August 31, 2011

Fallen trees after the hurricane!
6 Quarantined Missionaries
My bed...super comfy!

Hello, my name is Elder Phillips and I am a hurricane and earthquake survivor!

So we had a little bit of an adventure last weekend. It is really strange to prepare for something when we don't receive the news, except from the members and a Senior Missionary Couple. In reality, everything was fine. It turned out to be fun and games for 6 quarantined missionaries in a church all alone. We had fun playing games, talking and eating junk food. We could only bring food that didn't need to be refrigerated or cooked...so that pretty much left junk food! All week we had heard different things about the bad storm that would be hitting on Sunday. Some people were really scared and some not at all. Friday night, we got word from the mission office that we were to go to a church 20 miles inland to be sure we were safe. We prepared by getting lots of water and lots of junk food. We watched church movies and played games. Then on Sunday an alarm goes off and wakes us all up. By this time the power is gone at the church, which was no big deal because we were prepared. We had our own Sacrament meeting, complete with 2 elders giving talks they had already prepared. It was very spiritual to see the severe wind outside and to feel the calming peace of the spirit inside. Then we played games and studied the scriptures. We were locked up for 24 hours and then got approval to leave. It was more like a good missionary party than anything. The damage was a lot less that I imagined. A few big trees and branches were blown down in New London. Lots of people still don't have power. We didn't loose power in our apartment and no damage was done.

I am well and happy. The area is doing fantastic and we are finally finding some good investigators to teach, so that is good and exciting. We are doing really well and have already taught more than Elder Barnhurst did in his whole last transfer, which is great! We had dinner at Outback Steakhouse Wednesday to say goodbye to a senior couple that loves Elder Barnhurst. That was delicious. I am coming to realize that a lot of things have changed since I have been gone. Thursday was ridiculous! I had been doing good with loosing weight then Thursday we had 3 dinner appointments! First we had a deep fried fish pancake dinner...it was really good. It is Puerto Rican. Next, we had fried chicken with a ton of rice. Lastly, we went to this family's home and they gave us this huge dinner and told us that it was made just for us. Two huge steaks each, a salad and fried sweet plantains, beans and a huge mound of rice. It was good, but not very enjoyable. Sometimes I don't enjoy food very much.... oh, well....you got to love it!


August 22, 2011

Birthday party!
My new apartment in New London!
My new companion, Elder Barnhurst.

Hello Everyone,

I am really enjoying my time here in New London, Connecticut. I am not as busy as I am used to but we go on a lot of walks and talk to everyone we meet. We are trying to find some service opportunities so we are visiting the food pantries. We are trying to find opportunities to serve the hispanic people. We are also trying to get to know the members and find out how we can help them. I can tell that I will get close with all the members because there are not many to get to know. We started to teach a Book of Mormon class to some people in the ward and I am enjoying that.

On Saturday we went to a birthday party for a member that loves the missionaries. She says that we are her only friends. She is awesome and I love her to death. They are from Puerto Rico so I am learning lots of that kind of spanish which is fun. We had a lot of good food, cake and played great games.

My companion has a goal to learn Spanish before he goes home, which is in three months. I am trying to help him learn and he is learning quickly. I am proud of him and his commitment.

We had a zone conference this past week and it was one of the best ones that I have been to. The topic of the conference was the atonement of Jesus Christ. I just loved it and have been doing a lot of studying since the conference and learning how I can apply it to my life. It is really helping me with my missionary work, too.

We are working really hard to get appointments to teach and to get some new investigators. I feel as though I can really make a difference here even if there are no baptisms. I am truly trying to set up the area for the next set of elders after me.

I ate cows tail this week, yes it is true!! It was really good, surprisingly. I know you think I am crazy, but it truly was like a delicacy!

As you know there have been issues with some of my companions. I will not go into details because it is not necessary, but lets say that my prayers have been answered with lots of them. What I have done my whole mission has worked again. I try to be a good example and try to correct behavior with love. I feel a bit of resistance at first, but things get better as everyone starts to see the blessings of working hard. Now that is fun to see!

I love you all. Have a magical day!

Elder Aaron James Phillips


August 15, 2011

Service Project

Well, what a week I have had and with so many changes that are good, bad and exciting. I needed a change to help me get a jump start on working harder on my mission. I felt like it was my time to leave Worcester, but it was very difficult saying goodbye. There were lots of hugs and tears when I left. I am grateful that I was so loved and that everyone treated me so well in my last area.

