Monday, March 30, 2015

Long flight..AND we went to Groombridge place! (SH)

Hey! How are you all doing?! Thank you so much for your letter! I got it in the MTC but it has been really good to read out here.
We left Utah at 10:05am on Tuesday and got to London at 9am on Wednesday...Long flight.. But I did make it hah. It is good, I'm actually having a really hard time adjusting.. It has rained like every day and its freezing and there is no sun but the work is good! Elder and Sister Pinegar, the people over the visitors center, called me in and offered to give me a blessing. They said that they can tell that I'm having a hard time. It was a good blessing and then today the sun came out and its been warm AND we went to Groombridge place! It is so pretty there!!!
So cool thing here, my companion is Sister Catogni and she is from France. I told her about Jessie and she said that she will write her in french! But another cool thing is that my last MTC companion (Sister Catogni is my 4th already..) But the mtc companion I had is in the same flat as me. so we are not companions but we are still together a lot which i know is a tender mercy from the Lord. But she is Sister Fleuren and shes from Germany and she said she will write Nicole hah she is from the west, the Frankfurt mission is where she lives. She says its 30 minutes away from the Netherlands.

And then we are serving in East Grinstead at the visitors center with Sister Lammintaus from Finland, Sister Rosenkilde from Denmark and Sister Engelbrektsson from Sweden! So I'm the only American and my companion kinda doesn't really like us but thats okay.
Hah jetlag is kinda killin me and it doesnt help with my emotions at all! Hopefully this next week ill feel a little more comfortable here, sunday was a hard day but things are getting better. One of the senior couples told me that when im having a bad day to look at the sky and find one patch of blue and if i can find that, it will be a good day in the end. So i think imma work on that.
But I'm loving it regardless! The work is good! I have never learned so much in my life! Kinda crazy! Ah I love you all so much! Tell everyone I say hi and tell Bre that I loved her email and that she is amazing! And i miss her cooking! I totally would have invested.
OHHHHH!!!! Also in June Elder Holland is coming to speak and ALL the missionaries in the England mission go to hear him and I got told that I can go find Jake!!! I just about died! So I'm freaking out about June! Also we will be getting i pads on April 29th so thats cool i guess. Email from home in pjs on pday!
Anyways I love you lots and it is really good to hear from you! Thanks for the email addresses!

Pictures of Groombridge Place (the Packer Ancestral home of John Packer where Kira Knightly's version of "Pride and Prejudice" was filmed--the home was the main Bennett family lived!  These are on the grounds of the home.)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Burton-Upon-Trent (EP)

My new address is this:

86 Caroline Court
Burton upon Trent
DE14 4NZ

We've had an awesome week. It is the foundation for a great transfer here. Someone walked into church! What the heck?

Something happened that has never happened before to me.

Someone called us that wanted to know about the church. Just because they found one of our little business cards. That NEVER HAPPENS!

He was Scottish as well, so it was fun to talk to him.

Those thousands of cards I've given away didn't go to waste! Yay!

-Elder Jacob Packer

Monday, March 16, 2015

I was kidnapped. (Kind of...) (EP)

I've been moved to Burton-Upon-Trent. Aka Burton.

Burton is a city in the Lichfield Zone. I've never been in or around this zone before so it is new territory for me. We are in a District with Cannock. I'm not sure why, the locations are a bit strange to be grouped together, but I'm glad to be here! I'm pumped to white wash this area with my new companion ELDER HAYDEN HUFF from Pocatello, Idaho. (Please refer to the picture where we are sitting in a posh waiting room together.)

We are the only team in this ward. There used to be two but Burton B closed down for the time being.  We just lost a massive group at transfers so it will take a couple transfers to stock up enough missionaries to re-open all of the areas that closed down.

Our flat is nice, it was just messy when we arrived. Loads of confetti... the things missionaries do before they go home. 

Our Bishop is solid. This entire ward seems solid and well organised. It is beautiful. The only thing we are here to do is bring new people in and bring some less-actives back while we do it. This ward deserves some intense success. Prayers will be needed 100% of the time.

Burton is a nice place. It is pretty compact as well, so we don't have to travel crazy far to get to the main parts of our area. It is nice not having to worry about area boundaries.

Oh and we got kidnapped!

It was on Thursday. We had arrived at the Lichfield Bus station and we were looking for the bus stop that would take us to Cannock for district meeting. I was reading a sign when someone, a man, middle-aged looking, tapped me on the shoulder and beckoned me to follow him. He didn't say anything, just acted like he was in a rush. I had no idea who he was. 

I looked over at Elder Huff. Elder Huff's face showed that he recognized the guy (so at least I know he is a friendly), but he still looked very confused as to why this man was there. (Elder Huff has been in this zone for a while so I automatically assumed he might know who he was). He was in a suit and he had a missionary badge (which I didn't get a chance to read).

He proceeded to get into the drivers seat of his car which was still running. He looked up and saw that I hadn't moved. I just stared at him expecting some sort of... explanation? Is that the right word? He started waving me over mouthing the words "get in." through the closed window.

