Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm Being Very Blessed in Peru

I'm being very blessed down here in Peru. My kid Elder Yaez is doing great. He's from Arequipa Peru MY FIRST PERUVIAN!!! I teach a little more than normal but he helps a lot. I need the help, because I feel a little stressed with having a district and everything. Before our zone was two districts but with the division and the new stakes now Puente Piedra has one zone, one district, and 5 companionships.

I was able to interview about seven different investigators on Thursday and Friday. It was an experience I'll never forget. In an interview the people spill out everything. Some of them told me things I could help them with, others, well, let's just say some things they mentioned were things I really didn't want to hear. One girl I didn't pass for confidential reasons but it comes down to one thing. She didn't want to obey all the commandments. I assured her that she could be baptized later on when she was better prepared and willing to live the normas (standards) of the Gospel.

We were again blessed this weekend to have a baptism. Finally!!! Sister Yesica was baptized. Her kids were very happy Alizon and Jhair. Nelly and Miguel, her friends, came to the baptism too. We also baptized Darlin and her cousin Xiomara. Darlin's uncle and aunt are basically her parents, so her and Xiomara are sisters basically The dad Guillermo didn't want to give Xiomara permission. We taught everything to them the past couple weeks, and xiomara was at the interview for Darlin, so I told the mom of xiomara (Maria) that Xiomara should have her interview just in case Guillermo changed his mind. Saturday in the morning we visited them and changed his mind. They gave us breakfast and when we left the girls were smiling. DURING the baptism service Guillermo left the service to talk with a leader in the church. A sister told me that she heard Guillermo ask what do I need to do to be a member of this church? Guillermo and Maria aren't married but we`re going to help them get married this 14th of November. AWESOME!!!

I'm tired. I was up kind of later than normal learning how to call everyone for the informes (reports), Pday, and helping the district with questions. Today we're going to go play soccer. I'm probably better than Nana now since I play almost every week with the Latins. We'll have a futbol duo when I get back. Well, that's about it. We have 9 more baptism dates set, and 9 INCAs (I have no idea what an INCA is...baptismal challenge and date set? It's some kind of acronym) yesterday. We have to keep working harder like Elder Rich always told me.

That's kind of weird. I guess it's not Elder Rich anymore, it's Landon. I heard his Flaca waited so Landon might change to Mr. Landon here pretty soon too. Bueno. THANKS FOR ALL THE LETTERS!!!!

I'm praying for all of you. Please pray for the investigators. Jose Louis, Anderson, Italo, Guian Carlos, Jefferson, Sandy, Javier, Isabel, and Maycol!

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Heavenly Father Saved Her and She Made It Through

Dear Home,

We've been working hard. I'm excited cause I'm staying here in Puente Piedra for my third change in a row. Now I'm District Leader and have another kid. His name's Yaez and I don't know where he's from. Well.... he's from the CCM (MTC in Peru). Of course I'll be doing baptism interviews, a little more paperwork, and I'll have a district, but we'll still keep up the area and help all these people.

I'm excited too cause with Elder Martelo we found an awesome house far from the hill, still close to the pension, bigger and less money. The place we're in doesn't even have a real door...haha. At least now I won't be cold at night.

This change has been the best. With Elder Martelo we didn't complete our goal for this change, but with did complete the goal I had with Elder Moreira last change. This week we had the baptism of Oscar, Kevin, and Jazmin. They were excited to finally get baptized. The baptism was good.

Everything's been going more smoothly lately. Javier Zorrilla (Husband of Beatriz, father of John, Dalma, and Angel) came to church yesterday. We visited him in the night and he accepted a baptism date for the 14th of November... haha. Kind've far, but he's going out of town this week. He's the only one that needs to be baptized to complete the family. I'm grateful for the blessings of having families in this time.

