Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Of Fish and Fishers of Men

July 25, 2016

Hola familia y amigos!

Today we climbed to the tops of the mountains to see a lighthouse, and while there we were surprised to feel the ground start to shake.  We thought it was just the wind but it got stronger, the car sirens began to blare, and little people began to scurry around the city.  EARTHQUAKE!  But everything’s all good :P Earthquakes are common in Chile—it takes one over 7 to really catch people’s attention.

Good news!  A young man in my old sector Simon Bolivar, Arica was baptized this week!  I’ve been frustrated for a long time because I spent 3 transfers there and could never get the right combination for someone to be baptized, but sometimes you just have to wait it out!

Speaking of baptisms, our part member family who are going to get married in a month told us about a cool experience they had.  In small towns everyone knows everyone’s business, so when the guy started going to church all the fishermen he works with gave him a hard time. One mockingly said, "If this really is all true with God and stuff I bet you’ll catch 50 pounds of fish tomorrow! haha"

The next day, all the boats lifted their nets and he was the only one who had caught fish.  Take that unbelievers!  He has so much faith--I love it.

I did have a huge trial this week.  We had to travel to a small town called Diego de Almagro for a baptismal interview.  The older gentleman passed the interview and we got on the bus to go home.  As I closed my eyes I heard "BUMMMM . BUmm buda bum ba da du da ba baba bunnn (the STAR WARS theme song), and I looked at the small TV screen in front of us and saw STAR WAR 7.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.  It almost killed me but I kept the faith.  I didn’t watch the movie.

Ahhh, what a week.  Transfers are next week and it will be my last one, so we will see what happens.

Everything is awesome,
Elder Phillips

Goofing around with hats

The light on the hill

Happy family

A great day

Sunday, July 24, 2016


July 18, 2016

Hola y hello!

My head is still spinning from this week's activities--traveling to different cities, having 8 elders sleep in our apartment, a zone activity BBQ, pulling together a branch baptism, and interviews with the new president.  Let's just say our house isn’t in the best shape haha.

With a new mission president, some things do change.  Happily we can now have zone activities with the sister missionaries, play sports, and soon we will be able to on occasion watch selected DISNEY MOVIES. Where was this for 22 months? haha Each Mission President has some discretion over his mission, and hopefully our missionaries won’t take advantage of a little more wiggle room.

Doing an exchange with a newbie missionary feels quite odd; it is as if you are looking through a time window--which jumps back 20 months.  He asked me all the same questions I did in my first area. Good thing in life we have people to look up to who have passed through it already.

The baptism was cute except the water was FREEZING when we arrived.  Poor girl was shivering in the water and she was mad because I promised her hot water, but we were traveling the whole day so unfortunately it was out of our control.

Many people tell me about what is happening in the world, it’s hard to believe. All the things that happen can get to you at times; I’m not oblivious to all the terrible things that occur on our planet. People who believe don’t just ignore the bad things and live blindly with faith but find deeper answers that ring true to the soul.  With our investigator couple we talked about how my companion and I are at a point of no return. However bad things get, however much we stray from the path, I can never deny that this is real--God exists, Jesus is our Savior and talks with real prophets today. How calming that is for me during the whirlwinds we live in.

Well my head can’t take more at the moment, so les despido.

Everything is awesome,

Elder Phillips
Zone Sports!
Multi Zone Meeting
Multi Zone Lunch 
Map Picture 
Ran into a friend
Getting ready for the baptism
A fun day
The Family
Baptism Celebration
Missionaries together=eating
Firing up the zone barbeque
Looking good

Not our hats :)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Hay Bautismo...En Dos Meses...

July 11, 2016

Hola familia!

Well, this week was an emotional roller coaster.  It’s amazing how you can get out of a lesson where someone you’ve been working with for 3 months tells you that they’ve been lying the whole time and really don’t believe anything you’ve said—he was just meeting with us to pass the time and because he felt bad for us; and go to a lesson where the investigator you have been struggling with says they have talked with their whole family and are making the bold decision to leave their family’s church, get married and get baptized!!  Too bad he will have to wait until September to get married, but I don’t care about that even though I will probably be gone when it happens.

And the mission is like that.  It stabs you in the heart, drops it on the ground, and then throws it to the sky. I might be getting motion sickness.

Working in small branches (congregations) is interesting.  On Sunday, I gave a talk, then I led the Sunday school class, picked out videos for the elder's quorum lesson, conducted ward council while our branch president did interviews, and counted the tithing.  I can’t imagine what would happen if we didn’t show up. haha It will be weird to go back to a large ward where I can sit in the crowd for a bit.

That investigator I mentioned earlier came to church with his less active future spouse, and has now been three times.  They stayed for the whole three hours and he hung on every word that was said.  It was so refreshing to meet someone who really cares about his salvation and whose heart is reaching out to find forgiveness.

Our Sunday lunch was a little far away--about an hour walking, and since no one had a car we took a nice stroll on an abandoned train track winding through a canyon.  It reminded me of Finding Nemo. YOU WILL NEVER TAKE THE DISNEY OUT OF ME haha.

How amazing is this gospel and how it changes people.  It’s the biggest miracle I see, because it sure takes hard work.

Everything is awesome,
Elder Phillips

The long and winding track
Flashback of Finding Nemo
A bush!
Up on the housetop
Missionaries love pictures!
A long day--time for a nap!
Boats in the harbor
Our buddy

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Feliz 4th de Julio and New Mission President!

July 4, 2016

Hola todos!

Well even though no one realizes it here, FELIZ 4th de JULIO!!!  We are still figuring out a way to celebrate it but without fireworks, watermelon, or family, it’s a little difficult...

We'll make it work.

On Thursday we went to meet our new mission president, a very large Chilean man with lots of spirit despite the jet lag.  In our mission we haven’t been allowed to play football (soccer) or do any activities with the sister missionaries. The first thing he changed was that now we can play football (soccer), but only if there are sister missionaries playing with us.  Talk about killing two birds with one stone.  You should have seen the faces of the elders, it was like "soccer" Yay! then "only if there are sisters" No!  It didn’t bother me because our zone doesn’t even have enough missionaries to play a soccer game.

The new mission president's wife shared her conversion story, which was quite impactful.

"I was baptized at age nine with my sister and then later my mom.  There came a time when I would hide from the missionaries to avoid going to church, but like everyone, I also had a time at about age 19 where I began looking for answers in my life.  Still apprehensive of the church, I wasn’t ready to hear the lessons until one day I went to my father's house where the missionaries were sitting down teaching my dad. I had no idea he was even listening to them or was about to be baptized.  I began listening and became converted myself."

"As my father's baptism date approached he asked me if I would like to ride with him to the church to have the baptismal interview.  I said no, although I wanted to go with him.  He left and soon after we received a phone call that he had been hit by a train near the church.  At that moment I had to make a decision--would I blame God, become bitter, and fall away from the truths I cherished or just accept his will that it was all in his hands?  Thankfully I chose the latter or I wouldn’t be here with you today."

My life hasn’t had that many challenges but I know that one day, just like everyone, they will come.  I hope, like her, I can keep hold to that iron rod of truth even if I must grasp it until my hands turn purple.

Well, have a wonderful week!  Yay AMERICA!  But Chile is also bakan (cool)

Everything is awesome,

Elder Phillips

My new mission president and his wife

Selfie time!
My package from home was supposed to be in here.  It wasn't :(
Chanaral--where I live
Close up--notice the mining hat