Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ummm...did you forget to email me?

I am quite behind on blog posts - sorry.  I am taking a couple college classes, etc., etc... and on Sunday night I was up late and thought, "I will write Jake's email in the morning."  Well, the storm hit and let's just say I wasn't able to email him.  He actually thought I had forgotten him?!@  Is that crazy or what?!  As if!

So transfers came on Monday and Jake is staying in Great Falls!!!  He said that he is happy to be staying in an area longer than 6 weeks.  I know that they are working with a couple of investigators and I hope that he continues to find joy in all that he is doing.  Here is how he said it:
        So things are going great. I am so happy to finally stay in an area longer than 6 weeks. I feel like I just got here to Great Falls. Now that we have people to teach and we're in a groove time seems to be slowing down. I'm happy with life right now. 
So I will try to capture some of the things that have happened and bring everyone up to speed.  If you recall, his mission had a mission tour and a lot of meetings.  Elder Arnold of the Seventy came to his area and Jake loved him!  The church office had told them that they would be in for a real treat with Elder Arnold and Jake said they were absolutely right!  While at the mission tour he got to see some of his good friends from the MTC.  All of us know how much Jake treasures his friendships and people so I can imagine this was a VERY good thing for him.

For those that don't know, our church meetings are 3 hours long.  We have sacrament, then we have Sunday school, and then we have either Relief Society, Priesthood, or Primary. For those of you who do know, you might find this funny:
We were in meetings for 9 hours yesterday. I got thinking about previous to the mission and when I got to serve and meetings. I remember thinking how long church was. Heck, now I think church isn't long enough. Average meetings usually last between 4 and 5 hours for us. Today we have a zone training and that will probably last 4 or 5 hours.
Jake shared with me a bit of his meeting with President Mecham. He said that President Mecham is so inspired and that he really loves him and respects him. I am so glad that that is a wonderful relationship. I didn't doubt that it would be but I love hearing the way Jake talks about him - so much love and respect!

Jaime, Bowman, Matt - WRITE JAKE! LOL

Kate - Jake says you will an exceptional missionary! He said that his Bishop's son just got back from Honduras...sounds a bit 'exciting.' ( I suppose that is the best word) Be careful girl! He says that he heard that there are no driving rules there and that you become an extremely offensive driver to keep yourself safe. He also says you owe him a letter! LOL

So... did any of you watch, "The Work of Salvation" missionary broadcast?  IT. WAS. AWESOME.  A little fun fact - the missionary who gave the opening prayer.... Elder Ludlow....Chris Ludlow...was in Jake's EFY group!!!!  How awesome is that?  I can't even imagine how nervous he must have been!

Sunday, June 16, 2013


  Thumbs Up!

  He has been doing A LOT of service......

  These sore hands mean he has been doing good things for others!

   Great Falls

  My handsome Elder Packham

  My handsome Jake!


