Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Wow, ok. Big week. It's about to get bigger.

Ok, we'll start here. This of course is transfer week. It is almost unbelievable that most of the world passes through this week without noticing anything different, or that they measure time in "months" rather than 6-week periods of time, or that most people don't have any change of residency and people so often. Crazy. Well, we've been anxiously anticipating this transfer, because President Olson is kind of a wildcard, and does things unpredicatably. Like, our Zone Leader just shifted to the English program. Or calling 2 sister missionaries in Spanish (did I write about that in Ogden? Funny, sister missionary Hermana Lopez from Peru (more recently Maryland) was supposed to go Spanish speaking to Washington state, but had her call changed at the MTC to Ogden, and when she got here, they said she'd speak English. She put her foot down, said she was called to Spanish speaking, and that was her mission. So, now as a result, an English sister (her companion, Sister Shuttleworth) is learning Spanish, and so we have the first two Spanish sister missionaries... funny...)

WELL, last night at about 9:30 we get a call. President Olson. Elder Muro picked it up, talked a minute or two, then passed it over. "Elder Thelin, like I just explained to Elder Muro, your area is being split in half. He will be a new missionary trainer in Logan. You will stay in Hyrum, and cover Brigham City. You will also be a trainer for a new missionary, and also we would like to extend the call to you to be District Leader. A little awkward, because you will be leading your current companion Elder Muro. Ok? Have a good night."

YIKES. Um, I still feel like I just started this whole thing, and that I'm still quite "green"... I'm fairly freaked out. I guess there are a lot of things changing in the mission, and, well, I'm up. Heck, though, I have no idea what I'm doing! I still speak Spanglish (i.e, lesson yesterday to the Rosales family in Providence: in English, I say "When Jesus Christ was on the earth, EL called 12.... I mean He called....." or "La Apostasia era un tiempo de darkness. I mean, obscuridad..." Gotta love it...) So, yeah, I'm going crazy. I don't feel ready or like I'm a leader yet, or like I can do any of this on my own, but I'm starting to realize that's maybe the point. Heavenly Father knows that. Maybe this transfer is about "Being still, and know that I am God." That I am weak, but through God, and the power of Jesus Christ, and His Spirit, I can be shaped and made into something stronger. That if I humble myself and rely on Him, I can do what I couldn't do myself. I feel very humbled already, and hope I can complete my responsiblities... which just tripled. Any success I will have this next transfer will not be mine, and I will not take credit for it. And any damage I do to my new greenie I can't take credit for either, since that will be Elder Gurrola's doing. I'll just be doing what he did to me! Heh, planning things out already...

Whew, anyhow, pray for us...

In other news, WE BAPTIZED someone this Sunday! I'm not sure I've done very well explaining the people we're teaching - funny, EVERYONE is related that we're teaching, somehow. But we had 4 baptisms scheduled... then Wednesday we found out Ignacio Alvarado, an older guy in his 50/60's had been smoking [members of the church are asked to live by a code of conduct known as the Word of Wisdom, abstaining from substances which are harmful to the body or which might interfere with our ability to draw closer to God, such as tobacco and alcohol, etc. Any addictions to these substances need to be forsaken prior to baptism.]:
In our conversation with Ignacio, we say, "So, will you keep the Word of Wisdom?"
He says, "Oh, yes." (while his wife is pointing at him and smoking an imaginary cigarrete)
I say, "Ignacio, when was the last time you smoked?"
He says,"Oh, I quit in '98, and picked it up again in '05, and haven't had too many since..."
I say, "No, no, like the LAST CIGARETTE you smoked?"
He says, "OH, yes. This morning."

So, that was one date that needed to be postponed. Then Carla, his daughter in law, and Ignacio's wife, Araceli, decided to wait to be baptized with her husband on the 11th, but Adrianna, the other daughter stayed firm. It was sweet. She was very brave, and excited - she showed up 30 minutes early (as opposed to the usual 15 minutes late...) and 40 people showed up to the baptism, 10 of which were investigators. Amazing. 1st baptism in Hyrum in a LONG time, usually there is nothing happening here, but we lucked out and found gold. Way exciting. Adrianna is now baptized, and we have a ton more on the way!

Hmm, what else - OH story: last week I was on exchanges with one of the Zone Leaders, and we were knocking doors in some trailers in Nibley (BTW, trailers in trailer parks are remarkably big inside, you know that? Cozy.) and suddenly this little Hispanic kid shows up in the street.

We asked in Spanish, "Hey, what's your name?"
Nothing."You wanna be a missionary?"
Nods. Then he points to a trailer."That one? They speak Spanish there?"
So we go and knock on it. Whenever ANYONE gives a referral or recommends someone, we always go and check it out. We figured a 3 year old would be more inpsired than most.

