Tuesday, February 23, 2010



Ok, so first off, yes! We had our Quadruple Baptism! Best baptism of the mission by far. Jesus Lagunas was really nervous, but did well. We rushed interviews and last minute lessons to teach everyone and get em ready. Over and over we've heard Carla say "This is the right thing... I know this is right." Amazing lady. From the first time we knocked her door to now, huge changes.

We were so nervous Sunday. Dropping everything, running around like crazy, calling people, inviting everyone we met to come to the baptism. But it worked out - almost blew up the gas heater filling the font, smelled a lot of gas, but we grabbed a bishop and he banged on it some till the pilot light lit again... anyways, sweet baptism, Spirit was strong there. Almost the whole branch showed up. A brother from the branch baptized Jesus, Elder Preciado baptized Carla and Bryan, and I baptized 8 year old Aalyah (a-lee-ah) - great family (Aaylah told me not to say the word sweet anymore - "its weird" - apparently I say it a ton). They looked amazing all in white, and their smallest sister, who is 3 - so funny, cute Spanglish - was also in a white dress, the pictures look great. Afterwards we presented Jesus and Carla with their own scriptures with their names embossed and our testimonies written in them- good day.

We've been quite quite busy, and its not over - the Lord is pouring people into our path. A guy we contacted drunk a month ago finally opened the door again - never has gone to a church, or anything. Taught him for 20 minutes. After our testimonies, we asked how he felt. Fun question, every lesson. He said "Peaceful. I don't know why, but I just feel really really good and peaceful." Accepted a baptisimal date for march 20th - I think he surprised himself. The Lord works miracles.

Grandma and Grandpa studied the church for 6 months? That gives hope - there are some people here who have heard off and on their whole lives. We'll keep up hope for the 6 month ones. Actually, you are definitely right mom, I have learned that about 4-5 of the people I've taught have been baptized later on. Samuel from Riverdale was basically an achololic, 20 years old, but he's changed 100% now - I taught him for 4 1/2 months, but he is baptized now. Its cool.

Ha, though you would like the phone call - the Dazza family are super - give us seafood once a week - Shrimp of the Devil (don't ask), fish, etc. Fun family, they took pictures because the missionary that actually baptized Elder Preciado came for dinner, so yeah. I think all that was within the rules. Whatever. The kids speak english, so feel free to write in ingles.

Sounds like the Magura wedding was perfect. A samurai sword to cut the cake? Sounds like Katherine found the perfect match. Amazing.

Congrats on States Jeffrey, what the heck, way to underestimate yourself! Btw I found a kid - one of the familia Dazza actually - who is your Hispanic twin, looks like you just brown...

Good job Heidi! That's so cool about getting the part of the magic carpet in Aladdin- can you fly?

The familia Bucaro still wants to know if Holly wants their crazy dog Rocky.

Amy -keep being cool.


I love you all a lot, and am always thinking of you all. Keep being good, and following the gospel. I know it is true. The Spirit is a real gift that we have - I know it will guide us and comfort us.


Elder Thelin

PS. the giant paper crane swooped down...and picked up Holly, taking her to the island of Hawaii...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Hey family, wassup? Man, sounds like a blast there, Snowmaggedon, the Snowpocalypse, crazy. Yikes. Well have fun going to school in August. Haha. Everyone figures when I come back I'll bring the dry spell with me and Utah will return to its snowy self. Here there is actually no snow on the ground right now for the first time since like Novemeber. Crazy.

Haha...ummm, we kinda ruined our car. Driving home for dinner with a full gallon of red kool aid, touched the brakes too hard, kool aid everywhere. So funny. There scooping it out like an inchof kool aid below the seats, on the side of the road, everything smells like cherry, we had to put the floor pads - saturated - on the trunk (not in, on, because we cant stain anything - and drive slowly to a nearby chapel so they dont fly off (they did.) Oh man, Elder Preciado's life hasnt typically included these types of experiences and he was going crazy. Haha. Then a man called him about a bunch of expired fish. Ridculous series of events. Thank you for preparing me for the rigors of real life.

