October 26, 2015

My Tahitian Sunset

This is the last email I'll be sending out as a full-time missionary. There are a lot of things that I could say and would like to share, but I feel the best theme for this letter is my testimony. 

I testify that God loves us. I know that we are His children. I know He has a specific plan for each one of us, and like fingerprints, no two plans are alike. 

I testify that He is a God of miracles. He weaves us in and out of one another's lives, weaving sorrow, weaving joy, until little by little, we step back and begin to see a masterpiece unfold and realize that that masterpiece is us. 

I testify that God breaks us, He trims us, He sands us, He applies almost unbearable heat and pressure so that we can be purified, pure enough to return into His presence. But I've learned this with surety: The will of God will not take us where the grace of God does not protect us. 

I testify that Jesus is the Christ. I am grateful for Him. He is LIFE. I am grateful for every step taken through my own personal Gethsemane these past few months so that I could come to know His Gethsemane. Through trials, we come to understand what He did there and also, why He did it. 

I am grateful for His infinite sacrifice, but also the often overlooked sacrifice of His Father, who allowed such pain and suffering to happen because He knew that we could be saved. I testify, knowing it is again such a great sacrifice for Him, He allows us to pass through such pain and suffering because it will give us the faith in Jesus Christ so that we will be saved. 

Of the many things I've learned, these are some of the most important:

Cherish our prophet, cleave unto His counsel, and always pray for him.
Each soul has great worth in the sight of God and He loves us equally
The plan of salvation is a plan of progression, there is no right way to go but up. 
The commandments are not boundaries of restriction, they are boundaries of protection.
The Sacrament is the most important moment of our week. 

Thank you for the prayers and thank you for your faith. I'll see you soon.

Sister Spackman

October 5, 2015

Love In the Little Things

I wanted to share things I love about my mission this week!

28 Sept. Realize the need for daily repentance and yearn for forgiveness.

29 Sept. Companions become true and cherished friends.

30 Sept.  Learn to pray for a stronger back instead of a lighter load.

01 Oct. Even if you fall on your face, at least you move forward.

02 Oct.  (Grandma Evie will appreciate this) Savor the occasions where you become in tune with your ancestry. This was done while making some Mexican food and rejoicing over finding tortillas in the grocery store.

03 Oct. Go ham over General Conference (also, you start to take sayings from your companions, like "going ham").

04 Oct. Those you teach become as dear to you as your own family members--you anguish and plead that they will accept the gospel and have mighty changes of heart.

The work of the Lord changes us and we learn so much. Let us all press on!

Soeur Spackman

September 28, 2015

Finish With Your Torch Still Lit

When I had 12 weeks left, that brought interesting perspective and has also caused deep reflection. Speaking for most missionaries (I believe), we think about what it will be like when this great chapter in our book of life has finished. Sometimes we plan for what we want to do after, such as going to college, working, and getting married. But most often, we find ourselves pondering the questions, what do I want to be like after my mission? Am I serving the mission that will help me arrive at that destination? And, am I loving the journey?

The First Presidency message written by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf this month so clearly explained this metaphor for our races of life. I encourage you all to read it.

"In ancient Greece, runners competed in a relay race called a lampadedromia. In the race, runners held a torch in their hand and passed it on to the next runner until the final member of the team crossed the finish line.
The prize wasn’t awarded to the team that ran fastest—it was awarded to the first team to reach the finish line with its torch still lit.
There is a profound lesson here, one taught by prophets ancient and modern: while it is important to start the race, it is even more important that we finish with our torch still lit..."
It's not about how fast we go or how much we do or how good we look while doing it. To Heavenly Father, the essential is how good we ARE while moving through the different challenges in this life. And when one race finishes, do we keep on running?
This message pierced my heart this week because for much of my mission, I've looked at how fast I've been running and have become discouraged by weaknesses and unpredicted sicknesses. I have lost sight sometimes of the beautiful vistas to be found along the course. But remembering this week, in actual running, the best thing to help you reach the finish line is to focus on what feels good along the way.
So... here are some of the why's I love my mission.
15 Sept. It feels good to wake up at 6:30 in the morning.
16 Sept. We get to meet so many people, each with their own stories that have brought them where they are today.
17 Sept. We get to help people everyday.
18 Sept. We are taught as we are teaching.
19 Sept. We've learned to be active members, through seeing the importance of visiting and home teaching, helping with building cleaning assignments, and how much missionaries need members for the work to progress.
20 Sept. We are prepared for future callings (and often I feel the preparation is for primary).
21 Sept. A greater appreciation for our parents and their wise teachings.
22 Sept. Sharing the load of someone who is weary and downhearted by taking time to give them rest and trying to help them feel love. 
23 Sept. Learning the importance of choosing wisely based on our goals.
24 Sept. Learning culture- like weaving ni'au (palm fronds) to make roofing (see photo).

25 Sept. There is a great need for unselfishness when working with others.
26 Sept. Greater love and appreciation for the prophets and apostles as we share (a small, small part of) their concern and labor for the well-being of Heavenly Father's children.
27 Sept. Partaking of the Sacrament each week becomes sacred and intentional.
Thank you for your faithful prayers for all missionaries. They really do help us.
Soeur Spackman

September 21, 2015


This week, my companion and I, have faced humanity.

