Hi mom and Dad,
Monday, October 27, 2014
(Jake didn't send a general letter this time, not sure why, so I am including parts of the letter he sent to Lawrence and I. I was joking with Jake that since I don't cook as much any more, Danielle and BreAnne were completely amazed that I could actually make an apple pie--that I could cook. Sad, but some times things change a little in life. Danielle and Bre have become fabulous cooks since I haven't been cooking as much--there are always silver linings to any situation!! From the last post of Jake's, I had included a letter sent by Sis Mann to me to inform me that Jake was having a good birthday...that is what the "Manns" section is referring to.)
Hi mom and Dad,
Hi mom and Dad,
Yes, the Manns are great. Mom, apparently you sent them an email that was large in stature. So they know a lot more about me/my family then they did before. Brother Mann is the Ward Mission Leader here. He is so great.
Don't worry Mom. I know you can cook. Oh man I am jealous. Apple pie sounds great right now. Have you ever had it with custard? I don't think I've had any sort of pie or crumble here without custard on it. It is just what they do here.
People to pray for:
Reece Smith (On a baptismal date for)
Carole Taylor (we're dropping her for a time. But one great sign is that she randomly texted us asking us to pray for one of her good friends who just passed away. She really trusts us and knows that prayers work.
Alexander Haughin. This guy has such a powerful testimony, he just needs to figure out how to come to church/pick up his phone. He tries my patience more than any other investigator. It is one of the biggest trials of patience so far on my mission. He just never answers his phone but we KNOW he still wants to do it, and we want to set it up but he isn't answering... yada yada yada compliant complaint etc. Anyway. He is a great guy and loves us and the gospel to bits.
Bear (Haha that is his chosen English name. He is from China)
Warren Mitchell (19)
Cain Mitchell (18)
(These two blokes are less active and SO NEED TO SERVE MISSIONS! We play football with them every week.)
Theo Zake (17) Another young man that is making the hard decision between mission and uni.
As far as needing anything goes... I know that I should let you know about Christmas stuff ASAP but I hit that wall where I can't think of anything. "They do this EVERY YEAR" (Ice Age). Maybe those floss pick things from Walmart. They are great.
Dad thanks for your little updates:) I love them. I can't believe you said "haps" in your email. Somebody has been hanging around teenage girls too much.
Familie and Freunde (family and friends)!
So transfer calls! Sister Harman goes home to Meeker, CO and I stay here with Sister Smith. Starting and ending my mission with a Sister Smith in the Munich 3rd ward. Hoooooow ironic :).
We taught an investigator, Tina, who is married to a member. She's so prepared! I'm so excited to keep meeting with her. She's ready to find an answer. Pray for her. Mom, your prayers have been felt in SPADES. I've literally never seen on my mission the windows of heaven open so freely to us in this work. Working with members has never gone to smoothly and with so much energy. Thank you so much for your prayers! They're blessing us daily! Thank you to all the other prayers that have been sent our way!
I want to say a special thanks to the Lindon 16th Ward. I received a letter yesterday and it brought joy to my heart knowing and feeling the support of ward members who love and encouragement to keep going! Thank you so much!
Now for the best news: Natalie was baptized! Woot woot!! We'd pushed her date back one week (before I got here, she'd actually wanted to get baptized the same week of her second appointment), but it all came together perfectly. When I say perfectly, I mean perfectly. It was all handed on a silver platter. About 50 people came when we didn't know if many would show. Many members brought food and gifts for her to congratulate her. Some came up to her crying expressing congratulations. Members came up to us afterwards and asked if there was any way they could help her feel more established in the ward. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?? At her baptism she bore a powerful testimony. She was so happy and couldn't contain it. It felt unreal to watch and listen to. As soon as she started expressing her thanks to us three sisters, the water works exploded. Ah, man. It's happened three times now on my mission when I jumped into a new area, someone was prepared for baptism, and I got to help them in the final steps towards baptism. I may not have seen hundreds of people get baptized but I've talked to hundreds. Hopefully planted some seeds! Sometimes the Lord also calls us to plant those seeds!
