Just got a second e-mail from Sister Packer as she is in the MTC. Also received her MTC Address for anyone who wishes to write her 🙂
So I’ve organized my time better this week and have SO MUCH to tell to make up for last week.
First of all, thank you to everyone for your emails, letters, and love. I didn’t know how much I’d need it till I got here. Thanks especially to aunt Shelly for the first letter. It meant so much to me, as well as the pillow case.
Second, I really love my district. There are two elders going to Rio with me, everyone else is going either to Sao Paulo or Porto Alegre, including my companion. We’ve been called as a district to the transportation office twice now. Both times I was one of the few who had real faith that we were getting our visas. I suppose it helps to know that I will eventually make it there from my father’s blessing I recieved. Some of the missionaries think they’ll never make it, and I can’t say how much it’s meant to me to know that I will. That is what keeps me going. I know that is my goal, and I’m trying to enjoy my time here and learn as much as possible, but I can’t deny the stirring in my heart to be in Brazil. That is where my heart is right now. With the people I don’t even know yet. I’ve felt their influence often, and I know without a doubt that I made promises in heaven that I would come find them and bring them to the gospel. Without knowing it, they’re cheering me on, helping me to know this language so that I can speak to them and love them and bring their sweet spirits to a rememberance of what once was. I am so excited to be there.
We’ve taught our first investigator (a teacher acting as an investigator they knew before) and it was very helpful and scary and wonderful. The first lesson was my favorite. So it was two days after coming here I believe, and I pretty much know a handful of Portuguese, and they tell us we’re teaching someone in Portuguese. I was so nervous. But right before we went in, my hands shaking and holding my notes of what to say, I prayed with my companion that above all, even if we couldn’t find the words, we’d somehow be able to express love to this woman. Although she wasn’t a real investigator, she was very very real to us. So we went in the room and sat down and something happened. The spirit was our language. It didn’t matter that I don’t remember what she said, or what I said, or what my companion said (which wasn’t much because she said she didn’t know what was going on most of the time), our spirits were speaking and there was such a deep love in that little room. I LOVED that woman. I loved her and wanted her to feel of God’s love for her, and it was conveyed through me like a funnel. I felt it come in me and out me towards her and we both were close to tears. Looking back, now my companion is so much better with the language than me and I’m one of the ones struggling the most in my district, I’m so happy for that experience because it taught me how spirits can communicate, and that it’s all the same language. And also that someday I will be able to speak like that first lesson, because God gave me a taste of my potential and I know the language will come. I won’t settle for anything less than fluent, and God knows that. We’re working as a team to do this crazy thing called learning Portuguese.
One of my favorite things that happened these last two weeks was a very sacred experience that I feel like I want to share. So last spring, I was at BYUI at school. One sunday, I was sitting in RS and a girl named Tessa was giving the lesson (this girl was also a girl I visit taught, although I honestly never got to know her really well to be honest). At the end of her lesson, which was about eternal families if I remember correctly, an interesting feeling came over me. I suddenly felt like the room was more full than it seemed to be. And then I felt Grandma Packer there, and Grandpa Hansen, and I knew that the room was full of spirits. I couldn’t see any of them, but I felt them very strongly. I looked at Tessa and saw that she was crying. I knew, like I know my own name, that someone was there visiting her. Someone with great importance to her life. And she needed to know about it. Unfortunetly, I was so overcome with my own relatives that I immediatly left after and cried for a few hours. It took me awhile to even consider sharing it with her because of how sacred it was to me, but I knew she needed to hear it and I planned to visit her the last night of the semester. It didn’t work out, and I forgot about it for awhile, sometimes wondering how I would contact her and tell her at all. And that’s when the MTC comes in. I was getting dinner with my companion and suddenly this girl was right there in front of me. It had been nearly a year, yet when I saw her I immediatley said her name and everything came back in an instant. I kept seeing her around and finally I took some time to write down everything. I carried the note in my pocket for the next few days (thanks grandma Hansen for the pockets! I love them!) and finally I saw her sitting at a crowded table at dinner. With my heart beating out of my chest, I walked up to her and bent down, reminded her of who I was, and handed her the note. I told her God wanted me to give it to her, and that it would bring her what she needed to hear. I was suddenly overwhelmed with love for this girl I hardly knew. I knew I was feeling God’s love for her, and His love for me for being obedient. She stood and hugged me, and her companion started to cry, as did I, as I walked away. A few days ago I saw her again and she walked right up to me and gave me a big hug, telling me she really needed to hear what I said.
I know with all my heart and soul that this gospel is real. It works, and it’s real, and it’s something we all agreed to in the premortal life. The only way to be happy in this life is to remember what we knew then, that Jesus is our Savior, that His Atonement works and encompansates everything, and that families can be together forever. Like Elder Holland likes to say, heaven would never be heaven to me without my family.
I love you all and love to hear from you!
Love, Sister Packer