Confused, I slowly walked over to him while he rolled down his window. I assumed he was there to pick us up for district meeting, but we hadn't arranged a lift. (I've been in this area for less than 24 hours!) I stood a few feet from his window. I asked "Where will you take us?". 

"To your district meeting." He responded, as if I should have known all along. I could tell I was frustrating him just by asking. "Ok I said". We got in the car, slowly. I looked at Elder Huff. I was convinced that Elder Balzen, one of the Cannock missionaries had arranged this lift for us with this senior missionary. We started going to district meeting.

I sat in the passenger seat. Elder Huff sat in the back. I read his name badge. "Elder Rooney" I said, "It is good to meet you."... a moment passed. "Did Elder Balzen speak to you?" I asked. 

"Who is that?" he asked while shaking his head. he was focused on the road. 

Yellow Flag (Not quite red yet).

"Elder Balzen" I repeated, thinking he misheard me. 

"I've never heard of him. Who is he?" He said.

Red flag.

Ok. I know we are in the wrong place by this point. Elder Huff was totally silent in the back so I just kept going.

"Are you taking us to Cannock?" I asked, trying to fish out an explanation.

"No," He explained, "we are going to the Lichfield chapel".

"Well, we are planning on going to Cannock for our district meeting." I responded.

Now he looked confused. "You're [the missionaries in] Tamworth aren't you?".

Now we're getting somewhere. 

"Nope. We are Burton.". I said. 

"Oh" he said... "That is why you looked so confused."

We explained that we were planning catching a bus at the Lichfield station. He took us back to the bus station where he looked around for another team of elders. 

The little joy ride lasted altogether about 5 minutes. He apologized a bunch and called his wife saying something about not finding the missionaries... As we rode our bus out of the station we saw two confused Elders run over to brother Rooney's car.

He was just going to a different district meeting. It will be fun to see him at Zone Meeting next month.

-Elder Packer

Elder Hayden Huff from Pocatello, ID sitting in a posh waiting room with Elder Packer (Burton-Upon-Trent)

Cleaning up the apartment decor left by the previous missionaries (Burton-Upon-Trent)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Got behind...Sorry!!

Kids sick at home, me sick at home, me sick of being at home, and not wanting to do anything but sit and be sick!  Finally better and finally caught up on Jacob's posts!  He is alive and well!  --Leslie

Monday, March 9, 2015

Nottingham Castle and 3 exchanges and Elder Wright (DEAN) (EP)


First of all, I went to the Nottingham Castle and took pictures by the classic Robin Hood statue etc. It was pretty cool. The view from the balcony is incredible. I can see the beginning of Leicester from there (at least that is what I think I saw)!

Nextly, I did go on three awesome exchanges this week. I went with Elder Lindquist on Wednesday so that I could do a baptismal interview for an investigator. I saw a member of the Westcotes ward there, Brother Jarrom. He works at the University of Nottingham where we were working. He was super generous and bought us lunch.

The second exchange happened after zone meeting, I went with Elder Tupou and Elder Dean Wright. Let me explain about Dean Wright!

Dean Wright has been a mini missionary this week. Doing everything with us. He even stayed in our flat. He did the first half of the week with Elder Nogueroles and Elder Tupou in their house, then the second half with Elder Winder and myself in our flat.

That exchange went well. We sang loads of songs while we were walking and made some people happy. 

The next day we did some service with Brother and Sister Hall, the day was beautiful so the gardening was a pleasure. (Mom I forgot to take my medicine so it was an interesting day from the start!)

That afternoon I went with Elder Nogueroles and Elder Wright in my area. Thus began the third exchange. We went to a DA and taught a lesson. The next day we did some killer finding in Broxtowe with Dean. He is a beast at finding. People like talking to him, and then he relates super well because he is English! They just seem to trust him.

That evening we exchanged again at a baptism for the person I interviewed. Stacey! She is so great, and she is so converted. After the interview I thought to myself, "I want my investigators to be as prepared as she is for their baptism". That night we ate McDonalds and I was finally back with Elder Winder and Elder Wright. That was Saturday. That night, before bed, we had a semi-massive rubber band war and nearly lost an eye.

On Sunday we went to church. Ola and Scott came! Oh man, we had a great lesson with Ola, I'm totally going to give him a hug before I leave, that is.. If I leave. DUN DUN DUN! Dodge night is tonight and I'm not sure if I'm leaving. It is a fifty-fifty chance. We'll see.

Ola's lesson was great. Scott is doing amazingly. He is set for baptism on the 28th.

It was a party week. So much fun. So much random adventure which was very interesting. I love being a missionary!

-Elder Packer

Nottingham Castle, Nottingham England

Robin Hood Statue in Nottingham, England

Not sure about the hair--but a typical way to feast amongst Robin Hood's Merry Men!

Friday, March 6, 2015

MTC = My True Conversion!!! Literally! (SH) FIRST LETTER FROM SIS KORI HANSEN!

