Basically Dead!

Dear Family,
WOW – this is insane!
I’ve been wondering for like the past three hours what to say for my last email home. The truth is, no words can or ever will be able to describe how I currently feel.  It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but it has been worth it.  I do feel like I’m literally dying – you might need to prepare a recovery room for me to sleep in for about 5 days. My mission means everything to me.  I would never change a day, moment or hour.

There have been a lot of these bittersweet moments this week.  It breaks my heart to leave Arizona.  It breaks my heart to leave these people.  I’m so full of gratitude to my Heavenly Father.  He really means it when He says how great will our joy be if we can bring save it be one soul unto Christ.  Oh my goodness JOY is the only word to describe the feeling.  I’m grateful that the Lord allowed me to serve in this way.

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Sadly, everything is changing.  I don’t know if I will really be stepping off a plane in a few days, but the transfer board says I am, so it must be true.  We got a new mission president- President Browning.  And good news mom – people really do read my blog of my emails- Sister Browning told me she completely stalked it when they got their mission call here, lol!  If she is reading this right now – hi Sis Browning!

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God has been raining down tender mercies for the past 18 months.  A big one this week- I got to see Nicolette again!!!!  She drove down to the Gila Valley to go to the temple and do baptisms for the dead and we joined her!  I was so happy to see her again and hear about how she and the rest of the Gardner family is doing.  It was such a bittersweet moment! Sweet because what is sweeter than seeing someone progress in the gospel and LOVE IT. And bitter because my time to help people like Nicolette is coming to an end.  Well, as a missionary that is.

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During this week I began to feel a little anxious and wonder did I do enough? Did I do all the work He sent me here to do?  How well did I love people?  At first, I was desperately trying to seek out an affirmation from my Heavenly Father.  After a few days I was reminded that is not what matters.  Serving a mission was never about me so why would it be now?  It is about those we serve.  And as I realized that God reached out to me and he said-
D&C 124:
15 And again, verily I say unto you, blessed is my servant Hyrum Smith (Sister Packer); for I, the Lord, love him because of the integrity of his heart, and because he loveth that which is right before me, saith the Lord.17 And for his love he shall be great, for he shall be mine if he do this, saith the Lord. I have seen the work which he hath done, which I accept if he continue, and will crown him with blessings and great glory.

And then to even further helped me feel His love- Heavenly Father send me a monsoon last night!   I have been hoping to see the beginning of the monsoon season and guess what- GOD LOVES ME!

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I no longer think or just believe, I KNOW this is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth.  I know that Christ has truly borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, and we are healed through His stripes.  He is the prince of peace, and He brings me peace everytime I cry out to him.  I know I never walked out in this desert alone.  He was and is always there, carrying me.  He is my strength and I know that I need him every moment of every day.  No matter what pain, shame, or guilt I have felt, he has lifted it from me as I have tried my best to follow Him.  I know that repentance is so much more than saying I’m sorry, but changing myself every day to become what He wants me to be.  And I want to be like Mormon in saying- “I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare his word among His people that they might have everlasting life.” I know the name tag I’m wearing will be removed but the call to be his disciple will never be removed.

I know that the full measure of our Father’s love is seen through His son and the restoration of His gospel.  I know that they want us to return to them and we can through making and living the necessary covenants.  We can all gain that knowledge as we read the Book of Mormon.  IT’S TRUE! READ IT!  Nothing brings me more joy than feeling loved as I read the Book of Mormon.

Alright!  Thank you all for the support and love you have given me over the past year and a half.  I cannot wait to see you all again!   Signing off for the last time as Sister Packer.

Love, Sister Packer!
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Literally On Fire!

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!

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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
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The Three Broomsticks

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
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I Need More Sleep

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.
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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!
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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
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Collective Faith

Hi Family,

This month our zone has been focusing on finding more people to teach.  Last week was a terrible week and nobody hit their goals. So we had a discussion about it before district meeting as a zone and got everybody super stoked to hit our goal and this week has been INSANE.  Not necessarily for us, but collectively for everyone.  Our zone just broke the record of the number of new investigators found in one week! AH!  It’s been so crazy, everyone is on fire.  The coolest thing is seeing collective faith in action!  When we all exercise faith together we can see HUGE miracles come to pass. 

