Monday, January 27, 2014

I'm still here (The Kid for those who have seen that movie) (EP)

Dear people,

I'm staying here in Cwmbran for another Transfer! I am stoked!

My reasons for being stoked:

1. I didn't have to pack.

2. I get to be with Elder Ferrell for another transfer!

3. Miracles are happening and I want to be here to see how they turn out. Mostly it has been finding people who are ELECT!

The best thing we did this week: Went on splits with the members. We split up on Tuesday afternoon. I went down to the south half of our area with Brother S. and Elder Ferrell went up North with Brother H. Both in cars.  

We had appointments scheduled in both areas, but we came prepared with a list of people we could visit in case the lessons flogged. Back up plans are a great idea. We spent the next hour and a half going from investigator to less-active to investigator. Brother S. and I didn't get into any doors, but we did get a great new potential investigator that we will teach this week.

Up North they were able to teach two lessons and contact some investigators! 

No matter how it works out, one can have success if they are doing their best. Brother S. and myself weren't able to teach any lessons but we visited a few people on the doorstep and ruled out some potential investigators. That saves us time in the future.

Time is precious, and plans are the best way to use it in the best way possible. 

Other news: We got a new greenie in our district! He is from New Zealand. Man... It is weird to see someone younger than me (in mission terms). Especially to have them in the district.  

Our goal is to have 2 baptisms this transfer. Now I'm accountable to you ALL. We believe it can happen if we do our best. I've never had a baptism before so I'll let you know how it feels when it happens! Greenie Faith! It is possible to have it even when you are not a greenie.

To all you future missionaries:

Elder Ferrell and I have been asking people this question a lot "If you could ask God one question what would it be?"
95% of the answers have been this: "Why do bad things happen?" or "Why are there so many wars and murders etc. etc.".

I want each and every one of you to figure out what you would tell them. How would you use the scriptures and Preach My Gospel to answer their question?

Let me know what you come up with, I could use some suggestions. 

I know that if you study the scriptures and PMG for answers to questions you can find them. Find those answers NOW. Your testimony and answer will be personal and might only make sense to you, but if you DO have an answer and you've found it in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you can tell other people where to find their answer. One definition of a testimony I've come up with is this: Telling somebody else that you've found treasure and telling them how they can find some.

People sometimes just want you to give them your treasure, share it with them, but that won't do any good. They need to dig for it, and discover it. Then they will appreciate it and they will recognize its value. 

I love you all! 

-Elder Jacob Packer (Cwmbran, Wales)

Here is a picture of me after a really really really wet day. If you can't tell I'm completely soaked and I'm squeezing water out of my gloves. 

It Snowed! (SP)

Happy B-day Grandpa Crowley!  What the??  80 and still going strong!!  That's my pappy! 
Holy cow it snowed!  It hasn't snowed all winter!!  The crazies!  (crazies as in..... the elves that make it snow...)  A nice snowy day comes and then the next day, when it's all nice and clear, BOOM.  THE COLDEST WINTER I'VE EVER FELT IN MY LIFE.  Holy shnikies.  I've never felt cold seap through everything I was wearing including thermals.  Haha they weren't kidding when they said winter here was cold.  And some people, and when I say people I mean girls, walk around in only tights covering their legs.  I HOPE THAT DATE IS WORTH IT OR ELSE I'LL DUMP HIM FOR YOU!  Ahem.  I need some time to get used to it :).
This week an amazing miracle happened!  Teaching our investigator Joy has been a little slow because she works a ton and usually only has one night free a week, and sometimes lessons are split up, but she's awesome!  On Saturday we went by her to teach the rest of the first lesson about the Restoration.  We show up and there's a friend of her's there!  At first we thought it was her friend Anita who had asked Joy if she could borrow her Book of Mormon (We're still planning on contacting Anita and to teach her!).  But it turns out, she was a totally different friend.  Her name was Patience and had been there to watch Joy's daughter Jennifer while Joy worked.  We got to know her a little bit and then invited her to sit in on the lesson with us.  ''No problem,'' she said and sat in (People from Nigeria are so chill!).  She didn't say much, and neither did Joy for that matter, OR her daughter who usually has a lot of energy when we come over, but the Spirit was SO STRONG.  The room was just filled with peace.  It was one of those times where you just say all you have to say and they just take it in and believe it.  They didn't have any questions or comments.  They just quietly listened.  It's almost like after riding a horse for EVER that's crazy and unpredictable and then you all of a sudden get on a horse that's super obedient and patient and gentle.  You get thrown off (figuratively).  Ha but it was awesome!  Oh, wait Joy did have one question.  She asked if we believed in hell.  We said we'd cover it next time :).  Sealed, done.  We asked Patience if she knew anyone that could benefit from this message.  She said no.  We asked if she'd like a Book of Mormon.  ''No problem.'' We asked if we could come by and teach her more about it.  ''No problem.''  We're meeting with Patience tomorrow.  HOLY moley.  Joy is a missionary and seriously in not even aware of it.  It's awesome!  My favorite saying of the week was, ''I'm so excited for these goals to be met!''  When you do all you can and know, you just shrug your shoulders and know that God will take care of the rest.  ''No problem.''

