Charles Thorell was born in
1977 and raised in Sebastopol, California, which is north of San Francisco. His
parents, Peter and Monica Thorell had immigrated to the United States from
Sweden only six years earlier. Charles is a testimony to God’s faithfulness,
because around 1870, his great-great-grandfather came as an immigrant to
Chicago. During his stay there, this young man got saved under the preaching of
D.L. Moody, and after some years, he returned to Sweden and married. He settled
in a small town called Huskvarna, and became known as “America Johnson,” a man
that always talked about Jesus. There were also two other generations of
preachers during revival times in Sweden during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
About 85 years after “America Johnson” received Christ in Chicago, Charles’
uncle, John S. Torell, immigrated to the United
States and also made a decision for Christ. John was called by God into the
ministry in 1967, and in 1971, John and his wife Aina went back to Sweden for a
series of revival meetings. It was during this time that they presented the
Gospel to Charles’ parents, who accepted Christ and were saved.
Charles was just a few
months old when he was dedicated to the Lord and to the family it soon became
clear that God had a special calling upon him. At the age of five on a Saturday
evening, Charles started asking questions about God and the gift of salvation.
This decisive salvation moment in Charles’ life is etched into the memories of
him and his parents. Some years later when Charles visited
Resurrection Life of Jesus Church (RLJC), there was an announcement for
water baptism, and the Holy Spirit told him, “You need to get baptized.” The
next week he was baptized in water through immersion.
Being raised in a Christian
home, Charles has a great testimony because he never went into the world,
instead, he became active in soccer and in the church he attended. As a
teenager, he participated in several mission outreaches to Mexico that opened
his eyes to many new things. Charles was uncertain in what he wanted to do after
high school, and so he worked in different jobs, but they were all unfulfilling
and left him wanting a change.
Charles responded to God’s
call in 1999 and moved to the Sacramento area to become active in RLJC. It was
there that he met his future wife, Yekaterina. They were married in 2002, and
shortly thereafter he was asked to become the youth pastor, and later in 2007,
he was called to be the assistant pastor. When the church needed a worship
leader in 2003, he stepped in and led the congregation in praise and worship for
nine years. Charles holds a strong belief in
the Bible as the foundation for the Christian faith and is an avid defender of
the King James Bible.