Aberdeen area missionaries before ward split. Elder Phillips companion in this picture is Elder Mikesell.
(this photo was sent to Elder Phillips parents by a thoughtful ward member in the area)
你好 (hello) Friends and Family,
A great change happened in my mission this past week. I will start from last Sunday (a week earlier from yesterday).
We were in sacrament meeting, and they announce over the pulpit that Aberdeen Ward would be splitting. Now there are two wards: Aberdeen and Pok Fu Lam. Originally Elder Mikesell and I were supposed to go to Aberdeen Ward. The problem that arose was that all of our deaf members (and as a consequence deaf investigators) would go to Pok Fu Lam Ward. After realizing this, I felt a sick feeling inside me. We went home to do studies and I prayed to know what to do. My answer was to text our Mission President, President Hawks. So I did. He said that Elder Mikesell and I should continue to teach deaf investigators, but wait for further instruction until after we met with the Pok Fu Lam Bishop: Bishop Chan. We did. So this past Thursday night, we get a call from President Hawks. He said effective immediately: Elder Groberg and I would be serving in Pok Fu Lam Ward doing sing language and Cantonese work. Elder Mikesell and Elder Walter will serve in Aberdeen. There are still a lot of things in process. I'll update more next week.
I want to tell you about Sister Chan. She is the recent convert and deaf lady I talk about a lot. She is the best member missionary I have ever seen. She has given us a dozen or so referrals, and wants us to teach deaf people so badly. She has a powerful testimony of the gospel. After seeing this one deaf Sister in Hong Kong, I know now that these people cannot be ignored by me. They deserve to be heard. The deaf work is going well. We have one guy with a baptismal date and another guy who is considering baptism. We hope to continue meeting more and more deaf friends and teaching them about the gospel. We have a great vision for this, something great has started here.
I hope that sign language missionaries will always be around in Hong Kong. A few missionaries have learned sign language in the past, but I want it to become so big that it never leaves. I hope I can stay here for a very long time. As for my sign language, it kind of just came overnight. One day I could just understand what Sister Chan was saying. My signing still needs lots of work, it's just good enough to teach the gospel and hold basic conversations.
Other than that, we met a new deaf man named Hu. He is 22 years old and he is a super nice guy. He doesn't have a ton of gospel interest as of now, but he will be coming to English Class. We are teaching a guy named John, who is a friend of our other deaf investigator Mr Yip. That is all I have to say for now. I will update you on the status of Pok Fu Lam Ward next week.
彼長老 (my Chinese title)
彼永斌 (my full name in chinese) It is pronounced: Bei (rising) Wing (Low Rising) Ban (High tone).