I have been reading in Preach My Gospel in chapter 9 and it's SO GREAT. I'm so excited to study this for the next few months and to learn about contacting. I also was inspired by what my President said about his mission.  He said really came to know who Jesus Christ is on his mission.  I've made a goal to do that as well.  My yearly goals are slowly coming up from the cracks.  I've already felt so much peace and confidence in talking to everyone and although no potentials have come out of it yet, I'm in practice for the times when they will say yes!  Actually, I was totally in practice and prepared to talk to Patience when the time came.  If I hadn't been, who knows if it would have turned out the way it did!  The Lord's Plan is perfect!
I'm so grateful for the time I've had here in Vienna to serve and continually grow.  This city is beautiful and the people are amazing.  I actually had a really cool talk with a guy yesterday.  We were on a bus on our way to church.  There was a guy sitting across from me.  
''Hey, can a ask you a question?''
''What do you think the purpose of life is?''
''Everything teaches us to love and do good for other people, to serve.'' (not exact quotes)
We talked about Jesus Christ and about the resurrection.  It was so interesting.  I think he got thinking.  I should have given him something before he got off, but I feel like he really went home thinking.  I've learned that teaching is easy.  When you know how to ask good questions, they do the talking and you just listen.  Then you say just basic things you know and testify of it in accordance to what they've said.  The Lord makes it happen.  I get nervous to talk to people when I don't know what level they're on.  I've learned you just hold back, ask a couple questions out of sincerity and love, and they do the thinking.  The people that are ready will pop up.  It's cool!  Still learning a lot, but that principle is awesome :).  Yaaay for future motherhood :).
Love you all!  Can I just give you a pump up and say, I know that all you do is what you think is best.  Obviously or you wouldn't do it, I think.  Father is proud of you, whoever is reading, for trying your hardest, conquering battles, being a friend despite rainy days, and simply living life.  Nothing is wrong with you, OR the people around us.  We're all just living life.  We all are tired sometimes, but keep going.  I know this email is kind of long this week, but I just wanted to share one story from Conference from Elder Terence M. Vinson, ''Drawing Closer to God'':
 A young boy was trying to smooth out the dirt area behind his house so he could play there with his cars. There was a large rock obstructing his work. The boy pushed and pulled with all his might, but no matter how hard he tried, the rock wouldn’t budge.
His father watched for a while, then came to his son and said, “You need to use all your strength to move a rock this large.
The boy responded, “I have used all my strength!”
His father corrected him: “No you haven’t. You haven’t had my help yet!”
They then bent down together and moved the rock easily.

I know that Christ lives and is there to give us strength.  He loves us so dearly!  Let us be humans that act, not that are acted upon.  We lose hope when we allow ourselves to be acted upon, not act and control what God has given us right to control.  I  know that if we pray to know what to do, He'll tell us.  He's anxious to tell us.  It will make us more hopeful and happy if we do receive those things and then act on them.  If you're scared how to act, how to teach a teenage daughter to be careful with guys, how to communicate something important to you with your spouse, how to pay for a sum larger than seemingly possible to pay for, how to read the scriptures when you really don't feel you have time for it, how to cope with the news of an unexpected physical ailment, He knows what to do.  He knows what you're feeling.  He's already felt what you're feeling.  He felt it not just in general, not how your aunt Stacey felt it, not how your brother-in-law experienced it, how and what you felt and are feeling.  Let Him take it.  Let him teach you how to climb.  Rely on His strength that He has because He Himself really does know.  I know this Gospel is true!  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Sister Packer

Me and the bishops daughter Bella.  THE CUTEST Phillipino kids with British accents.  Whaa?? :)  Mom, you'd die.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Finishing Transfer #3 (EP)

Wow, this transfer has flown by. Our numbers weren't as good as I would have liked but I know we did our best so I'm content.

