Monday, September 15, 2014

Final Letter Home

I don't know what to say. Really I'm speechless. Two years have passed so fast that I still can't believe I'm coming home this week.

So I'll explain what's going to be happening for the next 3 days. Tomorrow we have the change meeting. That's when all the missionaries get together that have changes and we find out all the changes. There I have to share my last testimony in front of everybody which should be fun. After that I have the rest of tomorrow and all of Wednesday to visit the areas that I have had here in the capital. These night we are going to sleeping in the "white house" or basically the mission home. But yeah as of tomorrow I'm not in this area anymore because my companion is going to receive a new companion. Then Thursday really early we go to the airport but I don't see you guys until really late on Thursday night. Not sure when I'm going to see President Rau but maybe you should figure that out Dad. The earlier the better...........

I'm worried about one thing. When I get home I'm not sure if you guys are going to recognize me because really I have changed completely during my time here. I can't decided if I'm really happy to go or if I'm really sad. My testimony has grown so much and I have set myself the goal of never missing a day of reading the Book of Mormon. I've had that goal since January. 

This mission has really been the hardest two years of my life. Without a doubt I have never had so my difficulties in such a short time but I know that it was all worth it. I am so thankful for this opportunity and I would never change it for anything. I love this Gospel and I know it is really the Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that in these last days God has restored his church through a chosen prophet exactly as he has always done. I know that if we are faithful as a family we will live in the presence of God our Father. I really have come to love the people in this country and for that reason it will be so hard for me to leave. I will always be keeping in contact and we definitely have to come back.

I can't wait to see you guys! Only about 3 days left and I'll be sleeping in my bed :) I'm not sure what I'm going to do that first day home but sleeping is definitely on the list. I'll try to call you guys from the airport and in my 6 hour layover I think I might call a friend and hang out with him for a bit but we'll see. I seriously can't wait....Now that I really don't have a work day I think I might consider myself Baggy (Trunkey Dad). So yeah See you guys soon and thanks for always writing me. LOVE YOU!!!

Elder Layton
Guatemala City South Mission
September 2012- September 2014


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Spiritual Experience, Elder Duncan and Changes

Where do I begin?

It hit me yesterday how soon I'm going home. What I realized is that I don't want to go. I had one of the most spiritual experiences in my whole mission yesterday. I realized how I really don't want to leave here. How much I love the people and what the mission has really done for me. I'm worried when I get to the airport the only way you'll recognize me is by my name tag. Haha I'm a completely different person...Well I think so. We'll see what you guys think. I just really know that these things are true. My testimony has grown in a way that I didn't think was possible. Now with only 2 weeks left I'm going to have to work as hard as I can. I mean it's going to be kinda hard let's be honest but at the same time I've really been able to understand why this Gospel is so important and that should help me stay focused.

I'm not sure if I told you guys or not but this week we had a conference with Elder Duncan of the Quorum the 70. We had an awesome meeting. It was all about the vision that we should have as missionaries and how it should be the same vision for us. Also he made us a promise. Well I guess better said a prophet made this promise and he told us about it. Apparently he promised that one day in Guatemala the church will have more influence than anything. More than soccer, more than the catholic church, more than everything. He made the comparison to Utah and how it is the biggest influence there. We said that the Lord's vision of all our wards is that each one becomes a stake. For some reason I don't think I'm going to be here when that happens but I believe that with the diligent work of the missionaries and members in some future time it will become a reality.

Ok that was the coolest thing that happend this week. I don't have much time because there's a lot to do now that I'm dying. I hope you guys have an awesome week and see you this month!!!!!!!! Love you guys BYE!!!!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Talent Show

It's crazy how time flies...even when I'm in an area that's pretty.....well as we say here, burnt. The work is slowly progressing. We have found a couple new people but there progression is pretty slow. Hopefully they can start to progress because I really want to see a baptism in this are before I go. 

We are teaching a couple of people and it was actually pretty cool because yesterday we taught Josúe. (We are teaching 3 Josúe's so if I've told you about one, well yesterday we taught a different one). He is the husband of an active member and he has never come to church. He tells us all the time though that one day he wants to be a member!! How weird is that? Well finally yesterday we were able to commit him to go to church. We had a really awesome lesson about how sometimes God's will isn't our will but we just need to obey. We used the example of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and how he asked for the cup to be removed but at the same time he was completely obedient to the Father's will. We also used 2 Nefi 2 to explain that we really have to power to choose if we want to be saved or not and that decision is ours to make. So yeah awesome lesson and looks like he'll be coming to church on Sunday.

I should tell you about our talent show. that we had this week. It all started simply with the idea of having one about a month ago or a little more. We talked to the Bishop about it and a couple of members but they didn't really seem excited. What I didn't know at the time is that just no one had faith in Ward Activities. They have had a couple a while ago but they didn't really work out well and almost no one came. So yeah no one really thought twice about our idea. We made invitations and put a sign up list for everyone who had a talent and a few people signed up. Then the Bishop had the good idea that every organization did something. Anyways things started working out for the night and it all looked really good. We gave invitations to a TON of people and all the members had a lot to pass out to friends. So on Saturday we went really early to set everything up. 

We were expecting (with a lot of faith) that 120 people would be there. Really this ward isn't that big and by estimates of members and the Bishop they were only expecting about 80. Anyways when it came time to start we definitely had to put up more chairs. Some people even had to stand and my comp and I with a few other members had to watch it from outside through the windows....Our chapel really isn't meant to fit the 160 people that came! It's a pretty small It was seriously incredible. 

