Rachael's Mission

Mexico Torreon Mission October 2015 - April 2017

Rachael's Picture

Rachael's Picture

Monday, December 26, 2016

Week 63 (Christmas means "Mas" Christ)

Dear family and friends,

Monday I already told you what we did this day, I think? 

Tuesday we had a normal day in the field.

Wednesday we spent all morning practicing for the choir. Then una Hermana came to do our make-up and hair and get us ready for the show! That night our choir performed in the plaza and considering that only about 10 of the 60 could sing, it actually went really well!  The crowd liked our singing, the tamales and the hot chocolate!  It was a great day!

Thursday was our activity with Presidente. Three zones of missionaries went to the ice skating rink and went ice skating. It was sooooo funny to see all the missionaries on ice trying not to fall. Many held onto the rail for dear life! Jajaja! After that we watched "Civil War" which was awesome!! Great movie!  At the end of the day we ate, took out a Piñata and performed in the talent show! Our talent was the best! 

Friday was the Posada de Barrio with carne asada and cebolla asadas. We brought our investigator Josefina and when she greeted Elder Larson she actually kissed his cheek!! But, I think you can get away with that if you are a grandma! :)

Saturday we had a wonderful comida with the Marquez Familia and then in the night time we went to the Maldonados house with the Elders for Christmas Eve dinner. We made tamales!! Yay! I was finding my inner Mexican!! They were soooo good! We also played a game of Uno Extreme!! So much fun! I won, of course, thanks to my mom who gave me the trait of winning at cards! 

Sunday I went to church and then I talked with my family!!! Yay!!!!

I hope that you all remembered Christ a little more this year. Remember that Christmas is "Mas Christ." "Mas" in Spanish means "more." We can enjoy the gifts but we can never forget the greatest gift that we have ever received or will ever receive. We have to always remember that without this gift we could never return to our Heavenly Father. We could never be clean. We could never forget our past and start over. We could never have our family forever. We could never heal or progress spiritually. Without Jesus Christ we are nothing. Without Him we could never become anything more. We would be stuck eternally where we are now and never have eternal happiness. We must remember him EVERY DAY, not only on Sundays and not only on Christmas. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that you were able to focus a little more on Christ this year!

I love you all!!

Hermana Lutze!









Hermana Lutze finding her "inner Mexican" by making Tamales on Christmas Eve

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Feliz Navidad

Hermana Lutze and the zone sang Christmas songs in the plaza on December 21st. Thanks to the Maldonado familia we have pictures and video of the event.





Hermana Pira and Hermana Lutze







Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 62 (Herding Cats!)

Dear family and friends,

Monday was crazy!! Basically every missionary in the mission had Cambios because 14 Elders and 2 Hermanas arrived! I also got my new companion! She is Hermana Pira! She is from Columbia and she is genial! She is so much fun and laughs a lot which I love! On another note, Hermana Jimenez had the celular today. And que creen! We got in a taxi at the Central Camionera (because we went to go pick up Hermana Santiesteban) and the taxi driver was trying to cheat us out of our money, but we refused to be cheated so he was angry with us. Then when Hna Jimenez got out, she forgot the phone in the taxi! Ah! So we went to look for it. We found the man, found the taxi, but not the phone. :( So we were six hermanas - Hna Jimenez, Hna Mejia, Hna Santiesteban, Hna Lopez, Hna Lutze and Hna Pira without a phone which made everything exciting! ;) We also went to our first practice of the Missionary Christmas Choir. We will be singing Wednesday in the Plaza Mayor! It's going to turn out so good!! I'm excited! Later that night the six of us had a blast together because almost all of them were my companions at one point and I love them so much! It made me so sad to think they were going, but it's okay, because I know that they have marvelous adventures ahead of them!  

Tuesday morning we went to the office to help the Asistentes plan how the choir is going to sing all the songs and hymns on Wednesday, December 21st. They thought that we were just going to sing it....Hahaha! But, very quickly they saw that was boring, so they brought in the best music people and we started planning. I think it will turn out pretty good, but it will be hard considering we only have one week to practice!!!?? The rest of the day was normal and that night we went to the Despedida meal de Hna Jimenez. We ate carne asada with espagueti verde and agua de jamaica! !Que rico!

Wednesday was a normal day. I never remember what happens on Miercoles;)

Thursday we practiced our songs again in the morning and they are coming along, little by little. We had a little time to visit and then we went to Coorelacion Misional which is always great especially with a little pan and te de canela!

Friday was a great day! We were able to visit lots of people, find a whole bunch of new investigators and we also attended Sociedad de Socorro! We did facials! It was so fun to be there with all the hermanas! 

Saturday, que creen, we practiced again! Poco a poco the missionaries are learning the songs. But sometimes, as dad says, it's like herding cats and with 60 missionaries it is like herding 60 wild cats. ;) That evening we found lots of great new people to teach. Now we just need to give them all seguimiento - mucho seguimiento. A funny story - we went to visit our investigator Tomas and Hna Isabel was with us. He asked if we wanted refresco and my companion said yes so he brought the refresco and guess what? It was Coca! The very drink that we can't drink in the mission! So guess who got to drink our coke!? Ding ding ding!!! Hna Isabel!!! Jajajaj! It was so funny because we were pouring all our drink into her cup and  telling her to drink faster!!! 

Domingo, well we had four investigators in church!! Yay!! We are still working with Josefina and Tomas and Hna Lety to be baptized!! We are hoping they will be baptized very soon!!! And, after church, guess what....we went to practice our songs again!! 

Monday we are buying our stuff for the choir performance on Wednesday and in the evening we are going to practice again! Yippee!!

