Thursday, December 27, 2012

EMAIL: Mon, December 24, 2012       1:29 PM
Subject:  Merry Christmas!

I hope that y'all are having a great December. For me, this month has been full of miracles. I feel so blessed!

On Saturday I had 2 baptisms! The first was Hanna that I taught while back in Rowlett. She is so sweet and already has a strong testimony of the gospel. The second baptism was Gina that I have been teaching in Sachse. She was so nervous to be baptized but was so happy afterward. Both of these amazing girls are a great example to their families. They are so willing to share the gospel, especially with their mothers, and I know that their examples will bless the rest of their families.

I can't believe that Christmas is already here. I remember the anticipation I felt last Christmas while I was preparing to serve my mission. Now I am here and the time is flying by so fast. I am so excited to share the gospel with others this Christmas season. What a great time to find families and help them know even more about Jesus Christ.

I love y'all so much. I hope y'all have a Merry Christmas. Most of all I wish that all y'all will take some time to remember the Savior this holiday season. I have been reading the gospels in the bible in the month of December, and it always amazes me how much how Heavenly Father is willing to bless us and give us according to our faith. I am grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ. I love the miracles He performed when He lived on the earth and the miracles He still performs today. I love reading the scriptures because they provide answers to prayers and really help you understand Jesus Christ. I love being a missionary. I love sharing the gospel! I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ!

Love Always- Sister Peck

Thursday, December 20, 2012

EMAIL: Mon, December 17, 2012       12:27 PM
Subject:  Baptisms!

Howdy Y'all!

This past weekend was great! I was able to attend 2 baptisms of girls that I taught back in Rowlett. The first was Cherish. She was the girl that was taught all of the lessons by the missionaries in Ghana. She bore her testimony at the baptism which was beautiful. She talked of how she knows that the church is true, not by any physical proof, but by a feeling in her heart that cannot be denied. Cherish already has such a strong testimony of the gospel and such a desire to share it. I really love Cherish and I hope that one day she can become a full-time missionary (she is already considering this too).

Then in the afternoon was the baptism of Sarah. She is the 9-yr-old with a less active mother, Michelle. Sarah's baptism was great, and she looked so adorable in her white dress. The best part of the baptism was the testimonies while Sarah was getting dressed. They had asked Brother and Sister Harper to share their conversion stories and testimonies of the gospel. I have heard Tom share his testimony in church, but Rene never has before. They were both beautiful! Rene talked of how she had been searching for a church, but something just kept pulling her back from attending other churches with her family. Then a few weeks later the missionaries knocked on her door. I love hearing how Sister Harper knows that the gospel has changed her life and will continue to. She knows that she is meant to be the example for others in her family. Sister Harper is so grateful to have the gospel in her life and she radiates this continually from her countenance. I love Sister Harper so much! It was amazing to see the rewards for sharing the gospel with the Harper family. Their life has been changed forever, and they are so excited to keep living the gospel.

December is a month of miracles! This weekend I am going to have 2 more baptisms! I have never had so many baptisms in a month before, and I know that it is a blessing from the Lord. The first baptizee is Gina. She is a senior in high school and has been taught here in Sachse. Her boyfriend is a member of the church and referred her to the missionaries. We had to teach Gina really fast so she could be baptized, but she is so prepared. She is excited for her baptism this weekend. She has already invited most of her friends from school and she is working hard to have her mom attend too. Gina asked me yesterday in church if she could already pay her tithing even though she is not quite a member yet. I told her yes, of course. Experiences like that just testify to me how the Lord prepares souls to hear the gospel. I am very excited for Gina's baptism this Saturday.

The other baptism this Saturday is back in Rowlett. It is for Hanna. Her story is similar to Gina's- she is also a senior in high school and was referred to the missionaries by her boyfriend (before they were dating). Her mom is not the most excited about her baptism because she is staunch Church of Christ, but she is letting Hanna be baptized and she is also going to attend the baptism. Hanna is amazing and also so prepared by the Lord. She has been looking for a change in her life, and she says that she has found it. I am so excited for Hanna's baptism.

What a blessing to have so many baptisms in the month of December. The Lord is blessing His missionaries in the TDM! I love being a missionary so much and having the opportunity to bring so many souls to Jesus Christ. How great a calling!

I hope y'all are having a wonderful month of December. What a great season to remember our Savior Jesus Christ and His atonement for each of us individually. I love Christmas and I am so excited to be sharing the gospel message at this great time of year.

I love y'all so much and hope that y'all have a great week. May the Lord bless.

Love Always- Sister Peck

EMAIL: Mon, December 10, 2012       1:10 PM
Subject:  Wylie/Sachse

Howdy Y'all!

This week has been interesting with both my companion and I being new in our new area. We have been trying to meet our investigators, less-actives, and other members. We finally know how to make it back to our apartment without a map- so I consider that a great accomplishment. We cover the Sachse (sack-see) Ward and the Wylie First Ward. Wylie First covers about 5 cities and is so big that it is not all on the Wylie map that we have. We are still trying to figure out where our northern boundary is. The area seems pretty great though. We do have a baptism coming up on December 22nd for a girl named Gina. She is a senior in high school and her boyfriend, Nick, is a member and also one of our ward missionaries. Sister Overy and I are both very excited for Gina and she seems very prepared for the gospel in her life. We get to have a lesson with Gina tonight and teach her all about the commandments, which should be great.

