Saturday, January 5, 2013

Welcome home... job well done!

We can't hardly believe how fast two years goes by.  It seems like just yesterday when Christopher was sitting at our kitchen table with all of his friends having breakfast that the morning just before he entered the MTC.  Here we are two years later and instead of looking forward to what the next two years would bring, we were preparing ourselves for the drive to the Salt Lake Airport to welcome Christopher back after serving in the Rochester, New York mission for the past two years. 

To give you an idea of how our day went, it started out basically like any other day.  Getting up in the morning and getting ready for a typical Wednesday.  But this wasn't just any typical Wednesday.  Christopher's plane was due to arrive at the airport at around 12:30 pm, so we spent the morning getting ready for his arrival.  Of course, his mother had to make sure that his bedroom at home was ready with all of Christopher's things moved out of the storage closet where they had been safely tucked away for the past two years.  The weather was typical for January in Utah, which usually means very cold.  In fact the temperature was well below freezing and the only car we have that fits our whole family had been sitting outside all night and needed the ice and snow scraped off.  In fact the car was so frozen, that I had to move it out into the street where the sun was shining so that the frozen car could thaw out in the sunshine.  But just opening the door and starting the car was a chore. 

After loading ourselves into the car and making the drive from Utah Valley to the Salt Lake Airport, we arrived with banners in hand and a half hour to spare.  As usual on a day like today, there were already several other families standing just outside of baggage claim area along with us, with their own banners and signs, just waiting to greet their missionaries as well.  In fact we heard that within the next couple of hours, over 20 missionaries were schedule to arrive home.  This would probably not be a common occurrence in any other airport, but for the Salt Lake Airport, seeing large family gatherings, all eagerly waiting for the arrival of their special missionary, happens every day.  The time finally came and we got word that Christopher's plane had landed and the passengers were making their way to baggage claim.  Christopher was not the only missionary returning from New York that day, so when we saw the family members of one of the other missionaries suddenly burst into shouts of excitement, we knew that Christopher must be right around the corner.  Sure enough, after just a few more seconds, there he was.  After two years, a lot of great life changing experiences and some wonderful lessons taught and learned, Christopher was finally making his way through security and into the arms of his mother. 

Christopher had tears in his eyes as he walked toward us and of course, his mother was the first one to run to him to get the first big hug from her missionary son.  After mother and son spent the first few moments greeting each other for the first time in two years, the rest of us got our chance.  In all, his mother and father, brothers, sister, grandparents, uncle and even a sister-in-law to be, were all there to welcome Christopher home.

For some reason, none of the luggage for any of the New York passengers made the transfer from the the New York plane to the Salt Lake plane during their layover in Chicago.  We didn't find this out until we had waited around the baggage claim area for quite a while after Christopher's arrival.  This meant that Christopher was without all of his things except for the stuff he had in the one carry-on bag that he arrived with.  The airline told us that his baggage was scheduled to arrive on the next flight from Chicago and would be delivered to our house later on that evening.  Well, no bags showed up that evening and in fact, it wasn't until the next morning before his bags finally came.  But never-mind that.  A couple of missing bags weren't going to spoil the rest of a wonderful day.

After finally leaving the airport, the first place we headed was to downtown Salt Lake City to eat at the Tucanos restaurant.  Christopher had emailed us the Monday before and told us that he and another returning missionary along with his family, wanted to go out to eat after arriving home and Tucanos was the place where they wanted to go.  We had a wonderful time at lunch talking with Christopher, his mission companion and his companion's family.  There were lots of stories both from home and the mission.  Then after a great time getting reacquainted during lunch, the next stop was Temple Square.  Christopher and his companion wanted to take a little time in the visitor's center and walking around the grounds.  But since it was so cold that day, spending much time outside just wasn't going to happen.  But if you have ever been to the south visitor's center on Temple Square, there is a place inside the center where you can stand in front of a very large window which overlooks the Salt Lake Temple.  It is a great place to be, even on a cold day.  A place where a recently returned missionary can just sit and ponder everything that has happened over the last two years.  Especially all of the experiences and events that have taken place in the life of a missionary. 

