Monday, February 16, 2015

All You Need Is Love

February 16, 2015


My mission has been what I would describe as the best of times and the worst of times.  This week was better.  We still don’t have anyone to teach because of summer vacations, but it was better because I’m learning how to deal with challenges and still keep feeling happy.  I am also grateful summer vacations end soon so we can start teaching again!

On Valentine’s Day we cut out hearts and wrote on them "Together forever...does it exist?" and went down to Centro to talk to couples walking around. We would ask them this question. Their reactions were pretty priceless.

1. "Ummmm (looking at his girlfriend)...I hope not."
2. "It doesn’t matter because I’m (insert a religion)."
3. "I don’t live here."
4. "Oh, today is Valentine’s Day?"

There were a couple of  “yes” answers, but unfortunately they lived outside of our teaching area. The world just needs MORE LOVE!!!!  I wish missionaries could hug people (a missionary rule).  People here just look so sad all of the time—they really need to know they are loved. That’s why I have been praying so hard to find a family to teach--to introduce them to the daily joy and happiness that comes from living the gospel.  This week is the week…I am looking for them around every corner.

In other news, I finally got my packages from my birthday!  It was so nice to get stuff from my family.  And my awesome friends from college sent me a package as well with a SIGNED POSTER FROM STUDIO C (one of my favorite TV shows).  It now hangs in my room where I can see it everyday.  Those packages were my hugs this week. :)

What I have learned is there is always something "just around the river bend". But if we stop paddling, we will never reach it.  So there is no giving up now while there are people to help!

PS: We did a service project building a driveway out of cement for our bishop.  My dad will be so proud (he used to work in a cement factory)!!!

February 9, 2015

This week I did have one of the most special moments on the mission so far.

We were teaching our golden girl convert.  Just a normal lesson.  Elder A. asked her what her future plans would be--college, work, etc.  She surprised me by saying she wanted to serve a mission.  She said that the gospel has brought her so much joy in her life that she has a goal to be a missionary (she was just baptized 2 weeks ago! Wow!)

In that moment, all the trials, bad days, and nights when I felt utterly alone just melted away.  I was filled with so much joy I couldn’t contain it. For an instant I could see her future life.  I could see her sharing the gospel in people’s houses--eventually helping her family come into the church and go to the temple.  I could see the glowing smile on her face that has been so apparent these past few weeks.
That’s why I came on my mission.  I have finally felt the joy of helping someone realize they have purpose in their life--that they have a loving Heavenly Father and a plan and hope to one day live in a better place with the people they love.

So, even though this is still the hardest thing I have ever done (and am still doing), everything turns out all right in the end.

February 2, 2015

My new companion is Elder A. from New York.  He loves singing random rap songs, petting stray dogs and talking about life  :)

It’s been one week since our golden girl has been baptized.  In our follow up lesson with her she told us that the whole week before her baptism things kept happening--family came into town and told her not to do it and things like that, when finally on Friday night she tried to call us to cancel but we didn’t answer (The phone was out of battery). After praying and reading the scriptures, she went to her family and said she didn’t care--she knew this was right.  And there she was dressed in white on Saturday afternoon with her family.  Wow, whenever we try to do something good there is always SOOO much opposition!!  She is such an example for me.

Thanks for your love and support on my behalf.  I work hard everyday because out of all the people in the world, I am one of the lucky ones who knows my purpose in this life and how to have peace and happiness always with me.  Let’s hear it for the gospel!!

Everything is awesome,

Elder Phillips

PS: Elder A’s first name is Phillip so he gets confused haha

The Work Crew!

Working Hard On The Driveway

A Signed Studio C Picture!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Shined Shoes and Other Memorable Moments

January 26, 2015

Hola family and friends!

Whoosh.  Crazy week.

Friday  (the 23rd) was my birthday.  It’s not as big of a deal on the mission.  I actually forgot it was my birthday until 11 am, and my companion never remembered.  But everything turned out all right, because we had an activity at the church and somehow the members knew it was my birthday!  They had cake, sang me Feliz Cumpleanos and gave me Snickers bars.  The most special part was when one of the really old members in the ward told me to sit down, and for 5 minutes shined my shoes.  I felt like an apostle getting my feet washed by Jesus!  It warmed my heart to have such a humble and old man do such a sincere Christ-like act.  It made the bad experiences I had that day (like getting yelled at) melt away.  It was definitely a birthday to remember.

Then on Saturday we had our baptism!!  IT WAS SO STRESSFUL… and yet GREAT.  No water, then freezing water, then spiders jumping out of the pipes and font, then no priesthood leaders to run the baptism, no programs, no person there to get baptized. But eventually we got everything pulled together and started an hour late.  The girl being baptized brought her whole family--it was a huge blessing that they all supported her in her decision.  And she truly has a desire to be like Christ.  As part of the program I sang the Primary children’s song I Like To Look For Rainbows (in Spanish) and everyone seemed to like it.  It was a good day.

All day Sunday we went around visiting people so Elder G. could say goodbye.  He even got a little teary-eyed bearing his testimony in church.  He worked hard until the very last day and I am so grateful for his example.  He said he had no regrets, and that’s how I want to be in 2 years and at the end of my life.  I sent him off to Antofagasta on the 3 am bus.

My new companion arrives tomorrow from the northern part of our mission (a 24 hour bus ride).  His name is Elder A. and he has been in the mission for a year.  Should be interesting this week as I try to navigate him through our area.

It sure was a week for the journal.  Do you write in your journal?  You should, it's fun to look back and see what you were saying 3 months ago.  Always productive to laugh at yourself.  You think you know everything at that moment, but when you look back you realize how dumb you were. Or maybe it is just me. Haha

Here’s to a fresh start in the wonderful city of Vallenar!  The mission is exhausting but worth it.

Everything is awesome,
Elder Phillips

An Act of Love (representative photo)