Friday, July 26, 2013

Things are going great here in the heart of Montana!

A dodgeball tournament?!  Seriously?!  That is awesome!!  Here is the picture:

Things are going great! We are meeting with Mike on Thursday! We won a dodgeball tournament this week! A bunch of missionaries & I entered a tournament and won! We wore our shirts and all wore green ties! We actually lost the first match. Each match or team we played was best 3 of 5. So we played a lot of dodgeball! We lost the first match and battled all the way back to the championship game. It was lots of fun! 
He looks really happy and healthy - I am grateful for that. I had shared a story with Jake about a member who made a comment about an investigator that came to church with us and as always Jake was full of wisdom to share with me. I love that boy! We had a conversation about  sharing the gospel with everyone and not just those people whom we feel would 'fit' what we consider to be the 'model' member.  Please don't get me wrong, I have no vision in my own mind of what the 'model' member would look like but I did have someone say to me, 'something is wrong with that person.'  I had to remind them that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father and none of us should stand in judgement of another.  This is what Elder Packham said to me:

 An area emeritus 70 spoke to us once and told us all to fill the chapel with people who smell like smoke. That's what we want! That's what Christ wants! Did Christ only talk to the people who looked normal and okay to talk to?! Obviously not. He talked to EVERYONE and has a genuine love for every one who has ever walked this planet. He taught to the poor, the lame, the weak. Sometimes people frustrate me. I'm glad that person wasn't with me on my mission when I've brought investigators to church. We'll be judged for how we judge others... Next time you hear someone unrighteously judge someone like that just let them know that they'll be judged by how they judge them.

I have given that a lot of thought. I know that there have been plenty of times in my own life where I have felt judged by others and it is so painful.   President Uchtdorf touched on this in an April 2012 General Conference talk and it is definitely worth a listen! None of us need to stand in judgement of another ~ it isn't Christlike and it is just plain not right!!!

It is a really great lesson in life to learn to not judge others and to realize that heaven will be filled with people who have made mistakes.  I am grateful for the gospel in my life and the strength it has afforded me in handling life's challenges.  I am grateful for the knowledge that I have that the Savior loves me and He forgives me of my short-comings.  If I have learned anything it is that life is too short to hang on to judgments and criticisms of ourselves or others.  Elder Packham is a great teacher and I know that he loves his Father in Heaven and his Savior Jesus Christ.  I am grateful that he is serving the Lord in Montana and I KNOW he loves the people of Montana.

Friday, July 19, 2013 much has been going on

So the heading for this post was the lead off of Elder Packham's email on Monday, July 8th and I do not know if he meant that I have a lot going on or that he does - hopefully it was both!  I had given him a huge update on things at home and my trip to Idaho with Mikey.  Here is some of what he shared with me:

Wow, so much has been going on. Our 4th of July was incredible! I just sent you 2 letters in the mail today with tons of pictures. Let me know when your address will change!!! Let me know ASAP. I miss my Cunningham family! I miss them so much! I got an email from Levi and that was nice. I can't wait to get back and visit them. Tell Aunt Sheli and Uncle Ty I love them! Also thank them for everything they've done for me. And tell everyone that's getting married that I wish them well and I'm sorry I couldn't make it. Things are going great here in Great Falls. We have 6 or 7 investigators right now. We're focusing on diligence this month, Elder Cooper & I. So we figured we'd knock the door of an investigator we were trying to contact every day at different times each day and finally contact him. We still had no contact. When Tuesday came around we started again but actually got in the door on Tuesday! We taught him the restoration and he was pretty open and received it well. He said he'd be baptized if he came to know it was true. We invited him to the ward breakfast on Thursday, Coop and I actually planned that activity. He came to the ward breakfast and actually spent the whole 4th of July with Bishop and his family!!! He then came to church on Sunday. If we are diligent, put our trust & faith in the Lord, all things will work out. We will be teaching him again this week. He goes back to college in about a month & a half so we'll see how far we can get with him in teaching. We may or may not have to refer him on. I don't think we'll have to though.
How is everyone? Tell them all to write me! Kyle is home? I want to write him!
You met Al and Linds?! Hahahaha oh gosh. I don't even want to ask how that went. Lol how did it go?! What did y'all do? Did you like em? They're hecka nice so I'm sure you love em. You love everyone I'm close to (; 

So that was a brief update from a couple of weeks ago. I am really sorry to those following the blog that I am a bit behind on posts.  I have been really busy at both work and home and as a friend of mine says, "I feel like I am burning the candle at both ends."

I posted some of Jake's pictures on Facebook but I will add one or two here as well.  It is good to see the pictures and know that he is well ~ I have that missionary mom thing going on at the moment where I miss him so much it brings tears to my eyes.   It doesn't help that Mikey is now gone too and Jorvik will be a Senior.  Halley keeps reminding me that they are all leaving me.  I promise you that I am NOT cut out for this stage of my life. I love my kids and it makes me sad to think that I won't even be a thought in their minds when they leave.  I am not going to be a crazy mom though - I promise. If they want to talk to me - great! If not - I will have to accept that.  All I really want is for them to be happy, healthy, and full of faith in God so they can endure the hard times.

