Thursday, August 23, 2012

 EMAIL: Mon, August 20    10:19 AM
Subject:  Families Blessed by the Gospel

Howdy Y'all!!!
The first big news is my companion, Sister Pierce, leaves for home this Wednesday.  I am very sad that she is going to be leaving because I have gained many valuable missionary skills from her, but she has completed an amazing mission. Sister Pierce is an amazing missionary and I feel truly privileged to have been her companion for a transfer and a half.  What a blessing to my life as a missionary!

With Sister Pierce leaving, things are going to be changed around a bit. I found out late last night that I am going to be in a trio companionship again.  I am going to be paired up with the Spanish Sisters (Hermana) in the Rowlett area, Hermana Lopez and Hermana Spenner.   I am super excited.   Their apt is super small, so the Hermanas are going to be moving into the Heuer's home with me (the members I currently live with).  The three of us are going to be covering the 3 wards in Rowlett. I will be mostly in charge of the work in Rowlett 1 and Rowlett 2 wards while the Hermanas will stay mostly in charge of the Rowlett 3 Ward (Spanish speaking).  We will spend most of the time together with lessons and tracting, but because we will have a larger area and more people to visit, I may spend a lot of time with some of the female ward missionaries as my companion for a couple of hours.  It should be pretty fun!  And I get to work on my Spanish!  The rumor has it that the Hermanas and I will be a tripanionship for only three weeks, until the end of the transfer, and then I will be back with an English sister, but we will have to wait and see what happens.

A couple people have asked exactly how Brother T (the extremely large Samoan) was baptized a couple of weeks ago. I may have already mentioned that it was outside in a pool. T struggled getting into the pool because of his feet problems, but he had at least 4 men help him in and then at least 5 help him back out. The prayer for the baptism was said by Brother Bawden and then Brother Ryan was on T's other side and Brother Kraus was behind T. They had T with water pretty much just below his chin, so he just had to bend his knees a little and lean back to be immersed, but it still took 2 times. The three men were barely able to get him back out of the water and they also had to support him the entire time. It was a very interesting baptism, but I am so proud of T because he endured through the pain (and embarrassment) to fulfill a commandment of the Lord and be baptized. What a great experience!

One of the reasons that I am happiest to get to stay in Rowlett for now is Renee and her family.  They are doing amazing!!!  On Tuesday, Sister Pierce and I taught Renee. We talked about baptism (we have set a date several times but she was still wary about being baptized).  We told Renee that she could wait to be baptized with her son Quinlan and her husband Tom. This made Renee so happy. She feels like it is right and confirmed by the spirit that she needs to be baptized with her family.  On Friday night we taught the whole family at one of the member's home. (Having lessons at member's home is the best teaching opportunity!!)  We were teaching the Plan of Salvation, and Tom was very interested. He had even read the pamphlet beforehand and had questions that he wanted to ask us. It was pretty amazing because he asked about the three kingdoms and even named them to us with perfect pronunciation without even looking them up first. Even members struggle with remembering the three kingdoms in order! I was so amazed and I knew that Tom had a true interest in what we were sharing with him.  Their son, Quinlan, is also very smart and has a great comprehension and memory. He will be turning 9 years old in September.  The lesson went very well and Renee's family loved the members that we were with.  Then, Renee and her family came to church yesterday. They even stayed for all three hours!  This is the second time they have all been to church and Tom especially is enjoying it.  The members were very welcoming and helpful. One of the elder's quorum counselors even found out that they live only 4 houses away from Renee and family, so he invited Renee's family and me and my companions over to dinner this next Friday and then to teach a lesson. It should be awesome! I am so happy for Renee because getting her family involved is really what was needed to help her progress and have more desire to be baptized.  It is going to take some work, but I know this family (especially Tom) has been prepared by the Lord to become members of the church.  I am so thankful to be a part of their teaching experience! What a blessing and a testimony to my missionary experiences.

