Rachael's Mission

Mexico Torreon Mission October 2015 - April 2017

Rachael's Picture

Rachael's Picture

Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 20 (Are You Growing Your Own Tree of Life?)

Dear family and friends,

Well this week flew by! And we had the most amazing experience in the history of experiences! But I will save that for a little later. Hermana Santiesteban is from Chiapas, Mexico.

Monday: We went to the chapel in Guardiana for our district meeting. The ride was spectacular! We passed fountains and old fashioned buildings! I felt like I was getting a taste of Europe! One day I will get there for reals :). Anyway, it was beautiful!

Tuesday: We talked with this old man and shared some of the gospel with him. But he didn't want to listen, so he said "No" and went on his merry way. As he walked away we saw him sneeze and he sneezed out his DENTURES! It was probably the funniest thing I have ever seen! Then he picked them up and popped them back in! Oh dear, we tried so hard not to laugh.........but it was inevitable! Later we encountered another man that was so downhearted and sad. We talked to him. It is amazing how fast people just open up and spill out all their life problems to us. I think there is something about us that says they can trust us. We talked with him and shared a scripture and he left so much happier! It made us happy! I felt like a true disciple of Christ-comforting those in need of comfort and lifting the hands that hang down. I hope I can always be that light and hope in the lives of others!

Wednesday: This was a good day! We encountered so many great new investigtors! It is so amazing how the Lord softens their hearts while we talk to them. And how he puts us in the path of old investigators! I am so amazed at how the Lord works!

Thursday: We literally encountered every Jehovah Witness that lives here! Every contact was a JW! But it was fine, we didn't contend but simply bore our testimonies. So sad for what they are missing out on. We also contacted this guy that works in a Carneceria. All he did was stare deeply into my eyes.......AWKWARD! Then he told me how beautiful I was.......tha thank you? I was so  surprised. If it is even possible I get EVEN MORE attention here than I did in Gomez! Lots of comments and whistles. Lovely. Life of a guerrita.

Friday: We contacted a man se llama Carlos. He is a great new investigator! I hope we can teach him and his family soon. We were passing by and he called out to us and we went over. It turns out he was drunk. He said his name was Hercules and then Nemo and I don't even remember the other names! Then he kept telling us to not discriminate against people! Hilarious! Don't drink, it will take away your self control.

Saturday: It has been rainy here so not a ton of people to contact in the streets but we still made some good contacts. That night we saw a woman on the corner. We went to talk to her. We asked her "Podemos ayudarle ahora con algo?" Can we help you with something right now? She asked if we could pray for her who is sick? We asked who? Then she just began to walk away......uh ok? So we followed her to her house and encountered her daughter who is pregnant and very ill. We called a priesthood holder to give her a blessing. Then we found out that they are actually members but inactive for 22 years!? Wow, the Lord, really loves them to put them in our path again!

Sunday: Now here is where the crazy part comes in! So we went to check on Nora (sick pregnant daughter) in the night. While we sat there talking they began to ask us how we knew Nora's name and knew that she was sick?! Well we had absolutely no idea! However when we talked to the mom last night on the corner she heard us ask,  "Can we do anything to help Nora?" Well, we didn't say that, but the Lord changed the sound and made her hear that! Also, she said she thought we were the Jehovah Witnesses she has been talking to!? The Lord disguised us to look like the Jehovah Witnesses because we were literally standing right next to her! She should have been able to tell that we were not them! It was so cool! I felt like Nephi dressed as Laban! And that is why she let us into her house. It was only once we were inside that she saw that we were from her old church! There are so many signs telling them to come back to the church! I hope they pay attention! They were so in awe with us and what happened!! I was so grateful to the Lord! I was able to see how we were LITERALLY INSTRUMENTS IN HIS HANDS! The most amazing experience! The Lord works in mysterious ways!

I read something I really liked this week in Alma 31. Alma was talking about the Zoramites and how they were so wicked and their religion was so perverted. They worshipped their God on the Sabbath and then left and spoke of him no more. I often ask this question: Are we Sabbath Day Mormons or Everyday Mormons? Hopefully we are the latter. No good or growth can come of Sabbath Day Mormons. We need to be Everyday Mormons especially in these latter days! We cannot afford to be that weak and vulnerable during the week! We need to learn and put in our hearts that this is not just a religion or a church. This is a culture-a way of life. There is no separation between life and religion and life and church. They should be one. We should be the same person in church and throughout the week! The reason this is so important is because of the other thing I learned. I learned that we GROW OUR OWN TREES OF LIFE. We are all given a seed of the tree of life. However, we all have to grow our own. We can't pick the fruit from someone else's tree and no one else can care for our tree like we can. Each of us has to give nutrients and love and attention to this tree. And not just one day of the week (because the tree will die) but every single day of our lives! Plants are hard and there are many things that will easily kill them (just ask my mom). If we are not careful something may creep into our garden and destroy our tree in only a day! So please, guard your tree, care for it every day with the little things-prayer, scripture study, church, service and you will see this tree grow to be large and beautiful and one day you will reap the harvest thereof which fruit is the whitest and most delicious above all fruit! The fruit of Eternal Life!

I love you all! Hope you are all well and loving life!


Hermana Lutze

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Week 20

Querida Hermana Lutze,

Gracias por tus buenas noticias la semana pasada. Ojala todo anda bien esta semana tambien!

I'm so grateful that you've been blessed with incredible companions. Where is Hermana Santiesteban from? How long has she been out on the mission? I will pray that you get your package this week. Hopefully it still tastes good. There's one thing in it that is not edible. Were you able to fix your watch? Do you need to go buy a new one? 

Your time with Elder Oaks sounded wonderful! I'm so glad you received that opportunity. I know you will never forget it. We sang "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" in our Stake Women's Conference yesterday. The spirit as we sang together was glorious. Some of the people you found last week seem like they are golden. I hope this week went well with them. I laughed when I read your story about Hermana Gloria! The Lord works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform! 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the Holy Ghost. When I read it... I thought did she read my talk for Stake Women's Conference? I'm amazed at how similar our thoughts often are in a week's period of time!

