If anyone is feeling sad, stop. Forget about yourself. The only times we really are sad are when we're thinking about ourselves.
When we focus on others, that's when happiness comes. Everything is a choice. Literally. Everything.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas! ...and new years


I hope everyone had a great Christmas, I personally loved mine! It was great to talk to my family, and hang out with the members down here, and of course to remember the Savior. 

I had a lot of fun this week with Christmas and Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve we had to be in by 6, but we got permission to go to our DL's apartments where we had a fire and played games for a couple of hours. It was great. Christmas Day we started off with a mini zone meeting and then went over to the McMillans' where we spent a few hours waiting for people skyping, eating dinner and playing with new presents haha. Thanks to mom and dad for providing a drum set so my comp and I could jam out for a bit. It was super fun. 

This next week is a little weird because it's New Years. It's going to be 2016, which means it's the year I come home...weird. I had no idea it actually went this fast! But, I'm not gonna let that get me too distracted, I've still got plenty of time. I want you guys to know I love you all and hope you have a great New Year!!
Elder Packer

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas!!

Feliz Navidad muchachos!
This last week was crazy and had a really fun surprise at the end. We did a lot of prepping for Christmas this week, helping out members and such. I ended up staying in Harlingen for those that don't know, and we got some cool people in the zone. Elder Taylor, the greenie from my last apartment in Hidalgo came to the district as Elder Cannell's comp, and Sister Guzmán is in the zone in Chambo's district. There's a lot of real fun people in the zone, perfect for Christmastime. 
I went on an exchange with Elder Cannell on Thursday, it was pretty fun, we taught a really cool word of wisdom lesson, and the lady is progressing super well, and came to church all happy on Sunday. Friday we planned a lot and ended up having another meeting after that, and we went and visited Carlos and Eliza and taught their seven year-old daughter the law of Chastity dance. It was pretty fun, Elder Prieto got super into it. Then on Saturday we had the mini missionaries from Brownsville come up. We weren't blessed with one, but to my much pleasure, I got to reunite with some of my homies from Brownsville 3! It was really cool to see them during our Saturday Zone meeting, I was super happy to spend a little time with them. I miss Brownsville a lot. Nothing will ever be so great:) 
But that's about how my week was. I'm really excited for this next week, tomorrow we have Christmas Conference with the whole mission, which is a rarity because the only other time the entire mission has gotten together in the 2 and a half years that President Maluenda has been mission president was when Elder Oaks was in McAllen. It's gonna be super fun, I can't wait to see my son again and all my other mission homies:) Then we've got Christmas Eve and Christmas, and that pretty much covers all of this week! I'm excited:) 

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, don't forget whose birthday we're celebrating on Friday (other than Kamry's). I love you all!! Have a great week and a Happy Christmas!!

Elder Packer

Monday, December 14, 2015


Good morning and merry Christmas!!
I hope everyone is having a great day and great Christmas Season. It's been a fun week getting ready for Christmas and for transfers and everything. I don't think me or my companion will be transferred, but who knows haha I thought the same thing last time. 
This week has been really good, we've been teaching some really cool people, meeting some really cool people and we've been focusing on spreading the message of The Reason of the Season. Christmastime on the mission is like nothing else. A lot of people down here get caught up in gifts and decorations and movies and parties and things like that, but as a missionary you are really only concerned about the one thing that really matters on Christmas, and that is our Savior, Jesus Christ. Back home we always talk about Him and that He is the real reason for Christmas, but you never really get to focus all of your time on that. 

Christmas was always one of my favorite holidays because of time spent with family and the presents and food hahaha. But now as a missionary, I've come to love Christmas for an entirely different reason. The greatest gift that was ever given was our Savior, "for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son." That gift gave us the opportunity to repent, to change, to become better, to love deeper, to grow stronger, to get over guilt and sadness, to be calmed from anxieties and depressions, and most importantly to return to live with our Heavenly Father and become like Him. So this day that has always been a day for family fun and parties and presents is really a celebration of Him who allowed us to have eternal family fun and parties and presents. I'm truly grateful for that this year:)
Outside of that, I'm glad to be on my mission:) I love the mission, I love my companions, I love the members and all the people I've gotten to meet, it's been great. That's really all i had to say this week, I hope you all have a wonderful week!:) We'll see what happens with transfers, hopefully I stay, but lo que pasa pasa. Love you all!!:)
Elder Packer

Monday, December 7, 2015

Can you Dig it?

