Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Baptisms!







Well this week was a very good week to be a missionary in Zapahuira. Not one, but 2 baptisms in our ward this week! One from us and one from the sister missionaries! And an end to the long streak of no baptisms in the ward. It was awesome because when I got here the Bishop had
been on vacation in the United States and still had 2 weeks left, so as soon as his plane landed in Arica(the same night as the baptisms),his first counselor called him and told him to go straight to the church, but didn't give him a reason why. So just as he is getting to the Church we were finishing taking pictures outside. I can only imagine the surprise when he finally realized what was going on! 


José, our convert, is awesome. I have never meet anyone more dedicated to the gospel than him. Right after the first lesson that we had with him he accepted right away to be baptized and that same week he was leaving with us to do visits and help us teach lessons! Its difficult to get members to go with us usually but José calls us and asks if he can come with us almost every other day! And he has all the desires in the world to go on a mission. I gave him my second set of
scriptures so that he can continue to study and learn! And he is already going to seminary in the mornings!

Love,
Elder Brayton

Monday, May 16, 2016

Arica!


Our happy missionary!
New companion Elder Palpa from Peru.






Well, now I can talk about Arica a little bit more since I have gotten to know it better this week. The city is a lot smaller than Antofagasta, but it is so much cleaner and tranquil. But it is very warm and very dry. In Antofagasta, it was the rocky steep dessert, here it is the sandy flat dessert. Today we went to the downtown section of town and it was awesome! There is anything and everything over there. And there is this restaurant called Rolys and they have this hamburger with beef, eggs, french fries, and bacon. It was bigger than my plate! I struggled to eat all of it and I can still feel it now 5 hours after. Also fruit here is SO cheap. I went to buy bananas today from a farmers market type of place and I handed the guy 2000 pesos(>$3) and he looked at me and shrugged his shoulders and then proceeded to give me almost 20 lbs. of bananas! It was sweet!
 

The ward and sector that I am in is pretty great too, really everyone I have met is cool. They are all super exited about the missionary work and they all think that I speak great Spanish. The only bummer is that they told me on my first week here that the ward hasn't had a convert baptism in over 2 years. But I have come here to help change that real fast! It's a difficult sector but there is also tons of potential. I still haven't met the bishop because he is on vacation and gone to the states. But I have gotten to go to some of the little
towns and I would even call them villages because they are so small. It's cool to see how country life is here vs living in the states. For some of the people that live really far away they have wind turbines to pump water from a well and they just go without electricity for the most part. Its almost like camping all the time!!!

 


One thing, or person rather, that I want to talk about before he gets too far away from my mind is Hugo. Hugo is an Indian that has lived in Chile for his entire life. Up until he was 16 years old he didn't even know that electricity was a thing. But I met him in Antofagasta because he lives directly in front of the church and his wife is a very active member there. I'm sure, like all the other missionaries that have been there before me, I had tried to talk with him to get him interested in the church. Well I tried, and got nowhere to start off with. So I just started talking with him about anything and everything. Our families, jobs that we have had, memories from our childhood and stuff like that. One of the coolest stories he told me about was when he was a kid, he can remember carving arrows and spears to fish with. Fishing was one of the few ways that his family could eat consistently because nothing grows here easily and Chile has a huge coast. This continued for just about the entire time that I was in Antofagasta, and eventually we progressed enough to where we could talk about stories from the bible. And he liked the stories of Jonah, but he loved the stories of Peter! I think more than anything he just liked that he was a fisherman and that he became a fisher of man. And so kind of as a joke he would always ask me how the fishing was going (referring to the missionary work) and I would always tell him about what was going on and who we were teaching. Finally after getting to be really good friends with him I got the call that I was getting transferred. Then the morning that my bus was going to leave he called me and said that he had a little gift for me and to come pick it up. So we went by there on the way to the bus terminal and hands me this awesome hand carved spear and the blade is made from the sword of a swordfish. He told me that it is similar to what he used to fish with as a kid and that we were both Fishermen and that we had to stick together. The tikis mean kindness (bottom) and wisdom (top) and that those were two things that he felt a lot as we talked. I just wanted to share this story so that everyone can know a little bit about Hugo and how much I have learned from him.
 

