Sunday, September 28, 2014

View from our fronot door. Our house looks like the one on the far right with a car in front.
Note from Mom: I thought this photo was out of focus until I realized it was heavy rain--which is a daily occurrence for Connor.
Dinner in Melefquen (the town 15 minutes from Panguipulli).
Sept 22, 2014
Lots to say. Oh... oops. I left my notes in the house. What was I going to say?

This week we travelled to Osorno to have a special capacitation with Elder Viñas of the Quorum of the Seventy. We had a good 9 hours in a van or in a bus, but it was worth it :D
Elder Viñas is from Uruguay (I think), so it was cool that he spoke in Spanish. First time I´ve heard a general authority speak Spanish. Normally, in General Conference, when some of the non-native English speakers speak, you can tell that it´s hard for them, and I sometimes feel that they can´t say it quite as well as they might have in their native tongue. Makes me glad that they´re letting people speak in their native tongues this next General Conference. If someone gets up and speaks Spanish, I´m definitely going to the other room to hear it, rather than translated into English.

Elder Viñas was fantastic :D He gave lots of time for the missionaries to express their thoughts and feelings on the Atonement. Something that hit me is that Christ loves his role as Savior of the World. He loves helping us and he lives for making things work out in the end. It´s His work and His glory (along with his Father). We need not feel ashamed as we lay our challenges and our guilt before Him because He LOVES helping and he LOVES showing us the right way to go, even when we are sometimes slow to repent, change, and obey.

Elder Viñas also showed us the importance of having Priesthood holders who are active in the church. The new convert retention structure of the church doesn´t work too well in branches because there aren´t enough priesthood holders. As missionaries, we need to be more accountable for that, and we should always be aware of the new converts. Elder Viñas pulled out a list of all the elders who were ordained in the last 12 months and asked about every one of them. It was really embarrassing for the missionaries who didn´t know who these people were. Thankfully, we knew what´s going on with our branch´s recently ordained elder. He just left for a mission in Peru today.
I also loved how Elder Viñas didn´t stay in the pulpit, but walked around the aisles with a mic to talk with us.

Oh! time just went by really fast... um still lots to say.

We had a TON of nonmembers attend sacrament meeting today because 2 members of the branch were ordained as missionaries and the parents of one of them invited all their friends from Melefquen (a town about 15 minutes from Panguipulli). We had a great gospel principles class and President Obeso came to set them apart. The setting apart was a big reunion in the chapel (almost as many people attended as in sacrament meeting). There were some testimonies and President Obeso explained how missions work in a way that was so clear and understandable. The two missionaries left in a plane to Peru today (two different missions in Peru).

Hey! Great news! Elder Viñas will return to our mission in November, but this time he´s going to bring a friend. Elder Russel M. Nelson is coming to our mission at the end of November. :D That´s 3 general authorities in just one year. It appears our mission needs help :D

Max. The ward corn roast was in the other direction. Enjoy silly mistakes like that. Sorry that band has frustrations. That´s how I felt about winter drumline my Junior year.

And... I lost $40 bucks today. I hate losing things.

But, the church is true. The book is blue. And God´s a Mormon. (That´s something Elder Strate says sometimes).

Love you all :D
-Elder Connor Christopherson

PS: Mom, thanks so much for the testimony. :D

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pshh. I always end up with a computer with a hole right where the USB drive should be. I guess no photos today :/

Maia, yup. surprise! BYU is basically extended EFY with homework. 

I´ve had a lot happen this week.

We had two new elders move in with us. Elder Maldonado from Bolivia (he´s served in Bolivia, Venezuela, and now he´s ending his mission here in Chile), and Elder Lawton from Provo (turns out, his family´s been reading my blog since he got his call. Hola, Brother and Sister Lawton! Makes me wonder how many other people read my blog. I guess I´ll never know. (He said I topped the Google search for "Chile Osorno Mission blog.")) They´re both excellent elders. They´ve been here for just a few days, and they´ve been machines for finding new people to teach. They´ve had more lessons with member this week than we´ve had in any week this whole month. It´s great living with these humble, spiritual, cheerful people.

President Obeso called me an hour ago (that´s a big deal here. I think in other missions they contact their mission president pretty frequently, but here it happens a few times a year). He said he was calling all the trainers to remind them of the trust that the Lord has in them. That call came exactly when I needed it. It helped a lot and I know it was inspired.

