Feeling Blessed and Grateful to Teach Wonderful People

Dear Family,

 Sister Daun is my new comp and she is fun! She is a really hard worker but she knows how to have fun while she goes and I love that about her!!  I can tell we are going to have fun together but also be able to work really hard and I am very excited about that. We have really hit the ground running. Sister Daun has been out about a year and this is her fourth area.  She has been out in the Arizona boonies for awhile and this is her first time in the big city. She is from Cincinnati, Ohio and was born and raised in the church. Oh and she even brought her own bike- so we be bikin’ everyday fam!!! She likes going to the track, so we go to the track every morning or every other. Oh and yes, she even likes green eggs and ham! 

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My new bike gang!  Me and Sister Daun

Sister Daun’s first real day in the area- Wednesday- we had our first appointment with Marlos. What a way to start a transfer! Marlos is the most prepared person to receive the gospel I have ever met. All throughout the first lesson she would just nod her head- mhmm yes its true. She’s read parts of the Book of Mormon before and says she knows it’s true. She wants to be baptized and has for a long time apparently. She’s always been so busy she never did it but she wants it in her life now! So we set a date for June 18th!!! Sister Daun and I got into the car after the lesson and literally screamed with excitement. We are so stoked but we also feel so blessed and grateful that we get to be the missionaries who teach this wonderful woman! 

We have not had the chance to meet with Yolanda and Gretchen this week which was a total bummer but we are hoping to see them soon. We did have a lesson with our refugee family which went fairly well. One of the guys that we contacted in their house who is now being taught by some elders, Bonith, came to the lesson. We asked Bonith to come because we knew he has a baptismal date set and might be a better translator for us. And he was! We talked about baptism and why we need to be baptized following the example of Jesus Christ. It did go better with Bonith there but this family still isn’t grabbing the concept of priesthood or why they need to be baptized again. As much as I love this family, I am starting to realize that it may take a long process to understand that gospel fully. But we won’t give up until we have tried absolutely everything we can do to help them! The funniest part of the lesson was right as we were leaving. Bonith shook Sister Daun’s hand and says “so are you married? ” And she’s like “uhh no none of the sister missionaries are.”  And he smiles big and is like, “ohhh😏”. lol!!! 

We have been trying to pick out less actives to work with this transfer also. Sister Smith and I did a lot of going out and finding less actives and figuring out where they lived and how interested they are. Sister Daun and I are now trying to start meeting with the ones who could come back to church and would be interested in taking lessons from us to do that. Some of the lessons we have had to do this have gone great this week. Some of them were more bold than others, but because we were able to be bold and loving, they would accept the invitation we extended to them to make efforts to come back to church. Right now, its more about the baby steps. We are going to try and get them reading and praying and coming to small activities like ward volleyball night, meeting and making relationships with other members and then hopefully get them into sacrament meeting. We did visit Kr- again this past Sunday. She is doing really well. The place she is at is a behavioral rehabilitation center. No she isn’t crazy but she had things happen to her and this program helps her deal with that. But she is so sweet, she wrote down her gospel questions she wanted us to answer when we visited and sang hymns with us and then we shared a message. She even handed out a book of Mormon and a pamphlet that we gave her last week to her neighbor. She is really truly trying to follow God and is such a great example of drawing near to Him and relying on Him during tribulations. 

You guys remember Sister Inman?!?! Well guess what? I got to see my MTC comp again! She had a doctors appt in Tucson so her and her comp drove in from the Gila and spent the night with us. We did have a little bit of a party a tad late into the evening… don’t tell Pres,  hehe. It was a lot of fun to catch up with her though and hear about other parts of the mission! 

Well I sent a letter off to Sam for his birthday so he should be getting it sometime soon I hope! Don’t worry buddy, I didn’t forget!!:) Looks like ya had a good Bday. Keep me updated on Brandi’s wedding plans!  Mom, We do see and hear a lot about abuse and addictions out here and I have heard some sad stories. I’m glad you’re getting involved with Carrie’s initiative.  I haven’t read the letter you sent yet but I will later today when I have more time:) and then send you my thoughts. The sister you asked about, Sister Huntington is one of the awesome members of the ward I have gotten close to, you would love her! She helped me make the cards I sent and she always makes sure we are taken care of:)  Well have another great week. I’m sending sunny vibes from AZ your way. 

Love, Sister Packer

Sister Service Day!  (plus 2 Elders)

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A Greenie No More

Dear Fam,

You been working too hard. Don’t break your backs, but the backyard looks awesome. 

Just another dope week in Casas Adobes. Many goodbyes for Sister Smith. And when I say many, I really mean MANY!  She has been here for six transfers which is actually the new record in the mission for how long someone has stayed in one place.  It’s about half of her mission in one area. So she knows everybody really well and it was hard for her to say so many goodbyes!  We got fed so much this week. People wanted to take us out to lunch and stuff before she left! There was one day where we had brunch, lunch and dinner, with members! TOO MUCH FOOD, AHHHH!  We’ve been eating left overs all weekend, lol. 

