Thursday, August 8, 2013

Last Weekly Email!

EMAIL:   Mon, August 5, 2013    10:11 AM
Subject:  Last Weekly Email!


How are all y'all doing? It has been a busy week in the Texas Dallas Heaven. Monday, Sister Judd and I moved into the RS President's home for the next 10 days because the sister we lived with is out of town, and we can't stay there with just her husband home at night. I left most of my things at the Simpson's home, so it has made it interesting and a little stressful to not be able to pack and prepare myself.

Tuesday, my district took me out to lunch at Brahm's (a TX favorite) after my last district meeting. Plus, I was also the winner of the district challenge to see who could read the most of the BOM in 3 weeks.  It was really fun to spend time with my last district and have lunch together.

Wednesday, I had a Mission Leader Meeting all day in Dallas. It was a really great meeting!! I learned so many things that I wish I has used earlier and applied better in my mission.  It is great to be taught and inspired by all of the great leaders in the mission. The TDM truly has some of the best elders and sister missionaries!! 

Thursday, my district helped out a local Presbyterian church with their garden. It was so much fun and we are going to continue doing service there for a long time. The garden has 15 plots, so we are trying to get the members of our wards to plant and take care of one of the plots. Thursday night was our monthly RS activity. It was Zumba!  The activity was really fun and a giant success. We had 15 nonmembers there and just as many less actives.

Friday, we did the usual Paint the Town service painting the fire hydrants. I will really miss this service. Maybe they will let me paint the fire hydrant up in Kamas (although they won't be the fun silver and blue that they are in TX).  Then we did more service at a shelter called Family Promise. They help families find jobs and homes. Sister Judd and I have been doing crafts with a girl named Roujean from Iran. She speaks English, but her native language is Persian.  Then on Friday night we did an exchange with my old area, Plano 6th. It was really great because I was able to be companions again with Sister Horne (my comp last transfer). She has really grown and progressed as a missionary. We had a great time talking with everyone and asking people to learn more about the gospel.

Saturday afternoon, our investigator Ben fed us lunch. He wanted to do something for me before I leave TX. It was great and tasty spaghetti. Unfortunately, Ben was unable to come to church yesterday because he threw out his back. He plans to come next Sunday though. 

Saturday night, Sister Judd and I were able to attend the baptism of Ivan Suarez.  It was a wonderful baptism. The Solanos were there as were a few of my friends from back in Plano.  A bunch of the missionaries were there that had also taught Ivan, as well as President and Sister Durrant. The baptism was simple, brief, and very spiritual.  Sister Judd and I taught the message of the Restoration while Ivan was changing clothes.  Sister Judd did a really great job, and the spirit was so strong. For the people that listened, they definitely felt the spirit and knew why we claim to be the only true church on the earth. 

Sunday was a great day. I bore my testimony to the ward and almost made it through without crying. We spent the evening doing missionary work and also saying goodbye to some of the members.  It is amazing how much an impact a missionary can have on a ward even though they have only been there 6 weeks. I love the Allen 5th ward. I will miss the members so much.

I want to tell y'all how proud I am of Sister Judd, in the right sort of way. She is going to be taking over the Allen 5th ward area. Although she has only been a missionary 6 weeks, Sister Judd is going to be the senior companion. This is pretty crazy because that means she also has to train herself for the next 6 weeks until her training is officially over. Her new companion is going to be Sister Otto, and they will be a very great companionship.  I am so happy for Sister Judd. She is a fantastic missionary!! I know that she will see miracles and much success the rest of her mission.

I want to thank each of you for your love and support and prayers on my mission. I look forward to seeing some of you in the next few days, and hopefully I will be able to see all of my Texas friends in the next few months. I love y'all so much! Thanks for your love in return.

I love my mission so much! I can't even fully explain how I feel right now.  This is the greatest opportunity that I have had in my life. I am so extremely grateful to have served a mission in the Texas Dallas Heaven. I love it here, and I am really, really going to miss it. I love the people of Texas. I love my companions. I love my members. I love my mission president, President Durrant, and his family. I love Texas! I love my mission!

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom again on the earth.  I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that the fullness of the gospel was restored through him. I know that Thomas S. Monson is our prophet today that leads and guides our church. I know that the Book of Mormon is scripture. It was written by prophets. The Book of Mormon is true.  I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. I know that it is only through Him and His Atonement that we can live forever as families in the presence of Heavenly Father. I know that Christ loves each one of us and He always knows how we feel. I know that I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father and I know that He loves me and knows me.

I am so grateful for this gospel. I am grateful to know and understand and to have taught the Doctrine of Christ.  I am very sad to be leaving my mission, but I know that everything that I have taught for the last 18 months is true. I know that I can continue to be a missionary the rest of my life. Now is the time to take off my actual name bag, and paint the name of Christ on my heart. I love my mission! I am so grateful for every moment.

