Saturday, December 28, 2013

Thank you!

First things first thank you to everyone who reached out Elder Packham for Christmas.  I know from being in coordination with our own Elders here in Ankeny that Christmas can be a bit of a challenging time.

I am struggling with getting a lot of information from Elder Packham so I apologize for not having more to share. Here is the latest Q & A:

How is Missoula?

Missoula is doing great! I love it here! Ahh! My companions are just awesome and we have so much fun.  We went the wrong way on a one way twice this week, roads in Missoula are the worst.

How was your Christmas party last week?

Our Christmas party went great! We actually sang a special musical number up on stage in front of everyone, it was oh come all ye faithful. They even had a spot light on us. Lol it was so much fun though and I enjoyed it! I love singing.

How are your Zone leader responsibilities going?

Zone responsibilities are going great! There is never a dull moment and never down time that's for sure.  We are ALWAYS running around visiting people and also managing zone leader things.

How was Zone conference? Tell me all about it!!!!
 

Zone conference was amazing! I got some letters I think I had one from you and one from grandma and grandpa it was very sweet! They gave us all little present baggies! There was a lot of singing and special musical numbers. 2-4 testimonies were born and only the assistants and president and sister Mecham spoke. One of our assistants is going home at the end of the transfer in January! I'm so sad, he's such a great missionary and he's impacted this mission SO much. He's a great influence. He will actually be coming to stay with us at the end of January and he will be at our zone training.

It occurs to me that you haven't told me about your companions.

Elder Connor McLeod and Elder Marshall. Elder McLeodis my zone leader companion and is from North Carolina and has been out just over a year.

Jake has developed a friendship that I hope will last forever with Elder Jacob Inman. They came out together. I enjoy reading his blog. Here is a link:

http://elderjacobinman.blogspot.com/

Friday, December 20, 2013

Video of Elder Packham's Mission

video
Enjoy!

If you have trouble viewing... here is the link:

Jake's Video



5 Days until we talk to Jake!!! I can't wait!!!!!

I think that everyone in our house is excited to talk to Jake on Christmas Day!!!!  We all love and miss him and it will do all of us a world of good to be able to see him and hear him.  I am so grateful for technology!  I am praying that all goes well and that we will be able to Skype him.

I am late on my update - sorry.  It seems to be happening a lot and I apologize.  Part of the reason is Jake's very short emails and the other part of the reason is that I am always so busy. 

Biggest news of late -----  Jake has been tranferred!!!  And he has a new calling of responsibility.  Elder Packham is now serving in Missoula and as a Zone leader.  Here is a little information about zones in the mission:

Most missions are divided into several zones, a zone being a geographic area specified by the mission president (though these are often the same area as the LDS ecclesiastical unit known as a "Stake"). A zone encompasses several more organizational units called districts. Each zone and district is presided over by leaders drawn from male missionaries serving in that area. Zone and district leaders are responsible for gathering weekly statistics, assisting missionaries in their areas of responsibility, and general accountability to the mission president for the well-being and progress of the missionaries under their stewardship. A district typically encompasses four to eight missionaries, and may or may not comprise more than one proselytizing area. An area is typically a portion of the LDS ecclesiastical unit known as a Ward (or congregation), one Ward, or multiple Wards.

Needless to say, I am positive that Elder Packham is very busy!!!  I am grateful for that knowledge because I know that he is serving the Lord and I also know that he is doing an amazing job!!!!

Jake sent some hilarious videos of him eating a habanero pepper - they are SO funny!  He makes me laugh.  He also told me that he feels the affects of my prayers and that made me happy.  I shared with him that Elder Boyd K. Packer said that there are few things more powerful than the faithful prayers of a righteous mother.  I know that is true because I have seen it in my life when I pray for my children.  It motivates me to be the best that I can be and to draw close to my Father in Heaven - I want that protection for my children and I want the knowledge that my faithful prayers are making a difference in their lives.  I heard Elder Holland once speaking to a mother who had asked him what she could do to help protect her children.  He told her to pray for them - every.single.day.  He said, you wouldn't send them out in the cold without a coat to protect them - don't send them out in to the world without a prayer to protect them.  I love that!

Yesterday would have been a Zone conference in Helena.  I am excited to hear what Jake has to say about it because I know that they were planning something special for the missionaries.

Oh- I sent Jake a package for Christmas with the 12 days of Christmas.  This is a poem for each day with a little gift to go with it.  It was a lot of fun to put together and I hope he is enjoying it.  I asked him in his email last week if he received it and he said yes, he loves it and his companion is having to keep him from opening all the days now. LOL.  We are going to have a set of our Ankeny Elders over on Christmas morning. I always pray that the members in Montana are taking care of my Jake.  I hope he and his companion have an invite for Christmas morning.

I know that for Thanksgiving he members fed Jake and his companion a TON.  Silly boy!  I hope that the members of Montana feel my prayers of gratitude.

Here is a little Q&A I got  back from Jake this last Monday:

How is your new companion?

My companions are awesome! I love my zone leader companion(: He's the best! I am already learning so much from him and we laugh all the time. Except now because I'm slightly upset.  ---Jakes ipad was stolen from the library and he was less than happy.

What are your initial thoughts of MIssoula?
Where cowboy meets indian. 

How was your first Sunday in your new ward?
My first sunday was the primary program (: we set up like 10 appointments for the week during church as well

Your new responsibility are zone leader - are you adjusting?
Yeah I'm loving it. It's very tiring. Super tiring. 

