Monday, May 30, 2016

Talk Less, Love More

Hola peeps,

I’m glad to say that this week gave me more hope in humanity, even if we didn’t get them out to church.

The dad of the boy who was going to get baptized--who told us not to come back anymore last week, talked to us on the street outside his house like nothing had happened and invited us in.  We talked with the boy--more as friends than robots trying to convert him, and after 30 minutes with some food and listening, the gospel naturally slipped out and he agreed to keep listening to us.

It was a confirmation to my prayer during the week "What can I do to help these people?"  Answer: "Talk less, love more” Loving and caring speaks louder than all the reasoning and doctrine I can shove into 45-minute lessons.

Some conversations we have sure are interesting. For example:

Lady: “God doesn't punish!  The Bible says that God is love and love can't       punish."
Us:  "Have you read the Bible, particularly the Old Testament?  God destroys the wicked quite often and he loves them."

Sometimes people’s beliefs can lead them to different conclusions:

Man: "I don’t believe there is a God.  I die and there is no life after.  My soul will leave my body and disintegrate."
Us: "Wait, you believe you have a soul? Well if God doesn’t exist, who created that soul?  That's who God is--the father of our souls!!"
Man: "Ummm...well. Hummm. Yeah, I’ll read the pamphlet."

I love how God gives us powerful words to defend his gospel plan in the second we need them.

It’s like your brain going to a different level.  It is truth.

Have a wonderful week!

Everything is awesome,

Elder Phillips

Chanaral Zone 
Apparently We Can't Be Serious :)
Cool Mural

La Palabra "The Word"

May 23, 2016

Won’t butter things up. This week was a little slow.  But it happens.

What happened is that the three families that went to church were doing great...until we started teaching them the gospel.  From my experience, people here in Latin America like to talk about "la palabra" (the word).

The progression of thought usually goes something like this:

"God is our loving Heavenly Father" Yeah, that’s all good.

Yep, families, the bible, God’s plan for me.

God talking with a boy...golden plates. Ok, well everyone thinks differently.

God wants me to DO STUFF. Like GET BAPTISED.  NO COFFEE.  Wait a minute. I thought God was love--not rules!  No no, I'll believe in my own way, I'm good with my God.

People are TERRIFIED by the word "commitment."  But they fail to see the word "blessings" right behind it.  It deeply saddens me how the world misses that part.  I testify of a God who requires everything of us because he wants to give us everything.  I asked God about a year ago in my small room if it really was necessary to do everything this church requires to be saved and God gave me a strong spiritual experience.  Everyone can receive that witness if they ask.  And when we get our answer, we need to do it.

On a lighter note, we were knocking on a door for two weeks--a reference, but no answer.  Last night we were walking on another street and knocked on a door. The lady let us in to show us her rather large house, and let us out the back door. "The back door goes out to the other street", she said. Opening the back door my comp and I looked at each other and realized we were in the house we were trying to contact for 2 weeks!  We had just entered from the other side!  It was quite funny.

Have a wonderful week, because it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, it feels like Christmas here. It's getting colder and they still haven’t taken down the Christmas lights in town square from last Christmas....

Everything is awesome,
Elder Phillips

What We Do


Amusement Park

I am getting proficient at mashed potatoes and gravy

God Loves Everyone

May 16, 2016

Hola, buenas días a todos!

My new companion is from Salt Lake and his parents sent him big packages with gringo cereal; I had forgotten what Cinnamon Toast Crunch was like!

Being in charge of an area when your companion comes always brings it share of challenges, even when you have 20 months on the mission. Getting lost does give you an opportunity to talk to more people haha.  Every week gets better and then you are sent away to another place to start all over again.

Our zone is full of little towns ranging from 30 minutes to 3 hours away, which we don’t visit much except when the missionaries have a baptism, an event as common as the solar eclipse. However, these missionaries are awesome and had 2 baptisms this week, meaning we were able to travel and do the baptismal interviews.

Almost all of my mission has been in barely functioning branches, struggling to keep the embers alive.  But interviewing this mom and her son reminds me that God's love can reach out to everyone, even hundreds of miles into the desert. Why do we need an organized, restored church led by God?  Well, God loves everyone, right?  So without this church, God wouldn’t be a God of love, but a selfish God.  It’s hard for most people to humble themselves and join the boat of Zion, but when they do, it changes everything.  I’ve seen that change in people and myself.

Everything is awesome,

Elder Phillips

I Made It Myself!

Service Project

Large Very Scary Spider!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Last Call Home

May 9, 2016


Can’t believe it but the next time missionary families are talking to their beloved missionaries via Skype, I will be snug in my house enjoying hot chocolate and Netflix.  But I still have a lot to do before then, so stop making me trunkie ☺ It is always wonderful talking to the family especially about the shadowed fate of our lovely country.  Maybe I should just stay in my missionary bubble forever.

