Saturday, June 13, 2015

Homeless in Chile

Oh, que semana (what a week)!

Wow, so we were living in the house of a member of the church, a nice older couple who make desserts and fried food for a hobby (yum!!)  But our mission president called and needed us to move to an apartment with 4 other elders while our apartment is getting the windows and doors fixed. Currently I am sleeping in a freezing hallway on a broken bunk bed, sharing one bathroom with 5 other elders, and trying to train a new elder in an apartment that is a 30-minute walk from our area. The adventure continues.

About a year ago there was a giant earthquake in this area, so all of the church branches in the city meet in one building.  And the church is growing here--they just made another branch!  So now we have church at 4 pm.  Our sector (area) has also started covering part of the new branch--it takes about 90 minutes to walk from one side to the other.

And we had a wonderful week!  The branch members are great here, which helped all of the stars to align and our baptism was a success! I just met our new convert on Wednesday before his baptism, since I am new to the area--he is a nice and humble man.  A nice lady also showed up to the baptism and then came the next day to church.  Her aunt is a member and she told us, "I just had a feeling to go to church last week. I heard about the baptism so I decided to come.  I felt something move inside of me, moving me to tears when I saw the simple, beautiful service." So during the Sunday classes, we gave her the first lesson and we have a lesson tonight with her at the branch president’s house!  Yeah!

Being a trainer of another missionary is a little overwhelming, especially when he speaks the language well, knows the area better than you, and has different habits from his other trainer.  But he is very excited to learn, and says he likes being with me--always a good sign.

But he didn’t get the greatest first impression of me.  On our first day together we were visiting people, and after my 17 hours of travel, fried food, and lots of walking, my body wasn’t very happy with me.  On our way back to the house, I stopped, excused myself, walked over to a light post in the dirt, and hurled everything my body has ever consumed.  I sat back up, excused myself again and kept walking.  He was very quiet and I felt very awkward.  Best trainer ever!!!

The people of this city struggle with many challenges, and it is home to a large mountain of trash littered with drug paraphernalia and stray dogs looking for food. In contrast, I can see the city below us, which is on the ocean and gorgeous to the eye. But I am reminded wonderful things can happen anywhere, even here in Alto Hospicio, “for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” There are lots of great hearts here :P

Have a wonderful week!

Everything is awesome,
Elder Phillips

A Great Day!
Iquique--the beautiful city below.

My Mamita in Copiapo and her family :)

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