Tuesday, August 25, 2009


MOM, what did you do to the Boompf?? Haha, THAT will make it just that much more ghetto... sweet. Hopefully this isn't an omen for the school year or anything...haha
[Background info: I emailed him a picture of his car that I accidentally ran into this morning as I was backing out of our driveway...um, sort of ripped off the rear bumper...oops.]
WELL, I'm not in Ogden anymore - quite different here. I don't know if you have checked out any pictures online of where I've been, but its actually quite beautiful here in South Cache valley. Different kind of place. I'd kinda gotten used to sirens and loud music and riding bikes through the streets and alleys and such... but now I'm further north, on the other side of the mountains. It's kinda like comparing Salt Lake City to DC, Ogden to Manassas, and Hyrum/Logan to Culpeper/Warrenton. I kinda feel more at home, there are tractors and cows and it smells like manure everywhere and we have to drive places - a nice country feel instead of dirty city. AND I HAVE A CAR!!! AND I GET TO DRIVE IT!!! THAT is quite satisfying. I missed driving. And there is no problems with the records, I'm fine driving. My companion Elder Muro lost his apparently and HE has to let me drive for a while, so it's good.

Elder Muro is pretty cool - he was born in Mexico, but moved to California when he was 5 and lost his Spanish. He joined the Church 2 years ago, alone, and decided to go on a mission. His mother was baptized a few months after he left, which is cool. He's kinda reserved, but a fun guy. I'm not sure I've described my previous companions very well, but they were pretty much absolutely psycho and full of energy and etc. Fun guys, but crazy. I think this transfer I might have to become a little more crazy - the longer a missionary is here, the crazier they get. It's like they leave the worldliness behind and have to fill the void with something...

I'm now in charge of TWO branches [small congregations]- Valle Hermoso (Handsome Valley?) and South Cache. We work in Hyrum and Logan, which is a beautiful small town - check out pics of the Logan temple and the town, it's fairly scenic. You can see the temple from anywhere in the valley, its on a big hill over Utah State University. I miss the people in Buenaventura - it was nice having everyone know and love me, because I'd been there forever, but I'm making an effort to know everyone here now.

The package - well, I STILL haven't sent mine because I heard there was a Post Office close to where we live HERE so I waited - sending THIS week... as for yours, do send it to the mission office. It just takes a little longer. And where I live is a set of apartments on the edge of Hyrum, and many don't even lock their doors here. We live below some English Elders, so that's fun. They're always down with us, interrupting studies and planning. OH MAN, I hate spiders. And bugs. We're not allowed to have pets, but we figure that since there are animals that want to live with us, we can contain them - we have 4-5 containers with an array of grasshoppers, 5-6 spiders (BIG, with names), a frog, 2 snakes, a praying mantis, and many earwigs (which DO crawl in ears). We keep the beds far from the walls and never let blankets touch the ground. And wear shoes... intense...

Sounds like the first few days of school are going as usual, with everything crazy. Glad everyone has some good classes, and I'm sure Heidi will get some good ones figured out. Algebra isn't too bad. Don't worry. And can Jeffrey drive to seminary? Or still no?

Well Mom, at least I'm taking the spiders for you... and REALLY glad I don't have a fro or a mohawk OR a powder blue bow tie like in your dream, haha (though I DO need a haircut...). But I think I've seen that duck-taped car in Ogden....dreams are awesome.

Congrats to all who survived day one of school! As well to Grandma and Grandpa - happy anniversary! I hope Grandma feels better! And that's really cool about Reagan and Dillon!

Thanks for everything, EVERYONE! We're praying for everyone always, and I really appreciate everyone thinking of me and writing and all. It's a huge help. I love you all, and hope all continues to go well. I know what I'm teaching is true, and this is what people need. I've felt the Spirit testify to me that it is God's work, and know this is the way to happiness here and after. We are all His children, and He is guiding us if we let Him.

Love you all!
-Elder Christopher Thelin and the Cows

PS Weird, we're teaching a 22 year old man who was living in Manassas!

