Monday, December 28, 2009

He Felt a Huge Peace Inside Him

Happy New Years!!!! 2010 Only two years until the end of the World!!! Yay!

It was a privilege to able to talk with you Mom Dad Eric Curtis Nana. I miss you lots! Honestly I felt so nervous and happy I didn't really know what to say ahhaha, but it was my Christmas present and I hope you know it meant a lot to me.

This week was ALMOST normal for us. Yesterday we went on splits with a couple youth that are preparing to go on missions. I went with a kid named Michael in our ward Los Pinos. Elder Acevedo went to the cita (appointment) we had and everything. I went to find new people! We were rejected almost all day. Then, the last visit we had of the day was a man named Jose Valverde. This guy is one of the best new investigators I've ever had. He studied with the Jehova Witnesses for 3 years and was at the point of baptism... but then he felt it wasn't right. He also has gone to the Seventh Day Adventists a lot... he knows a little about a lot of churches, but he knew nothing about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We taught the restoration with Michael and gave him a Book of Mormon. He told me that while we were there he felt a huge peace inside him, like he feels when he reads the Bible. I had him read Galatas 5:22-23 and it made even more sense to him. He said he`s going to read and pray and when he receives his answer he wants to be baptized!!!

Today we're going to play soccer in the church with the zone. I'm not writing that much today cause I need to prepare my presentation for tomorrow in the interviews. I just want to let you know that I love you very much and I'm working hard.


Elder Layton

Monday, December 21, 2009

Unto Us a Child is Born, Unto Us a Son is Given

Hello Happy Family


I miss you all and everything especially during this time of year. We're still working hard. Lots of things happened this week.

Before I came here as zone leader the sister missionaries had to leave their area. This week a missionary couple, Elder and Hermana Earl entered in our zone. We had district meeting on Tuesday like normal and they came....neither of them speak ANY Spanish so they didn't understand anything. I heard a rumor that President is working on sending them to CCM (mtc in Peru). They were only in the mtc 5 days before they got sent here. They have six kids. 3 married, 3 in missions in Guatemala, Chili, and Philippines. This week Elder Acevedo and I went to their small room to teach them Spanish!!!!hahha, I took pictures with them it's so funny. I haven't seen Gringo adults for a long time..... They're visiting all the members and everything because they really can`t understand anything yet.

Thanks for the packages. I got em from everyone thanks!!!!!! I loved the candy, hot chocolate, the yoyo, pajamas! Today we have the Christmas lunch with President Perez in Chilies.

Soooo, I'll be calling you this Thursday. (WOOHOO, Thursday for 5 minutes and Friday for one hour!)

I was looking at the pictures and everyone's changed a ton. It's kind've weird actually. I'm glad my picture scares everyone.

In almost all my contacts I talk about Christmas. Usually here the most effective contacts are knocking on doors, sincere short contacts asking if we can offer a prayer in their houses and share a short message with them. Yesterday we did a lot of Christmas contacting like this in this time of year we should remember the birth of our Savior and we're sharing a message about Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His Gospel... Just talking about that made several people angry. I contacted 5 members of another Church yesterday I think. One couple told me that Christmas was the Devil and that the God's Kingdom was here or something like that.....

Honestly in those types of contacts it always makes me ponder what Jesus Christ told the young boy Joseph: that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. I testified that Christmas was of God and then we left. Since I was a little boy I've never felt happier than on Christmas day. Maybe the presents had part to do with that, at first....but after time and especially right now none of that could even matter.

Our modern day prophet every year has to remind all of us to not get too caught up in the worldly things during this time of year. I've never felt more love for my Savior. My favorite Christmas scripture describes this time of year perfectly: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God JEHOVA, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. I think President Eyring quoted that this year....

I solemnly testify that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.

Well, have a happy Christmas. Eric I love you. Curtis I love you. Nana, I love you. Mom and Dad I love you talk to you soon.

Elder Layton

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Best White Christmas

Mi Querido Familia,

How are you? This week was full of happy experiences, getting to know new people, and work. Elder Acevedo and I are still working hard. We're are concerned about the Zone here in Independencia. The numbers were low this week but we are trying to think of everything we can do to help them. It's an especially exciting time here in the mission because we're getting close to Christmas, my favorite day ever!!!