I feel like sharing a few other things I've learned :).
The Lord's taught me that I don't need to SEE all the work to feel satisfied and trust in Him enough to keep going and doing it anyway, no matter how many times people say no. I've learned how to handle rejection (aka respecting people's agency with love and lovingly invite everyone). I've felt the sweet tender love of God as He places one prepared person in our midst after a long day of hearing no, EVEN if it was said nicely. :)
I've learned not to fear. I don't fear to talk to people on the street, in buses, on trains, in stores, shops, or restaurants. It's my favorite game :). I know now how to play. I know now what to look for. I know now what it takes to help someone to learn more about the gospel. It takes humility, trust, and obedience. I know now that NO heights, depths, accomplishments, achievements of my own could ever measure up to the joy that I've felt in doing this work. Nothing. I know that this work is absolutely NOT an ''only full-time missionary'' thing! Anyone and everyone can feel that joy no matter where they are, who they are, or what they're doing. I can from experience say, that nothing has given me more satisfaction as thinking of the person next to me, writing them notes, washing their dishes, folding their laundry, telling them what they've done well today even when they felt like they failed. I know that of ALL the souls I could have served with, all 14 of them, were given to me so that I may obtain salvation. I love them all!
I know that had I not come on a mission, people in this land would have suffered without knowledge of the gospel. I would have been accountable before the Lord to tell Him that I'd felt the urge but hadn't acted. I know that we will all be accountable at that great and last day to confess to the Lord all our acts, whether we served those next to us, most importantly our families, or not. If we cannot love those the Lord gives us, our families, friends, strangers, neighbors in this life, how will we in the eternities. I know that if we are capable to serve those around us and don't, we will be accountable before the Lord.
I love this work so much! I leave my testimony that God lives and loves us. Pray to know how He communicates with you! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Love you all!
Friday, October 24, 2014
SHOUT OUT TO:
Elder Jacob Packer who turned the big 20 today, October 24th!!
Officially out of his teenage years... wipe a tear... our little boy is growin' up!!
Happy Birthday Elder Jacob Packer!!! We love you!!!
PS I'm not sure why he isn't smiling in the photo because he was laughing a few moments before and after.
Hey, update from Sis Mann from the Westcotes Ward (where Elder Jacob Packer is serving--thank you Sis Mann!!!). Bro Mann is the Ward Mission Leader, so works with Elder Packer quite a bit. Apparently, because it was Elder Packer's birthday the following day, Sis Mann wrote us a sweet letter along with a couple of pictures (his official 20 year old pictures!!):
My name is Ali Mann and I live in Westcotes ward where your son is currently serving as a missionary. My husband Nigel is the ward mission leader so we have the privilege and honour of looking after the missionaries. We try hard to love and support them and treat them as our own children. We just love Elder Packer, he is such a sweet, kind, well mannered, thoughtful young man. You can be really proud of him!!!! You've done a great job raising him!
We were at the chapel today getting ready for our oldest son's wedding , when the missionaries emerged from a district meeting. Elder Packer had these funny cardboard glasses on that look like the candles on a birthday cake. Since it is his birthday I thought you would appreciate seeing a photograph of him wearing his silly glasses, all wrapped up and ready to go tracting. Our second son Oliver is currently out serving in the Arizona Mesa Mission, so we know what it is like to have a child out in the mission field ( I know you currently have two out). Anyway, I'm quite sure that you will be thinking of him all day on his birthday so thought you would appreciate having a photo of him.
|Love the glasses. Very distinguished looking.|
|The official mature 20 year old Jacob. Yup.|
|Before he was 20....|
|Elder Jacob Packer at 19 1/2 yrs old...|
Monday, October 20, 2014
Hello Family and Friends,
We're teaching Natalie and she's getting baptized ! I'm so excited! She's so so so ready. She's the elect. They really are out there. We're working with Sebastian still and he's making progress. This ward is AMAZING. They are so excited for missionary work and they say hello to any visitors we have. New people have moved in, and they strengthen each other. It feels so good to be here. For whatever reason I'm meant to come back here, the Lord will reveal it!
