Good morning, Idaho!
It’s been a blessed week the last 7 days, and me and Elder Delate have really enjoyed watching Heavenly Father’s blessings spring up from seemingly nowhere! So…we kind of had a baptism! We’ve been visiting this less-active lady’s family and teaching them because her son who just turned 8 really wanted to be baptized. At first we thought it was something like the mum pushing him to do it for the sake of being baptized, but after we first went to teach him, we realized that it was all his idea. We also realized that he’s a very smart boy and probably understands more about what baptism means than I did when I was 8! His name’s Ashley, by the way. We had the service yesterday after the block, and he asked me to baptize him. Mum, you’re going to kill me, because I didn’t bring my camera. But don’t you fret and don’t you frown, I promise I’ll take a picture with my little buddy when we see him in a couple days!
Besides that wonderful blessing, I have another HUGE miracle to tell you that just came to fruition this week! When I was with Elder Mthombeni, we stopped and talked to this lady about her adorable teacup chihuahua, (this thing is seriously dangerous, its that cute), and she was kind of but not really interested. Then I think at the end of Elder Delate’s first week here, we were walking down the street and this same lady calls us over from the other side and says she’s been hoping to run into us so she could find out where we meet as a church. She felt unwelcomed in her Church of England congregation and wanted to try the Mormons out. We told her where to go and even got to teach her a bit of the Restoration, then sent her on her way. Then she didn’t come to church, so we thought “Man, what the heck?” Then last Monday or Tuesday we got a call from her asking us to come round, so we did and she told us she had wanted to look us up online and do some research before she came to the church, and she was really pleased by what she found! To our surprise, she already knew how the whole service worked, what the sacrament was and what it meant, and why we dress modestly. We arranged another appointment before Sunday and asked if she had any other questions we could help her with.
“Do you know where I might get one of those Book of Mormons? I read a bit about that and I want to see what it’s like.” Needless to say, she did not have to wait long to get one. #thatswhywecarryspares Anyways, she came to church this Sunday and really loved it. Says she’s coming back next Sunday as well! She’s now preparing herself to be baptized on the 17th of October.
It sounds like the family is doing well, which I’m glad to hear! I want you guys to know that I love you and I pray for you every day! Benson, Sam, and Mia…you have my sympathies. Mom told me she’s reading another “incredible” autobiography to you. Whatever happens, stay strong. This too shall pass.
You wanted to know about the new district. We had our first District meeting of the transfer last Wednesday, so just for fun, I’ll tell you about my new district. First of all, me and my white South African friend, Elder Delate. Then, in the Southend corner, weighing in at a combined 300lbs, Elder Speiser and Elder Skinner, both from Idaho! Also from Southend, not weighing in because that’s something you just don’t ask, is Sisters Idrizi(from Greece) and Wilcox(Oregon)! Then in the Basildon corner, topping the scales at a massive 800kg, the zone leaders, Elder Tonks(Utah, in my MTC group) and Elder Hesen(California)! And last but not least, Elder Convey(also California) and his trainee, Elder Marzahn(Berlin, Germany)! They’re pretty fun, I’ll have to send you our district picture. One last question to answer: I love how much you write, there’s no maximum limit. I love reading your letters, so the more the merrier! I won’t be able to respond to any e-mails until Monday, but I can look at them throughout the week, so if you’ve got something you want to send on Wednesday or Friday, go ahead and do it!
So last question Mum, you asked about what I’ve seen or learned that can help the little Packer’s and Pocock’s be really ready for a mission… Something that I’ve thought a lot about while I’ve been here in Grays is how to stay happy and committed to what we’re doing here. I’ll definitely spend a bit of time studying and putting together a Top 5 list or something for you, but this is just some thoughts for today:
Number one is one of the most important– going home is not an option. If it remains open to discussion, you lose half the battle there. Something I’ve talked about with other missionaries is what it would be like if we did go home. The trend seems to be the same. Even though we really miss home sometimes, if we imagine ourselves coming home right now we would just feel sour inside. It would just feel off and askew. Although I have missed home a lot, I have never once considered going back. That’s not the way to fix it.
The other thing I would say is to be real. If you’re honest with yourself, sometimes you had a crap day. People can be mean, plans fall through, and sometimes we’re just tired as heck. But slapping a smile on and saying that everything is absolutely terrific and super-duper dandy won’t make you feel better. That’s just lying. It’s ok to admit that things suck sometimes, as long as you always look for a bright side. There is always a bright side to any situation, and if you can find it, maybe make a bit of a joke about it, then a smile will naturally come and you may wind up laughing it off.
And most importantly, remember to trust in God. I forgot where I read it, but I know that at some point, every one must be backed up against the wall of faith and make his/her stand there. We don’t know everything, but we know enough. When the tornado tries to rip you off of the iron rod, hold tighter. If we are true to what we’ve already been given, He’ll eventually bless us with more.
These are just some things that popped to the top of my mind. Then the Spirit took over for my fingers a bit there. Anyways, I’ll see what else I can find about enjoying/loving (not just enduring) your mission more!
I love you so much, mi familia! Funny enough, the sky has actually been a gray ceiling for most every day this week, but it feels blue to me!
love, Elder Packer
I kebabtized Elder Delate this week. I’ve told you about kebabs, right?
Back row, left to right: Elder Tonks, Elder Speiser, Elder Skinner(flying), Elder Hesen, Elder Marzahn, Elder Convey. Front row, Sister Wilcox(invisible), Sister Idrizi(crazy), me, Elder Delate