First off... STAIRS! Holy cow! Our classroom..5th floor, our residence..3rd floor, food..2nd floor, health stuff..3rd floor. Lets just say that if my calves are at least twice as big in 3 weeks I am going to be a little disappointed. Also I am that one sister that just happens to get sick right when I come here! Its been fun! Its amazing though because it doesn't affect studying or learning or... waking up at6:30 at all! 

My companion is Sister Nelson, she is so amazing! She is from Idaho and is going to the Chicago mission! How cool right?! We have also just been assigned to be the Sister Training Leaders! I'm not exactly sure what it all means but I'm excited to learn more about it aside from the basic instruction that we've been given! There are 8 of us in our district, four Sisters and four Elders. The Sisters Sister Nelson, Sister Athay, Sister Bell and myself and the Elders are, Elder Campbell who is also the district leader, Elder Mckniel and Elder Howard who are the zone leaders and Elder Obrey! They are so amazing! I come to love each of them more and more every day and its totally cool to see how much I learn from every single one of them! AMAZING!!!

The first day was so so good! We kinda just jumped right into stuff but it was incredible how much of it made sense even though it was completely new! We had a huge welcome devotional thingy the day we got here and the spirit was so strong! WOW! We sang EVERY person sang their hearts out! The spirit was so strong! We also did a thing called Meeting the investigators! We had huge groups of missionaries go into a room with an investigator and first a set of Elders would start to teach and then it would open up for the rest of us to ask questions, comment, teach by the spirit!! So powerful! 

Yesterday we had our first "normal" day of classes. We met the investigators that we will be teaching for most likely the rest of the time that we are here. We learned about the Plan, Study, Teach cycle! Then we did personal study and companionship study. We are teaching two investigators! Zach and Saidie! They are both so amazing! We have only gotten the opportunity to teach Zach but the day is not over! But first thing is yesterday it was our time to teach and so they told us to leave the classroom but didn't tell Sister Nelson and I where to go... So we kinda just walked into a random room to see where we were supposed to go and it just so happened.... to us.... of course that it was the room he was in and so it was like walking into his home and it was embarrassing and he was like are you the Sisters haha No..... But on the bright side we got to teach him today and we knocked first!! We taught Zach about Prayer and God's love for us. Zach was talking about how he didn't feel like him and God were in a good place and he didn't really know if he believed in a God. Sister Nelson and I totally started tearing up when he said he felt that way, we bore our testimonies and left him with an invitation to pray and ask if Heavenly Father is there. We left with a hope that something inside of him was touched. Amazing guy though, really! 

Learning by the spirit!! Holy arahadhfkasdhgdfa!!!! I can't even begin to explain it! It is almost scary how much we learn and grown within ONE day here. If I wasn't a missionary I don't think I'd be able to handle all of if but the spirit makes it possible! We teach in class every day and study beforehand by ourselves and with our companions and stuff comes to mind that I've never even heard of! For example thinking of things to teach Zach and about prayer and stuff, I had no idea about the mosaic law and it came to mind and all the ways that we could use it to teach and everything! The spirit truly works with us if we ask! The more we ask for the harder we work! Exact obedience comes with that as well. As we strive to stay exactly obedient we have seen miracles EVERY SINGLE DAY!! (hahah day 3...) I can't wait for what is to come!  

Love you all!! -Sister Hansen

I love you all so much! I miss ya all too but.. MTC is amazing and I kinda wanna be here for more than 3 weeks but its cool! I just wanna bear my testimony to you guys that I know that this gospel is true. I know that Jesus Christ knows exactly what we are going through and exactly how to succor us. If we turn to him with everything we are he will in return prepare us for everything that we can become! I know that He lives and loves us all so much! He sees all of us as we dressed in white waiting to come back. I love Him and love you all and I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Mini mission+pictures from last week. (EP)

I actually got a good picture of myself with Elder Winder! He is one of those guys that doesn't cooperate for pictures most of the time, but a miracle happened.

Liz is doing better! She came to church and she is getting to know the members more. She is so cool. Stephanie is just... a baby. Chill, not too fussy. Just a cute baby.

Ola is awesome as well. He came to church, his family is so cool. We taught him the Plan of Salvation this week. If I leave this next transfer I'll be so sad to leave him.

Guess what, the Book of Mormon totally tells us to read the Bible. Mormon 7:8.

(by the way, that is Sister Schollars, Dad and Mom, she is the one from Vancouver.)

Elder Packer and Elder Winder in Nottingham, England

Sister Schollars from Vancouver, WA with Elder Packer (who was born when we lived in Vancouver, WA!)
Hey! Random connection with Vancouver WA

Sister Schollars, a sister in my zone is from Vancouver WA. She is from the Skyview ward and lived in the Battle Creek area... I don't know if you know those places or names. (I don't remember living there at all so help me out)
I thought you might know her family so I got her parents names as well: Shawna and Kevin Soria.
Any of this ringing a bell?
Plus she has relatives that I KNOW living in Lindon. They just happen to be Andre and Brian's next door neighbors. Wierd. She has even met Brian before!

-E. J. P.