Monday, May 14, 2018

Week 98: Miracles and Mother's Day

     Hello family and friends!  It has been an exceptional week in Revere.  So much has happened and I have been very excited to tell you all about it.  But first, I want to express my deep gratitude to my mom.  She is the most amazing woman.  She has always been an example to me of faith, love, and charity and I love her very much.  Happy Mother's Day Mom!

     I had a great exchange on Tuesday with Elder Harris in Boston.  During our morning planning meeting, we saw that we had a new referral for a man named Chris Chasse, on the refferal system.  He lived in downtown Boston and we both felt that we needed to go and stop by.  Again during the day, we felt like we needed to visit him.  We stopped by and found out that he lived in a special home for people recently coming from prison to help them get back on their feet.  We asked at the front desk for Chris and not too much longer, a wheelchair bound man came and introduced himself to us with a big smile on his face.  We sat down and began talking with him.  He started telling us his story and it didn't take us long before we noticed that Chris was special.

     He first showed us some certificates he had from the church recognizing that he had finished the seminary study guides for all of the standard works.  He then grabbed his scriptures which were all well worn.  He told us in 2011 he drove past our church in Foxboro, MA and decided he wanted to order a Book of Mormon, so he got on Amazon.  He read it.  Then he read it and read it again and again.  That same year, some mistakes from his past caught up with him and he was faced with the consequences and was sent to prison.

     Since then, he got out of prison, lost his family, and 18 months ago was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  He went from being healthy to not being able to move within 5 weeks.  He has been in hospitals for the last 18 months until he moved back to Boston about 3 weeks ago.  Ironically, right across from Northeastern University where he used to be a professor of computer science.
     He has read the Book of Mormon 20 times since 2011 and basically any other book published by the church including:  Jesus the Christ, Preach My Gospel, The Teachings of the Presidents, and Our Search for Happiness.  A while back, he wrote a letter to Elder Ballard after he read his book, Our Search for Happiness.  Elder Ballard wrote him back and put him in touch with someone to send him materials.  We felt that we should go through the baptismal interview questions with him and he answered all of them in depth.  He has a strong testimony of repentance and the atonement.  We asked him if he would like to attend church and he said, "That would be a dream come true."  In all of his study, he has never been taught the Gospel by anyone other than the Holy Ghost.  We also invited him to be baptized 3 weeks from now and he gladly accepted.  He is the most prepared man I have ever met!  I am very grateful to have met Chris and to hear his story.  The Boston Elders are blessed to help this man's dreams come true.

     That's all I have time for today.

Elder Gutierrez
The most prepared man, Chris

Exchanges with Elder Harris

My first Lobstah roll

Our new pal, Father John
Dexter's Laboratory, Lynn Edition

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day Surprise

      What an incredible Mother's Day weekend!  On Saturday, I was able to meet up with other moms with missionaries serving in the Massachusetts Boston Mission.  We laughed and shared stories about our missionaries.  I know why Elder Gutierrez has had some amazing companions - because their moms are amazing.  It was so great to meet them all.

      During Sacrament meeting, the Bishop got up and explained that we would end the meeting by having the fathers of the currently serving missionaries in the ward read a letter over the pulpit that was written by the missionaries to their mothers.  He asked what was special about their moms.  Of course, I started tearing up immediately and couldn't hold it together.  Here is what Elder Gutierrez wrote.

April 30, 2018

      My mother is the best, and when I say that I mean it.  Before serving my mission, I unfortunately didn't realize how amazing she is.  She raised me right - always living the Gospel and being an example to me and my siblings.

     My mother has always gone the extra mile.  I cannot remember a single day growing up where we did not have dinner as a family around the table.  Whenever I needed help, she was there.  It is the little things that my mom does that really make me grateful to have her in my life.  I love her and cannot thank her enough for all the sacrifices she has made for me.

     God, on occasion will send angels to minister to us, His children. I can honestly say that my mom has been one of those angels.

- Elder Drew Gutierrez

      It was great to talk to him over Facetime.  He is doing well and is so excited for all the investigators that they are currently working with.  He is still putting all his energy into serving which I am so thankful for.  At one point, he commented, "You all act like I am coming home soon.  I still have plenty of time left, 5 weeks.  I'm trying to stay out here."  I am so grateful for his dedication and commitment.

- Entry written by Heidi Gutierrez

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Parent Letter From President Miller

4 May 2018

Dear Brother and Sister Gutierrez,

     It is with both sadness and joy that we inform you that Elder Andrew Luciano Gutierrez will complete his assignment in the Massachusetts Boston Mission on 22 June, 2018, and will return to you for an honorable release.

