Monday, October 28, 2013
I asked Sister Jaynes what the title of this email should be. She simply said, ''Building the Kingdom of God in München 3.''
Things are going great!! I've never felt so alive in the Gospel! I've never known so many strangers but been so excited to play the game of contacting :).
I want to briefly talk about contacting for a minute. I've learned some incredible things this week. First off, people, missionaries, prophets keep talking about how important it is that families get family mission plans, right? You'll get blessings, you'll be obedient, etc. etc. I want to share some insights I had about starting from ground zero in this process and how it can be a fun and NOT stressful thing.
It starts with your testimony. What is most precious to you? There is the promise that these things that are most precious to you will stay with you IF you share it. That means helping people receive the gospel. Snap.
Something I've learned here in Germany is that 1. If you can get people to laugh, your ''in'' meaning there's friendship forming and an oportunity to share the gospel is closer and 2. Any invitation given out of love will never be received as offensive as Elder Holland told us.
You know, sometimes I feel like I have so much to say for these emails, and this time, my mind is kind of blank. But the one thing I did learn this week is that if missionary work seems stressful or unnatural, then it's not really how missionary work is! It should be enjoyable. It should be natural. It should give you a chance to change and progress and find joy. I've never had so much fun being myself and seeing miracles and having the most hilarious and spontaneous relationship with Heavenly Father in my life :). Get to know Him. He'll make you laugh.
Go out and be yourself. Have fun with the work and think outside the box!
President Rasmussen organized for us to go to the Benbow Farm and the Gadfield Elm Chapel! We took a train from here (Newport) to Cardiff where we took a coach (Bus) all the way to the site. Way cool, I was hoping that at some point I would be able to visit those places while on my mission. Now I have.
I don't have any pictures on my camera but Elder Eppel said he would send me the pictures he took.
We had a cool presentation at the pond, President Rasmussen gave a little bit of history and we sang a hymn. It was raining but it was very fitting. We drove over to the Gadfield Elm Chapel then and had another presentation inside. It was pretty awesome. Many prophets and apostles had been there.
Right now we've got a bunch of semi-solid investigators. We've definately had better weeks. But its all good, our schedule has been a little bit weird so we're excited for a "normal" week. We're ready for this next transfer. We'll tear it up! By the way, transfer day is on Wednesday. I can't believe a whole transfer has gone by... Whoa.
What I REALLY can't believe though is that a whole term has gone by in school for Lydia, Jess, Danielle and Bre! Shnork! Has that much time really gone by? I hope you're enjoying it sisters! School can be a party if you make it one!
Jessie, send me these "Luke skywalker moments" mom was telling me about. I'd love to hear about them!
Oh yeah about sending me letters, I have come to the conclusion that you should probably just send them to the mission home instead of the address I'm at for each transfer. That way it doesn't get too confusing. I'll just pick them up a little bit later than usual, but it's better than moving and then having to get letters from previous areas. If that makes sense... If you've already sent letters to the Newport address thats totally fine. I think I'll be here for a while. At least for another transfer or two.
My birthday was great! Yes, Mom I did make those German Pancakes. Apparently in South Africa they call them hootenanny pancakes... I don't know either. Thats what Elder Eppel said. But they were grand! Thanks for sending the recipe!
I didn't have time to get a present for myself so maybe that will happen today because it's P-Day. I did however get several birthday cards from members in the ward and a cake! Not to mention some birthday decorations in our flat. Yep, I'm pretty sure those same decorations have been used for many a missionary. And will be used for many more in the future! :)
Thanks for the Emails! I absolutely LOVE the picture of Andi!! How the shnork did she grow that much? Her hair is like... long...
Elder Jacob Packer
(PS Now we're starting to see real welsh rain. Its been coming down harder and harder about every day. "Vinter is here!" -Thumbelina)
Monday, October 21, 2013
Hello Family! It's good to write home because so many crazy miracles have happened this week!