One of my favorite moments this week we had in finding was on Tuesday night.  Our appointment cancelled and we didn’t know where to go so we said a prayer to get us started.  Sister Squire suggested we go visit a less-active family.  So we went and they were busy, but said we could come back next week.  We walked back to the car and before we left, we noticed just across the street a family.  Okay, it was kinda creepy because their blinds were open and we just saw them like, “hey, look a family lives in that house.” Well we decided to go knock on their door and the dad was SO nice, invited us in and totally wanted his kids to learn about Jesus Christ.  It was a really cool experience to see how we can really put everything in the Lord’s hands to lead us to the places we need to be.  We just have to follow the bread crumbs he puts out for us. 

The temple trip with the Gardner’s was also awesome.  They loved the visitor center a lot. There was an interactive family area that taught about eternal families and they were all teared up by the end of it!  They loved doing baptisms for the dead, and Nicolette was so touched to see her grandparents baptized.  Afterwards they both told us they wanted to come back soon!  We also took them to Deseret Bookstore which was one of the funniest things ever. They didn’t want to leave and they wanted to buy literally everything.  Demitry bought a book about how to prepare for a mission. I am so proud of him.

Sidenote- Liam Gardner is my favorite person of all time.  Whenever he gets home he starts saying, “I need to be Liam Gardner,” and then starts taking off all his clothes until he is stripped down to his undies and then says, “Now I’m LIAM GARDNER!”  It’s really the cutest thing. 

Well we have about a week left of this transfer.  Sister Squire is getting a bit anxious about going home. Ha ha pray for her.  But we are ready to make this week AWESOME!  Hope you are all doing good.  Love you fam!

Sister Packer

Thuggery!

Dear Fam,

Here is the scoop on Valentine’s Day.  We met a guy named Leonard who was drinking away his sorrows.  We shared a scripture with him about God’s love and it brightened his day so he told us to be careful and not to go out past dark.  He said, “the whole city is a bunch of crooks!” Turns out, Leornard was RIGHT!

Wednesday, February 15th 2017. 1:00pm. Scene of the crime, Taco Bell.

This week my bag got stolen at taco bell! it was…terrible. We had slung our bags across the backs of our chairs and some sneaky crook grabbed it- I was with my whole district and no one noticed! The Elder’s saw who was sitting behind us so they knew what he looked like.  Kudos to him for being so talented; dang crook.  Next, panic mode just for two seconds.  I drove that day and had everything in there.  My wallet with ID and debit card, my ipad, our car keys, apartment keys, church keys, and my back-up USB’s were all GONE.  A lot to be concerned about but then I realized my personal copy of the Book of Mormon was in there too. That broke my heart.  A years worth of notes and personal thoughts and inspirations were just suddenly gone.  

1:30 PM – We checked the surrounding garbage cans in the plaza, looked for the couple, called the police and President Passey, and got debit cards frozen.   Knowing we’d be stranded at taco bell for sometime, we decided not to BE stranded.  We were able to pass out a couple copies of the Book of Mormon (say whaaaa?)- before we were rescued by Elder Anderson with spare keys to everything.  We also searched through more dumpsters than I’d like to admit hoping the thief dumped it after taking the money; nope.

February 16th – 10:00am –  The story doesn’t end there!  My whole district had seen what this guy looked like and saw him walking around the next day.  Thug Sighting!  Unfortunately, did they bother to talk to him then? no. They called us instead so we booked it down there.  He was gone at that point but we started asking people at the bus stop and then the donut man and they all knew him!  Donut man didn’t know his name but became very quiet and then said he would keep his eye out because he felt moved by how important it was to me to get my Book of Mormon back.  Then he gave us free donuts, haha!