The talents were awesome and everyone loved it. My companion and I did a talent too witch turned out hilarious. We did "A Day in the Life of a Missionary". A kid in our ward held a clock and he moved it was we went through the day. It turned out SOOO good haha. Seriously it was a miracle. The Bishop was really happy too and loved his special reserved cushy seats we gave him in the best part of the chapel with his family. For tomorrow he invited us to dinner so that's always a bonus. But yeah a ton of less actives were able to come, also a lot of investigators. The members were SO happy and they couldn't stop thanking us for actually doing a activity that had success. Really it was a pure miracle and it was thanks to all the members inviting their friends to come. Hopefully we'll see a lot of fruits from this.

Anyways that's the coolest thing that happened this week. The rest the week was pretty slow so there's not much more to say. I love you guys a ton and we'll I'll see you soon!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Guy in the Random Car


This is one of my last e-mails to you guys. Can you believe it?? Know something crazy? If I would've gone home early to study (at BYU) I would be in an airplane right now....going home today...Weird right? But hey for some reason I stayed so I'm going to work hard. Don't worry.

OK Mom with my bed I've got it all figured out. Don't worry. If you remember right the reason Sean didn't get his bed was because he was going straight to his studies. In my case I will be home for 4 months which is a very long time. Therefore it is necessary that I rest both my body and mind from these Guatemalan twin beds. Now then comes the problem of privacy. Don't worry about it. I have a solution. I have learned how rewarding hard work is in the two years that I have served as a representative of Jesus Christ. Thanks to this great blessing I will be able to work hard when I get home as well. One of the first things that I will do is all by myself I will move my bed into the other guest room and the guest room bed into Curtis' room. We can all see here how I have masterfully found a solution for all problems. And don't worry there's more!! When it comes time to go to college I can STILL work hard and change the beds back! This solution is good for us all and I know the in goodness of Curtis' heart he will understand this. Problem solved. (And don't worry if it comes down to it Curtis can steal the TV from the other room.... but only if I get my bed :)

So this week honestly was kinda hard. I once again had to leave the area twice and my companion was kinda left on his own. That's got to be pretty hard as a new kid. But hey whatever. This week I shouldn't have to leave. This week coming up is going to be great. We have a ward activity that we planned. It's going to be a talent show. Everyone is doing a talent and we gave them all invitations to give away to other people. We're hoping to be able to find a lot of people through this.

Yesterday something kinda funny happened. We were walking to church yesterday morning. A random car (really nice) pulled up out of nowhere and some guy asked us where the chapel was. We told him but he asked us to get in and show him. So yeah we got in to show him. I started talking to them and it turns out that they came from Mexico! So when we got to the chapel and started the meeting was when I actually realized it. We had gotten a ride from a member of the area presidency...a 70 haha. The thing is they just changed the presidency around so he was the new guy and so I didn't recognize him. 

He spoke in church and he gave the 3rd class and it was absolutely incredible. He explained in depth the scriptures in D&C 84 19-22. It's really interesting how he explained it. Basically he said the the real reason we go to church is to do ordinances. The purpose of a Quorum or a class is to help others to receive ordinances. The only way to see God after this life is to do all of the ordinances of the gospel. That should be the biggest desire of all of us. He finished by asking us to think of something. Do we want to see God and live with him or no? But really a really good message.

Anyways that's what I got for you guys right now. My time is about up. Sorry that I didn't tell you much about the investigators today...Have an awesome week. I love you guys.

Friday, August 15, 2014

I Love the Mission, I Love This Work and I Love the Lord

Hey guys so just to let you know, I'm still alive. I know you were probably pretty worried about that. They had to change P-Day because today our zone went to the temple and last week they didn't tell us that until after we wrote so yeah sorry. Anyways we've had a pretty good week. Honestly things are kinda slow here so there's not much to say so I have time to answer all your questions Mom. And to start off I kinda forgot to say that I speak Spanish on the application...oh well I'll talk to the guy when I get home.
Eric and a couple of local pets
That's pretty funny that everyone thought that Briana was dating Curtis. It's a good way to keep everyone away. But hey Briana you can't get married too fast. We have to do it on the same day hahaha! No just kidding but that's seriously crazy that Brad Marley is getting married already. Man how old am I?

And Curtis I'm sorry is not taller than me................even if he is I can still beat him up. Mom as for the interviews, I'm a District leader and so I have to do all the interviews in my district which consists of 4 areas including mine. In the zone there are 2 districts.

Eric and his companion - and I to re-format it!
Whose Mr. Harvey? Not sure if I reamember him... And you know that I never went to High Desert right? Maybe he remembers Sean? And yes Curtis' letter did get to me. Thanks little bro. I would write you a response but I think I would get there before the letter haha. O btw today is my 23 month mark. Crazy right? How the time flies.

So this week we have been working with a couple people. Our most progressing people don't want to get baptized yet though. It's weird too cause one tells us that he KNOWS one day he's going to get baptized and another says his dream is to be a member of the church and they don't do it. Nothing is holding them back either...they're married, they don't work on sundays, they believe everything is true, and a ton of other stuff. It's just frustrating because I want to see them do it before I leave. So yeah should be a crazy few weeks. But really should be awesome.

Eric said this fruit was really good!
I love the mission, I love this work, and I love the Lord. It's going to be way to sad to leave it all. I learned so much in the temple today. This is Christ's church. I am sure of it. So I hope you guys are doing something everyday to increase your testimony. Have an awesome week and know that I love you guys. See Ya!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tied Up and Kidnapped - Only Not

Well family another week has come and gone and once again here I am writing you guys.