When we finished at that house, he was in the street waiting. Then he pointed to the next house. "Hablan espanol?" He nods yes. Ok...

So yeah, this little kid led us to all the Spanish speaking families in the trailer park! It was hilarious, he'd come up to the doors with us, and we'd have to explain "Oh, this kid is one of your neighbors. He said you'd be interested in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. " He even snooped out his own parents, yelling "AQUI!! MI MAMA!! VENGAN!!!" (Come!!) Little kids are awesome.

So, Mom, you thought my pictures were weird? Why? Disturbing??? What was? Just the craziness, or what? Dad, hope it brought back some memories, I think you have to serve a mission to really understand all the missionary experiences and stories and stuff...Glad it's entertaining... sorry the pics took so long. I can't send the new ones until I get the old card back. Maybe I can figure out a better system for getting pics to you all... Holly, um, don't spend too much time looking at the inside of my mouth on the computer, that's weird... haha.

Yeah, I do have Elder Gurrola's address, I'll get it next week. You're right, he should have some of those pictures of him in the fur coat - I'll see if I remember by next week...

No, I didn't take the pic of the temple and the rainbows - given to me by someone.

I think we should all stop having dental problems, as it is expensive. Sounds like a good rule. I wear my retainer once a week or so, and its working all right, so yeah. My only dental problems would be that whenever I drink Atole (weird Mexican drink that tastes kinds like thick gravy with twigs in it) my teeth turn yellow for a little while. It's OK, I have teeth whitening gum and plenty of toothpaste.

Cool that you got to use my testimony in your testimony at church Mom. Glad it helped! I love doing that, visualizing the scriptures, and feeling like I'm there. I know this Gospel is true. I have seen people with and without it. I know that it is true. Heavenly Father is really there - He really is our Father. He waits so patiently for us to stumble our way into faith. And He is so ready to take us up in His arms when we find it. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. That doesn't make much sense until we open our hearts and seek Him. And when we do, we find the truth. He is the center of it all. Our older Brother, ready to lift us when we fall, build us up, and help us reach the vision we had when we accepted this whole plan. The love He gives is the reason and the hope and the reward. It is so worth it. There's a song we've been listening to - see if you can find lyrics online because its good ("The Lights within Jerusalem are dark, but there is One who will not sleep at all.." [Garden Walls by Mindy Gledhill] It says "2000 years, and across the deep blue sea, Why would the King of Heaven and Earth bow down to save me?" I can't understand, but I know He did, and I am thankful. He'll carry us through if we let Him.

Love, Elder Thelin in a rush...

PS The story: Suddenly, something HAPPENED. That was epic. hahahah
Igancio gave us his last pack of cigarrillos... we hope...
Adriana's baptism! Adriana is in white, with her two sons in front of her.  
To the left is Adriana's brother and his wife Carla. To the right is Araceli and Ignacio.

Back: Me, Elder Diaz, Elder Muro, Elder Edmonds hiding back there, Elder Hogue (Zone Leader), Elder John, and Elder Leavitt (other Zone Leader)
Front: Elder Hatch, Elder Meza, and Elder Casillas

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Weeell, HI family!

I cannot BELIEVE it is the end of the transfer already. This has been the fastest transfer ever so far... [every 6 weeks there is the potential for missionaries to get transferred to a different area]... I blinked. Being in a car might have something to do with it, not having a general exhaustion in the whole body is something new... we'll see what happens next week - I'll probably stay here in Hyrum. And that'd be cool, I don't think I've written a lot about the investigators here["investigator" is missionary term for people studying the teachings of the church], I guess earlier in the transfer we had zero because the previous elders baptized them all. But right now we're looking at 9 with a baptism date - families, too! 4 will be baptized this Sunday - Ignacio and Araceli Alvarado, and their 2 daughters in law, Carla and Adriana. Their own sons could have been baptized too, but 9:00 apparently is too early to go to church... sweet family though, it started out with a referral from President Teters, our branch president. They'd asked for some help from the church, so we were a little skeptical about them listening to us maybe just because they only wanted more help or something... but they are great! They are the ones that wanted to bear testimony in testimony meeting. The other day, Ignacio (like maybe 50 or 60 years old) said he misses us when we leave, and is excited on the days he knows we're coming. They all love reading the Book of Mormon, and have a gazillion questions every time. It's pretty sweet, and they're excited for Sunday!

We also had over 12 investigators show up to Church sunday! Usually Hyrum is a dying little branch, and last transfer they were considering taking the missionaries out of there. Guess there's still work... funny, its all in the same trailer park, and EVERYONE we're teaching is related somehow - over like 20 investigators, and every time we find someone, they mention someone we're teaching. Go figure.

I hope Grandma is ok now! My goodness, you can't be getting bronchitis, that's no good! I have been praying for Grandma, and Reagan, and everyone - the tests we go through are meant to stretch us, but we can always make it through with His help. It looks like Grandma is going to be fine, and I will ask people to pray for her here.

Jeffrey, what the heck, nice job! Sounds like you're making the most of life, track star, singing, stage beast... sheesh! Just make sure you don't start wearing duct tape on your chest... if Billy's warning about THAT comes true, I will not cease to make fun of that. Good luck, hahahha... and sweet, Heidi, stage manager? I don't even know what that does! But sweet! You'll do great - what's the play?

Dad, DO NOT sail from VA to Florida next summer. Do it TWO years from now. MUCH better idea.

That would be cool if Amy can get confirmed at Grandma's - very exciting, sheesh, Amy, you're all grown up! I keep meeting kids, and thinking they look so much bigger than my sisters, but I guess they're getting older too. Then again, I'm 20. WEIRD.

Hmmm, what else is up... some sweet lessons this week, felt the Spirit strongly. It's amazing what we have in our hands, and enjoy. I know the Spirit witnesses of these things. The temple is also awesome.

Buying the new Spanish King James edition of the Holy Bible today, it looks cool.

I WILL SEND BOX TOMORROW WITH THE PICTURES, SORRY! Not sure why it's so hard! Ha, sorry! By now its kinda anticlimatic... Oh and the postcards are working great, I've been deliquent about writing people - I so appreciate those who write me in spite of my neglect and love hearing from you, and I'm aware that I'm a sinner and have to do a lot of catching up. P-day goes by so fast, and we can't write on other days... I promise I'll do better. My guilt level is now sufficient that I should be writing everyone in some form or another more often!

The reading lessons are progressing... those ideas sound good, Mom, I think we will try to make a window card, because I've been pointing with him to the words we're reading, and have him repeat us, but I don't think anything is sinking in. We're reading the Book of Mormon out loud from the beginning. Leap o faith...

Holly - you want a toy poodle. I met one the other day, and the whole time thought you'd love it.

Hm, its so hard to think of what happened this week, because it all runs together! "Last week" seems like it should include the MTC...

Oh, branch missionary training again -still hilarious, trying to teach other members to help us with missionary work. This week we tried to teach them how to share scriptures and ask people questions about it:

Me: "Hermana Bravo, can you share a scripture with me."
Her: "Ummmm, sure......which?"
Me: "Whichever you want!"
Her: "ummmmm, ok. In the Doctrine and Covenants book.... 69.... um, verse 1."
Me: "Ok."
Her: silence.
Me: "Hermana, are you going to tell me anything about it?"
Her: "Uh, sure. Can you read it?"
Me: "First, maybe explain the background a little..."
Her: "Uh, no, just read it."
Me: "Hermana, have you ever even read this scripture?"
Her: "No - you said just pick one! Read it and find out!"

It'll be a while maybe before we turn them loose on investigators...

Well, I love you all, and hope - well, pray -that all is going well for everyone! I've thought about family a lot this week, and about each member of my family. Thank you for everything. I love each one of you, and miss you all.

This Gospel is true. It is the only sure thing we can hold on to. It's very simple, yet hard for us to fit it into our busy lives for some reason. Read the scriptures, pray, have family home evenings (fun, I have like 5 a week) - it matters so much! Most of all, have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm learning much, and trying to grow closer to Him. I have a testimony He lives. As we draw near unto Him, we find He's been reaching out to us all along. He's always ready to forgive, to heal, to support us. We are not one in the crowd to Him, or just a face. I love the painting of Christ in the Americas, with all the people approaching Him in awe, joy, relief... I thought about that the other day while I was looking at that painting in the Church foyer. When Christ is amongst us all, He looks at each of us, and KNOWS us, understands us completely, has the memory of our pains in His hands, and also understands exactly how to lift us up above the things that hold us down. That painting is cool, just think of Him looking at each person there, and the loving understanding radiating from that connection, as He locks eyes with you in that crowd. In that moment, He is focused on you, and smiling because He knows what you need and are headed towards. I love reading the scriptures and visualizing things like that. I know He lives, and is indeed thinking of us - EACH of us - and that love, that understanding, that wisdom and power to heal and lift us is always extended. We only have to lift our eyes and decide to take the hand. If we trust Him with all our hearts, and walk with Him, He will guide us through it all, and we'll live with our Father again. Ponder it every once and a while. More important, feel it.