Friday, February 17th –  Elder Arnold and Witzel called us and said they were bringing over Starbucks, which made NO sense.  They brought something wonderful with them. MY BAG!  A lady had found it outside of her apartment and called the number on the pass along card in the bag.   As you can guess, most everything was gone from my bag.  There were a few things left though.   My USBs were still there, temple names I had printed out and the keys. Most importantly and beautifully, my Book of Mormon!!!!! HUGE answer to my prayers. (What up, Heavenly Father!  Thanks for helping us prioritize.)  Extended happy dance because the word of God was returned.

At 11:00 am we went back to see George, the donut man and showed it to him. Because he saw how important it was to me, he decided he wanted one!  Good thing because we had one for him anyway, haha… He gave us more free donuts!   Well, I don’t know why my bag got stolen, besides someone just choosing to make a bad decision at my expense.  Maybe it was so I could be more aware of my belongings, maybe so we could have the opportunity to pass out more copies of the Book of Mormon because of these circumstances.  Maybe it was so we could meet George the donut man!  I am grateful that God allows us to fulfill our calling wherever we are and in whatever circumstances we are in!  I probably will never see my wallet or ipad again and I am okay with that!  Those things can be replaced… at a price.  We have learned that missionaries can make quite the detectives!  To finish the story, two other elders from our district saw our thief again and decided to contact him.  Turns out he was kicked out of highschool and is currently homeless. Poor kid needs the gospel in his life.  The saddest part was that he had another woman’s bag on him this time. We had a slight moral dilemma deciding if we should turn all of this info in to the police. I imagine his legal problems coming up will be a trial for him but I hope God can use it to give him the help he needs.  Keep Daniel in your prayers.   Sister Squire says if you ever need FBI-type investigation, just ask the missionaries!

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We had a distracted week due to the thuggery.  However, Saturday Kevin was baptized!  It was a very happy day for him.  He bore his testimony at the end and he just shone!  This man has come such a long way and has a great testimony of the atonement!  We are proud of him for all that he has left behind.   The biggest thing I learned this week was that faith does not just apply to missionary work, as we teach it – it applies to all aspects of our lives, it applies to MY life.  Faith is trusting God that no matter what happens everything will be okay, and it will be according to his will.  We prayed and prayed to get back my Book of Mormon.  We searched through dumpsters and were willing to chase this guy down to get it back.  Looking back I see now how those actions were an exercise of faith. Our actions were not able to produce a miracle.  Only God can produce miracles, and God only works through miracles.  The Book of Mormon is a miracle in itself.  Getting mine back was one too.

Kevin’s baptism

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This week we had an family home evening with the Gardner’s and Jimmy was teaching the lesson.  He had decided to teach about the restoration and the Book of Mormon.  He talked about how he prayed and studied and for the first time he began to understand what he was reading.  He grabbed the Book of Mormon and waved it and said- “This book is SO good.” There are so many times where we have seen the Book of Mormon change hearts.  It is a miracle that life is an open book and we have THE book.  We can get the answers to all the questions we need, if we just use the book!

Thanks for your prayers and helping me get the details straightened out – love you all!

Sister Packer

This is a family Sister Squire got to teach in a previous area.  Ryan, the 17 year old was baptized at that time.  This week,we got to be there to see him baptize his parents, Wally and Regina. Pretty cool!

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Yes we built a fort.  Did our planning in it, and slept the night in it.  Good times!

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Your Dog Looks Interested…

Dear Family,                  February 12, 2017

I am happy to report that we no longer have Jimmy the Regular Guy.  We have Jimmy the Priesthood Holder!!!  YAYYYYYYY!  We lived the dream this weekend.  I literally have dreamed of finding a family where the dad can be reactivated and baptize his family and it happened! AH!  Seeing them all in white and knowing all the hard work that they had put in to get there was the best feeling.  It was a wonderful baptism and the spirit was SO strong!  There was a slight delay when Liam stood up from his chair on the front row holding his backside, yelling- “mom i gotta go NOW!”  Quick break and then back to the baptism.  Demitry said he felt the spirit, something warm inside when he was baptized and thought Heavenly Father must have been proud.   Nicolette has been doing her family history already and compiled what she found in a book and displayed it on a table for everyone at the baptism to see.  Aren’t these guys just the coolest people EVER?!  This week Jimmy told Sister Squire and I that we could come work for his painting company this summer and he said he would let me spray paint myself,  get a free tshirt AND have limitless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies- so I’m sold.

