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: "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...