Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Oh yeah, it was Memorial Day... there were more people home I guess... the only meal we really ate was "orange chicken"-- a famous dish apparently in some Mexican state. Basically, a chicken drumstick sitting in a bowl of ORANGE JUICE and vinegar and onions. You eat that with a spoon (it’s a common thing, but I still think it’s hard to chop bits of meat off a bone with a spoon and under several inches of liquid. Sweet. Ugh)

Well, it’s been a week here. I mean, it FEELS like a day, but it’s been a week, ha. Man, Sundays, we go to church twice since we cover two branches. In the small Temple Boulevard branch, they asked us to teach the combined third hour, and teach on inviting friends to learn of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then on Saturday, the other branch asked if we could teach gospel principles. Ok... and THEN the 1st branch asked if we could do THEIR gospel principles too. SO we basically did the sacrament, then 2nd hour and 3rd hour, and then went to Valle Hermoso branch and did opening and closing prayers for sacrament meeting and then taught the second hour AGAIN. Pretty intense, felt like we were in charge all day... but it worked out, kinda fun. Hah.
Sounds like you've had some fun adventures this week - canoeing sounds so cool right now - well, if it were warm and sunny here - but yeah, I'd love to canoe a bit, be on a river. Amazing that we've survived the raging rapids of the Shenandoah time and time again, it’s quite a wild ride. And good job Amy for being strong and having fun even after feeling bad. That's sweet that the blessing worked out.
Are there really a lot of Hispanics in our area? I really didn’t know before. That's so cool if there's a lot from El Salvador and Honduras - probably means there’s good restaurants nearby if we know where to go. And super awesome people too. I'm proud Dad of your Spanish efforts to save the people from poison ivy, that was pretty good. I can only imagine. Glad Holly got to know Chihuahuas a little better, but don't ever get them...
The rocks in the shins sounds pretty familiar, I don't think I've ever gotten into that river without getting bruises or something to show for it :) Was the fast part the part from the State Park to that little landing or whatever that has "Doldrums" usually? Or did we avoid that this time, ha. Oh Shenandoah, I long to see you...
We still have the anchor of truth?
Yes, drunk people are scary. Oh my gosh, ok, so, the other day we were walking and saw a guy, and ran over to walk and talk with him. He just got here from Georgia, and he was super friendly, and we were about to bring up the gospel, when some random large guy wandered up the street and stood next to us patiently, waiting for us to finish our sentence. And when there was a break, he kinda straightened up, importantly, looked us in the eye... and began to talk in some crazy native American language, making hand signs for the trees, and for the sun, and totem poles and who knows what else. It was so random, we all stood there stunned as he went off about something. Then, as quickly as he came, he just stopped talking and walked away. We were still pretty confused, and taking advantage of that, the man we were talking to excused himself to go to the store or something, leaving us on the street corner alone. It was one of the funniest and most randomly mind boggling things that has happened to me since Ogden, ha. Good thing is we caught up to the guy later passing him in our car, and finished the contact - he is a less active member, so we got him hooked up with the church time and stuff. But WHAT THE HECK.
Yup. Welcome to Utah. It’s a really weird place sometimes. Bernardino hasn’t been letting us share scriptures this week. Rough. He's getting sick, possibly from things he does to himself with alcohol and smoking. We'll keep going to him. Michael is AWESOME. Only guy from Bolivia I've met, but he loves the gospel, got a white shirt and a pretty nice tie, and loved church. When we had all the members do role-plays about inviting friends to learn, he did one too! Definitely could be a missionary in a few years, 19 right now. Mostly just cool to see him confident and learning how to come unto Jesus Christ and be cleansed of sin and walk in the pathway.
Also if you can pray for Jose and Norma, they are having severe problems. They have 5 kids. I remember Joey mentioning in a letter how crazy it was to be an unmarried 20 year old kid and trying to be a marriage counselor, help people get off addictions, etc. It’s crazy, but we'll keep trying.
Hmm.. can't think of much else. We had a fun - no TWO fun contacts yesterday. We met a family of Quakers (thought they were something from colonial Massachusetts times or something) who basically told us that now in Quaker theology you can believe whatever you want and do whatever you want and this father actually encouraged his daughter's rather immoral conduct. So crazy. Thank you thank you thank you for actually teaching us that morals exist and are important to you as parents and MOST importantly to God.
Then we met 2 people last night walking around. I'd never met them - but my companion had. "Hi, Elders! What's up?" they said. In my mind, members? My companion said: "Hey, Eli..... so you still serving your mission thing....?" THe guy said "Yup! And Nick here is new, just came from Canada too! He's new here, could you maybe explain a bit of your culture and theology and answer some questions?" "Uh, sure...." okkkkk..... It basically came out that these 2 young men came all the way from Canada on a MISSION to us, the LDS Missionaries of Logan Utah. I felt quite honored, actually, that I was the target of an entire mission group - learned later that all the people on the park benches were not just passerbys but the rest of the mission group, strategically placed there to take notes and "observe" the contact with us. Wow, I felt like a hamster or an animal in a pen or something, ha. Very interesting. Eli was quite well versed; he quoted long passages of the Book of Mormon, Spencer W. Kimball from the "Miracle of Forgiveness," etc. He knew a lot of stuff. I guess he feels that we are all saved by Jesus Christ's atonement, and it doesn’t matter what we do now. We tried to explain the role of the commandments - how we aren’t saved by them, but that it was very important to be willing to obey God. He told us that he believes once we're saved, he technically could go kill a man, and still be 100% ok, that it didn’t matter. Cause heck, the commandments aren't important now, right? He just said that technically we "shouldn't" kill the man, because we "should" be loving and such. But it really wouldn't affect his salvation. The people of this world are SO CONFUSED!!!
I'm thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I'm thankful it was restored to the earth in its clarity and with the authority to bring it about. The Ensign from conference is so amazing. I know this Church is true, and the scriptures as well.

