It is the Wounded Christ Who Leads Us

Dear Family,                                                                                                  Sept. 19, 2016

It has been a strangely slow week! We didn’t teach a ton of lessons but we did teach a few important ones!  It’s been different.  My companion for the week hasn’t even been through the MTC so I was also teaching her how to teach.  But we had fun!  And I think she feels a lot more comfortable about going on her mission now too.  She will be getting her call in about a month!  It’s been funny because she takes everything I say very literally and wants to soak in everything. So I have had a lot of fun with that.  The question of who will be joining me for next transfer? Drum roll…… I have no idea! Hahaha. Really though.  I get to train again so I won’t find out till I go to the meeting tomorrow morning!  Back to our week and lessons – Elizabeth was one of those important ones.  We had her meet us at the church and we talked about some questions she had from reading the Book of Mormon and we took her on a church tour.  It was an awesome lesson!  And we ended in the chapel and talked about how sacred the sacrament is to us.  She offered a prayer there in the chapel and it was a very spiritual experience.  She is still planning on a baptism in October and it sounds like her mom has been supportive of her decision!  She also said she would come to church.

We had an interesting lesson with a less active young man. He is our age – 19! He was at one point considering a mission but then he stopped going to church.  His friend who is in our ward, left on a mission, broke some bones and had to come home for surgery.  This friend set up this appointment with us in hopes that we could help this young man come back to church and hopefully onto a mission.  It was fun to meet with people our own age.  Automatically gives us something to relate to!  We could tell he has a testimony.  He maybe just forgot about it for a little bit.  

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One of our highlights this week was our temple trip. FINALLY.  I love the temple.  And I feel so so lucky because I got to go last week with the northwest zone and then AGAIN this week with my own zone.  Extra blessings for Sister Packer!  Joseph Heckert’s baptism was Saturday.  He is an adorable twelve year old who was adopted by the Heckert family.  He was baptized, confirmed, and received the Aaronic priesthood all in one weekend!  President called us up yesterday because Sister Gross is finishing up her mini mission.  I was to take her home after our dinner appointment Sunday night.  I got to surprise the Casas Adobes sisters by showing up on their doorstep once again!

 I was reading in Mormon this week.  And in chapter 8, Moroni takes over the record from his father and is telling everyone that he is all alone but is fulfilling the commandment his father had given him.  This week I have felt that to a certain degree,  like “SAME MORONI, SAME!”  Your study in the book of mormon reminded me of a quote that I found particularly helpful this week  “It is the wounded Christ who leads us through our moments of difficulty.  It is he who bears us up when we need more air to breath or direction to follow or eve more courage to continue.”  He is with us, He is always available.

Love you all, Sister Packer

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The Lone Ranger

From September 12, 2016

Once upon a time, on a hot September day in Arizona, Sister Packer wandered through the desert all alone… For a full hour and a half.  Just kidding, but really though.  Let me back up and tell you the whole story.

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did not share the whole story last week.  Last Sunday night Sister Waldron and I spoke to President.  She has been having a big struggle with some health issues and is going to have to return home.  After speaking with President again Monday night we found out it would be in two days that she would be getting on a plane.  She served incredibly for the 5 weeks she was here.  I’m so proud of her and I know this is what’s best for her.  So it all happened very quickly.  Wednesday we had all of her stuff packed up and we drove up to Tucson to the mission home. Sis Waldron’s plane left early Thursday morning… and then I was companionless.😟

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Luckily, I got adopted by the Casas Adobes Sisters.  I stayed with them in their area because there aren’t any other sister missionaries in my area of Sierra Vista.  I had a great time going back to my old area and with one of my old companions, Sister Daun.  I got to have some really fun experiences.  Thursday was the northwest zone’s temple trip so I got to go to the temple!  We got to go teach some of their investigators in a halfway house, and may have watched a sketchy deal go down right in the middle of the lesson. Lol, I miss you ghetto Tucson!!  What’s better than that?!  I got to go to a lesson with them to teach the Anzak family too.  I guess after Laneye went through the temple about a month ago, Mike decided he wanted to take the missionary lessons.  He now has a baptismal date and I’ve never seen those two more happy.  They are excited to be sealed together as a family!  And then to top it all off, Saturday was the baptism of John Lorch, Yvette’s husband, WOW!  And I’m not sure if you remember me writing about this one.  It is crazy to think just six months ago we were taking his wine!  And thinking he may never get baptized.  But he has made an incredible journey.  And since that night he has been sober and found the strength to overcome his addiction to smoking.  It was an awesome experience to see the progress he has made and be there for his special day.  The time in Tucson was definitely well spent.  I do miss that area and it brought back a lot of fun memories.  I got to see some of my favorite people.  Shout out to the Huntingtons and Christensen’s for once again feeding me amazing food.  And I got to go to lunch with Sister Schwartz and Tammy again! Love my bffs in the Casas ward. 💜 

New friends in the Northwest Zone!

