Monday, June 24, 2013

Pictures: Cleaning the Temple

Letter #41 06/24/2013

Dear Family,
Sorry this email is going to be short because this keyboard requires some persuasion. It's been a wonderful and crazy week, and really eventful.

We had to travel around a lot, with District Meeting on Tuesday, and Zone Conference in Montevideo on Friday. It was a really emotional Zone Conference, because Hermana Armstrong is leaving on Tuesday for the States and it will be the last month we have with President Armstrong.

Also we had an interesting experience with an investigator whose mother is 150% Jehovah's Witness and burned her daughter's Book of Mormon that we gave her. The rest of the story will have to wait.

I'm so sorry for the shortness of this letter. I'll write a really good one next week to make up for it, and tell you all the things that happened next week.

Love you forever. I hate this keyboard.
Hermana Phillips

Monday, June 17, 2013

Picture: At the Temple

Letter #40 06/17/2013

Dear Family and Loved Ones,

This week has been awesome. We got to go to the temple with some of our investigators and have a special lesson in the waiting room with them! The temple president came and talked to them for a while, and we took some pictures, taught The Plan of Salvation, and then afterward we had some refreshments in the hostel dining room. It was a really cool experience, but we got home at 11:30-- SO late for missionaries!

The investigator we brought is named Josè Yelaskov (Russian heritage) and his family: Alejandrina and her son, Luis (Josè´s step-son.) They are awesome. One of my first weeks in this area they rode up on their motorcycle and stopped us on the street. Alejandrina introduced herself as a member; Josè introduced himself as not baptized-- yet! He explained he had every intention to get baptized because of the example of his wife. He's been going to church in Las Piedras (the next city over) for three years, but now they are moving back to La Paz, where Alejandrina was born. They are my favorites! Alejandrina has two boys from a previous marriage, and she and Josè have two adorable little girls together. However, the thing keeping Josè from baptism is that they are not married. The divorce and marriage proccess is very long here in Uruguay and a little expensive. Fortunately, his divorce finally went through and her divorce is in the final stages. After that, it could be up to two months before they can get married and Josè can get baptized. They are willing to do anything for their family to be together forever.

Sunday we had stake conference, and they came, even though the stake center is quite far and Josè had to make two trips on his motorcycle to get everyone there!

Also this week we are having a stake baptismal service-- about 15 people are going to get baptized! ¡¡Noche Blanca!! We're planning on bringing all of our investigators. Please pray that they'll come!

In other news Hermana Hatch and I have started a tradition of picking a topic together every day and studying it individually for 15 minutes in personal study, and then sharing what we learned. Today's (and yesterday's) topic was charity:

 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand allmysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whetherthere be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
This is the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians. It is interesting how when I pray for a certain Christlike quality, that quality is tested immediately thereafter.

I love you so much! Remember that the Lord loves you so much and that His love is the only thing in this world that will NEVER fail.

Love you forever,
Hermana Phillips

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Letter # 39 06/10/13

Dear Friends and Family,

I'm not sure where to start this week. There are lots of things happening. I was in a triple companionship this week until my new oro, Hermana Hatch, got here on Saturday. My corto plazo was working on her own mission papers and things got a little complicated with the medical part, so she wasn't able to come back, even for a few days. So instead, Hermana Hatch came and now we're companions. Another oro from her group tore a tendon in her knee (those knees-- they just don't make them like they used to!) and had to go home, poor thing. She didn't even do anything strenuous, just walking! But things got moved around again and hopefully I'll get to finish training Hermana Hatch. I've learned that anything can happen.

My poor area. It's suffering a little, like a garden I haven't been able to tend :( But now I'm really excited to start things again and get my rhythm back.

I'm sorry I don't have very much to say this week. Things are a little bit tense at the moment in our house of four sister missionaries. I have found a lot of refuge in my personal study every morning. This morning one of the hermanas was talking about how missionaries are the last to receive the Liahona (if we get it at all) and how we hardly ever get to go to the temple, when we're the ones who need it the most. I disagree a little. There is so much strength to be found in just personal prayer (as Enos discovered) and scripture study (as Nephi tells us over and over again) and, as missionaries, I feel like we are the most prayed-for people in the world. I feel support from my family and my friends, and I have often felt support from the other side of the veil. There are a lot more people working with us than we can see. It would be so wonderful to get to go to the temple, but if we live worthily of the Holy Ghost, our covenants stay with us always.

Hermana Phillips

Monday, June 3, 2013

Letter # 38 06/03/2013

Dear Family and Friends,

It's been a great PDay, but I'll admit that I'm a little down while writing this letter. Tomorrow, my awesome trainee, Hermana Spradlin (Arkansas), will be leaving to go to her "real" mission. We've spent the day packing and getting the house in order because the past month has been the craziest of my life. I say that every month so I guess I should just be used to it by now.

I'm finding it really difficult to hold back tears at this moment because we've just received an email from our mission president and his wife, informing us that, due to the condition of Hermana Armstrong's health, they will be released from their assignment at the end of July. President Armstrong will continue his church service in Utah in the Church Legal Department, working on international legal matters. They will be replaced by President Gary Newsome and his wife.

I love President and Hermana Armstrong so much, and it's hard to let them go, even though I know it's completely out of my hands. It will be better for them and their family. I am so incredibly grateful and blessed to have had the privilege to serve under their watchful care. They know the Savior so well for the challenges that they have had to go through together, and from what I have observed they have done so admirably. I think about their incredible service and I want to be a better missionary and a more converted disciple of Christ.

The good news is that President Newsome served in the Uruguay, Montevideo mission as well, as did President Armstrong, and get this-- President Armstrong was President Newsome's trainer in the mission! There are no such things as coincidences in the work of the Lord :)

I never thought I needed the Lord so much as I have had to rely on Him in the mission. He really is in all things. In a world where things change and nothing is constant, Jesus Christ stands alone as the standard around which His disciples can rally, the rock upon which if we build we will never fall. He is the way, the truth and the life. When everything falls away, I hope that I will be found a true disciple of my Lord and Savior, and I hope more than anything to find the power to yield my own will completely to Him and become an instrument in His perfect, gentle hands.

I love you so much and hope you are well. I hope that we can all learn to "lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better." (D&C 25:10) My patriarchal blessing says that there are those around me who are very close to me who have been great examples of faith, of endurance, and of stability. So that's my challenge for this week (and for the rest of my life): increase my faith, strengthen my ability to endure, and seek balance and stability. Any suggestions? How do YOU do it?

Jesus Christ lives and He loves us. In the words of President Uchtdorf, "He is aware that we are not perfect. He is also aware that the people who we think are perfect are not."

Love you forever,
Hermana Phillips