Saturday, July 10, 2010

Latter Day Miracles and Eternal Friends

First, I want to say, for those of you in was such a blessing for us to be able to meet many of you. We love you with that love that only the gospel can bring. We are grateful to each of you who assisted Elder Layton over the past two years, as well as those of you who befriended us while we spent time in your wonderful land. We feel as if we have made friends who will continue as friends throughout the eternities.

What a marathon of a trip! At least it was a marathon for Brenda and I. Sean thought it was dragging a bit. The Peruvians are a beautiful and prepared people. They are full of love and were a shining example to me personally.

We met dozens of families and individuals that Sean had worked with. We were able to put faces with names see the places and walk the streets that he had walked while he served. 

Brenda didn't speak much Spanish, but I was able to watch and understand the emotions as he said goodbye to each of the people we visited. My personal highlight probably had to be watching the interaction between Sean and each of those individuals and families who had been converted during his service. His concern was that each of them continued to walk in the paths that had been laid out...of attending Church services regularly, of praying and scripture study regularly and of holding consistent Family Home Evenings. It strikes me that those are the very same things that I need to do in order to continue to progress.

Some of his friends had a hard time understanding why he had to leave, or why he was ending his missionary service. So each time we met with another family, he would explain what he was doing and why he wouldn't be around for quite awhile. So there were a lot of tears and joy all mixed in together. All I know is that living in the day of Facebook and email made it much easier than it would have been otherwise.

Of course, no visit to Peru should be without a visit to Machu Picchu. We spent 2 days in Cuzco and Aguascalientes. Machu Picchu had to be the most spectacular scene I had ever seen. It is really the name of the ruins that are in the immediate area. The pictures we usually see are of the most area of Machu Picchu, and the area most visited by tourists. 

Not only was the setting in the Andes literally indescribable, the ruins themselves were hard to adequately describe. Pictures don't do it justice. Machu Picchu is actually the name given by Hiram Bingham, the Yale University professor who discovered  it (it was already known to the local residents) in the early 1900s. The original name had been lost. The Quechua name of Machu Picchu was given by Hiram Bingham and means "Old Mountain". Do you see the face hidden in the mountain in the picture above? 

We were left with a better education of the Inca civilization. Brenda and I were amazed at their ingenuity, work ethic and culture. What an amazing people! How they moved those stones in place, and how they engineered and crafted exact precision from 100+ ton boulders, was beyond my ability to grasp.

Of course, the gold, pottery and other valuables had been taken long before, but we were able to see large areas that were reported to have been covered in gold. Since the setting was designed to take full advantage of the sun, it was incredible to think about what the site must have looked like at it's peak. It would have been a city of Gold, just like the Spaniards were looking for.

All of the things I had read about and seen pictures of were right there...the llamas walking around the site, the stones cut so tightly that you couldn't fit a piece of paper between them, the legends of the Incas, the spectacular backdrop settings of the Andes Mountains, and much more. Like I said, it was probably the most spectacular thing I had ever seen.

On our last day there, we were able to attend a session at the Lima temple. Like all temples, it was beautiful and peaceful. 

Our session was in Spanish. Most of the temple workers who were there while we were there were English speaking missionaries, who are called to serve in the temple. The grounds were immaculate, the building was somewhat in the design of several other temples, including Las Vegas and Portland...only somewhat smaller.

After leaving the temple, we tried to see a local light display and the catacombs. Both were closed. So we ended up just going to the airport a bit early.

Our flight home included a layover stop in Houston, and then to our final destination to Portland. From Portland we drove back to Bend where Sean's family and good friend Nate Rau were all waiting. Briana had made the trip over to Bend from BYU-Idaho, so she could be there. Eric was working, but joined us a couple of hours later. Sean still is about 1/2 inch taller than Eric, much to Eric's disgust.

Elder Layton was officially released as a missionary this morning by President Rau.

We would like to thank all of you who have supported Elder Layton while on his mission with letters, packages and prayers. He recognizes how blessed he is to have good family and friends who love him and who would do anything to be able to help. 

This work is true. Elder Layton was one representative of many thousands who take 2 years away from their personal interests at a time when they could be focusing on school, friends and self. But they do it because they represent the Lord in a work that will not be denied. They love the Lord and His kingdom. They leave as teenagers and return as men, valiant for the truth. Missions are never duplicated and not easily described. But they are a very real part of the lives of each young man, young woman, and their families for this life and for eternity. More importantly, they are a part of bringing the Lord's work to pass in the Latter days, through changing the lives of millions. Watching all of this take place over the past 2 years has been nothing less than miraculous for Sean and his family. 

Para siempre Dios este con Vos,
con su voz el os sostenga,
su amor el os descubra,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos.

Hasta ver, hasta ver,
hasta vernos con el rey,
hasta ver, hasta ver,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos.

Para siempre Dios este con Vos,
con sus brazos el os cubra,
su amor el os descrubra,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos.

Hasta ver, hasta ver,
hasta vernos con el rey, 
hasta ver, hasta ver,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos.

Para siempre Dios este con Vos,
cuando el temor os venga,
en sus brazos el os tenga,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos,

Hasta ver, hasta ver,
hasta vernos con el rey,
hasta ver, hasta ver,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos.

Para siempre Dios este con Vos
que os guie su bandera,
que la muerte no os hiera,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos

Hasta ver, hasta ver,
hasta vernos con el rey,
hasta ver, hasta ver,
Para siempre Dios este con Vos.
Lyrics: Para Siempre Dios Este Con Vos, La Iglesia de
Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias


yohimbe said...

very great work done, nice !

vijit said...

What a nice blog. I found it through google suddenly. I have a blog too but not like this one.

Pyke Savage said...

God Bless!

Duncan D. Horne said...

It's great to see missionary work on blogs! I served in the Singapore Mission back in 2002-2004. Now I'm living in Malaysia with my wife and daughter.

Check me out at:

Jeannette Holland Austin said...

Wow! What a great blog, sharing your mission with so many people. Really cool articles. Come visit Georgia's Largest Genealogy Website Georgia Pioneers

Ten Nebula said...

Peace and light,

I enjoy your blog site.
I hope all is unfolding in your life in ease, joy, harmony, and abundance. Have a great 2011!!!!

Bright blessings,

Ten Nebula

Toyin O. said...

Sounds like God is using you guys in this country, what an awesome trip and great pictures; thanks for sharing. Will keep u guys in prayer:)

Mark said...

Hi Elder Layton,
Stumbled across your blog. Sounds like an amazing experience.
Just interested in your term, 'The restored gospel' - do you think the original one needed restoring, or is it complete and perfect in itself? I find it totally satisfying! I'm interested to know what you think.
God bless,
Mark (UK)

Anonymous said...

nice post, this is amazing experience. Hope you can post more.