Hooowwwdy yall!

This week was really fun, really crazy, and really interesting! We had some time spent in McAllen for a couple of us, we found some really cool people that we're still working with, we got to see the devotional, we found about about a lot of missionary meetings this month....it's gonna be a great month!:) 

Anywho, we had a lot of fun this week, we had a Ward Christmas party where we performed a skit as missionaries (I can't send a video, but you can probably look it up on my mom's FB page, I bet she liked it or shared it or something hahah) and then we have been helping a lot of members prepare for Christmas. 

Because it's Christmas time and everyone is sharing messages about sharing, I just wanted to talk about what the missionaries have been sharing...:) we have some pass along cards that are specifically for this time of year, this year. It's got a website (christmas.mormon.org) for a video you can watch that's about Christmas, and what the true meaning is, and there's a lot of really cool things on there. For those of you that need something to do for FHE, this would be a really great idea. 

That's basically all for this week. I'm getting pumped for Christmas, as I hope you guys all are too! I love you all!

Elder Packer

1. Christmas Party exchange with Elder Acosta
2. Catholic Santa
3. Tie Digging!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Tis the Season

Feliz Navidad mis gueritos!!
The Christmas season is starting!!:) Christmas music, lights, candy, food, tamales, presents, enchiladas, tamales, Santa, decorations...Christmas has just thrown up all over south Texas. 
Thanksgiving was really fun, we had a good time and we ate a LOT! We spent it with some of our favorite families, as well as some that we had just met the day  before hahaha (missionary perk: you can show up to anyone's house and they're down to feed you). 

This week had a tremendous ending though; Riley got baptized!!!:) Riley was a serious miracle, we had just found her not too long ago and she had been coming to church with her family who were recently returning less-actives, and she wanted to know when she could be baptized. So we went over, taught her, and she was baptized yesterday:) She's got some of the purest faith I've ever seen, in fact, I have not seen such great faith among all the Utahnites. ;) jk haha but she's got a really strong, pure faith, she just knows the Lord is there and that she made the right decision. 

Outside of that, this week was good, tough, exciting, and fun:) I really hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, and look forward to Christmas!:) I love you guys a lot, have a great week!:)

Elder Packer

Monday, November 23, 2015


Happy Thanksgiving!!
This week on Thursday is Thanksgiving as most people know, so I wanted to talk about some of the things I am grateful for this week. 
This week I am grateful for my companion and district members, they're super cool people, and they've made my mission more of an experience haha. As well I'm grateful for the members in this ward, and all the wards I've served in, the families that regularly feed us, the ones that want to feed us, the ones that help us out, the ones that sacrifice so much to come to church, the ones that are consistant in coming, really just all the members, they've been such a blessing in my mission.
Along with them I'm grateful for the wonderful support I've gotten from everyone, my wonderful parents and siblings, my aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, other extended family, ward family, friends, previous mission-homies, and everyone else that has contributed to what my mission has been like these past 13 months. 

More than anything, I want to give thanks to the Lord. Thanks for the opportunity to serve a mission, for all the wonderful people I've met, the relationships I've made, for the experiences I've had, for the opportunity to learn Spanish, for the food I've eaten and learned to make;) and especially for the Atonement, and the opportunity I have every day to repent and become better, so that one day I can have a family of my own and live with them forever. I'm thankful for the scriptures that allow us to learn and grow and receive revelation for ourselves and others we are helping, I'm grateful for prophets and apostles and their words of guidance and counsel which are modern day scriptures, I'm grateful for the trials He has given me to help me grow stronger, and I'm grateful that He loves me so much, and I hope to share that love with others. 
I could go on, but this letter is already looking pretty long hahaha so I'm going to leave it there. But this week I wanted the challenge to be to write down at least 15 things you are grateful for, and then to write a letter to one or 2 people that have been an influence in your life, and to thank them for that. Then at the end, write a letter to God, thanking Him for what He has done for you in your life specifically, and say a prayer to really solidify that. I know that as you do those things, the spirit of Thanksgiving will fill your heart, and this will be a Thanksgiving you won't easily forget. 
I love you all, and hope you can have a great Thanksgiving!! 
Elder Packer
1. Me and Elder Prieto 
2. A random house we found abandoned in the middle of absolutely nowhere
3. Texan Santa Hat:)
4. Paloma (dove) meat we ate last night

Monday, November 16, 2015

I laughed. I cried. I ate chile.

