Monday, December 30, 2013
I have loved all of your emails! Thank you! Actually I don't really have time to read all of them so I take pictures of them so I can read them later.
Today we climbed a Welsh mountain! A member in the ward took us to a lookout point where we can look over Cwmbran and Newport, and you can even see the Bristol Channel. It is only about 1500ft high. So, not exactly Timpanogos but its pretty high for Wales!
I'm hoping this coming January will have many baptisms! We've been doing a lot of work towards it. Miracles WILL happen! Thanks for your prayers and keep them coming!
I love you all! Thanks! Just let me know if I forgot to include anything you asked for in these emails, I struggle with remembering those things sometimes!
Holy COW Christmas Day is already passed. I remember being so excited for the morning of Christmas, waiting waiting waiting, and then it was over so quick. But what I'm so grateful for is how it CAN last all year and it's totally in my power to keep it that way. I'm so grateful for the time I get to serve His children and grow in love, spirit, stature, and knowledge.
Well hey family! How's it going!? I just saw ya like yesterday! That was SO weird by the way. It was like a dream. It's weird to think it actually happened. I could have talked all day, but I'm glad it was short so that I could focus on the work! We'll have all eternity to catch up, if not right after I get home :). I want to make some great memories this my 21st year!! Some things I forgot to say (as Jake so cleverly put it haha)
A funny story: we got a bottle of vodca with our tree that my sistermates in our apartment bought. The man INSISTED they take it. It of course went down the toilet, but not before we took pictures and laughed about it. I guess I could have legally.....
I met a return missionary yesterday who was just visiting our ward who was TOTALLY in the same district with Jake!!! Elder Schenk. WHAT THE??! I was so grateful for Heavenly Father's little gift to say hello :)! And there's an elder in my zone that was in the MTC with him. HOLY COW!!
Welp, now I'm 21. And I feel NO different. Adult? Kind of. Hopefully... The only thing I could think of that's different is that I am legally allowed to drink which isn't that cool, but then I remembered that I'll be able to sit in the car with a 15 year old driving with their permit! YES!! Thank you for all the birthday wishes and thoughts! It's so great to know my family cares! For my birthday I went to a member's home and ate Philipean Chinese. SO good. 'Nuff said. And I also got to watch the new Les Miserábles! I liked it! Sketchy scenes were skipped thanks to other missionaries that had already seen it. It was a different approach than I've ever seen, but it seemed more real and I was impressed with how well people could sing WITH all the emotion. I loved it. I received little presents from members and calls from other missionaries and the Presidents wife. Heavenly Father knows how to send us what we need :).
Happy Birthday Garrett!! (27th Dec) My cousin, I'm so proud of you for serving your mission and I wish you all the best!
Mom, I got a little sick with Walking Pneumonia, but because I knew exactly what would happen, I've handled it beautifully and don't try to work too hard. My companion has been SO great. She made me knoodles and ordered me to sit and just be sick. Ahh the sounds of home :). At least I can't smell the smoke here in the café! :)
My Christmas package is currently in Munich at the mission office, which is great! But, I won't see it until the second week of January when we have Zone Training. Oh, the joys of a HUGE mission :). But it's great. I have had SUCH a fun and wonderful Christmas with all the members and missionaries and thoughts of Christ. I'm so grateful. And I feel very loved and watched over :).
I watched a Mass! We went to Christmas Mass at Stephans Dome atand it was SO cool. I don't think I even realize how cool my exeriences here are.... I'm in Vienna... at Christmas... watched Mass... in German....... teach the gospel... work with these members and missionaries that I love so much... learn the gospel... pray more sincerely... receive more willingly... give more readily... love more openly... serve more righteously... blessed more abundantly... It's just been incredible. The gospel IS the true source of comfort, peace, and satisfaction. I love this work :). Til next week! Thank you for all the cards and wishes Lindon 16th Ward family!
Thursday, December 26, 2013
It was so great to see and talk to all of you! Of course there wasn't enough time to say all of the things I would like to say, I could have skyped for hours! So here are a few of the things I missed and want you all to know now.