By this time it was getting late and we still needed to travel back to Utah Valley so that Christopher could meet with the Stake President.  We had made an appointment with our Stake President to meet at 6:30 PM so that Christopher could be formally released from his calling as a full-time missionary.  After arriving home, we changed into our Sunday best and again loaded up into the car and drove to the Stake center where the Stake President was waiting for us in his office.  He first met with Christopher for a few minutes alone and then he invited all of us to join him in his office.  As his Mother and Father, this was the second time that we have welcomed a son home from a mission and sat in the office of the Stake President as he formally released our son from his missionary service.  What we didn't expect the first time was just how hard that would be to see your son being released from a work that he so thoroughly enjoyed.  This being the second time, we kind of knew what was coming.  But that really didn't make it any easier.  The Stake President asked Christopher to talk about some of the most influential people from his mission.  We listened while Christopher talked about his mission President and the mission President's wife and just how wonderful they had been.  Christopher also talked about companions that he served with and later about a senior couple who had a great impact on Christopher his missionary work.  The Stake President also offered Christopher some advice about remembering all of the lessons that he had learned from his mission and how much those lessons will still apply as a "returned missionary".  But even after being formally released, Christopher is not quite done yet.  He still has a couple more missionary assignments to fulfill over the coming weeks which include reporting his mission to the High Council and to the Ward members during Sacrament meeting.

The rest of the night we all spent sitting around our living room and talking.  We heard more about some of Christopher's experiences and told Christopher a little about our life here at home while he was serving in New York.  The whole day was just wonderful and one that we will always remember.  As Christopher's parents, we are so grateful to everybody in the New York, Rochester mission for taking care of our son over the last two years.  Especially to his great mission president and his wife, all of the wonderful Ward and Branch members in the various cities and towns where Christopher served and to all of the people who Christopher was able to teach and baptize.  It seems like such a sacrifice for a missionary to leave his family for two years so that he can teach others about the Gospel.  But the reality is that it is no sacrifice at all.  The rewards of serving a mission far outweigh any sacrifice that is made during that time.  Christopher has learned so much over the last two years and the great thing is that all of these lessons and experiences will continue to shape his life in the years to come.  And for that, we are extremely grateful!           

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A life changing experience

The end of Christopher's mission is coming close.  Christopher actually had the choice of coming home at the beginning of December to get ready for school and Christmas or staying one more month and finishing out his two years.  He is loving his mission so much, that he decided that he didn't want to cut anything short.  I am sure that the people that he has taught and baptized in the last couple of weeks are also grateful that Christopher decided to stay as well.  He will miss his birthday and Christmas at home, but they are just one of many birthdays and Christmas's that we will all have together.  This last month is the last month Christopher will have as a missionary and so spending it in the mission field is the better choice.

Christopher has shared a lot of personal stories about some of the people that he and his companion have taught recently.  I won't go into the details here but as Christopher reminds us every week in his letters, miracles are happening all of the time.  For example, one of the things that Christopher and his companion have been doing is trying to find some of the less active people in the Ward who they have not heard from for quite a while.  In some of their most recent contacts, the person that they were actually looking for had moved but the person who lives at the location now, has been interested in learning more about the gospel.  These kinds of contacts have turned out to be some of the best teaching experiences that they have had.  Some of the people have even listened to the spirit and have decided to attend church and even be baptized as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Another example was a family that had attended a neighborhood party with some of the families that are members of the Ward.  Christopher and his companion were also at the party but did not want to seem too over-bearing with regards to many of the neighbors who were there to just have fun.  Christopher had wanted to speak with one family all night long but just did not have the chance to really get beyond just some simple chit-chat.  Later on that evening and the next day in his prayers, Christopher had asked to find a way to be able to introduce the gospel to this family.  Well, both Christopher and his companion had just received a few new referral cards from Salt Lake with the names and addresses of people that had expressed interest in hearing more about the Church.  As Christopher looked at the names, the one that popped out was the name of the people who he had just met a couple of nights before.  Of course that was their miracle opportunity which allowed these missionaries to teach and share the gospel.  As Christopher put it in his letter, "A miracle?  I think so!!". 

