Thursday, September 23, 2010


Greetings AWESOME family!

HEIDI! Congrats! Wow, you're going to do AWESOME! Sounds like a weird play, FREAK?but I bet it will be amazing. When will it be? March? hehe, if so I can go! (weird, I can say things like that now???) What does your character do? At this point I'm picturing like a clown or something so enlighten me.... you'll do GREAT! and hopefully the choir auditions went well!

Fam, sorry I didnt write on Tuesday, once again we had a training to be at in Ogden, but it was really sweet! A member of the Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Robbins, came and trained us for like 4 hours straight, and will train all the missionaries at zone conference on Friday. Man, he is awesome. Really called of God, you can feel it when he teaches. More about him later.

HOLLY! Got your package! THats sooo cool that you are on We-he tv, the tradition lives on! What did you do on it? Was it scary? or fun? YOU GOTTA GET BETTER KIDDO, good thing you got to go back to school (well, depends on how you look at it, huh?) I LOVED the pictures, they were REALLY good, and I'm not just saying that, you do super horses, I can't draw them at ALL, so yours are better! I'm jealous. I liked all the other ones too! Family of artists!

AMY sounds like she had the COOLEST birthday party of ALL TIME, I WANT A RE-DO next year of it. Hopefully nothing blew up or anything.

Isn't it Grandma's birthday about now? HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA!!!

We DO have an awesome family, good stuff! I'm glad we're awesome.

Ha, sounds like mom, you've got a lot of free time on your hands. Hopefully there are valuable lessons that you learn from all the hooplah, dont go crazy. Dad too. Just try to remember to breathe every once in a while.

You would have liked Elder Robbins' training. He talked about gaining 100% control of our lives (he was co-founder of the Steven Covey company, you know, about time management and life skills, etc.) He talked about how the root of losing control is avoiding responsibility. We all love our agency, the ability to choose things, but if we avoid the companion of agency, which is responsibility, we lose control. For example, we avoid responsibility by blaming things on other people (example, "THEY didnt set THEIR part up well, so MY part failed"), ignoring ("I need to do this, but I'll forget about it and let it go"), self-pity >("I have so many problems! Its not fair!") etc. We made a long list. Then, we talked about just swallowing pride and assuming responsibility for all things in our life. Even if we are right, and someone is arguing saying THEY are right, its better to just take responsibility and say, "ok, I'm sorry" even if we have nothing to be sorry about. Cool story, a wife and husband were arguing, the wife went and prayed for her husband to see the light and apologize. she felt impressed to say sorry to him. She pointed out to the Lord that she hadn't done anything wrong. These words came to her head: "Would you rather be right, or would you rather be married?" Sweet.

If a missionary area is going bad, we cant blame a companion, or the members, or lack of a car - they are all good excuses, but if we accept that we have 100% responsibility, we gain control. Its hard to explain, but it was really good. I love being close to general authorities of the church. My friend is serving in the southernmost part of the mission, in a stake that has President Eyring, President Uchtdorf, Elder Bednar, and Elder Christofferson I believe. Imagine a sacrament meeting like that! They have eaten dinner with President Uchtdorf. Also a lady here we met is a personal friend of President Monson, and might invite us to dinner next time her comes up to see her. She also knows all of the current 12 Apostles and many of the Seventy personally. Incredible. We're trying to go to all 5 sessions of conference live this time.... the Elder in the Apostles' stake might have some leverage...hah, did I ever tell you that we called President Uchtdorf once?

Pray for our baptism on Sunday, I told Jeffrey about it. We're excited! A lot of good things are happening here! Gospel is true. The Spirit gives real specific guidance. When I came here I had trouble finding it, and didn't understand, and for a while wasn't sure if inspiration really would come or not. It definitely does. The Spirit of God is the key always, and we're just the instruments! We just have to have faith, and then it comes, and you can see it touch people to the core. Sweet!

Love you all, take care! Talk next week! Elder Thelin

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Everything backwards? Of course I feel that way, I find it actually normal to wear Sunday clothes while doing dishes or pushing cars out of a ditch or just walking long distances in the middle of Main Street. In the rain. Yup. Backwards is pretty accurate. Haha. Also, retiring in my 20s and working later does seem like a sweet idea. I think I'll go for it. I'm all for unexpected things, but I'm just so used to doing the expected. Grrr. An epic journey does sound cool. I'm not sure what it'd be, maybe bike cross country?? Go to Hawaii? We'll talk it over, me and Jeff. I think that would be excellent.

Oh, and night person - I'm definitely still a night person. Although it’s nice to have so much time in the mornings to get things done and not be rushed. But I still like the night, don’t worry.


Camper life, moving to OBX.... sure let’s do it. It couldn’t be too bad. I can only imagine the additions that we'd be able to put on the camper after selling the house. I think it’d be cool. I'm sure we could be in national news and such if we do it right.