Most of our day yesterday was spent at church. Sachse ward meets at 8:30 and Wylie 1 meets at 2:30 and we have all of our meetings in between. It was a very long day at church, but both wards are very great. This area hasn't had sister missionaries in over 6 years, so both wards are super excited to have us there. We have already had so many of the Relief Society members volunteer to go to lessons with us and give us rides anytime that we need them. It should be great to work in the Wylie/Sachse Wards. I am excited for this are and the potential that it has. Sister Overy and I are planning to work hard and increase the missionary work.

The wards are both good sized. The Wylie First ward is huge with almost 400 people at sacrament meeting! Right now we go to a meeting house about 30 minutes away in Garland. But a couple of months ago they broke ground for a new Wylie chapel in the ward boundaries. The new chapel is scheduled to be finished in May. They will probably split up the Wylie First and Second Ward even more once the new chapel is finished. The new chapel is the big talk of Wylie, even for those we just tract into. It is very exciting for the members to soon have a new building that will be much closer to home (and they won't have to go to church at 2:30 pm anymore).

The other really good news is that the elders tried really hard to clean our apartment for us. It still isn't the best and everything is falling apart, but at least it was livable when we moved in. I have been very lucky to live with members over half of my mission and I am so grateful to each of them for allowing missionaries to live in their homes. It is a new experience to be in an apartment as a missionary, but it will be good.

My new companion is Sister Kallee Overy. She has been out 14 months. Sister Overy is from Fort Bridger, Wyoming. She is about 5'2" with dark brown hair and a very strong personality. She got her Associates in Music Theater and she loves to sing. She and I already performed a musical number for the Wylie 1 Christmas party this last week.

Nothing else too exciting, just a lot of finding investigators and meeting ward member this week. But, miracles are on the way for the Wylie/Sachse area. I plan to get the missionary work moving in the ward and gain the support and help from the members. I am excited to have an experienced companion to help me in this. I look forward to working hard and changing lives here.

My new address is:
6360 Murphy Road #123
Sachse, TX 75048

If it is not urgent, the mail would be best sent to 13747 Montfort Dr. Ste.120, Dallas TX 75240. I will for sure receive it there at the mission office. Thanks!

Love Y'all so much!

Love, Sister Peck

Thursday, December 6, 2012

EMAIL: Mon, December 3, 2012  10:45 AM
Subject:  Miracles in Rowlett

Howdy Y'all!

Can you believe it is December already? It was 82 degrees yesterday here in Texas. What a winter! I hope all is well for all y'all. I love the Christmas season - what a great time to bring souls to Christ! I hope y'all were able to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional because it was amazing. I love our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, and I know that he is an authorized representative of our Savior and Heavenly Father. How great that we have a prophet in our day. What a blessing and great example of our Heavenly Father's love for His children.

This last week has been amazing. Rowlett has some of the best new investigators and will be having at least 3 baptisms in December. Sister Hansen and I have been so blessed. One is named Hanna (wrote of her in last weeks email)- she learned about the gospel from the Elwood family in our ward. We just taught the first lesson, but she has already been attending seminary, reading the scriptures, going to mutual, and has been to church the last 4 Sundays. Hanna has had a hard life but she knows this church is increasing her faith and knowledge of the Savior. She loved the Christmas devotional last night and is so excited to keep meeting with the missionaries.

Sister Hansen and I have a 9 year-old girl named Sarah that is going to be baptized on the 15th of December. She is so excited to learn. One day she asked us how many more lesson we had. We told her about 5 more lessons and asked why she wanted to know. Sarah said that she just wants to be baptized. Sarah is amazing. We are just praying for her mom, Sister O'Neal. She has been less-active and it is a struggle to come back to church. They also have a difficult situation at home. We pray and hope that all works. Sarah wants the gospel so badly in her life, and I know it will bless her and her family.

Another miracle is Cherish. She was a media referral. Sister Hansen and I haven't had the best luck with media referrals, so I might have been skeptical when it said Cherish wanted to be baptized and taught. We finally contacted her 2 days ago and she wanted to meet with us the next day. Turns outs, Cherish was in Ghana for a study abroad. One class asked her to attend a religious meeting, so she chose our church, was talked to by the missionaries, and started investigating the church. She was taught all of the lessons in Ghana and went to church the last 3 weeks she was there. She came home and wanted to be baptized. Cherish already has a strong testimony of the truthfulness of the church and wants so badly to share that with others. She recognizes the hand of the Lord in her life and all of the events and questions that have led up to her knowing that this is the fullness of the gospel. Sister Hansen and I invited Cherish to be baptized on the 29th of December and she looked so sad. We asked her what was wrong... She said she was hoping to be baptized in the next few days. Cherish will be baptized on the 15th of December! What a miracle and a tender mercy of the Lord to find such a prepared soul!

Rowlett is an amazing place. I love the people! I love the members! I love our investigators. The news of the week is transfer calls. Sister Hansen is going to be staying in Rowlett and her new companion will actually be her MTC companion. Sister Hansen is going to be the senior companion- she will do a great job and she is so ready to take over the Rowlett area. My transfer news is surprising, but I know that it is exactly what the Lord wants. I am going to be heading to the Wylie/Sachse area. This area is currently an Elder area, so my companion and I are going to be opening it up for Sisters. It should be an adventure. My companion is Sister Overy. She is actually the second oldest sister missionary in the mission, and I am the 4th oldest sister. It should be amazing to work with such an experienced sister once again. Sister Overy has a great voice, so I am super excited to go caroling/tracting for the holidays.

