Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Hey! I'm in California right now! Coming home has been wonderful! I'm going to write a bit about my last day in Osorno, traveling home, homecoming, and a final testimony.

It was pretty bizarre walking away from having a companion. There were 9 other missionaries ending their mission with me. It felt like being in the spirit world: you can't go back and no one else knows what it's like till they get there. We were kinda surprised with a 2 1/2 hour self-sufficiency class, which was nice, but it felt way out of context. I guess they're making sure that missionaries get right to work or studies when they get back.

I was given a packet with a final letter from Presidente Obeso and his wife, my travel itinerary, anti-parasite pills (still haven't started on those..... not too excited about those), some great talks by apostles, a list of all my previous companions, a new name tag that has the name of the mission engraved below my name and the mission logo engraved on the back side, and a sealed envelope for my Stake President.

We went to the Mission President's house, watched a slideshow with photos that we sent, ate a nice dinner, and had a short but very spiritual devotional (we watched Elder Holland's address to the MTC where he talks about Peter's conversion, "Do you love me?" etc.) PERFECT for a returned missionary. When Christ asked us to leave our nets, it was to be forever, when He asked us to leave our boats, it was to be forever.

At the end of the night, before getting to the hotel, we went to the chapel where there were a lot of members to greet us and say their last goodbyes. I'm so glad my last area was in Osorno, so I knew a lot of the people there :)

The hotel was nice, but I didn't sleep much at all. We got up at 3:30am, were served a nice breakfast, went to the chapel, and headed off in a bus to the Puerto Montt airport. In the airport, Elder Crotzer (an AP) pulled out his violin and we sang "Para Siempre Dios Este con Vos" ("God be with you till we meet again"). We got on the plane and departed for Santiago. From the window, we could see Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas, and Llanquihue :)

May 21st is a national holiday in Chile, so even the temple was closed, but our Mission President talked with the Temple President and he agreed to come at 4:00 to open the doors for us. It was so awesome! It's a rather small temple too. I don't think it's bigger than our chapel in California. We did baptisms and confirmations (because we didn't have much time). There weren't any temple workers there, so we kinda had to do everything (recorder, witnessing, etc.). The temple president made it a point to show us the blue tiles in the stone floor and desk. The blue stone was a mix of lapis lazuli, pyrite, and something else.... I don't remember. Apparently it's something you find in Chile. After doing baptisms, we got to go into the Celestial Room :D It's so peaceful there. Then the temple president showed us a sealing room. He made it a point that we remember that our goal is to be part of an eternal family. We all touched the altar :) I will always remember that visit to the Santiago temple.

The flight was LONG! I did manage to sleep a few hours, but it sure is weird sleeping in a plane.

It was wonderful seeing my family and friends waiting at the airport. I was pretty beat up and sleepy. We ate lunch, talked a lot, and I got released that night by the Stake President. I got a nice surprise while waiting for my release interview: the Spanish-speaking institute meeting was getting ready to start. I definitely plan to attend in the future. I'll also attend the local Spanish sacrament meeting on Sundays, followed by the Young Single Adult Ward.

My wonderful family -- sisters Maia and Kelsi (in the chair), my dad, mom, and brother Max.

A day and a half later, I was speaking in sacrament meeting. It went fantastically! My close friend, Elder Tommy Webber, and I both got to speak, and Kayla Haws (a friend from BYU who served her mission in my hometown) sang a beautiful musical number with her former mission companion, Sister Gillins, at the piano. There were a lot of surprise visitors. I was so glad to see high school friends, friends from EFY, from college, and I loved seeing all the ward members I haven't seen in so long :D

It's nice being an RM.

Our Heavenly Father's purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. As we consecrate ourselves, that purpose becomes ours. We follow Christ and become more like our Heavenly Father. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's restored church today. It was restored by a divinely appointed prophet, Joseph Smith, who was foreordained since before the foundation of the world. The Book of Mormon is true, and one can know by reading it, pondering it's teachings, applying them, and praying to ask God if they are true. I will not be a retired missionary. I am a full-time member missionary who is preparing to be a worthy husband and father of an eternal family. I now go to institute, read the scriptures every day, pray frequently, go to church, and I will not let myself leave this rock because it's upon the rock of Christ that we must build our foundation.

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope the spirit has strengthened you as you've read my testimony.

Love y'all,
-Connor Christopherson

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Connor will be home in a few days -- May 22!

Subway just opened like 2 weeks ago right here in Osorno :D Everything was the same as in the states! It even smelled the same :D This photo was taken last week. This week, my companion and I went again. We noticed that almost all of the missionaries that ate at subway were gringos. I guess Subway´s not that great to a latino.

​That speck on the bottom left corner is Volcán Osorno to put it in scale. The people here say that it´ll keep errupting for several months. The photo doesn't do the sight justice. It was a lot prettier in person and the plume of smoke had sharper contrast and shadows.

May 11, 2015

So, I don´t have a ton of time, because I wrote a long email to President Obeso. Lots of questions about exact obedience (not really doubts, but questions. One of the Liahonas this year explains the difference). Actually. I received a very interesting email today from Elder Lawton´s mom. It´s kinda surprising to see that they´ve been reading my blog and continue reading it xD. She noticed that I have lots of questions about exact obedience and sent me a talk about perfectionism. I haven´t had the chance to read it yet, but I feel really loved just by seeing that someone wanted to help. I´ll read it tommorow in my personal study.