Love you all, be good, Elder Thelin
ps Jeffrey has to actually moon people.....?

Letter from May 25, 2010:

Wow, busy week, huh? I liked the account of the Home School Band, we've heard about that for quite a long time, and now it has finally come out into the open and we've heard it I guess. Neat! Patriotic Party Pizzas... will keep that in mind for future performances. Haha.
The senior pictures thing sounds fun Mom- how did you get landed with that job? Quite a leader my mother is.
Yup I'm in the beautiful city of Logan, right in the heart of it (it’s quite a small town, but I like it a lot). Quite an interesting area. We cover two branches: Valle Hermoso, about 100 people there, and a big area to cover, and the Temple Boulevard Branch, which has about 20 active members. (By the way, the Logan temple is IN my area, and it is SWEET). Temple Blvd is small, and covers the USU college campus, so the leadership of the branch is pretty young, all students that speak Spanish. Actually, there are really more white people than Hispanics, funny sitting in a room for Priesthood meeting with two Hispanics and a bunch of white people talking in Spanish when you know we all could talk English. But cool. I really loved the Sunday meetings. We gave talks in Sacrament about service - a little about how in our lives God knows which gifts we have that will bless those about us - we see it in action on the mission, praying to share the restored gospel with someone and then open our eyes and there the person we need to talk to is. But it’s the same after the mission - in ANY part of life. God organizes us all so we can be around the people we can best help at that time. It’s not a coincidence who is in English class, our ward, our neighbors, at the grocery store. It doesn’t always look like it from our perspective, it seems like we are all quite in charge, but I know that God is guiding it all, and we have the power to bless every person we see if we will just step up to the call.
Pretty cool investigators too. Michael is 19 and moved to Logan from Bolivia a year ago. He is learning English, and some friends invited him to be taught in their dorm room up on campus. He is so cool, prayed about if he should be baptized in the LDS church, if it really was right or not, and then opened the Libro de Mormon, and the first word he saw was bautismo. In class on Sunday, the teacher asked us all what our favorite gospel principle was and he picked "baptism." Very neat. Actually sweet class, taught by a Brother Crane, who basically is the coolest man in the universe, has the happiest marriage anyone's ever seen, just awesome. He let us all introduce ourselves and tell our fav. principle, then asked us questions, like "why did you pick that? We know why it SHOULD be important, but why is it important to YOU?" and as all shared their real feelings, the Spirit was there. Then he said that we all had learned one from another, and that's how teaching in the home should be. Not really formal, not necessarily standing up and saying, "kids, I KNOW this is true...' but more informal, seen in the way we LIVE the principles, and how we talk about them as we live them - for example, when there are problems, how we decide to pray. Or when there is a challenge, we express our confidence that it will pass and we talk and do the things the Lord counsels. As we do, that testimony is more powerful. Based on Elder Bednars talk from last conf. Good stuff.
Hmm, other cool things, we're teaching in some pretty run down dumpy apartments. I feel bad they look FREEZing, and just junk like. We teach a 50 year old man named Bernardino there. He got layed off a year back, and pretty much just lays out on his bed, drinking with the neighbors and smoking, and talking about being a stunt double in Hollywood and playing for a professional baseball team. (could be drunk, heh). It’s intense, once again, I didn’t really think that people lived this way. It’s also scary, I think we're the only people that are actively trying to help him find his life again (including himself) and we don’t want to let him go. Hilarious guy, walking around, telling everyone he’s really "gabacho" (like, gringo, American, etc). Pray for Bernardino.