And now for the continuing silly story of 3 little girls on a quest to find their brother Chris... presently finding themselves in China with a herd of platypii, Luke Skywalker, KungFu Panda, and others who were just lost in a whirlwind following a frightning attack by a firebreathing dragon. Here's what we added last week:
The girls began searching high and low for signs of their friends. There was stuff everywhere from the storm. “Hey, here is a piece of Luke’s pool noodle sword!” said Amy. “And one of the platypus' lunchboxes!” said Holly. “What in the world…” said Heidi. The three sisters stared at a bumper…from a car…the license plate said, “BOOMPF”. “This storm must have been bigger than we thought,” the girls said…

Here's what Chris added:

PPS ...a little ways away there was a car smashed into some bamboo that looked really familiar. "the BOOMPFMOBILE!" the girls shouted. "Look! There's someone inside!" cried Holly. The front door creaked open and... "Jeffrey!" cried the girls. Jeffrey, their older brother, fell out of the front seat and groaned. He was unconscious. "That's pretty crazy." said Amy. Heidi and the girls and Kung Fu Panda lifted Jeffrey up and put him in the back seat. Then Kung Fu Panda started driving the Boompfmobile through the jungle (without a bumper). "We'll go this way" said KungFu Panda, pointing to a little road that went up to a pretty Chinese looking mountain. "Ok...." said Heidi...

[One more thing...here is mom's dream that Chris refers to in his letter...thought Kayla would get a kick out of it, haha! So, from our family letter to him:
...I couldn’t sleep, and when I did, I had the
strangest dreams, so I finally gave up on sleep around 4 am. My favorite dream was that we were somehow driving through the streets of Ogden in our family van, and we spotted you in a turn lane. You were in some completely decrepit vehicle that looked spray painted (not unlike the paint job on the ThelinGroovy, mind you) and held together with an unprecedented amount of duck tape. You were driving with Kayla, which was somewhat confusing, why she was there. More disturbing, however, was that you both had mohawks. You still had all of your other hair (yours was like when you had the giant fro going on), but you both had parted it in such a way that it was plastered down kinda on either side of the mohawk. Additionally, you were wearing your white shirt, missionary tag, AND a beautiful powder blue bowtie. In short, you looked absolutely ridiculous. Nevertheless, we were ecstatic to see you and waved like crazy as we drove past. You saw us too and smiled at us, and I was so pleased to notice as we went by that the little gap between your front teeth had closed! You must be wearing your retainer! Anyway, I woke up actually laughing out loud. After that, however, I fell back to sleep and dreamed that there were hamsters in my bed crawling in my pajamas and such, and so I just got up after that. Couldn’t deal with any more.]
The famous Logan Tabernacle, on the corner of Main and Center Streets
Me, one of my first Zone Leaders Elder Perez, and my new companion, Elder Muro
Logan Temple is SWEET

Our little friends...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009



HOLY COW, crazy week this week! So much has been happening! I guess its just Ogden/Buenaventura branch's way of wishing me goodbye, because tomorrow I will be traveling to the country fields of HYRUM, UTAH - which covers from Brigham City to Logan, Utah - I GET A CAR!! WHOOO!! And I'm serving with Elder Muro, we'll see how he is, I only met him once for a few minutes. But then again, that's how Elder Minson was, and we had a blast together. Kinda sad I am leaving him and this branch, but I'm also kinda ready to leave. I've been here for FOUR MONTHS! Crazy. I didn't burn a tie or anything in honor of my 6 months out, sorry, but we were kinda busy doing a 1000 things... such as:

Wednesday morning we were going to Chantal and Carlos's house to see if they'd bought the marriage license finally - Carlos had been asking to be paid (he's built 2 houses and not been paid yet), but they still hadn't been able to do it yet. We rode up on the bikes... and the house was deserted. NOTHING inside. The night before everything was there, but by wed morning, NOTHING. We are teaching some family of theirs, and they are panicked - they can't find them, haven't heard a thing. The only thought they have is immigration caught up with them. The Migra. It's so scary, people just disappear in seconds. Its so crazy. We'll never see Carlos, Chantal, and their son Andrew again. Deported most likely. They're in jail probably right now. It's insane, they were so nice, changing their hearts... we suspect Carlos' boss didn't have funds to pay him, so instead he called immigration and got them all deported after using them. Sad. Not uncommon. But sad. I know people come here illegally, but once you talk to them, you understand more why they did it. It's still wrong, but its better than what they were going through. But yeah...