I have been thinking and learning a lot about pride from myself and from other people. I have come to realize many times in the mission that I have pride in different forms. I am learning and understanding more completely that pride is our natural man and I can now truly say and testify that we need to get rid of our natural man or woman if we want to be truly happy in this life. We need to learn to be humble. We have to be more preoccupied about WHAT is right and not WHO. We need to understand that we are not going to be the best at everything and that we can't compare ourselves to others. Salvation is individual. We have to be more preoccupied about what we are doing and how we are improving and progressing. We must be more concerned about doing the will of the Father than the will of our family, friends and acquaintances. The only way that we can be truly humble and get rid of our natural man is to submit our will completely to our Heavenly Father. That doesn't mean we give Him the wheel and say drive my life. It means that we are going to search for what God wants of us and we are going to try to do and be what He wants. We are going to always be anxiously engaged in a good cause and have no desire to do evil only to do good. The only way to kill the natural man is to replace it with something else - something better. Change is the only way to become what the Lord wants of us and I know that sometimes this change is hard but I also know that it is worth it. Change helps us become the Gods and Goddesses that God wants us to be - giving us everlasting happiness and everlasting dominion over all things. But, it starts with each of us stripping ourselves of our pride and submitting to the will of the Father. 

Well, that is my spiritual food for thought. 

I love you all so much!!!

Love,

Hermana Lutze

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Week 62

Querida Hermana Lutze,

We pray daily for your success that you will learn what you need to and touch the lives of those you've been sent to influence. :)

Life here is the usual busy... We did take the kids out on 'dates' Friday night. Dad took Jakob to see the new movie "Rogue One" and then out to eat at Costa Vida while I took Hannah and Natalie out to Zupas and then to see "Sully." We all had a good time.

Hannah finished finals and has been working a little more while Natalie and Jakob are finishing up items at school and continue with their other activities. We attended Natalie's guitar recital on Saturday. She did a great job. They all did. I reorganized the food storage later that day... Yippee! I was missing you-my greater helper and organizer. Natalie stayed as far away as possible. Dad and Jakob did help some. (Hannah's off the hook. She was at work.)

We're looking forward to speaking with you next week. Do you know a time yet?

My thought for the week revolves around miracles. What miracles have you seen on your mission and in your life? I think that's an excellent question to focus on this week prior to the celebration on Sunday of the greatest miracle of all-our Savior. In the Bible Dictionary we read, "Miracles should not be regarded as deviations from the ordinary course of nature so much as manifestations of divine or spiritual power. Some lower law was in each case superseded by the action of a higher. Miracles were and are a response to faith and its best encouragement. They were never wrought without prayer, felt need, and faith." Think of a recent miracle you witnessed and I'm sure you will see that prayer, a felt need, and faith were involved. A few thoughts to ponder this week... Do I limit God's ability to work in my life? I should expect miracles. I should expect His help because His will for us is always good! This is where obedience plays a role. We must be obedient so we can get close enough to Him to recognize and receive that miracle. Our work is to pray in faith and believe in Him. The belief we need to have is that His will is always good for us! In the Miracle of the Feeding of the 5000 we see that we must bring what we have and it will be made enough through the Savior. He will make it more. Gratitude is also an important part of a miracle. We must thank God always when we see His hand in our lives. Are you not willing to do more for someone that has thanked you versus the person that never says those words to you? I'm certain He feels the same way.

I love you! Merry Christmas!

Love,

Mom

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 61 (Are You Still in Awe of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?)

Dear family and friends,

Ahhhhhhh time is going faster I swear!! Wasn't it just yesterday that I emailed you all? I don't even remember what day it is or the date.....nada! Let's see what I can remember from my week.

Monday, I already told you about our adventures in Centro.

Tuesday We had a Zone Conference and it was sooooo good! We talked about charity and being true disciples of Christ. It went so long! We were there from 10 until 5! But it's because everyone had such good comments! (Even the Elderes were crying ;) Mission Accomplished :) And then we went to our comida (which was now dinner). 

Wednesday was another great normal day! 

Thursday Planeamiento de Exito, We taught our investigators and we went to our awesome Coorelacion Misional where we had pancakes with Nutella and Jam de Fresa! Yum!

Friday (no me diga) Well,  the asistants and the zone liders called and told us that everyone had to go to the mission offices to be vaccinated for the Flu. (****cough****) because some people haven't been obedient and haven't received the vaccine. So we went to the Offices and waited to be vaccinated. When our turn arrived we entered the room looking for the doctor or nurse and who did we find..............Presidente Ramos injecting all the missionaries one by one!! jajajajajaja! We asked him where he learned to inject and he told us "In the University with Rats"!!! That did not make me feel better! Jajaja but we received the vacuna and now I am protected. Yay! 

Saturday we went to visit those who we wanted to attend church. We will see how many go on Sunday because we didn't find some of them.

Sunday only 2 investigators went to church. One was Josefina!! Yay!! She is so linda!! And the other was Alejandro. It was his first time and I think he liked it!! Then, in the night time, we had our District meeting (because Monday is Day of the Virgin Guadalupe so we can't be outside too long and especially not at night) and we had the good-bye party with Hna Jimenez (my companion) and Elder Caixba! It was a great party! We made our own scriptures for them and we gave them "new companions" (stuffed animals) and we ate cake! Yay Sunday!

Sorry I don't remember much of what happened this week.  Our time was limited in our area for many reasons. But it was a good week and I know that this week will be even better!! 

Something I really liked in the Zone Conference was our discussion about Elder Uchtdorf's talk on how we need to keep feeling. We need to keep being amazed at the Gospel and not take it for granted. I think that sometimes, as members, we take the gospel, the light we have, the blessings for granted. However, we can't permit this casual attitude to enter into our hearts, our minds and our lives. We can't take these things for granted. We must always be grateful  and in awe of what we have right in front of us. We have a knowledge of our Savior Jesus Christ unlike any other religion. We have a relationship that can be more personal than in any other place. We have a prophet that guides and leads us - helping us stay on the path and protect our families. We have temples where we can receive all the blessings of  eternity and literally return with our families to our Heavenly Father to enjoy everlasting peace and happiness. We are literally children of God and can become like Him, having the same happiness, the same power, the same blessings. We have what we need in this life to be successful, to be happy to receive all the blessings of our Heavenly Father but if we take it for granted we will lose the opportunity to have joy in those blessings and to eventually receive a fullness of joy! We have to keep feeling. We have to keep being amazed at the great glory and mercy and love that our Heavenly Father has for each one of us. If you feel tired or bored of the Gospel, if you feel like it is an everyday thing, I invite you to  try and see the marvelous things that God has given you and the marvelous sacrifices that He has made for you. Look for His hand in your life. 

I invite you all to write 5 blessings down every day and I promise you that the joy you  felt in the past because of the Gospel will return. And if the joy never left, it will only increase. I love you all! I know this church is true, I know God lives and I know that He does perform miracles for us in our lives. We just have to open our eyes. ​

Here is the video we watched. It's in Spanish so if you understand great! If not,.....well still watch it and you will feel the spirit. :)


Hna. Lutze's companion Hna. Jimenez returned home after serving an honorable mission. Hna. Lutze's new companion is Hna. Pira.




Love you all!

Love, 

Hermana Lutze

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Week 61

Querida Hermana Lutze,

We hope you've had a fantastic week. I can't believe Christmas will be here in two weeks. Do you think you'll call us in the afternoon?

We've had another busy week as usual. I visited with Tricia and Suzy on Tuesday. It's been almost a year since the three of us have gotten together. They can't believe you'll be home in April. I know you'll work hard to the end. The last four to six months of my mission were the best! I attended the last few ward RS activities this week. We try to attend their Christmas dinner, cookie exchange... whatever they choose to do. It's always fun to visit with the sisters. Sister Crandall and I helped with the food for a Zone Conference on Wednesday. So much fun to be with the missionaries! They sang us their mission song and it made us cry! :) Dad and I went to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert on Friday with the Crandalls. Rolando Villazon from Mexico City was the featured performer. We decided to stay in Salt Lake. We ate at PF Changs before the concert and then walked to and from our hotel to the Conference Center. It was a very nice evening. We attended the Ward Christmas Party last night. They did the Polar Express theme. Everyone could wear PJs if they wanted and we had breakfast for dinner. 

Hannah has started finals, Natalie is very busy with school and finished up Driver's Ed this week - road. She has to take the on-line test and then she will be ready to get her license in January. Yikes! Jakob is busy with school, indoor soccer, and basketball. He's playing with Ben again on a Rec team.

My thought for the week is around the scripture 2 Nephi 6:13, "Wherefore they that fight against Zion and the covenant people of the Lord shall lick up the dust of their feet; and the people of the Lord shall not be ashamed. For the people of the Lord are they who wait for him; for they still wait for the coming of the Messiah."

I've been pondering what it means to wait for him... What do we do while we wait? If we are truly His people then we will wait for him. I think this ties perfectly into the Parable of the Ten Virgins. This is why we cannot share our oil. The oil is our testimony that is built drop by drop with the fundamental practices of scripture study, prayer, church and temple attendance, etc. We are building our testimony while we wait! This thought of waiting also ties in with the story found in Mark 6 in which the Lord came to the disciples on the water in the 4th watch and he found them   "toiling in rowing." Will we still be found working hard in the 4th watch or will we have given up or slackened off?

Have a great week!

Love,

Mom

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 60 (Suffer Long, Seek Not Your Own, and Bear All Things)

Dear family and friends,

It was a great week this week as usual!

So Monday, as I already told you we went Black Friday shopping at Cuidado con el Perro and I found some great stuff! Everything is so cheap here. I love it!!

Tuesday was our activity with the members entitled "Finding the Chosen Ones" and sadly no one came. However, it's okay because we went to work and found some pretty good investigators that I think will progress with some work :)

Wednesday was a normal day. Really what more can I say :)

Thursday I went for an adventure to immigration 2 months AFTER my visa expired ;) The rest of the day was good. I ate A LOT of food, but I mean A LOT. It's a miracle I'm not engordando here!!

Friday was Consejo de Lideres and it was amazing as usual!! Presidente gave his great presentation. Then we had a gift exchange!! I received Minion Figurines from Elder Huber and I gave a tie and socks to an Elder Arteaga. It was so much fun!!  Then we ate Carne Asada!! Sooooo good! The cake and everything was soooo delicious. 

Saturday we visited the ten people that we wanted to attend church. It was a great day because the young women accompanied us all day!! Yay! Go young women! 

Sunday we had 5 people attend church with us! Yay! That is actually very good! Soon we are going to baptize Josefina, and then Thomas and we hope for one more in December and we have another date for January. Yay! 

Today I went to the Pista de Hielo!! It's free and open on Lunes!! Yay!! We went ice skating with the Hermanas and it was blast! We also went to look for our gifts for the gift exchange on Martes with the Zone.  I had the strangest experience. Today a man got all up in my face and said "Guerrita como apestoso queso!!" and he left. jajajajjajajajaj! He just said "White girl who is like stinky cheese!!" jajajajajaj! I'm sure he meant it as an insult but I was there with Hna Holman and explained what he said and we just DIED of laughter!!!! It was such a strange thing to say! I think he doesn't like Trump too much. 

Well, all in all a good week! This week I learned more about Charity. In Moroni 7:45 we read, "And charity suffereth long... seeketh not her own... beareth all things..." It does not mean we must suffer everything (experience it) to have charity. It means that we must sacrifice ourselves for the other person. If we truly love someone we are going to be willing to sacrifice what we want, sacrifice our time, everything for that person to have success - to grow, to be better. So this week, I have been trying to sacrifice myself more for the people around me - for the missionaries and for my companion. And I have to say it is hard but it is working! I invite you to try it - sacrifice yourselves. Because he who loses his life in the service of God and others will obtain his life in the life to come. And he won't obtain the same life. He will obtain a life that God has prepared for him - a perfect life of happiness, blessings and peace. 

I love you all so much!! But I've gots to go!!!

Love,

Hermana Lutze

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Week 60

Querida Hermana Lutze,

We pray that all is going well for you! I can't believe Christmas is just three weeks away! Life is the usual busy here. We put the smaller flocked tree upstairs this year since the big tree is so heavy and difficult for dad to get down right now. I love it! I went easy on the Christmas decorations so it only took me about 6 hours. :) We did some shopping yesterday as well to donate items to the Road to Home which helps families that can't purchase Christmas. They come to a certain location and they are able to pick out gifts for their family members. They helped over 2000 people last year. I went to a nice RS dinner on Thursday with the 30th ward and had a great visit with Kathy that I visit teach. Dad and I will be attending the Mormon Tabernacle choir next Friday and spending the night in Salt Lake. :)

I just asked if everyone had written you and Jakob said, "What's the point? Can she still read English?" Ha! Ha! 

