Tuesday, November 24, 2009


First, Jeffrey, what the heck? BERMUDA? MEMPHIS? Good grief. Just slow down there browski... g'jorb.

How are you all?? Sounds like the gang is having usual fun, running around, losing teeth, making impossible plans. Mom, I feel EXACTLY the same with my calling, forgetting to follow through, leaving planners or maps in the apartment (SUCH a sweet apartment, though... I've lived in places we referred to as "caves" - this is the first aprtment I LIKE coming home to, and it has a washer and dryer that 1) don't require money and 2) you can dry more than 1 shirt at a time, sheesh, hated Hyrum for that...) SO yeah, we keep moving forward, doing our best.

I only have a few minutes here, our normal computers were down so we have to use library computers and only have 10 more minutes (like the MTC! sheesh!) We have a short P-day this week because we have all day off on Thanksgiving --playing football as a zone in Bountiful (Elder Minson is now my zone leader, gotta tackle him), then watching like 3 g-rated movies, then to Grandma's! I believe Amber and her esposo are coming down! Should be fun. Exciting to see family!

We ARE blessed here with lessons. Right now we are trying to FIND people, this area is different than other areas, in that there aren't many hispanics. However, this is where Elder Gurrola had his most success, so I'm trying to implement all the stuff I remember him saying here - basically loving the members till they trust us with their friends here. We will have success, it's just going to be tough. And we are likely going to deplete our car miles by next Monday, so we'll be walking... fun...

Good job all on the awards siblings! And the tooth, Ames!

We are praying for Reagan. Her name is on the prayer rolls. I'm amazed by how faithful people are, in all walks of life. We met a man last night, taught us more than anything, not very open, but he was cool, gave us each a little bible... neat... but there are so many cool people. I've noticed with some families that they are so close, they are trying and struggling to raise good families, etc. and I WANT them to have the truth, it's hard. We taught a sweet family, so cool, but last Saturday they announced that they learned a lot, but are fairly happy where they are, and don't want to change their ways. It was pretty hard. We have hope they'll come around, but grrrr..

My companion is calling a number for another free bible from the guy we met. Good grief. Better go.

More than anything, I know Christ lives. He is the Savior. We are weak, and seeing more of that on the mission, but also that through Him we can be stronger. He is the strength and the guide, and we should all be more thankful for that this week and always!

Elder Thelin

GRACIAS por the package that I'll get! Kayla's address??

Wednesday, November 18, 2009



Wow, so I thought last transfer was stressful.... piece of cake...

WELL I'm now here in LAYTON/KAYSVILLE!! Crazy, Elder Gurrola served here in Kaysville before he trained me, and always talked about it. He was here for 6 months, and baptized 20 people, everyone knows about him. He always talked about how to have success here, and also his companion from this area called me from Arizona and told me what to do, so I'm not completely lost... ok, thats a lie, I'm completely lost. My companion Elder Tetelpa has been out 5 months, and only 1 in this area, and barely knows the way around, so I am mastering the art of the u-turn, and am not sure where and where it is not illegal....

And I am leader over the Bountiful Spanish area! Cool, because I was just down there yesterday doing baptism interviews! HEY ok so Thanksgiving: We had an idea, and I just called my President and he approved it without any problems. I have permission to go eat Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma's -provided my companion is there, there is a man over 18 years old present, and a man gives us a ride there! I don't know what kind of plans Grandma has for thanksgiving, so if there is something else, that's ok - but I'd love to take a vacation for a few hours to Bountiful! I would need to call her, to talk about this, but don't have a number... I'd love to call all of you, but you'll have to wait till Christmas! I don't know if this is all possible, but on my end its ok. Grandma, if you could, could you call us in the near future? Alright, parents, um, this is my number, but you can't post it or call it, don't be tempted.... xxx-xxx-xxxx.....We'll see what happens....