On a positive note... we were talking with our zone leaders, trying to figure out how to overhaul this branch some, and we decided the lifeblood of a branch or ward is the youth - and the youth prgram here is a little sickly.... SO Elder Minson had a sweet idea: when he was in high school, his friends would meet up at someone's house every sunday and watch church movies or something, play games, and bake cookies: Cookie Night. We decided we wanted something to do on the weekends too, so we started our first Noche de Galletas here. We invited all the youth to come over to a member's home, and, without all the leaders and church dress and all we watched the Restoration with them, talked about it, baked and ate cookies, and played a sweet game involving smashing your face into a mountain of flour and digging a penny out with your nose (I won). It was awesome, and instead of the 4 people we were expecting, FIFTEEN showed up - AND 2 nonmember friends. We're doing it every Sunday here now... well, SOMEONE will be doing it every Sunday... but way fun. I think the youth will change beacause of it - less active youth decided to come, just to see what it was. Next week we're involving pinatas (we learned how to make them at a members house, sweet!)

BTW, Mexican seafood is usually not safe. A family went all out and made us a dish with bits of fish, clams, crab and octopus in it... they probably skipped a few meals to afford it, and the husband is in pain when he works... felt bad, because it made me way sick all weekend and I like had a fever and etc. Got better, but yeah... Mexican seafood...

Man, Dad and Jeff, stop having problems, sheesh! Back pains? Teeth? Ears? Crazy... Jeff, you're going to have Senora Johnson?? Good luck. Make it fun, and don't go crazy - she's from Nicaragua, and nuts. Tell her I finally went on my mission, and I know Spanish now - I'll try to think of some fun stuff to tell you to say to her. Stealing the sombrero in her class is a must... and good job escaping Glass Castle, that book was awful. All about drunk fathers and abuse and junx like that...you'll be better off in Honors.

Actually, when I read that book I rejected it because I didn't want to believe the world was that messed up. But I'm understanding that more, this week. We've had a lot of experiences, finding out about people being abused by husbands, husbands being terrible because they're drunk... I've never been around drunk people before, but they're psycho. Last night we were teaching a lady and her drunk boyfriend walked in, thought our member friend who came with us (a 50 year old man from Mexico, super nice) was some bad guy he knew from 5 years ago, and he tried to punch him in the face - broke his glasses - it was pretty bad, we managed to get him off ok (our friend was totally cool with it, understood) and we were going to leave but then the dude was going to attack his girlfriend (our investigator), so we stayed and distracted him for an hour because he liked us, thought we were hermanos en Dios and hugged us a lot, made us hold his hand to prove we were men of God, etc... drunk people are crazy.

The situation turned out all right, and everyone made it to their respective locations ok, but it opened my eyes. I became thankful for things like the Word of Wisdom [our code of healthy living--like abstaining from alcoholic beverages, smoking drugs, coffee, tea, or other addictive substances, that kind of stuff], the guidance to live a clean life, being privileged to be born into the Church of Jesus Christ, for good parents that are righteous, for a good safe home... I feel like I've lived in a dream life, and I'm opening my eyes to how the rest of the world lives. Satan indeed has many chained down by addiction, ruining lives. It helped me see more that I'm not just bringing people a better doctrinal understanding, but teaching them HOW to live, bringing them to Christ and His way of life. I always figured that was such a given, but people really don't know how to live the commandments and be happy. Their lives are a living hell. Think of how FEW of His children do what's right, - - how much is He counting on US to bring the rest to Him? We really are the hope of Israel, we need to bring others to Christ and the truth. There's so few of us, NONE of us can afford to be less than our best effort. Eye opening experience, at least... oh, we got a cool quote from the Zone Leaders yesterday - called "The Fellowship of the Unashamed" - Elder Henry B Eyring read it once, might not be originally by him, but its a sweet quote. A declaration of being a disciple of Christ and not looking back or giving in for anything. The decision is made, the dye has been cast. Cool. Reflected kinda how I've been trying to feel this week - become dedicated to this cause completely.

