Monday, October 23, 2017

Week 69: Goodbye Elder Sprehn, Hello Elder Lewis, Goodbye Elder Lewis

      It has been a week full of changes!  On Wednesday, Elder Sprehn completed his two years as a missionary.  We had a very great transfer together and I am very grateful for his dedication to the work and example to me.  We had the greatest last p-day together in Boston.  We were able to drive up with Daniel Mitchell who left on his mission to Argentina the day that Elder Sprehn finished.  While in Boston, we were able to see Harvard, eat lunch on the 52nd floor of the Prudential building, walk around Fenway, feed squirrels in the Boston Commons and a ton more.  It was a blast, I hope you like all the pictures.
     Wednesday after dropping off Elder Sprehn, I was able to meet up with my new companion, Elder Lewis.  He an I have been having a good time together and I am grateful that I have been able to train him on a lot of new things since he has only been on his mission for 3 months.  As we have been working with our investigators, we have seen huge progress in a lot of their lives, especially Patrick.  Patrick is doing so great right now and he is really excited to be baptized this upcoming Saturday!  We had a powerful lesson with him about repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end.  We have been able to see him become more and more converted each time we meet with him.  If all continues to go well, he will be baptized on Saturday!
     Sunday night Elder Lewis and I mad some time to go to his old area and check up on his investigators.  We were able to meet with a 20 year old guy named Edwin.  He has been meeting with the Elders for a pretty long time now and so I was so excited to teach him and try and figure out what has been holding him back from being baptized.  As we spoke with him, it was easy to tell that he didn't think anything of himself at all.  He truly saw himself as no worth and it was heartbreaking.  After talking to him for a while, I invited him to pray and ask God to let him know how He felt about him.  Edwin agreed to and said our closing prayer.  In a very sincere prayer, Edwin asked God to let him know how He felt about him.  Right afterwards, Edwin began crying which turned into weeping.  Elder Lewis and I sat there, very humbled, and comforted Edwin.  This was by far one of the most tender moments from my mission thus far.  I cannot describe how grateful I am to be a missionary.  To be able to share very sacred moments with complete strangers and to get a glimpse of how God sees his children.
     On Friday, we received transfer texts and I got some great information . . . .my new companion is going to be Elder Warner!  I've never served around Elder Warner, but I know that he is a great missionary and we are going to do such great work in Bridgeport together.  For the past transfer, I was pretty sure that I was going to get Elder Warner for a companion and so I was pretty excited when I found out.  The Sister Training Leaders and I sent out some pretty big goals and so we are excited to see miracles happen in the zone this week and this upcoming transfer.  Our zone has a goal to pick up 40 new investigators this week and our transfer goal is for everyone to read the entire Book of Mormon in one transfer.  We promised the zone that if each companionship did this they will have a baptism.  The Lord has big things in store for our zone!

Thank you everyone for the support and love!
Elder Gutierrez

The Famous Gold Ducks

Holocaust Memorial

Elder Sprehn Feeding the Squirrels in Boston Commons

Elder Gutierrez Feeding the Squirrels in Boston Commons
Prudential Building - Boston
Lunch on the 52nd Floor of the Prudential Building - "Top of the Hub"
Boston Cream Pie with the Boston skyline on it.
Fenway Park
Mike's Pastry - Famous
Downtown Boston
Daniel Mitchell, headed to Argentina
Elder Sprehn and Elder Gutierrez Meeting with Patrick!
Last Morning Together - Looking Over Our City (Elder Gutierrez and Elder Sprehn)
Goodbye Elder Sprehn
Hello Elder Lewis
Citgo Sign in Boston

Daniel Mitchell Feeding the Squirrels in Boston Commons



Monday, October 16, 2017

Week 68: Goodbye Elder Sprehn!

