Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Best Birthday Present, Goodbyes and Hellos

January 20, 2015
A bit of green!

Me with Elder Mangum

Hola world!  Or the few wonderful people who actually read this :)

Well, since this is the most important thing and the reason why I came out here, it should go first.  We have a BAPTISM this Saturday!!!  Our golden girl got permission to be baptized! I really think she is awesome and she truly feels the truthfulness of this church.  It has been incredible.  We really haven’t had to do anything, just show up to the lessons and teach them to her!

So it will be a WONDERFUL birthday present  ( Editor's note--Elder Phillip's birthday was January 23) for me and a good going away present for my companion who is going home on Monday.

Actually, most of the elders in my district are transferring or going home.  I am going to have a new companion. And the other elder in our ward is going to train a newbie. It is hard staying with sooo many people going home.  It makes me feel like I am going home, but I still have a long way to go :)

Our mission president came this week for a visit, and I had a chance to work with the missionary assistants to the president.  One of them, Elder Mangum, is planning to play football for BYU next year.  Yes, he is a little bigger than me. lol (see picture above)

While we are on a mission, we need to focus completely on missionary work—no outside distractions.  So keeping that in mind, there I was, walking down the street to visit a less active member (we have many), and BAM, there is a giant movie screen playing GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.  I am thinking to myself, oh no. I would really like to sit here and watch it; I don’t even care that it is in Spanish.  I look over at my companion, who is covering his eyes and trying to walk through all the people watching the movie.  We make it though the crowd and he says to me, ¨Stinkin Satan.  I really wanted to watch that stupid movie. ¨   He definitely is a good example for me :)

One of my best friends, Lauren Smith, got her mission call to ITALY! So cool! She will be great.  Italy is a beautiful country.  Life here is much more simple--not too many people are here for the beautiful scenery. But I didn’t go on my mission to be a tourist. I came to help people find joy in their lives, even in a place with lots of stray dogs, dusty roads and spiders.  We are all God’s children and he loves us.  Still, I can dream of visiting Italy someday :)

I love that when I get discouraged, something good always happens.  The other day, I was feeling down because we talk to so many people who don’t come to church for various reasons—they have been offended by someone, they have difficulties in their lives, or they just have different priorities.  Then I passed by our church and there is one of our active elderly lady members.  Even though she is like 80 years old, has Parkinson’s disease, and is sick in bed most days, there she was, alone in the burning sun sweeping the patio of the church--because it was her turn to clean this week.  What an inspiration.  She knows that true joy and peace comes from serving God and others, regardless of our circumstances.

Next time I talk to you, I will be 19, have a new companion, and a baptism.  Woo hoo!

Love you all.  Keep climbing your mountains :)

Everything (AND I MEAN EVERYTHING) is awesome,

Elder Phillips :)

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