Monday, March 31, 2014

A Good Samaritan, and a Sad Scientist

(two letters)

Dear Friends and Family

We talk to a lot of people on the streets.  I can't tell you about all of them.  One time we were talking to a guy who was a big scientist.  He was unhappy with his life.  We shared with him a little bit about the gospel.  But he wouldn't accept it.  People talk to us as if we don't know anything about science.  What I learned from that guy, is that if every scientist was as closed off as him, we would not progress any further in science.  Everybody who has knowledge against the prevailing wisdom of the day is not usually accepted by society.  So people today are the same as they always were.  We reject truth when it stares us in the face.  I told the guy that although he has tried praying and going to church, he has never before in his life tried having faith.  Then we told him he would stay as miserable as he is now, if he dosen't humble himself and gain a little faith. 

Here is a nice story.  Elder Mikesell and I were finding along a busy highway.  We were trying to get to another place.  For some reason, the highway was empty for a long while, so we crossed the street because we thought we wanted to be on that side of the road.  After that, many cars started filling the street, and our side of the sidewalk ended.  We were stuck.  But then a man from Pakistan pulled up and told us to get in the car.  We got in, and he drove us to a safe spot.  What a nice guy. He was the good Samaritan to us. 

Our deaf recent convert gave us another referral.  She is awesome. We are meeting with them again this Monday.

I can't remember if I already wrote about this dream I had.  I had a dream where I was just yelling at the top of my lungs that the message I was sharing was important and true.  I was in a classroom shouting it in their faces, and nobody really heard it.  That's what it feels like a lot of the time to be a missionary.

(second letter)

I do not have a ton to write about since I just wrote on Wednesday!  But I will do my best to tell you about what happened the past few days.  In short we were out on the street finding most of the time. 

We had a zone goal this month to find 101 new investigators and we got 105.  That is a huge goal and I think we were all a little skeptical about achieving it.  New investigators is what we need now.  We got 3 new investigators this week.

This week, a return missionary named Brother Leung scheduled an appointment for us.  He actually served in Aberdeen just a few months ago.  It was his last area.  He scheduled a former to eat dinner with us.  It turned out, she didn't come.  So we just ate with Brother Leung.  He is a legend.  He is a native Cantonese speaker, so the language is not a problem.  He is the most hard working missionary the Hong Kong mission has seen in a long time (according to our mission president).  Yet on his mission he had no baptisms.  But after his mission he went home and baptized his mother who had been investigating the church while he was on his mission.  So it is a pretty cool story.  So far I can relate to Brother Leung in the baptism catogory. But something more important has happened.  The work is really set in my heart.  Elder Leung is home from his mission, and he's still doing missioanry work.  It really got in his heart.  I'm hoping that will happen to me, as well. 

Elder Phillips

Monday, March 17, 2014

Much In Common :)

Dear Friends and Family,

We had a pretty sweet story this week. We were on companion exchanges. Elder Walter and I decided to go to this old village house in our area. It is as close as you can get to ghetto in Hong Kong, but it is very safe. It is just old. It's one of the only places we can knock doors in our area, so we decided to knock some doors. Asian people are weird about their houses, so a lot of the times they don't like us knocking on their door. But we knocked on one guy's door and he let us in. We shared the Restoration message with him. He was super nice and receptive. We will be meeting him this Wednesday. We are hoping for a miracle.  

Sister Chan, our recent convert, is still giving us a lot of referrals.  She is a great missionary.  She has this running joke about how she is not a missionary because she has no nametag, so we are going to give her one made out of cardboard as a joke.  She is a great lady. 

There is success here! It's such an interesting place. When we start with an investigator I feel like they are so far from baptism. They see their traditions and religious practices as a block to believing in Christ, coming to church, and getting baptized. It is great when they realize their traditions are readily in harmony with the gospel. I mean not all of their traditions. Ancestor worship is a big thing here, and we can't endorse that, but they are on the right track.  Outside of that for the most part all their philosophies and religious beliefs (Buddhism, Taoism, Confuscianism) are all accepted in our gospel. We are by no means telling them they are wrong. They just don't understand what they're missing,. That's where the missionary work comes in.

Gonna play some soccer today.    Love you all!

Elder Phillips

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Classic Elder Phillips Analogy :) haha

Dear Friends and Family,

I hope you are all happy and healthy wherever you may be.  I am doing well here.  This past week we got to meet two new investigators.  They are both deaf.  Actually, we are meeting another new investigator today who is also deaf.  Our recent convert is bringing all of her deaf friends to meet with missionaries.  She is a great missionary already.

Anyway they are all really nice!  The sign language in Hong Kong has some issues, though.  It is the same for everyday regular words, but when you get into religious vocabulary or any type of specialized vocabulary, everybody uses a different sign.  Deaf communities in Hong Kong make up a lot of their own words.  SO sometimes we have some communication issues.  But in the church, we use ASL (American Sign Lanuguage) vocabulary for religious words such as prophet, revelation, etc.

Anyway my sign language has gotten better.  It's intersting signing in a language I'm still working toward fluency in.   Before my mission, I just assumed everybody comes back and is fluent in their mission language.  Not so for Cantonese.  Everybody is at a different level.  Chinese people always praise my Cantonese, but everday I can come home with about 100 new words that I heard which I have never heard before and did not understand.  This language is a bottomless pit.  I am so grateful to learn it though! Cantonese is like that girl in high school that you pursue.  Then you think you've got her, but then she ignores you or slaps you in the face but you can't stop pursuing her.  Everytime you get slapped down, it just fuels your fire.  So that's where I'm at right now.  I love Cantonese.  It's like my girlfriend now.

Anyway the rest of the week was pretty normal.  Finding people, getting rejected, same old.  The coolest thing is that we're teaching deaf people.  They're the best!  I'm still happy.

One more thing.  We have a goal to get 65 baptisms in the month of July.  Recently we have been getting 19 or 20 a month, but in July our mission goal is 65.  It's going to take miracles, so pray for us.

Elder Phillips

This guy is a little creepy.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Jeffery R. Holland met with the Missionaries in Hong Kong!

Dear Friends and Family,

Here is a very quick email.  I am sorry that it is so short! 

I just want to tell you that Jeffrey R. Holland came to Hong Kong and talked specifically to the missionaries this past Wednesday.  It was a harrowing experience to say the least. hehehe.  If you think he is intense in General Conference, you should see him in front of missionaries!  Don't think I'm complaining.  I love it.  He treats us as an army.  He motivates us as if we were soldiers and he was our Commander.  We are God's army, after all. He is not afraid to point out mistakes. 

For those who don't know who Jeffrey R. Holland is, he is an apostle of God.  Similar to Peter, James, and John in the Bible.  He was called of God to be a special witness of Jesus Christ.  I know the things he said were true.  Something he said was that our job as missionaries is extremely important.  He could not stress enough how important this work is.  He said if this church has one image to sum up everything it stands for, it would be two 19 year old missionaries.  Everybody recognizes us, and we are representatives of Jesus Christ, who leads this church. 

He focused a lot on revelation.  In missionary work, we must be guided by God.  If not, it is all in vain (before I left on my mission JP gave me this avice also) The only way we will bring about miracles is through the power of God.  Our efforts do not measure up.  It is really a comforting thing to know that this is God's work, because if not then the entire church would be putting all of its chips into a bunch of 18 and 19 year old kids.  But because God is with us, we have no reason to fear.  So that's all I have to say today!  Sorry I was a little rushed.

Elder Phillips