Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mission Conference

Hey family

Sounds like you guys had a busy week as usual. Good to hear the running is going well, that half marathon is coming up quick. And Coop’s soccer games sound like a lot of fun, did he have a tournament this weekend or they just played 3 games this week? Mom said that you guys did fathers and sons but something different but no one told me what you did? Glad that you all had a fun weekend.

So this week was interesting, we had a lot of activities in the branch, and it didn’t really permit us to work that much, on top of the fact we had some district meetings and stuff and moving houses, it was a long week but it was good. Tuesday we did move houses again, it nice to be back in the house I really like, but I really don’t like one of the elders that lives above us, he has a really strong personality and if he doesn’t get his way he kind of acts like a little girl, and I haven’t really done anything to him but I am the only one that will really stand up to him or tell him no, so he really doesn’t like me. And moving again was a pain, but that’s the mission I guess. Overall it’s good to be back there. Then on Wednesday we had district meeting because the other elders got here Tuesday so it wasn’t on Tuesday like normal. On Thursday we had another funeral; there have been a lot of deaths here in the last couple months. On Friday they did their mother’s day activity which was really cool. And on Saturday we had our missionary activity that we had been planning for like a month. The elders in our zone from San Luis told us they were coming to sing with us at a park to try and find people, so we set everything up, told all the members, obtained a permit to sing in the park, and then the day before they called and told us they weren’t coming. So we were all kind of bummed, instead of having like 26 elders singing we had 8. And it didn’t really work that great but it was okay, we contacted a lot of people and gave out something like 200 pamphlets. 

We also have been working with that family that needs to get married, they are doing all that they can but it’s going really slow getting their papers to get married. We had a baptismal date for this week but I don’t think it’s going to happen. It probably will be pushed back to the next week. It’s okay the good thing is that they are at church every week without us having to go get them and they are really excited to be there. And it will happen it’s just a matter of time. We also have another investigator who is going to get baptized on the 9th of June, but she has to separate from her boyfriend or get married and she still isn’t sure. But the cool thing is she says she is willing to do what it takes. She told her boyfriend if they have to break up so she can get baptized that she will do it. I hope she goes through with it, she has been an investigator for a long time, but I think she will, she has a really strong testimony, stronger than a lot of members. Other good news is that Yesenia is going to go to the temple the first week in June as well! So that’s exciting, she had told us no before but we figured out that it was a money thing, and it’s like 200 pesos round trip so I am just going to pay it. She just didn’t want to tell us she didn’t have the money to go. I am excited for the temple trip; I have never been to the temple in Spanish!

I did order the triple for my comp but it hasn’t come yet, we are super far from the offices and I sent it there. I am hoping that I will get it at the mission conference tomorrow. And I am super stoked for the conference! Elder Christopherson is coming and one of the presidency of the 70 (I think). We are leaving today to go to San Luis and then tomorrow in the morning to go to Aguas Calientes. It should be a fun trip and super, super cool to listen to an apostle.  

Anyway the work is going kind of slow here but I am excited to be here in this area. I really love the people that we are working with right now. I know that this is the Lord’s work and I feel privileged to be working in it.

I love you all
Elder Utley

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Hey family!

It was so good to talk to you guys last night. Everyone looks and sounds really great. The kids are growing up fast, they all look older, especially Brooklyn. I was a little shocked how she didn't say anything, is that normal now or was she just shocked? Sounds like you have a good week ahead of you; I hope dad and coop have a fun time at father and sons. You guys should definitely go downstream fishing, that is the very funnest way to do it. 

So good news is that we didn't have to move today, we will probably do it tomorrow. The new companionship will be in training which means they will get here late tomorrow. We will have to pack everything back up which will be pain but we don’t really have to move anything big like furniture or a fridge.

Today we hiked the mountain that is close to Matehuala. It was quite the adventure, it was really, really foggy and we couldn't see and we didn't find the trail so we just kind of bush-wacked it to the top, it was super cool and had some amazing views. The bummer was that at the top we didn't get a view because it was really cloudy, but on the way back down we did. It took nearly the whole day, we kind of got lost and we took a few falls a piece (I actually ripped my pants on a cactus ha ha) but it was fun. It reminded me of home, and it’s something I haven’t had the chance to do in a while.}

So mom asked about the temple, we should be able to go on June 1st. I am super excited. The family that is for sure going is a less active family that we have been working with since I got here and they finally got active again and worthy to go. They are sealed but it’s been a long time since they were active and they have an adopted son who now has 5 years and they are going to get sealed to him. Apart from them well we have 2 other converts that I am hoping will go. And maybe the baptism we have this month, her and her husband will want to go too. But I am super excited, I haven’t been able to take any converts or members to the temple yet in my mission and a lot of missionaries go their whole mission without having the opportunity.

