Monday, September 30, 2013

Oktoberfest...still! (SP)

Talk about a beautiful part of the world!!!  More pictures are on Nicole's picture page...

Ok story time.

First, there was one day Sister Smith decided to let me lead us a different way to the church.  I puffed up my chest and marched to the front.  As I later learned, I was going the wrong way, but was determined to find it.  She just had sheepish looks and smiled :).  At one point she joked and said, ok don't _____ us to the wrong direction.  But she used a German word I didn't know.  When you don't know a word, you ask someone.  So, the first person I see, which was a lady, I ask.  

(All in German) ''Excuse me.  We're learning German and I wanted to know the meaning a word.  What does 'verführen' mean?'' 

She had a blank look.  Then she began to tell me it was if you had a desire for chocolate and you want to eat it but you know you shouldn't.  This is when Sister Smith, very sheepish at this point next to me whispers the word in English.  Verführen means ''seduction.''

We walked away laughing our HEADS off.  She was so kind in explaining the definition.  I'm so grateful she was a lady.

We saw her again on our bus the other day :).  As soon as she looked at me she recognized the two of us.  Happy memories :).

I'm learning to explore and to laugh.  Life's too short and it makes it interesting.

The next story was the other night on our way to or church (ironically enough).  It was around 8:30pm and we passed Oktoberfest.  I see a man sitting playing on his phone.  I muster up my courage for a second and say to Sister Smith, I'm gonna talk to him.  We strike up conversation, chat, offerwe give him a card.  We also offered him a cookie from our plate we had.  He declinded but offered us money.  We politely decline.  He kept offereing.  We kept declining.  He then puts the 5 euros into Sister Smith's coat pocket without her permission, and says bye giving her a hug, laying his head on her shoulder.  Of course I just watch.  He comes to give me a hug, and I stick out my hand for a hand shake.  He plows it and gives me a hug.  Hehehehe OK!  Time to leave.  We say buy, and walk away with 5 euros in hand, and nievity bubbles VERY popped.  We get to the church, and receive a text from an unknown number.

''Please come back :)''

We'd given him a card with our number AND the address to the church.  We turn off all the lights and lock all doors and gates.  Another text.

''I love you :)''

Then we get a call.  And then another.  And another.... 

8 calls later.  We stayed, did language study in the dark, then ran home.

The next morning we get another text. 


BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!  I would hate to do things I didn't remember the night before......Lesson learned:  don't contact drunk people.  Or give them your number.

Last story.  I found a cute pink plastic spray in our candy drawer while cleaning on our cleaning day Saturday.  I smelled it, saw it was a spray.  My curious mind wants to try it and see what it is.  I spray a bit and it oozes out.  I smell it and it still smells sweet.  I spray a titch on my finger and taste it.  It was anything BUT candy.  I now know what pepper spray tastes like.  And I know that it works.  That was the most painful 12 ish minutes my mouth has endured.  P.S. milk and bread doesn't work.  


I learned to laugh this week.  Everything could be crazy, but laughing makes it better.  

On a more serious note, I read in Moroni 7 this week.  So powerful!  Faith is believing.  I didn't know how little I knew about faith until coming out here.  You can ask for ANYthing.  When you're doing what's right, and ask for what is right, the Lord wants to bless us!  And He usually does with something so much better than we thought!  Also, I learned that prayer is a commandment.  Wha??  I knew it was nice, but a commandment?  It's so crucial!  If there's something missing in your life, check your relationship with Heavenly Father! 

I love you all!  I'm going to Oktoberfest today for a bit so wish me luck!  (Aparantly it's family day mom and dad so no worries!)  Keep your Faith that you DO have!

