Sunday, December 15, 2013

 This is our apartment (where my companion is locking the door).
We´re at the very top of a big hill, and although it appears white in the photo, the view is very nice. The four missionaries in our ward all live here.
I cut my hand while we were cutting firewood for some members in the ward.
Naturally, the first thing I needed to do was take a picture :D
I´m a little clumsy with the ax, but my companion is teaching me.
These antennas are close to where I live, and we walk past them every day.
This view is from the church.

Yá pó!

That´s what people in Chile say a lot. I do to. Yá is basically yah in English (as opposed to sí and yes) and the pó is what people in Chile often put after their words. The pó doesn´t mean anything... it´s just there.

Can I just mention I loved reading about Rebecca in Bulgaria? (Connor’s cousin is on a mission in Bulgaria.)

Oh! And business. The rule is that I can Skype the family for a total of 45 minutes and I can use those minutes in the 23rd, 24th, or 25th of December (that was strikingly difficult to spell after I´ve been writing Diciembre all month).  I still don´t know when... I was thinking that when we had it figured out where and what day, I could ask the members to email you (although Google translate will probably be part of the process). I don´t know what the time difference is with daylight savings and all that, so assume that all times I say are in current Chilean time.

It doesn´t get dark until about 9:45, which is awesome because people are more likely to open their doors and talk. When it was winter and it was completely dark by 6:00, no one wanted to talk because it felt late.

Life as a missionary is very bizarre. I feel like I´m trying to be the best missionary I can be, but it´s awfully hard to tell what that means.
This week we had intercambios (I think they´re called exchanges in English) and I worked in the sector of the zone leaders for a day. Their sector has a very beautiful view of the ocean (ours as well, but theirs also has nice green hills). The day was really nice. I felt really happy knocking doors and contacting people in the street, and although I felt we were more persistent and insistent than I am with my regular companion, I felt really happy about the day.
The next day we had a lesson with two sisters. They actually listened and said they wanted to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it when we invited them. That doesn´t happen... that just never happens! We have another appointment with them tomorrow, and I hope they will have read and prayed!
An awesome member served us sushi yesterday, and I noticed that I felt really comfortable talking in Spanish and actually joking and laughing.
I feel like we´ve had a lot of éxito (success) these past 2 weeks. We´ve been having more lessons. What´s also helped is that we´ve done tours of the church where we open the doors, have a table with pamphlets and copies of the Book of Mormon (along with delicious no-bakes made by one of the missionaries). We stand in the street and invite people in. I think our district´s taught about 14 non-members in the church that way, which is awesome! Much more successful than knocking doors and being told, "No, we´re very very busy. Another time." Or ,"No *wags finger* we´re Catholic."
Tommy always mentions his progressing investigators. That´s a little more difficult with me because no one has attended church and is progressing, but I feel like I should mention at least someone each week. We knocked doors the other week and found a family of inactive members. We set up an appointment and arrived with a member. It felt really sad and empty in their house... they´re a bit poor and work long hours. One of them almost cried when we talked about families and the happiness that comes from them. I think they realized that they  weren´t as happy as they could be. We got a member to accompany them to the church and they attended, WOOHOO! It´s nice when people who haven´t been in the church in many years attend. I hope it becomes habitual.
Yup. That´s my bit for now.
Love you all,
Elder Christopherson.


Monday, December 2, 2013

 The zone had a trip to a place called Altos de Petrohue, which is super pretty. It felt like high adventure (ideas for the priests and teachers next year :) 
Puerto Montt
Hi Everyone!
To be perfectly clear to those who asked, Thanksgiving is in no way celebrated in Chile. As soon as November started the stores all started to have Christmas decorations.
Oh... usually I write notes to remind me what to say, but this week I forgot.

Sacrament meeting yesterday was particularly powerful. I had been thinking about the Atonement a lot this week and how I need to connect what I teach to the Atonement more often. (read this,  it´s awesome and true).

Where was I... oh, ya. So I was thinking about the Atonement a lot this week, so the Sacrament was a bit more meaningful to me this week. As our understanding of the Atonement increases, our desire to share it also increases. When we come to Sacrament meeting and participate (after having prepared personally beforehand with penitent prayer), we are essentially coming unto Christ. When we participate in the Sacrament properly and worthily, we admit that we need Christ in our lives, that there is no other way or means whereby we can be happy.