Have you been to any ward christmas parties? what were they like?
We have our ward Christmas party this Saturday and I'm really excited! We went to a few family parties yesterday

Are you getting plenty to eat?
Yeah yesterday we had 3 dinners

Are you staying warm?
Yeah I'm staying warm thank you!

Most spiritual experience this week?
Teaching the gospel. We had some really great experiences teaching some less active members of the ward.

Most uplifting scripture this week?
I don't know if I have one. I read Enos this past week and loved it

He is doing really well and I am proud of him.  I think this is a wonderful experience for him to be on his mission at Christmas time. Since his life is turned to the Savior I am positive that this experience will be one he will treasure his whole life. 

I think in closing I want to share a Christmas card I got from Elder Jake.



There is no way for Jake to know how much this meant to me but it was and is priceless.  Let's just say I carried it around with me for days.  He makes me feel like I have done a good job as his mother.  I really want to leave a legacy and Jacob makes me believe that I will--and it will be one I will be proud of.

I love you Jacob Daniel!!








Sunday, December 1, 2013

I had a great week!

Monday, November 25th

This week I had written to Jake in his email about something that I was struggling with and, as always, he taught me a lesson.  He said:

Be patient through your trials, be patient physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Don't be easy to anger. Pray to the Lord. Don't let this thing that is bothering you be a heavy burden on you. Those who offend will be judged for their unrighteous dominion and their actions. Read D&C 122:7-8.  Remember Christ?!  Christ's BEST FRIEND turned him in and he would eventually be killed and hung on the Cross.  Christ STILL loved that man.  Christ descended below all of this so that we may stand strong, steadfast, and happy through these trying moments.  Be strong. Be faithful. Be loving.

I am grateful for his words of wisdom.  I spoke in church last weekend about Elder Packham's mission and the blessings that have come to our family through his service and had a much needed conversation with another missionary mom.  I said to her, "I know that some people say that we shouldn't share with our missionaries any struggles that we are having, but some times, I do."  She said, " I disagree with those people. I think that one of the blessings we receive with our children serving a mission is that they have this great wisdom to share with us.  I share with my son."  I appreciated her telling me that because sometimes I feel bad that I shared a struggle with Jake and then he emails me something great, like above, and I feel better and know it was the right thing to do.

Here is a portion of Elder Packham's email:

I had a great week! It was a very rough week but it was a good week. One of our investigators is almost on date. She won't accept a solid commitment with a date but she said 80% sure she'd be baptized. We're meeting with her twice this week and she wants to finish the lessons as soon as she can. She's so solid. All of her beliefs are like our beliefs.
 
I'm staying happy, healthy, and well. The Lord like I said has blessed me with patience. Thanksgiving is going to be crazy! We have 4 dinners and 1 dessert appointment planned. I don't know how I'm going to survive. Ugh... Not good.  I ate a habenero pepper this last week. OOH SO HOTTTTTT!!!! Holy cow i thought i was going to die!

I love that boy and miss him greatly.  I am proud of the work he is doing.  I see so much growth in him and I love that he is bold and willing to share his love of the gospel with everyone.  Jake has always been so loving - literally the best friend someone could ever ask for and I know that he is making life-long friendships that he will carry through the eternities.

 
 
 


 

November 24th- Talk in Church about, my missionary son, Elder Jacob D. Packham

November 25th, 2013

So I was asked to speak at church on Sunday, November 24th about my missionary and any blessings that I felt like our family has received from his serving the Lord. And here is my talk:

When I was asked by Brother Cox to speak about my missionary, I was actually happy about it.  Strange I know, but I miss Jake and I am proud of him and any chance to talk about him makes me happy. And then I started to prepare my thoughts and the realization that Jake will not be here for Thanksgiving hit me like a ton of bricks.  Please don’t get me wrong… I know that Jake is right where he needs to be and I know that the blessings far out way the sacrifices. I have a missionary blog that I started for Jake when he went into the MTC and I started it mostly for selfish reasons.  I thought, if I start this blog and write about Jake’s experiences, it will help me to ease the ache of missing him.  If you go to his blog across the top it says, “Called to Serve: Elder Jacob D. Packham” and then under that it says, Missionary: someone who leaves their family for a short time so that others can be with theirs for eternity.  And really – that is the truth of the matter – Jake is working hard for the Lord with the goal of helping others to experience what he has – an eternal family.  I am a convert to the church.  I joined in the summer of my sophomore year of high school and I will forever be grateful for the two young missionaries who taught me the gospel.  I am the first member of the church in my family and the blessings that have flown to my life through the gospel are immeasurable. 

Brother Cox also asked me to have Elder Packham write something to share with the ward. So he wrote a letter and I want to share that with you now:
Dear Ankeny 1st Ward,
I have thought long and hard about what to say. I pray that I will be able to convey the messages The Lord would have me give you. I am grateful for this opportunity to be able to write you. I am grateful for all that you do, the love that you show each other, and to my family I miss dearly.

My missionary service is going great! Time has flown by so fast. After the holidays I will be at my year mark. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry. I have seen so many miracles and I have been blessed by the hand of The Lord. Great things are happening throughout the world when it comes to missionary work.