Sister Packer

Good things are coming to Newport B! (EP)

Hey everyone,
I'm starting to get used to how missionaries live. It's pretty awesome.  Good things are coming to Newport B! Yeah I thought it was Newport Beach at first too.
I may have mentioned it in the last letter but the Bishop of the ward made a cool statement on our first sunday here. He said that something big was going to happen in the Newport ward as far as missionary work was concerned. Oh yeah! Greenie Power! We are finding more investigators, most of them are polish.  We have been flogged a few times but we're starting to see solid appointments ahead. (flogged means we were dropped, or the appointment fell through or they gave us a fake address, phone number, name etc.)
Seriously its like a 50/50 chance that someone we talk to won't speak English. There are so many different cultures here! We talk to people from Czech Republic, Slovakia, Nigeria, Poland, Uganda, Portugal, India, Sudan and a bunch of other places. We communicate the best we can and give them a card.
We do live near the coast, not close enough to see it though. The Weather here has been awesome! I'm constantly in fear of the constant rain that everyone warned me about but its been warm and sometimes sunny here save for one or two days. I have been warned by the locals that when winter comes it will come down hard. At least its been nice so far.
There was a primary program on sunday. What I concluded is that no matter what kind of accent they have, little kids are still little kids and the church is the same wherever you go. It was wonderful! The heavy breathing into the microphone, the shifting and moving while singing. The laughter and smiles when they made eye contact with their parents. I love it.
I'm still struggling to know how to get to places around here. We ride our bikes everywhere so you'd think I would get pretty good at navigating. Nope. Without mountains to orient myself I'm pretty much lost most of the time. I'm improving slowly. I keep having those "Oh thats where I am" moments when I see something I recognize. 
We have a lovely elderly neighbor named Rose. She doesn't take any nonsense. She knows how to survive in a city like Newport. She's not a member.... yet. 
Thanks for the Emails! Love you all! 

Happy Birthday LYDIA!!! 17yrs old. (You are 17 now right? After the incident with Jessie I can never be sure)'re growing up so fast. Its really odd to think you could be as old as I am now when I get back.  But then again, I always thought you were a junior when you were a sophomore. Whatever that means to you I don't know... But happy birthday! I hope it went well! 
Landon Vernon,
You stud muffin! I heard you did great on your farewell talk. Atta boy! dude, I've been talking to people from Africa a lot lately (besides my companion). And all I can say is goodluck! No really though, you'll do fantastic, you just need the desire to serve and some greenie faith and miracles happen.
Josh Barlow,
Get me a moose eh? Haha I learned that canadians actually have an accent. I thought the only difference was that they say eh. But no! I know this because one of my MTC room mates was canadian. You're amazing man, thanks for your example. Goodluck man. I hope you learned a lot from my mamma about Genealogy. She knows her stuff.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I'm On Za Front!! (EP)

Dear Everyone,

My new mailing address:
Elder Jacob Packer
159 Conway Rd.
Newport, WALES
NP19  8JU

First thing is first, my 1st area is the city of Newport, Wales! My area is officially called "Newport B" (It covers one half of Newport while another team covers the other half. They are Newport A). The two Elders in Newport A are both from Utah as well; Elder Neff and Elder Albrechtsen.  I'm in the Cardiff Zone. Cardiff is another city in Wales. 

I'm so stoked to be here! My Companion is Elder Eppel. He's from South Africa, and basically is the greatest missionary in the mission! He's been out for about 21 months so far.  One cool thing is that it's his first time in Wales too. He has been serving in England until now.

I am disapointed because last time I meant to send a bunch of pictures. Unfortunately the email only sent one of them. And now I have even more pictures to send. I'll try to send them this time for sure. Sorry about that.
Now I shall just sort of list my experiences:)

Elder Packer and Elder Eppel in Newport (or Cardiff?), Wales
The MTC was so great, there should be pictures of my district. I love those Elders. Helaman District! The teachers were incredible. Brother A. Loynes and Sister Willis were my teachers. I have a picture with Brother Loynes but not of Sister Willis.

