Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 35: And the Work Rolls On

     Another week has flown by in Warwick!  Nothing super crazy happened this week by I am very happy with the great progression our investigators have made.  To keep you all posted we are working with 5 investigators:  Melina, Jazmyne, Janasia, Janiah, and Patricia (sort of. . .) and several less-active members.
     Patricia who we have been teaching for quite a long time now hasn't been progressing very well.  Elder Phillipsen and I reestablished our purpose and the purpose of the Book of Mormon this week in our lesson and then the weirdest thing happened.  We told Patricia that she needed to come to church and then out of no where she told us that she had already been baptized "Mormon".  I asked her if she had ever told Elder Duggar or the past missionaries and she said she hadn't.  And sure enough we looked up her Bishop and she was baptized in 2000!  Ha, ha, so Patricia is no longer an investigator but now a less-active member who we can hopefully bring back to church!  Oh Rhode Islanders. . . .
     Cool story of the week:  So there is a couple on our ward list here with the last name Gutierrez!  I was so excited when I noticed it, but nobody know who they were . . .  The address listed for them was wrong and there were no working phone numbers.  I decided that we would find them so we found an address online that we thought might be right and stopped by.  We rang the buzzer and a voice from the apartment asked who it was, we said, "the missionaries!"  After a long pause a little old Hispanic woman came to the door to talk with us.  We told her that we were  looking at the ward list and . . .then she cut me off saying, "and we have the same last name!"  We began talking about her conversion and how her husband had recently passed away.  She told us she would be moving soon and wasn't interested in meeting.  Not much happened after that so we offered our service if she needed it and left.  But as the day went on, I had a huge impression to tell her about the temple and eternal families.  So this week we will be going back to her home to hopefully tell her about the temple.  Though a miracle didn't occur this week, I believe there is one in the making!
     Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me in the past 8 months.  Time is going by very, very quickly and I am continuing to learn and grow every day.  I know the Savior lives and that His atonement is all powerful.  Use it.  I promise if you do you'll be able to be happier, love, more, and have true joy!  Love you all!

Love,
Elder Gutierrez

Dishing up Guatemalan Mixtas

Eating Guatemalan Mixtas

Helping Prepare Guatemalan Mixtas

Pressing Tortillas by Hand - it was hard!

Service at the Bishop's Storehouse with recent convert, Marc

Serving at the Bishop's Storehouse

Warm Enough to Ride Our Bikes!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 34: Welcome Elder Phillipsen

     This week I had to say goodbye to Elder Duggar, he was a great companion and I am so grateful for all the experiences I had with him.  He was able to give me some really helpful advice as well.  He said, "When we give all that we can, the Holy Ghost makes up the difference".  I really liked what Elder Duggar said because as missionaries and people in general we are far from perfect but if we are doing everything we can the Spirit will fill in our gaps, words of wisdom right there! #TeachMeHowTo Duggar
     My new companion's name is Elder Phillipsen!  He is from Payson, UT and he has been on his mission for 3 months.  I have had a great week with Elder Phillipsen as we have tried to find new investigators.  Our first day together we found a ton of great potential investigators.  One of them is a 99 year old lady named Ms, Louise and the three other investigators are kids of a former investigator.  On Saturday, we were able to teach a lesson to the three kids and they came to church on Sunday!  There names are Jazmyne (11), Janasia (10), and Janiah (9).  There grandma is a less-active member who we are working on getting back to full activity.
     Also this week, we were able to have a mini missionary with us.  His name is Owen Clark and he is from the Franklin Branch in Massachusetts so I already knew him!  It was so much fun to have him with us from Friday to Sunday.  Hopefully we were able to show him what it is like to be a missionary and how amazing and rewarding the work is.
     I recently found out some very, very sad news.  Bob Amoa-Awua, the first investigator I ever met, whom I have grown to love so much is not doing very well.  He has had some very difficult health problems in the past such as cancer and now his body is failing.  The doctors say he only has a couple more weeks left so this Wednesday I was able to visit him in Worcester.  When I saw him, he was the same old happy and energetic Bob.  We talked, read from the Book of Mormon, and then he pulled out his guitar and played us a song.  I am so grateful for the time I got to spend with him and for the opportunity I had to be taught by him rather than me teaching him.  He has said so many profound things as I have visited with him and I am so grateful that I know Bob.  I'll keep you posted on how he is doing in the coming weeks.
     It has been a great week and a great day.  We were able to go to the temple this morning for President's Day.  I am so blessed to be part of this great work and I hope you all have missionary opportunities and take advantage of them this week!  A scripture that I read this week that I really enjoyed was 4 Nephi 1:15-16.  It mentions in verse 16: "there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God."  but what really stood out to me was why they were so happy in verse 15: "because of the love of God".  I pray and hope that we may all strive to love our God that much, so that we too can find real happiness.