Love always- Sister Peck

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 29, 2013 Allen, TX

Hello Y'all!!
I just want to tell all y'all how much I love my mission! I have loved being here in the Texas Dallas Heaven for the last 18 months of my life. I can barely believe that I have barely a week left of my mission.  I love it here, and I don't really want to leave!

 Last week was a good week. Ben came to church again.  He went to Gospel Principles without us (because Sister Judd and I were teaching sharing time,) and we heard the lesson went very well.  Ben told some of the members that he will be back at church this coming week.

The Lord provided me a little tender mercy this week... a Baptism!  Here's the story:  While I was serving in Plano 6th I spent a lot of time with a recent convert family The Solanos.  Many of you may remember the Solanos from my previous letters. They were baptized in October, they fed us cow tongue tacos, their daughter Sophia calls us the "sister-maries" and she wants to come home with me to Utah. I love the Solanos! Well, during the time that I taught the Solanos, Sister Solano's brother Ivan would often be there.  I taught Ivan the Restoration and a few other lessons.  During that time he also started truly investigating the church with the missionaries in Little Elm where he lives.  I still remember one day that I was talking with Ivan. He had been taught he first few lessons by the other missionaries. I asked if the elders had invited him to be baptized. Ivan responded no. I explained to him about baptism and overcame a few of his concerns.  That same evening, the missionaries invited him to be baptized and Ivan accepted.  Now a few months later, Ivan is going to be baptized this Saturday!! I am very excited for him!  We are planning to attend the baptism this weekend. 

    It has been wonderful to see how the gospel has changed the Solanos' lives, so much so that they can't help but share it with everyone else. Because of their examples and desire to share the gospel, Sister Solano's brother is being baptized. Her mom is also taking the lessons, so hopefully more of the Solano family will come into the fold of God.  I would hope that each of us would live the gospel in such a way that others would want to have the gospel for themselves. I would hope that we take opportunities to share the gospel whether with our family, friends, or even strangers.  Although I may be a full-time missionary now, it is each member's responsibility to always share the fullness of the restored gospel with others.  I look forward to being a missionary throughout my life and bringing many more people to know their Savior Jesus Christ and His gospel.

I love y'all so much!  I want to thank everyone that sent me encouraging and uplifting emails today and letters throughout the last week.  All of your advice, love, and support has given me strength and determination to endure to the end and work diligently as a missionary.  President Durrant recently wrote a poem that has influenced my mission. I want to share just 2 stanzas that describe how I feel. It is called "I love Jesus Christ"...
He died for me. He gave his life.
He lifts me up and mends all my strife.
He loves me true like no other.
He saves my soul. He's my elder brother.
I love Jesus. I love Jesus. I love Jesus Christ.
I'm in Texas! I love it here!
Serving the Lord brings me lots of cheer.
I'll love and serve in every way.
I'll give my all 'til the very last day.
I love Jesus! I love Jesus! I love Jesus Christ!
I truly love it here in Texas! I love being a missionary! I plan to work hard and diligently until the end of my mission. I am very emotional about leaving my mission, but I know that I can continue to serve the Lord even after I return home next week. to I plan to keep sharing my testimony and the light of Christ throughout my life.

 I love the gospel. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is truly the Lord's kingdom once again restored to the earth in it's purity and fullness. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and I know that Thomas S. Monson is our prophet today. I know that the Book of Mormon is true!! It has changed my life. I love sharing the gospel with the people of the Texas Dallas Mission. I love the people I have met. I love the companions I have had. I love Texas!

 I love all y'all so much.  Thanks for all of the love and support. Thanks for praying for me and encouraging me.
love always- Sister Peck

July 22, 2013 Allen, TX

Howdy!  How are y'all doing this week?

Good news is that our investigator Ben came to church again this Sunday. He had a much better time than the previous week.  Sacrament meeting was wonderful! The first 2 talks were about faith. Sister Judd and I performed the special musical number "Lead Kindly Light". The last talk was from a member that is leaving on a mission in a few weeks. His talk was about obedience.  Many people greeted Ben after church.  Gospel principles was about Tithing, and the teacher did a fantastic job teaching about the idea of "offering" and "sacrificing" for the Lord. Ben participated in the lesson and asked many questions. He did the same thing in Priesthood Quorum. Overall, Ben seemed to have a spiritually uplifting time at church this Sunday.

We also had a great lesson with Ben on Saturday. We met at the church and showed him where his classes would be. Then we had a lesson in the chapel and talked on the sacrament. The bishop was present as well as a recently returned missionary. Ben even commented on how he felt the spirit in the chapel that day.  It went very well.

Over the last two weeks I have been on exchanges with Sister Erickson (serving in Wylie), Sister Simpson (Carrollton), and Sister Otto (Allen 7th).  All of the exchanges went very well and I appreciated learning from each of these great sister missionaries.  I feel bad for Sister Judd because we have spent a lot of time away from each other lately.  I am also grateful for Sister Judd because she is willing to do what is asked of her and always learn from her experiences.  She is a great missionary. I love that Sister Judd is not ashamed to do anything. She talks to everyone and is really striving to get to know everyone that we talk to.  She has great charity for others.  Sister Judd is also very dedicated to serving the Lord and giving her all as a missionary. I greatly appreciate her diligence and obedience. She has always taken ownership of the Allen 5th ward and the work we are doing here. Sister Judd is going to be great and do great things after I leave.

