Letter from March 1, 2016
It’s good to hear everything back home is going well and everyone is staying so busy! DAD i’m so proud of you’re work out week! Eating healthy is so hard here because the members feed us well. Just yesterday alone we got cookies at dinner and milkshakes at the part member family we visited later! AHHHHH! help. hahaha.
So I had my first P-day last week, and it was so much fun! On Pdays our whole zone gets together and we play sports for like three or four hours. It was so fun. Last week we played basketball and this week I think is volleyball! Then Tuesday we had zone conference! It was an awesome day and I learned a lot. We talked about faith and read the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 and substituted the word “substance” with “assurance”. So now we have this formula: assurance+evidence=Faith. The evidence is of things not seen. Then we talked about the Army of Helaman and how they had assurance that if they followed the lord they would be blessed and the evidence was that of their mothers testimony. And so they used that to act. and when they acted in faith they received power. And we can too but we have to act in faith. It was a great first conference!
We have had an interesting week. Wednesday we spent a lot of time getting the fireside planned. It is going to be AWESOME!!! A testimony of Christ from one of the prophets/apostles will be read and then a musical number that goes along with it will be performed. We have asked people in the ward to do the musical numbers and the missionaries (our district) are going to do a number as well. We have been inviting people all week and trying to get less active members interested and and urging members to invite friends! We had a very weird lesson on Wednesday as well.
Ok so we have this recent convert, Yvette, who is such a good little missionary. And she had us come over to teach her mom Carmen and her sister Denise, I think I mentioned them before. So we showed up at the exact same time as Yvette’s daughter, Courtney! Yvette told her that since she had made plans with us, and she didn’t tell her she was coming she will just have to sit there and listen until we are finished. Hahah YES!!! Anyway Courtney is gay and quite the character. We came away from the visit really liking her. She has been through So many hard trials. She actually used to be a member. Somewhere in our lesson (following the Spirit was scary, but I felt my answers should be direct and honest) she must have felt the spirit because she started asking questions. At first they were about women and the priesthood and as we answered those she started asking about how she doesn’t feel like God answers her prayers or is there. And we talked about trials, experience and ultimately agency for a while with her. After she left, Yvette was in tears saying she had never seen her daughter open up like that. WE think she wants to come back but she still has a lot of anger in her.
Thursday was not a good day for Sister Smith. That one thing that you don’t ever want to happen on your mission happened to her. President called to talk to her. Her uncle had just passed away. She was pretty upset that morning. It would be hard not to be home to give comfort to your family… and to get comfort from your family! It’s definitely a time to be with eachother. And I feel helpless at comforting people so I didn’t help. But she is tough and she’s in the right place. We still went to work in the afternoon. She was doing much better by Friday. Thank goodness cause that was a weird day. So Thursday afternoon we didn’t know what to do, everything had been interupted by President’s call and I wanted to give her time. We started going through some lists of former investigators and calling them. Of the few who answered only ONE was willing to meet with us. And we thought, yes, this wasn’t a total sad day today!
Friday night after dinner, we went to meet with this ONE. His name is Andrew. We got to his trailer and had Brother Huntington with us. We just started talking and trying to get to know him better and were about to jump into the lesson when he asked if we knew Elder Rogers. We said no. And he says “oh he’s the one who baptized me.” Our jaws dropped. It was SO AWKWARD. Hahaha he was already a member!!! He is less active and for some reason his records were over in another ward! wow so funny. We got everything fixed up.
Our next stop that night was the lady in the trailer two units down from Andrew named Mary. We didn’t know her, all we knew was that she was a less active and single sister. She was very sweet at first and invited us in to chat. And boy did she chat. She is one of those who had an opinion about EVERYTHING! She told us how there are ten people who control the President…but she didn’t even know what the electoral college was… anyway then she started telling us how some people think she is crazy because she can see dead people. Oddly enough, she actually isn’t the first person who has told me this out here but she is the first to make it sound freakin creepy. Remember the movie The Sixth Sense. Yep the little boy is her, not kidding. She wanted to tell us stories about dead people in her old home and in the one she is in now. She had her home blessed so she wouldn’t get anymore visiters of that nature?! I won’t go into anymore detail cause it became some scary stuff so we had to get a little rude and pushy insisting that it was time for us to leave. But she also believes we have a third eye on our foreheads that helps us to see into the spirit world. (Silence with Crickets chirping in my head) Me and Sister Smith are not eager to go there again soon.
BY far the best thing that happened this week was our lesson with Rose. We stopped by her place Thursday real quick because we had a wrong number for her and come to find out she had already read the first chapter of the Book Of Mormon. Cool! We set up and appointment for Saturday night. So Saturday night we took Yvette with us. Which was a great idea because those two were able to build a real great connection and Yvette went through similar trials Rose faces now such as addictions. The lesson went great although I don’t think Rose really grasped that her current church doesn’t have the authority that ours does to baptize. Right now she feels fine that she has already been baptized there. Anyway, I asked her what some differences she could see with our church from others? She answered that first of all the Book of Mormon. And after we read the scripture in Moroni I invited her to read the BOM and pray to know if everything we taught her was true. She just looked at me and said, “well I already know its true. You guys wouldn’t lie to me!” OH wow! She is just making our job so easy! It was amazing. She said “I can just see the truth in your eyes. And when you teach something it just makes me want to learn more.” And so she said she would continue to read the BOM this week and we are going to continue teaching her. I seriously love her, she is such a sweet heart. But she has a lot of struggles ahead so keep her in your prayers please.
Okay so your questioning why I sent pictures of us at the Mesa and Gilbert temple last week! So last Saturday was an Awesome day for me and sister Smith because we got the opportunity to go to these temples we would normally not be able to because they’re out of the mission. The Anzak family is a part member family. Lanie was going to do baptisms for the dead and we took her husband and two sons around the Mesa visitor center. It was awesome and we really felt the spirit. I don’t know that her husband is any closer to becoming a member but that’s okay, baby steps. And on the way back we stopped by the Gilbert Temple. We did have to get special permission from President for this trip because it was outside of our mission boundaries but he is pretty chill and because we had a chance to teach investigators he said GO!
This week was also Rodeo week. In Tucson everyone gets two days out of school for Rodeo weekend. Its a big deal sort of. Kind of like how Shelley gets time out for spuds, these people get Rodeo weekend!
So yes I do feel like things are clicking a little bit more as far as teaching goes but I do get pretty nervous before lessons. Especially since I haven’t had a lot of lessons yet. We don’t have a lot of investigators right now and so I don’t teach a lesson every day. I try not to get nervous but I do. Most of the time the nerves go away after we have started the lesson and the spirit comes in. SO proud of all of you at home and your accomplishments. Glad to hear Mia is protecting my special chair;) You will have to send pictures of what you did on Leap day! and thank you for the story about Sister Watkin’s talk on Sunday. Grandpa really was such a good example to a lot of people. I have been thinking about him a lot this week actually.
So many people here are going through hard trials. I feel so blessed. I have a family who loves me and we are sealed together. And you love me so much you were able to let go of me to go on a mission. Some people in these low income areas struggle to pay their bills. All these single less-active sisters have huge medical bills and they can’t afford to go to a doctor sometimes and they live in some awful places. It’s sad to see. And I wish I could help them more. That’s one reason I was thinking of Grandpa a lot. I was thinking what would he do? He is the greatest example of having Christlike love. He always found a way. So I really want to make it a goal to serve others the way he did. And then try to have the faith that by doing so we will have more success in finding wonderful people ready for the blessings of the gospel in our area.
Have a good week fam, I love you.
I love you all! Sister Packer
P.S. Mom, That is so cool that you asked Coach Scott is coming to help you with rotations and drills with the team. Also that really touches my heart what he said – seriously such a sweet man, I LOVE HIM! please tell him hi for me and tell the girls to listen to him because he knows so much about the game of volleyball!