     The weeks keep going by faster and faster!  This week was Elder Sprehn's last full week as a missionary and we had several great experiences.  I have loved serving with Elder Sprehn.  He has a great passion for being a missionary and I am very grateful that I have been able to serve with him the past 5 weeks.  Because of his limited time, we have been doing everything we can to make sure he finishes off his mission strong.  We were able to finish off the week by reaching our goal of handing out 100 Book of Mormons as a district!  The district and zone that I am currently serving in are very unified and we have been seeing miracles happen because of the diligence and obedience of the missionaries serving here.
     On Tuesday, we were able to go on exchanges with the Waterbury Spanish Elders.  I spent the day with Elder Felt in Waterbury.  We were able to have a great exchange and do some awesome work . . even though I don't speak Spanish.  Thursday we got to go to Groton, CT for a Zone Conference.  Our mission set a goal at the beginning of the year to baptize 600 people.  As the end of the year has been approaching, we are beginning to fall behind on our goal and so President Miller gave some amazing trainings on how we can better plan out our days and appointments.  When you fail to plan, you plan to fail!  It was a very great meeting overall and a very spiritual last Zone Conference for Elder Sprehn.
     Because this transfer is a little different than the rest, I will be having a temporary companion for a week and then I will get another new companion the next week.  On Friday, I found out that my new temporary companion will be Elder Lewis.  Elder Lewis is currently serving in Southington, CT which is in our zone.  He is a pretty young missionary so I am very excited to train him on everything that I know for a week.  This Friday I will find out who my new companion will be.
     Well today we are spending the day in Boston for Elder Sprehn's last P-day.  I love you all and hope all is well.  I truly know that missionary work is one of the greatest ways to find real joy while on the Earth.  When we turn outward and serve, we are emulating how the Savior lived.  I invite you all to take a moment and think about someone who needs you.  As you do so, I know that you will be given a glimpse of how our Father in Heaven and our Savior, Jesus Christ, view us.

Elder Gutierrez

The District

Exchanges with Elder Felt (From CA) in Waterbury, CT

An African Shop, Fufu!

Doug and Renee Pariseau came all the way from Warwick, RI to visit Elder Sprehn and I.

Eating pizza with the Pariseau's

Keith Moon, a legendary convert from our mission.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Week 67: New Investigator Miracles

     Hey everybody!  This week was an exciting week in Bridgeport.  At the beginning of the week, our District Leader, Elder Hoth challenged us to pick up 16 new investigators as a district.  This was a pretty big goal as we had been averaging around 10 new investigators a week.  With this goal motivating and challenging us, this week we saw many miracles!
     On Monday, we had a very fun zone P-day playing kickball on a baseball field next to the ocean.  The AP's were able to drive down from Boston for our P-day and we were able to have an exchange with them all day on Tuesday before we had to drive to Boston for Mission Leadership Conference on Wednesday.  During our exchange, we saw the best miracles.  By the end of the day, we had picked up 9 new investigators together!  I got to go on my 3rd exchange with Elder Fereirra.  We had a super awesome day and reached our goal of finding 2 investigators before we even had lunch!  Two of the investigators we picked up were former investigators who happened to be interested in meeting again!
     Charles Asante was the first former investigator we stopped by.  He agreed to meet with us and as we were talking to him it was evident that he thought there was nothing we could help him with.  He told us how he would always pray and that he never felt like he received answers to his prayers.  We had brought this awesome member named Daniel Mitchell to the lesson with us and he began to bear his testimony that God does answer our prayers, just on his own timing.  He told Charles that he had prayed about something for two whole years before he finally received an answer.  After Daniel bore his testimony, Charles whole mindset had changed and he told us that he wasn't too interested in meeting with us again until Daniel bore his testimony.  It was a great experience for Elder Fereirra and I, but especially for Daniel who will be leaving on his mission to Argentina in two weeks.  Never doubt the impact your testimony as an everyday member can have on those around you!
     On Wednesday, we had such a powerful and revelatory meeting at MLC.  President Miller gave a fantastic training on the importance of the Book of Mormon and how it clarifies truths that have been lost or changed.  The AP's also gave a great training on the importance of pondering.  In 1 Nephi 11:1 we read about how Nephi goes through 3 steps before he receives the revelation he was seeking.  First, he had a desire then he believed that he could receive revelation and finally, he ponders.  The AP's gave us a lot of counsel on how we could receive revelation for ourselves, our investigators, and for our zones.  It was a great meeting with many great insights.
     We really had such a great week and were able to find new investigators and see progress in those that we are teaching.  We were able to set a baptismal date with Patrick for October 28th which he is very excited about.  By the end of the week, Elder Sprehn and I picked up 13 new investigators and our district blew our goal out of the water and picked up 22 new investigators!  Our goal this week is to give out 100 Book of Mormons as a district.  The work is going so great here and we are working extremely hard as Elder Sprehn is running short on time as a missionary!  This Friday I will find out who my new companion will be.  Thank you everyone for all your support.  I am loving being here and serving the Lord!

