Monday, June 26, 2017

Week 52: Amherst, MA!

     It has been one heck of a week!  I had my last couple of days in Warwick and . . . . I arrived in Amherst, MA!  I loved serving in Warwick and I am so grateful for the experiences I had there and I can't wait to see all that will happen here in Amherst.
     The past couple of days in Amherst have already been amazing.  My companion, Elder Little, is such a stud and we get along SUPER well. We have had so much fun and we are seeing miracles.  Just to tell you a little about Elder Little.  He is from Fort Collins, Colorado.  He has been on his mission for 10 months, he loves sports, he has served in Worcester too, and his name does not describe him well.  Amherst is a very fun and unique place.  It is totally a college town.  There are five schools here including UMASS and when all the students come the place more than doubles in size.  It is also the most liberal area in the mission and has the largest population of homosexual people.  Northampton, a town in our area, is known as the "Lesbian Capital of America", so you could say it's pretty unique!
     This area has always been know as a slower area in the past, which is not accurate at all.  The reason it has been "slow" is really just because of some lazy past missionaries.  We are currently working with 10 investigators and I'm still trying to get all their names down. Haha!  The work here is booming and we are teaching some amazing people.  One of our investigators we picked up this week is named Shyam.  Shyam is an 18 year old man from the Congo.  He grew up really poor and because of that has had a really hard life.  Even though he has had a rocky upbringing, he is so, so nice.  He loved the Restoration message and hopefully will continue to progress well.
     Well it has been a very busy week with a lot of transitioning.  I am very grateful to be able to serve in Amherst and I know this is where the Lord needs me at this time.  Thank you to everyone who supports me!  I love you all.

Elder Gutierrez  

Chillin in the Trio

Last Lesson With Eddie

Patricia's Antique Shop Where We Would Have Lessons

Saying Goodbye to Saroeuth, Sam, and Leon

The Trio Splits Up - June 21, 2017

UMASS Campus - Amherst, MA

Amherst Falls - Elder Little

Amherst Falls - Elder Gutierrez and Elder Little

New Companion, Elder Little from Fort Collins, Colorado

Monday, June 19, 2017

Week 51: Farewell Warwick!

     This week was full of exciting stories and experiences!  The biggest news of the week though is that I am being transferred on Wednesday to Amherst, Massachusetts!  My new companion's name is Elder Little.  I don't know much about him other than he served in Worcester after I left.  I am pretty excited to go back to Massachusetts and serve in Amherst, but it is going to be tough to leave Warwick.  So many great things are happening here and I've grown to love the people very much. The Lord needs me elsewhere though!
     This week on Tuesday we had a new companion dropped off to us!  Elder Blum is a great missionary and we have already had many great experiences in our trio.  Just to tell you a little bit more about Elder Blum; he is from North Salt Lake and has been on his mission for a little over 12 months.  He is Elder Scoresby's twin!  Seriously, they look so much alike.  He is very excited to be here in Warwick and we are lucky to have him.
     All our investigators are doing very well and it has been amazing to see all of their progression.  Eddie is doing incredible.  We had several great lessons with him this week and on Saturday to Sunday we fasted with him so he could receive heavens direction in his current situation.  He knows the church is true and will be baptized as soon as he and his girlfriend move out from each other.  It was so awesome to speak to him after our fast and to hear the answers he received.  He was pretty sad to hear that I was leaving and I will definitely find a way to come back for his baptism.
     Elder Blum must be a good luck charm because after not seeing Patricia and Dot for about 2 months, we finally saw them this week!  Both of them are still very interested in the church and life has just gotten a bit busy for them.  We had a great lesson with them and we read President Monson's last talk about the Book of Mormon.  On Sunday, both of them came to church and had a great experience.  Hopefully the Elders can continue to meet with them and help them come closer to Christ.
     This week we had a great lesson with just Dakota so we could resolve any concerns she had.  As we were talking with her, she told us that she now believes that there is a God and we helped her to recognize all the times she has felt the Spirit in the past couple of weeks and that the feelings she has been having is God reaching out to her.  She has been praying almost every night and is understanding the Book of Mormon.  We are going to bring up baptism in our next lesson and hope for the best!  There is a lot that she is still trying to understand.  We are going to meet with Dakota and all her friends tomorrow and hopefully we have a great lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
     Something very exciting happened this week during church in the YSA Branch.  One of the summer salesmen that is here was getting ready for church in the morning and his neighbor asked him what he was doing.  He told her that he was going to church.  She asked what church he went to and he answered, "The Mormon church, but it's just a congregation for 18-30 year olds."  He continued getting ready and she went back to her apartment.  Right afterwards, he felt the Spirit tell him to invite her to church even though she is in her 60's.  He knocked on her door and invited her, she agreed to come and loved church!  Her name is Lydia.  She is a traveling nurse and is in Rhode Island for a couple of months.  During the second hour of church, we were able to teach her the Restoration and set up another appointment for tonight!  It is so exciting to see all the people the Lord is preparing in our area right now and I'm a bit bummed to leave it all!
     Well it's been a great week!  I just wanted to give a huge thank you to everyone who supports me and especially my father.  I've been so blessed to have always had a worthy priesthood holder in my home growing up.  My dad has always been such a great example to me of a loving and genuinely nice person.  I love you all, have a great week!