That's my sermon! Now I'm off to play mini golf with the zone!

Elder Christopher Thelin

PS: (following the crash landing in Jurassic Park)...Out of the trees came... the T-REX!!!! The girls all screamed. Jeffrey finally woke up and screamed too. The dogs started barking like crazy. The T-rex started to come at the plane, but suddenly a little dinosaur came and ran in front. "DONT EAT THEM! FRIENDS ARE NOT FOR DINNER!!!" "CHOMPER!" yelled the girls. The T-rex looked confused. It began to open its mighty jaws and bend down...
Christ in the Americas

Mini-golfing in style heheh

Araceli and Ignacio!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


[Background editorial note: Chris has been randomly selected as a potential jury member for Culpeper County Circuit court. We have to send him a form to fill out in order for him to be exempt from this experience. Among the possible options are: having been convicted of treason or felony, being over 70, being a mother of a nursing child, being mentally impaired,or being personally responsible for a mentally impaired person--here at home we were having fun deciding which one Chris would choose as an excuse...the fact that he is simply not living here for the next two years is way too boring. We also got a notice that Chris owes $10 in overdue taxes for a little business selling toys and games online that he and Jeffrey started a few years ago. Clearly, Chris is a troublemaker.]

Hey, Family, whats up?

Yes, that is correct, I am a juror. I think I'll use that as a title from now on. Too bad I'm unable to fulfill my duty... I believe the "personally responsible for a person with a mental impairment requiring continuous care" is the option I'll take. I've already informed Elder Muro. He's not as crazy as Elder Gurrola, but still... c'mon, we're missionaries, we're all a little crazy.

Dad, just fork over 10 bucks. As CEO of Boompf Enterprises, I can't take the business to a bigger market with the history of offending a small farming county government like Culpeper. No one will respect the company. Plus someone might find out the business actually started in our basement in said farming community. If Boompf does go down for tax evasion, though, it would get me out of jury duty for sure.

Good job on your talk at church Amy! and Holly! That's really cool! And Happy Birthday again Ames! Hope Fred the frog gets along with the guppies. Fish are the best pets I think, because they don't make noise, don't smell... we did service for a family that RAISES dogs in their basement, and, well, it smelled, and there were like 50 puppies barking like crazy. They also had chickens. Holly would have loved it...

Speaking of birthdays, THANK YOU to EVERYONE - people have been quite jealous of the 5-6 packages and tons of letters I've gotten... it's all been great! Magura family, thank you for the recipe book! And all who contributed to it! It looks great, and I think I'll be trying it out today for P-day dinner! I'll see if I can use some of all this food we have in the fridge - people give us tons of stuff here, probably 4 bags of peaches, a bunch of fresh corn, cakes, trout, etc etc etc in our fridge. Hey, its Utah, remember? Also, thank you Aunt Jill--as ALWAYS, thank you for the letters and all you do to keep me updated. I always laugh when I read about Erica ("you are a TOY!") and all the adventures you all have. Kayla, haha, thanks for the box. Cd is sweet, and I'm finally gonna use them candles... lol. TO all, thank you for the cards and everything! It was a sweet continual birthday!

That's cool about Neil Anderson coming to your conference. He's already one of my favorite church leaders. Make sure to go meet him! And that's CRAZY about Steven and President Monson. That is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity! Hope Steven ASKS QUESTIONS. I probably could think of a couple...!

Ha, this week we got to meet with some Church representatives (besides us I mean)- there is a council that works with the Mission President and the General Authorities over this area, and we met with them with one of our Branch councils. It was cool, they taught the Branch leaders how to do ward missionary work, and what they need to do to help us here in this area. It's a sweet plan Elder L. Tom Perry made for this area, and they are putting it into effect immediately. SO we now have a full crew of like 10 branch missionaries - like half of the adults from the ward basically - and a branch mission leader from the Dominican Republic (Hermano Luna, he is a host of a spanish radio station in the area, they call him the "Mayimbe"). We're teaching them how to give discussions and help us teach. This of course is a little nerve racking since, well, they aren't exactly trained in teaching skills, and tact, and....help. We began trying to teach them how to teach something easy on Sunday night. We got as far as the Creation of the world. We explained very carefully that they only have 20 minutes to cover it all, and to pretend they are teaching children - SUPER simple. You'd think, anyway. They made it about as complicated as you could imagine haha. Well, their hearts are in the right place.

