Monday, April 29, 2013


Hey Family!

I can’t believe that the kids are almost done with school - that went by really fast. Tom wrote me and said he only has one more transfer in the mission! That is nuts, I can’t really imagine that, I think I would be kind of scared. But I am excited for him, he had a great mission. Oh and I found out about the Skype call this week, we can pick any day between the 10th and 13th. I am thinking that Sunday the 12th will be the easiest. Let me know what you think. We can’t do it the 11th because we will either have a baptism or a wedding, and we have a zone activity that we are going to sing in down town and hopefully find people to teach.

So the big news of this week is that I basically got deported! Ha, ha. I guess they changed the laws for the visas about 2 weeks after I got here, and I had been living here in México illegally for about a month and a half. So last Monday they called me and told me I had to be in Léon the next day. When I got there they told me that I had to leave the country to fix the thing with my visa. So the next day Elder Boyce, Elder Daughlburg (they were in the MTC with me) and I flew to México City. I was really hoping to get out of the airport because we had like a 7 hour layover and the temple and MTC there are like 30 minutes away; but we had to fill out a few forms saying that we were leaving the country by choice and it took almost 4 hours. But it was super cool to fly over México City! It is huge! I want to go back and visit one day. Then that night we flew to Houston, Texas! An Hermano from México City picked us up and we went to a hotel and stayed the night. It was really funny he had a rental car and was so super nervous about driving it. He told us how many rules there are in the US and he didn't want to get pulled over. Basically the only traffic rules in México are speed bumps...

Anyway that night we ordered pizza and had root beer! (I haven’t had really good pizza or root beer in a long time). In the morning we went to IHOP! It was so good!!! Then we went to the immigration offices for like 3 hours and fixed the visas. We contacted some people and I ended up being a witness for a lady to get a passport issued by México. After that we got to go to the Houston Temple! That was definitely the best part of the trip. The temple is small but it is absolutely gorgeous!!! And we got to do a session, which I haven’t done since the MTC. It was really good to be there again, it made me super excited for the missionary work. Then we went back to the airport, ate panda express, and flew back.

The trip was exhausting, and it made me excited to work and home sick at the same time... It is so clean in the states, and so much space...and the food is so good! But when I got back I was good again. And I actually wasn't too sad about the food cause it absolutely destroyed me ha ha. I haven’t been so sick since I had salmonella and typhoid fever at the same time. I guess I am accustomed to the food here cause the stuff in the states really made me sick. I’m not looking forward to that when I go home... but I ate it anyway cause it was so good.

Anyway so that took up Tuesday through Friday. Saturday we finally got our house all the way clean and did some visits. Sunday was a payoff day, we are still struggling with finding people to teach but the people we are teaching are really solid. Maria Elena and her family went again, and they are so happy! They are working on their papers to get married this week; we hope they can do it this week, but more probably next week. Then she will get baptized. And her husband stopped drinking and smoking! That is a small miracle or a big one ha ha. So they are both happier about that, he has 2 weeks without a drink! And a family of less-actives that I have been teaching since I got here came this Sunday too! They have had a lot of problems and so it was also a small miracle that they got there. But the Branch Pres. lifted their dis-fellowship and after like 2 years they can now take the sacrament again! And they are working to go to the temple in June!!! And I don’t know if they will get sealed then or a little more in the future but they are going to get sealed! So it was a good day yesterday. I am hoping to find more work this week, but it’s exciting to see the changes in the lives of the people that we are working with!

So that was basically my week, I am going to stop writing now so i can send some pictures.

I miss and love you guys!
Elder Utley 

April 22, 2013

Hey family!

How are things going? Sounds like you guys had a fantastic week. I got a letter from Mary, she is growing up really fast; it’s going to be weird to come home with everyone 2 years older. Tell Coop congrats on his soccer game! He must be getting good. How many teeth has Brooke lost now?

That’s sad to hear about the bombings, someone said something about it this week but they didn’t really know what was going on, they thought I would. But we live in a pretty sheltered world here I have no idea what is going on.

