Sunday, December 22, 2013

December 9 & 16, 2013

December 9, 2013
Hey family!

Well I was shocked to open my inbox and find a bunch of pictures of a snow covered St. George! That looks really fun. I can’t believe they cancelled church, that is crazy. And I also got the picture of the backpacking trip, I was a little jealous, where did you guys go? Was it Zions? I can’t believe you guys are finishing your semester of school; it seems like just yesterday that you were starting again. 

This week was kind of interesting. I had an ingrown toenail, which I have never had before. And I didn’t realize until it was already infected and hurting a lot. And I didn’t want to go to the doctor so I tried to take it out myself, but was unsuccessful. It was beneath the skin and I couldn’t get to it. But I tolerated it for a day. And then I could hardly even walk to we finally went to the doctor. They put anesthesia in my toe and cut it open and took everything out. They did a really good job. But they cut it to the point that they told me not to walk for a day and then try not to walk much. And it was easy to follow their instructions cause it was kind of painful. So we were in the house all of Thursday, it was super boring. But I am going to finish Doctrine and Convents soon and that was kind of exciting.

So we had doctors’ appointments Wednesday and Friday and rested Thursday. We didn’t get a whole lot done. We did see Jorge and put his baptismal date again, but he didn’t go to church so we are going to have to see what happens there. We did get one of the husbands of a member of our ward to go, and we are teaching their son as well. They seem pretty excited to I hope we can get them going more. The problem is that they have a lot of fear to be baptized. 

We also had transfers this week. And it was a testimony that prayers are answered. I wasn’t going to be able to stand my comp for 6 more weeks. I know it might be wrong that I was praying for that, but I am really relieved. He is a good kid and a hard worker but I couldn’t get along with him very well. 

The big news is that I have my first American comp! His name is Elder Craig, he is from San Diego California, and he has 4 months in the mission. He seems like a really cool kid, he runs track and loves baseball. And apart from that is just really excited to be on the mission and work hard. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good transfer! 

This week we have a special zone conference and Elder Johnson (of the 70) is coming to the mission to teach us. He is the area president of México. So that is going to be really cool. I don’t know if we will have a conference for Christmas or not, but I imagine that we will. We still haven’t received any information about the Skype calls for Christmas and I’m not sure how it’s going to be with our new president, but I will let you guys know when I know something. 

Well that’s about it for this week. I want to leave you my testimony that the church is true, that Jesus is the Christ and He lives and loves us. That the Book of Mormon is the word of God and we will grow closer to him by applying the principles that are found in it more than any other book. That we have a living prophet and apostles on the earth. And that God knows and loves us.

I look forward to talking to you all in a couple weeks, I love and miss you all
Elder Utley

December 16, 2013
Hey family!

How is everyone? Sounds like you all had a good week. Is coop still playing soccer? I haven’t heard anything about that. Oh and you guys told me that Real Salt Lake made it to the finals but you never told me who won. By the way I heard that Léon won the championship here in México, that is kind of cool. I can’t believe Christmas is coming so fast, and that this year is going to end. Is it still super cold there, is there still snow? I am assuming so because of the pictures you sent. Here December is like perfect weather.

That also means the Skype call is coming up, we still haven’t heard anything about it from the mission, so I could change but my companion and I are planning on doing it Christmas Day sometime between 5 and 7. Would that be okay?

Well this was a really good week. We worked really hard and saw a lot of results. We still didn’t get many people to church but we are getting there. We had a couple of really good references and we are going to contact them this week. We are getting the ward involved, and we have a lot of help from the stake president’s family who lives on our ward. We also got a new ward mission leader called which is going to help a lot. He is really excited and one of my favorite members.

The conference with Elder Johnson was really good, Elder Ortiz who is also a 70 actually came as well, and he is going to come just to the Irapuato Stake this week! That should be really good. We learned a lot about how to work with the members and how got get their help and support in the ward. And just as importantly how to get references, which is actually working. In 2 days after the conference we got 3 references which is pretty much unheard-of.

I really like my comp Elder Craig, the computer I’m on isn’t working right but I will send a picture of us next week. We do speak a lot of English but it’s been good I need help with my English. And I help him a lot with his Spanish. President said we should speak English because if we don’t we will forget it and then when we get home we will forget Spanish. But if we can practice switching off from one to the other we will have good retention.

We have had a lot of experiences about following the spirit this week. I have learned that we should not question if a prompting is of the spirit or if it’s just one of our thoughts. We should just do it. And we did do it this week and we saw a difference. The other thing is if it’s something we shouldn’t do we just feel empty; we don’t feel anything in our heart. And we had an experience like that this week as well. I know the Lord is guiding and protecting us. The 12th was day of the virgin here in México and it is evidently really dangerous, and we are both Americans, which doesn’t help. We had an appointment in a rather dangerous area and the appointment fell though. When walking back to the house we turned down a street that would have made our route a lot faster and we take it almost every night, but we got ten steps into it and I felt empty. I knew we couldn’t walk down that street. I realized I will probably never know what would have happened if we walked it that night, but I don’t need to. Learning to recognize and follow the spirit is one of the hardest things for me to understand. And I am sure I still lack a lot, but I was thankful this week to know that god was guiding me and my companion. I undoubtedly felt his love. I know I am his son, and we are all his sons and daughters. He loves us. And he has trusted us with his spirit and we must do his will.

I miss and love you guys

Elder Utley

December 9, 2013

Hey family!

Well I was shocked to open my inbox and find a bunch of pictures of a snow covered St. George! That looks really fun. I can’t believe they cancelled church, that is crazy. And I also got the picture of the backpacking trip, I was a little jealous, where did you guys go? Was it Zions? I can’t believe you guys are finishing your semester of school; it seems like just yesterday that you were starting again. 

This week was kind of interesting. I had an ingrown toenail, which I have never had before. And I didn’t realize until it was already infected and hurting a lot. And I didn’t want to go to the doctor so I tried to take it out myself, but was unsuccessful. It was beneath the skin and I couldn’t get to it. But I tolerated it for a day. And then I could hardly even walk to we finally went to the doctor. They put anesthesia in my toe and cut it open and took everything out. They did a really good job. But they cut it to the point that they told me not to walk for a day and then try not to walk much. And it was easy to follow their instructions cause it was kind of painful. So we were in the house all of Thursday, it was super boring. But I am going to finish Doctrine and Convents soon and that was kind of exciting.

So we had doctors’ appointments Wednesday and Friday and rested Thursday. We didn’t get a whole lot done. We did see Jorge and put his baptismal date again, but he didn’t go to church so we are going to have to see what happens there. We did get one of the husbands of a member of our ward to go, and we are teaching their son as well. They seem pretty excited to I hope we can get them going more. The problem is that they have a lot of fear to be baptized. 

The big news is that I have my first American comp! His name is Elder Craig, he is from San Diego California, and he has 4 months in the mission. He seems like a really cool kid, he runs track and loves baseball. And apart from that is just really excited to be on the mission and work hard. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good transfer! 