Of course, not an hour later after we explained all that, a well-meaning couple comes with us to help teach a lesson with some investigators and, when they asked a simple question about Adam (as in Adam and Eve), the husband we brought said (in Spanish), "Oh yes, ADAM! VERY IMPORTANT..." and launches into a huge dissertation that didn't make a lot of sense, in Spanish or English. Our investigators were very kind about it, though, and politely nodded now and then with fairly blank stares. I love Utah.

Despite all of this "help" we're getting, we're doing well! We had 10 investigators show up at church in one branch on Sunday! Plus about 15 children that tagged along with the parents! Looked really good with the representatives from the mission being there and all...

Haha, and I think the other noteworthy thing is that we taught a Family Home Evening lesson in "Little Mexico" last night - a trailer park in Hyrum. I love trailers. We taught a member family, their 3 brothers' families, and a nonmember family. And all their tons of kids. Imagine, one room of a trailer. TWENTY THREE PEOPLE IN ONE ROOM.

Mom, I am GOING TO SEND THE PACKAGE and I have the contact prescription and info in it. I PROMISE IT'S COMING.

Yeah, about the new edition of the Spanish Bible you want to get me. I think we are going to go buy one next week, and see how much they cost and which is best. I don't know anything about the different ones, so we're going to go next week and get a ride to the store and stuff - maybe someone will buy one and we can check out theirs. Um, so if I pick it out, you can just, maybe put the money on my card? Sounds good. We're excited for it, since the current Spanish version we have is less than perfect without all the cross references or footnotes and stuff, plus very small print.

Well, I love you all. I hope all is going well, and everyone is happy and enjoying life. I know this gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I know the Spirit bears witness of its truthfulness. I am indeed amazed by the faith of all good Christian people - mom, you are right about that. We are all blessed beyond reason with light and truth. This gospel, this plan, requires faithful work from all. "For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." -- Luke 12:48

Well, gots to go! Love you all, tah tah for now!

-Elder Christopher Juror Thelin the Old.

PS. Sweet Jeff, 5k in 18:46 is a sweet time, how many miles is that? - keep it up, just don't wear yourself down! "It is not meet that man run faster than he hath strength..."


PPPS [Enroute to Uruguay...] Just then the plane shook. "What is THAT?" Holly yelled. Amy saw out the front window. "Oh, it's a Pterodactyl!" (I can't remember how to spell it, I'm not 6 anymore...) "A WHAT?" yelled the girls. "WOOF WOOF WOOF?" barked the dogs. The plane shook again. Luke tried to steer the plane straight, but it was too late. The dinosaur grabbed the plane and steered it straight DOWN... into a small Pacific Island off the coast of Costa Rica. Just before they crashed into the trees, Heidi saw three things: fences, old buildings, and some animals with REALLY long necks...
PPPS2 Took pics at Logan temple, sweet, will send package I promise...

PPPPPs Any ideas on how to teach someone how to read? One of our investigators can't read Spanish (his native language), and we're trying to teach him, but we're kinda just making it up... teaching the alphabet... we pretty much figured we don't have time to really teach him, so we're going to have faith and read the Book of Mormon out loud, and have him point to the words and say them after us. Someone said that it is easy to help teach children to read from the Book of Mormon (remember hearing some of the homeschoolers do this), and they will learn. Maybe it works on adults? Any thoughts for an easy way to teach might be useful... definitely interesting working with a grown man, pointing to letters and trying to get him to learn them. "That's "jota". "Oh, ok. S, right?" No..... "De." "S?" .... "A." "Oh, ok. S." sigh....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


WOW. I'M TWO DECADES OLD. LIKE, OLD. Now I can talk about the "good old days" when I was a teenager... haha. Never thought I'd NOT be a teenager...

THANK YOU for the package! It did indeed arrive! Saturday, even! I waited though till Monday to open it of course. We made sure to set up the banner and we sliced the pinata with a katana that the English Elders had, since I didn't have the Unique Super Pinata Buster that's 20 feet long, as the directions suggested... (the only explanation for why they even HAVE a katana is that Ogden is scary) [note from Mom: I had to look up the definition of a katana, which is--"a curved single-edged sword traditionally used by Japanese samurai" Interesting. Moms love this stuff.] and etc. etc. Heidi, I love the platypus king. HA, the Jupiter keychain is priceless [Many years ago I received a squishy globe full of gel with Jupiter in the middle and I announced that if it ever burst open, the world would end at that moment. Well, it burst and the world survived and I got a cool keychain made of Jupiter]. I laughed pretty hard when I saw that. Yeah, and the party hat, pretty cool, Jeff. Everything was excellent! And Kayla and Grandma Pat, thanks so much for your letters! They both arrived in time as well! And it wasn't a bad day for a birthday either - we did service in the morning for a lady from England named Sister Breemer, she owns a little farm in Paradise, (Paradise? In Utah?) and we pick peaches for her and stack wood and stuff, it's pretty nice, and then we went out with the English Elders to Subway, we taught some sweet lessons, we ate dinner at a park with a family who was celebrating their baby's 1st birthday (not a coincidence methinks!), we played Jenga with some kids for a Family Home Evening (Ana and Pablo Lambaren's family - they are investigators, and they speak the most awesome fluent Spanglish ever - switch back and forth almost every other word haha), and taught a guy outside who seemed really interested. It was a pretty good birthday! Of course, no cake or family here, but clearly I could hear you all singing to me from Virginia!

