Monday, November 28, 2016

Vamos a la playa!!!

Elder Gali & Elder Brayton visit the beach in Caldera.

Everything that happened this week was amazing! This was the week of Thanksgiving and everyone here knows what that is but no one actually celebrates it. But Black Friday is the bandwagon that everyone has jumped on around here. They don`t even try to translate it, they just say black Friday like normal. But back to the real stuff. This year for me and my comp we didn`t spend Thanksgiving grubbing down like usual. In fact, the day of we just had some soup for lunch and some chicken and rice. It was very different from all of the previous years of celebrating Thanksgiving for both Elder Gali and I. But the quantity of food that we lacked that day was more than made up for with the lessons and the new people that we met. Sebastian, for one, is doing a ton better physically. He has some good color in his face and has more energy than he has had in the past. I was able to learn a bit more about his situation this week so that we could help him out a bit more. Basically something happened in his life about 4 years ago, and that left him really sad and eventually he got depressed. After some more time without doing anything about it that, depression started to affect him mentally and physically. More time passed and he lost a ton of weight and he just kind of shut down to the world. He still has a couple of problems from all weight that he lost but is overcoming that with much patience and faith. I cant believe how much he has improved in just the last 2 weeks! He is walking around and getting back some meat on his bones, and even better, has had less panic attacks from being out with many people. Just goes to show how much can be done through ones faith and the faith and actions of the family. 

I have got to at least mention about Enzo. I am not sure if I have mentioned about him before but if I haven`t,  I will introduce y'all. First off he has the same name as Enzo Ferrari, how cool is that! Second, he is a reference from our land lord here and they are family friends. When Enzo mentioned to him that he was looking for something that made more sense and could be explained better than just saying to save to be saved. So he told him to go to church next Sunday and for him to see for himself. Long story short, Enzo found what he was looking for and now me and him are just about best buds. He, just like myself, tries to understand everything that he can about a topic that interests him, including religion. When you find someone like that with 2 missionaries like Elder Gali and I who love to talk and explain... it leads to some very long lessons. Not that there is anything wrong with lessons like that, actually I really enjoy them because Enzo is always asking really good questions in an effort on his part to deepen his knowledge and testimony. By far the highlight of my week was when I gave Enzo a book with different art work from the scriptures, the life of Jesus, and even some photography. The book was mine but because he is so interested in different styles of painting and within the book there are various styles, plus all the works have a scripture story to go with it, I figured it could be good for him to study said stories if he got interested. When I gave it to him he was so lit up and happy. I kind of thought that he was going to cry but he held him self together. I am hoping that he will get baptized this next month because then after he could begin to prepare to serve his own mission if he wanted to! Enzo is 19 btw.

Today, because it is the last  P-day for Elder Walker and one other missionary in our zone, we organized to go to the beach in Caldera. It was fun and we ended up meeting up with the missionaries out there to have a BBQ on the beach and playing soccer. We actually started off playing football but the Latinos didn`t understand that they couldn`t tackle, so we cut that game short just so no one would get hurt. All of the gringos that were out there got super burnt, myself included... something that did happen was the Elder that was having back problems in my district ended up having to go home because of his back. The doctors here couldn`t find the exact cause so that kind of worried everyone more, so he got sent to the states to have a second opinion.

Have a great week!!
Elder Brayton

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving week


Well, I have now finished my first year in the mission!! To celebrate Friday night, my comp and I went and bought a ton of food and then we came back to the house and ate and told stories about the mission. A couple of people have asked me if I burned a shirt for my first year and honestly I forgot to do it. Other than that, I didn´t do anything the day of but the day after we had a conference in Copiapo with a ton of youth in the stake. That was really fun for me because all we did was talk to them about how great a mission is and then we ate food! For whatever reason, Saturday we got given a ton of food!!! Like so much that we are still snacking on it today.
I really just want to talk about what happened last night. So last night after the ward counsel we went to visit a family that came to the church. Everyone in this family are members of the church but they have not been in forever. So we went and visited them. A of the members of the church went with us. The lesson and what we were talking about was unreal to me. After we got there, it took about 20 mins for the son to open up to us and start to share with us about what is going on with him. He explained that he suffers from a couple of different medical problems and that in the last couple of months it has gotten so bad that he can't leave his house that often. But on that particular day he knew that he wanted to go to church but refused to go to any other church than the one that he was baptized into. But, as he explained that and kept telling us more stuff about himself and his family I started to feel just an outstanding love for this guy sitting in front of me. He was just asking that someone help him and his family. We shared with him about the help that we can receive as we pray and that we can find through Jesus. I am really glad that the member was with us was there because she already loves to help people; especially when it is apparent that someone needs it. It was one of the most powerful experiences I have had up until this point in the mission. It also helped me understand when people say that there are people in your mission that are waiting for you to find them, and I think that Sebastian might have been waiting for awhile to get some help. I can't explain how excited I am to return tomorrow and to help him and his family return to feel the love of Christ. It also gave me something to be extremely thankful for this week and that helped me think about all the things that I am thankful for!

I hope everyone has a good thanksgiving! Everyone eat some turkey or ham for me because the Chilenos don´t really care what happened with the pilgrims way back when.

Love y´all a ton!!!