This week we have the Chilean holiday,18 de Septiembre :D As it turns out, they made a law that everyone must have a Chilean flag in front of their house or they receive a $300 ticket, so we need to find a flag pole today.

A seventy is coming to speak to the  mission this week on Wednesday, and we´re all going to travel to Osorno. It´s gonna cost a good $200 to get the zone there (I´m not sure if that´s a two way or a one way price, but the zone leaders have it all figured out), it´s amazing how much the Lord provides through well managed tithing.

This last week we had branch conference, and the branch planned for an activity every day. That meant a lot more time in the chapel. It´s amazing how much time these branch members work for the church. The attendance just keeps dropping and the members are working harder and harder. We feel like Abinadi, who preached and was killed and never saw the fruits of his labors. It´s the Lord´s work, not ours.

One of the activities involved going to Hno. B´s house at 7:00am to give a prayer for Panguipulli. This member lives very far from us and collectivos don´t run that early, so we had to get up at 5:00am to make it on time. We got there and all the lights were out, so that worried us a bit. We thought we might have been the only people to show up. It started to rain in the dark morning as we sat outside the Hno. B´s unlit house. Thankfully, a car pulled up with the Relief Society president asking where a different member lived. As it turns out, the activity wasn´t in Hno. B´s house, but in another one nearby. Good thing the Relief Society president got lost. The meeting was spiritual and we all got to bear our testimonies, but goodness it was early. I guess when the Lord wants you to do something, you do it whether you think it´s worth it or not. That´s what Abraham had to do when he sacrificed his son. The Lord makes stuff turn out in the end.

I may not have time to fully describe the last experience of the week. We ran into a gringo named Steve who was really friendly and who invited us to visit. They have a lovely family here in Panguipulli. It´s actually a really long story, so I´ll sum it up and I might get to elaborate more next week. We were in that house for WAY too long. They gave us pumpkin pie and were really nice. He said he had a list of questions for us (which we had asked him to make so we could focus our teachings in his needs). I´m pretty sure the list of questions came from an anti-Mormon site. As it turns out, Steve is a pastor who knows the Bible REALLY well. He also knows a lot about all the big churches, including Christ´s restored church. He had a lot of really hard questions that have been nagging at me all week. Several of them I could answer right away, some of them took lots of study during the week to be able to answer for myself, and other questions I may not be able to answer for a while. It´s really deceptive how the truths and falsehoods were entwined. I guess that´s what happened to Saul. He sincerely believed the teachings of the Pharisees, but the Lord knew Saul´s heart. He knew that Saul was sincerely trying to do what was right, so he could appear to Saul and help point him in the right direction. I have faith if we do our best, the Lord points us in the right direction with the condition that we depend in His wisdom more that our own wisdom. Ask and ye shall receive.

Love you all!
-Elder Connor Christopherson

Hola, todos :D

The second package arrived. :D a camera, garments, Reese´s, and a debit card with MONEY :D :D :D Is that bad, that that´s the thing I was most happy about?

The package also had some photos from our fridge. Grad photos always look a little ridiculous :P Everyone looks so much older . . . like they´re graduating high school or something. I loved the magnet about God´s voice being encouraging rather than pushing.

Congrats, Hayden, for the mission call. :D

Maia, I love the extended analogy. Sorry about the dead possum. LaRee actually guessed what you were talking about and told me she loved the last book. You´ve got to talk about it with her. :P Hmm. Starting next week, the emails from my parents and from Maia are going to be different because they´ll actually be in different parts of the country. Don´t freeze in Idaho. (tip about college: Get to bed on time. I had some good laughs with friends, but I think my grades would have been better if I had gotten to bed earlier. It´s also important to look for fun service opportunities to do with friends. I don´t know if Idaho will have the same, but BYU had a place to go where you could find out about all the service opportunities. I ended up cleaning horse poop with a bunch of strangers in my first week. FUN :D Oh! 3rd tip... and what might actually be the most important of the 3. Meet everyone and enjoy talking with and doing stuff with strangers, ESPECIALLY THE FIRST TWO WEEKS! What happens is, the first few weeks, nobody knows anyone else, so everyone´s floatin´around finding where they fit in. After a few weeks, everyone´s found the people they´re comfortable with, and then it´s a lot more difficult to join in with a group (all the inside jokes ´n stuff have already been set). If you get to know a ton of people right from the get go, you´ll get to choose which type of friends you want to be with. If you just kinda wait around, you won’t get to pick and you´ll be stuck with whatever life gives you, but they´ll always want to do stuff you don´t really want to do and you´ll stay in your housing all day. Not a good way to spend your first year. Make lots of friends :D. I loved my first year of college and consider it the best year of my life up to that point. Make it awesome :D