Well, all in all its been a good week, the Lord is blessing this area and preparing us for something awesome. My first night here we taught an open house to the Layton branch, whoever wanted to come could come, and we taught about where we were before this life, what is our purpose, where are we going, and how families can be together forever. It was great - I read the words of Familias Puedan Ser Eternas (Families can be together forever) and made it very personal - kinda neat, next time you read that song, make it a personal statement. It was very spiritual. Afterwards we found one lady there who wasn't a member of the church who had been going through Utah and stopped at her daughter's house, and for some reason decided to stay with her for a few months instead of moving on. "I don't know why, I've never done this, but I felt like I should..." Sweet.....

Also a drunk guy said he loved us...

I have the sweetest apartment, two floors just to us, so nice... and a new 2009 Corolla, which I'm using up its miles quite quickly...

We will be praying for Reagan. I don't understand either, but I know there is a plan. Its all only temporary, and our response is what counts. Keep the faith, Reagan is the example. I don't know their family real well, but our hearts are going out to them. Faith, even when it seems impossible.

That's cool about the temple; I've seen that, that when we go, we feel and learn what we need at the time. I learned more this morning in the temple than ever before. Seeing how the Savior is the center there, and how the family is the focus. It was sweet, felt very good about it.

We're laughing at the mousetrap story, Mom, hahaha....

Dad, yes I am loving the District Leader calling. I'm terrible at it, and trying to balance that responsibility, as well as my responsibility for myself, my companion's well being (he's from Mexico, but has lived in Salt Lake City for 15 years... ) and all the people we teach here... overwhelming, for sure, but its revamped my outlook on life. As a leader, we look at people, and evaluate their strengths, their weaknesses, and plan to train and help and reach out to people in the ways that will best help them overcome their weaknesses and become what we have in mind for them. Its a scaled down version, but I've understood better maybe how fathers feel, Bishops, the Pres. Monson, and even Heavenly Father and the Savior feel sometimes. This is the work that counts - taking a life and working in the right way to help them choose to grow. I'm no good at it, but I'm seeing more. I know that He has prepared so much, "trainings", challenges, all to build up a part of me that is weak. This week I've felt closer to the Savior. I'm evaluating with Him what are my weaknesses, and trying to see how He's working on those,so I can conciously use it to the maximum benefit. That's the goal -I've realized the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for me, its become a little more real for me, and I want to live so that I contribute the minimum possible to that suffering. I know that He lives. I know that He is giuding us, all of us. When we submit, we grow. And I know this gospel is true. 4 people committed to be baptized yesterday. We shared the experience of Joseph Smith's first prayer, and asked them how they felt afterwards. A little 8 year old girl said happy. We all felt it empowering the room - the Holy Ghost warming our hearts. As the member we brought bore testimony, she cried and explained what she was feeling. They all chose to follow those feelings and prepare to be baptized and washed clean of their sins. I know that Jesus Christ lives, and this is His Church, with the power and authority to baptize, and bring us back Home. Never forget it!

Amy, enjoy the Wampum Belts! Holly, have fun at Jamestown! Jeffrey, just don't drive crazy... Heidi, keep being cool.

I love you all, and am praying for you - friends and family, even if I'm not very consistent at writing.

Love, Elder Thelin

PS: Love the pit bull story - real quick, Elder here from El Salvador from a few years ago: he carried this machaete everywhere for some reason, (reminded me of Stefan when when we were 12) and well, once the two Elders got a referral, and went to go knock the door. A HUGE vicious dog was on the porch, and wouldn't let them pass. The American Elder said "Well, too bad. Lets go..." The Elder from El Salvador said "Nothing will stop the work of the Lord." And he went up, confronted the wild beast, and stabbed it in the throat! then knocked on the door. They weren't home, but they could say at least they tried.... yikes....

I personally haven't met a dog that likes us, I think its the ties...

Pps have fun at the climbing gym, be careful...

Pppppps Dad, like the "US Public Sector, Homeland Security" Title... are you still working at all for the Dept of Immigration? Just curious...