Buenas tardes a todos!

This last week was super fun and super cool, lots of random miracles. We had a really good district meeting thanks to our DL, Elder Cannell, and then we went out and put in work. We worked super hard this week, and saw a lot of positive results. For example. one kid we had one lesson with decided he wanted to come to church, and he brought his friend, so that was a fun miracle. He's an interesting guy, but I'm sure he'll progress.
Some of the fun things we did this week are rib night and the Mullowneys, as well we helped a new family, the Tipton family, move in and they took us to Cracker Barrel. I've never been to Cracker Barrel so that was a pretty fun experience. 
The subject of this email comes from the story of the week. We visited a member named sister Serrato, and she had some chiles growing on her front porch that I'd never seen. I asked her if they were spicy and she told me and Elder Prieto to give them a shot, find out for ourselves. Elder Prieto goes for it, and eventually breaks into sweat and tears because it was so hot. Hahaha fun stuff. But I decide I don't wanna put myself through that, so I open it up to see whats inside, and it's just pure seeds, the hottest part of any chile. So I scrape the seeds out and put some of the pepper in my mouth, but spit it out because it was still super hot. I totally wimped out. But I paid for it in the end, because when I opened up the pepper and scraped out the seeds, I got it all over my fingers, so when I went to wipe sweat from my eye after climbing a papaya tree, it started to slowly burn. After we left the Serratos we started driving to the next place, but I had to pull over because it got worse, so I got out and poured a whole bottle of water on my eye on the side of the road, and then ended up touching the other eye on accident while trying to get the first one better. In the end, I was laying in the back of the van with a wet towel on my face for about twenty minutes while my comp was just cracking up. Hahaha such is life. 
Anywho, as for a spiritual thought for the week, my focus for this week was mainly on faith and getting things done. While studying, I stumbled upon Alma 56, which is a great chapter for hitting goals. We set a lot of goals as missionaries, and sometimes we get discouraged when it doesn't look like we're going to hit them. But this chapter is perfect for that, especially if you read verses 10, 12, 16, 19, 27, 29, and 45-48. There's a lot of good stuff in there, but mainly it's about staying focused on your goal and being determined to hit it. And at the very end, it gives credit to their mothers, because their mothers taught them to rely on the Lord. Real strong humility right there. 
That's about it for this week, I hope you all have a wonderful week, and don't forget to pray! Love you all!

Elder Packer

Monday, November 9, 2015


Buenos dias!!

So to start off this last week, we had transfers. I luckily stayed, but my son, Elder Mason, got one-and-doned and is now in Laredo hahaha. Him and my new companion, Elder Prieto, switched spots. I'm breaking Elder Prieto, meaning I'm his first comp since his dad, so it's been pretty fun. Seeing how much he loves the area and the members and things like that already just makes me really appreciate the members here and all the members I've had in my mission. They've been super great.
Anywho, since then I've been showing Elder Prieto around the area, he's enjoyed it a lot. The Mullowneys made a great first impression when they took us to Golden Corral for his first night here, and then the next day he met Missy, a recent convert who has a super cool story, and whose adoptive son plays for the Blue Jays. We had a lot of great appointments and met a lot of cool people, and had some pretty cool experiences in finding some new less actives and investigators. The area is really progressing!
This week I wanted to extend a challenge to everyone about their own personal relationship with God. Ponder the following questions: Who is God? What does it mean to be His son/daughter? How can I improve my prayers/communication with my Heavenly Father? 
These questions have been on my mind a lot the past few days, and I'd be very interested in hearing back from anyone on this subject. Let me know what you find out!
Well I love you guys a lot, I hope that everything goes well for yall this week, and I'll write you guys again next week!!
Elder Packer

