Sunday, August 28, 2016

Out With The Old, In With The New

August 22, 2016

Hola familia y amigos y todos las personas cas├índose (stop doing that it’s freaking me out),

mom clarification—for the Spanish challenged I think las personas casandose is something to do with people getting married.  Several of his friends have married recently,

Not many emails left. Crazy.

Back to earth.  This week we were working with a former investigator who stopped progressing because she had made promises to the Virgin Mary and needed to complete them.  I’m not very good with this situation since this doctrine has never made any sense to me, but we tried to talk to her about it.

"Hermana", we began to explain,"We believe in the virgin Mary--she's the mother of the most important person who has ever lived! But, why do you think Jesus is important?  Because He is the only one who gave His life for our sins. He paid the price--so on spiritual matters, we are on His terms.  And how do you imagine the last judgment? From what the scriptures tell us, we will be standing in front of Him and the Father.  We will stare in His eyes and He into ours. No one will be between us."

She thought about it and in the silence I asked, "Hermana, I know you know this is true.  When you make the necessary changes in your life, will you be baptized into Christ’s church?"

......."Well, I’ve been avoiding this for too long. Yes, I’ll do it."

"Will you be baptized the 10th of September?"

"Yes".   Bakan! (Awesome!)  Hope everything works out :P

All the other missionaries ask me how I’m doing with three weeks left. Honestly, I feel normal. Maybe because it hasn’t hit me yet.  The only time I really think about going home is when I finally throw my head on the pillow and I think about how much longer I will have to sleep on this uncomfortable mattress haha.

As I’ve talked with my companion this week, I’ve been reminded how awesome the mission is.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been MANY times when I just wanted to rip my hair out, lie on the floor and eat a hamburger, but the confirmation of eternal truths that I now have can’t be paralleled by any other experience.

Except maybe marriage...or at least that’s what they keep telling me. uggggggg.

Everything is awesome,

Elder Phillips
Went fishing for Pday--it is winter here right now

Dinner tonight!

My Chile Jersey

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Living on the Streets of Chile--Just Kidding

August 15, 2016

Hola y hello!

Our top priority this week (after baptizing people of course) was finding a house to live in because we were going to be homeless as of today.  The real mission experience! haha But we found a nice apartment behind another house where their recently deceased grandma lived.  It has its charm.  And there are trees—with birds—unusual for my part of Chile.

This week we were able to get to know more people.  They all said they would go to church.  But they all forgot about the time change this week where it moved one hour back.  I was getting ready for my unexpected talk with 5 minutes to spare when I looked up and saw a bunch of empty chairs and the other two missionaries, no one else.  Slowly people trickled in 30 minutes to an hour later with dazed looks in their eyes.

We teach a religion class called seminary to the teenagers on Saturdays—this year it is the Old Testament.  Wish I would have paid more attention my sophomore year of high school when I had it haha (sorry mom—she was my teacher). I love the book of Job--especially the part where his 3 friends began to tempt him to forsake God and die.  How many times in life, (and for me even more in the mission) have I been tempted to throw in the towel, curse God, and walk away from everything.  I think to myself, " Do I really have to do all this stuff to be saved? All I hear all day is that if I have God in my heart, I’m a good person, I'll be saved. Maybe they are right." But then another familiar voice comes: "Elder Phillips, you’ve had too many experiences confirming the importance of living the commandments. Keep your course."

It’s tempting to deny the promptings, say it’s all in your head and that some scientific theory must have the explanation so why bother.  But no. That would be just blasphemy for me now. Give God the chance he deserves.

Well, have a good week!  See you in a month!

Everything is awesome,
Elder Phillips

Tag Pic 
Birthday Party
Yum Cake
Service Project
Having Fun

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Opening My Last Area

August 8, 2016

Hola a todos!

This week was pretty hectic coming to our new area in the little town of Tal Tal. There are four missionaries here and two different apartments but our mission president told us we need to save money and live together so we spent our first day moving the other elders to our apartment.  "We have another one big enough for the four of you all set up so don’t worry--we are ending the contract of yours too.”  Well now the apartment they had lined up has fallen through and we will soon be living on the streets...jk

I’ve learned the importance of writing down all we do as missionaries in the area book with all the addresses and such, because the one we have has almost no information--meaning we spent most of our time this week walking around trying to find the people the previous missionaries were working with.

But we were able to meet a lady who was baptized 2 weeks ago.  Her whole life she was a very active evangelist until her recently converted son invited her to church.

"I just felt so amazing and had so much peace. I wanted to know why, so the missionaries came over and explained the Book of Mormon. At first I rejected it, but after a few nights of reading, tears dripped on its pages from the wonderful feelings that I couldn’t deny," she expressed.  How grateful I am for the Book of Mormon in missionary work--it does like 70% of the work for us.

Received my flight plans home today, ugg.  Que loco—I will be home September 14th!!!  Well, as I learned at the start of my mission in the CCM, work hard until they tell you it’s time to go home.  I’ll try to do that, but not just in the sense of coming home from the mission, but working hard until we go home to the Father. :P

Everything is awesome,
Elder Phillips

Good to Catch Up
Scenic Drive to Tal Tal

Missionary Photo Board
Sister Missionaries on Pday

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Final Countdown Begins and Unexpected Transfers

August 1, 2016

Hola a todos!

On Tuesday we had splits with the elders from Tal-Tal, a monthly occurrence. As we returned to our apartment, the owner who lives next door called us over to tell us about an email he had just received that day from the mission office titled “Termination of contract.”
I called the office: "Hey elder, this guy says we don’t have an apartment anymore, is that true?"
"Should we look for a new apartment?"
"No, that will not be necessary....” end of conversation.

(Call from Mission President)
"Hola! So I heard you found out you aren’t living there anymore. Well, it looks like I’ll have to tell you early about your transfer.  You both are going to Tal Tal continuing as zone leaders; we are closing your area and bringing in 2 more sister missionaries. No more elders in Cha├▒aral.. Bye!"

 And so that’s how we found out about our transfers…we spent the rest of the week cleaning the apartment, explaining the situation to members and investigators, and crying with the branch president.

Don’t get me wrong, sisters are AWESOME, but here in these small branches without a lot of active priesthood holders they rely on the elders to help with priesthood responsibilities like tithing, leading, giving blessings, etc.  But I trust in the mission president; he is inspired to do what is best.

We also had an unexpected BAPTISM this week in the branch--a grandma who said she would get baptized in January.  We decided to do a baptismal interview with her just to help her see what she was missing. After 30 minutes she came out in tears saying, "I will be baptized. Get it all ready, it’s my time."  This was Thursday, so we got a baptism ready very fast.  Her daughter had been waiting 25 years for this to happen--all were in tears.  Good way to end.  And we will try to come back for the baptism of the fisherman with faith like Peter. :P

Well, here goes the final transfer--a two hour bus ride north.  We will finish strong :P

Everything is awesome,
Elder Phillips

Warming up the water in the font

It was her time :)

Chanaral Friends


Chillin in Chanaral