Thanks for the package! The mug is awesome. And thank you so much for sending more of the paper for the Arc notebook! That is EXACTLY what needed! I didn't know such joy could come from office supplies... strange. Elder Ferrell and I thank you for the little remote control cars. Breakfast was great this morning, it consisted of some very American, Warning-label worthy, cereal. :) Oh and the Gummy Shark (how did you know?).
The cards and everything were the best! And I know there are other things I haven't mentioned but there are too many to count!
Oh, and the Christmas Calendar... Since I opened it up yesterday I realized I was 25 days late to start it, don't worry, I'm catching up quite rapidly.
Lydia, Lovely pictures in the card, and I am so stoked with the Grandpa and Choir experience. Jessie, you have really great snowflake skills, I hope the iphone is treating you right. Did I see you snap-chatting me with that thing? Danielle, Your teeth look great, just don't grow up too fast. Boys are not good to hang out with. Remember that. BreAnne, I LOVED your card. You can write so well!
Josh and Courtney,
CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I CAN'T EVEN HANDLE IT! Keep me updated!
Natalie and Christian and Andi
I was somewhat relieved when I saw Andi, she hasn't changed as much as I thought. At least she is still small enough for you too hold and she wasn't talking. Thanks for the cards, I love you guys so much!
Mom and Dad,
I know you have done so much for me. You continually do so much for me. Don't worry, I will let you know if there is anything I need. For now though, I'm pretty much set. My shoes are working great, they will last as long as I polish and waterproof them. My bike is great, I need to oil it everyday that there is rain so it doesn't get all rusted. I don't mean to come across like I don't have a care in the world. Things do get stressful, I just am not very good on letting others know how to assist me.
I love you both so much! This is an amazing family. An eternal family.
I hope no one lost an eye in the rubberband wars. I hope you played dramatic background music with those cool little speakers of yours while you were shooting each other.
Happy Boxing Day! (I'm not even sure if people say that here).
last but not least, Nicole, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!
Sister Packer over in vienna, is doing great work,
and brightening lives where sad worldiness lurks.
Testifying here and inviting people there,
"Come to church! Be there or be square."
Nobody saw her coming to the Alpine-German people,
now many more will take notice of the bright temple's steeple.
Probably the best birthday activity you could do is preach the word.
So selfless, so caring. Not listening is indeed absurd.
Carry on, carry on in this great cause!
Victory is in sight, there's no need to pause.
Why would you serve a mission at all? What does it mean?
You've now learned why you did. You've felt. You've seen.
One year older and wiser too,
a well sung song. too true, too true.
I'm quite upset that I wasn't able to skype you yesterday. I'm not sure what will work for you, maybe we'll be able to do it another day soon. I've already sent some other info to you so we can coordinate that whenever.
But Happy 21st Birthday! Does it seem like you're twenty one? No. Is that wierd to think that I'm 19 and you're 21? Yes. As far as I'm concerned I'm still 17 and you're 19.
Please do something cool for your birthday! Let me know how it goes! We'll talk later (hopefully via skype), just know that I love you!
I LOVE YOU ALL! Let me know what kind of things you want to know, sometimes I just don't know what you guys want to know:)
-Elder Jacob Packer
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Monday, December 23, 2013
Hey everyone! Merry Christmas! Nadolig Llawen! (welsh)
This last Tuesday was crazy! We knew we were going to get a call about what was going to happen to me since Elder Eppel was headed home but we didn't know when. When we did get it from the AP's this is what we found out:
I would be moving up to the Cwmbran B area. My new companion would be Elder Ferrell (Kaysville, UT) and Newport B would close down. At least until the end of the transfer.
I packed all of my stuff, visited a bunch of our investigators, made a bunch of calls to members in the ward and now I'm in Cwmbran!