Monday, November 2, 2015

End Of Transfer


First of all, shoutout to my brother, Happy Birthday tomorrow!!! Also shout out to Becca Baggett, congrats on the mission call, you're gonna rock it in Brazil!! And also, Happy Halloween to everyone! Sorry I'm a bit late haha.
This week was really good, really strange, and really fun. We had a lot of meetings with members because of the chance of one of us leaving, I don't think either me or my son are leaving, but our DL, Elder Gilliam, is going home, and his comp has already been here for 6 months, so he could be leaving too. 

We had a bunch of really cool lessons this week, a lot of really cool spiritual feelings. We've also had a few meeting with the zone and district, and we had 2 baptisms in the zone this week, both of which were 2 people. One was in our district, and the other was amazingly powerful because one of the people getting baptized didn't need it because he has Down Syndrome. It was amazing. His name is Aaron, he's about 25-30, and has been wanting to be baptized for like a year, and finally go permission. The guy baptizing him took like 2 dozen time to get the prayer right, but when he was finally baptized, as soon as he came up he looked and stared up at the ceiling for a few seconds, then burst into tears, and the man baptizing him started crying too and said "He just told me he saw his mother and father." It was really powerful. I can't really describe it. 

That was basically the highlight of this week. However, I did feel like I should extend this one challenge. This week I reread the talk called "Beware of Pride." It's an insanely good talk, and something that everyone can benefit from, as long as they read it with the right attitude. So my challenge or invitation to all of you is to read that talk, it's by Ezra Taft Benson I believe, and it's awesome. 

I hope everyone has a great week this week, and once again, congrats Becca, and Happy Birthday Caleb!!:) I love you all!!

Elder Packer

Monday, October 26, 2015

Year Mark


Como están todos? Espero que bien. This week was really awesome.
On Thursday (it was my Year Mark!!:)) and we had Mission Tour with Elder Dube of the 70, and for those of you who don't know him, he's from Zimbabwe, gave a talk a few conferences ago, and is a really fun and energetic guy. Him and his wife spoke to us on Thursday in McAllen, and they were really fun, really cool people. We all learned a lot, not only about missionary work, but about gospel application. It was a great meeting, great day, I got to talk with a lot of missionaries I hadn't seen in a long time, including sister Guzman and Sanchez from Beeville, so that was pretty fun, reminiscing the days of the Beeville Ward. 
Friday we had weekly planning and that was fun because we pieced together a big map of our area to better get around places and it's been a big help, and then we also went and had dinner with the Velez family that night. They're a really cool family, they've made me pozole twice now, which is my new favorite food in case I forgot to mention that earlier, and this last time they had horchata tambien. Sooo good.

My son, Elder Mason, is almost done with his first transfer, it's the last week! It's super weird I feel like when I was a greenie it went by super slow, but this transfer has gone by really fast. We both think we're going to stay here in this area for at least one or two more transfers, so we're not super worried about next week, but our District Leader goes home next week, so it'll be interesting to see the changes there. I haven't said much about him, but Elder Gilliam, our district leader, served in Veracruz, Mexico for 20 months of his mission, 8 of which he had spent as a ZL, then got sent up here with no real reason. But he's a fantastic leader, his Spanish is great, he's helped us a lot in that, and he's just a great missionary overall. I'm gonna miss Elder Gilliam, he's been a real help and a real funny guy. 

That's basically it for my week, I hope you all have a great one. I love you all so much, tengan una semana buenísima!!

Elder Packer

1. Sister Guzman, Sister Sanchez, y Yo. 
2. Year Mark shirt
3. *hand over heart* *moment of silence*
4. Toilet paper we found at a member's house. :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Tour de la Misión

Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening!

I can't tell you how fast this last week went by. They all seem to be getting shorter. Especially because my year mark is next week, that keeps getting closer and closer, it's kinda weird. But it's been a good week.

Last P-Day we went golfing with a member, that was a lot of fun, and today we're going to go bowling again at Bass Pro. I love bass pro, but I feel like I want to go into major debt every time I go. Haha maybe one day when I'm rich.
This week we taught a lot of really cool people, but decided that it's time to change focus to strengthening the ward.

