I´m a little short on time because I had technical difficulties with the internet.
I´m almost done with my first transfer (a transfer is a period 6 weeks, and at the end of these 6 weeks, some missionaries receive changed assignments) Usually, training takes 2 transfers with the same trainer in the same sector, but my companion is going to be a zone leader near Villarica (up north). I´m still in Puerto Montt, but I´m getting a new companion! I don´t know much about him except that he is a gringo and he studied at BYU Idaho for a year. It´ll be interesting because I´ll need to teach him all about the sector when I´m the one being trained. It´ll be a fantastic opportunity to learn and grow quickly.
I´ll answer your questions: The weather is cold and usually cloudy, but these past days have had a little more sun. Today is particularly windy. We visited Volcano Osorno today as a zone. We took a bus. It was really windy. We didn’t hike at all because it was snowing so hard. This wasn’t like the pleasant snow of BYU, this was a blizzard, and the wind was blowing harder than I’ve ever felt it! I have a picture, but I can´t send that till next week.
As for my clothes, I wear thermal underwear, a long-sleeved undershirt, a layer of normal missionary clothes, occasionally a wool sweater if it’s really cold, and the coat that the mission president gave us. I also wear the scarf Sister Webber sent me with (thanks for that!). I´ve lost the gloves many, many times. Right now, I think they´re in the house of an investigator named Ivan.
All the housing in the mission is provided with necessary equipment like carbon monoxide detectors or vacuum cleaners. There are many many many many many dogs in the streets and behind fences. None of them have bitten except for a friendly dog that always follows us, but those bites are gentle. They just all bark.... all the time..... barking..... bark bark bark. I never want to own a dog.
Here´s an excerpt from my letter to President Rappleye:
"I felt fantastic about the lessons this week. I'm becoming a more prominent contributor in the lessons, and I am honing my missionary skills. We had a lesson with a very inactive member. He is an alcoholic. My companion me before the lesson that he didn't know how bad the situation was and how much he drinks, so he said he'd probe the situation and we'd base our lesson off that. I didn't understand much about what he was saying, but I heard the word "alcohol" a lot and how it made him feel bad. He also mentioned faith. To me, this was a golden opportunity to teach about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I had never taught a lesson like this before. I was using scriptures, asking questions that opened him up, and there were some great pauses. I kept expected my companion to take over, but he didn't; he let me run with it. Finally, I asked that he would finish drinking alcohol and never drink it again. I had no idea what he said after that, and my companion took over. It turns out that he was very confused with my question because he told us (without me understanding) that he hasn't had alcohol in over 3 months. Well . . . that's a little awkward, but the lesson was fantastic regardless."
-Elder Connor Christopherson
PS: I received the package. I loved the photos. I thought it was ironic that I already buy pretty much all the food you sent already here in Chile. Now I have lots of peanut butter J