Tuesday, December 20, 2016

English 101

Elder Gali, Enzo and Elder Brayton

Dec 19, 2016

Merry Christmas Everyone!!! People here are all doing last minute shopping, so downtown has been packed all day today. I am really excited to be able to Skype this Sunday with my family and see and hear everyone. This will be my 3rd of the 4 calls I get!! It is crazy to think that the only one left is Mother's Day .... and that's it. 

On another note, Inez and Nelson are going to get married!!!! They are planing to get married the first week of the new year. I couldn't be happier for them and their choice! They do have almost 32 years together, but I guess its better late than never!! That is all they are talking about now, is how silly they were for waiting for such a long time.
If everything goes well this week we should have a baptism this weekend for Christmas Eve and then the confirmation for Christmas day. Something that we did last week, all the missionaries in Copiapo went to a hospital and sang Christmas carols to everyone there! It was a blast and we got to just about every floor in the hospital. After we were all done, it had been like 3 hours, and nobody could talk.

Also starting this week, every Tuesday I am going to be teaching English classes at the church building! I'm nervous because I have no idea where to start teaching but excited at the same time to start practicing English more. By the time the class is all over or I leave this sector, everyone that is in those classes will probably end up with a southern accent...but only when they speak English!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!
Elder Brayton

Christmas Conference

Dec 12,2016

Hi Everyone!

Yesterday was the Christmas Conference for the southern part of our mission so pretty much all day we were in talking with the Mission President and his family. It was pretty much a normal conference for the most part but we had a huge lunch and after there was a movie and ice cream! Then after all that, we went out and played soccer with the President and his family for part of our p day. So today we have a half day to go out and write and to buy food and other stuff that missionaries need. At the the conference yesterday got a package that was sent to Vallenar by mistake. So I got a sweet package from Jud filled with all kinds of candy and beef jerky and socks! Thanks SO much for that Jud!!!!! 

My companion finally got here late last Tuesday, His name is Elder Castañeta and he is from Bogota, Columbia. Me and him are pretty big jokers but we have been going at it like crazy this past week! We have been sharing a lot about the current Christmas season. There is a video in particular that we have been showing everyone that is from the church and lasts about 3 mins called light the world. I have seen it about a million times now but it is still a super neat video that everyone should see! 

Enzo, who got baptized about a week ago, is doing super well too! He is always learning or reading something new in the Book of Mormon and the principles book, and he always asking the craziest questions that usually I dont't know the answers to! We also have this other family that I am hoping and praying that they can get married and baptized before New Years. Not because anything will change after new years but they have been together for 31 years and almost have grandchildren and they still haven't gotten married. I think that's enough procrastinating!!!!!

Have a great week!!
Elder Brayton

Elder Gali Left Me!

Saying see you later to Elder Gali

Dec 5, 2016

Hi Everyone,

Elder Gali is going to Iquique. My new comp is going to be a Columbino that is coming from Arica, but he wont get here until 3 am tomorrow! This last week, Enzo made the decision to get baptized while his dad was in town. The service was amazing!! Elder Gali did the honors because he was leaving, but it was still really exciting for everyone. He even has been inviting the members to get more involved in la obra misional. {missionary work}. On his way out, Sebastian gave Elder Gali a watermelon and Elder Gali just about cried he was so happy!!! Today is a bit crazy, like transfers usually are, because all day people are leaving and arriving in the bus terminal.

Also something new that has changed in the mission.  it is the amount of time that we have to write. Now we are limited to one hour, where as before we could write all day if we wanted to. So what I am lacking in letters and stories, I will have to make up in lots of photos and videos to send back. Sorry this is short, but I'm sure that I will get better at this new rule and manage time better or type faster, or something.

Anyways, Love y'all and we´ll talk next week!!!
Elder Brayton

Monday, November 28, 2016

Vamos a la playa!!!

Elder Gali & Elder Brayton visit the beach in Caldera.

