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!
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.