Monday, October 24, 2016


Election rally parade

        Guys, I don´t remember how the elections are in the states, but I am almost positive that they are nothing compared to Chile. Really just all of the things that have happened this week have been pretty difficult for us here. With the elections happening this week, everyone was campaigning at full force with shows and concerts. Because of that, everyone was missing from their homes all week. That was actually cool to see and learn a little bit about how the government works. One thing that I thought was insane was that here there are multiple political parties. Of those parties, one of the popular ones is the communist party. That is a normal thing here, but when I saw them having their concert and saw the flags I thought  I had just walked into a protest, but it was just a rally for the guy running. No huge deal.

        The town was having some huge problems this past week. There were two major power outages and during the second one Elder Gali and I decided to make a little camp fire for light and to cook some s´mores. It was just like camping! Except right in our front yard... By the way the guy who did win the elections lives right beside us, and he had a huge celebration party last night and invited the town. I walked back there while it was still early to see what was going one and there was his back yard packed with people. They had themselves a nice little celebration even so much as we could feel the music shaking our walls! It was pretty spectacular.

        Um I have more to write but if I don't make it back to a computer today, this is what I had time for. There are transfers today so its kind of crazy.

Elder Brayton


Monday, October 17, 2016

To the Rescue!

Off to the rescue!

I just want to say that I have no idea what happened to the time while I have been in this area. I got here in August or something like a week ago and now its October AND I'm going to complete 11 months some time soon. Maybe my companion is pranking me with the calendar and date on our watch. I know time isn't supposed to go by this fast!! Really, it feels like we are going into May or July because it is starting to warm up, but we all know that's false. I guess its October now, but I have no idea because Chileans don't do Halloween or pumpkin spice. Those are the two big clues in the states. One thing that I do know is going on is that there was a huge hurricane last weekend at home. I'm glad that everyone is ok. 2 things that Chileans ask me about is the presidential race and also about clowns? Usually for both questions, I just tell them to visit Canada instead.

Anyways, this past week in our sector, we got to organize a huge activity in our area that we worked. What it is, or what its called is el rescate ( the rescue). This was my first time participating in one of these. The activity is to go around making sure that people live where they say that they have lived. This, for more than anything, is important because if something bad happens, like an earthquake, or even a hurricane like just happened back in South Carolina, someone would be able to leave with this list of people to go make sure everyone is okay and if they need anything. So we were going around to verify all of the names and addresses. The complicated part was there was some 400 names that we had to divide up among 30 groups of people. I kind of felt bad because Elder Gali ended up doing a lot of the busy matching names to streets and then assigning them to a group because he knows the town way better than I do. I tried to make a video of the process of the whole thing but it came out with a weird watermark. Anyway, the rescate came out to be really successful. Everyone that participated had at least one spiritual experience while they were working. So, I was exited about that. After all was said and done, the list was just about completely taken care of except for like 10 people. 

This past week, the struggle was real on Sunday. I think that I have said this before, but just in case, my personal goal for this area is to have 50 people in church because this is a really small church. 50 was the goal that I set when I arrived here. I just want to bring to your mind something that either bugs you or bothers you or just makes you antsy..... what ever that thing is for you and however you feel while you are doing it. THAT is how I felt in church!!! There were 49 people there. I probably counted like 20 times, but the number never changed. The whole time I wanted to leave just to go grab someone from the street. My comp wouldn't let me but, we were so close!!! But, I'm pretty pumped for next week because we will probably reach that goal!! That just means we are going to be working that much harder this week to reach it. I know that it is possible!!

I hope everyone has a good week! I'll talk to everyone next week!! 

Elder Brayton
I think Elder Brayton misses his Yella dogs!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

In a tight situation

Getting the door panel off.

Elder MacGyver to the rescue!

Okay, so I want to say before I start, all of this happened to me two weeks ago. The story that goes with this experience is crazy!!

So, it is Wednesday and we have just eaten lunch. We are getting ready to leave a bit early so that we could get a head start on the service project that we had already started at the kindergarten where we are painting a small mural. But, before we head out, we stopped by the church to meet with the elders quorum president to talk to him about some of the people that we could maybe help him with. We are going through a pretty large list with him when Bryan shows up with his grandmother to the church to take care of an activity that they would be having in another hour or so. While we are conversing about the different families that we could help, Bryan had a couple questions about his missionary folder and asked if I could help him with it. I told him I could for sure help him and we went back to the secretary of the church. The secretary is a room where the computers, all the electronics for the wi-fi, and a television are kept. They are kept there because the secretary is a sort of metal vault. I'm not sure of the exact reason why it is so heavy duty. Two guesses are one, because there is private information about members of that particular church stored in that room like phone numbers, addresses and other things. The other guess is because it is kind of necessary to keep electronics like computers, routers, and televisions under lock and key.  They still aren't super common in South America.