I´m kinda rambly right now because there´s so much I learned this week about coming unto Christ. When we have faith in Him, we understand that we need to repent, TRULEY REPENT! That´s realizing what you did wrong, seeing where you failed to obey, recognizing the natural man within, and changing. You confess. You confess because it is how you become humble. By being completely honest, you open yourself and let the Lord do his work. Those who are prideful boast about the good they´ve done, they hide their faults. The humble seek not the approval of man before seeking the approval of God.

There is nothing more difficult to do than to repent, but there is nothing more rewarding. We need real faith to come unto Christ and repent, but when we do this, we are IMMEDIATELY blessed. How are we immediately blessed? When we pay tithing, we don’t immediately receive financial reimbursement, and when we don’t cheat on a math test, we might not receive the A+ we want, so how are we immediately blessed? WE CHANGE!  We open ourselves to Christ through our obedience and learn to overcome the natural man. The process is slow, happening little by little, but every good thing we do, every time we repent, we experience this change immediately. I testify that this is the way! This is the secret to happiness, only... it´s not a secret! There are 80,000 missionaries all over the world preaching this truth and there are 14,000,000 members who should be preaching it with matching boldness.
Sorry I didn´t share any big stories this week, but this has been on my mind a lot this week. It´s powerful when properly understood and acted upon.
I do have another photo to share. We took this photo while my companion and I were teaching a less active member a few weeks ago. He´s actually pretty active now and wants to serve a mission. He´s accompanied the missionaries 5 times this week :o We need more members who can do that.
Love y´all :D
-Elder Connor Christopherson

Friday, November 22, 2013

 You might appreciate these--my new shoes next to my old shoes.
I started wearing the new shoes a week ago, and it's quite different.
Hey everyone!

Thanks for the emails, everyone! :) Wow, I heard about the storm in the Philippines. I hope they get help quickly.

Mom, I lost my hat on one of my first days here, so that might be a good gift idea. I also lost my gloves. I feel bad I keep losing things! We take them off and put them back on so much in the winter. Also, my first pair of shoes are almost dead. My left shoe has a hole in the bottom and water gets in when it rains. I lost one of the two sleeping bag sheets you sent me with (I´m not really sure how) and the second one is starting to tear. Is the sleeping bag washable? I won´t have the sheet while it´s getting cleaned but I don´t want to get the sleeping bag dirty if I can´t clean it. Oh, and the chimney by my bed burned a hole in the sleeping bag just last week so some of the cotton stuff is coming out. I think I´ll fix that with tape later today.

We work a lot with less active members in Chile. President Rappleye told me that 1 in 33 Chileans are members, but very few of them are active in church. Last Sunday, we went on splits to walk with 2 less active families to church. The ones I walked with were a couple. The husband used to be bishop in the 1970´s and this was the first time they´ve attended in several months. It´s super frustrating because less active members will attend for a few weeks when we focus on them, but then they stop coming again. The less active member that my companion was with bought bread at the store while they were together, even though my companion told him he shouldn´t shop on the Sabbath.

My companion reminds me of Maia. The two of them both try to answer questions the easiest way possible and they both like to stick to what they’re comfortable with. We had an activity and the ward mission leader assigned my companion to be in charge of games. He really didn´t like that. He loves to cook and he´s comfortable cooking and he wanted to cook. Just something to give you a better idea of my companion :)

I don´t have as much time today, but may I recommend reading Mosiah 2 in the Book of Mormon? It´s an awesome chapter!
Un abrazo,
Elder Christopherson

Friday, November 15, 2013

Connor needs a maid!
This is his companion at their desk.
They wear coats indoors because there's very little heating.

Nov 4, 2013

Hola, hola, hola!

Thanks for all the emails! I get a lot more of them than my companion. His family doesn´t write him :/  They´re not members and I don´t think they really support that he´s serving a mission. I´m super grateful to read about everything. :) I know . . . I need to send more photos . . . it´s in the back of my mind.

The two packages you sent for Christmas and my birthday arrived a week ago, no joke! They´ve been sitting with my food waiting to be opened. Odd how it came so fast.