img_0612 With the Gardner Fam at their baptism.  Me and “Meety” – Demitry

Update on the Waptism:  Kevin and Monica GOT HITCHED!  Officially married in the bishop’s office with celebratory lemon bars, courtesy of Sister Nielsen.  Best wedding I’ve ever been too (also the only one).  Kevin had his baptism interview this week with President Passey and all is a go for next Saturday!  Round two coming up.  

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Wedding for Kevin and Monica

So this week we felt impressed to find four people to teach.  Like the number four just really needed to happen and we didn’t know why.  So we found a members friend who wanted to learn and that was great and then we had found nothing up until last night. And we fasted and prayed and prayed and prayed that we would find someone or whoever the other three souls were Heavenly Father wanted us to find.  I guess you could say we did some sifting most of the day. People just kept telling us they ‘ didn’t want contact’ and ‘weren’t interested’.  And yes we DID tell someone that their dog looked interested!  Just for future reference, people seem to think they know their dogs better than we do…  After a fruitless day we were left with an hour to find three people!  The next three houses we knocked on we found our three people!  One was a less-active man who is in the middle of a crisis and needs God’s love. He appreciated the conversation at least.  The next house we knocked on, the person we were looking for had moved but the man there (TED) said to come back and teach him and his family.  And the last house was a member who had a son who wasn’t baptized and her son literally quoted John 3:16 to us and said he loved Jesus.  You can claim we were successful or not on any level, but I can honestly say I have so much confidence in the Lord.  I know we can trust that when we are striving to achieve our goals that the Lord WILL provide for us and send us where we need to go.  There is never any reason to doubt him.

Other highlights:

It got warm for a small moment this week and we got up to 80 degrees, but sadly this week is supposed to be cooler in the 60’s – dang!  Almost sandal season!  You asked if the smells are stronger in the city now that it is warming up.  The smells are about the same – smells like weed!  Our drunk gay devil worshipping neighbor (these are his words BTW) told us he felt “utterly wicked” this week but really loves us Mormons, lol.  So there is some love down here!  We got Prez to agree to do the splits for us if we hit our mission goals.  Hahaha

Have a good week and Happy Valentine’s Day,  Sister Packer

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Happy reunion with the baby at zone conference.  Still coordinating, still united, hollaaa!

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The Lone Ranger

From September 12, 2016

Once upon a time, on a hot September day in Arizona, Sister Packer wandered through the desert all alone… For a full hour and a half.  Just kidding, but really though.  Let me back up and tell you the whole story.

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did not share the whole story last week.  Last Sunday night Sister Waldron and I spoke to President.  She has been having a big struggle with some health issues and is going to have to return home.  After speaking with President again Monday night we found out it would be in two days that she would be getting on a plane.  She served incredibly for the 5 weeks she was here.  I’m so proud of her and I know this is what’s best for her.  So it all happened very quickly.  Wednesday we had all of her stuff packed up and we drove up to Tucson to the mission home. Sis Waldron’s plane left early Thursday morning… and then I was companionless.😟

