Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Dear Friends and Family,

I have a pretty sweet story to tell.  It's simple but it's actually a postive Misionary story.

A family in our ward invited a long lost less active to come to church.  We ourselves had no record of the man because he moved at one point and a phone number was changed, thus a lost sheep.  But the family in our ward (the Au family who fed us steak the other night) invited this less active man to come to church.  Well, he came.  He also brought his wife and two kids!  The wife is not a member.  His two kids are only 2 years old and 8 months old.  He is a very nice guy.  The sister missionaries will teach his wife. 

This upcoming week is Thanksgiving!  We have a lot of activities this week.  I'm pretty excited to celebreate.  We have 5 solid investigators now.  We have:

 1) Uncle Fighter.  He likes to invite us to yam chah a lot.  It is not an ideal setting to teach.  It is always noisy at yam chah.  He has come to church a couple times now.  He thinks church is boring.  He is a funny guy, though. He is 50ish and he just loves to talk.

  2) Rose.  She is 50 something and she has a lot of knowledge about Christianity.  She likes listening to a lot of different preachers.  She has heard from a few preachers that our Church is a cult and evil church.  But she still meets with us, so she must not think so.  She is hard to get to come out to church. She's a very nice lady. 

 3) A-Fung.  He is 19 and he works.  He has come to church 5 times now.  He says he comes to feel the Spirit.  He has some great potential. 

4) Henry (Hin-jai).  He is 11 years old.  He is in a good position to join the church because he lives with his Grandma who is a less active member but just recently started coming back.  His aunt is also a member.  His parents seem okay if he joins the church, so that's good.  Usually parents freak out about their kids joining this church.  I think it is tithing that makes them freak out.  People in Hong Kong are very concerned about money.  There are some pretty hefty bills to pay here if you have kids.  Apartments are outrageously expensive.  Anyway. 

5) Aaron.  Aaron investigated before.  Elder Woodburn and I  found him.  He is a great kid, he really likes us.  But he dropped off for some reason.  Not totally sure why.  But now he's back.  We will see how things turn out. 

Love you all.

Love, Elder Phillips

Monday, November 18, 2013

Half Empty or Half Full???

Dear Friends and Family,

This week has been very good.  I have two  stories for you.  They aren't like miracle stories, but they are stories of us getting rejected. So prepare to have a laugh or two.  I'll throw in a couple of actually uplifting stories at the end.  

The first story is about us visiting a less active member.  I had never met him, and I heard he was trouble, but we decided to give him a surprise visit, anyway...

We show up to his apartment and knock on the door.  His wife answers.  She says he is taking a shower.  We ask if we can come in and wait.  She says okay.  So we get inside and talk to his wife and kids.  His kids were 18 and 20 years old, and they were very nice. His wife gave us some apple juice to drink.  Things were looking good!... 
...But then, Brother ____ comes out of the shower, in his towel, and puts a shirt on.  Then he stands by us and leans down and asks us if we can tell the church to never visit or contact him again. Awkward.  So my companion finished his apple juice right then and there.  I left my cup half full (I figured if I left it half full they would have a debate about whether it was half full or half empty for the rest of the night, plus they wouldn't want to waste it because it was a substantial amount of apple juice, but they wouldn't want to drink it because my germs were on it.  In this way, I got my revenge). But we left.  And we were standing at the elevator, still shocked from what just happen.  His son comes running out holding my Book of Mormon and folder I had forgotten..oops.  We told his son to call us if he has interest.  Anyway that's rejection #1. 

Story number 2.  We were on the street talking to a nice guy about our age.   He was a great contact.  At the end of our meeting with him, some guy rolled up in this expensive car and before he turns he rolls his window down, points as us and says: "Don't listen to them! They're Mormons!"  We were kind of already saying goodbye to the guy we were talking to, so we just kind of said yeah we don't know who this guy in the car is.  We parted company with the contact, then the guy who pointed and yelled was still waiting to turn.  We had to walk towards his car to get to the destination, so as we were walking towards him he says, in English this time: "In the name of Jesus Christ, I condemn you!"  It was pretty venomous! But after it I couldn't help but burst out laughing.  He was probably a pasteur or something. 

There is a nick name for the mormon church that is pretty unfortunate.  The pinyin is something like: "Mo-meun-gaau."  It is a transliteration, but Mo also comes from the word Mogwai which means devil.  Gaau means a church or religious sect.  So this nickname means Devil's Church.  Very unfortunate.  So usually people have heard this nickname, and it's not like in the States where we can just embrace the nickname Mormon.  