Well, interesting week, been running like crazy everywhere trying to do a million and one things. I believe I mentioned that Carla and her two kids are being baptized this coming Sunday. Please pray for them - its been hard to teach them, but they are so strong. They want to be baptized. Also, last week we taught a man that we've been teaching him for like 3 weeks now. Not sure if I've mentioned him, but about a month ago, we knocked his door and he scowled and left us at the door, sending his wife - a less active woman - to talk to us. we heard he slammed the door in missionaries' faces once. Well, a week later he came to church - he lost his job, and then his wife - actually girlfriend - left him. Just up and left. He remembered we'd invited them to church. We taught him - very humble now, and open. Invited him to be baptized the 20th, of course, but he didn't accept - said not to rush him, maybe in June. WELL this Wednesday we stopped by and talked to him, and he said that well, he'd been thinking a lot about what we'd said, and asked if he could be baptized the 20th. Told him he needed to read in the Book of Mormon - he showed us he'd already read 138 pages. Reads it to find comfort - and he feels amazing when he does. SO Sunday is a quadruple baptism. Sweetness.

YES I got the mail, a V-day pack and a pack of pictures and such I think - good stuff, liked a lot. Thanks! I enjoyed the letters, sounds like everyone is doing well, having fun with life. Good luck Holly *wink wink* :) Have fun with your new Culpeper missionaries.  I love the new missionaries, because they always have a little more innocent strength - not really sure whats going on, and rely more on the Lord. Thanks for feeding them. Do the missionaries stop by there often?

Ha, speaking of warthogs and Pumbaa from your hospital waiting room experience.... yesterday at Zone Conference we were discussing helping our investigators progess - not by lessons, but by commitments they keep. Cool because its true, it doesnt matter how much knowledge they have; if we dont obey the commandments we cant keep covenants. They will never be ready by knowing Church is necessary unless they act on it and GO. Point: we watched the beginnign of Lion King and sang along with the Circle of Life - it tied in, but was cool. Actually a pretty cool song, kinda deep. Something like we move through our despair and trials by faith and hope, till we find our place on the path unwinding in the Circle of Life. We need to help people overcome by faith and hope, and find that place on the path to eternal life by ENTERING the path through baptism. It was kinda neat. More actually fun to watch 60 Elders trying to sing "Maaaaaaaaaa Saminiawaaaaaaaa Manannishwanana" at the beginning. But still, good message. This isnt a gospel of just knowing, its acting on the knowledge. There are millions of lessactives here or even non members who know a LOT, and dont do ANYTHING. Doesnt help them at all. Live like you believe, apply what you learn. As missionaries, we never teach or learn anything without giving a commitment to act on it in some way - to pray, to act this way, to go to church, to read, to stop smoking by the 10th, etc. Makes a difference.

Oh man, other cool things: not sure if I wrote this, but the man I baptized last April, Edson Torres? Got a letter - he's planning on going to the temple with his family this year! Hopefully he will and I'll be able to go!

I know the Church is true. I know Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I know God lives. I know the Spirit guides. We had some good experiences this week where we went down roads we've never tried, and found a door where someone told us they'd been watching and hoping we'd come over to their house, and needing something specific. The Lord knows our hearts, and loves us very much.

Love, Elder Thelin

Ps Hank? Tell Henry to write me, I dont know his address or anything

Psh My watch is restored, it will survive. No, I fixed it nicely for real.

Ps34 ...and the girls decided it was time to act. Holly called the bear (in bear language of course) and it dodged the blast. The three girls then drew out their magic staffs and, as they had done to the Sun Dragon in the Forest of Elders, they revealed their nature as princesses and sent a blast towards Godzilla...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Happy Valentine's Day!,

Hah, well for all the stuff I've heard about Obama from people on my mission, he certainly gets 10 coolness points in my book for being a world leader and using the word "Snowmageddon". Ha. Here in Utah the snow seems to have stopped in a record timing, and the snow that has been around since Novemeber is actually melting a bit... weird. Everyone's telling me that Virginia is permanently an arctic zone, and it seems like that's true, wow. Glad everyone is surviving and enjoying the snow, good luck! Bacon and sticks were my first concern as well Amy. I was immediately thinking when I heard about it all, that you guys sent me possibly the world's best bacon at Christmas, and would thusly now be baconless to face the elements. (btw, was that really safe to eat? I got scared from the reviews...)

