Monday, July 18, 2016

8 months

Looking studious.
Dear family and friends,

Where has the time gone! Okay, so I understood when everyone was telling me before I left that the mission would pass by super fast, faster than any other time in my life. But I wasn't expecting like this. Like in my mind we are still in March or April, but in reality I am about a month away from turning 20.

This week for us has been very uneventful. We had to stay in the house for two days because my companion got super sick, like he couldn't walk without feeling like his head was going to explode. The poor guy was in bed the entire time, but then he started to get better towards the end of the week and at the very end of the week we worked and worked and worked and ended up making some good up and finding some really promising families. And this week we are looking forward to playing catch up and getting the ball rolling again!! 

{This is in response to questions about the living conditions in his city:}
So the part of Arica that I live in is like basically government homes. Like the government hires a big company to build just a TON of cookie cutter homes and then after the people get their homes assigned by the government. I still haven't seen a normal home like there are in the states. Even for the upper middle class air conditioning just doesn't exist. Hot water heaters are pretty rare too. I have never seen a cloths dryer here yet. They just don't exist here, everyone just air dries.
 Right now I have hot water but tanks of gas are expensive and if we run out during the month we have to wait until we get more money at the first of the month to buy more. Yes we have someone to do our laundry here. We live with members in the upstairs and it is so small. The bedroom and room we have to study in and the bathroom all together are about the size of the dinning room in our house, its very different and I would like to change. And for most of the other missionaries in the mission, basically all of them live in a house or apartment but hot water is hit and miss everywhere

Love to All!!
Elder Brayton
Study and eating area in Arica

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

New President, New Rules, Same Greatest Mission In The World!

District meeting

On this week, in the Misión Chile Antofagasta, missionaries all over the north of Chile celebrated and rejoiced because now, we can play soccer!!  I have really mixed feelings about the recent change of presidents. The mission president and his wife are basically like our parents/bishops/boss and anything else that you could think of. I am exited to have the opportunity to learn and listen to and work with a new president but also a little sad because the Daltons have left. But as I have learned, the change of presidents brings in all types of things that are new and strange. 

For the conference that we just had yesterday to meet the new president, he showed us a clip from the movie Mulan, the clip where they are all training for the war and singing. And it was something extremely different, but I learned a ton from the conference and I kind of got an idea how President Ferreira is going to operate . 

Today, we got together as a zone to play soccer and it was SO fun to be able to run around with everyone and have fun. While I was playing I got to see a little bit of how deeply soccer in entrenched in the Chilean culture. As we played, there were people that would take a minute to watch us. Like some construction workers ate lunch as they watched. There were lots of older ladies that came out of their houses to watch, and it was really cool because in between the games( we were playing rotations)  some of the other missionaries and I could talk to those that were watching and get to meet them. 

This week has flown past and I have loved every minute of the work here! I Love Yáll so much!!! Take care!!!!   

Elder Brayton

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July from 14,000 feet at Parinacota Volcano and Lake Chungará in Chile!    

Elder Brayton's new trainee, Elder Jimenez

I am not really sure if I can summarize up these past two weeks, so I am going to start from the very beginning.  I went to Antofagasta Tuesday in the night and I'm not sure if I ate something or maybe it was something on the bus but I got super sick! It was not a fun trip at all but none of that matters because when I got to Antofagasta there was a room full of new missionaries! And part of the tradition of this mission
(not sure how it is in other missions) is 2 meetings with all the trainers and all the new missionaries. So I didn't even get to find out who my "kid" was until the very end! But after the hours of meetings I finally got to know who I would be training for the next 3 months. ELDER JIMENEZ from Las Angeles, Chile! And it is really cool because he looks almost exactly like my trainer. But for being a Chileno he is whiter than i am. so whenever we talk to people in the street everyone thinks that he is from California! 
The first week with ELDER JIMENEZ was pretty slow since we got a late start, because we were in Antofagasta until Thursday while I was recovering from my sickness. 
I'm sure as you all know that Chile is the champion of the COPA America but I bet that you didn't find out in the same way that we did. So it was like 11 pm or later, I don't remember the details, but we were sleeping and all was normal in the world, an occasional firework but that was normal because Chile was playing. When all of a sudden the city of Arica went up like a bomb. In less than one second it went from a quiet city to being inside of a stadium. And I wish I was exaggerating. So we woke up and knew right away that Chile had won and it was a party in the streets, and really in all of Arica.  

This past Monday we went to Lago Chungara, the highest lake in the world and that was a trip too. So let me paint you this picture, here you are standing higher than any other point in the United States, but you are level with this gigantic lake and looking straight up at this volcano!  4,500m (14,000 ft) above sea level is a lot! Up at the lake I could feel it... walk a bit, sit down and catch your breath, basically do anything and I had to sit down afterwards. And then there were other people up there that were straight up playing soccer. All I could do was look at them and wonder how in the world they could handle doing that. It was also the last time we went out with our investigator Christopher before he moved .

Lastly this past week there was a nasty sandstorm that hit Arica and it was something super strange for here. But it was also really strong, a lady in our ward last the roof off of her house but everyone is okay. When the storm was happening we never got a call to stop working so what we did was call someone before we left a house and ask them if we could come over and then we would run to the next house. Needless to say we got back to the house that night covered in sand and dust! 

A lot of people have asked me how I have liked training and honestly I love it! At first I was really nervous and felt really unprepared but after I actually started I realized how ready I really was and how I have been getting prepared the entire time of my mission to do it. Oh and I still haven't met the new mission president. We have a conference with him this next Monday so I will get to write everyone Wednesday next week.

Lots of love from Chile!
Elder Brayton 

Braving the sandstorm in Arica!

Giddy up!