Monday, September 29, 2014

Everything happens for a reason (SP)


This wekk ....hehe was crazy.

My companion is flying home Wednesday.  She found out she has anxiety and it's been such a sacred experience to work with her.  Gem of gems.  The Lord just has PLANS for these girls.

I apologize for the lack of details.  We get to coordinate with President on her flights.  Love you all dearly!

I know there's a Plan for everyone on this earth.  I. KNOW. IT.  Everything happens for a reason. Christ's atonement has power enough to save and keep saving.  I know that angels are real and support us daily.  I know that obedience brings peace.  As does humility and daily prayer.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sister Packer

It was good to read emails today! Oh yeah and I'm the district leader. (EP)

Dear everybody,

It was awesome to read emails today. It just sort of filled me up. I'll be good for the rest of the week now. 

So, transfer news! I'm the district leader. I'm staying here to finish training Elder Lindquist as predicted. Haha, I think I've got the basics of being a district leader, it is just knowing all of the random rules that apply to me. And I am still trying to figure out what to do for the next district meeting! 

Dad, Josh, Christian, everybody: Once again keep the advice coming! But I think I'm probably more interested in just random experiences you had if/when you were a district leader. Or stories about what your district leaders would do that was awesome/not so awesome. Nicole feel free to join in! In fact, anybody that wants to, send me some stories about district leaders.

Carole is away for the weekend so we haven't seen her for a while. We're going to push oursleves to get her to listen to General Conference and hopefully miracles will happen, Speaking of which, some people want a sneak peak about what we're going to hear in General Conference. Grandpa? Just kidding.I told them I would try but I didn't ;promise anything:)

Missionary advice: Get a photo album! Members and investigators have loved seeing mine. The winning picture so far is that one with all of us children lined up in height order looking down too BreAnne. 

Lydia, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!! You're an adult. Sheesh it is almost like wow you... kind of already were an adult. But now you can act your age! So I heard you had a fiesta to celebrate with brownies and icecream. I tell random members of the ward that it was your birthday. Ever since September came or anyone says they are turning 18 I'm like "My little sister is turning 18 this month." or "Your birthday is on the 27th? My sister's birthday is on that day too!"

Blast I've got to write president's letter. I love you all!

-Elder Packer

Elder Lindquist

Monday, September 22, 2014

Golden Miracles (SP)

Dear Family and Friends,

The Lord has taught me some incredible things this week. It's been amazing!  I love the relationship we get to have with Him, no matter how busy He may be, He always has time for us and our concerns.  

This week Sister Bawden experienced one of the hardest days on my mission, work wise, and also some of the most incredible miracles of my mission.  Thursday, all three of our appointments fell out.  Our backup plans were tested and we were out on the street all day.  It was challenging for me personally, but!  I learned that I had held unrealistic expectations on myself and others.  It was good to learn!  At the end of the day, we'd given away 5 Books of Mormon found 2 potentials, set an appointmen with one of them, and had 7 good conversations (7 meaning conversations that lead to a discussion about God and/or Christ).  We definitely talked to more than 7 people.  It was a lot of work.  But so worth it and the miracles were ever more sweet :).  

Here, in case no one has seen it before, the buildings are full of appartments and at the front door, There is a panel of names on buttons that connect to people's doorbells called clingals.  When we door, we pray, clingal a name, talk with them over the little speaker phone, and hope to be ''buzzed'' in, or that the door will electronically be unlocked.  This opening is indicated by a buzzing sound.  I didn't think to explain to Sister Bawden, having not remembering my first contact with a clingal, that when you hear the buzzing sound you quickly push or pull on the door to open it before the buzzing stops and the door is locked again.   After clingaling one name, the door surprizingly started buzzing, and me, seeing her not react, and due to my own surprise, started quickly saying anything that came to mind in German or English that would help her to realize to ''push'' the door open.  The panic I created caused her to be alarmed combined with the buzz of the door, which escaladed into a scene any citizen would burst into giggles over.  I yelled, she screamed, I yelled ''push!'' she panicked and finally pushed with another scream.  It was dark and we muffled our laughter the best we could as we walked up the stairs to find the door that had buzzed us in.  Too good.

