Monday, May 31, 2010

Tap Tap Tap

Dearest Family,

So many things happened this week! Let´s see…..

First of all I don't think I've told you much about my companion!!! I have to introduce him to everyone so it feels like I've already told you but I really haven't. My last companion in the mission's name is Elder ORTIZ!!! He's from Tarija, Bolivia, the same place that Elder Garnica's from. He's soo cool. His dad passed away when he was 12 years old, and left his mom with 8 kids to take care of. His mom isn't a member of the church, but his older brother is less-active. His three little brothers and sisters are all active members. Like I said, he's soo cool.

I did a work visit with our district leader Elder Davila. We set a baptism date in his area with a young man named John who is awesome. He's 22 years old and told us he wants to serve a mission.

In our area we set two more baptism dates this week. One of them has the coolest name EVER!!! She's the cousin of Gerson (or the niece of Walter and Lupe). Her name is Valentina Valentin and guess when her birthday is? That's right…February 14th . I give her a hard time. Today she's going to a church activity with all the youth, which will be awesome. We're also preparing Eva Sifuentes for baptism. She's the friend and reference of Gerson. Gerson's my best friend. Also we have some other baptism dates and progressing investigators.

When we teach the Sifuentes family something crazy always happens!!!! First of all one time we were teaching in the middle of the lesson a cat jumped through the window with a huge rat in its mouth and they were fighting until we watched the cat slowly kill its prey…. ANOTHER TIME when we were teaching the Sifuentes family in the middle of the lesson we heard some knocks at the door. Tap tap tap…. Tap tap tap…. Until one sister got up and opened the door. It was getting dark out and a little cold, and a mother duck with her 8 ducklings entered followed by a few chickens and a dog….. apart from that every time we go to the house of the Sifuentes their dog tries to kill us. I'm serious. Of all the crazy dogs I've met in Peru, this one would reserve the right to be called the devil; it´s almost killed us a dozen times.

I'm continuing to have lots of experiences here and the zone is done really well. The missionaries are all happy.

I like the scripture in Mosiah 28:3 in the book of Mormon where it says:

Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish.

I know that we need to desire the same thing for everyone.

Your son and friend

Elder Layton

Monday, May 24, 2010

We Should Help Everyone We Know


I´m not going to be able to write that much I was filling out a calendar that the offices wanted with the zone plans of this transfer.

This last transfer is going to be the best!! Early Wednesday we traveled to Lima for the transfers, I stayed in Elder Ridge´s place for the night and Thursday was my last zone leader conference…L and we talked president into letting us stay for the meeting in the peru MTC on Friday (CCM), the ZL´s in the jungle had to travel back to their areas on Thursday night so we lucked out because we got to listen to Elder Jenson from the Presidency of the Seventy!!! I forgot my notes so I can´t tell you everything he said, but it was the BEST!!! He first talked about the power of hymns, and told us the story about Called to Serve, and then he talked about the priesthood.

I think I´ve been teaching apostasy my entire mission because I often say that in the grand (in Spanish the word for "great" is "gran") apostasy the priesthood was taken off the earth…..hmmm…. sounds okay, but according to Elder Jenson, the priesthood has NEVER been taken off the earth, and has been here since the creation….but then he explained that during the apostasy, the priesthood keys were lost, which is the right to use that power and preside the church and exercise all the ordinances of the gospel. So since then I´ve simply telling people that during this time people couldn´t get baptized. Haha. The keys today are meticulously protected by the first presidency and the quorum of the 12 apostles whom are the ONLY men on earth that possess ALL the keys of the kingdom.

The zone is doing well. All the missionaries are excited to work this transfer and I have to verify their baptism dates como loco so not one falls. We´re going to have the missionaries carry around a different object every week that helps them remember 1 principal, like diligence, obedience, etc… also every Wednesday we´re going to do a supercharged day where they set really high goals and in the night we call them to see what the results were. We´re going to some different ruins this transfer called FORTELEZA, we´re going to a synthetic soccer field, and other things.

“And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall commence his work among all nations, kindred’s, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of his people upon the earth and with righteousness shall the Lord God judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth. And he shall smite thee earth with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth. And he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. “ (2 Nephi 8-10)

Remember to always read the scriptures, pray, and do what you have to do.

I love the gospel. We should help everyone we know to know what we know.

Bye bye,

Elder Layton

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Love the Mission With All of My Heart

