Monday, April 30, 2012
Thank you so much for the birthday wishes. I really totally forgot that my birthday is coming up this week until I got your emails haha. I'm excited to be here in Daugavpils for my second birthday out in the field. Last year was a lot of fun, when the branch president and his family invited us all over to have some dinner and wish me a happy birthday. The members here are so cool, I really love being back here. This week was a lot of fun. We had a lot going on and a lot to do. We had to go to Riga in to do some visa work for Elder Clark which was pretty fun. I'm going to get to answering your questions so that I make sure to get to things that you want to hear. How is it going in Daugavpils? It is incredible here, I love the people here so much. This city has a cool feel to it because it's a lot smaller than the other cities. There's not as much to see but I like it better in some ways as far as missionary work goes. The people seem a lot nicer. Tell us a little more about your companion. Where is he from? How long has he been out? What does he like back home? He's really cool, and really funny. He's in his second transfer, but he's a very good missionary. He's from Calgary, Canada. He has a lot of Canada pride going on as well, but he's one of few here so he has to haha. He's into a lot of the same things that I was. He likes skiing and wake boarding, and he played a lot of football. He got player of the year in his region as a linebacker. Tell us about Daugavpils. How many missionaries serve there? Tell us about your investigators. Do you have some that are pretty close to baptism? There are four missionaries here in Daugavpils. So you feel a lot more secluded here than in the other places, but you get to know the other missionaries very well. We have a few investigators that are doing really well right now. One lady in particular whose name is *****. She's really awesome. She's an older lady but she's progressing really well. Sadly she just left yesterday for Russia for a month to see family, so she won't be around for a while. But she said that she wants to get baptized when she gets back. We have another investigator whose name is *****. He's a doctor, and really really funny. Him and his girlfriend just got married this last Saturday, which was a lot of fun. We were the only people that they invited to the wedding haha. I don't know why they have tons of friends. They really love us. They took us out to some areas of Daugavpils and we took some pictures that was a lot of fun. I'll make sure to keep you updated on the investigators and tell you about more in the future. Well Mothers day is coming up and I'm excited to talk to all of you. This time I think it would be fun to do it over skype and that would be a lot cheaper. I'll tell you all the details next Monday about that. I'm excited to be able to see all of you this time. Thanks for all you do for me, I love you all. -Elder Pack
Monday, April 23, 2012
Dear Family, Well Transfers have happened... I didn't really expect at all what ended up happening. I'm back in Daugavpils!!! I'm in the same area that I served in last year. It's so cool! I'm really happy about it. It's always fun to go back to a city where you've already been, so I'm really happy that I've got to do it so much. I feel a lot more experienced than I was last time I was here, so it should be a lot of fun. We have a lot of investigators and a lot of people on the verge of baptism and so it should be a lot of fun. I took Elder Waddoups spot (because he just went home this transfer :(... ) So the area is in really good shape so that should make it a lot of fun. Of course I really miss Tallinn, I cried when I realized that I won't be going back there anymore on my mission. I'm really going to miss the people there. That actually brings me to one of the things that I really wanted to ask you. The Ivanovi family, they got baptized while I was in Tallinn last year, I worked with them a lot and they're some of my favorite people in the whole world, and they're working to get sealed as a family this upcoming July (1 year from their baptism). I really really really really want to go to their sealing in Stockholm Sweden, and I remembered that you told me at the beginning of my mission that you wanted to come pick me up and I could show you around my mission, I would love that because then we could all go to Stockholm to see their sealing!!! I know that this is really short notice, and I don't know they possibility of making this happen. Don't feel obligated to say yes, but I would really like to know if this would be a possibility. But yeah back to where I was this week was a lot of fun. In Tallinn we said goodbye to everyone and had to get a lot of things ready because both Elder Mickelson and I were leaving, and we had to get the area ready for a couple of Elders to be able to jump right in. In Daugavpils it was just really cool being able to see all of the members again. They seemed happy to have me back, so that made me happy. This week we had a couple of service activities that were a lot of fun. We helped one old lady member