Our Mother's Day Skype was great. I was pretty tired during the call. It was that way with the last Skype call too. I think my brain clogs up trying to decide what to say. But I wasn´t emotional or anything, because I know I´ll see y´all in a week and a half, but it was nice to see everyone :D I´m glad the image and sound quality was good. Elder García got a very grainy video quality from his family, but he was really happy and encouraged by having spoken with his family.

A lot of the people we teach are going to move to other wards or have already moved to other wards. We need to find people to teach. We have several future investigators. There´s always a solid pool of futures, then one by one they fall and become unreceptive. Missionary work is like sifting through sand, searching for treasure. A whole lot of sand has to fall through to get to the good stuff.

Read from the Book of Mormon every day. It´s worth it :D

Love y´all :D

-Elder Christopherson

Monday, April 27, 2015

So, last Wednesday, I was walking with my companion, y´know, doing missionary stuff, and I noticed (over the top of some buildings) the top of a cloud that was very textured and pretty. We stood on a bench to get a better look. It was then that I realized that this was no ordinary cloud. VOLCANO!!!!

Connor is 50 miles north of the volcano. (This is online photo.)

Photo we found online - this is Connor's last area, Puerto Varas, buried in ash.

I we started asking people on the street, who told us that it was Volcán Calbuco (which I´ve lived close to in Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt) We went to a good look out point, where we could see the whole thing. WOW! It was gorgeous! Absolutely enourmous! I was amazed how tall it was knowing how far we are from it (50 miles north). Lots and lots of ashes blowing toward Argentina. We started a conversation with a man taking photos, and we noted that he was from Argentina, so he was a little bitter that the ashes were going that way..We talked to him a bit about the gospel, he said he´s scientific and that his wife´s a pentecostal (talk about polar opposites)

Anyway, I kinda got distracted from the main topic. The volcano! Everyone was gathering water because the city was going to shut the water down and verify if it was contaminated, but in the end, we havn´t been touched by ashes. It's all going east. However, all the missionaries in Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas (my last area) were evacuated. I haven´t a clue where they are, but they´re not in Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas. I imagine google has better photos than anything I have. The part with lava and fire happened at about 2am, so we didn´t see any of that (but members showed us photos).

The same volcano when Connor hiked there in February (before it erupted).

Hey everyone, if you´re reading this, you´re invited to my homecoming sacrament meeting which is Sunday, May 24 at 11:00. It will also be the homecoming of Elder Tommy Webber :)

I´m constantly frustrated when I feel like I try to get everything done right, and I fail fantastically as I try to make it all work, but I realized more this week how we really can´t do this alone. The work works, even when missionaries fail, because of Jesus Christ. He heals us both spiritually and phisically, and we can follow Him by keeping his commandments. He provides what we need.

Just this Saturday, we had a appointment with a less active family. I had taught them one other time like 3 months ago, and the lesson wasn´t fantastic, so I wasn´t sure that this visit was going to have much results. We got there and we tried showing a video on their TV, but it didn't work, so we tried the DVD player with another video, but that didn´t work either. They tried youTube, but that also didn´t work. Clearly, the Lord did NOT want us to show a video. We read about the iron rod and the tree of life. We involved their kids and it ended up being a really spiritual lesson. We invited them to pray together, and the wife was especially committed to do it. When we left, she asked us when the church meetings were. We told her, but I didn't believe that she would actually come, and that she was just asking so she felt like she was more receptive (which a lot of people do, because they love having the missionaries over, but don´t want to commit, but they want to look like they´re going to commit so that the missionaries keep coming). Imagine, then, my suprize and joy when I saw the mom and her 2 kids come to sacrament meeting and they stayed all 3 hours :D As I said at the begining of this enourmous paragraph, the Lord provides :) I´m really excited about them. We´re going to pass by in a few days.

Love y´all :D

-Elder Connor Christopherson

 April 20, 2015

Phew... I feel really sleepy right now. We´ve been getting up earlier some days to go running and I´ve gotten to bed late a few times due to district leader duties (lots and lots of time calling the district and the zone leaders).

I have lots of photos to share, and I´m actually in the good cyber today, but I forgot my camera in the house :p I´d normally go back, but when your with a companion, every little trip like that takes time from your companion as well and I don´t want to do that.

I bought a new watch today. This is my third watch. I got a nice one for my 19th birthday, and that broke (I gave it to a guy who repairs watches, but he said there´s a piece that snapped and it´s not fixable without a replacement for that exact part). Then I bought one a few months ago. That broke too. This one´s a lot lighter, so I think it wouldn´t take lots of damage in a fall.

There´s an old evangelico guy (like, evangelical) in a wheelchair, named Carlos, that wanted me to say "hi" to you from him.

A nice family we teach about once a week gave us cestañas, which I think in English are "chestnuts." They grow on trees in big spikey pods that have 2-5 chestnuts in each pod. They take the nuts out of the pod, boil them, and then you cut them with a knife to eat the part inside. It´s really yummy and it´s the type of food that´d be nice to eat while watching a movie, but they´re also very tedious to prepare and eat.

Juan Carlos didn´t really understand the plan we gave him, so we retaught it and now he gets it and is more committed. He stayed true to the plan for two and a half days, but then he fell again.

This morning I got really frustrated, because I feel like I´m recieving very high expectations from all sides, and I sometimes feel that it´s impossible to do what I´m asked to do. President Packer once said that something similar happened to him when he was called as an apostle. He learned that he wasn´t just going to be brought to the edge of his abilities, but he would need to step out of the light of his own knowledge and into the unknown. By taking the step of faith, the unknown became illuminated, and he was changed by the experience. The mission has tested me physically, socially, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and maby a few other -ally words as well.