Sister Smith and I sadly parted ways on Thursday and I received a new companion Sister Jaynes! She's been in Austria the past 6 months doing incredible things and this is her first time coming to Germany during her mission! She is a powerhouse of faith and incredibly understanding. I'm so excited to work with her! We have worked so hard the past couple days, more than I feel like I have since getting here. She's truly an example of faith and diligence. We found 9 potentials in 2.5 days and placed 3 Book(s) of Mormon(s) with two other appointments to give away the Book of Mormon. We'd not found that many potentials in that short of time my whole 3 months here! It was crazy! (SP)
One of the greatest miracles happened this weekend. It started actually about 2 monthsish ago when I found €20 on the sidewalk in front of our apartment building. We put up a sign by our mailboxes noticing our neighbors that if they lost €20 not to worry and clingal us! We heard no response from anyone so I just kept it in my closet waiting to know what the Lord would have me do with it. On Saturday, I had the slightest thought to put it in my bag that day. I didn't think anything of it because sometime I've had those thoughts, but nothing happened. Later that night as we were looking for the correct U-bahn to take home and a little stressed because it was already late, Sister Jaynes ran into a 19 year old boy who spoke English and asked her if she had money. She said she didn't and then I caught up to her. He was looking desperately for money to buy a ticket and was asking for anything anyone could spare. I immediately took out the €20 and handed it to him. His eyes bugged out. The shock in his expression and frozen hand looking at the bill was a tender sight. He asked if he could give me some money back that it was too much. I insisted. I told him to thank God for it, because He loved him. He was without words and was overcome at the sudden miracle. He said that he'd prayed moments before for God to help him find the money he needed. He said he needed to pay me back. I told him, no, that it was God who gave me that money in order to give to someone else in need. I told him I'd found it and put it in my bag for someone who needed it. I told him he could repay me though, and that it could be by meeting with us so that we could give him a book ;). He said of course of course and exchanged numbers. We met with him again last night and gave him the Book of Mormon in Serbian and told him who we were and our purpose. We'll meet with him again in two weeks after his trip back home.
In this moment I felt I understood some of Ammon's experiences, when he saw after he'd served the king, had earned his trust and a clear opening to sharing the gospel appeared. My heart rejoiced in the opportunity to show forth the Lord's power as Ammon also experienced with the King's Servants.
I know that the Lord's miracles are real. How far are we willing to go to see them? As Grandpa Packer has said it, act and revelation will come. I also remembered that story of Grandpa giving Elder Bednar the 20 pence or pounds that allowed him safe passage. These pictures remind me of Grandpa's home :). I hope you like them Grandpa!
I know this work is true. I love the Gospel. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Family and Friends,
(Could somebody please forward this to the "friends" section? I'm still working on my forwarding list technology. (Lydia that may or may not have been directed at you))
Well, first off I got my first flat tire! Yep, I'm pretty proud of it. It took a while to fix but hopefully it will last.
Second, I had a lovely ride through the countryside.
Funny story: the Cwmbran (Coom-Brahn) Area had 3 baptisms on Saturday! But there was something wrong with the font in their chapel so they came down to the Newport Chapel. Elder and Eppel and I filled up the font. Luckily we went about 3 hours early because we had to fill the font 3 times! The first time was utterly gross. Just look at the picture.
Don't worry, the second and third time the water got much much clearer:)
It was really cool to see somebody get baptized.
I've said hello to a lot of people, GQ-ing is getting to be a lot more fun. (GQ stands for Golden Question-basically talking to people on the street and asking them an inspired question) People have a lot to talk about, and they love being listened too.
I've learned that people look super angry and/or depressed all of the time. Especially when its a really rainy/grey place like wales can be. But its all a lie. Sometimes I pick the people that have the most "I don't want to talk to anybody right now" look on their face and say hi. Just to see the transformation. They turn into the happiest people ever! Don't judge somebody by their facial expression. Lesson learned. (although that doesn't mean you should necessarily talk to everybody just because they look like they want to hurt you.)
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Dear Smith Family and Packer Family,
it´s me again (for the Smith family).
Today your gorgeous daughters came over to our place again to have a little touch of Halloween.
We ate mushed potatoes with pumkin-ground meat-cassarole which was very delicious. Had Rootbeer (which you cannot buy over here so if you ever come to see us, make sure to bring us - please - McCormick Rootbeer concentrate as much as you can so will always have some for our wonderful american missionaries! )
After dinner we carved the pumkins-as you can see at the pictures.
I sure was scarred at times the way your daughters-especially Sister Smith-held the knives. But all went well-no blood was shed.
After our activity we listend to the first talk of General conferences-Elder
Cook- since your daughters didn´t have the chance to see it (because it was braodcast way after bedtime).
It was, like always, a wonderful time with them which my husband and I enjoyed a lot. You have wonderful daughters! Thanks so much for raising them and letting them come over here. They are well loved!
But I´m also very sad because it was time to say goodbye to one of them-Sister Smith. After being in Munich for 6 months she´s leaving. But she promised she´ll stay in touch and visit us with her family (you!) at the end of her mission! You´re most welcomed at our home!!!! And I´m looking forward of meeting the family of such loving girls, spiritual and sensitive teachers of the gospel!
You have every reason to be proud of them!!!