Last week, we had a zone capacitation with President Rappleye where we were all given red booklets titled "Adjusting to Missionary Life" It´s the coolest thing ever! It´s all about handling stress and has ideas for handling physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional problems that come up in the mission life. This is EXACTLY what was needed with all these new missionaries! Life as a missionary is super different, and sometimes I feel like a broken robot and it can get really rough. It´s an adjustment! I´ve been improving little by little as I´ve made little discoveries, but this capacitation that we had was the finishing boost. I feel awesome! My perspective is different. It helps as well that I can communicate in Spanish more confidently.
Several of the tips in the red book help me a ton, several of which I had to figure out on my own. For example, it took about 3 months to figure out what this book says 3 different times: not to worry about things I can´t control. It´s got a little part about talking to strangers, and another about learning from mistakes. It´s all stuff anyone can learn on their own, but it´s so awesome to have it written out! To quote another elder "This is what I needed this whole time!” To end the segment on stress, President Rappley read Section 122 with us. So powerful! Everything in this life is for your benefit. Believe it! It´s true!
President Rappleye also talked about leadership. I´m convinced that the best advice on leadership in the whole world is in D&C 121 (I think it starts at verse 42) all the way to the end of the section. The section describes two types of leaders, or rather, the qualities of two types of leaders. One type is very common in this world, and they can find lots of success that way, but the other type is the only one that can lead in the Kingdom of God. The other type is more difficult to be, but ultimately, it functions so much better! I encourage you to read those verses and discover it for yourselves :D

I want to include more of the little bits and day to day things in my emails.... but what to say......

I set a letter for Tommy on an ATM and forgot it there... oops...

There are also lots of drunk people in the streets, but it´s a lot worst in some other sectors. My MTC companion is in a town that is just packed with drunk people.
Sometimes dogs follow us (have I mentioned how many dogs there are? There are a TON!) Yesterday a dog tried crossing a busy street to follow us and got slammed pretty hard in the head by a car. I thought for sure it was going to die, but it just got up and ran back to its home. Dogs bark too much and I will never own a dog. Ever. ;)
I´ve taught some really crazy people. I love how logical the church is. A lot of people just talk about all sorts of stuff without purpose or point, trying to sound wise. Yesterday we taught someone who brought up the Holocaust, murderers in Africa, the Pope said there are extraterrestrials, all sorts of dramatic, shocking stuff that didn´t really point anywhere. It makes me a little sad because I know that´s how many false churches preach. They´re just super dramatic and get people hyped up with emotion, shouting and ranting about things that are shocking, convincing those who listen that the Holy Spirit is manifest when people are freaking out with emotion and blabbering in "tongues", but that´s not how it works! God has order and reason in his church! Everything he does is to help us become like Him.

Love you all,
the church is true,
and Chist is our savior.

-Elder Connor Christopherson

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Aw! I brought my camera today, but this computer won’t read my memory card... aw well... maybe I´ll get you some photos next week.

The mission experience is quite something. You end up meeting all sorts of people. It´s cool being in another sector in the same ward, because now I feel so much more familiar with the ward. We´ve worked a lot with less active members this week and several of them showed up at church :D
Something I learned this week is that the best and most meaningful experiences are usually preceded and contrasted by difficult times. I wasn´t feeling well when we entered into one house the other day (less active church members). We had given the mom a Book of Mormon the other day because she wanted to give it to a neighbor. We passed by this day to help teach her how to give it. For whatever reason, I felt dreary and confused inside. I had trouble focusing on what others were saying, and when I did understand the Spanish, I didn´t have a response.
We were originally going to practice with roleplaying, but it wasn´t working well. It´s not natural for a neighbor to just show up one day and say, "By the way, here´s the Book of Mormon, which might help you understand my religion. It´s a nice book." Ya... that´s a very uninviting way to do it. This is a problem that a lot of members have with doing missionary work; it feels forced, awkward, unnatural, and even rude. I was frustrated because I felt like I should have known this as a missionary, and I was blanking out with my mind going in every direction.

Just as I was on the point of giving up and just letting my companion handle everything, everything just got clear. All at once I remembered the scripture story of Ammon, who sought to serve King Lamoni and did so very sincerely, not bringing up religion until Lamoni wanted to talk about it. I thought of the video titled "I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go" and how they helped in missionary work not by knocking on doors, but by being willing to serve people in unexpected ways. (See the short video here: 

Service is key to missionary work. When we serve others, we increase our charity and love for them. We share the gospel not because someone told us to, but because we love those we serve and know that the gospel of Jesus Christ will help them more than anything else. When we serve others out of genuine love and compassion for them, we look for ways to help them. It becomes natural and comfortable to share the gospel, especially when we have the Holy Spirit to help us.