Unfortunately- I do not have the address for this area since we are opening it for Sisters. Y'all can still send me mail at the mission office and I should have an address next week. I am very excited to be going to this area. It is a little bit scary because I don't know what happened in this area that they would need two experienced sisters to come in. I also don't know if I will be in an apartment or living with members. But I do know that Wylie/Sachse is where the Lord has called me to serve. I am excited for this opportunity and trust that I can help open an area for sisters. I am torn to leave Rowlett- I spent 1/3 of my mission here. I am going to miss everybody so badly. It has been a disaster to try and say goodbye to everyone that I love in Rowlett. The worst was bidding farewell to my Harper Family yesterday (but Rene promised me they would be sealed in the temple next year!) I have made so many eternal friends here and am grateful for each of these relationships. The great news is that Wylie is the area directly north of Rowlett. It is in a different stake and in a different district, so I won't see Sister Hansen too often. But it is close enough that I can come back to Rowlett for all of the baptisms and see everyone again! What a tender mercy!
I love the Lord! I love being a missionary! I love my Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement! This gospel is amazing!! I love all y'all so much. Thanks for all of the love and support.

Love Always, Sister Peck

p.s. have y'all checked out the new site It is pretty awesome with free Mormon Tabernacle Choir music, free DVD's, and so much more. What a great thing to share with neighbors and friends during the Christmas Season. I invite all y'all to check it out and share it with those you care about! Love y'all

Thursday, November 29, 2012

EMAIL: Mon, November 26, 2012      12:52 PM
Subject:  Hanna

Hello Y'all!

I  hope that y'all had a great Thanksgiving! My Thanksgiving "present" was... Sister Carla Squarcia. Sister Squarcia was one of my previous companions from Italy. She had finished her mission about a month ago. Very graciously, a member family from our area flew Sister Squarcia back for Thanksgiving! It was great to see her and spend some time with her!! I love Sister Squarcia! And I love the Cantwell family for their kindness to all missionaries, especially Sister Squarcia. It was a great Thanksgiving!!

We had an amazing miracle happen yesterday. One of the families at church has been bringing their son's friend named Hanna to church. This family is great, but they were a little bit cautious about letting us teach the lessons because they don't want to destroy their relationship with Hanna. So Hanna has been to church the last 3 weeks and she loves it! She wore jeans the first week- but she was so excited to come back that she went out and bought new dresses to come to church again. We gave Hanna our info and told her to call us if she had any questions. Sister Hansen has been building a relationship with Hanna at church and hoping to soon teach her. First miracle is that the member family yesterday finally decided to invite us and Hanna over tomorrow for dinner and a lesson. I am so excited to start teaching Hanna and pray that the spirit will guide us. Then the second miracle happened last night. Hanna text us to see if she could ask us a question. We called her back immediately. Hanna had been reading the For Strength of Youth Pamphlet. She read about tattoos and piercings and was worried because she had them. She expressed her concern that she wanted to keep coming to church and she was planning on going to Seminary today, but she didn't want to continue if we didn't accept that. We overcame her concern. Hanna even admitted to us that she feels guilty for the tattoos now and wishes she didn't have them. Then Hanna told us how much she loves church. She was raised and born in the Church of Christ, but she felt like she never learned anything there. She says that she has learned more the last 3 weeks at church then she ever had before. Hanna said, "I feel that my faith has increased each time I have come to y'alls church." That is amazing! What a miracle! Hanna is so prepared to hear the gospel! I am so excited for the opportunity to teach her tomorrow- I hope all continues to go well.

Once again, transfers are next week. I can't really believe that it is already the end of another transfer- the time just flies by. Sister Hansen is doing really well. I have had a great time being her companion. I have really enjoyed training her- although I think she actually trained me. I am excited for Sister Hansen and all of the opportunities and successes that she is going to have on her mission. She is a great missionary! I have learned so much from her. I am proud of Sister Hansen. She is full of charity and enthusiasm for missionary work. I know wherever she serves, she will influence the people and work her hardest. I love Sister Hansen.
I love Rowlett!! Honestly though, I feel like I am going to be transferred. I will let y'all know next Monday. It will make me super sad when I must leave this area, but I will go where the Lord wants me to go. I am trying to get over my selfishness because I really want to stay in Rowlett for Christmas and my Birthday, but I know I will be where the Lord wants me to be. Rowlett has become my home. I love the members, investigators, and everyone else there. It has been great to serve as a missionary in Rowlett for the last 5 months. I love being a missionary!

Thanks for all of the Thanksgiving cards. I love y'all. Hope y'all have a blessed week.

Love always, Sister Peck!

Monday, November 19, 2012

EMAIL: Mon, November 19, 2012   2:00 PM
Subject:  Happy Thanksgiving!

Howdy Y'all!!

I just want to tell all y'all how thankful I am for each of you. I love you each so much and am so grateful for your love and support. I am very thankful to my mom. Thank you for putting up with me and still loving me. Thanks you for sending everything I need and even those things I want. Thank you for supporting me to serve a mission. You are the best mom! I love you mom!!

I am thankful to my dad. Thank you for writing me every week of my mission. I look forward to receiving those letters in the mail each week. Thank you for taking care of our family. Thank you for being an example of scripture study and prayer. Thank you for being so concerned for me and so caring. I love you dad!!

I am thankful for Libbie and Colton and Elder BakBak. I love y'all so much and am grateful to have y'all for my brothers and sister. I am grateful for the letters you write me and the love you send me. I am so grateful to Elder BakBak for his example in serving a mission right now. I love the response I get from people when I tell them I also have a brother serving a mission in the Marshall Islands. They are always amazed. I love claiming y'all as my family. I love you Elder BakBak and hope all is well down there in paradise.