I've had the best dinner appointments ever with old couples in the ward.  Mom, you were right, the custards here are amazing. Haha and one family made Mexican food so that we (Elders from Utah) "would feel at home".  It was very good. 

I bought a bike! It's the red one in one of the pictures. unfortunatley I have to either cover it in black tape or spray paint it black.  Otherwise it will have a much greater chance of getting stolen.  But its all good:) 

The accent here is awesome! I can't understand a lot of what people say and I'm pretty sure they have a difficult time understanding what Elder Eppel says because of his English/African accent. Everybody seems to understand me though. American accents rule! And now each time I hear an American accent we're instant friends. Unless they are drunk... Then they don't really respond to anything...

I had no idea how hard it would be to talk to people! And then, I had no idea that it could be so easy.  Bearing testimony to people has made me realize how much of a testimony I actually have. Who knew?! 

Meeting the ward yesterday was great. We were welcomed like crazy. Of course the last speaker hadn't shown up so OF COURSE we (all of the 4 Newport Elders) were asked to introduce ourselves for 2-3min each. It was good, I got the whole "are you related to THE Elder Packer?" question taken care of. :) It's awesome, we are here to serve the ward. Members are the greatest resource to missionary work EVER! (besides the Book of Mormon of course). So go visit those people you know who are less active or nonmembers. Let them know you care about them.

I can't believe its only been 6 days. It feels like I've been doing this for a month at least.

Oh and mom, you'll be proud of this. When we got to our flat the only food was frosted flakes and frozen mini pizzas:) We'll be buying more food today though, don't worry.

Love you all! I'll be writing letters soon!

Elder Packer

Oktoberfest! (SP)

Every day is full of new surprises.  But first, a miracle!

This last week we had a companion exchange with a neighbor area here in Munich.  I went to stay the night at the other Sister's apartment and so had my tiny suitcase with one night's needs.  I had also bought an umbrella the other week for a couple euros and had that with me.  The wind that day was crazy and it totally broke my umbrella.  Then, I left it on a train.  I had my smallest suitcase with me which contained spare money, clothes, makeup, shoes, study materials all of it.  We left it on an S-bahn.  It takes days to get things back you've lost.  But after all this happened, I didn't feel a lick of remorse.  I just laughed.  I laughed and laughed and laughed.  Sometimes crazy things are hilarious and knowing the Lord would provide was all I needed to know.  It was a great test to see what I would do when all my stuff was taken from me.  The Lord had everything and I had extra of everything I had lost back at our apartment.  We talked to a homeless lady and that's when I realized how much she really didn't have.  ''Feed my sheep'' is what the Savior asks us to do.  We are rich in relationships and hope, faith, and love.  The Savior present in our lives is our bread and water for life.  I loved the scripture in Alma 31 at the very end!  The missionaries trusted the Lord even through all the trials they knew they would face as missionaries.  

Oktoberfest is here!  Saw my first drunk person...people.  A lot of them.  Somethin new every day!


Sister Packer

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

First Area! (EP)

~We just received word from Jake's Mission President and wife that he has been assigned!


We are delighted to be serving with your son.  He will be a great blessing to others
as he teaches the hope and joy of the Gospel.  He has been assigned to serve in
Newport, Wales with Elder Eppel.


President and Sister Rasmussen

Monday, September 16, 2013

Out to the Field (EP)

Dear Family,
I'm leaving the MTC on wednesday morning. I sadly only have 5 minutes to write this email but I was able to print the emails that you've sent so I'll read them later and reply to them whenever I can.
Once I'm in the Mission field my P-day is on monday.  I won't be able to email again until next monday.
Basically I get on a bus on wednesday morning with the other Birmingham missionaries and drive about 2 hours to my mission! Thats pretty much all that I know. :)
I love you all! And I'll figure out how to email everybody eventually, I know there are some people who aren't getting my emails.
Elder Packer

Family Mission Plan GET ONE! (SP)