For the month of October, I started out by studying Patience as my Christlike attribute. A few days into the month however, I felt that I should study something different. Knowledge and Charity came to mind (Knowledge being probably my favorite attribute next to Obedience). I was feeling a drag in my studies, in motivation (yes it happens even on a mission) and prayed to Father in Heaven for His help to find the spark again. I realized I needed to find out again who I was. Yes I know I'm a member to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe in Christ, I'm a missionary, I'm a daughter...etc. I began by finding out things I like. I like the color fuscia. LOVE it. I also love wearing my hair down. I like eating healthy because 1. I feel better 2. I'm more receptive to the Spirit (the latter being of course most important). :). I wrote down all the things I like to wear, what my style is. I wrote down the foods I like, the sports I like. I felt like I was getting closer. Then we had Zone Conference.
Presdient Kohler is an amazing man. He has a vision and energy and drive about the work that is astounding. He taught us about ''noble birthright'' and the ''gathering of Israel.'' He talked about Spiritually, who we are, what our role is, the blessings we receive. Did you know we, who are members of the church receive a ''double portion'' of the blessings? Double portions meaning both spiritually and temporally. This double portion comes from the tradition in the family, paticularly the family of Jacob. Every son recieved a piece of his inheritance, but the first born son received what's called a double portion. He had the reponsibility to take care of his mother and sisters and the household with his double portion. I don't know so much about this (I get to study up on it more), but it got me thinking. I want and get to be more grateful. Sister Packer did you know that people die every day from hunger? You've never a DAY in your life gone without enough food. Not one. We are SO blessed as the people of Christ. We have enough to eat, to drink, we have freedom, (for me, I speak fluent English one of the worldwide used languages and now German), I'm serving the Lord, I can go to a university, my family has the gospel, I can read THE BOOK OF MORMON. I actually KNOW about that book and READ it with a hunger and thirst every day. I LOVE THAT BOOK.
The Lord taught me about charity. I realized for a few days that something was really missing. Really really missing. I couldn't put my finger on it. And then I remembered about serving constantly. I made some goals and started. I found the reality of the scripture found in Matthew,
''He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.''
I really felt that this week. And then I read in Alma 32:35-36.
''O then, is not this real?''
That scripture struck me. Yes it's real. It is real when we think about others and really concentrate on them and their needs. It sounds super cliché coming out. But it's just real! And it's so cool!
''O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible [meaning you gain understanding and it makes you happy!], therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?
''Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faithto plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.''
I testify that it IS good: knowledge and chartiy. Christ is our perfect example and our Savior. Oh how sweet the surrender when we go to him and ask for forgiveness. I pray we may all do just that and taste of the joy, daily. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
München 3rd wardAlpine German-speaking Mission
Story of the week: We taught way more lessons then last week and had some really good ones. One guy I'm way stoked for is a guy named Reece. He has some relatives that are members. He must be a "prayed for" person as Brother Mann our WML would say.
Elder Lindquist and I did a full weekly planning session! Some of you may not realize what that is, but according to PMG it "may take 2-3 hours to complete" (see chapter 8 of PMG). Because we hadn't done a proper weekly planning session in about 4 weeks we had a lot to catch up on. Elder Lindquist and I were doing it for around 6 hours! Oh man. It was long. But it was super helpful for us to know what to change in our companionship (Mom, it is funny you should tell me about how talking things out can keep relationships strong).
This buff Swede I'm working with is an animal. He has a million and a half horse power ready to go and I just need to let him take off.
Natalie, if a random guy hugs meI'll let you know about it. :)
PRAY THAT WE CAN BAPTIZE SOMEONE! Preferrably Reece:) This transfer. Before.