One of my favorite service projects that we do every week is painting fire hydrants.  Every Friday morning all of the Allen missionaries gather in bright orange "paint the town" shirts and go to work painting fire hydrants.  It is so much fun! The strange thing is that there are no red fire hydrants here in Texas.  All of the first hydrants are silver. Silver with different colored tops to indicate the size of the water line. So all of the fire hydrants that we have been painting are silver and blue. The paint is pretty durable, so I usually have splatters of paint all over for the few days after painting. A few weeks ago, Sister Judd got the tips of her long blonde hair in the blue paint. The tips of her hair are still blue! I love doing service and being able to talk to people when we are around the town covered in paint. Serving and "doing good" as Christ did brings so many more opportunities to share the gospel.

I love it here! Allen is a really great place.  It has everything that you need nearby, but there is still enough of the country around.  We have a giant cornfield in the middle of our area, which is always fun to see.  The members are great here and the people are generally very nice.  Just as all Texans, the people of Allen love their high school football. They spent 61 million dollars building a football stadium. The thing is huge! It is bigger and better than most junior college stadiums. To top that, the marching band at Allen High has 800 members. Pretty crazy! I love Texans! When they enjoy something, they put everything into it. Allen is a really great place.

This week I was studying in Jacob 5- the allegory of the olive tree.  I was particularly stuck by verses 70-75. The final time that the Lord gathers his vineyard, he calls for his servants to help him. This represents our time right now. I am one of the servants that the Lord has called to help gather souls to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In verse 72 it states that the servants labored with their mights. They also obeyed all of the commandments of the Lord. They were exactly obedient! Because of their service and diligence, the Lord labored along with his servants.  I have seen this in my mission. As I am obedient and diligent, the Lord really helps us with the work. He really does direct us to souls that are prepared to hear the message and accept the gospel.  I love verse 75 when the Lord checks the vineyard for the final time. The fruit is again good and the Lord is happy. He then declares, "And blessed art thou: for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments... behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard." I have felt this from the Lord. The joy of bringing souls to Christ is indescribable. The blessings and happiness of bringing souls to Christ is much more than all of the disappointments and rejection that you encounter as a missionary.  

I am so grateful to be a missionary in the hands of the Lord!  I love serving in the Texas Dallas Heaven! I feel so blessed and so full of joy. I am grateful for the lives that I have seen changed as a missionary. I am grateful for my own change of heart. I am grateful for the Atonement of my Savior Jesus Christ. I love Jesus Christ and I plan to give my all as a missionary until the very last day. I love being a missionary!!   I love y'all so much. Thanks for your continual love, support, and prayers.

Love always- Sister Peck      

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Allen, Tx

EMAIL:   Mon, July 15, 2013    3:49 PM
Subject:  Weekly Email!


Sacrament Meeting yesterday was a disaster!! Sister Judd and I were able to get out investigator Ben to come to church.  It is the first time Allen 5th has had anyone to church in months. But... church was interesting.  First, all of the Bishopric was gone. Then, Ben had had a rough night and was not in a very good mood. While he was waiting in the hall, someone rang the loud annoying bell right over his head, and Ben was not too happy. So by the time we went into sacrament, Ben was not very open to feeling the spirit. Ben also believes that religion should be all about worshiping God. The first talk was pretty great on the Holy Ghost. The second talk was a good talk, but it was about temples. The speaker did not mention God or Christ at all. Ben kept asking in a loud voice when they were planning on worshipping God. So by the third talk, Ben was not happy. And guess what... The talk was assigned by the stake presidency to talk about cleaning our church building and being reverent in them.  Unfortunately, Ben saw this as just protecting our "money" because he still doesn't quite get that everything in the church is volunteer. He didn't realize how all of these topics tie back to God. Ben was so infuriated by the middle of the third talk that didn't "praise God" that he quite literally and loudly stormed out of church. Oh dear. Blessedly, the Elder Quorum President followed Ben out, and after Ben got in a yelling fight with another member in the hallway, The EQP gave Ben a ride home.  They did have a good chat on the drive, and Ben is still willing to meet with us and he said he would even come back to church next week. What a relief!

That is probably the most exciting thing that happened here this week. Poor Sister Judd- her first investigator at church and he stormed out.  I can't blame Ben too much because he is right, sacrament meeting should be a time that we worship our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  For an entire meeting to not even mention their names is probably not the best. Hopefully the Bishop can better arrange the meeting to talk about Christ next week when Ben comes to church again. The Bishop is also going to come to a lesson at Ben's this week with us. Sister Judd and I will be doing a lot of explaining and overcoming concerns this week with Ben.  It should be interesting.

