Like a Roll of Toilet Paper

May 22, 2017
Hey Everyone, missions are like a roll of toilet paper.  They always go faster at the end.  It’s going too fast!!!  So I started to have a MAJOR freak out this week because I realized I only have 7 weeks left as a missionary.  While at the temple, I was praying and praying for some guidance and I ended up reading some verses in Doctrine and Covenants 90.
 11 For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ.
12 And now, verily I say unto you, I give unto you a commandment that you continue in the ministry and presidency.
So at first I read this and thought… “okay Heavenly Father, I’m already a missionary, so you want me to just keep it up? is this like “just keep going”?   The answer to my question was YES.  But I didn’t really make the connection right away.  Long story short, Sister Passey came in and saved the day (as usual), and she helped me recognize the significance in this verse.  I had started to worry about my growth and change over the past months but realized it’s not really what matters.  What matters is that Heavenly Father accepts the service and work that I have done and that I should accept what I’ve done.  She helped me realize that Hevaenly Father was telling me, “yes you are doing it, so CONTINUE what you have been doing!”  It was a pretty good pep talk, I’m not gonna lie.  I am so grateful for leaders like Sister Passey for taking the time to calm down a crazy missionary, haha.  I feel very calm and ready to progress for the next sevenish weeks and then for the rest of my life!
This week we had some awesome members (the Buckley family) invite us over for dinner with our investigators, Steven and Kim.  After dinner we all watched Meet the Mormons together.  It was great!  Steven finally talked to someone in the ward besides his sister and Kim made friends too!  Kim is still pretty adamant that she will never convert BUT in her words, “yeah you mormons are actually pretty cool.”  So it was definitely a success!  She has softened up towards the gospel so much.
We had another temple trip (heyooooo) out to the Gila Valley Temple.  Sister Walker drove us and Sister’s Diderickson and McMaster. Sister Graff and Diderickson got to see one of their recent converts go to the temple to do baptisms and we did an endowment session.
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We also went to our Stakes blood drive and donated blood.  I was able to talk to the guy taking my blood about the temple being built in Tucson!  He was muslim and he told me about how important family was to their religion and the different roles men and women play.  He took a temple invite card, and I really hope he goes.  I think the best part of talking to him was that I realized that I didn’t do that just because I was a missionary.  I wasn’t inviting him to be baptized, just to learn more and that is something we are all able to do!  It is so much easier than we might think!
Have another good week!
Love, Sister Packer
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Death By Pool Noodles

May 15, 2017

Happy Moms Day!  Hope all you moms out there felt loved and blessed.

Wow!  This week went by so fast!!  The highlight of the week was a guy we met named Oshawn (pronounced as ocean).   We saw him across a parking lot waving around these green pool noodles, so what do nice missionaries do?  We waved and said hello!  The next thing we know he was running, faster than I’ve ever seen someone run, RIGHT at us!  All I could think was – DEATH BY POOL NOODLES!  But no, once he reached us he pulled a Tim Tebow and knelt in front of us asking to be read to from the bible… What?!?!?!  So we did!  And yes, he was a little bit ‘off’ (if you know what I mean).   We set a return appointment with him for another time (everybody needs the Gospel).  The second time we met him, he prepared a “cool place in nature” for our lesson…  It looks sketch from the pictures but we are in Tucson…a big city, out in public, don’t freak out.  In the end, he is still crazy and you can refer to pics below for the location of our “nature setting” lesson, hahaha.20170512_191448
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We also got to drive up to Mesa this week with Kevin and Monica Haller.  Kevin did baptisms for the dead for the first time.  He loved the temple so much and it was so cool to hear him talk about the different ancestor’s names he was taking and how excited he was for them.
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This week in each of our active member lessons we have tried to spend ten minutes with them and just bear our testimonies on why we came on missions and why we are still out on missions.  It has been really cool to share a bit of our own stories with members and share why we love being out here.  The coolest things that have come from this is a strength in my own personal testimony and conviction of serving the Lord, as well as a closer relationship with our ward members.  It’s like they feel closer to us as we share a bit of that with them.  It has been really exciting to then invite them to share their own testimonies!
Well I really enjoyed Mother’s Day and seeing the family.  I don’t have too much to write because I feel like I talked so much yesterday with you all!  I love you, have a good week!!
Sister Packer
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Keep Winning

May 8, 2017

Hey everyone!   What a week.  We once again spent the week doing a few crazy and creative things to find and teach people down here in the dirty T.