This week we have a special zone conference and Elder Johnson (of the 70) is coming to the mission to teach us. He is the area president of México. So that is going to be really cool. I don’t know if we will have a conference for Christmas or not, but I imagine that we will. We still haven’t received any information about the Skype calls for Christmas and I’m not sure how it’s going to be with our new president, but I will let you guys know when I know something. 

Well that’s about it for this week. I want to leave you my testimony that the church is true, that Jesus is the Christ and He lives and loves us. That the Book of Mormon is the word of God and we will grow closer to him by applying the principles that are found in it more than any other book. That we have a living prophet and apostles on the earth. And that God knows and loves us.

I look forward to talking to you all in a couple weeks, I love and miss you all

Elder Utley

December 2, 2013 Happy Birthday to Cooper!

Hey family!

First of all I want to with Happy Birthday to Cooper!!!! I can’t believe he is going to be 13. Everyone is going to be so much bigger when I get home. Tell coop I love and miss him and to have a fantastic birthday. So when does everyone get off of school? What are the plans for Christmas? I am excited to talk to you guys.

We don’t really have any plans for Christmas yet. But a few people have invited us to have dinner with them. That is the big thing here, the 24th they have a huge dinner and then they sleep really late the 25th. And they just spend it with their family. One thing I am really excited for is they have little festivals in each neighborhood here and they have their friends over for dinner. Which we usually get invited to so we will eat really well this month! The dinner is always pazole or tamales with ponche. Pazole is a corn based chile type dish I don’t really know how to explain it but it is corn based and it have meat from pigs or chicken. And they put lots of spices and salsas in it and once it is served each person puts lettuce, onion and some other spices in and makes it how they like it, and you eat it with tostadas which are basically tortilla chips but it’s the whole tortilla it’s not in chip form. Tamales I think you guys know what they are, but they are a little different here, I particularly like the sweet ones, they make them in flavors of strawberry, pineapple, etc. And ponche is like apple cider but they put a ton of different fruits in and they fruit comes as part of the drink. So you drink it and they eat the boiled fruit, it’s a little odd but super good. 

Thanksgiving wasn’t anything special. I actually completely spaced that it was thanksgiving until about 630 when we got to one house and one of the sisters asked me about it. And I had to think a little and then said oh your right that is today. But it was really cool because she bought us little Caesar’s pizza and ice cream, so that was our Thanksgiving dinner ha ha I enjoyed it. She also invited a friend to the lesson and we started teaching her. So that was the best part, and the friend seems really excited. She didn’t go this week because the sister traveled and didn’t go either but I am really hoping they both go next week. 

Jorge didn’t go to church, I don’t really know what happened but he called us in the middle of it and he felt kind of bad and put an appointment in the afternoon, but then he wasn’t there for the appointment... His baptismal date fell. But I think he will get back on track and we will just move the date back a week.

We have transfers coming up this weekend, it will be interesting. I don’t think I will be moved, but maybe they will move my comp. Time went by really fast this transfer.

Well that’s about it for me. I just want to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I have been studying about the Book of Mormon a lot this week. I have understood why Joseph Smith said "it is the keystone to our religion" and "without it we have no religion". It is nearly impossible to become converted to Christ and have a testimony that this is the true church without reading and having a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I testify of the words of Joseph Smith when he said "a man will come closer to god by reading it and living by its principals than any other book over the face of the earth". It truly is a guide for our lives. It helps and comforts us in the most difficult times and inspires us in the best of times. 

I love and miss you all,
Elder Utley 

November 25, 2013

Hey family!

How is everyone? Sounds like a little busy but that’s good. I can’t believe its thanksgiving this week. It doesn’t seem as weird to me as it did last year. I won’t be celebrating it but it’s the last one I will miss. It doesn’t actually feel like thanksgiving to me either. And I am seeing tons of Christmas stuff but it hasn’t quite hit me yet that is almost Christmastime. I think part of me doesn’t want to admit that the year is going to end; it’s my only full year in the mission. And in the next one I have to come home.

I got to go on splits this week to my old ward here in Irapuato. I was a little bummed because only one of my converts was there, but he told me his family is doing well and I saw the family of one of the other ones and she is doing good too. But I did get to see a lot of the people that we worked with while I was in the area. It was super fun to see them again. The funny part was when I arrived at their houses one of the first things they asked was how much time I had left to go home. I told them I still had a lot left but the more I thought about it the time is really flying. And it kind of scares me, the thought of going home. I think it’s going to be more or less the same as leaving. Exciting, but really scary, and I won’t really know what to expect. But the good part is that I don’t have to worry about that as long as I am here. And it’s helped me stay motivated to finish out strong the more that people tell me that “voy de salida”, or I’m "on the downhill".

Today we went to OfficeMax and we saw some people from the States. It was really funny because I was actually kind of nervous that they would talk to me because I know my English is suffering and they spoke it normally. My comp was definitely making fun of me.

Anyway this week went pretty well. We still didn’t get the people we thought were going to church to go. But we have one investigator that just showed up by himself last week and went this week too, whose name is Jorge. He is really awesome, he has gone through some super rough stuff in his life and he is trying to put it back in order again. I think he has like 45 years. He has a baptismal date for the 21 of December. It was kind of cool to see that even in the people we really wanted to go didn’t that the Lord was blessing us. But I am not content because I’m sick of just having 1 or 2 people that are preparing for baptism. I want to have more, and families preparing. And the frustrating part is that we are teaching 3 really good families, we just haven’t got them to church yet. So we are looking at things we can change so that our circumstances change. But meanwhile I think we are learning a good deal of patience.

Anyway we are working hard and I am happy to be working with Jorge. He is really humble and willing to change and be a better and different person. It inspires me when people are willing to make that change in their life, and motivates me to find more people like that. 

Well I have been thinking a lot this week about our role as missionaries, as I read the articles about hastening the work and watch the videos they have given to us as missionaries. The more I read the more I realize the work has so much less to do with us (the full time missionaries) than the members, and even we, think. We are only a tool given to the ward to teach the people they find and prepare. But so many times it works the other way around. The members think that they are a tool the missionaries use to help the investigators. I know it’s not like that. The part the members play is the most important and sometimes the hardest. But the church will not progress only by the pure incentive on the missionaries’ part, the members have to take incentive. 

So I want to invite each one of you who reads my letter this week to find someone or a family and prepare them, and invite them to hear the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Most of the time we complicate our job. But in Doctrine and Covenants 100 verse 5 it says "Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;" All we have to do is open our mouth, and we have the promise that we will not be confounded. It’s so much easier than we make it, we just have to trust in the lord and speak the thoughts he will put in to our mind in the precise moment.

So I challenge you to open your mouth and speak. To share the gospel with at least one person before this year ends.

I love and miss you all

Elder Utley

November 18, 2013

Hey Family

Sounds like you all had a great week. Mary seems to be going on lots of dates these days. And Coop has a tournament this weekend? Tell Brooklyn hi for me and thanks for sending her emails with moms. Mom told me that she had midterms already; I can’t believe that this month has passed so fast. We are almost in December! Dad I still haven’t gotten a picture of the beard!