Life here continues busy... (I know what you're thinking... I've never seen you not busy Mom!) It's true but it's the best way to be! I only worked two days last week and spent the other three on projects here at the house. I finished up my talk for yesterday. It went really well. The Spirit was present and teaching! We received numerous positive comments and compliments. It was so worth the work and the effort. I'm grateful for the experience of receiving personal revelation line upon line and precept upon precept... We had 260 sisters present. I know it was a result of our fasting and prayer the previous Sunday! I was able to lead a good discussion/talk with incredible comments from the sisters. Sister Crandall and President Lyman gave incredible talks as well. Today I will be attending the 28th ward for their Ward Conference. I'll be doing a great deal of that in the upcoming months! Some of that will include teaching a Relief Society lesson about the Sabbath day and/or bearing testimony in Sacrament meeting!

Hannah continues to work and go to school. She's really 'trunky." She so wants to be done with school. I have to keep telling her to keep her grades up... endure to the end... She's trying to decide which school to attend in the fall. Thanks for telling her to make it a matter of prayer. I took her and Natalie out to JCWs on Friday. We surprised Natalie. She loved it! Miracle of all miracles she was working on her Personal Progress when I came home from the Women's meeting yesterday! She must really want dad's S5 now that he has an i-phone through work. Hey, whatever works. I'm just glad to see her working on it. Oh, Hannah also passed her Civics test with a 100% that I've been trying to get her to take all month long. She can now officially graduate! :) Jakob and I went out for lunch on Thursday since he was home early for SEPs. We had Whistle Wok and then watched The Avengers together. I didn't quite finish it all, so I could take Natalie to volunteering and go the temple on the way back. I LOVE initiatories. The words give me such hope. Dad and I went to the Hale Theater Saturday afternoon to "The Pirate Queen" and then we ate at Freddy's afterwards.



I know this is really long but it was all so GOOD!

In Emily's class this week the following stood out to me:


2 Chronicles 17:1-13 

Jehoshaphat's characteristics...
Strengthened himself
Walked in the ways of David
His people only worshiped God
Sought the Lord
Kept the commandments
Heart lifted to God
Took the word of God to the people in cities around his own - missionaries
The people loved him and gave him gifts, but he wasn’t swayed by the gifts
Listened to the prophets
Read the scriptures

Can people like this make mistakes? Of course they can and he does... He aligns himself with Ahab (the most wicked king ever) and goes to battle even though Micaiah the prophet told him that if went to battle he wouldn't be coming back.The prophet told Jehoshaphat the he made a mistake aligning with Ahab, nevertheless, there is good in him. There will be consequences, but God is still on your side.When he was approached again to make an alliance, he proclaimed that all the people should fast to become closer to the Lord. (We can see that he learned from his mistake.) God doesn’t expect people to be perfect. What He cares about is how we recover from those mistakes.

We should avoid ungodly people (hate the Lord, irreverent, no morals, irreligious). They will lead us down wrong paths.

What is your greatest battle right now? Look at the pattern Jehoshaphat went through…
1)   Seek the Lord – pray deeply and sincerely

2)   Proclaim a fast to come closer to God

3)   Gather together… who is on your team? Who do you look to for strength?

4)   They gathered in the house of the Lord – the temple – remember the temple waiting room is available to anyone. You can access the spirit of the Lord there.

5)   Acknowledge God’s power

6)   2 Chron 20:9… in the temple, cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help

7)   They all stood together… with their young and old… and waited for the word of the Lord

8)   God said that the “battle is not yours, but God’s” Set yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Fear not, nor be dismayed.

9)   You will have to face the battle, but God will fight it for you. Keep your eyes on Him and He will fight before you.

a.     Our belief turns from us to Him. We can’t win the battle, but He can

10) If you believe in the Lord and His prophets, you will prosper

11)  Singers went before the army to praise the Lord… look at the power of good music

Who were Jehoshaphat’s pillars? Who made him strong?

1)   Prophets

2)   The Lord

3)   Parents

4)   The people working in the temple

Who are your pillars of strength? 


2 Chron 31:20-21
2 Kings 18:5-7

Wrought that which was good and right and truth before the Lord.
Sought God with all his heart
Clave to the Lord
Kept the commandments
Went to the Lord in EVERY work
Service was important
Trusted God
Rebelled against the king of Assyria… who was wicked
There were none like him before or after… most righteous… perhaps like Helaman in the Book of Mormon

2 Chron 30
He decides to rebuild the temple and get it working again.
He invites others… even outside of the tribe of Judah
He wants to help the people return / come back
He prayed for all the people… God healed the people
The temple then functions again

2 Chron 31:5-10  
The Lord blesses the people who pay their full tithe.
Tithing and fast offerings in our day…
Malachi’s promise… Malachi 3:10… Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
The widow’s mite…

2 Kings 20
Hezekiah is told that he is going to die. He wept sore and pled with the Lord. The Lord said he will add 15 years to his life and deliver him from Assyria
Hezekiah wanted a sign that it would really happen. He had a choice between two signs… he picked the more difficult sign… the sun went back 10 degrees.
Why did he get to ask for a sign? Gideon also asked for a sign… two actually.  These are men of God asking in humility. They asked with pure intent.
Signs often accompany covenants. But we must be careful in asking for a sign. These men of God asked through a prophet.
But we can ask for a confirmation by the spirit. 

How come Hezekiah got his prayer answered
The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them
Many prayers remain unanswered because they are not in Christ’s name at all; they in no way represent his mind, but spring out of the selfishness of man’s heart.

2 Kings 20:5-6… Thus saith the Lord… I have heard thy prayer. I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee…

We must be present in prayer… God does care what we care about. He wants to hear from us. There are blessings God holds in store for us on condition of our asking.  But we must always seek God’s will.