Monday, October 13, 2014
It is so good to hear that Loriann is doing better! Seriously, the power of prayer is HUGE. It was instantly a huge surge of power when that was sent out to everyone. I think it was one of those situations where people automatically start praying in their hearts whether it is a formal prayer or not.
The whole mission is being made aware of the standard of excellence in the mission which is one person baptized per transfer. Currently Elder Lindquist and I have one person who is on a baptismal date this transfer. The other people we are hoping will make it are these: An awesome student named Christina, another student named Sarah, and another student named Fadzai. We've had some good lessons with them so far.
There are many other things to pray for I know, but if you could pray just for the right people to be taught and baptized this transfer that would be great. Thanks!
Ok to finish the Jose story:
Elder Lindquist and I were GQing one morning in the days of yesterweek. We were fairly close to home and were just finding along the streets. We were planning on going in at 12 for lunch. I really love lunch and I rarely miss that appointment. It was aboutand we started heading home.
Now, it probably would only take 5 minutes for us to get home. I knew in my heart that we had time for a couple more GQs. slowly started to re think and then I finally gave in by saying (by my body language) "FINE. Just one or two more." We took a different route home. One that would take few extra minutes. We GQd some people. I cool Indian guy named Raj, who was way interested was the first guy I GQd. "Wow" I thought "that was why we came this way.". Feeling quite satisfied I almost didn't GQ this other guy that was walking down the pavement. I stopped him. He turned out to be JOSE. The guy from Mexico who is here in Leicester on holiday visiting his sister. WHAT THE RANDOM???
We started talking, it turned out that he had time to talk so we walked over to a nearby tree to be in the shade. I pulled out the picture book all prepared to teach the Restoration, trying my best to throw in Spanish words that would help him out. Then the second half of the miracle happened! A new member named Ana Prata (Dad, she is the one who wanted to know where you served your mission in Portugal) came riding by on her bicycle. She was on her way to teach a lesson with some other missionaries. She stopped and taught the lesson with us, because she was just in Spain for 3 weeks learning Spanish she was able to translate, bear testimony and take his email so she could email him during the week to set up appointments. He doesn't have a phone here so emailing is the only way.
(Jake ended abruptly and sent a second email!)
Haha, sorry I panicked because I thought my time was about to run out so I signed and sent that last email:) Turns out that I have about 20 more minutes on my email time.
So we taught Jose about the Restoration and then taught him the next day about prayer. We explained to Jose that we felt like we should take a different way and that it wasn't an accident that we ran into him. Than Ana jumped in and said that she had felt a prompting to go a different way as well. She told us afterwards "Jose must be really special if we were both led to him at the same time". He is special. We struck a chord with teaching him his purpose in life. He is really interested in the Plan of Salvation. I think he just gets amused when I try to speak Spanish. Hey, it makes him happy.
This week it suddenly got really cold and the leaves changed and we are finally into the England that you see in the movies. rainy, grey and full of potential for missionaries!
Note for Grandpappy Packer: Everybody loved your talk, everybody here is always asking about you and your health. People care about you and Grandma here. Thanks for everything you do. I love you Gramps! (One guy wanted me to complain to you however that one of the songs in one of sessions wasn't conducted properly... Blast. I told him I would tell you. He even followed up with me and asked me if I told you about it! He obviously was a missionary once upon a time.)
Fall is here!
I was here exactly at this time last year as I already said, but it's just so beautiful. I love this area. There's just something about Munich that steals my heart.
We're currently teaching 2 investigators that are progressing well, Natalie and Sebastian. Natalie is preparing for baptism on the 25th. She's AWESOME. She's so so SO ready. Sebastian is 17 and reads and is learning so much very quickly. It's really neat. I know that everyone at home has a lot to pray for. If you feel inclined to pray for little München 3 ward, pray for Natalie to feel prepared and ready and to be baptized at the right time. Pray that Sebastian can feel the power of what we're teaching him. I also realize you don't know them and that's important in sending heartfelt prayers for them. We appreciate whatever is sent our way.
