Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas is coming!

Hey everyone! Guess what!!!!
S IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!!!!!
Like for real this time! Everything is getting all set up, the ward is totally on board and S is literally counting down the days! I AM SO EXCITED!!! It is so great to see the excitment and love that is happening. What a cool experience for S to get baptized right while we are all celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!!
Pretty much, this is going to be the best week ever.

I don't know if we did much more than plan for that this week...
S on the other hand... pretty much dumped us this week. His girlfriend doesn't appreciate us teaching him the law of chastity, and well, doesn't want us to meet anymore... He agreed to another apointment for this week, so I guess we will just have to see how that goes.

We had Zone conference this week with President Teixeira? or something like that from the 70. It was AMAZING! I love the spirit that comes with a whole bunch of missionaries getting together. I learn so many new things every time and feel SO blessed that I get to be a part of this. So cool!
We got to meet our new ward mission leader this week! Totally wasn't what we were expecting when we went over to eat with them, but we are super excited. He is definitely the guy for the job, and Dordrecht is going to see some miracles through him.

Other than that we are just trying to do a lot of contacting. Dordrecht had a HUGE Christmas market this week through basically the whole city. (That means a lot of traffic.. and not with cars. People.) It was pretty exciting to go see, and we passed out flyers for a Christmas concert that will be this Sunday. People are at least a tiny bit more open when its Christmas time!

I am sad to hear things didn't go through this week for the girls (update on girls:  We are leaving Dec. 27 to pick them up)
, but I know the Lord has it in his hands. We've come this far. I am excited for when we DO get them, and will continually be praying for that!
Thanks for all of your love and prayers, ik hou van jullie!
 
Liefs, Z Packer

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holiday Emailing

So, a lot of people remembered I'm on a mission and emailed me this week.. So I am a little bit short on time! It's ok though, because I can't really even remember what happened this week!

We will start with So. We had only one lesson with him this week, and he started it out sharing the strongest most powerful testimony I've heard in a long time about the gospel and how he knows it's true and that he is ready to be baptized as soon as he can! We were SO excited about that and it was so great to hear. However, that was right before we taught the law of chastity. Which he completely understands and agrees with, but isn't sure what to do about his girlfriend... They can't get married yet because of some complications. So we aren't really sure what to do to help him.. Ah :/ it was so heart breaking to have to tell him he needs to wait to get baptized until he can follow that law. But I know things will work out for the best.

Sa announced to us Saturday that he wants to be baptized this week! WHAT? That was pretty spur of the moment. We talked to our ward leaders and compromised with him for 2 weeks so we can get everything put together. Yikes! My first baptism!!! We are super excited for him and scrambling to put everything together! Wish us luck!

This week was Sinter Klaas!!! It was a pretty good day. We visited a lot of members, and had dinner at oone of their homes. After we had eaten dinner we were helping clean up so that we could make some speckulaas... And we had JUST talked about the tradition of sinter klaas when we heard a knock on the door. Zr Aston and I were just sitting there wondering why they weren't answering the door when the wife comes out and says. "you should reeeeeally go see who was at the door!" Oh! we finally got it. Sinter Klaas had come to their house with gifts for us! It was so sweet! That made for a really fun evening. The next day we had a sinter klaas party at the church for the kids, and there was a kind of after party for the adults that we got invited to. Basically just a white elephant game. I don't remember what they called it though.

That's about all of the excitement from this week! Our new district is pretty much the most awkward thing in the world, it's pretty great. And We are SUPER excited for Zone Conference this week with a general authority! I'd tell you who but I don't remember his name. So we are pretty stoked for that!
I am praying and praying. I hope everything goes well this week! Ik houd van jullie allemaal!!!!
 
Liefs, Z Packer

Sunday, December 8, 2013

We are known to get lost

Taylor's Mom and Dad were happy to see Elder Mower (rt)
 at his Homecoming today!
This week has been a crazy week of weird emotions! so after my email last week we got a call telling us that Elders will NOT be coming back to Dordrecht this transfer... WHAT??? It was super weird, and we aren't sure how we feel about it.. But I guess it's the Lords choice, not ours. Also. They have torn our district apart! So... It is completely new now. We are alittle bit scared to go to district meeting this week, but I'm sure all will be well!

After the Elders left this week we went to their apartment to collect the area book and such so we could follow up with everyone they had talked to... We also discovered what a disaster they left it! Elders... It's ok though, because we are nice sisters and cleaned it up for them. Mostly because we didn't want rotten food all over the place. The ward is super sad that Elders are gone again.

I also forgot to mention last week that we participated in the annual Belgium/Netherlands Turkey bowl! I have been sore all week from it... There is a reason I don't play football.  Ow. Don't worry though, I'm still in one whole piece!

Zr. Packer and Elder Mower
Things are going SUPER well with S! We have made it so we are now meeting with him twice a week, AND He made it to church this week! I am so incredibly excited for him!!! We had an appointment with another joint teach and she was SO great! He even brought his girlfriend to the appointment to listen in. It was SO cool and the spirit was so strong. I have a feeling in time she will be open to it. :) It is really cool to see his faith as well, since he tells us every time we extend a  commitment (such as the word of wisdom) He tells us as long as it brings him closer to God, then why wouldn't he do it? SO great!

We had another day of raking up leaves for a couple in our ward. They were surprised that we finished as quickly as we did! What do you know the sisters can do labor without the elders help ;-) It would have been nice, but at least they know we can hold our own.

