Monday, August 26, 2013

Butterfingers! (SP)

Ha the title of this email is Butterfingers because the Relief Society president in our ward went to the US last week and brought back the missionaries Butterfingers!  I have never ever liked them.  Until yesterday.....  Haha maybe I´m losing country pride but the food here is REALLY.  good.  I don´t miss much.  Except home cooking and Crowley tacos!  Oh!  Gpa Crowley, our RS president also bought a bunch of food from Smiths and brought it back to feed us Amercan tacos yesterday haha!  She had bought that green salsa you use for tacos!  I was SO EXCITED!
This week we had such a cool experience!  We had a companion exchange again with a couple sisters and it was my first time navigating by myself here in München!  So crazy!  But I LOVED it.  I love München SO MUCH.  People are so so so nice.  And hilarious.  The coolest people ride the buses and their German backgrounds are so similar to us.  Missionary service sometimes means stalking.  During our exchange, Sister Christiensen and I were riding a bus on our way home.  I had seen a guy before we got on and had the desire to share a thought with him.  I positioned us sneakily close by him on the bus so we could talk to him.  But he moved and sat further up.  Under my breath I said, ´´What the?  Where´s he going?´´  His stop came and although it wasn´t ours, I said to my exchange companion Sister Christiensen, ´´We need to follow him!´´  She got up and we got off the bus.  We went up to him and started a conversation about... I don´t even remember, something random like restaurants or something.  I asked him kinda awkardly if he wanted to feel peace in this life.  The subject changed to finding his address for work.  We asked him where he was going and walked with him.  We got our fake need for directions from him, said thanks, and then parted ways.  He started walking down the street.  One of the weird things is that he´d come to work two hours early.  WHO does that?  I was determined.  So I say to my companion, I want to give him a Book of Mormon and readdressed the opportunity that he had two free hours.  So we pull out a card and run after him.  We yell after him and get talking again.  I was a little hesitant at first until he just said, ´´What?  You want to say what?´´  I puffed up my chest and just started talking about the Book of Mormon.  We really wanted to share it with him.  I promised him that his German would improve if he read it (He was from Bosnia and wanted to improve his German) and that I didn´t know exactly how, but every day he would read, it would just go better.  He asked me, ´´Ya?´´  I said ´´Ya.´´  He was open to it and said sincerely that he really would read.  AHhh so cool!  I know the Lord put it in my heart to be courageous and stalk that guy because I don´t do that every day haha.  But The Lord loves His children and desires their happiness so He´ll provide a way!
One more thing that I´m excited about.
Every conversation is fun because I definitely don´t know every accent or word, but I don´t know all of them in English either.  It´s ever more hilarious and fun when you have to act out what you mean :).  It´s cool to think my communcation and ability to serve God´s children just went up millions of people!  I love it!  Not dreaming in German yet, but its close!
Alles Gut!  Pray, read, ASK ask ask!!
Sister Packer

Monday, August 19, 2013

"I´m getting in touch with my inner German." (SP)


First off.  I feel I need to thank everyone SO bad for all the letters I´ve received.  

Jessie, I LOVED your letters.  They were truly comfort in times of need and gave me a sense of love and peace that family has.  I love your humor and I´m scared stiff for all the guys comin your way!!  SO WEIRD that you and Lydia are totally in the middle of dating or gettin there.  Don´t worry.  I have my dating stories from here too ;).  Some investigators or potential investigators are dropped because they want to date rather than....progress in the gospel.  They´ll find someone someday :).  
Lydia, I never told you, but your chalk drawings in the one letter were AWESOME!!  I loved it so so much!  My smile just kept getting bigger and bigger as I saw them all.  AND your picture in that last email really was so beautiful.  You are stunningly beautiful inside and out.  Ah! Cool story I´ll tell you in a minute!  It´s all in the eyes though.  Your example is crucial for those around you.  When you do something, people look and notice when people do things confidently.  Yours and Jessie´s confidence is contagious and people will notice and change because you do what you should with a smile.  So cool!  It´s almost as cool as getting tons of looks because you wear a black name tag with name as long as the Nile River.  Almost ;).

Bre and Danielle!  I LOVED YOUR LETTERS.  So so so much :D.  It was perfect!  I hope all the fish are doing ok and that the tamagotchies are alive and well with their babies if they´re having some.  I heard its been super hot there!  Crazy!  Hey!  Your know those little waffles they eat on the Best Two Years from the Netherlands?  Ate one this morning.  It was so. dang. good.  Mensch (man in German).  Hope you´re still saying your prayers before you do your hair!