I've been thinking this week about a couple of things... One is the Parable of the Ten Virgins. I always think of it in conjunction with the Second Coming but I thought of it the other day in terms of when we have trials in life we also need to have oil in our lamps that only we can put there... Scripture study, prayers, temple and church attendance, etc. I was pondering this morning Ether 12:27 about our weaknesses and thinking of humility in relationship to them. The Spirit said, "When you are humble that is when you are the most useful to me!" That is so true! When we are willing to serve however He commands that is when we become the most useful!

Have a great week! I'm assuming it is a little cooler there now. :)

Love you!

Mom

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 59 (We are Created Perfectly Imperfect!)

Dear family and friends,

Wow, I can't believe that it is almost Christmas! Time is going by so fast! This week was another great one!

Monday I already told you what happened! We had another great time in Centro and went "Black Friday" shopping! ;)

Tuesday we had a great Capacitacion de Zona otra vez. We taught them with lots of videos to keep their attention ;) Many of them thanked us, entonces, I think that they felt the spirit and that is always our goal.

Wednesday we went to visit las hermanas en Bermejillo and find our baptism miracles to complete our goal of 10 baptisms for the zone. Sadly we didn't find anyone that could be baptized in November. However, we did find some other good people with some real potential.

Thursday we had Junta con los Asistentes. It was a great meeting. I hope we found some fantastic ideas to help our zone work at top notch performance. That took our entire day and that night we had Corelacion Misional with Hermano Maldonado.

Friday was planeamiento and we visited our investigators. In the noche we had an actividad de Barrio. It was a great activity with the BEST Discada that I have ever eaten in all my time in the mission! Sooooo good. I have to get that recipe for las fiestas en casa! ;)

Saturday in the morning we made the journey to Sam's Club (and it was quite the journey). We finally arrived and selected our cake for Joseph! Yay! Then we went back home and went on splits in order to visit all of our investigators. Then we ran off to the baptism of Joseph!! Yay! Se bautizó! It was a great baptism! He has so much potential to do great things in the church one day! I can't wait to see him grow and change in his faith!

Sunday Joseph was confirmed! Yay! Baptism completed. Sadly only two of our investigators came to church. However, they are the two with baptismal dates, so it's okay! We will work with the others to come to church soon.

Well, I want you all to look up a video entitled "The Butterfly Circus." This video is amazing! I know that all of us were created perfectly imperfect. We have defects and problems so that we can overcome them, so that we can be strong. The greater the challenge, the greater the triumph! I know that each and every one of us is a child of God and that He loves us. He wants to help us! He wants us to become great and to be a light to those around us - to be an example to inspire and lift up the hands that hang down!! Never believe what others think. Always believe in what your Heavenly Father knows you can be! I love you all!

Love,

Hermana Lutze

Here's the link to "The Butterfly Circus." It's about 20 minutes and well worth your time. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p98KAEif3bI

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week 59

Querida Hermana Lutze,

We're so grateful this Thanksgiving season for your service to the Lord. We will be in Colorado over Christmas so you should be able to say Hi to Mama Carol and Papa Fred as well. :) Bob and Alexandra had their baby on November 22nd. They named her Amber Samara Lutze. Ryan and Sharon's new baby, Karden, was born on Grandma's birthday-November 21st.

We spent most of the week with family. Wednesday we met up with the Cronins, Weights and Millers at Seven Peaks. We played laser tag a couple of times. The kids played arcade games and climbed the rock wall as well. Thursday we spent with the Russells and Fuhrimans. We only had 14 pies this year- disappointing but still delicious. Sonia's key lime pie and my coconut were both a huge hit. (Hannah saved a piece of key lime in the freezer for you.) Everyone did the polar bear plunge into the pool between dinner and pies. I was very glad to video the whole thing and not be jumping in. Brrr! If you're allowed to watch a youtube video here's the link: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95Ly4V4X4u4  

We went up Friday to Papa's to spend time with the Weights and Cronins. We went to see the new movie Fantastic Beasts. You'll definitely have to watch it when you get home. We're making a list for you. The kids went to the temple on Saturday and then Marissa and Hannah spent the rest of the weekend with us. They watched Unitards Saturday night. Now it's back to work and school!!! There's lots to be done this week.

I'm slowly reading all of the conference talks. I just read "Be Ambitious for Christ" and thought of you. He remarked, "I am proud not only of Elder Cowan but also of all the missionaries throughout the world who serve willingly without murmuring or complaining. Thank you, elders and sisters, for your faith, your focus, and your strong ambition for Christ." I also read "For Our Spiritual Development and Learning" this week. He quoted President Uchtdorf, "When... missionaries have faith in Jesus Christ, he said, "they will trust the Lord enough to follow hIs commandments-even when they do not completely understand the reasons for them. Their faith will be manifest through diligence and through work." Of course I also thought about you as read this statement.

Keep up the hard work until the end and you will be greatly rewarded. 

Love,

Mom

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 58 (What Does the Sacrament Mean to You?)

Dear family and friends,

I can't believe it's Monday!! It's crazy!! Time is going by way too fast! All the people I thought would never leave the mission are now going home in December! Ah! Now I'm the viejita in the mission! ;). I thought this day would never come, but it has come and faster than I ever thought it would.

Let's take a look at my week. 

Monday was a great day as usual. We had a fantastic Reunion de Distrito and that is about it.

Tuesday I left my area to start my 48 hours of Intercambios! Woo hard core! ;) I went with Hermana Hernandez a Sarabia. I slept on the worst bed I've ever seen. It was like a hammock ;) Hermana Santiesteban warned me her bed was terrible, but I didn't think it would be that, bad but it was ;) She is working on changing it. It was a great intercambio!! We had some amazing miracles happen! People accepted baptismal dates and members visiting their families gave us references de oro! I hope they have so much success in their area!

