Monday, April 28, 2014

Happy through Rejections! (SP)

Dear the rest of the family,

This little town is so cute and full of wonderful people.  Not everyone wants to hear about the gospel, but at least they're nice about it.  It's been interesting the last few days because NO ONE has accepted a Book of Mormon until yesterday even after persistant effort and testimony bearing.  The other day this one lady with stroller was SO cute and kept smiling and telling us, ''Wow you just radiate and seem so happy!  You can just see it in your faces.''  We bore sincere tesimony that the Book of Mormon was the reason.  She said as nice as barbie, ''Ah, well, have a good day.''  Us confused and not about to let her slip away: ''Hey, this happiness can be yours.  It comes from this book.  We'd love to give you this and come by another time.''  Her:  ''Oh, no thanks.  I'll stay in my religion.''  WHAT??  HOLY COW.  We were blown away.  People SEE THE DANG LIGHT coming off our faces and STILL say no.  WHAT kind of SLIME is Satan putting in these people's heads??  Then last night our district leader Elder Phillips laughed and as we asked about people we could pray for, he said, ''You can pray for Johnson.  Pray that he'll answer his phone and actually show up to appointments! :)''  My favorite was that his reply was all positive and cheery.  Haha, poor missionaries.  The work still amazes me and I love it more and more despite days of rejection.  My testimony is ever stronger!  Each rejection is just a chance for me to tune up my testifying and question skills for those that really are ready and need a specific response. 

I'm so grateful for the knowledge of the gospel.  Sometimes I look around and wonder how so many people could truly be allowed to live in darkness by the hand of the Lord especially when we are doing what we can to help them.  But the Lord gave me comforting words yesterday.  All things are in Order.  All things are in His hands.  All things happen for wise purposes that I may not understand.  But God still loves His children.  He still has provided a way for ALL, not some but ALL of His children to return and be saved.  ''For behold this is my work and MY glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.'' (Moses 1:39)  I trust in that!  It can only start with me!  I can't choose for other people, and I can't sit and cry all day about all the darkness everyone sits in.  I can mourn for them, then pick myself up, brush my tears, strap on my boots, deepen MY knowledge and get to work.  What an opportunity for me to learn that.  The Lord loves me even more.  I leave my testimony that this work is true!  How could it not be?  How could Joseph Smith write the Book of Mormon?  It's either from God, or it's not as Elder Walker put it in conference.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Nat!!!  CONGRATS!!  I LOVED THE PICS!!  Lyd and Jess, so fun to sing at the Tabernacle again!!  Tell Bro Eggett and Suanne and Jodi I say hi.  And I love them and miss them so much.  I think on my UVCC and LDC experiences OFTEN and tell ALL my companions about it.  Those mini missions prepared me for THIS moment!  They are doing an inspired work!

Items of business:
Could I get Julian Kurcher's email?  I think it's somewhere in my sipyourcoco email.
I think I want to go to BYU-I when I get home.  

Love you all!!

Love,

Sister Co Packer 

Member Visits! (EP)

Dear everyone,

Guess what I learned this week. I learned that the Lord leads us all the time if we are willing to follow the Spirit.

Exhibit A:

We were walking back home down one of the many cycle paths here in Cwmbran when we saw a man across the street carrying groceries and walking quickly. Elder Jones said "Is that Martin?" I looked and sure enough, it looked like him (Martin is an investigator we have been trying to contact for about a month now, kind of frustrating.). The guy looked at us and said hello and then turned and walked/jogged down the path between some houses.

We evaluated the situation. We haven't seen this guy in a month... This could be our only chance... He is getting pretty far away as we speak... Let's go!

We started to chase him. It was in the most casual/not-stalker way possible. Usually I wouldn't do that kind of stuff because it could look bad, but I felt totally comfortable doing it. I take it as a confirmation that it was the right thing to do.

We finally got about 20 yards behind him and called out his name. He turned. Yes it was him. But he didn't stop, he yelled something about being in a rush and then kept going. We both stopped. I don't know why but I felt satisfied with our efforts. 

