Monday, July 31, 2017

Week 57: Goodbye Amherst!

     One thing I quickly learned about the mission life is that you can never predict what will happen when the transfer texts come in.  Friday morning we received a text from the AP's saying that I had received a leadership call.  Elder Little and I thought for sure that I would be training and that he would be transferred but we were wrong! . . . .I'll be headed to Ludlow, MA which is not far at all from where I am now.  I'm really bummed to be leaving Amherst and Elder Little after only one transfer, but I am excited as well to go to Ludlow and serve with Elder Harris.  I will also now be serving as a Zone Leader and I am grateful for the new opportunity to stretch myself and become a better missionary.  I know my new companion fairly well and I'm stoked to be able to serve with him.
     Things went well this week here in Amherst and we were able to find a ton of great new potentials and investigators.  Also we were finally able to see, Shyam and Amanda, two of our investigators that we hadn't seen in weeks.  Both of them are doing great!  We hope to set a baptismal date with Shyam soon.  The reason we hadn't been able to get a hold of him for so long was that he accidentally dropped his cell phone into a swimming pool so he had no way to get into contact with us.  By a miracle, we were able to get into his apartment complex which is usually locked.
     While tracting this week, we found 3 new investigators; Dynasty, Sharon, and Kim.  All three of them are single women and both Dynasty and Sharon are single mothers raising their children.  Dynasty was really open to our message because she has been searching for a way to be able to build her faith in Christ.  She has a sweet little boy, Aiden, who has some mental challenges and at times she is pretty lost while raising him.  She told us she would be baptized if she knew the church was true and we are really hoping that we can get her to church this upcoming Sunday.  Sharon is a young 24 year old women with two kids.  She was very open to our message and after the Restoration she said, "Why haven't I heard this before?!"  She works as a veterinarian technician (sweet connection there!) and is very busy, but we are hoping to be able to get her to church this upcoming Sunday as well.
     This week we had an appointment set up with Al but it fell through because he ended up in the hospital!  Al has had some serious heart problems the past couple of years and he had some stomach pains this week.  Eventually, they got so bad that he had to go to the hospital and yesterday we were able to go and give him a blessing.  He was very thankful for the blessing and we really hope he recovers quickly.  Because of his heart, we think he is really wanting to change his life around.  He's been progressing well and we hope to set a baptismal date with him too.
     Things have been going great in Amherst and I'm grateful to have been able to serve in this area even though it was a short stay.  Elder Little has been such a great companion to me and he is going to continue to do great work here with his new companion, Elder Rivera.  Funny story:  We told one of the members that the new Elder coming spoke Spanish and she said, "Finally, this time we got a fake out!"  That's my life out here. :)  Thank you for all the support and love.  My new address is 
45 Willow St.  #505  Springfield, MA  01103.

Elder Gutierrez

The District

Low Blood Sugar Runs

Weekly Planning in the UMASS Art Building

UMASS Art Building

We Got A Refund .....;)

Milkshakes & Studies

Our Investigator, Amanda

Our Sweet Car, Fondly Named Beatriz

Sister Quinteros, One of Our Ward Missionaries

Dinner with Elder Erik and Sister Jane Larsen

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Leadership Call Letter From President Miller

                                                                                                                                 July 27, 2017

Dear Elder Gutierrez,

     You are hereby called to serve as a Zone 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 zone, and to help the work of salvation for the souls of men move forward. Zone Leaders are expected to be strictly obedient, diligent, humble and effective in their work. You were chosen because of your reliance on the direction of the Spirit, and the respect you have gained from others in the mission.  Your companion will help you as you learn to supervise, teach and inspire others in your zone. Remember that your most effective teaching is done through example.  I congratulate you on this sacred calling and look forward to working closely with you.