This week we had interviews with President Rassmussen, those went really well. I passed! Just kidding, it was just good to chat with President. He is such smart man! He answered a few of my questions for me.

I've really enjoyed this whole transfer with Elder Ferrell. I think our combined greenie faith has made miracles happen. I say greenie faith, but that doesn't mean we're greenies. 

spoiler alert: The secret to missionary work is to keep greenie faith throughout your whole mission! 

Just learn how to work better as you go, never doubt the Lord. As Elder Ferrell says a lot "It's the Lord's work". Especially when we see something that may not work out very well.

Tonight is DODGE NIGHT! The night we get the Dodge from President about who is going where and who new companions will be if they are going to change.

Maybe I'll leave, maybe I'll stay. We'll see! I'll let you all know next week. 


Elder Jacob Packer (Cwmbran, Wales)

Taking comfort in small and simple progress (SP)

I read this morning about the Atonement and about yokes.  I found them so inspiring and neat because sometimes I get all worked up about improving quickly or not being able to apply all I want to, or or or.  I read these this morning under ''yoke'' in the Topical Guide:
''Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.''
         -Matthew 11:29-30

''Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.''
         -Galations 5:1

I love that work doesn't have to be hard and it comes through obedience. I learned about eating healthy this week and how it affects the work. I have been eating a lot more fresh food these last couple days and I have SO much energy it's crazy! I feel so good and am able to better receive revelation!
I've loved working with families on the Family Mission Plans.  It's been incredible to see the faith that they have to just do the work and reap the blessings.  I've seen so many blessings by going to Heavenly Father with my questions and being so honest it hurts sometimes.  Sometimes I really hate something.  But I tell Him, sometimes cry a little and let Him show me what I can change.  I have a testimony of being honest and candid with Heavenly Father.  He loves us.  His Plan is for us to be happy through all things we go through.  Let Him give that to you.  Let yourself be happy in His Plan.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Sister Packer

Monday, January 13, 2014

"Joy!" (SP)

Guten Tag Familie!

It's been a good week.  The sun has been shining a lot and it's been beautiful!  

Sorry it'll be shorter this week, but I wanted to tell of some miracles that happened.

We taught our miracle investigator Joy from Africa and her daughter Jennifer.  She is AWESOME.  She wasn't feeling super great, but still had us over to teach her.  We taught her about the Book of Mormon and the importance of reading and praying together.  She then said that her friend that we'd offered to pray for, asked to borrow Joy's copy of the Book of Mormon to read it.  Joy told us as if it was normal, and almost appologetically that she'd get it back and then read our assignment to her or else borrow one of ours.  Little does she know how we were screaming inside over it.  We promptly gave her two more books, one for her and one for Jennifer.  She committed to be baptized!  It started out that she said she wanted Jennifer to be baptized when she turned 8.  We asked her, '' Well, Joy, why do you want her to be baptized?  Would you like to be baptized?''  So cool!  Father is so cool sometimes :).  

I learned that even if we don't see a TON of progress all the time, it doen't mean that our efforts aren't going somewhere.  Joy is our only major investigator but that's still HUGE.  If we bring but one soul to Father how great will be our ''Joy''!  I love being a missionary!!


Sister Packer

Oh, p.s. I GOT MY PACKAGE!!  It was so beautiful!!!!!  Thank you!!!!   

3 whole days without rain! (EP)

Dear everybody,

It has been an interesting week. Lets start with Monday. After playing Zone Football (Soccer) in Cardiff we came home, did our shopping. We missed the bus home so we called a member for a ride. We went to a Family Home Evening down in Llanyrafon (about two miles from our flat). At the end of it we dressed in Non-Proselyting clothes (shorts and T-shirts, and running shoes.) We ran home.  

I thought Elder Ferrell was joking when he said we would. But then we did. Haha it was fun. Very memorable. 

Big news! We had 3 whole days without rain! It has been incredible. Everyone outside was... happy! Even if they still rejected us, everybody was happy.

It was an extra blessing that it didn't rain because my bicycle brakes were nearly gone. Once your brakes are bad and it rains you're toast. The rain just eliminates any friction between the brakes and rims. 
I ended up getting new brakes and everything, but not without a few close calls and a couple of hard stops using my feet. (By the way Mom, my shoes are holding up great! It's like they were meant for this!)

