Monday, April 3, 2017

General Conference for Missionaries is like Star Wars for my Brothers

 Hey everyone! I had a lot of really spiritual experiences this
week, and met a lot of really cool people. We started off last week
playing basketball with some investigators from the Gary, Indiana
area, where I found found out how bad I am at basketball. I felt like
I was guarding young Steph Curry. These guys would just float to the
rim lol it was sad. Still fun though! Chicagoans don't mess around
when it comes to sports. I found out that Pedram, an investigator from
Iran, is a professional soccer player, and was the youngest person to
every make the national squad in Iran. Then we met the legion of dunk
last Monday, so that's been pretty cool. I was also able to get to
know a member a little bit more on Saturday, and found out that he was
an Army Ranger for three or four years. It makes a lot of sense now.
He is probably one of the most chill guys I know, and I've noticed
that his four sons are extremely bright. They are so cool.
     Then we had General Conference! Dang that was such an awesome
experience. My favorite talks were the three on the Spirit. They each
highlighted the same eternal truths about the divine role of the Holy
Ghost (which is just another name for the Spirit) in our individual
lives, but they each talked about unique situations and places where
the Spirit can help our lives. I really liked Elder Oaks talk where he
talked about the Doctrine of the Godhead. There are a lot of people
that we run into that believe in the trinity who try to debate their
way out of a lesson. I have also seen some misdirection among members
of the church about what we believe. Simply stated by President
Bingham, "because God has a body, as well as Jesus Christ, that makes
our relationship with Him more Personal. We were created in His Divine
image, with divine potential..."
    One more highlight experience was a baptismal interview I did for
a guy named Adam, who is probably one of the most solid people I have
ever met. He told me a lot about what he did before who met the
missionaries, and how he's a completely different person now. His wife
and some of his kids are in California, and they are all flying out
for the baptism. I think they're taking the lessons too. Anyway that's
about it for this week. There were some unique spiritual experiences
that I don't think I'll share with everyone, but there was some really
good stuff happening. I love you all! Today for P-day we've been
fishing. Haven't caught anything, but hopefully we can change that.
Have an awesome week! 😃
Elder Fa'afetai Phipps

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Raccoons in the Rafters!!

Hey everyone!
     Man, am I wiped from this week. We taught so much, it was ridiculous...and by ridiculous I mean it was awesome, and I don't think I've ever been able to get 20 lessons in one week before. Our days were spent mostly teaching, finding where we could in between appointments, and just getting creative at talking to people about the church. Valparaiso University is in my area (they have a pretty good basketball program), and spring break just ended, so we were on campus a lot talking to the students. I was really surprised when people actually started to give us their contact information. There was one day we were on campus and in half an hour six students gave us their contact info and said that they wanted to meet up again. I was so happy. The most promising potential investigator we got this week was a student named Destini, "but pronounced Italian." Or at least that's what she told us lol I don't remember the courses she's taking, but her goal is to be able to influence the masses in a positive, unbiased way, and do so with Christian values. We have an appointment set up to meet with her at around 10 am tomorrow, so we're super pumped!
     We were able to meet with Greg a couple times this week. He's our only investigator still on date, and he is doing alright. He's just starting to come to an understanding of the gravity a covenant has. It is literally a promise you make with God. You promise to keep a commandment, an in return you are promised blessings as you live worthy of them. Greg is a funny guy, and he really wants to get baptized. He knows the church is true, and that the Book of Mormon is true, he just needs to stay true to what he knows is right. 
     Funny story of the week, on Thursday we had an interesting service project. Our wonderful Zone Leaders asked us and the other Elders in the ward to help a member fix up their old house so they can put it on the market. We had no idea how crazy it would be. So we got there after like a 40 minute drive (it was waaaaaaaaaaaaay out of our area) and we're told that they'd rented the house out, and it got destroyed, which was very evident. The member then proceeded to tell us that a family of Raccoons somehow got into the rafters in the garage, and made themselves a home. These raccoons pooped eeeeeeeeevvvvvveeeeeerrrrryyyyywwwwhhhheeeerrrreeee!!!  
My comp, Elder Ward, and another elder filled 5 black trash bags full of STRAIGHT RACCOON POOP. Definitely one to remember there haha
     That's about it for this week. We have zone Conference tomorrow, and after reading the material the APs have asked us to stayed, it's gonna be pretty lit. For P-day we're headed over to Michigan City to ball with some of the other Elders investigators. They're all 6'2" and have a very of like three feet, so it should be fun #ballislife 
     I love you all, and hope that the west coast is treating you well. Have a great week!
Elder Fa'afetai Phipps 

Elder Anderson came to the Mission!!