Here is where the subject line comes in. We had to go get a legallity card for Zr. Aston and well... Got lost. So we were on trains the whole day. And when we got home found out I have to go get mine as well.. So. Well, that happened.
MEXICAN Food!
Missionary Food
The work is still going pretty good, I just don't know what else to say this week! Oh except we had an appointment with one of our favorite families this week! It was just as hilarious as every time (the one that proposed to me) and they want us back before they go on a trip to Scotland for Christmas! Woohoo! It is so cool to see that just our visits can help. I have so much faith in this family! 
Not sure what this is???

Success with the adoption stuff this week! I have never prayed so hard for something in my life! I am so very excited. Ik houd van jullie!!!
Liefs, Zr Packer

Sunday, December 1, 2013

GUESS WHAT!!!!  I GET TO STAY IN DORDRECHT FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!
That's right! Zr. Aston and I get another transfer together in this beautiful city, and we get to be together for the holidays! I am so excited words can't even explain. However, our Elders are getting white washed... Elder Mower is going home this week which is probably the saddest thing in the world, and Elder Rauma is going.. somewhere else. I forget where. So still lots of change, but at least I get to stay!!!

This week has seemed super fast with not a whole lot that actually happened. We discovered how to best help M. She just needs to figure things out for herself! We are going through the commandments with her 2 at a time and we just talk about them till they click for her. It is actually really helpful for me too, because I get a lot of new insights. S is probably my favorite person in the whole world right now. He told us in our last appointment with him that he wants to get baptized!!!! He said after we taught him the plan of salvation he prayed about it and just felt good. He loves church and loves what we teach so he wants it! S testified to her that he knew it was true and he was going to do everything to follow Christ, so that was amazing. I am so excited for him!

P had us over for dinner a few days ago in his new house. It was definitely a man made meal, but it was tasty and a super good time. He is really working to quit drinking and I think we are starting to see some progress with him. He relapsed a few times, but it hasn't been bad. I am really proud of him, I actually kind of feel like a proud mother.

We spent a lot of time helping the members this week as well. An inactive family is moving back to New Zealand so the wife wanted to get rid of anything and everything. Our job was to organize and disperse. Basically, the 4 of us have a lot of new cd's we can't listen to, some movies, and funny clothing. We were pretty excited, and she loved that we helped and had us over for dinner the next day as well. We also helped with the ward dinner that the young womens organization was putting on... you know, our ONE young woman. So we volunteered our services and ended up cooking the entire day and cleaning  afterward. It was pretty fun though and a great time with our ward.

So that is about it! I am SO excited about the girls! I hope everything goes according to plan so they get here on time! I can't believe I am going to have sisters!!!!! Good luck with everything and I am praying for all of you! Have a great week everyone! Ik houd van jullie!
 
Elders Mower and Rauma
Liefs, Zr Packer

NOVEMBER 18
Hello Beautiful people that apparently read my letters every week!
I was approached this week by a member in the ward and informed that their family had found my blog and loved reading it. So, I guess you could say this is a sort of shout out. :)

This week we spent a lot more time with P than usual. I don't know if I mentioned he is working on moving into a new house, but he is. We have been pretty slackish in helping him, but have tried to step it up a bit this week. We went by his new house for an appointment and he has done a  VERY nice job with the place. He has done all of the flooring and painting on his own and furnished it himself. I was very impressed. Our deal is still going strong. He has now gone a week without alcohol and I've gone 2 without buying candy. Ugh. It is totally worth it though. We ran into P on exchange day and he mentioned needing help cleaning out the rest of his old house. So I volunteered ourselves and the Elders to go help. We threw a lot of stuff out, Zr Juchau (Sister training leader) scrubbed down the kitchen counter and I packaged his dishes. Oh, and I found a cupboard full of glasses for different kinds of alcohol...
And destroyed all of them...
I may or may not have had a bit of fun with that one. P allowed me to do it though, so he can't get mad :) We went back a day or so later and biked a whole bunch of stuff over to his new house. Yes, that is how moving works around here. you bike it.

We had the MOST AMAZING appointment with one of our newer investigators S! He is so ready for the gospel I love it! We finished teaching the plan of salvation to him and asked what he thought. He said he felt relieved more than anything about the 3 kingdoms becuase he had been taught hardly anyone can make it into heaven. SO COOL. The spirit was so strong and he said he was excited to come to church...
And guess what?
SOLOMON CAME TO CHURCH!!!!! AND LOOOOOOVED IT!!!!! Oh my goodness I can't even explain how giddy I have been about that.
It just keeps getting better too. He is already doing missionary work! he is trying to get his girlfriend to come listen to us or read in the book of Mormon, and we didn't even know he had a girlfriend! HE IS DOING IT ON HIS OWN! Yeah, basically the church is true.
Pretty much that is the most exciting thing that happened this week. This week just flew on by so I am having a hard time remembering much else. Oh, but Sinter Klaas came into town this weekend! So we watched the parade, and I was pretty impressed with the festivity. The Zwarte Piets come and hand out these candies called kruidnoten and pretty much they are delicious. one filled my hood with them when I wasn't looking. Thank you! So yeah, I have a lot more pictures this week, so enjoy!






I hope you all have a great week! I am glad everything is going well at home, and I wish everyone success! Thanks for the love and support!
Liefs, Zr Packer

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I'm getting married!

Everyone, I have an announcement to make.
I will be getting married on January 30, 2014 to Tristin, a 7 year old, who proposed to Zr. Aston and me.
We will be having our honeymoon in the Philippines, and his mom is ok with it.
Lets just say this week has been a riot!
We had appointments with members every day this week! So the week has really just flown on by. We also had a ton of opportunities to do service, which just adds all the more to the greatness of this week! I introduced Zr. Aston and the Elders to the kiltunnel this week, I think I have talked about that before. I thought it would be a good experience for them! They all wanted to take the escalator back... boring. But we had this fantastic appointment with the family that lives out there, and if there are photos of a bunch of missionaries doing monkey faces, that would be why...