Miracles this week :)
  • My pictures uploaded from my camera.  They haven't since I left home to serve the Lord.  Now you can see all the amazing companions, missionaries and people that I'm so blessed to serve!
  • I met a guy as I was sitting at this computer who has performed in musicals basically his whole life.  His name is Kevin Rogers from New York/new Jersey.  If anyone is familiar with that name.... I met him and I gave him a card :).  People are so cool sometimes.  Like that one time we met a lady who worked with a team of people in Logan on the landscape at USU campus.  It's a really small world even in Munich!
  • A family who we were teaching was being seemingly split by the gospel, all came to church yesterday on their own.  
  • One of our investigators, we'll call him Paul, is progressing and committed to a new baptismal date and to meet twice a week.  Taking small steps forward can be miracles!
  • I talked to a sister in our ward after receiving the impression to do so.  It turns out she'd gone through a loss of a loved one a few weeks before and we cried for a minute together.
  • I had the courage yesterday to talk to a girl my age with my companion and ask if we could meet.  It went like this:
''Hey, do you have time on Tuesday we could meet at this time?''
''Sorry, I can't, I've got school at that time.''
''Do you have time on Wednesday or Thursday afternoon?''
''No this whole week is kinda busy for me.''
''Do you have time next week?''
''I'm not really sure.  These next couple of weeks are kinda crazy.''
''Hey, could we switch numbers and then we can call you in a couple weeks and schedule something out?''
''Ya, sure.''

Sometimes you just keep asking until they say they're not interested.  She just said she was busy :).  She said it exactly how it is and made no excuses.  I love Germans!  She was happy and not irritated with ;).  I think it'll turn into something!  

I have learned so much about faith this week.  Faith is not messured by results.  It's measured by your desire to do what is right.  I'm learning to start where I am, and use what I know, not what I don't know.  Just like Nephi! 

Family.  I'll send an example next week, but we're learning about Familiy Mission Plans.  How, When, Goals.  SO COOL.  Make one!

Love you all!  Enjoy the pictures!

Sister Packer

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Well, I'm in England now!! It is really nice here, its never too hot but never too cold. Everybody kept telling me that I wouldn't be seeing the sun while I was here but It has been sunny ( at least partly sunny) for most of the days I've been here in the MTC.
My companion is Elder Kircher. Guess where he is from. Munich Germany! Yeah, he doesn't speak English fluently. It's been really fun though, and He's improved exponentially since we started. Miracles do happen. He can teach lessons now! At least parts of them.
My favorite thing I've ever heard him say was when we were talking about leaving the MTC and entering the field.
He enthusiastically cried
Its my new motto.
Yep we are getting ready to head out to the front lines. It will be awesome! I'm genuinley  excited to do this. Practice helps a ton. We role play every day.  I love it here, and I know it is the right place for me to be.
Thanks for the E mails I've gotten! I look forward to hearing from you!
Elder Packer

Monday, September 9, 2013

Having the Faith Not to Be Healed (SP)

I´ve never had such a desire to do visiting teaching in my life.  That is ALL we do hear.  Missionary work = Visiting and Home teaching.  18 mo/2 yrs of it.  And it is the greatest joy I´ve experienced :). 
This week we took a day of ´´catch up´´ to organize ourselves and refocus our goals.  I spent a couple hours perfecting cookie dough while Sister Smith made a zillion calls.  We baked, called, and planned.  We went the next day and delivered cookies

“I know this work is God’s very truth, and I know that only at our peril would we allow doubt or devils to sway us from its path. Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe.”

In this same conference address entitled “I Believe” Elder Holland expressed:

“Brothers and sisters, this is a divine work in process, with the manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please don’t hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will. In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith.

