Monday, May 29, 2017

Week48: 11 months!

     We have had such an exciting week here in Warwick!  It seemed like a lot of our plans fell through, but we were still able to have a lot of great experiences.
     A couple of weeks ago we were tracting and we ran into a lady named Kyra.  We knocked on her door and when she opened it she immediately recognized who we were.  She told us that her best friend from college was LDS and had served a mission.  She said that her friend always shared her beliefs with her but never was pushy.  She told us she would love to meet with us and learn more about her friends religion.  This Wednesday we were able to meet with her and teach her the Restoration.  It was such a great lesson and in 2 weeks her LDS friend will be coming to Rhode Island.  We are going to have a lesson with her there.  It has been so cool to see how open Kyra was, even though she had a lot of presumptions of the Church and some of its policies.  We are pretty excited to see where things will go with her.
     Thursday we had exchanges with the Narragansett Elders.  I got to spend the day with Elder Caldwell, who I served with in Franklin.  I LOVE Elder Caldwell and we had such a great day together in Narragansett.  Their area is very large and pretty difficult to work in, but we were able to pick up 2 awesome new investigators.  One in particular was so awesome and I'm so grateful I got to be there for her lesson.  Her name is Dakota.  Her mother, Lisa, is a recently returning inactive member.  Dakota is 20 years old and attended the YSA branch two weeks ago.  Her mother told us that at first she was not open to meeting with the missionaries, but after meeting us at church two weeks ago, she agreed to listen to us.  As most 20 years olds do, she has a lot going on in her life and has a lot of questions (Example:  Why do bad things happen to good people?)  She says that she doesn't believe in God, because it is hard for her to believe in something that she can't see.  By the end of our lesson, it was so evident that God had played a HUGE role in our lesson and everything leading up to it.  The member we brought with us was perfect and the spirit was so strong.  Several times I felt that the Lord was clearly putting words into my mouth.  Dakota seemed very open to us at the end of the lesson and she committed to come to sacrament meeting again, which she did!  Because she is YSA age and attending our congregation, we will most likely be teaching her the rest of the lessons.  Hopefully all continues to go well.
     While on exchanges Elder Phillipsen and Elder Weber taught Eddie the Word of Wisdom, which we knew he would have some troubles with and things went great!  He didn't make it to church this week but he is doing great!  Things are going very well in Warwick and we hope to keep finding new people to teach in the coming week.  Thank you everyone for your love and support, HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

Elder Gutierrez

P-Day at Rocky Point State Park, Rhode Island

Fun at Rocky Point

Rocky Point is located on the Narragansett Bay side of Warwick, Rhode Island

Amusement Park that operated from the late 1840's until 1995.  In 2011, Rocky Point opened to the public and features a mile long asphalt walking path along the shore of Narragansett Bay.

Beautiful Stained Glass in Rhode Island

Exchanges with Elder Caldwell in the Narragansett Area

Monday, May 22, 2017

Week 47: Baptisms in Warwick

     First off, SAM AND LEON WERE BAPTIZED!  Elder Phillipsen and I had such a great and very busy week.  We saw the Lord's hand several times this week and we learned so much.
     Wednesday and Thursday we were able to see President Miller.  Wednesday we had interviews and it turns out that President Miller met Sam and Leon a couple of weeks ago.  He asked me how they were doing and I told him that they were getting baptized this weekend and then he encouraged me to make sure they serve missions.  The next day, we had a fantastic mission wide District Leader Council meeting in Worcester.  President and Sister Miller and the AP's felt prompted to re-establish with us all how important and significant our callings are as District Leaders.  They spoke to us about how the mission is only as successful as the District Leaders are obedient.  Because the District Leaders serve so closely with the other missionaries, they have the greatest impact on their lives.  I loved the trainings given and I got to see some of my favorite missionaries, including Elder Tilly.
     After much anticipation Sam and Leon's baptism arrived.  Their baptism was the most flawless and supported baptism I've ever been to.  They were both so excited and tons of ward members showed up to support them.  Elder Phillipsen baptized Sam and I got to baptize Leon.  Their mother was so happy and it was a huge moment for her boyfriend, Joe.  We talked to him and set up an appointment to start teaching him this week!  He said that he wants to be baptized as well but has much to learn (Joe and Saroeuth will also be getting married in August!)  Sunday Sam and Leon were confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost by the Providence Stake President, President Rehon, who was the Bishop when their mother was baptized.  The ward has really accepted them.  They're the greatest young men who I firmly believe will always be steadfast and will someday serve missions.
     Also Eddie is continuing to do great!  We saw him 3 times this week and he came to church.  He loves the ward and he has such a great desire to learn.  This week he wasn't able to make it to the baptisms, but after seeing the boys confirmed he is anxious to receive an answer if this church is true.  Because of Eddie, I KNOW that there are people all over the world who are prepared for the gospel and we just have to have our eyes and ears open to the promptings of the Spirit to find them.
     Great week!  Thank you to all who support me, I could not do this without you.  I love this Gospel and I know that it is the only way to find real and lasting happiness on this Earth and in the life to come.  I'm so grateful that we were able to be instruments in the Lord's hand to bring Sam and Leon the Gospel.  Love you all!