Elder Gutierrez

P.S.  My new address is 390 Northampton Road Apt # A, Amherst, MA  01002

Elder Gutierrez and Eddie!

Elder Gutierrez and Estavan Rosales
Huge Pictoral Bible

Elder Gutierrez, Eddie, Elder Phillipsen, and Elder Blum at Church

Monday, June 12, 2017

Week 50: TRIO

Video of Gaspee Parade

     Hey everyone!  Elder Phillipsen and I had a pretty good week and we have some exciting news . . WE ARE GOING TO BE IN A TRIO TOMORROW.  The lower part of New Hampshire used to be part of our mission, but starting this week it will no longer be in our mission boundaries.  It will be in the New Hampshire mission so all the MBM missionaries serving in New Hampshire are being moved into other areas and we are one of the areas.  Elder Blum is going to arrive in Warwick tomorrow and for at least a week until transfers on June 21st we will be in a trio!  Elder Blum had served in one of my past zones, but I don't know him too well.  We are super excited to have him for the week.
     Tuesday I got to on an exchange with Elder Schrader in Newport.  The last exchange I went on with Elder Schrader was the day I got super sick so it was great to have a full exchange with him and serve in Newport for the day.  We had dinner with an older woman in the ward and she invited 5 non-member friends!  It was a great day and the dinner was so funny because they were all talking about their grandchildren and great grandchildren.  They thought we were great and hopefully some future teaching appointments will come out of it!
     Our investigators are doing very well.  We had such a great lesson with Eddie on Thursday.  We taught him about our modern-day prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and showed him his last General Conference talk.  Finally, Eddie told us that he knows the church is true and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  He wants to be baptized, but first he needs to either move out from his girlfriend or get married.  We know that God is going to help him work it all out and he is learning so much and has finally found what he has been searching for.
     Wednesday we had another lesson with Dakota and her friends and she invited another friend to hear our message!  So we are now teaching Dakota, Annie, Ali, Meghan, and Cosette.  We taught them all the Restoration and extended the invitation to read from the Book of Mormon.  Only Dakota and Ali were able to come to church this week but they loved it and we are hoping they will all want to keep learning.  We know almost all of them have a lot of concerns, but it has been so amazing to see how open they are to learning.  Dakota's mom, Lisa, could not be happier with all that is happening.  We are planning on teaching Dakota tonight and hopefully we can resolve any concerns and answer any questions she has.
     Also I have a little bit of sad news.  A couple of weeks ago, I found out that one of my recent converts, Bob Amoa-Awua, from my first area, Worcester, did pass away.  His funeral is going to be on July 1st.  Though it is sad that he passed away, I have such a peaceful feeling in my heart that he is doing very well.  He found the Gospel and he is surely enjoying all the blessings in the Spirit World.
     We are excited to have a great week in a trio, hopefully all will continue to go well!  Thank you everyone for your support.  Saturday we got to go to an awesome parade to celebrate Gaspee Days, which commemorates the first violent act of the Revolutionary War where some Americans burned down a British ship in the harbor not far from our house!  It was a ton of fun and I will send a video of the parade.  We are headed to Newport Beach today for P-day!  This Gospel is true and I know there is nothing I could be doing that is more important with my life right now.  It is so amazing that Christ allows very imperfect young whipper-snappers like me to share, teach, and proclaim his Gospel to the world.  I am so grateful to be part of his sacred work.  Love you all!!!