Started serving as king at 8 years old.
Got out the scriptures
Recognized that their problems were because they had been disobedient

2 Chron 34:31… The king stood in his place, walk after the Lord, keep the commandments and PERFORMED the words of the covenant… he promised to DO…

2 Chron 35:5… stand in holy places… and tell your families to stand in holy places.

Why do they tell us to “stand”?

At that very time there are two countries… one telling the people to stand, another prophet telling the people “Wo unto those who are at ease…”

What do we do in our homes so we are not at ease?
Follow the prophets
Sabbath day observance
Avoid the ungodly
Be in the right place yourself
Never depart from what we know
Gather in prayer
Go to the temple
Turn to God

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 19 (Is the Holy Ghost Your Constant Companion?)

Dear family and friends,

This week just flew by! I'm not even sure what has happened!?

Description of new area: Well, for starters, it is actually civilization. There are a TON more cars here which presents a new hazard. Here the pedestrians yield to the cars so we have to always be on the look out so we don't get run over. Also, this area is so much smaller, but has a billion people crammed into it. Durango is much cooler, but it still feels like June in Utah which is a problem because it is ONLY FEBRUARY! It's already in the 80s here! I am going to die of heat and also come back looking like burnt toast. I've already started to get tan lines! I thought I would use my umbrella for rain, wrong, it's for the sun. The sun is so INTENSE here! Good thing I only have one summer. It is much greener here in Durango which I love! but still a desert. My companion Hermana Santiesteban is wonderful!! She is so loving and fun! I have been so blessed with my companions here in the mission! And mom, no I didn't get my package. They didn't bring it. So I won't get it until Zone conference which is the first week of March. In other news, my watch broke so I am trying to pull a Frederick and Fix it. Oh look at that! Fix it Frederick! ;) Love you dad, thanks for teaching me to be a fixer.

My house: Well, it's like a Hobbit Hole, I am almost too tall for this house. There is a bathroom with a shower and our wash basin (no sink)-so we wash our hands in the wash basin out of a bucket. There is a room with our beds, a room with our study desks, and the kitchen. But we do have a Balcony! Best day;). This house is tiny and has numerous problems. The Glenwood was a 5 star resort in comparison! But it's all good. It makes me so grateful for what we have.  Also, just so you know, I'm pretty sure I'm never going to have a good shower here. This shower is worse than the other. It is more like a drizzle and it is either too hot or too cold. If there is one thing I miss here it is my bathroom. Sorry family. I have you for eternity, but this bathroom is only temporary. I must enjoy it whilst I have it! ;)

My week

Monday: Unpacked and went to District Meeting which is actually Zone meeting minus 4 people. Our zone only has about 20 people! It is tiny in comparison to Gomez Palacio but it is also much more fun to have lots of people every week!

Tuesday: Woke up at 5 to take Hermana Ruiz to the Centro de Camiones so she could go to the offices and go to her house in Guatemala. (I am never going to catch up on sleep). Then during the day we met and taught some great people! We taught one family that are investigators and they are so golden! I hope they can progress and be baptized! Also, Hna Santiesteban is really good at teaching when we find. We teach everyone in the streets and with this we have about 9 lessons every day! Awesome feeling!

Wednesday: All the missionaries from Torreon, Gomez, Lerdo and the Ranchitos arrived! It was a giant fiesta! We took Hna Avila and Hna Rivera home with us to the Hobbit Hole. We ate la comida and then rested at our house until 4:30. We then went to the Holiday Inn with all the members to listen to Elder Oaks! He went around and tried to shake each of the members' hands!? All 1200+ of them! Then he held a Q&A which was great. There were so many members there that all of the Elders had to stand in the back to have room for the members! Once it ended we talked with some of the missionaries and then went to the store to buy snacks! At our house we made a makeshift couch with the air mattress they brought and watched a movie (The Testaments, aka the Missionary Chick Flick ;))  and pigged out on chips, popcorn, lemonade, ice cream, and cookies! It was so much fun! Sleepover! Pillamada!

Thursday: We woke up at 5 and got ready. We had to be at the church in Aeropuerto by 7:30. We arrived and got in our places to take a photo with Elder Oaks. We ended up waiting outside for about an hour before he arrived. While we waited we sang hymns with all the zeal and energy of our souls! It was such a beautiful sight to see all the missionaries singing together. We were still singing when Elder Oaks came. We sang "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" for him when he was in front of us! The spirit was so strong! Then he sat and we took a picture. Then we all followed him in side and each got to greet him! Later he and Sister Oaks talked about how strong the spirit was when they arrived and were impressed with us.....yah,  that's my mission ;). Then he held a Q&A which answered some amazing questions in regard to our work here! Afterwards, we said goodbye to all our missionary friends and went to la comida. Hna Santiesteban hadn't felt good so we went home after visiting the doctor so she could rest. I wrote in my journal, read, watched church movies. There are so many good ones I have never seen before!!

Friday: In the morning the Jehovah Witnesses tried to teach us. That was interesting. I mainly felt sad for them because they are missing out on so much in their lives. In the morning we visited Socorro and Javier (the golden family). Then we had la comida and went home so Hna Santiesteban could rest again. That night we went to visit a new investigator, Martin. He is amazing! His wife is suffering from health problems, but his love for her is still so strong and they are married civilly! Woohoo! He has such great desires to change. I hope that we can help him and uplift him with all his hardships. I wish I could describe his house though! You thought you had entered the house but then it was a long alley way with bedrooms off to the left. It was strange and a bit creepy I'll admit. I can't believe how these people live in these conditions!?

Saturday: We went to see the doctor. She told us to go to the hospital so H. Santiesteban could be checked out with more equipment. We went to Blue Cross (super sketchy hospital). They don't accept our card so we went to San Jorge (super pretty hospital). They accepted us. We waited for the doctor, he came and checked her out and explained things. (It was weird! He kept glancing over at me like I was an inspection officer from the US or something?) Then he only prescribed her Ibuprofen!? All of that work for Ibuprofen? I could have done that! Afterward, we had Coordinacion Misional which felt strange because it is just the ward.