We had our half-mission conference on Friday and that was pretty fun. Elder Foster from the seventy and his wife came and we got some good training from them and the Passey’s. My favorite talk was probably Sister Foster. She talked a lot about how God has faith in us, sometimes we just don’t have faith in ourselves. But if we have faith in God then we should have faith in us too. We are enough. And even if the only person we convert on our mission is ourselves, it was still a successful mission, it was still worth it.  It was an awesome and uplifting talk. Sometimes you can go into these trainings and just feel so overwhelmed because it seems like you have a lot to work on, but after her talk it was like, “okay, yeah I can do this, just a little at a time.”

It was kind of a long week, as we were all anticipating transfer calls Saturday. And well the news is finally here!  Sister Smith is headed off to the Gila Valley (I totally called it) and I am getting Sister Dawn for my new comp. I have no idea who she is or what she is like but I will find out tomorrow when we transfer! So I will update you on her next week. Gonna be weird saying goodbye to Smith and having someone new!

The greatest part of the week was Sunday. We walked into our chapel and we get called over to meet this nice lady (Ma-) who found our chapel on Mormon.org and wants to learn more about the church and take the missionary lessons. What the what?!?! We tried not to pee our pants we were so excited. So she sat with us through sacrament and she stayed for the next two hours too!! It was CRAZY! And she was so accepting about everything, gospel principles, temples, all that good stuff got brought up and she just took it all in. Wow! Apparently her mom was a convert and then stopped coming to church but she remembered liking the people in the church and so she decided now was a good time for her to look into it. That is our new and exciting prospect for the week! 

Then later after church we went to meet a new less active lady who moved in, K-. She is at this rehab center close by us and isn’t allowed to leave but she can have visitors. Anyway she is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and she is SO determined to get her life right again. We shared a message with her and she asked us to sing a hymn with her and you could just see in her face how happy it made her to feel the spirit. She has been so sad because she can’t come to church and our visit was her little taste of church. She has a goal to go to the temple and she has some habits she has to shake first. We are going to drop off the general conference ensign later this week because she never got to hear the talks and she doesn’t have much to do in there,poor thing. 

Have another good week and do something freaking crazy, love ya. deuces ✌ 

Sister Packer. 

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Sister Wonder Woman
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Sister Ninjormans

Jessica with ward members, Sister Boss and with her son, Ryan Boss.

 

 

Mother’s Day Week

Well I know we all just talked Sunday but I gotta do something on p-day so I figured I might as well email you lol! It was definitely the highlight of my week to talk to my family on Mother’s day and I love you all!!

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So the gist of my week,  investigators are dropping like flies…. Like either we drop them or they drop us.  A-  doesn’t want to live the word of wisdom and he told us that and basically said he would call us if he changed his mind. Sad day. R-, who we haven’t seen in forever, met with us last week and said she didn’t want to do the whole Mormon thing either, but she loves us girls and loves to see us. So we had to tell her we love her  too but we also have to spend time with our investigators who are progressing.  We would try to stop by if we ever have time. That’s a tough situation cause we do love her but we can’t go visit her cause we are on the lord’s time not our own. Okay then M- told us that she has moved out of her moms house (remember she’s only 16) and doesn’t know when she could meet with us again and it could be a long while and would call when she can, etc, etc. So we were dropped once more. And then there is Dr. B. Who also just can’t give up smoking and drinking yet. It’s just sad how much power these addictions hold over people. They are missing out on so much freedom!  And there’s  really nothing we can do about it. So four down.

BUT don’t worry. We still have other people to teach. We did invite our African family to be baptized yesterday. Which was interesting because they were baptized Catholic and didn’t really understand why we asked them to be baptized again. We have been explaining the priesthood to them but things aren’t quite clicking yet. So our next lesson will be on baptism! Our lesson with them ended at 9 and we got up to leave and G-  was like,  “wait my mom made you guys dinner!” Soooo we kinda had to stay cause we didn’t want to be rude and we had to eat another dinner! And it was actually pretty good too! The only weird thing was whatever green plant they chopped up and cooked, tasted a lil funny but not too bad! 

Holla at our Mother’s Day Feast.  Chicken and Waffles are the BOMB!  Yvette is the lady in the hawaiin getup and her mother is sitting next to her, Karmen.

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We also still have Y-  to teach and she is just a sweet lady who wants something good for her family! I Love her. We spent most of Mother’s Day at Yvette’s home. And I am so glad we did. That wonderful woman had no one there to make her day special. Her husband didn’t do anything for her and neither did her children! And Sister Smith told me the same thing happened at Christmas. She got everyone in her family a gift or a card and no one gave her a thing. So we were not about to let that happen on Mother’s Day. We took her some flowers and a card and we cooked chicken and waffles together and had a great time with her! And she loved it! She even had us take some down to her neighbor and had us talk to him about God! She is such a good missionary hahahaha. I have one more week of the transfer left and I will be officially done training. Seriously so stoked. K love ya homies.