I´m very grateful that Heavenly Father gave me this revelation just as we needed it, just as this family needed it.

I invite everyone to pray that you will recognize those opportunities that have already been placed before you and constantly seek ways to serve those you love. As Mad-Eye Moody would say "CONSTANT VIGILENCE!"

Love you all!
-Elder Connor Christopherson

BTW: To answer your question, I’ve had sinus problems for a few days at a time, every month or two. Nothing too bad. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013


First, I don´t want to forget—thanks to Bro. Scott and Aunt Annie for the emails. Also, I´ve gotten questions about communication. Every week, I have one hour to: 1st write a letter to my family; 2nd to my mission president; and lastly, to anyone else outside of the mission. Because these computers are at a public cyber, the computers are on a timer and turn off after an hour. Because of the shortness of time, it´s difficult for me to reply to individual emails, although I try to, want to, and it is not against the rules. Some of you have gotten replies and others haven’t. Sorry if I haven’t replied. This is why my mom updates the blog with my weekly email, because everyone can read it. I hope that clears anything :)

My new companion is very hard working and is a good companion. He was baptized about 6 years ago and is the only member in his family of ten (parents included). It´s bizarre working in a new sector that´s still in the same general area. I feel like I know the members in the ward a lot better, and my Spanish has improved tremendously. I´m excited to work with them :) There are some really awesome people. My old companion's sector (my old sector) is suddenly booming with new families of investigators, which is super exciting.

My new companion and I have a young woman in our sector who was almost baptized a few weeks ago. She didn´t talk with any members for 2 or 3 weeks after she cancelled the baptism because she´s really embarrassed about it. She has a testimony and is learning well, but she has no support from her family or boyfriend. We´re trying to help her understand that the members love her very much and still want her to come to church.

Besides that, we need to search diligently for new investigators. There are also a TON of less active members. President Rappleye told me that 1 in 30 Chileans are baptized members, but not nearly that many go to church. We have a program to work with the less active members, but everyone seems to have a different idea on how to go about doing it.

I feel very different this cambio (transfer) than others. I feel stronger and happier. The mission has changed me. If I were to return home this week, I´d do things differently. I´ve learned to be patient and listen before pushing. I´ve also learned how important it is to focus on what I can do and not on what I can´t do, or on what others should be doing. The words of many general authorities stick firmly in my head: "Where ere thou art, act well thy part." I feel the spirit guide me as I focus and improve, bit by bit, every day, and I don´t worry too much about making mistakes. I´m far from the missionary that I will become, but I am the missionary that I want to be for now. I´m capable of working hard and doing my part. I´m happy.

That´s really what the gospel´s all about.

I love each of you, and hope all goes well in your lives. I think about you more than you realize (unless I´ve never met you before... then you´re sort of mushed in my collective "people who read my blog that I´ve never met but still love" section of my thoughts.) I love hearing about what´s happening with your lives.

-Elder Connor Christopherson

PS: Mom... there´s a family that wants me to make pancakes for them (gringo food).  There are boxes of pancake mix in Jumbo, but that´s both far away and expensive. Are they difficult to make without mix? How do you make it?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hi, family!

I have a transfer coming up :O I´m going to live in the same house and the same ward, but I´m shifting to another sector to work with a new companion from Peru. He already lived in our house and served in this other sector, so I already know him a bit. He doesn´t speak much if any English, so I´m going to learn Spanish much faster these upcoming weeks. My old companion is going to train another gringo, so he´ll still be here too. I´m going to be very familiar with this ward.

