Literally On Fire!

June 26, 2017
Hey Fam,

When Ed Sheeran said he saw fire on the mountain, burning the trees, he was really talking about Mt. Graham.  Who knew?!  It’s the second largest fire in the nation right now.  So yes, AZ is so HOT and things are literally on fire down here.  No marshmallows have been roasted yet, only people… and the Lords work of course!

20170619_175601

iPad_c51ef_IMG_0516

20170621_212053

We met Mike this week who is a former investigator.  Mike was in his car about to leave when we got there and we were able to chat for a bit.  His biggest question was- who sent you??  We said Jesus Christ!  He didn’t believe that right away.  He explained that he had met with missionaries years ago but things didn’t work out.  About a year after the elder’s left, his ‘mormon wife’ divorced him and he took both of those as a sign from God. He asked again why we came and we explained that we had been sent by God.  We had prayed to know who to visit and felt impressed to visit him.  We then testified that we know that the actions of others are not always signs from God but the feelings he sends to us are signs from God and that he could receive them too.  He told us we could come back.  God puts us in the right place at the right time and he really does give us the words we need to say!

It has been a bittersweet week.  The Tucson temple open house is now over and we loved every second of it.  We had such a great experience going up to the temple each week and helping others to understand how families can be together forever!   Sadly, we also had to say our goodbyes to President and Sister Passey this week.  They don’t actually leave the mission until Saturday but we won’t be able to see them then. The Passey’s have made a huge impact on me and I have learned so much from them.  I am forever grateful they accepted the call to serve and to be my mission president.  As a mission, we set a goal for every companionship to hit standards of excellence for the Passey’s last full week.  I don’t know if everyone did it, but I do know that it pushed me to exercise more faith this week . We all worked our butts off to achieve that righteous desire and the Lord blessed us!  We not only hit standards, we exceeded them.  That is the kind of thing the Passey’s have taught us to do.  They have taught us how to exercise faith and work hard never doubting that the Lord will come through for us.  Even if the miracles don’t come until Sunday night.  This is sounding almost too gushy for me so imma stop there.

I want to share two scriptures today.

Alma 29:4 – “I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction.”
Moroni 10:23 –  “And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient unto me.”
I’ll explain why I like these:)

Remember the box theory from a few months ago?  Society likes to categorize, give names and place a value on everything including people.  I like to call it a box.  There is a ‘mormon culture’ box, there is catholic culture box, there is a box for everything.  We are never going to be able to stop other people from trying to place us inside a box based on who are and what we do.  We can however, break out of that mindset.  We can choose not to place ourselves into a box of our own making.  When we say “I can’t” or “I will never”, we place ourselves into a box.  We put up walls that are just holding us back.  The Lord has promised us that we will get what we desire and that if we have faith, all things are possible.  I know that the lord wants to bless us our desires.  My goal is not to put any boxes around myself so I can let the Lord bless me and help me achieve my goals and desires.  Wow! okay! I’ll get off my soap box now;)

Well fam, life is good.  Missionary life is still da best. We have seen so many miracles this week and they just can not all be contained in this one email.  We have been busy, and it’s been a bit stressful but the work just keeps going on.  I had a great confirmation from my Father in Heaven that I was doing my best and that everything would work out, and so far it all has!   Love ya.

Sister Packer
20170621_113331
Advertisements

The Three Broomsticks

Letter from June 19, 2017
Dear Family
Surprise Trio life is the best.  There is always something going on and we probably never will get enough sleep this transfer but that’s okay.  Sis Lund is with us MOST of the time but when we have appointments at the same time in both our areas we go on splits with a service missionary in the area.  Holla at yo trio’s covering 3 wards.
For zone conference this week everyone went into Tucson for a tour of the temple and then spent the rest of the conference at the mission home.  I have decided I do not get to go to the temple enough!  I just want to spend every second in a temple!  We are so blessed to be able to enter into the house of the Lord and to make the covenants there that will bring us eternal life.  How cool would it be to feel the way we do in a temple ALL the time.  That is going to be heaven.

Anyway, it was the Passey’s last zone conference. SO SAD!  I was asked to give my “dying” testimony since it’s my last zone conference too, but it was okay because they did too!  I had such a hard time trying to figure out what to say about the past months of learning and growing.  You can’t sum that up into a few minutes so I shared Alma 26:16 and if you wanna know how I feel read that verse.

