've been busy here working hard.

Thanks to my Heavenly Father we've been blessed with success beyond anything I could have ever hoped for.

13 INCAS! (Investigators in the Church) I was privileged again to be John the Baptist on Saturday! We baptized five people. William, a young man who has a brother in the ward but their parents aren't members. Leidy a young women and reference from the grandmother of Astrid (Astrid the girl we baptized two weeks ago). Claudia, a girl whose mother is less active. Rosa, the best friend of a women in the ward named Adela. Rosa has two little children and a husband but her husband is never home so we haven't had the opportunity to talk with him yet. Rosa had been taught by missionaries for a long time but they never challenged her to baptism. She accepted right away! Also we baptized Rosa's younger brother who's 19 years old!!! (I thought he was 16 before). All of them were confirmed on Sunday and are doing great!!!

I ate chicken feet this week. I would have to lie if I said they were delicious.

We contacted 202 people.

The girl that was baptized on Saturday named Leidy has two sisters Shirley and Giosselyn and a friend that lives with them named Edith. Leidy introduced us to them a while back and they're stoked for their baptism this week. Also a young man named Junior will be getting baptized this week. We've taught him all of the discussions as of last Thursday and a little in Church because it's impossible to find him because of work, but he's committed to come to his interview this week and be baptized on Saturday. Junior's great! He's fifteen years old and he has family that lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

On the 5th of September we'll be baptizing a man named Jesus (he'll really feel like John the Baptist on the 5th) who has been going to church forever but finally made the decision to get baptized. He told me a story about a while back his life was really messed up and he was about to join the Neo Nazis or something, but he has a changed spirit and I feel he's prepared for the 5th. Also a girl named Paola will be getting baptized on the 5th.

The cousins and brothers of Paola need a little more time to prepare. Jhair and Alizon her cousins and Martin her brother have baptism dates for September 19th. The mother would be getting baptized but she's not married. We taught her the law of chastity and we have to verify but I think she'll decide to split up from her boyfriend. The mom's been living with this guy for 20 years or something but he abuses her and I encouraged her that to live the law of chastity one of her options was to split up. She said that she wants to.

We also found a family that have 8 kids, the parents are married. We have an appointment to go back and the mom and 3 of the kids have baptism dates for September 12th. We have permission slips signed and everything so it should all go pretty smoothly.

Also a mom and her daughter came to church. The mom didn't have desires to get baptized but she signed the permission slip of her daughter Merlit and she wants to prepare for September 19th.

All I know is I haven't really done anything but be obedient and work hard. It's been hard being Senior companion but my companion is one of the best examples to me. I feel blessed more than I can explain.

Saturday was so funny. I got to the last baptism and Claudia didn't want to get into the water. She was screaming because the water was freezing cold... hahaha. After about 15 minutes with the help of her aunt and uncle she got into the water, step by step. Also when Rosa (Women with two kids) came up out of the water she made the loudest gasp of air of any baptism I've ever had. Funny stuff. She sounded like an injured animal or something.

That's about it. Hasta luego. The Gospel blesses lives.

I love you all, keep writing people!

Your Elder,

Elder Layton

Monday, August 17, 2009

Elder Layton Nearly Gets Baptized

Buenos Dias,

(Shown at left are Salym and Kelsey Costello. Kelsey is Elder Layton's cousin. I believe this was taken while they were on a Church History trip.)

Yes I received the packages! Thank you Aunt Karen and Kelsey, you guys are the best. Tell Austin thanks for the paper airplanes, I loved the tie. Kelsey I have to hide all the pictures of you and Salym because my companion kept looking at 'em…hmmm. I remember when I went back East. We went to Niagara Falls too! Those were good days. Anyway, after all the packages I know who loves me. Jaja.

I have a lot to talk about and very little time.

Our Zone wanted to make shirts like always and I was the only one who knew where the guy that makes them lives, so I went on a work visit with Elder Zuniga my district leader to my old area, Puente Piedra. The family that makes them was my very first baptism. Victoriano, his wife Elsa, and the kids Rocio and Christian (I call Christian Chino because he looks Chinese) It was an honor to say goodbye to them for the third time!

When I was over their we went to an activity at night. Ten minutes before we got there the Mitma family (my family that wants to get married and baptized) from Independencia passed by the church!!!! They asked a youth if she knew Elder Layton (Their house is in Puente and they moved back there. I told them I was coming to Puente at the same time too). She said that Elder Layton was here before in Puente but heard that I was in Zapallal. The Mitma family said they'd go look for me there…..ahhh. I missed them by 10 minutes. I gave the reference to my district leader so he'll be visiting them.

We had a baptism! We baptized Astrid (10 Years old), Flor de Maria (16 years with a baby boy), and Gisela (20 years old, she wants to serve a mission)! I finally got to use my new white clothes.
The baptisms really are the best times in the mission. Even though the water's freezing cold, I felt so much calmness and love from the people being baptized, their families, and friends. I heard Gisela went to a party after with the Young Adults and had a blast. Good stuff.

I don't have that many little missionary experiences to share…hmmm. We're working harder than ever. Twelve People came to church. Nine have baptism dates, and we have a few different families we're visiting. Also, we had interviews with President this week.

President talked about how every family should have a Preach My Gospel and that we should encourage families in the ward to use PMG for family home evening, and that it was one of President Hinckley's last wishes. He also talked about how we have to all go to Gethsemane in our lives and trust Jesus Christ.

