Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It is an ancient solution...

Dear Friends and Family,

I have some pretty great stories to tell you this week.  I will just get right into it. 

First is a story about a Mandarin lady named Sunny.  One night Elder Mikesell and I had inspiration to go to Chi Fu, which is a village chyun in our area.  We wanted to go at 1:30 pm in the afternoon.  Usually Chi Fu is dead at this time, but we decided to go.  There, we ran into a lady who was a bus driver.  She had a break in Chi Fu for a short time.  We talked to her and she told us how she wants to believe in Jesus Christ and learn about him.  She is originally from Mainland, but she spoke great Cantonese.  She lives out of our area, so we are teaching a transfer lesson to the Mandarin Missionaries in Kowloon tonight at 7.  She seems to be a golden investigator.  We will see, we will not be teaching her, but following the prompting from the Holy Ghost to find her was just as good.  

Next we have another Mandarin named Roger.  He doesn't know any Cantonese, but his English was pretty good.  I contacted him on the street while Elder Mikesell was on the phone.  I spoke in Cantonese.  And he just nodded and responded in English.  I just kept talking in Cantonese, but eventually he says: "Sorry I actually don't know Cantonese."  So that was funny.  We rode the ferry with him as he was on his way to work.  We scheduled to meet him the next day at our church building.  We called up the Mandarin Elders to do an exchange.    When we taught, he said he felt that something was not right in his life.  He wants happiness.   His desire to learn is huge.  The Mandarin Elders are meeting him tonight in Aberdeen.  We run into Roger on the street because he lives on the same island as us.  He has great potential.  I'm sad we won't get to teach him, but we helped in his process of finding the church.  So that's great.

We met another new deaf friend this week.  His name is Mr. Yip.  His sign language is incredibly hard to understand.  Sign language in Hong Kong is not very definite.  So a lot of different people have different words for things.  Nobody except for Sister Chan and the other deaf people understand him.  So wish us luck.  We are meeting him this Tuesday.  He came to church last Sunday. 

This past Saturday we met a great old couple.  I'll refer to them as the Tse Family.  We met Mrs. Tse a few weeks ago at Wa Fu Chyun.  We were talking to some hippie lady about the gospel.  She just went on about how we must respect animals and not eat them because their life is so sacred.  I finally interrupted and asked :  But how do we stop the lion from eating the zebra?  I thought it was pretty funny.  But anyways, Mrs. Tse came up to us and joined in the conversation.  Then we started talking to her instead of the vegetarian lady.  She is Baptist, and she believes in Jesus Christ.  We got her number but her phone is always off unless she calls people.  So we called her a few times to no avail.  However, just this past Saturday we get a call from an unknown number and it is Mrs. Tse!  She says she wants to meet that very night.  So we invited her to the Easter Musical Performance.  She came and brought her husband!  They are both super nice and really want to learn about our church.  They are 80 years old.  Very cool. 

It was a GREAT week.   We went from square one to 3 solid investigators and a ton of people willing to meet with us in a matter of days.  It is impossible for me to say I had anything to do with it.  I do not believe missionary work is about skill, cunning, or cleverness.  It's about following the direction God gives you.  It is an ancient solution.  It is always the right solution.  

Today we are going on a hike in Dung Chung.  It should be fun!  Tell you how it goes later!


Elder Phillips


Monday, April 14, 2014

This is the work I was called to do...

(two letters)
Dear Friends and Family,

This week we had some cool things happen. We met with Sister Chui. She is such a sweet lady. In Preach My Gospel it talks about teaching people without a Christian Background, Sister Chui is the definition of that. But she is an awesome lady. Her son is less active.  We are trying to baptize her, and get him back. When we challenged her to baptism, she said she doesn't want to because it will annoy the church, and she'll look ugly after it, and she doesn't want to waste water. So that's obviously not her real concern. I'll let you know when we figure that one out.

We met with our deaf investigator Brother Chan again. He came to the last part of Church and he seemed to like it. He brought his son as well who is 3 years old. He is the most well-behaved kid I've ever met, hopefully he will be able to progress.