Anyway, President called me Friday and said he had found someone to be my companion and keep Sierra Vista going with sister missionaries!  We still have one more week in this transfer. I was able to return to my own area Saturday afternoon and pick up Miss Christina Gross.  She is a recent convert of about a year in one of the wards in Sierra vista. She is going to be my companion for a week! Haha, it’s like a little mini mission for her. And then at transfers I will get an actual missionary companion.

 So this brings me back to the beginning of my email.  Saturday I was in Tucson and she was in Sierra Vista. I had to get back down to Sierra Vista and President said “yeah just drive down and pick her up.”  I said, “By myself, President?”  And he said, “no you will have the Holy Ghost as your companion!” Hahaha. So it was the weirdest thing ever but I was ALONE.  I drove ALONE. To Sierra vista.  Maybe that doesn’t sound too weird to all of you out there but for missionaries who are with someone literally 24/7, that’s really weird!  But no worries I survived. 😎

Lunch with Casas Adobe crew – Tammy, Kathy, Sis. Daun and Sis. Cook.  Then me driving back to Sierra Vista with my salad as a temporary companion.

Me with my “mini mission” companion, Christina Gross

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 The week was kinda crazy but went by really fast!  Lots of ups and downs.  I can’t write in words how I miss Sister Waldron, please keep her in your prayers!  Love you all and thanks for the support.

Sis Packer

My Zone

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The Story of the Dream Team Continues

From Sept. 5, 2016

Two missionaries. One week. Three new investigators. Two baptism dates. One baptism. Three hundred thousand bunnies.  A few weeks ago Sister Waldron and I had talked to these people who had met with missionaries before and said they would be interested in having us share our message.  They had told us to come back but when we did they were never home.  Well this week we finally got in touch with them again!  Haha, we knocked on the door and the husband, Max, opens it and says,  “OH Mormons! Come on in guys!”  Wait really?? They were excited to have us there, they even offered us wine TWICE, haha. No thanks.  We started to talk about God’s plan for us and wow, they got deep.  Max knew his bible from cover to cover.  He didn’t necessarily want to bible bash, he just politely disagreed with with everything.  Honestly, some of their questions I felt like I didn’t know how to answer. They asked us to come back on Sunday, so when we did I brought a member from our Sierra Vista ward that I really admire.  Brother Drake teaches gospel principles right now and he is explains things in such a sensible way.   We had some good discussion with Max and Mindy.  But ultimately they couldn’t  agree with the way we view God and a few other points of doctrine. It’s easy to promise that reading the Book or Mormon and praying sincerely for your heart’s answers will work and there WILL be an answer.  But first you have to believe in God and that He will answer a human’s prayer.  They don’t… yet.  I hope we will be able to teach better that the fundamental doctrine of God and how we can communicate with him and that He can help us more than we realize.  It did make me a little sad because I want them to have the gospel.  He was willing to read the book but wasn’t sure he would pray about it.  How sad?!  Sometimes we felt like he was trying to convert us to his ways.  He did say one of us is right and one day  if it turns out we were right, well whatever, it’s all cool.  Frustrating.   

So in one week we found two new investigators and then had to drop them.  But we did find another new investigator.  We went to teach Elizabeth a lesson and her friend Alex decided she wanted to start sitting in on the lessons too!  They both read some of the Book of Mormon. They didn’t read like a chapter or anything but they randomly flipped through it and would read scriptures they found. We got to teach them the plan of salvation and talk about the good and bad decisions we make here on earth.  We brought a girl from the ward who is our age and was baptized also at 14 and she told them about her experience. We invited them to be baptized and they accepted a date!!!  We still have to tell them they need permission from their parents, so hopefully it’ll all come.  And oh I almost forgot! Angel’s baptism was Saturday!!!  Another successful jumpsuit jam.  It was awesome to see her make this step!  Starting to wonder though- what is it with us teaching fourteen year old girls?! Hahaha.  

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Also, not only did I once upon a time deal with a crazy lady who had 90 cats but I have now eaten dinner at a crazy bunny lady’s house too!  LOL – Literally every  shelf in her house (and there were many) was covered with bunny decor.  My chair for dinner was right in between two display cabinets both stocked with random bunny figurines. They were watching me… creepiest thing.  She only has ten actual bunnies but every space of her house has to have something to do with bunnies on it. 😳  

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BUNNIES!

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Somehow we are still teaching Jim.  He expressed how he feels the Spirit in us and the people at church and how he wants it so badly but he just cannot get over the origins of the church. Aka the Joseph Smith story has some holes to him. Once again- READ THE BOOK OF MORMON!  We told him why keeping the commitments we give him are so important. It’s so you can know the truth. He first committed to keep commitments haha. Then he committed to read one chapter from the Book of Mormon every day this week and to pray about it.  The hardest part about missionary work is that it’s all up to the individuals. We can’t control if they read or if they don’t. So it’s ultimately up to them and how much they want the gospel and the truth in their lives.  Agency has definitely been a theme for the week! Sometimes it’s annoying other times we love it. We have 100% agency which in turn means we have 100% responsibility. We can’t make a person choose a certain ways and they can’t do that to us. But we all have to deal with the consequences of our actions and sometimes the consequences of other’s actions.  I am so thankful that I have the Saviors atonement to cover all of that.  And I know he is also there to be with me and hold my hand through the consequences as well.  