Christopher and his companion recently got the opportunity to attend the temple twice in one week.  Attending the temple as a missionary isn't as common as one might think.  Since the missionaries have a calling to be missionaries, most of their time is spent doing missionary work rather than temple work.  One of the temple sessions that they attended was a sealing of a couple who had recently joined the Church.  Christopher said that going to the temple that week was really an eye opening experience for him.  Not so much because there was anything new at the temple but more for the new things that he discovered in himself by being in the temple.  He told us that over the last two years as a missionary, he feels that so many things have changed in his life.  Being a missionary has been one of the greatest things that he has ever done.  From the many things that Christopher has said about his mission experience, I really believe that he is going to have a hard time coming home in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Walking in the foot steps of a prophet

In the past month a lot has happened to Christopher as he is serving in Penn Yan.  Christopher is still a zone leader but he is also now a trainer as well.  Being a trainer for his last couple of months, he obviously also has a new companion.  So instead of both of the zone leaders in the area being companions, Christopher's mission president decided to split them up and allow them to use their experience to help train some of the new missionaries.  Christopher and his companion have seen several new baptisms over the last month and has been very excited about the decision that each one of them has made to be baptized members of the church.

A few weeks ago Christopher sent us a letter which included a very cool story.  The way that Christopher described it, "So this is probably the coolest thing we did".   You probably remember through church history that the night of September 21st was the first time that the angel Moroni visited Joseph Smith.  Then on September 22nd, Joseph Smith went to the Hill Cumorah and saw the plates for the first time.  At that time, Joseph was told not to take the plates from the hill side but to visit the place where the plates were buried, each year for the next four years.  So how does this story relate to Christopher and his experience.  Well, just last month on September 22nd, Christopher and about 12 other missionaries (mostly senior couples) and led by the mission President, made the same walk that Joseph would have made from the Smith home to the Hill Cumorah.  When they arrived at the hill side, President Christensen took them all on a very detailed tour of the area showing them all of the landmarks and talking about all of the events that happened there.  President Christensen told them about a 450 year old Sugar Maple tree that is still growing on the hill.  This tree is oldest tree in New York and likely the oldest in North America.  He told them that he feels that this place was most likely the place where the plates were buried and the place that Joseph visited on the same day for four years as he was instructed to do.  I'm sure that there was a lot more that was talked about during their walk around the Hill Cumorah and Christopher will probably have a lot more to tell us when he gets home.  But what a great experience.  An experience that only a few will ever have.


The stories don't end there however.  Just a few weeks later Christopher told us about a district meeting that they held at the John Young home.  For all of you who don't know who John Young was, he was the father of President Brigham Young.  They stayed there and toured around Mendon, NY which is also the birth place of Heber C Kimball.  They visited the site where Brigham Young and about 35 others were baptized.  They toured the Tomlinson Inn where Samuel Smith first gave a Book of Mormon to Phinaeus Young who then gave it to John and Brigham Young.  They visited the cemetery where Brigham Young's first wife was buried and then rounded out the meeting back at the John Young home.  How many missionaries can say that they had a district meeting this cool.

Christopher also had a chance to travel back to Arcade where he had spent several months serving.  He went there to attend the wedding of a couple that he had taught before he left the area.  During his visit there he was able to see a lot of the people that he had worked with and served.  Especially one of the senior couples in the area that he especially loves and admires.  Christopher was very excited to find out that the Arcade area is still doing very well and that there were six more baptisms scheduled in the coming weeks.  The branch there is still doing great and the members are as helpful and supportive of the missionaries as they have always been.  Christopher said that the Arcade area was probably one of the best places that he had ever served.