Well, it was a pretty seriously hard week. The funniest part happened last night. I didn't sleep at all last night!!! I had the worst stomach ache of my life and I had to be walking around the room last night cause it was only a million times worse when I laid down. At about three, I woke up my companion to give me a blessing. He started out…. "Having been commissioned by…." When I realized he was trying to baptize me, I stopped him and told him he needed to wake up. After he got to his senses I was able to sleep, after six hours excruciating pain. It was a spiritual experience for me, and I know the priesthood is a real power. I'm thankful for every experience that I'm having and for the testimony I'm receiving.

Well…that's just about it. I love you and miss you much. I'm glad Eric's voice sounds like mine.

Elder Layton

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm Learning More About Life From the Mission

(I had decided against using this picture in last week's post. Elder Layton has one of those awkward moment looks on his face. But I looked at it again this morning. Can you see why I decided to include it here?

I served my mission in the Mexico City South Mission. I miss the children more than anything else. They latch onto the missionaries and are so full of love and purity. Those who have served South and Central American missions know exactly what I'm talking about. And even if you didn't serve one of the Celestial missions, just look at the little boy for a minute. You'll get it.

I hope the he got some Cap'n Crunch with what looks to be chocolate milk! That's some genuine Peruvian cuisine right there. We used to eat our cereal out of cups just like those...but I don't ever remember getting the Cap'n. The milk cartons bring back some memories too.)


Every day I'm learning more about life from the misión. You have to make it through life. The thing is, we shouldn't focus on getting through it. Only in making it. I'm so happy right now.

Until this point in the change we haven't had a single baptism but it's only been one and one half weeks here in Puente and I stick to what I said in my last letter.

Elder Moreira's from Ecuador. He's an energetic little guy that likes to joke around a lot. We're working hard and finding lots of good people. His goal in life is to learn English so he can marry a gringa (a white girl) so that's kind of funny.

I won't be writing a ton today because we had an emergency this morning. A recent convert in our ward had an accident a couple days ago. Scalding hot water fell on her lap and her upper legs were burned really bad. We went right after church yesterday so see how she was. The family said they didn't have enough money to go to the hospital so this morning Elder Moreira and I hiked up the mountain to give her my Neosporin. Yes, mom, I'll be needing more. Thanks!

We have some great new investigators. We challenged 3 people to baptism yesterday (well, more, but 3 accepted baptism dates). We visited the house of a member where the member's the only member of the church in his house. His brother William accepted to be baptized on the 22nd, his mom signed the permission slip (she's Evangelical, yes, we've talked with her too), and he's excited about going shopping this week for a white shirt and tie!

We challenged a man 24 years old that lives close to William that we contacted about a week ago named Elvis. His hair looks exactly like Elvis Presley. He accepted to be baptized on the 29th. He'll need a lot of help.

We also challenged the mom of Gisela. Gisela's mom just returned from travel and accepted a baptism date for the 29th too. Sunday's are always great days!

That's cool about Nana giving a talk yesterday. I gave one too. But unlike her, I found out 5 minutes beforehand when they announced it to the ward. I always love surprise talks in the mission. That's what our daily study's for.

(From a talk of Daniel Judd)

Examples of the Sons of Mosiah. Mormon describes how they had become valuable instruments in bringing the Lamanites unto repentance. He recorded that the sons of Mosiah:

“Confess[ed] all their sins” (Mosiah 27:35).

“Searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God” (Alma 17:2).

“Had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting” (Alma 17:3).

“Had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation” (Alma 17:3).

Sought for “a portion of [the] Spirit to go with them” (Alma 17:9).

“Taught with power and authority of God” (Alma 17:3).


Elder Layton

Monday, August 3, 2009

We Must Come Unto Him With a Broken Heart

Dearest Family and Friends,

But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.

(At left, Elders Soto and Layton during a recent preparation day in Indpendencia)

In this day is this profecy coming to pass. I testify that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I'm in an area called Zapallal 1, where we're in the middle of nowhere, and there are hills that top the hills in all my other areas combined. This area's huge... and this ward is functioning better than many wards I've seen in the states.

We had a couple of baptism dates when I entered and we ended yesterday with 8 baptism dates. Mostly youth and kids but we're focusing on finding families. It's difficult because there aren't that many people married, and out here in Zapallal mass weddings don't exist, God has blessed us and I know we'll find them. These Lamanites are blossoming as the rose.

Right now I have 10 rocks in my pockets. My companion does also. We have to carry around these rocks until someone is confirmed. Every rock symbolizes someone, so, as you can imagine.... we have the goal to baptize 20 people this change. I know looking back at my mission it would seem impossible, but we prayed and the Lord wants us to do it. I know that we can help 20 people into the waters of baptism. As of yet we have 0 so we have a lot of work left to do.

I'm grateful for you Papa, Mama, Nana, Eric, and Curtis. Keep working hard.

This week was new. I got here Wednesday in the afternoon and found out where we live! We live on a 45 degree hill. We open the door to walk into a small open area. On the right there are wooden stairs that lead up to a couple of different, small castle looking places, and then we get to our room. We don't actually have a door. It's a metal fence thing that we keep safe with a chain and padlock. It's extremely cold here, but finally we have warm water to shower. Hallelujah!

Elder Pontius in Indy gave me his snow hat because he finished up his mission, so now my ears won't be cold at night. Yes! Honestly Independencia's way behind me now.... I absolutely love this place.

Sometimes I think about all the commandments we have. There's so many. They seem so strict. Even Jesus taught that "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone..." But to say that we must obey every law that God gives us isn't like the Pharisees!!! Jesus taught something very important. Look at this:

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.

I know that we must come unto Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.


Elder Layton