But God is perfectly loving, and perfectly merciful. He knows what he´s doing when He puts us in trials and He knows what´s going to happen from the beginning. We´re left between trusting Him or trusting nothing. Trusting nothing can´t get anyone anywhere, so I choose to trust Him. Sometimes it´s hard to hear His voice, or we feel like He gives just a little less than what we expect to meet the increasing darkness, but He knows perfectly what we need to make it through. The iron rod is the only solid thing in our sight. The rest is darkness. The iron rod does not fail. The choice is clear, and we can step forward in faith.

I just went overtime, and I didn´t have time tor revise what I wrote, but I love you all :D

-Elder Connor Christopherson

Elder Alder's awesome mom sent fun PJs.

April 13, 2015

Aw. My watch broke last week and I was going to buy one downtown today, but I forgot. I guess I´ll go another week using my phone.

I have lots of photos that I want to send, but I´m once again in the cyber that I think has a lot of viruses in it, so I don´t want to connect my camera.

This week was good. We have a lot of people in our teaching pool, but absolutely none of them came to church last Sunday. We´ve got to get that moving. I want to baptize someone before going back to California.

My district is full of really high quality missionaries. It´s actually kinda intimidating. I get in these mindsets where I try to compare myself and that´s never a good thing to do. That´s one of the challenges of this transfer, learning not to compare myself against very good, high caliber missionaries.

I told President Obeso last week in my letter that I feel like I don´t accomplish all the things I´m supposed to, even though I feel like I´m trying my best. It´s frustrating, because Nephi says we can always do it, but it stresses me out, so what I did was I wrote a list of all the things I could think of that I do that I would consider chueco (it means crooked or skewed, missionaries use it to mean disobedient). It actually helped a lot to see it all listed out. It made me feel more in control. I put stars next to some of them to polish up this week, and I hope to dominate everything in the list before my last week. I´ve only been half successful as I´ve worked on my starred items, but I guess I need better plans. I want to be exactly obedient.

The other missionaries in the house stole my agenda and made it a truncky agenda. They taped lots of pictures of young couples from the Liahona. They filled it with scriptures about marriage and they numbered the days to make a regressive countdown. I´m still debating if I should take the pictures off or not.

I love you all so much. I´m doing all I can to make these last 5.5 weeks count.

-Elder Connor Christopherson

Monday, April 20, 2015

April 6, 2015
Maia, I´m proud of you for keeping your goal to go to all the devotionals. I think I missed one or two, and there were several that I saw on the interenet as I was doing laundry or finishing an art project.

Mom, you´ll be really blessed for the work your doing for the ward. I was reading in Handbook 2 about fundraisers, wow, there are a lot of rules (which makes sense). It´s nice that the ward found something that works well. The wards here don´t really have the streangth to do things like that, and a lot of money is spent to get people to the temple (it´s about 12 hours from here). I´m so grateful that I could grow up in such a strong ward with many faithful examples and leaders.

We got the transfer information and almost my whole district stays, including me. Looks like I´m going to end the mission in Rahue Alto :D I´m happy about that. I actually asked Presidente Obeso for that, because I felt that I know the area really well and feel like my companion and I can get a lot done together this transfer cycle.

The man we've been teaching has a new plan to quit smoking. It was a cool idea that I think was inspired, because it makes so much sense and I felt so good when my companion and I shared it with him. Basically, he´s going to make a daily schedule that says the exact times in each day that he´s allowed to smoke. If he feels the urge to smoke, he can look at his schedule and think "It´s 4:30 and I just got off of work, and I want to smoke now, but my schedule says I can´t untill 5:30. I can wait an hour more for that." The idea is that he sets his own schedule instead of his circumstances, and he develops self mastery. Little by little, he has to drop the number of cigarettes that he programs into each day. By making a plan every day, he´ll meet his daily goals, and by keeping his daily goals, he´ll reach his vision of never smoking ever again.
That´s one of the most fundamental lessions I´ve learned in the mission, the importance of having a vision backed by goals which are backed by plans. They each depend on each other to be successful. When we set goals and plans, we turn a dream or vision into realitiy. Vision, goal, and plan setting is a method of choosing that which is best over that which is good with anticipation, and then sticking to the decision  It´s not as hard as it sounds. The Lord promises that this will never be so dificult that we can´t do it, just so long as we´re organized about it.(See Mosiah 4:27 which is basically my new favorite scripture). I´m not perfect in this, but I know that with practice, it´ll bring me to be my best self instead of somewhere in the middle. 

Love y´all :D
-Elder Connor Christopherson
Connor has become a firewood expert in Chile.
Connor's companions
March 30, 2015
Today´s one of those days when there are LOTS of things to say.

I just got awesome news! A friend from BYU who was not a member of the church got baptized and is going to serve a mission! Wow, stuff changes when one´s gone for 2 years.

Mom, thanks for registering for my classes. The schedule looks great. Dad, that was a nice photo of Justin Too. I didn´t really recognize the second place guy.

I can´t send you photos today, because the ciber where we normally go doesn´t have internet, so we´re in a sketchy ciber. I think I´ll get a cold with all the viruses in here.

Elder Garcia´s been having a tough time this week (his close cousin recently died in a car crash), but I think the Lord wanted to help my companion out and we found a new solid investigator! We were just talking to a guy in the street and asked where he lived. He said, "well, I just show you" and he led us to his house. He´s nice, is separated from his wife, and has 2 kids that live with him part time. We had a second appointment and he actually read the pamphlet :D :D :D He prayed at the end of our second lesson, never having prayed before in his life! He´s so receptive and he´s doesn´t appear to have anything to stop him from getting baptized. No substance addictions. He´s not co-living with anyone, and he´s got the weekends off work. It´s perfect!