Well this week was interesting. It was really busy but we didn’t accomplish a whole lot in the area... On Tuesday we had a 4 hour zone conference... super long, but it was good I think I learned a lot that I can start applying in my area. On Wednesday we had interviews with the mission president, which went well, but they took up the whole morning. And Thursday my comp hit his head on a piece of metal that was sticking out of the wall in the street, and he cut his head open pretty bad. So we were in the hospital the whole day. And the next day (Friday) we had the interview of Manuel and had to go to the hospital again to fill out all the paper work. It was a mess. And one of the streets in one of the neighborhoods in our area has a fair amount of blood! They put one giant stitch in him that is like an inch and a half long. I think they should have put 3, but it worked. It wasn’t long but the cut was deep and that was the problem. It was interesting. But he is doing good now, except for the fact that they cut his hair down to almost nothing and his is really self-conscious about it.

Anyway we had Manuel’s baptism on Saturday and it was a mess getting it all set up (as normal.) No one in the ward wanted to help us with anything (again normal...).  But, we finally got everything figured out and the baptism went really good. The bishop baptized him and I will send a picture.

My favorite part of the baptism is that we assigned Manuel to give his testimony after the ordinance. He talked about how he couldn’t share it all in a few minutes, but that his whole life he had been looking for the truth going from church to church and reading the bible. But nothing ever filled the emptiness in his heart or answered the questions that he had. And he said that the emptiness was filled and the questions answered as he found the church. And that the Book of Mormon helps him understand all of the questions he had. It was a really powerful testimony. And he says he is going to go on a mission in a year!

So that was the highlight of the week. We also put 5 baptismal dates but the people didn’t go to church so they all fell through. I am getting a little frustrated with people telling us that they will go and then they don’t come through on the commitment. But I guess that’s our work as missionaries. I hope for this week we will be able to help them get there. 

I have been reflecting a little on the Book of Mormon and the simple truths of the gospel. It is true that the Book of Mormon answers all the questions of the soul. And we have it right in front of us but sometimes we don’t take the time to read it. I have learned a lot from Manuel, more than any other investigator I think. He has amazed me how he takes those simple truths and applies them so quickly and without doubt. He knows God will complete his promises. And then he opens his mouth and isn’t afraid to share what he knows. Even before he was baptized he came with us on visits and shared his testimony.

We should never be afraid to share the simple truths that we know. And we should trust in the promise that the Lord has given us that we will be blessed for opening our mouths and sharing what we know, and that we will not be confounded before men. I love the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 58:31 that says:  “Who am I, saith the Lord, to have promised and not fulfilled".  I know He cannot make a promise and not complete it. When we feel like the Lord is not completing a promise we should first look at ourselves and see if we are not doing our part. And second have patience because the Lord’s time is not our time.

Have a fantastic week! I love and miss you all

Elder Utley


Hey family!

How is everyone? Sounds like Brooke had quite the fall. That picture looks pretty nasty. But I guess that means she was having fun, and sounds like everyone else is really busy. I like the Movember idea, sounds pretty cool, dad you will have to send a picture with your beard! 

Well this week was pretty good. We worked really, really hard. We had a ton of lessons; we put a couple of baptismal dates and had 10 new investigators. We are trying to work better with the ward, we got the bishop to visit a family with us, and the stake president is going to visit with us tonight. It’s kind of cool that the stake president is in our ward, and willing to help us.

Manuel is going to get baptized this week so that is exciting. He is super ready. He says he wants to go on a mission in a year and he was participating in all the classes and stuff on Sunday. He is definitely one of the most prepared investigators that I have had my whole mission.

The only disappointment is that we committed 15 people to go to church this Sunday and only 4 went... I was super bummed. We had 3 families that said for sure they we going but none of them went. The good thing is that we have a lot of work and we are definitely going to see lots of progress in this area.

I don’t really know what else to tell you guys. I have been thinking about the story of Enos in the last few days. About when was the last time our souls hungered? And about sincere prayer. Many times we fall in the habit of prayer, that it’s just something we do in the morning and night. But when we can really have a sincere prayer, with real intent, and "cry" unto the Lord like Enos instead of praying or talking to him, that’s when we will see real changes in our lives. 

I love you all, have a great week

Elder Utley 

Nov 4, 2013 Halloween y Dio De Los Muertos

Hey family!

Sounds like you all had a great week! Brooklyn looks so big in the pictures! And it looks like everyone had a great time dressing up. I got a kick out of coops costume! Well it sounds like you guys are really busy with everything. That’s good, we are too!

Well Halloween and the day of the dead here have basically been pushed into one single holiday. It lasts 3 days. Kids go around asking for candy for 3 days straight. The bummer is that not many people actually participate in that tradition, and they think it is dangerous and of the devil because they have seen some of the American horror movies about Halloween, ha ha. Anyway they don’t do many traditional things from Mexico anymore on day of the dead. They do have a special kind of bread/cake that they eat a lot, and some people make alters for their dead ancestors. But it was overall interesting to see how it was celebrated in a different country.

I feel really good being in Irapuato again. I really love this city. We had a stake conference this weekend, and although my old ward had it transmitted to their building I did get to see a few people that I taught in the Saturday session. Unfortunately not any of my converts, but one family that was less active when I got there, and now they were going to extra sessions of conference! Also my old ward mission leader. A young man that was a recent convert when I got there last year, and supported us a lot.  And the parents of the boyfriend of one of my converts. (I called you from their house in Christmas time last year). They said they are still dating and both are still active and it sounds like they are waiting to get married in the temple in January! How cool is that, if they do I will most likely be here! I also heard that a family that we baptized is SUPER active and doing really well from the missionaries that are in that ward right now. (They happen to be my district leaders so I will for sure have splits with them and they already said I can go to their area!) So that was really exciting, and really cool about being here again. That family will also get sealed in January or February!!!

In my own ward, we had a really good week. We started working with the ward members a lot. We had the highest number of lessons with members that I have ever had in my mission. And we found 5 new investigators which is always really good. A few of them seem like they could progress really well. We changed the baptism date of Manuel back a week, so until next Saturday. Because there is a rule that the investigators have to go to church 5 times to be baptized and he was going to fall short of that requirement. I am not entirely sure why my comp put the date this week, but the good news is that he will get baptized next week. He is super excited, has a really strong testimony, and he wants to serve a mission.

The work might be a little slow for a few weeks because of the rule that investigators have to attend 5 times to church, but I know we are going to get it going. The sad news is its going to take a little time to get it going because the missionaries in this ward haven’t been the hardest workers for about the last year. So there isn’t a lot of work that I inherited, but I know that means the Lord has prepared a lot of people in that time and it’s our turn to ¨harvest¨. 

I feel like I have a good comp and we work well together. We had a cool experience this week. We went to a family’s house yesterday that I had actually met before in splits with another Elder. We went to teach them and found the sister of the member that lives there. And I had met her before too. We contacted her about 1 year ago when we had those splits. She simply said she was not interested. But we decided to contact her again and started talking about her life, then a little about the gospel. She started asking questions. We were able to bear testimony and teach a little. We gave her a pamphlet and asked if we could visit her in her house in this week. She said yes she would love to, and she said it was because she was interested to learn about the message that two young men like ourselves we so thoroughly convinced about. She said it shocked her that we would be doing what we are doing and the way be talked about what we know got to her. She didn’t realize it, but I did, she had felt the spirit through a simple testimony and it softened her heart and it motivated her to do what she had rejected one year ago. Accept the missionaries. 

