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