Remember our family, T-R...? We found out this week that the drunk men not only knocked down their house, but later went back and burned everything inside. They have almost nothing, but they are choosing to not let it stop them. They are still working with faith for their marriage and baptism.

We are also teaching a less-active sister who suffers from depression. It came on when she, as a young mother of three children, lost her husband and was thrown out of the house by his family. She later remarried, but to a man who spent much of their relationship abusing her verbally and sometimes physically. These choices saddened us, yet there is a very special spirit when we are able to teach this sister about the gospel.

Another investigator chose to start smoking at age 8 to de-stress while his parents were fighting. He has now chosen to learn about the Church of Jesus Christ because he wants to stop smoking and drinking coffee. He wants to change his life.

These experiences are all rather grim and add to the many hardships people face around the world. One may wonder when faced with news of genocides, wars, substance abuse, child abuse, crime, and every other ill in the world, where is God in all of this?

He is in our agency.

There was a war in heaven fought so that we could have the ability to choose for ourselves. God is so loyal to this gift of agency that He allows His children to suffer because of the badly used agency of others. God is so loyal to agency that He allowed His Beloved Son, He who was without sin, to suffer, bleed, and die.

Amidst all the trial and tribulation we face in this world we can find hope in the sacrifice of His Beloved Son. He suffered for our sins and also suffered our pain caused by the sins of others. He was forsaken that He might know how we feel. He died that we might live again.

From the hymn, O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown, it testifies;

No creature is so lowly,
No sinner so depraved,
But feels thy presence holy
And thru thy love is saved.
Tho craven friends betray thee,
They feel thy love's embrace;
The very foes who slay thee
Have access to thy grace.

While we take comfort in the promise of forgiveness and grace, I pray that each of us will try to use our agency each day conscientiously, for the better. Choices have immense impact. The choice to join the church. The choice to leave the church. The choice to serve a mission. The choice to stay on a mission. The choice to smile and speak a kind word. The choice to be angry and hurtful. The choice to fill our spirits with light. The choice to participate in harmful media. The choice to believe in Jesus Christ. The choice to reject His sacrifice.

We can all make good choices!

Soeur Spackman
Getting my nails painted by T...

September 14, 2015

Love and Light

His Perfect Atonement

I used to believe
That there was a hole
In Christ’s Atonement—
That He could save everyone—
Except me.

But I was wrong.
There is not one hole,
But seven.

Two holes in
His Hands
Where they nailed Him
To a cross
At the behest of those
He would die
To save,

Two holes in
His wrists
Where they ensured
The weight of His body
Would not cause
His hands
To rip through
Before His penance
Was complete,

Two holes in
His feet
Where He stood
As a witness to all
Of God’s unyielding love
For each
Of His children,

And one hole in
His side
Where they pierced Him
To prove His work
Was done.

Seven perfect holes
In earth’s only
Perfect Man.

The perfect Atonement
To patch the holes in our lives.
His holes make us

I was wrong.
There is a
In Christ’s Atonement
For me
After all.

by Kasey Hammer

This week, let us all be made whole as we are filled with Christ's love and light.

Ua here au ia outou et a la prochaine!

Soeur Spackman

September 7, 2015

Cry & Pray

Helping to prepare for a wedding
This morning, I read an article from this month's Ensign on defending marriage and family.


I ask each of you to read it along with the proclamation to the world on the family.


As you read, please let the words resonate within you and commit anew to be a valiant defender of marriage and family, to uphold the plan of God and His divine commandments.

My companion and I are extremely privileged at this time to teach many couples and many families. We struggle and cry and pray to help them receive the gospel so that they may find peace and security within themselves, within their relationships, and for their children.

It is a miracle for me to see them little by little, being filled with gospel light.

M and A... are a Tahitian-Italian couple with three children. Their questions are golden. They ask things such as: Why are there so many churches on the Earth today? Where is the authority? Is the eating of the fruit by Adam and Eve really a bad thing? Do our small children need to be baptized? Do we need to be baptized? We LOVE teaching them because they are thirsty for understanding, hungering after answers and we are filled with joy as we teach them because the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the answers!

A and T... are another couple we teach who want to be married, want to be baptized by immersion to follow Jesus Christ, and they want eternal life. Yesterday, T... says that he is looking for a job so that he can earn money to pay for their wedding. We promised them as they put spiritual things as priority, they will be taken care of temporally and Heavenly Father will help them to obey the commandments. We are so excited to see the miracles that will come into their lives this week.

The family T-R... is progressing well. Both parents want to be baptized because of the examples of their children. They hold family home evening 3 nights a week and help their children to memorize scriptures. After coming to church this past week, some drunk men came and demolished their house (house being: tree trunks and a roof covered with sheet metal, and a dirt floor surfacing the area of about 10x14 feet). They can't stay there or collect their possessions (clothes and bedding) until the police file all the reports. But they are holding strong and trying to make the best of it, still making time for their lessons and trying to take care of their children.

I am grateful for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am grateful that we can be Saints as we are 'sinners who keep on trying'. I am grateful to see the blessings of gospel living and the safety that comes from living the commandments. I am grateful for the prophet and the weight he carries. I am grateful for miracles. I am grateful for adversity because it brings refinement. I am grateful for refinement, even though it hurts. I am grateful for Jesus Christ. And I am grateful for the opportunities we are given each day to try and follow in His footsteps and do the things which He would do.

Let us each try a little harder to be a little better everyday.

Soeur Spackman