For me it was a tiny miracle to see that change, and I know the Lord has prepared more people like her for us to teach. And I am excited to find and teach them.

I love and miss you guys, have a great week

Elder Utley

October 28, 2013

Hey family!

Sounds like you guys had a really good week. Everyone sounds really busy. I still can’t believe that Mary is going on dates and things like that. Tell coop good job for working so hard in his soccer games. When does Brooklyn perform for her singing group?

Well I had a pretty good week. We found a couple more investigators this week and they seem like that will do really well. I got to help do the baptisms of a couple of the investigators of the sisters, which was really cool. A whole family got baptized minus the dad. There were 5 in total that got baptized.  I baptized the two younger kids. And I would send a picture but the computer I am using won’t let me. 

Well I am writing you today from Irapuato. Yes the same Irapuato where I started my mission. It was really interesting to get those transfers yesterday. I am in the area of Espanita. It is really close to my other area I had here. And I actually am living in the same house that I lived in when I got here. Crazy! So I kind of know my area already from the splits we had with the other missionaries, and I know the city really, really well. I am super bummed that I got moved out of my other area, I really liked it. But I am excited to be in Irapuato again. My companion is Elder Maroquin, he is from Guatemala and has 11 months in the mission. He seems like a good guy.

I am really hoping that I get to see the people that I taught nearly 1 year ago. I heard today from the elder that is there that the family we baptized is super awesome and active in the church. And the others are doing good too.

I am excited to work hard in this area and see what we can do for this ward. My comp says we have a baptismal date for the 8th of November, so that’s really exciting. I feel like we are going to have a lot of success here.

I love and miss you all

Elder Utley

October 21, 2013

Hey Family!

Well it sounds like a very interesting week! Very busy. I am rather jealous that coop and dad are going to get to go backpacking! And they went fishing this week. I am a little jealous. Coop told me he has a tournament coming up but didn’t tell me when, you guys will have to let me know how it goes. 

I am going to send a picture of an activity we did today it was really fun, we went to a really big park they have here and did a carne asada (kind of like barbeque) and played soccer and American football a little. 

Well this week was good and bad. We struggled with having lessons with investigators, but we were mostly focused on finding new ones. The ones we have aren’t really progressing. We didn’t find one new investigator the whole week, until yesterday we found 2 and they have potential. One of them speaks really good English so that’s kind of cool. I haven’t used English in a long time. 

In spite of not teaching lots of lessons to investigators we taught a lot of less actives. Which is one of our ideas to find new people. But it was really cool because a lot of them went to church. And we had a church attendance of 195, which was the highest I have ever seen it in any ward in the mission. The normal in our ward is 180. So it was cool to see that our work had some payoff. We have a goal to reach 200 people at church this week. 

We will get the transfers this Saturday, so that is kind of exciting. I don’t really know if I want to be changed or not. I really like my ward and my area. And I really like my comp, we get along really well and that makes life a lot easier. But if they don’t change me this time I will get changed like 2 weeks before Christmas and that would kind of suck. But whatever happens it will be good. I will let you guys know how it goes. 

Well I don’t have much to say this week, but I will share a little bit of what I learned in my studies. I was reading in Jacob and I really liked how he talks to his people. He teaches direct and calls everyone to repentance. He gives two pieces of advice which I really like. The first is to be wise. Simply that, be wise. But he isn’t talking about the wisdom of the world, but the wisdom of God. And the second actually tells us how we can be wise. He says do not try to council God. God knows what we need, when, and how. He sees things that we simply do not see. It is wise to follow his commandments and the spirit. But sometimes we think we know more than him. But I have learned our view is limited, and that really helped me this week with all the new rules. I can’t council God, I know he inspires president, so I should just be wise and do it. Our Heavenly Father like our earthy parents has a bigger perspective and sees more than us and has more experience. He knows better and that’s we he gives us commandments. The only way we can be wise is follow them, fully and completely. If we can learn to have the blind trust and faith in him to follow even the commandments that we don’t understand our life will simply be better and easier. We will be protected and will not have to learn from "sad experiences" like it says in the Book of Mormon.

I love and miss you all

Elder Utley

October 14, 2013

Hey family!

How goes everything? Sounds like everyone is busy and it will only get busier. That’s really good that mom got to start school, sounds like lots of work but it will be well worth it. Hope the kids are doing good, I haven’t heard from them in a while. They write me once but they never respond. Tell them I would love to hear from them.

Well this was a rather long week for us. Although time is flying by, I am scared in 2 weeks with the transfers I will get moved, but I really have liked this area and don’t want to be moved. We had 2 zone conferences (in one of which I gave the training with one of the zone leaders). And some activities that took up a lot of time. But it was good. The only bummer is we didn’t teach nearly as many lessons as we wanted.

So the weekend of general conference a few missionaries here in Celaya got sent home, 2 zone leaders and a former zone leader. And a lot of people got transfers. So we became one solo zone. And we had our district meeting on Tuesday, but we did it as a zone meeting. The president was worried that a lot of people still had things they needed to confess, or to repent for. He assigned me and my former district leader that is now one of the zone leaders to do the zone training together. He assigned us to talk on 2 talks from the Sunday morning session that were really awesome. One was from President Monson the other from Richard G. Scott. I learned a ton, I invite you all to read or listen to them! But I was kind of nervous before the conference, mostly cause I had never done it before, and the president told the other zone leader that "Elder Utley and Elder Poma are going to give the training, they already know what they are going to do". But it went really good, and I was able to share a really good experience I had a few months ago. (I shared it with mom in the handwritten letter.) 

Then we had another zone conference on Friday. It was basically a conference of new rules. We are now going to be living in a prison as the mission. We will be reporting obedience every week; and many, many others but that one that was the biggest for me and most ridiculous. Oh and if I looks weird in pictures we are now required to have a part in our hair or do it all to the side. Anyway I won’t bore you with our new rules.

This week I learned how much a testimony can change a person. We had a few experiences including a really great sacrament meeting. The first is that we visited a less active family that wanted to change wards because of the people in ours. We couldn’t change their mind but we bore testimony about obedience to the rules of which one they should be in, and more than anything listened. Well they came to church and the sister bore her testimony and thanked us and our ward mission leader for visiting and expressed how grateful she was.

Another experience is we visited a family that has 6 years that they haven’t been to church. We asked them a few questions about why and taught a little lesson. At the end they thanked us and said that in 6 years we are the 2nd pair of missionaries that have visited them, and not one member. I thought about that a lot of the week. And I realized why they haven’t been to church in 6 years. Because they told me they know it’s true. And I believe them, but I ask myself why don’t they go if they know what it is? I realized it’s because it’s something they know but a testimony has to be something that we know and we feel. The simple knowledge isn’t enough; we have to feel that the church is true. That’s why the visits we do are so important; it affirms the knowledge that the church is true with feelings, feelings that motivate and convert.

