Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Charity Never Faileth ~

Since I have never served in the mission field I really do not have any idea what the experience is like but I can tell you with all certainty that there are A LOT of lessons learned in the mission field!!!

Jake's letter this week taught me a lesson in charity and I appreciate him sharing his experiences with me.  It is easy to react when someone is rude to us but it definetely takes a special individual to humble themselves and show charity back to the person who is treating us badly. .

According to the scriptures, charity . . . “is the pure love of Christ,” “suffereth long, and is kind,” “envieth not,” “is not puffed up,” “doth not behave itself unseemly,” “seeketh not her own,” “is not easily provoked,” “thinketh no evil,” “rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth” (Moroni 7:45).

Jacob does a great job when it comes to following the Savior's example. I personally think that this is one of the great things about Jacob - he loves everyone!  Anyone who knows Jake will tell you that he has a way of making you feel truly cared about.  I love that about him!!!

I believe the members in Shelby, Montana are very charitable and I am extremely thankful for that.  Jake said that last week they had no dinner appointments or lunch appointments and before they knew it... Sister Bridge came and gave them food and a $25 gift certificate, Brother Lybbert took them shopping, his wife and Sister Thacker made them dinner, and Heatons brought them food also. WOW - as a mother of a missionary, that is such a blessing!  I wish I could thank them all personally.  Instead, any opportunity I have to return those blessings to other missionary moms - I WILL do it!

Jake told me about how they teaching someone about repentance and how it is important to be honest and the gentleman said, "What if your wife is ugly and you tell her she is beautiful, is that a lie?!"  LOL - that is hilarious!!!!! I love it!!!  Hopefully when Alex tells me I am beautiful he isn't lying!

If any of you happen to have girl scout 'thin mint' cookies lying around - you might consider sending them to Elder Packham!! I think he was trying to charm the girl scout cookie lady in the library the other night to get some thin mint cookies! LOL

I think we all know that Jake LOVES basketball! I mean he really loves it! Well, I decided (and with Jorvik's support) that since he isn't here to watch, I would create a bracket for March Madness. I think he would be proud - maybe? Also, I sent him a bracket to fill out!  Now, Mikey said I shouldn't, but I did it anyway because I thought it would be fun for Jake to make some predictions.  So..without giving you all of his predictions I will just tell you that he had Ohio and Butler in the final with Ohio winning.  Well.. Butler is totally out. Oops Jake! LOL

Here are some pictures:

The first picture is of his district.  The second is from dinner the first night in MT, and the last one is pretty explainatory - he is pointing to MT!

I really love all the pictures - they are awesome and if I could figure out how to make a slideshow on the blog - I would.  Maybe, eventually I will.

Before I close this post I want to give a shout out to Alli and Lindsie - thank you! Thank you both for listening to me say how much I miss Jake all the time and thank you for being so supportive of Jake - you both rock!  To my family - sorry I have been crying lately - I just miss him but as Jorvik said, "It will be okay Sandi - only 1 year and 10 months to go!"

In closing:

This is why Charity is so important ~ “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul–We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things” (Articles of Faith 1:13).

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I was very grateful and extremely happy to get the mail today!

In my latest update from Jake he let me know how happy and grateful that he is to get letters.  I'm glad that people are writing him - it makes me feel good.  Jake has always been such a social guy and I know he values his friendships a great deal so it's a very good thing that his friends are writing!  I hope they will all be patient with him as he tries to write people back.  I know that his schedule is pretty full during the week and he has limited time to write but I do know that he has been keeping each of you in his thoughts and prayers!

Here is some of what he had to say this week:

We are teaching this family. For personal reasons I won't disclose their names. They have been taught by missionaries for years and years. They even named their last kid after the 1st missionary that knocked on their door. There are Word of Wisdom issues in the house and the family has had a lot of struggles. Past missionaries haven't been very commital with them. Elder Ptacek and I went over to teach them the 1st lesson, The Restoration. We sat down and had them shut the TV off and taught a great lesson and felt the spirit. After the lesson we got to talk to the father out on the porch, as he lit up a ciggarette. He explained to us that he has tried to quit smoking before and he knows he needs to stop. He said he knows he's going down the wrong path and he needs to be a better example for his kids that are 11, 4, and 2. We went over to his house this last Sunday (yesterday) to teach him the Plan of Salvation. We knocked on the door and walked in to see the whole house was clean, the TV was shut off, and the whole family was just gathered together talking. Needless to say we taught quite the lesson and felt the Holy Ghost even stronger. Could this be the start of a family turning there life around 180 degrees? I think so. We will continue to teach, and I'll continue to update you.

