Wednesday, February 25, 2009


HEY FAMILY Ok, so I'm a missionary. It's all true. I learned some stuff. Ok, BYE!

Just kidding. I OFFICIALLY HAVE 26:05 MINUTES TO FINISH THIS LETTER, AND WASTED 2 OF THEM FORGETTING MY LOG-ON STUFF... GAHHHHH!! Alrighty, so, here I am. Now what to say?? Well, for starters, Mom and Jeff and whoever was in charge of the "Send stuff to Chris" Campaign, it has worked. I am the envy of my district [missionaries are divided into small groups that work and study together] with all the letters I get all the time - last night I got not 1, not 2, not 3, but 8 PAGES of dearelder emails. It was a bit ridiculous, but I loved every one of them!

Thus, some responses: Aunt Jill, good luck with the skunk. Steven, nice on District Choir.
Roses: HOLY COW IS HE HERE YET? Good luck! Say hi to baby Colton! I'm sure he won't cry at ALL Angela, ha...
Melissa Kirby: Sry I missed you at the Y by a week - well, technically I am on BYU run property...
Madeleine: GERMANY? WHAT THE HAY? Oh and tell Megan that if she's going to wait for me, I give her permission to go to dances and date people, as long as its not serious. Tell her to get a life too. Lol.
Kimmy: stop dying at Mafia. Like, nevah...
Maguras: don't know if i did it last week, but THANKS for the package! Good stuff, big hit with the food here, haha! glad Stefan's doing well!

Jada: Thanks for the letter! It was really good, your advice is awesome - have fun, and all that - I need people to tell me stuff like that once n a while :)
Jack and Cindy: thanks for the letter! Hope the Iraqi woman situation turns out..

If I've left anyone out, you have a whole week to chew me out for it and me not be able to respond till Tuesday...

SO, after I wrote that email last week, the day just got better! We went to the MTC devotional, where I sang "How Great Thou Art" in the choir, which was awesome, and we were surprised with a visit from...Elder Ballard [an apostle in our church]! It was way cool. His advice was amazing, and the Spirit was really strong. One of his greatest pieces of wisdom was the key to success in life and the mission is... a positive attitude. Surprised me, but it's true! I got discouraged for a day because something seemed beyond my abilities - we were taking phone calls in the Referral Center, where people who call in for a free Book of Mormon and such call, and I just didnt seem good at it. I began to doubt myself and my ability to do this in person. Then I just wasn't as effective for a day or two. But I realized on Tuesday that a positive attitude is really the key. ever since I've been trying hard to do that, and its been a good week!

Speaking of positive attitudes... Thursday night, we were all running to the gym. My companion began jumping and stuff trying to touch the ceiling. Suddenly he slowed up a lot. He kept running for a few yards, but then realllly decided that wasnt smart. When we got inside, his ankle looked like it had like 3 golfballs under the skin. Not good. Within a few minutes he was outfitted with crutches and such. Great. My companion is a cripple. Right off the bat. But, he had a good attitude. The next morning we actually got to GO OFF the property(hence the picture of us leaving the MTC!) to the BYU HEALTH CENTER, which was WEIRD being out in the world, especially on MY college campus... it was also weird because there were TV's, and stuff like that... anyhow, they took xrays and sent us back to the MTC again.

The rest of that day, Elder Rindfleisch wasn't doing well. Felt awful, suffering in pain... he asked me for a blessing[a special prayer for healing of the sick that Elders of the church have authority to give--see James 5:14-15]. I've never given a blessing before, and was very nervous. But we said a prayer and the district gathered around him, laid our hands on his head, and I began to give a blessing. I was so afraid I'd say the wrong things. It was an interesting experience. I felt all sorts of feelings come into my mind, and like I needed to say things that Heavenly Father was trying to get me to say to him, but nothing was coming. I said a few things, then paused... and couldn't articulate what I was feeling. So I closed it, and felt like I had failed. I wasn't sure how to do it. I didnt know what to do. But my companion said thanks, and had faith in it. The Lord is merciful to me, and the next day, he showed me that he accepted my effort and the blessing was indeed effective despite my inabilities - my companion was able to walk without both crutches, he felt great, and the pain was very much lessened. It was a great experience for me. His ankle was not broken, and he is doing well now.