Sunday: We attended church which consisted of RS first, then Sunday School, and then Sacrament meeting. They were all good until we got to the part in Sacrament meeting when it was announced that I would have time to speak after the first speaker! What!? I wasn't informed of this! Yippee....life of a missionary ;) It turned out well. I think they felt the spirit. We had la comida with an amazing Hermana Gloria! She has so little but has so much faith that if she shares and feeds us, blessings will come! Gloria's conversion story is hilarious! Her grandson was going to be baptized and she forbade it. He did it anyways and went on a mission. While he was gone, she started to read the Book of Mormon and go to church so she could find fault in the church and prove that it was false. She ended up receiving a testimony and getting baptized!! What a great story and proof of the power of the Book of Mormon. The rest of the day was good. We met some amazing people and had the opportunity to comfort many that were sad and struggling. We gained 5 new investigators. I have great hopes for them!

Well that is all for the week.

Something I have been thinking a lot about lately is the promise when we receive the Holy Ghost. That we can have it with us always! Wow! How great a blessing is that! That we can have one of the Godhead with us ALWAYS! However it is not that simple. It takes so much work to have the Spirit with us always. We need to watch our thoughts, actions and words constantly in order to be worthy of his presence. It is so easy to offend the spirit and drive him out of our lives. It is something I have been working on lately, to have the spirit with me ALWAYS.  Because the scriptures always talk about how the Spirit is purifying, the prophets talk about how it is an honest companion that will tell you the truth when no one else will. He is the one that guides us, uplifts us, edifies us. He will tell us how we can change how we can be better. He will protect us and warn us of sin. The Holy Ghost is honestly one of the greatest gifts here on earth because he will help us be better and continually improve if we keep him in our life. How amazing to think that we are the only people on the planet that can have the Holy Ghost with us always! No wonder people think we are different! No wonder they see something else in us. It is because we are literally being guided by a divine being. I encourage you all to look at your life and see if you have the spirit with you always, sometimes, or once in a while. Then I encourage you to look at what you can change to have him with you always. Without him this life is so much harder and darker.

I love you all! Hope you are all well!!


Hermana Lutze

Gomez Palacio

Baptism of Cristal and Haile!

Cristo de Las Noas with Hermana Rubina

Hermana Gomez and Hermana Lutze

My area and an old car that was stripped to bits! My new ride!

Panoramic view from our balcony

Zone Meeting Durango with Hermana Santiesteban!

Elder and Sister Oaks with Presidente and Hermana Ramos

La Mision Mexico Torreon with Elder and Sister Oaks

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Week 19

Querida Hermana Lutze,

Que tal? Como anda todo en la mision? Esperemos que todo esta bien! How's Durango? You're new area? Your new branch or ward? Your new companion? Did Elder Oaks come this week? Did you get your package? Yes, I'm peppering you with questions! :) 

Life here is flying by... We went to Papa's last Sunday for Valentine's Day. We didn't want him to be alone. I'm not sure he actually remembered that it was Valentine's Day. Marissa went with us. We had lasagna and cheesecake for dinner. Monday we all stayed home and I worked on taxes all day. That was fun! Not! Tuesday we had our Stake Relief Society presidency meeting. We've had lots of meetings lately getting ready for our Stake Women's Conference this coming Saturday. Please pray hard for us this week that we will have the Spirit with us and it will convey what they need to hear. We are fasting today that more sisters will come. We always get about 10% of the sisters to the meeting. Dad and I attended our ward temple night on Wednesday. I love being there with people I know. I enjoyed book club on Thursday night even though I hadn't read the book. It was nice to get together and visit. We watched Jakob's basketball team on Friday while Hannah went out with Josh and all of his friends to the Lehi-AF basketball game. Yeah, she was the only girl with a bunch of guys! Natalie (under duress) went to the Freeman's cabin with the Young Women. She's having a hard time in Young Womens. There's a click that includes Erica Schoebinger and Brooke Howell... there's probably more girls in it and of course Natalie is not part of it. Natalie will be sustained today as the 1st counselor in the Mia Maids. :) She's taking Brooke's place. I don't know if that's because of the click or because of some not so great stuff that Brooke posted on FB or Instagram. Hannah's been working a ton lately between work and school. She has some great news to share with you. :) Dad continues to work on the fabric for Grandma's quilts. We're also working on the entertainment center for up here. We took the other one downstairs. (I can't remember if we told you that.) We went to Red Lobster last tonight. It was delicious. The very best was the Crispy Shrimp Lettuce Wraps. They were better than PF Changs! I just found out this week that I have to go to California in March for work. I'm so sad! I don't like sunshine and warmth! 

So I've been reading in Alma 33 and 34 this week when Alma and Amulek are teaching the poor of the Zoramites that were kicked out of their synagogues. They are mainly focused on prayer and reminding them that they can pray at any time to their Heavenly Father and He will hear them. What an incredible gift! We can speak to our Heavenly Father always! A few verses that stand out to me:

33:11 "... I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son." I'm so grateful for the Atonement of our Savior on our behalf.
33:20 Alma is reminding them about the Israelites during Moses' time "... now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them." Do we sometimes not use the Atonement because of the easiness of the way? because our hearts are hard? The more I read the more I realize how important desire and the condition of our hearts are in accepting the Atonement and allowing it to make changes in each of our lives.
33:23 "..your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son." This is why the Lord said my yoke is easy and my burden is light... As we gain a testimony of the Savior and His Atonement on our behalf this truly does happen... Life is still hard but we have greater hope and peace through Jesus Christ. This is the joy of His Son.

I've also been pondering the concepts of pouring out and full.

34:26 "...pour out your souls..."
34:27 "...let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you."
34:38 "...live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you."
34:39 "...watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptations of the devil, that he may not overpower you, that ye may not become his subjects at the last day; for behold, he rewardeth you no good thing."
34:41 "But that ye have patience , and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions."