Sunday we had an open house from 11am-6pm.  Church was only just over an hour of Sacrament Meeting due to this open house.  Our meetinghouse is the third floor of a office rent building full of other offices and practices.  The whole complex was doing an open house and so we participated as well.  It was so exciting!  I love open houses.  One German man who lives in Ghana came.  He's here for six weeks, met the church two months ago in Ghana and wants to be taught.  Miracle.  

The second miracle was a woman who came to this same open house. During our shift to stand by our sign on the bottom floor, we met this woman who was just looking around at the other companies' offices of our building. Sister Bawden stikes up conversation with her being the faithful Golden she is! She told me later she'd mustered up all her courage and asked her the 3 questions in German that she knew (I know she knows more). Conversation continued and we ended up giving her a tour, teaching her a lesson, hearing out her emotional story of her search for something more and having not yet found it, taking a Book of Mormon, and feeling lighter for the first time in a long time just BEING at our church. It was definitley a tender mercy from our Heavenly Father. His children are prepared and ready!

I know this work is true!  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sister Nicole Packer

Another Dodge night is here. (EP)

Dear Family/Friends,

The weather is really nice here. It is blowing me away. I keep wincing when I look outside in the mornings because I think it will be raining like crazy. It is still holding out for us, we should make the most of it. The Uni is crawling with new fish to be fished! The new students are called freshers.

We've had some interesting conversations with some of them. It is kind of weird to feel older/more experienced than them even though I have never been to Uni before. It will change pretty quickly. 

It has been suprisingly helpful to teach our investigators what I would call the little commandments. These are found in lesson four in chapter three of "Preach My Gospel". It isn't that I think they are useless, they are great but they seem less important to me. But I'm repenting.

I was worried about teaching them to Carole who is struggling with the big commitments of reading/praying/church. I didn't want to give her even more commitments. It seemed to make a big difference though to teach her the Law of Chastity. She is living it, she is married. She was happy to hear it. We also taught Keep the Sabbath Day Holy. She understood and accepted that too. It seems to support her rather than give her more to do. I don't fully understand it, but I think the little commandments really aren't that little and they make a BIG difference. I'm excited to go in with the other little ones to help her out even more. 

Oh yeah, did I mention two weeks ago that I hit my year mark? Well I did. That is weird. I don't want to be home yet, It feels like I've still got loads of work to do here! Well pray that I will figure out how to do that and do it effectively.

Well, the Dodge is coming tonight. It isn't as exciting because I'm most likely staying here to finish training Elder Lindquist. But any dodge night is exciting and we'll be freaking out when we get the call like we always do.

Elder Lindquist and I quote movies way too much. The other day I just starting singing a long note and then E.L. jumped in and began singing the Lion King song the Circle of Life  which fit perfectly, we naturally broke into two parts (this whole time he is washing dishes at the sink, not even looking at me) and started singing the entire song. He was doing the little chants in the background while I sang the main chorus and then we swapped (without any cues). Of course we didn't know the random words, we just made the words up and sang the notes. It was beautiful. Now that I read what I just wrote, it is kind of weird. But it was awesome. 

What a great companion I have. Unfortunately I probably only have 6 more weeks with him.

Prayer list:

I'll have to get pictures with these people so you can see them. They are SO AWESOME.

-Elder Jacob Packer

pictures:The Glenfield District. I love it here. It feels like home. 
 Elder Sam Harris from Lindon UT. He's my Zone leader.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hello from.....Lahr! (SP)

Hello from.....Lahr!

It's been a great week.  Sent off a wonderful Swiss Canadian companion, and received a wonderful, humble, South Jordanite named Sister Bawden!  She is 19 and incredibly sweet and humble.  She trusts and follows contently with a great big smile on her face.  She speaks German more often than I do!  She's amazing and learning so fast.  It's going to be a great 2 transfers!

Sister Bawden said something to me our first day together that really touched me.  She said, ''Ich hoffe dass du weiƟ, du bist meine Beispiel.''  Translated she said, ''I hope you know that you are my example.''  It was said so sweet, and I wonder if she meant, I hope you know I'm grateful for you as my example or something like that, but however meant, it struck me with great significance.  I am her example.  My example determines the culture that develops here in this mission.  It determines the influence of future companions of hers as well.  It starts with the trainers.  It's been so humbling and entirely rewarding to be able to show her the where abouts of this little city of Lahr.  I thought I was spoiled the last two training rounds with companions who could already speak German!  It was a blessing to learn German then, and now with Sister Bawden, a truly a humble, tender Spirit, we're ready to love and serve these wonderful Germans!  (And Iranians, Russians, Turkans, Romanians, Nigerians, Cameroonians...etc)  

We've officially dropped our last investigator two days before Sister Bawden came.  We, like Elder Packer in Westcotes, England, will be focusing on finding and encouraging the members with their family mission plans so they can find they're friends who are ready!