Well I am excited for this transfer, we are finally seeing some progress in the area. Because when I got here it had almost nothing, but over the last few months little by little it’s gotten better. We still have a ton of work to do but I think we could have a lot of success this transfer. And I get along really well with my comp, so it will be fun. 

Well I just want to bear my testimony, I didn't get the chance last night. I know that Christ lives, and loves us. He blesses us and wants the best for us. I have seen it so many times in my life and the lives of others here on the mission. We have tests in the life but if we will trust in the lord he will ALWAYS be there. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the work that Christ did through him changes people’s lives. I know we have apostles today and that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet. I know the Book of Mormon is the truth and we can get closer to God by it  than any other book in the word. We find peace and comfort in the scriptures and got talks to us though them. There is a phrase I really like that I heard a month or so ago that says if you want God to listen, pray. If you want God to answer, read. I know that to be true. I know that we can find joy in this life, and that in fact is our purpose here. In 2 Nephi it says men are that they might have joy. We just need to learn to take the advice of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Come what may and love it!”

I love and miss you all
Elder Utley

(PS that was my 2nd of 4 calls so I am coming right up on a year, and they next time we talk the time to come home will be super soon. Time is flying)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cinco de Mayo

Hey family!

How is everything going? Sounds like you all had a fantastic week. Sounds like fun that brook did a Cinco de Mayo party in her class. She definitely celebrated more than I did. Here it’s not really anything, this last week they had child’s day which is like mother’s or father’s day but for children and that’s kind of a big deal. We did a party for the little kids in the church. And they had like their labor day and everyone got of work for that. But they don’t really do anything special for 5 de Mayo, I think that’s more of an American thing. Lots of people think it’s like their Independence Day but it just celebrates the battle of Puebla. (Their Independence Day is in September, and it is supposed to be huge) The only thing I have seen today because they are celebrating today is that some of the kids don’t have school.

So everyone asked about the trip to Houston. It was like a 40 minute flight to Mexico City, then about 2 and a half hours to Houston, and about 2 from Houston back to Leon. Three of us in that picture are from our mission; the two others are from Guadalajara Este. They were really cool. I don’t think my stomach has really recovered from the food yet but it’s a lot better. Dad asked if they have pizza here, and yes they do, it’s actually really popular, but not as good. In the big cities they have Dominos and Pizza Hut and sometimes Little Caesar’s. Little Caesar’s is almost the same, the other ones aren’t really that good. They actually have a local one here that’s the best that I have had in Mexico, called Pizza Classic. You also asked about my Spanish, I actually feel really good about it, I don’t really have any problems with it and I am feeling better and better with it as time goes on. I can understand just about everything, sometimes I just have to pay really hard attention. But I don’t ever have to worry about it anymore so that’s nice.  

This week was kind of tough, but it’s been good. We are in a kind of slow area, but we are working hard and I think we found 2 families to teach this week, but they were both gone for the return appointments. We are definitely going to look for them this week, they seem really great. I am definitely learning a lot from being here, so that’s the good thing. We didn’t have the wedding this week, nor will we have it this week, we weren’t able to get the medical tests done that they need, but we will do it this week, and then you have to submit the papers 5 days before the wedding and it can only be Monday through Friday, so it will for sure be next week. But they keep coming to church and they are super happy and excited about the gospel, that’s the cool part and the reward of missionary work. I have seen that in a few families here, we got one family reactive again and this one where the wife is investigator and the husband is less active but basically an investigator again because he didn’t know anything. Oh and Yesenia is super excited about the gospel and learning so much! And she is teaching the gospel to like everyone she knows; she is working on a referral for us that we hope to have this week. And there have been some other families we have helped a lot. I guess the work is just different in a tiny little branch in a small town then in a big city, and it takes some getting used to because you have success in a different sort of way.

We do have transfers this coming Sunday; actually I will probably get them while I am talking to you guys. I am thinking I will call between 5 and 7. I’m not really sure if there is a time difference. So we will get there at 5 and I don’t know when it will be my turn to call but it should be between 5 and 7. I think I might have transfers this time but I’m not really sure, part of me would like it but part of me would be super bummed. I wouldn’t get to be here for the wedding or baptism of Maria Elena, but the good thing is I know it will happen. And I would like another change with my comp that I have right now. But who knows, I think it’s like a 50 50 chance. We also have a zone conference this Thursday; that should be good, they are always uplifting. Oh and Elder Christopherson is coming on the 21st this month and we have a mission conference to go see him, I am pretty stoked. And we have that zone activity that mom asked about, we are going to sing hymns in the central plaza and have the members take down references to find more people because no one here really has many investigators. And the rest of the people from our zone will travel here to help us. But it got changed to the 18th because of mother’s day.

Well I love you guys and I look forward to talking to you all on Sunday.
Elder Utley