Elder Gutierrez
Teaching Dakota and her friends including her new friend, Cosette, and Estavan from the YSA Ward

Dinner before the teaching appointment

Gutierrez Barber Shop in Cranston, Rhode Island


Monday, June 5, 2017

Week 49: Uncle Elder Gutierrez

     Definitely the most exciting thing that happened this week was when I got a text message from Estavan on Thursday saying, "Hey, Uncle Gutierrez"!  My brother, Nate, and his wife, Ashley, had their first child this week!  I could not be more happy and excited for them and to be an uncle of course.  Welcome Bradley to the Gutierrez family.  I can't wait to meet you in a year.
     Other than the exciting news from home, Elder Phillipsen and I had a pretty exciting week in Rhode Island as well!  We were able to pick up 4 new investigators and we had Stake Conference.  Elder Zwick of the Seventy came for the Providence Rhode Island Stake Conference and I loved everything he had to say.  Also for the past couple of weeks we (all the missionaries in Rhode Island) have been preparing to sing in a missionary choir for Stake Conference, which went so great!!!  Funny thing is I have never enjoyed singing or have ever been good at it, until I came out on my mission.  There's a lady in our ward named Elaine Vivenzio who was a professional singer in Italy and now gives voice lessons from her home.  After a couple of hours working with her, she made a group of 20 terrible sounding missionaries look like a mini MoTab, just kidding, we weren't too bad though!  I love singing now,  A while back, I started doing this thing where my companion and I sing a hymn every morning in companionship study.  It's amazing how singing a hymn can invite the spirit so strongly into a room.
     Eddie is doing so great.  This week we taught him about tithing and he was so excited to pay it!  Usually investigators aren't too excited to start paying tithing but Eddie was excited to.  Eddie lives with his girlfriend and has for the past nine years.  He expressed to us this week that he will be baptized as soon as he is spiritually ready.  He knows that he cannot be baptized until he is married, (which is awesome because we haven't taught the Law of Chastity yet) and he wants to make sure that he truly has repented and left all his past mistakes behind him when he is baptized.  The problem is that he and his girlfriend do not have a good relationship at all and I'm guessing that they don't want to get married.  Also, we think that they are financially dependent on each other, so it would be hard for them to split up.  Other than that, Eddie is doing great.  We hope to find a way for everything to work out so he can be baptized soon and receive all the blessings of entering into a covenant with God.  Also Eddie introduced us to his friend, Jerome, on Wednesday.  We taught him the Restoration and he loved it!  He agreed to be baptized if he knew that our message was true.
     We have super, super exciting news about Dakota.  After our first lesson with her last week, she was talking to a couple of her friends about what we shared with her.  She began to tell them about Joseph Smith and the First Vision.  She said she wasn't doing it justice and invited them to our lesson on Thursday so we could tell them!  (Already doing missionary work after the first lesson!)  So on Thursday, we had a fantastic lesson on the Plan of Salvation with Dakota, 3 of her friends, 2 solid YSA members, and Lisa her mother.  Her friends weren't quite sure what to expect at first, but after they met us and we talked a while they were very open.  As we shared with them God's loving plan, the spirit filled the room.  It was such a powerful lesson and they were all very interested.  Their names are Annie, Meghan, and Ali.  After we left, Lisa sent us a text saying, "All the girls were in awe with how they felt after you left, they loved the message and want to do this every week!"  It was such a great lesson and all four of them should be coming to the YSA Branch next week!
     It really was such a great week . . . .I got to go on an exchange with Elder Ferreira again, but this time he got to be with me in Warwick.  Which was really funny to see him working in an English area compared to his experience in really ghetto Portuguese areas.  Elder Phillipsen and I are really excited about all the work happening in Warwick right now and I love serving the Lord.  Never have I been able to learn so much from the Spirit so often and feel so much love towards God's children.  I'm SO grateful to be part of this work.  I love you all and appreciate all the support I receive so much.  Have a great week everyone!

Elder Gutierrez

My Nephew, Bradley Steven Gutierrez, born June 1, 2017 

P-Day at Rocky Point State Park, Rhode Island

Rocky Point State Park Rhode Island

Elder Gutierrez and Elder Ferreira in Warwick, Rhode Island

Our lesson with Dakota, Meghan, Ali, and Annie

Real Men Love Jesus

Providence, Rhode Island

We made ribs on Saturday!