 Grateful for all of you, your prayers, and emails. LOVE YOU!

Sister Packer

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Excited About the Gospel

Letter from August 29th, 2016

Dear Family,

Hey hey what’s good? I can tell you what’s good in Arizona,  Jacob got baptized!!!! It was most definitely  the highlight of our week.  I’ve never met an eleven year old so engaged and excited about the gospel. It’s cool! His whole family came to support him! And Debbie (mom) said she couldn’t stop crying. She loved the service and so did his brothers and sisters!  It was nice to get to know the rest of his family more and we invited them all to join us for Jacob’s new member lessons!  Crossing our fingers they will sit in.  We did our  ‘jumpsuit jam’ with him before the baptism to get him all pumped up.  It’s a cute little dance we do with investigators while they are in the jumpsuit and after we take pictures. Haha, he thought we were a little crazy but it’s a fun tradition.  His Sunday school teacher, Brother Finck, baptized him and another one of his teachers confirmed him.  Jacob was glowing the whole day and his confirmation the next day in sacrament meeting was beautiful.  We wrote it down for him so he could always have the blessing with him and show it to the rest of his family.  That kid is going to serve a mission.  He is already talking about it and about how excited he is to get the priesthood!  We love him!

Sister Waldron also got to see her first tarantula this week!  And this time the hairy dude was just chilling on our wall by the bathroom!  Not sure how it got in… It seems too big to fit through any cracks but somehow…there is was.  She totally freaked out it was so funny. And luckily we got Brother Bingham to come up and get it off the wall.  I can look at it and nudge them into a box but there was no way I would touch a wild one.  I’ve heard their bites hurt like crazy!

So to answer your questions about our service on the ranch, we actually found it through the website Justserve.org.  We are asked to aim for ten service hours a week.  So we volunteer there every Tuesday morning for a few hours.  The ranch is a horse rescue that is run completely by volunteers.  They have 51 horses right now.  And then they also have the cows. So we just do whatever work they have for us. Grooming, feeding, poopy duty, cleaning out sheds or bridles, and fixing fences.  We all love it!  And we love the horses!  It’s been fun to interact with the other volunteers too.  A lot of people don’t know much about LDS missionaries!  Service opens a lot of doors and helps us meet more people.  Sister Waldron and I also fill our service hours by volunteering at the food bank, working on post, and whatever else comes up during the week!  We have gotten some interesting compliments this week.  Elder Phippen, one of the senior missionaries, told us at zone conference that we were some of the most laid back missionaries he had ever seen and then just laughed at us when we asked if that was good or bad?!  Then Sister Falcon told us we were weird…but gung ho. Hmmm, compliment right?! Haha.   The Falcons are awesome. They have kind of adopted us as grandkids!  When ever we come over to teach them we never leave without some sort of food in our hands. They are such a fun couple to work with. They are returning  to church and working towards the temple!  

I got to speak in sacrament meeting. Again. Different ward this time though.  We both were asked to speak on missionary work.  The youth speaker and Sister Waldron took up enough time that I only had to talk for about five minutes, maybe less!  I promise I did prepare a talk but I think I used maybe three line from it!  By the way Mom- I totally used “cookie Friday” as an analogy for sharing the gospel and talked about how we have the cookies of eternal life and we need to share them with all our friends. What a great recipe we have! I did find a cool scripture while preparing and shared it as well.  The prophet Ezekiel prophesied, “Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?” (Ezek. 34:2.) we are the shepherds.  And we can ask ourselves- Do I as an active member of the Church stay so busy feeding myself in my Church classes, meetings, and activities that I am ignoring the rest of the flock?  So there is my plug on missionary work for the week😜  We also had to talk for about ten minutes at ward standards night.  We made the mistake of asking the Bishop if there was anything we could do for him Friday night at dinner. Just kidding,  we love doing stuff like that. We talked about modesty!  I actually appreciate modesty a lot more on my mission than I did before as a youth. So it was a good topic for us.

You asked about personal scripture study as a missionary.  It is one of my most favorite parts of the day!  I love it. One thing that helps with my study is as I read from my Book of Mormon,  I have my iPad open to Gospel Library and I have the Institute Study Manual pulled up.  It gives a lot of insight!  Try it out!

Here’s to another good week!  Love you all!  Sister Packer

Finding water in the dessert.

These roads are why we drive “Teancum” the mission truck!

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Jacob’s baptism

Moving our friends to greener pastures.  Sister Waldron, Elder Deyarmond, Elder Potter, Elder Jorgensen, Elder Jordan and me

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More furry friends, yuck!

Last week at opening ceremonies of Zone Olympics!

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