We have an older couple in our ward that are pretty stinking wealthy. And they invited us over to do some service and eat dinner with them. This hasn't happened at all since I've been here, so I was nervous. And their gorgeous house doesn't exactly calm your nerves. We got to rake up TONS of leaves in their yard. I don't know where they came from because the trees are still full of them... But it was way fun and totally worth it. After that appointment we had another one with one of our new investigators! His name is S. And pretty much this guy has been prepared. He LOVES anything that talks about Christ and is just eating up the Book of Mormon! Literally. He is already almost done with Jacob. Well, he is probably all the way done at this point.He is such a cool guy, and is really progressing, I have super high hopes for him! If we can find him a ride to church! :)
We got to help one of the pregnant women in our ward with her garden as well this week! Mom, don´t get mad but I actually kind of enjoyed it. I think I like it more when I´m volunteering.
We made a deal with P this week... As of yesterday if he doesn't buy any more alcohol, we can´t buy any more sweets... If that isn't motivation I don´t know what is. Because he knows how much we love our European candy!

One of our less actives had us over for dinner this week. Her son is the one who LOVES us. Literally. I´m fine for the first couple minutes like when he sits by me and rubs my arm (it´s pretty Jason like) but when he sits up straight and puckers up his lips is when it´s gone a little too far. Talk about awkward missionary mode in full force. Super funny family though, I have never laughed harder than when I´m at their house.

I had one cool miracle I wanted to share from yesterday! On Saturday we saw this lady pushing a cart of stuff through the bike tunnel. It was pretty awkwardly piled and well, just plain weird. We didn't really think much of it though. Yesterday we saw the same lady pushing and even larger cart! With a giant dresser on it. So we stopped to help her. She was hesitant at first but then let us help her. This woman is moving to a new house on the other side of the city. And has been moving all of her stuff BY HERSELF ALL WEEK!!! No one will help her so she was just doing it. Are you kidding me?? It was so good that we stopped to help, and she was SO grateful. She told us just to put the dresser in the shed and she would take it up later. Oh you know to the TOP FLOOR where she lives. So we took it up for her. It was a good feeling and she was so sweet, she invited us back any time and we will be going back to help her get settled. This, this is why I am here. I love it :)
Ik houd van jullie! Have a wonderful week!
 
Liefs, Zr Packer
Also, sometimes the elders have us fix their pants and we can´t help but try them on...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I got to go to one the most beautiful places in the entire world this week! It is called the Temple!!!!
We had temple conference this week which means 3 zones went to the temple Wednesday morning, and who knows how many others went Tuesday evening. It was SO amazing! What is even cooler? The session is in Dutch, and we understood it all. And the spirit is CRAZY strong. I'm here to tell you right now, there is nothing more true than this church. We had a conference after which really means we have a few talks from the mission leaders, and then all the missionaries bond forever. And we eat pizza. That was a good plus. I actually was sitting by an elder while we were eating, and finished his pizza for him when he realized he had gotten too much.. (awkward..) And then didn't realize till the next day he was my new zone leader. This is going to be a great transfer.

We had quite a few random things happen this week. Like our lesson with P, we made him teach us the word of widsom... hahaha we think we are hilarious. Well, so does he. There is a picture attached and he had edited the word of wisdom to fit his standards... Lets just say I had to really think to make sure I was hearing the right thing when he started reading out of the pamphlet. Funny man, needs to just stop drinking already. He finally got the new keys to his house though, and we went with the elders to bless it! That was a super cool experience, and he also let them give him a blessing for a "new beginning" which is a HUGE deal for P who doesn't trust men.  So it was pretty amazing.

We have been doing tons and tons of contacting, because well, we need people to teach, and the Elders are getting referrals... We find lots of pretty positive people, but it all depends on their agency. We also may or may not have found the red light district in Dordrecht.. We will be avoiding that area from now on. I guess that lady wasn't kidding when she said to stay out of the neighborhood after dark. (Don't worry, we are perfectly safe and sound).

We got invited to a bridal shower this week! Random? kind of. One of the jovos.. (single adults) is getting married this next month and the ZHV (relief society...) had a bridal shower for her. That was way cool that they thought to invite us, and it was really nice to be able to go and have some time just with the members. Go team sister!
Zr. Aston's first experience with Fufu

Good news, the ward is doing amazing with the Elders now! We had uh.. ward council this week and it was probably the best one I have seen yet. The ward is finally catching the vision on missionary work. And I am positive we are about to see some wonders. It is really nice to work with the Elders. We also all get invited to dinner appointments together which is fun for these tiny dutch houses. Here are some pictures of Zr. Astons and Elder Raumas first encounter with Fufu. I can honestly say I think the Elders are here for more than one reason. Families are coming together more than I've seen in a while. It's way cool.


Elder Rauma and Elder Mower
So that's about it. We had an epic p-day today. We went to Rotterdam for a zone day/ Elder Mathis's birthday.  This church is true, and I know it with all my heart! Doesn't matter what everyone else says, and it doesn't matter that I'm only 20 years old. I know for myself and that is what's important. Ik houd van jullie. and Have a wonderful week!
 