Exhibit B (which goes along with exhibit A):

We followed the paths to a member in our ward. The cutest elderly Welsh woman in Wales! She is one who walks into church on Sunday morning singing "Good morning, good morning, to you and you and you and you" (from Singing in the Rain) as she shakes our hands. Her name is Daisy.

I knew the general area of her house but like many of the homes here they all look the same. I guessed on a random door to see if it was her. After ringing the doorbell I looked to my right and out comes Daisy from the house next door. She didn't look so good, her eyes didn't have the light they usually have. She told us "there is no one there love". "That's alright because we were looking for you anyway!" we said. 

Long story short she had walked outside just at that moment so that she would see us. We stood on her doorstep for a while. She was SO grateful that we dropped by. She was in tears as we spoke to her. MAN if I wasn't a missionary I would have given her a big hug! She was in tears, I was in tears, I'm pretty sure Elder Jones was in tears too. I felt SO grateful to be there at that moment.
 
By the end of our conversation the light had returned to her eyes, we felt amazing, she gave us some sweets, we invited her to pray for one of our investigators and we left. Giving her something to do like praying for an investigator of ours is really good because it gets her mind off of her problems and helps her serve others.

Then to top it all off a member gave us a lift home and bought us fish and chips on the way. Awesome!

A day of miracles. A word of advice for everyone, go and visit members. Keep checking on them. A phone call could take less than 5 minutes but it makes huge difference. The length of time isn't important, it is the content. 

Love,
Elder Jacob Packer

Oh yeah, and Elder Jones is doing awesome. He destroys me when we play Chess. I'm just letting him win... :)

Sorry this email is super long. I don't usually like sending long emails but this one just popped out of nowhere.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I loved Easter here. (SP)

Ok.  I'm dying.  You are all SO DANG cute I'm DYING.
Well, first, hey!  I'm not dead.  We changed our p-day to Wednesday because Monday was a holiday and pretty much everything is closed. 
Jessie, write me something.  Haha I miss your humor.
Bre and Danielle, ah man, give each other..just..this GREAT great big hug and pretend it's me.  I miss ya both.  I'm excited to see you on Mother's Day :).  That came too fast!!

Mom.  The eggs.  THE CUTEST things ever.  I'm so so SO impressed.  All the German was good :).  Haha love it love it love it!  Thank you for your letter.  You are busy just like you should be with preaching the gospel to your kids. 
Nat and Christian and Andi.  OH my BEANS she's so big.  She was THREE months old when I left!!  What the heck!?  Haha Cutie patooty.
Dad, thanks for your letters.  Aaawwwwww all the cutie little ducks!  I thought a lot about the Atonement too.  I'm so grateful for a source TO look for no matter where we are of someone who truly does have a knowledge of the blueprint of our souls.  And that is Jesus Christ.  I never knew how grateful I would be for the knowledge I have of a Savior and Redeemer. 
I loved Easter here.  Church was amazing and filled me with the Spirit so much.  Can I just say I love German??  I love this language SO MUCH.  It's so beautiful.  Ya, German is not all gutteral nasty like people think it is.  I'll prove anyone wrong when I come home. 

HOLY FETCHING HECK JEFF PACKER IS MARRIED??!  Would someone tell met these things??!  He's gettin a whippin.  Haha glad to know he finally found the one worthy of him.
Mya is SO CUUUUUUUUUUTE.  Ah, cutie cutie.  Thanks for the pictures :) :).