We have a lot of really cool members in the ward and in our area, but there's a lot that need some help too, especially the Elder's Quorum President. They don't have a HT program, so we're trying to help him set one up. It's hard for him especially because even though he's been a member his whole life, this is the first calling he's ever held. So we're going to be focusing on the Elder's Quorum this week, hopefully everything goes well there. 

We did a couple of bike days this week, one of which we found a cardboard cutout of Mr President, so we decided to take selfies with our good friend. As missionaries we don't have a lot of info about the outside world, but we do see the news every once in a while at McDonalds or something like that, and all I have to say is I'm voting for Trump. (JK).

Thanks for all your support. I love you all, I hope you have a great week!!!

Elder Packer

Monday, October 12, 2015

Intercambios con....Chambo!


This week was really fun, I'm gonna try to explain it as quickly as I can. 

So Monday we went to Bass Pro during P-day, and that was killer fun, then we had an exchange from Tuesday-Thursday morning, and it just so happens my companion was.....Elder Chamberlain!! So we had a good time, we worked in my area and taught some really cool people named Patricia and Crystal, all the while talking about how weird it was that 2 boys from Davis county were now driving around in a minivan in Harlingen, Texas. Super fun stuff. 

Then Thursday and Friday passed by pretty quickly, and on Saturday we spent a good chunk of the day helping out the family Daniels to move. They were the people that fed us every Sunday, but they moved just outside of the ward, so we probably won't be able to go over to them anymore, but they're super cool people. After that we ate with the Mullowneys and had some fun with his drums for a bit. Then Sunday we taught another really good lesson with Patricia and Crystal, and that about sums up the week. 

This next week should be pretty fun, we've got interviews coming up on Wednesday, and then some other cool stuff planned. We're really going to be focusing on working with the members this week, so that should be a fun time. 

That all for this week, I hope you guys get spiritually fed this week, have a great time!! I love you all! 

Elder Packer

Monday, October 5, 2015

General Conference


So this last week was great, but obviously the biggest part was this weekend. 

General Conference as a missionary is very cool. It's a lot different than otherwise, I think because you really do take it for what it is and you apply it immediately. I learned a lot this last weekend haha. 

There were a lot of really great talks, and I loved the ones that gave challenges, invitations or commitments. I started this morning with my first scripture I'm "ponderizing," which is Juan 3:16. Along with that, I'm studying a lot of other things as well. Studying was never my favorite thing, I really didn't like it or really even do it before the mission, and now I can't stop. I love it. I hate that I love it but I do. And I guess it's not such a bad thing, it's just obnoxious. I really do hunger after the scriptures and love them with all my heart. 

This conference was really interesting in that it seemed to really hit on women and mothers. During Elder Holland's talk I just kept imagining my mom bawling her eyes out for no reason hahaha then I imagined her really just taking a bunch of notes. Then in Priesthood session I loved Elder Andersen's talk on faith. It was really great. In the first session, I liked the invitation from Elder Lawrence to ask "what lack I yet?" I feel like I need to improve a lot, so that really spoke to me. Along with the clay analogy from Elder Maynes, that was pretty cool, I liked that a lot. 

I'm sorry my thoughts are so disorganized this week hahaha it's been an exhausting weekend, but I just wanted to leave you all with a little challenge: Read one conference talk from each session. I promise that if you do, you will find something else you were looking for, or maybe you didn't know you were looking for. I love you guys, until next week!

Elder Packer

Monday, September 28, 2015


Hello everyone!!!

How's it all going? I hope you guys have had a great week, I've had a lot of fun. 

I got transferred this week to Harlingen, the same stake as Brownsville, so I'm back down on the tip of Texas!! There was talk about going to the Brownsville Zoo for one P-Day, and I secretly started hoping we would so that I could maybe have a slight chance to visit some of my homies from Brownsville, I love them to death! But we'll see. 