Liefs. Zr Packer

Sunday, October 27, 2013

6 Months!

Transfer Week!!!! It has been probably the craziest week I've had in a long time! And I do have to say, I don´t think I've laughed as hard as I have this last week in a very very long time. Needless to say, it´s going to be a good transfer.
Zusters Elting and Packer

Zr. Aston is my companion! I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out seeing as we have known each other for years, but never really hung out. I can honestly say I think she is one of the funniest people I know. I am so incredibly blessed to have her here as my companion. We haven´t really had anything exciting happen this week since we have spent most of it just finding. We gave most of our investigators over to the Elders, so we are taking a step back and starting from square 1 again. These people just react so funny to us, it kills me. We had one lady open the door while we were doing bell ups to tell us she wasn't interested, and then proceeded to tell us we need to go outside and close the door before we ring any more bells.. Well no duh.. We aren't sure if she heard or not but as we were walking out Zr. Aston just exclaims `What are we, Animals?!` I lost it. It´s going to be hard finding people if I can´t keep it together for longer than ten minutes.

I don't think they're starving.
The Elders are SO wonderful! Elder Mower is training Elder Rauma. When Elder Rauma introduced himself I heard it wrong, so I've been calling him Elder Ramen all week... He doesn't really appreciate that, but it´s the only name I remember. He is a fresh out of the water greenie. He FREQUENTLY... asks if I know were we are or where we are going. On our way to a members house he just yells, "Sisters! Are you sure this is still in our area??" It will be good though. All of the sudden we have appointments with Members though! Just because Elders are here.. 

We had an appointment with an inactive this week who is really hard to get in contact with. She told us she is ready to come back to the church for her 2 sons, which is SO cool! Her whole family are members, and she has just had a few rough patches in her life that made her want to go inactive. What is so cool is that she totally knows it´s true! And We are pretty sure she doesn't want to do it JUST for her kids, we are positive she wants it back in her life herself. So cool. Also, her children are NUTS. I cried laughing for a good 20 minutes because they were all over the place being little terrorizers. She said if she doesn't get them to church they might turn out to be thiefs... One of them also proposed to us... I´m very excited for our next appointment. She is a funny lady! That´s about it! Just lots of contacting and me trying to introduce these 3 new missionaries to the beautiful land of Dordrecht! The work is slow, but I think we are going to see some amazing things this transfer.
Ik houd van jullie!
Liefs, Zr Packer
What's a mission if you aren't having a little fun!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

2 for 1 blog posts

The Vikings are Taking Over Dordrecht!
Guess what! another transfer has come and gone... You know what that means? Well a few things.
1. I´m staying here in Dordrecht
2. Zr. Elting is going away.
3. My new companion is going to be Zr. A
4. Dordrecht is getting Elders (It´s about time...)
5. Elder M and his greenie will be said elders.
WE ARE ALL FROM PG!!!!! Yes, the vikings are definitely going to tear apart Dordrecht. The Dutch should probably be afraid, oh wait, they already are. :)

This week has been full of all sorts of fun things like transfer calls and our phone breaking day off! It´s fall in full effect here, so it´s a whole lot of hurricane like storms and cold... I´m not a fan of wet skirts just fyi. 

Tuesday was a wonderful day. Why? well because we got an answer to our prayers. One day a couple weeks back Zr. Elting felt prompted to play basketball with this group of kids, and we didn't because she wasn't sure if it was really a prompting, or just her wanting to play. A few weeks later we passed another group, and Both of us felt like we needed to play.. And ignored it because once again, weren't sure if it was real or not... We flipped around after a few minutes to go play and literally approached as they were leaving the court. We were SO upset! Well.. We have repented and said a few prayers. We were early to our appointment with P Tuesday, so Zr. Elting said a prayer to herself telling Heavenly Father that if someone was there we would play. Low and behold as we rounded the corner there was a boy playing by himself! So she yells to me we are playing!!!` I knew immediately what she meant, and we went over to play. His name was D, 17 years old, doesn't normally play basketball, but happened to have a free day and decided to go play... by himself.. ANSWER! So we played with him for a bit, talked about why we are here and such, because people are amazed with 2 American 20 year old girls who can speak Dutch. It´s great. And then K came walking by! He is the roommate of one of our kind of investigators, hard core muslim, but LOVES talking to us, so he joined us. I think we got some good respect points that day.

Everything is kind of falling apart with our investigators, because we are just the sweet nice sisters.... So we are handing most of them over to the Elders. I´m very excited to see how this all goes. We found B on the street one day and he told us he doesn't feel anything when he reads the Book of Mormon... :( And that we can still talk to him about Jesus Christ, but he doesn't feel good about the book anymore.. HOW?! So we went by a few days later to explain why we wouldn't be coming around much anymore and when he answered the door we were entirely shocked! His whole face was swollen, and red, and bruised. He got in this crazy bike accident.. And it was REALLY bad... It´s hard to break up with someone when they are already hurt... We are going to take him a treat and tell him to read more sincerely in the Book of Mormon...

We had a baking contest with our District, and made carrot cake! It was a hit, and the Elders informed us later that they really only agreed to it because that meant the sisters would be making treats, both sets of elders made practically the same thing. It was hilarious! I think most of our District is staying, but I guess we will find out by next week then won't we?!

We did service with Zr. H again this week, and got a picture with her, because she is hilarious. She wanted to know our first names in case we leave, and could not for her life figure out Zr. Eltings, she is convinced it is Chantry. When she prayed it was difficult not to giggle. She is a sweet lady.

M has crazy questions, I don´t know why anyone would want to think so deeply on anything, it just hurts your head. We had a discussion about the Godhead to help her understand the roles, and the fact that God has a body... He is not a blob that is just in all of us... That is weird. I think we really got her thinking when we got to the Holy Ghost, but I guess we will see in time.

Stake conference was also this week, and good news, the Stake president is on team missionary! He was going to town on how important member missionary work is! I felt so pumped after listening to him, and I hope that the members felt it too! This work is truly inspired! That´s about all I can think of for this week. I´m reading right now about Alma and Amulek. Those men know how to testify! And wonderful examples of diligence! I´d encourage you all to read it!
 Ik houd van jullie!!!