Everything else is going pretty well in Allen 5th. Sister Judd is a great missionary. I am so happy to be her companion. I know that she will do great things here in Allen 5th and for the rest of her mission. I appreciate her willingness to work diligently and be obedient. I love her so much.  I love all of the companions that I have had.  I love all of the areas that I have served in Texas. I love my mission!!! 

I love y'all so much!  May y'all have a blessed week.

Love -Sister Peck

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Allen, TX

EMAIL:   Mon, July 8, 2013    12:51 PM
Subject:  Hello! 

How are y'all doing this week?  We have been keeping busy in Allen 5th ward. The weather has been fantastic the last week and never over 100 degrees. It has been a blessing for riding a bike around - the nice weather probably won't last too much longer though.  Sister Judd and I have been doing a lot of work to contact all of the mini mission questionnaires.  We have contacted a few and have a couple of return appointments this week.

Allen had a huge 4th of July celebration the previous weekend.  Sister Judd and I were a few miles away from the park (sadly out of our area or we would have talked to hundreds of people), and we could still clearly make out the music. It was the lead singer of the old band "Styx". Then they had a 30 minute firework show.  By this time, Sister Judd and I were home but we could see the fireworks clearly out our window. It was outstanding!  The show ended at 10:28 with just enough time for us to quickly jump into bed.

Tuesday I went on an exchange with Sister Birch that is serving up in Sherman 2nd ward.  She has a unique personality and keeps things fun and entertaining.  She chose to ride my bike because the seat looked more comfy, but my bike was a little tall for her so she did struggle getting on and off.  Sister Birch has a great potential as a missionary. We taught a lesson that was unplanned and she jumped right in and helped me teach. It was a great exchange.  Sister Judd spent that day up in Sherman 2nd and really seemed to enjoy the country up there.

One of the investigators that we are focusing on right now is named Ben.  Sister Judd and I stopped to talk to Ben on our second night in Allen.  Ben is very open-minded and had even been learning from the Jehovah's Witnesses, so he was also very willing to listen to us.  Now, he doesn't listen to the JWs. Ben meets with us a couple times a week and is really enjoying reading the Book of Mormon. He says that he knows that it is true, but he doesn't quite believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet yet.  Ben is doing great but claims no religion, so we haven't been able to set a baptismal date yet. Hopefully soon. Ben knows that I won't be in Allen much longer, so he promised to come to church this next week, and he wants to meet with us as often as possible.  He even remarked the  other day that he is grateful that we stopped to talk to him.  I am also grateful that Sister Judd and I strive to talk to everyone because now we have the great opportunity to teach Ben and invite him to come closer to the Savior.

 I love being a missionary!!! This is the greatest thing that I ever could be doing. I am so grateful to serve in the "Texas Dallas Heaven". President Durrant is the best mission president that I could hope to serve under.  I love it here in Texas. Serving the Lord brings me so much happiness and joy.  I love sharing the gospel and teaching people.

I love y'all so much! Thank you for your support and love!

My new address is
5809 Overton Drive
Allen, TX 75002

May y'all have a blessed week! Don't forget to read from the Book of Mormon every possible day. I love the Book of Mormon! It has changed my life!

Love always - Sister Peck

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Area

EMAIL:   Mon, July 1, 2013    10:06  AM
Subject:  new area

Hello Everyone!

How has all y'alls week been?  Mine has been pretty crazy and busy, but it has been great. On Tuesday I picked up my new companion. Her name is Sister Judd. She is 22 and blonde (just her hair color) and is from Phoenix, Arizona.  She is in the nursing program right now at BYU.  I can't tell y'all enough about how fantastic Sister Judd is.  She is so willing to go out and work even though she just came from the MTC.  She is not afraid of talking to anybody.  Our very first door we knocked on, I expected to lead the conversation and give Sister Judd a good example.  Instead, as soon as the contact opened the door, Sister Judd was talking to him and sharing the gospel with him. I don't think I said a single word that whole contact because I was so stunned and amazed at my courageous companion. I am so grateful to have a companion that talks to contacts, investigators, members, and everyone else.  Sister Judd already is an outstanding missionary! She is going to work miracles throughout her entire mission because she is very dedicated to serving a mission and seeing fruits from her labors.

Allen 5th is my new area.  It is only about a mile away from my old area of Plano 6th. The Allen 5th ward has been doing "mini missions" with their youth. Basically, they have knocked on every door in the area over the past few months and asked the people to fill out a questionnaire.  There were a few questions to see about people's interest about learning more of the truths that we share in our church. The final question asks if they would allow two young people to come share more at their homes.  So when Sister Judd and I arrived in Allen, we were handed 90 questionnaires of people that were willing to allow us to come share more. Fantastic!! Now the only problem is getting back in touch with all of these people, but I am sure with Sister Judd we will soon be seeing miracles and many new investigators. There is so much work to be done in Allen 5th, and the ward is doing it. I am so grateful to be serving in this area for my final transfer as a missionary.