I love the rest of my relatives. I can't even describe all that all y'all do for me. Thank you for the letters and the packages. Thank you for supporting me and the rest of my family. I love having such a great family! I am grateful to be related to all y'all. Thank you Nana and Papa and Grandma and Grandpa for your examples and for your love. I especially love each one of my cousins!

I am grateful for all of the teachers and friends that have influenced my life. I can't even name all of you! Thank you for teaching me the gospel. Thank you for increasing my knowledge in other school subjects. Thank y'all for working hard at what you do. I love each of you and appreciate so much how y'all have changed my life.

I love all of my friends. I am grateful for each laugh and good time that we have had. I look forward to seeing y'all again. I am so especially grateful for each one of my Sisters that are serving their own missions. How I hope that each one of you is doing well and loving the time and opportunity that y'all have to share the gospel. I love and appreciate the example each one of y'all are for me. Keep working hard and being a great missionary.

Most of all, at this time, I am grateful to be a missionary!!! I love serving the Lord! I am so grateful to be in the TDM. There is no other mission I would rather be in the entire world. I love Texas. I love my mission president, President Durrant, and his family. They are an inspiration to me. I am grateful for their love an encouragement to become the best missionary that I can be. I love each of the companions that I have had. I love y'all! Thanks for teaching me how to be a missionary and how to work hard. I can't thank each of my companions enough. I am even thankful for each of the companions that I am going to have. I know that the Lord puts us where we need to be and with the people that will help us become better. I am so grateful for all of the people that I have met in Texas. It is going to be awful to leave y'all behind. I love my converts, I love my members, I love my investigators, and I especially love every member whose house I have lived at. I am so grateful to be preaching the gospel . I am so grateful for all of the miracles that I get to see. I wish I could better describe my gratitude to all y'all that read my letters- but just know that I am so grateful for my mission. I love my mission!! I am so grateful to a Heavenly Father who loves me as an individual. I am most grateful for Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world and the Saviour of me.

There is so much more that I am grateful for. I wish I could going on with this list, but I am running out of time...
I hope y'all can take some time this week and think about the things y'all are grateful for. Count your many blessing... see what God has done. I love y'all so much!!!!

Thanksgiving is going to be great. Don't worry- We already have had 4 people invite us over for Thanksgiving dinner and many more people for dessert. I will not go hungry on Thanksgiving. Plus, I am fixin to try some deep fried turkey this year! Apparently that is how everyone buys or cooks their thanksgiving turkeys down in Texas. Yeehaw!!

Have a blessed week!

Love, Sister Peck

November 5, 2012.  Postcard from Sister Mc and the accompanying letter that came with it:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

EMAIL: Mon, November 12, 2012   10:18  PM
Subject:  Connor's Baptism

Hello Y'All:

This week was a great week. On Saturday we had the baptism of Connor Ivanovsky. It was a great experience!! I love being at baptisms and feeling the confirming witness of the Holy Ghost. It was great to see the Ivanovsky family and the joy that they each felt as Connor was baptized. I know this is a moment that they will remember in their family, and I also hope it strengthened their testimonies of the gospel. Sister Ivanovsky has a beautiful voice, so she asked me to sing a duet with her at the baptism. We sang "How Great Thou Art." Singing was such a spiritual highlight of the baptism for me because I best feel the Holy Ghost through music. I was very grateful that Sister Ivanovsky let me sing with her, and I know that it built a stronger friendship between us. I love the Ivanovsky family so much. I am excited to keep working with them and helping to teach Connor the new member lessons. I pray that the whole family will stay active in the church now that Connor is baptized because it will only help them endure faithfully to the end and have a happier life and family.

Last week on Fast Sunday, two of my recent converts bore their testimony for the first time in sacrament meeting (I may have encouraged both of them to try). Both testimonies were a very sweet experience for me to listen and feel the spirit. It is great to see the progression of recent converts and the growth of their testimonies. Khek bore his sweet testimony about how much he loves the gospel and the priesthood. Khek knows the gospel is true, but we are still trying to teach him how to prioritize that in his life over school, work, etc. He is doing better now though and even went Home Teaching for the first time last week. Brother Harper also bore his testimony in sacrament. It was a very sweet and simple testimony but so powerful. He thanked everyone for their love and support and then he told a story about tithing. Last month the Harper Family did not have much money to pay their tithing. It was their first time ever to have to pay tithing, and so they would just have to act on faith because they had never paid tithing before. If they paid the full 10% then they wouldn't have had enough money left over to pay the rest of their bills. Brother Harper was doubtful and thought they should just pay a partial tithe, but Sister Harper insisted they would pay the full amount. They paid a full tithe not knowing how they would pay their bills for the month. Within the week, the Harper's received an unexpected check in the mail from the insurance. After many calls and searching, the Harpers found the money was from an upgrade to their security system that they were being reimbursed for. The check was for the exact amount of money that the Harpers needed to pay the rest of the bills that month. It was for the exact amount of tithing that they had faithfully paid. What a great experience to gain a testimony of tithing!! I love the Harpers so much, and I am so thankful they paid a full tithe even though they may not have had enough money for the month. It is amazing that brand new members of the church could have such great faith. I believe everyone that heard this testimony about tithing from Brother Harper felt the spirit confirm the truthfulness.