I am thankful for....
1) Ending the first of the 2 best years
2) My Parents, Sisters, and family that are all healthy and well 
3) Love and support that I get every week from friends and family
4) Everyone that motivated me to go on this amazing adventure
5) The opportunity to teach simple truths everyday
6) The other missionaries that I write to that are all over the world
7) Empanadas!!!!!! 

Elder Brayton

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hump Week


Well this week will be a very large milestone for me and my mission and my family as well! So Thursday, I think, it will be will my one year mark in this two year mission that I have been doing. To hear that for me, is beyond crazy!!. In most ways, it does not feel like I have been doing this for a year. But after thinking about it for a while it started to set in... of all the things that have happened over the last year.... I can kind of get the feeling of what all has happened. But its okay because everyone says that the second year goes by a ton faster and I 100% believe that. Ever since I was in Arica training elder Jimenez, time has been flying by like crazy. I have very mixed feelings because I am enjoying that the weeks are going by quick and I can watch the progress of all of these awesome people in my old areas, as well as my current area. But at the same time, I know that I need to cherish the time I have left because its all going to be passing by quicker than ever now. On the bright side to all this is that I think that I will be staying in Tierra Amarilla through Christmas and New Years, and possibly a month or two after that!

Two weeks ago in our sector I think that I said something about going to the back side of our area to find some new people and look for some old ones too. Also that we found a guy named Oscar that came up to us and invited us to come back. So what happened was this family was talking to other missionaries years ago and just kind of stopped for no particular reason. They were so excited to have the missionaries back in their house after so much time. The first time we went over there they told us that they want their two sons baptized and so me and Elder Gali were just as happy as we could have been. Even though this family lives over an hour away from the church building, they came!! Even more is that they showed up before us!! Because they had been the church in the past, everyone already knows who they are and remembers them from way back when. We have already been by twice this week and are planning to head back out there Tuesday. We have talked to the mission president about being able to use bikes if we can borrow some from a family, and he gave us the okay as long as we have helmets and something reflective like a vest or something. So that will save us a ton of time for when we go out there again and will also help us go to the other town that is in our sector! 

In our poor district this week, just about everyone ended up with some kind of sickness or infirmity, myself included. I got off pretty easy with some super crazy allergies. Right now this is still the spring season down here and summer vacation will start for the kids here in a couple of weeks. That also means is that there is some crazy pollen flying around in our area and that has gotten to me, but now I am all better and back to full energy!! Some of the other Elders have it way worse than me. I feel bad for them because they are all workaholics and can´t stand having down time. Of the four of them three of them are sick... One with a bad cough, another with pneumonia, and the last with a herniated disk. Nobody is sure what the last person did but he is in a good bit of pain and on a lot of meds right now. Just as a district in general we are falling apart. But everyone is getting better and hopefully everyone will be better by Christmas.

That is all for now. 
Elder Brayton

Sunday, November 13, 2016

November 7, 2016

P-Day basketball

Hey guys!

Sorry that I have not been able to write a ton. For whatever reason, the last 2 weeks have been holidays, so the places I usually go to write were closed. So we didn't get a ton of time. But this week should be better because everything is wrapping up here. The last week has been really hard on us because one of our investigators was supposed to get baptized but ended up not because his dad had some serious disagreements with the church. After spending all day Tuesday with the guy talking to him, I still am not sure what he wants. What happened was Omero was already about to get baptized, like walking down into the water with Elder Gali, and the bishop mentioned that nobody should take pictures or record video just out of respect and to keep the reverence of everything. Something about that just didn't sit well with the dad. He kind of freaked out and he left right away. So that all was really embarrassing for us and something that has never happened to me before. We have since been working more with Omero and his family and also been really encouraging the member of the branch to be more involved with the missionary work.

Really, I have been on the members backs ever since I got here. I guess that they finally got tired of hearing me all the time because yesterday they had their first ward counsel in a super long time (when really they are supposed to meet together ever other week). After the 2 months of bugging, they finally met up and had a meeting last night and it was sweet how much they got done in just a couple of hours. I am also really excited for this week coming up because we have planned to go and do visits with members almost every day this week. What is even more exciting is that this week we are planning to do divisions with a new elder. The new Elder is going to come and work with me for the day and I will get to be a trainer for a day, or at least pretend like one! I´m really pumped because he only has about 3 weeks in Chile. If I´m right, he is from Spanish Fork, Utah. 

One of the days this week we left to go to a part of our sector that I had never been to. The thing about Tierra Amarilla is that it is very narrow and very long. To go from one side of the town to the other takes about 5 minutes walking the narrow part, but from end to end it takes about 3 hours. We decided to get out there and work all day Thursday. We ended up finding a ton of new people and even more people that had talked to the missionaries before but for whatever reasons stopped. Now they want us to return so they can hear the discussions. There were even a couple of people that approached us to invite us to come back a different day. It was amazing to see all the people that wanted to have us back and wanted to keep learning about the gospel! So we are headed out there again tomorrow to go and see a guy named Oscar and the Morales family. The only downside is that they live pretty far away. Maybe we can get some bikes or a member to bring us out there! However we end up out there, I am really excited to be meeting some new people this week!

Hope everyone else has a great week as well!
Elder Brayton