Yesterday, Khek (the Laotian baptized at the beginning of July) was able to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. I am so happy for him. Khek is so excited to have this power and authority from God.  He was talking to a friend a couple of days ago about buying a gun to protect his family. After getting the Priesthood yesterday he told us that he no longer needs a gun. Khek said that he knows the Priesthood will protect his family more than any weapon ever would. It is amazing to see Khek's simple, yet strong faith. He is starting to really grasp the principles of the gospel.  The language barrier is starting to disappear and Khek loves what he is learning. I am grateful Khek and Van and progressing in the church.  They have great fellowshippers and friends at church now and they love going. Even their 2 year old Anouxiay loves going to church. He is still a bit of a menace and unruly, but he is so much better than when the gospel was not a part of their lives. Having the gospel in their home, and having the Priesthood, is changing their family. I know they are truly happy and grateful for this gospel. I love this family so much. It is great to see the gospel change lives!

I love y'all. Thank you for letters and emails this past few weeks from the Pierces, Grandma and Grandpa Riches, Uncle Jack, and Brother Bartholomew. Thanks for much for the support.  I am grateful to be a missionary.  I am so excited for these next few weeks that I get to learn and grow by being companions with the Hermanas! I love seeing people accept the gospel. This gospel truly does change lives. More importantly, the gospel blesses families! I hope y'all are reading from the scriptures daily and constantly praying. The Lord blesses us when we keep the commandments.  I know that this is true!

Love- Sister (Hermana?) Peck

Monday, August 13, 2012

EMAIL: Mon, August 13    11:57 PM
Subject:  Fist-sized Spider

Hello Y'all!

I hope everything is going well back at home. Everyone seems to be getting ready to go back to school here in Texas, which is strange to think about. The weather hasn't been too bad lately, which is nice when you are out knocking on doors.

Yesterday was a great day. I wrote last week about Renee who we have been teaching for a couple of months. She is shy and not super open, but I am really starting to see her desire to learn more about the gospel. Sadly, Renee had not been making much of an effort to come to church. On the other hand, she had been telling us that she wanted us to meet with her husband as well, but her husband is a truck driver and only home on the weekends (not a problem for missionaries, but their family is busy on the weekends).  Sister Pierce and I finally decided to go meet Renee, her husband Tom and 8-yr-old son, Quinlyn, early on Sunday morning before church. Renee was just fine with that and even said she would follow us to church after.

So yesterday morning we showed up with a member from the ward. The door was opened by Renee's husband (first time we had ever met him) and he was wearing a suit and tie! Tom was super friendly and quickly invited us in and started chatting with us. Quinlyn, the son, was also dressed up in slacks and a tie. It was so amazing! The whole family was ready to go to church and we hadn't even met Tom or Quinlyn before. We taught them the first lesson, answered all of Tom's questions, and even committed Tom to be baptized if he came to know that the LDS church and the priesthood are true. I was so happy to see Renee's joy at her husband starting to accept the gospel.  The best part was that they then all followed us to church. Everyone was welcoming and even inviting their family to sit by them. Unfortunately, Renee's family couldn't stay all three hours of church because they had relatives coming over, but Tom was telling everyone at church that they would be back next week for all three hours. Quinlyn is also super excited to go to primary. What an amazing experience to see a whole family come to church!!! We are teaching Renee again on Tuesday and the whole family on Friday. I hope that I can stay in Rowlett long enough to continue to teach them and see this family baptized. I love them so much and I want them to have the gospel.

 The rest of the week was pretty good as well. The bugs are getting bigger in Texas. The other night on the driveway to the home where we live, Sister Pierce spotted a giant spider. We got out of the car to look at it and it was bigger than my fist! The most disgusting part was the spider's entire back was covered with its little baby spiders. Gross!  The spider and babies were way to big to squish with a shoe, so Sister Pierce decided that we had to run over it with the car. Yes, the spiders are so big in Texas that they must be ran over with a car!  Unfortunately, we missed, so now the spiders babies and momma are running free around our home. Yuck! It is like the lake and woods by our home has been infested by Shelob's descendants!

Thanks for all the letters this week. I was excited to hear from all of my 2 youngest siblings and of course my parents. Thank you also to the Pierce Family for the card.

Missionary Work is great. I am so excited for Renee and her family!  Don't ever be afraid to take missionary opportunities and share the gospel. Knowing that this gospel is true makes you want to share it with others because y'all know it will bless their lives.

Love- Sister Peck

Thursday, August 9, 2012

EMAIL: Mon, August 6     3:08 PM
Subject:  That's All I've Got!


The work is going well here in Rowlett. My time is interesting right now because my companion leaves to go home (Orem, UT) in just over 2 weeks. She is leaving in the middle of the transfer to be home in time for school, so it makes is interesting for me because I am not really sure where I am going to be going because everyone is already in their companionship for the rest of the transfer.  Not really sure who or where I am going to end up.  Hopefully I can get some information soon, but more than likely they will let me know the Saturday before it happens. I will keep y'all updated.

I forgot to tell y'all that I got to go the Dallas Temple on Tuesday, July 23rd. They let the missionaries go to the temple every 6 months as long as they are serving in an area no more than 1 hour from the temple.  I have now been out for 6 months (crazy!) and Rowlett is about 45 minutes from the temple. My companion, Sister Pierce, had not yet gone to the Dallas Temple, so we decided that it was time to go. Despite the fact that we had to leave the house at 5:40 am, going to the temple was a great experience.  I love the temple so much and I love the peace that it brings even just being on the grounds.  It was an amazing experience to go to a session again!  It was also cool because the member that we live with, Sister Heuer, was even one of the workers in the session that we went to. Awesome! The temple was a great boost and upliftment to help us go out and be missionaries again. The Dallas Temple is pretty and very unique in its architecture. It was very beautiful and peaceful to be there just as the sun was rising over the horizon. If you haven't been to a temple in a while, y'all should go because it will help you with whatever you are going through in your life and will brighten your day so much. I loved being able to go to the temple!  To top it off, Sister Pierce and I even treated ourselves to maple, cream-filled donuts from one of the many little Asian "Donut Shops" that they seem to have at every main intersection in Texas. Yum!

Sister Pierce and I have been teaching a lady named Renee for the last couple of weeks. She started out very timid and shy. Renee would barely even answer our questions and not really talk in the lessons. It has taken some work, but Renee is finally beginning to trust us, and she actually has her own desire to meet with us now.  She is such a sweet lady and so caring- she babysits children out of her home.  I have never met Renee's family, but when we called her a few days ago she told us that she wants us to meet with her husband and 8-yr-old son the next time we come over. Sister Pierce and I are so excited to meet them and pray that they will be a support to Renee and maybe even have their own desires to learn more about the church. Renee is still a little bit wary about being baptized, but her opening up and wanting us to come over is a great sign. Hopefully she will keep progressing and also be able to come to church soon. I love teaching her and sharing my love of the gospel with her. This is one of the great joys of missionary work when people begin to desire to learn more about the church and try to better themselves without the missionaries help.

One of Rowlett's recent converts gave a talk in church on Sunday. He used to be a comedian and he's got a thick Philly accent.  He did a great job, but at the end of his talk he totally forgot (or maybe didn't know) to say, "In the name of Jesus Christ.." Instead he ended his talk, "That's all I've got. Thank you." and promptly sat down. It was pretty funny! I love the members of the church! Rowlett is a great area to be serving in. I love my companion and we are both quite distressed that she is going home so soon. Missionary Work is a great calling. I hope y'all look for opportunities to share the gospel or at least tell others what you believe in.

Thanks for all of the love and support from back home. I love y'all!

That's all I've got. Thank you.
-Sister Peck