With time, things change. After John answered his call to military duty, there appeared no immediate difference in his family’s life back in Wales. His oldest sister married and moved from the home. Leonard, John's father, continued to invite to their home any visiting missionary or preacher for Sunday dinner, but this occasioned a dramatic transition in the family.
Anstice, John's mother, had nurtured for years a passion to serve God on some foreign field, and when a visiting missionary discerned her great desire, he laid extraordinary emphasis upon the need for a preacher to take the gospel to a certain island in the British West Indies. Without question, the missionary had no idea as to the impact his conversation would have on Mrs. Phillips. This became to Anstice the catalyst she had long prayed for. All other considerations set aside, there was no peace in the Phillips' home until Leonard sold his business, rented his home to a cousin, packed up the family, their automobile, and said "good-bye" to the Christian brethren at their church, and with their sincere blessings, boarded a ship for the British West Indies.
When they arrived, to their chagrin, the island measured only two by fifteen miles in area and already had a missionary family in ministry there. Resentful, they had no idea why the Phillips came. Obviously, there was no practical purpose for their car, and the hot humid climate was devastating to John's asthmatic sister who came close to death more than once.
John's younger brother, Jim, had dreamed of becoming a doctor, and refused to go with the family to the West Indies, so his father had made arrangements for him to finish his schooling in Canada. In future years, he did become a doctor . . . an outstanding authority on possible problems in the human liver, with required study in the textbook he wrote.
This vision of becoming a missionary without specific counsel was a disaster! The family "toughed it out" for a year; then returned to Candiff, Wales, only to be rejected as "quitters" by the folks of their church.
A "Labor" government now controlled the British Parliament, and the law legislated that the renter took precedence over the owner. Leonard's cousin refused to move — there was no place for John's family to live. In time they moved to Canada, still a part of the British Empire and, eventually they settled in the Chicago area of the U.S.A.
All of this had a definitive effect on John's life and the decisions he made when his tour of duty in the army had ended.