 Best finding highlights though:
-This week a teenager who lives in our apartment complex asked us if we back each other at all times because we don’t know how to drive or because its a rule.  We were able to dispel a few mormon myths.
– During exchanges, Sister Kennach and I asked if we could share the love by singing someone a song about Jesus Christ.  We sang a hymn right on the doorstep.  Thank you Vocal Point for our inspiration!  It bought us a conversation.
– To start another conversation we asked a family who had recently moved into the area if we could steal fruit from their lemon tree.  They thought we were a little weird but now we have fresh lemonade!
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-We sent off like two more referrals to areas that are not our own:( …. BUT, we are so excited because we got our own referral last night!!!  Stay tuned to hear for hopefully good things.
In case any of you were wondering, if I lived in Ghana my name would be Sister Adowa Packer because I was born on a Monday.  That is what our new friend Kwame told me.  He is Sister Bink’s father and she fed us peanut butter soup last night.  The best part of the dinner was that we got to eat with our fingers.  Very interesting!
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This week was fairly busy.  We had exchanges with the Sisters on Thursday.  Sister Kennach and I went on another exchange.  I freaking love her and we had a blast. On Friday, we went to another round of MLC.  Our zone’s focus for the month of May is finding and we have got a bunch of cool finding challenges for the zone to be doing! Some of them we did this week but hopefully more exciting things to come.
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I read a talk this week that really hit home.  It talked about how the word “can’t” is false doctrine in this church.  If we are saying the word “can’t”, then we don’t understand the atonement of Jesus Christ.  We can do literally ALL things through Christ who strengthens us.  Also, it gave a great example of Babe Ruth.  Though he is famous for his total of 714 home runs, he struck out more times than any other player in history!!!  It’s okay to swing and to miss!  Its okay to keep messing up!  “There is no disgrace in falling down; the disgrace is lying there.  To get up one more time than you fall is to be a winner.  To stay down is to be a loser.”  I have always been a sucker for cool sports analogies and so I loved that.  No matter how much we fall in life, if we get up and try again, teach another lesson, knock another door, try to talk to one more person, then we are succeeding.  We are winning.
I love you all! Keep winning!
Sister Adowa Packer
Sister Freeman and I at the Ward’s Cinco De Mayo Party
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Fun Facts From the Seesta’s

May 1, 2017

Dear Family,

Fun fact 1: Playing leapfrog in the park for exercise makes people want to talk to you. 

Fun fact 2: Use your neighbor’s wheelchair when they leave it in the hallway, they will never notice. 

Fun fact 3: Randomly jumping into someone else’s football game yields potential investigators

Fun fact 4: the pet dog theory works- 99% of the time (“You’re not interested?… your dog is.”)

Heavenly Father has really been able to bless us this week.  He has put people into our path that we have been able to not just talk to but invite to learn more about the gospel- and they have said YES.  Now we are not currently teaching these people, BUT we have sent out six referrals over the past two weeks! So whoever those missionaries are, they probably love us a lot right now.  Update on Dotti – she has moved up to Mesa – oh hey wait, make that seven referrals, lol. 

The biggest update I want to give this week is on Steven and his girlfriend Kim.  Steven has come to church every single Sunday this month and it’s incredible to see the growth he has made.  His girlfriend sat in on our lesson this past week and so we had the opportunity to teach them both about the restoration of the gospel.  Kim was pretty interested but “she’s still catholic” haha, whatever Kim.  She shared all of her concerns for us though.   Turns out she doesn’t know the meaning of life, and turns out we have answers for that too.  We invited them both to pray and for Steven specifically to pray about what he should do next to continue to progress.  We came back the next day to follow up and Steven asked us if the bishop might be able to help him get a marriage license!! AHHHHH!  He wants to live the law of chastity.  He wants to take the sacrament!!  It is probably going to take awhile to really get this going but he has the desire so heavenly father will help him figure it out!  Pray for him. 

Good news – our district won a pizza party because we killed all the other districts in the zone for a commitment competition. Hollllaaaaa!  We’re also still doing our forty day fast and it is going well.  As I have done this and fasted from behaviors that might not be positive I have become a lot more aware of what I’m doing and who I am becoming.  I have also really loved the self control that I am gaining.  I have fasted from some small and simple things like leaving clothes on the floor and eating chocolate to a few bigger things like the type of music I’m listening to.  The scripture Ether 12:27 has been in my mind a lot this week.  We take small imperfections before the Lord and He will help us in our weakness.  I’ve learned that in order for Him to do this we must truly be humble and acknowledge our weakness.  And then rely on Him every single day through prayer. 

Ugh! Wow! This one has been driving me nuts so I’m gonna preach.  Don’t tell your grand kid or child they can’t go to church because they want to wear pants.  Don’t criticize a recent convert because they want to wear a cross necklace.  Don’t judge someone because they have tattoos.  Don’t tell your kids they can’t play with nonmembers.  When someone fasts in Arizona in the middle of summer, and drinks water, don’t question if their fast counts.  Don’t refuse to give service to someone who really needs help because it is on the Sabbath.  Don’t tell a recent convert that they pray wrong when they address Heavenly Father as, “My awesome God” or “Dad” in a prayer.  Don’t tell someone they pray wrong because they hold their hands together instead of folding their arms.  Don’t think you can’t share the gospel at work because you assume it’s inappropriate.

If we must correct, we teach by example.  We teach the doctrine and principles of the gospel.  We don’t teach application.  If a prophet or apostle speaks or gives counsel on a certain thing then, of course, follow it!  But unless a prophet addresses something, we tend to get caught up in telling everyone ‘how’ they should live the gospel instead of teaching them the ‘what’ and ‘why’ behind the gospel principle.

district doing stress management exercises during district meeting

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someone backed into our car and totally crunched the back fender

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me and sis graff

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us old farts of the mission in our neighbor’s wheelchair

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Level Up!

Hey!  So I guess I need to redeem myself from last week because my letter (to quote papa packer) “sucked”. lol, so yep yep still alive and doing well!

First, I will tell you about my new companion. Her name is Sister Graff or as cute little Liam Garder calls her-  Sister GIRAFFE!  She is a California babe and I love her!

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Sister Hunt and Sister Graff

One “unforgettable” moment came from a 3 year old child riding past us on a tricycle.  He rode past us while we were parking.  He looked back, gave us a glare and then proceeded to give us the finger…THREE TIMES! Aaaahhhh?!  So not funny, but we found it… funny!

 The past few weeks we have really been hammering out active member lessons and trying to help our members in the Pantano ward share the gospel.  Something I love that my ward mission leader ALWAYS says is: “there are two levels to missionary work.  Level one; you are sharing by example and living the gospel.  Level two; you are inviting others to join you.” 

That’s been on my mind A LOT!  When the risen Savior chose his disciples in Galilee, he didn’t just walk down the beach in hopes they would follow His example- he CALLED to them and said- “Follow me”.  He extended the invitation to them!  Those men NEVER would have been more than fisherman if they hadn’t received an invitation to change. And it is important for us as missionaries to extend that invitation but it is even more important that every single member of the church who has taken the name of Christ at baptism to extend His invitation.  There are probably more levels to missionary work than two.  Even outside of missionary work there are so many ways to improve and the Savior doesn’t ask us to jump to the top level.  We don’t go from 0 to 60 in 3.5, but we can always level up! 

Something I have definitely learned in this area is that we can find.  We are in a city and so yes, we can find lots of people.  We contacted so many people this week!  We invited people to baptism after only talking to them for two minutes!  But the people we find 9 out of 10 times do not progress to make covenants with the Lord.  The people who have been invited by ward members 9 out of 10 times DO progress in the gospel.  In an effort to help our ward members here we decided to do a “40 day-like fast” like we did out in Sierra Vista.  I’m excited and the Pantano ward seems really excited to exercise their faith in the Lord.

One thing that really made my week was Cairn Stratton at church yesterday.  She is 8 or 9 years old and we did a lesson with her family about two weeks ago.  She ran up to me yelling, “SISTER PACKER, SISTER PACKER!” and told me how she invited her friend to stake activity days, AND her friend came, AND her friend felt happy at the activity.  She was SO proud.  I am proud of her too and I told her to share that with every one today at church to inspire them!  If an 8 year old can do it why can’t all the rest of us, right?

There are lots of miracles happening here.  We have had to drop a lot of investigators lately but I know that we are showing the Lord our faith.  We do believe and have hope that we can find the people who want to truly change and become converted to the Lord. And we have been praying and fasting and he always answers prayers so I will keep you posted on how it goes. 

