Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bautismo de Cecilia, 1/14/13

Hey Family!

How is everybody? Sounds like you had an interesting week. And busy too, that’s always good. I hope dad and Coop start feeling better. And it sounds like dad is getting everything figured out; let me know how it goes.

I haven’t heard much of the kids in a while; you should have them send me an email.

So this week was good and bad. The good news is that Cecilia was baptized on Saturday night by her boyfriend who is a returned missionary in our ward, and she was confirmed the next day. We were also able to get Angel to church again, and he has started walking with crutches, actually is more like a walker for old people. I think we are going to try and get his baptismal date moved up this Saturday, because next Saturday and Sunday is Stake Conference and it would be a nightmare to do it then. Other good news is we changed houses, but it’s also the bad news. We wanted to get out of the other house as soon as possible, so we moved into this one while they still didn't have water in the house. The next day the power went out. So we have been sleeping in the house of some other elders for the past 4 days. It sucks but I think it is going to be so much better when it’s all over. We also got permission to buy some things that we didn't have in the other house, so we now have all the stuff for the kitchen and bathrooms (most importantly stove, but we even bought a new blender and dishes). We are in a really good area with like 6 member families within 5 minutes and they all love us, so if we ever need anything they are right there. The other bad news is that we didn't get to go to the temple but I will take the baptism instead! (Hopefully I can come back in one year and go to the temple with Ceci & Josue, and Angel & Francisca to see them both get sealed in the temple!)

So mom asked a little bit about the ward and branch. Almost every single companionship is assigned to one single ward or branch. We are assigned to the Jacarandas Ward, but they have an extension in Abasolo until it becomes a branch... we kind of draw the short straw and have to go there too, until it becomes a branch, then it will get its own missionaries. The ward honestly doesn't support anybody, the leaders don’t do anything and most people don’t even have callings. That’s how it is in almost every ward here, and I think that’s why there are so many inactive members. For example our bishop did not attend the baptism on Saturday, and didn't have a good reason he just found something else to do. In fact no one from the bishopric showed up until the last 15 minutes. Another one is the 2 counselors in the Relief Society are inactive... it kind of sucks but we are working on it and hopefully one day the ward will be a little stronger.

Dad asked a little about the language and companion. The language is better, finally, but still not good. It’s hard, I struggle with it every day, but I don’t feel like it is impeding me as a missionary like it did in the past. My comp is going good, he has like a month left so he is getting a little trunky, or as they say here he is dying. But we have had 3 baptisms in this transfer and will have at least one more so I can’t complain too much. Our next transfers are on the 26th, just two more weeks. I am excited to see what happens, I really have no idea what will happen. Part of me thinks that Elder Valdes will get transferred and I will stay, but I can’t really see them changing his area for 4 weeks, so maybe I will go. Maybe we will both stay one more transfer, maybe we will both leave. I don’t know. I think I am good with whatever, there are some families here I really love so I wouldn't mind staying, but I have a lot of time here so I wouldn't mind going either.

So this week in my studies I have been thinking a lot about a part of the Book of Mormon I read that really called my attention. It’s in Helaman chapter 7, and it talks about how the Nephites are more culpable for the sins they commit because they have a greater knowledge, and the Lord will have mercy on the Lamanites because they don’t know. And another thing that my companion has been talking a lot about is the sin of omission. The two really go together. A sin of omission is when we know we should do something and we don’t do it. A sin is not just doing something bad but we are also sinning when we don’t do the things we know are right. So when I get a feeling to contact someone and I don’t do it, I am sinning and I need to repent. Or if someone knows they should say prays morning and night and they only do it in the night, they also need to repent. I have thought about how lucky we are to have the gospel and all of its blessing, and we just need to live it and we will be happy.

I love you all and miss you all
Elder Utley

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hey family!

How is everybody? Sounds like Christmas was just fantastic! I am pretty excited to play some ping pong in just over a year and a half! Thanks for your voice recording! That is so fun to hear, although I couldn’t hear it to well this time. It sounds like Brooke got a scooter and she is super, super excited about it. I didn’t catch what Mary and Coop got? And how about mom and dad?

Does mom have to work today or tomorrow? That’s a bummer she is on call but my guess is next year she won’t have to be. When does she start her new promotion?

My Christmas was good, simple and relaxed. Christmas Eve we went and ate tamales at the house of our investigator’s (Francisca who baptized this weekend) mom. That was fun; we played with her son Alejandro on foosball tables for a little bit, they had a big party outside. Everybody here just partied until the morning (Santa doesn’t come to many houses here, it’s the 3 Reyes on January 6, I don’t know why) Christmas morning we had our district meeting, on the way there we saw a man sleeping on the sidewalk, and snoring really loud. It was super funny. We both took a picture with the drunk sleeping man. Who also was shoeless, we think someone stole his shoes... We had lunch with a family that day and visited another, but we didn’t really do anything to special. Oh we did get to go to breakfast Christmas Eve morning and the whole district came, minus one companionship! It was really fun.

I started feeling a lot better on Christmas eve and got permission from the doctor to start eating normal again, so that was good. Mom I forgot write down what the medicines were called but I did finish my shots, I ended up only needing 4 of them, and I finished my antibiotics yesterday or Saturday I don’t remember. I guess it was some sort of bacteria growing in my stomach? I don’t know that’s what I understood from it. But it’s all good now so don’t worry.

So this week we did have 2 baptisms: Francisca and Alejandro. It was really cool, and a really good experience but nothing and I mean nothing went as planned. The day before we just went around to members houses reminding and inviting them to the baptisms. None of them showed up, not one out of like 7 families that promised us to go. Then the bishop was super late, and our ward mission leader didn’t show up. Francisca was also a little late and we realized she didn’t have the right clothing and neither did her son. So we found one for her but not Alejandro. I took the most athletic priest there and we started to run to Wal-Mart. We ran about 1.5 miles there and 1.5 miles back. I bought him white sweats and a white t shirt. When I got back he was already dressed and they had found him a jumpsuit, they were taking pictures and waiting on me. So I quickly changed and calmed myself down because I was a little angry my companion sent me running without asking if they had an extra one for Alejandro. I changed we took a picture and started. The water was freezing and they weren’t too happy about that. When I went to baptize Francisca I said a word wrong and had to start over. The second time her feet came up and the third time as well. She is super pregnant; she will have her baby in 2 weeks, so it was hard to keep her completely under. But finally the fourth time and the third time immersing her, we did it right. Alejandro was then baptized too. After all that the important part was the end result. We had a lot of things thrown our way but I was so happy we were finally able to help Francisca and Alejandro be baptized. I told you of the Christmas gifts I bought, but this one, the one money can’t buy, was definitely the greatest one.

Yesterday they were confirmed members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And we are hoping that the dad will take the same step when he is able. Right now he still can’t even straighten his leg. We also put another date, which is all but set in stone; I know it will happen, for the 15 of January. Her name is Cecilia and she is the girlfriend of a returned missionary in the ward. She is awesome.

The Lord is blessing us, we have worked hard for a long time with little results, I don’t want to speak to fast but we are finally starting to see them. At times this is how life is, we are tested and tried so that we can grow, sometimes blessings are withheld for a time for our own benefit, but we will always receive them if we do what’s right.

I challenge you all to start reading or continue reading the Liahona or Ensign from November. We received it just a couple weeks ago and it is truly amazing. I especially challenge everyone that reads this letter to read the talk Regrets and Resolutions by Dieter F Uchtdorf. That talk hit me like few others ever have.

I love you all, I miss you, and happy new year!
Elder Utley