Everything else is going great.  I am living with members, The Simpsons, in a very nice home. I am borrowing a bike from our Bishop Blacker. Actually something interesting is Bishop Blacker's son, Ty, served his mission in the Marshall Islands. He was there with Elder Peck (my younger brother) for about three months when Elder Peck first started serving there. Small world!
I love the Allen 5th Ward! I love my companion! I am so grateful to be a missionary! Sorry this is a short letter, but we are on the run today to get everything prepared for the week (I still haven't really unpacked yet since I moved in last Tuesday).

I love all y'all!!  May the Lord bless each of you in your endeavors.

Love always - Sister Peck

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

EMAIL:   Mon, June 24, 2013    12:41 PM
Subject:  transfer

Hello Y'all!

This week is transfers and it turns out that I am going to be leaving the Plano 6th area.  I was hoping to finish my mission in Plano since I have only 6 weeks left, but I have been feeling all along that that wouldn't be the case.  Tomorrow morning I am going to be heading to my new area, Allen 5th Ward.  It is only a couple of miles away from Plano, but I will be in a new stake and in a new zone.  I am also being double transferred into Allen 5th - we will have to do some more work there to get people used to working with sister missionaries.  My new companion is... well, she should be arriving on a plane in Texas anytime now.  Looks like I will be training one last time on my mission.  As far as I know, I will be living with a member and I will be riding a bike.

I am very sad to be leaving the Plano area.  I am very attached to the people here. On the other hand, I know that the Lord needs me in Allen. I know that I am supposed to be training a new sister missionary.  I know that I have something to offer the Allen 5th ward in the short time I will be there. I am excited for this new adventure. Most especially, I am grateful in the Lord's and President Durrant's trust and confidence in me to labor in this portion of the vineyard.

I love being a missionary! I am excited to keep working hard and preaching the gospel to the Lord's elect in Texas! I love Texas!  President Durrant often sings us a little song that sums up how I feel about Texas.

It goes: I'm in Heaven! I'm in Heaven! In the Texas Dallas Mission, I'm in Heaven!

I am so grateful to be serving a mission in the Texas Dallas Heaven. There is no other place I would rather be right now! I have met so many people that have changed my life.  I am so grateful that I have had the blessing to teach God's children about His gospel.  The gospel is truly amazing.  I love sharing it.  I love being a missionary!

Love always - Sister Peck
EMAIL:   Mon, June 17, 2013     3:55 PM
Subject:  Happy Father's Day!


Hope y'all had a good week. Happy Father's Day to my Dad, Grandpa, Papa, and all of the other men that read my emails. I hope that y'all had a great day yesterday.

This week we finally got in touch with Patty.  We were stopping by her apartment right as she pulled up after grocery shopping.  Patty invited us in for a little after commenting how "persistent" we missionaries are.  The reason why we haven't seen Patty lately is because she is "running away" again.  The last time we saw Patty was at church on Mother's Day, and she said that she did not enjoy church at all. Basically, Patty said she felt bored and uncomfortable (not for lack of people greeting her).  In the end, Patty said we can come by and visit whenever we catch her home. She said we can even talk about Jesus when we come. But she said that she is not going to read from the Book of Mormon, and she is definitely not going to come to church again.  I am not sure why Patty had such an awful time at church because plenty of people said hi and she even participated in the Sunday school lesson. I guess that change can be uncomfortable sometimes. Aligning our life with God and repenting is not always comfortable. Patty thinks she will go back to the Catholic church because it is comfortable there.

It made me really sad to she how much Patty has digressed and fallen away from what we taught her. She has had so many miraculous and truth-confirming experiences with the Book of Mormon. I don't know how she can deny it. I wish we had spent more time helping her recognize the spirit and how we can receive answers from God. I love Patty and I still hope and pray for the best for her. I know if she were to read from the BOM again that she would be blessed and it would help her overcome all of the problems and temptations she is facing. I hope that one day she will pick the BOM off her shelf and read a verse that will help her. I hope that she can remember the experiences that she has had with the BOM.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true! It is scripture from our loving Heavenly Father and it will help us overcome our trials and temptations. Reading from the Book of Mormon will bring us peace and happiness in our lives.

We found out one of our new investigators has sleep apnea this week. That explains why he often falls asleep multiple times in our lessons. Makes me feel a little better that I am not so boring. Sister Horne and I are not really sure how to keep teaching him yet, but we definitely want to go back because the 19-year old son is interested.  I guess we are going to have to teach short and powerful 10 minute lessons (because he starts falling asleep after 10 minutes). Should be interesting.

Yesterday I ate "grits" for the first time. It amazes me some of the things the southern people down here eat. I must say that I really enjoyed the grits though with some sausage and eggs in it. Yum!

I hope that y'all have a wonderful week. May the Lord bless each of you.

Love always - Sister Peck

Friday, June 14, 2013

EMAIL:   Mon, June 10, 2013     4:54 PM
Subject:  The Gospels


I am sorry that I don't have too much time to write today. It has been a pretty good week for us. I love being a missionary. 

