Monday, October 30, 2017

Conference weekend

October 2, 2017

Conference week means GRINGO ROOM!!! {Gringo room is when all of the American missionaries get to watch conference in the same room in English. They usually make a party of it with all kinds of food and snacks.} Now, we did do the gringo room like normal but it was very tame this year. Vallenar being a small city, there aren't many missionaries here in the valley. Conference was fire as usual but I was sad to hear of the passing of Elder Hales after the morning session Sunday. He was very old and it had to happen sooner or later. But we know that the next apostle that is called will also be called of God. The conference definitely helped me more this year than I think it has any other time in the past. Just with a lot of questions and decisions that I have. I left each session feeling better and better.

This week started off really hard because I got hit with a crazy sickness that had me in bed. They told me that I had an infected amygdala, {I am not even sure how they decided this was the cause of his sickness} so I was pretty miserable for the week. I'm not even sure how you get that but they gave me the medicine that corresponded to that and I am all good now. But it was hard at first just for not being able to do anything. It wasn't the most ideal start to a transfer. But conference with president tomorrow, and also my second to last interview with him. I am kind of hoping that he gives me a little bit more than the last interview. The last one literally started out with him showing me pictures on his phone of him with his wife in the florid desert. We will see tomorrow!

Love y'all!!! 
Elder Brayton

Last Agenda and Cambios

September 25, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

I feel like this past week was a week very well spent, especially going back to Tierra Amarilla to see everyone. It was cool to see all the people that I was teaching!! A couple of them wrote their testimonies in my journal and all I can say is WOW!! It looks like from Tierra Amarilla there will be at the very least 2 going out on a mission this next year. One already has his papers done and is going through medical. Another got a pretty strong answer from God in a dream that she has to go and that she will be going to Peru. Her mom, who isn't a member, had the same dream. The Mom even told me that even though it isn't in her plans, that she can't ignore it. So, she is making preparations too. It was just all so much to take in in just one day. They definitely hadn't forgotten about me. They even wrote me saying that they were my second family. I definitely am going to be saving up to maybe come back and visit in a couple of years.

It was very weird to travel alone. Even a RM {return missionary} that was there said that it was something that he had never heard of. But I am glad for the chance to have gone back to visit. This is probably going to be my weekly email. My comp left today in the morning to go to Antofagasta. And my new comp got here shortly after. Elder Tolaba is from Argentina, Buenos Aires. He is really cool from what I have seen so far. Hopefully he likes to work hard and doesn't run off on me like the last one. That was a joke... by the way!! He will be the one finishing me off this cambio {transfer}. I am on my final countdown now. One of the elders that is living with us made me my last planner. It is tradition here to decorate the planners with quotes, scriptures, or other inspirational stuff. And then usually the last one is pretty focused on life after. I haven't seen the finished product. But what he has so far is pretty shameful and ``legendary`` as he puts it. 

These last two years have definitely been a time of growth for me!! I plan on milking every experience that I can out of these last couple of weeks!! By the way General Conference is this week! Tune in even if it is just for a session!! {General Conference is held for our church twice a year. It is broadcast to all over the world from Salt Lake City, Utah. It gives us a chance to hear from various church leaders and even our Prophet. There are multiple sessions over a 2 day period. It is a wonderful experience to be spiritually uplifted.  If you have Dish Network, you can watch it on channel 9403.}

Elder Brayton

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Happy birthday Chile!!

September 18, 2017

Today is Chile´s national holiday and it is a good time. All week we have been talking to people that have been coming in from all over to Vallenar. I am not really sure about exact story because I have heard several different ones. But everyone here is more than happy to celebrate for the week. Unfortunately, it has made things a little complicated for the missionaries. Mostly because everyone leaves and heads out to a big festival that they do in the desert. Later today, we are going out to see what it is all about with a family from church. We just ate lunch with them and they gave me a sweet Chile jersey! As far as everything else, we have had to focus on teaching immigrants from other countries because the Chilenos don't fish us. 

This week I was reflecting a lot about the mission and how much faster the work is moving now than when I got here. It has been so cool to see the change in everyone and even myself. Everyone has such a spirit of urgency and our president is fanning the flames so that the work can keep growing. On top that, I feel like all the newer missionaries that I am working with are such studs. They are seriously doing things better at 4 months than I was at 1 year. Cambios {transfers} are this next week so I think my run with my comp will come to an end. It was fun to be with little Grey but he is going to be doing way bigger things in his next sector! Who knows where they are going to send me to finish me off!! All I know is that we are going to be finishing big this week with him. There is an entire family of Bolivians that have been going to church and listening to us for about a month so we are going to see if we can help them get in the font this week.

Have fun everyone love y'all!
Elder Brayton

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Swimmin` in the font & A podcast

September 11, 2017

Dear Friends and Family,

This week was another incredible one. Busy as well! Today the Mission President came down to Vallenar to congratulate the zone for all the great work. He got us a fat slab of ribs and we did sort of a pre 18 of Sept BBQ. This next week is Chile`s independence day, so this was an early celebration for that. This week I think that I spent more time in Huasco than in my own area. But it all ended very well. After an interview with a young kid named Jiro on Monday, I felt very strongly that he was very ready and that he needed to get baptized and confirmed right away. So, we called everyone that we needed to get permission and he got baptized on intercambios {exchanges}! We made it work out so that the missionaries that prepared him could be present as well. So Tuesday afternoon, he got baptized and confirmed with special permission from the mission president. As the week went on, his family got a call from Santiago because an Aunt got very sick and they had to leave right away to be able to help her and take care of her. Now it is looking like they will be there for awhile so we got in contact with the Bishop there so they can keep receiving the missionaries there. It was really cool that I was able to see that he got baptized when he did. Other wise, he would have had to start all over with the missionaries in Santiago.