Love you all!!

Elder Gutierrez

District Lunch

Visiting Bob

Saying Good-bye to Elder Duggar

YSA Ward - Matt and Wei

Elder Phillipsen, mini missionary, Owen, and Elder Gutierrez

Elder Phillipsen and Elder Gutierrez at the Boston Temple

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week 33: Winter's Here!

     So there's this weird thing that happens every year in New England where the snow doesn't actually come until February.  It has been super cold here since November but not until this week did the snow actually come!  Thursday we got 18 inches, Saturday we got more, and it is supposed to snow all week.  So we can officially say WINTER IS HERE.
     Due to all the snow not too much happened here in Warwick.  Schools were closed, businesses weren't open, and we were red dotted (stuck in the apartment).  Even with all the snow Elder Duggar and I were still able to make the most of our time when the roads were safe to drive on and we found some great potential investigators that we may start teaching soon.  Most of our other investigators have been slacking hard and we are really hoping that we can help them get where they need to be again.
     Super cool experience this week:  On Tuesday, we were finishing up the day and we wanted to make one more stop by a less-active members house.  We looked  at the YSA Ward list and there were 3 names and households we didn't know near where we were.  We chose a man named Estavan.  We found his house and knocked on the door.  He answered and told us his name and invited us in!  We spoke to him for a while and he told us about how he found the church and his conversion story.  He said that he was active for two years after he was baptized but then moved to Guatemala and couldn't find the church there.  When he moved back to the US, he missed the church and the people but felt to embarrassed to show up after not coming for a year.  He told us he was so excited to see that the missionaries had come back to visit him.  He came to church with us this week!  He absolutely loved it and wants to start reading from the scriptures again, coming to church, and living the gospel again!  It was such a blessing that Heavenly Father directed us to his name and that we were able to find and bring back one of His lost sheep.
     This Sunday, I had the opportunity to give a talk on the Plan of Salvation to the Warwick Ward.  I was so excited to give this talk because the Plan of Salvation and the doctrine therein is so amazing.  The Gospel being taught in the spirit world, the resurrection, eternal families, and the celestial kingdom are all such beautiful eternal truths that I personally love so much and I love teaching them to others.  In my talk, I related God's Plan of Happiness to the 50 mile backpacking trip I took when I was twelve years old.  Much preparation was needed and there were many hard times during the trip, but because of my amazing scout leader I was able to finish the 50 miles.  There is no way I could have done it without him.  Thanks Arkin Hill!  Like so, without our Savior Jesus Christ, not a single soul could come back to live with God again.  I am so extraordinarily grateful for his eternal and never ending sacrifice so that we can choose to become clean.  We are so blessed as members of Christ's church to know that we CAN become clean and that we CAN live with God again!
    It is Elder Duggar's last week in the mission as he returns home on Wednesday.  My new companion is Elder Phillipsen.  I am super excited to work with him and he has only been out on his mission for 12 weeks.  I will also be serving as the District Leader of this area as well.  I am pretty excited about this calling from President Miller.  Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!  I really do love you all so much and am so grateful for your love, support, and prayers.  Have a blessed week!

Love,
Elder Gutierrez

WICKED COLD!!