  Great Falls, Montana

  Elder Packham w/Great Falls in the distance


I've seen many miracles this week! 2 of them in particular I'd like to talk about. The first technically started at Smith's grocery store. On Thursday all the missionaries in our stake had an appointment with the stake president and his counselors. We were just there to talk about missionary work in the stake and what not. We were at Smiths to carpool from there to the stake presidents house, trying to save miles. While we were at Smiths we saw this super jacked guy. We were like, "wow it'd be cool to baptize that guy" and thought nothing of it. When we tried to contact a less active lady the real miracle happened. We found the house that matched the address given to us and knocked on the door. The same jacked guy from Smiths answered the door! It was kind of funny, we immediately went into a tracting approach. He said he was Presbyterian or something like that and only believed in the bible. His little boy was standing by him and he mentioned how hard it was to raise a family in today's society, we talked a little bit about families and just made small talk with him. He said he's originally from San Antonio, Texas but went into the Air Force and got stationed here in Great Falls. He said while he was in the Air Force he wanted to stay out of trouble so he started lifting weights. He plays football for the semi pro football team here in Great Falls. Check this out though, He's a running back, the head coach of the football team is one of our progressing less actives! We invited him to play ball with us on Mondays and he said he would. He said he'd dunk on all of us white guys though. We then asked him again if we could just borrow 5-10 minutes of his time (It always works, I mean just 5 minutes right?). Always say 5-10 minutes, then of course it goes longer, it always works. So he said yes and we got his information and we gave him a card with our number on it. As we started walking away he asked if we would like to fill up our water bottles and I said yes. I was dying for water. So we walked in and his grandma or his wife's grandma? Someone's grandma was there basically. She was from Japan! It's crazy how he's from San Antonio where dad served and the girl was from Japan where grandpa served! His name is Matthew, he has 2 cute kids ages 2 and 9 months.
The second miracle came after dinner. We were upset because we had dinner at a members house (the 1st counselor) and he invited over one of his friends to hear the gospel. He dominated the whole lesson and we had to keep bringing it back. After dinner we just told them we'd walk home even though we were offered a ride. For a reason we didn't know at the time, we just felt like we needed to walk home. As we walked home we saw this odd looking family outside but we kept walking. The next house there was a lady outside on her porch. Elder Cooper felt prompted to say hi, so he did. Just kept walking though. She called us back, "Hey guys come back!" she yelled. So we went back to talk to her and she's like, "My neighbors need help, they smoke marijuana and shoot up drugs. They need God badly. They're messed up (she used a choice word though)." So we told her we'd stop by, but then we asked her if she "needed God" and she said yes. She said she's been actively searching for God and for a good church for awhile now. She said she just got remarried and her husband loves her so much. As she showed us the huge diamond on her hand. She said that they're moving to New Mexico in about 2 weeks. We offered to help with the move and she absolutely loved it! She said they'd pay us each $50 or so but we graciously declined the money and told her we work for free. Then she offered to feed us! We accepted that because dinners with investigators are huge! We'd be able to teach them a lesson after dinner as well. We exchanged information after that and went about our way home. As we were walking home I was frustrated because We'd have to refer them to missionaries in New Mexico. We were talking about contacting the bishop in her area in New Mexico so when they get there members will help them move in. When we got home Elder Cooper and I were talking about who we could call to invite to church the next day. We decided we'd call the lady we just met. We called her and invited her to church. She was very grateful for the invitation but declined. She said she'd go to a different church with her mom this week but next week she'd go to our church! This is a miracle because next week is stake conference where a general authority will be present, as well as President & Sister Mecham and the Temple President! She was very willing to take the discussions. At the end of the phone call she asked us to contact our church in New Mexico to help her and so she can go to that one.

Do you believe in miracles?  Do you believe that things happen for a reason?  I told Jake that I felt like the connection with San Antonio and Japan was a tender mercy from the Lord.  Elder Bednar has said:
           We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance (see 1 Ne. 1:20).

I guess I don't really believe in coincidence.  For me, I believe the Lord's hand is in everything.  It is awesome how the Lord works.  I am grateful that Jake can recognize miracles and/or tender mercies in his life - it will serve him well.  There are mighty miracles and there are smaller miracles - each have their purpose.  They teach us to have faith in the Lord and to recognize the spirit in our lives.

And sadly... Jake has a very busy week coming up.  He said:

We have 24 hours of meetings this next week. That's a full day! We have 6 on Saturday, 6 on Sunday, 7 on Monday, and 5 on Tuesday! It's gonna be a great weekend! Crazy but great! I will be in Helena for the 7 hours of meetings on Monday. I'm still curious as to who will be there from the authorities. I will get to see a lot of the missionaries I came out with so that'll be extremely exciting. Monday is a mission tour. So some of the missionaries that served here a year or 2 will be here. Usually an apostle comes to these as well. So that's exciting! I won't be emailing on Monday though because of that. Helena is like 130 miles away.

That means I won't be getting my email tomorrow - sad, sad, sad.  It's okay though - I know he is doing great!  I love him and I am proud of him.

Q & A Session

So my update is slow this week. Sorry.  Last week I decided I would send Jake a series of questions to answer for me.  I think that sometimes my questions get lost in his email and do not always get answered. So... here ya go:

Do you have any investigators? 2 right now!
Any funny stories this week? No not really. Oh yeahh.. There was this homeless guy walking and Elder Cooper goes, "Just walking home huh?" and he responded, "yeah I just live under the bridge over there.." Hahahah so funny. Elder Cooper felt so bad. I can't believe he said that.
Any spiritual stories to share? Yeah I'll share in a second
Any word on Elder Cooper's visa? NO.
Do you need anything? No.
When did you have your last haircut? 2 weeks ago I cut it myself with some members' clippers.Can you either mail home a memory card so I can have the pictures or can you upload them?  I will upload them today
Did Bowman email you?  No I have not heard from bowman. Give him my email.
Have you written a letter to Bishop to share with the ward? No I have not. I'll do that this week.