I wanted to tell y'all about a challenge that President Durrant gave the missionaries this year. He asked us each to read the "Gospels" (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and mark all of the references to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, and Endure to the End). I finished this invitation this week, and I wanted to share just a little about what I learned:   Searching for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Gospels was much more difficult than searching in the Book of Mormon. I have such a love and appreciation for the Book of Mormon because it is so clear and simple.  To me, there is no way to read from 2 Nephi 31 and think that we don't need to be baptized or receive the Holy Ghost. There is no way to read through Ether 3 and 12 and not understand the importance and essential nature of Faith. The Book of Mormon is so clear. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for providing us another witness to the reality and mission of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is true.

I also know that the Bible contains truth. I enjoyed reading about Christ and His miracles. Each miracle taught me a great deal about having faith.  Even though the Gospels don't often use the word "repent", I felt as though that was the message that Christ was trying to share throughout His ministry and through the parables. As I searched, I felt that Christ was beckoning each of us to repent and increase our faith and then we will have the opportunity to gain eternal life.  I really appreciate the challenge to read from the Gospels and mark the references to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The whole Doctrine of Christ truly is taught in the Gospels.  As we learn about Christ and His gospel through the bible, it truly adds validity to the LDS Church. As we study the Bible with the Book of Mormon, our misunderstandings are cleared and we know exactly what Christ expects of each one of us. I know that we must have faith, repent, be baptized after the same manner of Christ, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. This is the gospel taught of Christ. This is the way that we can be saved and clean to return to live with our Heavenly Father again.  I am so grateful to be a missionary and teaching this gospel to all of the lovely Texans!

Everything else seems to be going great! I love sharing the gospel! I love teaching lessons! I love being a missionary!

Thanks y'all for your love and support. Thanks for the letters and the prayers and the encouragement.

I love you each so much!!!

Love always, Sister Peck

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

EMAIL:   Tues, June 4  9:56  AM
Subject:  New Investigators


This week has gone by very quickly. I feel like I just wrote y'all a few days ago. The week was very good though.

The TDM had a challenge in May to find 1400 new investigators (more than has ever been found before in our mission). So by the beginning of Friday morning, the mission still had to find around 90 new investigators. New investigators are someone that has been taught a principle of the gospel, prayed with the missionaries, and agreed to a specific return appointment. Friday evening, we still had to find many new investigators, so Sister Horne and I went hard to work. In Plano it is always very difficult to find new investigators, so I prayed fervently that Sister Horne and I would be guided to find at least one new investigator to help the TDM reach our goal. I also prayed that the other missionaries would be lead and guided by the spirit to know where to go, and what to do, and what to say.

We biked to an apartment complex were a promising potential investigator lived. Sadly, he wasn't home, even though I had felt really good about stopping by to visit him. So, Sister Horne and I decided to stop by some other people in the apartment complex which also felt like a good decision. On the way, we walked by one of the kids of an LA member playing with one of the kids (Janiyah) of a potential investigator. We had tried to teach Janae numerous times before, but we could never keep contact with her and really help her to investigate the church. I waved at the kids. Janiyah came running over to me and gave me a big hug. She said "come teach me about Jesus" and grabbed my hand to take me to her mom. Poor Sister Horne was so confused what was going on, but just followed quietly behind. To try and keep it short, basically we were able to teach the mom, Janea, a lesson and also set up a specific return appointment with her the next morning. We had a new investigator! At 8:00 that night the mission still had to find 13 new investigators, but we did it. Even President Durrant and his daughter Deanna went out tracting and found a family to teach. When they totaled the May results the next morning the mission had found 1448 new investigators! It is always such a great feeling to accomplish a goal that so many people have strived to reach. I know it was the Lord that led Sister Horne and I to contact Janea again that day. Janea hadn't even crossed my mind to contact, but I know that the Lord led us to that apartment complex and also led our path to walk by her daughter, Janiyah. We would never have found Janea on our own without the guidance of the spirit. I love being a missionary! I am grateful for the Holy Ghost's companionship in my life.

We were able to teach Janea again on Saturday, and we have a lesson set up for this week. Sister Horne and I were also able to find 2 more investigators on Saturday morning. It is a father and son, both named Gerald. They are just moving into the apartments, so it will be a few days before we can teach them. I am very excited to teach Gerald Jr. (19 years) again because he seemed very interested as we taught the restoration.

Yesterday, Wardel and his son Taylor came to church!! They were a little bit late, but they stayed for the whole time and enjoyed the services. The only complaint Taylor had was that he was hungry. Taylor's teacher reported that he answered questions in class and participated. Wardel also did the same in our classes. It is always a wonderful feeling to have investigators come to church. I know that it is the spirit that truly inspires them to come to church because they have felt the quiet guidance in their hearts. Wardel has a baptismal date set for the middle of July. Taylor is also excited to be baptized, but he is leaving for his mom's home this summer, so unless he gets baptized there, Taylor will have to wait until the fall. He is an adorable and very smart 9-yr-old and everyone loved him at church. I am also very impressed with Wardel's understanding of the gospel and his desire to keep learning more and doing the things that can bless his life. I pray that Wardel can keep progressing and be baptized, then he can set the example for Taylor when he returns this fall.