Elder Packham mentioned before that President Mecham wants their mission to be one of the most obedient and it sound as if he is trying to fulfill that goal.  President Thomas S. Monson gave a talk in General Conference entitled, "Obedience Brings Blessings" and here is a little piece of that:

No greater example of obedience exists than that of our Savior. Of Him, Paul observed:
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”12
The Savior demonstrated genuine love of God by living the perfect life, by honoring the sacred mission that was His. Never was He haughty. Never was He puffed up with pride. Never was He disloyal. Ever was He humble. Ever was He sincere. Ever was He obedient.
Though He was tempted by that master of deceit, even the devil, though He was physically weakened from fasting 40 days and 40 nights and was an hungered, yet when the evil one proffered Jesus the most alluring and tempting proposals, He gave to us a divine example of obedience by refusing to deviate from what He knew was right.13
When faced with the agony of Gethsemane, where He endured such pain that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground,”14 He exemplified the obedient Son by saying, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”15
As the Savior instructed His early Apostles, so He instructs you and me, “Follow thou me.”16 Are we willing to obey?
The knowledge which we seek, the answers for which we yearn, and the strength which we desire today to meet the challenges of a complex and changing world can be ours when we willingly obey the Lord’s commandments. I quote once again the words of the Lord: “He that keepeth [God’s] commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.”17
I can testify to you that I know that obedience brings blessings.  This crazy world we are living in seems to be changing at lightining speeds and some days I do not think I am prepared for it or that I will be able to cope and that is when I remember these things that President Monson said.  If I will be obedient to God's commandments, I will be okay... in fact, I will be more than okay.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Oh and another thing...

So on July 1st I got this email from Elder Packham:

Oh and another thing.
Mom, Thanks for those Subway gift cards, it was truly a miracle from God. You must be hecka in tune with the spirit right now. This is what happened. The Richardson signed up for dinner on Saturday. They told us the Sunday before that they were going to be out of town and that they would send us each a subway gift card in the mail. So we gave them our address and hoped they would come. All week long we didn't get a Subway gift card. On Saturday, I got your card and in it were 2 subway gift cards. Holy cow! I was going crazy! I prayed that those gift cards would come the night before on Friday, and then I got yours on Saturday! You also sent a Superman card. Crazy as well, I just bought a cheap $13 dollar watch from Walmart and it's a superman watch from the kids section (:
I love it. I love y'all. Hope the family is doing great!

Elder Packham

I love it too!  I love knowing that I am living my life close enough to the Spirit that I can be in tune with the needs of other around me.  It isn't just Jake either - I want to be able to be the Lord's hands in all the interactions I have with others.  If you are so inclined, here is an excellent talk on being the Lord's hands:

No matter if you share the same believes as Jake or I or not - I like to think we all care about each other. It is so important to reach out to others and when you feel prompted to do something for someone, whether it be a text, a phone call, a simple smile - DO IT!  Allow the Lord to work through you - it is amazing!

Here is the rest of his email from that week:

Another week down in the books. 5 month mark is this Saturday. It's hard to believe that I've been out that long already. I feel like I just left home. I've seen so many miracles, I've seen God's hand work in so many things. These past 5 months have been some of the hardest yet most rewarding months of my life. No doubt about it.

P-days are crazy because we have so much to get done. President Mecham is making this the "Most obedient mission in the world." So there is so much to be done in what feels like so little time. That's okay though, the time goes by so much faster when you stay busy. Our investigators are going great! One of our investigators is moving to New Mexico. We referred her on to the missionaries down there and to the church as well. If she was staying she'd be baptized in 2 weeks easy. She's so prepared to hear the gospel and that's why it's hard to see her go. That's where faith comes in to play though. It'll all work out in the end I have no doubt about that. Lindsey, I have not heard about her mission call. I haven't heard from her in a long time actually! I've wrote and emailed her.
You have no idea how happy I am to hear about Halley going to EFY! I wish I were there to see her leave and come home. EFY is definitely a life changing experience. Some of my greatest memories growing up were the EFY experiences. I love hearing about Halley growing spiritually. What made her decide to go to the one in Columbia? Mike as well. It was awesome to get the letters from mike and to hear about his spiritual journey and to hear how he's doing. To walk through scriptures with him as well was neat! I just love it! Jorvik on the other hand.. I haven't heard from him at all!!!  Is Mike all ready for the trip to Idaho? What are you guys doing for the 4th of July???
I loved hearing about the temple trip. I don't think I've ever been to the Winter Quarters temple actually. I'd sure love to go though. I can't wait to get back home and go to college and just visit ALL the temples out west. I just love temples. So many blessings come from going to the temple. It's our sacred duty and obligation to attend the temple so I just can't wait to go. I don't mind doing the work for the living right now (: I love it. The work really is going forth. It's amazing to be apart of this historical time in the history of the world.
This week will be another good week in the books. We have a meeting with the Stake President tomorrow night to talk about missionary work. Him and his wife will feed us dinner as well. I'm really looking forward to that meeting and talking about where we want the stake to be on terms of missionary work and members. We are going with members to watch fire works!! We're allowed to stay out til 11. I'll take pictures!

He sounds good. I can't believe it has been 5 months already!   He doesn't always share the 'hardest' parts with me. I suppose he doesn't want me to worry but I am so grateful that he feels like it has been the most rewarding experience of his life.  I can't wait for him to hear Halley talk about EFY. She LOVED it!!! EFY really is life changing... I haven't been but Jake use to say that and now Halley is saying it!!  It is awesome!  We got Mikey to Idaho and he is settled.  I am proud of him and grateful that he will be able to enjoy his time with family and friends who love him SO much.  It will be refreshing for him to be in a place where he is not being judged in any way.  Jake has been a good brother to the kids - even while on his mission. He is such a rock star!

Elder Packham didn't send any pictures this week of the fireworks but hopefully next time.   I will do another blog post shortly.