I challenged all of the people in my ward to open their mouth and share their testimony and to help someone feel that the church is true, whether that person is a member or not. And I know that would change lives if we all just shared what we know with accordance to what the Spirit tells us to do. And this week I want to challenge all of you as well to open your mouth and testify to someone that this church is true. I know it will change lives, even if it’s not in this moment.

I love and miss you all
Elder Utley

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Conference #3

Hey family!

It’s good to hear you guys had a good weekend and got to see Hermana Iza! Don’t worry about the dictionary I will find one here. Hope everyone is doing good in school and work. I haven’t heard from the kids in a while...

Well I loved conference. Time is flying by; I can’t believe I only have one left in the mission. I hope to be able to apply lots of things that I learned, to me and my teaching. We were able to do that yesterday. They talked a lot about families, our gender, and passing through trials. I particularly liked the talks by Elder Scott and President Monson on trials and the atonement.

Well I don’t have a lot of things to say about this week. But I do want to share an experience we had yesterday. We are teaching a man named Pedro and he is rather old and has a lot of problems in his life. He left his family to live with his current girlfriend I guess you could say. He feels bad about that decision, but he says he wants to be with this person. And they have a kid together as well. He is old enough that he can’t do much as far as work or even reading goes. His girlfriend or wife as he calls her suffered an accident and has to be helped out of bed, her vision was damaged and she can’t read or work either. They have one kid together, and the wife has a 16 year old girl. They don’t have money and are at the point of being kicked out of their apartment for not paying the rent. Basically his life is really, really hard. And he feels like he is not loved by anyone. His kids do not act like they love him even if they do. His wife is too worried about her own health and problems she has. He feels really alone, and is kind of mad at the world. Yesterday we found him alone in his house. We started to teach a little, but he really didn’t want to listen. He is just depressed and it seemed like he didn’t want help. In the middle of the lesson my comp realized this and remembered something from the conference. He then stood up and said I want to give you a hug. Pedro then stood up and they embraced for about 30 seconds. I was put to tears; it had to have been one of the most special moments of my mission. A million lessons on love couldn’t have taught me what my comp taught me in that moment. What that man needed was a hug; he needed to know by action that someone loved him. We had told him, but my comp showed him. I then proceeded to stand up and give him a hug. We didn’t take away any of his problems, but I am absolutely sure his life was better when we left. That he felt just a little uplifted and loved and like everything would be okay. I learned a lot in that moment. And my comp followed the impression of the Spirit that was the most important part. The Spirit told him what he really needed.

We had another experience with following the Spirit this week as well. We went to visit one of our investigators and she was there but hid from us and I was kind of bummed or mad. But we were walking and I felt like I really wanted to go see one of the families that supports us a lot. We didn’t have them planned so my comp thought it was weird but we went. We got there and sat down and talked to the sister and her son. She was upset and kind of vented to us, but then indirectly said things, she said she was talking about someone else but she was talking about herself. Then we shared a scripture. I had one come into my mind that we don’t use a lot. We got done and she almost started crying and said that was exactly what she needed. She told us not 5 minutes before she had been praying that God would help her and she was really upset. And then we knocked on her door. It was a really special experience as well. I learned a little about how the Spirit works. I didn’t know that was an impression to go visit her. The thought just popped into my head. But it was also something I wanted to do, I was kind of bummed that our investigator didn’t answer and I wanted to go see that family cause I knew that they always accept us. But I realized after that that was the Spirit telling me I needed to go see that family. I had been able to recognize impressions as thoughts that come into our minds before, but that is one of the first ones I have recognized as a feeling.

Well that’s about it. I challenge you guys to take one talk from the conference and really study it, and more than anything apply in your lives. You will see miracles and feel God’s love for you. 

I love you all and miss your all

Elder Utley

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Letter 9/30/13

Hey family!

Hope everyone had a great week! I’m glad Coop is feeling better. Sounds like mom really enjoyed the talk from the seminary teacher, I enjoyed her notes. I really miss seminary and institute. I didn’t ever realize how cool it was in Utah until I got here and seminary is in one of the member’s houses and it’s just an ordinary member that teaches it, and they just read out of their manual for an hour. And in Utah the teachers are awesome, they study a lot to be able to teach, and consequently know a ton! And it is during school not at 5 in the morning. And we never read out of the seminary manual, I didn’t even know it existed to be honest.

I’m glad dad had a good birthday, even though he was a little sick. And that he got to go fishing with Randy. I am looking forward to going fishing again when I get home. Dad your picture didn’t come through this week (last week it did) so if you could send it again that would be awesome.

So this week okay. My comp got the flu I think, or a really bad cold, and after a few days he passed it to me. So we were kind of sick the whole week, we ended up resting 2 morning, and two other morning we had meetings, and Saturday we helped the sister missionaries with their baptism so we ended up working about half day every day, which was a bummer. The good news is that I feel better and my comp still feels a little sick but a lot better. And we are ready to work hard this week. He even said he would go running with me, I guess that’s the benefit of having a comp that is about to go home, he starts caring when he looks like and wants to do exercise. He says he has gained 10 kilos or like 20 ish pounds in the mission.
In spite of all the things we had this week it was still pretty good. We contacted a reference that is really interested and her daughter as well. Her son is actually a member and lives in our area but goes to a different ward, and he gave us the reference. I hope we can work with them and get them into the church as well.

We also had a ward activity that went really well, we had some investigators go and got another reference and we have an appointment with her tomorrow. It’s actually the friend of the sister you guys are going to meet.

And the sisters had a baptism, they were supposed to have 2 but one fell through. And the one that fell through was the one I was going to baptize. But I think next week or the next they will have it. And the one they had, her dad was going to baptize her but he works on call, I guess you could say, so he got called into work and the day of they called me and asked me to do the ordnance because she didn’t want to wait to get baptized. It was a really good experience. She and her family are actually the first people I taught in Celaya, before the sister missionaries got here. And the spirit was really strong. They were really nice after and thanked me a lot, they said when the dad couldn’t do it I was the first person they thought of.

This week we talked a lot about seeing people and what they can become, and looking for the good in people. I think a lot of times people, especially family, looks at all the faults in everyone and forgets to look at the good things in them, and see them for who they really are.

One of the people we taught gave me an example that I really liked. He said that a lot of the time we are like a brand new white shirt, it looks really nice and we are excited to wear it, we look good in it. But we put it on and spill one drop of coffee on the shirt. He said the whole day instead of people noticing how nice the shirt is they are going to notice that one little stain and focus on it. Lots of time we judge people like that, they have so many good qualities, but we take one little mistake and focus on it and can’t let it go. So instead of seeing people for their faults, let’s see them for their strengths.

I love and miss you all

Elder Utley

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Letters from the past month!

Hey Family!

Sounds like you all had a good week! Busy but good. I got the pictures from mom, the office looks really good! Looks like you are all finally settled in the new house. Tell Coop congrats for all his hard work and that he is captain on his team, and that he needs to whoop on the other teams, and help his teammates a lot. I think it’s going to be a good year for him to get in the habit of scoring goals and learning how to lead a team. When he starts playing harder teams he will already have the habit of having the ball a lot, scoring and leading. And tell Mary congrats on getting up the wake board! That sounds like fun. Good luck with all your school stuff mom, and dad with your new employee!