Lots of people asked about the dog bite. The bite was very small, nothing compared to the pictures I saw of Abbie Harper´s bite. The treatment is easy (5 phases of shots), it´s just a pain because the clinic is way on the other side of Puerto Montt and it takes a lot of time and money. We have to take about 3 colectivos every trip. (A colectivo is kind of like a cross between a taxi and a bus. They're black cars with little sign over them telling a set route that they have to follow and they have a fixed price to board. They´re very common in Puerto Montt, and easier to find than busses or taxies—not that I´d take a taxi; they´re super expensive.)
Maia! Congrats on the license :D

General Conference was awesome :D It felt like it went by really fast. For those of you who don´t know, it´s where the prophet and the apostles speak to all the world. They guide us and help us know how to be happy. 
Elder Holland gave inspired counsel to those with depresson: (May I also recommend President Monson´s talk
President Uchtdorf gave a powerful testimony of why members choose to be members of the church. If you have doubts about your role in the church, watch
But what was most noticeable to me was the big emphasis on member missionary work. Eight of the speakers, including President Monson, made direct references to member missionary work, saying that now is the time to hasten the work. People will look back on these days the way they look at the first vision and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. It is your chance to participate and build the Lord´s Kingdom. I especially liked Elder S. Gifford Nielsen´s talk and M. Russell Ballard´s
The work is always hard. I knew it´d be that way. I had an interview with President Rappleye (a very awesome guy) and could honestly say I was happy here. He gave great advice about the work and I felt well instructed and prepared.
Love you all!
¡Chau! (<-- the hermana sitting next to me told me that´s how it´s spelled)
-Elder Connor Christopherson

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Not much time today so I´ll be quick. Oh... and ¡Hola! :D  Where to start.... ok

Thank you, Sister Stromberg, for the card. It´s great to know how many people there are looking out for me.

I´ve gotten some questions about food:

1.  To the Ballards: No, I haven´t eaten anything crazy yet. I´m living in the city right now so there isn´t much campo food (campo means country).

2.  To anyone who has asked if I´ve eaten lots of chile in Chile: Yes, you´re all very clever, but I´ve eaten less chile here than I ever did in the United States.

Oh! I was bitten by a dog about 2 weeks ago. :) I´ve gotten so used to just hearing the sound of barking dogs that I didn´t even notice it behind me (did I mention that there are many many many many many many many many many many dogs in Puerto Montt?) It tore through my pants, but didn´t tear through my thermals. It drew blood, so I need to get a 5-phase rabies vaccination at the clinic.....which is way on the other side of Puerto Montt. It takes a lot of time, but it´s something we need to do because there's that 0.1% chance I have rabies. *twitches and foams at mouth*

We actually went out to the countryside this Sunday because it´s part of our sector and we got a referral. But they didn´t answer the phone after setting the appointment, so, since we were already far away, we visited local members who'd recently moved there from the city because it´s cheaper and it´s a bigger house.

We´ve had a very successful week in la obra missional (missionary work). We found two really nice families while knocking doors, and we got referrals from other missionaries to two other families. The real test is if they´ll actually listen to the lessons. Missionary work often feels like throwing darts. On Saturday, we had tons of appointments and only one didn´t fall through (a less active member who needed to leave shortly after we arrived). I´m excited to meet the new referrals. We have an appointment with one of them today, so let´s hope it holds through.

This week, I learned a ton about mercy and justice. Justice exists because there´s a law, a law set by God before the Earth was ever created. When we break the law (the commandments of God given to us for our benefit), we sin and are subject to justice, which separates us from God. Thankfully, because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we have mercy. Mercy is the opportunity to repent. It’s given to us through the Atonement. Repentance is the real intent to change our lives to conform to those laws of God. However, none of us are perfect and none of us will make all the changes necessary. We show our faith and our real intent by actually changing as much as we can, but we can´t be perfected without the Atonement. We can´t be perfect because the law has been broken and justice claims those who break the law. Mercy claims those who repent because of the Atonement. It’s our opportunity to change.

If I had more time, I´d make that more concise and clear, but I don´t, so I hope that made sense. :)

Love you all. :D  I especially love the emails I´ve gotten.

¡Chao!  (I spelled it "ciao" before... but I saw it spelled "chao" on the side of a truck... so I hope that´s spelled right. It´s how everyone says "bye" in Chile. Almost no one uses "audios".