     Elder Gutierrez has been a fabulous missionary.  He served faithfully as Junior Companion, Senior Companion, District Leader, Zone Leader, and Zone Leader Lead.  He was loved and respected by the investigators he taught, the members in his area, and his fellow missionaries.  You will be pleased to see the tremendous growth he has experienced.  You will find that he has learned how to serve in the Church.  Thus, he will be a great asset to the work wherever he is called to serve in the future.  We hope he is given a meaningful assignment upon his return.

     Sister Miller and I consider it a privilege to have served with Elder Gutierrez.  We dearly love him and look forward to seeing all the great things the Lord does through him for the rest of his life.

Warm Regards,

A. Todd Miller
President, Massachusetts Boston Mission

Elder Gutierrez with President A. Todd Miller - Photo added by mom not included in letter.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Week 97: Christ's Love and Mercy

      "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourself of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind, and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ . . .if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot".  Moroni 10: 32-33.

Dear Family and Friends,
      I want to start off this email by expressing my gratitude for the love and mercy I have felt this week through my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I testify that our Heavenly Father desperately wants us all to return back home to Him.  The only way that we can do that is through Jesus Christ.  If we rely on Him then the Spirit of God will guide us through our trials, mistakes, and heartaches so that we can make it back home.  I know this because I have felt it.

      I desire to share this with the world!  The Lord is blessing our lives each and every day.  If we sin, he will receive us with open arms as long as we repent.

      This week was incredible, as I showed God a greater desire to become pure and holy, I could feel God leading and guiding us to those who are prepared for the restored Gospel of  Jesus Christ.  Each day I hope to become even more holy and sanctified so that I can fulfill all that God would have me do.

     Catherine was one of those prepared investigators we were lead to this week.  She originally wanted a Bible mailed to her but she said that the Spirit prompted her to ask it to be delivered.  We wanted to stop by but had run out of Bibles.  We decided to go anyways.  We were able to meet Catherine and have a very special lesson with her.  For a long time, she told her story about how multiple times in her life she considered herself an atheist.  Though God had a different plan for her.  She had a lot of concerns about the churches she would attend and through the message of the Restoration, we were able to answer almost all of her concerns and questions.

     Sorry that is all I have time for today!  Love you all.  Remember God loves you!  You are great in His eyes.

Elder Gutierrez

Spring is finally here!

Beach Soccer at Revere Beach

Elder Gutierrez and Elder Shull - Daddy

Elder Gonzalez

Chinese Buffet with Ethan Barrett

Monday, April 30, 2018

Week 96: Qian's Ocean Baptism

     Hello family and friends.  This week consisted of great work because of warm weather (finally), a ton of helping people with moves, and an incredible baptism.

     This Saturday, April 28, 2017, Qian Liu Clapp was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Helping Qian with her conversion process took a lot of prayer, patience, and relying on the Spirit.  She was by far one of my favorite and most rewarding investigators that I have been able to teach.  We have met with her every week since I got here in January.  Over the course of the last 4 months, we have seen her concerns fade and her heart softened to the point where not only was she ready to be baptized, but excited to be baptized and to prepare to be sealed to her family in the temple.

     Qians' baptismal service was one to remember.  After watching the "John Tanner" video, Qian asked us if she had to be baptized in the font at the church.  We were able to set it up so that she could be baptized in the Atlantic Ocean at Sister Guzman's home in the ward.  We had the entire service outside, it was definitely a baptism to remember.  It was very evident that God's hand was ensuring that the baptism would happen.  Qian was at a work conference all week and flew in Saturday morning.  If the tide was too high, it wouldn't work out and it just so happened that Qian's family would be moving into their new home on the same day.  By divine design everything worked out and Qian was baptized.  The ward helped them pack all of their things right afterwards.  It was a busy day to say the least.  

     My favorite memory of teaching Qian is that of her and her husband with their son all smiling together with Qian dressed in her baptismal clothes.  I had the opportunity to baptize Qian.  It was a very special experience that I will never forget.  Yes, the water was cold!

     On top of the baptism, we helped with 4 moves this week.  A couple of them we did all of the moving by ourselves.  I can testify that what Mosiah 2:17 says is true, "When you are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God".  

     The North Shore Zone finished off this month great.  We are being blessed in many ways.  This Sunday an awesome family walked into church!  We have many exciting things going on.  I love serving as a missionary.  This is God's work.  I know it to be true. 

Elder Gutierrez

Elder Bingham, Elder Gutierrez, Qian, and Elder Pulu at Qian's Baptismal Service - April 28, 2018

All 3 Elders that taught Qian with the Clapp Family

Clapp Family

Qian doing push-ups before entering the freezing ocean water for her baptism.

