Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Wow, what a week, this has been fun.

SO I am in Logan right now. No, its not transfers or anything, but I got moved. Apparently there was someone waiting for a visa to go to Mexico on his mission, and Saturday night it got through, so there was a vacant spot, and some other people were getting emergency transfered, and they needed to move around people with 24 hour notice. Why they chose ME, I don't know, but Saturday night we got a call. We had just been at the Branch's rocking Mothers Day Party, which was intense, featuring a live Mariachi band (which we missed cause we had to go out and work : ( ) But we stayed and talked to the entire branch, like 200 people, and sat with investigators, and participated and stuff (they called up 8 volunteers and me and Elder Baqudano went - didnt know it was a contest where we had to identify song names and where in Latin America they were written - I called on a member to help and come sing it for me, since my knowledge of Latin American pop songs from the 70's is a little lacking....) Yeah, it was really cool, everyone was commenting how good it was to have us in the branch and how I'd probably stay there for 10 more months, and then we left and saw a missed call from the Assistants... And 24 hours later I was riding north with all my stuff. SO I'm a little bummed, didn't get to say goodbye to EVERYone, but to a lot. It was so cool seeing Carla Garcia and her kids in the classes Sunday, and she was sharing scriptures she likes (Moroni 10:3-5 she said it was a favorite) Good stuff. Leticia cried when she heard I was leaving (the lady that said we were angels), a whole ton of investigators said "WHEN I get baptized, you are coming to my baptism" which gives me a lot of confidence that they'll be ok. Jorge Pineda was still talking about how life is changing, he feels so different than he did before, and we encouraged him to pray about being baptized the 29th of May. Awesome.

But well, now I'm in Logan. Actually, covering a branch that I covered back in September! I was covering 3 at once back then, so now it's a little different, but I'm excited. We actually have the temple here in our area, and Utah State University. My companion's name is Elder Johnson, cool guy from Minnesota, easy to get along with, yup. And it looks like it'll be fun here, so we'll see how it goes. Not as many Hispanic people, but we'll find them.

SO, Bermuda trip sounds just plain not fun, just boring, how lucky that you didn't have to go to THAT Jeffrey. Sheesh, saved from the pain. Enjoy the SOL's... Relay for Life sounds cool too. I bet Jeffrey has now made famedom in Culpeper forever, I'm just so proud of my little brother... holy cow, you can be weird, Jeffrey, haha. Good job. Penelope Pits. I can only imagine.

Speaking of cancer, funny story, crazy people:

We were walking, and a guy pulled over to give us a ride. "Get in, girls!" Haha.  Ok...... so we got in, probably shouldn't have with an opener like that, and the man started driving, and said "Do you know who I am?"
"Probably don't WANT to know who I am. Do you know what FRANKINCENSE is?"
"Uh.... the stuff they gave to Jesus?" (very weirded out by now. The man looked a little disappointed in my lack of knowledge)
 "Yes... do you know why?"
"It..... was a good gift back then?"  It was the best I could do on the spot.  So then he started to explain WHAT it really was - a sacred oil, that was used in the ancient temples, and was a gift from God to man, because the scent would bring one to a better communication with his maker. It got real quiet for a few minutes as we uh, tried to proccess that essential information and pray that this guy was sane enough to drive us where we were going.... then when we got to our place, thank heaven, and he said "Wait a minute." And pulled out a purple book, full of little vials. He carefully and reverently pulled out one called Frankincense and poured a bit in our palms. "NOW, put it on your forehead." What to do?  So I carefully dipped a finger in and reluctantly put a dab on my forehead "NO, put THAT hand on the forehead, ALL of it" So feeling a little foolish I rubbed my palm all over my forehead. Why the heck not.  Then very satisfied, he leaned back and said "There, the effects will start in a few moments. He then told us that we don't need modern medicine, that God gave us these oils to cure anything. When the world goes down, he'd have the oils. Remember that.  He said frankincense is an anti-congestant, anti-cancer, anti-depressent, and of course, we'd have better communication with the Creator. Good grief. BUT no kidding, all day every time I felt a little bummed or whatever, I sniffed my hand/ forehead, and felt happier.... high on frankincense...haha... people are so cool.