Have a great week! We love you and are praying for your success!



I've attached my talk/lesson for this coming Saturday if you have time to read it. :)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 18 (Are You a Builder or a Destroyer?)

Dear family and friends,

I would just like everyone to know that I am writing from Durango! I have changed "lugares." It is a very bittersweet change. Luckily it is slightly cooler here than Gomez Palacio.

Entonces, mi semana

Monday: Today, in honor of my family, Hermana Gomez y yo bought Chinese food and ate it on my bed as we watched 30 minute church videos! Good times with Hermana Gomez! Oh family, I love our chinese tradition. We must continue it forever! There was also the usual washing, cleaning, writing and shopping. Then, of course, District meeting. There were lots of changes in our district today.

Tuesday: We had capacitacion in the morning. It was really good! It was all about the "only true and living Church". It was amazing! How blessed we are to be the ONLY church in the ENTIRE WORLD that has the truth, has the authority, and is directed by Jesus Christ himself. With this evangelio we CANNOT FAIL. The only thing that can fail is ourselves-our determination, our faith, our love, our perseverance.

Wednesday: Today was a normal day of teaching and preaching. I did encounter dogs that look exactly like my stuffed animal Fluffy! It was so strange! I have never seen dogs that look like him! So my dreams have come true- Fluffy does exist.

Thursday: We encountered a huge dog that was so beautiful! Her name is Roja. Her owner said she is only 1 year old!!?  Anyways, we now have another dog friend. I don't know why, but we have had a lot of strange experiences with dogs. You've been in an area a long time when the dogs don't bark at you anymore and when you start to know where the dogs live and give them names! ;) I swear there are more dogs than people here! And let me just say that the dogs are better investigators than the people at times. At least the dogs follow us and do what we ask. ;) Sadly we can't baptize a dog. That's OK we will find more people to baptize. 

Friday: Today we had an amazing lesson with Ana Teresa and her 2 kids. They are "menos activos." We taught a lesson on obedience and had them read a letter from our Heavenly Father (I'm sure we have used this letter for girls camp.). It was a beautiful lesson and tears were shed. I think we are really making progress with this family! That night we went to visit Hermana Portillo who is our Relief Society President. We invited her to Consejo de Barrio (Ward Council). Our ward is not the greatest with Ward Council, planning, and such. So we are really working hard to help this ward have more enthusiasm for the work! I think it worked because she was in Ward Council on Sunday. I hope we can continue to improve the ward. 

Saturday: We attended the baptism of an '"Hermana" from Hermana Gomez's old area and I actually know the Hermana from Intercambios! So it was very special. This "Hermana" is so valiant! Over Christmas she made an announcement that she was going to leave the Catholic religion for the religion of the Mormons! This is amazing considering how Catholic her family is!! I really admire this "Hermana."

Sunday: Today it was IMPOSSIBLE to find anyone in their house because of Dia de San Valentin. So, needless to say, we didn't teach that many people. However we did have the time to talk with Hermana Dovali (She accompanies us a lot and is an amazing Hermana!). I look up to this sister so much! She just emanates the gospel! She preaches it to everyone she meets! She always has Christ on her lips! Oh, if only we could all be like this! To always have Christ on our lips! To share the light that we have with others. People are always in need of something and the gospel of Jesus Christ always has something to help, strengthen, or heal! I hope that one day I can have the same love for the gospel that she has and that I can always have the name of Christ on my lips-ready to share. Later that night we received a phone call saying that I am to go to Durango-to Guadalupe. So I started packing. It was bittersweet to leave.

Monday: Hermana Pati took us to the Centro de Camiones and I bought a ticket with Hermana Jimenez. We boarded at 9 and arrived at 12. It was a good ride. I watched Cinderella on the ride there. When I arrived I met Elder Black again! My heart was so happy to see a familiar face! We had some good times when he and Elder Sanchez were in my district! Anyways, now I am here in Durango with my new companion Hermana Sanitesiban? I'm not quite sure what her name is. It's hard to spell and hard to pronounce. But hopefully it will be good! It is soooo different here from Alamos 1. It is more of a city. Alamos was more rural-more like the boonies.  I hope that we can have a lot of success here!

What I have been thinking about lately is "Are we builders or destroyers?" We've been having problems with our ward lately. People say things to our investigators, "menos activos" and "recien conversos"  that are rude or mean and then they don't want to come. We can't be building and destroying the church at the same time! So much work can be destroyed with only a few words. We need to be careful with what we say. We need to analyze our lives and see if we build people up, build up the church, build ourselves, or if we only destroy. Do we destroy others and therefore destroy ourselves? We need to remember to have charity for others. Remember to not judge others just because they sin differently than us. We cannot act self righteous just because we have been a member all our lives. We all have faults and therefore we need to have charity and love the sinner and not the sin. We need to look past all of that. This is why Mormon said, "If ye have not charity, ye are nothing." We are nothing. It doesn't matter if we have all the knowledge in the world and all the authority and power. If we don't use it for good, to bless others, it is for naught. People are the most important here. In the mission we are always taught to teach PEOPLE not LESSONS. We are here for our families, neighbors, friends, co-workers, etc. Not for our own work or purposes. So please be builders. And if you are a destroyer, well, be like Wreck-it-Ralph and learn to build with your destroying talents.

I love you all so much! I hope you are all well!! 