Liefs,Zr Packer

Guys! General Conference is probably my most favorite thing in the entire wide world!!! I can't even explain how grateful and blessed I feel that WE all have the opportunity to hear the words of our loving Heavenly Father through his faithful servants. I got to watch all of the sessions except Sunday afternoon because, well, we were sleeping. That's a weird thought isn't it? The spirit you can feel when the prophet and apostles and other general authorities speak is truly amazing. I'd have to say though, that my favorites were from President Monson. At the Relief Society broadcast, and Sunday morning. I bawled like a baby.

This week was pretty good as well. I was just so excited for conference I can hardly remember anything else! We made tortillas on Monday and served tacos to our district on Tuesday. Needless to say, we are the favorite cooks in the district. That's what macaroni and tacos will do for ya! :D 

Also, a lot of people are planning on being sick for the next 2 weeks. What a strange plan right? We got in contact with a few of our investigators this week and they said they were sick or feeling sick and probably won't be better for 2 more weeks. Silly people think we are going to forget them! Oh no no, we will be back in 2 weeks no problem. Wednesday we had our random service project with F and the man in the gross house.... That was pure madness. She goes crazy when she is cleaning, and his house definitely needed it, you could see some progress when we left (after 2 hours because that was our limit), but it still wasn't completely done. F was RAGING when we said we needed to go. She just started yelling and I don't know if it was in Dutch or Russian, but she was not happy with us. Hey lady, it's not even your house, he was very understanding that we needed to go, and accepted a book of Mormon. He also invited us back another time. So all in all we were successful. We saw F today and she approached us to apologize for flipping. Glad to see we haven't been dropped :)

We also got to do some service with one of our less active members! She needed her windows and curtains cleaned (because Nederland is ALL about clean windows) and so we had to take her curtains down and clean everything up. This lady has the biggest collection of random statues and things I've ever seen sitting on her windowsill.  And It was my job to put them back.. I asked if she wanted it a specific way and she told me just to make it look good.. So I would go to set something down and hear "NO NO NO! That can't go there! The clown has to have is arm around the gnome and they have to face out the window because they are friends!" I'm pretty sure that's what she said anyway, because her Dutch is nearly impossible to follow. She likes our company and that is what counts I guess.

I think B is avoiding us, or we are just really bad at finding him... S says he will come to things and never does, so that's annoying. But P came to conference and even though he got up every 10 minutes because he can't sit for long, I think it was a REALLY good experience for him, and the other missionaries were SO good to him. He is still trying to stop drinking, and is progressing!

While we were in Rotterdam for conference we decided to go outside and find some people for the Elders in Rotterdam, we had a pretty fun experience. We found a man that actually lives in our area, and we can't exactly speak with him... But he gave us his address and told us to bring the Book of Mormon in Arabic to him! This will be fun! We also got stopped by a group outside a bar because one of the men recognized us as missionaries. He loves the Mormons! knows all about us too! And wanted a picture with us and introduced us to his friends and we talked about what we do, so that was fun! He also wrote us a license to preach about Jesus in Nederland. So I guess you could say we are legit. That's about it for this week! I encourage you all if you haven't to watch conference! It is amazing and I am so grateful for it! Ik houd van jullie!
 
Liefs, Zr Packer

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Land of Deception

This place can be so decieving. Somedays it looks horribly cold outside so we bundle up like crazy, then within an hour of being outside we are dying of heat. More often it looks like a BEAUTIFUL day outside, but no. It is colder than ice cold. Deception I tell you!

This week was a fun week! We had Zone Conference! Which is probably my favorite thing in the entire world. It is amazing the friendships I have already made in my short time out here, I love everyone who was there! And of course the spiritual enlightenment that comes with such inspired teachers. Sometimes you just need that extra dose of spirit to get re-motivated to do the work!

We had an appointment with a member who lives pretty far out in our area (actually that was every appointment this week), but this one in particular lives in a place where you have to take a tunnel to get there. It is named the "Kiltunnel" I'm not even lying. It makes you feel like you are going to die. And it is SO much fun! The video is too big to send, so everyone will just have to wait to see that, but I did attach a picture of the sign right before you enter. Basically, you get going so fast down hill that you can't pedal anymore.. But then you have to get back uphill. And that is killer on your legs. The appointment was so worth it though! We are gaining more trust from the members I think! And it is wonderful! Oh- should probably mention we got Zr. Eltings bike fixed. Luckily. There is no way we would have done that together. But we used a rented bike for that day... Anyway.

We had exchanges the day before Zone Conference, so that was exciting. I got to work in Gouda again, which is a beautiful city. And I got to eat delicious Finnish food at a members house. Hoorah! 
However, while I was there, Zr Elting was here in Dordrecht with our investigators...S Smoked.  3 of them.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! YOU GO 33 DAYS NO SMOKING AND JUST BLOW IT AWAY?!
Yeah, he said it was because he was mad at Nederland, like that is a valid reason. I was super annoyed when I heard that... So... We have to wait at least another month now, and hopefully we can help him see that it is between him and the Lord. We aren't going to visit him as often, because at this point we are just babying him. 

P seems to be doing alright. He bought a super expensive bike, which I think is super ridiculous. But he is happy for now, and really working on stopping drinking. He wanted to come with us to the Zorg to visit the Older women who can't come to church... That was interesting to say the least, but he behaved. Luckily Zr. A is a fiery woman and was in a good mood, so she handled it well.
M is our main progresser right now! She takes our challenges seriously! She has a lot of really deep questions, and we are just doing our best to direct her to the Book of Mormon for her answers. She likes meeting with us, and I think if she can learn to trust the book.  Then she will be able to progress in her faith! woohoo!
B is doing ok, I think we are having to backtrack a bit with him, but he is still a great friend and Always willing to serve us.  