PS2 The pizza smelled delicious, and the gang was chowing down. Suddely everything went dark... a shadow covered the sun. "Uh oh" said Holly. "The squirrel says its a..." AND the GIANT TOUCAN of the ANDES CAME DOWN, AND, IN ONE BITE, SCOOPED UP THE PIZZA... AND EVERYONE WITH IT!!!! "This is not good," said Heidi matter of factly...

C-3PO Hey! President said we could use those burned CDs - if you still have the ones I sent, feel free to send em back!

AND I need Kayla's address, daggone it, I've tried sending letters but they come back - Kayla, is there a apt # that you forgot to put on the letters???

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Hey, wassup Family?

WEEEEELL, I've been quite anxious here, waiting to see what would happen with this transfer. It's been a good transfer here in Hyrum/Brigham City. Elder Baquedano is a n amazing person, I've learned so much from him, and not sure if I've done enough teaching to HIM, but it was a fun transfer - my son, out to face the mission on his own now, yikes. Way cool person though, I'll miss his support. And also this transfer, Lupe and Maria baptized, three of their kids, and possibly another baptism on the way. The branch is way excited and friendly, and love us here. We saw all the support this past Sunday - people willing to help, asking for us to teach their families, etc. The only sad part is... I'm leaving. I'm being sent down SOUTH, to be a District Leader in LAYTON. My new comp will be Elder Tatelpa, from Salt Lake City - weird huh? I remember his first day in the mission, so this should be fun!

Other than that I have no new info about transfers, but we'll see where it goes. I have a lot of goals for this transfer that's coming up. I've grown so much this past 6 weeks, spiritually, in obedience, in humility - I have learned that I am very weak and can't accomplish anything alone on my own, without the Lord's help. The Lord wanted to make that quite clear I think - there's been days where I've worked and worked, stressed and called people, and knocked doors and all that, but maybe didn't trust in a miracle... and nothing happened. Rejection. But in the moments when we've stopped and prayed, and humbled ourselves, and asked for HIM to finally do something, only then did we find someone, or have ANY success. This weekend was full of that - Saturday, all lessons cancelled, everything fell through. We sat in a trailer park in the car and prayed. We felt good about a trailer we'd never knocked, so we went up and knocked it at like 8 pm (do YOU all think 8 pm is too late to knock on your door? It's a dilemma, we don’t want to be annoying, but we need to work till 9....) and the lady who answered let us right in. "Elders! C'mon in!" We found out she is a member, and met her husband, who looked a little familiar. "Are you a member?" we asked.

"NO. The missionaries come and go, for 20 years they've tried to get me to pray about that Jose Smith guy."

"Have you done it?"

"Yeah, and nothing happened. You're all liars. You don't feel anything."

We then spent about 10 minutes trying to prove things to him by the scriptures, and he confounded US. I realized we were going about it the wrong way, and the wrong spirit was there, of contention. We stopped, and my companion bore testimony, then I bore testimony. I've only felt the spirit bear testimony through me that strong a few times, but it was really strong. We commited him to pray and ask with a sincere heart, with real intent to follow God's answer, whatever it may be. We sang him a hymn, and closed with a prayer, praying for him and his family to receive answers and accept the gospel.

After we closed, we heard the wife say, "Yeah, sorry, my husband likes to mess with the missionaries like that..." and noticed he was smiling. I didn't have time to react, we were out the door. I just sat down in the middle of the street and laughed. Thought about it and realized they go to our branch! Sheesh, what kinda weird joke is that? Wasted 40 minutes, but then again, we learned some things about teaching, and felt the Spirit, and they did too. God works in mysterious ways... and then the next morning, all the investigators didn't come to church, but that lady who hasn't come to church in 40 years, she came! We were saying in the car "Oh we should go invite Irma" and suddenly her car pulled up! She loved it, and was loved by all the Sisters there. Also, new people came for the first time that WE don't even know. And well, so went the weekend, people coming out of nowhere, people who had slammed the door in our face becoming humbled and letting us in to teach them and help their lives, people coming to activities...