Hermana Lutze

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Week 18

Querida Hermana Lutze,

Las semanas estan pasando muy rapido. Sera Marzo muy pronto! No puedo creerlo! We're good here. Marissa spent the weekend with us. It's always fun to have her over. Dad and I went on a date to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit at BYU. We tried to eat dinner at Red Lobster afterwards but the wait was almost two hours so we ate Whistle Wok instead. Hannah started Prednisone this week. We're hoping that will help with her asthma. It's still not under control. Natalie's spending more time with friends which is nice to see and they seem to be good friends. :) Jakob's team won their basketball game on Friday with no subs. They beat the other team 16-14. Yea, it was a very low scoring game. I did eat some Graham Canyon ice cream in your honor the other night. BYU really has good ice cream. I'm still working on my lesson for the Stake Women's Conference in two weeks. It's funny how the Lord works... when you are speaking on a certain subject he will give you real life experience at the same time to learn it. I know that's why he's been giving me personal revelation for this lesson line upon line and precept upon precept. I've had to really work for it and place myself in situations and locations where I can feel the spirit to receive that revelation. He's teaching me that we don't always receive what we need to know right away. On the other hand this week I was with our presidency in an orientation meeting for a new ward RS presidency and received inspiration before hand and  in the moment of what I needed to share. I knew it was right because the spirit was present and the President commented that she'd either had the same experience or she had questions on that subject.I love Sister Beck's quote on personal revelation... "The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life." I was able to go to Emily's class this week and we talked about three women in 1 and 2 Kings.

2 Kings 4:1-7 This woman was going to have to sell her two sons to pay her debts because her husband had died but Elisha told her to gather not a few vessels for oil. She was then able to fill all of them with just the little oil that she had. The Lord multiplied it She gave her all... absolute trust in the Lord. She 'poured out' to her children. Are we filling ourselves with the gospel through scripture study, prayer, etc so that we can 'pour out' for others especially those in our family? Obedience + Sacrifice = MIRACLE

2 Kings 4:8-37 This woman was not an Israelite and yet she trusted and followed Elisha the prophet faithfully. She also gave her all. Obedience + Sacrifice = MIRACLE In the end her son was brought back from the dead by Elisha.

1 Kings 17:1-14 This woman was also required to have Obedience + Sacrifice = MIRACLE. Elisha requested water from her and then a cake for himself before she fed herself and her son. She did it knowing that it was ALL that she had. What is our ALL and do we give it?

Two quotes I really liked this week:

President Stephen L Richards (1879–1959), who served as a counselor to President David O. McKay, has provided additional instruction about the nature and blessings of discernment:

“First, I mention the gift of discernment, embodying the power to discriminate … between right and wrong. I believe that this gift when highly developed arises largely out of an acute sensitivity to impressions—spiritual impressions, if you will—to read under the surface as it were, to detect hidden evil, and more importantly to find the good that may be concealed. The highest type of discernment is that which perceives in others and uncovers for them their better natures, the good inherent within them. …

“… Every member in the restored Church of Christ could have this gift if he willed to do so. He could not be deceived with the sophistries of the world. He could not be led astray by pseudo-prophets and subversive cults. Even the inexperienced would recognize false teachings, in a measure at least. … We ought to be grateful every day of our lives for this sense which keeps alive a conscience which constantly alerts us to the dangers inherent in wrongdoers and sin.”  (from Conference Report, Apr. 1950, 162–63; emphasis added.)

"We know for certain that if and when everything else in the latter days is down or dying; if governments, economies, industries, and institutions crumble; if societies and cultures become a quagmire of chaos and insecurity, nevertheless, through it all the gospel of Jesus Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that bears that gospel to the world will stand triumphant. It will stand undefiled in God’s hand until the very Son of God Himself comes to rule and reign as Lord of lords and King of kings. Nothing is more certain in this world. Nothing is more sure."

-Jeffrey R. Holland

I love you and pray for your success and safety!



Monday, February 8, 2016

I Have No Greater Joy!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE MOST AMAZING MOTHER EVER!! I honestly don't know who I would be without her in my life. She has taught me and shaped me in more ways than she will ever know. She has loved me and taught me and strengthened me for 20 years. I am so grateful to have a mother that is loving and loves the Lord. It is because of her that I am the person I am today and have this strong testimony of the gospel. These 20 years were not easy........but they were worth it and I know we will have many wonderful years to come. I love you Mom. I hope to one day be as good a mother as you.

Love your daughter,


Week 17 (Are You Making Time to KNOW Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ?)

Dear family and friends,

Well another week has come and gone and I'm still not sure whether it was fast or slow. Parts were fast and other parts were slow. We found some new investigators who have great potential! I am excited to see what happens with them!


As we were driving to the Centro de Camiones to pick up Hermana Gomez and drop off Hermana Rubina, we got a little lost I guess (although I wasn't lost but no one listens to me because I'm a Gringa). So we are on the freeway and this is when you know you are in Mexico. We drove up next to another car and slowed down to talk to them..........on the freeway!! So ya that was my new experience-asking directions from the car next to us on the freeway.  This pais is a bit crazy; but it's okay, I still love them!


Today was fabulous! We made 41 contacts which was a new record for us and many of them were very good! I love my new companion, Hermana Gomez! She is so happy and loving! She's not quite as serious as Hermana Rubina which is really good for me! I hope we can have a lot of success together!


Today, well it started out bad. We literally could not find ANYONE in their homes to teach. So we finally went to eat. After eating, we left and were walking towards Santa Sofia when suddenly the Spirit brought Omar and Marcia to my mind. So we turned around and walked to their house. It was about 4 in the afternoon and normally they are not home at this time. But we knocked on their gate and they answered! We entered and they asked how we knew that they had just gotten home and that they were both there together?! Well, we actually didn't know but thanks to the spirit we were able to find them! Miracles!! As we were talking with them, we learned that Omar has started to read the Book of Mormon of his own accord!!! Changes are happening! Oh, I am praying so much for this family!! I hope that he will continue to read and gain a testimony! So we will start to visit them again this week. Later that afternoon we went to the church for our Movie Night. This time it was "Meet the Mormons." Geydi actually accompanied us! Yay! Hopefully we can get her back as well.


Normal day of teaching so not much to say for today.


Today while teaching one of our investigators her dog was all over the place. At one point he was walking along the back of the couch behind me and Hermana Gomez. He was walking and walking and then we heard him stop behind me. Then he was sniffing me and then he started to climb and walk on top of me! Ugh! I have never had a dog walk on me! But I guess there is a first time for everything, especially in Mexico. People keep telling me that I am going to know the world here. I guess that is true. I am going to meet all the types of people I've never met before, see things I've never seen, and experience things I've never experienced. This is quite the adventure!!