So the work again has been hard, the problem is we don’t have enough to fill up our time, and sometimes it feels like we are wasting time just riding our bikes around in from neighborhood to neighborhood when I know there are people ready to hear the gospel and be taught, but I guess all the Lord’s time. We actually do have some really good investigators right now; the one I told you about did go to church with her whole family! Her name is Maria Elena, and her esposo Roberto (he is a member but less active). They have 3 little kids. We are going to help them get married because they are not, but she has a baptismal date for the 4th of May. We also had two more that promised us to be there but didn't show up. One of them is really awesome, she contacted us last week and wants to start going to our church, I think she was just nervous but hopefully we can find her this week. And the other one I have been teaching since I got here to Matehuala, she really wants to be baptized but can’t decide whether to get married or separate. She is awesome, I am not going to give up on her but I doubt she will make a decision any time soon. But one can hope.

The new house pretty much sucks, we have killed over 200 cockroaches, and they are about 4 times the size of the ones in Utah. It’s pretty nasty. The good part is that most of them are outside, but they do get inside too. Its super-hot in the house, I have a huge fan on me all night and wake up just drenched in sweat. The cleaning is a process; we have done a lot but have a lot to go. Hopefully we get a lot done today. It’s not as bad as a thought it would be but it still isn’t fun. It kind of sucks they are just using us to clean the house for 3 weeks. But after that we should be able to move back to our old house.

Well that’s about it. Dad asked about my favorite thing about my area, I would have to say the bikes cause they are really fun and I am getting good at it (and my legs are huge, mom asked if I am losing weight yet, well I am losing fat but not weight. I have almost no fat on my legs but I am starting to get stretch marks from the muscle I am building from the bikes) and I really like my comp right now... Well I know that the Lord rewards obedience to his commandments, he puts trials in our life and the blessing often times don’t come right away but they do come. I know this church is true and I am in the Lord’s work, and I am happy to be here. I love seeing the changes in people’s lives, and in my own. I know I have changed a lot and I still have a lot to go. I love the gospel and challenge you all to stay firm in the gospel and like it says in Helaman 5:12 build your foundations on Christ’s rock, and if you do so you "cannot fall".

I love and miss you all
Elder Utley

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

John's Letter 4/15/13

Hey Family!

How has everyone been? The weeks seem like they are going by really fast. Sounds like you have all had a fun week. Why did grandma and grandpa come down? That sounds like a lot of fun. How did Coop do in his soccer game? Are they in season now? I guess everyone has been super busy, but I guess that’s good. I am a little jealous of the weather, I’m not really sure what the weather is like here but it feels like we are in summer already. They told me it was 37 C this week which I think is like 98. Fun stuff.

Well this week has possibly been the hardest week of my mission, at least work wise. My comp is really great and we have been working ridiculously hard and have nothing to show for it. I feel like I am being the best missionary, most obedient and hardest working I have been in the mission but it’s just not working. It’s super frustrating. This week every single appointment we had except for 1 fell through. And it wasn't like we didn't have appointments; we have been working super hard so we had an appointment almost every hour of every day. But I guess that’s what happens on the mission. Some weeks are just like that. I have had days like that before, but never an entire week. Anyway I guess there is a lesson I need to learn, or be more humble or something. The only good news is that the one appointment that didn't fall through we put a baptismal date, but she didn't go to church so we will have to move it back... If everything goes well she should get baptized on May 4th. We will have to see.

Then yesterday we got an interesting phone call. It was like 9:30 and the zone leaders called me and told me I have to move out of my house. Today. So that’s going to be lots of fun. They took a companionship out of Matehuala about 3 months ago and so they have been paying rent on it and no one is living there. I guess this next change they are going to put the missionaries back, but they basically want us to go live there for 3 weeks to clean it and take care of it. And it is the most filthy house I have seen since I got here, and it just has concrete floors. Apart for the fact that Matehuala in on a huge hill and we work at the bottom and this house is on the other side of the city at the top. The only good thing is that it is right by the church. I am pretty bummed though, I think I have the best house in the mission right now and I really don’t want to do all the work to move again. And then again in 3 weeks. Apart from the fact that I really like the other elders we are living with.

Anyway I guess I get lots of lessons to learn this week and experiences to have. The good thing is that Yesenia got confirmed this Sunday. That was a really cool and she is super excited about the gospel. Me and my comp get along really well, I hope I get another transfer with him. And somehow we did find a few new investigators this week (we have been doing a lot of contacting when we don’t have anything else to do) they don’t seem too interested but hopefully something they read or hear or feel will touch their hearts and we will be able to help them receive the gospel.

