(Elder Phillips other update finally came just a few minutes ago, don't know why it took so long, but here it is)
Hello Friends and Family!
So week five is finished. Fourth of July was pretty sweet at the MTC. We watched 17 miracles. For those who haven't seen it, this movie is about pioneers. It's a great story about pioneers crossing the plains to the West who experienced awful trials but with every trial experienced a wonderful miracle. To think about the past is pretty humbling. It's interesting how the Church started as just a few thousand people and now has grown to be international. Joseph Smith was not kidding when he said this work will penetrate every continent and sound in every ear!
Fun fact! The word ketchup in English came from the Chinese railroad workers of the 19th century. The word in Chinese pinyahm is "ke-jap." Which literally means tomato-juice. Here is a 4th of July story I heard. John Taylor was about to get up in front of a crowd and preach, but he heard that there was a mob gathering in the crowd that was going to pull him out and tar-and-feather him. So he get's up on the stage anyway and he says to the crowd something close to this: "I've heard that there are some of you here that are planning to tar-and-feather me. I can't help but think: is this what your sires (meaning forefathers) fought, bled, died, and killed for? So that you could tar-and-feather somebody for preaching their religion?" So he did not get tarred and feathered that day and many of the mob actually listened to him speak for three hours. Our country has progressed in a lot of good ways since that time period and I'm glad I won't be tarred and feathered for being a missionary!
Imet some people from Hong Kong! They were great! I tried to speak Cantonese to them and we actually had decent conversation but I still have a long way I can tell. Our teacher the other day got serious with us! He says he's going to start speaking Cantonese much faster similar to the Hong Kong people. He also says he will not help us by speaking English. I'm pretty excited for it. I heard a line on fourth of July from the hymn: "Battle Hymn of the Republic." It said: "As he died to make men holy let us live to make men free. Our God is marching on." This line really hit me. There could be no better purpose than to help others be free. I think the gospel is the first step to that. I'm hoping the rest of China will open up to missionaries soon. Jesus Christ has already done the heavy lifting, why can't we just tell people about it?
Here's a line from a hymn that I really like.
"How firm a foundation ye saints of the lord. Is laid for your faith in his excellent word. What more can he say than to you he hath said? Who unto the savior for refuge have fled."
That line basically describes my life at the MTC. I cannot complain, and when I feel inadequate or like maybe I'm being asked too much of, I think of this line. What more can he say than to me he's said? He's already given me a great testimony of this truth, and the scriptures, and the truthfulness that this gospel was restored by Joseph Smith. I can never forget that foundation I've laid on faith. And how many times that faith has been rewarded by God and increased. Faith is the most powerful thing I've discovered. Those who ask God in faith, will never be rejected. Love you all.
Bei Jeung Louh