Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 43: OOPS!

     Well it has been one very, very crazy week to say the least.  A lot of great things happened and a lot of not so great things happened . . .but all is well!
     We started this week on not the best of luck, after leaving the Providence building last P-day, we got into a car accident (don't worry Mom I'm ok).  I was driving and we were about to make a left-hand turn, and to make a long story short, I misjudged the speed of an oncoming car.  It ended up working out well, we were both able to move enough so we barely made contact.  His truck basically had no damage and a police officer was nearby and came to the scene quickly.  No one was hurt and only our car was damaged.  So we are now on bikes until our car is out of the shop . . .and we have been biking about 10 miles a day for the past week.  I never realized how lucky we were to have a car.  Riding bikes out here is pretty sketchy because the drivers are nuts and the roads are very tiny.  Elder Phillipsen and I are doing good though and we are going to have the best legs in the mission by the time we get our car back. :)
     On the bright side, Tuesday we picked up two of the most golden investigators of all time!  There names are Sam (16) and Leon (15).  Their mother Saroeuth was baptized 17 years ago when she was 13.  She slowly went inactive and had a great desire to come back to church.  In January, she started reading the Book of Mormon and finished the entire book by April.  We met with her Tuesday and she wanted us to teach her sons, Sam and Leon.  They are great kids!  We have met with them twice now and they have come to church two weeks in a row.  We will be extending a baptismal date to them soon and we are so grateful to be teaching them.  They are seriously just good kids and will flourish in the Gospel.
     We were not able to meet with Patricia and Dot this week but we will be seeing them tomorrow, hopefully all will go well.  Biking has definitely put a stumbling block in the work, but we are continuing to do our best.  We are hoping for great things in this week to come!  Thank you all so much for your love and support.

Elder Gutierrez
Wrecking the Mission Car - NO BUENO!

Damage on the Other Vehicle

The Work Rolls Forward - On BIKES :(

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week 42: Happy Easter!

     Another week has passed and gone.  Elder Phillipsen and I had a great week in Warwick.  I personally learned a lot and am so thankful to be a missionary.  I feel like I say that every week, but it's so true!
     Patricia and Dot are continuing to progress and we are so excited for them!  We had a great lesson with them this week and they especially felt the Spirit this week at church.  The next lesson we are going to teach them is the Word of Wisdom.  Dot is a smoker but knows she needs to quit and I am excited to see the Lord strengthen her to keep this commandment.  If all continues to go well their baptism will be May 7th.  Keep them in your prayers!
     This week I issued a challenge to our District, the #StreetADayChallenge.  Last week Elder Phillipsen and I were able to tract more than usual and because of that we were greatly blessed.  The cool thing was that we weren't directly blessed from the tracting, the Lord saw that we were working hard and so He blessed us for our efforts.  Because of this great lesson that I learned, I challenged our District to tract at least one street each day this week.  All of our areas are not exactly the best places to tract, but we were so blessed!  We all picked up new investigators and we truly saw miracles.
     This week we had one of the most amazing Zone Conferences.  President and Sister Miller are the most extraordinary people.  Sister Miller gave a training that really had an impact on me.  She challenged us all to think about these three questions:  What do you want to say you have done on your mission?  What do you want to have become?  What differences do you want others to notice in you?  She then invited us to make plans to accomplish the goals that we set according to these questions.  These are three questions that I often ponder and I am trying to work on something each week to accomplish my goals.
     President Miller counseled us on how we can be a more obedient and penitent mission.  I absolutely know that it is only through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ that we can obtain all the happiness that He so badly wants for us.  It is the same in the mission field, as we repent daily as missionaries we can then help our investigators receive all the happiness and blessings we desire them to have.  At the end of our Zone Conference we had a testimony meeting, which was like a huge spiritual punch in the face.  Nothing invites the spirit more than a ton of dedicated, faithful, and amazing missionaries bearing their testimonies.  It was a great experience and I love Zone Conferences.
     I was so grateful that yesterday we were able to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I would just like to echo the apostles testimony in The Living Christ, "We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary.  He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world. . . We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God.  He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father.  He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world.  His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.  God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son."  I know that my Redeemer lives and that because of His life, I have peace and healing.  I love you all and I testify that Christ lives today!  He is pleading and waiting to help you in all aspects of your life.  Love you all!

Elder Gutierrez
Elder Gutierrez and President Miller at Zone Conference

Street Ball in Downtown Providence.  Out of Three Games:  Utah Boys:3, Providence Gangsters:0

Taking Estavan to the Temple For His First Time!

Tracted All the Way to the Beach!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Email Received Easter 2017 from Rhode Island

Dear Sister Gutierrez,
      We have had the privilege of getting to know your son, and wanted to share a few pictures with you.  And yes, he is being well cared for!!!
     I have had some health challenges over the last 6 years, and my doctors are all back here along the east coast.  The end of February I was in DC for brain/spine surgery and then my husband and I flew to Providence for 6 weeks of specialized physical therapy.  We have been attending the same ward that your sweet missionary son is assigned to and what a delight it has been to get to know him!  We have had the opportunity to provide a meal once a week for him and his companion, Elder Phillipsen, for the last four or so weeks.  They are such wonderful young Elders.  We are particularly impressed with Elder Gutierrez, his commitment, his enthusiasm, his sense of humor, his patience, his gift of connecting to and not judging others and his wonderful, firm testimony.  Even with his own health challenges (we have a young granddaughter with juvenile diabetes), he is constantly and consistently reaching out to others.  What an inspiration.  Our time with him has been a blessing (and also a lot of fun).
     We will be flying to DC on Tuesday to meet with my neurosurgeon, and hopefully will be back home in Mapleton, Utah on Saturday.  But truly, one of our highlights has been the time we have spent with your son.  He is a good, good man, and is anxiously engaged in the Lord's work.