Speaking of pork products, I tried one of the first things I couldn't eat on my mission. After Church on Sunday, we went over to a sweet family's house and had a meal, and after some spicy meat stuff, the mom got a crazy look and started making something. "Tostilocos." Crazy toasts? doesn't make sense, but she poured out a bag of chips, cucumbers, sevreral cans of tomato juice and salsa, and then "cuerditos." Yes, I asked what that was and no one could answer me. I found the can and its... pickled pieces of pork skin? I think maybe people eat something like that in the States, but this was too much. I coud not eat it. They were little white strips, you could see the pores and yeah... very chewy, pig skin... about a 1/4 inch thick. We just had to go right home afterward. Ugh.

Hmm, other news... my watch broke, and I held it together ingeniously with dental floss for a week, but have now repaired it after an hour of work on P-day...

There is a family - the Bucaro family, and they have a crazy dog. Like Beethoven crazy, running all over a small aprtment, ate stuff off my plate at dinner yesterday, etc. I mentioned that Holly likes all animals, and they are making plans to ship it to our home. They beg you to take it Holly, and love it. It slobbered all over my pants too. Yup. Named Rocky.

I have been thinking about Grandma and Grandpa's baptism. I do actually talk about it every once in a while. People ask "You were just born into this, etc etc" and I can say yes I was, but my granparents weren't and this is what happened... powerful story. I'm curious to know more, actually, about when they knew the book of mormon was true, or how it was going to Church for the first time, or if it was hard to accept new ideas and such. What their friends thought, and how they changed from before and after... would be interesting. Might help some.

Carla didn't get baptized yet- she got a double job and is working like mad, BUT she declared firmly she wouldn't work on Sundays, and isn't now! In two jobs! And I'm not sure if we mentioned, but we taught a FHE there with her kids, and they said they want to be baptized too!! All of them will be baptized together on the 20th as a family. Sweet family, happy, they help each other out, and every commandment, Carla accepts it firmly. We taught tithing, and she told US "I want to do that, that would be right. We could help other people with it." Yes exactly!

We also found a 20 year old from El Salvador that will be baptized the 27th - also named Carla. And many more people on the verge. Exciting, just need to make it happen now...

Well, certainly glad to hear that all the medical situations are improving, and Colton and Robert are doing better.  Superbowl? hah. No one in the Spanish world watches that, World Cup is where its at.

Thursday I hit one year! I honestly cannot believe that. It feels like a week or two, and yet I remember things from last summer that seem like an eternity ago. Crazy. I realized I've probably shaken hands with several thousand people by now from all over the world. And I still am relatively healthy. Cool.

I hope the snow stops at some point and you can go skiing for real before the spring, and that someone makes some good Calvin and Hobbes snowmen. I love you all, and think about you often. The Church is true. I've exmined a lot lately about how Christ is the fruit in Lehi's vision, He is the end of the seed of faith we plant that Alma talks about, and He is real. Coming to Him is the goal - coming to know Him, be healed and rescued by Him, walk with Him, be like Him. I feel like I'm at the very start, but it comes. He lives. Crazy that some people think we aren't Christians.

Take care!

Elder Thelin

Ps yes I laughed mom.

PPs Someone nabbed the packet of pics and stuff and hasn't been able to deliver it to me yet. Soon.

Ppppps I'm in process of sending pics too

Pppsneijhgosihsssss ...pulled to safety just as a terrible roar shook Tokyo. What could it be? asked Amy. Heidi cried "LOOK!" as a ginormous monster rose up over the skyscrapers breathing fire down on the city. "GODZILLA!!!!!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Well, Family, I'm being transferred to China. With Tai Shan! Ok, not. I'm staying here! (NOTE:  for those of you living outside of the Washington DC area, Tai Shan is our beloved panda at the National Zoo, that has to go back to China this week) Hilarious, after 3 weeks of Elder Preciado telling the entire branch he is leaving, we are staying together! First time I've stayed with a companion since my second transfer - 7 companions so far. I'm so glad to stay in Layton. I love Layton. It's an amazing place. We've been kicked out of a few apartments and trailers while knocking doors, but whatever, the members are incredible, and our investigators are so solid right now. Carla is the coolest lady ever, we found her tracting.  She is the one that said,  "So many people knock this door - how do I know which is right?" Working two jobs all week, but is firm in going to Church, getting baptized, living every commandment we teach her about, and her children just told us that they too want to be baptized. Sweet. Met another girl yesterday de El Salvador, and she said she listened in her home country, and felt the same feeling. Never had had it before. We have set a date for her baptism for the 27th. Amazing.