With Love,
President A. Todd Miller

Massachusetts Boston Mission

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week 56: Tracting, Tracting, Tracting

     Hello family and friends!  It's been a successful week in Amherst.  This week was very busy and I had a great time enjoying the blessings of being a missionary.
     Tuesday was a very fun and full day.  We had to wake up super early in the morning to drive across Massachusetts for a Zone Conference.  Again and again I am amazed at the love and support that President and Sister Miller give to us missionaries, they are so amazing.  At the Zone Conference, we received some great trainings on our purpose and what our vision should be as missionaries for the Lord.  This impacted me greatly and I thought a lot of what my vision of my mission was and what I wanted it to be.  Earlier this week, I had read Elder Ballard's talk "Return and Receive" from last General Conference.  His talk focused on the great importance of setting goals in our lives and accomplishing those goals.  With all this great counsel I had received and with God's help, I was able to set some very personal and meaningful goals that I hope to accomplish in my last year as a missionary.  I'm very, very excited to see how the Lord will help me to accomplish these goals and hopefully along the way I can bless some of His children.
     Wednesday, I got to go on another exchange with Elder Schrader, from Twin Falls, ID.  (We just keep following each other on the mission!)  We had a great day together in Amherst.  We were able to have a really successful lesson with Al at a members home.  We talked to Al about the importance of daily prayer and scripture study.  We promised him great blessings by making the effort to each pray and study every day.  So far, he is keeping his commitment well!  Elder Schrader and I had a great day!
     Elder Little and I decided that this week we had better do a lot of finding because none of our investigators were doing very well and almost none of them are progressing.  So we have been hitting the streets and knocking on doors like crazy!  We haven't see too much success quite yet but we definitely have some promising potentials.  One of the investigators we picked up from tracting was a 15 year old boy named Sebastian.  Sebastian is just a good kid and he was very open and interested in the Restoration.  We hope to see him do well and I'll keep you all updated on how he is doing!
    Well, thank you so much for all you do to support me!  I know this Gospel is true, Jesus Christ lives and he is always extending his arms toward us.  Love you all!

Elder Gutierrez

Milk Shake Run with Elder Little

First Time Eating Lobster!  It was pretty good.

All geared up and ready to eat LOBSTER!

"The Boys" at Zone Conference 

Look who found me!  Elder Larsen, Steve Larsen's brother, from California is serving in my area.  We met up at Zone Conference.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Week 55: Lydia was baptized!

     Hey everyone!  Another P-day has arrived and another week has passed.  Time is going by quickly and things are going decently here.  A lot of our investigators aren't doing do great but we are really hoping things will all work out soon.
    We haven't heard from Shyam in over a week and we aren't too sure what happened to him.  Amanda has some real crazy things going on in her personal life so we are hoping we can help out in some way.  It would definitely help if you could all keep her in your prayers.
    On the good side though, Al is doing great!  We had a lesson with Al on Friday.  We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invited him to commit to meeting with us twice a week.  A problem he has had in the past has been keeping commitments.  He always had an excuse about why he cannot do something.  When we extended the commitment, he began to ramble reasons why he wouldn't be able to and suddenly he stopped.  We literally watched the Spirit change his heart right in front of us and he said, "Wait, what am I talking about, yes I can do that".  It was incredible!!  We have a great lesson set up with Al tomorrow and we are real excited with his new commitment to change his life around.
     Wednesday we also saw a pretty great miracle when we were on exchanges with the Ludlow Elders.  I had a great day with Elder Neilson in the Ludlow area.  Elder Neilson is entering his last few weeks as a missionary and it is evident that he has learned a lot as a missionary.  We mainly got poured on all day, but even with the bad weather, we were able to teach some great lessons and meet a lot of new people who are interested in learning more about the Gospel.  Elder Little got to spend the day with Elder Harris also in the Ludlow area.  They were out tracting at the end of the day and said they had been getting good luck with yellow houses so they knocked on the door of every yellow house they saw.  On one of the last houses they knocked on, a younger girl answered and said, "Oh, hey, it's you guys!"  They asked her if she knew them and she said that she had met with missionaries in the past and that her mother was an inactive member who had served a mission when she was younger.  They were able to teach her the Restoration and she was really interested.  BUT. . . here's the miracle. . . she said she would be moving to Amherst that Sunday to go to UMASS!!  What are the odds of that?  So her name is Sobeydi and we hope to start teaching her here this week!  Pretty cool.
     So my last week in Warwick, we had a pretty amazing miracle happen where one of the YSA members brought a lady that he did not know to church.  In my last week in Warwick, I was able to teach this lady, Lydia, a couple of times and she always had a great spirit about her.  This week I was informed that she would be getting baptized!  Saturday morning Elder Little and I were able to drive down to Warwick and see Lydia's baptism.  It was a great experience and she was definitely prepared for the Gospel.  She learned quickly and has shown so much faith.  It was great to see the change in her life.  I'm very grateful that I got to participate in her conversion.  It was also good to see Elder Phillipsen and Elder Blum again.  They are still working with Eddie and Dakota and said that the work is going fantastic.  I also got to see Dakota and Lisa at the baptism which was great.
     It's been fun and busy week.  Thank you all so much for all that you do and for the support I receive.  I'm so grateful to be a missionary and to be serving the Lord at this time.  I love you all, have a good week!