Haha, I DID get a new insect for my birthday - a spider with a poison sac 3x bigger than its body. Killed the mantis. Sad.

And speaking of birthdays, HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERS! 8 years old, huh? Practically grown up. How's school? How's life? You have a webkinz named Chris? I'm a MONKEY??? WHAT?? I, Missy, am forever a PIG! Hope you have a great birthday, and eat lotsa cake and stuff for me! I love you tons and will give you a big squeeze after I get back. I owe you one!

I must say Dad's dream is one of the best I've heard in a while... Darrell. Uh-huh. Stop coughing everyone!

Something cool - we've been a lot slower here than in Ogden, in getting people to progress - but we had a family come to church this Sunday (Araceli and Ignacio, and their daughter Carla. Afterward we had a lesson and talked to them. We hadn't been sure if they were going to be receptive. But a man got up in sacrament meeting, after blessing his newborn baby - kinda nervous in front of so many people, but he did it. He got up to bear his testimony of Christ, and began crying in it. Araceli we brought to church said when he began crying, she felt something inside. A feeling, that made her feel like going up and bearing her testimony too! Another felt really strongly as someone bore testimony in the lesson. Later when we watched the video of the First Vision, a friend (Adriana Rubio) who had just "come over" said she felt "escalofrios" (or goosebumps) kinda all over, but not in a creepy way. I know this was the Spirit testifying. It's interesting, we have to be receptive to the Spirit. Some people aren't, as I've seen. But some are prepared to feel the promptings of the Holy Spirit. This is the most important thing - this is how our Father and our Savior will speak to us. We must listen. These people did, and felt truth touch them. They all have decided to be baptized.

It's interesting, you see a lot as a missionary. It's bugged me before why some people feel and others don't. Why some people see the Church with such different eyes. A lot of knowledge was lost when the apostles were killed in the years following Christ's ascension. Today, a lot of people sincerely are trying to follow Christ, love Him, and are wonderful people. I know that all are good, and I also know that we have His full Church restored. I know this is the truth. When I get to wondering, I remember what I've felt. I have felt a peace that goes beyond me, beyond this life. I've felt it most as I've tried to get to know my Savior, Jesus Christ. Sometimes in our daily lives we get a little mixed up, but I know that it is only by Him that we are saved, that we have purpose and joy and life. Only as we focus all we are on Him do we progress spiritually. It's a challenge, but I know it's possible. I have felt His power cleanse my life, change me, give me hope. I have also felt the Spirit testify with great power of the Plan of Salvation, that we lived with God before we were born, that we will have eternal families after this life, that our loved ones are in the Spirit World waiting for the Resurrection. I know by this same power that the Church is true. I don't always understand everything, but I know it is true, and trust what I've felt. I think this is part of our earthly test. To hold fast to what we've felt and received, and not waiver in the presence of opposition, even when we don't know the answers. Faith is believing in things not seen but are true. I know that as I began my mission and got set apart as a missionary, as I sat in that Stake President's office, hearing Kayla, Dad, Mom, Bishop Hoggan's testimonies, I felt the Spirit stronger than ever before. I felt a power, a love, a light just filling me. I felt clean, sure, and so close to the Savior, comissioned to go out and bring those who would listen to the fulness of His plans for us. To the Church. To His kingdom. To the authority of God, the Priesthood, to be baptized in His name and power, and be cleansed. There is no other way to come fully to Christ. We must remember that and take the Sacrament with that in mind. But that night, as I sat there, being set apart and blessed by the Stake President, I felt like I was filled with light and divine approval. Of course, with bad days and good days, that feeling has dimmed and grown, off and on, since then, but I know that was the Spirit filling me and I remember how it felt. I know this is His Church, and I am on a mission to gather those who are willing to accept it. We were prepared for this time before this life. I know what I've felt. It takes faith, study, prayer, and time - and its worth it. And when we fall, we are rescued by the Savior. Anyways, I know these things are true, and I know the Spirit bears witness of these things to those who are willing to receive it. It's true!

