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!

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