One thing that has affected my missionary service and my life has been prayer. I have essentially changed the way that I pray. My mission president, President Mecham was the mission president in Mongolia for some time before his wife was diagnosed with cancer. He had the wonderful privilege of observing and getting to know the people of Mongolia. He observed that when the saints in Mongolia pray they often stay in a 'prayer' position for a few seconds, they have their head bowed, arms folded, and sit quietly. As they do this they give time for our Heavenly Father to answer their prayers. Too often we say a prayer and just get up and move on to the next task. Think about it: It's like calling your stake president rattling off all the things you are thankful for and then everything that you need help with and then hanging up. None of us would do that to someone that we respect so much. It's disrespectful and on top of that how could he ever help you in return? Brothers and Sisters I'll be the first to admit at one point in my life I was severely guilty of this, and I can't imagine what it makes our Heavenly Father feel like. We can't expect a million dollar answer to a 10 cent prayer especially when we don't give time for God to respond. I have implemented purposeful prayer into my life. As I have done this and taken a moment of silence after my prayers I have seen many great things. I have better recognized the promptings of the Spirit throughout the day (AKA missionary opportunities all of you can have too!), I have seen miracles happen, and lives change (including my own). I encourage all of you to introduce purposeful prayer into your lives, implement this in your homes, in your quorums and in the ward. I promise you that you will have more opportunities to share the gospel and you will recognize those opportunities when they arise, you will also grow your love for your heavenly Father and our Savior as you do this. I promise you that there are people prepared to hear the gospel that YOU need to touch. There are people in each of your lives that could use the gospel and all it takes is a simple invitation. Brothers and Sisters, I bless you as the Lord blessed Enoch: "Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and man shall pierce thee. Open they mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good." (Moses 6:32)
Brothers and sisters I love you and I'm proud of you for the work that you're doing. Keep up the hard work and rely on The Lord. Have a great week and I hope you are all safe and well. Be happy! I say these things in the name of our Lord and Savior, even Jesus Christ, Amen.

 
As you can tell from his letter, he is SO excited about missionary work!!!  Which leads me to another topic that Brother Cox asked me to speak about, which is, blessings that have come to our family through Jake’s mission.  As I have thought about this, I keep thinking about Elder Bednar’s talk this last conference on tithing and the blessings that come from paying your tithing because he echoed something that I feel, which is that it is sometimes hard to quantify the blessings we receive.   Sometimes you know exactly which blessings you are receiving and sometimes you don’t even realize them.   This has given me an opportunity to think about those.

When Jake received his mission call, people would say to me, ‘your family will be so blessed for having a missionary.’  At the time I didn’t really understand what that meant but now I can tell you that it is true.  Some of the blessings that our family has received through Jake’s service might not be the ones you would immediately think of when you think of blessings but they have been the ones we have needed. ALOT of those blessings are of a personal nature and too sacred to share.  Our family has been very blessed and the greatest blessings have come on a personal level for each of us – starting with Jake.  If you recall in his letter he said, I have seen miracles happen and lives change (including my own).  

I never served a mission but I have gleaned enough from others experiences to know that they aren’t a piece of cake.  There can be long, discouraging days, filled with work, bike riding, people who don’t like you, having to cook and clean for yourself and other hard stuff.  But I also have realized that there is also something powerful and life changing in missionary service.  You learn to love people in a whole new way, you learn you can do hard things, you learn how to take care of yourself while serving others.  Basically, I think it is takes someone special to service a mission.  It takes courage, bravery, hard work, discipline, commitment, and a sense of humor.  It takes a stripling warrior.

I have been reading the Book of Mormon and I am currently in Alma and this week I read about the stripling warriors.  They prayed that the Lord would strengthen them and deliver them.  Elder Bednar referenced this too and I think he said it perfectly.

Assurance, peace, faith, and hope initially might not seem like the blessings warriors in battle might want, but they were precisely the blessings these valiant young men needed to press forward and prevail physically and spiritually.

As I mentioned the blessings our family has received may not be the ones you would immediately think of – but they have been the ones we have needed.  I would not trade the personal relationship I have with both the Savior and my Father in Heaven for anything.  Looking back, I thought prior to Jake’s mission that I understood missionary work and that I was content in my relationship with my Father in Heaven but I was wrong….

Missionary work can change lives… it can change each of our lives on a personal level.  I know that Elder Packham challenged each of us to institute more purposeful prayer in our lives and I hope we will each take that challenge.  I would like to challenge all of us as well… to bring missionary work more fully into our lives.  I know, without a doubt, that by doing so – we will strengthen our testimonies… we will have deeper faith and a closeness with our Savior and Father in Heaven that we will never want to lose. 

In closing, Jake always like to tell me about miracles that he experiences and I love that.  In more than one email he has sent it he has begun with, “Miracles Happen!”  Brothers and Sisters, the gospel can and does bring miracles to our lives.  In a talk by Elder Neil L Anderson, entitled It’s a Miracle, he says, “

 

I promise you, as you pray to know with whom to speak, names and faces will come into your mind. Words to speak will be given in the very moment you need them.22 Opportunities will open to you. Faith will overcome doubt, and the Lord will bless you with your very own miracles.

 

Let us all incorporate purposeful prayer into our lives and pray for opportunities to open our mouths.  The Apostle Peter said, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh… a reason(for) the hope that is in you.”

We have nothing to lose… and everything to gain… I doubt that any of us would forgo the opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the Lord.