Jake also had something sweet to say to me.  That boy...he sure knows how to make his momma feel good.  Being a good mother is so important to me and knowing that I am teaching my kids the right things is my number one priority.  Here is what Jake had to say:

Yesterday we taught Young Womens! Hahaha it was great! We made em cry (: There were only 3 of them, our ward is super small. The lesson was "What are the keys of the priesthood?" The lesson could have been better in my opinion but I'm a perfectionist! One of the counselors asked us "What are some examples of women in your life that have helped you fulfill your calling and duty as a priesthood holder?" I had never really thought of that before. I loved that question though. I mentioned you and Alli.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Love me some Pday! What's in a name?

Here is my email from Elder Packham this week:

Today is P-Day! SWEET!!! I love me some P-Day. So where do I start? It's raining buckets here in Montana. There's a lot of flooding going on around the state. Not in our area yet but if it keeps up we'll be doing some flood relief. Things are going great! I love p-day because every p-day here in great falls all the missionaries get together and do stuff or at least go to lunch together. There's a member in one of the Great Falls stakes who owns 2 dairy queens here in great falls. All the missionaries in great falls get free dairy queen once a week. So we usually go to dairy queen on P-day because it's free.

No new investigators but after this week we should probably have a few. Jo let us come and do service for her! We invited her to church but she didn't come. She said on Saturday when we stopped by that she was going to Helena to spend some time with her mom. Frustrating but we'll be back to visit her.

We were tracting this week and we knocked on this one door. They didn't answer so we knocked again. We started walking away and got all the way to the sidewalk when a man in a wheelchair opened the door. Cooper goes "Hey we're the missionaries for the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints!" He just yells "I don't believe in that stuff. I don't believe in the LDS people. I only believe in Jesus!" Elder Cooper goes, "Well that's awesome, So do we!" He goes, "No you don't!" and slammed the door. We walked away laughing about it because we told him we're the church of JESUS CHRIST and he said we don't believe in him. Hahaha people these days. The next house we knocked on was awesome! We knocked on the door and a man came out and introduced himself right away. He said that he was waiting for the missionaries to stop by. That he wants to take the lessons again and his wife wants to learn more as well. We'll be going there on Thursday. We have a potential who almost offered to feed us dinner. We'll be going back to teach her on Thursday at noon. Elder cooper knocked another door. and the ladies says that she's strong in her faith. So coopstain goes, "Oh so you believe in Jesus and Moses and all them?" The ladies goes, "Well I'm a Jew." hahahaha so funny! Elder cooper just had a dead face like he didn't know what to say, it was his turn to take the door so I was just letting him take the whole thing. So funny. I walked away dying. lol

What is it like working with members? It's one of the most important aspects of being a missionary. If the members aren't happy work will slowly digress. Work will get slower. The area will die off.  You know the saying, if momma aint happy aint nobody happy. Same thing with missionary work. If members aint happy, aint nobody happy. I have found that one of the greatest way to gain members' trust is by teaching someone in there home. Even if it's role playing a members' friend or what not. The members see your teaching ability, they see that you're serious, and they get comfortable teaching. So that as the members are comfortable role playing and stuff they can go and actually teach there friends or whatever. Then it relates to Referrals received and contacted. I hope this makes sense. I can't wait to go home and teach all my friends. I could go on and on but I wont. These are good questions though.
So first off - his tracting story made me laugh but it also got me thinking about what's in a name.  Jake's story is true in a lot of ways...there is a misconception that we (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) don't believe in Jesus Christ.  Jake's story makes me think of the primary song.  Have a listen:

In order to dispel any doubts - I believe in Jesus Christ. I know that He came to earth to show me the way to live my life. I know that He atoned for the sins of the world and that the atonement is real and it gives me hope. I know that Jesus Christ showed himself to the people in the America's and the Book of Mormon is a record of those people.  I know that when He said "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold, them also shall I bring," He was witnessing to the Book of Mormon. My Savior, Jesus Christ, is my best friend and I value the relationship I have with Him more than anything in my life.  He sustains me in all of the things I say and do.

I miss Jake... but it sounds like he is doing well. I love him. Immensely.