Sunday, August 9, 2015

All Dogs Go To Heaven and Meet the Mormons of Alto Hospicio

July 28, 2015

Hola familia y amigos!

It’s starting to cool down in the dry, dry desert.  The water is so cold it doesn't have time to heat up when it hits my skinny, white body at 7:30am.  Sure wakes me up!

Today for our p-day we have reservations to tour an old Chilean Navy sailing ship here by the shore.  I am excited because we don’t have opportunities to do things like this very often.  It is called the La Esmeralda.  It can carry over 300 sailors.

It’s been a great week. The 16-year-old girl we just baptized had us talk with her dad who usually avoided us whenever we taught her.  He was literally scared of us, but we invited him to church...and he came!!  We took advantage of the situation to have a family home evening with the district president, the older missionary couple here, and the family.  The mom, a reactivating member, expressed her tearful desire to have her whole family join the church.  The husband said he is reading the book of Mormon and isn't scared of us anymore haha. He smiles more and talks to us about his feelings.  Its amazing how people really open up when you show how much you care (and that we aren't that weird).

The mission is great and hard because it forces you to face the reality of your beliefs. At home I could say, yeah I know this is true, go to church and do what I needed to do.  But here, when someone tells you "You can't really tell me that you believe you have it all, that this Joseph Smith who had tons of wives really was some guy from God!" ¨ These moments are powerful because I have to draw from everything I know, and a lot I don't know.

Yes, I have questions about the gospel, a notebook even.  But I can't deny the promise of the Book of Mormon, to read, pray, and get an answer from God.  Since I have taken the time to actually do this before and on my mission, I can really tell those critics that yes, this honorable man restored the truth that was lost. "All dogs might go to heaven", but if we don’t follow the restored gospel--we won’t claim the full blessings of heaven.  I know it, because I have felt it. There are things you know with your heart that you don’t know with your head. ¨

After 10 months, I haven't had the mission I was expecting or wanted, but it’s the one I need.  Reading the biography of our beloved apostle, L. Tom Perry, I thought, if I died right now what could be written about me? Would I be considered someone who didn’t doubt, who loved unconditionally, who loved to work hard and knew his Savior?

Have a great week!  Found a baseball cap doing service this week from UNLV (University of Nevada Las Vegas—my home town!)...super random.  haha

August 3, 2015

Hola one and all in the land of the brave with amber waves of grain,

It’s been a little slow this week as many people have gone dancing for Saint Lorenzo so their houses won't burn down or something like that.

In this area we eat with the members on Saturdays and Sundays for lunch, since there is no such thing called dinner in Chile.  Chileans eat their big meal at lunch around 2 or 3 pm and have something called a Once or Tea at 9ish just as we are wrapping up our teaching (or walking).  So, no dinner meals for Austin Phillips for another 14 months.  That In-N-Out hamburger with animal fries will taste pretty good when I get home!

Eating with people gives me the chance to learn about their incredible stories, so I would like to present “Meet the Mormons of Alto Hospicio”.

A few years ago a man and his wife were preparing to accept a job offer as an evangelical pastor starting a new congregation.  One day this woman saw two young men dressed in white shirts and ties, and she felt drawn to them and asked them their names.  One of the gringo missionaries had a small picture of his family just below his nametag.  As she looked at his smiling family she had the distinct impression that they had met before in another time and place, but she didn't have the slightest idea where that could have been.  She invited them over to discuss the Bible with her and her husband.

 As they met with the missionaries, they refused to read anything not coming from the Bible since they believed it was all that they needed.  With the help of church members, these missionaries were able to show them references in the Bible that helped them to decide to at least take a look at the little blue Mormon book.  The wife told us as she tore through its pages her mind expanded, and new enlightenment about ancient covenants and peoples flooded into her heart.  They dropped everything--the security of a future job, friends and personal beliefs to follow a book and a church because it filled them with joy like they had never experienced before.  And they have not wavered since.  They are even going to help us teach others what they know to be true.

Another story is about a woman from Mexico who lived in the United States during her teenage years (She cooked us fried burritos with homemade guacamole and sour cream on Sunday and my life changed for good--I now love Mexican food).  Her father was a very bad guy so she had to flee with her mother to live in Arizona.  She later married a man from Chile and they began their life in America.

One day as she was praying, she had the distinct feeling to move to Chile.  "No, I don't want to move there. Never!!  My whole life is here now, no, I won't do it" she thought.  But the feeling kept coming and it also came to her husband.  They did what they needed to do and literally moved their whole life here to Alto Hospicio.

Now as she looks at her patriarchal blessing, she understands the promise in it that one day she would live among people of her native tongue to prepare their hearts for the second coming of Christ.

This world really is filled with wonderful people; you just have to find them.

Have a great week!

Everything is awesome,

Elder Phillips

The Beach!

A slice a home--UNLV!

The Esmeralda

Found a Niagara Falls sweatshirt for four bucks here.  You can literally find anything here!!

I have decided to love Mexican food after this homemade meal!

No comments :

Post a Comment