So, lets just say that everything I was told about my new area, New London, was correct. It is gorgeous here but there have been some lazy missionaries. I am very excited to get involved and get the things done that the Lord wants me to do. The first few days here, I have spent cleaning our apartment because it was gross! I have cleaned for what seems like hours and we have talked a lot about what we want to accomplish in this area and what I can do to help out. I have met with the Branch President and he confirmed that the missionaries have had trouble in this area with obedience. He told me to make sure that I always follow the mission rules because there are a lot of temptations in this area. I felt a lot of love from the Branch President and assured him that I am a rule follower. He is from Peru and the branch is very diverse. There are people from all over South America and the islands, like the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. We have 4 prospective baptisms and it seems like we will have success here. The Spanish branch is small. We had about 40 people attend last Sunday. New London is on the coast but we live a couple miles from the beach. We share a car with the other Elders in our apartment so we walk quite a bit. We also have bikes, but we don't use them much because we make more contacts when we can walk and talk with people along the way. We need to work on getting more appointments.

My companion, Elder Barnhurst, has only 3 months left on his mission, his swam a little in High School and he is really chill and goes with the flow. He was really worried about having me for a companion because he heard a rumor that I am hard core and a very, very hard worker! Ha Ha! He got that right and I will stick with that. He was relieved that I wasn't too bad and I think we should have fun together. The other elders in the apartment are awkward and lazy but I am doing my best to gently prod them along. It is a good thing that I have changed a ton on my mission...or I would be up in there face! I am just doing my best to help them in the best way I can. My companion goes running with me, so that is good. Hopefully, I will loose some good pounds.

I love you all and as Lori Hernandez would say, "Have a magical day!"


Elder Phillips


August 10, 2011

One of favorite families!
My newest convert!
Lori Hernandez and her family.

Well, I am getting transferred! It has been a good long while and it is necessary. I was definitely getting complacent here where I fit in so well. It has been really hard saying goodbye, especially to the families that are closest to my heart. Lori Hernandez has not been baptized yet, but her and her family are probably the reason that I was sent to this area. I feel like I was one of the only missionaries that could have really helped them. I guess you never know, but I feel very close to them and wish that I could have seen them be baptized.

I have love Worcester, but I am leaving and going to New London, Connecticut. It should be really fun. I have not heard good things about this area. Apparently, this is where bad missionaries are sent. I know that I am not a bad missionary, but I think it will have some challenges. I think I am expected to turn the area around and get some good baptisms because they haven't had any success in a long time. I am excited for a new challenge. I will be living in an apartment with 4 elders. It is a little branch and it is all spanish. I am excited to get to know the people there and see how it is. It will be a new adventure.

A huge bummer, is that my new investigator that has been so hungry for the gospel is getting baptized tomorrow and I am leaving tomorrow so I won't be there. She was amazing and I got to teach her all the lessons and prepare her. She continues to astound me and all the members are loving her. She will have such a great life and is so happy. She is trying to get her husband involved. Gosh! She is already a missionary! She is just on fire and wants more and more. She is fantastic and she will always be a good memory.

I bore my testimony in church on Sunday and had a great experience. I even teared up. I then spent my time saying goodbye and writing addresses down. I seem to have been saying goodbye ever since. It has been difficult saying goodbye to my favorite families.

I love you all. Peace and Blessings.

Love, Elder Phillips


August 2, 2011

Ward BBQ
The Birthday Celebrations continue!

Well, what a fantastic week! Elder Pacheco and I are really getting close. I have really enjoyed serving with him lately. We have started to get to know each other better and have a lot of fun together. So that is really good and makes me happy that I held my tongue with all the things I wanted to say. It is worth it in the end.

We have been working hard and the area is picking up, just in time for me to leave next week. I think that I will probably get transferred because I have been in this area for 7.5 months. I am ready for a change.

Our amazing member referral wants to be baptized. She is fantastic and it is just a miracle how ready she is to be baptized. We tell her to read things and she does. We ask her hard questions and she knows the right answers. She wants to meet with a ton. She described all the information that she is getting from us like "getting a drink from Niagra Falls." She just can't quench her thirst for the gospel. It is just fantastic to be a part of it!

I think I have finally finished my birthday celebrations. I had three more parties last week. It was a real long birthday and I enjoyed it! The members treat me so well, it is fantastic. The Bishop and his family had a special dinner for me on Sunday. Monday, I had a surprise party thrown for me. Tuesday, the Lachmans had a party for me. Gosh, I love them. They really make me feel like a special person.

Yesterday, we played this epic dodgeball game in Cambridge. It was super fun! I loved it! I will probably be changing areas next week, so look for a new address!

Love you all!
Elder Phillips