I was studying the scriptures this week. I'm almost done with Doctrine and Covenants in Spanish (I've never read all of it in English haha) but I was also reading in the Book of Mormon. I'd like to share something I read in Moroni 6:8 But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven. God can save us if only we repent. But the most important, we must seek it. They sought forgiveness. It won't just come to us if we go to church, or read the scriptures to read. We actually have to be diligent in living the gospel, and actually searching forgiveness. It`s hard because it`s easier to not search. It`s easier to be passive than aggressive, but I know the Lord will bless us as we sacrifice what we have. If we sacrifice a little bit of TV time in the night to search the scriptures, sacrifice a little bit of energy saying fervent prayers always, and sacrificing our own pride to follow the Lord. This is what you must do. yeah

Two nights ago after the baptism we went to an appointment but the people weren't there. We left back in the direction of the church when we heard screaming. Not just any was screams like someone was dying. We went up to the house where we could here several voices yelling and everything. I knocked on the door. Someone answered it and let us in. Right in front of us there was a girl about my age having a heart attack on the ground on her back. I didn't even ask or anything I just knew that nothing else mattered. I opened up my consecrated oil and anointed her head and Elder Martelo gave the blessing. My Heavenly Father saved her and she made it through. After the blessing Elder Martelo fanned her with air and I just kept my fingers on her pulse until she got better. Her family was very thankful that we heard their cries I'm just grateful to the Lord we were there. I know the Lord works miracles.

Nana: At BYU I lost several papers like that.... SAVE AS!


Elder Layton

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sister Martina: A Powerful Member-Missionary

This week has been just great! Thanks for sending me pictures. Christie, my nephew is beautiful.
It's hard to believe I'm coming up to 16 months. It feels like I was just at home hanging out with everyone before they had to go off and get married.

I thought I'd share something that I wrote a few days back in my journal with all of you. It's about Martina:

The Peruvian members of the church here are humble, sincere, and for many of them you could say that there could not be a happier people among all the people who [have] been created by the hand of God (see 4 Nephi 1:16). That`s true for one happy sister that has come to be one of my closet friends Sister Martina Castro.

In 1991, Sister Martina was baptized with her husband in Suyana, Peru. 5 Years later, after the baptism her husband passed away, leaving a widowed mother with hungry children to feed. Tears began to soak her eyes from the memories as she told me, "When my husband died, we lost everything. I had to sell the house. We built a small brick home four meters wide. We sold rice, and didn`t have enough to go on but I kept enthusiastic and my Heavenly Father does His part. Thanks to Him, we had enough to keep going."

Finally sister Martina and her family were able to leave Suyana. They moved into a house here in Ventanilla, Peru (Where I`m currently serving). For several years, she lost in touch with the church and became inactive. She learned how to bake cakes and cook tamales to help her family. She sells to all the neighbors here and it seems like she knows everybody. Several months ago she returned to the church, and has been a member firm in the faith ever since.

"I knew I needed to be part of the Lord`s church, and I always felt the Lord was calling me back", Sister Martina told me.

Now sister Martina Castro is making up for lost time, talking with literally everyone about the gospel. It seems like every time we visit, there's somebody else sister Martina knows that wants to make covenants with their Heavenly Father. Thanks to Sister Martina's love for the gospel, in two months my companions and I have baptized eight members of her family. Even her mother Elva who just turned 80 (I think I told you the wrong age before) years old! The blessings don't stop there, because she didn`t stop. She continues sharing the gospel and now four more family members have baptism dates.

The Lord is so powerful, Sister Martina says. "When I give more, God gives me more."

I give thanks to the Lord, and I give thanks to Sister Martina Castro for simply sharing the gospel with others. As a missionary, I have experienced first-hand through all this that the members are so incredibly important to the missionary work. The prophecy of Joseph Smith is being fulfilled as these modern day lamanites flourish as the rose. But Peru or not, the blessings from the Gospel of Jesus Christ will come to ALL Saints as they share it.

Before I left in my last visit she added, I want my family and grandchildren to grow and be happy and put faith in Jesus Christ. I tell them that this Church is true.

This week was a good one too. We baptized Rosalbina, the mother of Paula and Martin, and also Beatriz, the mother of John, Dalma, and Angel. It was a really special baptism. The husband of Rosalbina even came to the baptism even though he usually doesn't want to know anything. We have so many families to help complete. We have eleven baptism dates, partly thanks to a reference yesterday in Church. We always go around to every organization and ask references and sister Nelly said she knew of a familily that want to learn about the gospel. We went in the night with sister Nelly and they all accepted baptism dates. The only problem is that the parents aren't married. He has to go in for surgery any day too, but the good part is that he accepted to get married. Hopefully before this Halloween so he can get baptized with the kids.

