Saturday, June 29, 2013

My district at the MTC.
All the hermanas are going to the Chile Osorno Mission, like me.
The two elders on the right are going to the Cusco Peru Mission.
I love each one of these wonderful people!
Hola mi familia y mis amigos,

I'm amazed how much Spanish I've learned in these few weeks. During class time, the teacher speaks primarily in Spanish and I can understand most of what's being said. I can communicate so much with the very very basic Spanish I know. I know that this wouldn't be possible without the Gift of Tongues (which is where the Lord blesses people with the ability to say what He needs you to say in the language of those being taught). I've seen this gift at work already and I know it will get better as I qualify for it by SYLing more and more (speak your language). I feel like I can say and understand much, but I also know that everyone speaks pretty slowly at the MTC. Chileans speak Spanish very fast, and they tend to drop off parts of their words. I also learned that most of my companions in the mission will be native speakers, which means I won't be saying much of anything in English for a good 2 years.

I'll try to answer your questions:

As for sleep, it's been fine :) I get to sleep faster than normal and I wake up before the alarm goes off. However, missionary work is exhausting. It's difficult to stay wakeful while studying, but that's how it seems for everyone.

I haven't used the sheet because the MTC already provides all the bedding we need while we're here. I also haven't used the backpack while I've been here because you can't take backpacks into some of the buildings. I thought people at the MTC would know more about the specific items I'd need in the field, but they don't. The classes are focused on being able to teach the gospel and speaking Spanish, and I haven't gotten to ask anyone who's been to my mission (most of my teachers have served in California or the Dominican Republic). I don't think there will be problems with the backpack, but I really don't know any more than when I left California.

The worldwide broadcast was super cool :) There have been apostles and mission presidents in the MTC all week, but they stay in a big building that was blocked off to missionaries. (I think they don't want missionaries swarming to shake hands, because then they wouldn't be able to get anything done). Last week, when Elder M and I were leaving the temple, we saw Elder Holland :D :D :D  He was walking into the temple and we were about 20 feet away from him and I wanted to go talk to him so much! However, he was talking with someone else and you're not supposed to approach apostles unless they approach you. Still super cool! Just seeing him made me want to be a better person. I want to be that type of man who always has a powerful spiritual presence about him.

Our lessons with the progressing investigators are getting better. We still have a long way to go, but we're getting better at asking questions and really helping people understand why the gospel is relevant to them. It's a struggle, and one of our investigators keeps falling asleep during our lessons, but we're improving. Much better than our first lesson where all we could do was bear our testimonies in Spanish and leave.

My companion, Elder M, has been struggling with Spanish ever since we got to the MTC, but in our last lesson with Lucio, he was able to speak with the spirit and was able to ask inspired questions. It really boosted his confidence and I'm super excited for our next lesson. :D

The first few days felt like 2 weeks, but these last few weeks feel like just a few days. I'm so amazed that we leave to Chile in just over 2 weeks! I'm not district leader anymore, but my companion, Elder M, is the new district leader, and the other elders in my district are the new zone leaders.

I don't have any more time to email now, but I want all to know that the church is true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is truly Christ's church on the earth again! Joseph Smith was a prophet of God who truly saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the Sacred Grove and he was an instrument in the Lord's hand in restoring His church. I know that the Book of Mormon is truly inspired. The accounts it contains are true and are applicable to everyone.

Near the mail room, there's a painting of the stripling warriors that I particularly love. They were all strong, courageous men who trusted in God in all that they did. In the painting, they are all lined up together awaiting commands from Helaman. Every one of them has bloody bandages and wounds, but they are all smiling. They have the spirit with them and support each other in everything they do.

I invite y'all to learn more about the Army of Helaman.

Elder Connor Christopherson

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