Should I even say it this time? I don't have much time but I'll make it fast. Not a whole lot happened this week really but time is just passing by faster and faster... and faster... and well even faster. I really have been learning a lot this week but the work has been hard.

In my area basically everyone is working always. So it's really hard to find people to teach. In the afternoons we really don't have anything to do except pass by all the people that lie to us that they are going to be in the house. So yeah it's interesting and we are able to contact a lot which is fun considering we've already contacted our whole area. We actually have recently found a couple of people to teach which is cool and a couple of them are actually really receptive. We are teaching a man named Jose. He has a lot of desire to change his life around but he doesn't know how and before he though it was completely impossible. We helped him realize that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can really be clean and start over. He basically was crying during the lesson and we but a baptismal date with him. But then he got scared because he thought if he went to church we wouldn't visit him anymore. We were pretty clear with him that in fact now we will probably visit him more than usual haha.

This week we also found another family. Interesting story really. Our Ward Mission Leader got a random call from some guy named Ronny who apparently is a member but no one in the ward knows him. He told us that that same night he wanted to have a Family Home Evening with his cousins who aren't members but are going through hard time right now. This day I was in divisions with another Gringo so my normal companion wasn't there. Anyways when we went it just kinda was weird cause we got to the gate of his private colony and all the security came out and told us to "come on in they are waiting for you". We didn't say anything to the security. We got to the house and no one answered the door rather some car pulled up out of no where and some guy we had never seen tells us to get in. Just to tell you guys I definitely though we were going to be kidnapped at this point. Anyways we got in the car and he drives us up to the top of our area and we went in a bunch of other streets that I didn't even know existed because they are so well hidden. We entered a different gated colony and then they tied us up and threw us in the trunk. Ok just kidding about that part. We went in with the family that we were there to visit and they are really cool people. They are the Myorga Family and the Husband is an inactive member and his wife doesn't go to any church. There were some people there too that are really strong members of the church that live in Maryland and speak perfect English. anyways they gave the whole lesson and we didn't even say much. Seriously it was the weirdest visit ever but also really good. After we find out that the wife is from Bolivia...the same city as my companion and she made us typical bolivian food which my companion didn't get because he was in divisions. that was definitely the most interesting thing that happened this week.

Well I love you all and hope you have an awesome week. Enjoy the new house but don't get the new carpet too dirty before I get to use it!

Paz Afuera....not sure if you can say that in Spanish.

The Case of the Disappearing Investigator

So the new house looks pretty nice! Is it big inside? Sure hope so cause the next time that I have changes I'm going there!! WOO!! Haha ok don't worry I'm still able to stay focused and everything. But just so you know they already bought my plane ticket and everything. I leave Guatemala at 7:30 in the morning and I'll get to Redmond shortly 10:30 at night. I'll be in Los Angeles for 2 or 3 hours and then in Salt Lake for 5. Ha should be fun. but hey I still got a lot of time left here so don't worry I'm working. But a quick question. Mom were you able to find more out about that job at Les Schwab?

Anyways this week was really good. I honestly was barely in my area cause I had to do a few baptismal interviews but oh well. I actually wasn't able to do the interviews that I wanted. The person just completely disappeared. Oh well this coming week I should be able to do it and another one. It's weird. In the District almost nobody has baptismal dates or investigators but they are baptizing and it looks like in these coming weeks we should also have a baptism. We have an investigator named Josùe who always wanted to know EVERYTHING before getting baptized. We tried to explain that it doesn't matter how much we know rather it matters if we get an answer from the Holy Ghost. This week when I was in another area my companion and the other missionary watched the Restoration video with him. Basically he started crying and said that he knows that this is all true and he felt the Spirit really strongly. So yeah he's our most progressing investigator.

Anyways on divisions we had a good time. I went to an area called Santa Fe. This has got to be my favorite area. The airport is in their area and where they live is one of the last houses that the plane passes over before landing. It touches down over a little hill about 50 yards from the house. So yeah needless to say I probably looked like a little kid all day watching the planes come overhead and at night of course I had to climb onto the roof to watch them. It's almost at the point when I had to duck every time one came by. Haha good times in Santa Fe. Anyways we couldn't do their interview the first day cause the kid disappeared so apparently he was going to be there the day after. Anyways we did divisions again but the kid wasn't there again....Anyways I have to go back this week to actually do it.

Also to let you guys know I have already met the new President. He is WAY cool. He'll be really good for the mission. For the fact that he has been doing interviews like crazy they haven't come to our language study yet but we'll see if they do this coming week. It should be fun.

Ok so that's bout all for the week. Thanks to more weird computer problems I can't send pictures...I should be able to next week though. Love you guys and have an awesome week in the new house. If you want you can just leave the boxes packed and when I get home I can do it. You know because  ya me falta poco.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Dad Realized that What People Say in the Street Isn't True

Man your week was a lot crazier than mine. That's insane! Too bad though....I was kinda looking forward to seeing the new house. But oh well it happened for a reason right? The Lord will help you guys find something else. You should send me pictures of the new house that you guys are going to be living in now. I mean I only have about 8 weeks left in the mission so I would like to know where I'm living soon.

(Actually, we miraculously found a nice home to live in right in the middle of an insane rental market. We'll live here while we continue searching for the right lot to build on or the right home to buy. So he was right - we were blessed to find something.)