Elder Ferrell has only been out 1 transfer longer than me. It has been one of the best weeks of my mission getting to know that guy! He is awesome, I'm blessed to be working with him. Miracles are happening. I have a firm testimony that miracles happen simply when we do what we're told. Just getting out of the flat on time, talking to the people we see, and doing our best to share our message. It is pretty simple, and miracles happen if you ask for them.
I'm sad to leave Newport, especially right before Christmas thinking it would be hard to feel comfortable here in a new area right off. I've been blessed a lot though, this area has been great, my companion is amazing, the ward is SUPER nice and we've got more little chocolate treats than Elder Ferrell and I can handle. I feel right at home.
I hope Christmas is going well for all of you out there! Remember to give! Yep, that same old Christmas message we hear every year. It's true that it brings happiness! Try it out!
Family!! I'm so excited to see all of you!! Holy Shnork! I wouldn't count on an English accent, or even a welsh one. Basically Utah'n with less harsh R's. I guess you can judge for yourself on Wednesday.
Oders of business:
Skyping. I will be logged on to Skype starting atUTAH time. Jake said he has his time slot . I'll be sure to be logged on at 11 so that we can get started and get going smoothly. I'm so excited it's working out! I'm so grateful for the technology of our day and of the possibilities it give us.
This week I learned something super cool about repentance and prayer. It has been it's own struggle being here during Christmas time without my family. Obviously it's amazing to be in Europe. Obviously the Church is True wherever you go. But it's is also not the same without the people you are closest to. I was aware that sometimes I missed home, but I never fully gave it to the Lord. I worried and missed and it sometimes was distracting! I asked myself, ''Why wouldn't I want to be here? I made it this far and have loved it! Remember you wanted to come SO bad?? Remember those other times on a mission where you missed them, but then you remembered your purpose and was fine?'' I basically felt it was silly to continually feel this way. But then last night my sweet companion Sister Clark and I talked about the purpose and need for prayer in giving and asking for EVERYTHING we need. I thought I'd given Father all my thoughts and feelings, but I'd missed some. I hadn't admitted to myself truly how much I missed the familiarity of home life during Christmas. I read in Mosiah 4 this morning and the dots finally connected for me. It is a commandment, not just a good suggestion to pray and to give ALL of our struggles and heartaches and hard things to the Lord. It is required of us. If you're stressed about buying gifts, take it to Father in prayer. If you know you should be thinking more about Christ and can feel that prick, take it to Father. If you feel that there's something you should talk to the bishop about and are not sure, take it to Father in prayer. One thing I learned here is that, every time, not just sometimes, not just when Father takes his lunch break and pops online for a minute, but every time you leave a silence during your prayers and humbly, sincerely, and patiently listen, thoughts always come. He listens to you 24/7. Take time to listen to Him. He pays you His time. Pay Him your time. Then in Mosiah 4:
2 And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified.
3 And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them.
12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, [not just sometimes or during Heavenly Father's ''good days''...always rejoice...] and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.
I finally sat down and ''went to lunch'' with these thoughts and feelings and faced the facts. I cried. Crying is so healthy it's rediculous. It's like never trying to work out before and that first morning you work out and feel like the world is yours with your blood pumping and spirit soaring... maybe I just feel that way... But getting it out is what our souls need. It may seem silly, but I have a testimony of processing problems. When you have a problem, PROCESS IT. NOTHING will be clear until you just acknowledge your weaknesses, cowboy up, and face the fact that sometimes we do DUMB things. Welcome to life :). Glad you could make it Sister Packer. Please wait here while Father processes your call.... beeeeeeep.
No, but really. I'm just so grateful for dumb things. I've learned this lesson a million times and relearn it every new area, every new ward...etc etc etc. I'm pretty sure there's a book that was written in the premortal life called ''All the Questions That Will Be Asked Every Time a Speck of Unfamiliarity Comes into Your Mortal Life'' (which is every day...). And I'm pretty sure all the prophets in the Book of Mormon sat down for a Heaven BBQ before this life and wrote it out. We would have to figure out all those questions by living life, and then they mapped all the answers out in the Book of Mormon, where we could read it for our day and age. I don't know. I just think the Book of Mormon is the greatest.