Well, I have to get going, but I just wanted to tell this story, which I hold a little more sacred, but would like to share. Back in Layton, me and Elder Baquedano stopped by a house. The man let us in, and told us about himself, his life, he was trying to stop smoking and was on day 3, and suffering a lot of temptation. We told him we'd share something from God and take his mind off it. "Now Elders, I've listened to more than 20 of you, for YEARS, and I know what you're going to share. I'll listen, but just up front, I want you to know that  I will NEVER change, there is nothing that you've ever done, or said, that has convinced me, and there is nothing you can or will say or do that will change it. That said, I will listen." We told him to look for the Spirit, and explained God is our Heavenly Father. That he sent prophets to the earth throughout time to teach us the gospel. We taught about Christ and His mission for us, and how through baptism we can be cleansed. We taught about the Apostasy of the Church, and then got to 1820. He was suffering because people were smoking outside and he could smell it. Then right before we shared the story of Joseph Smith's First Vision, his wife sat down. She had the same story and background, but decided to sit down and pay attention for a minute. We explained a little to her what we were saying, and then gave the First Vision story. Unfortunately, they were distracted by their daughter (she was crawling on them and such). Afterwards, they said they hadn't felt anything. I felt an impression to share it again. We asked them to close their eyes, and imagine now being in the woods, like the young Joseph, asking God what is the truth, and imagining what happened. As we recited the First Vision, and described the pillar of light, and God the Father and Jesus Christ descending, saying "This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him," the Spirit filled the room so intensely. SO intensley. My body trembled - not uncomfortably, but with the power, and the peace that filled us all. As they opened their eyes, they listened more intently. When we asked how they felt, the man said "Wow. I have NEVER felt that in my entire life. It felt... almost light headed.... but so good." we testified that the Spirit of God was present in that moment, and the man looked up and said firmly "I believe that. I've never believed that before, but I know that's true." We invited them to be baptized by one holding the authority of Jesus Christ's priesthood, and they said they would try to prepare themselves for the 5th of June.

I know for a fact that I am just a 20 year old who barely knows what he is doing. My companion too. We are not powerful, we are not amazing, we aren't good at teaching and we aren't good at persuading people to do anything. But I know that we are not alone - the Holy Ghost was present there. A man that was completely solid in his ways changed 180 degrees in a matter of  a few minutes. Not because of us, not cause we convinced him, but because the Spirit of God touched him and testified of the truth of what we were saying. I know that that is the ONLY way we can succeed in helping people know that this is true. It was the way I came to know this is true. Follow the Spirit.

Love you all, be good, be safe,

Elder Thelin

Hey, can you send me Henry's address? I need to tell him what to do to be a missionary.... heheh....

PS Also: the electric eels came in, with the sharks all about. Dory kept singing, and Spongebob kept worrying. Fortunatly Heidi had a bright idea. "Dory, do you still speak whale?" "Whale? I speak whale!!!" "Well, talk to them!!!!" "OK!" and Dory started shouting something that sounded dreadful, but a little whale-like. The sharks closed in, but Holly and Amy heard something approaching that sounded like noises they had heard from the movie Free Willy - "Is that... whale speak?"....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Hello Family! It seems like.... well, 2 days since we last spoke! Felt good, not going to lie, I loved your voices and loved hearing the stories and reminders of life at home. And its not distracting me, I feel more motivated to work now. Ha, we heard that the moms here in our little branch found out that if they keep saying "OH just 5 more minutes!" to their missionary sons, and then keep talking so they couldn’t hang up, you can milk an extra hour out of your phone call home! haah. Worth a shot in the future, eh?

Things are good here. We hiked a mountain again today, in the rain. Actually, where we were, it was snowing. Kinda cool being in the middle of the clouds, barely can see, next to a raging waterfall, with snow falling everywhere. Loved it. Very different from the daily rushing and running to contact everyone we see.

