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

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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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No one Fails Who Keeps Trying and Praying

January 23,2017

The Gardner family is doing amazing!  They are working so hard towards their baptism and Jimmy is working hard to become a priesthood holder.  Jimmy is struggling with the word of wisdom but last night a family in the ward had us and the Gardner’s over for dinner.  They gave the lesson and they also gave Jimmy a powerful blessing.  It was an awesome experience for him and his family to see the Lord’s authority and power in the work. 

Guess how blessed we are?!  Just guess.  We went to the temple TWICE.  We are SO lucky. We had our zone temple trip on Wednesday and then Thursday we went back to see a family from Sister Squires old area get sealed.  I have never seen a sealing ordinance before and it was probably one of the coolest things ever.  It felt like it was everything we work and strive for right there in one room.  Family and friends in the house of the Lord and just so much happiness.  That is what Heaven’s gonna be. 

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This week Sister Squire and I did not know how we were going to find a new investigator. By Saturday we still didn’t have one and everything we had been trying was not working out.  Saturday we spent half the day finding and again got nothing. That night we planned diligently that with the small amount of time we did have we could find someone to teach. The next day in sacrament meeting we met Sister Sapp who had just moved into the ward and had also brought along with her her boyfriend who LITERALLY wants to get baptized. IT WAS INSANE. The Lord really answered our prayers and I know that he provides for us when we show that we are willing to give all we have.  Kevin (the boyfriend) told us he went to a temple visitor center and felt like he never wanted to leave and couldn’t stop crying while he was there.  He says he doesn’t know it all yet but he knows Joseph Smith was a prophet!  It was one of those moments where you just like stare back blankly and wonder if its real or a dream. 

This weeks “That moment when you”:

Find that the transfer has ended and a new one begins tomorrow.  Sister Squire and I will be staying together another 6 weeks- partyyyyyy – holla at yo Idaho girls!

Teach Shemar right after his 4:20 blaze it (gets high as a kite)

Make kimbob (aka sushi) with your Korean friends

Lose in a jalapeno eating contest to your companion (dang it…) 

Excel in the tie tying contest.

 Love ya, Sis Packer

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Answers to some questions:

  1. My companion is still Sister Squires, from Meridian Idaho and I will be killing her soon.
  2. Mission apartments are the least furnished places ever.  We have beds and a dresser and two desks, oh and a kitchen table.  That’s about it, but it really is awesome.  The inside smells better than the outside.  We do have a dishwasher and feel lucky to have it but it smells like rotten eggs every time we use it so that’s pretty funny.  Lot’s of smells
  3. My companion is awesome and I have learned a lot from her.   I just don’t think anyone can prepare for the 24/7 thing.  I am sure she would agree with that – sometimes you just really want to be by yourself so you do have a fair amount of patience to practice.  We are similar in a lot of ways so it’s also a blessing.  It’ll probably make marriage a little less scary and easier, right?

The Harvest is Now!

January 16, 2017

Dear Family,  Just as John testifies, there is not four months and then the harvest- the harvest is NOW!  And there truly are people prepared for this gospel.  The Gardner’s are some of those special people.  We invited them to be baptized on Monday and at first they were like, “well, yeah maybe.”  And we went back Wednesday night and followed up with them about it,  Nicolette nodded and said- “Yeah, I’m ready, let’s do it”.  Demetri said- “I’m scared, but I’m ready”.  Ahhhhhhhhh, wow I love this family so much. What is really heart warming was when Jimmy, the regular guy, decided he wanted to become Jimmy, the priesthood holder, so he could be the one to baptize his family! 

We also went with one of our ward missionaries to meet her friend this week, Cynthia.  She started off by saying she was a happy catholic and by the end of our meeting she was basically rejoicing over the restoration!  Know why?  CUZ IT’S TRUE! dang!   I need be a little more appreciative like Cynthia.  We take a lot of small simple, precious truths for granted sometimes! 

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Well I apologize for the short letter. Not going to lie I just feel pretty lazy and don’t want to type today hehehe…. anywho in the seven days of January this week Heavenly Father gave to us:

1 exchange

2 zone meeting trainings 

3 baptismal dates/ 3 investigators 

4 less active lessons

5 cheesy jalapeño bagels 

6 hours of meetings 

7 member present lessons

In other awkward events, our ward missionary went on a date with our investigator (p.s. They are like 75 years old) and we got all the details from them both, hahaha, it’s great. Sister Squire and I took third in a zone water balloon toss at zone meeting. So a definite shoutout to us for not being pansies in skirts.  One other fun thing;  we “learned” from Brother Lee (from Korea) to pick up a single grain of rice using metal chopsticks.  And two of our new investigators are from South America!  We are getting quite a bit of culture down here. 

Love, Sister Packer

P.S.  Look up the Brownings (Eric Browning) from Shelley.  He is going to be the new Mission President this coming June.  He is from St. Anthony.