Well this week was a bummer. The baptism of Lucy fell through... and 3 other baptismal dates. The dad of Lucy won’t give his permission to get baptized. It was really sad we had it planned for a ward activity and basically the whole ward was going to be there. But that’s how it worked. The good news is that we put an appointment with Luz, Lucy, and the dad for this week. Maybe it will be a blessing and it’s an opportunity for her dad to listen and accept the gospel. As of now he hasn’t wanted anything to do with us. So we will watch and see. Both Luz and Lucy have some pretty ugly stories about him. But I hope the gospel can help him change his life.

The other baptismal dates we had didn’t go to church. So we were a little bummed. We have tons of work but nobody wants to progress right now. But we learned in a zone conference this week about how our time is not the Lord’s time, and how we should be more patient with ourselves and with the investigators. So we are trying to apply that this week.

We did have one person go to church, Laura. Laura is an investigator that we found at a members house while eating. She is really nice and loves to listen. Her kids are all older; I think her youngest is 24. And they are all in different religions. So that is her big doubt. Anyway we convinced her to go to church this week. The talks were awesome and centered on Christ and his atonement and on the priesthood. Exactly what she needed. I hope she starts learning little by little.

Yesterday we had a meeting with the stake leaders about missionary work. It was really cool. One of them talked about worthiness. He compared it to school. He said he tells his kids that anyone can get an A, anyone can get 90 or even 95 percent. But he said what really shows if you’re working hard is if you get 95 to 100 percent. He said it’s the same thing with worthiness. The 95 percent is established by our bishop or by the temple recommend interviews. And that is good, it accomplishes what we need. But what really counts is that extra 5 percent. He gave an example of the law of chastity, in an interview the bishop simply asks if we are living the law of chastity. But Jesus taught that any man that looketh on a women to covet her has committed adultery in his heart. That 5 percent is between us and the Lord. But it’s that 5 percent that will bring the greatest blessings and even miracles into our lives. I thought that was a really cool thought. I hope we can all think a little of what that 5 percent consists of for us and how we can reach it.

I also got a letter from Sydney this week and she asked me a really great question. She talked about how the mutual theme is “stand in holy places and be not moved”. And how a lot of times that those holy places are not so much a place on this earth, but a moment in our lives. She asked: what was the holiest place I had been in on my mission. I would like to share my response to that question.

Wow that is a great question, my mind just flashed back to about 10 different moments in my mission. I thought of the Houston, Provo, and Monterrey temples. I thought of a conference that we had with an apostle Elder Christopherson. A few other conferences we have had with our mission president, and 70’s. I remember of an experience where an investigator just changed completely, and the time he told me without doubt he knew the Book of Mormon was true. Another that left her boyfriend and father of her child that she had been with for about 10 years to get baptized, and the moment that she decided that. I thought of my desk with all of my study materials where I have had some amazing experiences.

But I can say that the holiest place I have been in over the course of my mission is the baptismal font. Remembering the change in the countenance in every single investigator that has taken that choice. Symbolizing a change of life style here and a spiritual birth. Being dressed in all white clothing, and seeing someone that I love purified and sanctified. Nothing else in this world compares to that.
I would like to change you all to live the mutual theme and stand in holy places. At all times, and in all situations.

I love you and miss you. Hasta la proxima semana
Elder Utley


Hey Family!

Sounds like it was a good week for everyone. And a crazy one to come, I hope you guys have a great time in Kentucky, I’m sure there will be some fun things to do. I haven’t heard from the kids in a while, you should tell them to write me this week, I want to know how school is going.

Well this week was a little tuff here. We thought we had a lot of work, we put a ton of appointments but almost every single one fell though... It’s a bummer when that happens in a day but in almost a full week, it’s frustrating. It gets us thinking what are we doing wrong, but we are doing everything the best that we know how. So we just have to pray harder and trust more in the Lord. I have had weeks like that before in the mission, and the good news is we always get out of it, but it sucks until then.

In spite of the tuff week, we had a cool experience on Saturday. It was also a day where a lot of appointments fell through. But at 8 we got a call from some other elders who had passed us a referral but we had never been able to teach him. He would put an appointment and then never be there. But they said he was excited and we should got teach him. We got there and he was really eager to learn. And he accepted a baptismal date that night! For the 7th of September. He really wants to learn and wants to believe it. His prayer was really cool, he said help be become more convinced that this is the truth and to be ready to be baptized that day. His name is Mauro. And I think as he listens his wife will also start going to church and being interested.

We did get to talk with Lucy’s dad, he is really hard hearted but we got him to agree to support Lucy in the decision. He said if that’s what she decides, and he wants to talk to her without us there, because evidently we are pressuring her. I think he will try and talk her out of it but I also think she is sure enough of what she is doing that it will go through. When? I don’t know but it will happen. He definitively denied listening to us, but who knows, he also denied talking to us in the beginning. And he is seeing big changes in his family.

Well that was pretty much my week. I am working hard and just enjoying this time that the Lord has given me to serve him and to serve others. I realize day with day how fast it is going... and it kind of scares me. We got a call from one of the secretaries this week, my going home date is July 7th 2014. That somehow doesn’t seem like much time, especially the way the mission is flying by. So I will take advantage of everyday. I love the Lord, I love this work and I love the people. So like the apostle Joseph B. Worthlin said, “Come what may and love it!”

I love and miss you all
Elder Utley


Hey Family!

Sounds like mom and dad have had a good time so far in Nashville, and wherever they are in Kentucky. Nashville sounds like it is a really cool city. That would be really cool to go the country hall of fame. I hope everything is going well with the orientation for mom’s school; you guys will have to let me know how it went. I still haven’t heard from the kids but I hope all is well in school, I imagine they are very buys. I realized Mary is in her junior year of high school, that’s kind of crazy. 

Well this week was fine, we put a ton of appointments just like last week, and most of them fell through again, but that’s how it goes. We did get to teach Mauro’s wife one time this week, it was good, she seems really open to what we have to say, but not super interested. I think as she listens and sees a change in her husband she will want to listen more. We kind of trapped her into a lesson because her husband was on his way home from work and she invited us to wait until he got there. So we started teaching. Mauro we also taught this week and is very excited and interested in what we have to teach him. His parents and sister are members and he likes what he has seen. He is excited to be baptized but the only problem is his time. He is really busy with work right now, he works about 12 or 13 hours a day and for that reason he wasn’t able to go to church this Sunday. But he said he is going to open a time up to go next Sunday. I sure hope so.

We taught Lucy as well. She seemed like she was doing well, she is 11 years old and is half way through the Book of Mormon (her mom finished this week!). But her mom told us on Sunday that she didn’t want to come to church. So we are going to have to see what happened. 

Other than that we are trying to help our investigators that we have progress, but we are also looking for new people to teach because the ones we have still won’t go to church. 