This week we went with the deaf members of our ward to visit a deaf less active. We went and knocked on her door. We knocked a few times, and Elder Mikesell and I could see someone looking through the peephole. After some time, we were ready to give up, but our deaf recent convert Sister Chan was so determined to get in that house. We eventually made enough of a ruckus that a neighbor came out to see what was going on. She was Asian in appearance, but I can spot a Westernized Asian a mile away. (Mostly because the Chinese usually don't come outside their doors especially when strangers are outside.) It turned out she had lived in Canada for a large portion of her life. She came out snooping about trying to see what we were up to -It's such a Western thing to do - We spoke to her in Chinese, because I learned early on in my mission that if I let people speak English with me then I won't learn Chinese. So we ended speaking some hardcore Chenglish, all the while trying to interpret between sign language and Chinese because Sister Chan was going a little crazy. She is too strong willed. So we ended up leaving a note with the lady from Canada to give to our less active. It was a fun time. Then as we were walking home, a Muslim man rode by us on a motorcycle and said: "Hey guys, how are you?" he is wearing the turban and all, and his beard is flowing in the wind. He just cruises by on a bike and in his accent asks how we are. I don't know why, but it was hilarious. It was just the oddest day.  Anyway it was a fine week. Love you all.


Elder Phillips

Dear Friends and Family,

Great news!  Sister Chui came to General Conference.  Her less active son A-Fung also came!  It was really good and I think the ward members fellowshipped them well.  A Young Adult Woman named Hibby is fellowshipping A-Fung because they were friends before.  Sister Chui is starting to read the Book of Mormon.  Our goal is for her to come to church every Sunday, because this was her first time coming.  There is definitely progress there!

A ward member, who is also a recent convert (Kasey), gave us two referrals this week.  One is a guy named Vincent, one is a guy named Freddy.  They both live in West Point, however, so we gave the referrals to the other elders.  Hopefully great things come of that! 

We taught a woman named Sister Wong this past week.  She is an older lady, and is also Baptist.  She was surprisingly open to hearing our message, though.  She said she would attend General Conference, but was not able to attend.  We will follow up on that.  We also scheduled a Young Man named A-Dick to come to General Conference.  He said he could but he ended up not coming.  Oh well.  We will keep contacting him. 

Outside of A-Fung, two other less actives came to General Conference: Brother Lam and Jeung.  Tommy originally said he could come but he canceled last minute saying he will come to church next week.  We will follow up on that!  General Conference really helped all of us out.  The talks were all superb.  We watch it in English, in case you are curious. 

Here are some stories from the week for you all.  One is about a lady in a park.  Elder Mikesell and I were planning where to go finding in our daily planning session one night.  We felt inspired to go to a small place in a more deserted part of our area.  We usually don't go because of the lack of people, but we decided to go that day.  We went.  We saw two people in the park.  One was a man.  We approached him on a bench.  He brushed us off, giving us the typical "I'm not free," even though he was just sitting there playing on his phone.  The other person we saw was walking around the park in some strange pattern.  She was on the other side of the park, so we walked toward the exit instead.  As we were leaving, I felt like we should go contact the lady.  So we went back to contact her.  She ended up being friendly and talked to us for a while.  She listened to us share about the message of the Restoration.  In the end, she did not give us her phone number and we have not seen her since.  That has been a big theme of my mission so far.  I've realized the only thing that matters is that I listened to the voice of the Holy Ghost and I obeyed it.  That is the work I was called to do.

Another story is about a man we met in the park.  He was with his family.  We are always trying to teach families, so we contacted them.  The man was very rude.  He said he doesn't believe in this message, and to go away.  I was furious.  He said to me "You're a foreigner, you don't understand me because I'm Chinese.  Have you ever heard of Confuscious, Buddhism, Taoism?  No, you don't even understand what I'm saying because you're a foreigner."  In that moment every cuss word I've ever heard in Cantonese came to my brain and I was about to throw them all at him in my rage.  Instead all I said was:  "I understood everything you said.  You could be more polite next time."  It was a hot day, luckily I didn't let my anger get the best of me.  As you can see I'm still a pretty prideful person.  But the point of this story is that of Jeffrey R. Holland's talk this past General Conference.  Missionaries aren't always treated that great.  I'm not sure if that guy particularly didn't like white people, or if it was just missionaries, or what.  But I'll forgive him.  Anyway, that's all for this week.  Love you all.


Elder Phillips