The church is true. Amen.
I loved that! I believe that the gospel definetely changes lives.  I have heard stories shared at church before where members will say that they took the discussions numerous times and then finally, one day, something changed and they committed to baptism!
Jake also shared a couple of quotes this week.
A quote that Elder Ptacek and I use a lot lately. It's a scripture, often used when talking about the saints going to Zion. Thine adversities shall be but a small moment, and if ye shall endure them well, God shall exhalt thee on high.
I love this too!  It is a good reminder and makes me think, "this too shall pass."  I had shared with Elder Packham some of the things that have happened since he left and this was what he said to me:
Mom, it sounds like the family has been given some tough breaks since I've been on my mission! Those will soon end though! Continue to pray in faith and everything will work out just fine. Alli wrote me a letter and there was a great quote in it: You are right where God wants you at this very moment in His divine plan.
We may not always know what his plan is. I'd suggest looking up the CES Devotional (Actually given in Allen Texas where Alli is from) by David A. Bednar. It was recent like in February. He talks about how we need to align our will with Gods will. It's tricky and it is something we all spend our lives doing. I love you. Anything is possible.
I am very proud of him. Grateful for his service to the Lord and grateful for the blessings that he is sharing with me.
The last thing that Jake wanted to share with me was about his friend, Kara Maxwell.  Kara joined the church not long ago - I want to say it was before Christmas.  I believe Kara had been thinking of going to BYU or BYUI - she currently attends ISU.  Well, this is what Jake said:
I was so happy to read a letter from Kara Maxwell and to hear that she has, after fervent prayer and thought, decided not to go to BYUI or BYU but to go on a mission. It's so humbling to me to be a part of her life and to see her conversion.  To see such a great friend have a strong conversion and continually thirst after the Spirit is such an inspiration to me, and will be for many others.
I want to echo Jake and say that I, too, know that each of us are right where God wants us to be at this very moment in His divine plan and that, "With God All Things Are Possible."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hahaha calm down mom! You worry too much (:

How do you like the title of my post?!  That’s typical Jake and even before he said it in his email, I already knew he was most likely thinking it! LOL – love him!

Here is something he shared with me:

We had this really cool experience the other day that I would love to share with you:
My companion Elder Ptacek and I were praying really hard for the past few days about bringing us to the Lords children that our prepared to hear the gospel. We have been praying a lot to find His children and to be able to bring them back to Him. We learned that one of the fellow ward members has been organizing this ecumenical (Multi-Church) concert for the last few months and that it would be held on March 10th. Elder Ptacek and I were really excited about this opportunity because
it would be great exposure for the church and we'd be able to show our musical talents with others. The theme for this even was Jesus Christ. Before the event Elder Ptacek and I said a prayer and walked over to the Catholic church where it would be held. All of the musical pieces were great. We were able to sing a powerful song, I Know That My Reedemer Lives. During the musical number I had this strong impression that we had touched a few hearts with that song. After the concert we held the doors for everyone leaving. Lots of people thanked us, even the pastors. Later that day as we were waiting for a ride to take us to our appointment the Catholic Pastor that lives next to us saw us and came over to talk. We were really confused at first and asked each other, "Is he really coming over to speak to US?" We looked around to see if he was walking to someone or something else when we realized he wanted us. The Catholic Pastor recognized us from our song and thanked us dearly for our performances. He said the people that sang from our church have some of the most beautiful voices he's heard. The opportunity we had to sing at the concert has opened so many doors.
I can testify that it's not whether or not we sang great in the concert. It doesn't matter who sang from our church and what they looked like. What mattered was that the Spirit and touched the lives of so many others in that congregation. Music is powerful and it's incredible to see the affect the Holy Ghost has on me, as well as so many others that aren't of our faith.

That really is a great story!!  I keep trying to envision Elder Packham singing “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” to a bunch of people he doesn’t know…. It’s a happy thought!  I would have to agree with him – I do think that music is a powerful tool in teaching the Gospel.  I think that is because the spirit is so strong when you are singing such amazing hymns. 

Speaking of the song, “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”……  after Mic died that song took on a whole new meaning for me.  I do know that my Savior lives and that He loves me but here’s the thing…. When someone you love dies there is so much joy in knowing that because the Savior died, we will live again!  We will be with our loved ones again and be able to see them and hug them and everything!!!

So… for the best part of Jake’s letter:

I love you mom and I hope you have a great day! Remember to smile (:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Message from Sister Mecham

At the end of last week I was lucky enough to receive an email from Sister Mecham (President Mecham's wife.)  She assured me that they were excited to have Elder Packham in the Montana Billings Mission and that he had the opportunity to go to the Billings Montana Temple on his first day.  She told me about his trainer and gave me his mailing address.  Then she gently reminded me that missionaries should be emailing you once a week only, and only on Monday, preparation day and that they should not be calling home.  She said that we should provide encouragment and support and consider what information from home can contribute to homesickness or distractions from their missionary work.  Lastly she thanked us for our sacrifice and the foundation we gave Jake in order that he could devote two years to missionary service.