We had a family home evening last night - ha, funny, we invited an investigator, and had it at our branch president's house. We swung by there early to explain what we had planned...but they told us "Oh great guys, just in time, we just finished planning our lesson!" Great......and then proceeded to tell us this huge long complicated explaination of deep doctrinal subjects, and then finishing by saying to us, "Like I say, we have to teach them like they are children, so they understand - if you teach YOUR part simply, and I KNOW we'll teach OUR parts simply, I think this'll turn out great! So, where are these investigators?" I think my prayer was leaning towards them not coming at that point, gotta love Utah, ... so we started the family home evening without investigators. But just as the 8 yr old son of the family said the prayer, the doorbell rang... a family we'd invited in passing but had never even gotten past the door to teach---CAME! MIRACLE! God brought them there.... and they got an overdose of doctrine, but still, God had a reason for them being there, so.... dear family and friends, if you EVER have investigators in your home to hear the gospel DON'T try to explain ANYTHING that your 3 year old won't understand. The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. Keep it that way! "I prayed, I felt the Spirit, I know its true" - that will suffice... and if you share personal experiences you don't need details about how many tamales you were making for a party or the economical state of California in the year 1997, or over-emphasis in how the wicked state of the Lamanites would make a pretty scary movie in theaters. (all have happened...). Just a note that will make other missionaries quite happy. Heh. Yikes.

So yeah! Ok, well, what else? Oh, your welcome for the cd says Sister Jones - at least, that's what she told me in the store, I'll prob never see her again, but that was a nice thing of her. I personally like the peanut butter song...

Jeffrey, ur face is capacious (NO idea what that means... and yes, maldad is "bad" in Spanish, more like bad-ness...) congrats on regionals!

Heidi, save the video on Fungus for me, sounds classic!

Good job Holly, following the Spirit - I loved your letter! It was so cool! I'm glad the party went well, and hope you had a fun birthday! Don't get TOO old while I'm gone! A man here who got baptized on your birthday wishes you a happy birthday too!

Bishop Henry sounds like a super bishop. Follow his counsel. We must raise our spirituality, that is true. We had a Zone Study yesterday with our zone leaders. Very spiritual. They are working to help us be better missionaries. We talked about obedience, and how important it is. We want to bind the Lord by our obedience, EXACT in all things. Not just to mission rules, but to all the Lord commands throughout our lives. We won't ever be perfect here, but we need to WANT to be, desire it with all our hearts, and feel sad when we slip. If we become casual, it’s not good. None of us can afford that. Follow the counsel we receive. I know we are blessed when we give our all. The Spirit was very strong in that room as we bore our testimonies. this is the Lord's work. We are here for a short time on earth, and we are NEVER alone. Trust. I've felt the Lord pouring out blessing I don't deserve, teaching me through my mission, and showing me things, showing He IS there, and won't give up on me. Numbers 12: 5 and 9 are cool.

We'll be praying for all the people you mentioned in your letter, Mom. And Cookie the hamster.

Side note, check out pg 96 of the Ensign, I know them all, the missionary on the right of the page is Elder Leavitt, my Zone Leader for my whole mission, and a good friend! Weird, huh?
I'm writing to Stefan... and everyone...

I love you all, thank you for all you do for me. You are all in my prayers, and I hope you are all happy and well. Never give up, never surrender, and smile daggone it! I'm truly grateful to be on the Lord's errand.

Love, Elder Chris Thelin

PS and the FUNGUS WAS UPON THEM! Giant mushrooms were rolling down the mountain! And...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Hey Family!

How's it goin? Sounds like life is still normal and crazy, huh? YES, it did snow here - stopped us from driving through the canyon to Brigham, we felt really bad about going, so we turned around - the snow is coming, oh boy... Dad, all the precautions that you were warning me about and that I wasn't paying much attention to - grips on shoes, extra coats, scarfs, etc - well, you knew what you were talking about, sorry. Should be absolutely delightful, whee...

YES, I did get the package with all of Amy's baptism pictures! The talks are awesome, the pics look great- Amy was very cute - I mean cool - and I was excited to see part of the day! Ha, that was cool, I did write that down about my baptism. Excellent, because I REMEMBER feeling that way, but I have proof now! I talk a lot about that day with people, so I'll start enhancing it now.