Now for this week.  We met a lady this week on a bus with her son.  She told us that she was having a hard time getting over the death of her father.  We told her about the plan that God created for us and she agreed to let us come over.  After offering her a Book of Mormon, she said, ''Oh!  I already have that book!''  We went over yesterday and she dug through her shelf and pulled out a Book of Mormon that she'd been given by a member neighbor a YEAR ago! We have no idea who it was.  She'd only read a little bit but as we taught, she listened intently.  As she explained her family situation, she struggled through her emotions.  She explained some things she'd heard about where our souls go after we die and her heart was hurting.  We assured her that our souls don't die, only our bodies for now, and that it was possible for her to see her father and her grandparents again.  Her eyes filled with tears as we humbly gave our testimonies and the Spirit filled the room.  She agreed to read in the Book of Mormon and to pray.  Her prayer at the end was so sweet and although she didn't close in the name of Christ, her smile warmed our hearts and we hugged her tightly before we left.  She was a miracle find.  After that appointment, we went over to Rheiner's.  He's been investigating for some time and last night was my second time meeting him.  He's very religious and we showed him the first vistion film.  It was powerful and he was asking questions about all sorts of details.  It fills my heart with joy when they start asking the little detail questions that don't really matter.  It means they felt the Spirit and they're not sure what to do with that feeling.  I love it.  Progress is made!  We committed him to pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and to read in the Book of Mormon.  He agreed.  ALLLL of those questions depend on whether Joseph Smith WAS a prophet.  If yes, all of it falls into place.  If not, you can't be truly converted.  Haha I also assured that we don't worship him by any means.  We just stress the fact that we need to ASK to know if he was a prophet and if the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  He was giddy by the end of the lesson even though he was still honest in his suspicions that he had and sent us home with organic apples.  Sweetie!
Thank you all for your prayers!!  I can feel them ALL the time.  Sometimes my companion or myself will say something like, ''Man, I just got this huge energy burst!  Where did that come from?''  I know it's prayers.  In case anyone isn't sure if praying for people works, it DOES.  I've felt the witness of the Spirit tell me and have felt the miraculous strength that comes at times when I've needed it most. 
I love you all so much!  Hey!  I had a thought!  I think it would be cool if you tried to do an FHE lesson from Preach My Gospel.  It's all set up for you to do! 
Loves!!
Sister Co Packer

Pics
Sister Brinck and I around the corner to where we live :).
Our district!  Left to right: Sister Brinck, me, Sister Jaynes, Elder Bignall, Sister Bignall (best couple ever!!), Elder Phillips (about to be punched), Elder Christiansen (about to punch), Elder Root (being happily choked), Elder Durrant (probably falling).
Sister Packer in Lahr Schwartzwald, Germany :).




Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter! Mom, thanks for the egg! (EP)

Dear People,

First of all, Mamma, thanks for the Welsh Dragon Egg! I just showed all of the Elders here in the chapel! They approve. We are emailing in the chapel because the library is closed today.

Best news of the week, our recent convert received the priesthood. It was such a privilege to be apart of the ordination. We had wonderful sunday, including a dinner appointment. Awesome! A proper roast dinner with lamb and chicken and a bunch of vegetables, potatoes and gravy. Followed by a Easter cake with custard. Its kind of weird because I lost a kilogram in weight since yesterday. Go figure.

This week has been kind of a weird for me. I've done tons of pondering/reflection this week and I have a lot of stuff to work on this next transfer. Elder Jones is doing great, despite a crazy/impatient/rubberband loving trainer. I've decided that I need to put less focus on what Elder Jones is doing. In fact, I just need to completely forget about him (in the best way possible) and focus on myself. If I can be the best missionary I can be he will follow my example... I hope. :)

There isn't too much to report, except our whole zone changed! Transfers were nuts! Elder Jones and myself plus one other team are the only teams in the whole zone that didn't change. Zone meeting will be awesome. I've been in this zone for my whole mission. I've been in this district for my whole mission so far. Its cool, I love Cwmbran District!

We each got this giant chocolate egg from Elder Jones' grandma. Snap. It is good. I'm not finished with it yet because it is massive.

Sadly I don't have much time because the other missionaries still need time on this computer so I'll have to leave some responses until next week.

Advice: Keep re-listening too conference! While cleaning the kitchen, exercising anything. Just keep those words coming into your head and they will stick!


-Elder Packer

Monday, April 14, 2014

That Book! (EP) (SP)

Ok, I've only got a moment email this but I needed to let you know.

I went back and read those chunks of the book by Clayton M. Christensen. HOLY COW. LIGHT BULB. I guess it was the right time for those things to apply to me because I got sucked into reading them and I have read them may times since. The stuff in there is brilliant! I read it to Elder Jones and we immediately applied it to one of our investigators (Reading the book of mormon and then praying about it and writing down their answers). 

Then, the coolest part!! Don't tell anybody this but President Rasmussen came out with some new training for us. Guess what it was... go ahead guess. OK, it was pretty much step by step what it says in that book!

