Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey mi familia!

Oh MAN, this week was different. The Lord likes to stretch us, even if we aren't very elastic-like. Like, I feel like I'm a rock or something and He's taking me and starting to pull.... cause He sure dumped about as big a change as He could on me. DISTRICT LEADER? A TRAINER? I'm still trying to get used to just being a senior companion and leading a single area, let alone be worried about 4 Elders, reporting, making significant decisions for people's lives, and being the perfect example in everything for the other missionaries etc., etc., etc. It's sure going to change my mission though. I think it is exactly what I need at this point, but it sure feels like the Lord is doing an Elder Thelin Overhaul here...

Well, let's start last week around Wednesday morning. Get up before dawn to drive the hour down to Ogden. SNOWING. Yes, SNOWING. Get down there, go to the big meeting for all the Trainers with President Olson. Intense. (He asked us to pattern our training on what OUR trainers did. Hahahahahahahahah, I haven't started attacking things in the apartment at random with kitchen knives or started calling my Greenie "Billy" or anything like that.... yet... ha, Elder Gurrola was so great!) Then we had a District Leader training, also intense. I have a greater view of accountability and stewardship now, looking at 4 Elders and determining what my actions can do, all the time, to lift and better them. Still working on that one...

Then I meet: Elder BAQUEDANO!! (Bah-kay-dah-no) He's from Mexico City, but more recently from Las Vegas. Cool guy, he's on fire. Working hard to talk to everyone, really sincere, bigger than I am, has a brother who decided to serve a mission at the same time, and they both started the same day, were comps in the MTC, and he is serving in Salt Lake City South, crazy! So now we are speaking almost entirely in Spanish. I'm turning fluent, yesh...

But yeah, really good, we're working hard here. Not easy, but good! And what a crazy first day - we made the voyage back to Hyrum in Cache Valley, driving quite slow through the blizzard, got home, then began to tract immediately. Oh, I forgot: as a zone, we only get so many miles to drive a month - and, although WE still had like 800 miles left to spare, by the time everyone in the ZONE made the 100 mile round-trip to Ogden, the zone had used them up, so when we got back, well, we had to walk. In the freezing rain and snow. Like, miles. It was a blast. Luckily we got a ride to our REALLY far appointment (tip: find out what state of mind people are in BEFORE you ask for a ride. Explanation given when this man picked us up: (in Spanish) "OK ELDERS, we have 20 minutes." "Why?" "Because I just drank a lot of Nyquil for my headache, and I'm going to be asleep in 20 minutes." Luckily the appointment was only 15 minutes away. Yes, we learned our lesson. Heh.)

And yeah, so far we're doing good. Difficult, but the Lord is changing us. It has been one of the most stressful and intense weeks of the mission, but I have also felt the Spirit a lot, and had some wonderful experiences. Yesterday is the example: Monday apprarently was REALLY Monday for the whole WORLD, because we started out by losing 2 appointments. Then, we stopped by the two older people we've been teaching, Araceli and Igancio Alvarado. They have a baptismal date for Sunday. They informed us that they had a problem and it was neccesary for them to go to California. And probably MOVE THERE. Gone. They're like family to us, so nice - I can't tell you how many tamales she gave us - but that's how it is. I was pretty frustrated, but my comp told me not to worry. As we drove past another house on the way out, he pointed out they were home, and we had missed an appointment with them the day before. So, we stopped, and, well, they were home, and we taught them a lesson. The Spirit was strong. Sometimes people don't listen and don't seem sincere after, but this time when we asked how they felt, they seemed changed, and really had felt the Spirit. Just after we had another small miracle and met the husband of a lady we want to teach, and he set up a appointment.

Later that night I was feeling way stressed. Everything fell through. We said a prayer. I began by explaining to the Lord how hard everything was... and then stopped. Then apologized, and began to thank Him for everything that was going so well. It was amazing, because as we did this, the phone rang, and it was a miracle we'd been only half expecting. Then we drove to a house, and it was dark. A name came to mind, so we drove to another house, and this 19 year old, Abel, from Guatamala that we've never taught before was HOME. We taught him about the Restoration. Again, we asked how he felt. He said "Different. Something... I can't explain this feeling." It was powerful.

