Too Raw to Handle

Letter from July 25, 2016

Dear Fam,

 First of all, this is the coolest season EVER. Most nights we go out onto our roof and watch the storms. It is SO DOPE. There are flashes of lightening every five seconds and it lights up the whole sky.  Sierra Vista is beautiful!

A picture from the Arizona Missionary Mamma Site of the Storms

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 We had a couple fun adventures this week.  I ate basically raw steak.  Rarest I have ever seen steak in my whole life but I’m not dead yet so no worries.  We had dinner with a couple that grilled for us.  Did he know how to use a grill?? I’m thinking nah.  This also happened to be the same day I challenged my companion to drink a raw egg.  So we both drank an egg and then ate raw steak later… I felt sick afterwards.  Later, as we taught them, we testified to them that there is a God and that He is aware of them.  We talked about how God is like earthly fathers who let their children make bad choices sometimes but is always there to offer help.  They liked the analogy but they still weren’t very interested.  That is an issue we have run into in this military town.  A lot of people in the military just don’t believe or want to believe in God anymore.  So they weren’t interested in learning more but they were really worried we didn’t eat enough because we told them our monthly allowance.  So they said we could come over to eat anytime.  Ha ha, at least they got the light of Christ in them!  The good news is we did make progress with M-.  Ah wow I love her family so much.  We literally had a two hour lesson and taught two lessons!  We went with the intent to teach the plan of salvation, and her three girls joined us and they loved it.  One daughter started to cry as we discussed the spirit world because she had a friend pass away and she has been wondering where they went.  God is so aware of our needs.  He knew she needed to hear that message.  After we finished that lesson M- asked us to teach her girls about ‘that boy Joseph Smith.’  They want to read the Book of Mormon together and agreed to pray about it as a family.  

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This week I felt so blessed because I got to attend Tammy’s baptism.  Mamma Tammy came down to Sierra Vista and picked us up.  Her baptism was wonderful.  She had us get her waterproof mascara and a CTR ring and she was ready to go!  She looked so happy. I’m just so happy for her and proud of the choice she made!!  It was probably one of the best days of my mission so far.  I can’t explain the feeling seeing someone you’ve been praying for for months be so happy and be happy because of the gospel.  THE GOSPEL IS AWESOME!  My companion went to Gilbert to see her recent convert go through the temple, so I also got to spend the day with Sister Daun and cook in my old area!  I got to go see the Anzak’s again for dinner and see all of my friends from the Casas ward.  I loved it!     I had the opportunity to speak in sacrament meeting this past Sunday.  Luckily they gave me a pretty easy topic.  I spoke on how the gift of the Holy Ghost has blessed my life. It was actually a fun topic to research.  The coolest thing I found was a quote from Elder Bednar’s talk- Receive the Holy Ghost.  “As we listen to the sacrament prayers and worthily partake of the bread and water;  as we pledge our willingness to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, to always remember Him, and to keep His commandments, we are promised that we may always have His Spirit to be with us. Thus, everything the Savior’s gospel teaches us to do and become is intended to bless us with the companionship of the Holy Ghost.” Everything we do is to receive the Holy Ghost, because he sanctifies us!  

Okay fam, guess what. Sister brooks and I caught our new district pet.  Call us the scorpion queens. Hollaaaaa. We named him Nicholas. We found him in our bathroom the other day. He is pretty cute.  Today we went on a hike that was supposed to take us up to a hidden waterfall but it’s too dry here.  Uugh, no water in the waterfall. That’s pretty much it for the week.  Have fun picking up the bro in London and buy me some fish and chips for later.

Love, Sister Packer.

 

My Favorite People from Casas!

 

We went on a dope hike up to a DRY waterfall, lol.

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Down on the Border

Hey sorry for the short email last week. I will tell you a little more this week. But only a little😜  So our Sunday was very exciting.  We got three new investigators in one day!! Granted, one isn’t very solid and we probably will only teach one more time… But that’s okay!

So bishop pulled is out of relief society and gave us a dope referral.  Her name is M- and she is from Honduras.  So the only time we had to go see her was right after church. She started crying when we showed up. She has been going through some really hard times and is excited for God to be a part of her life again.  We are excited to teach her!  That was definitely a blessing from Heavenly Father.  We have to drop some people we are teaching but he is giving us more to do!

