As I thought about writing this e-mail to you guys, I felt a bit like
the dodo birds from Ice Age. “The laaaast melon.” Seriously, this last “transfer” will be quite bittersweet.
I’ll start with experiences from this week. Most of this week was- you guessed it- FINDING! We’re still teaching Veronica, who’s on holiday at the moment – everyone is on holiday! We were hoping to see Natasha, but we’re pretty sure she dropped us.
Her dad is in the hospital right now and she doesn’t want to talk to us; I’m afraid she’s hardening her heart because of it and kinda blaming God, even if she says she doesn’t believe in Him. We still have those strawberry lemonade cookie mixes you sent us though, so we’ll make some and bring her a plate, see if that helps!
Elder Meier and I had some fun experiences with talking to people this week! There was a born again lady who told us all about praying in “tongues”, an old man that kept cracking jokes that neither of us understood because we couldn’t understand him talking full stop. That guy was funny just for that reason.
Oh! Yesterday, we proved the Lord right with his promise in 3 Nephi 13:25-32. It was SO hot and muggy yesterday, and we left the flat after lunch to go find someone to teach, but we forgot to bring water with us! Man, I was so sweaty and hot after a couple of hours, and we hadn’t found anyone yet, so we needed something new. As we were walking down the road, we walked past a guy out cleaning his car and we asked him if we could bother him for a glass of water, and he said
“Sure!” He went in, got some water and brought it out to us. We did our best to talk with him and try to have a gospel conversation, but he didn’t want to hear anything about it. That’s ok though, because he was super nice, and one day he’s going to meet the missionaries again and ask them more! We then carried on and an hour or so later, we knocked on another door and asked for water. She was Lithuanian and spoke 0% English, but we discovered we’re pretty good at charades, so
she gave us a drink. When we pointed at our name tags and a Book of Mormon, then at her, she smiled nervously as she shut the door and said “No tank you, I go.” Oh well, at least we got hydrated! Elder Meier stopped these two guys who looked about our age yesterday, and as we talked, they told us they were atheist. That’s fine, I’ve met plenty of good atheists in my time, so we let them know that’s exactly who we’re looking for! We began talking a bit, and one of them, Luke, asked me what I meant by “receiving an answer”. How did I get an answer? That was a great opportunity to share one of my first experiences with the Book of Mormon. At first he didn’t understand, and argued that the warmth I felt from the Holy Ghost was just me being
warm; so we bore testimony that this was a feeling that did not come from the environment our ourselves, and it’s impossible to describe to someone who hasn’t felt it- just like it’s impossible to describe the taste of salt to someone who’s never tasted it. It’s hard to argue with that. By the end of our conversation, they still wouldn’t learn more, but we were pleased to see them really thinking.
How do I leave things? How do I put a cap on everything I’ve learned and experienced in two years here, wrap it all up in a pretty little summary so you can really understand? I don’t think I can. One thing I can say is I’ve gained a greater ability to trust in the Lord when things don’t look like they’re improving. Some things take time and we only realise the lesson He was trying to teach us in hindsight, by looking back on the times we thought we weren’t making any forward progress. Grays was a great example of that to me. I spent 6 months there trying different ideas, busting my head against a brick wall sometimes, and just giving my best without any outward success. The one person there who I was pleased to see progress all the way to the
waters of baptism was baptised days after I left. But my spirit is so much better and so much stronger because of that! I gained so much self-confidence, love for others, and just plain grit there. It’s now one of my favourite areas that I’ve served! St. Albans for different reasons taught me more necessary lessons that I know I’ll bring with me wherever I go back home.
I’m not going to take much more time today, but I will tell you I know this church is true, and that Jesus Christ leads us through His servant, President Monson. I love my Saviour and I love this gospel. I love you, Packer family, and the blue is and always will be very sky.
Love, Elder Packer
Extra Pictures of my last area, Kingslynn: