Friday, June 28, 2013

Baptism, 6/24/13 letter

Hey family!

Sounds like you have all had a pretty good week. First of all HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARY!!!! I can’t believe you are sixteen! I remember that birthday and it doesn’t seem very long ago. Hope you have an amazing week, and a great day. Just know you are now the designated taxi driver of the family. But luckily, you only have 2 little siblings instead of three! So Coop went to scout camp, I didn’t get if it is a stake one or a ward one. Are they working on merit badges? I always loved those; I hope he has a lot of fun. So are mom and dad still running? Or biking? Haven’t heard much about what you guys are doing.

So this week was crazy, exciting, frustrating, happy, sad, and just about any other emotion you can think of. Things went really well my last week in Matehuala. The members were working with us, and we put another baptismal date.

We also learned that Rosario moved back in with her boyfriend... that was really tuff news. And it looked like she was going to do the same thing and not make a decision again. She wanted to live with him, but somehow still obey the law of chastity, so that her daughter would be able to live with both her parents. We explained that that just simply wasn’t okay nor would it happen. She was super bummed because she thought she had it all figured out. She still couldn’t decide so we asked if we could come by the next day when her boyfriend was there. She agreed. My companions and I did a special fast and a lot of praying for her. When we got to the lesson as you can imagine he wasn’t the happiest guy and had a lot of questions. We explained them, and the reasons why they couldn’t be like that. We used stories and scriptures and basically we were all just stuck. Then I felt like saying something that honestly he probably should have wanted hit me for, but I said it anyway. I very directly told him he was not setting a good example for his daughter, that if they wanted things to change between them then they had to change something, and if he sincerely loved his family that this was the thing to do. I was ready to get thrown out, but he sat their silently and then said “ok I will move out”. Rosario couldn’t make a decision but luckily he did. We then made a goal with them to get married in a couple of months, and for him to stop drinking. He has also been coming to church with them and he asked if he could keep coming. And he actually already had 15 days without a drink. We told him yes of course. And then Rosario said she wanted to follow through with that date. It was a small miracle, okay maybe a giant miracle.

So that Friday we had the interview at 4. And we had planned the baptism for 8 on Saturday. But while we were in the interview the zone leaders called me and said that me and both of my comps had changes and that we had to come to the conference with all of our stuff, and we wouldn’t be going back to Matehuala. I was freaking out, I had them call pres. and I sent him a message but nothing was going to change. They finished the interview and I told Rosario the news. She decided that she wanted to get baptized that very day at 7 (it was 5). So we flew to the church filled up the font, (which takes 2 hours) got the baptism stuff and everything else ready.

It ended up being one of the best baptisms I have been to. Her boyfriend came and both of them thanked us about 100 times for all that we had done for them. It was amazing. There was also a ward activity that night so a lot of members were there and they were both able to stay and make some friends in the ward. It also worked out nice because we got to say bye to everyone there. It was really sad, we all felt so loved by the people there, about half the branch was in tears. It really made me not want to leave.

But we did, (oh and she did get confirmed Sunday even though we weren’t there.) and we went to the zone conference the next day. It was really nice; president has done a great job. That night we got the changes, and they ended up closing my area (which I don’t get cause it was really starting to take off, but I guess the Lord knows why). And I was bummed about that. I don’t know what will happen with our investigators. Then I got my changes. And right now I am writing from the city of Celaya, Guanajuato. I am in one of the biggest wards in the mission, with some of the best member support. My comp is Elder Lopez, he is from Nicaragua. He has about 6 months in the mission. And my old comp is going to be a secretary in the offices. I am going to miss him.

Anyway that has been my week. Crazy but exciting (on top of being really sick the last couple days...). I am really happy to be in Celaya, which means I will be in the Queretaro mission. I actually got to pass through there today and the city looks really pretty, and huge. My comp seems nice, but he talks really funny and I don’t understand him that well.

Oh and I wanted to share a quote from the president’s wife that is about missionary work but it applies to all things, I really like it. She said ‘Pray like everything depends on the Lord, and work like everything depends on you!’