Most of the letters that Christopher sends home include personal stories of the people that he and his companion are teaching.  I won't include the stories here, but they are great.  Stories about meeting and talking with people just by chance and having them literally ask for a copy of the Book of Mormon.  People truly wanting to know more about the church after having read a little bit about the church and people who thought that the church really didn't have much for them, changing their whole lives so that they could be baptized.  Christopher can't believe that he is down to his last two months of his mission.  We can't believe it either.  The time has gone so fast. 


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Learning the right lessons from the scriptures

Penn Yan seems to be the place to be these days.  That is what Christopher has been telling us.  Over the last several weeks, Christopher and his companion have had a lot of success.  Christopher has told us all about many of the people that they are currently teaching and just how excited he is about some of the baptisms that have taken place and others that are coming up.  Christopher wrote us a few weeks ago and told us that many of their investigators have come to church and are preparing themselves for baptism.  At that point in time, transfers were coming up and he was really hoping that he would stay in Penn Yan.  Thankfully, transfers came and went and he and his companion are still together in Penn Yan. 

Of course, one of Christopher's favorite things to do and one of the advantages of serving a mission in upstate New York is that they can take their investigators to the Sacred Grove.  Being so close to many of the church historical sites allows them to actually show people where all of the events that they teach them about, actually happened.  Imagine serving a mission where you can teach people about Joseph Smith and the first vision and then take them to the place where it happened.  There is only one mission where that can happen and that mission is right where Christopher is serving.  Talk about the ultimate object lesson!

Music is still a big part of Christopher's life and has been a big part of his missionary life as well.  In one of the previous blog entries, I posted a link to a video of Christopher and his companion playing guitar at a backyard BBQ.  Well, both Christopher and his companion have continued to use their talents in the same way.  They have been planning a BBQ, movie and music night at the church building and spent a lot of time contacting members of the church in the area to tell them about it.  They also let all of the other missionaries in the area know so that they could bring the people that they have been teaching.  When the night finally came, Christopher said that they probably had more non-members of the church there than they did members.  Some of their friends from a nearby Methodist church came to play some music and then after dinner, they showed "Finding Faith In Christ" on an outside movie screen.  Christopher said that most of the people stayed for not only the music and dinner, but also for the movie afterwards.  He said that the whole night went really well and that everybody seemed to really enjoy it.

In Christopher's last email, he told us all about the greatest day and also the worst day of his mission.  They just happened to be the same day.  It was the greatest day because one of the people that they have been teaching for the past several week, was finally baptized and confirmed a member of the church.  They also set a baptismal date for another one of their investigators with whom both Christopher and his companion have been working very closely.  Those kinds of days are always the greatest.  But then Christopher told us about something else that happened that day which wasn't quite so great.

Christopher said that they had been approached by a guy that was an Evangelical Christian.  This man told them that he wanted to take them to lunch and talk about Jesus.  Christopher was a little apprehensive because something like that usually means that they are really looking for a Bible bash.  At first this man acted really nice towards Christopher and his companion, but then as they started to talk, all of the anti-mormon stuff came out.  This man told Christopher and his companion that they needed to stop doing what they were doing or they would go to hell.  After it was all over, both Christopher and his companion felt awful.  What made them feel so terrible was the fact that this man spent all of his time trying to tear others down rather than using his knowledge of the scriptures to build people up.  The most interesting part of this whole experience was the analogy that Christopher drew between this man's actions and the practices of the Pharisees of the New Testament.  If you recall, the Pharisees of the New Testament would spend their time planning how they would attack the Savior and his teachings.  They would approach the Savior and ask seemingly innocent yet very deceptive questions in hopes that they would be able to catch Jesus in some kind of lie.  Of course they were never very successful at this tactic mainly because the Savior could see right through them from the beginning.  Christopher pointed out that the practices of the Pharisees and those of this man, were very much the same.  He approached these missionaries in a very deceptive manner with the intentions of contention rather than love.  I guess there are all kinds of lessons that can be learned from the scriptures.  This man seemed to be more interested in learning from the Pharisees than he was learning from the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Despite all of that, Christopher said that overall, their week and especially that day was still one of the greatest of his mission.  In fact as Christopher is working through the last few months of his mission, the days and weeks just get better and better.  The only problem, according to Christopher, is that they are also going by too fast.  Oh did I mention, Christopher's release date is January 2nd.  Just a few months away.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Good news from the mission