Here are just a few pictures of the things we have seen this week, and a little taste of home, we found construction :) Oh, and Mexican food. 
Leifs,
Zr. Packer

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The week of achteroping

First off, this place is stinking bi-polar. Last week it was ridiculously hot! This week...
Let's just say Utah would have flooded by now with how much rain we got...
We were soaked to the bone! But that is ok, because now we are aware of a little bit of what we are in for, and are planning accordingly. I think it's funny that everyone asks about the weather back home, because that is honestly a conversation starter here. EVERYONE likes to talk about the weather. It is so strange to me. 

Oh the achteroping (two riding on one bike). Once upon a time we were in Zwijndrecht (one of the little Island places surrounding Dordrecht) And Zr. Elting got a flat tire... Well here in order to get a tire fixed it is 25 Euro!! What?! That is ridiculous to me! Give me some free time and a cheap kit and I'll do it for free! So we walked it back to Dort and took it to familie Ampem (The Amazing family of saints that has a spot reserved right next to God in heaven. Also the ones that feed us every Sunday :) ) Where Hans Ampem tried fixing her tire. Found out the innertube is like twice as big as the tire... That's what we get for going to a second hand store. It is hilarious. He temporarily fixed it, but today it was completely torn apart. So we have been achteroping... This is the test to see if we truly belong here. How many things can you balance on one bike?! It's pretty entertaining.

B (our investigator who was on date) is kind of not on date anymore... Because his date is this week. And we haven't been able to meet with him for the last 2 weeks because he is "tired" I get it, he works funky shifts. But we will need to move it. He also should probably come to church. The last time we went by to visit him he was in the process of kidnapping a cat whose owner abandoned it.. So he catches this cat and we are in the stairwell waiting for pest control or someone to come, when this lady comes over and just starts yelling at B for who knows what! And then he gives her bread and cream and yells at her to just leave. They were arguing about why the cat was here, and what color it was and such. SO WEIRD! Zr. Elting and I just stood there without a clue what to do. We had a good laugh after we left...

I don't remember if I told you about the man that stopped us last Sunday - M?- Well anyway he is the one that called out "sisters!" as we were biking by, found out he was baptized a while ago and such. Well, HE CAME TO CHURCH!!! And that's not even the best part. This man is PRIME! He was crying during the sacrament and just kept saying "I know this is the true church! I don't feel like this anywhere else" Oh my and he LOVES the gospel. It was one of the most amazing things to see. How great to see even just one man come back. :)

P is going nuts. He got mad that we couldn't sit by him in sacrament and stormed out... I guess that means he can't trust us anymore? Oh man, he is struggling big time. He tried sneaking beer in while we went shopping with him (and succeeded) only to find out it was alcohol free. That was hilarious. But the poor man, ah... Just needs to have the faith he can do it!

S is at 3 weeks no smoking!!!! AHHHHHHHH!! He can pick a baptism date after 1 month if the bishop approves it! We are SOOO excited for him! And he just loves the gospel so much! It is so great to see him progressing like this!

We contacted a potential too, sweet single mother who doesn't really know what to believe. We stopped by and kind of introduced what we do, and she totally wants us to come back! She is SO prepared for the gospel it is amazing. I have really high hopes for her. And our appointment with the inactive family and their referral? It was interesting to say the least. They had a lot of super weird questions, but it was a good experience none-the-less. So that about sums up my week! It has been fun! And I'm really enjoying the work. Yeah, it's hard. But I know why I am out here and that makes it all worth it. I truly am happier than ever! Success with everything going on this week! Sounds like everyone is having such a great time. Ik houd van jullie!!!
 
Liefs, Zr Packer

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Once upon a time our ward thought they were getting new missionaries. hahahahaha.... They didn't seem terribly excited we had stayed. Why? I'm not sure. All I know is the honeymoon phase is most definitely over. However, that doesn't mean we don't have any support. Our support comes from the inactives who LOVE us, and our investigators. I can't even tell you how often our investigators try and give us things. I think they think we are starving or something... It's super sweet though. 

We had a super great lesson with B this week introducing the commandments. It all seems so natural for him! We really pushed church attendance, and come to find out his job with the funky hours that makes him so tired is mostly volunteer!!! What?! This man is a saint! He just wants to keep busy and help people. I'm going to be more like him some day. He took us to a Moroccan (no idea how to spell that... please help me....) market right after our lesson and got us this thing of bread, funky olives and dates... The thought was nice :) 

P is on 6 days sober! woohoo! He wants to go 10 days and then keep adding. He went on a frenzy and threw all of his alcohol away, and since he shops with us he has no way of getting some legally.. :) I have lots of faith in him. S is on 2 weeks no smoking! It's super!!! We just have to make sure we check up on him regularly or else he gets depressed... 

We had all sorts of crazy miracles happen! I will explain why the inactives are our supporters. We went out to literally the middle of nowhere to look up ONE man. just one. on a whim. Got there and his wife lets us in. She LOVES the missionaries. And apparently she is a member too! And they have this adorable baby girl! I have NO idea why they are inactive, I think something big may have happened, but they were super nice and friendly. Well yesterday she called us! And invited us over for dinner, and then told us she had a friend with interest in the church that would be there...
WE GOT A REFERRAL FROM AN INACTIVE?!?! I can't even tell you how excited we are. This lady knows all about the gospel too, so it will be quite the experience. Also as we were biking along yesterday this guy calls out "sisters!" We flip around to talk to him and he starts asking where the church is. Apparently he is a member too!!! He is only here for 3 months, but he is going to try and make it to church this next week! God is truly looking after his children, He doesn't forget anyone!