Elder Gutierrez

3rd Exchange with Elder Fereirra (AP)

Zone Correlation with the STL's
Mako Shark Steaks at the Mitchell's
Morning Beachs Runs
Morning Beach Runs #2
The Hansons' Jamaican Dinners
P-day Soccer
P-day at Yale
Legendary Picture . . .Check out the Hat

Bridgeport . . . .

Monday, October 2, 2017

Week 66: Two Week Rundown

     Hey everybody!  Sorry I was not able to send an email last week, Elder Sprehn and I ran out of time . . . .whoops.  The past two weeks have been so full of amazing and enlightening experiences.  I am so very blessed to be able to be a missionary for the Lord Jesus Christ at this time.  Here is a highlight of some of the great experiences I have had in the past two weeks.
     Last Saturday, September 23rd, Elder Sprehn and I were very blessed to be able to drive up to Amherst, MA to witness the baptism of Amanda, one of my past investigators.  It was a very spiritual baptism.  Amanda has received several promptings from the Spirit since she has been meeting with the missionaries.  At first, these promptings of peace actually made her feel uncomfortable because she wasn't used to feeling "that much love".  After some long pondering, she knew that God was guiding her and that she needed to get baptized.  She said that throughout her decision, it was like there was a devil on her left shoulder and an angel on the right both telling her things she should do.  I'm so grateful that she listened to the voice of the Spirit and chose the right path.
     This week we were able to pick up a very, very solid new investigator named Patrick.  Patrick is the man!  His step-dad is a recent convert to the church who recently moved into our ward a couple of weeks ago.  Patrick accepted his step-dad's invitation to come to church and loved it.  This Tuesday we were able to give our first lesson to Patrick while on exchanges.  He told us that he loved playing basketball so we went to the church to play basketball and have a lesson, which turned out to be a very memorable one . . . I randomly got a bloody nose while we were playing basketball and it would not stop!  After a while, we were running out of time to teach him so we taught him the restoration in normal clothes and I had a blood stained tissue hanging out of my nose.  Despite the craziness, it was still a very powerful lesson and Patrick accepted the invitation to be baptized!  He was able to watch Conference this Sunday and we hope to set a date with him soon.
     Of course, General Conference was a huge highlight of the past two weeks.  I absolutely love hearing the testimonies of our modern day prophets and apostles.  One of my favorite talks was from President Nelson as he spoke of the power and divinity of the Book of Mormon.  He invited us all to contemplate what affect the Book of Mormon has had on our lives and what our lives would be like without it.  As I reflected on his question, I realized how blessed I am to have been born into a home that studies the Book of Mormon and knows it to be true.  I am so grateful that I have gained a testimony of its truth and love sharing that truth with others.
     On Sunday, our investigator, Jacky, came to watch General Conference and loved it!  She is continuing to progress towards baptism and we are so excited for her.  We have been able to pick up several other great new investigators and the work continues to move on.
     Thank you all so much for all you have done for me.  I know of no greater joy that can be found in this life if we put God first in our lives.  I invite you all to study the words of our prophets and apostles from this General Conference for the next 6 months, their words truly are scripture for our day.  I love you all!

Elder Gutierrez

Dinner with Christelle, a recent convert

African Dinner!

Packages from Home!  Including General Conference Cinnamon Rolls!!

Exchanges with Elder Kluger from Herriman, UT

Service at the Beardsley Zoo

Tiger at the Zoo

Diner Breakfast!

General Conference at the Mitchell's

Week 65: Sorry mom no email - just photos

Hey mom,
     Super sorry . . . .we only have 5 minutes to email right now because the library is closing and we just got back from fishing.  I will send the update next week!  Today he sent photos for last week.

Amanda's Baptism - Elder Little, Amanda, and Elder Gutierrez - Amherst, MA September 23, 2017

Looking Out to Sea

The home of a non-member we gave a blessing to

Elder Gutierrez and Elder Sprehn eating dinner with the Cleaton's, fried chicken and collard greens!

Personal Dock

A quick stop at the Solo's on the way to Amherst

Sunsets in Bridgeport, Connecticut

Zone P-Day Soccer Mornings

Sea Fishing

Sea Fishing

Our fishing bait

German Shepherd Puppy

Argentine Mate in the morning #pinkysout