I've learned this week more than anything about trusting in the Lord, and also in the attributes of Christ.  I encourage you, reader, to go and study today in Preach My Gospel chapter 6.  I love this chapter so much.  I'm studying Obedience this month.  The section on obedience is so powerful:

''As a [member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints], you are expected to keep the commandments willingly, to obey...and to follow the counsel of your leaders. Obedience is the first law of heaven. It is an act of faith. You may sometimes be required to do things you do not completely understand. As you obey, you increase in faith, knowledge, wisdom, testimony, protection, and freedom. Strive to be obedient to the Lord, [and] the living prophet...''  (emphasis added)

I know that obedience is the first law of heaven.  I know that all things work out, and we have peace when we willingly obey.  I'm....I'm so grateful that the Lord was patient and waited....waited until I could understand this principle.  It's brought be more peace than any other aspect of the work here.  I testify that God loves us.  His love means dicsipline, with patience; chastisement with wisdom and an increased love.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love Sister Packer

Sister Hemmi, on the way to the Train station.

Sister Appel coming with us on our last JT with Reiner....not ready yet....but later!​
Part of our Distrikt (Me, Sister Hemmi, Sister Bignall, Elder Bignall, Elder Samuelson, Elder Jensen)​
Us at Mission Leadership Council with the Zone Leaders Elder Allen and Elder Mickelson

Sister Bawden and I!
I added a picture of Nicole's niece Eden.  Nicole's reply:
Awwwww little baldy!!  LIke Josh!
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww SO CUTE I'M GONNA DIE!!!

I also sent a small video of her niece Andelyn squinting her nose.  Again, classic Nicole reply:
OH MY GANDI.  That was the CUTEST thing of my LIIIIFFFFEEEE.  I watched it about 10 times in a row.  I'll watch it again.  Cutie little...rrr.. I just wanna eat her!!!

Week #16 in Westcotes... maybe 17. I don't know, but I love it here. (EP)

Dear everybody,

So we've had a much better week as far as key indicators go. I don't think they are the important thing though, the important thing is that we actually did what we could to fulfil our purpose. It is nice when it translates into good numbers though:)

So Elder Lindquist was a Beast and put Carole on a baptismal date for October 11th. It was a really cool experience. We stopped by Carole one evening and she let us in, her husband was home so we could go in. We didn't have a lesson plan, we weren't prepared, so we just started reading the Book of Mormon with her.

In the middle of the lesson I had the thought to put Carole on a baptismal date, but as I was going to invite her I hesitated. I kept thinking, Elder Lindquist will do it. Elder Lindquist will do it. And like clockwork he invited her to be baptised on a date. I was like "YES! That was by the spirit/That's my boy!" (all in my head of course). Pray Pray Pray Please:)

For all of you other missionaries, there is a random thing that just so happened to work out really well for us: For a spiritual thought in a DA for little kids, we just pulled out the picture book and had a Quiz. Who can say the person's name in the picture? We then flipped through the pictures at random (don't do the really hard ones like Elijah or Enoch) Then at the end of it we ended on the Temple and taught a short lesson on the temple. Nice and short and powerful.

We went to a baby shower for Maria's baby! I'm not exactly sure why we were invited but it ended up being very productive, we got several potential investigators who we can hopefully get to church. We had a good chance to help Maria cook a bunch of food. Phillipino food is awesome! (Shout out to Elder Jordan Kocherhans!). 

It was constant battle to figure out what she wanted me to do with the food. She kept saying stuff like "put it in there" referring to a massive container filled with vegetables and then pointing to an average size fying pan. "That isn't going to fit." But she would't take no for an answer. I dumped as much as I could into it. I may have spilled several pieces of cauliflower. Than Maria would say  "higher the fire!" (turn up the heat on the stove). I don't even know why she was cooking, she was supposed to be pampered and comfortable. She got told off by several women who took over her job of telling me what to do.