So yeah, asi es (that's how it is). Sounds like everthing is going good over there in Virginia, and school is ready for the kids even if they're not ready for it (I was starting BYU a year ago!!!) Oh! I got the shirt Heidi! SCHWEET!! I love it! Thanks! Congrats to Jacob Magura and also Rhianna... I thinks I gotta go, packing will be fun... I have so much stuff... but yeah, I love you all, the gospel is true. Thank you mom and dad for all you do, and for not drinking and such - hope all is well with everything, and we'll talk next week from HYRUM.

Love, Elder Chris the Thelin

PS: Birthday? um, the only thing I could think of is a USB drive for pictures? ... and maybe some cd's (can't have burned ones, have to be churchy and I'm going to be driving a lot - 30 minutes between apts)... probably could send my EFY cds in my room? Would be perfect! I don't really need or want much though, so, yeah! Whatever! I don't need anything for my birthday, really!

PPS ...the wall fell down. A giant whirlwind was blowing across Mongolia and started thrashing the little group. In the confusion, they couldn't see much. "Where are you??" cried Heidi. "Hold on to something!" cried Holly. "AHHHH" cried Amy. When it cleared... the trees were gone... and so were Luke, the platypi, and Tippy and Tanny. Gone. "What're we gonna do?" said Amy. "The Platypi are the only ones that know Chris" said Heidi. "Well, lets go search for them! I want Tanny and Tippy!" said Holly. So, they crossed the wall... and went to go search...
PPPS. ..HAPPY ANNIVERSARY GRANDMA AND GRANDPA !!!!!!!!! LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!x59

The game we played at Cookie Night with the youth

Elder Minson and I digging for the penny...

Back row: Elder Romney, Elder Tetelpa, Elder Marriot, Elder Leavitt, Elder Moberly
Middle row: Elder Meza, Elder Downs, Hermana Lopez, Hermana Shuttleworth, Myself
Front row: Elder Minson, Elder Limon

The tons of stuff I was bringing with me to Hyrum...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


6 MONTHS. 6 MONTHS - DONE. WHAT THE HECK. HOLY COW. Ha, I don't think I'll be celebrating like Stefan did, that might have been a little, um, illegal? We'll do something though... but yeah! I'm out here, and feel old! Never mind I'm the youngest (mission-wise) in my district, but I feel old! Glad it's helping Holly learn fractions, with a quarter of my mission gone, at least!

Sad though, this may mean that I'm leaving Buenaventura next week - the way the mission dynamics are shaping out, I'll probably be out of here next week. Bittersweet - Ogden is the armpit of Utah, but I know all the members here, and they kinda feel like family - they all know me now and I've got inside jokes with some members ("Oh, esta llevando a Tilincito a la primaria? Tilin, dibujaste algo hoy? Lo vas a poner en el refrigador?" "Oh, are you taking little Elder Thelin to the primary? Did you draw a picture today? Is it going on the refrigerator?" Hermano Uscanga thinks I'm going into 6th grade. I still can't figure out any comebacks in Spanish...)

Sounds like Michigan was a memorable experience! Sigh, jealous, but WHATEVER, I'm ENJOYING the scorching heat and riding my bike up hills and such...Gotta get the girls water skiing by 2011, so we can go back there and do it again... The ThelinGroovy sounds like a pretty sweet boat too - we'll see how much its evolved by then... we'll get this whole family on the water by the end of this... (let's move to Michigan!) (although Utah has lakes in the moutains MADE specifially for water skiing...)

Hey Jeff, I got stung by a bee too, so yeah, cosmic brotherly bee sting or something - not even fair, Elder Minson trapped a bee and a spider and shook them up in a salsa jar for 2 days, they died (bee killed spider, sweet) and then I am the one that got nailed by a bee in revenge. Grrr... good luck with the ear... that sucketh.

Nice on finding the keys in the popcorn,Mom, that's typical.

CD with BYU pics? keep it. I could watch it - we have access to computers and such (a flash drive if we have an extra might be nice, can back up my pics before mailing them... but not necessary by far, only if we have an extra) I'm not sure I need the copy of the drving record and um, sure, I'll take the extra black journal, I might use it. I don't need more white shirts (though I've ripped a few holes and stained some pockets with pens...) Mine are much whiter than the others' still. The only problem with collars is I have a collar tan and a watch tan. So cool.