Wednesday I finished my intercambio with Hermana Hernandez and we met up with our compañeras and with las hermanas de Alamos. Then I went with Hermana Palacios a Alamos for intercambio 2! It was so much fun to be in my old area again! We found some great people, taught them, and had a blast working together! I ate the biggest burrito I have ever seen in me life! It was more than a foot long and filled with so many wonderful guisos! Great day!

Thursday I got to say goodbye to Hermana Dobali. She is leaving Mexico to go live in Las Vegas. So I can  now visit her more easily once I am in casa ;). She is an amazing person and a great example to me in so many ways! I finally returned to my area and felt like I now have no idea what is going on, but that is what companions are for-to guide you along. ;)

Friday we spent the day working on a great capacitacion to help our zone work more efficiently and to baptize every month so we can reach the baptism goal for our zone. We are working so hard to reach our goal!! We will do our part and then it is up to the missionaries to apply what we teach and suggest.

Saturday was a great day! We passed by all our investigators that we want to go to church tomorrow and they said they are going to come! Yay! We also went to the baptism of Lizeth (de los Lideres de Zona).  All in all great day.

Sunday we went for our investigators and 5 of them came. Yay!!! Joseph will be baptized next week. Thomas will be baptized the first week of December! (He is our miracle!! He didn't believe in God, but now he believes in God and believes that this truly is the true church of God! Yay!!) We also have a couple of other people who could be baptize in December!! Yay!! I'm dreaming of a white Christmas! ;) 

Monday  Today has also been great! We cleaned the house because the Hermanas are coming to sleep over and we went to Centro! We went "Buen Fin" shopping (It's their version of black Friday in which they just raise the price a couple weeks before and drop it again so it really isn't a bargain ;) ) We bought some more stuff and ate pizza and had a blast with Yaqui, Nadia y Jenni!

This week I have been thinking a lot about the sacrament. Sometimes I wonder if we really understand the significance of the little piece of pan and the little cup of water. Sometimes we are like the child from last week who asked "What other food are they going to give?" looking at it as only food - a little refreshment in Sacrament meeting. Do we look at the Sacrament for what it really is -the great atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Savior? We are so blessed with the opportunity to have that time to remember the Savior, His great sacrifice and obedience. The bread which represents his body helps us remember that he gave His life to save us, to teach us and show us the way. Everything He did was to glorify the Father and to bring salvation unto us. The water which represents his blood was shed for us to help us remember the suffering He went through for our sins, our mistakes, our, pride, our natural man. Remember that His love was so great for each and every one of us that He was willing to give every drop of blood if it were necessary. Remember that even though He knew this would be the most agonizing thing He would ever do, He submitted to the will of the Father without complaint, without doubt, only filled with faith, hope and charity for us. Every time we participate in the Sacrament we are pushing the restart button on our lives, if we have repented of what we have done. Every week we can be better, more holy, more pure, more fit for His kingdom. As members of the church we can't take this ordinance for granted. We have to partake of it every week and PREPARE to partake of it every week. We can't make ourselves dirty saying, later I will just take the Sacrament and be clean again.....it doesn't work like that. WE have to make the changes in our lives and the Lord will erase the wrong doing in our lives. He will stand as our advocate before the Father. We have to do as Christ says and take up our cross and follow Him. Salvation is not a cheap or easy experience. It will take work, faith, diligence, and hope. But, if each week we are improving that is all the Savior asks. He wants us to use His sacrifice in our lives - to help us reach salvation. 

I invite you all to think more about the great sacrifice that Christ performed for us. To really try to comprehend it and when you comprehend it that is when you will truly start to LOVE the Savior and create an everlasting relationship with Him.

I love you all so much!!

Love,

Hermana Lutze

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Week 58

Querida Hermana Lutze,

We hope you've had a great week serving the Lord. I've been busy with work and my calling this week among other things. We had our first snowstorm of the season on Tuesday. The wreath on the front door ended up over against the fence by the garden. That's how windy it was! :) I was surprised to find it. I thought it had blown down the street and was gone forever. We're gearing up for Thanksgiving this week. The Cronins came into town today and the Weights will be here Tuesday or Wednesday. Sonia and I went to a workshop Thursday evening on anxiety and depression. It was really good. I wore your brown boots! I love borrowing from my kids! Thanks! 

Hannah is busy as every with school. She won't have much of a break over Thanksgiving. Natalie, under much duress, went to Young Women's in Excellence on Tuesday. She participated in a dance with the other Mia Maids and was quite good. She told Dad that she was actually glad she went. Of course she'll never admit that to me. ;) Jakob has been gone all day to Space Camp at Renaissance. I'm excited to hear how it went. He was supposed to stay until 3 and asked if he could stay for the second one so he and Ben must be enjoying it.

The New Testament class on Thursday was good and thought provoking as usual. We talked about the importance of humility, gratitude, and generosity. I'd never thought about how great it is to have Thanksgiving before Christmas because it prepares us to be grateful for the Savior. We read the parable in Luke 14 beginning in verse 7 about how those invited to a wedding chose the chief rooms... We talked about how humility isn't thinking less of ourselves but thinking less about ourselves. We should always go to the lowest room because then we will see people differently. We must remember that we can learn from anyone! When we go to the lowest rooms there is always the possibility we will be invited to a higher room while if we go to the highest room first we might be asked to go to a lower room. How embarrassing and awkward that would be!

I love you and hope you have a great week!

Love,

Mom

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 57 (Don't Be Stagnant Water!)

Dear family and friends,

Wow, another week is gone by like the wind. I can't believe that it is almost Christmas! This year has gone by so fast!

So this week was amazing!

Monday as I told you last week, we had our Actividad de Zona! It was so much fun!! Missionary activities are the best! And I'm not just saying that because I planned it (although that does help a bit). That night we ate Sushi with the Hermanas in the Ranchitos. They spent the night so they could go to the Capacitacion the next day. The sushi was delicious!! Of course they always find a way to make the food spicy, so it was more like Mexican Sushi ;). 