“Therefore, let us aglory, yea, we will bglory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his cmercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.”
Here are some cool miracles from this week:
– Chuck came to the YSA ward this week and let us know literally 10 minutes before it started he was coming.   Due to a fire on Mt Graham the elders were out helping with evacuations so we went to our 3rd round of church meetings for the day with Chuck! Yahooooo 8 hours lesssgooo!  Chuck really enjoyed it (especially the fact that the bishop was the guy that sent him to prison, lol, they had a nice chat).
– We finally got back in touch with our investigator Christi Bergan who told us that three weeks ago she and her hubby got married so she could be baptized!  She hasn’t set an official date because she wants to make sure all her family can be there and that she doesn’t rush things too much but she is SUPER solid.  That was a miracle.
– Before going to Christi’s lesson we ate a quick dinner and afterwards I decided all I needed in life was a nice cookie. I prayed we might get a treat, hahaha.  As we were on our way out the door at Christi’s she ran after us saying, wait, wait I made you guys cookies – don’t forget them!  HA HEAVENLY FATHER ANSWERS PRAYERS!!!!
Happy Fathers day to my dear father.  I love ya and for Fathers Day I’m sending you a gift but you won’t get it until about July 12th… at noon.   And Happy Father’s day to our Heavenly Father!  He loves us so much and I know he is listening to my prayers (otherwise how in the world would I ever get cookies??) and he answers prayers in his own timing.  My cookie experience actually made me pause and reflect back on the prayers I’ve been saying and how they have been answered.  I have seen how prayers I said four months ago have been answered, even a year ago!  And it is cool to know that if we just hang in there and wait for it, Heavenly Father will bless us with what we need and we will get what we most desire!
Pictures to come soon, I love you – Sister Packer
Our trio – The three broomsticks
20170615_112635
20170615_083036
20170615_113829
IMG_2486
20170615_112526

I Need More Sleep

Letter from June 12, 2017

Dear Fam, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.  It’s been such a crazy busy week. The temperature right now is 91 so it’s a cooler day but we will be back to the high 100s later in the week. How does one transition to this weather?  Uou just accept the fact that you will sweat and its fine!

So an update on everyone.  William is doing really great! we met and read some of Alma 32 together and then asked what thing he felt he needed to work on to increase his faith.  He had some major concerns about prayer and that God didn’t hear his prayers or they weren’t good enough.  So we had a great discussion about prayer and he started saying prayers out loud and making them more of a “heart to heart” with Heavenly Father.  He said on Sunday that it really helped his prayers seem more meaningful just by saying the words out loud.  Amen to that.
We have had some interesting lessons with Chuck and Mary.  Turns out Mary has some crazy questions about the plan of salvation.  After teaching it to her she was very concerned and even scared by the thought of the plan because it did not guarantee that her family would be together forever.  We kept trying to explain that it was very much possible by simply living the gospel.  Afterwards Sister Holgerson gave a great insight. Elder Uchtdorf explained at conference that fear is the opposite of faith.  She might not have confidence or comfort in God’s plan yet because she doesn’t yet have faith in it.  It made me realize how important it is to just trust in the Lord that his plan for us will work rather than going through “what if” situations and stressing over what we cannot control!!
We spent Thursday and Friday in Tucson at the temple open house.  It was a whole different world up there.  The open house is crazy busy.  We spent a few hours each day in the reception area after the tour answering questions of those who had just finished the tour.  That was SO much fun!  At one point, a group that came through had questions and started asking me and before I knew it I had 7 or 8 people gathered around me in a circle asking questions!  It was insane!  Kind of a missionaries dream come true to just stand there and answer questions, although we couldn’t “proselyte” or try to invite them to do anything about what they felt.  Hopefully member friends will do that for us!
My highlight of working at the temple was when I saw someone who looked kinda familiar standing by the bathroom at the stake center.   I went up to her and BAM! I’m looking at KAYLA HANSEN.  hahaha, oh it was a joyous reunion with an old friend!  She was there with her friend who just happened to be my companion’s MTC investigator! haha, God has some pretty funny tender mercies.
IMG_1611
Mark Pablo was baptized Saturday and confirmed Sunday and received the priesthood. He is a very happy man! and it was a touching baptism.  We are so proud of him, and hopefully his daughter Jasmine will be getting baptized in July!
20170610_185244
Also we are in a trio right now! Whaaaat??? Sister Lund’s companion went home and so she is with us right now!  It is sure gonna be a party.  The poor girl is a trooper.  She will be having a service missionary with her during most days and then spending the night and mornings with us so that we can still have work happening in her area.
I would tell you funny stories from the week but I’m tired so I’ll send some pics.  Love ya fam.
Sister Packer
20170608_104322

Keep’em Awesome and Holy

Letter from June 6, 2017
Dear Family and Friends,
Those are the words of a prayer for us given by Mark Pablo.  “Keep’em awesome and holy!”
Safford is an interesting little place. It is little yet so much is going on!  I won’t go into too much detail about what’s going on but I’m pretty sure if they were to pick a new classic small town to make a new hit drama tv series,  it would be this place.I feel like I’m living in a mansion!  We actually live in a renovated funeral home.  Ha ha no ghosts yet.  But we have a walk in closet!?!  What the?!  It’s such a nice place!  But it might be rubbing off on my companion… She told me she wanted to go to the cemetery today… anyway…  And the members here are even nicer.  Example: they made me chocolate chip cookies.  Example two: our ward missionary (Sherri) made us popcorn while we did My Plan.  Example three: a sister in our ward was the guest of honor at the grand opening of McDonald’s so of course she took the missionaries because who doesn’t love free McD’s hahaha. We got the full VIP tour and everything!

My new companion is Sister Holgerson. Holgy for short.   She is from North Carolina, has mad piano skills and I am a proud owner of her first CD- holla at her when she famous. She wants you to know she has lots of freckles and all her toenails are painted hot pink except for two.

