Christenson Develops Fortified Faith in Midst of Health Trials

Graduating from Hillcrest was something that Conner expected to do, and even as a little boy he looked forward to the day he’d be a Comet. After all, he’d watched his three older siblings walk for their diplomas and knew his parents had done so a generation earlier. There was never a question in his mind as to the footsteps he’d follow. He had no way of knowing the detours that lay ahead.

During his sixth grade year at Morning Son Christian School, Conner began having unusual physical symptoms that eventually led his parents to bring him to the best specialists at Mayo Clinic. After many uncomfortable tests, it was determined that he was suffering from Dermatomyositis, an inflammatory condition that was attacking his muscles and skin. The next fall, Conner was delighted to begin Junior High at HLA . He loved his classes, playing sports, and hanging out with his friends. Barely discernible even to him, a decline was happening in his physical abilities and he experienced various negative side effects from the drugs that were being infused into his body.

One November morning of his sophomore year, Conner woke up with an incredible dizziness so severe he was barely able to get out of bed. His absences from school went had become more frequent, but now his mother was forced to tell the school office, “I’ll let you know when Conner is well enough to return.” The following 9 months were really hard for Conner. He could not read or do school work--not even watch TV to pass the time. He was pretty isolated in his dizziness and says of that time, “I don’t know what I would have done without my amazing family and God.”

Miraculously, as suddenly as the dizziness had come on in November, he woke up in August and told his mom, “I’m not dizzy--I can read my clock!” Weak, from months of inactivity, Conner was able to register for classes through IQ Academy and, with support from his teachers and his own sheer determination, was able to catch up from his missed work and complete his junior year online. He was slowly but surely finding his way back.

Conner’s mom, Betty Christenson says, “As many of you know, it has been a rough road for Conner the last 5 plus years. He has worked hard and has had a great attitude through it all, always keeping his eyes on Jesus. We are SO proud of him!! THANK YOU to all of you who have prayed for him over the years, we definitely felt them, especially during the really hard days.”

Conner is an example of persistent joy in the midst of pain and he has been an inspiration to many. His favorite part of Hillcrest is the Community he has experienced here. He’s so thankful for his classmates and teachers and the feelings of trust he has developed. He is thrilled to be graduating with his class and plans to go to M-State in the fall for his generals.

One of Conner’s favorite verses is James 1:12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

For now, a red cap and gown will be provide all the reward that Conner has been waiting for.