“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God..” Moroni 10:32
Dear Elders and Sister,
This morning as I was working out, I turned on my favorite song, “Be Still” by the Killers and for many reasons I was flooded with emotion and felt I needed to share this experience with you. I have shared with many of you that one year before we got called to serve here, President Packer finished his dissertation. I have also shared with you that it took 12 years for President to finish his schooling from start to finish. He always had to work full time, we didn't put off having kids, he always served in the church, we were always busy and schooling was part of that phase of our lives.
In President's last year of schooling it was very intense. He was working more than full time and doing at least 20 hours a week extra on his dissertation. In June, while at his brothers wedding a phone call came through from our Stake President asking if President could come in tonight with me and meet with him. Because we were at his brothers wedding the stake president made the appointment for the following night. In the interview President Packer was asked to be the bishop of our large ward that had a lot of people in great need. Of course we said yes and then cried the whole way home from the church wondering how we could ever do this call.
The following day, Ken called his grandpa Packer and asked if we could come and talk with him. They invited us up, which is where Ken shared of the call he had just been given. Grandpa understood Ken's concern and promised him because of the call, Ken would get his schooling done.
So for the last 6 months of the year Ken worked full time, was a bishop, did at least 20 hours a week in schooling and was a dad. It was a very stressful time for our whole family, we cried together, fasted together, and prayed together. When it was time for Ken to defend his dissertation the ward came together and had a fast for their bishop. We knew that his schooling time was up. To make a long story short Ken did not pass his ￼dissertation. We were in shock. What do we do now? They told Ken he had one more year and wished him luck. We knew Ken's time was up. But when he went to his counselor the following Monday they also confirmed that Ken still had another year. We had to let the ward and everyone else know that Ken didn't pass, but that he had one more year to finish.
The following year was even harder Ken was giving at least 35 hours a week to his schooling still working full time and was a great bishop he never missed a meeting he needed to be to. We were worn out, we didn't go on a vacation, he missed a lot of the boys games and family events. It was a really hard year. In May his committee told Ken he needed to start over. As a family we were frustrated, we felt at a loss and truly felt like what do we do now. Ken always remained nice, he never lost his cool, he would take their advice come home and make the changes they asked him to make. Finally Ken drew up his dissertation in pictures and took it in and his board, they loved it. So he continued working with his board. It was hard, we were stressed the whole year, schooling was all we did. I remember in about October Ken came home very frustrated and made the statement "should I just quit? Do I really need a doctorate?" It was a very low day in our lives and we really had to decide if we even cared to finish this degree.
We did, we couldn't quit now no matter how bad we wanted to, we had to move forward, and when November came around and it was time to defend again, I went with him this time. It was four horrible hours of being torn down, ripped to shreds, questioned, and having to defend all he had. By the end I kind of hated his whole board. I wanted to cry, Ken wanted to cry. They asked us to go outside and wait, so we did, tears were shed and we both shared that we knew he didn't pass. The only thing we could do was pray. So we did we knelt in prayer and we asked for help and comfort. While we were praying they came out and asked us to come back in. They shared with us that Ken did pass, that it was one of the best dissertation they have ever seen. We just started crying. His head of chair told him that they only know of one person that had it harder than Ken and that was his grandfather. I know for a fact that because Ken took the calling of being a bishop and continued to serve even when it felt impossible ,that the Lord made it possible for Ken to graduate.
The reason why I felt inspired to share this story is because right now we have a lot of homesickness, we have a lot who think this is hard, we have a lot who are really struggling. The adversary is working very hard on our mission right now. Missionary life is hard. Right now you are dedicating your time to your Heavenly
Father, it will be your most treasured time. He will protect you, he will guide you. are a few phrases that I hung onto during that time,
In this song that I love there
rise up like the sun, and labor till the work is done,
don't break character,
one day you will leave with fearlessness on your sleeve,
and if they drag you through the mud, it doesn't change what's in your blood.
Dear missionaries life doesn't get any easier. But serving a mission you will learn so much about yourself and what you are capable of doing. You will find out you can do hard things, you can learn a language, and you will grow closer to your Heavenly Father. A mission isn't for the weak, it is for the elect. Lift up your heads and carry on. Let Him lead you, be obedient and enjoy the journey. Don't waste time, don't let little things turn into big things.
~ Sister Packer
Standards of Excellence
Baptism & Confirmation 1 / 3 months
Baptism Date 2 / month
Inv. at Sacrament Meeting 2 / week
Member p. lesson 3 / week
New Investigators 2 / week