Well, first order of business: I’m moving! Tomorrow I’m going to move to Colchester with Elder De Bour, (I think that’s how you spell it at least). He’s from South Africa, but he’s white. Weird, huh? Ah, I’m gonna miss Elder Patterson. It’s too bad we only got one transfer together, but I guess that’s the will of the Lord. My biggest worry right now is what I’m going to do with all of my stuff that I have to pack now. Not sure how half of it fit in my suitcases in the firstplace!
It was so awesome to Skype you all on Christmas Day and see the whole clan gathered together! I’m glad you had so much fun this year! I had a lot of fun here as well. The Christmas holiday has an extra day here, Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. So that morning we went to the beach with the Rudloff family and picked mussels and explored the smuggler’s caves in the cliffside! Super fun! Then we went back to their house and barbecued the mussels and some shishkebabs Sister Rudloff had made. That was such a fun, interactive lunch! After we ate with them, we went to the Hunt’s for the afternoon/evening and ate dinner with them. I love those guys too! You know what the oddest thing was though? On Saturday when we finally got back to work, it was almost a relief. Don’t know why, it was nice to just chill with the members for a couple days, but it was like sleeping on your own bed after a vacation. It’s just more comfortable somehow getting back to work.
Right – New Year’s Resolutions. Well, to start off, I should tell you the mission goal for this next year. The goal for 2014 was to have 500 baptisms, and we reached about 475, so yay! The goal for 2015 has been raised to 600 baptisms! We can do it! For me personally, I set a goal to baptize 17 people this year. I chose 17 because Elder Patterson baptized 16 people this last year, and we should always try to raise the bar a little more!
This actually brings me to something I really love about the gospel. There’s a saying I really like, . “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving back.” The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a passive belief. Faith itself is a word of action! Faith is a hope for something that we can’t see, but we know is still true! So those who truly have faith in Jesus Christ will GO and DO something! President Gordon B. Hinckley compared faith to the muscle in his arm. If he used it and stretched it, it grew stronger; but if he put it in a sling it grew weaker. Everything we do in the Gospel is like this principle. If we continually read our scriptures, pray often, and attend church with the right attitude, it will become easier for us to make time for scripture study and we will gain more from it, we will develop a closer relationship to our Father and desire to speak to him more often, and church will become a bright beacon in our weekend that we gladly look forward to. Yet, if we neglect our scriptures, refuse to pray, and grudgingly attend church with our minds elsewhere, the opposite happens. It will become harder to sit down and pick up that book, you will forget why you need to talk to Him in the first place, and church becomes a dull grey smudge on your weekend.Try this with any aspect of the gospel, and it works, I promise!
Right, I’m going to stop discoursing on y’all and give you the goods. Pictures! I love you all, and I hope that this year you have an amazing missionary year!
Love, Elder Packer
(In 595, Pope Gregory I selected the monk Augustine to lead a mission to England to convert the Anglo Saxons in the Kingdom of Kent to Christianity. The Gregorian mission landed in Kent in 597. The cross was erected in 1884. Reputed to be the place where King Ethelbert first met Augustine. St Augustine’s Well, a stream nearby, is reputedly the place where Augustine baptised his first convert. Ethelbert was baptised there on 597.)
The District: Christmas Edition
Extra Pictures from my first area, Ramsgate: