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! 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.
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