Elder Gutierrez

Elder Phillipsen, Lydia, Elder Blum, and Elder Gutierrez - Lydia's Baptism July 15, 2017 in Warwick

Caught a snake while tracting!

Lesson and Dinner with our recent convert, Audrey.

Exchanges with Elder Neilson

Luxe Burger on Exchanges

Dakota and Lisa at Lydia's Baptism
Elder Little with Sister Blair's Maine Coon Cat

Elder Little and Elder Gutierrez with Sister Blair's Maine Coon Cats

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 54: Lame Bull?

       Hey everyone!  This week I had my first "last" as I had my last 4th of July in the mission field.  With that in mind, I have had a great desire to keep learning and growing as much as I can while I am on my mission.  We were able to pick up some fun new investigators this week and we are really seeing some great progress in those that we are working with.  Amherst is a great area and I'm excited to be here.
     Some big news from Warwick:  Lydia, the last investigator we were able to pick up while I was there is going to be baptized this upcoming Saturday (July 15th)!  I was able to teach her two times.  She has been progressing so well and so quickly and I was very excited to here about her baptism.
     Here in Amherst, we have some great and exciting things coming up as well.  Our investigator, Amanda, came to church for the second time this week and she is looking on track for her baptismal date of July 22nd.  It has been so great to teach her because she has had a ton of trials and is now beginning to understand the reasons for them (which is no small task for anyone).  This week we were also able to set a baptismal date with our new investigator, Shyam.  He is such a great kid and I love teaching him.  He is pretty busy so it's hard to meet with him, but hopefully all will continue to go well.
     One of the great stories we have this week came from some media referrals we received.  A media referral is when somebody orders a Bible or Book of Mormon and we are notified to deliver it to them.  On Thursday, we received two media referrals, one for a man named Lame Bull and another for a woman named Rising Moon.  At first Elder Little and I thought that somebody was playing a prank on us.  But sure enough when we pulled up to the home of the address we received, there was a woman in the driveway all decked out in Native American clothing.  We started talking to her and she said that some sister missionaries spoke to her and her husband in a Dunkin Donuts in New Hampshire.  She told us that she was really interested in learning more about what we believe.  She said her husband wasn't too interested but we set up an appointment with her for Sunday!  On Sunday, we taught her the Restoration at a Dunkin Donuts and she loved it!  She told us that she grew up Episcopal and stopped going to church because she wasn't learning anything new.  She was excited to begin reading the Book of Mormon and learn new things from us.  She is not sure if she is Native American because she was adopted, but her husband is 100% Cheyenne Indian.  They make and sell genuine clothing and jewelry for a living.  She was very fun to teach and we are excited to see where things will go!
     Another new and interesting investigator we picked up this week was Al.  Al was taught by missionaries before about a year ago.  He doesn't really have a home and for the most part lives behind the local grocery store.  He's a great guy and has been to church many, many times.  A member we had dinner with invited him over and he told us that he has been thinking about being baptized.  We are going to meet with him this week and get things going on him being baptized!  I'll be sure to let you all know what happens.
     Funny story from this week:  Our ward had a super fun BBQ for the 4th of July and we were able to have two investigators come!  Amanda and Bob.  Apparently, they new each other previously because they lived in the same apartment complex.  While we were watching some fireworks, Bob asked Amanda out!  One of our investigators asked out the other investigator, it was so weird !!!!  She shut him down and then he leaned over to Elder Little and said, "I bet you'd have a better chance".  It was so funny, we were all laughing.
     Last thing, today for p-day, we were able to go to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass!  It was a lot of fun and Elder Little and I even got our name tags signed by former NBA player, Sean Elliot.  When he was signing our tags, he asked, "How's the mission going?"  which was pretty sweet!  He's from Arizona so he probably know a little about the church.  Well it's been a great week and we are seeing exciting things happening.  I'm so thankful to be a missionary and to be in the Lord's service.  I'm very grateful to live in a country that has been prepared by the hands of God to be a free land so that I can worship Him.  We are all so very blessed and I invite you all to count your blessings this week!  Love ya!