Everything that happened this week was amazing! This was the week of Thanksgiving and everyone here knows what that is but no one actually celebrates it. But Black Friday is the bandwagon that everyone has jumped on around here. They don`t even try to translate it, they just say black Friday like normal. But back to the real stuff. This year for me and my comp we didn`t spend Thanksgiving grubbing down like usual. In fact, the day of we just had some soup for lunch and some chicken and rice. It was very different from all of the previous years of celebrating Thanksgiving for both Elder Gali and I. But the quantity of food that we lacked that day was more than made up for with the lessons and the new people that we met. Sebastian, for one, is doing a ton better physically. He has some good color in his face and has more energy than he has had in the past. I was able to learn a bit more about his situation this week so that we could help him out a bit more. Basically something happened in his life about 4 years ago, and that left him really sad and eventually he got depressed. After some more time without doing anything about it that, depression started to affect him mentally and physically. More time passed and he lost a ton of weight and he just kind of shut down to the world. He still has a couple of problems from all weight that he lost but is overcoming that with much patience and faith. I cant believe how much he has improved in just the last 2 weeks! He is walking around and getting back some meat on his bones, and even better, has had less panic attacks from being out with many people. Just goes to show how much can be done through ones faith and the faith and actions of the family. 

I have got to at least mention about Enzo. I am not sure if I have mentioned about him before but if I haven`t,  I will introduce y'all. First off he has the same name as Enzo Ferrari, how cool is that! Second, he is a reference from our land lord here and they are family friends. When Enzo mentioned to him that he was looking for something that made more sense and could be explained better than just saying to save to be saved. So he told him to go to church next Sunday and for him to see for himself. Long story short, Enzo found what he was looking for and now me and him are just about best buds. He, just like myself, tries to understand everything that he can about a topic that interests him, including religion. When you find someone like that with 2 missionaries like Elder Gali and I who love to talk and explain... it leads to some very long lessons. Not that there is anything wrong with lessons like that, actually I really enjoy them because Enzo is always asking really good questions in an effort on his part to deepen his knowledge and testimony. By far the highlight of my week was when I gave Enzo a book with different art work from the scriptures, the life of Jesus, and even some photography. The book was mine but because he is so interested in different styles of painting and within the book there are various styles, plus all the works have a scripture story to go with it, I figured it could be good for him to study said stories if he got interested. When I gave it to him he was so lit up and happy. I kind of thought that he was going to cry but he held him self together. I am hoping that he will get baptized this next month because then after he could begin to prepare to serve his own mission if he wanted to! Enzo is 19 btw.

Today, because it is the last  P-day for Elder Walker and one other missionary in our zone, we organized to go to the beach in Caldera. It was fun and we ended up meeting up with the missionaries out there to have a BBQ on the beach and playing soccer. We actually started off playing football but the Latinos didn`t understand that they couldn`t tackle, so we cut that game short just so no one would get hurt. All of the gringos that were out there got super burnt, myself included... something that did happen was the Elder that was having back problems in my district ended up having to go home because of his back. The doctors here couldn`t find the exact cause so that kind of worried everyone more, so he got sent to the states to have a second opinion.

Have a great week!!
Elder Brayton

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving week


Well, I have now finished my first year in the mission!! To celebrate Friday night, my comp and I went and bought a ton of food and then we came back to the house and ate and told stories about the mission. A couple of people have asked me if I burned a shirt for my first year and honestly I forgot to do it. Other than that, I didn´t do anything the day of but the day after we had a conference in Copiapo with a ton of youth in the stake. That was really fun for me because all we did was talk to them about how great a mission is and then we ate food! For whatever reason, Saturday we got given a ton of food!!! Like so much that we are still snacking on it today.
I really just want to talk about what happened last night. So last night after the ward counsel we went to visit a family that came to the church. Everyone in this family are members of the church but they have not been in forever. So we went and visited them. A of the members of the church went with us. The lesson and what we were talking about was unreal to me. After we got there, it took about 20 mins for the son to open up to us and start to share with us about what is going on with him. He explained that he suffers from a couple of different medical problems and that in the last couple of months it has gotten so bad that he can't leave his house that often. But on that particular day he knew that he wanted to go to church but refused to go to any other church than the one that he was baptized into. But, as he explained that and kept telling us more stuff about himself and his family I started to feel just an outstanding love for this guy sitting in front of me. He was just asking that someone help him and his family. We shared with him about the help that we can receive as we pray and that we can find through Jesus. I am really glad that the member was with us was there because she already loves to help people; especially when it is apparent that someone needs it. It was one of the most powerful experiences I have had up until this point in the mission. It also helped me understand when people say that there are people in your mission that are waiting for you to find them, and I think that Sebastian might have been waiting for awhile to get some help. I can't explain how excited I am to return tomorrow and to help him and his family return to feel the love of Christ. It also gave me something to be extremely thankful for this week and that helped me think about all the things that I am thankful for!