I'll tell you more about it later!

I love you mom!

-Jake

**********  Note of explanation about this email: 

     Before Jake left on his mission, we were given the book "The Power of Everyday Missionaries: The What and How of Sharing the Gospel" by Clayton M Christensen.  It came at just the right time by a special friend as an answer to prayer.  Every missionary has mission jitters and Jake had one in particular that I felt needed to be answered, but didn't know what to say.  My friend actually answered the exact question as we talked briefly the day before Jake was to fly to England!  The answer was written on the first few pages of this book.  I was blown away and grateful that Father wanted to make sure Jake felt confident before he stepped on that plane (and sent my friend as the angel messenger).  
     Jake only had a few minutes (literally) to look at it (and couldn't read it because he was packing).  I read to him the first part, but that is all we got through. The thought came to type up a few chapters that related to how missionaries could help investigators overcome obstacles in reading the Book of Mormon, saying prayers, and going to Church and send them to Jake and Nicole.  Apparently those emails were supposed to be read by Jake at this point in his mission...my typing wasn't in vain!  
     I have never read a more powerful book that simplifies missionary work for members and missionaries alike.  I wanted to send the books with my 2 missionaries, but wanted to obey the mission rules more.  Apparently more and more of this information is being used from what Jake said in this short letter he sent to me.  
     Funny "coincident" that this letter came the same week our family went to General Conference.  My son-in-law Christian said that Bro. Christensen was sitting 3 rows behind us!!  I just about smacked him for not telling me!!  I am definitely a HUGE fan.  I was disappointed that we didn't meet him, but then, going into the parking lot, who is leaning against Christian's car?  BRO. CHRISTENSEN!!  What are the chances????  Not very graceful to run in a dress, but run we did and I had a chance to talk to him, shake his and his wife's hands, give some suggestions to add family history information on convert retention in his next book, and of course, get a picture!  He is one of my heroes and thank goodness he has written a book that has the capacity to take all fear out of missionary work.  I highly suggest everyone read it--it will change your life.
                                                                                                                 --Leslie (Mom)
We ran fast enough to get a picture with Bro Christensen--Christian's car is on the right : )! (April 6, 2014)


Bro Clayton and Sis Christine Christensen after April Conference 2014


''I know that when I read the scriptures and pray, God makes my life easier.'' (SP)

Family,

It feels like I've been here for months already.  We've seen incredible miracles every single day.  If there's one thing that's been appreciated, it's that we've had THE nicest rejections I've ever experienced.  
Sister Brinck are teaching a man who owns the internet cafĂ© shop who is Muslim but an INTENSE seeker of truth.  He reminds me of you mom :).  We're also teaching a man from Africa named Johnson who is awesome.  He's ready to learn more and take on the lessons.  Then there's a family named the Revkai's who are THE SWEETEST things on this planet.  Their home seems to already be filled with the Spirit.  Pray for them and these people.  Pray we'll know what to say when we teach them.
The fantasy of Disneyland village of Lahr is fading and reality is settling, but it's still remarkably beautiful.  We met SO many people yesterday!  All of them received our testimonies :). 
Sister Brinck is a boss.  She and I push each other to talk to everyone.  The work is so fun.  

I realized something this week that I would do with new investigators slash less actives.  When they'd talk about how they didn't have time in the scriptures to read or to pray, I'd nod my head trying to give them understanding.  I woke up this week and realized that that was ABSOLUTELY against my calling as a representative of the Lord for me to do.  What do I do every day and with fear before the Lord knowing that if I don't, time is lost, opportunities passed, hearts uncomforted?  I read my guts out in the scriptures and words of the prophets.  I pray to my Father in Heaven until my heart feels peace and my mind is the mind the Christ.  I realized that that one moment when I show them that I too believe that it's unhindering to slack off in reading and praying, I'm teaching against my Creator who gave us the commandment.  It's NOT unhindering.  That is the step back down the slippery slope. 
I know that not everyone struggles with this.  But I know, even growing up in the church, I did not establish my  testimony of reading and praying every single day until I was 19 years old.  NINETEEN.  But for you my family, I'd like to share my testimony that I would need if I were in that situation.  