Elder Gutierrez

Name Tags Signed by Sean Elliot

P-Day at the NBA Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA

Kevin Durrant #21

Ready for the Rebound Larry Bird

Boston Celtics - My favorite

Wall of Michael Jordan's Shoes

Hanging with Michael Jordan

Taller than Muggsy Bogues

Taking Over the UMASS Campus

Look what I found at the Ward 4th of July BBQ

4th of July BBQ

Chicken Roosting on my Head

Our investigator, Bob

Workin' with Elder Little in Amherst, MA

Monday, July 3, 2017

Thanks Bishop Hatch!

     Bishop Hatch sent some random pictures from Amherst since transfer day, June 21, 2017.  Mom's love to get these surprises!  The picture with Elder Little arrived the morning of transfers.  The second picture arrived on Saturday, July 1st.  He took them to Texas Roadhouse for a steak!  Elder Gutierrez was in heaven and so thankful since they don't eat with members in this area.
Elder Gutierrez and Elder Little - New Companion from Fort Collins, CO in Amherst, MA

Eating Dinner with Bishop Hatch at Texas Roadhouse

Week 53: Hump Day

     Elder Little and I had such a great week and we got do and see a lot of great things.  Also this last Thursday, I hit my year mark!  It has been very humbling to look back on the past year and to ponder all the things the Lord has taught me.  I have seen such great miracles and I am so thankful for the experiences I have had.
     About 4 weeks ago Audrey, an Amherst investigator, was baptized.  On Tuesday, we got to go to the Hartford Temple with her!  It was her second time going and she prepared 25 family names!  She is so converted to the Gospel and it really is amazing to see how on fire she is.  The Hartford Temple was so, so beautiful.  It was my first time there and I was amazed.  I had the opportunity of being baptized for a couple of her family names which was very special.
     On my year mark, Elder Little and I celebrated by catching fireflies!  A member the day before told us that they are only around for a couple of weeks and that happened to be now!  So on Thursday, we saw and caught our first fireflies.  They really are so, so, so cool and surprisingly bright.  It was tons of fun and a great way to celebrate one year on the mission.
     Friday was a very special day, Elder Little and I got to drive to Worcester to go to Bob Amoa-Awua's funeral.  Bob was one of the very first investigators I ever met and one of my favorites.  His funeral was pretty interesting because it was a traditional Ghanaian funeral with everybody dressed in black and red ceremonial clothing.  We had the great opportunity of speaking a little bit at the funeral which was great as we were able to share some of our memories of Bob and some parts of the Plan of Salvation with about 100 non-members.  His funeral was very interesting since there was a lot of singing and instruments.  Throughout the funeral, I could really feel that Bob was doing well and that God's plan truly exists and is real!  After the funeral, we also got to see Carline Lysonge and her 3 daughters who I was able to teach as well.  They are doing so great in the Gospel and are moving to Florida soon.  It was a huge relief to know they were doing so well.  We had a lot of fun with them and they were so excited to see us.
     It has been a great week and I am really liking it here in Amherst.  One of our investigators, Amanda, came to church this week for the first time and loved it!  She said that she wants to come to church every week!  We hope to get her baptized in the coming weeks.  Also, I have an update on Eddie from Warwick.  He is scheduled to be baptized on September 2nd so I am pretty excited about that as well.  Thank you everyone for supporting me as I have been on my mission for a year now.  I am so grateful to be a missionary everyday, this work is so fantastic.  Love ya all!

Elder Gutierrez

First visit to the Hartford Temple

Beautiful Hartford Temple

Elder Gutierrez and Elder Little at the Hartford Temple with Audrey, recently baptized member in Amherst.

June 29, 2017 catching fireflies on my one year mark

Amazing Fireflies!

Bob Amoa-Awua's Funeral - June 30, 2017 in Worcester, MA

Elder Gutierrez, Elder Little, and Worcester Elders

Carline, Alexus, Benita.  Recent Converts from Worcester.  (They let us write messages on their wall because they have to paint the walls before they move to Florida.)

The Bigger's from Worcester!

Ohhh, You're Halfway There!  Year mark on July 29, 2017