Thursday, February 28, 2013

Elder Ptacek's Comments - Great!

I was so excited to see that Elder Packham's companion posted on my blog!!! It is awesome!!!  Check out his links!

Hay everyone, this is his trainer Elder Ptacek. I'm also an online missionary for the mission. The Montana Billings Mission is one of 15 that is a pilot program to help use Facebook and Blogger to spread the Gospel. I added some links if anyone is interested. Loves!
Mission Blog
My Blog
Mission News

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Address & Pictures

So I have an address that I can share with you for Jake. He says that if you mail him at this address then it will get to him a day or 2 quicker than sending it to the mission home.

Elder Jacob Daniel Packham
120 6th Ave N. #10
Shelby, MT 59474
I have a couple pictures I can share in this post. As you know, I am new to this whole blogger world and I haven't quite figured out how to get them on the blog without putting them in a post. If you know, please share that info with me! I am a newbie!

The first picture is of Elder Matt Dunn and Elder Jacob Packham.  Matt Dunn was living here in Ankeny with his sister before his mission. He is actually from Texas. A great kid!!! It is very neat that they were in the MTC together!

The second picture speaks for itself. It is Elder Packham's missionary tag!!  So cool!

The third picture is 'beautiful Montana!'

The fourth picture is of Elder Inman and Elder Packham.  Elder Inman and Jake were in the same district in the MTC and now are both serving in Montana. Jake really hopes they get to serve together at some point.

This last picture is a treasure. There are actually two. One of Jake's good friends in high school, Landon Near, is currently serving a mission as well.  In 2008 the two of them dressed up for "twins day" during homecoming week as missionaries and I have that picture.  The more recent one was taken in the MTC - pretty sweet!

I have a few more things I want to tell you about but I am going to put them in my next post!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Shelby, Montana and the first week

Late afternoon yesterday I got my email from Elder Packham!!!  I was excited to say the least. I knew he had arrived but did not know where he had ended up serving for his first area and other details. It was good to get a sense of where he is at. 

Here is some of what he said (I have taken some of it out):

Dear Mom,
Wow! What a wild first week! The first week was incredible! I don't even know where to start. Montana is beautiful. If the sky is clear at night we can see the Northern Lights from our apartment. We live in a small town called Shelby and it's in Montana. Population is about 900 I'd assume. My companion is Elder Ptacek (Pa-ta-sick), like fantastic ptacek! (: We're the #1 online mission in the world.
So to continue. The mission president said that we are only covering two branches now. Shelby branch and Chester branch. Chester is another small town. On average the branch there gets 20 people. Shelby gets around 80. The people here are great! A lot of the members here either are conductors for the train, work at the oil pumps, or they are border patrol agents. Shelby and Chester are about 1.5 hours from the canadian border and for them to go to the temple they need a passport! They are in the cardston-alberta canada temple district. Me and Elder Ptacek really wanna go. We got 18 referrals from the members in the past 2 days. Kind of hard to do all 18 without a car but we're making it work. I guess when missionaries do exchanges they do them for a week, just because it's so spread out. Life is great! I'm drinking a lot of apple juice! Prices are high because the stores monopolize. The nearest walmart is 80 miles away. The members here feed us good! Real good! There was one missionary who just left and he was 6'9 and weighed 260, he got up to 320 on his mission because people feed you so good. He dropped back down to 260. Our mission president allows us to do insanity, p90x and other things like that. The members here feed us taco soup and pizza ALL THE TIME!!! I've already had taco soup 4 times and pizza 2 times. 
My mission president is a really classy, humble guy and Sister Mecham is amazing!  She's so funny! Everyone loves her!
We live by Glacier National Park, you should google it! We can't go there because it doesn't open til July or so. 
I haven't gotten your package yet. We're going to the post office after this.  we went to church in shelby! Haven't taught yet because we're still getting on our feet since we're both blind to the area. we've been tracting though. the 1st house i tracted was 342 quincy st chester montana (:

I have always wanted to see the Northern Lights. I bet they are breathtaking.  Here is a picture:
And one day, I will see Glacier National Park as well:
Scripture of the Day:
Alma 26:12...Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

He has arrived!

On Friday I received a letter that on the outside looked like it was coming from the mission home in Billings and it was addressed in Jake's handwriting to, "Elder Packham's Parents."  I was excited!  I can only imagine that the mission president's wife sat all the elders down at the table and gave them paper and pen with the task of writing their mothers to let them know they had arrived in Montana safely!  It makes me smile to think of it.  This was Jake's letter:

Dear Parents,
This letter is to you! Sent from the mission home! We just got back from the Billings, Montana temple! Incredible! Me and Elder Inman were in tears! So strong! Wow! It's SO BEAUTIFUL! Ahhhh!  I love you both!
I don't know what else to say
I'm hungry! :)
Elder Jacob Daniel Packham

So that is the last update I have and I wanted to share it with all of you.  Here is a picture of the Billings, Montana temple:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ether 12 : Faith!