Well I love you all, I miss you
Elder Utley

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Hey Family!

Sounds like it has been a really fun summer! You are all making me jealous with the boating pictures. I guess everyone is busy, Mary’s birthday is coming up, and with her new job, that is exciting. That is a good summer job. And coop with his soccer, summer games sounds like it was a blast. Tell him to keep working his butt off. 

So to clear up a little confusion, we receive the transfers this coming Sunday, and they happen next Monday. I am excited and not excited too, I know it’s very probable that I get changed and I am starting to really love it here and love the people. We finally have the trust of everyone and we have found like 8 new investigators in the last three weeks. The good thing is I have a great comp and he will keep up the good work. Also we have been in a trio for 4 weeks now, this is our 5th. We are actually covering two areas (which is good a bad, lots of work, not enough time) so when transfers come, Elder Finlay, who got added into our companionship when his comp had to leave, will get a new comp. And we think I will leave and my comp will get a new guy too, so both areas will have a companionship again. And the new missionaries started effecting last transfer, 16 got here with only 3 leaving so they opened like 7 areas, and it should be about the same this transfer as well. 

So this week was awesome. We have worked really hard for the last couple of months and it is slowly building up. Like I said we have found about 8 new investigators in the last 3 weeks, we are still teaching like 6 of them! We completed with the mission standard of excellence with 25 total lessons this week (which is not easy to do, but it counts less actives, investigators, and recent converts). We taught Rosario and she is going to get baptized this Saturday! And she came to church this week again. She is bringing her boyfriend to church but they are not living together right now. We are hoping to get them married soon, and I think he will get baptized with a little time. I really hope it goes through. We also had 13 less actives to church this week! This is a mission high for me. The most we had ever had before was 7. And the church assistance shot up about 20 people this week. It’s really fun to see all the fruits of 4 months of hard work, but like I said the bummer is we are finally seeing results and I think I will get transferred.

We also have a special zone conference this Saturday to say bye to our mission president. He is really great; it’s going to be sad to see him go. And on July first our mission splits, so I will know with these changes which one I will be in. It’s really weird to think I won’t be in the same mission as one of my areas, because I have been in both missions. I will let you guys know next week.

Well that’s about it for this week. I know that the church is true and that it is the only way to be truly happy in this life. I know by living the gospel principle our Father guides and blesses us. I know repentance is a gift, and such a vital part of this life, without repentance the Savior’s sacrifice would mean nothing. That is something we have been focusing in this week. And something I am trying to get better in. I would challenge you all to repent of whatever is necessary this week and go the church next week completely ready to take the sacrament, and have a spiritual experience.

I love you and miss you all

Elder Utley

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Hey Family!

How is everybody? Sounds like a fun week, with trek and all. I remember really loving it, did Mary like it more this time?

Happy Father’s Day dad!!! (I am pretty sure it’s this week right? if not early happy father’s day) Hope that you have a great one. Tell the kids they need to do something extra special for you! Thanks so much for everything you do for me! If it wasn’t for you I know I wouldn’t be where I am today. Love you.

Well the kids didn’t write, tell them to take like 5 minutes when they get on Facebook and write me ha ha. How did coops soccer try outs go?

So this week was a little rough because we were not able to find a lot of people. But the work is going good. It’s kind of hard having two areas to have to work in; they both kind of suffer a little bit. It’s also hard sometimes having 3 in a companionship because there are so many different ideas, but mostly cause its weird teaching in 3. But it’s going really well, we all get along really well and we are working hard and having fun too.

This week we got Rosario to church again, she is ready to be baptized; it’s just a question of when. She finally separated from her boyfriend, which is good, but it’s been hard on her and her daughter. So we haven’t put a baptism date with here yet but it will be soon we hope, she really wants to get baptized and says that she really like going Sundays to the church. We will see how it all goes.

The branch is doing a lot better, the church attendance is slowing going back up, and the leaders are actually starting to work again. We have also found some new investigators, finally, and they have been excited to know that. And to see some of the people we have been able to get to church or get back to church.