Well, it’s only been like 4 days since I last wrote you. Not a whole lot has happened,,, ha, we had a stake conference too, we did it in the like 150 year old tabernacle here in Logan, has balconies and an organ that rivals the Mo Tab organ. Was pretty cool until the 2nd counselor of the Elders Quorum recruited us to translate. We had to go to a little stuffy booth for 2 hours and translate, and the Hispanic people listened in headsets. So, yeah, we had to watch through a little window... man, it’s REALLY challenging to listen to someone talking in English, and say the same thing but in another language at the same time. A lot of people talk REALLY fast, so their random funny story about dogs biting their ankles next to a farm and relating it to an obscure scripture that has a play on words.... translated as: "....... they're talking really really fast...... dogs bite our ankles.... it hurt..... uh, there's a scripture in.... (can’t find it in time, so just read the first good one on the page)... and that relates to faith... (even though it doesn' he's talking about something completely different....) I'm sure half the talks made zero sense after we butchered them, but it was kind of fun. Inventing words on the fly and making exasperated faces to the other translators... anyhow, fun stuff.

Haha, thanks for the encouraging words, being a ZL isn't all too stressful so far. Just getting things coordinated in such long distances is hard. And making sure Elders aren’t homesick, fights get resolved, etc. Today we have a zone activity, going to watch Joseph: Prophet of the Restoration - have you all seen that? It replaced the Testaments movie at the Visitor's Center- that movie about the visit of Christ to the Nephites. The Joseph movie is sweet, tells his life story, from a kid to his death. But it’s super powerful, the situations and the persecution. It also shows his focus on the Savior. Really good. If it’s at the Visitors Center in DC, I'd go sometime and take an hour to watch it.

That’s a sweet miracle your mission president told in conference! Good job Elders.... and amazing that our stake is doing so well! Did I tell you I know a guy here that served in the Fredricksburg spanish branch a few months back? And that I met Elders that served over Culpeper when they used to meet in the bingo hall? They were really impressed that it had become two separate wards.

Amy, that’s sweet! WEHE-TV is the best. Hopefully someone still does Bookworm Bill. Wow, that was eternity ago....

Haha, thanks for making an online birthday party for me, Jeffrey, I hope everyone had fun and left satisfied. The Lambaren party like I said really didn’t happen - the oldest kid had their birthday the 6th, so I went to hers, and on my actual birthday they were going to do something but the mom had to work from 8 pm Monday to like 11 am Tuesday, and didn’t have time, but did wake up and come out and talked to me for quite a while, which was really perfect, gave me some confidence that they are going to be ok. Super faithful. Sorry that Grandma Pat couldn’t come to the "party" here, hahaha!

Ha, well, I love you all a lot; we're doing well, and having success. A 14 year old will be baptized the 24th of September, pray for Maria de Jesus (Mary of Jesus - that's a girl’s name. For short, they say Chuy pronounced "Chewie" I'm having a hard time not making jokes about that). We talked about the plan of salvation on Sunday, and she said "an eternal family - I want that, a LOT. Like, for MY family, my WHOLE family." Pretty sweet.

Also cool, in our stake conference a counselor of the mission presidency spoke about how WE cannot ever convert anyone, it’s not our role. It’s ONLY the role of the Holy Ghost. WE are just instruments for providing opportunities for the Holy Ghost to touch people. Cool, because a couple we're teaching last night brought up a lot of doubts - "I'm not very convinced now, how do I know if the Book of Mormon is true, everyone says their church is the right one, maybe the Bible isn’t even true, just a story" She kept asking for things to convince her, because she said she didn’t think the Holy Ghost could tell her the answer. It was a huge comfort to say "We can’t do that. We can prove the truth with a million scriptures, we could show you evidence, temples in South America with these things engraved in them, we could show you miracles - but it will not convince you because the ONLY way to KNOW is for you to believe with faith in Christ, and humbly ask Heavenly Father if this is true or not. There is no other way. Don’t believe because we're your friends, don’t believe it because we have good scriptures to back it up. Pray, and you'll know." And it’s cool, because once we have that knowledge, we KNOW, not just "Ah, I think it’s good, and I'm kind of convinced that this is good, makes sense." Nope. It lets us be able to say "I know. Period."

Love you guys, hear from you later!

Elder Chris

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Whooooo! Okay, well this weeks been nuts. First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMY!!!!!!! 9 YEARS OLD!! ALMOST to double digits here. INTENSE. Hope it snows and you're not in school right now. I agree with Holly, why can't we call and say happy birthday? But yeah, HAPPY BIRTHDAY kiddo, love you a ton, hope your birthday is awesome!

