Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Letter #49 08/26/2013

Dear Friends and Family,
I love life so much right now, it's hard to contain. I forgot my camera or I would send you photos of the area, my companion and our house and our ward-- everything!
First, about the area:
We are whitewashing and opening a new area, which means we got here and had next to nothing to work with, but since the area was just split we took over teaching some of the elders' investigators. There is one amazing couple, Darwin and Inés. Inés is a member who has been inactive for years, and Darwin is her boyfriend. They have an adorable little boy named Santiago (more frequently called "Slash"-- so cute!) It's crazy that they're my age.They have an interesting story. Darwin is trying to stop smoking and doing drugs, and for a few years I think he was going to an evagelical church to help him stop, which he did manage to do. He went to Dios Universal, which was also in my other area. It looks more like a business than a church to me, because instead of walls in the front it has glass windows. Anyway he went to church five times a week to help him overcome his addictions. A few months ago he started attending a different evangelical church called Capanas del Cielo ("Bells of Heaven"). The people there do something special to get blessings they say, but to me I looks exactly like the devil's casino. You sell the biggest thing you have, your car, your motorcycle, TV, house-- everything-- and give the money to the church. You put yourself completely "in the hands of God." In return, God supposedly turns your life around and showers you with blessings and you live happily ever after. So that's what Darwin did, but a few days after his girlfriend's mom (who is an active member) got wind of what they'd done and went crazy, saying that how could they do something so foolish, etc. She also sent them a scripture from the bible that said that obedience is better than sacrifice. That's when the doubts started. Then Darwin lost his job. And that's when another member sent the missionaries to them. They really are a great couple. Prayers on their behalf are much needed.

My companion, Hermana Nelson is amazing. She motivates me so much! She just finished her training and I am loving every minute being in San Carlos working with her! The other day we went running, and I was doing great-- until I stepped off a curb. You'd think it'd be nothing, right? But as I stepped off the sidewalk onto the road I think I pulled or twisted or did something to my lower back. The pain got worse and worse for the rest of the morning and by the time we were done with comp study at 10 I couldn't even sit. I had to lay in my bed all day. That was two days ago. Yesterday my back hardly hurt at all and I could go out and work but today it's been acting up. Not sure what to do. My district leader (now nicknamed the "Hawaiian Medicine Man") let me use some of his DoTerra essential oils, which helped a lot.
I am really learning so much here and I love life and I love my area and I love my companion and I love GOD!
Yesterday we went to a hospital to sing to some of the patients there-- I wanted to try something new and the scriptures are always urging us to "lift up our voices." We found this incredible family-- one evangelical and two catholics. The grandpa was a deacon in the catholic church. We shared a scripture about the Atonement from the Book of Mormon, and the spirit was incredible. By the end, every person in the room had borne pure testimony of Jesus Christ, and I felt like He was standing there with us. We said a prayer, they gave us their heartfelt gratitude, and we left. It was one time I have felt almost worthy to wear the name of Jesus Christ next to my heart.
The experiences I've had in this area have made me reevaluate what really are the "Key Indicators" we should pay attention to.
Love you forever,
Hermana Phillips

Monday, August 19, 2013

Letter #48 08/19/2013


In district meeting our district leader talked about a parable. It's called "Kill the Cow." Trust me, it sounds even weirder in Spanish, but it's a true principle. I'll tell you the story.

A young man was finishing his training with his wise mentor. For the final lesson to his diligent student, the wise man took him to the house of a very poor family. The wise man took his student to the barn and where they found the poor family's only cow, upon which they depended heavily. The wise man said to his student that for the final lesson, they had to kill the cow. The young man was very confused, but in the end he did as his mentor instructed. The wise man and the young man parted ways.

Two years later, the man came back to the poor family's house. However, instead of finding the humble home there was in its place a much better house. Surely the family moved, the man thought, and he knocked on the door to inquire what had become of the poor family that had lived there previously. The owner of the house, however, told the man that they were the same family that had lived there for years, it was just that two years ago someone had killed their cow, their only source of income. As a result, they had had to find other ways to provide, and those other ways turned out to be much better than just getting by on their one cow. They were now quite well off, thanks to whoever killed their cow.
This story has helped me a lot to recognize a lot of habits in my life, a lot of perceptions about myself and about the people around me that have worked in the past and that are good (and probably would continue to work) but that are also impeding my personal progress. So here's my challenge for you: find out what your cow is and kill it. You'll be so happy you did!

