Friday, September 26, 2014

Hello from the Mexico City Missionary Training Center--I Arrived!

My mailing address is:
Elder Austin Ray Phillips
(Novembre 4th) (Branch 9 - District c)
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal

The day started early, with my flight leaving at 6:05 AM from Las Vegas.  In Houston I met up with some other missionaries for the flight to Mexico City.  It has been a long day so far--and it's not over yet :)  I am happy to be here but it is quite overwhelming.  My preparation day will be on Wednesdays.  For those of you who have asked me about packages, you can't send packages from the states to the Mexico MTC, but there is a company website that is set up to send next day letters and packages,  

I love you all very much.  This work is going to be hard, but I'm happy and ready to do this!  My companion, Elder Swain, is going to Antofagasta as well.  Seems super chill.   The drive through Mexico City from the airport was very colorful,  it is a different world here. The best way to describe the food here at the MTC is "interesting", although I have only had dinner so far :) Talk to you next week!

Con Amor,

Elder Phillips 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

One week left in the "real world"

Where does the time go?  As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have been thinking about my mission for as long as I can remember.  I decided at a young age that nothing would get in the way of me serving the Lord--not my peers, not the world, not even myself.  

It went from counting the years, to counting the months, to now counting the days.  One week is all I have left before the biggest adventure of my life.  People ask me how I feel about this.  To be honest, I am apprehensive, as is everyone stepping into the unknown.  But the mission is not a complete hole of mystery.  If we work hard, it is promised that we will be protected, we will become better, our families will be blessed, and we will witness miracles.

These promises, however, don't fully cushion the blow of parting from loved ones.  It is painful leaving those who have cherished you those tender years of childhood.  Though they mean well, your friends will move on with their lives and the wheel of world will not slow down during your absence. 

Now, don't take me for an overly dramatic fellow.  I am often lighthearted and cheerful, but serious matters call for serious contemplation.  How often do you get the chance to fully immerse your life for other people, to help them and yourself change to more glorious beings?  

The sacrifice is well worth the blessings. 

My heart is filled with gratitude as I being this exciting journey.  Thank you to all those who have imparted their wisdom and love to me.  

Here are some pics of the family!
The three brothers at Matt's wedding 

Bryan and his wife Ki with their baby Cache 

Matt and his wife Cassie at Christmas

Trip to Bryan's mission in Pennsylvania 
The three brothers (and Ki) playing some relentless Monopoly 

Disneyland! (Left to right) Grant, me, Mom, Dad, Cassie, Matt

Graduation with Grandma, Cassie, Matt, and Bryan

My cousin Kelsey (Who is going on her mission to Argentina!)

Saying goodbye to Matt and Cassie

Dad and I at Disneyland and my baptism 

Mom and me