Repentance and Investigator-itos

Letter from October 10, 2016

Hi Fam,

Tres investigatoritos.  That’s my spanish for three investigators.  NEW INVESTIGATORS! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Yesssss.  So we met with the Hammond family on Tuesday night. Brother Hammond is a member but wife and two girls are not. So they feel like it would be a good idea for the girls to know where he came from (UTAH) and what his religion was/is. His wife Darla told us she had been to some of our services in the past and she didn’t like them because the songs were depressing.  I think she is used to “praise Jesus hallelujah” music and we on the reverent side of things.  Maybe we can resolve that concern, haha.  Then the other night we met with… KEITH and Keith’s daughter Camille.  Keith is literally the funniest guy ever and a true homie.  One day he is going to make me my dream car, we have already discussed it.  He is divorced and raised his four kids by himself.  Anyway, we had an awesome talk about family and the importance of gospel principles within the family with them. And then we also talked about God and prayer.  Camille has never said a prayer before.  Ever.  She’s not even sure somebody is up there.  We taught her how to pray and while she wouldn’t pray right there with us, she said she was going to this week. Very cool. And so that is how we have three new investigators and it is CRAZY!  We are pretty stoked about it.

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Ok so from the pictures I might look like I got a bit abused,  we did service and were cutting and moving wire fence and I have scratches all up my arms and hands…  To go along with the beautiful scratches I have a wonderful sunburn line.  I had a head band on my head too so I have a line across my forehead.  Awesome!  Somehow we have survived the week.  I don’t know if I have talked about the Perkin’s before or not.  But they are a cool couple we are teaching the temple prep lessons too.  Brother Perkins is deaf because of a tumor in his brain and Sister Perkins used to be deaf but she got a cochlear implant so she can hear most now.  It’s been pretty fun to teach them.  We use a white board, a flip book and our iPads.  And we now have an elder in the area who just came from the ASL branch in Tucson so he has started coming to help us too and it’s been a lot of fun to see Bother Perkins learn sign language!  He gets so excited to learn a new way to communicate.  

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So Wednesday, we had zone meeting.  And guess what those zone leaders made me do? A training. Ahhhhhh.  I had to give a training on how to teach repentance.  Maybe they felt like I needed to repent so they had me teach it, Jk.  First time doing one by myself and I was so nervous.  But I didn’t pass out or teach false doctrine (as far as I know).  I’m actually glad for the opportunity because I really got to study repentance, how it ties in perfectly with the atonement and how it helps convert people.  Some of the cool things I found interesting in my studies was that we are looking for a change of heart before the Lord.  We can change our behavior but our hearts cannot be changed without the atonement.  There is this quote from Elder Oaks- “We must also be changed from a morally weak person who has sinned into a strong person with the strength to resist sin and the spiritual stature to dwell in the presence of God.”  Repentance is the change necessary to become more like our Heavenly Father and leads us to purification and sanctification.  My favorite scripture I found was Helaman 12:24 and it talks about how repentance can restore us to grace.  And as we continually follow a pattern of daily repentance we become stronger and stronger which brings us a true change of heart and true repentance.  Repentance has come to mean a lot to me.  But more because of my Savior and what He did for me.  He saves me from earthly sorrow.  From feeling like I have literally no hope and should just give up.  When we feel that way, like we just can’t keep going, we can remember that he kept going.  So even though our strength is spent, His isn’t.  Godly sorrow is having hope that even though we have messed up- and will continue to mess up- we can repent and become better.  We can be forgiven, we can do all we can and we can be restored to his grace.  Repentance is a happy and hopeful doctrine, and we have it because of Jesus Christ!  He  brings me so much hope!  Okay I’ll be done with my spill.

Love, Sister Packer

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Just Believe

Letter from October 3, 2016

Hi Everyone,

Last Sunday was Fast Sunday and Sister Ray and I fasted for new investigators to teach. Since Monday and Tuesday past, we still hadn’t found anything.  Then Wednesday night the elders called us and gave us the number for a man who was at one point a member of the church but was excommunicated about six years ago. He called them because he wants to come back!  We went out and met with him.  Haha his favorite songs to rock out to are from the EFY 2001 album!   He was definitely an answer to our prayers.  He has a rough road ahead of him but we think he is going to make it and we are excited to start working with him.  And hopefully his wife too!  THEN on Friday at dinner we ate with a member and her parents.  Turns out her parents aren’t members.  We shared the first lesson as our dinner message and invited her mother to read the Book of Mormon.  She said she was still Catholic but that she would read it.  And we were able to set up a time to come back and meet with her!  Thank you Heavenly Father.

Update on Jim.  He came to the Saturday morning session of conference and he really seemed to enjoy it. He left on vacation yesterday and won’t be back until next Sunday.  But he did say he was taking his Book of Mormon with him so he could read and ponder while he sat on the beaches of Mexico. Lol sounds great.

We met with a lot of inactive people this week.  One lives way out in the boonies of Hereford and we seriously debated not driving all the way out there.  But he has been on our list and we decided to just go.  He has a dope goatee, and he has been thinking about coming back to church.  Weird how God puts us right where we need to be, huh?  He invited us to come back next Saturday when his two daughters will be home.  We were really STOKED; still are actually.