We had 4 baptisms this week. We baptized Tania Delcarpio, Ayde Barrera, Josep Pizarro, Gina Alarcon. Josep and Gina are boyfriend girlfriend. He's 22 and she`s 19. It was a spiritual baptism.... kind of. Brisa was going to get baptized...a 9 year old girl, but she freaked out when she got in the water and after 20 minutes she didn't go through with it. It's okay. She needs more time. We have 6 more baptism dates and a lot more people to talk to.

And dad was right. They only gave me a salt shaker. Normally here in Peru they just use salt. Pepper....who wants pepper anyway? I'm sorry to hear that dad's mug can use mine dad. The family of one of my converts made them! And something else..... my package might come back. If it does don't worry and don't feel bad - I won't. It's just that I heard a ton of packages got sent back because the signatures were bad.....but..... who knows maybe mine was good. (We had to sign a paper for our packages). I'll let you know when I get it!!!

And Briana I'm proud of you. I love you. Eric and Curtis, don't be disappointed if you get all clothes for Christmas.

It was funny. Yesterday a man came up to us in the street and asked us. In what year did God create the world? I answered.....year one haha!... then I said I didn't know. Then he changed the subject In what date was Jesus Christ born? I said...hmmm... well, I'm pretty sure it was around April, but traditionally we celebrate it in December! Then he asked me the same question I didn't even answer him the first time. I answered him about the same way, and he asked me again.... but do you know exactly when Jesus Christ was born? I said Look, hermano... it's a good thing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ? He said... yes. I said, well, it doesn't really matter when and where, if it makes us happy and it's something good. Then he just got mad a little I think and left. Kind of a random experience I think.

Also my companion and I gave talks in Sacrament yesterday. I talked about Zion in the ward and home, and my companion talked about references.

I just looked right now....10 days until I get to talk with you!!!! I'll be calling on the 24th for 5 minutes to figure out everything and we'll talk on the 25th for mucho tiempo! On Christmas Eve we have permission to stay out until 11. We're going to the Bishop's house....

Christmas is a little different than the states here.... it's more like new years. Bishop's going to have a ton of fireworks!! Yes!!! Then Bishop`s going to take us back to our room and we're going to go up on the roof (we live in the 3rd story) and we're going to watch the huge firework show at 12. It's a lot bigger than the stuff in the states because there's not really any rules....hahahaha.

We've been teaching Jordan....the boyfriend of Sonia a recent convert from Ermitao when I was there. Sonia is the daughter of Consuelo. Consuelo is the sister in law of Bishop here in Pinos. Basically I told you that because I was really close with the family of Consuelo back in Ermitao! I ate lunch in their house every Saturday. Now I've gotten to know ALL their family. Jordan has to travel for 1 or 2 weeks but when he gets back he wants to get baptized. He assisted Ermitao several times when I was there but lives here in Los Pinos. The challenge is that all his family doesn't want him to get baptized. They're Catholic. He's 19 so he's doesn`t exactly need permission...but he wants their consent at least. Last night we shared with him the story of the tree of life.... we related the people in the grand and spacious building to people that would impede us to make a decision extremely important in our lives. He knows the church is true. I know he'll make the right choice.

That's about it.

I love you very much.....MMMMERRRYYY CHRISTMASSSS!!!!!



Monday, December 7, 2009

A Conviction That Leads Us to Love Our Heavenly Father and Others

Hahaha, thanks mom and dad for the letters. My aunts are so funny.... sending you a life size Elder Layton haha. It'd be cool to have a life size cardboard cutout of my family!!! I miss you all lots.

This morning we had to send reports to the offices with the numbers of the zone and about how the zone's doing. We do that every week, as with other things, but nothing really hard. Just work. Also this week we went to a Zone Leader conference where President and the Assistants taught us about our responsibilites, and after we ate pizza. Mmmm pizza.

This week has been crazy. I saw a ton of members from Ermitao. Several times in the street and also last night in the Christmas devotional, which was AMAZING by the way. My ward's a lot bigger now in Los Pinos. More people come than in Mt. Bachelor... well, I haven't been there for a while, but more than when I was there. We have several baptism dates for this Saturday.

I finally sent out my clothes.... I don't think I told you, but recently the people in the mission that washed our clothes was layed off so there was a ton of confusion in the changes and I just ended up washing by hand last week. The thing is... my companion helped me put em all out on the lines outside to dry and it turned out that that line wasn't clean.... so basically everything was dirty again. I'm good now I didn't die. Tomorrow I get clean clothes again.

