July 4th, 2016
Happy Birthday America! Someone over here once asked how we spell America back home, (perhaps he was waiting for me to forget the “A” and just start with “M”, Merica, as we sometimes do – haha). Anyway, I proudly spelled it out for him: L-A-N-D-O-F-T-H-E-F-R-E-E-H-O-M-E-O-F-T-H-E-B-R-A-V-E. It was a longer spelling than he was expecting!
Hope you’re all enjoying this day of Independence and all subsequent BBQs/festivities that accompany it. (I’m crying just a smidge) I’m over here with the redcoats, but I’ll still find ways to celebrate. In fact, Sister Allen, one of our favorites here in Kings Lynn, has invited us over tonight to provide for us a proper 4th of July BBQ! Isn’t that sweet. Woot woot! Pictures will be taken.
We had a great week here! An update with Ni- and her five kids, in honor of the European football championship tournament that’s happening, we taught them about listening to the right coach. I stood on one end of the room, Elder Meier was on the other end, and the kids had a bunch of little pieces of paper with actions on it, like “hold the door open for someone” or “yell at your brother”. Then they had to choose whether to go to the coach who was telling them to do each thing or not; Coach Jesus or Coach Satan. They really liked it. The little girls are just adorable. I’ll have to get a picture with them tomorrow when we see them!
On Thursday, the Europe Area President came to speak with the mission. Elder Kearon is so awesome! He’s the general authority who gave the talk about the refugees in the last general conference. It was so perfect and exactly what I needed to help me stay focused and motivated for this last month! We wound up talking a lot about what we can do to increase our own faith and what an investigator needs to feel to be converted. One thing me and Elder Meier both thought was powerful that we both decided to implement was the challenge to “ATTACK the day”! It means more intense prayers in the morning, not the groggy, half-awake ones with your knees on the ground and your face on the mattress. A more intense exercise where you actually work up a sweat, and a good nutritious breakfast! So Friday morning we woke up at 6:15, went outside for a run and some parkour lessons from Elder Meier, then we ran back and had a big fruit smoothie for breakfast! It works! We’re showing intense dedication in our morning routine, and the Spirit shows us the results. Friday morning we had to go to the chapel, so while we waited for the bus we talked to a man nearby. When we initially approached him, he put his hands up and said, “No, no! Not for me. Not today. I’m in no mood for a confrontation!” We responded that we weren’t there to confront anyone, we just want to help if we could. He started telling us why he didn’t want to listen to us, and as we gave him time to talk and sincerely listened to him, he opened up and told us he was on his way somewhere for another round of chemotherapy. We came to understand the real reason he initially didn’t want to hear about God was because he was frustrated and a little angry at God because of his cancer. We talked and shared a bit of our beliefs about Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation, and when he had to go, he still didn’t want to meet up and learn more, but he told us he’d look up the Plan of Salvation on our website. He looked lifted and happier, and that was alright for us. Later that day, we asked a young man for directions and started talking to him about whether God was there or not. He believed, but said he didn’t believe because he’d been pushed into church when he was young and never liked it, and never felt like his prayers got answered. We asked him some good, inspired questions that I could see he’d never thought of before, and when Elder Meier bore his own testimony, you could see it hit him. We set an appointment for the next day and got his details, then not 5 minutes after we left him, we got a text from him saying, “Thanks guys, you really changed my views on God, can’t wait to see you tomorrow!” What? You don’t hear that very often. That was so cool. Moral of the story: attack your day and you will conquer! We are pounding these mornings so hard now! And we’re learning how to make better breakfast shakes.
Unfortunately, as sometimes happens in missionary work, Conner, the young man I just told you about, texted us with some very rude words and canceled our appointment the day of. We texted back and found out the various reasons he’d changed his mind. His Auntie told him not to associate with bible-bashers, (rubbish excuse, I called him out on it and said, you talked to us yesterday- you know we don’t bible-bash), and based on the rest of what he said, we think his friends and maybe some “substances” made him return to blaming God for his tough family background. We’ll see if maybe he’d be more open to a church activity like the ward camp day on the 16th! Sometimes you get people who feel the truth of what you teach, but just choose not to take advantage of it. The leap of faith just seems too far. Doesn’t mean the gospel is any less true, they just need another chance to give it a go. And I feel confident that Conner will have another chance soon.
Yesterday, we had our first lesson with an investigator named Veronica. It was Elder Meier’s first chance to sit down with a new investigator and share all of the Restoration, then extend a baptismal invitation, and it went wonderfully. Brother Evans came with us, and his personal experience in finding his faith in Christ was so great for her to hear. She accepted to be baptised on the 7th of August, though she’s deathly afraid of going underwater. *you wouldn’t think that would be a common thing these days, but it is! Seriously!*
We work pretty well together, I think. Elder Meier and I, He sometimes stresses a bit because he wants to say the right thing, but he’s realising how to trust the Lord as we teach. I feel exactly the same way sometimes! But I think that just shows his desire to serve effectively for God. Things I’ve learned from him? A few words in German, a couple sweet parkour techniques, and ways to not stress about things without working less hard. What can I say about our German brothers and sisters that I didn’t know before? They make good saints! Most of the Germans I’ve met here in England have all been very driven and desire to be exact in everything they do- which is a good thing. No, he’s not related to Elder Uchtdorf, unfortunately. His step-mum makes pottery and travels to different markets in Germany and Switzerland to sell them. Pretty cool.
Well folks, that’s a wrap! See you’s next week, can’t wait to see your 4th of July pictures!
Love, Elder Packer
P.S. Attack the day! Every day!
We got Father’s Day cupcakes in church the other week
Mission Motto: Mind the Gap
Ate our fish ‘n chips at the church one day
Just before we started our fast!