I hope everyone has a good thanksgiving! Everyone eat some turkey or ham for me because the Chilenos don´t really care what happened with the pilgrims way back when.

Love y´all a ton!!!

I am thankful for....
1) Ending the first of the 2 best years
2) My Parents, Sisters, and family that are all healthy and well 
3) Love and support that I get every week from friends and family
4) Everyone that motivated me to go on this amazing adventure
5) The opportunity to teach simple truths everyday
6) The other missionaries that I write to that are all over the world
7) Empanadas!!!!!! 

Elder Brayton

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hump Week


Well this week will be a very large milestone for me and my mission and my family as well! So Thursday, I think, it will be will my one year mark in this two year mission that I have been doing. To hear that for me, is beyond crazy!!. In most ways, it does not feel like I have been doing this for a year. But after thinking about it for a while it started to set in... of all the things that have happened over the last year.... I can kind of get the feeling of what all has happened. But its okay because everyone says that the second year goes by a ton faster and I 100% believe that. Ever since I was in Arica training elder Jimenez, time has been flying by like crazy. I have very mixed feelings because I am enjoying that the weeks are going by quick and I can watch the progress of all of these awesome people in my old areas, as well as my current area. But at the same time, I know that I need to cherish the time I have left because its all going to be passing by quicker than ever now. On the bright side to all this is that I think that I will be staying in Tierra Amarilla through Christmas and New Years, and possibly a month or two after that!

Two weeks ago in our sector I think that I said something about going to the back side of our area to find some new people and look for some old ones too. Also that we found a guy named Oscar that came up to us and invited us to come back. So what happened was this family was talking to other missionaries years ago and just kind of stopped for no particular reason. They were so excited to have the missionaries back in their house after so much time. The first time we went over there they told us that they want their two sons baptized and so me and Elder Gali were just as happy as we could have been. Even though this family lives over an hour away from the church building, they came!! Even more is that they showed up before us!! Because they had been the church in the past, everyone already knows who they are and remembers them from way back when. We have already been by twice this week and are planning to head back out there Tuesday. We have talked to the mission president about being able to use bikes if we can borrow some from a family, and he gave us the okay as long as we have helmets and something reflective like a vest or something. So that will save us a ton of time for when we go out there again and will also help us go to the other town that is in our sector! 

In our poor district this week, just about everyone ended up with some kind of sickness or infirmity, myself included. I got off pretty easy with some super crazy allergies. Right now this is still the spring season down here and summer vacation will start for the kids here in a couple of weeks. That also means is that there is some crazy pollen flying around in our area and that has gotten to me, but now I am all better and back to full energy!! Some of the other Elders have it way worse than me. I feel bad for them because they are all workaholics and can´t stand having down time. Of the four of them three of them are sick... One with a bad cough, another with pneumonia, and the last with a herniated disk. Nobody is sure what the last person did but he is in a good bit of pain and on a lot of meds right now. Just as a district in general we are falling apart. But everyone is getting better and hopefully everyone will be better by Christmas.

That is all for now. 
Elder Brayton

Sunday, November 13, 2016

November 7, 2016

P-Day basketball

Hey guys!

Sorry that I have not been able to write a ton. For whatever reason, the last 2 weeks have been holidays, so the places I usually go to write were closed. So we didn't get a ton of time. But this week should be better because everything is wrapping up here. The last week has been really hard on us because one of our investigators was supposed to get baptized but ended up not because his dad had some serious disagreements with the church. After spending all day Tuesday with the guy talking to him, I still am not sure what he wants. What happened was Omero was already about to get baptized, like walking down into the water with Elder Gali, and the bishop mentioned that nobody should take pictures or record video just out of respect and to keep the reverence of everything. Something about that just didn't sit well with the dad. He kind of freaked out and he left right away. So that all was really embarrassing for us and something that has never happened to me before. We have since been working more with Omero and his family and also been really encouraging the member of the branch to be more involved with the missionary work.