So be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of the work. As one gifted writer has suggested, when the infinite fullness is poured forth, it is not the oil’s fault if there is some loss because finite vessels can’t quite contain it all. Those finite vessels include you and me, so be patient and kind and forgiving.”
I love this work so much.  Sister Smith shared with me a bit of Elder Bednar´s last CES fireside talk about having the faith not to be healed.  Sometimes the things you ask of the Lord are not immediately apparent.  But I know that it is the effort that is made and not the direct results that shows success.  When we individually improve, progress is made whether it´s noticed or not.  I love this work.  Until next week!
Sister Packer

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I'm in the England MTC! (EP)

Hello Mom and Dad!!
I'm in the England MTC, I've arrived safely and very tired. But its awesome! I traveled here with about 20 other missionaries. So far there are only 6 missionaries total I've met that are going to Birmingham. The rest are going to the Ireland/Scotland mission.  Apparently this is a slow week for the MTC because they've only got about 60 of us here. 
My P days are on Wednesday so that is when you will hear from me next.
I've talked to Elder Smith about medical, I'm going to the temple next week, and I'm going to know who my first companion is in a few hours.  A lot of stuff to remember and do, and hopefully my jet lag will wear off soon.
I can't help but speak in a semi-English accent when I talk to the people here. I hope I don't offend someone.  We'll see :)   
Love you!
Elder Packer
P.S. flying is the coolest thing ever! Way better then the wii.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Elder Packer is off! (EP)

Set apart as a missionary on Tuesday, gone on Wednesday.

Goodbyes were said at home early in the morning before Mom & Dad took Elder Packer to the airport.  He will be training in the Preston MTC.  As always, saying goodbye was bitter-sweet.  We couldn't be more proud.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Clear In Your Relationships (SP)

If this week had a theme, it would be to be clear in your relationships.  There were two days this week that we saw true miracles.  The first was Tuesday.  That morning, Sister Smith and I talked through some issues we´d been feeling.  We were very open, very honest and really SAID what was on our mind.  It took some extra time that sometimes you feel as a missionary you shouldn´t take, but we definitely felt better and clear after addressing it.  And we addressed it the MINUTE it came up.  Then miracles came.  We were on the S-bahn traveling to our District meeting.  Sister Smith´s hair wasn´t really done and I suggested doing it in like a braid or something.  So I start this braid and for reals it was AMAZING.  Jessie, you´ll appreciate this, it was a waterfall braid and rocked.  NEVER done one before.  I know that sounds silly, but in a time of hair crisis, it was a miracle.  We also talked to a girl and it was a great conversation!  We get off the S-bahn and head towards our bus, which was leaving.  The driver was pulling out, pulled back in and we got on.  We wrote him a note of thanks on an Eternal Marriage passalong card.  We got there and although being a half hour late, it wasn´t ready yet!  We later visited a man named Victor who is an Italian and chooses NOT to believe.  I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon and he could not look me straight in the eye.  I told him Grandpa Packer´s story about meeting an atheist on a plane and telling him, ``Just because you haven´t tasted of salt, doesn´t mean God doesn´t exist.´´  Our appointment with our investigator Pasquale was INCREDIBLE.  The Spirit has never beent that strong and direct before.  And didn´t just say he would, but that he wanted to come to chuch.  WHAT??  He´s been taught for months and he finally says that!  We met a less active on a U-bahn named Paulina with her nonmember boyfriend and said she wanted us to come over for dinner sometime!  WHAT??  We visited a guy who´s wife is a less active and talked to him for a half hour.  He was so cool and got to experience the missionaries!  We miraculously got a ride home that night from a member when we weren´t sure about our travel time.  We got another referral from her! 
Miracle are real.  They happen when we´re honest and open in our relationships with each other and the Lord.  Although many don´t believe me, I know the church is true and that peace IS here on the earth available.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Sister Packer
Jessie tell me about high school!  I loved your letter! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!
Jake!!  good luck bro!!
Dad!  I met my second cousin!  Your cousin Richard Smith (Your uncle Ronald´s son) is the dad of Sister Rachel Smith in my district :). Small world.
I love you family!  I share your picture often!