To end, Sister Courtney King in Madrid, Spain wrote this in her email home and I loved it. She can say it better than anyone sometimes.
''So many people are skeptical as we teach them about the Book of Mormon. So many people have doubts about modern-day prophets, about Joseph Smith, and about having more scriptures. But I bear solemn testimony that the Book of Mormon is true. I know it. If someone told you to try a restraunt because it's the best food they've ever eaten, there's no way you can say it's not good if you don't go there yourself. Even if you know of a better restarunt and eat there all the time and everyone knows there are better restraunts....or even if your neighbor says it's not good because they went there etc...even if you personally know the owner and the chef and know he's not a good cook, it doesnt' matter how much you know...you will never know if you don't walk in, pay the price, sit down with an open mind, and EAT the FOOD. So many people put up walls. They don't want to believe. They say it's not true before they even read the Book of Mormon. But what happens if you never go to that restraunt and then 10 years later, you try it and find out if really IS the best. And you've been stubborn all those years, thinking you knew what it would be like. Think of all the good food you'd have missed! It breaks my heart when people aren't willing to even open the Book of Mormon, when I know how true it is and when it has blessed my life so much. I just want to grab them, shake them, look them in the eye and say: Do you think being away from my family is fun? Do you think I came to Spain, do you think my family and friends pay for me to be here walking around ALL day in the FREEZING cold just for fun? I would NOT be here if it were not true. I would NOT be walking down an empty, cold street in Spain on Christmas if this Book were not true. The Book of Mormon changes lives. We have to read it. We have to open it every day to recieve our own spiritual experiences. It's like going to the restraunt once and never going back! FEAST on the words of Christ, for they will tell you ALL things which you should do. If you read the Book of Mormon daily, you will give the Lord opportunities to bless you and answer your prayers. Let him in. Let him bless you.''
Ahhh. Wasn't that great? She's so great. :)
I leave my testimony with her's and testify that I know these things are true in the name of our Savior even Jesus the Christ, Amen.
Monday, December 16, 2013
I'm still in Newport! At least for another few days. Elder Eppel is leaving mid-transfer and they haven't told me what's happening to me yet. Maybe I'll combine with the Newport A team for the rest of the transfer or maybe I'll get a new companion here in Newport B. I'm just not sure. They had better let us know quick because Elder Eppel will be leaving on Friday.
Christmas Conference in Harbourne was awesome! The whole mission was there! There are a lot of missionaries in this mission. We even had Costa Vida style burritos for dinner. I haven't had refried beans in months! It makes me realize how much I actually ate those back at home... hmmm... Anyway, it was good. We went out in front of the chapel and sang Christmas Carols to basically anybody within one mile of that place. Yeah, 200+ missionaries blasting out Christmas hymns can be loud.
Yesterday at church the whole ward sang a farewell song to Elder Eppel. A welsh ward singing!! Awesome!! It was great. I love this ward so much. We also have about 20 Dinner Appointments coming up this week! Ok, maybe not that many. Everybody in the ward just wants to get a chance to see Elder Eppel before he goes home. I'm quite happy to be his companion at this time.
Nothing brings more happiness than being obedient to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm working on increasing my testimony of Christ and his role in my life. It is especially good to do at this time of year. Study him, be like him, learn from him. That is how you will get to know him.
Thank you for the emails/post everybody, it means a lot.
-Elder Jacob Packer
This week was one I will never forget. We taught a lesson to one of our investigators named Mary and Ioana. They are roommates and from Romania. At the end of the lesson, we invited Ioana to pray. She was nervous and didn't want to. She explained her concerns. As we tried to repeat what we understood about how she felt, she'd say, ''No no, it's just that...'' We worked with her for about 15 minutes to try to help her understand the blessing, the promises, that she doesn't need to be nervous..etc. At the end she didn't say the prayer and I was SO bummed. Everyone has a reason for being nervous or doing anything and only the Lord fully comprehends what it is. I really have come to understand HOW CRUCIAL and important prayer is. IT IS EVERYTHING. It is our ONLY channel that connects us to the source of ALL JOY, UNDERSTANDING, AND PEACE. The Lord is ever aware of his children and has His Plan prepared for them. I'm so grateful for the understanding of prayer and it's importance. This experience has made me stronger and taught me what I can do better next time.
