September 26, 2011

Elder Barnhurst and I.
Plucking the feathers off the chicken!
Killing the chickens!

Oh, man! What a cool/weird week with a good amount of service and lots of fun things. The first thing that I will say is that we are just doing great and the numbers are in our favor. It is going really well and we are teaching more and more. My new responsibilities are great. I am in charge of 8 missionaries. It is really fun and I get to talk a lot more and try to help the people around me. It is fun and I love it so much. I get to give advice to the younger missionaries in my district and it makes being a missionary a lot more rewarding knowing that I can have a positive influence on so many great elders. I just love it now.

Today is a crazy p-day because we are cleaning the whole day. It is deep clean day...which is great! We don't get much of a break today because we have a few appointments.

This weekend is General Conference which is going to be amazing because we get to hear the prophet. We have a lot of investigators that will be coming to hear him talk as well. I really hope they will have a good experience like I know I will have.

Everything is so much better now! We have so many more people that we are teaching and serving which makes the work so much more fun. I love helping the missionaries too. I had my first District meeting that I directed. We got to know each other and did lots of funny questions to make the district more unified. It was fantastic and everyone seemed to like it and of course I made brownies for my district. I gotta take are of my guys! I love them. At church on Sunday we had a record number of people in attendance...more than 50 people came. That is the most that have come in a long time! It was really great and made me happy!

This week we went to see some Dominicans and helped them kill chickens! It is really interesting how different our culture is from theirs! Anyway, we killed the chickens and pulled out the feathers. I didn't cut or clean it because it is like an art to do that, but I got to kill one and pull the feathers out! It was really COOL! One funny story...when we get the roosters and kill them they poo a lot...this one guy that we were with karate chopped one and all this crap flew on to the sister missionary! Funniest thing in the whole world!

As you watch General Conference this weekend, watch with a question that you would like answered in your mind. I know as you watch, that your question will be answered through the power of the Holy Ghost. I am excited to watch and I hope that you are all as well.

I love you with all my heart and every fiber of my being! I hope you all have a magical day!

Elder Aaron James Phillips


September 21, 2011

My most recent baptism!

Hello my family and friends.

I love you so much! Thanks for your prayers and your support that you have all given me.

The mission is just going great and we are really getting things moving in this area. I love it to death! I am so excited! So many new changes that we have had since the week and a half since I have emailed you.

First of all, it is transfer week and we are all staying here. We have gotten pretty close and we are excited to be here again. I am pretty content. I am very happy to still be here. This could be the last stop on the mission for me and that has kinda hit me pretty strong recently.

Second, we had a small miracle and I had not mentioned it before because I didn't think it was going to happen, but we had a baptism last week with a cute little girl. Her and her family are from the Dominican Republic. She has been through so much at such a young age. She has a strong testimony and is really accountable at the age of nine years old. She knows what she needs to do and how to do it. It is really impressive. I think she is a great little girl and she asked me to baptize her. It was a pleasure. Baptisms are getting a lot less stressful for me and they are really just a time of joy!

The third big news is that I have been asked to be a District Leader! I am so excited and that is why I will probably be staying here a while longer. I didn't think I would be a District Leader in my mission but it is really great! I am so excited! I have been thinking and praying so much about how I want to teach the missionaries and what and how I should to it because there is a ton of room for improvement. I am really happy and excited!

We found some new people that seem really interested in hearing the gospel and they should be getting baptized, so we are really excited about that.

This is my companions last transfer. He will be going home in 6 weeks. It is hard for missionaries to stay focused when they are this close to going home, but I will work hard to help him focus. My companion is scared and excited to go home and talks about it quite often.

All is well and I am excited for the new changes and the new challenge! Have a magical day!

Elder Aaron James Phillips


September 12, 2011

Our most recent baptism!

This week Elder Barnhurst was asked to baptize an eight year old girl who is in a family that he is really close to. It was a really special occasion for all of the people involved, especially Elder Barnhurst. We did a lot of preparations for the baptism, like programs and interviews. The life of a missionary is not really what I thought it would be. I thought it would be teaching and testifying all day to people. This is what I really like to do but we do so many more things like service...which is totally great! Yesterday was the baptism and it was wonderful. Most of the family came, which was a little hard because most of the family are not members. It was a great opportunity to do all the things the Lord wanted us to do and to help others come unto Christ. It was a really great day.

Early on in the week we had a lot of rain and all of our appointments fell through. So we walked in the rain for most of 2 days. Elder Barnhurst got the flu and to tell you the truth, I didn't feel that great either. Since we weren't feeling that well, we did a lot of resting which was good and bad. You know me...I hate just sitting, I thrive on being busy. I got a couple of other Elders to come over and switch with me so that I could go on some appointments. I went with an English speaking elder which was fun because I got to talk to different people. It was kind of weird to not just look for hispanics. While I was home resting, I had time to just meditate and analyze and think about what I am doing my mission and my purpose, which I think is to help other people. I have never had time to just sit and think about it before. I am either just dead tired and asleep or working out in my down time. I have never really had any time to myself, because I am always with my companion. It was nice to be alone while he was sleeping and resting. I am so grateful for the time I had to meditate on the things most important in my life.

Okay, so a little more about the work in New London...there are a few inactives that we work with and nonmembers that have been worked with a ton by a lot of different missionaries. They seem like "golden" investigators but then they don't want to change to do what God wants them to do. It is really frustrating. So I have taken a different approach in the area and decided to look for new investigators to teach. Everyone deserves a change to have the gospel and to make a positive change in their lives. So we have found more investigators and we are starting to get more referrals from the other English speaking elders. It is exciting. For a long time, we have given referrals to them because we often find people to teach who are not Spanish speakers. It is cool to see the English speaking elders start to give us referrals back! It is good to see the whole district grow together!

Have a Magical Day!

Elder Phillips


September 7, 2011

Not too much has changed. We are finding more people to teach and looking for ways to help the hispanic community that are in this area. Apparently our work is paying off because I have been told that we have more investigators than there has been in quite some time. I am just doing what I have always done. The problem we face is getting investigators to come to church. Many of the hispanic investigators work on Sunday because they get paid more to work on Sunday. It is interesting that the Hispanics say that life in the US is just working all the time because everything is expensive. I don't think that most of them realized that life in the US is hard, just in a different way. There are many, many who have found great lives in the US, which is great. We know lots that are members of the church.

I am still working to be nicer to the the elders around me. I am trying to be the "good older missionary" instead of the "bully older missionary." I am trying to not get impatient and to correct with love. I am helping my companion with his spanish skills. I think it takes a lifetime to perfect those skills, but it is interesting that my brain seems to think more in Spanish than in English now. Maybe by the time I get home, I will forget how to speak in English!

We listened to a man that was recently baptized. He was a self referral from Salt Lake City. He went to Temple Square and just could not get enough of learning about the church. It was wonderful. He has already been to the temple and wants to keep progressing in the gospel. He is a motivational speaker so his job is to get people excited about starting a small business. He has awesome public speaking skills and spiritually this man is amazing! He definitely motivated us to follow the teachings of Christ.

We also had an experience with a man that we met that we were trying to get to know and teach. I decided to make some phone calls to set up some appointments. When I called this man, he told us that he was having heart problems and had surgery. He told us that none of his friends had come to visit him but his new friends, the missionaries went to visit. He accepted a blessing and is reading the Book of Mormon. It was awesome. I love being a tool that the Lord uses. It means to me that the Lord knows I am trying and doing my best...so great!