Well, thanks so much to all, I love you all. Excited to see the Facebook group entries from everyone that Mom mentioned! Thanks everyone for remembering a missionary out in the backhills of Utah!

Love, Elder Christopher Thelin the OLD

PS Sweet! So glad Senora Johnson remembers me... how's Jeffrey like the class?

PPS [Previously in the story: Falling into the hole, the little troupe in the BOOMPHmobile discovered the rest of the group with party hats on and squirting each other with Fiesta string. Luke Skywalker was in the center of the crowd, blindfolded, swinging away at a pinata with his lightsaber, having a birthday celebration in honor of Christopher, President of the Platypii...]As the cake was being wheeled out, Tippy took a big bite out of it. "TIPPY! What are you doing???" cried the girls. As they went to go shoo her away, the platypii saw something inside the cake - a book. a CLUE! Kinda like a giant fortune cookie cake... the platypii picked up the book: How to get to Uruguay. "Hmm, Chris is in a place that starts with U... it must be Utah!"said the platypii (they don't read very well) "Hey we know how to get to Utah!"cried the platypii."We'll get our platypus plane!" "Ok, onward!" said the girls. So they got on a plane and started heading to Uruguay...

Playing Jenga with the Lambaren kids for Family Home Evening/My Birthday!

Peaches from Sister Breemer's house!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Yola, everyone!

Man, I'm not so in on the whole switching to a new area thing. I was quite comfortable in Ogden and Buenaventura, albeit surrounded by crazy people... BUT that's ok, I'm figuring it out, trying to learn the streets and where I live. You know how crazy it is to go to Church twice in one day? The English Elders cover up to 30 wards at a time, and attend services from 8 to 5 on Sundays...wow, glad I'm serving Spanish. But having just 2 wards is nuts, I can't remember who goes to which and which investigators will be going to that service and.... but that's just my life.

HOLY COW I'M TURNING 2 DECADES OLD! WHAT THE HECK? WHERE DID IT GO????? (Wow, mom and dad, you guys are old...) I feel like I'm still 15 or something... ha, but ok, I'll do it. Jealous of AMY who gets to turn EIGHT! That's so fun - Amy, you get to be BAPTIZED! That's really important! Keep me updated on it, and take pictures! I'm sad I'll miss it, but it'll be ok. You appreciate what that means better as a missionary - its one of the most important things we will do in our lives. And one of the happiest.

ALSO happy birthday to Joey, one year older and wiser too (and only 2 hours away, weird...) as well as Stefan, who I shall beat by one day, try it out first and see if I like it... sounds like he's getting his kicks, burning ties and slaughtering sheep and such...

That's one thing about Hyrum - the whole thing smells like manure, cows, and sometimes blood - the main industry is "Miller's", which is a slaughterhosue, and where 90% of our members work all day. Depressing, and smelly. Whee. Not as smelly as the horses though- HOLLY, HOW CAN YOU STAND IT??? There is a fence right next to our house, and the horses walk up to it to stand in the shade, and, well, "let their wind go free" you might say... it makes life kinda stink sometimes, ugh...

ANYWAYZ, man, big week, we'll see what I can tell about it... um, OH I FORGOT, last week we got to attend the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Dedication! I completely forgot to talk about that, I'm not sure how... it was great! That is a beautiful temple on the inside, we saw pictures and video clips beforehand. Can't wait to go there someday... All church services in Utah were cancelled so all could attend via satellite in their buildings. Kinda significant. Very powerful. The temple is holy, a place of purity in a world that isn't so pure... President Monson is a prophet of God, and ha, President Monson is also hilarious. He was telling stories - apparently Air Force One landed in Salt Lake and he and President Dieter Uchtdorf got to tour it. President Uchtdorf [a former pilot] sat down in the pilot seat and was talking about how he used to fly these types of planes. "I saw the look in his eye as he touched the controls" said Pres. Monson, "Dieter, DON'T DO IT." He obeyed, and that's why he's allowed to attend here today..." Funny man.

Hm, oh yeah, we also had a zone conference with our mission president, his wife, and Elder Porter of the Quorum of the Seventy. Very good, talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes people get wrapped up in programs and details and stuff. Home teaching, youth programs, tithing... its all very important and necessary, but we are not saved by obedience alone - Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved. Faith, repentance, baptism (and that covenant), listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end is the only way to Him. It is the plan for overcoming sin. It's not something we just do once in our lives and then "move on to higher things" - there are no higher things than coming to Christ. We do it over and over, day by day, by how we live our lives. This is His plan. cool...