I'll be sending my package today hopefully.. be ready, not too much inside, but its cool...

Man, this week's FLOWN past - I was JUST emailing everyone, WEIRD. I'm trying to think what happened in this little time...

...last Tuesday we hiked Waterfall Canyon again, cool hike, saw the valley from above, relaxed with the zone, took naps under the waterfall...

...um, have decided that trying to teach the principle of the Law of Chastity with children present is awkward - we're teaching a 70 year old lady, totally awesome, and she makes like 10 kids in her neighborhood sit and listen to us (they even came to Primary!) and she tried to explain the law of chastity to them. It was pretty awkwardly hilarious.... (used the word pompis, which caused fits of laughter...)

...um, my gift with little kids...I made a cross-eyed face at a 2 year and he burst into tears uncontrollably, and basically delayed a lesson for 10 minutes...

...we gave Sinesio a Preach My Gospel manual and he read it until midnight one night... he's also read 3 quarters of the Book of Mormon! Crazy, he has few friends, so he loves it when we stop by and listen about his pueblo in Mexico, his service in the army, his raising horses, his son who is a scientist in California, etc etc... he calls us sometimes to chat...

...Chantal and Carlos had their baptismal interviews!! annnnd failed to buy their license again, so baptism POSTPONED AGAIN !! Grr, I want to see it! [clarification: they need to get married rather than just live together before they get baptized--forsaking sin and all that, you know].

Taught another lady, Lupe, up on Madison Ave around 23rd, but when she went to church she didn't go in beacuse she saw people wearing nicer things! Gah! Frustrating, she walked back home! The Lord is giving us golden people all over, its cool. Some people are very prepared - ha, like Lupe: she said she met missionaries 2 years ago, and they gave her a book, and said they'd come over at a certain time, but they never did! 2 years later, we're here, and she's excited because she has tried to find God, and read the book, but she doesn't understand it. We asked her to bring it out so we could read some of it with her... and it was a Jehovah Witness bible! Kinda funny, so we gave her a Book of Mormon in addition, and are using both to prepare her for baptism - so, like, the Lord used the Jehovah Witnesses 2 years ago to help prepare her for us...!

I think that's all we've got for this week. Just crazy, like usual. But I feel good about it. Ha, I agree mom, I'm never living or raising kids here, Utah's weird, but its also interesting. I think the Anti-Mormons just come here for kicks. They're ridiculous sometimes -cant help but laugh at their insults, they never make sense. I like what you said mom, everyone has some good in them, even if it doesn't show all the time. We feel like Batman (forgive me if I've said this before) - some people want to just burn Ogden and start over, but we've gotta be Batman and fight to help - "There are good people here, Ogden's not past saving." Of course, the Lord's planning on burning the earth in the end... but the analogy breaks down at that point...

Anyhow, sorry, random letter, but yeah, it sounds like the family is doing really well, everyone's playing board games (keep it going Heidi) and everyone's having fun! Just need to lance Jeff's ear and get dad off pain killers, hah...

I know this gospel is true! Christ is the Savior, and I know His cleansing power. I know that through baptism we can be made clean . I'm excited to serve here, to grow and help people learn what the Spirit is, that Heavenly Father is here for us, and can speak to our hearts and change them. People praying for the first time can be powerful - there's a lot we take for granted in our lives. But I know we can all come unto Him, and learn who we really are. You're right mom, I might have had a best friend before this life that I promised to find. It's all pretty mind blowing, but its also true. I know its true, and we're preparing for the coming of the Savior. We need to do our best to prepare with all we have, dedicate ourselves to being our best. It's a crazy world, but its still a beautiful place, and only a shadow of the life that we're preparing for.

Elder Thelin! (who is trying not to look like a government "secret agent" worker, sheesh, people mess with me here. Sinesio still thinks I look like I'm going to be a government agent or something, guess I shouldn't be so serious... I'm just not sure how to translate my weird humor into spanish still...no comebacks to defend myself!)

PS The dragon had smoke swirling out its nostrils. The baby panda began to whimper. Luke tried to take out his pool noodle sword, but the dragon ate it in half. "Hello, nice dragon.." Holly began to say, but the dragon lunged and they all began to run. The 3 girls, Luke, the baby panda, and some koalas jumped on the backs of the platypii and they charged through the jungle - the dragon close behind. RUNNNNNN!!!! screamed Heidi. Fire was flying past, scorching bamboo huts, and they were getting away until they hit a WALL. "Uh oh"... said Amy...