I love being a missionary! This is the greatest thing ever! I enjoy almost every phase of missionary work, but my favorite thing is to teach lessons about the gospel. I know the gospel is true! I have grown to understand the gospel so much as a missionary. The gospel has truly changed my life and I have seen it change so many others too. I know that God's plan is truly perfect, even though our natural man may not understand fully at times. I know that Christ is our Savior. It is only through Him and His grace and mercy that we can return clean to live with our Heavenly Father again. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. He loves every one of us because we are His children. The Book of Mormon is an example of God's love for all of His children. God didn't just love the Jews in Jerusalem, but He loves all of His children everywhere. I love the Book of Mormon! I learn from it every time that I read and ponder it. I yearn for more time everyday to study and feast upon the Book of Mormon. I can't get enough of the knowledge and spirit that comes from studying the Book of Mormon. I love sharing the Book of Mormon with other people. It is such a precious gift given to us by our loving Heavenly Father. I hope that each of you are striving to read from the words of Christ daily. I know without a doubt that it will bless your life especially as you ponder and pray with sincerity and real intent.

I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon. I am grateful for the experiences that I have had as a missionary. I am grateful for the opportunity we have in this life to learn and progress. I know that the Lord will guide us as we ask and seek. I cannot fully express my gratitude for my Savior Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to be His representative and share His gospel with others. I love Jesus Christ!!

I hope that all y'all have a wonderful week! May the Lord bless each one of you.

Love always - Sister Peck

Saturday, June 1, 2013

EMAIL:   Tues, May 28  11:18  AM
Subject:  Hello

Howdy Y'all!

I hope that y'all have had a fantastic week. Happy Memorial Day! Because of the holiday, President Durrant asked us to work longer yesterday and take the time to email today.

This last week has been hard work but also a lot of fun at the same time. Sadly we haven't been able to see our investigator Patty for a while because she has been out of town and then sick before that. Patty gets back in town in a couple of days, so hopefully we can see and teach her soon.

We lost our one of our investigators this last week, which was really sad because I felt like she was starting to progress again. Sandra has been investigating the church for many years. She came to church on Mother's Day. Sandra never comes to Relief Society Meeting, so when I saw that she was going to skip that class again I went over and invited her. I tapped Sandra on the shoulder and then all I asked was if she would like to come to Relief Society. She flipped her head angrily at me and said that she didn't want to come and "don't talk to me about it ever again" then she stormed out of church. Well this was 2 weeks ago, and we have been trying to get a hold of Sandra. Finally she text us back on Sunday. She told us that she is going to go to a different ward and find new missionaries to teach her. I feel so bad that I possibly offended Sandra. I often was loving but bold with her. I wanted her to make commitments that would help her increase her faith and help her progress towards baptism. I hope that whichever new missionaries Sandra finds can help her make the steps to becoming a member of the church. Sandra knows that the church is true and that the Book of Mormon is true. I hope that Sandra can feel the spirit prompting her to make changes and find true happiness and peace in her life.

The rest of the week has been pretty good though. Friday night Sister Horne and I were riding our bikes home. All of the sudden we had a sudden Texas rainstorm. We biked for cover at a store. Our usual person that can pick us and our bikes up had lent her truck for the day, so we were stuck, and we really didn't have time to wait for someone to come save us. Finally the rain let up enough for us to bike home. We rode for about 10 minutes and the rain started pouring again. Within a matter of moments we were drenched. I have never been so wet and soggy in my entire life (short of jumping in a swimming pool). It was raining buckets!! Poor Sister Horne though. I thought of how pathetic we must look, and I couldn't help but laugh. Soon Sister Horne was laughing and enjoying the pouring rain too. The rain was so hard we had to walk our bikes home through the flooded Texas streets. We made it home a little late and very, very wet, but we were safe. Once I decided to be happy in the situation, I had so much fun getting wet. It will definitely be a memorable mission experience.

Yesterday I also had another first experience. Sister Horne and I went to the Solanos for a cookout. They made us "lengua" tacos! Tongue Tacos!! Of course there was other meat too, but I did eat an entire taco with tongue meat. I couldn't pass up such an opportunity (even though it looked really gross to watch her peel the skin off and still see the taste buds on the meat). The tongue pretty much just tastes like meat but just a little more chewy. Not too bad, although I don't think I ever need to do it again. Sister Horne thinks I am crazy, although I got her to take a bite too.