WICKED New England Weather

Red Dotted (Snowed in so I'll sport some USU gear)

YSA Ward Men

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Viral Video of Elder Scoresby and Elder Sprehn

This is an awesome video that Elder Scoresby (my dad or trainer) and Elder Sprehn from the Massachusetts Boston Mission recorded to Hello.  Check it out!  You can find it on Facebook by following United Latter-day Saints and is called Hello (Missionary style)

https://www.facebook.com/unitedlatterdaysaints/videos/1569501796433853/


Thursday, February 9, 2017

District Leader Call Letter From President Miller



February 9, 2017

Dear Elder Gutierrez,

     You are hereby called to serve as a District Leader. You should know that this call comes from the Lord. He trusts you in this sacred calling and responsibility. I also place great trust in you to care for the well-being of the missionaries assigned to work in your district, and to help the work of salvation for the souls of men move forward.  

As part of this assignment, your responsibilities include:

·         Setting an example for the missionaries in your district through study of the scriptures, living the gospel, obedience, hard work, and striving to improve proselyting skills.
·         Supervising, teaching, and inspiring the missionaries in your district.
·         Planning and conducting a weekly district meeting
·         Conducting exchanges with the missionaries in your district.
·         Interviewing baptismal candidates taught by the missionaries in your district.
·         Looking after the well-being of the missionaries in your district.

     Your Zone Leaders will help you as you learn to fulfill these responsibilities. Remember that your most effective teaching is done through example.

I congratulate you on this sacred calling.

With Love,
President A. Todd Miller

Massachusetts Boston Mission

Monday, February 6, 2017

Week 32: #BIB2K17

     BLOCK ISLAND BLITZ 2017!  This week was full of exciting things and I am very excited to tell you all of our adventures to Block Island.  So buckle your seat belts and grab some popcorn ....
     On Groundhog's Day 2017, six missionaries voyaged to the island they call block to seek out those who were kept from the truth.  With only the Book of Mormons they could carry in their bags and less than ideal "maps" to guide them, they began their journey.  Doors were knocked, calluses were made, and the truth was spread.  The Blitz proved to be an uplifting day and a humbling experience.  Nearly 100 miles were walked, 20 Book of Mormons were placed, and though immediate success was not found, those six Elders trust that the Lord will do wonders with their efforts.
     Ha, ha, we all had a great time on Thursday as we proselyted on Block Island.  Not many people live there during the winter time so it was less successful than we hoped but it was a great day!  I got to go on exchanges with our "Fearless District Leader", Elder Kerby.  We ended up walking around the whole perimeter of the Island and we talked to anyone we saw or looked like they might be home.  Most houses are just summer homes so we only knocked on doors with a car in the driveway.  We met some great, nice people who live on the Island and made some great memories.   The best way to spend Groundhogs Day 2017 :)
     Other than the #BIB2K17, not too much happened this week.  Elder Duggar's sickness began to get a lot worse so we weren't out finding very much work.  However, he is doing a lot better now.  We did get to see Mike, our investigator, this week and had a great lesson with him!  He had a lot of great questions about Prophets and the Book of Mormon.  We told him about the YSA ward and he was very, very excited to come on Sunday ....until he talked to his family.  We were going to see Mike on Saturday but he canceled saying that he no longer wanted to meet with us because his family told him not to!  So everyone pray for Mike because we hope to see him again and help him resolve any concerns that he has.  He is such a great guy and I will be so upset if we don't start teaching him again.
     Thank you everyone for the support!  Warwick is doing well and I am excited to take the area over in a week as Elder Duggar goes home.  Love you all!!

Love,
Elder Gutierrez

Block Island Beach

Providence, Rhode Island

Tracting in Cranston

Cranston, Rhode Island

#BIB2K17 - Six Elders on the Ferry

#BIB2K17 - Elder Gutierrez out at Sea

#BIB2K17 - Elder Gutierrez and Elder Duggar

#BIB2K17 - Welcome to Block Island

#BIB2K17 - Groundhogs Day 2017 on Block Island with Elder Kerby

#BIB2K17 - Block Island

#BIB2K17  - Elder Gutierrez on Block Island Beach

#BIB2K17 - Leaving Our Mark in the Sand

#BIB2K17 - Interesting  Sign on Block Island