THANKS for all the birthday awesomeness that was sent to Logan this past week - the package got here SATURDAY so I opened it Saturday - it was sweet! We really enjoyed the mixup jelly beans -me and Elder Contreras were eating them for like 20 minutes the other night, seeing if it was licorice or skunk flavored, peach or barf, coconut or baby wipes. They nailed all those flavors, its exactly like what the say it is... ugh. Really fun. Also, I like the Calle shirt, its like spanish and soccer combined here, ha, dont know how much soccer I'll play in this area, the Spanish Central zone went against an English zone, got intense, and someone broke a finger, so Soccer is outlawed at the moment. But the shirt is super comfy, I wore it this morning! And I appreciate the CDs, its very refreshing. Charlie Brown Christmas has been the #1 cd I wanted to have last Christmas, so thanks!

I celebrated Dyana's birthday on Monday, just passed by to eat cake with them and their neighbors - he's wanted in 10 states and is on "break" from jail for September on like a 5 year sentence, really nice guy. I'm not really sure if the jail knows he's out... -and then on Tuesday, MY birthday, we gave a training to our new zone, it was cool, and then had interviews with President Olson, then an exchange with the APs of the mission. We went by the Lambarens, and the kids were all still in school, but the mom woke up and came outside just to talk to us for a little while, which is all I really wanted to do anyway. It was cool, because she was telling us about some hard things she's been going through, tough decisions, and how she's been praying and getting answers about them, and also how she keeps having dreams since her baptism of aunts an grandparents that have passed away... coming in white, being nice to her, approving this or that. She is excited to do family history work now. Very cool.

We ate Enchiladas at a really funny guy's house for dinner, and then when we were walking, I decided to go see a guy thats been dodging us for a few weeks. "This is the last chance we'll give Antonio" I said. I was about to leave after knocking, but he opened the door, unusally just let us in, and started to tell us about some marriage problems he was having, and how he was going to leave and get divorced, like right then. It was really cool, because we just started talking about his family, about praying about it, and how Jesus was going to help his marriage and guide his kids. He gave his first prayer at the end, and he was 100% different, he thanked the Lord for sending us there, because he said he needed to talk it through with someone, and then asked God for humility and help in fixing the problem, for keeping his family together, and he said he knew the family wasn't going to fall apart. Really awesome, best birthday present I could have asked for.

But I do feel very old.

Thanks also to the Maguras! The bread is awesome! Grandma Pat, THANKS for sending the card, I loved it! Grandma and Grandpa, gracias for the card, that was really nice! Thanks also to mis hermanas for the notes and candy and everything in the package! You're all awesome. Holly, love you too. GET BETTER.

Industrial Design sounds really promising. Not sure if I'm creative enough, feel like some creativity may have been sucked out of me the past 19 months, but heck, we'll see! At least it doesn't sound boring!

Well, I gotta go, Sergio picks us up in a few minutes. Oh he sang me two Mexican birthday songs on my birthday. That was part of the whole experience. Sweet. Love you all, I know the Lord lives and its super fun to teach His gospel and see people change their lives. Thanks for the love and continual support!

Love, Elder Thelin

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


SO there we were, ready to hit the hay, around that amazing time of 10:30 when all missionary activity comes to a 8 hour pause (aka sleep). We kneel down, ready to pray and thank the Lord for a good day. But, in the relative silence of the prayer, what do we hear? BZZZZZZZ.... as we say amen, we dive for the various sandals in our room. BZZZZZZZ... where is it? We've killed at LEAST 50 flies this week! WHERE do they come from? We took out the trash... we identified the weird smell was from a sack of rotting potatoes under the sink... we've covered up the holes in the window screens with Easter pass-along cards offering free dvds about Christ... WHAP!! Good job, Elder Sigal, nailed that one on the ceiling with his sandal, and didnt even wake the guy in the apartment upstairs... BZZZZZ.. dang it, there's never just one....
We have fly problems. Impossible to sleep with flies in the room.

Wow you all have a lot going on, school, braces, work, etc. Intense stuff! So glad I'm not going to school.... heheh. Its really annoying having all of our families we're working with wrapped up in activities now. Congrats on getting the braces off Heidi! Want to see pictures of how it looks! Hope all the classes go well for everyone, sounds like they are good teachers!

Hm, news this week is we got 29 baptisms in this zone! Which is crazy cool, a lot of miracles happened and people opened their hearts and accepted the gospel. Our mission baptized 220 people in the month of August!

Jeffrey glad your work situation got resolved. If it makes you feel better, we parked the car in our street the other day to run to our house and grab a form. Came back, and a little lady was ready, waiting for us, shouting at us. Something about how we parked in front of her driveway and inconvenienced her for 20 seconds. Some people are just silly, sheesh. How long does lifeguarding go anyway? Cant go through October, huh?