I am training Elder Mason, an Elder from Farmington, Utah, whose mom works at the same school as mine, so that was kinda funny haha. It's been quite a first week for him, we've had a lot of fun hahaha. Our first night we ate with a super cool family who moved here from New York and got baptized 4 years ago named the Mullowneys. Super funny guy, and their adopted daughter Sofia is the cutest little mexican girl ever!! She even drew me a picture, I love it!

Our district leader, Elder Gilliam, is really cool, he served in Mexico for most of his mission, then got transferred up here for the last 3 transfers, and he goes home after this one.  I'm not quite sure why he got transferred up here yet, but apparently there's a really good story to it. Our ZLs are also really cool guys, they have a ton of faith and animo and we're all ready to go out and get things done!

Something cool I noticed the other day when I was flipping through the area book was that there's a few formers who were taught by Sister Welch! For those of you who don't know, Sister Welch is the daughter of my stake president who served in this mission and went home a little while ago. So that was kind of a fun connection, we'll see how it goes with some of them. 

That's about it for this week, lots of fun, lots of cool people in the ward, lots of work ahead of us. I love you all, hope you have a great week!! 

Elder Packer

1. Me, my son, and Chainz...;)
2.The zone
3.Jesus on the drums (Brother Mullowney is a drummer, super dope!)
4. The picture Sofia drew me<3
5. Napolean Dynamite

Monday, September 21, 2015

Voy a tener un hijo!!!

Buenos dias a todos, buenas noches a los otros

This week has been really long, stressful, and fun. On Wednesday Elder Taylor and I did an exchange and ended up biking in the rain for most of the day. It was a blast haha we enjoyed it a lot. Then Thursday we had a zone service project at the National Butterfly Center, that took forever, but it was really fun, we all had a good time and I got a new t-shirt out of it. 

Later that night I got a call to be a trainer. That means I had to get up and be in McAllen at La Vista chapel at 10AM in my suit with a bunch of other people haha it was super fun. Another Elder in my zone who has only been out for 3 transfers got the call too, Elder Canfield. He's super cool, he'll be a great trainer. But we spent about 4 or 5 hours at that meeting and had lunch with Presidente and Sister Maluenda, it was a good day.

After that we worked a bit and on Saturday we had Zone Meeting and Stake Conference, both of which were really fun. Stake Conference was really cool, we watched a video about soldiers coming home and then talked about families and one of the presidency had 4 missionaries come up and act out being a family and having FHE. 

After that was Sunday and we had Stake Conference at 1 o'clock for the Spanish Members, and it was basically more family and Sunday centered messages.

Other than those things, nothing much. Mostly I'm just excited to be a trainer. It'll be a fun new experience, I hope I do a good job and help him to adjust well. Anywho, I love you all, I hope you have a great week, there's never going to be another one like it in your entire life. 

Elder Packer

Monday, September 14, 2015

Simple Things

Hello everyone!!! How are you all doing?? 

So this week went by really quickly! I went on an exchange on Friday with my ZL Elder Ivey, and that was really fun, we went to a place called Tortas Jerry (sooo mexican) with a recent convert and it was just really fun! I've actually got pictures too!

Then directly after that exchange we had a zone exchange, so I went from Elder Ivey to Elder Birrell!! You guys probably don't know, but Elder Birrell was the greenie that we did an exchange together in Banquete with the truck and got free food. Super cool kid. But this time instead of a truck we were on bikes...I definitely preferred the truck hahaha but it wasn't too bad. I enjoyed myself, he's super funny, and we had a lot of random fun hahahaha. Some random guy gave me basically brand new Steve Madden shoes and then we took pictures with some people from Monterrey who were in town for a guys birthday. It was super fun. \

Also yesterday we had an 8 year old baptism, the cutest little girl you'd ever see in your life!! I can't believe how flippin cute she is hahahaha she's awesome. 

That's basically what happened this week. But I've been studying about gifts of the spirit recently, and thought I'd send out a challenge. Anyone willing to participate, read D&C 46, and then think about what gifts you have, what gifts you've seen you or someone else have, and what gifts you'd like to have. It's pretty fun to do. And then make plans to get the gifts you want! Super easy. 

I love you all, I am super grateful for all the blessings I receive from your prayers and for all the support I have. Have a wonderful week!!

Elder Packer