WHASSSSSUP! Wow, okay first off, way to go Sam in breaking that Jr. High breast stroke swim record and getting your braces off! Mia and Benson you better work your tails off at baseball and volleyball and keep up with that kid, lol.
This is the Gilbert Temple
Well I am doing great and I love Arizona. It’s sunny and warm ALL the time. I don’t miss the snow at all:) And yes I have met Brother and Sister Foote, they thought it was so funny I knew the the Boring’s. And they are the sweetest people! The ward is pretty awesome, they are nice and welcoming. So we get fed every night! We are spoiled and have way too much food! The church is pretty strong out here but it also depends on the area. Half our ward is in the southern part of our area in a lot of trailer parks and creepy looking apartments. It’s kinda ghetto. The other half is in the northern part and pretty nice! A lot of snowbirds up there. So our ward actually has a very high less-active rate. I was surprised on Sunday at how empty the chapel was compared to our home ward. A lot of the less active people come from the poorer part of our area. We visit a lot of them throughout the week. And we have worked with the ward to try and coordinate activities that they would feel comfortable coming to. So at the beginning of the year they decided to start doing a monthly ward activity. This month it was a chili cookoff and that was on Friday. Somehow me and Sister Smith got picked as judges. We had to try 26 different kinds of chili- and they were not all good! One of them made Sister Smith sick! But it was still fun. I’m pretty much a pro on chili now!
A lot of what we have done this week is finding. We have five investigators but only two of them are progressing. And those two come from a family who recently just became reactivated and they are 8 and 9 so we are teaching them so they can be baptized. I actually got to invite them to be baptized on my second day out here. It wasn’t scary though because they are kids and pretty nice. We have an investigator who is married to a recent convert and he has been investigating ever since she was. So a long time. He just doesn’t want to commit to anything yet. This couple’s mother is also an investigator but she has dementia and doesn’t remember anything we teach her, but she likes to feel the spirit.
The Sayee Family and us at the Mesa Temple
So we tried to contact a lot of referrals this week and visited less actives as well. We didn’t spend much time talking to people on those days because sometimes people weren’t home or they just didn’t want to talk to us. Other less actives love talking to us and they could seriously sit there and talk to you for hours! We are just their best buds, its kinda funny. But then when we ask if they want to come to church they always find some excuse as to why they can’t. A lot of them can’t come because of health issues that they have a hard time taking care of because they don’t have the money to pay for a doctor visit at the moment. It’s really sad.
One of these days we were out knocking on our referrals doors. We had gone the whole day without talking to anyone and then finally we knocked on Rose’s door. She was home! we were so excited!! I think Rose could become an investigator. She recently lost one of her close friends who was a member and she is really trying to overcome her addiction to smoking but she is struggling. She does believe in God and in Jesus Christ. And I got to give out my first Book Of Mormon to her! and she even said she would read it, hopefully she actually does. A lot of the people we visit have problems with addictions. Sister Smith says its one of the biggest issues out here. And so we often leave houses smelling like smoke, BUT showers do wonders! haha.
My first Sunday was great. Like I said, I was surprised by the small amount in the chapel but the people are awesome. We had the two kids we are teaching there with their family (Mathew and Precious Sayee) and John and Carmen were also there. Literally everyone asks me if I’m related to Boyd K Packer. And I know I am very distantly but I don’t know how so I have been making things up like “oh yeah he’s my grandpa’s cousin’ and I even told one lady I was his granddaughter lol. Don’t worry I eventually told her I wasn’t, but her face was priceless. The best part was relief society. The sister giving the lesson had brought her toddler in because he had a cough and she didn’t want other kids to get sick. And in the middle of her lesson she picked him up. He was trying to touch the chalkboard and then he suddenly stops and slaps one hand on his mom’s face and says “OH MOMMMY, LOOK! BOOGERS!” yes he slapped his boogers on her face. It was so funny. After church, we visited a couple less actives and were able to talk to a lady named Arlene who used to be an investigator until she went to rehab. But she just got out so hopefully we can start teaching her again.
Well I am doing really good. My trainer is awesome. We have a lot in common (and she likes to cook for me:) She has been out ten months. She is a great missionary. One of her strengths is how genuine she is. She becomes friends with everyone first before we go into any sort of gospel doctrine. And she is great with less actives because she used to be one of those. Some missionaries became her friends and thats how she ended up coming back to the church and deciding to go a mission. And no dad, she does not know Uncle Andy. We do get a car. It’s a 2014 silver corolla. We have come up with some GREAT ideas together. One of them is a musical fireside. Like the one we had back home a year ago. Its gonna be a nice fireside that members can bring friends to and missionaries can bring investigators too. I’m so stoked for this and we just got permission from the bishop so we are getting the ball rolling! I brought some music with me from home and we are coordinating with the ward choir director. It is going to be centered on Christ. We might base it off the apostle’s testimonies of Christ or maybe the timeline of his life. We are meeting with her tonight to decide.
Miss you guys! love Sister Packer
To answer questions: We have a gym at the apartment complex, not a nice one but it works okay. I heard from Jace, Bai and Alexis this week. Mom, don’t squeal – I CAN email back and forth with you on pday while I’m writing, woohoo. Also I can only email on Pday, but you can send me an email anytime and I can read it that day, so ya go ahead ANY day I will be checking my email throughout the week.