I hope all goes well this week, I miss and love you all!
Elder Utley

General Conference #2

Hey Family!

How is everybody? Sounds like you guys had an awesome week! How did everyone like conference? I thought it was pretty awesome. I found it interesting that the talks were focused mainly in three things, the family, the law of chastity, and missionary work. I did get to watch it in English with the two other Americans in the district, so that was nice. We watched it on the internet except the priesthood session, we watched that from satellite.

Sounds like a blast taking the boat out! And that the Barkers came down this week. Did they go with your guys? And how long is Syd going to teach English in China? That sounds amazing, How did she get that opportunity?

Mom, I did get an email from Shayne, thanks for sending it to her. She sounds like she is doing really good, and loving her new comp even though she is in a pretty hard area it sounds like... (I get that). Oh and I heard from Tim too, I was pretty stoked about that.

So this week has been just really crazy, I can’t explain all of the crazy feelings I have had for both sides good and bad. Out district is awesome, only me and one other American who I got to this area with are still here, everyone else is new, and everyone is a super hard worker. My comp is awesome, he has gotten me really excited and we are working really hard. We still talk English about half the time but the good news is I am feeling really good about my Spanish. And we had President Del Valle come this weekend and do interviews and stuff like that. He basically told us we are all (the district) here for a reason, and it’s because we are really hard workers. That he wants to change the attitude of Matehuala and he expects us to do it. It kind of has a bad rep right now, but that we are here to change that. So that was kind of nice to know that he put us here for a reason and trusts us, but it’s also a pretty big responsibility.

So Yesenia was baptized yesterday! And I had the huge privilege of baptizing her. It is incredible how she was so ready for the gospel, how she has changed, and how excited she is to be in the gospel. It was a huge stress getting everything ready, and it was a little hectic, but everyone had a really good spiritual experience and she was able to get baptized, so that’s the important part. 

Anyway I kind of feel a little stuck again like we don’t have many people to teach but we do have a couple of new investigators for this week, and I know the Lord will provide people who are ready for the gospel.

I challenge you all to find someone who is ready and help them receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the apostles said in the conference that as the Lord prepares more missionaries for the world he will also prepare more people that are ready to hear his gospel.

I love and miss you all
Elder Utley

P.S. time is flying out here, I only have two more conferences left in the mish, and I realized today I get to call home again next month. Kind of crazy how time flies.


Hey so to answer a few more of your questions, it’s super-hot here I am dying, and on bikes its even hotter. I have realized in the last couple weeks I have an addiction to Coca-Cola, so I made a goal to not drink any soda this transfer. It’s going really well and me and another elder are running 3 days a week. I have already seen a little change and I just feel better. 

I love you

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!

You guys probably won’t believe this but I actually had no idea that it was Easter weekend yesterday. They do a tradition with the Catholics called Holy Week, but that’s about it, it just made our week really hard cause no one wants to listen and because everyone is on vacations!

So I am happy to hear things went so well with the doctors’ appointments, that really is amazing. I am actually going to start a mini diet too because I can’t keep gaining weight, it’s to the point where its bugging me, so I started this week and I have lost a little already ha ha hopefully it shouldn’t be too hard to get off.

I did hear about the soccer game in between the USA and México, they all seemed pretty content to me, they like that we both advanced. And I heard that we declared war on Korea? What’s up with that?

I am super jealous of the four wheelers and shooting, that sounds like a lot of fun. But I guess we will have to go when I get back, and boating too. So I don’t know how you guys have such good weather but I am dying of heat here. And they say it will just get hotter.

Anyway we had changes today. I got a new comp named Elder Diaz, and there is another elder Diaz that will be living above us, that’s kind of weird. Anyway my comp is from a state just north of México City. And he speaks fluent English, he lived in Pennsylvania. I’m not really sure how I feel about that, I need to try and speak all Spanish with him. He seems like a really good comp. He has about 5 months in the mission, and came as the junior comp. We still don’t have a lot of work in my area but he seems excited so I hope that we can get stuff done!

Yesenia should be baptized this week in between general conference sessions, we haven’t seen here in about a week because she went to San Luis for vacation but she was dead set on it before. I am really excited for her.

So that’s pretty much the update on everything, I am excited to work hard this week. I hope you guys have a great week as well!

I love and miss you all,
Elder Utley