Monday, April 26, 2010

We're Praying Really Hard

Dear Family and Friends,

So this week was the BEST!!! Walter and Lupe were baptized and confirmed I will send you pictures very soon! They are the best. Now their entire family is going to church and Walter left drinking and everything. The zone is also doing very well. We met with the document secretary from city hall the other day to organize a civil wedding. We`re friends with the mayor here so he helps us out. We found a family to marry too! We need a total of 10 families to make it completely FREE! So we`re praying really hard, and crossing our fingers that all the missionaries can find enough families by MAY 7th.
Today we`re going to play soccer and basketball!

So Curtis is doing a project on black holes…. I LOVE BLACK HOLES. Gravity on earth is 9.8 meters per second (32 feet per second) because the earth is relatively small. The larger something is, or the more mass something has, the greater the gravity. A black hole has so much mass that the speed of gravity in a black hole is greater than the speed of light. Imagine that! The speed of light is something like 300,000 KILOMETROS PER SECOND, and anything in a black hole falls faster than that. That`s why it appears as if it`s a hole in space, because we only see light. That`s for you Curtis.

Well, this week we had a ton of experiences finding new people. We`re getting to know the family of Margarita. Margarita is getting baptized on May 8th and she`s being really strong because she`s getting teased by a lot of her friends and family for changing from Catholic to LDS. Honestly her attitude is the greatest. Yesterday she told us, “I`m going through with this. I prayed like you Elders told me and there`s nothing that can change my mind, even though my sister has doubts about everything.” Her sister Zoila had a baptism date but doesn`t want to get married which is sad and now is starting to have doubts about the church and everything, but I`m sure the example of her sister will help. Margarita has 3 kids. We`ve only met one, a young women who escaped from us teaching her haha…

Well that`s about it , everything is going great. Thanks for your prayers. I hope everything`s going good with you all. I`d love to hear from everyone.
Su amigo,

Elder Layton

Monday, April 19, 2010

I Can Finally See the Stars

Hello my far away family!!!

So Barranca`s still just as awesome. I can finally see the stars. In Lima and the Jungle it seemed like there was always cloud cover. So, Lupe and Walter seem to be good to go for this Saturday. We`re still working away. Eating pizza, raviolis, and chocolate milk….it`s a hard life.
Today I don`t have that much time to write. There`s places here in my area in the middle of nowhere. We contacted a guy with two tattooed tear drops below his eye which supposedly means he`s killed two people…. He graciously rejected a visit from us, but we set a baptism date with his neighbor but sadly he didn`t go to church so we`ll see… I heard that Joel got baptized back in Independencia, and also a girl we contacted with Garnica named Jackie and her sister have baptism dates. I miss Elder Garnica. My new companion Elder Santillan is cool too. The people are a lot different here so we`re still kind`ve adjusting to the way we teach.
We`re 10 missionaries in my zone. They`re all very good missionaries. I`m the only Gringo which makes things just more fun for me. Today we`re watching a movie with the whole zone in the church with the projector. Last Monday we went to the beach and played soccer. There was also a lighthouse and a giant Jesus Christ statue with his arms stretched out!
We were helping a less active family the other day for a little bit. They were having problems and were even talking about divorce, but we taught them about the triangle. Heavenly Father is at the top and a husband and wife are at the other ends. As each one draws closer to God they draw closer to each other. They understood that maybe they were lacking several things in their lives and need to live the gospel even more to find a greater happiness together. They`re going to go to church next Sunday which is a good start.

Well, I have to be going. I`ll write more next week. Thanks for everything! Fight the good fight.
Elder Layton

Monday, April 12, 2010

Obviously I Feel Extremely Blessed

Dearest Family and Friends,

This place is extremely hmmm, interesting. Normally here in Peru there are only Peruvians. Once in a while we run into someone from Chile or Columbia…but that`s it!!! But here in Barranca that's a different story. So maybe you remember where I was always hoping to go on my mission? That`s right…. JAPAN! It turns out that apart from the Peruvians there's also Japanese people here. I've run into several already and we have an appointment on Tuesday with a Japanese person and a member is going to introduce us. I feel like I`m supposed to be here and I get to be with my two favorite people in the whole world, apart from Gringos.

This week we found a family! WE visited a recent convert named Jerson and his parents recently got married. They accepted a baptism date for this 24th of April!!! Their names are Walter and Lupe. They awesome!!! Yesterday we watch the Joseph Smith movie with them and they invited us to eat lunch with them after church! They could feel the spirit so strongly during the movie and it helped them visualize better what we had taught and helped them feel encouraged for their baptism. The district is doing well. I say district because here we're not in a stake. We're branches!!! We pension in the house of the District President with two other missionaries in our zone too which is awesome… All the members are really strong because they have to be because the branches are really small and many have more than one calling. 30-40 active members… but the church building is huge and awesome! They were happy to hear someone play the piano for the first time. Sister Olga is our pension and is the best….