Being a zone leader is one of the best things that has happened to Christopher.  He told us that in one of his letters that we received several weeks ago.  Christopher said that he loves the extra responsibility and loves having the opportunity to teach and share his testimony with the other missionaries in his zone.  He told us all about his first zone leader's conferences that he and his companion attended.  It was a day where all of the zone leaders got together to discuss what is happening in each part of the mission.  As zone leaders they talk about what is going on and spend time coming up with new ideas on how to be more productive as missionaries.  Zone leader's conference is also a time when the mission president has an opportunity to speak with the zone leaders and teach them gospel principles.  Christopher said that he really enjoyed attending zone leader's conference and really looks forward to putting into practice all of the things that he learned.

Recently both Christopher and his companion spent a very busy Sunday taking care of just about everything.  During the entire three hours, both of them seemed to be very busy in one way or another.  The meetings started out with Christopher and his companion speaking in church.  They were assigned the topic of commandments and Christopher choose "Love" since that is the greatest commandment of them all.  He didn't give us a lot of details about his talk but he said that he felt it went very well.  Then after Sacrament meeting ended, Christopher and his companion were asked to teach the Gospel Principles class.  And finally during the third hour, they both taught the young men's class since one of the leaders couldn't make it that week.  So it was a Sunday of two missionaries doing what they do best.  Teaching the Gospel to others.

Well, after a day filled with missionary work and teaching the Gospel, and I am sure their entire week was no different, one of the things that Christopher and his companion like to do is play a little tennis on P-Day.  The problem is that they are both a little crazy when they play tennis.  In fact, as of a couple of weeks ago, their tennis play had to be put on hold because they ran out of rackets.  Over the last month they had been able to round up 4 different tennis rackets and over that same period, they had succeeded in breaking the strings on all 4 rackets. Now they are stuck with broken rackets and no way to get them fixed.  According to Christopher, the nearest repair shop is in Rochester and that is much too far away.  So until they are able to find another solution, their tennis playing days are on hold.  From the looks of this picture, I'm not sure if their problem is just broken strings or maybe taking out the frustration of losing a game on the racket instead of the ball.

Christopher was really excited for the Hill Cumorah Pageant to begin and the time was finally here.  Christopher told us that he had already been twice and planned on going at least five times more.  In his letter, Christopher said that he feels sorry for other missionaries who do not have a Hill Cumorah Pageant or Sacred Grove in their mission because those places are so amazing.  There are so many people who come to the Pageant every day just to feel the spirit and learn of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. 

Speaking of all of the people who attend the Hill Cumorah Pageant, we had another interesting thing happen in our family related to that.  As a family we were all attending a missionary homecoming of a friend our second son.  After the meeting was over, our daughter received a text message from one of her high school friends.  Attached to the text message was a picture of her, her husband along with Christopher and his companion.  Our daughter as well as her friend had graduated from high school with Christopher's companion so she obviously knew him and knew Christopher sister as well.  Anyway, we were really excited to see the picture of Christopher that was taken just the night before.

Besides attending to all of the extra responsibilities of a zone leader, Christopher and his companion have been doing a lot of tracting and teaching of their own.  Christopher has told us all about some of the people that they are currently teaching and just how well many of the lessons have gone.  Some of the stories that he has told us involve just teaching by the spirit.  There was a recent experience where Christopher felt like they should just listen to the questions that were being asked and answer them by the spirit rather than teach a formal lesson.  Christopher said that this was probably one of the best lessons that they had ever taught even though they weren't actually teaching a formal lesson.  He felt like they were being guided in how to answer the questions and what to say in order for them to be well understood.