I've been really trying to teach more with the spirit. I try to listen to the investigator and listen to the promptings of the spirit to know what to say. It is so hard sometimes to understand what the spirit wants me to say because it is not like a script in your head. It is feelings and promptings and they are small and subtle. It's mental exercise and is somewhat exhausting. However, I am determined to make this spiritual muscle buff beyond belief! ;) because I know it will help me now and forever.


Today I had another very unique experience. We were in the home of Hermana Pati who is a recent convert and Menos Activo. She is the only  member of her family and her family does not do good stuff so it is really hard for her. While we were there her son Chewie entered. (Yes dad, that is actually a name here-well probably a nick name. And no, I will not be naming my first son after Chewbacca.)  First thing, he came up to me and offered me a beer and then offered me a cigarette! Well people, I was shocked! This was the first time anyone has offered me these things in my sweet Mormon life. However, I am pleased to announce that I said "No" and then proceeded to teach him about the Word of Wisdom ;). This boy is so much trouble-his poor mother. I hope one day he will come to his senses and change his life. That's as exciting as my life got this week.


Today we taught Lili Jaques. She is an amazing investigator! I'm so excited to teach her more! She has a great interest in the gospel and pays such good attention! It is people like her that keep me going, keep me working so that I can find them. We also met the neighbors of Hermana Dovali. Carlos and Nayeli and Verenisa and Ector. They all live in the same house and they have all the perfect questions of "why are there so many churches?" and "where do we go after this life?"! They are so golden. I hope we can have much success with them! Then we went to our FHE with Cristal and Haile. It was there turn to teach, but there was some confusion, so we improvised. We chose a topic at random and it turned out to be the Word of Wisdom. Afterwards we played "What If....."!!! I have great memories with that game! Thank you soccer team for all the fun times and for playing that game! Who knew I would be using it here in the mission field?!

Cristal and Haile have been praying a lot that Cristal could have another baby. She has had a lot of problems with that. Well Sunday at church, Cristal told us that she is pregnant! It strengthened their faith so much in the power of prayer!! So excited for her!

This week I have been thinking a great deal about temples. In Utah, we are SO BLESSED to have numerous temples so close! Here, they must travel 5 hours and then they are only allowed to do one session because there are too many people on the weekends! Then they drive 5 hours back. In addition to the time, it costs a lot of money! These people sacrifice so much to go to the temple; whereas, we sometimes can barely spare one afternoon to go to the temple that is less than 30 minutes from our homes. We need to not take the temple for granted and go as often as possible! It is a PRIVILEGE, not an opportunity or a nice option in life, to go to the temple. When we go to the temple, we are literally entering into the presence of our Heavenly Father. Remember from last week, Eternity is composed of "nows." This life is part of our eternity. The real question is-Do we want to live in the presence of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father? That is the goal-to obtain eternal life and live with them again. However, how can we expect to live with them in the next life when we couldn't even take the time to go visit them in their home here on the earth? As Brad Wilcox said, "We 'learn heaven' we don't 'earn heaven.'" And where are the greatest schools to 'learn heaven'? The temple and church! We need both! Church instructs us and helps us for the things in our life now while the temple connects us with the past, prepares us for the future and strengthens us for the "now." Brothers, sisters, family and friends, please joyfully go to the temple and to church every week. And if you can't go to the temple every week set a goal that is appropriate for you-every other week, every month. Don't procrastinate in getting to know our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Remember we are here to return to them-to return HOME. Right now we can't return home, but we can have a home away from home at church and in the temple. Remember that in John 17:3 we learn, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." The time to know them is here on earth. After we die and are resurrected, it is too late. We can't get to know them in the Celestial kingdom. We have to get to know them here. Do what they would do, say what they would say, become as they are. The temple and church are where we can learn more about them and strengthen our relationship with them. The week is so that we can put it all into practice and then go back to the temple and church again to learn more. It is a never-ending cycle that will bring us never-ending happiness!! I testify that all of this is true and that I know each of us can make it to that state of never ending happiness with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ! I love you all! Stay strong, become and fail forward!


Hermana Lutze

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Week 17

Querida Hermana Lutze,

Espero que todo anda bien en Mexico!? Con su companera neuva? De donde es? Cuanto tiempo tiene ella en la mision? Estamos bien aqui.

I enjoyed my birthday this week by finishing a book that I was reading and cleaning the office downstairs. That project actually took a couple of days... Wow! We've accumulated lots of stuff in the 12 years that we've lived in this house. Dad and I celebrated my birthday on Friday. We went to Thanksgiving Point and each created an item out of glass-mine was a dish and dad's was a flower. We then ate at a new restaurant on Main Street Lehi-East Moon. The food was delicious-sushi, orange chicken, crab rangoon... We'll have to take Brent and Amy there the next time they come up this way. We then went to see the movie "Creed." I've been busy with Stake Relief Society - meeting with sisters, Presidency meeting, and preparing my lesson for the February 27th Women's conference. Hannah has been working when she's not at school, Natalie is busy with school, guitar and piano, while Jakob stays busy with Scouts, basketball and soccer. He was just a little cold on their overnight campout in AF canyon on Friday night. He was glad he listened to me and took thermals. He told me they saved him. :) Monica sent me the money for your chemistry book. It sounds like you guys have been e-mailing a little. She said you sounded good and was not surprised. Your package that I tried to send you is sitting on the kitchen table. I talked to Ty Porter's mom and she said she's used USPS so I'll try to send this to you via them and see if you get it. I have sent something to you via the company I used for the MTC. Hopefully you will get it before Valentine's Day! We love you and are so grateful for your faithful service.