When Jake called the other morning from the airport at the end of our conversation he said, "Ok, Mom:  I have 40 seconds left. I love you, the church is true, read Ether 12 - it's amazing!"  And with that, he was gone.

Have I mentioned that I love that boy!!!  For those of you who do not know, Ether Chapter 12 speaks of faith, hope, and charity.  Faith is such an amazing principle and one that has blessed my life in numerous ways.  I firmly believe that faith is the basis of testimony and it is by faith that we make it through most of life's obstacles and challenges.

There is this song by Kutlass called, What Faith Can Do.  Here are the lyrics:

"What Faith Can Do"
Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes
And make a new beginning

Anyone can feel the ache
You think it's more than you can take
But you're stronger
Stronger than you know

Don't you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do

It doesn't matter what you've heard
Impossible is not a word
It's just a reason
For someone not to try

Everybody's scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It'll be alright

Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You don't have a chance
(That's what faith can do)
When the world says you can't
It'll tell you that you can

I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do
That's what faith can do

Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise

Jake's middle name is Daniel.  We choose Daniel because, one day, Mic and I were reading our scriptures and we decided right than and there that our next son would carry that amazing name.  Daniel was so courageous.  He was not willing to back down for what he knew was right.  When he was thrown in the lion's den for praying, he KNEW that God would save him. Daniel had FAITH!

Today I am missing Jake.  I am wondering how Montana is and what his new companion is like.  I am wondering if he is eating and if he is safe and a million other things.  But... I have faith that he is just fine.

Hi I'm Jacob Packham | Student, Sports, Packham, Iowa, Montana, Mission, Mormon.

Hi I'm Jacob Packham | Student, Sports, Packham, Iowa, Montana, Mission, Mormon.

Hi I'm Sandi | mother, convert, widowed, family, testimony, Mormon.

Hi I'm Sandi | mother, convert, widowed, family, testimony, Mormon.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Best Two Years??? Hope So!

Has anyone ever seen the movie, The Best Two Years?  Oh my goodness it was so fun to watch!!!  I wonder all the time what it would be like to serve a mission.  I have heard returned missionaries say that it was the best two years of their lives and wondered if that was really true.  I would think that it would have both highs and lows and watching this movie gave me a small sense of what that might look like.

So Jake called this morning from the airport and for a moment I thought I wouldn’t be able to talk to him because the reception was horrible!!  Luckily he found another phone and called again!  The first thing he said was, “it’s good to hear your voice mom!”  Oh how I love that boy!  He chatted away telling me all about his wonderful experiences in the MTC and it really made my heart feel good.  He said his whole district was going to Montana and he was super excited!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bringing everyone up to speed on Elder Packham

So this weekend I heard from Jake twice!!! It was awesome!!  He always has the funniest stories to tell and I appreciate that he shares them with me.  Let me bring you up to speed on a couple of stories he shared.

Here is a snippet from one of his emails:

My companion is elder Johnson from spanish fork utah! He's a great guy! I love the MTC! I know that this is where I need to be. They told us that our testimony would grow more in 2 weeks than it has in 10 years and that is so true! I love it here. The people are great and you can feel the spirit wherever you go. A funny story for you.. The 2nd day we were here the 4 guys in the room next to us were all working out, and then the showered. But after there shower they realized none of them had a key. So me, my companion and the other 2 elders in our room had to go to the information desk to get a spare key while the 4 guys stood outside there room in towels. Lol i've made a lot of memories. I wouldn't trade being here for the world. I can't wait to get to Montana!

He did tell me about his flight to Utah and how he met a very nice couple in Dallas.  They asked him if he was going on a mission or coming home from a mission and then insisted on buying him breakfast!  When I heard that story it brought a tear to my eye!  He said  that there names were Brother and Sister Southward from Oklahoma. If I ever have the opportunity to pay it forward, I definetely will!  I wish I could thank them.  He said that there was another young man walking up in a suit and Sister Southward had her husband ask him if he was a missionary also.  They bought breakfast for him as well!!!!

As for his first thoughts of the MTC - he loved  it! (See snippet above!) Jake's response after his first night at the MTC, "Glory, glory, hallelujiah! - I survived!"  This made me laugh!  He said that it was 60 degrees in their room and he was positive they were trying to get him ready for good ole' Montana.

Spiritually- Jake said they told him that his testimony would grow more in 10 days than it has in 2 years.  He assured me that he can already tell that is true!!!

I know that Jake will be an incredible missionary.  He has never met a stranger and he loves everyone.  It is a very unique quality that he has and I know that it will serve him well.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

How I have decided to honor Jake while he is serving the Lord

So Jacob has been in the MTC for exactly 11 days, 16 hours, and 38  minutes as I begin this post. I am so excited for him to serve a mission and I know he is right where he is supposed to be! I have always known that the Lord is involved in every aspect of my life and I do not doubt his hand in my children's lives as well.

I have a lot to say, obviously - or I wouldn't be creating this blog!, but I really want to get the blog laid out with some other information before I start sharing my feelings and Jake's adventures.  Please bear with me as I have never done a published blog.