In addition to tennis, both Christopher and his companion are very musical.  Music has really played a big part throughout Christopher's mission and recently they both had the opportunity to share their talents with a group of people from the local Methodist church.  Christopher and his companion attended a backyard dinner with this group and decided to entertain them with a John Meyer song.  One of the group members recorded the song and ended up posting it on Youtube.  We were pretty amazed when we saw this video because we had really never heard Christopher sing before.  So if you haven't already seen this video, and I am sure you probably have since his mother practically emailed it to the world, well here is your chance to see it and be amazed as we were.

Things are going really well in Penn Yann according to Christopher.  In his most recent letter he told us about attending his second zone leader's conference and just how great that was.  He also told us just how excited he was because they finally had a baptism in the branch.  He also said that they are currently teaching a lot of really good people and hoping and praying that they will receive and accept the message that they are sharing.  I told you in the last blog entry that there is a couple from our Ward here in Utah that are serving a mission in Rochester as well and that Christopher is their zone leader.  Well we received a phone call last week from this couple just to tell us all about the zone meeting that Christopher and his companion conducted the day before.  They told us all about how well it went and just how impressed they were with Christopher and his abilities.  As parents, it is always great to hear good news from the mission.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

New area and new responsibilities

A lot has happened with Christopher over the last several weeks.  Unfortunately, we don't know most of the details.  We have received several short emails from Christopher and he keeps telling us that a lot is going on but he hasn't had time to write us about it.  So here is what we know.

About three weeks ago Christopher was finally transferred out of Arcade to a town called Penn Yan.  This is a little town just southwest of Rochester in the Finger Lakes area of New York.  Along with this transfer, he obviously has a new companion now and a new responsibility.  Both Christopher and his companion are new zone leaders in this area.  They were double transferred in to Penn Yan which means that neither one had been a zone leader before and neither one had served in this area before.  So both of them are starting out with a new companion, new area and new leadership responsibilities.

There is also kind of a "it's a small world" story between Christopher and his new companion.  Follow closely here as I try to explain how these two missionaries have known each other for years even though they had never really met before.  First of all Christopher grew up in Pleasant Grove, Utah and his companion grew up not too far away in a neighboring city.  But that isn't really the interesting part of this story.  Christopher has a younger brother who recently returned home after serving his mission in Independence Missouri.  While Christopher's younger brother was in high school several years back, he dated a girl who also attended the same high school and grew up not too far away in a neighboring city.  If you caught the subtle hint here, both Christopher's younger brother's former girlfriend and Christopher's companion's older sister, are the same person.  How's that for an interesting coincidence?  Anyway, Christopher has told us in almost every email that he has sent one since the transfer, just how great both he and his companion get along and just how busy they have both been.

So here is another little "it's a small world" tidbit as well.  Just recently a senior couple in our Ward was called to serve a six month mission.  It just so happened that this couple was called to serve in the same mission as Christopher, in the Rochester, New York mission.  Since this couple will only be serving for six months, they will be serving for the last six months of Christopher's mission and will probably return home at the same time as Christopher.  Oh, but the story gets better.  Christopher told us in one of his recent and very short emails, that with his new calling as zone leader in Penn Yan, he is also the zone leader over the couple from our Ward.  The way we see it, the Prophet just needs to call a few more Pleasant Grove missionaries out to Rochester, New York and the Penn Yan zone would be great place for a PG missionary blitz. 

Christopher did include one short story in his last email right after he told us again how busy things have been and how little time he now has to write home. Just to give you an idea of why he has been so busy, Christopher told us that their new area is actually quite large in comparison to other areas in the mission and that not a lot of missionary work has taken place there recently.  Christopher told us that just in the last couple of weeks, both he and his companion have picked up somewhere between 20 to 25 new investigators which means they must be doing a lot of contacting, tracting and teaching.  But that isn't the story that I promised at the beginning of this paragraph.  Christopher told us that both he and his companion have made friends with a group of older folks from a Methodist church.  He said that this group likes to do a lot of things together including weekly bible study.  Well a week or so ago, this group invited Christopher and his companion to go out to dinner with about 20 members of the group.  Christopher said that it was a lot of fun and that the members of this group are such great people who get involved with all kinds of community activities.  As a result, Christopher said that he and his companion will be getting involved doing some volunteer work with this group which is a great way to show how people of all faiths can come together for the greater good of the community.