PPS ok fam, I think were gonna cut this off till next week, PEACE OUT, get ready for school, hahaha! IM DONE WITH THAT, BWAHAHA!!! Love you all, bye!

Odgen from Waterfall Canyon, a block up from the tall building was the apartments that burned down...
Elder Minson y yo

Stefan's 6 Months...

Monday, August 10, 2009


[Mom Note: Sorry this is late--we were on vacation last week so I didn't get it posted. New letter tomorrow, too! Bonus!]

Dear the FAM,

How's everyone doing?? LAKE MICHIGAN???? WHAT IS THIS??? Holy cow, going to a lake sounds like heaven... I have concluded that Stefan was always right and Virginia IS paradise - the desert is a little... HOT. Sheesh. So yeah, man, sounds like you are all having a blast! Keep it up! Sorry about Flat Chris, he's coming, I just haven't been able to finish the letters for the envelope yet... I'm also going to try to send a package with pics and some stuffs to come home. We'll see when I get that out... say hi to everyone there for me! I'm having a desire to play Camelot with pool noodle swords and watch Dad make a rudder, and get "toilet-flushed" (that water park sounded awesome), but yeah, I'll live it vicariously... heh.

Man, there WERE more fires! A 2nd one happened on Thursday - we thought it was Sinesio's!! It was the house next door... man, scary. Its becoming a problem here - make sure you have a fire extinguisher everyone, its rough. I wish I could have seen the news footage - we walked past the reporters, but the helicopters were everywhere...

Ethan's going to OKLAHOMA? SWEET! Ben Kay, Steven Alexander, Josh Reitz... wonder where they're going, good old days at BYU. Isn't that CRAZY? I started BYU a YEAR ago! Time is so weird. and I can't belive almost 6 months are up. What in the WORLD was Stefan doing in that picture??? We're not even allowed to OWN matches! Tradition is to burn something -a tie at 6 months, a suit later on, but man... hilarious...

The work is going here - ups and downs, finding and losing people - nothing too significant has happened this week. Our big problem right now is hard headed husbands that hate us. Not sure how to get around that, but we'll do it. Have to call up the special op's missionaries for that... man, we got a ton of people to church, but it was CRAZY - we had to take a guy's BMW down to a super ghetto street (signs everywhere, "BEWARE, DANGEROUS DOGS") and picked up a guy at a shack, then as our investigators were showing up at church ( an hour late) a kid fell and her head was bleeding everywhere - it was kinda funny watching them bandage her up like a mummy, though I'm pretty sure nobody was gonna take her to a doctor (no insurance)- then ANOTHER investigator's kid got a fever and they had to leave.... we did lure two new teenagers into the youth class with some of the young women... insanity... BUT we managed to get through it alive. So yeah. Nothing too exciting this week, but Elder Minson is a fun guy, and we're having fun with the area. Always thinking about you guys, and wish I could see people I knew every once and a while (Elder Minson's parents live in the mission and dropped off brownies to a member's house... the message got lost in translation though and they thought the Minson's were giving it all to them... oh well, hah) But yeah, I know the Church is true. We really do have a Father in Heaven. Christ is our Savior, and the Spirit is here to guide us-- to guide us through. I know that we have a prophet on the earth - how cool is that? SO many people have no clue. This mission shows you the best and worst of humanity, that really Satan has great hold over this earth at this time. He is running rampant. But every once in a while you meet people who know why they're here, and are focused on the eternal - and it gives some hope. We can overcome this world by faith. We can succeed in our test here on earth, and help others to realize what they knew before they even came to this earth. I know its true!

Well, we gots to go!
Love, Elder Thelin!

PPS To continue the epic tale: Then in the height of the battle... the koalas headed towards the tree the girls were in. The kanagaroos were hopping up the branches, and the pool noodle swords were shredding everywhere. They were all filling the top branches. Just as a little black koala was about to help Holly out the window, there were too many animals in the tree, and the tree bent over... and SPROING, the tree house went FLYING through the air TO....