Really, I have been on the members backs ever since I got here. I guess that they finally got tired of hearing me all the time because yesterday they had their first ward counsel in a super long time (when really they are supposed to meet together ever other week). After the 2 months of bugging, they finally met up and had a meeting last night and it was sweet how much they got done in just a couple of hours. I am also really excited for this week coming up because we have planned to go and do visits with members almost every day this week. What is even more exciting is that this week we are planning to do divisions with a new elder. The new Elder is going to come and work with me for the day and I will get to be a trainer for a day, or at least pretend like one! I´m really pumped because he only has about 3 weeks in Chile. If I´m right, he is from Spanish Fork, Utah. 

One of the days this week we left to go to a part of our sector that I had never been to. The thing about Tierra Amarilla is that it is very narrow and very long. To go from one side of the town to the other takes about 5 minutes walking the narrow part, but from end to end it takes about 3 hours. We decided to get out there and work all day Thursday. We ended up finding a ton of new people and even more people that had talked to the missionaries before but for whatever reasons stopped. Now they want us to return so they can hear the discussions. There were even a couple of people that approached us to invite us to come back a different day. It was amazing to see all the people that wanted to have us back and wanted to keep learning about the gospel! So we are headed out there again tomorrow to go and see a guy named Oscar and the Morales family. The only downside is that they live pretty far away. Maybe we can get some bikes or a member to bring us out there! However we end up out there, I am really excited to be meeting some new people this week!

Hope everyone else has a great week as well!
Elder Brayton

Monday, October 24, 2016


Election rally parade

        Guys, I don´t remember how the elections are in the states, but I am almost positive that they are nothing compared to Chile. Really just all of the things that have happened this week have been pretty difficult for us here. With the elections happening this week, everyone was campaigning at full force with shows and concerts. Because of that, everyone was missing from their homes all week. That was actually cool to see and learn a little bit about how the government works. One thing that I thought was insane was that here there are multiple political parties. Of those parties, one of the popular ones is the communist party. That is a normal thing here, but when I saw them having their concert and saw the flags I thought  I had just walked into a protest, but it was just a rally for the guy running. No huge deal.

        The town was having some huge problems this past week. There were two major power outages and during the second one Elder Gali and I decided to make a little camp fire for light and to cook some s´mores. It was just like camping! Except right in our front yard... By the way the guy who did win the elections lives right beside us, and he had a huge celebration party last night and invited the town. I walked back there while it was still early to see what was going one and there was his back yard packed with people. They had themselves a nice little celebration even so much as we could feel the music shaking our walls! It was pretty spectacular.

        Um I have more to write but if I don't make it back to a computer today, this is what I had time for. There are transfers today so its kind of crazy.

Elder Brayton


Monday, October 17, 2016

To the Rescue!

Off to the rescue!

I just want to say that I have no idea what happened to the time while I have been in this area. I got here in August or something like a week ago and now its October AND I'm going to complete 11 months some time soon. Maybe my companion is pranking me with the calendar and date on our watch. I know time isn't supposed to go by this fast!! Really, it feels like we are going into May or July because it is starting to warm up, but we all know that's false. I guess its October now, but I have no idea because Chileans don't do Halloween or pumpkin spice. Those are the two big clues in the states. One thing that I do know is going on is that there was a huge hurricane last weekend at home. I'm glad that everyone is ok. 2 things that Chileans ask me about is the presidential race and also about clowns? Usually for both questions, I just tell them to visit Canada instead.

Anyways, this past week in our sector, we got to organize a huge activity in our area that we worked. What it is, or what its called is el rescate ( the rescue). This was my first time participating in one of these. The activity is to go around making sure that people live where they say that they have lived. This, for more than anything, is important because if something bad happens, like an earthquake, or even a hurricane like just happened back in South Carolina, someone would be able to leave with this list of people to go make sure everyone is okay and if they need anything. So we were going around to verify all of the names and addresses. The complicated part was there was some 400 names that we had to divide up among 30 groups of people. I kind of felt bad because Elder Gali ended up doing a lot of the busy work...like matching names to streets and then assigning them to a group because he knows the town way better than I do. I tried to make a video of the process of the whole thing but it came out with a weird watermark. Anyway, the rescate came out to be really successful. Everyone that participated had at least one spiritual experience while they were working. So, I was exited about that. After all was said and done, the list was just about completely taken care of except for like 10 people. 

