Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Moments That Change Us


Just completed my first full week in Copiopó. I’m in a ward called Jotabeche, which is on a giant hill on the mountain. Guess my calves will look pretty good in a couple months!

It’s been crazy this week because we had a stake conference and a mission conference with the president.  The four elders from the mission office are staying with us for a few days, so that makes eight elders in one apartment.  I’m sure you can imagine the things that can go on with eight of us here together, especially when it was someone's birthday yesterday.  Good thing I bought ear plugs!

The four of us are enjoying each other in the apartment.  Two of us are Latino and Elder F. and I are the Gringos.   Elder F. has 2 more cambios (transfers--each transfer is 6 weeks) than me. Its fun to be with someone who understands what you are going through.

The apartment was initially pretty disgusting (rotting meat covered in ants, toilets that haven’t been cleaned in...well, never).  Oh, the joys of the mission--I loaded up on cleaning supplies again.  And there is a gold mine in our backyard. I’m serious--all day, everyday there are men mining millions of dollars in real gold right outside of our kitchen window. I might go on a scavenger hunt this week :)

One of the new Elders, Elder W., told me he read my blog before he got here on the mission. How funny is that! I remember reading other blogs before I left, but hadn’t thought about it the other way around.

Our mission president got really deep with us this past conference. He told us the turning point in his life happened in a dark little room, deep in the jungles of Bolivia, when he felt that his mission president was punishing him by putting him in the hardest area of the mission with just 4 members and not even calling him to a leadership position--after he had baptized 30 people in his other area. As he sat there 4 hours away from any other missionaries the thought entered his mind, you can just go to the beach for the next week and literally no one would know. No one expects baptisms in this area and no one cares about you.  Leave in the morning and take the vacation you deserve.

He had a choice to make, one that seemed insignificant at the time, but as he has reflected back, it was a decision that ended up changing his life.  Right there on his sad little bed, he decided to be the person he needed to be and wanted to be--later baptizing 13 people in 3 months and growing the members in the area from 4 to 70.  Of course, missions are not about numbers, but about changing hearts.  And as he set a course for his heart that changed his life for good, he was able to influence other hearts along the way.

All of us come to the point in our lives when we have to decide what kind of person we will be. Pres. Dalton commented that this moment many times comes on your mission, but regardless of when, the moment will come where you must reach down deep inside yourself and choose what course you will take. One looks easier, while the other looks harder--and both reach distinct destinations.

I too have made choices that have brought me here to this point in my life, based on the desires of my heart, my faith, and my wish to be obedient to God. My simple conclusion to life is when I do the things of God, I feel good. When I   don´t, I feel bad. And I love to feel good.  I know my purpose on this earth--to enjoy the beauty of the experience, to cry when needed, to serve those around me, and above all, to become the person I know I can be.  Yes, it takes work and sacrifice, but isn’t that like everything worthwhile in life?

Random, but just now there was a parade of men dressed up as women hitting people with sacks of potatoes.  I have no idea why. Gotta love Chile!

Have a great week!  No spiders here, but one investigator has a pet tarantula. When he tried to take it out to show me, I literally ran out of the house.

Everything is still awesome,

Elder Phillips

The Copiopo River--it dried up 20 years ago!

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