I can't remember anything too specific from the rest of the week so I'll skip to Sunday. On the way home from church we GQ'd a few people. Usually it is about a 15 to 20 minute ride home. It took us 2 hours! I'll tell you why;
-We GQ'd someone on a horse (Yes! My knowledge of horses helped!) 
-GQ'd several other people until we came to a lady who was really nice, and the spirit was right so we taught her the restoration right then. Complete with an opening an closing prayer. 
-Then we met this older gentleman. He introduced himself to us as one who loves Jesus. We taught him about prophets (Once again with an opening and closing prayer). Turns out he has been given the gift of poetry. He was incredible! He probably recited 10 poems to us while we spoke to him, all of them about the gospel! It was great, we'll be seeing him again soon.

Other than that... we had a drop lesson with a really nice lady we'll call her name Ann. It was hard. But the spirit was there and I think she will make the change sometime in the future. Being bold is ESSENTIAL in missionary work. It is the most sure way of getting the spirit in the lesson (reminds me of  the term "Content-Communication" -Dr. Lund).

Oh yeah, Elder Ferrell cut my hair today. That was scary. But it looks good. Elder Ferrell is a man of many talents.

I Love you all! 

Elder Jacob Packer

Oh yeah, I've been hearing that the weather is Horrible in the U.S. is that true? We missionaries don't get to see the news. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Abc spray sickness (SP)

I am so excited for this year.  Man, it would have been SO cool to spend my WHOLE 21st year out on my mission.  I actually woke up at 5 this morning and stayed up until 6:30 just so excited about the work.  Hahaha sometimes that just happens. 
This week we were a little sick and it went around to a lot of missionaries.  An elder actually sprayed everyone's food at an eating appointment as he coughed in between drinking AND chewing.... that was.... ahem, awesome.  He was sitting at the end, perfect place to apply his abc substance aaaaaalll over everyone and their food, took a swig, coughed, and sprayed.  The moment after it happened, we all had stopped chewing, eating, everything, looked up, and then at him with only the sound of the skillet on the table sizzling.  Then we all awkwardly and then uncontrolably started laughing.  Ahhhh, the joys of sick missionaries.  Needless to say, he took home half of the dinner just for himself and we all got sick after that.  Goooood times :).  So, Sister Clark and I were sick with a cold this last week and then Sister Green got sick. Our numbers have been down because of this and we had to cancel appointments so that we wouldn't get other people sick. But we're doing better and ready to get out there and work! I haven't been sick since coming on my mission so I'm grateful for the very few times I've dealt with it! But it was also during this time that I really relied on the Lord and remembered the song ''I Need Thee Every Hour.'' I'm happy for those reminders :).  Sometimes having a break is OK, OK??  Hee hoo, I just had to keep telling Sister Clark and myself that.  We were going crazy not working like normal.... ha it's a good problem :).  We're just finally happy to get going again :).
It's been so interesting working in an International ward.  First of all, remember Mom and Dad how I wanted to go to Latin America at some point?  Well, it's not Latin America, but they are a lot of Philipinos here who are THE FUNNIEST people ever!  I love this ward so much it's rediculous.  It's been a challenge to find people to teach because anyone we find that's German speaking we hand over to other missionaries, which doesn't mean we don't contact like crazy, it just makes us think deeper about how we can find those ready and English speaking.  Usually that means working through our members which is how it should be anyway!  I'm so excited and grateful to learn how this process and relationship with the members works!  Get to know the missionaries in your wards/stakes!  Trust them and trust that they were called by God to teach your friends.  The Lord's prepared the way.  New Year's resolution!  Give out a Book of Mormon every month!
I love you all so much!  Vienna is so beautiful it's UNREAL.  But the Gospel is more beautiful :).  
Sister Coco Packer  

Here in Wales the Heavens weep... more like an emotional breakdown.

Dear Everyone,

The rain has been insane here!  It has been hailing a bunch too. It was pretty funny, we were on our way home and the hail was blowing everything over. I was pretty much 30 yards from the house. I jumped off my bike and turned my back to the wind because it hurt so much. It was like getting an airsoft gun volley to the face!

The people here say this is way worse than normal. That's a relief. If it was like this all of the time... shudder.

When it isn't hailing though, it is just really wet. Lots of rain, lots of wet socks. It is fun though, the people are sometimes nicer when we knock on their doors because they feel sorry for us.  Yep, it is all part of the plan. 

I'm continually convinced that every single thing that happens is all part of Heavenly Father's plan. I love being a part of that plan. Even if it means changing your socks three times a day :)

I love being a missionary!!

I love you all!

Elder Jacob Packer