I came up with some power statements that the Lord's taught me to use on the street that are pieces of my testimony.  ''I know that when I read the scriptures and pray, God makes my life easier.''  ''I know that when we make time to read in the scriptures and pray, that's when it happens.  We can't leave it to chance.''  The ''too busy'' excuse is THE DUMMEST, most distracting, misleading, slimiest of lies that ever crawled out of the hole of Satan's falsehoods.  I've come to learn that the ''too busy'' comes when I don't read in the scriptures and pray to my Father in Heaven who loves us.

Friends and family, with all my love, forget that trash about how you don't have time for those things.  You can't afford not to make time.  I know that your life will be easier if you read and with real intent and with intelligence give everything to the Lord.  It is the only intelligent thing to do.  We cannot become an enth of a degree on our own of what we could become with God.  It simply is the truth.  It simply is the only intelligent thing to do.
I know this church is true.  I know the prophets are essential for us during these times.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Loves!
Sister Coco Packer

These pictures are in Lahr, Germany.  Nicole said in her last letter "I live in Disneyland!!"  How beautiful!!





Much more finding. (EP)

A boring title I know. But it is true. And it has made a huge difference in the work. When we find more we teach better and our spirits are lifted.This week Elder Jones and I did a lot more finding. We tried to talk to everybody we could.

We had a cool service opportunity this week, we were teaching one of the recent converts in this ward named Gordon. He is nearly 80 years old and lives by himself. He has the best stories and I personally love to visit him. We usually ask him if there is anything we can do for him and the usual response is "no, not at the moment.". 

He really surprised us when he said that he needed some shopping done. Apparently his sister who usually shops for him was away and he needed a couple of things. There was a SPAR (one of the shops here) just up the road so we got his little shopping list and got his food for him.

Here is his list:
  • Bread
  • Sugar
  • Wheetabix (cereal)

We made him very happy. Happy to help Gordon! Especially since it only took us 5 minutes to pick it up.

Other than that, we are chugging along like usual. Elder Jones is doing awesome. I finally broke out the rubber bands and they haven't stopped flying. Elder Jones was finally advanced enough in his training to experience them. Usually we go into warfare-mode right before bed. Rubberbands are whipping through the air as we shoot at each other down the hallway (Family, you know how they actually do make a wizzing sound). Good times. We only make quiet sound affects so that we don't bother our neighbor that lives in the flat above us. 

I did get to see Grandpa's talk on Tuesday. Man, I was in tears. The talk was SO relevant for our recent convert Damian. We were watching it with him at another members home so we could teach him part of the 5th lesson.

Keep me updated on life, main events, everything! Lydia, how was choir tour? Dad, thanks for sending the pictures of the hike. It is kind of strange to see snow. Nicole, pictures of that little village would be awesome! Oh random request, can you send me a picture of Mya? I miss that little dog.

Christian, Thanks for your email! I've read it many times and it has helped a ton! 

Thanks for all the advice I've gotten and tips. They are always welcome. 

-Elder Jacob Packer

picture: It was misty one morning. Those are our bikes chained up to a pole.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Delays Happen…But Hang In There!

Sorry for the delays in posting letters from Jacob and Nicole…life gets crazy and it just doesn't seem to happen!  Just know that guilt is constantly with me until I do post it, for all those who may be frustrated with my unwanted procrastination : ).  Momma Packer ("Pretty good pleading!")

Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference (EP)

Dear everyone,

I will now add my remarks to those of the many other missionaries that have commented on general conference. IT WAS GREAT! 

Sadly, I haven't seen the sunday afternoon session yet. It was the only session we weren't able to see. But the rest of it was very interesting. I paid more attention to doctrinal facts than I have in the past. Such as scriptural references, quotes from prophets regarding principles of the gospel and so forth. I didn't learn much, I plan on studying the notes I took, and the talks a lot more over the next 6 months to learn a lot more. Digging deep into the rich soil of the gospel. (Those poetic metaphors people use in Conference, they get me every time)

I don't have too much time, our email time is cut short today because of Zone P-Day. We'll be playing sports and dying Easter Eggs. 

Dad, I'm doing good. Yes there are more stresses than before but I'm learning a TON. 

