Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hump Day

Dear friends and family,
     I want to start off this weeks email with an epiphany I had in Sacrament meeting this Sunday. The speaker was using his recent experience of completing his first Iron Man (shout out to Coach Joe)   to portray the Plan of Salvation, but this is beside the point. What got the gears turning in my head is when he talked about fear. Within the last couple of days I have thought a lot about fear, what it is, and how it manifests itself. One night Elder Hansen and I got talking on the subject, and he said something that struck me as profound. He told me, "Fear is not a real emotion, we create it in our minds." It was something to that effect, but I think you get the idea. Now I've heard this before from my coaches, parents, teachers, and pretty much anyone else who was a leader to me growing up. Thinking back to the sports I played, I can almost remember an attitude of complacency once I reached a certain point of growth. The biggest example I can think of is when I was a swimmer. My times improved, and at practice I put in a pretty good amount of effort. I was presented with many opportunities where I knew if I pushed just a little bit harder I could see improvement, but I chose to stay in a so called "comfort zone" and make it by. My choice to not give that extra effort was made out of fear of discomfort. Needless to say I didn't really ever ponder on the saying often used by my coaches, "suffer now, and live forever in glory." I realize that being afraid is a choice. I can choose to be afraid, cloud my mind and not learn anything from this life, or I can have faith and confidence in the Lord, and the abilities he has given me and learn of His Spirit. I have made a decision to not be afraid of anything, on or off the mission. Will I make mistakes? Of course, there will probably be lots of them. But I look at those as opportunities for me to make a course correction in life, and become more like my Heavenly Father. I invite all of you to do the same. Stop being afraid. Make a decision to have more faith, and I know the Lord will help you.
    In the direction of the work, a lot is changing. Throughout my mission I have been told that the Lord is hastening His work, and in the past two days, I testify that I have seen it. I was able to attend a meeting this past Thursday with the Mission President from the District 2 (you can look that up on the Gospel Library app if you don't know what I'm talking about), where our mission was introduced to some very exciting stuff that I'm not allowed to talk about yet lol sorry. The main gist is that the way we do missionary work has been expounded upon, and our use of technology will be increased, especially in the realm of social media. Members will be able to teach with the missionaries more easily and we even got some trading on how to help members teach their friends. I'm really excited and I can already see change happening. Since Thursday, we now have 3 part member families who are very close to baptism, all of which have been investigating the church since I was like, four years old, maybe even younger. I am SO EXCITED RIGHT NOW!!!
     In other news, I reached my one year mark a little over a week ago on the 11th. I forgot to mention that last week.  According to President Bingham, I am now an old fart. It's weird trying to think that I am halfway done with my mission. I cannot think of anything else other than mission life at this point... it's pretty strange to say the least. The weather here got cold out of nowhere within the last couple of days, and the temperature is dropping fast. Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty warm, but Thursday morning I woke up and it was snowing, like, what the heck man. We got home last night and it was 26 degrees outside, where last Monday it was in the 60s. Thankfully I got my winter coat just in time! 
     Anyway that's about it for this week. I think we're going to a bouldering gym today, but I'll send pics of whatever we end up doing. I love you all, I really do.
Elder Fa'afetai Phipps

P.S. - I have to give a shout out to Samuel Parker, who opened up his mission call yesterday. He will be serving in the Rome, Italy mission which is super crazy, because there is already one Sorella Holiday serving there right now. Way cool!

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