Which is something we've been doing times 10. I admit I've looked at people and not talked to them on my mission. "Oh, he's scary." "Oh, he looks happy already." "He looks busy..." As we've focused on EVERYONE, we have started flipping the car around to talk to the guy on the other side of the street, walking through lawns to talk to the guy mowing his lawn, strike up a conversation at the gas station... as we have put the effort forth, we can see results - we meet many more of God's children who are seeking the truth. Its amazing. How many people do we pass without noticing and doing all we can to help? Do we think about them? I remember Jeffrey, a song you showed me "Give me your eyes for just one second" -I have it in our apartment,  but that's kind of the message I've felt, think about everyone a little more, all these people we see... if we could just see them like God does...

Like I said before, lots of good things this week. Jorge, just 20 years old, lost everything his job, his wife, his family a month ago. We fasted to know how to help him - at the lesson Sunday, he said he felt a great peace in his life that started when we began to come by. He feels less tempted to do dumb things, he actually sat down and talked to God for the first time in years and years, he went to Church on Sunday for all 3 hours - and EVERY class and subject talked directly to him, to his needs. Amazing.

Then last night, we met with Claudia and Alfredo. Amazing people. She said she really doesn’t trust any certain religion, because they are all made and guided by man, and not God. We talked about having a prophet and she began to demand signs and proof, saying it was crazy to believe that, how could it be possible. I just started to talk - boldly, but with love, and testified with all I could about the fact that our Church, wonderfully, wasn’t started by a MAN, wasn’t started by an inexperienced youth named Joseph Smith, and isn’t guided now by man alone. It was started like God's truth is always given - by revelation, by giving authority to a prophet. It is guided today NOT by a man, but by God and Jesus Christ, by revelation. I asked her if she knew when God was present, and when He is speaking to her. She said of course. We testified that we have felt THAT as we've prayed for a testimony of the prophet, of the book of Mormon, of the truthfulness of this Church. The people are not perfect - who is, besides the Savior? The people aren’t perfect, but the doctrine, the authority, the organization IS. It is not of man, as Elder Uchtdorf said in a recent conference talk (Love of God, or We are doing a great work), it is not someone's best guess as to the meaning of ancient scripture, this is the TRUTH, this is Christ's church restored. As we testified, the contention left, the Spirit was there, and she just stayed quiet, thinking. We shared Ether 12:6. We need to pass the trial of our faith before receiving a testimony, a surety, something to "prove it". She felt strongly about that scripture.

It was a great lesson, and not because of what we were saying. The Spirit helped. It’s funny, people demand signs, or prove it all by reason, but really, without faith, all the signs in the world aren’t enough. We could see God Himself and still persist in doubt if we don’t have faith. Faith is the key. My mission is teaching me more than anything else to have faith. It is a strange thing, stepping into the dark without seeing the whole picture. I don’t understand everything. I've fought for a testimony more than many I have known. It’s easy to second guess and let criticism and confusion creep in. I have literally felt Satan's attacks on my quality of faith, mounting as I came to the mission, and during. But I have also seen more proof of the truth, more reason to have faith, than ever before. What I say to these investigators isn’t something I blindly believed in since birth (some anti said we're like horses with blinders on, refuse to see the light, etc) It would be like that if I hadn't have prayed 7 years ago, and read the whole Book of Mormon, and received an answer. It would be like that, if I hadn't have felt the Spirit guiding us to bring THIS message to specific people for the past year and a half. It would be like that if I was just sharing these things, but when everyone in the room feels the same peace of the Savior as we speak of the divine beginnings of this Church, it means something more. I have seen promises from prophets fulfilled, I have seen miracles wrought by the priesthood, I have seen Satan attacking and the truth sending him back, and I have felt the Spirit answering every prayer. It’s not easy, I understand where these people come from, but I have fought to know, and I KNOW. I don’t understand it all, and I don’t always know what to say, but I do know the truth.

Yesterday at Zone Conference, Alex Boye (very popular singer from London, family from Nigeria (British African?) came to our conference to speak and sing to us. He got baptized when he was 16 in London - and thrown out of his house. Literally. Lived on the streets, eating out of garbage cans. In that time he asked the Lord many things, and received specific real answers. Amazing. He served a mission. First day, a man came up, laughed at him, and started attacking the church. Alex had never heard of any of that. He stood there, then chose to laugh. He said, Sir, I don’t know if what you said is true, but it doesn’t matter. I prayed, and I know. I know this is true. I will not deny the witnesses I've received. He prayed that whole night, fighting doubt and struggle over these things he didn’t understand - and felt more strongly than anything, that this is right, the truth. Amazing speaker. As he sang his testimony, it filled us with strength and the spirit. Look him up, cool stuff.