Another awesome experience we had this week happened our first night together.  I asked Sister Graff if she didn’t mind taking a bit of a detour and we pulled a crazy quick turn and ran off to Stephen’s house. Stephen is someone who I have seen in the area book before but never met and we met him Tuesday night!  He told us how scared he was to come to church and how he stopped meeting with missionaries because of it and he just really wanted a place to belong.  We had the opportunity to testify that through Christ he could overcome his fears and he would find a place to belong in the Lord’s kingdom.  We have not been able to see Stephen since, so PRAY FOR HIM!  He definitely needs those prayers to overcome his fears. 

Alrighty that’s it for the week.  I love hearing from you all!  Thanks for everything!!

Love, Sister Packer

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Happy Easter

April 17, 2017

Hey Fam!  Wow I feel lame as I write this email because I feel like I don’t have much to say.  It was Sister Hunt’s last week in the mission.  We went and got her first and final Sonoran dog and Raspado for her last meal with me.  Oh the joys Tucson.

Funny moments from the week:

 We discussed how we should relate others and ourselves to those in the scriptures so he says- “I like to compare myself to Job.  The other day my green chile sauce went bad and yet I was doing everything right!” If you ever feel like you are doing everything right and things (or sauce) go wrong… remember Job.

So this week we were in the middle of a lesson with a new investigator.  I started singing a song to myself as I flipped to a scripture and didn’t realize how loud I was or that I was even singing until I looked up and saw my companion’s “are you serious!” expression.  

We painted our ward mission leader’s porch brown and thought I had washed the paint off until, during a lesson we had someone ask- “Sister Packer, what are all these brown spots up your arm?”

Dotti is doing well.  We watched the restoration movie with her this week and she loved it.  She has had a lot of questions about exactly how everything happened and the timeline.  We also taught her the word of wisdom.

Happy Easter! I love you, Sis Packer

The Army of Antipus

April 10, 2017

Dear Family,

We had zone conference this week and one of my favorite discussions we had was about representational agency.  We are representatives of Jesus Christ and so our actions are reflected on Him.  We talked a lot about how we should act as missionaries to reflect the Savior more than anything else.  What really got me thinking was how this doesn’t just apply to me for right now, but will forever because I have taken His name upon me when I entered the waters of baptism.  We can all represent Him and we can all make choices that will reflect the Savior.

Well I am going to report back and tell you how acting on the first prompting has been going.  Last night after praying,  I had the name of a potential investigator come to mind and we went to that apartment complex.  It just so happens to also be where Dotti lives and we ran into her.  She’s returned from Phoenix and invited us in and after reading some of the Book of Mormon, she told us how depressed she had felt about having to move soon.  There were fears of not being worthy enough to be baptized.  It was crazy because we never would have known any of it if we hadn’t followed the prompting to go there.   We read some specific verses from the Book of  Mormon together and then she prayed and the spirit was SO STRONG.  I know it was helpful and uplifting for her.   She is going to be hard to say goodbye to!

Yesenia, Sergio and their family are great!  We taught them the plan of salvation and invited them to be baptized and they are praying about it.  The spirit was there the whole lesson and the kids are loving it!! Pray for them!

I have been studying about faith and how faith precedes miracles in the Book of Mormon.  In Alma 56:15-16, we learn about the Army of Antipus right before Helaman and the stripling warriors arrive.  When Helaman arrives he finds the Army of Antipus “toiling with ALL their might to fortify the city”.  He finds men who are “depressed in body as well as spirit”, yet despite VALIANTLY fighting hard battles by day and toiling by night they were “determined to conquer”.

So here is what I’m getting at – Anitpus and his men are working hard and putting up a good fight but they are absolutely exhausted.  They are probably at the point where some would give up, but they don’t.  Because of the unyielding fight and lack of nourishment and rest, their bodies and minds are becoming depressed!  And I think the lesson is that it is okay to be tired and to be a little depressed, but to NEVER give up the fight.  If we keep our determination, we keep our faith.  Their faithful prayers and work were answered when Helaman’s army came marching in.  How often do we need just a tiny lift or boost of courage to fuel our faith?  The lord will provide that for us when he sees how determined we our on our cause!  In His cause.   We cannot give up no matter how hard this week, this month, or this year.  We can be determined in our causes, and just like these two armies conquered- we will too.  It may take a bit of toiling, both night and day but we will be preserved.

I thought you should also know I discovered the BEST green chile in all of Tucson and have mastered the art of making a Korean Gimbap (I know I am spelling that wrong). That’s it for the week!   I hope you all have a fantastic Easter! 

Love, Sis Packer

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Maddie and I with the Korean Gimbap and ice cream with… beans?!

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