Tuesday we held our capacitacion with our Zone - teaching them what we learned in Consejo de Lideres. It went really well. I think they felt the Spirit and learned what they needed to learn. 

Miercoles I don't even know what we did this day. I know that we left the house and talked to strangers and preached the gospel but that is about it.

Thursday we had another Capacitacion but this time with Presidente. The title was "Sed de Buen Animo, es un hombre de Fe". It was AMAZING! It was a great capacitacion about being positive and of good courage. It was very inspired. He explained that if we don't believe in a better world or (he gave the example not us) if you don't believe you can get married and have a good relationship, you are a man (or woman) without faith. With faith there is no fear only trust, with faith there is no doubt only hope. We all have to truly learn to be of good courage if we are going to endure to the end in this world that is ripening in wickedness each day. 

We also got lost on the buses. One of our companions told us what bus we could take home and it took us to the end of civilization. Then the driver told us that this was the end of the line and we had to get off!? So we were stranded in the hills, who knows where, very, very far from home. It was quite the adventure, but all good missionaries know how to ask strangers for directions and that is what we did. We arrived home about 2 1/2 hours later than we planned ;) 

Friday was another great day! We went to see Escarlet and she is still thrilled to be learning of the gospel. She is trying so hard to do everything right for sus hijos. She is sooo going to get baptized in Diciembre! We also met her brother this day and he has a lot of questions about the restoration! I hope we can baptize him as well. Then we felt like we should go visit Thomas, even though he usually doesn't arrive until Saturday. We went and he was there! We talked and he said that he was praying we would come because is is going to leave Saturday in the morning! Woohoo! Prayer answered. Check.  He is still firm in his desire to be baptized! He will be baptized on 26 of November. After that we visited a contacto ... Susana. She is from Oaxaca and lives with her 3 kids. The only problem is that she only speaks Triqui and a little bit of Spanish! Jajaja! So I guess I will have to learn Triqui to talk with her ;) Her kids help us translate. She is a very good investigator. I hope we can help her learn the gospel and receive this joy and blessing in her life. 

Saturday we went on splits for part of the morning. However, my morning was spent using my first aid skills to help a woman that was having sporadic epilepsy attacks. They were trying to put pencils in her mouth to keep her from biting her tongue........uh no. We helped her until the Red Cross came and then we slipped out of sight unseen and unheard of again ;). After that adventure, the day was a normal day. We went  to prepare our investigators for church the next day.

Sunday well the day arrived, game day. We went for our investigators and almost all of them came!! Yay!! We had 6 investigators at church! We would have had 8 but Thomas and Escarlet couldn't come. It was still a great day!! We have 4 baptismal dates! 2 for Nov and 2 for Dec! We hope to have 3 for December! The rest of the day was normal. Sundays are one of my least favorite days to proselyte because not many accept us and the people we find are almost all drunk. However, we did find some good people that could progress! 

Monday It was a good Monday! We studied and went to a member's house to make crepes. Then for la comida we made Gorditas! (I got to make gorditas and flour tortillas!!) Yay!! I am now Pura Mexicana! ;)

Something that I really liked from the last capacitacion was an example that Presidente gave. In our mission, when it rains, it floods and the water has no where to go so there is a lot of stagnant water in the streets. No me diga - this water starts to grow every bacteria known to man and starts to stink really, really bad. Whereas a river doesn't have that problem because it is continually moving. In life we have to be continually moving, continually changing and progressing. If not we are like the stagnant water and we will begin to "rot" or become spiritually weak and regress in our progress. It is interesting to see how water - a substance that heals, a substance that is good for our body can become something harmful. In our lives, if we are not progressing, we are becoming stagnant and harmful to ourselves. Maybe we are praying, but not praying sincerely or with great thought and faith. Or we are reading the scriptures but not taking the time to actually study the scriptures. We have to be constantly changing and moving forward towards our goals and our Heavenly Father so that we can receive our blessings and happiness. We can't stay where we are and think we are fine and we certainly can't return to where we have come from. So I invite you all to keep changing, keep growing because what doesn't grow, dies. Look at your lives and look for ways to grow and be better and be closer to your Heavenly Father. 

Love you all!

Love,

Hermana Lutze









Sunday, November 13, 2016

Week 57

Querida Hermana Lutze,

Espero que tenia una semana buena! Life here is the usual crazy! I was involved in some important meetings at work for nurse workflow in the new building. That took up a good part of my week. 

Hannah had an appt with the pulmonologist this week... still trying to figure out her breathing and chest pain. She had a CT angio of her chest on Friday and some blood drawn. We'll see what that shows. The next step will be an echo of her heart and checking out her gallbladder. We hope to get some answers this week or next. She scored a 93 on her Human Development exam. I was so happy for her. I fasted for her last Sunday and put her name on the prayer roll at the temple on Friday while we were there. 

Natalie played for the YW and YM today in Sacrament meeting while they sang for the ward. She did a fantastic job. She's so AWESOME! She has YW in Excellence this coming week. 

Jakob sang in the choir, attended soccer practice this week and worked hard in school. 

Dad and I went to some other MD appts since we've hit our deductible for the year. He went to see Dr. Hoopes about his ankles. Dr. Hoopes told him that looking at the x-rays of his ankles he expected to see him come in the office in a wheelchair. Apparently Dad has almost no cartilage in his ankles. We are going to try some orthotics to help slow down the friction in the joint and push surgery off. Dad will eventually need his ankles fused. I went to the dermatologist to have some warts on my hands and feet removed and a lesion behind my knee. So much fun!!!! :)

A couple of things I've been thinking about this week...

I've been reading conference talks and I love Elder Hales talk "Come, Follow Me" by Practicing Christian Love and Service. The part that struck me the most was this "Remember, God's power to influence us righteously is His love. "We love him, because he first loved us." This is so true for us as well. We have the most influence over others through love!

The other thought I've been ponder is ministering to the 'one'! A sister in the 43rd ward shared a story about her mom who was expecting and couldn't pick up her two year old. They were flying home and were delayed unexpectedly in an airport. President Kimball (whom she did not know by sight back then) came along and saw the distress she was in. He picked up the two year old (soaked in urine) and held her until she fell asleep (He was in a suit) and then got them both on the next flight out. Here's a prophet of God showing how to minister to the 'one' by listening to the promptings of the spirit and then acting on them.