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Luckily, I got adopted by the Casas Adobes Sisters.  I stayed with them in their area because there aren’t any other sister missionaries in my area of Sierra Vista.  I had a great time going back to my old area and with one of my old companions, Sister Daun.  I got to have some really fun experiences.  Thursday was the northwest zone’s temple trip so I got to go to the temple!  We got to go teach some of their investigators in a halfway house, and may have watched a sketchy deal go down right in the middle of the lesson. Lol, I miss you ghetto Tucson!!  What’s better than that?!  I got to go to a lesson with them to teach the Anzak family too.  I guess after Laneye went through the temple about a month ago, Mike decided he wanted to take the missionary lessons.  He now has a baptismal date and I’ve never seen those two more happy.  They are excited to be sealed together as a family!  And then to top it all off, Saturday was the baptism of John Lorch, Yvette’s husband, WOW!  And I’m not sure if you remember me writing about this one.  It is crazy to think just six months ago we were taking his wine!  And thinking he may never get baptized.  But he has made an incredible journey.  And since that night he has been sober and found the strength to overcome his addiction to smoking.  It was an awesome experience to see the progress he has made and be there for his special day.  The time in Tucson was definitely well spent.  I do miss that area and it brought back a lot of fun memories.  I got to see some of my favorite people.  Shout out to the Huntingtons and Christensen’s for once again feeding me amazing food.  And I got to go to lunch with Sister Schwartz and Tammy again! Love my bffs in the Casas ward. 💜 

New friends in the Northwest Zone!

Anyway, President called me Friday and said he had found someone to be my companion and keep Sierra Vista going with sister missionaries!  We still have one more week in this transfer. I was able to return to my own area Saturday afternoon and pick up Miss Christina Gross.  She is a recent convert of about a year in one of the wards in Sierra vista. She is going to be my companion for a week! Haha, it’s like a little mini mission for her. And then at transfers I will get an actual missionary companion.

 So this brings me back to the beginning of my email.  Saturday I was in Tucson and she was in Sierra Vista. I had to get back down to Sierra Vista and President said “yeah just drive down and pick her up.”  I said, “By myself, President?”  And he said, “no you will have the Holy Ghost as your companion!” Hahaha. So it was the weirdest thing ever but I was ALONE.  I drove ALONE. To Sierra vista.  Maybe that doesn’t sound too weird to all of you out there but for missionaries who are with someone literally 24/7, that’s really weird!  But no worries I survived. 😎

Lunch with Casas Adobe crew – Tammy, Kathy, Sis. Daun and Sis. Cook.  Then me driving back to Sierra Vista with my salad as a temporary companion.

Me with my “mini mission” companion, Christina Gross

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 The week was kinda crazy but went by really fast!  Lots of ups and downs.  I can’t write in words how I miss Sister Waldron, please keep her in your prayers!  Love you all and thanks for the support.

Sis Packer

My Zone

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Holy Guacamole

August 22, 2016

It has been a slower week but we still had fun stuff happening!  Jacob is getting very excited for his baptism this Saturday.  His mom and dad both sat in on the lesson this week which was focused on temples.  His dad shared his experience of when he went through the temple as a youth and how special he remembers it being.  He then continued to tell Jacob about the Holy Ghost and how nice it is to feel it all the time.  He also told Jacob how he remembers the day it left him.  Wow, it was heartbreaking to hear that but we were able to promise his dad that it was something he could have again.  His dad knows he needs to come back to church and start living the gospel.  We feel like Jacob is going to be what starts the fire in his dad again.  Jacob is such a sweet boy and he wants his family to be sealed together so bad.  It is the cutest and most inspiring thing ever.  It makes me realize how lucky I am to already be sealed to my family.  I get to be with you crazies FOREVER!

Mesa Temple with Laneye

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Thursday, Laneye Anzak (from the Casas Adobes ward in Tucson), went through the temple for the first time and we found a ride and got to go!  So it was a road trip up to Mesa.  It was a special day and Sister Waldron and I both felt very blessed to be able to go to the temple.  We both took family names and fasted that day and made the most out of the time we had there.  Nothing compares to the peace in the temple.  And that was something we both needed to feel this week!  It was awesome to see someone who had worked for this day and to be there with her.  The feeling was overwhelming.  It was a fun day!

Mesa Temple with Laneye

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We did have one surprise Thursday night. M- dropped us. I was kind of relieved rather than depressed about it because I knew we were going to have to drop her the next time we saw her or next week because they weren’t keeping commitments and were no longer progressing.  M- thinks that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, but she won’t read it. She thinks all inspired things like that are from God.  All churches are good but she feels it doesn’t matter which you join. In a way, she is right.  Churches are good.  They tell us to do good things and they teach about Christ’s teachings.  But no other church on the earth has what we have.  We have the priesthood restored.  We have the AUTHORITY.  Sometimes it makes me so sad that some people will never understand how important that is.  There will always be a good and a better and a best.  Seek out the best and live it.  We have the best, the restoration of Christ’s church!  I feel like I’m bragging about the church… but that’s what I’m out here for, right???!