I want to leave you my testimony.  First and foremost, I know that this church is true. I know this because I have prayed to know it and the spirit has confirmed it to me. I went to a lot of churches in my youth looking for the one that felt right.  I am forever grateful for Joseph Smith and that he did as the scripture in James says, and asked the Lord which church was true.  The prophet Joseph is an amazing example of strength and faith.  I am grateful for the early pioneers of the church and their faith and conviction.  I lean on their example as well because they withstood so much opposition in their day.  Life is hard and knowing that others have made it through – gives me strength to endure.  I know that my Savior lives and that He loves me.  I know that when my life feels hard and like more than I can bear – that there is ONE who knows how I feel and that He loves me…and He is always with me.  He never leaves me comfortless.  As society continues to change so much I am grateful for the certainties of the gospel in my life. I am grateful that God is unchanging.  I am thankful for temples and eternal families.  I am grateful for the Book of Mormon – best. Story.ever!  It strengthens and encourages me daily.  I am grateful for my husband…  the one I have beyond the veil and the one I have here with me now.  Alex, you bless my life and I love you- you are my best friend.  I am grateful for Donna, whom I never met, but love her and her children with all my heart.  Because the gospel is true, one day I will be able to hug her and she will hopefully say to me, you did a good job. I love this gospel and I love my family – In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Oh my Oh my Oh my!

I know I haven't updated the blog in a while - my apologies!  Elder Packham is still serving in Billings and doing really well. I have been watching the weather a bit to see if he is freezing! I know they are due for some serious snowfall but I also think that depends on where in Montana you are. 

I can not believe that it is the middle of November!  It seems so strange to me that we are headed into the holidays and Jake isn't here. I really do miss him a lot.  I try not to tell him that though because I know he is right where the Lord needs him to be and I have complete faith in that. I keep a countdown oh how long he has been out and when he will be home.  One of them reads, "Jake's Return with Honor" and today it says, 1 year and 83 days - big sigh.  I guess if I was being completely truthful though - the time has gone by fast.  It is hard to imagine that he has been gone as long as he has.  I know that it will continue to go by fast and before you know it - I will be hugging him in the airport!  I don't want him to be homesick and I don't want him to be sad.  We had the missionaries over for dinner this week and I was asking them if they have been sad and depressed on their missions.  I thought that they would not tell me but one of the Elders did say that when he first came out, it was hard for him because it was different then what he was used to but he said that quickly changed because he knew that he was serving because of his love of the Lord.  He also said that when he stays busy, he is the happiest.  I shared with him about all the opportunities that Jake has had to serve - which is awesome!  I always feel better when I am serving others.  The scriptures say this about service:

  • Mosiah 2:17 - "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." 
So I think it challenges Elder Packham that there is so much he wants to share each week and it takes so long to type it all up!  This week I sent him a long email about Stake Conference... I know my emails get long sometimes too. 

Here is his email:

Oh my oh my oh my! Hahaha I hate this because I always have so much to say and typing it all would take ages. So many things happened this last week. Buckets.. Do I really have to type it all? My thoughts every week. Lol the Lord gives me too much to talk about (: I guess that's not a bad thing.

First things first... I went on district leader exchanges this last week. I went with Elder Burnham and his companion went with Elder Stinson my companion. It was only for 2 days. Elder Burnham and I saw so many great things but I will share just one of the many miracles. We were on our way to one of his investigators' houses and she lived in this really nice gated trailer park. As we were walking we saw this lady on the ground and blood on the ground and on her shirt. We ran over as fast as we could and asked what we could do to help and what happened. She had a porch connected to her trailer and it was about a 3 foot drop from the porch to ground level. She said that she was on the porch with her dog and the dog was tugging and pulling her. She said that she has had knee replacements and also hip replacements. So the dog was tugging and pulling her and her knee locked up and when the dog pulled again she fell the 3 feet to the concrete. She is an older lady in her 50's or so. We immediately thought that she had broken her hip because of the amount of pain that she was in. We got her elbow to stop bleeding. I asked her if she wanted us to call 911 and she said she would wait until her daughter showed up. I asked her for her number so that I could call and check up on her. She gave it to us and then asked if we were the home teachers! Elder Burnham who has been out 6 weeks was like "No, but we can be!" It was funny. She said that she has done a lot of research about the lds faith and she has a ton of lds friends. She said that she loves everything about our religion and if we wanted to come by and teach her a missionary lesson she'd really like that. When her daughter arrived we went to the investigators' house but she wasn't home. We went back to the lady on the ground and talked with her and her daughter and son. When the ambulance and fire truck showed up we learned that the driver of the fire truck was a less active member! We got talking to him as well and he was so grateful that we were right there after she fell to comfort and calm her. It is funny and interesting how the Lord places people in our path. I am so grateful for that opportunity that I had. Later that night I took Elder Burnham to the temple grounds so that we could say a prayer of gratitude for the experiences we had been given. It was a powerful and wonderful teaching moment for a not only a new missionary but for me as well. 

The scripture that has stood out to me was Hebrews 12:1-3, 5-12 and Also John 21:15-17 when Christ says to Peter, "Lovest thou me."
 



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Remember - If thou canst believe, remember - all things are possible to those who believe

The plea in Mark 9:24 to help thou my unbelief was from a father who desired help for his son, it might well be the plea of anyone who believes in the Savior but recognizes the need for more faith and knowledge.

Elder Packham shared Mark 9 with me this week and it has given me a chance to think about a lot of things in my life.  I believe in the Savior but I do recognize a need for more faith and knowledge.  This is something that I am continually working on in my life.  I worry about my children and I am constantly praying, like that father in Mark.  My greatest desire in life is that my children have a testimony of a loving Father in Heaven and a solid foundation of faith in the Savior.  As always, I appreciate his thoughts.