Sister Harper shared another story about 9-year-old Quinlan the other day. Quinlan was outside with some of his relatives while Brother and Sister Harper were inside. Apparently some of the relatives were not using appropriate language. Quinlan heard this and chastised them saying, "Hey! Y'all better watch your language. I'm a Mormon now!" The relatives were so impressed by his example they even commented to Sister Harper of the change in Quinlan. How cute and amazing is that? Quinlan is barely a member of the church and is still a child, yet he is standing up for our values and the way we should live our lives. I am so proud of Quinlan. I wish we could all be as valiant and courageous as Quinlan.

We taught the Word of Wisdom to an investigator this week named Sister Williams. She loves tea (as does everyone else down here). We talked about it and she was willing to live the word of wisdom. She asked about herbal tea, which is okay if needed. She was wondering if the tea she drinks was okay, so I told her to go get the box and I would gladly check it for her. The tea she had was definitely not okay and I told her so. As we finished the lesson and went to leave, I still had her box of tea, so I took it with me. She may have been a little bit upset, but really Sister Williams knew it would be better if the tea was gone so she wouldn't be tempted. That was a fun experience to actually take away someone's tea- Sister Hansen was so surprised that I did. It wasn't my intention originally to leave with substances that are against the word of wisdom, but taking the box of tea just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. So now, we have a box a tea sitting in our study room, which is pretty great.

Everything is going well in Texas. I love being here and being a missionary. The blessings are so amazing, and I hope that I don't waste a single moment that I could be changing someone's life. Thank y'all for your love and support.

Love Y'all!    Sister Peck!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

EMAIL: Mon, November 5, 2012   10:37  PM
Subject:  Less-Active Miracles

Howdy Y'all!

This past week has been great! Sister Hansen and I are seeing so many miracles here in Rowlett, Texas. First, Connor Ivanovsky is going to be baptized this coming Saturday. I am so excited for him and his family. I can see the parents really feeling the difference that the spirit and keeping the commandments can make in their lives. Brother Ivanovsky bore his testimony is sacrament meeting yesterday about how happy he is that Connor has made the personal choice to be baptized. He knows that Connor is truly prepared for baptism and Sister Ivanovsky does too. Even in the few weeks that we have been actively teaching them, there is a great change of heart in the Ivanovsky family. When we stopped by last night, Brother Ivanovsky was so much more loving and kind to his family and wife than I have ever seen him. The gospel makes a difference. The spirit makes a difference! As you come unto Christ you cannot help but develop Christ-like attributes like charity, love, faith, and so forth. I love this gospel!! I am so excited for the Ivanovsky family this week, and I am especially excited for Connor. I am so happy that the Ivanovsky family is back active in the church. I know that Heavenly Father will continue to bless them as they endure actively in the church and diligently continue to live the gospel.

So a funny thing happened to Sister Hansen and I this past week. We got a media referral from - this typically means that someone is interested in finding out more about the church and have requested the missionaries to visit them. So Sister Hansen and I were so excited to find this person. The person that we were supposed to visit was named Slarti Bartfast. We felt so bad that a person would be named that, and we couldn't help but laugh a little. Turns out no such person lived at the address and the phone number was one of those prank call lines. We were definitely had. It is sad that someone felt the need to waste our time and try and prank other people, but Sister Hansen and I just had to laugh at the funny situation we had experienced. So for all y'all that read my brother's, Elder BakBak's, emails and all the funny names he finds, I would like to put mine near the top of that list... Slarti Bartfast.

One miracle that we saw this week was with Sister O'Neal. We got a referral from other missionaries a little bit ago for a less-active member that had recently moved into our area. We finally met with her, Sister O'Neal, this week. Turns out, Sister O'Neil has a 9 yr-old daughter named Sarah that wants to be baptized. Sister O'Neal wants her daughter to be baptized too. They both came to church yesterday and were very happy to be back. I am so excited to work with Sister O'Neil and Sarah to help them learn the gospel and see the blessings in their lives. Sister O'Neil is pretty awesome. She has a great low Texan drawl and acts as a true Texan in every way. She is a little bit sassy and very independent. I love Sister O'Neal too because she is very bold about sharing the gospel. She was talking to one of her neighbors and found out that neighbor was also a less-active that we didn't know about. So we are going to start working with the neighbor, Rita, too. Rita wants to be back at church and she wants her entire family to be there too because she misses the blessings. Her husband made the whole family leaves about 10 years ago because he was offended by a class discussion. Rita's 14 year-old son also knew he needed to be baptized and was baptized into another denomination a year or so ago. When Sister O'Neal heard this, she boldly told Rita that it is time that her son needs to be baptized into the correct church (meaning the LDS church). Gotta love Texans and their don't-mess-around attitudes! We haven't met the son yet, but I am so excited to work with Rita's family as well. I love working with less-actives and then helping the rest of their families have the blessings of the gospel.

Texas is awesome!! I am so grateful to be a missionary here in the TDM. The weather is great. Halloween was a nice warm 85 degree day, and the temperature hasn't dropped much since. I love it! The leaves are still changing colors and beginning to fall from the trees. Maybe this is why I can barely believe how fast the time has flown and that it is already November. I love Texas!

I love being a missionary! I love my companion, Sister Hansen. She is a great missionary, and we are going to keep seeing miracles. I love spreading the gospel. We are on a search to find those that are prepared and help them find a trueness of joy and happiness in this life and in the life to come. What a blessing to be a missionary! I wish y'all could fill the smallest part of how great it is to be a missionary.

Thanks for the Halloween packages and cards from friends and family. I love y'all and am thankful to all y'all for caring. Keep the commandments and do what is right. May the Lord bless y'all!!