So there you have it.  You now know just about as much as we know about what has been going on with Christopher over the last few weeks.  It seems that things have become much busier for Christopher which is a really good thing.  The best thing that can happen to a missionary is for him to wear himself out doing the work.  And that seems to be what Christopher is doing now.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Being fishers of men... and fish

Transfers are coming up soon and Christopher has a feeling that there might be a change in the wind.  The fact that he has been serving in Arcade for the last six months and the fact that he has had the same companion for four and a half of the six months, is probably a good clue.  Christopher has told us that he doesn't know if he will get transferred to another area or if he will get a new companion.  By this time next week, we'll see what happens. 

It has been stated many times on this blog that Christopher has told us just how much he loves Arcade and the members of the Branch there.  Both Christopher and his companion have had some really good success and the blessings are still flowing.  This last week they had another baptism which totals up to be about eleven baptisms in the last six months.  Christopher also said that they are currently working with some really good people now and hopes that they progress as well.

The members of the Branch have been really good to help the missionaries.  Christopher told us that they have been teaching some of their investigators at one of the member's homes in the area.  Not too long ago they had an appointment set up to teach at the member's home but the person that they were to teach, was running a little late.  The family who owns the house lives right on a lake.  So, while they waited for their investigator to arrive, Christopher went out in the backyard of the home to take a closer look at the lake.  The first thing that he noticed was that this lake seemed to have a lot of fish swimming around.  So, Christopher decided to do a little fishing.  Of course being missionaries, he didn't really have a fishing pole handy so he started looking around to see if he could find a net or something.  As it turned out, there just happened to be an old fishing pole with a rusty old hook still attached, just under the deck.  That seemed to solved the fishing equipment problem, but what about bait?  Well, it wasn't long before he solved that problem as well.  Like every fisherman knows, old stale pizza fresh out of the garbage works perfect for bait.  They baited up the hook with some pizza bits and before you know it, they were catching fish faster than you could imagine.  Apparently the fish in this lake must be tired of the bugs and worms around the shore so when they got a good look at the old pizza bits, they just couldn't resist.  Of course Christopher had to send us some pictures, so here you go.

Oh but the story doesn't end there.  They were so successful catching fish with pizza bits, that they decided to try it again.  The result was something even bigger.  Take a look.

From the looks of it, Christopher and his companion will be eating a lot of fish for the next few weeks.  I think we better send him some good fish recipes.

In Christopher's last letter home he talked about all of the work that he and his companion have to do in order to make sure that they stay busy and use their time as effectively as possible.  Christopher told us that they spent a lot of time over the last week making a lot of phone calls and planning out who they were going to see and what lessons they had to teach.  From what he said, all of the hard work really panned out.  Christopher said that during the week, they had a lot of teaching appointments lined up and they would probably be busier than they have ever been.  In fact, they were so busy that they skipped their P-day so that they could spend the time teaching and working.  But as a missionary, being too busy is a good problem to have.  Then to follow that up, Christopher said that they had a zone conference in the Sacred Grove as well.  The speakers at the conference were Alex Boye of the Tabernacle Choir and Elder Duncan of the First Quorum of the Seventy.  Christopher said that it was just an amazing day.

Needless to say that a lot of good things are happening with Christopher right now.  He is down to his last six months of his mission and he realizes that the time is going by fast.  With the Hill Cumorah Pageant coming up in July, he is kind of hoping to be moved to an area that is a little closer to the Pageant.  But, we'll see.  He just wants to be able to spent his time serving well.