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!