Love always, Sister Peck
Something cool for those of y'all that are on the Riches Family side. I was reading the September 2012 ensign. Near the middle, there are a bunch of pictures that are from an art contest depicting testimonies of Christ. One of these pictures is of our ancestor, Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner. She is painted reading the Book of Mormon that she borrowed from Issac Morely. I love her story and how she knew the Book of Mormon was true from the moment she began it. How else could someone read such a book in a few days? I love the line from Mary's history when she declares, "for I am a full-blooded Mormon, and I am not ashamed to own it..." I love this! I hope that I declare my same belief with such boldness and can continue to stand as a witness of Jesus Christ. What an example the strength of our heritage can be.

Thought it was a cool painting and especially meaningful because it is of our heritage. Y'all should look-up and find the painting.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

EMAIL: Mon, October 29, 2012   1:03  PM
Subject:  9 Months!

Hello Y'all!

So this week I celebrated a milestone of my mission - I have been out 9 months, half of my mission!  It is crazy to think that I am on the downhill slope of things.  But all is well. Even better, a couple of months ago President Uchtdorf wrote an Ensign article called something like "Always in the Middle."  He talked of how we (especially missionaries) should always view themselves as in the "middle". New missionaries always feel inadequate and old missionaries are just ready to go home. So, I am truly in the middle, and it is a great perspective!! Missionary Work is amazing and I am so glad to be doing it. The TDM is the best mission ever, and I love the Rowlett area that I am serving in. I am even blessed to have a really sweet companion that took me out to dinner for my 9-month anniversary.

Right now we are working hard and trying to find more people to teach. It is great weather to go tracing!  We do have the baptism for Connor Ivanovsky in 2 Saturdays. I am super excited for him! I know hearing the missionary discussions and having the spirit in their home has really helped the Ivanovsky family. They are now very active in the church and the parents have even received callings.  I hope that Connor's baptism will bless their family and help strengthen their own testimonies.

I love the ward where I serve. They hosted both Fall Festival / Trunk-or-Treat parties this past weekend. The members are so great at inviting friends and neighbors.  Both wards had great turn-outs, and Sister Hansen and I were able to meet many people. The best part was the trick-or-treating.  Sister Hansen and I decided to go trunk to trunk so we could meet all of the members and build friendships. We had no intentions on collecting candy, but everyone loves the missionaries and we ended up with so much candy. Just because we are the missionaries, everyone let us pick out our favorite candy or they would just give us handfuls. My scripture case was filled both nights. Best Halloween Ever!! We had a lot of fun, and hopefully some new potential investigators as well. Ward activities are the best.

It is getting close to the end of the year, so Sister Hansen and I are pushing hard to try and fulfill our wards' mission plans. We still have 5 baptisms to get in one ward and 4 to get in the second. It is going to take some work and some miracles, but we are going to have 9 baptisms by the end of 2012. I have faith that Sister Hansen and I can reach these ward goals. It should be great!

I love being a missionary! I love working so hard and always being so, so tired! I want to give my best and give my all to serve the Lord as his representative. I pray that I can continue to do so. This is the greatest thing I could ever be doing. It is the only thing that I want to be doing right now. Missionary work is awesome!!

I love y'all!! Keep reading the Book of Mormon and saying your prayers. May the Lord bless and keep y'all!

Love Always,
Sister Peck

EMAIL: Mon, October 22, 2012   1:04  PM
Subject:  I Feel So Blessed

Howdy Y'all!

The leaves are just beginning to change colors here in Texas, so I think we are finally ready for Autumn. It should be a nice break.  This week is transfers, but the great news is... I am actually not being transferred or even getting a new companion.  Sister Hansen and I will be staying in the Rowlett area for at least another 6 weeks (and hopefully I can stay through Christmas too).  I am really excited to keep the work moving here.  We have got some great people that we are working with and hope to find many more that have been prepared by the Lord.

Everything else is going well.  We have a few investigators with great potential.  Our next baptism is going to be Connor Ivanovsky- I think I told y'all a little about him last week.  He is a 9 year old from a less-active family.  I have been trying to work with this family ever since I came to Rowlett, and they finally decided that we needed to teach their son so he could be baptized.  Connor is the sweetest and the smartest kid.  We don't have to teach him much because he already knows much about the gospel, but the lessons are a great review for the entire family.  The Ivanovsky family has been coming to church and reading their scriptures - they are doing so much better than a couple of weeks ago.  The Lord is also blessing their lives as they become more active in the church.  Brother Ivanovsky was finally able to find a great job after 2 years of being unemployed.  Sister Ivanovsky is being blessed by having more time to spend with the 3 children.  The kids are doing well in school.  I know that the gospel blesses families.  When you realize this, I don't know why a family would ever want to miss church.  The Lord will bless and prosper those that keep His commandments. I will keep y'all updated on the Ivanovsky family, and make sure to look forward to Connor's baptism in a few weeks!!

I don't know if y'all remember Taylor that I taught a couple of months ago and was baptized the end of June.  She was golden!  Sadly, none of the missionaries have been able to contact her for over 2 months now.  She hasn't gone to church or any of the YSA activities that she used to faithfully attend. I haven't seen or talked to her since the end of August.  Sister Hansen and I have been to her home many times, but she won't answer the door for us.  Please pray for Taylor.  Pray that she will know the love of her Heavenly Father for each of His children.  Pray that she can recognize that her feelings of guilt can only be overcome through Christ's Atonement. Pray that the way will be opened for someone to reach out and help her through whatever is keeping her away from the gospel.  I love Taylor so much, and I know that the Lord loves her too.  It is heart-breaking to see one of my great friends and converts already fall away from the church. I know she has a great testimony. I don't even know what went wrong. I pray that I can talk to her again while I am still here in Rowlett.