Jake.  Jake the Snake from....Idaho lake... Man, you´re there :).  How´d you feel about your farewell talk?  I heard it was really good from Gpa Crowley.  And that you also got your Eagle!  Mensch you´re just rollin along!  Jake, I´ve never had so much fun in my life.  I promise you´ll have hard times.  It´s a rough transition.  And I KNOW you´ve heard all the advice you could ever not want, but I promise, no matter how hard it seems, it gets better.  You get to know your companion, you get to know your area, you taste really good food, you meet awesome members and have the FUNNIEST experiences.  Your companions will have so much fun with you.  I love the elders.  They don´t feel younger than me at all.  They are my example every day.  I look up to them and admire their hard work.  Go get em.  And if you feel all this information is to be logged away and not what you need to hear, that´s great too :).  Heavenly Father knows ya and you´ll have all your own experiences and your OWN mission.  Remember that.  Its YOUR mission and no one else´s.  So cool!  Hey, thank you for your letters in the MTC too.  I never got a chance to really thank you but it gave me so much hope.  Hey!  We´ll be able to write letters!  So cool!  
Not sure how the English are, but Germans are super blunt.  It´s HILarious.  I´m getting in touch with my inner German.  I´m still sensitive to people´s feelings, but I say what I think and say it with confidence, not to offend, but to be clear about who I am and what I truly feel.  Germans are so smart and if you play wishy washy they think you´re dumb.  Hahaha I love it.  I´m so not used to that from every person that I find something to laugh at every day with the people.  The Lord has a sense of humor :).

It´s crazy how different I feel after every week.  When you set goals and pray, and read, and study, and pray, and talk to people you don´t know, and pray.... a lot of progress in a million areas happens :).  One thing I learned this week was during my first austausch!  (exchange).  Sister Smith and I are the Sister Training Leaders for our zone so we get to do exchanges with all the other sister companionships.  It was awesome!  My first one was with Sister Eve Smith (my companion is Sister Becca Smith).  Sister Eve Smith was SO funny.  Lydia, she reminded me SO much of you it was hilarious.  She says everything she wants and her mind works so fast.  We exchanged our companions in the afternoon of last wednesday and that night in her area, we saw so many miracles!  

The Lord uses every part of us to do the work.  We were running to find a street to visit a less active and could NOT find it.  We asked kids, neighbors, everyone.  We went down a street still looking and saw another guy and asked him for directions right as he was walking out of his house.  Turns out he´s from Georgia, USA!  At the beginning of our conversation he knew who we were but wasn´t interested in coming to church.  But after talking about normal American things we missed like oreos and corn pops, we got to be friendly and we gave him a card and a desire from him to come to church!  What the?!  It was so perfectly timed.  We were lost when we found him.  So fun to be directed by the Lord when you´re lost!  From that encounter, I learned moer about being totally real and talking about stupid things in order to be a lot more natural and normal.  Applying it to extending invitations to the gospel is so fun.  Its like when guys want to ask a girl out and just think of something random and stupid to get a conversation going.  NOW I know where all those things come from haha.  Its a fun game :).  I learned from Sister Eve Smith to be excited about people in the work.  We are excited about what they tell us about.  THAT´s how people find interest and want to learn more is if they see we´re really interested in them and get excited about who they are.  

Then, after the Georgia guy, both of us had to pee SO bad.  Sister Smith especially and we couldn´t wait.  We walked down the street and saw a guy outside his house.  We ran up to him and asked if we could use his bathroom.  He´s like, ´´Really´´ With sheepish grins we say, ´´Ya.´´  We went in and met this family: a mom, a dad, and the cutest German baby named Gretchin.  Gave em a card, an invitation to church, and left.  Planting those seeds!  So cool!  Ok another cool story.  Saw my first baptism here on Saturday!  It was for a girl named Marja, 27, Finnish, and the sweetest sweetest cup of honey.  She was just glowing.  The change in people´s eyes after they´re baptized is totally real!  It´s so cool!  That was truly a neat experience.  The Spirit bore such a powerful witness to me of the truthfulness of this gospel.  Our ward is small, but the members are living with almost zero support in this giant city they live in and still make time for each other.  There were so many people there including investigators.  THAT´s cool.  INVITE NONMEMBERS TO BAPTISMS.  Something I´ve learned is how much we need the members.  Investigators who attach to their missionaries are the ones who go inactive.  They need member friends!  BE that friend!  People´s salvation depends on you as ward members!  Don´t watch people slip out because they weren´t fellowshipped.  I want to share a neat scripture I read with my companion this morning if you, whoever is reading this, has a second.

1 Corinthians 12:14-30

Go get your scriptures and open up there.  I´ll wait :).

EVERY person in the ward is important.  The seemingly less, are the MOST important.  They hold what you and I need to learn.  It´s through them that we will find the greatest joy and the fulfillment in our ward.  Ask the bishop who you could visit, who you could invite over for dinner, who you could befriend.  The happiest ward members are the ones who help us teach, serve, and visit new members, less actives, and investigators.  I know we cannot be happy or find eternal salvation without serving them and each other.  Without them, there is no Zion.

So a cool story about last night!  One of our investigators who´s been through a million churches, very very strict in living frugal and humbly has slooooooowwwwwllleeeeyyyy been changing.  It´s unreal.  But miracles happen all the time.  If you want to live in a world of miracles, set goals that require miracles to be met.  100% true.  So she calls us last night and says, ´´So I wanted to tell you something I noticed yesterday.  I was looking at people and I just can´t explain it, but I can just see in the people´s eyes....something different.  Maybe that´s super weird... but there was just...not a sparkle, but...I don´t know.  If I were to just go and look at people, I´d be able to tell which ones belonged to your church because of their eyes.´´  AAHHHHH So sweet!!  We were silently punching the air and making rockstar faces as she was telling us this.  Woooohoooo!!    

This work is real.  I LOVE it.  Cool thought from my companion today.  True gospel principles understood, change you.  We all know that quote from Pres Packer.  But I really thought about it and it means that if we haven´t changed, we don´t understand it!  

I hope whoever reads these isn´t bored to tears.  It´s a lot more fun to have these, than to read about em.  But I appreciate all the support prayers, for me, my companion, and all the other missionaries.  When we´re obedient, we gain access to those blessings being said all over the world by millions of our members.  All those blessings are great!  But as a missionary they mean nothing if I don´t do everything I know I should.  The Lord is definitely evident in the bluntness of these Germans!  he doesn´t enable us :).  He likes us to learn.  

Viel Glaube and good work to the members!

With Faith and Hope,
Sister Nicole Packer

Monday, August 12, 2013

Arm in the door (SP)

August 12, 2013

Family and Friends!

Last week was crazy!  We met that lady and she´s investigating further!!  Woot woot!  I´m so glad we met with her.  I don´t know exactly what she needed, but it was so filling to speak with her and hear her just tell us ALL these wonderful things I couldn´t understand.  People are amazingly the same everywhere you go.  She was so sweet and although I couldn´t understand it all, she was just a gem.  The saying, "It´s the thought that counts," is so applicable haha.  Most of the time, I just sit there and smile with all the warmth my cheeks can muster and somehow the eye-communication I developed as a girl translates and I think they know I care.  What a blessing there´s so many people we can practice on!  Haha, some of them, poor awkward moments... But good times to laugh about :).  

Speaking of awkward hilarious moments.  Friday was my first taste of European rain.  It was actually a little cold but so beautiful.  That day we´d worked hard.  We´d set goals, we´d talked with people, done our best to invite (and understand the language).  We were on our way to a members house, the Arnolds, for an eating appointment and were riding the S-bahn (S-bahns and U-bahns are fast suberb trains we use for transportation).  We were about to board when we passed a guy who was smiling so huge at us.  Ahem, smiling does not always mean warm and friendly in my book of experience and when people smile at us first, I always have my creeper alert on.  People, men in particular, don´t always smile first unless there´s other intentions behind it.  You know.  So I always keep my creep alert on.  I categorized him as creepy and boarded a door down.  But my dear Sister Smith thought it would be a nice idea to go sit NEXT to him to strike up conversation.  Um HELLO, were my thoughts.  But we sit down with him and... turns out he was a really cool guy!  Hehehe...  Ahem.. ANYway...  He had tons of interest in what we were doing here as missionaries!  Um WHAT?!  We told him about the church and invited him.  He said he´d love to come.  I´m handing him a card and our stop comes.  Sister Smith is on her way out while I´m handing him a card and shaking his hand.  She exits and I go for the door, but it´s closing!  I run.  But I clearly see I won´t make it out.  There´s a moment of panic between us poor sisters that aren´t allowed to separate and would be scared to anyway.  Sister Smith being so obedient and loyal does the only thing she can to stay with me.  She keeps her arm in the door.  CLAMP (not to be confused with ´´snap.´´  No bones were broken).  I scramble to the door, and can hear her say Ow.  Ow.  Worried about my companion I use my muscles to pry the doors apart, which don´t move.  Now I´m really panicking.  The guy we met comes up behind me and pries open the door.  Sister Smith relieves her arm and I squeeze out.  If you´ve ever seen Horton Hears a Who, when the Mayor gets his arm shot with a numbing shot, THAT was the depiction here.  SO FUNNY.  I could NOT stop laughing.  The people I´m sure wrote all their friends on facebook about it.  I hope that guy comes to church.

The work is real.  On a more serious note, I´m so grateful for these moments.  Life is meant to be happy.  Til next week!

Faithfully Sister Packer

Monday, August 5, 2013

Duty calls! (SP)

Family and Friends!!

I love being a missionary!!  I feel like it finally clicked for me this week!  Ok I have like zero time.  But two cool analogies:

1.  Revelation is like a colander.  Its available in every meeting to pour down and give you loads.  But if you dont organize your thoughts, or record them, it all comes in, feels good for a minute and leaves.  Organizing and writing it down plugs up the holes!  

Ha!  Wish I could write more, but um just got a call from our Zone Leaders and we have an emergency meeting with a potential investigator!  If she doesn't meet missionaries in the next 8 minutes at the train she gets off, she's leaving.  So fun!  Love you all!  Duty calls!

Sister Nicole Packer