The work here is flourshing. About 2 years ago our ward went through a rough patch, but through the faith of these members who are ROCKS, progress has been made and I've been able to meet the new converts that were only investigators when I was here. It's so neat to see the glow and spark in their eye. There's nothing better. They were so ready before it's almost as if it was always there. SO SO neat.
Sister Harman goes home in about 2 weeks ending her mission here. If I stay with Sister Smith, I will have started and ended my mission in Munich 3 with a Sister Smith as my companion. Oh, the irony. :)
I loved LOVED conference! We watched some more last night. I loved President Uchtdorf's talk ''Lord, is it I?'' I've really loved remembering that and looking first at ME to know where the problem and need for repentance lies. SO grateful. I love repentance and am so grateful we get to every day! Have you ever thought about days? We get new days ALL the time. What a GENIUS part of the plan! We get to take a whack at life for just a few hours, sleep, get up, and try again. OVER and over again. I'm really really grateful for that :). I'm grateful for all the emotions available to us to feel every day. They all have a purpose and place. We have feelings for a REASON every time they happen, whether we understand them or not. I think sometimes I think ''I shouldn't feel this way'' because I don't understand my feelings about something, not necessarily because they're wrong. I actually think feelings are NEVER wrong. They're just there. They're there to teach us and be used as tools to communicate with our Father in Heaven. I'm so grateful for them!
Love you all dearly!
Monday, October 6, 2014
We're definitely praying for Loriann and Moke. (For those of you who don't know them, they had a bad accident and could use prayers right now!)
Prayer is a huge piece my missionary life lately. We had a lady named Maria, the one who threw the big baby-shower with a whole pig for the refreshments ask us to pray for her this week. She called us on the phone last on Saturday night and was crying because she was in so much pain. She just asked that we pray for her so we said a prayer with her right then. The good news is that the baby came the next day! I haven't heard how his health is just yet, but as far as I know it is good.
Elder Lindquist and I have had good week. We've found tons of potentials this week and we really want to start getting new investigators from them. We had a miracle happen this week regarding a Mexican chap named Jose. I was shocked to learn he was from Mexico. We instantly started talking about how we both missed eating Mexican food. Anyway, we taught him on the spot. I'll have to finish the story next time. I don't have much time now.
I love you all,
Thanks for everything!
HEY, long time no update.
Sister Bawden flew home Wednesday honorably and with a heart for the work. We went to Munich Tuesday and spent that evening with the president Kohler and his family and slept that night in the mission home. We sent her off the next day on her plane. It was SO FUN to be there with them and filled me with peace. They feel exaclty like my family. Mom, seriously, Sister Kohler and you are the SAME person. I LOVE her so much. She is a perfect mom for our mission and brings reality and energy to us as missionaries. They all called Sister Bawden often to make sure she's ok and also me to see how I'm doing as well. They've been the perfect parents when mine are miles away in Lindon.
Sooo emergency transfer for yours truly. And (drum roll.....) I'm back in München 3! I gave president all the ideas I had for where I could go, as far as apartment space, and he felt München 3rd ward was right. Woot! It's been really interesting coming back to an old area after a ...ahem a YEAR ....Where has time gone? It's been exciting and so wonderful to come back and talk with all the members again! We've been able to go by less actives and have seen miracles in helping them and having once known them.
My companions are Sister Krissi Harmon and Sister Brooke Smith! I love them so much. They've taken me right in and we've dived right into the work here. The Lord knows I prayed hard for the people in Lahr. The Lord knew this would happen and that the sisters area would remain closed for a transfer. So yep, I'll be here at least until the end of October. We'll see if I go back to Lahr for my last transfer or stay here... Or train again.... or open a new area... or receive an extension... (you never know....) ;).
October fest just passed. It was just as it was last year. A little weird to be here again during that time.... But it's so neat to be back here as a new missionary with many new skills under my belt!
I love the work and know that God has a plan for us all! His way is the BEST way no matter what! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Sister Nicole Packer
München 3 (round 2)
|My companions are Sister Krissi Harmon and Sister Brooke Smith!|