-Elder Christopherson

Mom: Music probably isn´t a fantastic idea for Christmas because even if you sent 100 songs, 2 years is a really long time with the same music. I don´t want to get sick of good music. I´m seriously provided with everything I need.... I´m trying to think of what I might want..... Your letters are really what matter to me. Those are the things I look forward to.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

 I took this photo to compete with Tommy´s photo. :D
There are wood burning stoves, like the one behind me, in all the houses. Ours usually doesn´t have fire in it because it´s difficult to start because our wood is pretty wet. It´s easier to maintain once we start, but we don´t really spend enough time in the house to where it´s worth lighting.
That´s my companion and I eating at the home of a family on the 18th holiday.
I have no idea where the other elder got that apron! We´re eating empanadas.

These are alfajores. There are a lot of these this time of the year in Chile, but apparently you can´t find them at other times of the year. The cream in the middle is very sweet and yummy.


 Here´s our chapel :) It also doubles as a cultural hall. The members set up the chairs every Sunday. It´s one of the nicer chapels in the mission. My companion and I helped set up the balloons :D
This was at the member´s house, but we played the same game on a grander scale at the church party as well. The scoring system is a little complicated, and I don´t really understand it, but basically you throw objects as close to the string as possible. At the members house we threw 100peso coins and at the church (where the bin was about 3 times as far) we threw short thick rods of metal.
Here are church members who helped cook at the ward party on the 19th. The attendance was really good and we played lots of games. The two sisters in the front are the sister missionaries for our ward. One is from Argentina and the one in the hat is from Panama.
Hi everyone!

Ok.... I don´t have much time to talk because I was uploading photos.

As for the work, I´m growing and improving every day. Fiestas Patrias was really really good for me (national holiday, where everyone takes 3 days off). It helped me relax and now I feel a lot more positive. I feel like I´m on a spiritual high, and I´m learning how important it is to listen and act. When we act on what we learn, the Lord blesses us with more. I learned that writing down new spiritual insights is super important because it shows to the Lord that what you learned is important and precious to you. He gives you as much as you can take, and I feel so content and happy to be a missionary.

We met lots of people this week who rejected us in some way or another. I don´t have time to tell the stories, but I do want to tell you what I learned. I learned that it´s never impossible to come unto Christ. It´s something He wants us to do; it´s something we should do; it´s something we can do. He gives us commandments because we are happier when we follow those commandments. So many people try to do their own thing, thinking that they know how to be happy without Christ, or by proclaiming they believe in Christ but won’t act on the teachings of Christ. They have told me that they´ll wait for another time to repent, saying that they knew they needed to. There is no point in procrastinating repentance, because wickedness never was happiness. People think "I´ll cram in a little more pleasure before I have to change." You will NEVER change with an attitude like that. God gives us as we desire, and if we don´t want to turn towards Christ until the last minute, that shows Him that we don´t actually want Him in our lives. 

I love you all :D

Elder Connor Christopherson

Sunday, September 22, 2013

 Independence Day in Chile

I love reading about everyone´s lives! Dad! I forgot to mention you in my list of shout outs last week. I love how well you describe what´s going on. I can get a good idea of all the important changes from your emails. I also think it´s nuts how much you ride your bike :P The photo of High Adventure was particularly fun to see. That´s too bad about Max´s first week of high school. Keep up the good work, Max! Do what will make you happier in the long run! And I hope Maia´s school schedule works out better. Maybe God has a special purpose. He usually does.

I also like reading about my friends on missions. I love hearing about the success! Tommy´s mission in Washington seems to be doing particularly well.
These weeks in Chile, I´ve been learning about patience and animo (I´m not sure what the direct translation of "animo" is... It´s kinda a cross between energy and excitement). The work is slow right now. These weeks we´ve been doing a lot of knocking doors and contacting people, but we don´t have any investigators that are progressing. People that we used to teach either moved away or don´t answer the door anymore. We´ve been getting false phone numbers and people aren´t answering when we have their real numbers.
We´re not perfect missionaries. We´re far from it. But there´s always more to improve, and that´s what we´re patiently trying to do. I said I learned about animo this week, and that´s important because even if times are tough, we need to be joyful. It´s normal to be sad, but there´s no point in moping. It´s like the great saying that I always liked framed in the Sheppard´s house: ¨Keep calm and carry on."
The Lord is never in our debt. It´s always the other way around. When we are obedient, we receive blessings immediately. When we prepare to receive the spirit, when we listen for it, when we act on it, we will always be doing the Lord´s work, every if we can´t see the fruits of that work.
It´s like Abinadi who preached to the wicket priests of King Noah. He was burned to death without seeing a single person repent and come unto Christ, but little did he know that he touched the heart of one named Alma. Alma went on to baptize thousands of people, and his son as well. The work was moved forward and miracles happened. I can´t say that I always follow the promptings of the Spirit. I´m not perfect. That´s why we´re here. That´s part of the plan. We knew it would be this way before we even arrived. I know I´m doing the right thing by serving a mission. I know that this is the Lord´s work and we are representatives of Him. I´m grateful to be here I´m excited to continue growing. I pray to be more receptive to the spirit. 

