Monday, January 25, 2016

Mano del desierto 1/25/2016

Posing with the Hand of the Desert

This week has been a busy week! On Wednesday every missionary in the world took part in a world wide training broadcast. Everything in the broadcast was translated into Spanish so it was a good opportunity to take some notes. My Spanish has made leaps and bounds these past 2 weeks. I can understand pretty much everyone most of the time but now I am having trouble talking back to people. I can have a conversation but not all of the words come to me as naturally as I would like them to. But that is one of the things that I am going to have to practice these next couple of months. Guess that is why every missionary have a 3 month training, I am almost done with my first month of training and I cant wait to be done.
Also I had the opportunity to help open an area this week during intercambios (exchanges) with other Elders that work near us. Whenever an area is opened that is brand new for the Elders that are working in that area and it was an awesome experience to help work in this area. All together my companion and I had 3 different intercambio in one week.

And lastly today for our preparation day we asked some members to take us to the Mano del Desierto! ( Hand of the Desert ) It was like an hour drive out of Antofagasta and it is in the middle of nowhere. But it was cool to go and see it, I'm not really sure of the back story behind it. * see end of blog

I want to talk really quick about the day to day life in Antofagasta. We do a lot of walking, no missionaries have cars or bikes in the entire mission because the roads are really crazy. There is a public transport system of buses that can take you anywhere in Antofagasta for a little less than $1 USD if you can figure out what bus number you need. But we never use them unless we need to get somewhere far away. Our area isn't huge but it is extremely steep. Some of the streets that we track on I just about need to crawl up.

Thanks for all the emails!
Elder Brayton 

 Mano del desierto

The scorched moonscape of Atacama stretches for hundreds of miles on both sides of the Pan-American Highway, undisturbed by any sign of human activity. About 75km south of the town of Antofagasta, its monotony is shattered by a sight even more alien then the desert itself, and yet undoubtedly human: an 36-foot-tall hand protruding out of the sand.

Mano de Desierto is a work of the Chilean sculptor Mario Irarrázabal, built in the early 1980s. It was financed by a local booster organization called Corporación Pro Antofagasta.

This views shows the size of the sculpture.

Road trip to the desert!

Monday, January 18, 2016

January 18, 2016

Thrilled with the amazing pkg from Doctors Kunkle & Powers!

I have to keep this short and sweet because I don't have a ton of time. This week has been awesome! I got some packages from some amazing people (Mishae and Drs. Kunkle and Powell's office (Cooper's dentist here at home). We found a ton of new investigators, and I found some English speakers!
We got almost 15 new investigators in 2 days which is like some kind of record. I met a Canadian that has been living here for 2 years with his family.  I also found a lady from Savannah GA that is a member of the church that is from Antofagasta and is an archaeologist. What's more is that she knows some people from my stake.( Walkers) And the packages full of food that I can't give enough thanks to the people that send some American food to me and also some sweet ties and socks!
Sorry this is so short I promise to write more next week!
Love, Elder Brayton
Think the Ginger stands out?

Imagine finding a soccer ball in Chile! Reunited & it feels so good! ;-)
More goodies from the package!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Once Upon a Time...

    * For some reason Elder Brayton has been unable to upload pictures from his camera the past 2 weeks. I've added a few earlier ones to this post. 


Book of Mormon in Spanish

"Once upon a time there was a magical place where it never rained, the end"-Holes

They were really talking about Antofagasta when they said that. It has been so hot this week for whatever reason. But it has been really rewarding this week as well. I had the opportunity to go on splits with the APs (assistant to the president) this week and during that time we got a baptism date for one of our investigators. And then we got another this week with Edith, she is from Colombia and has been super receptive. And then lastly Erick, who already has a date for his baptism, gave me a sweet tie just being nice after a lesson one day.

Spanish is still coming faster than I ever expected but I still need to take time every-now and then to tell myself that I am only 2 weeks into the field. Before my language training,  I'm not sure what I expected when I would be learning a new language. But all I have to say is that there is no easy way to learn a language, but if you do have to learn a language then surround yourself with people that are patient and people that don't know English. I have been really blessed with a good trainer, and a good ward. The members of the ward are willing to do just about anything to help out with missionary work.

Also being a Chilean is a very different lifestyle than living in America. For example, milk comes in a box and soda is cheaper than water. Something else is that is different is that lunch is the main meal of the day. So for breakfast I usually have a some bread and juice, and lunch is so much food! It's like a 4 course meal in the middle of the day, and then dinner is just something small usually before bed. I haven't eaten anything super weird yet, just lots of rice and chicken. Talk to you guys next week! 

Elder Brayton 

For you amusement the afore-mentioned box milk!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

First Assignment in Chile!

Reading my first assignment

Elder Giadach from Chile is Elder Brayton's trainer for the next 3 months

I have finally made it to Chile! The flight here from Mexico wasn't terrible, except at one point one of our elders thought that he had lost his boarding pass. But by the time we made it to Santiago, we ran into another group of missionaries that were headed to Antofagasta from the MTC that is in Santiago. Non of them spoke English but one of the Hermanas (sisters) in the other group is from Haiti, so she knows French, Spanish, and a little bit of English so I thought that was really cool.
Anyway let me tell you about Chile and the people and my trainer. Antofagasta looks like Nevada with an ocean. But it is beautiful here. I haven't gotten sunburn yet which is good because it is the middle of summer here. And the Chileans are the nicest people you have ever met but they speak Spanish soooo fast. And more often than not to help them speak even faster they will cut off the last parts of their words so that they can go even faster! So coming here I feel like I am having to relearn Spanish, but its all good. I've been told that after about 3 months I will fit right in. And during that 3 months I am assigned a trainer. My trainer is Elder Giadach. And even though it is very hard now I know It will help me in the long run, but Elder Giadach is a CHILEAN!! He is from a city south of Santiago by about 4 hours. So this means that he talks so fast and also doesn't know much English. But this is giving me so much more practice with my Spanish then I could have imagined! I can already start to help in lessons and can understand about 1/3 of what people are saying. I can understand my companion almost 80% of the time because I listen to him all the time! But this is his last 3 months in the mission, so I am going to help him finish strong!

Oh and for my first area I am in Quito A in Antofagasta, Which is right in the heart of the city so I meet some interesting people, and I will be here for the next 3 months at least while I complete my training!

From here out I will not have enough time to respond to everyone but I would still like to hear from y'all!

Elder Brayton     
Elders headed to Chile from the Mexico MTC

Elders and Sisters leaving the Mexico MTC for Antofagasta Chile