Today we also went to Real de Catorce, it’s a little hippie town about an hour from here. It’s really popular with tourists. It was super cool, there was a great view getting there, and then a tunnel about a mile long before you reach the town. The town just has a really cool look to it; I sent a photo that I hope you get. It shows a little of the city. I also bought that sweet jacket thing, and a really cool backpack. It was a fun day.

I know the spirit is real and that we need to do the right things to have it with us, and be in the right places. I know that the spirit leads and guides us and it is so important to keep with us.

Well I love and miss you all. Happy Father’s Day!
Elder Utley

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Wedding, Baptism, Temple

Hey Family!

So how is everyone doing? I haven’t heard from the kids in a while, sounds like they have a little extra time now (hint hint). But sounds like everyone is having a great summer!

So is trek this week? Tell mom and Mary good luck, I loved trek. It will be a good experience. And tell Coop to work his butt off in tryouts. I heard a quote really loved this week that really goes with how I am trying to live my life and tried to live it before as well. They were talking about a motto (saying?) that is “NO REGRETS”. And someone said “There are only two types of pain in this life, the pain of hard work and the pain of regret."  How true that is, hard work is temporary and it pays off, but regret never goes away. 

So this week was definitely one of the best weeks of my mission. I sent a bunch of pictures, I hope you get them. To start on Wednesday morning we had the wedding of Maria Elena and Alberto. They are so happy. It was a little anti-climactic for me because they did it in the government offices and it was basically just reading of their rights as a married couple and signing things, but they were so excited and happy. Alberto came to me after and really thanked me for helping him take that step for his family. Then the next day we had the baptism of Maria Elena. She asked me to baptize here, which was a really cool experience. They are such a great family. The baptism actually went really well; there were a ton of branch members there and a strong spirit. Everyone that was supposed to showed up (late, but they came) and everything just went smoothly. Usually baptims are really stressful but not so much this time. Then after the baptism, the branch didn’t really come through with a party for them but one of the members that helped us with them invited us and them to his house for dinner and cake. It was a good day.

And on Friday night at 1230 we left for the temple in Monterrey. It was about a 5 hour bus ride (in a really uncomfortable bus, but we got there), and needless to say I didn’t sleep much that night. And we got to the city of Monterrey and I was awake, so I got to watch as we came in. It was the coolest city I have seen in Mexico and one of the coolest I have ever seen. It has a ton of mountains and the design is really well done in the city and it is well maintained. Anyway we got there and it was still dark and the temple was lit up which was really cool. Then we had to wait till 9 to go in because another ward just barely beat us there. But that was okay. Yesenia got to go in and do baptisms and she loved it. Unfortunately they have a temple rule that missionaries can’t do baptisms or confirmations there so we didn’t get to help... But we got to do a session, my first one in Spanish. It was really cool, it was exactly the same but I think I paid a little more attention and I learned a lot of things. And then they needed some people to help with sealings cause they didn’t have enough so I got to be a witness at some sealings, it was really cool. And we actually saw 2 brothers get sealed to their parents who are dead. There was a really strong spirit there, I had never seen a sealing before.

Anyway that was basically our week. And we found a couple of new investigators that look really promising. The only bummer is we have changes in 3 weeks and I think I will get changed so I might not be able to see everything through. But it’s been cool to see this area and this branch change from when I got here, things are really picking up and we are seeing a lot of success. 

Well I hope you guys have a great week, and enjoy the pictures. Thanks for sending the pictures of the lake and Mary and Brooke. It’s really fun to get those; they are both growing up really fast.

I love you and miss you
Elder Utley

Hey I forgot to mention we got put in a trio this week. Elder Finlay who lives above us is now part of our companionship. His comp had some problems and had to go to the offices in Léon. So it’s been interesting, it’s a little harder but he is a good kid and works hard. He has like 3 months left in the mission. Anyway that’s kind of weird being in a trio. But it’s the way things go.