I got a bit rambly in this email, but I hope what I said helps someone somewhere :) Life´s awesome!

-Elder Connor Christopherson

PS: I got a boatload of DearElders today. (mail strike is over)

PPS: This next week is 18 de Septiembre! It´s the independence day of Chile and it´s a really really big deal here. There are lots of Chilean flags everywhere we go. We won´t be able to knock doors for a few days because it get´s a little crazy, but there will be a celebration in the chapel and we´ll have fun with the members there :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Winter in southern Chile -- in August!
Connor on a volcano, trying to stand upright in the wind.

¡Hola, todos!

Where to start.... Mom, I don´t know what to ask for Christmas that I can´t buy here.

I love love love reading about what´s happening with all of you. I feel like all is well and everyone is growing. I´m going to do a few shout-outs because I haven´t really answered people´s questions or comments directly (it´s very difficult to find time to write letters... we can only do it on P-Day and we´re usually busy with other stuff on P-Day).

Congratulations, Annie Loy, Kenzie Smith, and Jacob Clarke on your mission calls! I hope I get to see some of your homecomings. Oh! And tell the Ballards I said "hi!"...

Grandma, I loved reading about your baptism in Switzerland. Yes, it is sometimes difficult to find streets when they´re not like a grid. We have an enormous map in our house with labels and whatnot. Someone came to deliver us gas (for cooking and showers), and my companion said we probably look like FBI agents in our white shirts and ties with our big map. Our house doesn´t have a couch or TV or a dining/coffee table like what you might expect in a normal house. The most noticeable things in the first room is the stove, the map, and my desk, which is covered in books and binders.

Who else.... I don´t know how many of my BYU friends can read this as most of them are on missions, but I hope you know that I love your letters and I´m really excited to hear what´s going on in  your missions (Especially Sister Haws, because the Irvine mission is a bit special to me).
Max, I´m proud of you for how hard you´re working. I tried getting into cross-country my first year of high school as well. I didn´t get on the team, but I remember I was more fit that year than any other.

Speaking of fitness... I´ve been eating a lot in Chile. We´re given a lot of food from the members and we have plenty of money provided by the mission to buy food as well, so I think I´ve gained a bit of weight (I hear Tommy gained a few pounds too :) I´m trying to find some ideal food that´s healthy, delicious, filling, doesn´t require preparation, and will endure. I don´t know if a food like that exist, but I´m still looking ;)

Maia, your emails and mom´s emails are my favorites. I´m amazed how much you have grown. I´m sure your wisdom teeth story of warm sticky blood all over your pillow will haunt my dreams for the rest of my life (I´m joking, I only have nightmares about that once a week). Sorry about the whole driving test situation. You´ll get it soon. Congratulations on your Personal Progress. Huge accomplishment.

I´m really sorry if I missed anyone. Keep emailing me and I´ll be sure to comment soon :)

Ok.... I´ll be fast. These last 2 weeks have been really great. I already told you that it´s really stressful helping my companion get to know the sector, but it´s also been super rewarding. I´ve learned oodles from him (I´m pretty sure that´s the correct usage of the word "oodles"). He´s very very creative, and he´s very good at contacting at doors. He´s just so friendly and animated that people open up to him. I´m trying to learn to do the same. I guess I just get nervous when I´m worried I won´t understand the response. My companion is absolutely fantastic. He is very knowledgeable and he actually explains things to me. I learn a lot from him when I listen and I feel lots of energy to bring the work forward.

I love you all!