The news from Montana - Transfer calls came this week and Elder Packham will be staying in Billings.

Elder Packham and his companion did some service this last week - they raked a 5 ft pile of leaves = 70 bags of leaves!!! The project ended up being bigger than they anticipated and they called in reinforcements.   Here is a picture:

 
I know that service is one of the things that Elder Packham loves the most about his mission.  It is such a great thing to be able to serve others and know that by doing so you are serving the Lord.  The scriptures say:

"When you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God."   Mosiah 2:17

 Below is Elder Packham's email from this week:


"Where do I start?" is the question I ask myself every Monday. I pray that I will be able to uplift and inspire you and the family and convey the thoughts the Lord would have me convey.

I will start with the questions mom asked:
Do you have snow? Yeah it's snowing today actually! Wahoo! Yay (:

Are you teaching anyone? We are teaching a couple 3 people. AC, PH, and L, but our focus is less actives.

What has been the most uplifting/spiritual thing that has happened to you this week? I'll mention later-look for the name: Pretty Paints

How are you adjusting to your Ipad? It's a tough adjustment because paper is so nice. No sarcasm. There are kinks that need to be worked out but the mission is taking it in stride.

Do you have any positive online stories? Yeahhh I'll share later on (:

How is your companion doing? He's doing great!

What is it like being a district leader in this new area? I love being a district leader. I love being able to serve those around me. It's different. But it's a great opportunity and my district is awesome. I'll be torn if any of them leave, but excited for new missionaries as well.

Do you see Elder Inman a lot? I do! We talk every day (: He's getting transferred though to Big Fork Montana which is over by Kalispell in the north western side. He will be a district leader there.

Did you ever get the package I sent a month ago? The assistants forgot to grab it while they were in Great Falls. They will be grabbing it this transfer week.

Are you ready for winter? I'm stoked for winter. Although It'll be a cold one. BOOOO!!!

Have you heard from Lindsie aka Sister Perchon? I have. I sent her a dear elder in the MTC and I've received an email from her. I'm emailing her back today.

This week was great! We got transfer information and I'm staying in Billings with Elder Stinson in the  Pioneer Park ward.  We are seeing great things. Here is your answer about miracles. We had 3 reactivations this week. When I arrived I made a list of people we were going to focus on. One of them was the Pretty Paints! They live right next to us so I thought it was perfect. They are so awesome and I love them so much!  They have big hearts and just want to do what is right. Since I've been here they've came back to church, and we used an Ipad to show them a video about temples and we committed them to prepare themselves to enter the temple and they accepted!  They are the sweetest! Sister Pretty Paint just got a calling this Sunday!
We almost got ran over by a car this last week as well...Some guy must not like Mormons because he was aiming for us - that was right after the Pretty Paints committed to prepare for the temple.  Ooh, that same day though, we found a new potential investigator.  His name is S! He's so awesome! I originally saw him working on his car in the driveway so I was like, "Sweet, another unplanned opportunity!" and I struck up a conversation with him and we talked for about 10 minutes, he said we could come by at any time and talk.  As we left he's like, "hey brothers, I love you!" Hahahaha he's so cool! He's got a big heart as well.  The Lord is really placing people in our path.

I am proud of Jake.  He is doing really well and I can tell how much he is growing. Unlike him, I do not think I would be excited for snow and I worry about him freezing his batookus off.  Most importantly, I love him heaps!
 




Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Surprise!...... and Purposeful Prayer!

In my Monday email from Elder Packham he certainly did surprise me.  Here is what he had to say:

Well Family...

I'm not in Great Falls anymore! Surprise! (: I am currently in Billings. There were some unexpected things that needed to be moved around in my area.  I got a phone call from the Assistants on Wednesday night and they said that I'd be leaving. I had to keep it a secret until Friday. On Friday the assistants picked me up and took me to Helena, and from Helena they took me to Deer Lodge, and I got to spend a few days with my MTC companion Elder Johnson and that was awesome! It was Stake Conference too so that was kind of nice. I got into Billings last night and we had dinner with our EQP. He has an awesome family. They have a little 10 year old from China. They adopted him when he was 8 months old. He LOVES rice. LOL They laughed because they said that it's a stereotype but it's so true. I love Billings and I'm excited to serve with my new companion Elder Stinson. We get a long great so far! I am still a District Leader here in Billings. Sister Brooke Lemmon is in my district! I know her from back home.
On Wednesday afternoon I had an awesome experience following revelation and acting on the spirit. We were going back home because I forgot a folder or something. I can't even remember what I forgot but I know that I forgot something. So on our way back home I get this strong impression to go see this guy named Mathias. It was clear as day. Of course the natural man took over and was like, no it's okay you have time to see him later. But then it came back clear as day "GO SEE MATHIAS!" So I whip the car around and tell Elder Swisher that we need to go see Mathias right now. We went and saw him and he said that he'd like to go to church with us on Sunday. It was so cool! He gave us a jar of Apple-butter as well. Mathias is awesome. He's almost completely blind and he tells us to shine our shoes EVERY day. I love him! He's so funny too! I miss a lot of people from Great Falls. Brian Foster is getting baptized this weekend and he wanted me to baptize him. :( He cried and cried when I left. Actually... Everybody cried. The Bishop, the Relief Society President, Brian Foster, Vicki Foster, Jami Foster over the phone, and the list goes on. I miss it so much. Like a lot a lot. Ugh. I'm happy to be in Billings though (:
Our mission is getting Ipads! Mini Ipads. All who are worthy will get one. We had a shipment of like 250 Ipads go into the mission home today. We will be getting trained on how to use them in about a week or so. There will be a committee of Elders and Sisters who will go through the mission and train people on effective use of them. We also now have 3 assistants instead of 2.