Ok to let you know these computers aren't that great either so the internet is SUPER slow and that's why I don't have any time. Ok so let's see. This week was interesting. President Caffaro is here now and apparently he is AWESOME. I haven't met him but since I'm the DL of the secretaries I have heard a lot. In fact I'm really close to the offices and everything right? Well Apparently Sister Caffaro doesn't know much spanish and so the Assistentes called me. They assigned me to teach her spanish I guess. They're going to sometimes come to our Language studies and I guess I'll just have to think way back to when they taught me spanish because I don't know how to teach. It should be fun though. I'll let you guys know how that goes.

Ok as for my week it was interesting. I must say I'm pretty stumped. It's a tough area. We can contact all day long but nobody wants to listen. Usually we are able to at least have investigators but here we barely have any. The ones we have though are awesome. We are teaching 6 people. All of them came to church on Sunday which is awesome! They should progress but I also think it might be a bit of a slower process than with other investigators that I've had. They have a lot of desire to know and learn though. Josue is one of them and really is interesting. Before he didn't listen at all to missionaries but finally the missionaries that were here before convinced him to listen and now he is really interested. He wants to know EVERYTHING. The lessons with him last a long time because he has a TON of questions but really good questions too. I'm hoping to see him get baptized soon. We're going to try again to put a baptismal date with him this week.

So let's see what else happened...well really nothing else. In the District we had 3 baptisms this week and I had to do divisions and do all the interviews. These people were so ready to be baptized. 2 of them were in the same family. They completely have changed thanks to the Gospel. Before they didn't want ANYTHING with missionaries but finally the missionaries got in because they received a reference (the son of the family) and they contacted him. Finally they got in and the Dad realized that what people say in the street isn't true so he started to listen. The son still hasn't got baptized but the Dad and Mom have. They are really cool.

So my companion is doing really well. For a newbie he works really well. I even had to leave him in the area by himself when I did the interviews and he did perfectly fine. These last couple weeks should be really fun.

Anyways I hope all goes well in the move. I hope the house is ok and everything. That's seriously crazy what happened. You'll see. The house you guys were going to buy is going to burn down in a week or so. At least we're not changing wards right? So yeah hope you guys have an awesome week. I'll send pictures next week. Love you guys. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

First Take of the New Area

Ok I have a little bit more time today. Lets see what I can get done. 

(Note that the photos are from his last area.)

Progreso Jutiapa

I'll start with the area. It's VERY different from whatever area I've ever had. Let me explain. We entered a house and Immediately I knew something was different. First of all no unfriendly odors were present. What I noticed next was that the couches, rug, and curtains all matched. But that's not all it gets better. I was warmly greeted by the maid of the house and we were told to sit down to await the family. I must tell you I was scared to touch anything. The next thing I realized was the HUGE stereo system that they had right in front but they weren't using it as most people use them here rather it was softly playing a nice classical piece of music. It was quite pleasant actually. It was then that the head of the house came down. He was an older man with slightly graying hair who greeted us and sat down crossing one leg. He then began to chat about the breed of his dog and the piece of music that was playing. He graciously entreated us to a tour of his house where he showed me his large indoor garden made of walls of all glass and filled with plants. This garden was specifically made for his 20 year talking parrot. After a talk with the family they served us a nice American styled dinner. Now I want you guys to remember that things like this haven't happened to me for like two years. Man this area is cool.

Recent Baptism

So let's see. This is actually the hardest area I've had. There is a rich part and a poor part. We spend most of our time in the poor part but tonight we are going to have another appointment with the rich family. The man is an inactive member but his wife and son are completely active. His son is a recently returned missionary. Other than that we only have maybe 3 investigadors. We work all day long but absolutely no one receives us in their house. We are really deep in the city so everyone is always working. Actually I'm not sure if I've told you guys but know I'm the District Leader of the secretaries. So yeah President lives real close here and the mission offices are like 10 minutes away. But hey we're working here and everything thing but I feel bad for my comp. It's a very hard area to start in. We eat with a lady who cooks really well so that's always fun and our house is actually really nice. When we got to the area the house was absolutely disgusting though. The last P-day we just cleaned like crazy though so know it's actually really clean. The nurse actually came to look at the house and she deemed it Super Clean. HA.

So anyways it is really good to hear that you are all good. I was just about to give you ideas about your talk Mom but my time is up so sorry. Have an awesome week and have fun moving!!

Love you guys.

Monday, June 30, 2014

New Area, Assignment and Companion

Man what a week.

Well right off the bat I should let you guys know where I am right? I am now in Zona Guatemala in an area called La Villa. It's right smack dab in the middle of the city. Really it's the first area that I've had close to everything. It's actually SUPER close to the temple. It's in zona 14. Definitely an awesome area. And also so you know I am no longer zone leader haha. I am a district leader and I am training the only missionary that came to this mission. His name is Elder Apaza and he's fresh out of the CCM. He from Bolivia and he's a really good worker. It's going to be SUCH a good couple changes here. Also so you know we are opening the area and a couple weeks have passed by that this area has had missionaries. Just so you know it's kinda weird for missionaries to reopen areas here a lot have never done it. Now I've had 5 areas and 4 of them I've reopened....It's pretty hard but definitely a good chance to work. When we got here none of the members knew we were coming which was fun cause we didn't have anywhere to eat that first day.

So anyways this week has been full of work. It's a hard area because everybody works here. In the afternoon absolutely no one is in the house until about 6 o'clock and after that time we get really busy. We've worked a lot with the members which help us a ton so I think we should have success here.

Ok so here's the thing I had to help my companion with internet problems and it kinda ate up my hour of internet so I don't really have time. The next week I should be able to write a lot more. I know this letter is pretty pathetic but I'll write more later.