Saludos mis Queridos Hermanos,
Thanks for the picture mom!  Jesse and Logan look the same…. Briana, more grown up and very beautiful.
So here´s the news:  I´m dying here in Barranca... which in missionary language means I´m ending my two year mission here, eating Pizza.  So needless to say, I´m content.  Honestly i´m excited because we found the Sifuentes family and they went to church and several of them want to get baptized already although they haven't accepted baptism dates YET. 
Yesterday was District Conference.   President and Sister Perez (my mission president and his wife) came to speak and also Elder Davila from the seventy.  They rearranged the new District Presidency…so President Gonzalez isn´t actually President Gonzalez anymore.   It was a good experience.  I played piano for the congregation and the choir which was fun, and then in the afternoon we had the baptism and confirmation of Martha.  Hans was in the water but started to scream NO QUIERO NO QUIERO NO QUIERO!!!  Obviously you would think it would be easy to help him get over his fear of water….but the kid´s never swam in his life, and sadly he wasn´t able to go through with it. 
Today in the morning we woke up early to send Elder Huaman to Lima, alone…which was kind´ve weird.  He´s ending his mission.  Also this week we had a work visit with the Assistants because President Perez couldn´t come for interviews like he normally does for the conference, but it was good.  Elder Martelo my kid that´s 26 is the new assistant so it was great to see him again.  We´re learned a lot.  Also Zoila the sister of Margarita came back from traveling on mother´s day and her boyfriend whom she was living with had completely packed up and had left, so she´s all excited now that she can get baptized. 
There are a ton of challenges that the members face here in Barranca….and I would say most of them stem from their financial situations.  There´s a part here in my zone where the people work all day and get payed 10 soles at the end of the day, which would add up to about 3-4 dollars a day.  With kids that doesn´t go anywhere.  Of course where I´m at it´s a little bit more developed…  President Perez gave an awesome talk yesterday to all the members.  First he told us that “ our purpose here is not to have a stake, no!  That will be the result of what you do”
He taught the members this:  that to have a stake, or a strong ward, it starts in the home.  Then he gave us 4 steps to be able to grow here in small Barranca:
1 Believe en the purifying love of Jesus Christ
2. Understand that the small constant things are big (I kind´ve missed the second point) – he talked about pride that we must have family inventory, pray, and study the scriptures.
3.  Family Home Evening
4. Do NOT stop living the law of tithing.  President told us we shouldn´t think of this as paying tithing, but living the law of tithing.  
Of course this was specific for the people here in Barranca but it would apply in strengthening every family.  If we follow these four steps we´ll be ready for anything really, as we do them with diligence. 
I´m will be forever blessed for the experiences that I´m having right now…. And I love the mission with all my heart.  Now it´s my last transfer and I´m worried because looking back I wonder, am I really the missionary I always imagined?  Well…. To be 100% honest I went into the mission with little or no idea of what I was doing, or what I wanted to become…it was more like a responsibility that I always wanted to complete.  But I really don´t have regrets.  I´m not perfect but I´ve been striving to be.  I know I love the people here, and I feel closer to my Heavenly Father every day so that´s what makes me know that I´m doing well.  But just so you know, I now know what I´m doing and know what I want to become, and instead of trying to fulfill a responsibility I´m trying to fulfill a promise that I´ve made and I enjoy doing it. 
Thanks for all the support and chocolate that you´ve given me,
Your son, friend, nephew, grandson, etc,
Elder layton

Monday, May 10, 2010

Complex Chiasms and the Baptism of Margarita

I loved talking with you all!!! it was the best.  I even got to talk with Jesse and Logan, but for only 2 seconds.... thanks for everything really.  it meant a lot and I´m just really happy. 

We had the baptism service of Margarita.  She´s the best, her sister Zoila came and everything.  The baptism was really good a lot of people came which was a relief for having such a small branch.

I was studying Alma 42 the other day in spanish and i remembered that chiasmus was found in this chapter so i started putting it down on paper.....and holy cow.... i thought alma 36 was cool.  honestly I was taken back by what i found....there are 5 complex chaiasms put into 1!!!! so of course i feel like a nerd cause I just spent an hour trying to put it all into English.   


1 And now, my son, I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind, which ye cannot understand—which is concerning the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner; for ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery.
  2 Now behold, my son, I will explain this thing unto thee. For behold, after the Lord God sent our first parents forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground, from whence they were taken—yea, he drew out the man, and he placed at the east end of the garden of Eden, cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the tree of life—
  3 Now, we see that the man had become as God, knowing good and evil; and lest he should put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever, the Lord God placed cherubim and the flaming sword, that he should not partake of the fruit—
  4 And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God.
  5 For behold, if Adam had put forth his hand immediately, and partaken of the tree of life, he would have lived forever, according to the word of God, having no space for repentance; yea, and also the word of God would have been void, and the great plan of salvation would have been frustrated.
  6 But behold, it was appointed unto man to die—therefore, as they were cut off from the tree of life they should be cut off from the face of the earth—and man became lost forever, yea, they became fallen man.
  7 And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will.
  8 Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness.
  9 Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death.
  10 Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state.
  11 And now remember, my son, if it were not for the plan of redemption, (laying it aside) as soon as they were dead their souls were miserable, being cut off from the presence of the Lord.
  12 And now, there was no means to reclaim men from this fallen state, which man had brought upon himself because of his own disobedience;
  13 Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God.
  14 And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.
  15 And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.
  16 Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which also was eternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal also as the life of the soul.
  17 Now, how could a man repent except he should sin? How could he sin if there was no law? How could there be a law save there was a punishment?
  18 Now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given, which brought remorse of conscience unto man.
  19 Now, if there was no law given—if a man murdered he should die—would he be afraid he would die if he should murder?
  20 And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin.
  21 And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature?
  22 But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.
  23 But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice.
  24 For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.
  25 What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.
  26 And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes, which were prepared from the foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery.
  27 Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his deeds.
  28 If he has desired to do evil, and has not repented in his days, behold, evil shall be done unto him, according to the restoration of God.
  29 And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.
  30 O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.
  31 And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words. Amen.