This is kindof a template for my mission. I'm beginning to develop the faith I need for this mission. It is not my mission. The Savior paid the price for us all, and it is His mission. Though I am inexperienced, He will make up the difference if I devote myself to Him completely. Read the words of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" These lyrics have been on my mind (everyone hums it here) and I think I really mean them now. The Lord is making me into what I need to be. It's way cool.

Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Another word: Grandma and grandpa, when I was feeling down, one of the best things to cheer me up was you two. I wondered why people would want us to come along and change their seemingly content lives. But I remembered you two, and your faith and how the gospel has blessed your lives... and consequently all of ours, making mine even possible. Thank you for your great faith. I love you both so much.

Well, 1 minute now! So much to say, so little time! Rest assured all that I am the same person, just as clumsy and weird as ever - but the Lord is using me now, and I'm devoting these 2 years to him (thanks Carl and Joey and Jada, your letters helped this too) Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Yes we shall! Its all true. I know it more than ever. Love, Elder Chris Comments in green have been added by Mom for explanation!

My companion and I vacuuming our dorm building with space vacuums...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


HEEEEEEEEY familia y amigos! Como estan? Cough. Excuse me. I shall speak English for all the gringoes out there. Since I'm like all fluent and stuff now... Well, I AM A MISSIONARY! It is true. I have the suits, the shoes, the books (books to study, little books to tell me the rules, books to give away, books that tell me how to give the books away...) nametags for pockets, nametags for lapels, etc etc etc.... it's all pretty impressive, 'cept everyone else has the exact same image... but hey, that's the MTC for you, 2000 of us heading out to all parts of the world. It's pretty exciting when you start meeting people - you see nametags that are in Spanish, French, Mandarin, etc. It's crazy. When we all gather together, you see young people (and some older couples, they are pretty cool) from all nationalities and places, headed out to, well, teach all nationalities and places. K, that was redundant.... but you get the idea. Weeeeell, hm, its hard to choose what to say with this stupid timer going up there... 15 minutes left on here, and someone is probably hating me for not changing my clothes over to a dryer. So, let me walk you through my day here. I promise, its exciting. 6:30- wait, no, let's start at 6:29, gotta start on a good note. 6:29- Sleep. Ah, blessed sleep. Most likely a dream about home, or friends, or both (I have a had a LOT of interesting dreams here, I should be writing them down...) and just when I'm about to turn on the radio and hear Coldplay blasting "Viva la vida".... BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP 6:30. And that's when I start "living the life..." Well, not until 6:32. Its usually necessary to fall back on the pillow and psyche yourself up for the day. Ok. Ready. I sit up, and then proceed to pretty much fall off the top bunk (quietly, though, because the Elder below has decided he needs quite a few more minutes to psyche up for the day) and I almost die. The adreneline is good though. Enables me to brush my teeth... So, 30 minutes of get-ready-ing, then go to the classroom. 45 minutes of quiet, personal study. Breakfast. Mmm (oh, and everyone, I really appreciate the candy and all that has been sent - thank you Maguras too for the Cheetos and candy!) (and all the Valentines) After breakfast, gym. Whee... ok, done. Now, class. Noon already? lunch. Then, CLASS. Then Dinner. THEN CLASS. THEN PLAN TOMORROW (hey, Elder, wanna go to class tomorrow? Yes? Great.) Go to our rooms, brush our teeth (hey, kinda deja vu like...) and go to bed, start a dream.... It's way intense, I promise. I think we figured out we average 14.5 hours a day sitting in the classroom. This work is not for the faint of heart. And only 10 weeks more! April 14th better come quick.... And then there's all the Spanish speaking... mm, so good, can't comminucate much (but its improving insanely fast...). Whenever I get down about being here for 10 weeks, I try to speak to Elder Casillas or someone who's a native speaker, and then am thankful for the extra time to learn... Well, I only have 4 minutes and 14, no 13, no 12 seconds... no 8!!!! AHH! Ok, well, I guess I'll wrap it up kinda. Sorry this isn't full of more interesting stories. Mom, if you want, you could put some kinda highlight from my snail mail letter up on the blog, which i hope is working out. I'll have more time next week. I know this is where I'm supposed to be. There is a strong Spirit here - the Spirit of the Lord. I feel charged with it. I feel called of the Lord, with His power, confidence, and strength behind me. I know what I'm doing is right. I am training here to bring many souls to Christ. I love you all, and hope to hear from you soon! -Elder Christopher Murray Thelin P.S. - tell everyone about it, its instant mail for me!!! 10 SECONDS!