A quick side story to help y'all understand this a little better. Right before I got to Chile last January the church in which I was assigned was broken into and the secretary was cut open with like an industrial blow torch. I'm not sure exactly what it was but it left some huge burn marks on the walls. This was all done just to get a TV, a computer,and the monitor to go with the computer. So that's why it is necessary to have the vaults as storage. Anyways, back to the story.

I help Bryan finish up his work as Elder Gali is finishing talking about the list. As we are leaving, I thought it would be funny to shut the door behind me and close Bryan in the room. I did it, and it was funny. I let him out and all was good in the world. But then,  I had to grab something out from the secretary before we could head out to do the service project. I got what I needed... but as some pay back, Bryan closed the door on me and locked the vault door just like I had done to him. But this time, when he tried to let me out something happened with one of the rods in the door and it got stuck in place. That is how I got stuck in a vault last week...... And everything after that went something like this. The president of the branch coming and trying to tackle the door down, which didn't work and just made a ton of noise. The mammita that we eat lunch with telling me to stay relaxed and just watch a movie on the computer (which I didn't do). Some maintenance workers or contractors that came and then cussed at the door because it was some fancy German brand. I never actually saw these two guys. And then, the fire department with the big saw they had that they didn't actually get to use.

Back tracking a little bit, as soon as the door was found out to be closed and not opening on its own I started trying to find out if there was a way that I could get out that wasn't the door. I checked the roof, it was solid metal. I checked the walls, concrete. And so once I started to realize that I was only going to get out through the door, I started to think of ways that I could ether break the door more or fix it enough to get out. The biggest problem I had was that I had no tools with me. Most of the stuff that was in the secretary was too expensive for me to want to break. So of the stuff that I felt comfortable taking apart I had, an old radio, my watch, a fork, and some older ether net cables. After a ton of trial and error with these things, (I had taken apart my watch to use the metal band as a flat head screw driver)  I used that to open up a door panel that showed the mechanism of the vault door. With the antennas from the radio and the fork, I found out which pin was broken and started to take it apart. The pin that did go bad was part of a dead bolt that you could lock from the inside if you were working in there, but had broken off inside the door. So with the antenna and fork, I got the dead bolt taken apart from the inside as best as I could. I couldn't see a ton because this was all inside the door. Once it was loose, I used the Ethernet cord to pull down on it enough to get it out. Keep in mind all of this took me about 3 hours to get done while all of that other stuff was happening outside. Just as they were about to cut through the roof with the big saw, I got the door opened!! The next day, the same contractors were able to come back and replace the deadbolt with a new one. Now the door works fine. The members still tease me a ton for getting stuck in there and Bryan even more for closing the door. But seeing as he leaves today for his mission in Mexico, it won't matter much for him. So everyone in the Mexico, Cancun area look out for Elder Valencia!!! Okay that is my story for this week, and I will probably go back to the normal updates next week.

Until then, Everyone stay safe!!
Elder Brayton

Monday, October 3, 2016

Conference and Service

Wow I hope that everyone had the chance to see some of  conference this past weekend or at least hear one of the amazing talks that were given during the weekend. I enjoyed all the talks given, but especially the ones about missionary work. For those of you that don't know what I am talking about, this past weekend was General Conference. It is a huge series of sessions or meetings where the leaders of our church give inspired messages to all of the people in the world twice a year. The other cool thing about it is that everyone has the opportunity to listen to these messages in their own languages. I got to listen to it in English because they had a room set up for all of the Gringos living in the Copiapo area. They put all the English speakers in a smaller side room. To the me and the other Gringos.... it is the Gringo Room aka, the party/feasting room. Even though it was mainly just other missionaries from the states, it was still sweet to hear some English this past weekend. Also we ate a crazy amount of food and candy, which at the time wasn't a big deal, but I am feeling it now. For one of the Saturday sessions, the choir was made up of other missionaries that are getting ready to go to their assigned country or area but are learning the language. I saw a couple of people that I know including my cousin that is headed out to Russia here pretty soon! So shout out to those guys! 

This past week we had the chance to do a service project at a day care/ Kindergarten. The first time we went out there 2 weeks ago, we went and cleaned up everything in and around the building. This week just us and another youth went to finish painting a mural thing. We have not finished yet but we are getting close and it looks pretty good so far. All of the little kids in this daycare are the most precious things I have ever seen! All the people that work there are super friendly.
Almost completed mural at the day care.
Elder Brayton painting the mural.
Something really exiting happened for the missionaries here in this area. This month we have gotten texting on our phones.  that is like a huge deal for all of us because before we could only call. This will help us a ton because it seems like no one in Chile likes to answer their phones. Also, if all the missionaries can transition over to texting we, in the next few months we might be getting iPads! That is just too crazy to believe for me but if our mission president says that we can then I guess I can't argue with that! So it looks like we could be getting some big changes here in the next couple of months!!!!! 
One last thing, this last week something happened to me, and I have had a ton of people ask to explain it in more detail but I was already half way done writing when they asked. So, next Monday everyone will get to hear about how I escaped (like MacGyver) from the secretary/vault in our church building.

Love y'all and take care!!

Elder Brayton