It truly was a nice email and I was grateful to receive it.  I will add some pictures here for you to see.

The top picture is of Elder Packham and President and Sister Mecham.  The bottom picture is of all the missionaries that arrived in Billings Montana the same day as Jake.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Aint nobody tractin in that.....

For anyone who knows Jacob I am sure as you read the title of this post you could hear him saying that and see his awesome smile. Did it make you smile or laugh?!  It did me!!!  He is so funny!

Here is his update:

We had a huge snow storm here yesterday and we couldn't tract. We were really disappointed because Sunday is the best day to tract. The wind here was around 65mph plus snow and it was dark. Aint nobody tractin in that. (: The people here are amazing! I'll be here for 10 more weeks at least. I can relate to all of the people out here really well. It's super easy to hold conversations with people. They love it when I tell em I've lived in a small town in Iowa and been around farms.  lol. I love getting letters!

And here is a picture he sent:

That picture totally makes me laugh!!! He is so cute!  He looks warm, right?!

They have tracted in to three investigators and I continue to pray that he will be led to those who are seeking the gospel.

You know, I never really could have prepared myself for what it would feel like to have a missionary in the field.  I think about him every day and I make sure that I don't tell him I miss him! Even though you know I do! A lot!  A good friend of mine at work says, "Jake is your sunshine, isn't he."  She doesn't know about all the early morning seminary days when Jake had us singing, "Scatter Sunshine!"  That boy - he really does scatter sunshine every where he goes.  Have a listen! Smile and think of Jake!

Update:  Jorvik Ty and Mikey have informed me that I got the song wrong!  Jake made us sing, "There Is Sunshine In My Soul Today."   So - here you go with that link too!!  Basically, Jake is all about the sunshine! Gotta love him!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

My Testimony

As you might have guessed, I have been looking online at all kinds of missionary information. I found a great missionary mom blog and one of the great ideas she had was to create a "Babylon Box."  This is a box that you use to gather things that happen over the next two years to share with your missionary when they return.  She said her kids would always go to their Babylon Box first when they returned.  She would put things in it like movies they missed, cd's they might like, etc.  I love the idea!  I definetely think I am going to do it.  The first thing we are putting in there is the movie, "Here Comes the Boom."  Great movie and I think Jake will like it!

There are a lot of missionary mom's or articles that talk about the things you should write and share with your missionary.  All of these are full of great advice but I think the biggest thing that I always want to focus on sharing with Jake is my testimony.  I feel like I have had so many experiences in my life that have really shaped my testimony and would like to think that it can strengthen others.

So... I would like to share my testimony with you!

I am so grateful for my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It has blessed my life in immeasurable ways. I know the Book of Mormon is true and I am thankful to Joseph Smith and his desire to know which church was true.  His incredible faith as he read James 1:5 and knowing that God would answer his prayers. I want that kind of faith!  I do believe that my faith is the foundation of my testimony and for that I am grateful.  I am marveled by the pioneers who also had faith to move mountains.  When they were driven out of their homes and towns time and time again they could have said, “This is too hard, I quit!”  But they never did that.  They pressed forward with faith in God knowing that He would always be there.  We certainly have amazing examples from the pioneers. I am grateful to Heavenly Father for the numeroustimes in my life that He has extended His hand and protected and guided me.  I had so many things happen to me in my childhood and without Godas my constant companion my life would have turned out so much differently. I am thankful for my knowledge of eternal families and the blessings of the temple. I KNOW that I will see Mic again and that we will be a familyforever.  I also know that because of those great blessings I will see myown father again one day.  What a marvelous thing that will be!  God is in the details of my life and that was incredibly evident when Mic left this earth, He truly prepared us and that is a blessing. I am thankful for all the people who listened to the Spirit and were there at the crossroads of my life. I know that Jesus Christ came to this earth and showed us the perfect example of how to live our lives.  Learning about his life in the New Testament was one of my favorite times while teaching seminary.  Because I know my brother, Jesus Christ, I know that there is someone who knows every feeling I experience in this life.  Because of him, I don’t have to say, “Nobody knows how I feel.”  And when I feel discouraged, I know the Jesus Christ knows how that feels as well and if He could make it, so can I!  I know that forgiveness is a valuable lesson to learn and that God forgives us of all our shortcomings and we should forgive others as well.  I have faith that all things will be made right through God. I know that Jesus Christ died for me,that He was resurrected and He Lives! I know that He appeared to the people onthe American continent. I know the scripture in John 10:16 that says "other sheep which are not of this fold, them also I must bring..." is true!  I know that this was fulfilled because in the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi 15:16-17, 21 it says: "ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring..."  I am truly blessed and so grateful to my Father in Heaven.

I pray that Elder Packham and his companion are being led to those who are prepared and ready to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ!