A Mighty Change of Heart

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

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Family photo with my baby

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With Kim and her dog @ church

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Sister Walker

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The Gardner’s

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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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MLC Selfie
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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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