So I have to tell you the most marvelous thing. You may think that I`m eating chicken and rice everyday with the occasional suri, guinea pig, or potato….but IM NOT!!! Every single day I eat…..da da da da da daaaaa………..PIZZZZZZZZZAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!! it's a miracle. So, if I stay here for the last 3 months of my mission which is probable I will continue eating pizza from Sister Olga's and President Gonzalez's Pizzeria every night. She also is the first Peruvian in history that knows how to make things like French toast. Hallelujah.

Obviously I feel extremely blessed. I'm more worried about the area and the zone. We're doing tons of extra creative things to help the District grow like making copies of all the Progress forms of all the missionaries to give to President Gonzalez (who is a extremely inspired man btw) so he can see the investigators of every branch. We're also making a Branch Mission Plan with them this week to put goals, plans of action, an activities to help the members take part in the missionary work. Soon we can be wards and have a patriarch I'm sure of it!!! I was thinking about how to help the less active members to come to church yesterday so we talked with the branch president and every Sunday we're going to invite all the members to go out in the morning to pass by houses of less actives before church starts. That should help a ton. If you have more ideas I would love to hear about what you're doing in the states!

Well the air is clean and I can see the stars at night! I don't see the big dipper though… J I'm in South America. I'd love to hear how you`re all doing and how the mission`s going with Nate and Bryan.

Elder Layton

Monday, April 5, 2010

On to Beautiful Barranca

Dearest Family and Friends,

I give my thanks to everyone that has helped me grow here in the mission. I especially thank you mom and dad and Aunt Angie, Uncle Byron and ALL of the family for sending me awesome packages that brighten my day and lift my sights with all the fun toys and candy. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Chiechi for everything you do and Grandma and Grandpa Layton for sending me a letter every week.

Personally I enjoyed Elder Rasbands talk in General Conference in the priesthood session. He described his personal experience of how the missionaries are called to their respective mission. Listening to that experience and his whole talk gave me the strong impression that I've been called here to Peru and without any doubt I know that the Lord wanted me to come here. The experiences are so amazing.

I'm sad right at this point because I'll be leaving Independencia on Wednesday and I have to leave everyone... but I also know without a doubt that the Lord knows my thoughts. Out of the 15 different Zones in my mission there`s only one place I could go out of Lima that's NOT the jungle!!! I'm going to Barranca to finish up my mission!!! I've seen pictures and it's absolutely beautiful. I get to take a bus for 3 hours up north and my new companion's name is Elder Santillan. He was a Señor companion in my zone just two changes back, left our zone as District Leader for two changes, so now I'll be training another Zone leader, but this time for a different mission! Cause I heard that the Elders going up to Barranca are going to be part of the new Peru Lima West when I leave!

My daddy in the mission Elder Acevedo ended his mission about a month back and was called in his new district as Branch President! For some reason I can`t imagine a 21 year-old returned missionary leading a branch of 120 active members. The Lord trusts young people a lot more than I thought. I'm sure he'll divide the branch (there is a little something there lost in the translation.)

It was so amazing this weekend. We baptized Josef Later on Saturday and confirmed him the same day with the permission of Bishop Garcia. Right after the baptism he attended the Priesthood session of conference and honestly I couldn't feel happier watching him listen to a prophet of God right in the moment he had made his first covenant and had received the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Sooo, I guess I have to ask permission to do my classes and everything. I thought I could wait a little but Ill get right on it. I want to mejor (major) in Chemistry (we're thinking that he still wants to be a Dentist) and I'll be trying out for Men`s Choir so sign me up! I need to take all the classes for Chem mejor and I only want about 14 credits. Also I want to take some basic French classes. Don't laugh I'm serious. Jáime parle francés.

So this is for Nana (who was asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday about the blessings that have come to Elder Layton and all of us because of his mission): Before my mission I had a lot of my priorities messed up but now I know that the Lord can guide our lives and loves us. We have to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm a lot different now cause I work harder, I know how to be happier, and I want to serve the Lord.

Tengan una buena semana,

Elder Layton

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

I included this on another post, but it is so perfect for the holiday we call Easter. The Layton family wishes each of you a very happy Easter. We share our testimony with each of you, that we know and are sure that the Lord Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah, and that He is risen. He lives today.