Love you guys and have an awesome week. I'll send you a ton of pictures next week cause these computers are a lot nicer than the last ones. Hope you have an awesome week and always remember.....Elder Layton is coming home too soon. They are buying my airplane ticket this week. Hahahaha see you soon.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Killer Missionary Tips?

What a week.

I'm not exactly sure where to start. This week we were running all over the place.We had a really cool special meeting with President Stay where he gave us all the tips that he gives to the missionaries when they go home so that we could all hear it. He gave us the key in getting 100% in all our classes in the university and he explained the way to find The One......(Baggy). Hahaha just kidding but it was weird talking about that.

Anyways we started the week in divisions and I went with Elder Mangum to his area of Monjas. The reason we went there is because we had a little problem to figure out with the Branch President....and Stake President. It all went well though. It looks like the problem was resolved. We had a really good division too and I learned a lot.

Like I told you guys the other week I have recently been working a lot on my Faith in Jesus Christ. It is something that I need more of and this week I could feel my faith growing. It was a lot easier to get motivated to work because my faith was stronger. In our area we have been having a bit more success but our baptism (Lorena) wasn't baptize this week. She had her interview with President and everything and passed but she just wasn't able to on Saturday so until this Saturday she will be baptized. That's kinda tough too cause last night they told me that I have changes :(

I really don't want to leave this area. It has been an awesome area. I only have 2 changes left though so I should be going to my last area. I am thinking that I will stay as Zone Leader but maybe not. There are 5 zone leaders going home and with the change of presidents in this change I'm thinking they will keep all of us as zone leaders to have more experience. But I'll let you know where I am next week. Tomorrow morning really early I'm going to the capital to be in the meeting. Should be fun.

So on Thursday I also went to the Capital. After the special meeting with President Stay we had divisions with the Asistentes. Now in this missions the Asistentes don't have a car only the secretaries. For some reason that day the Asistentes had it and I got to go all the way to the Capital in a nice Toyota Hilux!!!!! Way more space than a bus. Man it was SO comfortable. It was a nice treat for me. But tomorrow we're going in bus again.....

Anyways that was the week. Definitely a good one. I hope you guys all have a super fantastic week and Curtis. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!! You're so old now!!! Man I hope you enjoy cake for me. Yesterday I ate cake for someone else`s birthday. Have fun driving!

Well love you guys and I`ll see you soon! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

God Provides a Way

I think in a week every day here is Monday... because I promise you guys I think I wrote you yesterday. Well anyways this week was good. As a zone we had 5 baptisms which means we're above our monthly goal by 2. The missionaries are really working hard and we're seeing the fruits of that. In our area we didn't have a baptism because she couldn't go to President Stay's office but this week President Stay is coming here so he should be able to do the interview. Also so you guys know I'm pretty sure I'm going to have changes from here. I already have 6 months here so next week I'll let you know if I'm staying or if I'm leaving. Man this area was fast.

Ok a ton of distractions. It's kinda hard for me to write right now cause I'm also buying 65 lunches.So this week was fun. It has been raining a lot so we've been getting wet a ton. But I actually kinda enjoy it. At least it's not really hot still. This week I have also seen a lot of blessings as we have been diligent. We put some goals and I'm not sure how but we were able to complete with them. Yesterday we still needed 6 lessons with a member to complete with our weekly goal. Both our plans to be with a member yesterday told us at the last minute that they couldn't but somehow God provided and we were able to have exactly 6!! There just happened to be a member present in each house we went to. One house we had a member but no investigator and as soon as we finished the prayer his daughter (not a member) came home early from playing soccer and decided to join us. Cool right? I know if we put goals and are diligent God will provide a way to complete with those goals.

So anyways I'm basically out of time. Just so you know Mom I would LOVE that job at Les Schwab. You should definitely put in my application. Also I've decided that as soon as I get home I'm going to buy a until I get enough for a car I can use that to get around...and also to get into shape before the AFROTC.

Hope you guys have a great week and that trip to Salt Lake seems awesome! I want to go haha. I'll let you all know if I have changes next week too so we'll see what happens. LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!!! 

If some of his terminology & phrases don't quite make sense in English, just know that they do make sense when translated directly from Spanish! 

A few examples: "I'm going to have changes from here...", "this area was fast", "We put some goals", and "...provide a way to complete with those goals".

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Lifelong Process

I've got to say it. This has been a very stressful week. We've been working hard but we didn't have the awaited fruits of the week. We were going to have another baptism but she has to have an interview with President Stay so we had to postpone it. She will get baptized though and everything should be ok.

Anyways good job Curtis for making Jazz Band!! That's so awesome. He should have fun. Also in pit orchestra he'll learn a lot. To answer your questions, yes the same songs get very annoying. I can still remember all the songs from Bye Bye Birdie. That song will never leave my head but playing for 2 hours isn't TOO bad. You have time to rest between each song. Man that's crazy I'm going to be there with you to watch it!! It should be fun though. But shreck? Really? That's kinda weird.

Anyways as I was saying this week has been stressful. I feel like on the steep climb to perfection I've hit a huge wall. There are so many things that I have to do but I don't feel like I've been able to do all I need to. I'm really trying to work hard but I've been so tired this last week that I haven't been able to do a ton of stuff. Our area is doing alright but it isn't in it's high point. It has a lot of potential we just need to start working hard to find and baptize. I think really what I need to focus on right now is my faith in Jesus Christ. Weird right? almost 2 years of a mission testifying of Him every day and I need to have more faith? I've learned that really it's a lifelong process which will never be over. My love for Him needs to increase and that should be my only motivation for working. I love this gospel but maybe still my testimony has some room for growth.