Qian's Baptism Location - Altantic Ocean at Sister Guzman's Home

All Set Up for the Outdoor Baptismal Service

Qian and Elder Gutierrez after Qian's Baptism in the Atlantic Ocean

Brazillian Burger on P-Day

Classic New England Doorbells

Sushi Bar with the Elders

Elder Gutierrez with another Elder in the Zone

Monday, April 23, 2018

Week 95: Earl's Baptism

      Hello everybody!  This week was so busy and full of success.  I'm happy to report that Earl Moore was baptized on Saturday!  His baptismal service was great.  There were a lot of ward members that came to support him and his non-member mother even came to support him.  She isn't too interested in learning more, but hopefully in the future!  After Earl was baptized, I asked him how he felt.  His response was "Blessed". 

     Also some more big news!  Qian passed her baptismal interview and is getting baptized this Saturday.  She has been very successful this week in keeping the Word of Wisdom.  It has been incredible to see the change in her since our first meeting with her in January.  She is excited and ready to be baptized.  Be looking forward to a description of her baptism next week.

     Tuesday, I was able to go an exchange with one of our new District Leaders, Elder Hardy.  He is a great missionary!  We had an awesome exchange as we were able to do a lot of great work in his area.  I really enjoyed spending the day with him and observing how much faith he had.  We were lead by God to a man named Bob who was open to hearing our message.

     This week we started teaching this awesome new lady named Jacqueline.  She grew up here in Massachusetts, but just moved back from Louisiana.  She has been though a lot of changes in her life in the past few months and has sought out God more in her life.  She ordered a free Bible and we were able to deliver it to her and share the Restoration with her.  We met with her again this week and she loved reading from the Book of Mormon.  We set a baptismal date with her for May 26th.

     We were able to start teaching three new awesome investigators this week from Uganda:  Laban, Rachel, and Agnice.  Rachel and Laban came to church last week with a member.  We were able to set up an appointment with them for this week.  We met with them and they even invited another friend, Agnice.  All three of them loved the message of the restoration and came to church this week!  They are being fellowshipped well and we hope to set baptismal dates with all three of them this week.

      Great things are happening here in Revere.  I've been blessed with a great companion and area.  The North Shore Zone is seeing great success and is thriving.  All our missionaries are working hard and are seeing the results from their labors.  There really is no greater work than the Lord's.  I know that God lives and I love him.

Elder Gutierrez

Earl Moore was baptized on Saturday, April 21, 2018

Earl Moore was baptized.

Elder Gutierrez on exchanges with Elder Hardy

Monday, April 16, 2018

Week 94: Boston Marathon!

     Hello everyone!  Sorry this email will be a little shorter because of the lack of time we have left.  Today has been a super awesome P-day.  We woke up at 2:30 this morning and headed to Lexington, MA to watch a reenactment of the Battle of Lexington.  The "soldiers" who were shot and killed just laid in the mud dead for such a long time!  It was pretty sweet.

     Afterwards, we went to Boston to watch the Boston Marathon.  My cousin, Kimball Potter, competed in the marathon and I got to see him race!  (This part inserted by mom:  Kimball finished in 2:44:30.  He finished 280 overall, 276 in the men's division, and 253 in his age group (21-31).  What an accomplishment!  The weather at the start of the race was 36 degrees with 20 mph winds, and raining sheets.  The family at home was tracking the marathon on an app and cheering him on.  We are so proud of Kimball and his outstanding race!)  Tender Mercy this week as I got to see my aunt and uncle as they surprised me in the ward I am serving in on Sunday.  Love ya Kimball (and new wife who I got to meet), Mark, and Holly!

     Earl is doing incredible and is going to be baptized this Saturday.  It has been so great to see his progression and how his testimony and in affect his happiness has grown.  He is such a great young man and his baptism will be a powerful event in his life.

     We saw another miracle this week as we met with Qian!  We knew she had one more concern to overcome before her baptism concerning the Word of Wisdom.  We prayerfully thought of how we could teach her this commandment.  When the moment came to teach her, the Spirit resolved her concerns and she committed to live the Word of Wisdom.  She is still preparing to be baptized on April 28th.

     We picked up a lot of new people this week and overall the zone is seeing great success.  This is the Lord's work.  I am humbled and cannot find words to express the joy that comes from being engaged in this work.  Love you all!!

Elder Gutierrez

Surprise visitors from Utah in the Revere Ward:  Aunt Holly, Uncle Mark, Elder Gutierrez, Kimball and Hannah Potter - April 15, 2018
Kimball and Hannah in Pre-Marathon Warm Ups - Boston Marathon 2018

Family at Home was tracking the race live with the BAA Marathon App

Kimball at Mile 6 bib #393

Good thing Kimball brought his cold running gear

Marathon view from where Elder Gutierrez was watching.

Elder Bingham and Elder Gutierrez at the Boston Marathon 2018

Missionaries at the Boston Marathon 2018
The Reenactment of The Battle of Lexington (Picture thanks to Elder Murray)

Missionaries that attended The Battle of Lexington Reenactment

Elder Gutierrez and Elder Bingham