Hey everyone!
Sorry for not writing yet, I just forgot to do it this morning. 🙃
 So this week was really busy, but we also had Elder Anderson of the
Seventy come and visit. So that's pretty Cool.
     On Tuesday we had Zone Training, and we learned a lot about how
the Spirit works. It was a really good opportunity to  just open your
heart and let the Spirit teach you. Definitely an experience to
remember. On Thursday we had a meeting with Elder Anderson, and our
Zone combined with the Chicago zone. The meeting was good, but what I
want to highlight came after the meeting. So after the meeting, WE
TOOK ELDER ANDERSON TEACHING WITH US. It was pretty awesome, and the
Spirit that he carries is so powerful. So I guess that's my claim to
fame so far, I taught and rode in our truck with Elder Anderson. Heck
yeah 🤘🏽
     Valparaiso University is back in session, so our contacting game
is going to be waaaaay better than last week. Anyway that's about it.
We had stake Conference, which was good, and today we played
basketball. Sorry for the shortie, I'll try to write more next week.
Elder Fa'afetai Phipps

The Promised Land

Hey Everyone, I hope your week went well, because my week was
ridiculous.. in a good way. So my first week down in Indiana was
pretty lit. I've been in areas pretty much my whole mission where
teaching 8 or 9 lessons a week is amazing, and sometimes that includes
member appointments. Well this week we taught literally ALLDAY,
EVERYDAY. I kid you not. I've never run into the problem of worrying
when you're going to eat lunch or dinner BECAUSE YOU'RE TEACHING TOO
MUCH. I don't typically share my struggles in my weekly email, but I
was falling into the trap of wondering why I've spent 16 months trying
so hard to find someone to teach in four different areas only to find
those who just never quite caught the vision. Well, Yesterday I had my
first baptism in Valparaiso (she wasn't really 'my' baptism, but We
helped her make her final preparations to being baptized). We also
have four people on date. FOUR!!! Are you kidding me?? Literally the
same amount of areas I've served in. We also have a solid teaching
pool with people who are getting close to baptism.
     One lesson I want to highlight from this week was with a man
named Greg, who has been recently struggling with smoking. He has been
making a run through the Addiction Recovery Program with the
missionaries for about the third time, and he still has not been able
to stop. However the Lord has put him in a situation where he sort of
has to not smoke, if he doesn't want to burn the house down. He has
recently been put on oxygen, so there is absolutely no smoking for him
at the moment. Hopefully he will be able to get ahold of the reigns
while he can.
     We also helped this lady named Kim move a few days ago, and we
taught her the message of the Restoration afterwards. She understood
the purpose of baptism, and the priesthood, and why they are both
necessary, and then she committed to be baptized. We are so excited to
work with Kim, and help her come to a knowledge of the Savior.
     So yesterday's baptism was definitely one I'll never forget. The
lady who was baptized, Leslie, is a really good member missionary
already, and she brought a bunch of her friends and family who are
nonmembers. The Elders who found her were able to come down for the
baptism, which was really cool, but the aspect of this event that is
most memorable was located in the font. When Elder Ward and I went
into the baptistery to check out the water level, we found that the
water was dirt brown. I mean it looked like dirt, smelled like dirt,
the whole nine yards. In an effort to try to get some cleaner water,
they began to drain the font and try to get some clearer water in to
dilute whatever it was in the pipes, and we ended up with just over
three feet of brown liquid ... however the baptism went on as
originally planned, and now Leslie's is baptized 😃
     As I'm writing this it is snowing. We got about an inch or two
last night, and it looks like we're going to continue getting some
throughout the day today. This is Jesus Christ's church, we aren't
just a church that believes in Jesus Christ, this is His church. I
love you all.
Elder Fa'afetai Phipps

When Crap Hits the Fan

So I have to say that this week has been the most chaotic week of
my mission. So up until Wednesday everything was normal. We taught a
pretty good amount of lessons, but our whole week pretty much got
turned on it's head right after district meeting. Elder Carter was
called to be the new AP (assistant to the mission President), and he
was surprise transferred right then. We went home, he packed in like
40 minutes, which has to be a new world record, and then he was
shipped off. Neither of us were anticipating that, so I was left with
Elder Rogers in Crystal Lake, who's companion went home due to a
seizure he had Sunday. We were informed that we are to hold down the
fort in both our areas till transfers, the problem being that our
areas are separated by an hours drive. Sooo needless to say this last
week definitely helped me prioritize what tasks needed to get done
      One lesson we had this week that really hit me was our meeting
with Lee. Lee is an army vet who saw action in Vietnam and Dessert
Storm. He was in the armored cavalry, which basically means he was in
a tank the whole time. I don't remember if or how much I've written
home about Lee, but he is one of my favorite people in the entire
world. He's not a member, and has yet to dive into the Book of Mormon,
but we truly are "brothers in Christ," as he calls us. I would walk
through the fires of hell of that man. Please keep him in your prayers
that his heart will be softened to the message of the gospel.
     Saturday night we got our transfer calls, and I'm leaving Lake
Villa! They are going to be whitewashing our area with sister
missionaries, and I will be shipping down to Valparaiso, Indiana! I'll
be Greenie-busting an Elder Ward, who I've never met, but I'm super
excited! I'll also be the District Leader, and I get to go on
exchanges with Elder Dodge!! 🤘🏽I'm going to miss Lake Villa so much,
and I'm really nervous about what's going to happen to Steve and
Chris, but they are (hopefully) being left in good hands, I know the
ward and the sisters will take care of them.
   I got to say goodbye to most of the ward yesterday, and honestly my
heart hurt a little. I've been able to develop a good relationship
with the ward members. When I come back and visit the mission Lake
Villa is one of the top stops.
    Today for P-day we are going to be Frolfing (playing frisbee
golf), and it's Elder Obrey's last P-day in the mission, so we're
going to go eat somewhere cool. Pics are to come, there are a lot of
one's with members, but hopefully I'll be able to send some off from
today. I love you all!