That's about it. I love you so very much.

Elder Layton

Monday, October 5, 2009

What Are You Talking About, I'm Latin!

Dearest Family and Friends,

The General Conference was amazing, as usual!!! The entire time I think there was a definite theme: Love. Of course all of us, the white missionaries watched conference in English because it's a load better than the translated version. I'm sure you loved all the talks. Elder Holland is a beast. (And I'm sure he means that in the best way, not at all in the Book of Revelation way...Elder Holland's talk was one of my top two favorites as well.) I couldn't even concentrate on writing notes while he was talking.

Even with the conference and everything (we watched all the sessions) we made time to have the baptism on Saturday and the confirmation on Sunday. Giset and Carlos, two youth that ALWAYS attend church were baptized. The best! Carlos has been going to church for about a year and a half. My district leader who interviewed him recognized him from when he was here in this area a year and a half ago! Finally he got permission from his parents and is happier than ever. He's almost 18 and he's extremely eager to leave to the missionary life in about a year. Awesome. Also Oliver who didn't come to his confirmation on Sunday came yesterday and was confirmed. We have a lot of baptism dates for this month.

In the mission we have a goal to include the members in the work. You know the story of Alma and Amulek right? Well, you should. Alma was a missionary just like me that went and preached unto the people for a while but everyone hardened their hearts against him. He preached with power and authority but they still didn't listen. Then he found Amulek. Alma ate in his house (just like we eat in the members houses) and after they went and preached unto the people together. Amulek was a well-known man, and so it was easy for the people to accept the message with someone they knew. With the help of Amulek, they had a ton of success. That's the story mas o menos. The thing is, this month we're IN THE SEARCH OF OUR AMULEK. We read the story in Alma 8-15 every day with a different member and then ask them, will you be our Amulek? They accept and we're receiving more help because of it.

Up to this point in the change we have 17 confirmations in the change so we still have a long way to go to reach our goal. There's a few people that came to church yesterday we didn't know before that we'll be visiting, so that will definitely help! Keep praying for all of them. Oh, you wouldn't believe it! Yessica accepted to be baptized this 10th of October. She always goes to church with her kids, but never wanted to accept. She was scared of the water. I read Alma 7:14-15 and that helped! Also her sisters Rosalvina and Beatriz are getting baptized on the same day. The mom's of all the youth we've been baptizing! I love that entire family so much. They are so prepared for the Gospel.

I think they mention Peru at least one time in every Conference. Peru's the best. I haven't seen any guys with wood strapped to their heads since Pucallpa, but I do see a little Quechua lady walking up the hill we live on, every morning carrying a football field worth of corn stalks! Haha. She always has a huge dress, braids in her hair, and what appears to me a giant cowboy hat. Awesome.

After we went to the beach on Monday I was finding sand in my eyes for the longest time. I thought I was going to go blind. Haha. Playing soccer next to the ocean was the best especially when Elder Rojas (my old compi) and I ganged up on the rest of the Zone in a huge melee in the damp sand. The member that lived there killed a guinea pig to eat. I didn't watch I still haven't eaten guinea pig. They call it Cui here. I don't know it just doesn't seem right. Last night a ton of the ward members were over at Hermana Martina`s house. We went over and watched part of Joseph Smith and then sang hymns. I played guitar for some of the hymns and did a solo in English. The kids BEG me to talk in English sometimes. Sometimes I just tell them what are you talking about, I'm Latin?

Well, that's about it. Hermana Martina introduced us this week to two more youth. Her grandson and her nephew. They went to church and want to be baptized this 17th. Vacan!

I love you so much. Mom and Dad you mean more to me than you know. Thanks for everything! Nana, you're growing up. Just don't grow up too fast. Remember, you're prohibited to get married until I get home. Thank you.


Elder Layton