move into a new apartment. She's really funny we had a really good time. We also had a big activity that is called субботник (Subotnik) it's a bit Latvian holiday when everyone gets together and does service. Sadly this year they said that a lot less than ever before participated. But our branch got together and we went out and cleaned up one of the parks. It's crazy how much garbage we found haha. It was cool though because I was here in Daugavpils last year for Subotnik as well, so now when people look into the history of the church in Daugavpils they're going to think that I was here for a very very very long time. Last night we also stopped by a lady that I was teaching last year when I was here. She and her husband are so cool, they really need to get baptized. They let us right in and fed us dinner. I really feel like they can get baptized they just need a little bit of a push. I'm really happy that you all had such a good week. I'm glad that Robbie beat up Alycia's prom date with one arm, I'm so proud. It sounds like everything is going super well, and I'm happy about that. I hope you all have a great week. and I'm really excited to hear back from you. -Elder Pack ps. Good thing I got transferred to Daugavpils it's the land of sweet souvenirs. I'm going to go to the main store today to try and find some Russian hats, and I'll try to get back on email today to let you know how much they cost.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Dear family, Wow that's so crazy that Frank is already heading out to Armenia! It seems to me that he just headed to the mtc a couple of weeks ago. He sounds like he's very excited, I'm very excited for him. Everyone in those pictures that you sent me look so much more grown up than they did when I left out here on my mission. That's really cool and really saddening and the same time. I don't have little brothers and sisters any more, and that kind of makes me sad. I'm happy to hear that you all had a such a good week, even though it wasn't quite as exciting as last week. This week has been pretty nuts, a lot of things going on. Transfers are coming up this week, we'll probably find out tomorrow where we're going which is making me sad. President Boswell has been making a lot of hints towards me leaving Tallinn and I really don't want to leave Tallinn. But we'll see. We're getting four new Russian missionaries this transfer and five next transfer so these transfers are probably going to be pretty crazy. This last week we had a lot going on. On Tuesday we went to Narva to have our zone training which went very well. Yes we as zone leaders arrange all of the zone trainings and decide where when and what. We talked about consecration, because we recently read a talk that President Boswell shared with the zone leaders that we wanted to share with all the missionaries in our zone. I think I'll just send you the talk because it was really good, it has to do with missionary work but I think that it can be applied into all aspects of life. It really changed my outlook on the law of consecration and really helped me see how I can be the best missionary that I can possibly be, especially with time winding down. On Wednesday Elder Mickelson and I went down to Riga for Zone Leaders' council. I have officially gone to an entire year of zone leaders' councils. That' really crazy. It's already been basically a year since I've been called to be a zone leader, I feel like an old fart. Yesterday we went to Narva for the second time this week haha, we had to take a missionary there that is getting transfered to Narva. (they wanted to send him early because he's going to be training in an area that he's never served in and he's going to be training, so they wanted to send him there a little bit early so he could used to the area a little). We also wanted to go there to have a sit down meeting with one of the members about her granddaughter getting baptized. She just turned 8 a few months ago, but things have just been moving really slowly, so we had a talk with her about how we can speed the process up so that the girl can get baptized. It was a really good meeting, I think that things will really start moving along. I'm really enjoying missionary work. It's a lot of fun. I hope that you all have a great week. Thanks for all that you do, and all of the support that you give me. I'm excited to hear how your next week goes, and how Frank's first few days in the field go. -Старейшина Пак I'll make sure to find out about the Russian hats by the way. Do you have any suggestions on suveniers that I could get. I really have no idea. If there's anything specific that you want just let me know. -Elder Pack