I tried sharing this parable in a lesson once. Goodbye Spirit...
Anyway, love you all, hope you have a great week!
Hermana Phillips

Third Area: San Carlos

San Carlos is on the southern coast, east of Montevideo. 

With a population of 27,000, San Carlos is the second largest city in the Maldonado Department. It was founded in 1763 by the Spanish governor to discourage Portuguese settlments in the area.

Historical sites include the oldest Catholic Church in Uruguay, Iglesia San Carlos Borromeo, built in 1763.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Letter #47 08/14/2013

Dear Friends and Family,
I got transferred! My new area is San Carlos B, and it is near the coast, north of Montevideo. We leave tomorrow morning. I will miss La Paz; I realized yesterday how much I love my investigators here, even though none of them got baptized. Sometimes you reap, and sometimes you sow. I am grateful for the relationships that I have formed here. Yesterday when I was in a lesson with Lourdes (who I´ve been teaching since April and can´t bring myself to drop) I told her that I might be leaving. Here eyes filled with tears and I was so surprised when she suddenly got up from her chair and ran and hugged me. Such a fantastic lady; she is so sweet. I´ll miss her a lot and keep praying that someday she´ll be able to get baptized.
Our zone got together and played for our last Pday. They made me play fútbol. Latinos are crazy good at this sport. I told them that if we loose it´s their own fault for making me play. I am seriously the worst. However, serving a mission in South America I just kind of have to get over it.
I don't know what this new transfer will bring. My new companion´s name is Hermana Nelson. I sat behind her in my ASL class during my last semester at the U of U, so we already kind of know her. She was trained by my trainer, so we´re sisters! She´s blond and really likes talking to everybody. I wonder what the ward in San Carlos will be like. I doubt anything could beat Barrio La Paz, though. Our bishop promised to come bring us ice cream tonight to wish us luck. This transfer was kind of tough living in a house of four missionaries. It was fun, but after three transfers, it's enough.
A few days ago I accompanied my housemate, Hermana Peña to the doctor in Montevideo because she had to have surgery. We stayed in the mission home that night and we got to know our new mission president, Presidente Newsome, and his family. They came with their youngest son, Reed, who is thirteen. It was really weird to wake up and have breakfast with them. Presidente is apparently extremely wealthy, but you´d never be able to tell-- he´s so down-to-earth and humble. Hermana Newsome is so willing and anxious to learn Spanish. After dinner we asked her if there was anything we could do for her and she said, "Yes, you can give me a Spanish lesson!" Then she went and got a piece of paper and a pencil and we helped her write out her testimony and a simple prayer. She´s really awesome. Reed is a typical thirteen-year-old boy and eats a Cajun seasoning called "Slap Ya Mama" on everything. They have a teacup Yorkie named Lucy that is officially the first lap dog that I´ve ever liked.
My first companion in the field, Hermana Vargas, finished her mission last week. Crazy how time flies. My one-year mark is in 17 days.
I love the gospel!
Love you forever,
Hermana Phillips

Friday, August 9, 2013

Letter #46 08/09/2013

Dear Family and Friends,

I am writing to you from President Newsome's office. My house companion is sitting in his big chair. I'll tell you how we got here:
We live in a house of four and one of the other Hermanas had to have surgery on her eye today. It's been a long and tiring process, having to go back and forth from the doctor's office four times in the past three weeks. It's an hour and a half bus ride one way. Fortunately, the Pugmires, who are the senior missionary couple here, have been helping us with transportation. (Hermana Pugmire is the mission nurse and Elder Pugmire is in charge of fixing things in the missionary's houses-- Mom and dad, you guys would be really awesome missionaries. Just saying...)
Anyway, I'm supposed to just say hi and let you all know that I'm alive. I didn't write on Monday because I was stuck in a waiting room at the eye clinic all Pday.

Love you forever! Thank you so much for all your support and words of comfort.
Love, Hermana Phillips