Ok... I don´t have much time left. You all probably want to know what´s going on in Chile. We´re kinda dry on investigators at this point except for Natali and Dagni. They´re awesome :D They´re way into nature. They don´t eat meat or egg, and they try to get all their food the most organic possible. It´s delicious :D Very fresh. They´re very healthy, athletic people. We´ve been teaching them with the Biggs (the senior couple). Dagni (the mom) is very intelligent and has already read lots from the Book of Mormon. She really liked the story of the Brother of Jared and was telling us all about it. Natali (the daughter) is always cooking in the other room, but she listens to every word. The food she makes is spectacular. The Biggs asked if they could be the missionaries responsible for Natali and Dagni, so we won´t get to visit them quite as much now, but I´m really excited to see when they get baptized.

Cambios are this week and 2 more elders are coming to Panguipulli, but I don´t know either one of them . It´ll be weird sharing the house between 4 elders now. It´ll feel a lot more cramped. We´ve done a ton of cleaning and organizing this week to prepare. There are so many new missionaries that have been coming. More than half of the mission is in training schedule now (training or being trained).

Elder Strate continues being a wonderful, supportive companion. He did particularly well in a practice we did with the zone leaders last week.

I love you ALL :D :D : D :D :D :D Even you. Yes, you.

-Elder Connor Christopherson

Sunday, September 7, 2014


So. Where to begin.

We took an interesting survey this week about our understandings of Preach my Gospel and our ability to apply it. It made me realize how important every chapter of PMG is so important. We can´t slack on a single one (unless you´re a native English speaker in an English speaking mission... then Chapter 7 doesn´t really apply). I was reminded that I need to work harder to do Chapter 8 well (how to use time wisely). Chapter 8 has been the most difficult for me the whole mission. It´s the one that teaches how to plan and use the area book and the planner correctly and goal setting. I think it´s the hardest for me because it´s rather rigid; you´ve got to draw the yellow flower with a green leaf and that´s the way it´s done (if anyone´s familiar with that story).*
My goal for September is to internalize and master Chapter 8. (Chapters 2 and 13 are a little tougher for me as well, in case anyone wanted to know. I basically struggle with anything that´s based in paperwork).

Have I mentioned the birds here? There´s some species of bird that is EVERYWHERE. They hang out in the trees, so you don´t see them a ton, but they are very obnoxious. They make a loud, repetitive CAW sound that is heard 24-7.

Maia, sorry about the muffin**. I only read up to the book where they went to Greece and had to go in the big tower full of witches, so I don´t know who the Slither guy is. 

Max, that synth stuff sounds a little rough. The good thing is that you can practice piano type stuff in the house. Well.... I played a frustrating instrument my first year too: a vibraphone that was broken and made an ugly DONK. Do what edifies and not what tears down when making decisions in marching band. Have a good attitude and make it work.

What the heck... it just got center justified. Okay.

Oh! I lost my wallet again. We spent a whole morning searching for it. The caribineros told us to go to the colectivo station, which led us to a 2nd colectivo station on the other side of Pangi, which led us to an obscure address of a person who called the collectivo driver and said he didn´t find anything). Thankfully, later on in the day a young girl came to our house with the wallet. Her school teacher found it on the ground and knew that she was a member of the church, even though her family is less active and I´d never met her before. I was surprised that she knew where we lived (considering that she lives on the other side of Pangi). Yup. That´s my story. The Lord provides a way so that we have the things we need. :D

Love you all :D
-Elder Connor Christopherson

* Connor’s talking about a story I used to tell him about creativity, how it shouldn’t be stifled. Creative people don’t like being told exactly how to do something, they’re rather . . . well, be creative.
** Maia read a book that she was expecting to be really good, like a cupcake, but it was only a muffin. The muffin is still good, but it’s not a cupcake.