Sister Ray and I throughly enjoyed spiritual Christmas this weekend – Conference.  Every session was a good session!  One of my favorite talks was by Elder Russel M. Nelson about Joy.  I couldn’t even take notes because I wouldn’t have been able to keep up with him. Every word was gold.  I loved how he talked about going day by day and finding joy as we endure, rather than just trying to attain joy.  It’s a process.  I also liked how he emphasized that joy isn’t found through the philosophies of men.   Another talked I LOVED was by Elder Bednar.  I liked how he talked about not just knowing Christ but believing in Him, personally.  I think it is easy to talk about him and what he did.  We do it everyday out here but we also have to believe that it all applies to us too.  We can’t just know all the answers, we have to believe that what he promises can work for us individually.  We can know about the atonement and know it is true, but that doesn’t mean we believe it will work for us.  How it works is through us believing it will work and that we will receive his assurances and promises.  Also the talk about putting things into gear was really good.  I felt that there was an overall theme to joy in the doctrine of Christ. Pretty cool cause that is literally our purpose as missionaries. We gotta live it.  They also emphasized that His doctrine is the ONLY WAY back to our Heavenly Father.  And that’s not a scary doctrine but a hopeful one.  In the words of my one and only G-eazy – “my future is bright and my view is clear. Imma do it- imma get it dear, there is no way I could lose this year. Just believe, just believe.” Mmm Hmmm!  Pretty sure he was talking about the doctrine of Christ right…?  It gives us a bright future and a clear view!  And if we just believe in Him we can do it and accomplish all we need to.

Okay so a little bit more about Sister Ray.  She did grow up a member of the church and she is planning on going back to BYU when she goes home.  I appreciate so much about her.  Her sense of humor and her patience in me is awesome.  She is a super chill girl and I really love her!  

Have a good week, Love Sister Packer!

Pday with the District

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Everything is Purple Swag

Letter from September 26, 2016

Dear Family,         

Okay first I will tell you about my new companion!  I am training again.  Sis Ray is from the Los Angeles area.  She is 20 years old and went to two years of college at BYUI and BYU Provo before coming out.  Most importantly, I feel like we get along really well. We have a lot in common.  She told me of her love for A$AP Rocky and the Red Sox and I said “Sis Ray, President is INSPIRED.” She obviously has good taste.  This transfer is going to be so dope.  We already found matching ugly sweaters and socks to wear together!  How much better could it get?!

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Tuesday I picked her up at the transfer site and we were able to find a ride back to our car which was parked in Benson. Then we headed off to the wonderful land of Sierra Vista.  The most exciting part of the day was explaining the army blimp to her.  I told her the aliens had landed in Sierra Vista first to watch. When she didn’t believe that, I told her someone tried to make a giant, white, flying goldfish model.  Truth- it’s the army’s blimp that they put in the sky everyday and it runs surveillance…boarder control.

Our first lesson was with Branden!  Wow, it was a powerful first lesson for Sister Ray!  We taught him the plan of salvation.  He knew less than we thought he did.  We asked him if he read the Book of Moron. He said that he reads every day and is almost to 2 Nephi.  We asked him if he is praying and he said,  “oh yes, I’m trying to.”  What the???  YAY BRANDEN.  Everyone should keep commitments like this all-star.  At the end of the lesson we invited him to say the closing prayer and specifically ask God for an answer on whether the Book of Mormon is true or not.  So of course he said yes!  And in the middle of his prayer he got all choked up and he finished and expressed that he feels like God is answering him.  Sadly, he is leaving for vacation for a couple weeks but he said he would come to church with us when he gets back.

Our other crazy lesson this week was with Jim. The spirit was SO strong.  Jim is so very close.  He has finally started reading the Book of Mormon so we discussed the differences between Nephi and Laman.  He made the comment that Laman and Lemuel weren’t evil, they just weren’t obedient.  We also talked about the feelings he gets as he reads the Book of Mormon.  He described it as peace and more patience for his day.  So we asked if he thought God would give him those feelings if the book were not true and he kinda tip-toed around the question. Then he was quiet for a long time (this was one of those moments where you start to sweat and think oh crap, too bold) and he said God only sends truth.  YES JIM YES!  He did admit that he is scared to commit though because he knows it would be a major life style change for him. He is praying about a November 5th baptismal date.

Saturday we had a cool experience.  We had a few things we wanted to do before Women’s Conference and only about an hour and a half… not sure we had time to fit it all in.  Anyway we made our plan but for whatever reason it got switched up.  We visited a family who were very much not interested in the gospel so it led us to the next thing on the list which was to stop by the dollar store, right?!  As we were walking up this older lady was trying to get her cart out of the door and we opened it and helped her.  Then she took a double take at our tags and was like, “hey I know you guys!”  Turns out her husband was a member and he had just passed away a few weeks ago.  She told us she’d like us to come visit her next week!  The timing was crazy!!  It was cool to see how the spirit led us there and had us in just the right place at the right time.

Okay, women’s conference was insane!  My heart was so full.  President Uchtdorf is a silver fox.  That man is stealing everybody’s hearts.  But I loved how he talked about listening differently – and Sister Ray and I were able to use that in our lesson with Jim the very next day!  I loved the emphasis on gaining a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ.  That is our purpose as missionaries is to share the doctrine of Christ!!!  So it was cool to see them telling even church members to understand it so they can really live it!  Another funny highlight of our week was when we taught a lesson to a man who was soooo high!  Lol that was funny!  Love you all.  And have fun listening to the prophet this weekend wahoooooooooo so stoked!!!!!!!!🙌🙌🙌

Sister Packer

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