This past week, the struggle was real on Sunday. I think that I have said this before, but just in case, my personal goal for this area is to have 50 people in church because this is a really small church. 50 was the goal that I set when I arrived here. I just want to bring to your mind something that either bugs you or bothers you or just makes you antsy..... what ever that thing is for you and however you feel while you are doing it. THAT is how I felt in church!!! There were 49 people there. I probably counted like 20 times, but the number never changed. The whole time I wanted to leave just to go grab someone from the street. My comp wouldn't let me but, we were so close!!! But, I'm pretty pumped for next week because we will probably reach that goal!! That just means we are going to be working that much harder this week to reach it. I know that it is possible!!

I hope everyone has a good week! I'll talk to everyone next week!! 

Elder Brayton
I think Elder Brayton misses his Yella dogs!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

In a tight situation

Getting the door panel off.

Elder MacGyver to the rescue!

Okay, so I want to say before I start, all of this happened to me two weeks ago. The story that goes with this experience is crazy!!

So, it is Wednesday and we have just eaten lunch. We are getting ready to leave a bit early so that we could get a head start on the service project that we had already started at the kindergarten where we are painting a small mural. But, before we head out, we stopped by the church to meet with the elders quorum president to talk to him about some of the people that we could maybe help him with. We are going through a pretty large list with him when Bryan shows up with his grandmother to the church to take care of an activity that they would be having in another hour or so. While we are conversing about the different families that we could help, Bryan had a couple questions about his missionary folder and asked if I could help him with it. I told him I could for sure help him and we went back to the secretary of the church. The secretary is a room where the computers, all the electronics for the wi-fi, and a television are kept. They are kept there because the secretary is a sort of metal vault. I'm not sure of the exact reason why it is so heavy duty. Two guesses are one, because there is private information about members of that particular church stored in that room like phone numbers, addresses and other things. The other guess is because it is kind of necessary to keep electronics like computers, routers, and televisions under lock and key.  They still aren't super common in South America.

A quick side story to help y'all understand this a little better. Right before I got to Chile last January the church in which I was assigned was broken into and the secretary was cut open with like an industrial blow torch. I'm not sure exactly what it was but it left some huge burn marks on the walls. This was all done just to get a TV, a computer,and the monitor to go with the computer. So that's why it is necessary to have the vaults as storage. Anyways, back to the story.

I help Bryan finish up his work as Elder Gali is finishing talking about the list. As we are leaving, I thought it would be funny to shut the door behind me and close Bryan in the room. I did it, and it was funny. I let him out and all was good in the world. But then,  I had to grab something out from the secretary before we could head out to do the service project. I got what I needed... but as some pay back, Bryan closed the door on me and locked the vault door just like I had done to him. But this time, when he tried to let me out something happened with one of the rods in the door and it got stuck in place. That is how I got stuck in a vault last week...... And everything after that went something like this. The president of the branch coming and trying to tackle the door down, which didn't work and just made a ton of noise. The mammita that we eat lunch with telling me to stay relaxed and just watch a movie on the computer (which I didn't do). Some maintenance workers or contractors that came and then cussed at the door because it was some fancy German brand. I never actually saw these two guys. And then, the fire department with the big saw they had that they didn't actually get to use.

Back tracking a little bit, as soon as the door was found out to be closed and not opening on its own I started trying to find out if there was a way that I could get out that wasn't the door. I checked the roof, it was solid metal. I checked the walls, concrete. And so once I started to realize that I was only going to get out through the door, I started to think of ways that I could ether break the door more or fix it enough to get out. The biggest problem I had was that I had no tools with me. Most of the stuff that was in the secretary was too expensive for me to want to break. So of the stuff that I felt comfortable taking apart I had, an old radio, my watch, a fork, and some older ether net cables. After a ton of trial and error with these things, (I had taken apart my watch to use the metal band as a flat head screw driver)  I used that to open up a door panel that showed the mechanism of the vault door. With the antennas from the radio and the fork, I found out which pin was broken and started to take it apart. The pin that did go bad was part of a dead bolt that you could lock from the inside if you were working in there, but had broken off inside the door. So with the antenna and fork, I got the dead bolt taken apart from the inside as best as I could. I couldn't see a ton because this was all inside the door. Once it was loose, I used the Ethernet cord to pull down on it enough to get it out. Keep in mind all of this took me about 3 hours to get done while all of that other stuff was happening outside. Just as they were about to cut through the roof with the big saw, I got the door opened!! The next day, the same contractors were able to come back and replace the deadbolt with a new one. Now the door works fine. The members still tease me a ton for getting stuck in there and Bryan even more for closing the door. But seeing as he leaves today for his mission in Mexico, it won't matter much for him. So everyone in the Mexico, Cancun area look out for Elder Valencia!!! Okay that is my story for this week, and I will probably go back to the normal updates next week.