Anyway those are the two funny stories of the week.  Here is a nice story.  Last night we had dinner with a less active lady.  She is very nice.  Her grandson lives with her.  He is 11 and we are just starting to teach him.  He could have a ton of potential.  

Missionary work is doing better in Butterfly with sisters here.  We can cover more ground.  Less active work is better because we can focus on guys and they can focus on girls.  It gives us less ground to cover and more ability to focus our efforts where it counts most!

So things are good.  I'm happy out here.  I'm lucky to have such great support back home form all of you.  I love you all!

Love, Elder Phillips

P.S.  I loved Dad's Capture the Flag story, so funny! Dad is such a trickster:)
Yeah the steak was delicious!  I will venture to try more authemtic foods once I can read more characters.  Otherwise I'll just be pointing at a menu saying I want this, and I might end up with some pig fetus on my plate.  The worst rumor here foodwise has to do with monkeys.  It never happens in Hong Kong, but apparently in Mainland China some people will take a live monkey, split its head open and poor some boiling water on the brain.  And then eat the brain with the monkeys body still there...Yikes!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Christmas Goal

Dear Friends and Family,

I am going to attempt to summarize the last two weeks.  I apologize for missing last week.  We had to change our schedule for our temple trip.  Speaking of which, the temple trip was great!

I found out the Hong Kong temple covers 15 different languages.  I'm glad I got called out here to serve. The East is a completely different world.  Different philosophy, different way of thinking, it's really crazy.  Hong Kong is pretty special because it has huge Western influence as well as its Eastern traditions.  Pretty cool.

Here is a funny story.  My companion and I went into a Common Shop to buy an ink refill for my companion's pen.  He looked at some other pens while we were there.  He found the very pen that he owned, and showed me.

Then, like a kleptomaniac (jk) he slips the store's pen into his shirt pocket not realizing that it wasn't his pen.  I did not see him do this, so we walk out of that store with stolen merchandise.

Later at night, my companion pulls the pen out of his pocket, but he sees his real pen sitting on his desk. They are the same pen, but his pen has a white tip at the end, while the stolen one had a blue tip.  He compared the two, and when he realized what happened we rushed back to the store to pay for the pen, but it was closed.  My companion  says he did not sleep well that night.  We were able to return in though, the next day.

Here is my companion's own words on the events that transpired: "I've never stolen anything in my life, but apparently I have subconscious thief tendencies, so who knows what I've stolen so far in my life?" Funny story.

Right now, our ward has a goal to have 2 baptisms before Christmas.  Speaking honestly, there are some naysayers in our ward whose names will not be recorded, but I am not one of them.  Our ward has not seen a baptism in almost 2 years, but it's about to change.  I am sure of it.

We also got to eat dinner with a family in our ward this past week.  They made us steak!  It was the most delicious thing I've tasted in a long time.  What a blast.  The people in our ward are amazing people.  Surely their faith towards missionary work and in God will be rewarded in no time.  I still don't totally understand why this area is weak for missionary work.  I think it is our geography, our area is extremely small.  But I know we can accomplish the goal here.  We need it, the people deserve it.

There was no storm here!  We had a level 1 typhoon warning only, which is really weak.  Just some gusts of wind and nothing more.  Hopefully James is okay over there in the Philippines. Hope to hear more from him and that area soon.

Mom, thanks a lot for finding those books for me.   JP helped me pick one out. I will tell you which one it is.  JP has given me some awesome advice for learning Chinese so I'm really grateful he did this before me.

Anyway I love you all. Thanks for praying for us! I've added some pictures

Elder Phillips

My old Zone Leader named Elder Lee.  He is from Hong Kong. I took some pictures with him before he left.

My companion and I with a recently re-activated man.

The Au Familie's son named Jing Jing or Jacob.  Jacob has really gotten to like me because I've been to their house three times now.  He's a great kid!

I sent some pictures of our steak dinner at the Au house, it was just such a special and rare moment.  I could not pass it up.

Another picture is of a Catching Fire poster.  So sad I have to miss the opening of it.  The poster was inside a movie theater that we could see from Mcdonalds.

An Investigator!

One is our Halloween special.  Elder Lee actually looks like he is wearing a costume, the rest of us just look like goons.

One is with the Poon Family.  I might have already sent it, if so my bad.  We ate with them a while ago they were super nice.  Great family.

The rest are various pictures we took at Star Avenue.  It is a big tourist attraction in Hong Kong, but I've never been so we went.  There's a statue of Bruce Lee in a couple of the pictures.  While we were there a lot of mainlanders wanted to take pictures with the foreigners.  They kicked Elder Lee out of the photo because he was Asian.  Poor elder Lee.

 Anyway that's all for now. Bye!