Hard to Say Goodbye

Letter from December 12, 2016

Time to say goodbye! (sung in opera voice by Brother Rawling’s in your head).  So Good news first.

Okay Best news first!  We happen to have all of the stake presidency in our wards and so we got to have dinner with President Haw’s family Wednesday night. He mentioned that Elder Dube from the quorum of the seventy was coming to speak for Stake Conference.  He also said that one of the families he wanted to take Elder Dube to meet was the Hammond’s.  And then he invited us to come out with them!!  So Saturday afternoon we went to a lesson with the Stake President and Elder Dube. WOW!  It was so cool.  It was a short visit and the Hammond’s got to tell Elder Dube how they came into the church.  Near the end of their story Brother Hammond turned to Elder Dube and said that we were their 3rd or 4th set of missionaries, but that what he felt really made a difference was the fact that we could relate the priesthood in terms for women and that we had also brought members to every lesson.  Wow, right after he said that Elder Dube just turned and gave us the most proud look Iv’e ever seen.  I won’t ever forget that.  It was like the look you get from your dad when you finally get up on a pair of water ski’s, or bring home an A on a test.  To top of the visit, we got a picture with Elder Dube…. IN SANTA HATS!  He is one cool dude.

Elder Dube… in a santa hat!!!


And now for the sad news next.  I’M LEAVING SIERRA VISTA.  And my heart has broken so many times this week.  I didn’t realize how close I had grown with so many of these people and I love them so much!  I don’t want to leave them!  I am so very grateful that I have had these four transfers in SV.  I have grown and learned so much from my companions, from the members, and from those we have taught.  Last Sunday as the Hammond family got confirmed, I knew I was done. The spirit whispered to me that my work here was done and it was time to move on. As hard as that is, I know its time.

I am headed back to the big city!  Central Tucson here I come – holllaaaaa!!!

I don’t have much else to say this week- not much time! More next week for sure.   I love you all!  Lot’s of pictures to share of all the great people here.

Love, Sister Packer

*From Lisa:  We also got a letter from President Passey today.  He has called Jessica to be a Sister Trainer Leader in the mission.  “She will train and support missionaries in her district as they seek to invite others to come unto Christ.  She will be an active part of the leadership council.”


The Rawling’s Family








Had dinner with one of my mom’s childhood BFF’s – Amy Johnson




Sister Passey


President Passey



This Way to Salvation

Letter from December 5th, 2016

Hey fam!

I’m sure you have all been waiting on the edge of your seats to hear the rest of the Hammond’s story.  Did they get baptized?   

On Saturday at 12 pm the Hammond FAMILY was baptized!  Their Uncle Mike came into town all the way from Florida to perform the baptism and confirmation! It was such a special day.  It was one of the most beautiful baptismal services I have ever attended. There is nothing more amazing or more wonderful than seeing a whole family progress together!  Watching Darla enter the waters of baptism truly felt like witnessing a miracle. The whole room was packed with support from this wonderful ward here in Sierra Vista. The young women sang a musical number and Darla and the girls bawled their eyes out. Jeff even gave the closing prayer and it was the first time we have ever heard him pray. 

Sierra, Darla and Jordan


The next morning they were all confirmed and received the gift of the holy ghost.  I felt the spirit so strongly.  I know that Heavenly Father has been preparing this family for a long time and things finally all came together. 

I’m really not the best at describing things but it has been one of the best weekends of my mission and words cannot express how happy I am for this family. 

Grandma and Grandpa Hammond, Jeff, Heidi, Jordan, Darla, Sierra, Mike and Maya Hammond


After the baptism Saturday night, Darla had a big dinner at their house and invited like, half the ward.  It was so much fun.   She was talking to us and Bishop Evershed and she says, “The sister’s are my trail guides. They stand there with big signs that say ‘This way to Salvation.” Hahaha, it was a funny moment but as I thought about it I realized she was right!  We really don’t do much but stand there with signs and hope that the people we talk to will notice and follow the signs.  And Darla is a perfect example of following the signs.  Their family has found true happiness and now have a goal to get to the temple! 

The closing song we sang at the baptism was Silent Night.  It wasn’t a normal baptismal program type of song but it was so perfect.  I got choked up as we sang it.  I know that it’s because of the miracle of the birth of our Savior that we are able to have these modern miracles as well.  We are able to use and be blessed by the priesthood power and holy ghost because of our Savior’s atonement.  The third verse call him “The son of God, Love’s pure light.” His gospel is one of love. We witnessed so much love this weekend it was almost overwhelming!  The spirit was present all weekend to remind us of his love and the light that comes from it. Keep sharing the light everyone! Love ya

Sister Packer

P.S.  I will most likely be transferred out of Sierra Vista.  We find out what is happening this Saturday night and then next Tuesday I will be gone from here!  Thank you for the fun birthday stuff!  We made the cupcakes and gave them all away!  

I turned 67 years old at the Rawling’s House




Roadkill you don’t see everyday back home:  This is a Havelena


The Creator is an Odd Duck?!

