Monday, March 27, 2017

Week 39: The "Choice Age"

     Elder Phillipsen and I had a fantastic week in Warwick!  We worked extremely hard this week trying to find some new investigators and the Lord blessed us greatly.  We also found out that both of us will be staying another transfer together in Warwick.  We are very excited, Elder Phillipsen will be the first companion that I have had for more than 6 weeks.
     At our last Zone Conference, President Miller talked about finding "choice age" investigators which is anyone from age 9-28.  He talked about how these are the converts who will grow up strong in the gospel, serve missions, and marry in the temple.  This is so, so, so true.  Almost all of the people who I have taught and baptized fall into that age range.  This week we were able to find two awesome, new investigators who are in the "Choice Age"!!!  The first investigator we found was Chris.  We were tracting on Tuesday and we talked to a guy who said we could come back and teach him.  We went back but he wasn't home.  His downstairs neighbor answered the door and we asked him if he wanted to hear a message and he said yes!  He told us that no one but him spoke English in his family, but he would listen to us.  He told us his name was Chris and that he is 18 years old.  He has only lived in the states for 2 years and is from the Dominican Republic.  He said he grew up Catholic and hasn't gone to church since he moved to the US.  I absolutely love teaching people my own age because it is easy to relate to them and the spirit is so, so strong.  As we shared with him the restoration, Elder Phillipsen and I knew that he was feeling the spirit.  We invited him to be baptized and he said yes!  We will be seeing Chris on Wednesday and we are so grateful that the Lord blessed us with meeting him.
     The second investigator we picked up this week is Jose.  We were tracking again and we knocked on his door.  When he opened the door, we told him that we were missionaries and that we were sharing a message about Jesus Christ.  He said, "Dope, I'm Christian!"  Yesterday we were able to go back and share the message of the restoration with him.  He is 20 years old and from Bolivia.  Again the spirit was so strong as we testified of Jesus Christ, the first vision, and the Book of Mormon.  Jose agreed to be baptized too.  His father is a Pentecostal Pastor but we really hope it will all work out.  In both lessons with Chris and Jose, it was so easy to notice how 9-28 truly is the choice age.  Those who are in that age frame are so much more willing to listen to our message and able to feel the spirit testify of its truthfulness.  God truly blessed us this week and we are so grateful for His hand in the work.
     Update on Estavan:  Over a month ago, I told you all about the YSA less-active member who we were able to find and bring back to church.  Ever since that first time back, Estavan has been on fire.  He has been to church every single week and he is now deciding if he wants to serve a mission!  When we first met Estavan, he was pretty down in the dumps but now he is reading his scriptures daily, praying multiple times a daily, has a new job, and is truly seeing the blessings of the Gospel.  He came out with us the other day and he realized how awesome it is to be a missionary.  He has always looked up to his missionaries and even though he is 25, he might decide to serve a mission.  I am so, so, so, excited about the progress he has made and it makes me feel so great to see how the Gospel is changing his life.  Estavan is the greatest.
     Things are going so well here is Warwick.  I am so grateful to be serving here and I am excited about this upcoming transfer.  Thank you all who support me.  I have such a strong testimony that somebody has the job to drag us down . . .but somebody greater has the job to make us whole.  I know that my Savior lives, I am so, so excited for the upcoming General Conference.  I know that President Thomas S. Monson is God's mouthpiece today.  I invite all of you to think of a question that you have about the Gospel this week and I promise that the Lord will answer your question through his chosen servants and representatives.  This is His kingdom established on the Earth.  Love you all!!