I hope you have a fantastic week!

Love,

Mom

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 56 (Hope for a Better World)

Dear family and friends,

Well, this week went by soooooo soooooo fast!! We didn't even have time to do anything!

Monday was my birthday! Yay!!!! We went to Centro to work out all the Cambios and then mi hermana y yo and other hermanas went to eat Sushi! So good!! Later in Reunion de Distrito my companion had a surprise party waiting for me. We ate lots of cake and took scary pictures ;) After the reunion we went to another member's house and ate more cake. And then we went to the Family Maldonado's house and ate MORE cake! No me diga! It was a miracle I didn't gain 10 pounds that night! But it was truly a great night! I'm so grateful to these wonderful members that think of the missionaries so much :). 

Tuesday we didn't do much. We went to Centro to check out Playeras for the Actividad de Zona.

Wednesday we went back to centro in the morning to actually buy the Playeras. They are sweet! They are orange and grey and black and from Bayern Munech! In the afternoon we worked a lot.

Thursday we gave a capacitacion to our lideres de zona. Then we went to give service to the family Maldonado who are changing homes (basically my first service project in the mission because no one lets us help them here). There new house is awesome!! I can't wait for Navidad y Nuevo Año! :) 

Friday we had Consejo de Lideres! It was the most amazing consejo!! The spirit was so strong and it was truly what I needed in that moment! I wish I could share everything we learned but that would take hours. I truly know that our mission president, his wife and the assistants really do receive revelation for us. After the consejo, we ate dinner, of course. We had the most delicious Tacos al pastor con salsa verde y verdura!!! Tan tan tan rico!! I have to learn to make this food. It's so good!

Saturday  we searched for all our investigators to go to church with us. By the end of the day, we had five that said they were going to attend church with us. We will see how it goes!! 

Sunday only one investigator arrived. It was sad. However, our fechas for Noviembre are still fine and the person that went to church with us will be for Diciembre!! Yay! No me diga! It was so funny-our investigator has two kids and after they had passed the sacrament, they asked what other food they were going to give us!! They asked if they were now going to give them milk!!!jajajajajajajaja!!!! It was the cutest thing I have ever heard!!!!! I was trying so hard not to laugh during the sacrament!!! 

Monday  we had another awesome actividad de zona!! We played more games such as kick the can, capture the flag and more minute to win it games and basketball. I think they had a fun time - la verdad :) 

Something that I really liked about the Consejo de Lideres was the attribute that Hna Ramos spoke about - Esperanza. She talked about how you can't have hope without faith. We first have to show our faith by actions and that is when we can have this hope for things to come. One of the greatest problems here in Mexico and probably in the lives of all is hope. Here many don't believe that they can be successful, that they can get out of impoverishment, that they can change their lives, change their families. They just conform to how their life is and that is it.  But that is not what God wants. He knows our lives are hard, but he doesn't want us to just accept it. He wants us to have faith, and hope - a hope of a better world! He wants us to act to achieve our dreams. He expects us to take our life and make it better, to have a vision of where we want to go and get their by faith. We were born to act and not to be acted upon. We must control the circumstances and not let the circumstances control us. Hope is an attribute that is so very important for  all of us.

Ether 12:4 "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."

This is one of my favorite scriptures! It says that we can have this hope of a better world and this hope cometh from our faith and gives us an anchor so that we will not be tossed upon the waves, that we may be steadfast and immovable. And this anchor SHOULD lead us to be always abounding in good works, always doing the will of our Heavenly Father so we can make this hope, this better world, this dream a reality. We can all have the world that we dream of if we are willing to trust God, do what He asks, work, and have this hope. 

My invitation this week is that you can all meditate on what your dream and vision for your life is, make a plan, and work for your better world that God has waiting for you all!!

I love you all so much!!

Con amor!

Hermana Lutze




Hermana Lutze's Minion Pinata (Happy Birthday!)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Week 56

Querida Hermana Lutze,

It was so great to hear you speaking Spanish and teasing your companion! We enjoyed watching the videos that Hermano Maldonado sent us. I hope you had a very Happy Birthday! Did you get your presents?

This week has been the usual busy...I charged on Wednesday and taught Blended Learning on Thursday and finished the week with a conference on Friday. I definitely had overtime! I went out with Lisa for her birthday on your birthday. We went to Kneader's. 

Aubrey had her baby on your birthday at about the same time you were born! I was able to hold Kate on Wednesday! She's so stinkin' cute! I can't wait to be a Grandma! However, I can wait until the time is right. ;)

Hannah came home again this weekend. She's been studying most of today for her two tests this week.

Natalie's busy with school and seminary. She's still hanging in there with guitar and piano.

Jakob went Trick or Treating on Monday. I told him this was his last year. He went with Matt and they were only out for just over 2 hours. I thought they would stay out longer. He starts indoor practice this next week. He still seems to love this soccer team.

I loved both of President Uchtdorf's talks this year. The following is a quote from his Saturday morning talk "O How Great the Plan of Our God!" "But I have confidence that we will not only be satisfied with the judgment of God; we will also be astonished and overwhelmed by His infinite grace,mercy, generosity, and love for us, His children. If our desires and works are good, if we have faith in a living God, then we can look forward to what Moroni called "the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge... Does it not fill us with unspeakable joy to know of the glorious future that is prepared for all who wait upon the Lord?"

I'm so grateful you have this opportunity to share the 'good news' - the joy of the gospel with the people of Mexico!

Love you!

Mom

Monday, October 31, 2016

Feliz Cumpleanos Hermana Lutze!

The Maldonado family asked if we would like to send a video to Hermana Lutze for her birthday. We sent this Saturday evening:


Below is the conversation after she watched our video.

Familia  Maldonado:

  • Ella esta muy feliz de verles.
  • Mas tarde le mando mas fotos y video.

Familia Lutze: Muy bien. Muchas gracias!




Familia  Maldonado: La manda un saludo. Ella esta muy feliz!