Elder Gutierrez

Elder Phillipsen Baptized Sam - Elder Gutierrez Baptized Leon - May 20, 2017

Sam and Leon's Baptism - May 20, 2017 in Providence, Rhode Island

Leon, Saroeth, their mother, and Sam

Elder Gutierrez and Leon

Sam and Leon's Baptisms With Matching Ties

The Pariseau's Sweet House

Elder Tilly and Elder Gutierrez at District Leader Council Meeting in Worcester, Massachusetts

We Made A Roast!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Week 46: Expect Miracles

     This Wednesday was the first day of this new transfer and we are already seeing miracles!  Elder Phillipsen and I had a great week and we are so excited to see what the Lord has in store for us during the next 6 weeks.
     We started off the week with a mission wide broadcast.  The AP's gave a great training and then gave a powerful invitation to find and teach somebody new and extend a solid baptismal date by May 15th!  They gave the training on the 6th, so in under a week they challenged us to accomplish this mighty goal.  They told us to have faith, to work hard, and most of all to expect miracles!  I was very excited about this invitation and pleaded with the Lord to help us accomplish it.  A couple of days later the Elders in Providence contacted a man on the street named Eddie, who lives in our area and was very, very interested.  They gave us his information and we set up an appointment for Saturday morning.  Eddie truly was an answer to my prayers and a miracle!  He explained to us that he had been searching for the truth for such a long time.  He had studied with many religions; Catholics, Jehovah Witness, Muslim, and nothing seemed right.  We shared the message of the Restoration and he felt the truth!  He committed to come to church the next day and to be baptized when he felt it was true.
     Sunday came and as sacrament meeting started Eddie still had not come . . .I was beginning to get pretty disappointed and then just before the sacrament began Eddie walked in! (Which in turn was a good thing because everyone noticed him and introduced themselves to him afterwards.)  Eddie loved church and we met with him this morning and taught him the Plan of Salvation, again he loved the message and we set a baptismal date with him for June 10th.  Which meant we had accomplished the AP's invitation and we set a solid baptismal date with somebody new by the 15th!  I know now more than ever that miracles DO happen and that most of all God hears and answers my prayers.  He loves all of his children and He truly puts the eternities on hold and listens to us, His children.
     We also saw Sam and Leon this week a couple of times and they are very excited for their baptisms on Saturday.  We will be planning the details of it with them tomorrow.  Also big news, their mother, Saroeuth brought her boyfriend to church two weeks in a row now!  His name is Joe, he is from Portugal and we hope to begin teaching him as well.  We could not be more excited for them, they are growing and learning so much.  They are the greatest young men and they will be such great Priesthood holders.
     Things are going so well in Warwick.  I had the greatest day yesterday speaking to my family.  I love them so much and one eternally important thing that the mission has taught me is that I have the most amazing family and I love them so much.  I hope you all had a great Mother's Day and that you took the time to realize how blessed we all are.  I know my Savior lives.  I am so grateful that I get to share my testimony of the Savior each day because I couldn't imagine a world without Him.  Love you all!

Elder Gutierrez
Just Something to Think About

Elder Phillilpsen, Matthew from Boise, and Elder Gutierrez

Uncle Cory and Grandpa Page Look What I Found - Where Is My Bow?

Monday, May 8, 2017

Week 45: Another Transfer in Warwick!

