Thuggery!

Dear Fam,

Here is the scoop on Valentine’s Day.  We met a guy named Leonard who was drinking away his sorrows.  We shared a scripture with him about God’s love and it brightened his day so he told us to be careful and not to go out past dark.  He said, “the whole city is a bunch of crooks!” Turns out, Leornard was RIGHT!

Wednesday, February 15th 2017. 1:00pm. Scene of the crime, Taco Bell.

This week my bag got stolen at taco bell! it was…terrible. We had slung our bags across the backs of our chairs and some sneaky crook grabbed it- I was with my whole district and no one noticed! The Elder’s saw who was sitting behind us so they knew what he looked like.  Kudos to him for being so talented; dang crook.  Next, panic mode just for two seconds.  I drove that day and had everything in there.  My wallet with ID and debit card, my ipad, our car keys, apartment keys, church keys, and my back-up USB’s were all GONE.  A lot to be concerned about but then I realized my personal copy of the Book of Mormon was in there too. That broke my heart.  A years worth of notes and personal thoughts and inspirations were just suddenly gone.  

1:30 PM – We checked the surrounding garbage cans in the plaza, looked for the couple, called the police and President Passey, and got debit cards frozen.   Knowing we’d be stranded at taco bell for sometime, we decided not to BE stranded.  We were able to pass out a couple copies of the Book of Mormon (say whaaaa?)- before we were rescued by Elder Anderson with spare keys to everything.  We also searched through more dumpsters than I’d like to admit hoping the thief dumped it after taking the money; nope.

February 16th – 10:00am –  The story doesn’t end there!  My whole district had seen what this guy looked like and saw him walking around the next day.  Thug Sighting!  Unfortunately, did they bother to talk to him then? no. They called us instead so we booked it down there.  He was gone at that point but we started asking people at the bus stop and then the donut man and they all knew him!  Donut man didn’t know his name but became very quiet and then said he would keep his eye out because he felt moved by how important it was to me to get my Book of Mormon back.  Then he gave us free donuts, haha!

Friday, February 17th –  Elder Arnold and Witzel called us and said they were bringing over Starbucks, which made NO sense.  They brought something wonderful with them. MY BAG!  A lady had found it outside of her apartment and called the number on the pass along card in the bag.   As you can guess, most everything was gone from my bag.  There were a few things left though.   My USBs were still there, temple names I had printed out and the keys. Most importantly and beautifully, my Book of Mormon!!!!! HUGE answer to my prayers. (What up, Heavenly Father!  Thanks for helping us prioritize.)  Extended happy dance because the word of God was returned.

At 11:00 am we went back to see George, the donut man and showed it to him. Because he saw how important it was to me, he decided he wanted one!  Good thing because we had one for him anyway, haha… He gave us more free donuts!   Well, I don’t know why my bag got stolen, besides someone just choosing to make a bad decision at my expense.  Maybe it was so I could be more aware of my belongings, maybe so we could have the opportunity to pass out more copies of the Book of Mormon because of these circumstances.  Maybe it was so we could meet George the donut man!  I am grateful that God allows us to fulfill our calling wherever we are and in whatever circumstances we are in!  I probably will never see my wallet or ipad again and I am okay with that!  Those things can be replaced… at a price.  We have learned that missionaries can make quite the detectives!  To finish the story, two other elders from our district saw our thief again and decided to contact him.  Turns out he was kicked out of highschool and is currently homeless. Poor kid needs the gospel in his life.  The saddest part was that he had another woman’s bag on him this time. We had a slight moral dilemma deciding if we should turn all of this info in to the police. I imagine his legal problems coming up will be a trial for him but I hope God can use it to give him the help he needs.  Keep Daniel in your prayers.   Sister Squire says if you ever need FBI-type investigation, just ask the missionaries!

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We had a distracted week due to the thuggery.  However, Saturday Kevin was baptized!  It was a very happy day for him.  He bore his testimony at the end and he just shone!  This man has come such a long way and has a great testimony of the atonement!  We are proud of him for all that he has left behind.   The biggest thing I learned this week was that faith does not just apply to missionary work, as we teach it – it applies to all aspects of our lives, it applies to MY life.  Faith is trusting God that no matter what happens everything will be okay, and it will be according to his will.  We prayed and prayed to get back my Book of Mormon.  We searched through dumpsters and were willing to chase this guy down to get it back.  Looking back I see now how those actions were an exercise of faith. Our actions were not able to produce a miracle.  Only God can produce miracles, and God only works through miracles.  The Book of Mormon is a miracle in itself.  Getting mine back was one too.

Kevin’s baptism

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This week we had an family home evening with the Gardner’s and Jimmy was teaching the lesson.  He had decided to teach about the restoration and the Book of Mormon.  He talked about how he prayed and studied and for the first time he began to understand what he was reading.  He grabbed the Book of Mormon and waved it and said- “This book is SO good.” There are so many times where we have seen the Book of Mormon change hearts.  It is a miracle that life is an open book and we have THE book.  We can get the answers to all the questions we need, if we just use the book!

Thanks for your prayers and helping me get the details straightened out – love you all!

Sister Packer

This is a family Sister Squire got to teach in a previous area.  Ryan, the 17 year old was baptized at that time.  This week,we got to be there to see him baptize his parents, Wally and Regina. Pretty cool!

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Yes we built a fort.  Did our planning in it, and slept the night in it.  Good times!

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Your Dog Looks Interested…

Dear Family,                  February 12, 2017

I am happy to report that we no longer have Jimmy the Regular Guy.  We have Jimmy the Priesthood Holder!!!  YAYYYYYYY!  We lived the dream this weekend.  I literally have dreamed of finding a family where the dad can be reactivated and baptize his family and it happened! AH!  Seeing them all in white and knowing all the hard work that they had put in to get there was the best feeling.  It was a wonderful baptism and the spirit was SO strong!  There was a slight delay when Liam stood up from his chair on the front row holding his backside, yelling- “mom i gotta go NOW!”  Quick break and then back to the baptism.  Demitry said he felt the spirit, something warm inside when he was baptized and thought Heavenly Father must have been proud.   Nicolette has been doing her family history already and compiled what she found in a book and displayed it on a table for everyone at the baptism to see.  Aren’t these guys just the coolest people EVER?!  This week Jimmy told Sister Squire and I that we could come work for his painting company this summer and he said he would let me spray paint myself,  get a free tshirt AND have limitless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies- so I’m sold.

img_0612 With the Gardner Fam at their baptism.  Me and “Meety” – Demitry

Update on the Waptism:  Kevin and Monica GOT HITCHED!  Officially married in the bishop’s office with celebratory lemon bars, courtesy of Sister Nielsen.  Best wedding I’ve ever been too (also the only one).  Kevin had his baptism interview this week with President Passey and all is a go for next Saturday!  Round two coming up.  

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Wedding for Kevin and Monica

So this week we felt impressed to find four people to teach.  Like the number four just really needed to happen and we didn’t know why.  So we found a members friend who wanted to learn and that was great and then we had found nothing up until last night. And we fasted and prayed and prayed and prayed that we would find someone or whoever the other three souls were Heavenly Father wanted us to find.  I guess you could say we did some sifting most of the day. People just kept telling us they ‘ didn’t want contact’ and ‘weren’t interested’.  And yes we DID tell someone that their dog looked interested!  Just for future reference, people seem to think they know their dogs better than we do…  After a fruitless day we were left with an hour to find three people!  The next three houses we knocked on we found our three people!  One was a less-active man who is in the middle of a crisis and needs God’s love. He appreciated the conversation at least.  The next house we knocked on, the person we were looking for had moved but the man there (TED) said to come back and teach him and his family.  And the last house was a member who had a son who wasn’t baptized and her son literally quoted John 3:16 to us and said he loved Jesus.  You can claim we were successful or not on any level, but I can honestly say I have so much confidence in the Lord.  I know we can trust that when we are striving to achieve our goals that the Lord WILL provide for us and send us where we need to go.  There is never any reason to doubt him.

Other highlights:

It got warm for a small moment this week and we got up to 80 degrees, but sadly this week is supposed to be cooler in the 60’s – dang!  Almost sandal season!  You asked if the smells are stronger in the city now that it is warming up.  The smells are about the same – smells like weed!  Our drunk gay devil worshipping neighbor (these are his words BTW) told us he felt “utterly wicked” this week but really loves us Mormons, lol.  So there is some love down here!  We got Prez to agree to do the splits for us if we hit our mission goals.  Hahaha

Have a good week and Happy Valentine’s Day,  Sister Packer

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Happy reunion with the baby at zone conference.  Still coordinating, still united, hollaaa!

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One Year Old Missionary!

February 6, 2017

Hi Family!

I’m so Old!  I don’t like it.  I don’t like being a whole year old.  It’s so crazy to think this time last year I was chillin’ in the MTC learning to use my zip zip and eating cafeteria food. This has been the best year and probably the most productive year!  It’s just going too too fast.  I have learned so much and I wish I could sum it up but that would probably take another 17 emails. So I’ll just sum up this week for ya. 

1 year old pic- MTC homies

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We went to the ZOO today.  Someone saw our group and called us a ‘herd of Mormons”. Well what did you expect to see at the zoo?!

A herd of Mormons

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This week was exciting!  On Tuesday we met with Mariah- a super cute 14 year old.  Her grandparents are members of our ward and she decided she wanted to get baptized!   Yay Mariah! 

Also we planned a zone event that was so boss.  It was to kick off the mission goal for the month.  It involved a fun fear factor tasting challenge (overcoming fear), 3 legged race (work together with members), water balloon toss (comp unity), and more.

This week we also taught a lady who believed the whole restoration, then two days later returned her Book of Mormon because she said she felt an “evil presence” when she read it…..ya she didn’t read it then! 

The Gardner’s are doing great.  Jimmy unveiled his biggest secret this week.  HE MAKES THE BEST COOKIES!  It was one of the highlights of the week.  They had their interview Saturday and Jimmy will get the priesthood this Friday!!  AHHHHHHH!!!  Jimmy keeps teasing Nicolette that she won’t be a “Jehovah” anymore.  That punk.  Liam also learned how to say Sister Packer this week so I feel really successful. 

Sorry, I feel like I don’t have much to report on this week.  We had MLC this past week and I learned SO much it was awesome.  Kevin and Monica are getting married tomorrow, he also quit smoking and we all fasted for him yesterday!  So yep it’s been a good week.

Sis Packer

MLC from Last week

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Exploring the Tunnels under the stake center

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Liam Gardner

Take Control of Your Agency

January 30, 2017

Hi Everyone,                  

I just want you all to know that this week we were informed by Bobby, the veteran, the self proclaimed rapper, that Moses had a longer cranium than we all do and that’s what made him a prophet, but no worries, we all have a third eye in the middle of our forehead and that’s what really matters.  Also, I feel like we’ve come home smelling like weed most nights this week!  The smell just seems to be everywhere.  Thank goodness for washing machines, imma right? 

On an exciting note, we had a worldwide missionary broadcast on Wednesday and it was AWESOME.  From goal setting to the daily schedule, each mission has the flexibility to change things to work best.  Here is what’s changing in our mission. Yes we still get up at early and go to bed at the same time (ish) but we have more flexibility with our morning schedule.  We plan in the morning and our studies have changed slightly.   We get an additional 30 minutes in the morning to use for exercise,  getting ready or for planning. Normally, we have our personal study at 8am and comp study at 9am.  But now personal is more at 9 and comp is at whatever time of the day we want it to be and we dont have comp study on pdays anymore! I like that!  Today we have already done our laundry, studied and cleaned.  So we will go over to the church and play basketball and stuff with other missionaries in a bit!  Also, things we set goals for, paperwork, etc.  which was also slightly crazy has been changed. We are still adjusting. 

I want to tell you all about the power in the word!  The Book of Mormon changes hearts! Pure doctrine (the Book of Mormon) changes lives!  Steven is a less-active that we have been working with and he finally decided to start reading his scriptures everyday.  When we went to our appointment he seemed lighter and happier!  It was crazy to see such a big change so fast.  And he said ever since he started reading he was getting a prompting that he needed to come to church.  So let that be a lesson, we receive guidance from the spirit when we choose to read the Work – crazy how that works.   It was just more proof to me about how powerful the Book of Mormon is and how true it is!

The Gardner’s are doing amazing of course.  We did go over to their house late Friday night to check up with Jimmy, who has been trying to quit smoking.  He has been free since then but keep praying for him.  On Sunday, Nicolette came to church with Liam and there was no Demitri or Jimmy (start the panic).  Ha ha, we left to go rescue Jimmy, praying he hadn’t given up or wasn’t home smoking.  He opened the door half dressed for church saying he would be there in 20 minutes and not just that but he had also been attempting to fast, but had already forgotten once, accidentally eating a banana.  We couldn’t help but smile! The effort was pretty adorable! We was making a good effort, the best effort!

This week has been long and busy. But I found a cool poem that I read from Elder Nelson’s talk “Endure and Be Lifted Up”-

Stick to your task till it sticks to you;  Beginners are many, but enders are few.

 Honor, power, place, and praise;  Will always come to the one who stays.

Stick to your task till it sticks to you;  Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it too;

For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile;  Will come life’s victories, after awhile. 

Agency is one of our greatest gifts from our Heavenly Father but it is difficult to control. Sometimes it is a challenge to choose the right.  Jimmy has definitely experienced that this week as he strives to overcome his addiction.  It’s a struggle to stick to right choices or positive goals.  This week we were told by a complete stranger that we were too young and inexperienced to understand the world.  We were mocked and literally spit at.  Yet it was in those moments that I knew I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world.  It was in those moments that I truly felt joy because I was SO happy I had the truth in my life, and a more loving perspective on who all these people are who surround me; God’s children.

Aight fam, what can you learn from me this week? – Whatever you do, DON’T DO WEED or drugs in general I guess.  Keep your God given right to control your AGENCY.  Love you all! 

Sister Packer 

Pday nap in front of Sister Blackwell’s fire.

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