I got to see Elder Inman last night! They actually used to live in the same house as us but not any more. That bummed me out. But it's hecka sweet because I love Elder Inman! He's my favorite! We had a good talk last night. 

As I said, he definitely surprised me.  On another note, I am struggling with an issue that is completely out of my hands and had asked Elder Packham to share some words of wisdom with me.  This is what he said:   

Purposeful Prayer! That is my answer. It sounds so small but when you pray, pray with purpose. After you pray, wait for an answer by the Holy Ghost. In Alma 18, Ammon is teaching King Lamoni and Ammon waits HOURS to feel the spirit. So often times when we pray we just get up and move on. God can't speak to us if we don't give him time to respond. It's like telling someone something on the phone while you mumble it and hanging up. The other person has no time to ask questions or anything. That's what it's like with prayer. Pray for comfort and fast. I honestly believe with all the sincerity of my heart that this is in Gods hands. (he is referencing the issue I share with him) We cannot control what other people do but we can control the things we decide and the thoughts, mentality, and the action we take. Be positive in all thy thoughts words and actions. Serve others, that will take your mind off of everything. Being humble is being completely submissive to the Lord. I would suggest give this all to God and saying whatever happens happens and it's what you want. Just like Chris Williams said letting yourself be a vessel for the Lord. Letting Him work through you.
My time is up on the computer and I don't want it to shut down without sending this. I love you!

That boy is wise and I appreciate him sharing his thoughts with me.  He is so right - sometimes letting go is the hardest. I do have Faith in my Father in Heaven but I worry about other people who hold the power to make the decisions that affect members of my family.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

General Conference Was AMAZING!


General Conference was amazing. I was so happy about how bold they were. I loved hearing the words of our Prophet and the spirit was magnificent. From a missionary perspective I loved the Less Active talk by Elder Uchtdorf, my personal favorites were Elder Holland-that made me cry and Elder Uchtdorf's Priesthood session talk. I loved all of it. We missed the statistics at the beginning of Saturday session (my favorite part ALWAYS), because we were helping someone repair a roof. The wind was so bad this last week that someone in a trailer out in the country lost the roof. We rushed back for the first hour of the first session on Saturday though.
 Here is the talk by President Uchtdorf - "Come Join Us"



Here is the video by Elder Holland - "Like a Broken Vessel":


And here is the final talk that Elder Jake referenced by President Uchtdorf - "You Can Do It Now!":

~~~~~~~~~
The mission is going really well. One of the investigators in our district, our missionary mom's brother, is doing great! He's not in our ward but we still go to some of the lessons. He had 3 lessons this last week, he's reading and praying, he went to two sessions of conference and one of the two was priesthood, and he also went to somebody else's baptism on Saturday! He's amazing! I love him so much! He's like family. The whole Foster family will always be close to my heart. Brian wants me to baptize him. So on the 19th I'll be baptizing him! I can't wait. He calls me like every day. I don't know what else to say. He's like family, I don't feel like he's any different than an older brother. I want to go visit Arizona when I get back so badly. Sister Foster lives their now,  Elder Inman lives their, and Elder Organ lives their.
I'm staying kind of warm - Elder Packham
~~~~~
I think I have mentioned before that Jake loves everyone - this is so true.  I am grateful for his good example.  Too often in life I think we get caught up in selfish behaviors and all about me attitudes and it has always impressed me that Jake has the ability to think of others before himself.  I truly wish that more of the world was like this but I am afraid that society is going more and more the other way - where people tend to be much more concerned about themselves.   The Savior taught a wonderful lesson about this.  Here is the Bible's wording of the Lord's advice to all of us:
"Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
"Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they mind.
"This is the first and great commandment.
"And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself.
"On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."  Matthew 22:35-40
Elder Henry B Eyring gave a talk entitled "To My Grandchildren"  that spoke to my heart.  Here is a piece of that talk:
President George Q. Cannon said this about how God has prepared you and me and our children for the tests we will face: “There is not one of us but what God’s love has been expended upon. There is not one of us that He has not cared for and caressed. There is not one of us that He has not desired to save, and that He has not devised means to save. There is not one of us that He has not given His angels charge concerning. We may be insignificant and contemptible in our own eyes, and in the eyes of others, but the truth remains that we are the children of God, and that He has actually given His angels—invisible beings of power and might—charge concerning us, and they watch over us and have us in their keeping.”2
I know, without a doubt, that the things that we heard at conference are true! I know it!  I am so very grateful for my membership in this church and pray daily that I will continue to stay close to the Lord. - Sandi

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

So much to say!


So much to say! I wish the computer could read my thoughts and type it out for me. Wishful thinking as of now though.

