Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Well, this is all just a little crazy. I'm exhausted all the time, my feet hurt (even after the extra springy soft insoles I bought for my shoes - we have the largest walking area in the Ogden Mission), I can't understand people, and I may die of the effects of black beans. But IT'S FUN!

Alrighty, well, to clear up your questions down there: regular mail goes to the mission office then forwarded to me (not sure if it can just go straight to me, since our address can change every few weeks...) I have about an hour to email home on P-days, but I don't have a time limit - Elder Gurrola only uses like 15 minutes though, so I feel bad taking a ton of time, but yeah. Oh, also technical stuffs: I only needed one of the buckets in the mission office, and they were wondering if Grandma Pat could (please) pick the other up some time. That would be wonderful! And thanks for the hidden Easter goodies, Grandma!

OK WELL It's been a long week. And short. Weird. Basically I'm learning that Ogden is a pretty different kind of place. It's the oddball of the entire mission. Like, ghettos and stuff, which is awesome, but besides that there are interesting people everywhere. It's awesome. A lot of people have denounced this area as weak and hard to work in. Fortunately, Elder Gurrola is full of this enthusiasm for the branch that will help change this concept. Its cool, the English Elders usually have areas that cover 12 stakes [groups of 6-8 congregations] at a time, and spend all their time running between meeting with bishops and stake presidents - but in the Spanish program we get a hands on experience, assigned to our own branch, and get to know the members really well, which I'm way thankful for. We're trying to psych up the branch with all we do, and a lot of our planning right now is to help raise the spiritual level of the members to prepare them to want to do missionary work, believe it is possible, and not just help out of duty. We go visit members a lot and sing them a hymn, or help out, or algo asi ("something like that"). It's very interesting seeing the Church function from this perspective, and seeing that our responisbility is not just to nonmembers - if we really want to serve other people, we don't envision them in the baptismal font - we look beyond that to being eternal families. The members are the ones who have the responsibility to help nourish those we baptize and bring them to the temple and on - so if we want to really make sure these people come unto Christ, we help build up the people who will be their family in the church. Maybe that helps change perspectives on new converts for some - be their friends, for life.

Our baptism last week went really well. 10 year old Jose Lopez is now a member of the Church. It was cool - a guy the other missionaries are teaching came by to watch and he felt really good about it. We joked around and said it was his turn next and he seriously was considering it. We've got plans for another baptism on the 10th - Edson Torres, who is in a part- member family. We've had some pretty sweet lessons with him, and he's starting to really open up to us. We're hoping to baptize his friend who sat in, as well as some half-brothers that sat in last night.

We have a board in our house with our strategy lined up for the next month. We're determined to make a difference here. We had a long talk about that last night. Gangs are winning here in Ogden. Teenagers are making wrong choices in bad ways. Two 18 year old boys here who were about to go on missions were just killed in a car crash because of some other teens losing control in a high speed car chase from the police. People are losing jobs, etc. But the thing is, we can make a difference. We're working with the Branch Mission Leader, Brother Ramos (a retired FBI agent, funny guy) and we're trying to make the Church the solution to saving Ogden, one person at a time. And its cool, beacuse the Gospel can do that. Jesus Christ is the solution. Through Him, we can change, have joy, and lift this place to a higher level. This is what its about.

One crazy thing this week, we went to a door and knocked and the person said that they were a little busy. We asked if they went to a church, and they said they were having a service at their house in a few minutes. Then they invited us in... so we went. Down into the basement. And there was a small gathering of people in chairs, a podium, and a large stereo, with some soft , repetitive song that was saying something about Jesus over and over and over and over... and like 5 people repeating the words with veils on their heads . The lady who let us in sat us down, whipped on her veil, and started praying too in a loud voice. And we're just sitting there dumbfounded, looking at each other, wondering WHAT IN THE WORLD was going on, and what we should do. After like 5 minutes we tapped the lady and were like, uh, we're just going to let ourselves out now... it was quite different. Only in Ogden...

Well, there's so much going on, I'm not sure what to say. Jeff, the Sauna Suit looks incredible. Holy cow, thats awesome. It wouldn't surprise me if people here in Ogden wear them.

HAPPY BERFDAY STEVEN! Congrats on becoming a manyan. Disneyland looked fun - thanks Aunt Jill for the printouts of those blogs!

I haven't gotten your letter yet mom, but I'll keep looking. I'm sending a package to you guys soon - I'll send my camera card too, so you guys can have some new pictures.

I hope Gaby is doing better, and I hope Grandma gets better too. I'll be praying for her. Grandma, I love you, and am thinking of you - of all of you! The Lord is in charge. He has reasons for everything. I'm seeing that we don't understand everything and won't here in this life, but if we stay strong through it all, the outcome is sure. Trust in Him, and His power to heal and sustain. I wish I could be back there to help, but I've received so many promises that the Lord will take care of all my loved ones far more than I could if I were there.

Alright, I gots to go. Kayla and Kimmy, thanks for the letters! I'll try to write, but its hard to find any time here, even on Pdays. I loved hearing from both of you, and hope the semester ends well!

Alright, I love you all, sorry I didn't write a lot of details. We have plans and a vision for this area. I am working on becoming effective here - it's hard. But I know we can make a difference - a permanent eternal difference. This Church is true. It is not a cult. It is not a lie. Some people say that, but they don't understand. God is our Father. We are His precious children. Jesus Christ is the Savior of us all, our Friend, our Brother. Trust Him, no matter what. Even if everything around us screams not to. Trust Him. This is His work. And I get to help!

Well, until next time,
Love, Elder Christopher Thelin

P.S. I'll have details about THE PHONECALL next time - looks like 30-40 minutes on Mother's day.....!

P.P.S. Behold a Royal Army - good hymn!

We decided to heat our freezing apartment like dad did on his mission... it kinda works...

Jose Lopez, his mom, Maria Meza, and his brothers and sisters

Jose Lopez, 10 years old, with Elder Gurrola, Myself, and Martin Dominguez
April 27, 2009


  1. Wow, you sound like an experienced missionary, and it's been what...two weeks? Amazing. We are proud of you and send our love, as always. It is true that the gospel has the power to change lives. Thank you for serving. and thanks for the great letter.

  2. Wow, great letter! I love the story about the crazy lady with the veil in the basement. "Only in Ogden". I love the enthusiasm...sounds like Chris is donig great!

  3. Sounds very focused - it's all about they wairk! You make me proud Christopher...