Thank you for sharing him with us and the people of Rhode Island!
Scot and Edie Swan
Scot and Edie Swan with Elder Gutierrez and Elder Phillipsen

Delicious Onion Blossom

Steak Delicious Steak

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week 41: Blessed for Working Hard

     This week was such a testimony builder for Elder Phillipsen and I. We learned a lot about how the Lord works and what He expects of us. Things were not looking so good for Elder Phillipsen and I at the beginning of the week. We had stopped by Chris' home and he told us that he was no longer interested in meeting with us. The Schwartz kids mom texted us saying that she "no longer needed our services", so basically we had lost all of our investigators. We both agreed that we needed to start working harder and we put a lot more effort into our findings. We tracted for several hours this week without huge success. I was feeling a little discouraged and was wondering why we were not being blessed.
     As the week went on, we still did not have any great progressing investigators, but the Lord had much in store for us. Saturday was one of the most blessing filled days of my mission. Friday we made a phone call to Patricia, the woman who walked in to our chapel weeks ago. We had had a great first lesson with her and her sister, Dot, but she did not want to meet with us. I felt prompted weeks ago to have her read Moroni 7. Finally this week she answered her phone and we were able to ask her how her reading went. She said that the chapter really spoke to her and she agreed to meet with us again. Our lesson with her and her sister, Dot, was so great. Both of them had had spiritual experiences and promptings towards baptism. We taught a great Plan of Salvation lesson and they both accepted a baptismal date for May 7th! Elder Phillipsen and I were in shock with how great the lesson went and how excited they both were. They are both very intrigued with doing baptisms for the dead at the temple and they are already working on preparing temple names.
     Right after that lesson we had to rush down to Narragansett for a baptism happening in our district. I had the opportunity to interview, James Dart for baptism and he was so ready. It was a great baptism and it was great to see somebody in our district getting baptized. After that Elder Phillipsen got to go to a baptism in one of his former areas and so I got to spend the rest of the day with Estavan! It was so sweet. We went tracting (picked up a new investigator names Isaiah), saw a part-member family, had a dinner appointment, and had a lesson with Jose. Estavan was such a great missionary for the day and his testimony has great power. He kept saying that it was one of the best days he has had in a long time. It was so fun to be with him.
     The lesson I learned this week is that the Lord truly does bless us, but in His own time. His vision is so much greater than ours and when we are obedient and work hard He WILL bless us. Thanks to everyone who supports me. I appreciate it so much. I invite you to take President Monson's challenge and read the Book of Mormon daily. I have a strong testimony that as you do so you can be protected from the growing evils of the world. Light and darkness cannot exist together. Love you all!

Elder Gutierrez

Patricia Burke, a less-active member, we got to come to church
Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf at the Chases
Splits with Estavan!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 40: Conference Weekend

     What an amazing week it has been in Warwick.  Elder Phillipsen and I saw lots of ups and downs, but General Conference was so amazing and I know that the messages spoken there were answers to our prayers.  Also Mother Nature sent us an April's Fools joke by having it snow on Saturday.
     Earlier this week, we were able to pick up a new investigator named Mike.  Mike is Marc's (our recent convert's) employer.  We stopped by to see Marc and Mike was helping Marc fix up his truck.  We invited him to hear our message and he enjoyed it greatly.  He told us of an experience in his life where God saved his life.  Mike is a fantastic guy and we really hope we can continue to teach him and help him come closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
     President Miller issued a challenge to all of the missionaries in our mission this week.  His challenge is to read the Book of Mormon in the next two months, marking every time the Savior is mentioned, the doctrine of Christ is taught, and every time the Lord promises something.  As I have begun this challenge, I have been filled with a greater love and appreciation for the Book of Mormon.  It truly is the word of God and it truly can bring us closer to God than any other book known to man.  Something that has amazed me is there has not been a single page that has not mentioned Jesus Christ, by one of his titles, several times.  I know that it is another testament of our Savior's birth, ministry, and his anticipated return.  My advice to everyone is the same as President Thomas S. Monson. "If you are not reading it every day, please do so."  I promise you will be blessed and protected from the ever growing evils of the world.
     "General Conference is a time of reflection, revelation, and sometimes redirection." - Elder Sabin.  This week my testimony of God's chosen representatives has been strengthened so greatly.  I cannot express how much gratitude I have for the messages that were shared during conference and the messages that the Holy Ghost was able to share with each of us privately as we listened.  Over and over again I noticed how the speakers testified boldly of the love our God and our Redeemer have for each and every one of us.  I know this is true.  As I have been able to serve His children, I have been able to get just a small glimpse of that love.  Despite race, sin, age, shape, size, weaknesses, failures, and whatever else may phase us in this life, they love us.  I loved how Elder Renlund spoke about Jesus Christ as our shepherd saying, "Should the scabs of the sheep cause the shepherd to recoil?"  The answer is no.  He is and will always be filled with love, compassion, and empathy for us.  This should then make us want to be better and to change.  "Because Christ loves us, He asks more of us", Elder Palmer.  I know that living the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way for us to find pure joy in our lives.  Our Heavenly Father's plan is perfect and I know that "in a darkening world, the light of Christ will shine brighter and brighter", Elder Bragg.
     Thank you all who support me and encourage me.  I am so grateful for your love and encouragement.  I know that the church is true and the blue book is true!  Love you all.

Elder Gutierrez

Family Home Evening with the Weishaar Family - Brigham, 5, and Benson, 3

Delicious Food at the Smith's

Dinner Appointment with the Smith's

General Conference Weekend - No staying home on the couch in Rhode Island