Letter from Nov. 28, 2016

Well, the creator is not an actual duck.  According to a guy we met this week though, he is an odd duck and I would agree that sometimes His ways seem odd, but God has a way of making things work out. It was a long week.  Not going to lie.  Holidays are hard because literally no one wants to meet with you… NOBODY.  Our district meeting was moved to Thursday so we could have a semi-productive day.  Typically after our meetings we all eat lunch together, but everything was closed because of Thanksgiving, so we ended up at Sonic… on Thanksgiving… yep.  Never going to forget this Thanksgiving! hahaha.  No worries we did enjoy a nice Thanksgiving meal with President Haw’s and his family (he’s the stake president in this area and lives in our ward)  We played a crazy animal game that involved animal signs, noises and lots of clapping… a regular homestyle get-together.  So Thanksgiving was still fun-filled!

Despite the slow week we still had some successes!  To start off I need to tell you three words: KEITH. DARLA. PIE. or in other words- MIRACLE. MIRACLE. MIRACLE.

It was in the middle of sacrament and I was saying a prayer to myself when Sister Ray smacks me (kinda hard but who can blame here she got excited), and whisper/shouted- KIETH IS HERE!!!! and there he was beard and all, in his dirty jeans and hoodie sitting all the way in the back.  Wow it was a miracle.  We decided about two weeks ago to kind of back off with Keith because he didn’t seem to want to keep any commitments.  So we aren’t sure what gave him the motivation to come.  He did manage to sneak out during the closing prayer so stay tuned for more Keith sightings next week.

We thought our day couldn’t get better.  It did.  The Hammond’s came to the church for the girls to get their baptism interviews sunday afternoon. Sierra went in first and Sister Ray and I were talking with Jordan about her day in primary when Jeff gets our attention. Darla was crying.  In between tears she said- could he do three interviews today? AHHHHHHHHHHHH!  We were so stunned we didn’t respond!  So she says again- guys I want to get baptized.  Finally we managed to choke out a “YES most likely!” and I had Sis Ray sit down and start going over interview questions with her while I called President. We had to get this one approved because we have a normal rule that someone needs to be living the word of wisdom two weeks prior to the baptism and she was starting right then only a week before the baptism.  President gave us the thumbs up on the terms that she starts now and clearly understands the “why” behind the word of wisdom.  I came out and Sister Ray and I discussed that with her. S he knows that it is for her body and her spirit to be spiritually clean and prepared for more guidance from the Lord. She knows that by following the commandments she can have the holy ghost with her and she said she is ready for this step. WOW WHAT A MIRACLE!  I get chills thinking about it.

I have enjoyed working with this family so much.  It is awesome to see the journey and progression that they have had together!  I know that the spirit has been working on Darla especially.  I remember the first time we were at their house and she told us she didn’t like our church meetings!  She has had such a sincere heart and real intent as she sought out answers.  Now she doesn’t care if our songs are more “serious” than her previous church. She says that she is ready to commit to the lord.  Please keep her in your prayers this week.

And the last miracle of all – PIE.  We received the funniest text from our ward mission leader this week which said- “sisters, the pie has arrived.” Of course we needed no further explanation – we went to his house and he gave us pie, and it was the best celebratory pie EVER!

Well I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving- we have so much to be grateful for!!  If you have not already watched the new Christmas video the church released, DO IT!  and commit to the Christmas initiative of 25 days of service. DO IT DO IT DO IT.  I think this initiative is inspired and it is an excellent way to share the gospel- share the video- share the love!!! DO IT DO IT DO IT.

Love, Sister Packer

The “blimp” above Sierra Vista


Happy Thanksgiving from Sonic!


The Bugs

Letter from November 21, 2016

This week Sister Ray and I got some weird stomach bug and it was just super fun!  Our digestive system has not been working right at all, apparently its been going around.  Whatever.  I think we’ve worked through it though, haha.  So sorry for the short email. We did not do as much as we usually do.  I did manage to give my companion a black eye though.   She was just really annoying me so i punched her.  Just kidding, it was actually a broom that gave her the black eye.  OK so I was holding the broom… She was standing behind me and I didn’t notice she was there and… oops!  

This week I also hunted for illegal foreigners coming across the mountains into Sierra Vista, USA.  We were at our ward mission leaders house one night and he got out all this gear and showed us his night vision scopes and stuff.  He showed us pictures he’s taken on his binoculars of people coming through.  It was really cool hi tech stuff.  Sadly, we didn’t spot anybody that night and i felt like the biggest creeper EVER.  If i was ever going to stalk someone, I would use his gear…

Branden got called as a ward missionary on Sunday which was awesome.  Best calling he could ask for to help him prepare for a mission (which by the way, he has also started attending mission prep). We had our last lesson with him this week.  Im gonna miss those lessons very much. 

Anyway, we invited Darla to be baptized this week and she said she isn’t quite ready yet. She is still needing to take “baby steps”.  She is reading the Book of Mormon!  Ah, anyway I’m looking forward to it finally being Christmas season.  The Christmas initiative will start the day after Thanksgiving- everybody go watch the video on lds.org because it is going to AWESOME!  I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and give lots of thanks.  I know this Thanksgiving I am grateful for my family and friends and grateful that I have this opportunity to serve the Lord.  I am grateful for my Savior.  I have been studying the New Testament lately and it has been so cool to read and understand more about the Savior’s life and see how simple He has made this gospel.  I know that it really is a gospel of love.   I LOVE YOU ALL.

Bye ✌️️💜  Sister Packer