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

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