Sister Packer

Ward Rummage Sale gone wild with the senior missionaries!

My homies, Ember and Mathias

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Holland in Tucson

My dearest Mommsy and Popsicle, and E’rrybody else,

I don’t even know where to begin for this week. It has just flown by.  Freak how is it May already?!?!  Well I am going to start with Elder Holland because that was the obvious highlight of the week. So I am assuming Sister Passey put the mission picture on Facebook already so you need to go look at it because Sister Smith and I are standing right behind Holland. RIGHT BEHIND HIM!!!  We were holding our breath the whole time I think haha.  One cool thing was at the beginning of the meeting we all got to come in through the same doors and shake Elder Holland’s hand while we told him our name and where we were from. Later in his talk, he told us that he loves to do this so he could have a “mini interview” us as he looks into our eyes. The eyes are the window to the soul.  He said we had a pretty good mission and that he thought we were all great missionaries. Phew!  He talked for awhile about what our mission should mean for us and how it should be something we treasure now and for the rest of our lives. We are involved in the greatest work on the earth:  the salvation of the human race. woooo. And because of this we have a great responsibility on our shoulders that the church has trusted us with. He got a little intense in this part, despite the pressure and weight of this calling, we do not have the right to destroy the trust and image of missionaries. We HAVE to hold ourselves up to those things. He also talked a lot about how our calling is similar to his. Haha he said in some ways we have an apostalic calling as well, the only difference between us is him is that he is an Apostle with an uppercase A and we have a lowercase a. That part was pretty funny. After that he gave a freaking SERMON! Probably the best talk about the Atonement I have ever heard. He came down off the stand, he was writing on the whiteboard, and getting in people’s faces, engaging everyone, it was just great.  What he did was teach us what it means to use the ‘enabling power’ of the atonement. So first he went through what the atonement was. And then we discussed where the power comes from.  And it comes from the Holy Ghost and the Priesthood. Through that power we can use the Atonement. 

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After Holland spoke, Elder Lynn G Robbins of the seventy spoke. And I loved him too. He talked about how we all fought for 100% agency and because of that we have 100% responsibility. So he made this list- the loser list, or the Laman and Lemuel list. This list was things we use instead of being responsible. Like blame, self pity, excuses, denial, lying, loss of hope, etc. And he talked about how we should NEVER EVER go to the list. Even if we are right. even if we get hurt, we must never go to the list because it will never help us. It was an awesome talk about responsibility of our actions. I was a little surprised because he also tied it into marriage and love. I didn’t expect to be learning about those things on a mission ,haha. And he talked a lot about how love is a choice and how we are supposed to love our spouse with the love of Christ, charity. And we read the scripture that describes charity and then he says, “You cannot fall out of love because you cannot fall out of charity and you cannot fall out of kindness. It is a choice. I loved that so much!    Overall, I felt like I learned a lot. And now I have some things to work on!

Our Sunday was another highlight. We FINALLY got investigators to church. That family we are teaching all came! Well except the dad because he had work. And they made it through all three hours! Oh we could have cried, it was such a great moment for us. We haven’t had investigators to church since Mathew and Precious were baptized. And A- came too! He didn’t stay the whole time. He has some social anxiety but he said he really likes sacrament meeting and felt like it was a good thing for him to come to. SWEET!  Okay now to answer your questions. A time I felt the spirit this week was when we went to talk to a potential investigator. I was initially feeling kind of negative about this visit I was like wow I really don’t want to go talk to them right now. But got out of the car and went with my companion to the door and I am so glad I didn’t say anything about not going up to that door because that was exactly where we needed to be! G- is a member and wants to come back to the church now that she has a baby and her husband is also interested in becoming a member because he wants his family to be happy. And I felt the spirit so strong as they told us this after we shared our message about coming unto christ and how it blesses families. It was awesome.  I guess that experience also answers your question about how things fall into place, haha. I think that being a missionary has been a great way to experience the blessings of putting God first. We have to put him and this work above our family and lives back home and we are so cut off from the world it’s a lot easier to put him first. It’s harder for you guys back home! Getting caught up our sports, our music, and our classes and entertainment, and we don’t realize how God is involved in every single part of our lives. Just remember that if it matters to you it matters to God. That doesn’t mean it’s all gonna workout the way you want it to right now but he will have your best interest in mind. So to me putting God first is keeping him in our thoughts in everything we do and in every decision. And that will tell him you trust him and your ready to be taught and blessed.

Elder Jeffrey R Holland- “We must go forward. God expects you to have enough faith, determination, and trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, and keep rejoicing. He expects you not simply to face the future; He expects you to embrace and shape the future—to love it, rejoice in it, and delight in your opportunities.  God is eagerly waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe.”

Pray for excellent wifi this next Sunday.  Love you all, cant wait to see you!  Love, Sister Packer

“Am I turtley enough for the Turtle Club?”

We had an awesome lunch appointment this week, Grandma Judy!!!

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