Family: That's really cool that you were able to head down to Saint George this last week and spend time with the family. I'm really happy to hear that grandma is feeling better these days. I do miss all those fun trips that we had to Saint George, and yes it does sound like you do the very same things that we always did, but there's nothing wrong with that. That's really crazy that the kids are already on the downhill with school, it feels like it just barely started yesterday. I remember when I was in school the school year seemed to take decades, but now it seems like maybe a month to me. This week went very well. Every week is going by faster and faster but we're having a good time. We had a good amount of member present lessons, and we taught a lot of really cool people. We had a really incredible miracle happen last monday evening when we went out to find, and we ran into one of the most prepared people that I've ever met. And he's an 18 year old boy which is perfect for potential missionary/melkisedek priesthood holder. I'm really hopping that we'll have the opportunity to meet with him this week. The zone is doing well. It was a little bit slower of a week for most of the companionships but they all worked hard. The translation of the "4th missionary" talk is going well. We have the translation done we just have to finish typing it up. I'll make sure to send it to you when we finish. Another cool thing that happened this last week was when a member of the district presidency came up to me and said "we want your choir to sing at district conference this month because we liked the song that you sang at the concert so much. (Elder Mickelson and I have been leading choir as a way to find people this transfer). I've never seen a Russian choir sing at a district conference in the Baltics yet it should be fun. The members who are in the choir are really excited. This next week we're actually going to go with the choir and sing in parks to try and find people to teach. Thank you for all that you do for me. Thank you so much for the little messages Alycia and Jenna they really do mean a lot to me. I love it when I get to hear from all of you. I hope that is going well with all your different activities like cheer and plays. When is prom Alycia? who are you going with? When will be your play Jenna? I'm totally up for running with Robbie. Isn't the half marathon in the Fall sometime? We can run this upcoming one together. I have a lot of getting in shape to go haha. Thanks for running to Utah State for me mom. That will really help. As far as signing up for classes goes, I just want to get as many of those make-up classes done as possible, so sign me up for as many of those as possible. I would enjoy to have a math class as well, I need to get back on my feet with that. I love you all. Thank you.
Dear Family, That's really neat that you were able to go to Grandma's for General conference. I'm excited to be able to get together as a family for general conferences in the future. That's cool that you saw Frank. I didn't see him sadly, during the first part of the that session I was distracted because there was problems with the translation, and I had to figure it out. I'll need to watch the first part again sometime, and see if I can see him. Yeah the time of year with general conference is a wonderful. It just has a special feeling. It's been a lot of fun going around and trying to tell everyone about living prophets that are speaking about our days. Here Estonia they're really on top of things technologically so we were able to watch a couple of the sessions live. That was a lot of fun, because in the other countries we usually have to wait a couple of weeks. I really enjoyed to the talk from David Bednar at priesthood about the priesthood. It really hit me that I need to be the best possible example as I can as a priesthood holder so that no one had to question if we have the priesthood or not because of the way that I act. I also really Dieter F. Uchdorf's talk at the priesthood session as well. I still haven't been able to see all of the sessions yet, I'm excited to watch the rest of them next Sunday. This week was really interesting. It was a lot more up beat than last week which was good. We went to Riga for zone leaders' council, I always love zone leaders' council. After zone leaders' council I was able to stay in Riga and go on exchanges with one of the assistants. That was fun we taught some really good lessons together and found some really cool people. One the way back to Estonia in their car he forgot his passport so we had to turn around and go all the way back to Riga and I got to spend another night there (I wasn't mad about that). This week is going to be really crazy we have a lot of things going on. We're actually going to be heading to Narva this week with the whole zone to do some zone training which should be a really good experience. Thank you for always caring about me. It makes me really happy to hear from you every week. I really appreciate that you wrote me Jenna and Robbie. It really makes my day to hear from you. Have a great week! I'm excited to hear from you :) -Elder Pack
