Sunday, April 27, 2014

New Places, New Faces, Same Home

Hello Everyone! I have arrived in Adelaide, Australia! It was an exhausting flight and I'm still a bit jet lagged but I'm having a great time! We arrived in Adelaide on Wednsday and me and all the missionaries that I flew with got sent to the mission home to meet President Carter, SIster Carter, and our new companions! We got there and learned a little bit about the mission and then we were off to dinner with our trainers. We had chili and soup but all the new missionaries were like dead because of the flying but it was good. We got to talk to all our trainers and we all got to bare our testimonies to each other. After that we were assigned to our area and trainers. I have been assigned to the Trott Park Area in Marion, just under Adelaide so right next to the coast. And I have been assigned to Elder Villierme, he is from Tahiti and he's an awesome missionary, I learn a lot from his example. I truly know that Heavenly Father has put us together because you won't believe what he said to me the first time we met even before we became companions. He says to me, "Oh my gosh, your Elder Acker, how's your dad?" When he said this I was confused because I had know idea how he knew about my dad's sitaution. Lo and behold, he already knew about me through a member in the ward, the Whitrods! I knew that I was going to be able to see them on my mission but I wouldv'e never thought that I would see them in my firsat area. I also goit to see Abby Field again during church yesterday. It was just weird to think that they have been to my house beforew about 5 years ago and now I'm at their house drinking ginger beer and talking about the gospel. Small world (church)! So my first day in the field, we went street contacting. You know, I always knew that we would talk to people on the street but I never knew that we would talk to everyone we walk by! It's really interesting and fun to get to talk to all these children of God because we get so many opportunities to help them come unto Christ. But let me just say from the experiences I've had this week, whoever says that Aussie's are WAY more friendly then Americans told me wrong haha. Don't get me worng! There's alot of lovely people here but some are so not haha. We've had a couple of times where we have been yelled at with very explicit profanity as people drive by and alot of the time when we talk to people they talk about how wrong our beliefs are in a really rude way. But you know, what I have noticed about these people is that when these things happen all I can do is SMILE. It's weird like after we get insulted I can't help but become even more motivated and inspired to talk to people. Elder Villierme told me something that really hit. me. Obviously there's alot of persecution here but we know from that that God trusts us to be here. God sends his strongest servajnts to places of persecution and I can't help but relate our experiences to Jeus Christ's life. He was persecuted way more than we are and he just kept loving the people and that is the exact example that we're following.
We are working with a great family right now. The parents names are Mark and Sheila and they have two sons. We did some painting for them then taught them a lesson that went really well. I'll let you know how it all goes with them. I'm running out of time but I just want you all to know that I'm doing great and we all need to be involved in the missionary work. People are waiting and it's up to us all to bring people that hope. Also I'd advise you all to read you patriarctichal blessing more. I have read it alot since I've been on my mission and it has helped me alot and I always get something new from it every time I read. It's a great blessing to have for guidance.
Love you all!
P.S. I have become addicted to Tim Tams, like I seriously can't stop eating them, there so good. :)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Subject: He's here!

We finally received an email from Joe's mission president letting us know that he made it to Adelaide, safe and sound.

23 April 2014

Dear family,

Elder Joseph Thomas Acker arrived in the Australia Adelaide Mission safely. Sister Carter and I are mindful of the great trust you have placed in us by sharing your son. When he arrived, we met him at the airport and took him to the mission office, where he was introduced to the office staff and assistants for pictures and orientation. This was followed by an interview, dinner and testimonies at the adjacent church.

Elder Acker’s companion is Elder Villierme-Puputauki from French Polynesia. They are serving in the Trott Park area of the Firle Zone.
I am aware that the Lord blesses, in many special ways, the families of missionaries.  As your son serves, you will find that to be very true.  Your support is greatly appreciated.

Warmest Regards,
President Bradley D. Carter

The Lord is mindful of Joe and these messages on Brad's Facebook are proof.  Abby and Mandy are  sweet Australian gals that we met many years ago.  Long story short, they are friends of Joe's Uncle Tom and they visited Colorado way back when.  While they were visiting, Brad and I had a barbeque and they came over to our house to meet our family.  Since then, Tom has kept in contact with them and told them about Joe's mission call.  They have been very excited knowing that Joe was coming to Adelaide and NOW JOE IS SERVING IN THEIR NECK OF THE WOODS!!!  WHAT?!?!?  What an amazing blessing!