We had a baptism this week; well the sisters did, of a 16-year-old young man who used to be in a bible study group to find the truth. Who would have known that he would find it through the Book of Mormon? (I did).  Our mission president was passing by this weekend so he asked if he could perform the baptismal ordinance for this young man, which he did.  After the baptism, Pres. Dalton stood--attempting to speak, but he was held back by tears.  "Being here watching this young man be baptized and sitting in his house yesterday I had the strongest feelings that he was chosen before this life to complete an important destiny here on earth, and I just had the honor of starting him on this path.” Turning to the young man he said, “You have something very important planned for you in the future of this church.”  The feeling in the room was powerful.  His dad, who still is searching for his testimony, said afterwards that this was a critical moment for him.  And due to certain circumstances, we now get to work with his dad.  I’m very excited!

Sunday was the last day of the mission for my Chilean companion, Elder S., who received a heavenly reward when eight investigators came to attend our small branch of 40 people!  That’s never happened to me before on my mission and it gives me hope for this new transfer as I work with my new Utah companion Elder A.

Sorry to say but I got dear bestied this week.  It’s like a dear john letter, but from your best friend.  Congrats Bridget on getting married soon! It freaks me out that the person I used to make dumb home videos with and jump on her trampoline will soon have a SPOUSE haha   I wish I could be there for these important events, but the lord's vineyard still has lots of fruit to harvest.

And as it was Mother’s Day yesterday, I would like to declare to the world that my mom is wickedly awesome.  Maybe she doesn’t think she is, as all moms feel that they fall short of their sacred calling, but I must have done something right in the past life to be so incredibly blessed to be taught at the knees of a woman of such faith, character, intelligence, thoughtfulness, and Christ-like love.

Thanks mom.  Thanks grandmas.  Don’t worry dad, your day comes soon.

Everything is awesome,

Elder Phillips

Great to see old friends at meetings!

Baptism Day! 

Goodbye Elder S.!
Bus time for Elder S.! 
An empty beach

Me and the empty beach

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Surprise Callings

May 2, 2016


Things are going well as we get closer to the end of the transfer and I have to kick my companion into the real world.  He is having an inner struggle, but the home side seems to be winning haha.

I have been flea free for a while now. But my companion had some yesterday on his clothes and they went straight for me. They always come for me!!! In the night I could feel bites but I thought it was a bad dream... It’s been an itchy mission but as long as I don’t have to eat cow stomach or chicken feet I’m all good :)

A less active family (or future actives as we like to call them) expressed their gratitude for our visits.  The mom said she had been bitter at the world for many years but as we have taught about the plan of salvation they have a different view of the world, a new hope.  This gospel really reaches and blesses all people in any circumstance, how could it not be divine?  It always testifies to me that this message is beyond me, I can’t change these people but the spirit and the gospel can and does.  God's plan taking action.

In other news, I’m the branch’s new secretary!  One thing I do is help count the tithing.  It seemed to lessen the stress on our poor branch president to have some extra help.  And I get to learn more about how great the church is!  Just so you all know, tithing is a very secure and trusted process.  Nobody messes with God's money!!

Everything is awesome,

Elder Phillips

Happy Mother's Day Skype--last one!
Very effective fly catcher

Getting there
Almost there
Pday Hike

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Relight the Torch

April 25, 2016

Hola familia! y amigos y futura

Chañaral has a dangerous bug that eats gringos alive.  I happen to be a gringo so this bug ate me again this week.  In other words I got the 24 hour flu AGAIN haha.  But I feel much better, hence the 24-hour part.

We had lots of hopes this week with our English classes since 16 showed up the last week. We went to the market with posters to tell people about them, and people also came up asking us about what time we were having them.  But we forgot to account for the fact that the people here have an immense fear of the cold and rain and an hour before the classes   "the clouds came in and the floods (aka: 5 drops of water) came up and the chapel on the hill stayed empty" So, only three came.

The same process repeated on Sunday with the same results at church :(

We were able to have a wonderful lesson with the family who came to church last week—along with a ward member and a boy who will be baptized in two weeks.  Since it was a crucial lesson I wanted to bear witness of what I was teaching with power, so that morning I prayed to have a spiritual experience to reaffirm my testimony. In the room where I was praying was a church history book that I opened right to the first vision description. Reading the words I felt a light enter my heart, the same that does every time.  In the lesson I was able to tell them that I had reaffirmed that day that I do know that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration and that we must be baptized by God’s authority. The young man committed to baptism and the parents...not quite yet but we are getting there.

This experience helped me recognize that God never tires of us searching for spiritual manifestations to confirm fresh in our hearts the truths we know to be true.  And it is so much more powerful.

Everything is awesome (and cooling down),

Elder Phillips

Name tag Pic


The Zone #2