Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I am now in Yuen Long...

New Companion Elder Tung
Dear Friends and Family,

Merry Christmas!  I moved.  I am now in Yuen Long.  In Hong Kong there are two wards with Sign Language translation.  1. Yuen Long 2. Pok Fu Lam.  I was switched to the other sign language ward, so you can all guess why I ended up in Yuen Long.  Leaving Pok Fu Lam was the hardest thing I've done on my mission.  I was there for 10 months.  That place was my home.  I'll never forget the people I met, the things that happened, and everything else about Pok Fu Lam.  It was very hard to leave, but I was also very excited to come to Yuen Long. 

I attended church yesterday in Yuen Long and I don't want to sound vain or prideful at all but I felt like a hero coming in.  The bishop actaully asked my mission president that sign language missionaries would be sent to his ward so they could help them more.  People were just so glad that they had sign language missionaries.  The deaf members were ecstatic.  I knew two of them from before because they came and visited Pok Fu Lam Ward a while ago.  Brother Chung is one (he is just hard of hearing so he can actually speak and do sign languge but his wife is deaf).  When he saw me he hugged me and they invited us over next Saturday.  I'm glad they are excited we are here, because if we are to have success, it will be dependent on the ward members.  I've never found a deaf investigator on the street.  It is all from referrals or from other missionaries contacting them. 

All I have to say is that I am here for a reason.  Here on my mission, here in Hong Kong, here in Yuen Long.  It is all for a reason.  Whether or not we have success is of no great importance.  If we follow God and serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength we will already be successful in his eyes.  I will not be ruled by doubt, fright, or anxiety.  Jesus Christ whose yoke is light and buden easy, is my ruler.  Merry Christmas to all.  Watch some Christmas movies for me.

Elder Phillips

I'll never forget the people I met, the things that happened, and everything else about Pok Fu Lam.  

Monday, December 15, 2014

I think all of this proves that God will provide a way.

Grace's Baptism!! (more pictures below)

Dear Friends and Family,

It has been a good week.  Yesterday, Grace was baptized.  She is a great lady.  She is very humble.  Her testimony and desire are very strong.  Her baptismal service was a great event.  Everyone in the ward felt so close together.  Our relief society president is so boss.  She translates a lot because she knows sign language, but yesterday at the baptism she welcomed Grace to the ward.  It was really cool.  

A lot of crazy stuff happened this week.  We had companion exchanges and I went to Causeway Bay for a day.  It is so busy, so we went to a park to go finding.  I was with Elder Peacock who is from Ireland.  He is a swell guy.  It's so important to get a new perspective on things, because it is so easy to get yourself into a rut when dong missionary work.

Leadership is a very important thing in the mission, church, and entire world.  But many have a misconception of what that it.  I have learned that great leadership does not come from domination or asserting your will, but from bringing out the good in others. When one person tries to use force to get others to conform, that person kills so much good that could be brought about.

 I've also learned that in every argument, debate, or fight.  It is not exclusively the fault of one person.  Usually both parties have contributed to the contention.  So with that I have learned to sincerely apologize, and not expect one in return.  Whether or not the other party admits their fault is not my problem.  If I've forgiven others, and asked for their forgiveness then I am clean before God.  If the other party thinks they have nothing to change then they have their reward.  

I thank you all for your support, love, and prayers.  I know there is much more you do that I do not know about. Love you!

Elder Phillips

Dear Friends and Family,

I don't have a lot to write this week, I just want to wish you all the best!! In some parts of Hong Kong they are serious about putting up Christmas decorations!   

Grace was confirmed in yesterday's Sacrament meeting.  It is so interesting to have a sizable part of the ward be deaf.  Grace is doing great.  A really cool thing that happened yesterday was that 5 deaf less actives came to  church!  The deaf members here are hardcore about finding the deaf less actives.  That is a huge miracle right there.  

Move calls are tomorrow.  It is a bit scary.  I don't like the idea of leaving Pok Fu Lam, but if I must, then of course I will.  Learning and working in Sign Language has been the most unexpected but greatest part of my mission.  I think all of this proves that God will provide a way.  It does not matter that they can't hear.  The gospel still rings true to them as it does to all people, in all nations of the world.  Even to the ends of the universe.  The changes and things that happen in our lives can never overshadow the unchangeable fact that God is real.  He is our life and our light.  I know that he in a very real sense is with us, even unto the end of the earth. Love you all!  Merry Christmas!

Elder Phillips

Grace's baptism pictures!


Lunch Date

View from our apartment

Monday, December 1, 2014

The worth of our souls is great in God's eyes.

Engraved in this rock is the date that a group of Saints dedicated the land of Hong Kong!  That was all the way back in 1949!  Pretty sweet huh?

Dear Friends and Family,

Thanksgiving was very cool.  We brought ice cream for our zone because we were too lazy to make anything!  But the ice cream was very well appreciated.  It was really nice to have a thanksgiving meal and be with friends.  I saw some old friends including one missionary I met way back when I was in Butterfly.  She started her mission about the same time I did, but she will be finishing this month.  It was very shocking to me because I realized that I'm getting old.  

Another interesting event this past week was a wedding reception at our chapel.  We didn't really intend on going at first, but we found out two potential investigators would be intending.  One of them is the little brother of the bride.  I talked to him on the phone a week or so ago.  He is awesome and really wants to meet, so we figured it was a good time to meet him face to face. Anyway, we came for the tail end of the wedding.  There were a ton of people from Africa there because the groom is African.  He does not speak Chinese but his wife and him speak English to each other.  It was super cool because a lot of the Africans came up on the stage and played this awesome song.  

Among all the fun of this week, we got a lot of work done.  Grace is doing well.  She will be getting baptized this coming Sunday.  

I would not dare classify all deaf people into one category, but I have seen a trend among many deaf people.  They are just humble people.  They speak simpler.  They act like real people.  I would say in general that they are not as fake as others can be sometimes. That's why I like them so much.  It was funny.  President Hawks came to visit Pok Fu Lam Ward this past Sunday and Sister Chan kept telling him not to move Elder Groberg and I!  Seeing that I really mattered in the eyes of my friends makes me feel grateful to God.  The worth of our souls is great in God's eyes.  I want to see people that way.  

Though I never give a full account of what is happening here, I hope you can all have an idea of just how great these things are. They are not always fun or easy, but they are great.  I love you all.

Elder Phillips

View from the mountain hike we took.