Dear Family, Wow I'm always so happy to hear that everything is going so well back at home. Congratulations Alycia! I'm so happy that you were able to make cheer! You'll have a great time with that. Good luck. When do you have to start going to all of your camps and everything? I'm excited to go to football games next year and watch your halftime shows and stuff. This week in Tallinn was pretty interesting. Of course it was a lot of fun, it was just a little bit slower than a regular week. Every single one of our lessons with investigators got postponed until this week. I don't know if I've ever had a week where I didn't teach a single person. I feel ok about it though, just because I feel like we really worked the way that we were supposed to. It also gave us a good opportunity to get out on the streets and talk to lots and lots of people. I think that I've talked to more people in these two transfers with Elder Mickelson than I ever have in any other two transfers. We talk to at least 3-5 people on every bus ride, just talking to one person used to be difficult for me. I feel like I'm becoming just a little bit more of the servant that the Lord wants me to be. Of course I can always do better, but I'm happy with the progress that I've made this far. We were able to meet with a few members of the church this last week as well which is always enjoyable. The members here in Tallinn are increadible. You just leave their house lifted and inspired... I'm very grateful for the friendships that I've been able to build on my mission. Lately I've been studying a lot about being successfull and it's really been interesting to me. The Lord doesn't necissarily judge on what we've done in our lives, but more on what we've become/ striving to become. I know that the Lord blesses us for just wanting to be better. I'm so glad that I was raised in the circumstances that I was, that I'm able to know truths like this in my life. Thank you for all that you do for me! -Elder Pack
Dear Family, Wow it sounds like you had a really great week over in the land of Utah. A lot of things going on it seems like. That's so cool that you were able to go to visit the Uibels', and get to catch up with them a little bit. Yeah you better wait for me to get home to go see the Jerusalem set, that sounds so cool. I really want to see it. Yes I did know that Sister Uibel speaks Arabic, she also speaks Russian incredibly well. She's a very talented girl. I'm very happy to hear that mom and Jenna made it into the play. I hope that it all goes well. How long will the performances for that play go on? My week here in Tallinn was a lot of fun. We were able to find a lot of cool people and teach some interesting lessons. Last night actually I was calling some people out of my planner and trying to figure out who we could meet with to reach our goals. I ended up calling a man named Andrei. He was just like "hey could you actually meet tonight I'll have some free time, and I would love to meet with". We were way happy that we were able to set up a lesson in such short notice, so we finished our dinner and went and knocked on some doors to find more people before we had to head to our lesson. When we got to his house he opened the door and we instantly realized that he was super drunk. We didn't really know what to do so we decided to go in and just set up a time to meet again and give him something to read. When we got inside it turned out that there were 6 other very big very drunk Russian men... we were really happy about this... But actually we were super nervous, because some drunks are very mean. Luckily they were all really nice and really interested haha. One of the men was actually sober and we were able to have a really good conversation while all the other guys just kind of mumbled in drunk Russian with each other. The guy was very interested in our mission and why we are doing this, so we were able to agree on a second lesson when there won't be 6 other drunk people getting in the way. We also found another guy on the way home from that lesson who is really cool, and it turns out that he is really good friends with another investigator that we found and taught at the beginning of the week. There are always a lot of miracles happening in missionary work. I love it! Thank you so much for sharing that story about Grandpa Seegmiller. That was a very cool story. So was grandpa the one who translated the first circulated copy of the Book of Mormon in Portuguese? I hope that you all have a great week. You're always in my prayers. Good luck Alycia with cheer tryouts. -Elder Pack p.s. And no I never did hear the story of Willie eating dinner with Aunt Genie To answer your question about what I want to study. I'm still very interested in Physical therapy. I know that it is going to be very difficult but it just a mix of a lot of things that I feel that I'm better at like science and math. I was thinking that I could study Human Movement science (pre-physical therapy) at Utah State and then transfer after I graduate to U of U. Or the best option would be to just study pre-physical therapy as well at U of U because that would increase my chances of getting accepted into the doctorate program after getting a bachelor. -Elder Pack P.S. I'm going to attach some pictures to this email 1st pic: Elder Mickelson and I on our way to email this morning 2nd pic: Last preparation day doing some jujitsu (I don't really know how to do jujitsu I just kind of wrestled haha) 3rd pic: Elder Mickelson and I 4th pic: My district last transfer here in Tallinn
