Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Dear Family,

I'm not sure how you all quite manage to do it, but watching our family in week-long segments is pretty much like watching a novela (soap opera/sitcom) unfolding in episodes (minus all the trash that the people here are so addicted to - novelas, you kinda have to experience the significance, Joey or other spanish missionaries probably would understand...) but seriously, how in the heck? The "Let it Shine '09" Youth Conference sounds like a priceless memory up there with Clue the Musical! And, boats and pollinating the pumpkins in the garden- Dad, good luck. Be a good little bee, pollinating the flowers. You could get in touch with the Graubards and start up a bee colony... make sure the boat collection involves a ski nautique by 2011, I hear about people water skiing every week here, grr, the Branch secretary here (a RM) likes to taunt me about that...
Wow. Good job family. Haha.

Holy cow, this week was crazy - so much has happened!
Start at TUESDAY: We were kinda bored and would have written a ton of letters (sorry everyone) but instead had an insanely cool idea - us and the Zone Leaders got together and met up at our awesome 90 year old chapel. This chapel looks a lot like an old Catholic cathedral, and is full of secrets... and we have ALL the keys to the building... so we spent a good like 3 hours exploring (made a rule that we couldn't turn on any lights, had to use flashlights for cool effect) -and no kidding there are like tunnel systems under the floorboards which we were crawling through, we got behind the back wall of the chapel and walked through the giant organ pipes, under the stand, found treasures, found a secret trap door in the ceiling and made a ladder to get up into some cool rooms, found a way to the roof, and toured the steeple "tower". WAY crazy day, got pictures.

Then on FRIDAY it was PIONEER DAY [ July 24th, commemorating the day the Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley] , which is VERY IMPORTANT in UTAH. So important that there was a giant parade in Ogden... with about 60 missionaries as part of it - we got to march, wave, sing (the AP's [missionaries assigned to the mission office as assistants]directed us sitting with the Mission President in a covertible that was ironically driven by a guy covered in tatoos--probably a church member--remember Ogden is different!) and then we handed out pass along cards to everyone between songs, running along and throwing them to kids and parents - it was pretty crazy, and one of those things that definitely only happens to Utah missionaries. Normally people aren't cheering for us quite like that, haha...

The weekend was a little rougher - we lost some baptisimal dates because people didn't come to church - and Chantal and Carlos still didn't buy their marriage license (but the are going to today, marriage is now set for next week.... grr, keeps moving). Sinesio and Edith did get confirmed though, which was way cool - Sinesio is so awesome, so excited - he's always recommending us to people at random ("These muchachos have wisdom! They know God! Listen!") and testifies powerfully of the Book of Mormon and of the power of baptism to everyone - way cool.

Last week some people we have been teaching couldn't come to Church because AS their ride knocked on the door, someone shattered their sliding glass door with a rock! It seemed to us almost like Satan PHYSICALLY ATTACKED THEIR HOUSE! (They live in kind of a rundown area). And so they couldn't come to church. Then this week they didn't wake up in time for Church... so we went to check on them. We stopped by around 3, and pulled up to the apartments. A police car was at the gate, and an officer trying frantically to get in. We showed him how, and then immediately saw tons of people swarming out of the apartments... and a huge red blaze... Suddenly there were 3 fire trucks, ambulances, police, and people running to the street. We stuck around and interpreted for the police - apparently an electrical wiring went crazy, exploded... and there were NO fire extinguishers OR alarms to put out what started as a small fire. After FIVE HOURS or more of dumping water from FOUR trucks, the fire was STILL not out. It ran through the entire roof, and the 3rd floor caved in. The second is full of smoke and water damage, and the first is under water from all the water they shot at it. It's completely destroyed - will fall down in a few days. We had 5 investigators and about 3 member families there. They all have no homes now - NOTHING. It was horrible. We spent the evening at our chapel (set up as a refuge) translating for Red Cross, trying to help them out. It was crazy. Please, pray for these families - about 200 people lost everything this weekend. [From later news reports, it seems that 200 is actually the number of people who were evacuated from the building and surrounding area and were without shelter that first night. All occupants of the complex, about 83 people, were left homeless as a result of the fire.] Thankfully, NO ONE got hurt. They even went in and saved a ton of rabbits and cats the next day. Some people jumped from 2nd story balconies and were ok, including a new born child and its mother! No one is hurt, so that was a HUGE blessing. Amazing.

Crazy.SO yeah, that's Ogden right now.

Thank you SO much for the package and letters - they are awesome. Amy, you're right, that sounds like a pretty awesome day at Kings Dominion - when I get back, we'll go on all the 48 inch rides. I'm working on the Flat Chris picture- probably send it next week, with a package and pictures or something. Jeff, thanks for the letter - that was pretty awesome. The trip sounds like a blast - ha, I'm kinda jealous of some of the stuff you're experiencing. Thank you for sharing, that was a big boost to me. Keep going strong. I'm gonna write some letters to all of the family - I realized I haven't really done that yet!

Well, once again, its all true! These are the last days, and they will get hard, but we will be supported. The Church is the kingdom of God. It is His. Christ is the Savior of the world - He condescended and lived among men... and really if you think about it His condescension never ceased. He still is condescending and saving and serving us every day. He always will. Seek Him - I'm not perfect at this, but that is my desire - to know Him, to have that relationship with Him and know Him as if He is standing by me. I know we can.

Well, "Now is the time. We're gonna let it shine!" (haha--you can add in the random fist pumping and High School Musical jumps and stuff, Jeff...)

Love, Elder the Thelin (no more Tay-leen... um, it has been brought to my attention that, um, I need to change that.... details maybe disclosed later, ugh. Just know that yes, I still have my same amazing luck and skills with life. Like falling off my bike as it was stopped last night, in front of a a lady who is a notary and her daughter that were coming to notorize Chantal y Carlos's marriage license... as well as trying to be macho and eat too many chilis this weekend to prove I was really from Juanicao Mexico... back home in Juanicao they don't make 'em so picante...)

PS Please send Katharine my best wishes.
PS2 I miss that summer goal of waking up by 10:30, haha, sheesh...
Ps3 ...but it was too late. The platypii couldn't catch them. The kangaroos hopped off to the highlands in the forests. The girls felt very koochy in the pouches, and bounced around for a long time. Amy tried to start up the lightsaber, but it was too cramped. Finally they were dumped out and stuck up in a tree fort. They could see the kangaroos down below, making evil kangaroo plans. Where were the platypii? Holly tried to make friends with some of the little kangaroos, but they didn't want to talk to strangers. They stayed there all night. Then, as the sun came up...(to be continued)

PPPPPPPPPP to the s: Sweet quotes, Mom, holy cow, that was awesome... I think my protoplasm is somewhere a long way away... time to dress different and act wild...

PPssssssssssssssssssssss gBYE! Later!

The Spanish Central Zone at the Ogden Pioneer Day Parade

(left to right: Elders Leavitt, Moberly, Tetelpa, Meza, Romney, Thelin, Limon, and Hermanas Shuttleworth and Lopez)

(inside Buenaventura Chapel)

secret passages....


  1. Way to go, translating and helping at the fire. Your timing was perfect. We are so proud of you! Amazing. What a the thought of exploring the old church building! No magic wardrobes that took you to Narnia?

  2. Whoa, crazy story. I hope those families are okay. Way to go Chris on translating. Big week. Be safe!

  3. Holy crud that church sounds awesome! AND you helped translate for refugees with the Red Cross. I guess even Utahr gets exciting...Keep up they goot wairk, Chreestophair!

    Penguins could have easily saved them from the kangaroos. Obviously.