So yeah, fun area, fun companion (was actually at BYU with me, but I didn’t know him - possible he was in Kayla's ward... Taggart Johnson?) I'm not District leader, they let someone else have a turn, and I'm now more focused on our own people. Yes, it did snow yesterday - started out rainy, then sunny, then cloudy, then intense lightning and thunderstorm, then sun and blue sky, then HAIL, then rain, then sun. All within the same hour. It was fun alternating being able to see the east mountains and then the west, but never both at the same time. We actually once could see in the same moment blue sky, hail, snow, and lightning. There is a saying in Cache Valley: If you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes.
Sounds like the wedding went well. I hope all keeps well for them. The ward seems supportive, and we learn from every experience, so hopefully they can be strong. Just keep loving them and guiding them. I'm quite proud of you all for taking charge and getting it rolling. You never know when everyone will turn and look to you to be leader...
We do miss things like wading in green slime. It’s not something everybody does, our family is quite fun, even if we're crazy. Good luck with the pool guys.
Jeffrey, good luck with the mole. Your body does the weirdest things. I think I've heard a weekly update for 15 months. Amazing. Holy cow.
I may ask for some white short sleeve shirts - mine are actually too big, but I wore them all last summer, but this one it wouldnt hurt to have 1 or 2 that fit me. (no rush, really, its 45 here and could snow still) My suits are holding up, but have various rips and tears, I'll look for a cheap one in DI (15 bucks). My shoes are alright, and the majority of socks are good or repairable. Can't really complain.
Hope everyone is well, and be happy. I love you all a lot. I want everyone to be well. I've learned a lot, and as always, its easy to say everything, and harder to put into practice, but I know this is the truth. I want all of you to be happy and feel the peace of Jesus Christ. He loves us, and His prophets and local leaders, even though they are imperfect, really do receive inspiration from the Savior, and have the authority to do what they do. Love you, and be good!
Elder Thelin

Ps. I did get Maddie's invitation - I thought it was funny that it was in English and Spanish, and the Frary family doesn’t really speak Spanish... nor Madeleine... Mt. Timp. Temple is the same as Bountiful, so good choice, beautiful place I'm sure...
pPsps We'll pray for Audrey.
Ppspss Everyone was dancing a little, even though they thought it was kinda weird to be inside a whale (stinky too). The sharks were still flopping around on the... floor? tongue? something like that... There isn’t much water in a whale, as we know from every movie that involves being inside a whale. Holly carried Dory in a little bowl, and she kept singing. They kept moving in, wondering who the heck was singing such good Funk music... they rounded a bend and saw a small cricket and a boy belting the song away. The boy was dancing kinda weird... looked a little wooden...

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Elder T...sounds like you're teaching a lot of people who have substance abuse issues. Take care, OK? Hey, I wish I could do all your mending for you! That's right up my alley. Maybe there's some sister in one of those wards who likes to sew. Sounds like you are busy every minute, always "anxiously engaged." So proud of you. Thinking of you always.