Elder Fa'afetai Phipps

(The members in this area were so sweet.  We would get texts with pictures of him out of the blue from members in the ward, usually moms that had their own children on a mission who knew we would love to see his cute face.  So grateful for the time he had to spend in this area.)

The P-Day Time Forgot

Hey everyone!
     Sorry for the way late email, I haven't been feeling too well.
This week was was definitely a week of miracles. We had a lot of
lessons, and the people we tried to teach were always in the right
place at the right time.
     To highlight one lesson we had this week, we had a really good
one with Steve on Wednesday.  We have been really emphasizing the
importance of reading the Book of Mormon with real intent, and this
time we could just tell that there is a difference in his spirit. We
read from the Book of Mormon, in 2 Nephi 31. We were able to bare
testimony of the necessity of baptism, and how taking that step can
only end well. It was really cool to see that light in his eyes.
     Yesterday for P-day we were going to try to keep it chill and try
our hands at fishing since it has started to warm up ( and there's no
ice on any of the lakes). Instead I ended up getting sick. So today
I've been pounding the DayQuil!  Love y'all, I promise next
week will be more interesting.

Elder Fa'afetai Phipps

Sunshine, Success and a Snowboard

Hey everyone!
     To kick things off I just want to elaborate on this weeks email
title. First off, the whether here has been super nice. When we got
out of church yesterday at noon, we got in thrice and the temperature
outside was 74 degrees. 74!!! I don't know what happened to winter,
but all I know is Mother Nature seems to be very confused right now
lol jk
     We also saw quite a bit of success in our finding efforts this
week. We tend to talk to a looooooooooooot of people who aren't very
interested in learning more about Christ's church. However these
rejections have given us the opportunity to intuitively start up a
conversation about something these people do like, in hopes that maybe
it will soften their hearts. Often times the door closes before we get
the opportunity to ask any other questions but this week was
different. We were doing some tracting and knocked on guy's door, who
answered and said that he believed in science and math, not God. At
this point I took the opportunity to mention my appreciation for his
Dr. Who shirt (it had a picture of a weeping angel on it. Shout out to
my brother Jack for getting me hooked on that show 🙏🏽). We got
talking about that, and eventually the spirit softened his heart. We
now have a return appointment for this next week with him and his
     Last but not least we have the snowboard. So the back story to
this one is that every Sunday on our way to and from church we pass a
house that for the last week and a half or so has had a snowboard
sitting by their trash cans. Now snowboarding is literally a childhood
dream of mine, and one of my best friends, Jeremy, actually took me
snowboarding for the first time three-ish years ago. Anyway, I was
really curious whether or not they were still using this board or not.
So one day this last week we decided to tract that area. When we got
to he house with the snowboard, we got there right as someone was
leaving the house. We offered a message to him, but he said that he
was a Jehovah's Witness, and wouldn't take any material from us. We
had kind of a bro moment, where all three of us were like, "yeah man,
knocking doors is hard sometimes," which was really cool. I then asked
him about the snowboard, and he said they were planning on throwing it
away, and that we could have it. When we got to the truck I was so
happy!! Hahaha I haven't been that excited about something not
missionary related for a very long time lol
     On Sunday President and Sister Bingham spoke in Sacrament
meeting, and they were some of the most powerful talks I've heard in a
long time. The spirit was so strong, and it was just what two of our
investigators needed to hear. I know the Lord hears and answers our
prayers, and that he wants to bless us. In the words of President
Bingham, "I know that this is Christ's church. We aren't just some
church that believes in Jesus Christ, this is His church." I love you
all. I hope everyone in California is doing okay. I hear it's raining
out there? What the heck when does that ever happen?? Haha till next

Elder Fa'afetai Phipps