     First things first, Elder Phillipsen and I got transfer texts on Friday . . . and we found out that . . .  we will both be staying in Warwick for another transfer together!  That will make 4 transfers in Warwick and 3 transfers with Elder Phillipsen.  We are both very excited to be together, we both agree that if we had to be with any of our companions for this long we are glad it is with each other.  We had a great week and we got to go on two exchanges this week!
     Last Monday for P-Day, we had a zone P-Day on the beach at Newport.  We played beach volleyball and soccer.  Afterwards, Elder Phillipsen and I got to go on an exchange with the Newport Elders.  I spent all of Tuesday with Elder Larsen in Warwick.  We had a pretty great and exhausting day.  This was my second exchange with Elder Larsen since I have been here.  He is a great missionary and we worked really hard.  We walked about 13 miles and biked 4 miles throughout the day.  We were able to introduce the commandments to Sam and Leon and we taught them the ten commandments using this fun sign game.  We finished off our exchange with tacos!  At the end of the day, we met in Narragansett and exchanged with the Narragansett Elders.
     So on Wednesday, I spent the day in Narragansett with Elder Weber from Idaho Falls.  Elder Weber is a very obedient missionary and we were able to do a great deal of work in an area that can be slow at times.  We were able to pick up 4 solid potential investigators and I got to meet Johnson, one of their investigators.  Johnson is so, so, so, awesome.  He is 20 years old and is originally from Sierra Leon.  He was adopted when he was young and grew up in Rhode Island.  He lived in Kentucky for a while and there he met some sister missionaries.  They taught him a lot and he really wanted to get baptized but he moved.  After he came back to Rhode Island, he couldn't find the missionaries and then the Elders in Narragansett randomly started tracting his street!  He said he had been praying and fasting that he would be able to find the missionaries.  He is such a great kid.  He lives in a very sketchy house and his whole family is into bad stuff.  He loves God and wants to be as good as he can so all he does every single day is play basketball, read the Book of Mormon, and sleep.  He has such a great attitude about everything and he is the nicest guy.  If only we could all be a little more like Johnson.  We taught Johnson about baptism and then we played basketball with him, #ProsBall.  I had a great exchange with Elder Weber and I am so proud of my district and how diligent all the Elders are.
     Sam and Leon are doing amazing and we are so excited for them. Also BIG NEWS, Saroeuth, their mother, brought her boyfriend to church this week!  His name is Joe and he is from Portugal.  We gave him a Portuguese Book of Mormon and we are hoping to start teaching him soon!  Sam and Leon's baptisms are in 12 days!
    Thank you everyone for your support.  I am loving my mission and I want to give a special thank you to my amazing mother this Mother's Day week.  Mom, thank you so, so, so, much for all that you have done and continue to do for me.  I can never repay you for how amazing and loving you have been to me my whole life.  I love you so much!  Have a great week everyone!

Elder Gutierrez

P.S. We got our car back on Friday!
We Got Our Car Back!!  I Promised to Take Good Care of You!

Zone P-Day at Newport Beach, Rhode Island

Zone P-Day with Elder Phillipsen at Newport Beach

Newport Beach, Rhode Island

Newport Beach with Elder Phillipsen and a Photo Bomber Elder

Tacos with Elder Larsen on Exchanges in Warwick, Rhode Island

Exchanges with Elder Larsen in Warwick, Rhode Island

Met Johnson, investigator in Narragansett, on Exchanges in Narragansett, Rhode Island with Elder Weber

Exchanges with Elder Weber in Narragansett, Rhode Island

Monday, May 1, 2017

Week 44: 10 Months

     Another week past and gone in Warwick, Rhode Island.  Elder Phillipsen and I had a great week and it is crazy to think that next week is already transfers! (This Friday we find out if either of us is leaving). We also found out that we will not get our car back until May 9th, on the bright side by then we will both have modeling legs. ;)
     Exciting news, Sam and Leon have set a baptismal date set for May 20th!  They are doing so solid.  This week we were able to meet with them twice and they really are progressing so well.  We taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ and The Plan of Salvation.  It was so, so awesome to teach them the Plan of Salvation.  They understood it so well and it was beautiful to see the change in them physically and emotionally as we told them of God's glorious plan.  They are the best kids and I love being able to teach them.
    This week we were finally able to see Patricia and Dot.  They are both doing great as well.  They are being fellowshipped really well by the ward and they love the church.  We had to push their baptism date back because some complication occurred.  Dot's husband is not ok with her being baptized and so we hit a pretty big roadblock there.  We were able to fast for her this week and we are really hoping to see some miracles.  They both are learning so quickly and we love meeting with them.  Keep them in your prayers!
     Wednesday this week we had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders in Central Falls.  I love our Zone Leaders.   Elder Coca-Jewett and I put in a lot of hard work in the pouring rain.  The Zone Leaders are Portuguese missionaries and I love going on exchanges with them because the work in the Portuguese program is so much fun.  Basically anyone that we would talk to would let us into their home and let us teach them.  Even though I understood very little of the discussions, the Spirit was the same.  We taught a ton of awesome people and we walked a total of 12 miles!  It was a great day.
     Also Estavan went on a business trip this week to Utah, so I told him to contact my family . . .and he went to church with them on Sunday!  So awesome!!  Thank you everyone who has supported and helped me as I have been serving.  I know this Gospel is true and that Christ has the power to heal any wound we have.  I love you all.

Elder Gutierrez
Estavan Rosales Visits From Providence, Rhode Island

Estavan Rosales From Rhode Island Visits the Sunset Ridge 4th Ward 4/30/17

Elder Gutierrez and Elder Phillipsen in an Old Cemetary in Warwick

Look Who I Found!

Elder Coca-Jewitt (Zone Leader) and Elder Gutierrez (District Leader) on Exchanges in Central Falls, Rhode Island

Look Even Wendy's is Advertising For Us - Family Is Forever

Exchange With Elder Coca-Jewitt, Portuguese Speaking Elder

Newest Convert to the Church, Wendy