Natalie/Christian/Andi ITS A GIRL? Congratulations! I can't wait to meet her when I get back! If you want suggestions of welsh names let me know:) Yep, Dad you were right. You'll need to pretend that Mia is a guy.

I love you all! 
-Elder Jacob Packer

I officially live in Disneyland! (SP)

Family,
HOLY COW.  Not just from the most delicious milk of my life, but I have officially moved to Disneyland.  This little village is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I'VE EVER SEEN.  It is a dream here.  And the people are SO NICE.  I've also never slept better my whole mission.  I don't know if it's the difference in matress or flannel for sheet covers, or the fresh air, but SOMEthing has put my poor little body finally to nights' rests and I've not woken up ONCE since sleeping here.  It's been such a wonderful blessing haha.  I came here and for the first couple days and even now could not contain a resounding peace that reached every part of my body.  Vienna and Munich are both AMAZING cities and SO INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL but the fast pace, muggy air, and lack of greenery were getting to me (though I was in Vienna for only winter season and saw ZERO greenery besides little patches of grass).  I have officially decided that this city is a place that I could live in if I ever did move to Europe.  Family, I plan on taking you here at some point.
Sister Brinck and I are having a blast.  Conference was AMAAAAAAAAZING.  HOLY cow.  I could not help but pour over my notebook and just write for some of those talks.  I also didn't get to see the Sunday afternoon session so just watched grandpa's talk.  Tear jerker and so tender.  I'm so grateful to not only represent the name of our Savior Jesus Christ on my badge but also the name of my beloved Grandpa Packer who has inspired me in more ways than I could even tell.  I love him and my dear Grandma Packer so very much and for their service in the church. 
I just had a thought and realized that anyone who really reads this whole email besides my parents hopefully siblings haha are champs.  I know that missionaries gush over their missions and no one else REALLY cares like we do.  So thanks for reading to this point :).
I wanted to share a couple miracle stories that happened recently, one in Vienna and then one that happened just yesterday!
There is a missionary in the Vienna stake from Mongolia named Miga who about 3 months ago entered our mission.  She has a good nonmember friend of hers named Suvdmaa who had been coming to English class at the Vienna institute center.  She's THE SWEETEST THING and so cute.  Some elders and I taught her English a couple times in one of the classes we have and, bless her heart, kept coming despite our lack of language teaching skills.  She stopped coming because of schedule conflict and we only contacted a couple times through email.  The week before transfers she shows up to class!!  I was beyond elated and taught her Tuesday andThursday that week.  On Thursday after class I had a thought to ask her if she'd like to know more about what we do as missionaries and to hear our message.  She said sure.  Total miracle that fell into our laps.  We met with her once and she took a Book of Mormon and began to read and said she would be baptized when she knows it's true.  HOLY COW.  Pray for her!  She's so ready and prepared!
Second miracle.  We went to conference in Freiburg where it was broadcasted for us.  Sister Jaynes is in our district (woot woot!!! so excited to see her again!!) and through miracles had sent a newly returned missionary in their ward to go check on Sister Jayne's Hungarian comp in a different room (she needed something or something random).  He walks out and RIGHT as he walks out, two guys walk in who were curious about the Mormon church.  RIGHT during conference!  They came into the English session with us (both spoke great english) and watched the talk about the olympians 4 minutes, Elder Bednar, and President Monson.  SO AWESOME.  They had seen the BYU center in Jerusalem and were simply curious about the church and walked in.  WHAT?!?!  They're potentials and will be taught by the Freiburg elders Elder Root (from my last district in Munich!) and Elder Christiansen (he's a boss!).  Ellad and John.  Pray for them too. 
Loves to everyone!  I love giving everything to the Lord, knowing sometimes we have NO idea what we're doing, and miracles follow.  So cool.  Miracle Zone!
Love,
Sister Packer

Pics
Vienna District (Elder Smith, Elder Morey district leader, Elder Kingery, Elder Lyons, Sister Garrett, Sister Jenks who opened Lahr!!, Sister Friedrichs and me) sorry the order isn't right because my camera died and I can't look at it.

Sister Friedrichs and I with Suvdmaa