Oscar got baptized :D He´s not my investigator, but I helped in teaching him, I did his interview, he asked me to baptize him, and I also did the confirmation. I feel awkward seeing my name so many times on his baptism record. He´s really sharp. He shows up to like EVERY meeting or activity, and he´s read the entire quad. The members are accepting him well into the ward.

So, the mission is focusing a lot of energy on #GraciasaqueÉlvive (in English #BecauseHelives). We have been showing the video to lots of people, members and nonmembers, we had a special 2 zone activity in the plaza of Osorno, where we sang in a choir, contacted people, had 3 enourmous signs that said #GraciasaqueÉlvive, and some laptops to show the video to people. Social media is the new way to do missionary work (even if the missionaries here don´t get to use it) because the MEMBERS make it all work :D We already had a great success story. One recently reactivated member shared the video on facebook, and found out that her cousin is a member of the church! Isn´t that cool?!? Everyone who reads this email should visit the website  But really, do it :D And then share it with EVERYONE :D If the resurrection of Christ has any meaning to you, you´ll know the great urgency in sharing it. Because He lives, I can be truly and eternally happy and everyone else can be too as they choose to live the fulness of His Gospel. This is a big deal!

I love you ALL :D
-Elder Connor Christopherson

PS: Are you pumped for General Conference? I am :D

PPS: Ha ha, just kidding, Dad. Congrats on getting 2nd in yet another double century :D

Connor - seated front left side
March 23, 2015
A friend asked what the best moment in the mission has been. This is how I responded: The very best moments are the ones where everything works out :) God´s plan is like an enourmous juggling act where He makes it look like everything´s going to fall just to see if we´ll stay faithful. It´s so relieving when stuff works, we feel the spirit, and we are forever streangthened. There are so many moments like that in the mission :) Like talking to that person on the street who I´d never think would be receptive and it starts this whole conversation where they share about their life and want to learn more about Christ.
It´s been a very good week. I have a real companion now! I´m with Elder Garcia from Bucaramanga, Colombia. We´ve gotten along very well :D He´s a little quieter, but he´s got a solid testimony and he´s hard working. He didn´t speak much English before the mission, but he´s very dilligent in practicing with me. He says all his companionship prayers and district prayers in English. We´ve been finding lots of new/future investigators. Several of them still aren´t new investigators till we´ve actually had a lession with them, but we´ve got appointments and we´re excited!

We found a fun less active family this week. The mom actually reminded me of my own mom, because they´re both constantly doing stuff and working hard. They actually like to read books (very uncommon in Chile) which makes them notably more intelligent in their conversations.They´re a really nice family, but they feel they don´t really need to go to church to be with God. We are focusing in helping them discover that they have unanswered questions that are resolved in the Book of Mormon. I´m excited to see how it goes.
Love y´all! Oh! Almost forgot. I´m baptizing Oscar this Saturday :D (not my investigator, but I´m still stoked :)
-Elder Connor Christopherson

Thursday, March 26, 2015

March 16, 2015

Moms email was funny. I feel like you were just going through a really long week and you passed through a happy moment with that email xD She just sent Lord of the Rings quotes with a paragraph blurb about her week.

District Meeting :)
I´ve got a great district right now. They´re from, (left to right) Canada (for 5 years, but she´s originally the Dominican Rep), Calif, Nicaragua, Chile, Colombia, Utah, Utah, Calif.

I´ve got less time, sorry, but long story short, Elder Marshall is in Utah right now due to his stress fractures. I´ve been in a trio with the elders who live with me but who are in the other ward. It´s been really weird, because I´ve been floating between them, divisions with the members, and divisions with the elders from another ward in my district. It was especially weird going to chuch accompanied by only members. Even more weird is that one of the sisters got sick and they had 2 very important appointments, so we taught in their sector, and brought them medicine. The most weird is that I got stuck with a member withought knowing that he had an appointment with the sister misionaries in his house. I couldn´t leave because he was my "companion", so I was in a lesson with the sister missionaries, which isn´t supposed to happen. President said he still doesn´t know who my new companion is going to be. He said he´ll call me, but that was a week ago that he said that.

My sector´s been slightly abandoned as I´ve been floating between 3 sectors. I´m going to try to set good appointments in my sector so we can spend more time there as a trio.

I love the work! I used one of the facsimiles in the book of Abraham to teach an investigator, which I never thought I´d do. He´s frustrated that his mom isn´t receptive to the gospel, so I showed him that Abraham´s parents weren´t receptive either and even tried to have him sacrificed to false idols.

Love y´all :D
Elder Christopherson
March 9, 2015
Yikes, so today is one of those days where I´m really short on time.
So, this week´s been very different. We got the MRI results and found that my companion has 2 stress fractures in his right foot. The traumatoligist said he can´t put any weight on his foot and that it´ll take a very long time to heal. We went looking for crutches, but in the two medical supply stores that we tried, they didn´t have crutches of his size (Elder Marshall is 2 inches taller than me). Well, walking around looking for crutches was really bad for Elder Marshall´s foot. Before we got the results of the MRI, we walked the least amount possible (just to go to lunch or a really important appointment), but now we know he can´t walk more than 50 meters at a time. We brought our matressess downstairs and have been in the house this week.