Sad story, ducks in our way, we honked the horn, they waddled out into the main road, and a car SPED UP and well, it was ugly. Sad story. Dont let Holly hear it.

Hugo sounds cool. I'm glad there are hispanics in Culpeper Ward, otherwise I'm going to feel out of place back home. The people here are just hilarious all the time. Elder Sigal says in Argentina there is no depression - people call each other fat without making people go anorexic. They laugh more than judge. Ha, he's getting used to the culture change, he called a sister missionary a "little fatty" (gordita) in the MTC, which in Argentina would be fine. He didn't understand why she got so angry till he got here and I explained it. Heheheh.

I want to here the 2011 Camaro talk. Hear, I mean.

Stefan... wow.

My birthday... uh, I really don't care. Candy, pictures, whatever that seems missionary like. hmm, CDS: any cool cds of music are super welcome, such as Inside-Out cds like the one I sent home - I thought it was kind of "too fun" before. I think I was too un-fun back then... Heavensong is a good MoTab Cd it looks like. I've been told all my music is boring. Really, though, I dont care, I dont feel I need anything for my birthday. I've got a mini-party of some sort planned with the Lambaren family,Dyana, turns 13 on the 6th, so we've had a dinner with their family planned for like 3 months.

Well, no other stories are coming to mind right now. Only other news is last night the APs called (hah, I was still driving home, 2 minutes late. First thing they ask is "so, are you all settled down in your house?" "uh..... " Elder Sigal tried to stall but couldn't in time so I had to pull over, haha) and told us that the English and Spanish zones up here in the North are serparating once again, and well, they called me to be a Zone Leader here. Big stuff, kinda nervous about all that. My new companion called, he's been a ZL for a long time, and said that we're going to be going on exchanges like EVERY day with other Elders, and they expanded our zone like 4 times the size, so we cover all of the Idaho portion of our mission. Huge. Whee... Elder Sigal is going down to my first area in Ogden, he's sad to go, I'll miss him, but that's how the mission is. I'm happy because this means I will very likely stay in this area for the remainder of my mission, and I love it here already. We already have talked to almost all the hispanics it seems like, tracted out all the likely areas, so I'm excited to see miracles start unfolding, such as people just popping out of the woodwork or hearts changing 180 degrees. Good stuff. Pray for us to be able to guide all these Elders.

Love you all a lot. I know the gospel is true, of course! I know the Savior is real, I've felt His love in lessons, and extending to other people. I've seen it reflected in people serving other people. The gospel is for everyone. We learned this past week how to find and fulfill people's real needs: some people are aching with loneliness after an ugly divorce. The gospel can fill that loneliness. Some people feel they've never felt God's love for them. The gospel can bring that reassuring love. As we've done this this week, it made a huge difference in the way I see missionary work. Instead of teaching a man a lesson, we just talked with him about his frustration at not finding work because he's not legal here, and his family depending on him and feeling desperate. The Spirit came as we just focused on how the Lord is planning to help him through this current challenge, and after he opened up more and said he understood, and gladly would read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if this is the true church and if he should be baptized in it. The gospel can fulfill all things that don't measure up in life. Put it to the test, it does work. I know it's true.

Love you all, be good and be safe! Love, Elder Chris

ps HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOEY! (so glad we belong to a church that approves birthday celebrating!!! There are some out there that don't!)

Pspsosp Hey Steven! Good luck, you'll do awesome! All the people that hear I have a cousin going to Cuzco are really impressed and excited for you, just rely on the Lord, and He'll guide you. Love you man, go get em!

Pspsps ok, I'm deciding that after the mission, the Lord will provide. I won't worry about jobs or anything yet. I just basically wanted to know if that sounded like a good rough sketch, staying in VA to earn money for fall.

Pshhhh THE CLAW descended on the group, and barbie and the Zerg minions started panicking (what a bothersome word). The girls and the gang (who all is in this gang now?) tried to run too, but the Claw grabbed them all. All the Zergs were left down on the beach front and the girls went up and up and up and up...

Added a little later in the day:

C ool story, we were invited to a youth activity at the ward mission leaders house, and we were supposed to speak with a kid that was leaving to Guatemala in a week. It was all going ot be outside by a fire with BBQ, BUT it was pouring rain. Poor kid speaking before us, he just kept on going even as it turned from damp to drizzle to pouring rain. After his talk we kinda figured to spare everyone and huddle all the youth under a small gazebo thing. SO with 30 some people in a 8'x8' square, the edge people getting soaked, we started to talk. Cool, because we told all the youth to pray while we talked for sun. As we talked and shared stories, the Spirit was there strong. There were recent converts and teenagers investigating the Church there, and it was cool. And, by the time we said amen, the sun was shining really strong. Cool miracle, prayer is real. We told the two Lambaren girls to pray extra hard, I'm sure it was their faith that did it. Sweet!