They brought an entire pig (see the picture attached). For the cherry on top, we played a game where we had to change the nappy (diaper) on the baby doll with blindfolds on. Our ties were used as the blindfolds. Kind of strange, but apparently I did pretty well, not to brag or nothin...

We had Zone Conference in Evington on Tuesday. It was good to see Elder Shaw again. Then on Friday we had to take a train to Birmingham for the Follow-Up Trainers meeting. Good times. I love trains. 

The Uni is alive again! There are students everywhere and things look promising. Time to catch some fish!

I love Elder Lindquist. We have a good time, and we work hard. I'm so blessed to be in this situation. The ward is awesome. I will most likely be here for one more transfer so the ward may get sick of me, but most of them don't know I'll be staying. 

Haha Kori, Grandpa Crowley still calls you Kody. :) It was in his email to me.

Lydia and Kori, WELL DONE ON THE ARTWORK!! I love it. You've got a gift.

Shoot time is short. I actually wrote a lot this time. Sorry everybody. Enjoy:)

-Elder Packer

They brought an entire pig for Maria's baby shower

Monday, September 8, 2014

I'm about to become a new mother as well :) (SP)

Hello family and friends!

THIS has been an interesting last couple of weeks.  I realized in my last emails I say almost nothing about the people we're teaching.  I'll get to that today.

First news.  With her permission to share more details, Sister Hemmi is heading home and won't be coming back out.  A few weeks ago, she had a distinct feeling that she should go home.  I've experienced that once in my mission (you don't know this mom) and realized that the feelings I had were ones of confusion and panic, not the Spirit.  As Sister Hemmi and I talked, I could sense that she felt so peaceful about it and after we fasted, she knew, and I could feel it too, that it was right.  Then after her decision was made, her back problems from previous injuries got worse.  Definitely the right decision.  It's been so wonderful and blessed of a an experience.  She leaves Thursday for the mission home and flies Friday.  I've had more fun with her than almost any companion I've had.  It's hard to have a favorite, but it's just been awesome.  I've learned some Swiss German during our time together too :).

Since she's leaving, someone will need to stay in the area.  I'm staying and recieving another Golden!  I'll most likely finish up here in Lahr training.  I couldn't feel more peaceful about it.  I'm so excited to show another companion yet again all the first joys and experiences a mission can bring!

It's interesting that my first Golden went into another mission and my second going home after 3 months.  They are both so amazing.  Hopefully this next one will be able to stay and help our mission out!

We're teaching Reiner and trying to help him identify his answer.  Pray that we can teach with the Spirit so that he may feel for the message we're sharing!

'Til next week!

Sister Packer

me and Gabi Benz from the ward who's in the US on the foreign exchange program!
Sister Hemmi and I. The cutie.


Where to begin?


Ok well, this week has been a good one. Not many lessons, just loads of finding. We found a lot of potential investigators. We had an exchange with the district leader Elder Ammon Harris. Together we had a couple of hours to GQ at the University. They had this huge anime convention thing for the last 4 or 5 days there so there were people dressed up as anything and everything. We saw some sweet costumes and some not so sweet costumes... frankly creepy. It made for good conversation.

The Zone leaders went finding with us as well. Elder Sam Harris. Some of you back home may know him. He's awesome!

Carole has started working again so we don't see her as much. Hopefully the absence will help her recognize the spirit more when we are there.

Honestly I thought I would have a lot more to write about than this...


Elder Packer

P.S. Mom THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for your emails:) There is much I need to tell you:)

(Holland Rose is Natalie and Christian's new baby born just this last week on Sept 2.  Jake has been VERY ANXIOUS to hear the news!!  Both Nicole and Jake have missed the births of their last two nieces, born 2 months apart.  On the left is Josh and Courtney's baby Eden Monique and on the right giving Eden the "look" is baby Holland Rose, 5 days old : ). Grandpa Packer turns 90 this week, thus the Happy Birthday!!)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hello! Autumn is on it's way. (EP)

Greetings from Leicester, England,

So this morning we got this random call from some Elders in the London mission. What the random? We had a missed call from them, we called them back and he was like "Who am I speaking too?" I told him "Elder Packer. Who am I speaking too?" " Elder.... something that started with a B." 
"Where are you serving?" he asked. 
"Westcotes" I said, assuming he meant which ward I was in.
"No, which Mission are you serving in?" 
"Oh, England Birmingham mission."( I had assumed he was in our mission until this point)"Which mission are you in?" 
"London" he said. "So how are things going? etc etc. Seeya later!"