Things are going really well. I guess I will start by talking about my district meeting. My first companion, trainer, and district leader Elder Ptacek is now back and a district leader again. He is over 2 other sets of elders plus his so 3 total. We had a combined district meeting because we had a stake meeting that night with our stake president. I planned the whole meeting and it looked solid. I turned it over to God and felt super good about it. As the meeting started I could tell that things were not going the way I had hoped and prayed.  Things were a bit louder than I would have liked. The Elders in  Elder Ptacek's district have been out a lot longer than those in mine and they were all about to go home. You know how I like things to go smoothly.  Well, some  things were said that maybe shouldn't have been.  So..we had a 5 minute break and started the meeting again. We always like to have a little break just to stretch and what not. So I had a discussion on accountability. It was probably the greatest discussion I've given on my mission. The spirit was so strong and I don't even remember most of what I said. Because most of what I said was just by the spirit not by anything I wrote down. I sat down and Elder Hiatt and everybody else told me it was an amazing discussion. It was by the spirit though. When I got up to speak It was dead silent too. Everybody had quieted and calmed down. 

Chris Williams came and spoke to us! Holy smokes that was powerful! I absolutely loved it! It was unbelievable. I got to talk with him and get a picture with him as well. I attached it.
For those of you who do not know who Chris Williams is... please watch this video:

Here is a picture of Jake and Chris Williams:
My district is going great! I'm working some problems out with one of the companionships. That's been an interesting situation. Dealing with the companionship, an elder who's training and then the assistants, Elder Sears who is over the vehicle department and then working with our zone leaders. It helps to have such nice zone leaders. I came out with my zone leaders so we're pretty close. I love it! I love being a district leader. I love being able to serve those around me. I am interviewing someone for baptism tomorrow. I met her last night at the Chris Williams fireside so that was cool. I am really excited! I have the questions memorized too! There are so many responsibilities though! The mission is really changing. It's right now that it's changing. They have added a lot more to district leaders. I don't mind though. I manage the stress by staying organized. There are no district meeting outlines any more. It's all on me. Then on top of that the car pictures, the vehicle inspections, exchanges, interviews. But then there are no bi-weekly meetings with the zone leaders. Also another meeting once a month with the sister training leaders and a bunch of other people. Much more too!
I have a discussion in our zone conference on Wednesday! I am speaking right after President Mecham, it's 15 minutes and it's in front of our zone(great falls), Great Falls East, Bozeman, Helena, and Butte zones.  I'm a little nervous but I'm excited. It's weird because President doesn't usually do this. Usually, he, his wife, and the assistants and sister training leaders speak - not some average joe. LOL -kidding. 
Well I love you all!! I'm doing really well. Rob came to church and he's really progressing towards his baptismal date on October 26th. You're welcome for the letters and package. I'll send more soon! I love you all! I did get the cookie package - thank you!
Love,
Elder Packham

What can I add to that?! I love him and I am proud of him. I know that he has a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and I am thankful that he can go and share that with the people of Montana.  Jake has a heart of gold and he LOVES everyone - it's an incredible gift that the Lord has given him.  Jake doesn't know a stranger and he will always be there for you - no matter what.  He is a great example to me of Christ-like love & service.




Wow...so much to do! Monday, Sept.23rd


Wow, so much to do.

Being a District Leader is great! I love it. It's a huge service position and that's one thing that I love about it. I love being able to get to know those in my district and to be able to help in any way that I can with missionary work in their areas. For example, the sister missionaries called to report numbers and we got talking about one of their investigators, it was super awesome to have ideas flow into my mind on how to help them. Taking numbers isn't that much fun, but it's not like I hate it either. I planned my first district meeting! It's actually combined with another district, but I went ahead and planned it. The other district leader in our zone is Elder Ptacek my trainer. Lol that's just awesome. We have a great district though! There are 5 companionship's.

My new missionary Elder Bradley Swisher is doing great! He's a great guy and reminds me a lot about Elder Cooper. He's like a brother to me. We have similar personalities and get a long great. He has a hard time with memorization but we'll make that a strength.

I am doing great! We ran up a huge hill that says GF on it for Great Falls. It was Elder Hiatt and I, our companions, and our zone leaders Elder Organ and Elder Rodriguez. We ran up the hill at like 6am. Super tiring but we all took book of Mormons and we read some scriptures together as the sun rose. Beautiful!



 

I have lots of funny stories! I will record them on a memory card and then send the memory card with pictures and the videos to you.

Things are going great and our investigators are moving along well.

The weather is getting colder. I might buy a new coat or something, one that's easy to work in. I don't know yet. It's not storming like back home though!

You should get food storage. I'm just going to be forward. This is the last days. God is going to cause many disasters to strike. We talked about this in our ward council. If we don't have food storage we're going to suffer. It's a commandment, the prophets and apostles have all mentioned it. You can get cheap supplies from the bishops storehouses, like 30-50 dollar things. I'm just saying, I don't want to see anything bad happen to our family by not being prepared. Heck, when I get home I'm starting a food storage for myself (: Things are already happening to people of the church. If we don't get food storage we aren't following God's council. In the Book of Mormon that never worked out for them.

I love you all. I am so proud of your progression and growth over the past 8 months since I've been gone. I challenge the family to read the Book of Mormon by Christmas. I promise you that if you will, God will reign down his blessings upon all of you, our family, and the home in which you all live in. It's a trying time to live in. But it's a huge blessing to be able to touch the lives of others in these latter days. D&C 18:10-17, cry repentance unto the world. If our home is full of the spirit, those who come into it WILL notice a difference and wonder, they will have questions, and they will come unto Christ.
 