Okay so we had this crazy lesson with a family in another ward.  They invited us over to meet their preacher friend who lives in our area.  They also had over another member bro Cummings.  Hardest most frustrating lesson ever! The preacher, his name is C-.  He had so many questions, and he knows his bible in and out. We tried to teach the first lesson but it got so far off topic because he kept grilling us.  And this member kept trying to answer his questions and then they would start bible bashing. Not chill… At all.  The spirit left the room every time.  There was one point of the lesson when we literally put our hands up and were like,  “woah, woah wait a second.”  And we refocused the discussion.  It came to the point where we said that we could sit there and read scriptures from the bible and what we think they mean all day and all night and we would get nowhere. We told him the only way he can truly understand our religion is if he reads the Book of Mormon. We had the 16 old boy read Moroni 10:4-5 and he bore his testimony on how he received an answer through sincere prayer. At that moment the spirit was there. However, Cedric wasn’t interested in doing that. Oh well. So we ended the night by meeting the Montoya family. They have a fourteen year old daughter who wants to get baptized!  They are all
members but just inactive so she has now chosen to take the lessons and gitter done.  Luckily, they are a sweet family and sent us home with some enchiladas, cause these sister’s hadn’t eaten all day, lol. The theme of this week has been reading the flipping Book of Mormon.  It’s the best book ever guys!

I did some studying on Joseph Smith’s Lecture on Faith and here is some of the notes I took:  All our actions can be tied back to faith.  The power God has is faith. Faith in him is what the Savior uses.  And so for us when we exercise our faith we are calling upon his power to help us. Nothing can be accomplished without faith.

We understand faith better than most religions, because we don’t view it as dormant. It takes action, positive or negative, to move it. And whatever direction it goes we see the results or fruits of it.  The divinity within us is our tie to God. So it makes sense that this powers in God is also in man. We have no power without faith. We call upon him through our faith. He made us in his likeness and image. He made us like him so we could exercise faith and have his power.  

Faith- assurance, evidence, and action. Elder Bednar said, – “these three components of faith… I describe as simultaneously facing the future, looking to the past, and initiating action in the present.”  We face the future through what we believe we can achieve with our faith, or with our hope. We look to the past for assurance and evidence that faith works. Through the examples of others or assurances from prophets. And then we presently take action to receive our power.

Love, Sister Packer

Boarder Fence to Mexico

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Bugs and Baptism

Letter from July 10,2016

Dear Family,

Okay I don’t have much time today so I will just tell you two quick miracles from this week.  Saturday we took the car into Big O tires to get our it serviced.  Well guess who works there? Jor-!  We met Jor- on the Fourth of July.  We were doing service with him and gave him a Book of Mormon. Guess who has been reading the Book of Mormon?! JOR-! Yayyyy.  Anyway he said he was open to having missionaries come over to help him understand it better!  Heavenly Father knows exactly where he wants us to be!!

Okay, then Saturday night we decided to set a goal to find a new investigator for the week.  Our week ends Sunday night by the way.  But we prayed and prayed and worked.   We showed up to dinner that night and they surprised us with a non-member coworker also coming to dinner!  Her name is Ka- and she had a lot of questions about our lives as missionaries.  She was very open and curious.  So our dinner message was of course about the restoration.  Oh the Spirit was strong!  She felt it and accepted a Book of Mormon and we are going to have another lesson with her at these members house again!  We got our new investigator!  Wow, He is just blessing us SO much right now!  I love this area and the people and Sister Brooks.  I’ll send some fun pics of the bugs we saw this week and our fun pday in Tombstone.

Yeah it’s been a great week, Sister Brooks is not trunky at all.  She is a hard worker and we are working so well together.  We are doing good stuff together – it’s awesome. 

Love you all,  Sister Packer

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Sierra Vista Zone; Swag District

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Anna’s Baptism

 

 

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Letter from July 5, 2016

My Dear Family,

The good!

Sierra vista is a wonderful little town at the bottom of Arizona.  It is actually a higher elevation than Tucson so it’s cooler here, but it gets more humid!  Honestly, it’s such a nice break from the heat wave of Tucson!!  I love it!  We are right by Ft. Huachuca.  There is a lot of military down here and border control.  

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Ft. Huachuca in Sierra Vista

We live with the Bingham family, well we actually live in the attic of their garage!  And it’s supposedly the smallest apartment in the mission but it is great.  Sister Brook’s and I cover the Hereford and Sierra Vista 2nd wards. The Ward boundaries go down to the border. So yes at times we can see Mexico!  This is an awesome area and I’m excited about the work here. There is a ton of potential and we have a lot to keep us busy.  So Sister Brooks is from Layton, Utah.  She’s such a nice girl and we have been getting along great!   We have some very interesting investigators here. The first one I met, J- , has about 70+ cats, and she lives in a double wide trailer.  Need I say more?