We did a service project this week for a former investigator. It went really well, but I am super, super sore, and we did it on Saturday. Basically she had a giant pile of dirt and gravel (that they use to construct here, I think it goes in the cement but I’m not really sure how they do it.) and it was in her front yard, and we moved it all to the backyard. The catch is there wasn’t a wheel barrel or anything like that. We had 1 shovel and 2 buckets. And it was 2 solid hours of moving as fast as we could to finish that part. Then we took out all the grass she had in the front yard. But again we had one shovel to do it, and it wasn’t like sod, it was seeded into the ground. And it took us an hour to get all of that out. (Lucky the yards are really small.) 

I hope she will have her heart softened a little by that and start listening to us again. She was doing really well but someone said something to her about how she shouldn’t investigate the church, and she started hiding every time we went to her house. 

Last week I talked with the Relief Society president in our ward, she had just gotten back from the immigration offices to get her visa. She is going to go to general conference in October. I might have offered grandma and grandpas house to stay in, so I will have to see if she takes me up on that. But if you could ask them if that would be okay I would appreciate it. I imagine that they would be excited to have her there, and 1 or 2 other sisters from the ward. But she said I could send things with her for you guys, and if you want to send something that she will bring it back for me. So that will be really cool. I will talk to her again and give you guys her number in the next few weeks or give her yours, depending on what you guys tell me. The only thing is I don’t think she or the other sister speak English. So dad you might get a chance to practice your Spanish! :)

I hope you guys have a fantastic week,
Love you
Elder Utley 


Hey Family!

How is everybody? Sounds like mom and dad had a great time in Kentucky! I got a ton of pictures from you guys. It is so green there! I remember thinking how beautiful Ohio and Indiana were when we went out there for sectionals. Everything was so green and the rive we saw was gorgeous. I kind of doubt dad was bored those days; I know I wouldn’t have been. And the place you guys stayed in looked cool too. How did the kids do for a week and a half without you guys? Hope everyone is doing well.

Well this week was fine; we are still working really hard. We are still struggling to have results, I don’t understand that, a lot of the time we are doing things the right ways and working hard but nothing comes. I guess there is something I need to learn. But we did get to teach some of the investigators this week. We talked to Mauro and he said he was for sure going to church but didn’t show. Lucy should get baptized this week, I am 90 percent sure of it, but we will have to see. We taught the lady we did service for last week; it’s amazing how that little act of service changed her whole attitude. The only bummer is, is that her husband had a surgery and we haven’t seen her too much and she couldn’t go to church.

We also had splits with the zone leaders this week. It was actually really, really nice. I worked with Elder Sanchez, he is from California. I learned a lot from him and we had a good time.

Other than that it’s been a good week. I am excited for the baptism this weekend. It’s been a while. I am hoping we can get some references this week. We actually have a really good plan to work this week and we are going to do a ton of short visits to the members and ask for references. Because we have lots of people to teach but none of them are progressing.

What else? I heard from Syd and from Grandma and Grandpa Barker this week. Sounds like they are doing really good. Grandparents had a good time in St. George. And Syd is having some really amazing experiences in China.

Tonight we invited the bishop and his family and the ward mission leader to our house to have dinner: that we are going to prepare for them. I hope we gain some more confidence from them. And that the food turns out good, we are making a Mexican meal...(I suggested to my comp that we prepare something typical from one of our countries, and to a few other people that we were talking to about it, and everyone else loved it, but because it was my idea he thought it was complete garbage...) But I think I have learned sufficient to make it. Its rather simple. Its meat, rice and a salad.

I hope everyone has a great week
Love you
Elder Utley

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Happy Birthday Brooklyn!

Hey family!

Well first of all wish a happy birthday to Brooklyn for me! Sounds like you guys had a great week. I am jealous of all the outdoor stuff you guys are doing, but I will make up for it when I get back! I’m glad you got to see the Barkers. I got a letter from Syd, it sounds like she is doing really well; and stoked to go to China.
To answer a few of your questions, I did see President and Sister Mejorado this week. They did interviews throughout the whole mission. They were very nice. Presidente tells you how it is, he got on everyone because the baptisms have been low on the mission. But he also told me that my comp and I are one of the greatest companionships he has seen, and whatever we are doing to keep it up. That was really nice. But he did humble me quite a bit and give me even more motivation to keep working hard. Actually obtain results. He told me he doesn't like when people say they are working hard because that gives them excuses. He told me he doesn't want us to work hard, he wants results. It was direct, but what I needed. He is a really good mission president, with a lot of good advice. I am glad for the chance to work with him.

Also we did have our baptism last week, it was a really good experience and I think that it got one of his Uncles interested in the church. So that’s always good.

Luz will be baptized this Saturday but her daughter Lucy will not. Her daughter didn't go to church again, but she will be baptized within the next few weeks I am sure of it. They are both really excited and content to be part of the church.

This week was also really good. We bettered our numbers again. We have been teaching like crazy. This transfer is going to end this week, I think it’s been the longest and quickest transfer I have ever had. Time is flying. But, I am loving it! We should have quite a few baptisms for August.

Have a wonderful week! Love you
Elder Utley

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Hey family!

Sounds like you all have had an amazing week. Me too! Tell the kids thanks for the letters. And mom and dad thank you for the letters as well, they were especially good this week.

Well I got toms last later, it really affected me. I still can’t see the mission ending. But it has been the hardest, most rewarding, best experience of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And his letter put everything in perspective again. It does end, so I will take advantage of every moment while I am here. It sounds like he has grown a ton, and I am happy for him. Tell him congrats for me. He reminded me of a motto I have tried to live in my life. No regrets.

Well this week was awesome! Numbers wise it was the best in my mission. We found 7 new investigators. Including a young man that will be baptized this Saturday. He is active in the church but was never confirmed; he got baptized 4 years ago. So we are going to do the ordinance again. We have been working with his family since I got here, they are really awesome. We are actually going to teach them tonight and then have cake and celebrate a little for my birthday. We taught a ton of lessons this week. We are seeing little miracles daily. Even when some of our plans fall through. I am as happy as I have been in my mission and possibly as happy as I have been in my life.

We also found Luz this week and she went to church. She is excited to be baptized on the 3rd of August. She is doing really well. Her daughter is a little confused but we will work with her this week and hopefully she can be baptized with her mom.

Today was a fun day, the sisters in our district made a cake and we had a little get together with everyone in the district this morning. And then we rented what looked like Flintstone cars, but they were pedal powered, and had races. It was really fun.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes. I will be excited to celebrate the next one at home with all of you guys! But I am really discovering the joy of losing myself in the work, and today there is no place I would rather be than in good old Celaya Mexico!

I know the church is true. Christ lives and loves us, and is willing and anxious to bless us, but we have to do our part. For every commandment there is a blessing, the more we obey the more blessings we get.

I love and miss you all

Elder Utley

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bajo del cuchillo and Recovery Week

Hey Family

Sounds like you guys have had a buys week and a busy summer. That’s really exciting that Mary got her license, it seems like I just barely got mine. And Coop started acceleration, tell him to work hard, that really helped me. He also told me they might drain sand hollow? What’s that all about? Anyway, good luck at girl’s camp this week. Hope you guys get some good fishing in too.

Well I don’t have a whole lot to tell you guys this week. Surgery went well, it was kind of freaky to have it done here, not to mention it’s the first surgery I have ever had. But everything turned out okay.