AND the Halloween package! Got there on Friday! Very nice. We loved carving a tiny pumpkin, I managed to get a sweet Angel Moroni carved in while we were stuck at home. Ha, I agree with Ryan, Halloween is weird, not the same spirit as Christmas - its hard teaching a gospel message with a zombie on the doorstep with you... and Jeff, clever. Facebook sheesh.

On our end here, we had a sweet Sunday - the five people who were baptized were confirmed. Also a new baby was blessed, and after we bore testimonies. I felt the Spirit way strong there, we got up and testified to the 5 and also the other woman who was baptized in September that they were in the right place, that they were feeling the Spirit. Way powerful. We were quite excited for them.

Congrats Jeff on track! Don't hurt yourself, but keep going for it! Heidi, excellent with the chorus! Amy, keep making goals! and HOLLY! Happy birthday, kiddo! What do you think you're doing turning 10??? You're not supposed to grow up! Horse shows, and all - you're turning into a pretty cool kid, and I wish I could be there Sunday! I love you muchly, and hope you have a wonderful birthday. Keep being cool and I love you very much!

Well, sweet - we're anxiously awaiting the transfers next week, I refuse to believe time moves the same in Utah, seems so much faster, but we'll go with the flow. This Gospel is true. I know it is true. Jesus Christ lives. We talk a lot about Him, about how He heals, He can redeem us, but its more than just talk. Its true. He is willing to forgive, He is willing to stand by us, to lift us, comfort, empower. I have a strong testimony that when we try to go it alone, nothing works - in this mission, in all of the Lord's work, success is only acheived through HIS help. I've seen that here; when I am prideful, and concerned with my numbers, my lesson plan, my responsibilites, my my my, NOTHING happens. I break my back and do a whole lot of what I think is right, and NOTHING turns out. Faithful investigators cancel, baptismal dates are lost, people don't come to Church... and then comes the humbling moments where it all comes clear again and we pray for HIM to make it work out. Last night that basically happened, and we stopped at 8:30 outside a house, feeling maybe we should knock, but maybe not, so we get out, and a random little old man speaking spanish walks out of the woods and toward the house, so completely random in that part and that time in the cold, and we talked and then he told us to talk to his friend too, so we'll see where it goes. Crazy. But I know He lives. We're not alone here, He is going to lead us along.

Listen for that love, seek that peace and companionship. It all sounds nice, and its beautiful when it becomes a reality. We need to take our troubles to Him, and let Him fix them all. He lives, and loves us, and He will never leave us. THis is His Gospel, His Church, His power.

Alllllrighty, family, I love you all, happy birthdays and pagan holidays and luck and prayrs to all!

-Elder Thelin

PS Fortune cookie: Even the Greatest of Whales is Helpless in the middle of the Desert. I figure its inspired. They got tired of "Riches will appear in an unforseen avenue" and all that jazz...

PPS E Gurrola's address... oops

PPPS Coat works, and I found boots as an apt treasure, we'll see what happens as it freezes over more here... thermals and such will be a must..


PPPPs THE SQUIRREL SAID: "Squeak squeaker sqeak sqeaken" Holly lit up and began to jabber away with the squirrel. The llama was trying to get Heidi to change him back into a human, and was very persistent. "I CANT DO THAT!" Heidi said. "I don't know how, ok? Hey, stop eating my sleeve! CUZCO, cut it out!" Suddenly, the shouting echoed in the valley. The group looked up the mountain side and saw... an army of Inca indians! coming right down towards them. "GREAT. THIS guy again," said Cuzco. A man was running in front of them, wearing a pretty cool fedora, carrying a pretty ruby red crytal, and trying to whip the Indians behind him and dodge the spears. "What's he shouting?" asked amy. "Sqeaker sqeak!" said the squirrel. Holly translated "Mr. Squirrel says he think he's saying RUN...."