Saturday, February 22, 2014

Note from Mom: Connor keeps trying to send photos but has technical difficulties. Maybe next week!
Hi, everyone! Ok. Where to begin. The spacebar on this keyboard is a little broken and is very very sensitive. It keeps adding spaces.

Congratulations, Maia :D You´ll do great at BYU-I! Prepare for cold, and don´t stay up too late at night (college has a tendency to make people forget the importance of sleep). As a missionary, I´m grateful we have a schedule to help us get a full 8 hours of sleep (11am to 7pm). That´s right, we sleep in compared to other missionaries. ;)

This has been one of the best weeks I´ve had in Chile. I probably won’t get to explain all the reasons, but here are some. 

I love my new companion! Elder Holt is from Utah and is taller than me. We have a lot in common. We both like good music (how many other people listen to the re-orchestrated soundtrack of Zelda?) and he likes to start our companionship studies with a hymn, which I think is awesome. He´s got a great attitude. His Spanish needs work, but he´s so open about talking to anyone and everyone. We´ve done so many more street contacts this week than I´ve ever done in a whole month! That ended up working out great for when Elder Ballard came because that´s exactly what he ended up talking about.

There were technical difficulties in the first part of the conference transmission, so we missed the first 1.5 talks. The wife of President Rasband bore here testimony in Spanish, even though she doesn´t speak Spanish. (She read it. She always tries to speak the language of the countries they visit.) President Rasband talked about how we should be FULL purpose missionaries who don´t just focus on baptism. Baptism is super important, but there are so many essential steps that lead to it and more important is helping people endure to the end after. People should always be heading for the temple.

President Rasband also emphasized how Elder Ballard is "the great missionary apostle of this generation." He´s written several missionary books. One of the most famous of which is "Our Search for Happiness," Which I´ve ended up reading in Chile. It´s one of my favorite books. It explains our beliefs so clearly in such a personal and relatable way. Bigger than that however, he was presiding over missionary work in the church when Preach my Gospel was written and published. He had to personally take it to the homes of prophets and apostles to get it approved and perfected. He presided in the same mission as President Monson and has 3 kids who have all presided over missions. WOW!

Elder Ballard said we need to focus on Chapter 3 of Preach my Gospel. He said that there are so many people who say they believe in God, but if you asked them about God or who He is, they don´t really know. We need to focus on teaching the most basic doctrines, and these are so clearly seen in the first vision, when Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. Every missionary should have the first vision memorized and should be very open about telling people about it. When we continually internalize the basic doctrines of Chapter 3, we gain the confidence necessary to open our mouths. We should be sharing with EVERYONE! Elder Holt and I have been putting this into practice. We´ve gotten so excited about talking to people in the street. We´ve met such nice people this way and people are feeling the Spirit :D

It´s such an exciting time to be a missionary!!! The Lord truly is hastening His work and I think this will be my favorite cambio (transfer) thus far.

I love you all so much :D Ask the missionaries wherever you are what you can do to help them. Learn the names and faces of their investigators and pray for them. Make new friends.

Elder Connor Christopherson

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Wow! I´ve got a big list of things to say this week!

We just climbed a big mountain just north of Coyhaique (someone told me it`s called Meli Mollo.... or maybe it`s spelled Meli Moyo, I`m not so sure). It was gorgeous, and way bigger than I thought from a distance. So fun! The top part is really big and rocky and reminded me of Lord of the Rings. The forests reminded me of Skyrim :D I was surprised to see lots of bamboo on the mountains, even though the climate is almost exactly like the canyons of Utah. Almost all the trees had green fungus on it that looked like pale green witch`s hair. There was also very fresh water coming from the side of the mountain we could drink. Very beautiful, but now I`m exhausted. I didn`t make it to the top because I didn`t want to rock climb (I wasn`t aware that there was another way on the other side that some of the other missionaries took). It was gorgeous! It reminded me of High Adventure.

Transfers are this Wednesday. My companion is leaving and I`ll be assigned a new companion.