Well, sorry to end on such a depressing note.  The work really is going great though.  The Harper family is doing amazing!  Rene got a calling to help in the Cub Scouts.  She is worried because there are so many rules (much different than how she treats the kids she babysits) but I know that she will do a great job. The gospel has really blessed their family temporally and spiritually.  Their daughter Lindsay, that lost the baby, is doing better- I still hope we can share the gospel with her one day. 

I love being a missionary!  This work is the Lords! I am so excited to still be here in Rowlett.  I love this area, I love the members, and I love the people and investigators.  Our mission president, President Durrant, always sings us a little song he made up, "I feel so blessed! I feel so blessed! I feel so blessed because I've got the best..."  I truly do feel that way.  I am blessed to be a missionary in the Texas Dallas Mission. I love it!!!  We are the "Mission of Miracles"!

I love y'all back home! Hope all is well. Don't forget to read your scriptures and say your prayers :)

Love always- Sister Peck!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

EMAIL: Mon, October 15, 2012   10:44  AM
Subject:  Exchanges

Hello Y'all!

This last week was great!  On Friday we were able to do exchanges with Sister Cole and Sister Squarcia.  I am so grateful that Sister Hansen had the opportunity to work with Sister Squarcia, even if only for a day.  I love Sister Squarcia so much, and she taught me so much when we were companions. It is sad to think she is finishing her mission this week and will be returning home to Italy. Sister Squarcia is an amazing missionary and has blessed so many people's lives and she will continue to do so. I know that Sister Hansen had a good time being companions with Sister Squarcia.

I had a really good exchange with Sister Cole.  She came to Rowlett with me.  We didn't have many lessons scheduled so we ended up tracting a lot. I am amazed by how much Sister Cole has changed into an even more amazing missionary.  She is so bold but also loving.  I love remembering when Sister Cole and I were companions in the MTC and how were we trained together.  We have both changed so much and become much better missionaries than those few months ago. It was so great to be able to be her companion for a day. Sister Cole and I worked so hard, contacted everyone, were exactly obedient, and we were still able to have a great time together and with the people we were talking to. I love Sister Cole so much! I can't believe the 2 of us are a few weeks away from being half finished with our missions.  She taught me so much and reminded me just how fun it is to be a missionary and share the gospel. Sister Cole and I keep trying to convince President Durrant to let us be companions again at the end of our missions- I guess we will wait to see what happens.

Everything else is going great.  The Lord blessed us with 5 investigators at church yesterday!  I don't think I have seen that many at church since my first transfer back in Grand Prairie.  I hope that all of the investigators felt the spirit and it will help them continue to progress toward baptism and coming closer to Christ.  I love being a missionary. I am so grateful to see the rewards that that comes from all of our hard work and obedience this past transfer.

Two of the investigators that attended church were Shawanna and Zavier Stokes and their 2 little girls.  They are such an amazing family.  We only found them a couple of days ago.  They were out playing football as a family, so Sister Hansen and I decided that we needed to talk to them. They were interested in the message we shared about families and they have been wanting to get back to church, so they invited us to come back.  We had a lesson with the Stokes a couple of days later on Saturday and then they came to church on Sunday.  Everyone at church loved this family and believes that they are ready for baptism.  They definitely seem prepared and we hope to keep teaching them and changing their family to become closer to Christ.  They are awesome!

The only downside of this story is what happened when we went to talk to them playing football the first time.  They were playing in the middle of a field with pretty tall grass.  As we were about to step into the field Sister Hansen said, what about chiggers. For those of you who don't know what chiggers are... they are just horrible. From what I understand, they are little black bugs, kinda like ticks, that burrow into you skin and you can't get them back out.  You can't really see chiggers and you also can't really kill them.  I guess you just have to wait until they die and then a couple of months later they will scab over and their dead little bodies will finally fall out of your skin.  Well... I dismissed Sister Hansen's worry about chiggers saying that we needed to talk to the family.  All seemed well.  The next morning I woke up with red, inflamed chiggers burrowed all over in my legs. They itch so terribly and don't look too great either.  Apparently I still had chiggers inside my shoes because I kept getting bites the next few days.  The good news is, all my bites are getting better now and Sister Hansen luckily ended up with no bites.  So that was my bug adventure for the week.

Love y'all and hope you have a good week.

-Sister Peck

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

EMAIL: Mon, October 8, 2012   10:34  AM
Subject:  Conference

Hello Y'all -

This last week felt like a really good week.  Sister Hansen and I were working hard, and of course, there was general conference as well. Sadly, we didn't see much success.  We know that the hard work this past week will influence the success we are able to see this next week and so on.  I love having a companion that just wants to get out and work. It is amazing to see how much Sister Hansen wants to work and not waste any time. She is already somewhat upset that a month of her mission is over and she only has 17 months left. I just keep trying to remind her that she did see a family of three baptized in that month and many other miracles.  Sister Hansen is already a great missionary, and I know she is going to be a great blessing to the TDM.

General Conference was great.  I was definitely surprised about the announcement of the younger age requirements for missionaries. At first I was a little bit upset, because I had really wanted to go on a mission when I was 19 yrs old, and I thought that I was prepared to serve at that time.  Now, I am really excited. I think of slightly younger missionaries, and I believe that there will be a lot more excitement and enthusiasm in the missionary work because of their age. I hope that we are going to see an increase in Sister Missionaries  which is even more exciting.  I can't wait for the potential opportunity that I will have to be a companion with one of these younger missionaries.