I loved this email~  here are the scripture verses that Elder Packham shared:
D&C 18:10-17
 10 Remember the aworth of bsouls is great in the sight of God;
 11 For, behold, the Lord your aRedeemer suffered bdeath in the flesh; wherefore he csuffered the dpain of all men, that all men might repent and ecome unto him.
 12 And he hath arisen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of brepentance.
 13 And how great is his ajoy in the bsoul that crepenteth!
 14 Wherefore, you are called to acry repentance unto this people.
 15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one asoul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
 16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the akingdom of my Father, how great will be your bjoy if you should bring many csouls unto me!
 17 Behold, you have my gospel before you, and my rock, and my asalvation.

 

TRANSFERS! and other good news from Monday, September 16th

Transfer Information: I got a phone call earlier this week and the assistants interviewed me again. I wasn't sure what was going to happen. We got a phone call Sunday night and the assistants told us what was happening. He made us promise and commit to keep it confidential until Monday afternoon. Elder Yeske is going to Rimrock (Billings) to finish training and to serve with the one and only Elder Inman (So freakin jealous). I am now a District Leader and I am training ANOTHER missionary!!! It's so exciting! Our zone just split into two zones. Which is good because we had the biggest zone in the mission. Elder Rodriguez who was our district leader is now my zone leader and the other zone leader is Elder Organ, they both came out with me! It's so awesome! We have such an awesome zone! I am so excited but nervous about the district leader thing. It'll be great! I am very excited to stay here in Great Falls 5th ward. It'll be interesting juggling the training and district leader things. I'm super excited to train!

We helped someone to quit smoking! We have 2 awesome people on date for baptism and hopefully one more by the end of this week. I don't need anything and I'm doing pretty good.
I had asked Elder Packham in my letter that week what scripture really stood out to him and what was his best spiritual experience.
This week the scripture that really stood out to me was Joshua 1:9 and then the Doctrine & Covenants 38:7 footnote, along with verses 11, 12, maybe 10 I can't remember. Best spiritual experience, Teaching the Restoration to people We have like 5 baptisms planned for the 26th! Hopefully they all go through! That would be crazy! But hey, I get to interview all of them (:
Joshua 1:9 "Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
D&C 38:7 "But behold, verily, verily, I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me." 
I also asked Jake if he had written to his brother Mike. 
I wrote Mike back months ago and I've been waiting for a response! I'll write him again soon. We seriously have had NO time to write letters. Things have been so crazy!  Time goes by way too fast and I totally agree that more time should be in the day.
Elder Cooper got his visa!!!!!!! He's off to Porto Alegre Brazil today! He'll be traveling all day but I'm happy for him.

Elder Packham sounds good.  Listening to him makes me think of this scripture:

D&C 58:27 "Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness."

 




Some of Elder Packham's Online Proselyting Posts


As I mentioned before, Elder Packham is doing some online proselyting.  I want to share some of his online messages:


Life isn't easy! It's hard to go through life alone.  We don't have to... We can lean on the Savior for help, for guidance, and for comfort when life's trial come upon us.



 
"When sowing seeds of friendly deeds, the less you keep the more you reap."  Service is a great way to impact people's lives. Doing service for someone doesn't always have to be some huge project. Acts of service can be as small as sharing a bible verse with someone, leaving someone a nice notes, calling someone randomly and thanking them, or even a simple smile. I can testify that through service we can touch the hears of all those around us.  The world will be a better place."
 
1 Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
 
1 Corinthians 10:13 is one of my favorite scriptures in all of the bible. The fact that God doesn't given us any trial that we can't overcome is so true.  We all face challenges in our lives.  Whether it be a death of a loved one, loss of a job, whatever it may be we can overcome it. In our darkest hours, at our lowest points, we always have at least one person to turn to and that is God.  If we are faithful God will prepare a way for us to overcome our trials and temptations.
 
Moroni 10:3-5 "I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things... that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true;...And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."
 
The Book of Mormon is the word of God and the Holy Ghost has made that known unto me on multiple occasions.  I would not be on a mission if it weren't. The Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and any person who reads it will get nearer to God by abiding by it's precepts, than by any other book.  I challenge all who have not read the Book of Mormon and all who do not know of its truthfulness to read it and pray about it.  You will never know whether it is true or not unless you have put it to the test as Moroni 10:3-5 states.

'What Mormons Believe' put very simply. As a member of The Church of Jesus Chrisst of Latter Day Saints a lot of people wonder what we believe, know someone who's a member of our church, or maybe have been told things about our church. If you fit either one of those, visit this link and watch the video!

 
 
"...We cannot call back time that is past, we cannot stop time that now is, and we cannot experience that future in our present state. Time is a gift, a treasure not to be put aside for the future but to be used wisely in the present." - Thomas S. Monson
 
Time truly is a gift from God. Some days I feel like there is not enough time in the day! As a missionary time is very valuable, we have only 2 years to serve our Lord and Savior.  We only have a short time on this earth. Let's take this gift of time and use it wisely. Lets see how many friends, families, and neighbors we can influence. I promise that if we all think of time as a gift that every day will be more meaningful. That you will be able to influence the lives of so many others around you.

"God doesn't give us what we can handle, He helps us handle what we've been given."
God loves us so much, more than we can even imagine! It's comforting knowing that when we hit a rut or a tough spot in life. He will always be there for us. God will always make a way for us to be happy and to learn and grow.  He will help us every time, and all we have to do is have faith and to lean on Him.