​Imagine this, but with the curtain open (we shut it for the photo),
this was my life for a week and a half.
It´s been a blur of organizing stuff, trying to study and be productive (although I got really sleepy a lot of the time, although I´m learning a little more how to focus better (with food)), learning the best way to cut a pineapple (we got juice everywhere), and talking about random stuff. We played chess a few times and the elders from the mission office (including my old companion, Elder Astete) came during their P-day (Saturday) to play a Chilean version of Risk. After, President Obeso and his wife dropped by to talk with us and they bought us food, which was very nice :). Depending on what Salt Lake tells us, Elder Marshall will either be sent home to recover, or he´ll be with another elder who can´t walk for a few weeks and I´ll work with the other elder´s companion.
Yesterday was President Obeso´s birthday and all the missionaries in the nearby zones went to the mission house to celebrate a little. We didn´t plan on going because of my companion´s foot, but President actually came by our house to try to pick us up. Unfortunately, we weren´t there! We were at the bishop´s house, taking our time because we didn´t have anywhere else to go. President Obeso tried calling us, but our phone was dead. Kinda sad, because they ended up watching Meet the Mormons in the mission house, which I´ve wanted to see for a long time :P
Anyway, the church is true, the gospel blesses lives, and I´ve been staring at the Book of Mormon enough this week to know that it´s true and brings people to Christ.
Love y´all!
-Elder Christopherson

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 2, 2015
So, where to start....
I´ve got a new companion named Elder Marshall from Orem, Utah. He´s awesome :D I find him to be very loving and humble. Fun fact: Elder Marshall has memorized a scripture every day since he began his mission! Elder Marshall´s also got problems with his foot, which is part of the reason he was sent here to Osorno (from Punta Arenas). We still don´t know what´s wrong. The X-ray doesn´t show any problems, but the doctor says we should try an MRI. He thinks it´s a stress fracture, but we can´t confirm it yet. I learned a lot about how doctors work as we went to the mission nurse, the doctor´s office (only to find that they were all gone for lunch), the doctor´s office again (to see if we could come in later that day), the other doctor´s office where you can get an MRI (we weren´t actually supposed to go there yet, but we thought we did), and the doctor´s office a third time (this time we got looked at), and tomorrow we have an appointment with the MRI doctor. I now know how to steer my way through the Chilean medical bureaucracy :D.

Elder Marshall´s not allowed to walk much, so we´ve been in the house a lot. A lot of missionaries get stressed when they have a lot of time cooped up in the house, but to me it´s so relaxing :D I´ve gotten to organize so much stuff that´s been a mess for so long and I actually took a nap! We´re working on a plan to be really organized this transfer and improving our daily and weekly planning. I´m not sure we´ll actually get to put it in practice if his foot doesn´t get better soon, but he says it hurts a lot now. We´re going to work a lot with the members and do divisions so we can visit the families that are most important to visit.
I told you I was going to talk about Jose. He´s an investigator that the sister missionaries found almost 3 weeks ago. He said he quit smoking like the moment he began talking to them. He came to church the next Sunday and participated in Gospel Principles class. Or rather, he started talking about how he didn´t like one of the talks in sacrament meeting and was considering standing up to object. He talked a lot and it we never really did get to talk about the topic of the class. The same thing happened in Priesthood meeting. He noticed all the flaws of the members of the church. He´s pretty smart and is very observant, and is especially bugged that members arrive at meetings late.

Anyway, the sister missionaries didn´t lose faith in him and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon. He read 22 chapters in 2 days, but he didn´t just read them, he took notes and analyzed everything. I had the chance to talk to him about order in the church and he couldn´t just show up and object to everything, he needed to have Charity, recognizing that the members of Christ´s true church are learning too and the best way to make things work is to help instead of judging and to love instead of pushing. The sisters also talked to him and were very clear. He changed 180 degrees! He came to church in a white, button up shirt (something he said he´d never do because it looked prideful to him (but the sisters explained about respect and reverence)) He participated in the classes, but not in a disruptive way, not taking too much time while still being insightful. He´s just taking everything in and changes every time he realizes that he does something wrong. It´s amazing!!! He even helped us do a home teaching activity last Sunday and visited less active members with a member of the bishopric. I´m really excited to see when he´s baptized :D
Love you all :D
-Elder Connor Chrisotpherson

Monday, March 2, 2015

 Connor is far right.
Connor is standing front row right.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Wow! I have quite an impressive family! My dad tied for 2nd in a double century (200 miles on bike).

I´ve got SOOOOO much to say!!!! Where do  I even start?!?! I will probably only get to describe  a fraction of what happened!

We have cambios this week. Everyone thought that most of my district, including me, were going to leave this cambio, but everyone stays except Elder Salgado (my companion). He´s going to Punta Arenas in the cold. Apparently, my new companion is really good! Elder Marshal is from the same group as Elder Alder (who I´m living with and who is a REALLY good missionary).

I´m glad I´m staying. I thought for sure I was going to leave, but I wanted to stay. This ward is full of great families, and I feel like I´ve gotten to know the sector really well. I can tell about people on just about every street. It would have been really sad to have that knowlege lost. We´ve done a lot to establish a good member/missionary relation in the ward. 

Mom, could you send me all the photos of my baptisms? I don´t have those in my memory card since I lost my old camera a while back. Could you also send any photo that looks like I´m teaching someone, knocking a door, or talking to someone in the street? I need it for something.

Oh! I got the christmas cards :D Everyone looks so different and older (well... the adults look pretty much the same)! Especially the people around Max´s age look completely different than how I imagine them in my head.

