Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Viva Chile For A Second Time!

Hola!  Viva Chile!

So as I’m sure you all know--Chile won the World Cup--again! They’ve won these last two years that I’ve been here...coincidence?   I think not haha

But I didn’t get to see the game since it was Sunday and there's a thing called the Sabbath day, but at around 11 pm we heard cars honking and music blasting so we assumed Chile had won.  We chilled in the apartment eating mac and cheese and a Peruvian, black corn jello while my companion explained to me the story of a game called Kingdom Hearts.  Missionary party!

Since there are many people with addictions here my companion and I decided to grow empathy for them by trying to stop one of our addictions for 24 hours: mine was singing and his was slapping his fingers together when he gets excited.  We only lasted about 5 minutes before I began singing a tune from Mary Poppins and he called me out on it and excitedly began slapping his fingers together.  This is going to be harder than we thought.

We are teaching a new couple who are really awesome, even if they do call us by our first names and not Elder.  We were also able to see a less active member go to church with her two kids. We are working to get her and her boyfriend married so he can be baptized.  Just normal mission stuff :P

And the big news in our missionary world is this week our new Mission President comes!  Change is good in life even if it does hurt a bit sometimes.

Everything is awesome (especially you!),

Elder Phillips

Scenic view of the ocean
From up above--Antofagasta

Chanaral--where we live!
Yummy Pizza
Missionary gathering 
Goofing off before the meeting
Sweet baptism we were able to attend

Monday, June 20, 2016

Time Travel


Well, it's the end of another transfer and I’m staying here in ChaƱaral, the world's quietest little town.  I only have 12 weeks left as a missionary, which is surreal since we start the mission with a 12-week training program--and it feels like I did it yesterday.

We had a fun surprise this week when we traveled to my old area Copiapo to get flu shots!  The shots were late so we missed our bus--leaving us with 5 hours to go around my old sector from a year ago!!!  It felt like walking through a dream, the streets were no longer covered in layers of dirt from the giant 2015 flood.  We went to my mamitas house and she was a little shocked to see us. "Oh hi elders...wait, what are YOU doing here!?!?" haha

A year ago Elder P. and I knocked on a door of a less active lady who decided to come back to church.  Talking with the mamita I found out that she is now going to the temple to receive her endowment and do baptisms with her newly baptized daughter and she also is the 2nd counselor in her ward relief society!  We stopped by her house but she was working, so we left a note.

If only a year has passed and people have changed that much, I can’t imagine what 2, 5, or 10 years can bring.  As a missionary it's hard to see your daily efforts, but I’ve learned that a small conversation that you feel has no importance can have eternal consequences for some people--it makes it all worth it.

On Sunday our friend Fernando received the Aaronic priesthood and now is a deacon.  He started to go to church by himself after being inactive for 2 years--he is really a great example for the branch that you are the one who must change your life.

Have a wonderful week!

Everything is awesome,
Elder Phillips

The park in Copiapo--good as new!

Good to see old friends again!

Can't wait to see this when I get home!
The Church in Copiapo--all clean!

A familiar place

Old friends!

Attempting to barbeque

A little too much of something

Dad would be so proud

My apartment in Chanaral

Monday, June 13, 2016

Old Habits Die Hard


This week was very busy, not in the good missionary teaching sense but in running around, doing conferences, trying to pull together a talent show, doing splits with the other missionaries all the while fighting against food poisoning.

"Elder, do you think this pizza I made a week ago is still good?"
"Yeah!  How could it have possibly have gone bad?"

It was bad.

We had a wonderful talent show with about 50 people (a big success for a small branch) with acts from people who weren’t even members!  They put me in charge of opening and closing the curtain, which only broke a couple times...

The biggest thing we been fighting against is the new schedule change.  Aligning to the hours most Chileans keep, for a year and a half I have woken up at 7:30 and gone to bed at 11:30.  However, because of the darkness creeping in at around 7 pm, the mission has decided to push back wake up time to 6:30 a.m. Easy! NOT.  My mind refuses to accept the change. Waking up to a cold, dark world it says, "No, you have another hour to sleep!  Why are you waking up?" Old habits die hard.

Yesterday we had a family home evening for the branch in the recent convert´s house, the family who was just sealed two weeks ago.  They explained the trip to the closest temple (in Santiago), one full of many unplanned challenges and fighting between them.  They could feel that someone didn’t want them to go through those sacred doors.  But once they entered they said they had never felt anything like it, almost as if heaven was wrapping its arms around them.  Their 3-year-old tornado of a son knelt completely still. I can’t wait to go to the temple again!

Everything is awesome,

Elder Phillips

Old Train Yard

View of the ocean

Which road should we take?
The Zona

I can cook :)

The ward talent show

Sharing our talents
Don't look at the man by the curtain :)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

"The Mission Isn't About You"


Well, first things first. Shout out to my cousin Kelsey who finished her mission in Argentina and is celebrating her birthday today! I imagine she is lying on the couch, eating a hamburger, and watching Adventure Time.   And if that didn’t give me a dose of trunkie, right before writing this email, the mission office called me to ask me which airport I would like to fly into when I come home in September....

So moving back to the mission world...

Yesterday our recent convert received the Aaronic priesthood and next week our recently reactivated young man will also receive it.  Yeah!  Finally we will have people under the age of 40 passing the sacrament!

On Friday we went on an extremely uncomfortable bus ride to Antofagasta at 3 AM for training--the last one with our current president (he is going home at the end of the month.)  One piece of advice he shared with us was how we should always focus on the vision our Heavenly Father has for us, not just our own vision.  This applies not only to our mission, but to our lives as well.  He offered an example from his own life.

Five years ago he prepared his papers for a mission with his wife.  His stake president suggested contacting South American mission presidents to see if they needed help, and hopefully he would find an opening in South America—his dream mission.  As he and his wife thought about it and prayed, they felt no inspiration about that choice.  They decided to submit their papers and leave it up to the Lord.  President Dalton was called as an area secretary—a completely different kind of mission.  However, that mission gave him the necessary experience to be a mission president, which he was later called to be—in South America.

He explained that moment 5 years ago he could have been shortsighted and picked the mission he thought he wanted.  He would have served the Lord in a good way for 18 months.  But by listening to promptings and leaving it up to the Lord he was able to serve the Lord the way the Lord intended, and for five years. It was a powerful lesson.

I’m trying to do that in my mission even though the temptation is strong to do what I would like to accomplish--but my Heavenly Father always knows better. It’s humbling, but as Elder Bednar would say, "The mission isn’t about you!"

Everything is awesome,

Elder Phillips

I took the road less traveled

Goodbye President and Sister Dalton!
Morning call about my travel home

Making Appointments

Nice Sunny Day

The carnival is in town

See the two dogs?