We had a good week but also this week we didn't have much time in the area. We had to go to the capital and we had a couple of meetings. I've been learning a lot from President Stay and he is making preparations to go home. On June 28th he leaves and the new President will get here. Basically what he told us is that the mission lies on our shoulders. If we work the Mission's culture after will be to work. If we slack off and use the change as an excuse to work less that will be the culture of the mission.

I know this is Christ's church. I know that this work is the most important thing in the whole world and for some reason He has trusted ME to do it. I'll keep working here and hopefully we have a baptism this week! Have an awesome week everybody! Love you guys.  

Monday, June 2, 2014

Baptism of Lesli

Hi family!

Well once again here I am sitting at the computer writing you guys. Crazy how fast time flies right?

Part of Eric's Current Area - Progreso Jutiapa
Ok I've been soooo busy right now fixing problems and sending information so basically all my internet time is gone. I have to go to a meeting in like 10 minutes so I'll make this fast. So let's see. Here in Guatemala the rainy season has started so we're running around getting really wet. That has caused a lot of sickness too though. I've been completely fine but about half the Elders here have gotten sick with parasites. And also the Nurse doesn't speak any spanish so that makes me responsible to translate for them. But it looks like they should all be ok now. Right now the country here is being hit by a tropical storm which is kinda interesting. I'm not in an area that is really affected but it's just been raining non stop and apparently it's going to be like this for at least 48 hours. If I heard right there's also a hurricane in Mexico too but I'm not really sure.

This week was full of divisions which was fun. We did 2 in two days and so we're just running all over the place. It's always fun though I'm still learning a lot from the Elders here and I really love being ZL.

Before my time runs out I'll tell you about our baptism. We baptized Lesli which is the daughter of Odilma who was baptized a couple weeks ago. She really wanted to do it and really likes the church. She is reading the BoM and she understands it really well. Man I'm really starting to love that family and from the same family we should have a few more baptisms....1 by 1 we'll get them all haha. It's just hard to get them all together at once so yeah.

Baptism of Lesli
Anyways that was the week really fast. Hope you guys all have an awesome week and I can't believe Curtis is finishing his Sophomore year.....And he's turning 16 this month....Man how long have I been gone????

Monkeys Are Always Cool
Love you guys bye!! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Moving Forward With Elder Bento

Another good week as always. I can't believe that it's already been a week since I talked to you guys. Anyways a lot has happened so let's see where to start.

My new companion is named Elder Bento. He is from Brazil and he has just a little over a year in the mission. He is totally going to teach me portugues. Vou voltar para a casa falando tres idiomas!!! Ha yeah it's pretty cool. We're working harder than ever but this week was a bit tough. With the changes and everything we basically had to re-establish ourselves in the area. We should have good success and it's obvious that my companion is a really good worker cause he climbed to zone leader with only a year.

So we've been working with with a few people this week. We had 8 investigators in church which is cool. The only thing is that they were basically all young men and women. Hey I'm not saying that's a bad thing because I love coming past their room and seeing it filled up. The only thing is that I really want to find a family. We have a couple who are potentials but we don't have any that are progressing. We are going to be working on that this week.

Hna. Odilma got confirmed yesterday!!! I actually feel really bad cause we got to the sacrament meeting late because we had to go bring another investigator so we came as they were singing the sacramental hymn....and missed the confirmation. Man I was sad but she understood. It's her birthday on wednesday and my companion and I are planning something special. Maybe we'll get a piñata or somthing. Also that day we have a meeting with President Stay so that should be fun. It will be one of our last meetings with him before he leaves.

Anyways this week also my time is short. My workshop about family history went awesome! No one believed me that I was related to Christopher Layton though. They said I just looked up whatever man with our last name and then invented stories hahaha. Finally I was able to kinda convince them that it was true but yeah it was cool. We also did some fun activities.

So anyways that's life down here in Guatemala. And Mom don't worry about it it will be cool to fly up and see everyone in the airport there. Man I can't believe how close that's really freaking me out. I don't want to leave. That's when the real life begins...Well everything I've learned here really has prepared me for the things that come. Have a good week family!!!!! Love you guys.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Letter and a Phone Call in the Same Day!

Man what am I going to tell you guys this week?

I was in divisions the whole week outside of my area so nothing new really happened. Also I'm going to be talking to you guys in a couple hours so I can tell you everything then. Also I'm really hungry right now so I'm having difficulty staying focused.......

Anyways we had Stake Conference this week which was awesome and right after the conference we had a baptism!!!! It was so cool too. Hna. Odilma is really awesome. She was SO ready to be baptized. She has a really strong testimony and has gone through so much stuff but the Gospel has changed her. I'm not sure if I told you guys but she used to hide from us and run away cause she didn't want anything to do with us. But we got lucky one time and we found her so she listened and since then has changed drastically. It has been such a cool experience to be here at this time. We are also going to be baptizing her daughter this week I think but we'll see how that goes.

The only other event is that Elder Guaman (my companion) is going home tomorrow. He's in the capital with another Elder that's going home from the zone so I'm on divisions today. Tomorrow I'm going to be receiving a new companion so I'll let you guys know who next week. I've been learning a ton these past changes and a lot of the is due to Elder Guaman. He is a really good missionary. Now the area is left in my hands so this should be interesting. Basically the whole zone has changes too. We are going to be receiving 8 new missionaries which is a lot considering right now there are only 14 in total. These coming weeks should be crazy. Well that's my time.

Hope you all have an amazing week and I'll talk to you in a couple hours. WOOOOO!!! Love you and see you guys then. 

