Letter from April 25, 2016
Dear Friends and Family,
It has been one of the longest weeks. EVER. Not because of anything bad really, just some long situations and also the anticipation of Elder Holland coming.
So do you remember H- & M-? They were two homeless people we met at the park about a month ago. Well we got a call from H- this week, and lets just say this was the second reason it was a long week. She was kicked out of M-‘s place, the boyfriend, and had literally no one else to call so she called us. Her parents are in jail, and her younger siblings are in foster care so she really has no one. We spent a lot of time with her Wednesday afternoon helping her figure out a place to go for the night. And then we were with her again Thursday morning. Thursday morning we got the Brinkerhoff’s to take her over to the employment center so she can try and get a job and start to be independent. And after that pretty sure she ended up getting a hold of a friend where she is going to stay until she finds her own apartment. Man it was stressful trying to help her! We have limits as missionaries and we can only do so much. We can’t be social workers for people, so that was another challenge with the situation. Trying to figure out what help we can give. Its hard to not do all we could, because that’s our first instinct. As missionaries, we are just supposed to uplift them, give them spiritual strength and point them in the direction of good shelters or the employment center.
One thing I read in Elder Holland’s talk, ‘The Cost and Blessing of Discipleship’ was this- “In addition to teaching, encouraging, and cheering people on (that is the pleasant part of discipleship), from time to time these same messengers are called upon to worry, to warn and sometimes just to weep.” It really stuck out to me because I felt like that’s all we could do with H-. Encourage her, but also worry for her and weep with her. Well, we didn’t literally weep, but she sure did. And she needed a shoulder to cry on. Before we parted ways with her we gave her a Book of Mormon with our favorite verses highlighted that could help her get through rough times. We also left a note in the front and a poem called The Touch of The Masters Hand. We haven’t heard from her since Thursday so things must be going okay. In the end, I felt like we were able to fulfill our purpose of bringing her closer to Christ as well as pointing her towards the people who could help her temporally.
Our district meeting this week was all about preparing to receive an apostle. We have been studying his talks and looking at the way he teaches and how he uses scriptures. Its been really cool. And we have also been trying as a mission to follow the morning schedule to the tee for the month of April to help us prepare to receive him. That might sound weird, like how can the morning schedule help? Well I think it has to do with obedience. And the quality of our morning studies. It has been So hard to do this month. Discussing it as a district we found out we weren’t the only ones struggling with it. It seems that as soon as we received the challenge, everyone’s mornings suddenly became that much harder. Almost impossibly hard! What the?! But it has helped a lot too. When we get up and have a good workout it really wakes us up for morning studies. And I feel like I have been able to have some really good personal studies that have helped me feel more prepared for lessons throughout the day. Another thing we have been doing to prepare is to just pray for specific revelation. And pray that our hearts will be open to receive it.
Speaking of revelation. This week Sister Smith and I were able to act on a couple promptings that we didn’t really recognize as promptings at first.
1st, We went to meet with our African family ( I apologize they all have a different last name so we don’t know what to call them) on Friday night. We got there about the same time the mom got home from work and we could tell she was so exhausted. We knew our plan to talk about Joseph Smith probably wouldn’t go very far or be very well understood. So we randomly decided to show the kids the “I am a Child of God” mormon message. They absolutely loved it. We ended up teaching them the whole song, and probably sang it ten times that night! Then we were also able to tie in the principles of family prayer and scripture study with the song. We taught them how to say prayers. It was so cute because after we taught them how, using the hamburger analogy, they all wanted to try saying a prayer. It was a great lesson and we have never had those kids so involved and at our attention!
Another small thought we followed was to go visit a woman in our ward, H-. She is less active member and had expressed a desire to come back to church but never actually came. We had about forty minutes before dinner and were on our way up north when we decided to make a quick u-turn and go visit her. And we chatted for a bit and then her sister who just moved in with her came home. We shared a short message about “Come What may and Love it” and the sister began to cry. She said it was exactly what she needed to hear right then because of what she was going through. She even said that she and H- would come to church Sunday.
Those two lessons just really got us amped up to follow any prompting we got. This all happened Friday. Also on friday we stopped by A-‘s house to see how he was doing and make sure he still wanted to come to church, which he said he was planning on it.
Saturday night rolled around and we were pretty excited. We had A- a ride to church and we found M- a ride to church and we were waiting to hear if our african family was going to come.
Of course despite some of these great lessons things don’t turn out like an Ensign magazine article! None of them came to church on Sunday. Everybody cancelled, or something came up. BUT… Suddenly… There was a guy who came walking in the doors looking for a church. ???? what the what???? so we were like yeah come on in! Haha the funny part is that after the opening prayer this guy leans over and he says, “I’m in the wrong church.” He stayed for the whole meeting but when it was over he wanted to go find the one he had been originally looking for. So we didn’t get a new investigator but we still had a non member at church, hahaha!
So Mia, concerning the new hamster, I am going to have to say, I think I like the name Ducky the best. But I am also going to say, I hope that hamster is gone by the time I get home… and also the smell of it is gone by the time I get home… can you make sure that happens Dad? I know I can count on you to agree with me on that one:) Hope Mia had a good birthday and that everyone is doing well. Congrats to Benny for finally getting that Eagle award! Also, Sam how do you take care of your shin splints?! Because I am getting them AGAIN. And I don’t want to stop running because I just started again. And seriously I can’t stop or I start to gain weight cause they feed me so much! So I need to know what to do for shin splints!!!
Special Newscast: Happy birthday and earth day to Mia!
Oh also fun news! I met Elder Judy! The one you guys told me to look out for! He came and played basketball and volleyball with our zone last Pday. Also Do you guys know a David Packer? His mom is Deanne Packer and her parents were Dean and Dotty Packer. Met him this week as well and he is related like 2nd or 3rd cousins. He actually has been up to Idaho a few times and even spent like two or three weeks with Aunt Margaret and her kids! Small world right?
Alright, love you all, Sister Packer out, peace✌