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