The zone is doing good. We don't have very many baptism dates as a zone but they've put goals and we're going to have success. Elder Acevedo`s helping me a ton. He's been Zone Leader for a while now and he's been here in this area for a couple transfers so he knows what we have to do. I'm learning a ton from him, and trying to help as much as I can. Today we went and flew kites on top of a huge butte with the zone. YES!!!! It was so fun I just have to say. Also, an abandoned puppy on top of the butte pooped on one of the missionaries in the zone.....

I'd like to share with you something I've learned from my mission. It's conviction. When we believe in something or we want to acheive something before we can do anything....we have to believe we can do it. It's doesn't matter what it is. It's something I've learned from the Gospel too. Especially in repentance. During all the time in my mission I've had to change tons of things but what was the most important to me was that I had conviction to do it. I know the Lord doesn't only want us doing the motions for commitment. We have to have a conviction that leads us to love our Heavenly Father and others. Especially in Christmas, just like the brethren talked about last night, we should remember the pure love of Christ in every thing we do.

Mom, Dad, Nana, Eric, Curtis, hopefully you like the presents I sent home for you. It's extremely creative watch out.
I still haven't met the Bishop. They introduced my on Sunday and I went up and bore my testimony like normal. Bishop is traveling I guess. I did eat lunch in his house today. I've actually eaten there before about 5 months ago.

I'll tell you more about the experiences I'm having in sharing the gospel this week. I really still haven't gotten to know that much yet. All I know is that we have really awesome investigators and it's way to close to Christmas....not really let it snow let it snow let it snow. I think I saw it snow.... oh no, that's dust. Cool. Family, friends I love you soo much. Write me and I'll really try to write you back.


Elder Layton
(Brenda and I had lunch today with Seth Hurd today. Seth was just released from the Peru Lima North Mission and lives about 30 minutes away from us. He knows Sean very well. He related several amazing experiences and comments about the kind of missionary Sean is. I'll share one of those.
Elder Hurd was in Sean's first area when Sean arrived. Some of the Elders were getting fleas and flea bites. So they were given a spray that would take care of the problem. The thing was, it never made it to Elder Layton, who had been sleeping on the floor. He didn't complain too much and the spray didn't make it his way for 2 weeks.
By the time the Mission President's wife realized that something was wrong, Sean had over 700 flea bites on his body (I'm not sure how they knew that unless someone actually counted).
Seth shared a few other things with us that helped us to understand that Elder Layton is serving an honorable mission for the Lord.

It was good to be able to meet with Seth and to talk with someone who had just come back from Sean's mission and who had just been with him on Monday. Between that and the life-sized Sean cutout sent by his crazy aunts, we almost feel that he's home for Christmas this year. And we get the December 25th phone call too!)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas in Peru

I found this site here describing...

Christmas in Peru

by Bill Egan, Christmas Historian

PERU is on the west coast of South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, with Ecuador to the north and Chile to the south. Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia are to the east.

Christmas celebrations in Peru are a combination of traditions brought over from Spain and the traditions of the native American experience. There are parties and fiestas everywhere and homes are overflowing with hospitality. Homes and churches are decorated with Christmas colors, bows, and wreaths and the open air Christmas markets are bustling with venders and customers shopping for bargins in the summer sunshine.

Manger scenes in Peru are often carved from wood or soapstone by the Quechua Indians. The figures are usually wearing clothing styles from the time of the conquistadores and the carving techniques date to the sixteenth century. Additional figures are added to the scene each year until they become large displays complete with landscapes and backgrounds. The three kings arrive with a train of llamas and you will also find local characters such as the jasmine vender, the tamale vender, the baker, the ice-cream man, the ironer of the Child's diapers...and many, many more. Some homes with elaborite nativities have an open house so that neighbors can visit.

There are other smaller nativity scenes of baked clay (see photo) while some mini scenes are fitted into matchbox size displays.

Noche Buena is the "Good Night" when Santa comes to fill the stockings that have been placed near the manger scene. When the family returns from Midnight Mass, the figure of Baby Jesus is placed in the manger and then the children open their gifts while fireworks boom in the night sky.

The Christmas dinner in most Peruvian households features turkey as the main dish with a variety of salads along with the ever-popular tamales. Fruit cake is served for dessert.

Christmas Day festivities in Lima (where Christmas was first celebrated in 1535) are highlighted by a bullfight and a procession with the statue of the Virgin Mary. The parties, dances, and processions continue throughout Peru until January 6 when they celebrate the Epiphany with Rosca de Reyes, or the King's Ring - a round sweet bread decorated with candied fruit to look like the crown of a king.

This is Elder Layton's last Christmas in Peru.