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