The president came on Friday but it wasn’t really to visit me, we had a special zone conference to get to know our new president. And he definitely knows who I am ha ha. He was super nice, and his family too, they were all very concerned. He seems like a really good mission president, and a good guy. I was very impressed. I learned a lot at the conference and the spirit was really strong.

Anyway we got back from the hospital on Wednesday and just slept and rested. Then we slept most of Thursday morning. Then we went in a taxi to an appointment and again in taxi to the food with the members. And we actually had another appointment that night, and as we stopped a taxi a member offered us a ride. So that was nice. And on Friday we got up normal and studied and went to a few appointments, I got brave and started taking buses cause taxis are expensive, and in the afternoon we had our zone conference and I got to rest during that. And starting Saturday we started working like normal again. It’s been rather amazing how fast I have recovered. But I guess we get some special blessing as missionaries to be able to do what we do.

Luz and her daughter didn’t go to church and we couldn’t see them this week. We are super bummed because her husband prohibited her from going and listening this week. But her friend that gave us the reference is going to talk to her and her husband and see what they can do, because she and her daughter really want to listen and change.

On Sunday we had kind of a cool experience. One of the young men in our ward got his appendix taken out. And I was able to share a little of my experience with him and some of the thoughts I had. And I think it really helped him and his family.

I talked to them about a scripture in 2nd Nephi that talks about how it’s necessary that there is opposition in all things, and that we have to experience pain and trials to know good health and happiness. And a quote from Elder Eyring that talks about when everything is going good in his life he prays to the Lord and says give me mountains. All trials happen so that we can learn something, and are the best way to learn in this life. That’s why the Lord allows them.

I have been grateful for this experience, it has allowed me to exercise my faith and realize the testimony I have of the gospel and of this work. It would have been really easy to just go home, take time to recover, it would have been comfortable and I would have had my family to help me. I could have gotten back into swimming to lose the weight I need to so that this doesn’t happen again, and gone back to normal life. But I realized my work here isn’t done yet, and I don’t even have the desire to go home. I want to share what I know, and I still have a lot to learn in my mission. And I have actually been more excited to work and share the gospel since all that happened. It helped me realize my purpose here and testimony and I am grateful for it.

But we should not wait for a trail to come to be humbled like that. Like Alma taught in Alma 32, the people were blessed because they were humble. But they were poor and cast out and that’s why they were humble. He said even more blessed are those that done have to be compelled to be humble.

Well I love and miss you guys, have fun with all the activities these next few weeks
Elder Utley

Hey family!

Well I am sorry you didn’t get my messages for a while last week. The place where we usually write was closed and we had to go to another but it wasn’t very nice and me and my companion both had problems with messages not sending. But the good thing is it got there. Sounds like you guys have had a buys couple of weeks. But, lots of fun. Before you know it the summer will be over and everyone will be back to normal schedules!

So mom told me she got into nurse practitioner school! Congratulations!!! When do you start? What are the hours like? Where is it?

Well my week was good. I have been feeling good. I got my stiches out this Thursday, I was going to do it Saturday but the skin started healing over the stitches and it was really hurting. And its healing really nicely, it doesn’t look too bad even though the scars are big. The bummer is that there is a ton of scar tissue underneath and it all hard and feels kind of funny. But the doctor told me that will mostly go away with time.

As far as the work goes, we had a decent week. I still took it kind of easy but we worked like normal. We had problems with all of our appointments falling through this week, at least with investigators, but we visited a ton of less actives and new converts. We had a goal for 40 total lessons this week, but we ended up having some activities of service and district activities, which took up a lot of time. But we still had 30, and I am content with that because the mission standard of excellence is 25. My comp has been awesome. He had the same surgery so he can really relate and that experience really helped us become friends really fast. We have been working really hard. Bummer is that he will probably get transferred in the next transfer the first week of August...

Anyway we got to teach a few new investigators, and we taught one lesson to Luz and Lucy and it went really well, we put a new baptismal date with them, and they were really excited but they didn’t show up to church, so we will have to go see what happened there. We were kind of bummed this week, we had 10 investigators commit to go to church and not one of them went... but they have their agency we can only invite. Apart from that we invited like 5 or 6 less actives who committed to come as well, and only one showed up. So in the sacrament meeting I was kind of bummed and thinking of what we can do better to get people to church, and how I could be better as a missionary. And I was just supper bummed that those people didn’t come. But about halfway in a family of 3 walked into the church and just sat down. I looked at my companion and he said they weren’t members. They ended up being a family that one of the members had invited about a month or two ago and today they just showed up. That is huge! And they are going to go again next week. We have an appointment Wednesday with them. It was cool to see that if we work hard the lord is willing to bless us even if the people we teach use their agency and don’t act according to what they know.

Well that’s about it for this week. I hope everything goes well with coops soccer camp and Mary’s EFY, and all the activities. The youth in our ward went to EFY last week and came back completely changed people it was cool to hear all of their experiences. (They do EFY for stakes and they have all the stakes in the mission go to one EFY together)

I love and miss you all
Elder Utley

Sunday, July 7, 2013

First week in Celaya

Hey family!

First of all HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!! I hope it has been a great day! It is super cool that I get to write you on your birthday. What are you guys going to do? Hope everything goes well and have a great day!

Also I got a few pictures from the surprise party you threw for Mary, looked like a lot of fun! Tell her I want to hear from her on what it’s like when 2 worlds collide ha ha (I might know a little about that, but it was voluntary on my part.). How did coop like scout camp? It’s kind of a bummer it wasn’t a stake or scout camp for his first one, but I am sure it was fun none the less.

I hear you guys are trying to kill the family tradition of Escalante this year, again. I hope you get to go this weekend, tell Mary and Brooke that we go to Salt Lake all the time and Escalante only comes once a year.

Well this week went really well for us. I really like my companion he is a super hard worker and excited to have a new companion as well. This week we put 2 baptismal dates for Luz and her daughter Lucy. They found them 2 days before I got here, and we taught them 3 or 4 times this week, but even in a week I can see a huge change in them. The mom didn’t think that repentance was possible, but she is now super excited to get baptized and change her life. She has some things to change but is really excited. We also worked with a lot of members and had some good lessons, today and yesterday we received 3 or 4 references that we are going to work to contact this week. We taught 30 lessons and that was with a lot of time restraint, the mission goal is 25. Its super exciting to be here where there is so much work if we want it.

The ward is one of the biggest in the mission, the chapel was completely full and there were about 170 people there. I really like Celaya. I comparison to the other cities I have been in it is bigger. I think Irapuato is about two thirds of the size and Matehuala is about a tenth of the size. There are 2 zones here but just one stake.

Well that’s about it for this week, I just want to testify that this is Christ’s work, and his church. Because of his atonement we can repent, and receive help and guidance in difficult times, consolation in others, and be able to overcome weaknesses and make them strong points in our lives. (Ether 12 27) I know Christ lives and loves us and watches out for us. And that prayer is the basic for us to communicate with him, and that scriptures and church attendance are the basic forms to receive answers.

I love and miss you all. Again happy birthday mom,

Elder Utley