I love working in Coyhaique. Every week I`m a better person and we meet new people to teach. However, I can`t help but escape the feeling that I`ll be transferred next week. I`ll know soon.
May I just say that daylight savings was really awesome :) The only problem is that now it`s completely dark before 7:00pm. When I arrived in Coyhaique, the sun was still up after 9:00pm.
We had a district conference this past weekend, which is like stake conference but smaller. It was WAY better than any stake conference I had ever been to. Actually, the talks were pretty normal, the music was good (it was nice singing with a piano with more people), but what made the conference so incredible was that every session ended with President Rappleye teaching (because mission presidents preside over districts). He`s an incredible teacher! He taught the Plan of Salvation so clearly and with humor and very spiritual and memorable and awesome! The way he taught put the way I teach to shame. I learned a lot from it.
I noticed that President Rappleye used the scriptures as the primary fountain of the teachings, something that Preach My Gospel says we should do, but I`ve been struggling to do well. He taught with a whiteboard, which makes me want to buy a little whiteboard ASAP.
In the priesthood session, he taught about councils (like ward council, stake council, council of the first presidency). I never realized how central councils are in the church. It`s how the church is governed, and it`s how revelation for a group is received. President said that the most important councils in missionary work is that between two missionary companions united in searching the will of the Lord. The most important councils in the church are those between husband and wife (the kids can get involved too sometimes, making it a family council). There are no bad ideas in councils because bad ideas help stimulate the good ideas. Everyone supports one another to make it all work. I feel like I understand the structure of the church so much better. It`s inspired and could not have been better made by man. The church truly is guided by revelation.
In the Sunday general session, President Rappleye invited Miriam (the one we`re going to baptize next week) to come and bear her testimony without telling her before he was going to do that. He also invited two missionaries to bear their testimonies (which gave Miriam time to think about what to say). That decision to invite Miriam to bear her testimony was SO INSPIRED! It resolved so many problems. She had expressed before that she never wanted to give a talk or bear her testimony in front of everyone, so this was a very good push. President used what Miriam said in his talk (she said she would try to be a good member of the church and that she`d put forth her effort) and taught that putting forth your effort is the essence of the Gospel. We don`t go to church looking to receive, although we certainly receive much at church. We go to church looking to bless others. We are to turn outward and lose ourselves. He who loses himself will find himself. Such a great spiritual high :D
On a fun note, we were waiting for a collectivo with a member who recently returned from his mission. We saw a man with one of those collars that catholic priests use. He walked into a house on the other side of the street. The member with us told us we needed to give him a Book of Mormon to him. As it turns out, this man was the Archbishop of the Aysen Region. The head catholic leader guy of the whole región! (A región is like a state in the USA.) The member was very good about presenting us to him (he had talked with him before because he`d studied in a catholic school), and I bore my testimony and gave him the Book of Mormon. The archbishop was very polite. I`m not sure he`ll read it, but you never know.
I`m short on time, but I also wanted to talk about the Escuela Agricola. President Zamudio (our branch president) is a teacher at a local high school. He actually lives on campus because he used to be the director. He invited us to come help teach English in some of his classes and it was fun :D The idea is that they see us as friends and not strange Mormon missionaries. The school is absolutely beautiful with lots of tall trees. It`s got a very outdoorsy summer camp feel (it`s not IN the city, kinda like Tesoro High School). All the schools in Chile have uniforms.
I love you all so much! Keep learning and serving one another! Put God first in everything!
-Elder Connor Christopherson
PS: Did I mention that we found Elder Holt’s white shirts, but not the bag. I still haven`t a clue how I lost the bag.
PSS: For the package, I think all I really need is that extra inside cover thing for my sleeping bag (so I can always have a clean one). Don`t spend too much money on me. You can wait for when I`m in college to do that ;)