Hm,, oh yeah, on the way over to our second church service, we get a call - the Branch Mission Leader was calling. Just to let us know ahead of time that we are speaking in sacrament meeting. So we can prepare...haha. It worked out, I've never spoken in Spanish to a large group of people, but it was good. I talked about Grandma and Grandpa's conversion, and how its blessed their lives, their children, 2 more generations, and 1000's that their grandchildren have shared the gospel with. I believe I am the fourth missionary in their grandchildren... and it's growing. Schweet. Went well, only that no one can say my name here, since I've dropped Telin (had to, not a good word, though Buenaventura branch will def remember that whole episode, haha...) Thank you again Grandma and Grandpa for having the courage to accept the restored gospel - that decision has and will change the lives of countless people.

I got your package! Thank you! Thank you all who have posted comments and such, I enjoyed that (haha, I saw part of my Facebook on my mission - printed out...) And Mom, thanks for the letter, that was cool. That talk sounded really good. And I remember writing that journal entry, I think thats profound. Thanks. And all the candy and such is sweet, thanks! I STILL haven't sent my pictures, not sure why not, but haven't done it still! Sorry, maybe I'll wait till I need to send the other Livescribe back? We'll see...

Nice job Jeff on the Cross Country - keep it up, don't hurt yourself with all the work - chill a little too...

We'll be praying for the Hester family, that's sad. Same thing happened a week ago here to a 19 year old about to go on his mission. Texting while driving. DON'T use cell phones while driving, its so dangerous...

SELLING MY LAPTOP??? Grrr, ok.... ha, fine. JUST MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS OFF OF IT! When i send pics of my mission, save them in like 5 places, I don't want to lose them... good luck Jacob!

Wow, baptisms in Culpeper? Sweet! Are you going to them? Are you greeting new people at church when you see them? Are you helping the missionaries? Ha, these are things that all missionaries would love - not for us, but for the people we are teaching. You don't know how much it makes a difference to shake someone's hand and say "nice to see you here today, WELCOME." or to go to their house and speak with the missionaries. Sure sometimes the members are crazy and say funny things, but its good. The person who is trying to learn about the gospel is impacted by it. It's not good when people go and then tell us no one noticed them. Yeah, but I think you all are doing fine on that ;)

Really? Gma and Gpa and your fam were sealed [families are joined together for eternity--see Matthew 16:19] in the Logan temple? Somehow I thought it was the St. George temple! Ok, sweet! I love this temple, it's so old and like a castle. It's up on a giant hill, shining all the time. I think someone talked about it in General Conference, talking about a kid saying you're never lost when you can see the temple. This is the one... But sweet! I'll make sure to take pictures. Historic!

Well, that's what I've got today- we're now going to go play soccer (joy. :) Elder Muro is pretty cool, its cool to meet someone who just accepted the gospel 2 years ago, a different perspective. A little more reserved, but still funny.

OH we caught a praying manits, then another one. We thought they'd be friendly or something... but in the first 20 seconds the new green one fell on its back, and before it could get up, the other pounced, grasping it by the neck and throat and began to dig its mouth into its back, eating it ALIVE! It was CRAZY! It made a hole in its back, eating it alive, then ate its entire head, and is finishing the body now. Crazy.

Well, we've got to go - I know this gospel is true. Christ is our Savior. I know this. I know He knows me. I know this is a reality, and He is our friend. He laughs when we laugh, cries when we cry, and cheers when we choose right, faith, and overcome our problems. The commandments are indeed our lifeline, the way to joy and freedom. The Spirit can guide us. Brigham Young said "We all live beneath our privileges." Think of all we've been promised. We can be powerful, work miracles, know the Lord - IF we have faith, and live worthily of the greater blessings. I know if we do it, we can see the power of the Lord poured upon us. I'm learning that, but I know its true.

I love you all, thank you for all you've done! I'm so thankful for all you've done for me, taught me, given me - I'm honored to be part of this family, and hope you are doing well in all you do!
Elder Christopher Thelin

PS: Hey, people that got new addresses for school this year (Hello Kayla... can't write yet...) send me them! I'm going to do better about writing to everyone I promise!

PPS: They drove through the desert and suddenly Jeff woke up yelling. "GAHHHHHHHHH BOLOGNA SWORDFISH GOOFMISHGORGIN!!!" Ok, not quite awake. But it made the car swerve... into a giant hole...
PPPS: Keep that plaque shiny ;)
If you look at the green one's back, you can see the hole being munched into it...

The extra-stinky horses by our apartment with Elder Muro

You can see the Logan Temple from anywhere in the valley!