Monday, April 22, 2013

Letter #32 04/22/13

Mis Quieridas Amigos y Familiares,

¡Cuanto les amo! I am so glad to hear that everyone is doing well, that you are happy and that God takes care of you all. I knew He was, but it's so good to hear it from you!
PDay has already gone by so fast and we have about a million things to do. So we finally have gas in our stove, and a washer! We had an interesting experience last night. While we were trying to take a few moments to relax after a hectic week, Hermana Hansen and I decided to put a load in our shiny new washer to FINALLY have some clean clothes. While they were in the machine we watched a 20 minute church movie (the conversion of John Tanner, excellent) the sink where the water drains decided to clog. Water spilled all over the floor, where the extension cord and plugs were O.o. We seriously have guardian angels all around us. Nothing was damaged and no one was hurt.
My companion is fantastic! It's interesting because our personalities are almost completely opposite, but we have a lot of the same interests. Lots of things to talk about, and different points of view. She is super dedicated and has had a lot of experiences in her life that have helped her grow closer to the Lord.
We have had the opportunity to meet quite a few people who (we think) are prepared to hear the gospel. We don't want to jynx it, so that's all I can say, but I CAN say that the Lord works in some mysterious ways. We're still trying to figure out how we found one of our investigators. We thought we were contacting a referral from a ward member-- but apparently it's a different woman with the exact same name and with the exact same description of where she lives and is friends with someone with the exact same name as our ward member. Weird. So we're teaching her and also still looking for the original referral.
I love you all! I LOVE THE MISSION! I am so grateful the Lord called me to be a missionary in this crazy place. Even though I will probably never live up to this calling the way I sometimes want or the way some people tell me I should, I know that the Lord loves me and I only try to live worthy of being an instrument in His hands.

All my love,
Hermana Phillips

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Letter #31 04/16/13

Querida Familia y Amigos,
Well, I'm in my new area and we're trying to settle into our new house. I LOVE La Paz, this change is going to be SO awesome. A few things about La Paz:

It is close to Montevideo, and closer to the coast than my last area, so it's much colder, especially since it's turning autumn.
Our ward is AMAZING! We have an awesome, proactive bishopric and Relief Society President. We share the ward with a pair of Elders. There haven't been hermana missionaries in this zone for a long time, and the ward has apparently been asking for sisters for a long while. In fact, the bishop told us in our first meeting with him, "For us, you are angels. We fought to get you here." Wow. Lots of expectations to live up to there, but I know if we just work and work and work the Lord is going to give us success. Fortunately, my new companion, Hermana Hansen from Cedar Hills, Utah, is a hard worker. She's my oro, so she's brand new, but she has zero fear of talking to people, even though she doesn't speak hardly any Spanish. She actually starts more of our contacts than I do! She's wonderful, and I'm so grateful to have her. Lots of energy, which is good because we are opening a new area (which means we have next to nothing to work with). Whitewash! Woohoo!

Lately I've been pondering the impact that the mission has had on me. As all of you know, I am kind of an emotionally unstable person by nature. My first 4 months of the mission were extremely difficult because I couldn't find a balance, and being so tired and hungry almost all the time made it worse. Sometime the months since then, however, the Lord has stepped in. I feel at peace-- I still feel really overwhelmed by the challenges I've been presented with in this transfer (training, opening a new area, whitewash, etc.) but I also just have this feeling that everything's going to work out. I wish I could transmit this feeling to my companion. I remember feeling so lost when I first got here. My trainer was my only point of reference and I got really stressed out just not knowing when we were going to eat next. We've had some problems with the electricity and with the stove in our house, so my companion, coming from the security of the CCM is a little frazzled. I'm trying my best to help her adjust. With patience and diligence, the Lord changes and enobles our character and our nature.

I love you all so much. I hope all is well. Love God and keep the commandments.

Love always,
Hermana Phillips

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Second Area: La Paz B

La Paz is right outside the capital, Montevideo, south of Christina's first area, Florida.

