Monday, April 20, 2015

Slowly Getting Back to Missionary Normal

April 20, 2015


Transfer Day--no changes here, all four of us missionaries are staying.  Maybe this transfer we can actually be missionaries!  My sector is normalizing.  We finally had all three hours of church!  The city will take a while to clean up, but my life is returning back to missionary normal.

This experience has taught me to: 1. Listen to the Prophet’s counsel. Many people have to leave their houses in the middle of the night. If you didn’t have a emergency backpack, well, tough luck. 2. Material things don’t matter.  People lost everything, but it made them kinder to each other.  It’s like literally watching the pride cycle in the Book of Mormon!

On Tuesday the two zones got together to dig out one of the chapels downtown.  It’s incredible what you can do with 30 missionaries.  The zone leaders told us the next day we could buy rubber boots and they would reimburse us. Thanks for telling me now!! My tennis shoes would have appreciated knowing that 3 weeks ago :P

I’m happy to be in the driest, flooding mission in the world!  It might not be pretty or easy, but I love what it’s doing to me.

The family we were reactivating moved to Antofagasta (6 hours away) for a job opportunity.  We went over to their house to say goodbye.  They thanked us for our service, that their young little family can go to the temple next year to become an eternal family.  Well, it wasn’t a baptism, but I did help them see the light of the gospel again.  This was the returned missionary father who my first week here sat next to me at stake conference crying. He knew what he had been missing.  It’s been very fulfilling to work with them.

On Thursday there was a conference with Elder Oaks, one of our church leaders, for all of Chile.  The two zones got together in a chapel to watch the live broadcast...but there was no signal.  So someone at the actual conference used their cell phone to let us hear in Copiapó. For two hours I listened to an unrecognizable, muffled voice with occasional laughter through a cell phone.

But we got together the next day to see it, and after two hours they finally got a connection working. Yeah!  Elder Oaks said this year our church is going to focus a lot more on the importance of the Sabbath day, one of the biggest problems here in South America.  In a broader perspective, this whole church and life in general, he said, is based on commitments we make with each other and God.  If our investigators can’t learn how to keep the commitments we as missionaries ask them to do (read the Book of Mormon, go to church, pray) how can they be ready to make an eternal promise with Heavenly Father to always follow him?

I’m thankful I have the liberty to choose; no one can force us to be good or bad.  We create our own lives. I hope mine is worth making! :P

Have a great week. We have a promising week with appointments just around the river bend.  Love you all!

April 13, 2015 (Last Week)

Hola familia y amigos

The rains came down and the floods came up.  But now the floods are drying away so the normal routine of life begins.

Except on Tuesday and Thursday we went to Piopóte, the part of the city that was hit the worst.  One of the member´s mom lives over there so the bishop asked if we could take the 25 min trek over to dig out her house.  I’ve never seen so much mud in my life!!  Trudging through the knee-deep mud, sunken cars, and trash, we made it to the house.  For 4 hours we slopped the mud from the bedrooms and kitchen to the patio where we added it to the stinking pool of trash and mud on the streets.  It was such a relief to finally touch cement floor after we had finished.

I had to get a shot from a truck just outside the swamp (don’t worry mom, it was a legit medical truck).  They asked me all these questions in Spanish I didn’t know how to answer.  They ending up giving me the shot anyway with everyone staring at me like, who is this weird white kid?  It was one of those, yep, this would be easier in English moments. But its part of the adventure!!

Finally we were able to go out and do normal missionary work. The bad thing is a lot of people are leaving the city due to contamination in the air, especially for the little kids.  Our pool of people to teach has shrunken dramatically.  Ahhhh....well, we keep moving forward.

Everything is awesome,
Elder Phillips

Before the Church Dig Out

Notice how deep the trenches are!

Dirt and more Dirt!

These pants will need some soaking!

Cleaned up

Our Kitchen :)

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