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