Ha, sorry, I made a sermon out of those experiences, it’s just I've had so much mulling about in my head as we've talked to people this week, that I thought I'd write it here. I love you all, don’t have much more time, but take care, be strong, trust the Savior.  It’s all true folks! I love you and am praying for you always,

Elder Thelin

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Hey, halloo,

Well, this has been a week, I'm pretty dead. Worked a LOT, did a lot, etc. Sounds like you all are still more crazy though, hah. Hope Aladdin goes well, that sounds like a pretty demanding organization you got running over there.

Hmm, so what DID happen this week? We tried to do something new - we had done it up in Ogden a year ago - Cookie Night, with the youth. Got everyone hyped up about it all week, and then Sunday night headed over to the Garcia family's house (coolest family here, son is in Brazil, so they take out their concern and wishes for him on us.... so we're well fed, well cared for, heheh) We invited some 50 kids, but only 15 came. But that's ok, 4 were non members. We started out with a lesson on the Atonement, something short. We watched "The Mediator", an old Seminary video about justice vs mercy and how the Savior balances that out, and then we did a demonstration by doing pushups to pay the price for everyone to have their reward - cookies (LOTS of cookies). I did 160 pushups straight, no joke, it was intense! Then we played a game that really had no sense to it - tied balloons to our feet and tried to stomp the other team's balloons... but we also filled them with water, and Elder Baquedano wanted to fill some with red kool aid... and while the youth were trying to figure that out, the killer dog of the family (sister of the other crazy dog that Holly should adopt) got loose and ate at least 5 balloons while the youth were running trying to get away... needless to say, it was intense, and we stained a lot of nice clothes with koolaid. But we ate cookies, and are pretty sure some people are getting baptized, so it works out.... cookie night. Good stuff.

We had a good stake conference here - it was a broadcast for the area, with Elder Hales and President Eyring. Good stuff, talking about Zion and how we create Zion in our personal lives in the community. Also cool because a lot of people showed up who we were not expecting, one guy we have invited for 6 months actually came.

We also have a funny investigator that says she really wants to get baptized - Esmeralda - but she is absolutely crazy - we tried teaching her young son about the apostasy after the death of all the apostles, and we  made some little churches with Jenga blocks (thought that was pretty creative), and right at the most spiritual moment, when we are about to talk about Joseph Smith's prayer and the restoration of the full gospel of Christ, the mom here randomly blows them all down and laughed and laughed about how funny she was. She also can’t understand my Spanish, and whenever Elder Baquedano draws a smiley face on something she isn’t satisfied and thinks its frowning. It’s fairly hilarious. Patience and love. We'll get there.

Wow, a lot of mission calls! Steven, Heath, Christina, Nick, Henry, man, Culpeper is booming... can’t wait to see where they all end up. That's awesome about Megan going to SVU, nice!

Hmm, so I don’t have a lot to say, I guess - Sunday I'll try to call maybe at 4 our time, so 6 your time. I'll call to Grandma’s house - should be fun! We'll try to avoid talking about cashing checks for so long this time, ha. I guess it’s the same in all family's calls, it’s better not to say anything serious, well not much of a problem for us, haha - not fair the family with their son in Brazil talked for 4 hours with their son! He, was secretary to the mission President, special privileges or something... Well, we're excited for it, see how it goes!

Love you all, happy Cinco de Mayo (celebrates a battle between France and Mexico in the state of Puebla... who knew? Some older guy in the ward was rambling about it...) Talk to you Sunday!

-Elder Thelin

PS THE LONG LOST STORY CONTINUED...they were being followed by a pack (school? group? frenzy?) of sharks! The started to run to the Krusty Krab, but they were surrounded! They were just about to be made shark bait when they heard a little voice singing "JUST KEEP SWIMMING JUST KEEP SWIMMING...."