Dear Family, Well it sounds like you all had a great week. I'm glad that you were able to go down and support Grandma while she's going through this hard time. You should tell her that I love her and I hope that she can heal up soon, without any really negative side effects. I hope that all the tryouts this upcoming weeks go well, I'm excited to hear. That was about the coolest miracle that I've ever heard about Sister Uibel's dad! We actually talked about where our dad's served on their missions a few times even. We knew that you both served in the same mission, but we thought that you served at different times and probably didn't know each other. That is so cool that you were companions! And now that your children served in the same mission. You'll have to let me know how her homecoming went. I'm glad that you get some time to catch up with old friends now :) I'm really excited to read the histories of our ancestors, I've actually been thinking a lot about that lately. I've actually wanted to read stories about their missions a lot lately... could you actually send me a couple. I would also love to hear stories about your mission dad. Could you send me a couple? This week was super awesome! We got transfers! I'm staying... Yay! I'm going to be with Elder Mickelson still and I'm super happy about it. We're having an awesome time. I would love to just stay here for the rest of my mission in this area with Elder Mickelson, I feel like we could get a lot of cool things done. We've been finding a lot of really cool people lately. I can see some really good things happening in the near future here. We've been finding a lot of family and youth lately which is really really exciting, it's usually really hard to find people like that. We're really really really excited if you can't tell. There wasn't any huge miracles that stuck out in particular this week... all I know is that there were a lot of little miracles. I just love it when I find nice people and can know for sure that this is where the Lord wants me to be right now, and that I was in the right place. I hope that you all have a great week. I don't have a lot to say right now sadly. I love you all so much, and I really appreciate your support. I love being able to serve here in the Baltics, and a big part of making this all possible is you. Thank you for all being such great examples and really encouraging me to do the right things. Have a great week! -Elder Pack
Dear Family, Thank you so much for all the support and help that you've given me throughout my mission. I got the Valentine’s Day package that you sent me this week. Just so you know it's already gone because I loved it so much and I ate it really fast. Thanks for helping my mission be a more enjoyable experience than it already is. I'm glad to hear that all the kids are doing well, and are getting involved in lots of extra activities. I wish I would have broadened my horizons more throughout my life, because the little bit of expanding that I did do has really come in handy out here on my mission. I hope that all goes well in Alycia's cheer tryouts and Jenna's and mom's play tryouts. I'm rooting for all of you! This week was a good one as usual. I went to Riga again this week for zone leaders' council, which is always a neat experience. But I do think that going to Riga 4 times in a transfer plus on top of that going to Narva a couple times is a little bit too much. Oh well I'm done with that now, and we'll see what's up this upcoming transfer. It's crazy to think that transfers are already coming up this week, time is just going by faster and faster every day. I really hope that I stay with Elder Mickelson because we're having a great time and good things are happening. We'll see though I'm never able to guess what is going on with transfers. I am pretty sure that I am staying in Tallinn though. This last week we were able to put together a musical concert, it was a lot of fun. Sadly the turn out wasn't that great, because a lot of the members bailed out on us. We're going to reevaluate and try again though for Easter, and we'll do a better job this next time. I was able to rent a cello and play "If You Could Hie to Kolob" with Elder Mickelson playing on the piano. I definitely got a little bit rusty after a year and a half of not even touching a cello. I'll definitely have to play a bit of catch up when I get back home. I was thinking that it would be fun to try and maybe take some private lessons again. I'm excited for Summer to come, I want to try renting a cello and taking it out on the street and playing to try and find some people to teach. Speaking of finding, I've been trying to think of a lot of different ways to try and find people to teach. Are there any things that you can think of? Or dad, was there anything that you did on your mission that worked really well, or that you really wanted to try? If you could spread that question to other returned missionaries as well that would be super helpful. That is about it for the summary of my week. I'm sorry that I never have a lot to say. I hope that you all have a great week!!! -Elder Pack