The last highlight of the week was our Saturday morning! We were up at 6:00am, out at the ranch we volunteer at once a week, helping with the cattle.  We gave all the heffer’s injections, new tags, and spray.  Then we helped with the tagging, branding, castrating, and immunizations of all the calves.  It was so dope.  We had a blast. And we smelled terrible!  I never imagined getting a kick out of something like this.  We didn’t have to rope and flank them but I did learn how to rope and I stunk at it.  But Teresa did tell me I was a natural at branding!   Our district is the best group.  We had fun naming all of the cows, most were named after a type of burger or poop.  My favorite little guy is named Buffalo Chip.

I am branding a cow!

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Giving shots and tags

Not to go off and talk about poop for my whole letter, but everyone kept calling the fresh ones guacamole, all… morning… long.   They kept joking about who wanted to taste the freshly made guac.  Unfortunate for us, later Saturday night we had a lesson with the Falcons and it was GUACAMOLE NIGHT. We have been looking forward to it all week, but when we saw it, all we could think of was those darn cows from that morning!  LOL, we almost didn’t eat any!

Ranch hands:  Elder’s Jorgensen, Deyarmond, Potter and Jordan, with me, Sister Waldron and Teresa

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Saturday night I had a nice surprise!  Sister Brooks came back to visit!!  She was at a wedding in Mesa and came down to Sierra Vista to spend the night.  It was so fun to see her again, and so weird too.  I couldn’t call her Sister Brooks anymore!

Sister Waldron has been adjusting to mission life this week.  She is a fun companion and we get along really well.  We have connected over things I never would have guessed we would connect over!  I definitely feel President was inspired when he put us together. Although training is harder than I thought it would be it is very rewarding. I feel like I learn so much everyday and I know that it is helping me to be a better missionary.  We have had good days, but we’ve also have hard days that we made fun.

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I got the audio of Jace’s homecoming report and it did work.  I haven’t had time to listen to it yet though. I will get there today eventually, haha.

We better be doing a lot of boating when I get back! I’m super jealous of you guys.  That sounds like a lot of fun!!  Tell the Butikofer’s I say hello!  I miss being a part of you rowdy bunch!  Okay don’t party too hard back home. Yes, I am very jealous of the boating.  Send videos of Sam jumping the wake, that’s freaking sick.  Also, since when did Benson and the gang become a band?? Sounds great!

Bye for the week,  Sister Packer

Practicing our Ropin’

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Lunch Break

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SACRAMENT MEETING WAS LIT!

YO FAM. LAST SUNDAY I GAVE MY TALK IN SACRAMENT MEETING ABOUT COMMITMENT. Not gonna lie I didn’t know what to talk about at first, I have a hard time writing talks, it’s a curse. I did want to share a couple of things I found that I shared on Sunday. The first is a story by an Italian opera singer and it basically summarizes the focus of my talk.

“When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of song,” “He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice. A professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me as a pupil. I also enrolled in a teachers college. On graduating, I asked my father, ‘Shall I be a teacher or a singer?’ “‘Luciano,’ my father replied, ‘if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.’ “I chose one. It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance. It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera. And now I think whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book–whatever we choose–we should give ourselves to it. Commitment, that’s the key. Choose one chair.”

I was actually really glad I got to speak on commitment after reading and praying about it. It is going to be such a huge part of my mission. I have to be committed to serving my mission with all my heart. And I could not be more excited to serve the people of Tucson Arizona. I am so excited to share the message of Christ and teach people about how much he loves them. Plus, the weather will be a nice change haha:) So peace out Idaho Falls for a while, love you all and see you in 18 months!

Sister Jessica Packer