Haha Mom, did I tell you I trimmed my own hair? It was an adventure. It was good enough that I didn't think about it. We're going to attempt it again today :). It will be -1 to -2° C this week which is like....28° F? It's pretty cold! I'll let you know Mom about winter clothes, what I need etc. I know it's crazy during this time of year!
We get to skype! I just wanted to give you details on that and ask what works best for the family. I am planning on going to a member's home Christmas day and skype. They have 3 working devices and 4 missionaries will be there. I will be able to skype, and depending on how it all functions, I'm planning on being on anywhere betweenYOUR time (it will be y time). I am going to try to skype with Jake around that time too if it is possible. I just sent him an email to ask him about his rules and availability. It would be cool to try and set up a three way call with him, but if not, if he's allowed, I'll skype with him seperately. This is SO exciting!! XD
We saw so many miracles this Sunday!! Two less actives came to church and are SO nice and a young woman brought her friend! Baptisms come through members!!! A simple invite and they're there at church! I love it! Our ward is amazing!
I love you all! Happy Holidays and have a holiday full of giving! Happiness truly comes from making other people happy. It's a stretch, but it's so fulfilling. In, Jesus name, Amen.
Monday, December 9, 2013
It's been a pretty slow week as far as key indicators go. But it's been fun nonetheless!
The family from El Salvador had three people baptized this week! So awesome! I may have mentioned them before. The other team in Newport have been working with them, it's been awesome! Everyone in the ward knows how to say "buenos dias" and "hola" now. Who knew my spanish would come in handy out here??
Its been fun for me anyway, Elder Eppel has been sick for a few days. It has just stayed with him for about two weeks. We travelled to Cardiff to see the Doctor, got some medicine and hopefully Elder Eppel will live to make it home for Christmas:) He goes home on.
Getting a new companion will be weird. If I do, which seems likely.
Transfers are coming, I'm freaking out. We get the news about who is moving where tonight. I may be staying here in Newport, but hey there is also a chance that I'll move. It's not too big of a deal either way. I'm just excited to know.
If I do move though it will be really sad to leave this ward. I am really beginning to feel at home here in Newport and I love the people here in the ward!
I got that package from the ward with the paper Christmas tree in it. Our flat feels like home now:)
Thanks to all the people who helped with that! And may I just say I was quite impressed with how big of a paper tree you managed to fit inside that small envelope!
I hope you guys are enjoying the snow! The weather here has been really weird... Its been sunny/windy/ cloudy. Relatively warm temperatures and NO rain. Is it Winter here yet? debatable.
Love you all!
Elder Jacob Packer
(PS Mom, we had a call from sister Rasmussen about the two packages... I got a small one already. Don't worry I won't open it)
Actually, St. Nikolaus Day was December 6th, in which I found candy in my shoes that he'd left for me :). I'll attach a picture. They have like two Christmas ish days here :).