Lots of love from Chile!
Elder Brayton!


Elder Brayton with Hugo & his wife in Antofagasta.

Handmade spear from Hugo

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Antofagasta a Arica

From Antofagasta to Arica

Welp, I got transferred to the northern most sector in Chile in the city of Arica. Arica, from what I have seen, is a precious city that is very clean and very well organized! My trip up here was VERY long, a bit more than 12 hours in a bus but it was very cool because we took the Pan American highway almost all the way up and it was all beautiful coasts and mountains. In this sector, I am only 10 min from the boarder of Peru. Also, technically, our boundaries for the sector covers all the way to Peru and Bolivia!! Fun stuff even though I don't think we will ever travel that far to go and teach. My new companion is Elder Palpa. He is from the city of Lima Peru and he has just like 3 more months than I do in the mission, so we are both pretty young. It is sweet because when we are standing next to each other, I look like a giant because he is only like 5 ft tall. But he has a huge heart and I'm looking forward to teaching with him later today!!! Also I don't have time today but next week I have to tell everyone about what I got right before I left Antofagasta! But until then,

Take care Everyone!!! 

Elder Brayton

Mother's Day Skype

Elder Brayton in Antofagasta, Chile


The BEST part of Mother's Day is Skype session with our missionary! He looks & sounds great and is having much success. Here's a video:



video

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mi Historia





This week there was a sweet activity of the Stake where everybody that wanted to made a dish that was typical of their heritage and also brought some photos or something to show about their family. And because Antofagasta has almost a purely history of mining and trading there are cultures from all over the world. I learned that back in the day whenever the gold and copper was first discovered there was a huge rush from all places to come and claim a stake. As a result there are families that still live here today that have grandparents and great-grandparents from Japan, Italy, The United States, Germany, and Scotland. It was really cool to learn more about where I have been living and how it has developed over the years. I did not have any pictures to share nor did I know what a typical dish would have been for my family but so that I could contribute something I did the family tree from Adam until Jesus. And it was so cool to work on that through the week and to learn about the genealogy that is in the Bible.
 
Other things that happened this week was that I had a dream in Spanish! It was the weirdest thing to wake up from but at the same time awesome. Other things that have happened is that all this morning I had to do paperwork in central to keep working on getting my citizenship. The exiting thing is, is that I am only about a month or 2 from getting my carnet. And all a carnet is, is a card that says I am here and that I will have the equivalent of a Social Security number here in Chile.
And I finally uploaded photos today! After almost 2 months of trying to figure out whats was going on, we found out that my camera had a virus that made everything complicated and impossible to view photos. So here are 200+ photos!

Everyone enjoy their week!!

Elder Brayton     

More growth

Posting this a week late....






This week we have been continuing to grow our sector and find families. One of the amazing things that we found out this week is that Edith, one of our investigators that is preparing to be baptized, has been helping us find like crazy. She is the secretary for the campamentos, or the tomas (tomas means taken because the campamentos is land that has been taken from the government for people to build their own houses), that she lives in and so she knows almost everyone that lives up there and even better she knows how the church has blessed her life and how it could bless the lives of others. Just recently her brother moved in with her from Columbia to find work here in Antofagasta, and now he has started taking lessons from us and then in a a short time more Edith`s daughter is moving in as well. All Edith wants is for her daughter to be baptized so they start working towards becoming an eternal family. 
And in case I haven't said this yet, I love teaching people from the Dominican Republic. This week we met another person from the Republic and his name is Fello, but it is pronounced a lot like a Spanish word that means ugly. But ether way Dominicans are just a cool group of people that as far as I have see are always friendly and willing to talk. 

This week has been a bit odd for us because Sunday nobody showed up to church, members included. It has started to get really cold here at night and I think that might have had something to do with it but I'm not sure. But other than that, we have been continuing to find and teach a lot. It still surprises me the people that we find that are amazing and receptive. All I can wonder is how did I get lucky enough to find and teach them for the first time. Thanks all for your prayers and support, it definitely helps me every day!!!

Lots of love from Chile, Elder Brayton