A) my son,
   B) justice of God in the punishment of the sinner
      C) sinner should be consigned to a state of misery.
          D) having no space for repentance
            E) became subjects to follow after their own will.
               F) God would cease to be God.

                  G1) were in the grasp of JUSTICE; yea, the justice of God
         H1) the plan of mercy
I1) atonement
I1)atoneth for the sins of the world
         H1)bring about the plan of mercy,
                 G1) demands of justice

        G2) repentance could not come unto men…
                        H2) punishment….should be, affixed  
                           I2) except he should sin?
                              J2) there was no law?
                                 K2) …there was a punishment?
                                 K2)there was a punishment affixed..
                              J2) no law given
                           I2) sinned
                       H2) punishment affixed
                    G2) repentance granted…

                 G1) JUSTICE claimeth the creature and executeth the law…
              F) and God would cease to be God.

         H1) mercy claimeth…
                        penitent, and mercy cometh because of the
                           I1) atonement
                           I1) atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead…  
                    H1) mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly…
                       penitent are saved.

             F)God would cease to be God.
           E) freely; (own will) and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come…
        D)has not repented in his days, behold, evil shall be done unto him…
     C) let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.
  B)I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more.  31 And now,
A)O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people.

I love this chapter!!! If you take a look at the two different chiasms on either side of the center one you´ll find that similar to Alma 36 the center idea is the atonement of Jesus Christ which is absolutely beautiful.  Now if you notice, in the center of the entire chiasm you´ll see that Alma was talking about how´s there´s a punishment afixed to sin, which is accurately intertwined with what Alma was adressing to his son - the justice of God.  We then of course understand as we travel farther out from the center that Mercy is given to those who repent, and then we understand that God will never cease to be God, and he is just and merciful.  I´ve learned these things so many times in the mission. 

Something else i learned yesterday when I went to the scripture guide in the back of my spanish scriptures:  The title "mother" is the sacred name for woman.  I´m very grateful for my mom!!!

Elder Layton

Monday, May 3, 2010

He Who Loses His Life For My Sake Will Find It

Buenos Días,

I CANT believe you're moving houses!!! Hmmm…. Well it's for the better. Nobody's ever home anymore….I'll just sleep on the carpet when I come home believe me it will be sufficient. I'm really sorry but today is going to be the worst… I won't be able to write that much. We're leaving a little early to travel to some of the oldest ruins in south America. It's called CARAL !!!

(Caral has been dated to about 2600 B.C. and is the one of the oldest, known-civilizations in the New World. It was discovered in the early Twentieth Century, but was forgotten since no gold or even ceramics were found. No ceramics were present because Caral predates even the Ceramic period. Evidence suggests that there were inhabitants in the area as early as 9210 B.C., which if accurate, are the oldest known civilizations in the New World, and among the oldest in the world. This is a relatively new discovery and is changing how archeologists view American timelines. )

The following pictures were taken in 2 areas, Independencia and Barranca.

Zona Indepdencia

At Walter and Lupe's Baptism at the Chapel in Barranca

At the home of the Vasquez family

With the Vasquez family

At the Conferencia de Los Lideres de Zona (Zone Leader Conference) Elder Layton is in the rear.

In the Native Tradition

Do you see the man in the background? Why do you think he's smiling?

They look scared, don't they?

The Baptism of Joseph

Carnival in the Street, Peruvian Style

Standing in one of the local fields

Feed My Sheep

Elder Layton finally gets a Pizza in Peru

Independencia, Peru

Elder Layton and Josmel Bautista

Karen's little cousin

Elders Garnica and Layton in Independencia

The Chapel in Independencia

Saying Goodbye to Converts

Study time

Elder Layton named the baby "Emma" - we don't know any of the details

With the new pension and family

Contemplating a career after the mission???

Another whip pic

...and it worked
(We have a few more pictures - I'll get those up on another post.)
I've been studying the Bible lately. I read the other day that Jesus Christ taught that he had come to the earth not to bring peace, but to bring dissension between father son, mother daughter, etc…. at first I think this scripture would seem strange to anyone in Matthew 10, but I've been able to experience exactly what Jesus is teaching.

One sister I mentioned last week that's going to be baptized this Saturday named Margarita is having so many challenges with her family. They're all really strong Catholics and this entire week in a family reunion they basically were huge jerks to her, which makes me sad, but it's only because she's standing up for what she believes in. Another mom of an investigator was recently baptized in our ward and she gave her testimony yesterday and started bawling because her family doesn't talk with her anymore….before her baptism they were her best friends, but her decision to follow Christ has made her parents who are caught up in the pride of tradition to turn their backs on her.
So I know what Jesus Christ was teaching now. He taught right after this that he who loses his life for my sake, will find it. If we just lose ourselves a little more everyday we´ll find more happiness, we'll receive greater blessings, and became powerful instruments in the hands of the Lord. I love this work.
Your son and friend,
Elder Layton