Holy COW a cool thing happened this week. So once upon a time, there was a man from China named Tao. He lived in Vienna and had attended institute for FOUR years there; he never became a member, although he was open and loved institute! Then, three transfers ago, in July Sister Packer was born in Munich where Tao had at some time moved to. He had at that point met with Sister Smith and Sister Allman and had a baptismal date for December of 2013! Then, after only two lessons after Sister Packer came, he unexpectedly moved to Zürich, Switzerland for a better job! We were sad and didn't have his contact information! But we kept hope out for him. A couple transfers later, Sister Packer recieves a call from an unknown number. It was Tao!! He was calling to say hi to Sister Smith who had sadly transferred to Tübingen. Sister Packer talks to him for a while, finding out he'd moved again to Vienna. Sister Packer doesn't think much of it and really puts it aside. At the end of that transfer, Sister Packer gets transferred to Vienna, hearing no more from Tao at that point. One night she goes to institute with Sister Clark to support Destiny their investigator with a baptismal date. While there, she sees the back of the head of someone who looks really familiar. ''Sister Clark! Find out what that guys name is. Quick! Just ask him!'' It was Tao!! He'd indeed moved back to Vienna and was just hangin' out at institute again! Holy COW I freaked! He already knows the church is true and we're meeting with him to set another baptismal date and see which missionaries he belongs to. Holy cow, seriously, NO ONE knows who he is! No one knew he had a baptismal date and is a pot of gold just sittin there! I know the Lord sent me to Munich to see him twice, get a random call from him, then sent me to Vienna to find him again, invite him back to church, and have him take the discussions again. Heavenly Father is so cool!!
I was reminded once again of the reality of Father's Plan, and His awareness of His children. All we need to do, as Elder Bednar puts it is ''be good boys and good girls'' and the Lord will make miracles happen.
We had two baptisms !! They were so neat. I've never realized the joy we receive from this covenant.
It is really neat being in an English speaking ward and meeting people from all over. But the coolest part is seeing the distance I've come in German and seeing it clearly in English! Heavenly Father knew I needed a language to humble me down and simplify the gospel that I love going deep into.
Merry Christmas! I love this gospel so much. Invite that one person to church before Christmas that Elder Ballard counseled us!
Kirche Jesu Christu
Sister Nicole Packer
1170 Wien, Österreich
Here are some pictures! This is my new companion Sister Clark from Utah! She's so great and we are having so much fun already. She inspires me so much and is a hard worker. These pictures were taken at the Schönbrunn Schloss which translates to ''Beautiful Fountain Castle.'' There are some really really neat Christmas Markets there with SUPER old fashioned and HAND MADE things that truly blow your mind. It's incredibly beautiful and authentic. I love it! I wanted to buy everything! Dad would love all the hand made and painted ornaments, toys, tiny glass trinkets etc. The whole family would love it!
Monday, December 2, 2013
I thought I knew how to do missionary work. Then Elder Eppel really started letting me take control of all of our teaching, planning, basically all of the situations. (We would usually just switch off). Turns out I didn't know as much as I thought. But two great things have happened during these last couple of weeks.
1. I have learned A TON
2. I have had more fun doing missionary work than ever before!
I am starting to feel more capable, I love it. Even though I still don't know a lot, I know some. I know enough to get by. I'll keep doing my best. Thanks for the emails and pictures everybody!
Turns out on Thanksgiving Day we had mexican chicken on rice at a members house! Sooo good! I was definately grateful for it!
Bre, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! and HAPPY BAPTISM!!!...?
Did you guys know Nicole is going to Austria? So cool!!!
-Elder Jacob Packer
Hello from Vienna!
Holy COW I live in Vienna, Austria. Everything I see, walk on, breath, is older than my own country. When I first got here, it was very new, but in the last couple days, the Lord has already blessed me with so many incredible sources of comfort that cannot be described. I'm so grateful I get to be here in Vienna. Heavenly Father has blessed me with so many blessings already.
I'm working with my wonderful companion Sister Clark from American Fork, UT! She's a gem and is so sensitive to the Spirit! I'm so excited to work with her!
I met my wonderful ward yesterday! I'm in an international ward and everything is in ENGLISH. It's super weird, but so great! I'm greatful for the filling spirit I get by hearing church in my mother tongue. The language of the Spirit can be translated into any language and it's so cool so see it works no matter what you're speaking!
We have a baptism on Saturday! His name is Destiny and is from Africa. He's so great! We're so excited for him!
Sorry this is incredibly short.... smoke filled lungs makes it hard to concentrate. But the work is going well and hope is ever abounding here in Vienna! Pray for those who are ready to be found!