(Note from dad: We were able to skype with Eric a little after we received this email. He loves his mission, his testimony is very strong and he told us we need to be more consistent in family scripture study. He just sounded awesome, happy and more like a man than a boy.)

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Angry Pastor

As always this week was really good. We had a cool activity with the young men and women in the branch and we got a lot of work done. Oh and I should mention, looks like we're going to have a baptism this week!!!

Anyways I should start back on Wednesday. We had a cita in an aldea which is basically like a little town outside of the main town. It is about three miles away. We went in a bus to visit a family that is really cool. The Dad and a daughter have come to church a few times. We got there at four planning to take the 5:00 bus back to Progreso. After the lesson though we helped them stack fire wood and then his wife made us food so we left the house at about 5:10....Anyways we missed the bus and decided to walk cause the next bus was going to come at 6. It was actually a really pretty walk but we started walking faster when we heard thunder and the sky got really dark. You guys know where this is going right? Anyways we were still a bit over a mile away and it started to POUR. Of course we didn't have umbrellas either. Anyways we took a nice bath and the bus came past as we entered the city......apparently a bus decided to pass by earlier than 6 and came by at about 5:30....So yeah that was actually really fun. We after went straight to a branch activity that we have every Wednesday and all the members were laughing at us cause we were still wet.

Lesson learned. In Guatemala in the month of May it is ALWAYS smart to have an umbrella.

Anyways like I mentioned we also had a good activity with the YM and YW. We did a Mini-Mission. Fridays night we got them all together and planned like we do as missionaries for the next day. The next day we got to the chapel at 6:00 to exercise! It was really funny they were all dying. Anyways afterwards we started studies like normal and they somehow were able to stay really focused. The spirit was really strong when we started to  practice how to contact people. They all tried and did alright. They sounded like robots though but hey probably better than my first contacts. So my companion and I did divisions with members of the ward and we went out to contact! My group was walking along and were really shy and didn't talk to anybody. I tried making it a game and told them that the first to contact a man with a mustache wins but still they wouldn't do it! So anyways I decided to do the first one to show them that it was easy and I contacted a man with a mustache and introduced the kids in my group. When they started talking I turned around for two seconds only to see my "companion" tell me "Oh my gosh what have you done?!" As I turned around I realized that my nice mustached man was actually a very angry Pastor! Ha oh man you guys should have seen how hard he rejected those kids. It was disgusting. One of the hardest rejections I've seen in my mission. The whole classic "John Smith can't save you", and "You guys are all going to hell if you don't repent". And other stuff that was really tough. Anyways the Young Women afterwards were crying and I tried to help them out but it was tough. Haha after a bit though they were able to compose themselves and actually had a really good day contacting. And now they all have the story that their first contact was a pastor. After in the afternoon we went to some appointments and had a really good day.

So yeah that's what happened this week. Oh also Mom I got the package!! The egg is completely destroyed though but maybe I can lick the caramel off the cardboard haha. But really thanks. You know me too well and the things I like. Also Mom I need a favor. I was assigned the topic of Family History work in a special activity that we're going to have so I don't know if you could look up just a couple of our ancestors and send me a couple of cool short stories about them to share.

Thanks for everything and I love you guys a ton. I'll call you guys Saturday night to see what we do about skype. If it doesn't work out I guess we'll just have to talk by phone....talking about that we just lost our phone this week.....I'll see what I do.


Monday, April 28, 2014

A Short Note From a Busy Elder

Ok well this week I really don't have a bunch of time so I'll make this fast. Luckily we didn't have the best week so there's not a lot to write! (Look I can find a blessing in just about everything!) So I'll just tell you guys about something funny that happened.

Just so you guys know it is very hard if not impossible almost to teach Jehovah Witnesses. This week I think was the first experience in my whole mission. I'm not sure why but they just never accept visits. Sad right? Anyways we went to a contact who was Catholic to see if she was there. When we found her she already had a couple visits. One from an older man and missionary from the Catholic church and another....a JW.......She told us to come in and so the party was made even more interesting with two "Mormons"!! Anyways they gave us a bit of time to talk. We shared the Restoration and had an awesome lesson. I mean it was awesome cause I felt the Spirit a lot and learned a lot from it. I'm almost positive that the other people didn't feel....or recognize anything though because they just began to attack us. 

It was actually interesting. The thing I learned is how important that this Gospel is. I'm am so thankful for this restored Gospel and I'm positive that it is true. It is a bit sad to me how these people are so set on the traditions of their parents or so focused on what the Bible says that they can't realize that God is speaking to his children today! Man just interesting lesson this week. Well not so much a lesson rather I've just become very grateful for these things. 

Have a great week!!! Love you guys!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

We Decided to Knock Doors Until We Found Someone

Man you guys have no idea how tired I am. We just got back from hiking 3 mountains...It´s basically just one but it has three peaks. I put a picture here so you should be able to see it. We walked from one side (the left side.) To the other side. We started at about 8 and ended at about 2:30. A very difficult hike to say so myself. I´m not actually sure but I´m almost positive that the town underneath is my area too but maybe my area is on the other side....So yeah that was a fun district P-day.

We had a very good week. Just so you guys know this week down here isn´t just easter but it´s semana santa (holy week). The entire week everyone is partying. It makes work very hard. Almost everybody goes to the beaches and so literally the streets were completely empty. It actually kinda creeped me out to see how empty it was. My companion and I tried not to get depressed though and we decided to knock doors until we found someone who would receive us (that's another example of how he's writing in English but thinking in Spanish). Seriously there was nothing else to do. We actually found a couple pretty positive people and so we´ll see where that goes. Every day we were only able to get one or maybe two appointments with investigators but with all of them we saw a TON of progress.