Until then, Everyone stay safe!!
Elder Brayton

Monday, October 3, 2016

Conference and Service

Wow I hope that everyone had the chance to see some of  conference this past weekend or at least hear one of the amazing talks that were given during the weekend. I enjoyed all the talks given, but especially the ones about missionary work. For those of you that don't know what I am talking about, this past weekend was General Conference. It is a huge series of sessions or meetings where the leaders of our church give inspired messages to all of the people in the world twice a year. The other cool thing about it is that everyone has the opportunity to listen to these messages in their own languages. I got to listen to it in English because they had a room set up for all of the Gringos living in the Copiapo area. They put all the English speakers in a smaller side room. To the me and the other Gringos.... it is the Gringo Room aka, the party/feasting room. Even though it was mainly just other missionaries from the states, it was still sweet to hear some English this past weekend. Also we ate a crazy amount of food and candy, which at the time wasn't a big deal, but I am feeling it now. For one of the Saturday sessions, the choir was made up of other missionaries that are getting ready to go to their assigned country or area but are learning the language. I saw a couple of people that I know including my cousin that is headed out to Russia here pretty soon! So shout out to those guys! 

This past week we had the chance to do a service project at a day care/ Kindergarten. The first time we went out there 2 weeks ago, we went and cleaned up everything in and around the building. This week just us and another youth went to finish painting a mural thing. We have not finished yet but we are getting close and it looks pretty good so far. All of the little kids in this daycare are the most precious things I have ever seen! All the people that work there are super friendly.
Almost completed mural at the day care.
Elder Brayton painting the mural.
Something really exiting happened for the missionaries here in this area. This month we have gotten texting on our phones.  that is like a huge deal for all of us because before we could only call. This will help us a ton because it seems like no one in Chile likes to answer their phones. Also, if all the missionaries can transition over to texting we, in the next few months we might be getting iPads! That is just too crazy to believe for me but if our mission president says that we can then I guess I can't argue with that! So it looks like we could be getting some big changes here in the next couple of months!!!!! 
One last thing, this last week something happened to me, and I have had a ton of people ask to explain it in more detail but I was already half way done writing when they asked. So, next Monday everyone will get to hear about how I escaped (like MacGyver) from the secretary/vault in our church building.

Love y'all and take care!!

Elder Brayton

Monday, September 26, 2016

Time and Attendance


So this area that I am in, Tierra Amarilla, is huge, and a lot of the times we are really pressed for time because the area just follows a long road headed to Argentina. This last week, more than any other time in my mission, possibly in my life have I ever thought of time as such a precious resource to me. I have come to realize that the only limiting factor that stops us during the day is the amount of hours that we have. Sort of some general information about missionaries, and this applies to all missionaries in the world: We have a very specific scheduled that we follow to the point every day. But we only have 16 hours to get stuff done. For whatever reason, for me, it just ends up being way too small amount of time. If somehow I could make the days more time effective I would be one of the happiest people ever. But with the time that we do have here me and Elder Gali have been able to do some amazing things in this ward. 

The one that I am most exited about is the church attendance. The first Sunday I was here there were only 20 people and that, to me, was just terrifying. Like it was normal for this branch, but I was just in full on panic!. We turned almost all of our energy and time to growing the branch as much and as fast as we could. So long story short the attendance was huge! Like 75% increase from the past week and now we are halfway to our goal of 50.
Also I am super exited for the General Conference this next week and the opportunity to listen in English, even though I feel like the last conference was just 2 months ago. I heard that some of my friends in the MTC are going to be singing in the choir for one of sessions. So check that out!!!!   