-Elder Connor Christopherson

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Note from Mom:  We received these photos of Connor from a woman in Chile,
along with an awesome email that brought a huge smile to my face: 
"Today, the missionaries had lunch in my home. We are always happy to help the missionary work, and we love very much your son; he is a very good missionary. His Spanish has progressed very much, and we can talk with him without problems. We are a family that love a lot to the missionaries, and we are always caring for them; anything you need, we can help you. We send you much love." -- Sister Marcia
 Lunch at Sister Marcia's house.
Rain and wind in Puerto Montt!

Carrying firewood for Sister Marcia.
September 1, 2013
Wow! I have a lot to say! Hi, everyone!

Oh! First... answering questions of my mom.

On P-Days, we get up, prepare, and study at the same time as other days. Usually our Mondays go like this: We go to the central part of Puerto Montt to the Mall, doing all the emailing in a cyber, which I think is "internet café" in English. After that we might buy things in the mall (like umbrellas or fast food). Today, we ran into Hermana Marcia and she told me she sent you the photos. (Her son was able to help type in English. He knows a little bit. Her husband is learning lots of English now because he´s working in Saudi Arabia, and her daughter who´s serving a mission knows English very well because she studied at BYU). She was very excited to hear that you received the photos.

After the mall, we usually take a bus to Lider, which is a lot like Walmart. There we buy groceries and whatever else we might need. If we didn´t need anything at the mall, there´s a cyber there, and we can do our emails without going ... oh ya ... downtown ... that´s how you say centro in English ... I was having trouble remembering that.

I do use the sleeping bag and the sheet liner. They are both very very good and I can sleep comfortably.

The shoes are good too, but they sure get beaten up when I use them every day. They´re pretty dirty now, but I think they´ll hold for a while. I just need to clean them. I use the boots when there´s lots of rain.

This week was awesome and also really hard. My new companion is from Southern California (in a northern part of San Diego). He´s really enthusiastic. He knows how to teach very well, and I´m learning a ton from him. He´s takes the time to explain things thoroughly, which I like a lot. A lot of times I felt like I was following my last companion, not knowing what we were doing. It´s also interesting because I know a lot about the sector that my new companion’s just learning.

However, I´m realizing how much I really don´t know. He´ll ask me questions about the ward or about the area book that I feel I should know, but I only have a vague idea. It´s especially difficult to plan. It normally took a half hour with my old companion, but because my new companion is learning the sector, I spend about an hour and a half each night on it.

I´ve been directing him to houses where I remember meeting people, but I don´t really remember anything about them or I only have a vague idea if they were receptive because I usually didn´t understand what they were saying. I´ll lead him to a house and he´ll ask, "Who lives here?", and sometimes the best answer I have is, "I don´t know, I just remember knocking this door and they were friendly and we gave them a pass-along-card to I don´t know what they said, but they were smiling. That´s good, right?" Not much to go off of, but my new companion's very good at talking with strangers and being friends really fast. I want to be able to do that. He´ll ask about their families and their jobs and they just open up! I run out of ideas of what to say or ask and there´ll be awkward silences. I´m also learning from him ways to incorporate the ward in the work. We´re going to show them a clip from the "Work of Salvation" broadcast (the one about missionary work in June).

It´s been super stressful this week, especially when I don´t have the answers to basic questions like, "Who´s the Elder´s quorum president?" However, I know that this is the work and that I´m at the point that God expects me to be. I know that learning comes little by little, line upon line, precept upon precept.

My Spanish has improved a ton since arriving in Chile. I was introducing my new companion to the bishop´s family, and I was an active part of the conversation. I remember the first night I met them, and I couldn´t understand diddly-squat.

I love you all so much! God loves us too and gave his son, Jesus Christ, so that we could follow his example, repent through the Atonement, and be like Him. We´ve met some people who say they are religious and believe in Christ, but they don´t know what to do about it. They don´t understand that there is a plan for us and road to follow.

Our purpose on this Earth is to learn and grow and gain those experiences we need to progress. Without opportunities to be lazy and procrastinate, we could never learn to be hard workers. Without opportunities to be dishonest, we could never learn integrity. Without temptations, we could never learn self-mastery. Our choices make us who we are, and when we make good choices, we become more like Christ. That´s why Christ established His church, so we can have faith in him, repent, make covenants, and endure in his path. I know this church is true. It is the path that Christ has laid out for each of us, and it is your choice whether you will follow that path. It is freely offered to all.

I love you all!

Elder Connor Christopherson