(Elder Marlow, Elder Regher, Elder Rindfleisch, Myself, Elder Jimenez (later moved to the Advanced Spanish district), and Elder Nelson visiting the Provo temple)

Saturday, February 14, 2009


We got a letter from Chris today! Here are the highlights:

"This is definitely an experience. I feel like I'm being pumped full of information and instruction at a "prodigious rate," as they may say in the Farrell home. I have been shuttled here and there, given a key, given papers, lost the key, given a flu shot (yes, I lived), found the key, gone to meetings, gone to interviews, eaten food (I tried the gravy even though Shamra said not to, I'm still alive), and on and on. I have learned that there are many keys, cards, and papers to lose, and many pockets on my person in which to lose them.

I have also decided to obey each and every mission rule, as we have been asked to often--for example, they said go to the bathroom before meetings so you won't be disrupting and leaving. My companion did so, while I neglected to. 15 minutes in I regretted that. Too bad it was a 3 hour meeting, involving a tour that ran late...

My companion seems a pretty cool guy. Elder Rindfleisch (yes, "rind-flesh") is from San Diego, and is headed off to the Houston, Texas mission. I don't think we will have any trouble getting along. He plays piano, and we are both very interested in music and the MTC choir, so its cool.

It's been coming over me in waves. I am a missionary. I am a servant, an ambassador, for the Savior Jesus Christ. The hugeness of this is becoming apparent, but I am also filled with a deep reassurance that this is exactly where I need to be. Don't worry about me--I'm in great hands. I have felt the Spirit in a very increased level today, and it's just the start.

Alright. I gotta go. Just want to let you know, it's all true. I'm in the right place. Trust our Heavenly Father. Rely on Christ. I'm thinking of you all, and praying for you. It's hard being away, but we all won't regret it! I promise.

Love you all,
Elder Christopher Murray Thelin

P.S. For now, I can email just my family on Tuesdays--but you or ANYONE can email me at the MTC any day thru the site. SO PLEASE DO IT!

P.P.S. All my 12 white shirts are hopelessly wrinkled."

Thursday, February 12, 2009


"Confident, happy, and ready" are the three adjectives that Christopher's cousin Joey used to describe him as he embarked on the grand adventure of his missionary service. Chris has been in Utah since Friday, Feb. 6 visiting family and friends and skiing with his dad. He had the chance to visit the Salt Lake Temple (above) with Gordon and Grandma Pat, which was very cool. Apparently, while walking around the grounds, they saw a rainbow over Salt Lake City. It was like a sign, you know, with Chris being the "Rainbow" man, and all...haha. (CCHS alumni will understand this.)

During the trip, Chris was able to reconnect with cousins and friends, have a fun pizza party, and play a game or two of Killer UNO.

On a snowy Wednesday morning, February 11th, Christopher's cousin Kayla arranged for a special lunch in the Sky Room of the Wilkinson Center. There is a great view of the mountains and BYU campus from up there. Guess what they happened to be serving? Mexican buffet! As if Chris will not be eating enough Mexican food over the next two years.

Chris arrived at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) around 1pm with Dad, and cousins Joey and Kayla. Christopher's sister Heidi has decided that MTC should really stand for "My Terrific Christopher" and we all agree.

Chris' dad got to pin his missionary nametag on him, complete with what is affectionately known as a "Dork Dot", an orange sticker which designates him as a newbie missionary. He was glad to see the nametag was printed in Spanish, though, so chances are they have him going to the right place!

And off he went!
As little sister Amy always says, "Goodbye, Good Luck!"

Hopefully, the next post will be an actual message from Elder Thelin himself, but in the meantime, this will have to do! If anyone wants to write him a really quick letter, there is a free service available through where you can type a letter and it will be printed and delivered to his box the next day for free. You just have to go to the site and click "Provo MTC (FREE) under Send Stuff on the left. You do not have to have an account to send a letter. If you wish to make a small donation for the service you can, but you don't have to. I have made a donation that should cover any letters you want to write, so don't feel guilty! You just need to know his name, Box 308, and Utah Ogden Mission. His MTC departure date is in April. Any comments you leave for him here on the blog will be forwarded to him weekly. Please understand that he may not have enough time to answer everyone individually.
Thanks everyone for supporting Chris! We are excited to hear about his first few days!