Have a great week!
Elder Brayton
Here is an excerpt from the email he sent to us answering the list of "Mom" questions:
We do our own laundry and we hang up clothes to dry outside. It is super fun because I like living out in the country and it is a lot more noticeable that I am living in South America. We don't have to cook, we eat with our neighbor. We have a big water cooler but the house is so much bigger that we can put it off in the corner. Food and water are good and I think next week we are going to fumigate the house we are in because there are a lot of creepy crawlies. 

Spider on the bedroom wall

Tierra Amarilla is just a really green valley, further out there are vineyards that are really cool. The church building is right next to us and we us it every now and then for Internet, but it is super slow. Today we came into Copiapo to do some shopping and write. It is like a 30 min bus ride each way and only cost 1,800 pesos for the both of us. There is not good seafood here, everyone just sticks to chicken and rice, and sometimes potatoes.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Tierra Amarilla

New residence in Tierra Amarilla

Sept 19,2016

Hello everyone!!

I finally made it to my new area and am just starting to get back into the groove of things after that super long bus ride from Arica. A little bit about this town is that it is super small and super rural. Like when people think about small South American villages, that is just about where I am right now. It is a huge change from what I am used to. Up until this town, I have always been inside of big cities. But here there are still a decent amount of people and just about everyone knows each other. The town is surrounded by 3 different mines. While I was talking with some miners that work in them, they told me that there is city of tunnels underneath the town. In the church, there were only 20 people that went, and my companion says that is pretty normal here. The house that we live in is like back in the middle of nowhere, but the cool part is that it is surrounded by green!

Yesterday and today were huge Chilean holidays. Its like their independence day or our 4th of July. So it was very hard to find people to teach, and today everything is closed. Today we are in the church building to write everyone.  I'm going to keep this short so that my companion can have a turn to write his people too.

Hope this finds everyone well.  

Love y'all,

Elder Brayton
Making friends!
 The following are short notes we received prior to the transfer and just after he arrived.
From Arica:
This morning I am traveling from Arica to Copiapó, more specifically the town/area called Tierra Amarilla. I just saw it on a map yesterday and it looks like a single tiny road running through the desert. But I have heard a lot of good things about the town. I'm looking forward to getting there but in about an hour from now I have to get on a bus and I will be on that bus for the next 18 hours..... But on the bright side I am traveling with other missionaries, one who is a really good friend of mine. I know basically nothing about my new companion except that he only has about 6 months in the mission. 
Also one very new thing for me is that I am a district leader now. I'm not really sure how to explain what that is but I know that I am kind of responsible for the other missionaries around me and that I have to teach and help them out whenever they need it. I am really excited for those new responsibilities that are coming but a little nervous at the same time. 
I will be on the bus for the next 18 hours and I will try to write again tomorrow if I can but it looks like the town that I am going to is super small so I will see about that.
From Tierra Amarilla: 
 It was super long the bus ride, 18 hours. I'm really tired but I'm hanging in there. I am here in my sector with my companion, Elder Gali. He is from Hawaii and super chill. He has just one transfer less than I do in the mission. My district, is all gringos. Out of all of the other missionaries I have the most time in the mission somehow. For the first time in my mission I feel like an old guy. The town here is awesome from what I have seen so far but it is extremely small. It reminds me of Nauvoo because both only have one main road going through town.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hoping to Help

Elder Jiminez, Chrysler, Elder Brayton

Hey everyone!

I did not have any time last week to write anything for real and I apologize about that. Today I have set apart a ton of time to hopefully respond and tell y'all about all the cool stuff happening down here in Chile. So last Monday the bishop of the church here and the ward mission leader took out us 4 missionaries of this ward out to eat at a really fancy restaurant. They treated us to some of the best sushi that I have ever eaten, granted that I only started liking sushi last year. But still it was delicious!! We have been having some crazy success in the ward these past two or three months. Between getting people to come back to church and helping them re-grow their testimonies of Jesus Christ and inviting brand new people to church for the very first time to experience it, there are a ton more people coming to church each Sunday. Between the time I got here to this week 
(which might be my last week here) we have seen more than 50 more people in the church!! And when the bishop pointed that out to me we were jumping around happy like little girls( he is like 6ft 5!) That's why I couldn't write anything last week. 