He claimed it was a pocket dial. Hmmm. Who has the Westcotes missionaries in their contact list when they are serving in London??

The days are still warm but that feeling is here. Yep, the feeling of autumn. Everyone is really happy. It has just been a happy week. Which is really weird because we were FAR from reaching our goals. Yet, I'm enjoying myself a lot more. I'm not sure what is going on. Elder Lindquist has only been out for like 3 weeks so I just hope I'm still setting a good example for him. He and I have had a lot of good discussions about how to accomplish our goals this week. They are possible. Easily within reach.

Excited to hear about the BABY!

(Dad will know that quote)

-Elder Packer

Why I'm here (SP)


It's been a weird week seeing best friends go home from their missions, NOT gonna lie, but!  It's been a good motivation for me to make a greater effort to focus these next couple transfers.

I really took time this week to figure out again why I'm here and the efforts I'm making to be here.  I've listed some of the doubts that Satan would have me believe about not being totally satisfied with where I am right now.  I've done a lot of thinking about it and have learned a ton.

If there's one thing the world that feeling of ''missing out'' on something.  We all hate that feeling.  We all want to be a part of it, to expereince what looks so cool, so exciting.  We want it so much that even if, while sitting on a bus, you look somewhere intently and with sincere interest out a window, if you look interested, the people around you will look.  We all know what I'm talking about.  It's always in effect!  If you sit and talk with someone, if you stare off at something in the middle of either person's sentences, the other person looks back to see what you're looking at.  If it's more interesting than whatever you were saying, they want to see too!  SO funny.  Haha this is coming even as I'm writing this.

I thought about what that has to do with me and missionary work.  OBviously it's applied in all aspects of life.  But when we go out and talk with people, if we're so thoroghly convinced that what we have is a lot more fun than what anyone else has, people will listen.  It's the FUNNIEST thing.  Suddenly you start getting potentials and contacts.  And all it is is you being yourself, realizing that all we'd EVER want is sitting right in front of us in the scriptures, in prayer, and in serving others.  People want a taste!  And then you say, ok, sweet, we'll give it to you.  Read this book.

What I've realized more for myself than anything though is when I myself do that.  This week in fact, I applied this.  Suddenly, a calm came over me and I realized....anything else ANYone has, is nothing.  It means nothing.  Nothing!  None of it is important!  It's so freeing it's hilarious!  We get so caught up in thinking that anything anyone else has is better than what we have.  It's not!  We have our Heavenly Father to communicate with!  And he listens better, more often, more frequently, and with more love than ANY of our friends who we think might have better lives than us!  It's seriously hilarious!

I know from hearing from friends that being on a mission is different than normal life.  I can't say I get that yet, but I do know and recognize that some of the feelings I've had here, I ALSO had before I came out, just peppered here and there and in smaller quantities maybe.  I didn't realize what it really was ormeant until being submerged in ONLY that.  It's really neat.  It's really neat to look back and see that THAT is still there no matter where I'll be in life, maybe in different concentrations, or settings, or with different people, but the love of God is simply always there, as we heard from President Monson and Elder Holland two conferences ago.

I just know that deferring my mission, for whatever reason, is already blessing me.  I can see how perfect the Lord's timing is.  He loves us.  He really just....loves us.  He wants us to be happy and feel of that love.  And I know it's in living the gospel.  Not even perfect.  Isn't that crazy relief?  We don't even have to do it perfectly.  YES with all our effort.  No excuses.  But we're allowed room to make mistakes.  And I know God doesn't hold on to the little dumb things we do.  He forgets it, I feel, even before we realize it happened, meaning His love is unconditional and ready to heal us.  I know that's true with all my heart.  I know God lives and that His Son Jesus Christ lives.  I know the Church is true and that through Joseph Smith it was restored.  In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love the work.  And I love you all!  You're all in my prayers.

Sister Packer