Another Week in the Dirty-T

January 9, 2017

Hey Fam,  this week went by so fast!!!!  Okay well we had a crazy Monday night and Tuesday.  We got five new investigators!!  I told you to pray for us last Monday night, right? Well you must have been. Not only did we get a lesson but we found a family to teach.  We have been praying to find a family since the beginning of the transfer. 

Sister Lines took us to see her neighbors.  The dad is actually a member but his wife and two kids are not.  They welcomed us in and we shared a message.  It hit them super hard. The daughter is turning 16 and is going through some rough stages and they all feel like change in their life would be good.  They even told us to come over twice a week!!!  What the?!?!  They are so awesome. 

Last Sunday we got a text from our ward mission leader with the information for a guy who literally walked into our church building, said he was mormon, and wants people to teach his family so they can be mormon too.  When does that ever happen?  Ever?  It did.  It happened, we made the visit and the whole family came to church yesterday!  So that’s how we found our other two investigators! 

I think I have really learned that God answers prayers.  When we have righteous desires and faith, God will answer us.  Yes, it will be in his own time according to his own will and sometimes in the strangest of ways, but he will answer us.  Miracles are abounding in the ever-dirty Tucson.

We went on a hike today…it was like 5.5 hours and definitely involved crossing water like 8 times, haha. 

Highlights:

-went on the weirdest exchange of my life….just so weird

-had MLC and learned a lot like usual

-found 5 investigators!! (0-100 real quick?)

-had an Arabic feast

-people came to church yaaaaaaaas

-a kind man gave me a huge jar of homemade salsa and his unopened bag of chips

-my district leader told me to start singing “I am a child of God” the other day and so I did it without asking why and he just started beatboxing to it and wow!  One day I will be that good.

-I learned a new beatboxing skill. #pollywantacracker #calltheambulance

Aight!  Peace Homies

Wonderful P-day Hike

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With Elder and Sister Wagner

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MLC

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This Jameel!

January 2,2017

AHHHHHH my life is insane.  I feel like no one believes in sleep in Tucson, missionaries included??? We seem to always have a mile long to-do list. I really love this area- we are working harder than I have ever worked and seeing miracles everyday. 

I was looking through our ward list the other day and I saw a name that I recognized. Someone from the Casas Adobes ward moved over to Pantano!  It was a less-active lady we had worked with- Aubrie Freeman!  We paid her a visit and it was a wonderful reunion with her and her three adorable children and her hubby, Michael.  Michael is not a member and previously when we had visited them he was never interested.  BUT, apparently he has been making a lot of changes lately.  He became an investigator this week!  On our second lesson with him, he told us he had read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon and he felt like Nephi was sitting right next to him telling him a story as he read.  Coolest moment EVER.  I know this family is one of the reasons I am here in this area!  Heavenly Father blessed me to get to be a part of this family’s progression. Wow!  Michael even remembered the handshake we made in Casas- I freaking love this family. 

Selfie with Sister Drown

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Another awesome miracle we had was on exchanges.  I left the area and went to Sister Drown’s area in the southeast zone.  At the nightly planning she said that one big goal they had was to find a new investigator for the week. So we decided no time like the present.  Let’s exercise some faith and see miracles.  We prayed and prayed and prayed. Literally the first door we knocked on the next afternoon (looking for a less active in the ward who had actually moved), became a new investigator!  And then we found another! And then we found someone who wanted to start coming back to church!  Piles of miracles.  It was one of the best exchanges I have ever been on!  Love you Sister Drown. 

Okay now I get to tell you about Jameel and our sweet cheese.  We have been teaching an Arabic family for a few weeks and it’s been so challenging because of the language barrier. We really thought we were going to drop them this week because there hadn’t been any progression.  They gave us an interesting Lebanese dish that they called sweet cheese.  It was the nastiest thing I have had to eat thus far.  Maybe just stay away from Lebanese food?  Anyway we ate while Wissaam looked over the plan of salvation pamphlet and Sahar read from the Book of Mormon.  After I was done choking down the food, Wissaam looked up and pointed to the pamphlet and said- This “jameel”. This “jameel”. Meaning: this “BEAUTIFUL”!  They thought it was beautiful!  They are islamic but they really love our plan of happiness. 

New Year’s Eve

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To kick off the new year we had a short zone meeting on Saturday night.  It was basically a testimony meeting where we all got say why we came on a mission or what we had learned and then the ZL’s introduced a new intiative for our zone.  The purpose is to get everybody pumped to expect miracles every single day.  So the zone is going to be doing this thing where one companionship completes a challenge and then they get to call out another companionship to do a challenge. We just got called out to do a p-day lesson with an investigator.  It should be fun and we are trying to go the rest through the rest of the transfer without breaking the chain of call outs.  Haha, pray for us.

Writing to our family’s on P-day

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I guess I have had my mind on miracles a lot this week!  We have been studying faith in the Book of Mormon and it’s cool to see how miracles can take place at any moment if we exercise our faith.  The scriptures teach us that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and I can definitely tell you He hasn’t changed.  Miracles in the scriptures are still happening today.  And it is JAMEEL!!!  Love you all have a good week.

Sis Packer