We have had some freaking awesome miracles this week. Every single day.  Our investigator Mark Pablo got an interview about a month ago for baptism and has been waiting for FOREVER to get first presidency approval.  This week we got a text from Prez. saying he was good to go!!  Mark is planning on getting baptized on June tenth and we are so excited for him.  Mark has made a lot of changes in his life and is currently still on parole.  He has a strong testimony of the gospel and he keeps saying he’s gonna have all the protection he needs once he gets the gift of the holy ghost.
We had a crazy referral this week too from a bishop of another ward.  He sent us over to see Mary Ellen.  Turns out it’s her son who is really interested.  Her son is Chuck Long and he has been out of prison for only 14 days.  While there he had an incredible experience with the Book of Mormon which was given to him over a year ago!!  Lots of seeds have been planted here.  He is now looking to learn if this is something he wants to keep in his life and if he wants to be a part of the latter day saints. And Mary, his mother, said she is also willing to learn. AHHHHH!
One of the most spirit-filled lessons we had this week was with a young man named William Hemphill.  William has been less-active for most of his life and has recently decided he needs something more in life.  The bishop sent us over last night to meet with him.  He has been so humbled by the Lord that he is ready to absorb everything!  He admitted he thinks he has a testimony but it is very weak and he wants it to be stronger. We were able to teach him about the restoration and testify that the Book of Mormon would bring the strength he needed and that he would begin to learn how the spirit speaks to him.
Another lady I am excited about is Stephanie Farar.  Stephanie hasn’t been active in church since she was a kid.  She has a load of concerns and has gone through so much. She is going to let us teach her the lessons though.  She even committed to start praying. Haha she wants to take the small baby steps (which are the most important steps anyway).  Her son is the only one in her family who is active and he is on a mission serving in Rexburg, Idaho right now!!  Shout out to Idaho.
Speaking of people serving in  Idaho- I believe there is an Elder Lutz in Shamrock Park right now yes?  Well I’m serving in his Grandma’s ward!  The Mormon world is a small one.
It’s been a good week.  Love you, Sister Packer
Me and the Desert of Safford
20170603_163711
With Sister Holgerson
20170602_152933
me and Toni Palmer (Elder Lutz’s grandma)
20170602_115202

A Mighty Change of Heart

Letter from May 29, 2017
Hey Hey fam,
KIM! KIM! KIM! We had the CRAZIEST miracle this week.  Probably one of the greatest ones in my whole mission.  Remember Kim and Steven who we watched Meet the Mormons with?  Well this week we went to read with Steven and we read Alma 34.  I gave Kim my Book of mormon to follow along.  She started asking questions and making comments and the spirit was super strong.  We left and went to our next appointment and then saw we had a text from Kim asking us if she could have her own copy of the Book of Mormon and a text from Steven saying Kim was thinking about converting!  Long story short, Kim felt the spirit when she read the Book of Mormon and she said in all her years as a catholic she NEVER felt anything like that.  She is now preparing to be baptized on June 24th.  Oh and at church yesterday she informed us (after reading the Plan of salvation pamphlet we gave her) that her biggest goal is to make it to the celestial kingdom.
When I first met Kim she had a lot of negative anti-mormon feelings and it has been SO COOL to see the small things over time change her heart.  Steven has been really good about bringing her to ward parties and inviting her to listen to our lessons.  What brought the biggest change was reading the Book of Mormon though.  I know the Book of Mormon is a gift from God and the quickest way for us to feel the spirit and gain answers to our deepest questions about life.  I am so grateful that Kim has been able to discover that and is now FEASTING upon the word!

What a good way to end my last week in the Pantano ward amiright??!  By the way I will be heading to the Gila Valley for my last 6 weeks.  I’m so stoked.  I will be companions with Sister Holgerson.  She used to serve in Central Tucson so I already know how awesome she is.

Oh my goodness. We found out that every single sister in the ATM will be able to go to work at the Tucson temple open house. We will get to come in from the Gila about twice a week to work the open house.  It is going to be crazy.  I am super excited though.  On Sunday, every single sister from across the mission met in Tucson at the temple.  It was amazing.  We did a little VIP tour.  All of the sisters and President and Sister Passey stopped in the bride’s room and in the sealing room.  It was pretty sweet.  President Passey has 6 weeks left, he got a little emotional with all of the sisters in the sealing room.

other fun events this week:

– tasted the best lemon bars evaaaa s/o to E. Sherwood

-for district meeting we had a testimony meeting fireside at our Bishop’s house and it was such a cool uplifting experience to remember we are all in this together and cool to see how much we all LOVE being out here!

-we had zone conference this week and it was exhausting.  We did training rotations between two zones and sister G and I gave the same training 4 TIMES. agh!   But it was fun.

love you all:)

pics

At the Temple with the Central Sisters

IMG_9179

Family photo with my baby

IMG_8847

With Kim and her dog @ church

20170528_120610

Sister Walker

IMG_9225

The Gardner’s

20170527_194336