Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Hey! Spoke some Spanish. Baptisms and stuff. Hot in Utah. Ow my foot. Crazy companion. K, gotta go cause Ogden is in the midst of sin, gotta go save em. Talk later, bye!

Haha, just kidding. Wow, so how in the heck did I have a page to write about every week at the MTC? I wasn't doing ANYTHING there, just sitting in a room for 37 hours a day studying (which I think I should have done more of...) As for the field... well, let's start at the beginning.

OK, so last Tuesday, I stood in the rain, watched all my friends go away which was WEIRD because I spent all my time with them for 9 weeks, and then boarded the magic bus to OGDEN! Possibly the most liberating feeling ever was sitting on that bus, watching the MTC magically go away... too bad the driver forgot his lunch and turned around at the 2nd entrance and we were back at the MTC for another 15 minutes (which really ruined my awesome happy background-music-to-my-life that I was humming to fit the moment...) But yeah, I was the only Spanish Elder on the bus out of 14 other English missionaries, except one guy whose visa got delayed and is here for a few weeks. I called the bus a plane the whole time. We all were kinda acting like it was a plane. But me most of all, because it REALLY felt good to see new things and places and Walmarts and cars and PEOPLE because I had been in the MTC for 9 weeks. Did I mention that wasn't my favorite thing in the world?

K, anyhow, Ogden, get there, meet Pres. and Sister Joyce, cool people, way nice, sweet British accents... and I guess you guys got an update about us, but yes, the AP's took us out tracting for an hour in the pouring freezing rain/snow. I went with one guy who knew some portuguese but could do Spanish alright. We went to a sweet little ghetto place and knocked every door, got 4 appointments... way sweet. IN SPANISH. Terrifying. Anyways, so yes, that was our 1st day - then took us to the Mission Home and we chilled at the President's house, had a nice American-ish meal and breakfast... then went to go meet my new companion... who is Elder Gurrola (yes, I can't even say his name). Elder Gurrola... is insane. He's talking about baptizing alligators right now... but yeah, he's way cool, everyone, including the President said he was basically the best trainer possible. This guy is way full of optimism for the area - which is RIVERDALE, which is a little suburb to the south of Ogden and then half the city of Ogden itself. I got my wish. I get to serve IN OGDEN at the start. And it is everything everyone has said about it. It is DIFFERENT. Picture Utah. Picture happy Mormons walking about doing good, baking bread for neighbors, etc. Now picture that gone wrong, and you got Ogden. Spiritual Babylon of Utah indeed. I love it.

It's a pretty poor area. I'm teaching all sorts of people in very run down places, people I NEVER would have gotten to even know existed before. It's pretty cool. I can't understand most of them, but I'm getting better. I can understand most of what people say, but I'm having trouble talking back. But yeah, Elder Gurrola is doing most of the talking, and I back him up, a little more every day. I tried a couple on my own... two ladies walking in the rain, didn't want to stop so I basically chased them and had a "discussion" for 3 blocks... it was pretty awesome. Making contact is scary... yikes... I'm learning a bunch of names of places from Mexico - we're pretty sure there is nobody living in Michucan (sp?) Mexico, because the entire city has moved to Utah...

Food's good - we have a member dinner EVERY night, usually huge. ALWAYS mexican. NOT like Pancho Villa's or Don Pablo's. I'm pretty sure they use REAL peppers and hot sauce on EVERYTHING. Never had so many beans... Man, one house we stopped by was making COW LIPS for dinner. We're eating there for dinner on Sunday. Hahaha. Hijole.

Speaking of meat, ok, so we whitewashed the area, which means both me and Elder Gurrola just transferred in, and don't know what's going on. Plus side is this was his first area, so he knows the area, the members, the old investigators. Bad side, the previous missionaries didn't do everthing right - so its kinda a mess. So the last week we've been trying to just build up the member support, visiting homes, talking, being friends, and just trying to catch everyone on fire with enthusiasm in an area that most consider hard. Elder Gurrola never shows any doubt that we will baptize like 100 people, so its awesome. One member had an interesting way of helping us find people to teach...

So yesterday morning, we got up. Did personal study. Got on a bus. Actually, missed the bus. Free ride from a member (I've been given free rides, we always get honked at, was randomly given 15 bucks, and free meals and tons of free bread at a shop, etc. Utah has its perks. We missionaries are kinda like mascots here...) free ride to Ogden, dropped off at 21st. Look at my companion. Carneceria Aleman. We open the doors. Brother McDonald, a white guy (weird), greets us. Throws us 2 white coats. And by white I mean covered in blood. Oh, and hairnets and gloves. Takes us to a small back room. Very cold. Flickery lights. Shouts over the Mexican radio thats blasting that he has two amigos that need to do some service, so he's hiring them for a few hours. Steered me over to stand and work with Jose. Handed me a knife. Threw a slab of meat down on the table. Explained carefully - in Spanish mind you - not to cut my fingers off, carve off all the fat, and put it in the slicer... oooooooh yeah. We stood there chopping meat in a Mexican Carneceria (butcher's shop, basically) striking up conversation with a bunch of mexicans for a few hours, all to find new people to teach the Lord's gospel to and bless their lives. Got one referral out of it... definitely put a new meaning on "I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord..." We're going back next week. I may not be in a jungle, but really, I'm doing things I never expected to do in my life...

Anyways, I better wrap this up. Well, I'm having tons of good experiences, it's way cool going to doors and asking if we can sing a hymn, choosing one and then finding out that this person used to go to church, and they sang that very song in choir, and haven't remembered that experience in 20 years...or walking up and picking a scripture in your mind for someone, and then watching as your companion pulls out the very same one to read to them. It's just cool! I'm seeing in ways I never understood that we have something so precious that other people just don't understand. They don't know what Jesus has done and made possible, even though they've said they believed in Him all their lives. They need the truth. They need the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And it is on the earth. His plan is for all. Not just English speakers. Not the rich. Not just the educated. It is for all. It's awesome. And as I testify in doorways that I have been answered by God, and have a witness that this is true, I feel the Spirit again. It is true. People need this.

We have a baptism on Wednesday, and another one on the 10th of May. We're hoping for tons more. Hopefully I'll be able to speak Spanish more by next week, but until then, I'll just keep sounding like a kid who is 19 and still learning to talk... I love you all, and wish you the best! All letters go to Mission office. Oh, could you maybe post that if any addresses are changing as semesters end, send em? THANKS!

ELDER CHRISTOPHER TAY-LEAN (Thelin isn't pronouncible in Spanish...)


  1. Wow. Wow! Gotta catch my breath after reading THAT letter! I can't imagine having all those experiences in one week. Way to go, Elder Tay-lean! Your cheering section in VA is with you all the way!

  2. Yay he wrote! Woooooow. No fainting with the meat stuff huh? That's so cool!! I wish I could see you in action!

  3. This is an awesome letter! It sounds like the Lord's work is going to be booming in Riverdale! I love the little evidences of the spirit touching your mind as you choose scriptures and hymns to reach peoples hearts. Who knew Utah had it's own Jungle! We are excited to hear about all of your adventures.