Elder Gutierrez

Down on the Docks
Our First Del's Frozen Lemonades

Service at the Food Bank

Dinner with Estavan

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week 38: Taught by The Lord This Week

     This week was so great and so eye opening.  I was very humbled and I am so grateful for all that I was taught by the Lord this week.
      On Tuesday, there was a "HUGE" storm that hit New England.  People here are so funny because when a storm is coming everybody looses their minds and panics.  Back in the 70's, a big storm stopped all work for a week so now any storm that comes people prepare like it's the end of the world.  Seriously, grocery stores are all cleared out.  The storm that came this Tuesday wasn't too bad. We were supposed to get two feet of snow but instead we got like six inches and TONS of rain.
     Wednesday Elder Phillipsen and I got to go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders in Central Falls, Rhode Island.  I am so, so, so, grateful for this exchange because I learned so much and it was a very humbling experience.  The Elders there are Portuguese Elders and both of them are straight out of Brazil.  I got to spend the day with Elder Ferreira, who is a LEGEND.  The Elders there do not have a car so they walk around 10 miles every single day in the freezing cold.  They are the most dedicated and hard working missionaries.  Central Falls is a pretty poor place and so many of the homes that we visited were tiny and packed with people.  I was very humbled by the investigators there who were trying to come closer to Christ and were so inviting to our message.  I didn't say much all day because the lessons were in Portuguese, but what was cool was that the spirit was the same.  No matter what language the message is shared in, the spirit will testify of its truthfulness.
     We had a lot of great lessons with the Schwartz kids this week and I am very excited about how quickly they are learning.  Jazmyne, the oldest girl, made up a game about the resurrection and why we celebrate Easter.  It was so, so, so awesome!
     Saturday was recent convert temple day.  We got to go with Doug and Renee Pariseau.  Doug is our most recent convert in Warwick.  He was baptized just before I got here.  Renee has been a member since she was a teenager.  She was less-active for a very long time and now she's killing it.  Doug and Renee are some of the funnest people ever.  They are both doing amazing and the Gospel is so important to them.  This was the first time that either of them went to the temple.  Renee was able to be baptized for Doug's mom.  The spirit was so strong and they were both so happy.  The temple is literally my favorite place ever!  It is truthfully the closet place we can be to God on earth.
     Overall, this was a great week.  I am very excited about how well things are going with the Schwartz children.  We are working with great people and Rhode Island is the best.  Hopefully spring will be coming soon!  Thanks for all the support and love I receive.  Love ya!

Elder Gutierrez

Elder Place in Warwick, Rhode Island

Jooyae, our YSA investigator went back to Korea this week

Exchanges in Central Falls, Rhode Island

Elder Gutierrez and Elder Ferreira, the LEGEND

Exchanges in Central Falls, Rhode Island

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Recent Convert Temple Day with Doug and Renee Pariseau

Daniel from the YSA Ward left for the Marines Sunday.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Week 37: Miracle of "Patricia"

     This week in Warwick was a crazy one!  Elder Phillipsen and I experienced a lot of lows and highs, but overall it was so great.
    Last Monday, after we emailed, we were able to head to Newport with most of our zone and have a super fun P-Day.  Tuesday we had a crazy cool miracle happen and we were able to pick up two new investigators.  Wednesday we had a great zone conference, the mission is really focusing on "teaching repentance and baptizing converts".  President Miller gave a great training and I am very excited about the work that is happening in our mission.  Friday, I got to go on an exchange with Elder Schrader.  The rest of the week was pretty uneventful because I got super, super sick.
     So the miracle from Tuesday:  About two weeks ago, Elder Phillipsen and I prayed that "Patricia", our former investigator would feel prompted to come to church.  She never came that Sunday but a different Patricia did!  During Sunday school class, a random lady walked into the class and introduced herself as  Patricia!  (When she said that my mouth about literally dropped.)  She said that she was driving home after not being able to find an old church that she had gone to before.  She drove past our church and felt prompted to go in.  God had truly answered our prayer and made it so that "Patricia" would feel prompted to come to church.  So this week we were finally able to meet with her and we had a great lesson.  She invited her sister too so we were able to pick them both up as new investigators!
     Jazmyne, Janiah, and Janasia, the three kids we are teaching are doing great also!  This week we had two solid lessons with them and it was Janiah's birthday on Thursday.  We surprised her with a picture of Jesus and balloons that had helpful reminders written on them.  We set a baptismal date with them for April 29th and hopefully all goes well in the next month so that they can all be baptized!  I love those cute kids.
     Friday Elder Schrader and I had a great exchange in Newport.  I love being able to coordinate exchanges with the Elder I serve with because each exchange I go on I truly learn so much from the Elders in my district.  Elder Schrader is from Twin Falls, Idaho and is an outstanding missionary.  We were able to visit Mike who I have failed to update everyone on . . .Mike was our 19 year old investigator.  He was doing great but because his family are devout Catholics, he didn't want to start any trouble by meeting with us.  So we no longer meet with him regularly.  He said that since meeting with us, he found a greater appreciation for God in his life and it was pretty great to see his faith grow!  Even though our exchange ended on less than a great note with me puking, I was grateful for the day I got to spend with Elder Schrader.  I'm not really sure why I got sick but I was pretty much out of commission for all of Saturday and Sunday.
     I am so grateful to be a missionary and to be able to serve the Lord at this time in my life.  I know this will have a great impact on my life and those I talk to every day here in New England.  I am so thankful for the support and love that I receive.  Thanks to all of you that help and support me.  I love you all!  God Bless.