The time I was with Elder Howard and after everything we did, we recorded it like a podcast talking about everything that happened. It seemed like a good idea but its just a video of us eating hot dogs and talking. I put it in my One Drive anyways! We also had a baptism of an 11 year old girl named Maria. She is the most ADHD kid that I have ever met {Does anyone else find this hysterical coming from Cooper????}. After her baptism, she proceeded to swim and do cannon-balls into the font! It was so fun for her!! The member baptizing her had no idea what to do with her so we just let her play. This past Sunday Gabriel, one of our converts from a couple of weeks ago, came to church dressed up in the suit that we gave him! 

All of this and much much more! Conferences in Copiapo, interviews with president, and zone attacks! All crazy but all good.

Love y'all, Stay dry!!
Elder Brayton

Monday, August 21, 2017

Over the Rainbow

July 10,2017

Hi Everyone!

This week has been excelente!. We have a couple of new missionaries living with us and we are all the biggest nerds anyone has ever seen. We all have such a good bond that it has ended up becoming a very spiritual pension for everyone. We are always talking about our investigators and how we can help them. Elder Peterson is a new district leader so I have been helping him out, but i don't think anyone can be completely prepared for a responsibility so different. Especially because he has sister missionaries in his district. But things are going very well in Arica. I can´t complain because I saw how things were when I got here. All I can do is keep at it with all I´ve got.

On a good side and funny note, this week I was walking through the Agro (it is a HUGE flea market) doing contacts in a part that I haven´t been to yet and I came across an entire store of onesies! Because it gets cold in our house at night, I got one for cheap, like 6USD. I got home that night and put it on and everyone starts teasing me. But it is okay, because the very next day every single one of them went and got one!  Today, we spent p-day with the president, and we saw him a couple times downtown. It was kind of weird, but I am looking forward to the conference that we have with him tomorrow. 

I hope that you all have a great week!

Elder Brayton


August 21, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Vallenar, up until now, has been a blast. To be really honest, I was really nervous coming down here because I had always heard about it being such a difficult city but I haven`t seen any of that yet. In fact the exact opposite. The people here are amazing and even though the zone is small, everyone is really close. I will repeat what I said the other week about this place being straight off of a post card. Every time I turn around I am finding another cool sight. So something that we do a ton of here is contacting. We live right next to the main plaza of downtown, so almost every time we walk through we are talking to someone new. Even though the people never live in our sector it is still fun to meet new people. 

I am still getting used to the way that we are doing things here. We decided that we are going to change everything that we can to try and find new approaches to missionary work. Really they aren`t too drastic but I am still getting used to it. Just one example, so this week I was actually in my area all day for only 2 days, and the other days I left to go help other missionaries. It has really been a huge privilege to be able to serve them as much as I have been, but it is going to be awhile before I know my own sector. I wasn`t really sure what all was going on at first but now I am just going with it.

So now a little bit about my companion. He is defintly one of the funniest latinos I have met. This week while we were talking together it hit me who he reminded me of. My companion is a latino carbon copy of Grey Livingston. For those of you that don`t know who that, you have to meet him. Grey is sort of a neighbor of mine, we both live way out in the middle of the woods and we get along pretty great.  But they are seriously very identical as far as personality. That is something that will make this transfer go by way faster than I would like it to. So from here on out, whenever y`all think of me and my comp just picture a Peruvian Grey!

I hope that you all have a great week!!

Elder Brayton

Life in a Postcard

August 15, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Yesterday I didn´t get the chance to write because I got transfered to a new city. Everyone in Arica was telling me that I was going to leave and I just didn´t want to believe them. But Friday morning we got the call and the Lord has sent me to Vallenar! Sunday I left at 7pm and I arrived yesterday at 6pm. 23 VERY long hours in total, but it was worth it. Until yesterday I thought that every city in the northern Chile was desert. But I get here and Vallenar is the most precious town ever! There is actual green here, no more dirt, like trees and grass and everything! I haven´t taken any pictures yet but when I do y´all will see what I am talking about.

Last night we went out to work with the time that we had and I immediately noticed two things. 1. that the people here are very kind and loving. Not that they weren´t in other places but here everyone acts like family. The second thing is that it is very, very cold here. I have been lucky enough to be in the warmest part of Chile both winters and now I am very far away from that. I am in the downtown part of the city were everything happens and I am in another branch. I can´t tell you too much about it because I have only been here for a day but I am learning more and more every hour.

My new companion is Elder Reluz. Another Peruvian for the win! He is still pretty fresh in Chile but has a ton of energy. One thing that I noticed right away about him is that he is extremely confidant whenever he teaches, which isn´t something that you see too often with newer missionaries. I am really exited to get started with this new transfer. Vallenar is like a different world to me in all aspects. The culture, the people, the missionaries, the mission. It is going to be a blast here. I can already tell that all the people that we find are going to be great!

I hope that you all have a great week.

Elder Brayton