  • Abby Field Oh oh oh.... that's where Mandy lives so he will be in our ward!!!! 
    21 hours ago · Like · 1

  • Mandy Whitrod I'm so excited he's here. I have been telling Elder Villierme-Puputauki about him the last couple of weeks and when i knew for sure his companion was transferring i told him he'd be training. Elder V-P is such a lovely guy. He's from Tahiti so his native languages are French and Tahitian so he's learned English here in the nearly 1 year he's been out. i am going to call them in the morning and see if they can drop by. I have them for dinner next week too. We were busy sending our 4th son off on his mission to the Philippines today

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Elder Ackers MTC Video

This is a video of Joe's morning with the Russels before he entered the MTC!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

First week as a Missionary

Hey everyone! I just finished my laundry and my district and I are just all so excited to share with our families the experiences we have had. I've already been here in a week and it feels like it was just yesterday when Vicki dropped me off. It's crazy how fast it is going and it just feels like there's not even day and night, like there's no time, everything just flows together. Anyways, I just wanted to share some of the amazing experiences I've had here at the MTC. First off I just want to tell you that my district is like possibly the best district at the whole MTC and we all have so much love, connection, and unity about each other right from the get go! My companion's name is Elder Long and he's great. I know that Heavenly Father has set me up with this elder because I see so much of me in him. We're pretty much the same person! He's a very spirtual person so I love when we talk about our passions of the gospel. Ok, so I'm just gonna go through my journal and tell you guys the highlights of the week. I just want to say that the tour that Vicki gave me before the MTC was a great way to start my mission so Vicki if your reading this, Thank You So MUCH! I really appreciate it. I was glad I could try In N Out burger for the first time too lol. The second day here we met with our teachers and there's one guy named Brother Whiting that is by far the best teacher I have had in my lifetime! When he teaches, the spirit teaches me new truths that I had no idea existed, he is so in tune with the spirit and can I just say that this teachers are absolutely amazing and they all are so young like 23ish! It makes me want to become like them when I get back from my mission. Day 3 was a very special day for me. A sister in our district named Sister Barrett was feeling sick and she asked me to give her a blessing. I have never given a blessing before but right when she asked I was so glad to do it. I was a little nervous at first because this was the first time I've given a blessing but I just want to testify to you that when I gave that blessing, that was most definitly not Joe Acker speaking. I literally don't remmeber what I said but the spirit filled my mouth and the spirit was so strong in that room and after that the sisters told me that that was the most powerful blessing that they've ever experienced. The church is true! The next day was the sabbath and I was called to be sacrament preparor, greeter, and I had to give a talk on the atonement. I gave the talk and at the end I talked aboput dad and grandpa and the amazing blessing we have to be ressurected and receive perfect bodies again and I just cryed just like I did in my farewell. And then later that night we had devotional where the BYU Mens choir sang, they were so awesome! I was kind of having trouble that day and in that meeting I was thinking about it alot so I tried to pray to HF to give me his comfort and I promise that I know he heard me. As I was praying with all the missionaries around in the room and the choir singing, it all just became silent and all I could here is the spirit tell "Elder Acker, I am right here." and that builds my faith knowing that we all can have personal relationships with HF and he is very aware of all of our needs. Elder Long and I taught our first real investogator named Lawanna, she has cancer so we had to do Skype appointments which was interesting. Our fist lesson we taught the BoM and she was skeptical about the bible and a "new" book but the second lesson went so well and we commited her to read it and pray about it and she seemed excited. The key is to share sxcriptures that are relavant to the investigator. Me and Elder Long walked out of that lesson full of the spirit and we were just so happy and loved and cared about Lawanna so much already. Yestereday, during devotional we got to hear from the Apostle Neil Anderson, it was amazing to hear from a special witness of Christ and actually be in the room with an apostle. So that basically covers my week from what I can remember but I just want to tell you guys that I have changed already and it is amazing, I listen to spiritual promting way better and my faith grows everyday. Oh and mom, I know you said to be involved so my district joined the choir and we'll be singing on easter sunday to another apostle who will speak to us, we don't know wjho yet. I really lovemy district, we are so fun and happy and we sing Frozen and Phantom of the Opera songs all the time. I am so happy and love the MTC experience and can't wait to to go to Australia and Preach the gospel.
Love you All and Miss you!
Elder Acker



Friday, April 11, 2014

Email #1-Checking in from the MTC! Subject line: Doing fine!

Hello my lovely family,

Our Branch President Boone told our district to just let you know that we're safe and doing well so that's what I'm doing right now. I'll write you guys a lot more on Monday. 

Love You so so much!
Elder Acker

P.S. I didn't even figure out who I'm sending my emails to for the blog so let me know and I need all our families emails.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

DIA to SLC April 9, 2014

I may have gone overboard with photos but I wanted to remember as much of this GLORIOUS morning as I could.  So, here is Joe dragging his suitcases into the airport for the first time. 

One last glimpse of my three kiddos hanging together.
What a beautiful Elder
In spite of it all, here are my two boys.
We had a nice fellow take a family photo of all of us together with Joe's new camera but didn't bother to have him use our cell phone cameras.  So, until Joe sends me his photos we only have these.

This was when Joe was waiting to board the plane and the line wasn't moving.  We had said our goodbyes and were only 2 feet behind him watching him go.  I couldn't stand it, so I got back up and hugged him until the line started moving.  Joe is a hugger. 

There he goes, he turned around twice to wave goodbye and gave us a huge smile!  
We sat down at the window to watch his plane leave and the tears flowed and flowed.  

 I kept thinking, "He is still here and only about 100 yards from us."  until the plane flew away.