Everything is going pretty well right now.  We are working with a less-active family right now.  The parents are starting to come back to church as well as the 3 kids.  One of the sons is 9-years-old and not yet baptized, so Sister Hansen and I are working hard with the family so that the son can get baptized.  His name is Connor (spelled just like my brother, Elder BakBak's name).  Connor is so smart in the gospel.  He basically taught us the Restoration, with us just asking guiding questions along the way. I hope and pray that his family becomes active again, because Connor is ready to be baptized. He has a strong testimony, and he really needs to be in church and primary to make him prepared to sere a mission and then be a worthy priesthood holder for the rest of his life.

The worst news right now is the weather.  The weather in Dallas dropped from 85 degrees Friday night to 50 degrees on Saturday. I am afraid that I got too used to the heat in Texas, and I am now a wimp in the cold. I have been freezing all weekend!!!  After spending so much time walking in the heat outside, I have come to enjoy tracting in the warmth.  Hopefully the weather will warm up a bit. Everyone keeps telling me the winters in Texas change temperature very dramatically from hot to cold. I guess we will see what happens this winter- hopefully I can stay warm.   

I love this work. I love being a missionary.  Thanks for the card, Grandma and Grandpa Riches! Sorry I don't have much more time to write.  

-Sister Peck

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

EMAIL: Mon, October 1, 2012   10:29 AM
Subject:  Life As A Missionary Is Awesome

Hello Y'all!

This last week has been very good. Sister Hansen and I are doing some amazing work together. Of course, there are always struggles, but we are seeing much success from the hard work we have been putting in. It amazes me what a great missionary Sister Hansen is for having been in the TDM for less than 3 weeks. She has a great concern for each of our investigators and just wants to love everybody.  She is also great at teaching and has many new ideas and skills for each of us to try. I love being companions with her and pray a lot that I am also doing my best to help her.

 President Durrant put together a special fireside this week. It was his father, Brother George Durrant, and Sister Susan Easton Black (has such an amazing and extensive knowledge about Joseph Smith). It was so amazing and inspiring. What a testimony building experience. Brother Durrant has such a great sense of humor, and he gave us a great example of being missionaries with a personality so that way people will want to listen. Sister Black talked about proving how the BOM is true when looking at it from an authorial perspective. She personally has found 101 different titles for Christ in the BOM and each time they are used perfectly and correctly. Amazing! How could a farm-boy with little education ever write that? How would Joseph Smith ever know the difference between "God of Israel" and "God of Jacob" or anything like unto it? Wow- The BOM is so amazing and I love it!  Sister Black "proving" the BOM strengthened my testimony of the divinity of the BOM so much. What a wonderful devotional!

One of the best parts this past week was a trip to the temple with the Harper Family.  Sister Hansen and I called and got permission to have a lesson inside the waiting room at the Dallas Temple. It was pretty amazing. We talked about all of the temple ordinances, and Tommy and Rene were very interested. Quinlan is just excited to be able to live with his family forever. We invited also a great family from the ward that have been doing a lot of family history work lately- the husband is also a convert to the church. The member family was amazing and gave great testimonies that were beautifully accompanied by the spirit.  Having a lesson at the temple was great, and the Harpers are looking anxiously forward to their own temple sealing around this time next year.  I love the Harper family! They are super excited for conference this weekend. Rene even attended the RS General Broadcast on Saturday night and loved it. We are already planning for the Harpers to come visit Utah sometime after my mission so y'all can meet them! (and so they can see all the amazing things in Utah)!

Everything else is going very well. Sister Hansen and I are starting to work with many new investigators, which should progress toward  baptisms soon.  I love everybody that we teach. It is so strange to feel love for people that I may have only met on the porch for a few minutes, but I love them and want them to have the gospel. I want our message to bless and change their lives. I want them to truly experience happiness and joy that only comes from living the gospel of Jesus Christ and making those covenants at baptism.  Everyone we meet has so many challenges, and I know that those can be fixed by and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I wish everyone could realize that. It is so sad to me when we start teaching people, and then they decide they no longer want to listen for whatever reason. They just don't get it. They don't get the gospel of Jesus Christ or Heavenly Father's divine potential for each of us. I don't even understand it fully, but I know that it is the only way. It is the Plan of Happiness!! This gospel is so true and I love it!!!

President Durrant has been having all the missionaries memorize a scripture about the gospel of Jesus Christ each week. This week I memorized one about the Holy Ghost, but really it encompasses all parts of the doctrine of Christ. It is Moroni 8:25-26.  It speaks of how when we repent we will want to be baptized (or keep our covenants). Then we will keep the commandments and receive the remission of sins. How great is that? When we keep the commandments we can be cleansed from our sins.  And then we will become meek and lowly of heart- it is then that we will be able to listen to the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost can bring us hope and a perfect love especially as we continue diligently to pray. After all of these things, then shall we dwell with God and all the Saints. I love it so much! The gospel is so simple yet the blessings are immeasurable!

I hope y'all are having a wonderful week. Make sure y'all put time aside for our Savior and His gospel.  I love y'all. I appreciate all of the prayers and support. I love being a missionary. I am having a great time in my mission right now and I feel so blessed! (It makes me want to sing a little song my mission president wrote).  I love helping spread the gospel. It is so exhausting and I love being able to get into bed night, but overall, there is nothing else I would rather be doing.

Love- Sister Peck