Next week we`re going to hear from an apostle! Elder M. Russell Ballard is coming to Puerto Varas along with the most senior member of the presidency of the Seventy (I don`t remember his name, I think it was Elder Rasband), and the Area President of Chile, Peru, and Argentina. They’ll be holding a special conference for all members this Sunday and a special conference for the missionaries of the Chile Osorno Mission! That`s so cool! That`s only about 200 people! We`re going to receive revelation specifically for us to help us better serve the Lord :D All the missionaries will travel to Puerto Varas . . . except those of us in Punta Arenas or Coyhaique :/ So I`ll be watching by transmission. Because of the special conference (which is on Monday), P-day will be moved to Tuesday, so don`t stress out when I don`t send an email until then ;)

Ah, a question I had. How many missionaries are there from the Las Flores Ward and when will the next one return? I counted 13 and I think Austin gets home soon, but I wanted to be sure.

Maia, that made my smile so much when I heard you got Pokemon Emerald :) I ended up talking about Pokemon with an investigator and 2 different members this week (they brought it up, not me. Funny how that works.). I`m still nerdy as ever ;D That`s not going to change.

Yes, Dad, I received the photos.

Thanks for all the support from everyone :D I received an enormous count of 5 letters on Saturday: 2 from Sister Webber (Navidad and cumpleaños), one from Grandma (cumpleaños), LaRee (Navidad), and Chrissy Grover. Love you all :D

Christ is our Savior. Our Heavenly Father loves us and has given us a perfect plan. Joseph Smith was a prophet called to restore His church. Sounds good to me :D It`s all true. I know it. You can know it too! Ask the missionaries! They can help you (a little Russell M. Nelson reference). Read the Book of Mormon, and when you study it, pray about it, and learn that it`s true, get baptized by someone with priesthood authority, okay? Sounds good!

Love you all!!!!
Elder Connor Christopherson

Monday, February 3, 2014

First, I want to thank the Chamberlains, Aunt Gay and the Stenquists, and Kayla Haws for the letters and Christmas Cards. Thanks :D

We got an announcement last week that it´s now illegal in Chile to import dried meat or beef jerky, so don´t include anything like that in future packages. Thanks :)

I´ve eaten so many cherries this week! A lot of people have cherry trees here and everyone gives big bowls of them to us. One lady gave us a liter of homemade cherry juice, which had lots of pulp. Very yummy :D 

Oh! Dad, to answer your question, they sing acapella at church. It´s not the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, that´s for sure.

As a missionary, there are certain questions that always come up about how to be a better missionary/disciple/person. It´s always a struggle to find balance in how to do things right. For example, it´s sometimes tough knowing how to talk to people in the street in such a way where they don´t feel uncomfortable, but they also feel the spirit and accept our invitations. We don´t want to push people and be unnatural, but we do have an objective to invite people to come unto Christ. One of our zone leaders (I had intercambios with him last week) said to be obedient, but be yourself. Follow the rules for the sake of helping people better and not for the sake of following the rules.

I´ve learned a lot about myself as a missionary. When I think of something as a task, my brain locks and I don´t get anything done. When I mentally prepare myself to be excited about something and to make something fun, I´m much more productive. I really really really liked something Tommy said in one of his emails "Come what may and love it!"

Lately, I´ve been able to communicate with people better and better and start to love them more. About 2 weeks ago, something clicked and all of the sudden everything is falling into place. I´ve been really happy these last two weeks. I couldn´t say why it was so difficult before, but these last two weeks, I´ve just learned to love everything. I´ve learned to enjoy the mission, I´ve learned to be friends with strangers. This can all be summed up in one phrase: I´ve developed CHARITY :D :D :D :D :D I´ve never appreciated charity quite so much as now. That divine ability to just love everything, I mean EVERYTHING! The good and the bad. I´ve just felt so much more light and I feel so much more trust and faith in the Lord and I´ve just been so much more content.

I know this church is true! Christ is our savior and it is only through him that we can be saved. I was really touched by the story about Corrie ten Boom in General Conference. I´m sorry... I don´t remember who´s talk it was, but it’s awesome! We need Christ if we want to be more Christ-like.

I love you all. I think about each of you more than you think.

-Elder Connor Christopherson