I've been thinking a great deal about our Sabbath Day worship and I wonder if we realize the sacredness of the Sacrament. I wonder if we realize what an incredible gift the sacrament is to each of us. It is the only ordinance in the church that is never done by proxy and is done on a weekly basis. It is so important. It is the opportunity we have each week to be "rebaptized" in a sense, to wipe the slate clean, and start over again. Are we overcome with gratitude each week for this gift that we receive on a regular basis from our Savior? I know if your investigators and/or new members truly understood the significance of this ordinance they would regularly attend their Sunday meetings... 

Alma 27:4- "...they were treated as though they were angels sent from God to save them from everlasting destruction..." I know that like Ammon and his brethren you will be thought of in this way by those you bring to the gospel. I received birthday wishes from Carolina-the one I was supposed to find on my mission and my one companion from Argentina and out of all the messages I received via various ways this week these are two of the ones that mean the very most to me.

I love you!


Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 16 (Are You Making Every 'NOW' Count?)

Dear family and friends,

I'm so glad you guys had such a fun time at the Midway Ice Castles and the Provo City Temple open house! We definitely need to go to all those places when I return home, in what 14 1/2 months? ;) Actually, I can't believe that I have almost completed 4 months and at the same time it feels like it has been an eternity. I don't understand time here. I just live with it and keep moving forward. 

Entonces, mi semana! Well, to be honest it was not a good week according to our numbers, but it didn't feel as terrible as the numbers looked.


It was a normal P-Day full of cleaning, washing of clothes (arm workout for the century, check), and district meeting which is always good.


Today we had our interviews with Presidente Ramos. For some reason all the Elders took a whole eternity! I swear that the Second Coming was about to happen they took so long!  The Hermanas were only with Presidente for about five minutes each. We basically lost our entire day to waiting. But it was okay because we talked with the Hermanas and Elders and read scriptures. My interview was short and sweet. That night we went to visit a contact named Diana. It turns out she has listened to our messages before and wants to be baptized!! BUT, there's always a but, she needs to get married, and of course, her 'husband' doesn't want that commitment, even though they already have two kids together? I don't understand these people. It's always a work in progress.


Well, it was freezing and raining again today. It turns out I not only bring the rain but the snow as well! It was snowing in Torreon, Durango and everywhere around us, except our area in Gomez Palacio! I still have my water super powers! Everyone is getting wet but me! ;) Today we went to teach a new contact, Brenda and her family. They are golden! She is so accepting of our messages and she and her family have the desire to be baptized! Yaya! We will continue to work with them and hopefully be able to baptize an entire family! I'm so excited for them and their potential!


Normal, nothing to report........and I don't really remember what happened today to be honest.


We have a goal to invite people to be baptized in the first or second lesson and it has been going super well. It is fabulous! It is a filtering system because we are here to bring people to Christ through baptism, not to just teach them and make people feel all good inside-still important but not our main purpose. It helps that they know that they must be willing to act. Today we met a girl named Eneví. She looks 23 and she is pregnant. But NO, she is 17 and is married to a man who already has 4 other children each with different women! The relationships here are INSANE! There are so many things that confuse me here, but then I just say "That"s Mexico for you" and move on because there is no other explanation.


We made some real progress with some of our menos activos in our ward! We helped Lupita really understand that we go to church to renew our covenants and what that means to renew our covenants. With that understanding she was so ready to go to church again!! We also discovered why Angeles was not going to church. She's been reading about other churches, especially the Jehovah Witnesses. All this reading put doubts in her head. People let me just tell you straight up that if you read materials from other churches you are going to get confused and forget the eternal truths that you already know to be true through the Spirit. Why go and read other people's books when the church has thousands upon thousands of talks, books, quotes, etc for us to study and read! You would need more than a lifetime to read everything that the church has to offer. So please read that to fortify your faith. Don't doubt and go in search of the opinions of man. If you don't believe me, read the talk by President Uchtdorf "It Works Wonderfully"! Even if you don't have doubts still read his talk because it is amazing! Please stay true to the faith.


I learned about Mexican Standard Time today. It's like Mormon Standard Time where everyone shows up just before church starts, but with Mexican Standard Time everyone shows up at least 10 minutes late. We start with 30 people and end at 130!  I am not going to complain about Mormon Standard Time again. ;)  After teaching in the evening, Cristal gave us sandwiches to take home. As we were eating, I learned that my Compañera has NEVER EATEN A SANDWICH! Who has never eaten a sandwich? That is my Peruvian for you. We received a call tonight that we have cambios (transfers). Hermana Rubina is to go to Torreon and I am to stay in Gomez Palacio with Hermana Gomez! We couldn't believe it! It was so unexpected when Hermana Rubina only has 2 weeks left!


Well we changed companions so now I am sitting here with Hermana Gomez-my new companion. I think we will get along swimmingly and have a lot of success! I am looking forward to what miracles the Lord will bring us!

I have to say, I definitely feel like Dr. Spiritual! Everyone pours out their entire soul and life story to us! I know so many secrets at this point and have heard so many points of view of the same story that I'm impressed I can even keep it straight! I am going to be so prepared to go into the medical field! It is so funny because I sit there and listen and diagnose and then give them a scripture that I think will help them. I am literally a Spiritual Doctor.

I have been reading the conference talks lately and this quote really struck me as profound. It said "Eternity is composed of Nows". Wow, eternity is the greatest gift of God and this life is part of eternity, so this life is one of the greatest gifts he could ever have given us!  We only have now! Don't let our 'nows' be 'nows' of sorrow, depression, self loathing or sadness. Let them be 'nows' of happiness, growth and filled with the light of the Savior! Cherish our 'nows' and make every 'now' count! You only have so many and you can never get them back. Learn from them. I have really come to realize that sometimes we create our own, unnecessary, problems. Try to simplify your lives. Don't create more work for yourselves. Life is hard enough with Satan already piling on the workload. We don't need to be adding more. 

Well, stay strong! Keep becoming! Cherish the 'nows' and have an amazing week! Love you all! Thank you to everyone that emails me! You all uplift me with your thoughts!


Hermana Lutze