I would like to mention one person in particular. Her name is Odilma. She is a lady we have been teaching for a while and before she really wasn´t that positive. I´m not exactly sure what happened but now she is one of the most positive people I have met in the mission. She has such a big desire to know the truth for herself and is doing everything possible to know and receive an answer. She even cut her vacation this week short just to come to church this week and even with a whole bunch of family things she had to deal with she came to church. Her husband though is one of the most closed of people EVER though. It´s kinda sad but he never listens to the discussions or anything and doesn't want anything to do with any church. Every time she goes to church she pays very close attention and then when she gets home she writes everything down in a little notebook and it´s crazy all the stuff she can remember. 

She also has a bunch of really good questions too. She asked us what the word Quorum means cause someone said it in their testimony and she remembered the word until she got home and wrote it down. She is also reading a ton the Book of Mormon and praying to know if it is true. We had a baptism date with her for this Saturday but last night we moved it cause she told us she likes everything but she just really wants to be sure before doing anything. I´m thinking more for her husband she doesn´t want to rush into anything but I have no doubt in my mind that she will be baptized. Oh yeah also with her 2 daughters and daughter in law. An amazing family. 

Yesterday in church my companion and I had to speak in church. I always like speaking actually. It was a nice Sunday too. We usually have attendance of about 80-90 now but this week because of vacations we only had 61 people there. 10 of them were investigadores!! It seriously was amazing. And all of these investigators are progressing. Next week we should have more too. Brother Gonzales came for the first time cause before bringing his whole family he wanted to see what it is like. He absolutely loved it and wants to bring his family of 5 next week. The spirit was so strong during the meetings too. I learned so much from the talk I gave. I talked about Charity and I gained a big testimony of the importance of this attribute. Maybe my talk wasn´t the best but I could feel the spirit so I would count it as a success. Next month in May should be full of baptisms. it´s also the month I talk with you guys! But man seriously a crazy week. Oh and to finish Mom you asked me something.

As for what we ate on easter....almost nothing haha. We usually never eat breakfast Sundays cause we have to leave early. After we usually eat a HUGE lunch thanks to a sister in the ward who gives us food but she wasn´t here yesterday....Also we don´t have a planned dinner Sundays. I should mention also that we buy all our food Mondays so by Sunday there´s nothing left in the house. Haha fun right? It wasn´t that bad though. Before going home a lady in the ward who cooks crazy good food gave us really good sandwiches with egg so I was happy.

Have a good week and I love you guys!!!!!!!

One more week down....... 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

You Never Know Who the Lord Has Prepared

Oh man I had such a good week.

I am still learning so much these past few days. This area has been a good one.

So anyways this week was full of lessons to learn and divisions. We have an area in our zone called Catocha and on Tuesday we did Divisions with them. I stayed in my area with Elder Searle. I got to say it was one of the most tiring days of my life. What had happened is my companion in divisions the week before had planned a lot of things for that day because we didn't have much. The problem is that most of what he planned were new people that I didn't know. I mean it was good what he did but it just made it tough on me a bit. 

Also so you know addresses don't exist out here. An example of one would be "4 blocks over that way and then 6 blocks up. There is a tree and a dog outside of my house and sometimes the door is opened. My house is green. (All the houses here are green....)". Needless to say sometimes it is kinda hard to find a place when I want to. So that day we just walked around forever looking for people. The few we found couldn`t attend us either so yeah...Anyways earlier that day we had had a zone council and we had talked out the importance of diligence. I really gained a testimony of it that day because we kept going strong and doing a ton of contacts. The point I was just tired out of my mind we talked to a guy sitting down and I sat next to him. He was really receptive and we had a good little lesson right there. Right after him my testimony of being diligent was confirmed when we found a family that has been prepared for the Gospel. They are the Flores Family. (Not the Flores Family that we already baptized. A different one.) When I first saw him I had to repent cause I completely judged him. He is a very big man with a very large beard. I thought there would be no way he would want anything. but to my surprise he told us to come in and told us he really needed our visit because he wants to be closer to God. It was so cool. They are the coolest people and I am hoping and praying every day that they will progress. I really think that they will. So yeah that`s how I learned to be diligent.

Man this letter is long...but hey we had another division! I went to Jutiapa with Elder Vieira from Brazil. My companion and I had put the goal to help them do 60 contacts that day. We started out strong and we actually found a really cool family too. At 4 we had a meeting but we still only had about 25 contacts. After the meeting we had some travel to do to go to other appointments and so we couldn't contact because we were in a members car. We were dedicated to the goal though but after everything at 8 at night we didn't have more than 35. We kinda lost hope and then we turned a corner and just randomly we saw about 60 people all in their families sitting outside. Elder Vieira told me that that never happens there. But yeah we contacted all the families and found some VERY receptive people. One of them knows a member and yesterday went to church with her and loved it. At the end of the night we had 62 contacts! Haha so I also learned that if we put a goal with faith the Lord will provide a way to accomplish it. Also we had to be diligent to do it. Wow that all wrapped up so nicely.

Well sorry that this letter is so long...well maybe you guys are happy about that but seriously I have learned so much lately. I learned something from our convert Juan Manuel. Sometimes we think about something we have to do better and then make excuses. When that happens we just have to remember that "hay que hacerlo". There is NEVER an excuse good enough to disobey or to remain in sin. I am so thankful that the mission has taught me this and it is something I hope to never forget. Love you guys and have a HAPPY EASTER!!!

Elder Layton