SO, tough week, but learning a lot. Gratitude, and positivity. Diligence, and faith. The Lord can do it all - it's just hard to let go and trust.

HAHA, I laughed really hard at Amy's comment. [When we told Amy about Christopher's new responsibilites she said with great skepticism, "They want CHRIS to be a leader? Of other missionaries? (and then whispering) Do they KNOW that Chris flooded the church and broke an ancient stained glass window?"] That's hilarious. I'm trying to do better with floods and stuff. And I really couldn't finish reading what you wrote about the annual closing up the pool conversations between Dad and Jeffrey from under the deck, I was crying so hard laughing. Holy cow, Mom, that was funny, and typical. I do miss those good old days, but not so much crawling in the mud under that deck... (don't we ALWAYS do it between Saturday conference sessions?)

Wasn't Conference good? Admittedly, I missed out on some because in Spanish its a little harder to follow, but I saw some in English - Elder Holland's was amazing. "I want it to be written down in history before God, angels, and men that I testified to the world in the plainest language I know that I KNOW THE BOOK OF MORMON IS TRUE!" ('Safety for the Soul').  Apparently all the people watching in Spanish could hear his voice over the translators... also thought it was cool that there is a TEMPLE BEING BUILT IN BRIGHAM CITY! That's MY AREA right now! YEAH. Really good stuff - we had about 10 investigators watching the conference, and all loved it.

Hyperboles... no idea. I remember what a parabola is, but only because I get it confused with "parable" in Spanish... and co-vertices sound like a trap. Good luck with that, Jeffrey.

Well, we don't have much more time here. Jeff, keep running, be the beast. Holly, you're riding again? Amy, nice party - sounds like fun, and 5 GOALS! Heidi, YOU CAN DO IT - #1 AR reader in the school - wasn't Harry Potter 7 awesome?!! Not that I am remembering it...

Well, family, I love you guys. I'm learning a lot, and hope that my dross is being consumed and my gold refined. I'm so thankful to have felt the Spirit in a greater way this week, and hope to grow much. I don't understand all things, but I want to trust without hesitation. We are so lucky to have that as children. Wish it was easier to keep it. But I know that God lives. I know that He is watching over us, and not passive, but working to help us overcome our difficulties and grow. The Savior Jesus Christ is always here, trying to heal and strengthen. It's amazing to think of that patience. He knows us, He weeps with us, He understands us. Even though we are so weak, He understands, and loves us anyways. Enough to help us overcome them. And I've thought a lot about what He expects of us. To those He has given the Gospel, the truth, the gift of the Holy Ghost, all these oppurtunities... do we understand what we have? The Lord has given us so much... think of what He is hoping for us: we are given all this not just to keep it and enjoy - His hope is that we bless the world with it. The salt of the earth isn't good if it can't be used! He is so exicted when we humble ourselves and become a tool for Him to bless others, help our brothers and sisters understand and come Home. I know this is true. I know He is always willing to help us grow and stand up again. He never designs to destroy us with our trials and experiences, only lift us. I know this Church is true. The Spirit testifies to us. Christ is leading us. God is for us. We can be laborers in His vinyard with Him. If He is helping, we can do it.

I love you all. Thank you for all you do! I hope its not as cold in Virginia yet, and school is fun, and everyone is positive and grateful! Look to Him, and never look away.

Love, Elder Christopher Thelin, who feels like he was accidentally signed up for too many spiritual AP courses in one semester...

Ps Seeing as how I can't remember where they won this battle... um, SO EVERYONE WENT TO GO PARTY, and went out to eat in a small little village fiesta in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Holly was riding a llama and everyone was great until the llama started to talk. "I used to be an EMPEROR you know...."

PPS "Best Two Years", haha, that is a pretty good representation about mission life sometimes... hilarious!
My "son," Elder Baquedano


  1. Inspiring message, christopee. Just don't let this whole gold-refining get to your head...

  2. Elder T. You're a fabulous District Leader, I can just tell. Don't sweat it. You have plenty to offer. Way to go on listing things you're grateful for on a difficult day...that will always make you feel better. "Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done!" We love you, think you are AWESOME, and have every confidence in you.