Monday, May 21, 2012

Hey y'all!

Yesterday we had a special multi-stake conference. Elder Conniker of the First Quorum of the Seventy was presiding. This special conference was for the spliting of our stake, the Richardson Stake. They have organized a new stake that took about 40% of our stake as well as a few wards from 2 other stakes.  This was a pretty momentous occasion because they have been planning to split the stake for the last 4 years.  It is interesting because this split will potentially affect the missionaries too. Right now I am in a District that is my ward (Dallas 4th), the zone leaders ward, the district leaders ward, and the other sisters 2 wards. Now with the splitting of the stake, the sisters are in the new stake. Although the assistants won't tell us exactly what is going to happen, it is very likely that our District will be reorganized soon according to the new stake boundaries. The other sisters will probably not be in our District much longer.  Even with all the ripple effect of changes that will be made, the split for the new stake is very good because it makes it more convenient for members to go to their local church buildings.

This last week Sister Squarcia and I were super busy with appointments. It was kinda crazy! But we love the work, and being so busy is so great.  In fact we have 1 lesson (all with nonmembers) scheduled for every hour of the day tomorrow, which has not happened to me since I have been in this area. The work in our area is really starting to pick up, which is very exciting.  I am starting to see the results of all of the hard work that we have been putting into our work. The Lord is really blessing us and allowing us to see great miracles.  Still, there are always things that missionaries can improve on, so Sister Squarcia and I are trying our hardest to become even more obedient. I know that if we do this we will be blessed to see even more and greater miracles in our area. I love the area that I am in and I love the ward support here. There are so many people that are prepared and it is always the best joy to find these people. 

At the beginning of this year President Durrant extended a challenge to all the missionaries is the TDM to read the entire Book of Mormon and highlight all of the references to the Godhead and "heart".   This morning I finished the Book of Mormon highlighting each of those references. It has been a great experience and helped me gain a lot of motivation to read and study the BOM.  It is very interesting to me to see all the negative or not-so-spiritual references to these words. The number of times that it mentions "hardening their hearts" is incredible but also very sad to see.  The saddest is when the people have a knowledge of the love that God has for them, yet Satan slowly gets a hold of their hearts and they are led away until their hearts are so hard that the gentle Holy ghost cannot penetrate them.  This can relate and be a warning to so many of us. I especially see it with the many people we come in contact with as missionaries. Some of them really have hardened hearts. Some people are willing to listen to us for a while, but then something else distracts them from the true message of the gospel. It is sad that people lose the blessings of the gospel when their hearts become hardened. I hope that I can continually have a soft heart and one that is willing to listen to the promptings of the spirit so I can stay close to the gospel and the path to return to live with my Heavenly Father.

I also was amazed by the number of references to the Godhead throughout the BOM.  Often people will say that every page of the BOM testifies of Christ. I now know for myself that even though every single page does not say "Christ", everything in the BOM does testify back to the Godhead and the principles by which we can each return to live with our Heavenly Father. This Book of Mormon is truly divine. Not only does it speak of our God constantly, the Book of Mormon is also from God. It really is divine revelation written for us. It really is another testament of Jesus Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is true! There is no other explanation for such a text that constantly testifies of principles of eternal importance. I know that the Book of Mormon is what will keep anyone from hardening their hearts and being lead away by Satan. Instead, the BOM will truly lead us unto Christ and life eternal.

If anyone is struggling to read from the Book of Mormon every day or doesn't have a strong testimony of the BOM, I would suggest a similar challenge. Get a cheap blue BOM. Decide on something you need to work on or learn more about- faith, the atonement, the Godhead, etc. Read the entire BOM marking those references. First, you will have a greater desire and motivation to read the BOM everyday because you will have a purpose. Second, you will come to have a greater faith and understanding of the topic you chose to highlight. I am sure there are many other blessings and rewards from doing something similar to this. I recently heard a talk by from Elder Bednar, and he does this very thing. He said that he now has a bookshelf full of cheap, blue BOMs that each are highlighted about a different topic.  I know that it will bless your life, because the highlighting President Durrant asked us to do has changed mine and made me a better missionary. I am also so much closer to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ especially because I am constantly reading about them. The Book of Mormon is from God. It will change your life as you make a consistent effort to read a little bit everyday. I know it and I hope that everyone  who reads my letters (especially those who feel their testimony is lacking or nonexistent) will start now to increase their testimony of the Book of Mormon or whatever principle one may choose to highlight if they accept my challenge. I can promise you great happiness and joy among so many other things. The gospel is so true!!

I love y'all.  Things are great and I truly fill blessed to be a missionary.

Love- Sister Peck

P.S. - Last night we had a little get together for a missionary that is headed today to his mission in Oklahoma. His name is Roberto Orellano - he is the middle elder in the picture. This picture is of all of the missionaries that were here at the Hale's home last night to support him. He bore his testimony before everyone left and he is going to be a great missionary.  Everyone is Spanish-speaking except for me and Sister Squarcia.

Me, Sister Squarcia, Sister Kimball, Sister Wall
Elder Taylor, Elder Ritter, Elder Orellano, Elder Rodriguez, Elder Beatty

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