I missed America this week. We were on the water bus with this caravan of Americans doing some bike trip through Holland and Belgium. It was HILARIOUS!  This man came up to us because he knew we were Mormon missionaries. And just started talking to us. Then he was going around the bus "have you talked to the girls from Utah yet? They are the Mormon missionaries!" Ah it made us feel so welcome! That's about it really. We have some really good potentials we are trying to work with. A potential family that was referred to us too! So the Lord is most definitely answering our prayers. I know that without a doubt!

And uh yeah! I read Omni today, that was interesting. If you read it I want you to think about why it is in the book of Mormon. cool? Well success everyone this week!
Ik houd van jullie!!!
 
Liefs, Zr packer

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Finally got her birthday package!

Once upon a time in the Beautiful city of Dordrecht, we lost P.
The last time we heard from him was Monday night (last week) and he was telling us how the withdrawals from alcohol were too much and he planned to drink that night....
Which he did...
A lot.
And his Phone randomly shut off...
So we were not aware of what was happening
Until Sunday when he showed up to church ON HIS OWN. With stirfry he made for us. So no worries, he was only passed out for a day or so from the alcohol, and we challenged him to not drink any more because it made him so sick. I don't think that will be much of a problem. Especially since we will be shopping with him this week, and we don't allow him near anything against the word of wisdom :) (mom note:  I love her optimism!)

This week has been pretty great! And I don't really know why since not a whole lot happened. We had quite a few appointments that got cancelled (or they just never showed up) But it was ok because we had really super back up plans! We decided we were going to figure out the situation with this woman who has been going to church for who knows how long, but won't get baptized. She got dropped a while ago, so we decided to pick her back up. We asked her last sunday if that was ok, and SHE called us to make an appointment. She's a real sharp lady! Graduated in Anthropology, so she really looks at things logically (which can be difficult to work with...) But I really believe that somewhere in her heart she knows it's true. -The ward loves her- So really she just needs to believe! 

S smoked the same day P drank. I've decided they are somehow connected. He was so worried about P when we told him we couldn't find him. I think it's funny how our investigators form this bond with each other and help each other out! Now if they would do the same with the ward we would be golden! 

B didn't make it to church because he worked till 6 am. .. And that is precisely his reason for being hesitant with Baptism. He told us if he gets baptized he is promising to be an active member of the church, and with his work he can't be sure of that. (simply wanting to be honest.) Otherwise he would be baptized tomorrow... Funny man, We just need to work with him . (also the picture of the cat is his cat -mimi- Literally his whole world. He loves that cat so much.

I almost forgot! We found Mexican food!!!! Though it wasn't even close to American Mexican food... It was ridiculously tiny. But we were grateful nonetheless! The people run this little stand during the market, I think they have just obtained new regulars. 

Thank you so much for the package by the way! I absolutely loved it! We have been sharing our "illegal cake" with a few of the members. It's a hit! haha Thank you guys, and G-ma. I loved it all so much! 
My feet are alright, I can get away with crappy shoes since we are biking all the time, so they aren't sore at all. My tail bone on the other hand is a different story. Sounds like life is getting crazy over there! Good luck to everyone with school and work! I'm praying for you all the time!
Ik houd van jullie!
And this weeks scripture is 2 nephi 26 :)
Liefs, Zr Packer

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Nonsense!



That is the only word I can think of to describe this week. Nonsense. Why? Because I truly can't even remember everything that happened! We had a lot of appointments planned, and a whole lot of them fell through, which was a super jammer! But we have been ridiculously busy nonetheless. I'm still trying to figure out what the Lord wants me to learn here. Because honestly I still feel like a chicken running around with my head cut off. 

We had a lesson with F And actually got some time in to talk! She was totally silent when we shared the first vision. It was amazing!!! And then she got up and played the piano and sang for us.. Which was weird. And random. But She is going to read the book of Mormon she says! I just pray that she realizes how much it can help her. She's got a tough life. P is 10 days sober!!! WOOHOO!  It's so exciting, but at the same time I'm super worried, because he says he is only doing this for the sisters. And if we leave he probably can't stay sober... I just wish I knew how to help him realize this is between him and the Lord. He is way too converted to us... Also. He calls us Hexes... (Witches)  Well, he is an artist. So he drew a picture of us as hexes... I'll just let the picture explain itself.... I'm the fat old witch because I'm the mean one.. I don't know why Zr Elting is portrayed as so.... What an interesting guy! 

S is also 10 days no smoking!!! We spent a little time everyday this week just checking in on him. Learned a lot about his family. They could possibly join him here in the Netherlands in about a year if all goes well. That would be SO amazing! And we keep emphasizing the temple so he knows that there is a greater goal than just baptism. AH I have so much faith in him!  B. Oh boy. He is so ready and he doesn't even know it. He wants to cook for us this week, which I am more than fine with. The ward totally loves him. The bishop just adores him. I don't know how he isn't baptized yet. Well, I do. He just wants to make sure he is being honest with himself and God. This week he told us our service was too long. But he loves the investigator class! So he stayed for at least 2 of the 3 hours. Ah.

I discovered a new contacting method. It's basically bartering. We like to contact in the Markt on Fridays (and get lunch on the way..) And when people approach us with samples I ask if I can give a card to them! We did it to a guy giving out cheese. And he seemed super positive! I hope he at least looks at the website... But it was a good experience regardless.


Basically. I'm serving in the most beautiful place in the world. We went to Kinderdijk today, and well. It's just beautiful!!! I seriously am so blessed to be here. Because we were there I didn't find a scripture... But I will write one down in my letter home. Ik houd van jullie!!!
Liefs, Zr Packer

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

2 Emails!

Sorry everyone! Apparently I don't know how to send emails... But on the bright side...