Laz Paz is a bigger, more urban area than Florida. There are approximately 20,000 people in the city limits. 

 La Paz is known for it's vineyards, marble quarries and Italian immigrants.

Letter # 30 04/09/13

Querida Familia y Amigos,

Summer is turning into autumn here. The nights and mornings are really cold. For personal study in the morning I wrap up in my robe and my fleece blanket. Mid-day is still really hot though.

I was concerned to hear about Dad. Can someone give me an update on how he's doing?

Last night we found out about transfers! I'll be leaving Ferroviario, Florida, for La Paz B, which is either in or near the main city of Montevideo (not really sure about the geography here.) I will also be training! Woohoo! I'm pretty excited. I report at the mission home bright and early tomorrow morning to meet my oro! We call our new missionaries oros, which means "golden". I like it a lot better than greenie! Training is such a sacred responsibility. I'm so grateful for my trainer, Hermana Vargas; if I can do half as much for this new hermana as my trainer did for me, I'll be satisfied. She taught me so many valuable lessons: if you want to be a good missionary, you can't waste time focusing on yourself. Just focus on helping your companion be the best missionary she can possibly be. I'm excited for this transfer, but also a little nervous. I think we will also be opening a new area-- whitewash! I was really stressed last night when I found out, even though I knew something like this was going to happen, but I woke up this morning with a lot of peace. Everything will work out if we are obedient-- and fortunately I will be trying to help mold good habits and not working to break bad ones.

Les amo con todo mi corazòn!
Hermana Phillips

Monday, April 1, 2013

Letter # 29 04/01/13

Querida Familia y Amigos,

This week has been awesome! It started out with interviews with President Armstrong, which was really uplifting. Our mission president and his wife are amazing. Hermana Armstrong is sick and the doctors don't know what is wrong with her, nor how to help; she can't sit or stand for very long. She went back to the States for more medical exams and testing and to hopefully recover, but she stays the same. Finally last week Elder Russell M Nelson said, "Hermana Armstrong has been away from her family far too long. It's time to send her back to Uruguay." And so Hermana Armstrong has the promise of an apostle. We pray for her every day. Also this week we had a conference/training at the mission home for only the sister missionaries. Since so many sister missionaries will be coming in the next few months, we are working hard to prepare to train them. The conference was so helpful and uplifting. I love all the hermanas in the mission. Part of the conference was directed by Hermana Armstrong. She was moved to tears when she expressed how grateful she is to be back in the mission and with her family, and with her missionaries. We are so grateful to have her back as well. She is an amazing woman, and above all else that I learned at the conference I left inspired by her example and her sacrifice. She is so physically weak but willing to give her whole heart, might, mind and strength to building the kingdom of God.

This week the mission set the goal of finding 6 new investigators per companionship. Our zone decided that we could do better, and our goal as a zone was 7 per companionship. Hermana Ocampos and I were so inspired by this week that we've had, and we've been working hard for this goal. Sunday night we found ourselves in the street with 6 new investigators and fifteen minutes to find the 7th before we had to report our numbers to the leaders. We said a quick, fervent prayer, telling Heavenly Father how much we wanted to obey and to meet this goal, and asking for help, for a miracle, and that either He would send to us or send us to this last person who was waiting. After finishing the prayer, we walked half a block and stopped a young couple in the street. The contact went poorly at first, but as we kept talking I started to feel the Spirit testify. Neither of the two believe in God, so we taught them how to pray, scheduled a return appointment, committed them to pray on their own, and said a prayer right there on the street corner. 2 new investigators! When Heavenly Father sees that we are diligent and faithful in doing His work, and that we have a desire to keep His commandments, He often blesses us more than we have reason to expect.

Also I'm super excited for General Conference! ¡¡¡¡VAMOS ARRIBA!!!!

I love you all so much! We are so blessed to be alive in a time when the gospel is in its fulness! Enjoy every minute!

Hermana Phillips

PS - Give Ethan and Ryker a HUGE hug and a kiss from me. I miss them so much!