It´s going to be a challenge for both of them. Sister Smith training again and taking over the area of the Elders.And for Sister Packer, still rather new in the field and teaching her new companion. She´s very talented with the language and she´ll do fine. I´m sure-both of them!!
Since my children (almost the same age as your girls) don´t care much about the gospel anymore and doing everything within their power to live the opposite and judging us for keeping our covenants (which sure does break my heart so much) I´m always happy that so many other mothers children are still or agian being faithful in the gospel, loving our savior Jesus Christ and loving the people over seas. Including me-a native Austrian- and my husband-a real german.
I´m wishing you the best of luck and the Lords blessings. And enjoy the pictures!
Monday, October 14, 2013
This week is short, but just so you know I'm doing great. I'll write later, hopefully. Today was crazy but we served so much! The Elder's Investigator Maiya is SO amazing, a seeker for truth. Pray for her will you?
Thanks love you all!
I am running out of time so I can't expound on it. I will do so next week! Just thought I would let you know right now!
german pancakes (I know you've told me this one like a million times, I just want to get it right the first time)
Waffles and pancakes. The apron you gave me is a wonderful resource too:)
sorry this is so short. I don't even have time to send a main letter. I did send letters home but it may be a few weeks before you get them.
Love you MAMA!!
Monday, October 7, 2013
You know how it rains during general conference in Utah? Well in Wales it gets sunny. Go figure.
The rain is coming though, its getting colder and I'm usually wearing a jacket even when it isn't raining now.
I love being a missionary! Its super hard, but if you actually do the work, and apply what you've learned it is very rewarding. Funny story: One of my questions for General Conference was "How can I become a better missionary"
M. Russell Ballard then quoted nearly word for word a page in Preach My Gospel which I've read many many times. It just says the basics of missionary work. Lesson learned. We already have the resources. Sometimes God just reminds us of the answers we already have.
General Conference Rocks! Did anyone else get the direct comments for full time missionaries? Oh yeah and if I didn't tell you before Elder Ballard came to the MTC and I met him! So yeah, when he said he met a lot of missionaries in his talk, I was one of them.
Thanks for your emails and letters everybody!
First of all, was General Conference not so AMAZING?! I watched the first session in German and it was so neat! I LOVE this language. I definitely didn't understand every word, but it was truly beautiful. I never knew this, but President Uchtdorf has done some of the translating! He translated for President Eyring as he conducted and also translated his own talk! It was incredible! His German is so beautiful and all the expression was there as President Uchtdorf does but in German! What a beautiful blessing to understand HIS mother tongue! I can only immagine how neat that is for him!
President Packer looked so lively. It brought so much joy to my heart and of course tears. I don't know if you were there family, but I tried to spot you out after the session ended! It's so neat to actually be here in Europe watching Conference.
I wanted to share a few thoughts about Faith this week. I've not actually been studying it specifically (my companion has haha), but I in turn have learned so much about it. I've learned how much I set my own expectations on the Lord and His work. I've never been so honest with myself and said, ''Yes, I really didn't believe that would happen, so it didn't.'' The Lord can give us the faith but I get to ask for it too! As President Uchtdorf said, ''Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.'' Keep pushing forward. Be honest with Heavenly Father. Open your eyes to his miracles and mercy.
I also have been learning about prayer. I can't even begin to describe how important I've realized it is. It is absolutely paramount. Without prayer, we don't have a testimony. Without prayer, we don't know the Book of Mormon is true. Without prayer we don't know God exists. Without prayer, we don't receive blessings through the Priesthood. We don't do the work for the dead. Without prayer we don't know who we really are. We don't receive Patriarchal Blessings. We don't receive baptismal covenants! We don't receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost! Without prayer, Christ could not perform the Atonement that was created for you and for me. Without prayer, we cannot be filled with the love of God which as Nephi puts it, IS the filling of our very soul (1 Nephi). If there is anything, ANYthing amiss in your life, anything missing or misunderstood, take it in prayer to the Lord. He will give you understanding, whether to be patient, or what you are supposed to learn. He will give you comfort. He will help you to laugh. He is your Father. Of all the names of Glory He could be called, He asks to be called ''Father.'' Go to him as His child. I know He'll answer your prayers and wants to. He's waiting to! I want to leave my testimony of this in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, for it is only through Him that I know this and that I have my testimony, in His name, Amen.
All my love and diligence.
Sister Nicole Elizabeth Packer,
for that's how I was named by my parents through prayer as a daughter of Heavenly Father.
for that's how I was named by my parents through prayer as a daughter of Heavenly Father.