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

No comments:

Post a Comment