Familia  Maldonado: 

  • Buenas noches
  • Hna Lutze vio su video. Lloro fue la emocion de verlos, especialment a si papa. Ella creia que el video habia sido antes del infarto de su papa. Le explique que lo habian mandado el sabado por la noche y al ver a su papa cantando le dio much gusto.
  • Quiere le envie ese video?


Familia Lutze: Si por favor!

Familia Maldonado: 

  • La vera llorar pero despues nos dijo era de gusto al ver a su papa bien
  • Estoy editando el video que es muy grande

Primera parte


Va la segunda


Familia Maldonado:

  • Tuve que editar porque era muy grande. Va en dos partes.
  • La veran llorar pero fue de alegria sobre todo vera su papi bien.
  • Nos hizo llorar a todos
  • Tiene un espiritu grandioso
  • Felicidades familia

Familia Lutze: Gracias! Estamos agradecidos por su familia y como se cuida a los misioneros!

Familia Maldonado:

  • Es una bendicion tener Angeles como la Hna. Lutze en casa
  • Los felicito familia Lutze, tienen un Angel de un corazon gigante sirviendo en tierras Lamanitas 
  • No les conocernos pero les amamos como hermanos hijos del mismo Dios!

Familia Lutze: Nos sentimos de la misma manera! Gracias por compartir su cumpleanos con nosostros! Fue la mejor parte de nuestra semana!

Familia Maldonado:

  • Un abrazo fraternal
  • Nuetras oraciones especialment por su esposo

Week 55 (Happy Birthday Hermana Lutze!)

Dear family and friends,

Well this week was alright. We were a little short on time with some cosillas that we had to do, but over all it was a good week. 

Martes we had another awesome capacitacion!! We made another inspiring video for our Zone! They loved it!  That evening las hermanas de los ranchitos stayed because the next day we had interviews with Presidente. So, we, of course, took advantage of the opportunity and went on divisions! Great day! Then, of course, we had a mini fiesta con las hermanas. What do you expect to happen when you have 6 hermanas in your home? ;)

Miercoles we had our interviews with Presidente. They were great as usual and mine was a direct, clear and powerful interview as always. I think I set a new record of 3 minutes. Good long day.

Jueves, well we had planeamiento. Yay! At first I didn't like planeamiento semanal, but with time in the mission, I now see how important and useful it is and now I love it! We also found an amazing investigator who already wants to go to church and be baptized!!! Wow!! That never happens! Hurry prepare the baptismal font!!

Viernes we met with the Lideres de Zona to plan our capacitacion for the Lideres de Distrito. We talked with them about how we can improve as liders and it was a good chat. Then in the afternoon we had a great lesson with Karina!! She just felt tingles and goosebumps all over when we taught her about the restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith!! I think another baptism soon!! Yaya! Then we went to the actividad for Relief Society with Caro and mutual with Joseph.  It was a good day!

Sabado was another great day!! We visited with our investigators and recent converts with the best part of this day being the food!! We had a carne asado!! O yah.....they know how to do a good barbecue! We had carne asada, salchichas, and quesadillas with guacamole and salsa. All the good stuff!! Today we also had a crazy man attack us verbally. He started out with " Jesus is love. He loves everyone." and then he began to say "The Mormons are liars and are wrong. They are the worst. There are no prophets in modern day. Joseph Smith is a fool." I almost turned to him to ask "And where is the love of Christ? How is it that you show the love of Christ by attacking us?" But it wasn't even worth it. My companion just replied, "No, no, Mormons are the best!" ;). Oh these people that don't even understand what they are doing. I sure hope they accept the gospel before it is too late and we are all in el juicio. 

Sunday was mas o menos. Sadly el chamoco intervened in the lives of our investigators and they couldn't attend church. Only one came. However, this one investigator is the chosen one for November! We were sitting in church with him when suddenly he turned to us and said. I AM going to be baptized in your church. However I want you to explain to me my responsibilities and commitments that I will have as a member. :) Wow!!! He has always said that he will probably get baptized but never really accepted his baptismal date. He was working on his answer. He said he just needs to be 51% sure and he will be baptized. Today we gained that 1% !!!!! Woo hoo!!! He is going to be baptized!!! It is a miracle!!! He is our investigator that didn't believe in God and now believes in God!!! Yay!!!!!  

Well, I'm sorry I don't have more time to write a big spiritual thought. I only want to testify to you today that specific prayers, obedience and fasting bring miracles. Not only in my mission but in my family. And I know that I am not here to just bless the lives of these people but also my life, the life of my family, and my future family. So onward and upward for the next 6 months. Here we go!!

I love you all so much!!! Cuidense!! 

Love,

Hermana Lutze










Sunday, October 30, 2016

Week 55

Querida Hermana Lutze,

FELIZ CUMPLEANOS! We hope you have a wonderful birthday! We love you! (It's nice that it fell on P-Day!)

I just want you to know how grateful we are as a family for your faithful and diligent service as a missionary for your Savior Jesus Christ. How did everything go on Tuesday? I hope you've had a great week. It was an unusually crazy week that I'll tell you more about when you get on tomorrow. Bottom line we received so many tender mercies last week! 

Hannah is working hard in school. We saw her and Marissa again this weekend. They came over Friday night and stayed until late Saturday. Guess whose wash I did when she came home? Sound familiar? Natalie finished range this week and has road left before getting her driver's license in January. Jakob got his braces off on Tuesday. He looks great and of course had a grin from ear to ear. He's the only one going trick or treating tomorrow and it will be his last year. 

I've thought a lot this week about the service others render to us... I was reminded that we just need to act... not ask what we can do for them but just do! I had a flat tire among other issues this week. I called Michelle Howell and asked if Trent could come over and put the spare on while I was gone. She not only offered that but took the car down and picked it up when they finished putting a new tire on. I'll have to show you what was in the tire. It's really an unbelievable story in an incredibly difficult week. I decided to keep it to remind me of the way I want to serve others! In order to serve others in this way we must have the spirit with us to guide us and direct us to what is truly important-to be His hands. 

I love you!

Have a great week!

Mom