IK BEN 20!!!!!

That's probably the weirdest thing ever, but it feels good. We had a pretty fantastic week!! We finally got bikes! Oh that is the biggest blessing I've ever had. The last time I got a bike for my birthday I was 12... how weird. But the work goes SO much better when we aren't just walking everywhere and trying to use a bus system that is only half of the time working. It's so great! However, that being said... I am not a pro biker... Therefore I may or may not have crashed into a bush already. It was terrifying, so don't laugh too hard. 
S has been almost a week without smoking! Oh I am so excited for him! He has the strongest faith, I truly admire it! We had a really interesting appt with P... So much better than him being hung over my first time meeting him! Mostly because I told him like 5 Thousand times not to drink before our appt. He doesn't believe that the atonement works for him, because he has done so many bad things in his life... It truly is so sad. We have no idea how to help him, this guy has been investigating for 5 or so years.... We meet with him to keep him out of trouble at this point. But I know he could progress!!! 

We got a man named B on date!!! That was super exciting! Then he didn't come to church.. So we are going to have some words with him. Nice ones of love of course. And also we had our first appt with a woman named F. Oh she is a firey one! hahaha We met her on the street, and it was such a good contact. She wanted to talk to us more about Jesus, so we tried having a first lesson, but really she just told us all the bad experiences she has had with churches. (preachers cheating on their wives, the wives not believing her... that sort of thing.) If we could get her on topic I think she would do so well! She also should probably come to church since she said she would and didn't... Then again, she also wants to set me up with her son... I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Members are starting to cooperate! It is so cool! Prayers are being answered and I love it, I think it is mostly because one of their own is going on a mission.. This mission to be exact, but it is so great. I hope we can continue to progress with them. Sweet Br. D came and told me he had written my birthday down so he wouldn't forget it. Oh my I about cried that made me so happy. The people here can be so amazing.

My birthday was good! We fasted, so yeah Fasting and biking aren't my favorite combo, but it was so worth it when we visited an inactive and her husband had conveniently made homemade strawberry isje with watermelon and grapes... BEST THING I'VE HAD IN MY LIFE!!!! Oh my word. So worth it. And the A's made delicious rice and chicken. So I was quite happy. Jason would be proud to hear I went to McDonalds this afternoon. Tried a Mckroket.. Why these aren't international I don't know. Its like breaded potatoes and gravy in a burger. WHAT?! so good. Zr Elting and I are doing so good, we get along so well, and it's even better because the both of us together have a hard time understanding :) Makes things super exciting. A little shopping will happen today, because I need to fit in better than I do! Thank you all for your love and support!!!!  I would love it if you read 2 Nephi 1 OR 2 Nephi 32, both have come up a lot this week and I would love to hear any thoughts?
Ik houd van jullie so veel!!!!
Liefs, Zr Packer

Last week's letter!!!
Hello everyone from the Beautiful city of DORDRECHT!!!
I am totally loving it here, its beautiful, and this is a little closer to the language I learned in the MTC! Huzzah! So uh yeah, this week has been madness, 3 cheers for transfers. I met up with Zr Elting Wednesday after a good 2 days of traveling all over Belgium and the Netherlands. We had to drop people off and pick people up all over the place. I will be getting rid of my Luggage by next transfer -_- 

Zuster Packer and Zuster Elting
Our first day Zr Elting taught me to achterop! Bwahaha! Basically everyone here just piles on to the same bike, its pretty nice when you can actually get on. Its not so nice when you break the bike. The only bike either of you have access to... So we have been walking everywhere! That has been an adventure, walking is so not efficient here. But we make do. All of the bike people are on vacation so we have a while before we can get one, we cross our fingers for this week though!

The Ward here is huge compared to my little gemeente in Genk! Oh my I was a bit overwhelmed, but it will be good. I think the members here were more sad that the other zuster left and that I was here, than the members in Genk were that we left....  That makes for an awkward introduction. But I am doing my best to work with them, love them, and make friends! So far I have loved every one of our members we have had dinner appointments with! Not just because they are all amazing cooks either! They are so sweet and loving, now if we could turn that love out to the inactives and investigators... Its not JUST our job... 

We have this pretty interesting investigator named P, he has been investigating forever! But he has a few issues. He drinks, smokes, and doesn't believe the atonement works for him. jammer. But he has SUCH strong faith in the gospel and comes to church weekly! I just don't know how to help him have faith in himself and the Lord! S is the other investigator I have met, he has been here forever, and his family is all back in Africa. He also has had all the lessons, and is working to get over smoking so that he can get baptized! He is doing SO good, I hope we can get him to baptism this transfer, he wants it so bad! Br D is the last person I wanted to mention. He is an inactive, and probably the coolest guy I've ever met. He totally has the strongest testimony of the gospel, and has made it a goal to go to the Temple! He too has to quit smoking.. I don't get why smoking is so big over here, it smells so gross... But yeah! He has like 4000 books and he has written a few, and even gave us a Dutch Idiom book! 

So cool! Oh, I had forgotten I titled this fufu, I had fufu for the first time yesterday. It was actually pretty good!! Except... It expands in your stomach, oh my word it fills you up so fast! and they give you so much! AND YOU HAVE TO EAT ALL OF IT!!! It's madness, but they are so sweet, so that makes it ok. 

Hey guess what, I'll be 20 next time you hear from me! How cool is that?! I'm excited, but it will be just like any other day :) Oh, and always send packages to the mission office!

Ik houd van jullie!!! I'm Always praying for you guys and the girls. Thanks for all of your love and support!
Liefs, Zr Packer