Two weeks ago, we went into a big catholic cathedral in Osorno. There´s a member who acompanied us who was studying to be a Catholic priest, but then he found out that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church and got baptized :D It was pretty interesting. There are lots of stuff that called my attention. One is that everything is really big and dramatic. They´re very reverent, which is great. I noticed that there was a ton of focus on Christ´s death and suffering. It made me appreciate so much more the knowlege that He lives now. He didn´t just die, but he conquered death. Even in His suffering and death, He was the Son of Man, the Great Jehovah in the flesh, the King of Kings. I know that He lives and that because of the Atonement which was wrought by Him, we can live with our Heavely father forever :D

Gotta go, but I love yáll so much :D
Don´t let me forget to tell you about Oscar next week. He´s an investigator of the Sister missionaries, but his story is so interesting.
Love y´all :D
-Elder Christopherson

Sunday, February 1, 2015

​Barbara se bautizó. Tiene 10 años y su mama recién se reactivo
Oh! Hey! I just realized I need to be typing in English. Barbara got baptized!
She´s 10 years old and her mom reactivated recently.
So, this week has had strong ups and downs.
We didn´t find many of the people we normally teach and had 0 lessons with member this week :p It´s been kinda slow and the weather´s been really hot.
We did find two new investigators. One is a lot more receptive than the other. One´s mom passed away recently and wants to know about the Plan of Salvation and the Book of Mormon :D. The other´s a Jehovah´s Witness and kinda reminds me of Steve from Panguipulli. He know´s a LOT about the Bible and has a lot of tricky questions. I´m glad I´ve gotten to see people like this from more than one religion. Make´s me understand a lot more what Joseph Smith went through in New York 1820.
Juan Carlos´s wife has glasses now so she can read the Book of Mormon with him every day :D

Juan Carlos´s son leaves to Argentina as a missionary this week.
I found out that we had planned a family home evening with a family a few weeks ago, but we never showed up because I don´t remember ever organizing the family home evening, but my companion says we did, so I felt really terrible yesterday knowing that we completely flopped.
We had a wonderful zone conference where we talked about a plan that comes from the area presidency. The new plan put´s a little less confidence in the members and more work for the missionaries. Basically, the auxillary presidencies all need to come up with lists of names of people who are most likely going to be reactivated, then we work with home teachers and visiting teachers to visit those people and teach about the Atonement. Sounds pretty simple, but I felt the spirit so much as we went over it. I´m very excited to put it in practice.
Instead of Sunday School and 3rd hour quorum, a member of the stake presidency kept all the adults (except those in primary) to show them the same missionary plan that President Obeso showed us in our zone conference :D
We baptized Barbara. :D
Francine (not sure I spelled that right) Bossel, the daughter of the sister who makes us lunch, got her mission call after waiting for it for 3 months. She´s going to the Mormon Batallion Historical Site in San Diego :D She´s already finished college (English teaching major) and has been teaching elementary school English, so language won´t be a problem there. It´s a pretty unique mission call :)
I love you all. I think it´s funny that Maia got trapped in a group of guys playing Slender (It´s true, you pretty much die no matter what, although I think he can´t move as long as you´re looking at him.... but you also die if you look at him too much, so I don´t know. I´ve only played it one time.)

-Elder Connor Christopherson

Saturday, January 24, 2015

January 19, 2015

Hey, random question. What´s the average attendance count in sacrament meeting in the Las Flores Ward? Sometimes people ask me. I think they just want to prove a point that the church is struggling in Chile (because the wards here have less than half the attendance of our ward), but I would like to know the answer.
Ya´know, I get great emails from Maia every week, I´d really love to get an email from Max every few months or so. I hope he´s not still mad at me for that Stratego game before we left. I kinda got mad at him and don´t remember if I said I was sorry. Sorry.
It´s been really hot this week. umm... why´s my mind going blank. What happened this week? I´ll send photos.
There you go.
Ran out of time. And the internet is breaking. I´m going to try to send this email as it is to see if it works.
I love you all :D
-Elder Christopherson
 ​I´m not a big dog guy (especially after living among them for a year and a half), but this guy looked SO HAPPY :D I want to be happy like this dog.
​We played volleyball 2 weeks ago ( just a few elders) and one of the elders stayed in his white shirt and tie, so I thought, "Hey! I can too!" So the next week, when it was a bigger activity with the whole zone, I didn´t bring athletic clothes, and of course the other elder who stayed in his white shirt brought athletic clothes this time. I thought mom would think this was funny. We ate barbequed sausages that were very yummy :D

Sunday, January 18, 2015

January 12, 2015
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!!! :D Thanks for all the little things I didn´t notice till now that you do to make things go really well :D
So, this week´s been pretty intense. Today, everyone learned about their transfers. Everyone in our house is staying, so Elder Salgado and I get another transfer together :D He´s really relaxed. It´s nice a lot of the time because it´s easier to make decisions (he just kinda goes with whatever I say).
The week before transfers is always a little more stressful because everyone´s wondering what´s gonna happen, but along with that, our three baptismal dates all fell through. Well.... Kinda. They’re all right on the line. We fasted for them for the second time this weekend, and they´re all hanging on. Each situation is pretty complicated.
That´s kinda a weird part of the mission. Before the mission, you hear you’re supposed to baptize as many people as you can, but it´s not at all that way. Like 20 or 30 years ago, people were baptizing tons and tons of people that weren´t prepared, and the church in Chile is still recovering from the damage. That´s why we have stakes the size of large wards and wards the size of small branches. You´d think people would have learned, but missionaries still baptize people who aren´t ready to keep their baptismal covenants. We´re not here just to make church membership swell and to make as many stakes and wards as possible, we´re here to bring people unto Christ and to help them with the WHOLE Gospel, not just up to baptism. All the commandments. Every one.
Funny how personality attributes have strengths and weaknesses attached. Self-mastery is when we make choices that magnify the strengths while correcting the weaknesses.
Oh hey, speaking of keeping commandments, I was discussing with the members about how everyone works on Sunday. It´s interesting how every Sunday is legally a holiday in Chile, and it´s illegal to have to work more than 2 Sundays in a month, but very few companies are following that law. People think that by working more Sundays, they make more money, but IT´S NOT THAT WAY. Preach My Gospel is clear that the prosperity of whole nations decrease when the nations neglect keeping the Sabbath day holy. That´s what´s causing all the prices to go up (stuff´s more expensive here than in the States). Moral of the story? Keep the Sabbath day holy. It´s worth it. Litterally, it´s worth it. You are more prosperous by living that way.
I love y´all :D
-Elder Christopherson

PS: This letter´s late because the internet died for a few hours everywhere within a few hundred kilometros.

January 5, 2015
The schedule of the cyber here in Rahue Alto doesn´t fit our P-day very well, so there´s no time to print and read the emails out, so I´ve been using a lot of the time to write to read. That´s not to say I don´t want you to write less (please don´t write less), I´m just explaining why my emails have been including less information.
Taylor Brown says he´ll get home in about a week and a half, so from there he´ll look at the options and send you an email.
Oh! Thanks for the packages. I saw the juggling book and thought "Wow! This looks really fun and cool and I really want to learn how to juggle, but how the heck am I going to have time to juggle? It´s like my mom thinks I´m bored with nothing to do." But I ended up trying it out and practicing for about a half hour today. Fun :D I hope I get another half hour to do it next P-day :D
So, about the work. It´s been going very very well this week. We´d been an acceptable number of people these weeks, but we haven´t been having any new investigators, so 2 weeks ago I realized we haven´t been using the area book very well and haven´t been using the part where you write the names and addresses of the future investigators. We set goals to change and now we´ve got TON of potential investigators :D
Also, 2 weeks ago we noticed that all the members are very willing to accompany us to appointments, but we haven´t exactly had appointments to have members accompany us. Now that we have lots of futures, Elder Salgado reminded me to ask the members to accompany us, and we had lots of good lessons :D The next step, I think, is improving our companionship study, which is constantly interrupted by all the other many many things we need to do. It´s felt really good seeing what we´ve needed to improve (revelation), setting plans to improve that thing, and seeing success as we complete the plans :D
So, we´ve got one of the most . . . how would you describe it? We´ve been teaching this man for a while now. He´s so humble and he really wants to get baptized. His goal is to get baptized before his son leaves on a mission to Buenos Aires, Argentina on the 29th of this month. He reads the scriptures every day, prays every day, and has even asked for free time from work so he could attend church. He´s fighting his smoking habits (we fasted with his family about it, made him a calendar, and gave a priesthood blessing). He´s also looking for a new job so he can attend church each week. So, he´s the investigator who´s been the most receptive and who´s progressed the most of all the investigators I´ve taught before baptism. We´re praying and trying to think up everything we can do so that he is prepared to be baptized on time, but it´s really close. It will be a miracle if he´s ready to be baptized before Sebastian leaves, but this is a work of miracles, so we´ll see what the Lord has in store.
The other two baptismal dates are 10 year old children. One is a girl in a less active family, but the mom has committed to staying active again. I´ll get to baptize her this Saturday (2nd time I´ve gotten in the water :D).

The other is a boy who lives with an active grandma, a less active aunt, and a non-member mom. The mom´s already been investigating, but hasn´t shown that she wants to change her life. We were told by the mission leaders yesterday that the boy will not be able to be baptized unless her mom also gets baptized, or when he´s older and independent (like 18 years old). We still haven´t told them the news, and we´ve been praying and pondering how we´ll best explain to them, because it´s REALLY delicate. They all want him to be baptized, and they thought he would be able to if the grandma took him to church (Which she´s been doing). I know that the decisions of the mission leaders are correct and that President Obeso really holds sacred priesthood keys for convert baptisms in this region. We´ll see how it goes.

AGH! I still haven´t written to President yet. I´ve gotta go!

Love y´all :D
Make good choices!
Remember who you are!

Thanks for the Christmas cards (The Jensons and Elder Webber)

-Elder Christopherson

December 29, 2014

Funny, LaRee mentioned that they´re calling missionaries closer to their homes today. Here it´s the opposite. Before, Chileans were almost always called to serve in Chile, although some made it to Argentina or Peru. Now, they get called all over the place. In our stake, there´s a returned missionary from England, another with a calling to go to England, one with a calling to the United States, and I hear about missionaries who have been sent to pretty much every Spanish speaking country there is. There are also many Chileans who are sent to Brazil and some Brazilians who are called to Chile, which almost never happened just a few years ago, but now is a lot more common. There´s a companionship of Brazilian sisters in Osorno right now. They’re a lot taller than people from other South American countries. The newer one slips Portuguese in her sentences without meaning to.

Dad, how long did it take you to ride LotoJa? Elder Vega got sobrecambioed (emergency transferred) and the elder who replaced him, Elder Alder, said he rode the LotoJa in 12 hours and wanted to know how fast you did it. (Note: Connor’s dad’s time was 10 hours 20 minutes.)

Hey, this has nothing to do with the mission, but I was showing where we lived on Google maps to Sebastian and I was so amazed that our house is in 3D!!! Actually, Google´s gotten so impressive! I was nerding out! Before I left on the mission, I saw they were prototyping something to make Google maps in 3D, but it looked really blobby and ugly, but it´s a lot cleaner looking now! Look it up.

Oops... my hours up and I didn´t get anything spiritual here. I´ll just share about a contact we had. We told him how he could know, not just believe, but KNOW that the church was true. It caught his interest. We gave him a pamphlet and a copy of the Book of Mormon. We came back yesterday and he found lots of stuff on the internet. I was amazed that I could answer every one of his questions. He asked about garments, Martin Harris, the Urim and Thummim, the Word of Wisdom, ancient middle-eastern people migrating to the American continent, how missionary work is funded, and why we dress like businessmen. I answered each of his questions, but I also focused on how all those questions were only appendages to the big questions. Was Joseph Smith really a prophet of God? Is the Book of Mormon true? These things you can know through searching, pondering, praying, and acting on the answers you receive. Do it, it´s awesome :D

Love y´all

-Elder Connor Christopherson
PS: We´ve got 3 people with a baptismal date :D :D :D :D :D :D

Dec 22, 2014
I´ve received a total of 3 packages recently, one with athletic shorts, and 2 with wrapped gifts.

Thanks to Sister Webber and Marrine Rhodes for the letters :D I also got a very personal and unique Christmas card from the first presidency that not one other missionary received ;)

We had a silly contact yesterday. We talked to one guy who was knocking the door of another guy. It turns out he was drunk (I´ve gotten to know that smell pretty well now (my companion tells me that he also smells marijuana in the streets sometimes, but I haven´t learned to recognize that smell still). So we kindly gave this guy a "Él es la Dádiva" card ("He is the Gift," except no one knows what "Dádiva" means. Some translator in Salt Lake thought it was pretty clear, but the rest of the world doesn´t.) So, we gave the drunk guy a card and left. We started talking to another guy doing yard work in front of his house, but before we said much, the drunk guy came behind us and started telling our contact that he needed to accept Christ in his life, that he had a demon inside of him, and that his family would have harmony if he accepted Christ. The man in his yard just laughed and farewelled the drunk guy. It was funny because we were able to contrast ourselves with the drunk guy. We listened to the man, learned about his beliefs and family life. He was really hard at first, but he got really interested when we showed him a pamphlet that shows how one can know with surety the truth. We´re going to pass by again after Christmas.

There are some really nice families in this ward. We´re going to spend Christmas Eve with a really great family (we´re helping him quit smoking and get ready to be baptized before his son leaves to serve a mission in Argentina). On Christmas, there are two families that invited us to visit, so this Christmas will be very good :)

There´s a missionary choir (which we were not invited to participate in) that sang in the big plaza in Osorno. All those that weren´t in the choir contacted people on the street. The next day, we (the zone, not the choir) sang in a flea market, and then the choir sang in a town called Rio Negro and we did more contacts. So we had 198 contacts this week :D That´s a LOT!

Connor is back row, slightly right of center.
We also had a Christmas dinner with President Obeso in the stake center of Osorno. The meat was really burnt, but it was fun :D
See y´all in a few days via skype :D
Love y´all :D
-Elder Christopherson

Photo: Some members know how to present food really well :D This was after having been given 5 large hot dogs to eat. I felt like I was going to blow up.
Dec 15, 2014
So many errands today.
The mission keeps sending this message to us gringos, so I´ll just paste it so I can say I did it:: "Gringos listen up! Please tell your parents and friends that they should send packages through USPS not UPS. The packages cannot have fruits, jerky, seeds, or dried fruit. If they do, you could end up paying a fine. Please tell your parents this, this week!"

My new companion is named Elder Salgado. It´s a latino last name, but he´s from Texas. He´s really tall and big. President Obeso told be he´s like the guy in "The Blind Side" who´s got a really big heart. Elder Salgado also played football (American). He´s only been active a few years (which is a lot longer than some of my other companions), but he´s got a good understanding of the scriptures and he has really good experiences that he shares in lessons. It´s been a good companionship.

Skype: So, I´m planning on skyping y´all on the 24th at about 6 or 7 o´clock Chilean time, which will be about 1 or 2 o´clock for you. Tell me if that doesn´t work. We´re allowed to skype for 40 minutes maximum, and we can use those minutes in any day between the 24th and the 27th. On the 24th I´ll be eating dinner with a part member family, so I was going to use they´re big TV to skype.

Hey, could you send a Texas sheet cake recipe? Thanks.

Are the workers of Walmart on strike in the USA? They´re on strike here and they said it´s a worldwide thing, so I was just curious. As we were in the line for the cashier, a whole bunch of workers came in blaring horns and whistling, chanting, and being very very loud.

We had a neat devotional with the missionary psychologist for the missionaries in Chile. He talked about the problems of perfectionism. It comes from the desire to follow the Lord´s commandment to be perfect, knowing from 1 Nephi 3:7 that all commandments are possible to follow. However, we can´t be perfect in this life due to our own fallen state. How is this paradox solved? He did in 3 points:

1. We are weak
2. God is powerful
3. Together, we are perfect

When someone is baptized, they should place their arm in the square, but it´s almost never exactly square. Does that make the baptism invalid? No. Even if it´s not perfectly square, we say "that will do" and move on.

I love y´all :D :D :D

-Elder Christopherson