BUT with transfers comes craziness. I've been a District Leader for 3 transfers now. Still am, but now... in the past there have been 2 separate programs, the Spanish and English programs. There are no separate programs strarting tomorrow. I will be teaching in Spanish, but will be over about 10 English Elders in my district, and doing some English exchanges. WEIRD. Our Zone Leaders are now English, whereas before all our leaders were Spanish speaking too. Sorry, no relevance to all of you, but weird for us. Some Spanish elders now are speaking in bilingual areas. It's the Lord's will. I think there was sometimes a little tension between the two camps before, Spanish speaking elders trying to outdo the English, etc. This will help unify us as a mission.  Hopefully Elder Preciado won't kill me. Hehehehe. No, we've done well this transfer. Best transfer of my mission, even though its the first I didn't see anyone baptized. We've grown a lot. Jeffrey, about smacking you for chewing gum weird while we were growing up, pardon. That was stupid. I'm a LOT more patient now. Still working on it. And Elder Preciado this transfer has said the same, best transfer, we've come closer to the Lord, overcome differences and seen miracles. Another transfer will just be better...

Did you all watch the church Be Strong thing for the Youth for New Years? Watched it in Church, interesting, a call for the youth to overcome the adversary and be firm in choosing the right all across the world... and yes, Mom, we can read magazines de la Church, but I get em in Spanish, and they cut out some articles (New Era and "Amigos" are included in the same magazine, called the Liahona) So feel free to send that article you mentioned.

Aren't the snowflakes cool? We've seen that a few times here, when you can see the individual flakes with the designs.  I love it. Whats with the snow in Virginia? Here its not AS snowy... strange...

Sorry about Ramone.


Heidi, amazing.

We will pray for all, The Lord will watch over everyone. There are hard things fora reason. Rose and Cardon families in the prayers for sure.

I shall send pictures bien pronto (soon). I'm trying to narrate em. But I gotta practice kalimba too ya know (I can play a number of hymns and "I like to look for rainbows" (with chords!) Fun stuff.)

Well, family, I love you all. Lately I have found myself thinking more about family and things, and miss you all, but not in a distracting way. I've really come to learn many things this transfer and past year. I've learned the meaning of faith, then put it in action. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God lives. That Jesus Christ is the Son of God. That faith is necessary before miracles, healing, forgiveness, blessings. That the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is rejected by many, but the Holy Ghost, the Spirit, testifies of Joseph Smith as a profeta, of the Church's authority, and of this missionary work. All must come unto Christ by faith, repentance and baptism. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know this because i have lived it. I've felt increasing love for others, and for the Lord, and for this message. It's the most important thing. All can know that. Its so sweet to see someone open their heart and feel it. Carla Garcia's face has literally changed in the past 3 weeks - more happy, more faith filled, she is living the things we teach and seeing blessings. We all can. Always read the scriptures and pray, and always always go to church (Dad, how have you ever managed to avoid working on Sunday? I'm understanding how significant it is that so many men show up every week and have been firm in job choices and explaining to others that they need to go to church. It's not necessarily an option in every job.)

Love you all, be safe, and be good,

Elder Chris Thelin

Ps. Congrats and luck to Katharine!

PPs. If you happen to ever run into Kimmy again, tell her I wrote in Dec but dont know if she got the letter... I'm getting better, trying to write 2-3 people a week, including converts, family, friends, etc...working on it.

PPS. 2000 converts in the Utah Ogden mission in 2009 (record here!) and 218 in January!! (109 of which occurred in this past weekend!!!!) This is a baptizing mission! And people say Utah is already full of Mormons!  Hah!