Elder Gutierrez
Providence Zone

Providence Zone - Sometimes you just gotta have fun

Newport P-Day

Beautiful Ocean View on P-Day - Newport, Rhode Island

Elder  Gutierrez and Elder Phillipsen - Cool Old Mansions in Newport, RI

Venison Anyone?

Venison Spaghetti - YUM! YUM!

Happy Birthday Janiah!

Janiah's Birthday Balloons with Message Written on them and the Schwartz Kids

Monday, March 6, 2017

Week 36: The Lord Filled My Mouth With the Words I Needed to Speak . . .

     Hello everyone from Warwick, Rhode Island.  This week was great and I am so grateful for the gospel and for the opportunity I have to share it with those around me.  I am so grateful that I am physically able to dedicate two years to the Lord.  I am so grateful for the people God has placed in my life to help me grow and learn.  I am so grateful for a prophet who truly loves us and leads us in these troubling days.  There is so much in all of lives to be grateful for and as we choose to focus on what God has done for us, we are able to truly see His all powerful hand in our lives.
     This week I had the opportunity to go on an exchange with Elder Nagata who is currently serving in Narragansett.  Elder Nagata is from West Jordan too and is a great missionary.  Last week I told you about Mary Gutierrez, who's name was on the ward list and we were able to visit.  Last week I also shared that I had an impression to go back and tell her about the temple so she could be sealed to her husband who had recently passed away.  As Elder Nagata and I were about to go and see her, I realized that I wasn't quite sure how I was going to tell her about the impression that I had and how to bring up the temple.  I was nervous because I knew if this stop by didn't go well that she would not want us to come back.  What happened though was amazing and I know the Lord filled my mouth with the words I needed to speak . . .   We rang her buzzer and she came down with a big smile on her face as she saw us.  We sat down in the lobby of her apartment complex and as soon as we sat down I felt the Spirit so strongly tell me the words I needed to say.  She told us that she did not know what the temple was and as I told her you could see light come into her eyes.  She told us that the happiest time in her life was when she and her family were attending church and meeting with the missionaries.  She said, "I felt so clean!"  We told her that she could feel this was again through Jesus Christ and his Gospel.  She told us that she had a lot to think about and she would get back to us.  I marvel at how God was able to help me when I desperately needed it.  I know He lives and that He watches over all of us.
     This week we had the great opportunity to have interviews with President Miller.  He is such an amazing man.  We were able to have a great discussion on some questions I had and I know that he is an inspired man.  He has influenced me so much in the past 8 months and I am so thankful for his love and guidance.
     On a sad note, we had to drop most of our investigators this week because most of them weren't keeping their commitments.  So back to the finding!  Thank you all so much for the support and love that I receive on a daily basis.  I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that God will never abandon us.  I know our Savior lives, for us.  Love you all!

Elder Gutierrez

Book of Mormon!!

Colley's Dogs

Exchanges with Elder Nagata

Little Future Missionary - Brigham Weishaar

I Hope They Call Me on a Mission