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 The first lesson we had with her this week we were discussing the Book of Mormon and  just trying to get to know her better.   After she told me about what she’s been learning, we talked about how we can receive answers through the Book of Mormon.  She said she has always understood the spirit as her intuition.  Haha in the middle of the lesson she says, “Sister Packer, you teach like the elders you know? ”  Haha ,Uhhhhhmmmm okay thanks. I hope that’s good, I’m just going to assume that was a compliment.   We taught her about the Spirit, the Godhead and how God’s Spirit speaks to ours.  She made a deal with us that she would start reading the Book of Mormon! Yay!

I also wanted to tell you about A-.   A- has been taught by missionaries since last September. She’s been terrified of the baptism interview because the last time she interviewed for baptism in October, she still needed to work on some things. She felt that she had failed.  Anyway we went over Saturday night with a member and ended up talking about how we can overcome our fears. Well it turns out A- didn’t understand why she needed to do the interview again or that she even could.  We had a good discussion and she realized she misinterpretted a lot of things and now is very excited to do it again. Sunday night she had her interview and passed (of course she is so ready) and she is going to be baptized this week! She wants to do it as soon as she can!

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Sister Brooks is an STL (Sister Training Leader), and this Friday was MLC (Mission Leadership Conference), so we had to go up to Tucson for the day.  I spent the day with the Binghamton sisters while she went to her meeting.  We had a great day.  I got to experience monsoon season in Tucson; so freaking cool!  The street outside of their apartment turned into a river!  And yesterday we had a fun but busy 4th. Normally it would have been our p-day but we were working as security at the town fair most of the day.  We had dinner with the Whitworth family who live on base.  It was a fun barbeque.  Later they took us up one of the hills there and we watched the whole valley’s fireworks from there! It was so pretty!

Monsoon season – instant river:  This is Sister Quinonez and Diderickson

Service Project of the 4th of July:  This is me and Sister Brook’s with my district and ZL’s (Elders Potter, Stephenson, Jordan, Watson, Carico and Price)

The bad:

BUGS.  They are everywhere.  The rain is flushing them out.  And they are HUGE.  So here is the worst story evvvveeeer.  The worst night of my mission so far.  First we were walking into the house and closing the garage door and right by the button was this big spider spinning a fly so it could eat it!  Blehhhhh I HATE HATE HATE spiders. Then we walk in and see a huge spider on the wall.  Took us twenty minutes to kill it. Then we went to bed.  About 11 I got up to use the bathroom and found three sun spiders ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ewwwwwwwww ewwwww! (If you don’t know what those are google it, then cry because they are so gross!)  We caught those little nasties and put them in tupperware and then put them in the freezer!  We came across two other strange bugs that I don’t even know what they were!! One was a popping bug and another was some sort of cockroach.  So the night became devoid of sleep, just full of bug catching!  But that wasn’t the end of the night!  

The Ugly:

Around 12 or 12:30pm, I started having the WORST pain in my left lower back, just unbearable.   I was so nauseated I almost threw up.  I tried to take some anti-inflammatory medication but it did absolutely nothing so finally after thinking I was gonna die for three hours I woke up my companion at 3:30am.  She ended up calling our mission president and his wife and they talked me through it.  Sister Passey thinks it may have been an ovarian cyst that ruptured or a kidney stone.  I “toughed it out”.  It was a very long night, but by about 5:00ish the pain subsided, quite quickly amazingly! It was really weird and hasn’t hurt since then , thank goodness!

Even more Ugly:

Okay, back to the bugs.  We found a baby tarantula at the beginning of the week while we did service and I was scared of it!  It was UGLY and terrifying to see just crawling along.  Well your never going to believe what I did yesterday.  While we were at the Whitworth’s for dinner last night their daughter went and got her little pet to show us.  Any guesses what this girl has for a pet?!   It was a tarantula!  Also ugly by the way.  And this was not a baby one!!  It took me about ten minutes to get used to even looking at it, but I eventually held it, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!  I had to close my eyes at first, hahaha.  I am still alive.  

You could definitely say I am out of my comfort zone.  This week for sure has had a few uncomfortable elements in store for me.  I love you all.  Stay safe and check your bed for monsters before you hit the hay each night.  The struggle is real.

Sister Packer