Oh and something else that happened last week, Sunday night when the zone leaders called us to see how are week went there was and earthquake! So let me explain before my mom freaks out too much. It was the tiniest tremor ever. Right after I asked the family that I live with to look it up online and it was a 4.7 that happened 40 km away and 120 km underground. It was seriously nothing but I got really exited about it because I have been waiting my entire mission to experience one.

So fast forward to almost a week later to Saturday, Chrysler finally got baptized and it was amazing! First of all I just want to say how much I appreciate him and his attitude towards everything. He showed up like an hour early just with as much energy as a man his age could have and then some. And then at about 15 mins before the baptism started he was very antsy and started to call EVERYONE, when in reality people here don't show up to and event until they are a least 15 mins late. But the actual service went extremely well. I got to share a talk about faith and repentance, Elder Jimenez got to baptize his first person ever, and the sobrino {nephew} (quien se bautizó hace 4 meses) {who was baptized 4 months ago} shared his testimony. I think the best part about everything was at the end Chrysler's best friend from a while back(who is now in the stake presidency) shared some thoughts and it was just amazing. The whole day Saturday was extremely busy but extremely rewarding. As we were walking back to the house Elder Jimenez told me that feeling the spirit this much makes you super tired. Yesterday was the fast and testimony of church so anyone could go up and share their testimony. I was thinking that it would be cool if Chrysler went up to do that, but something amazing happened. Chrysler's dad went up and shared a powerful testimony about faith. Keep in mind that he has never been to this church before, isn't even a member, but he was still up there!

And lastly today was a pretty normal p day, except for the fact that I lost my name tag at the beach while we were playing flag football. I also lost the Zip Chip ( its like a small frisky) so that is kind of a bummer. Then I got a hair cut and that was it! This may be my last week here in Arica but I will find out for sure Friday and y'all will find out Monday if I don't write, but I'll still get to send something Tuesday! I think its Labor day today in the states so everyone have a happy and safe Labor day! Do something awesome for me!!!! 

Love to everyone!

P.S. I had like a companion exchange last week with the zone leader and I realized just how bad my English has gotten, like it is super choppy and not grammatically correct and for whatever reason I now speak English with a super strong southern drawl. 
Elder Brayton

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

9 Months! (&20 years)

Elder Brayton with one of many birthday cakes.

This week was a great week for me because I turned 20!!!! And also my 9 months in the mission which is a little less exciting for me. But the ward here is so awesome, they gave me so much food over the weekend! I was so grateful to all the families that invited us over for a party! At the end of this week we ended up not having a baptism, Gustavo, who was going to get baptized got swamped at the university and just could never make it home before 11pm. But now we have that to look forward to this next week.

Also I don´t know if I have mentioned this or not, but last week we found one of the coolest guys I have ever meet. His name is Chrysler and he has experienced some stuff in his life and not very good stuff. I don´t want to get into a lot of details,  but basically he has done a lot of things and made a lot of mistakes and had a really bad accident recently. He realizes that and also is looking to make a change! So we have been going by his house this passed week and he is so ready to learn and to make changes in his life. It is amazing to me to see how humble he is after everything that has happened to him.

That's it!! I hope everyone has a good week, and thanks so much for the birthday wishes!!!

Elder Brayton
Happy Birthday Elder Brayton, We love you!  

Monday, August 15, 2016

Alfonzo se bautizó! (Alfonzo is baptized!)

Elder Brayton and Alfonzo in white along with Alfonzo's family.

This week was so great, I got to have my second baptism in this sector. And the best part for me was that Alfonzo asked me if I would do the baptism!! That was really special. I had the opportunity to meet his family and teach them. That was awesome too! We found them like 3 months ago and have been working with them ever since. It was also a relief to see some results for all the work that that we have been doing here. I have loved being in this sector for as long as I have been here because I have gotten to see a huge change in the members of this area. Now, they are starting to get really into the missionary work. Now we are starting to find some amazing new people that, I believe, are ready to be taught and receive the gospel!

Elder Brayton 

In a separate email that Elder Brayton sent us today, he told us that he was sick last week. Please keep him in your prayers. Specifically his safety and health.