Another funny story about the Solanos this week. Every time we visit I tell their little girl, Sofia (3 yrs old), that I am going to bring her home to Utah with me. She always says she doesn't want to go because she wants to stay with her papi and mami. This has been going on for about a month. This Sunday as Sister Solano was dropping us at home, Sofia started taking off her seat belt and telling her mom "I'm going to Utah with Sister Peck". Oh man! As we ate with them yesterday, Sofia kept telling everyone that she is going to pack her clothes and come with me to Utah to see the mountains and my doggies. The Solanos just laugh and keep teasing her about it. I've had to stop teasing her though because I am afraid she is going to be really sad when she can't come with me in a couple of months. On the other hand, I am happy to finally have gained Princess Sofia's love and trust. Maybe I will have to bring her home with me :) The Solanos will be visiting Utah sometime in the next year, so hopefully that will placate Sofia.

The best news of the week is that we just got a new ward missionary. Kelli Burns (that recently came back to church) was called to work with us. She is outstanding! We have been talking with Kelli a lot, and we already have tons of new ideas to help people catch the vision of missionary work in the ward. We are going to start with teaching all of the presidents and counselors of the auxiliaries the message of the Restoration. This way we can build their trust and confidence in them. We can also then show them what we expect of members that come teaching with the missionaries. Our ultimate goal is to help each of these families feel comfortable coming out teaching with us and also seek for missionary opportunities of their own. I am really excited to work with Kelli. It is miraculous to think that only a few months ago she had not come to church is over 10 years. Now Kelli is fully active, has a calling, and is working diligently to help increase the missionary spirit in the ward. How wonderful! Kelli is also taking full responsibility for each of our investigators. She is fellowshipping them and she is even planning on taking one of them to a 12-Step program each week. I love Kelli! Hopefully with her help, we will have more wonderful members like her soon.

Well I hope that all y'all have a great week! I know that I will! I love being a missionary. It is so great and such a blessing to serve the Lord. I have been memorizing St. John 4:35-36 this week. The Savior tells His disciples that the harvest is now! I am trying to be diligent and have the perspective that there are souls prepared now and there will be souls in four months too. I love the promise that the Savior also gives. He promises that both he that soweth and he that reapeth shall find joy in the harvest. Also in Jacob 5:75 the Lord gives His servants joy as they do harvest diligently and obediently. This is why I love missionary work; even though it can be hard and it can be sad, the joy is immeasurable. I love having joy in the Lord and in His work. I love being a missionary!!

Love always - Sister Peck

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

EMAIL:   Mon, May 20, 2013     4:34PM
Subject:  New Companion

Hello Y'all!

I hope that everyone has had a great week. I know that I have had a happy week. There is not too much to report, but the work is progressing and things are improving.

On Tuesday, I met my new companion. Her name is Sister Horne from Sandy, Utah. She is 20 years old and 5'2" with shoulder length brown hair. Before coming on a mission she was attending BYU for 2 years and applying to get into the accounting program. Sister Horne has a very sweet temperament. Right now, she is still very timid to do missionary work. The Texas heat, humidity, and bike riding is also difficult for a new missionary. I feel so bad for her and I try to slow down a bit especially when she is struggling. It is hard because I just want to work so hard and fast, but I guess there is a difference between working so hard that you may faint or instead living the attribute of diligence. I love Sister Horne a lot already, and she's really helping me to develop the Christlike attribute of patience. I know that Sister Horne is going to be a really great teacher of the gospel. As we practice, I can tell she has a great understanding of the gospel and already a great grasp on teaching the concepts in the lessons. I hope that we can teach many lessons together because I believe this is where we will be very powerful and have the spirit strongly as a companionship.

I think one of the hardest things on a mission is keeping track of your investigators. We try to see or talk to them every day, but there are always distractions that keep them from learning more about the gospel. One of our investigators was offended, two had family in town, and one was completely drunk over the weekend. I pray that we will be able to get back in contact with all of them and see them this week. I feel bad for Sister Horne because she hasn't even met most of our investigators even though we are constantly trying to see them.

Missionary work is great. I love talking to people about the gospel. It is so hard to believe that I only have two transfers left on my mission (3 months). I love being a missionary!! I am grateful to have the best mission president ever. I know that he is inspired of God and knows where we are supposed to be and who is supposed to be our companion. I love Plano! I love Sister Horne.

Y'all have a good week. May the Lord bless you!

love, Sister Peck

P.S. My companion's name is pronounced "horn". The E is silent. I feel bad though because sometimes when the little kids try to read her name they don't understand that the E is silent. Hopefully she learns to get over the embarrassment quickly.

New Companion - Sister Horne from Sandy, UT

Saturday, May 18, 2013

EMAIL:   Mon, May 13, 2013     10:38 AM
Subject:  Hello!

How are all y'all doing this week?

It has been a wonderful week here in Plano 6th Ward. Sister Brown and I have been very blessed to see many miracles the past 2 weeks. The first exciting news is that our investigator Patty came to church this Sunday!!!!! There are so many things that I believed helped her make the commitment to come to church, starting with the dinner at the Solanos last week and the Bishop showing up as an answer to her prayers. Sister Brown and I also taught her two great lessons this week. To the first lesson we took our recently activated Sister Burns with us. Immediately, Sister Burns and Patty were friends and laughing with each other and talking about the gospel. It was fantastic! Sister Burns (even though she has been inactive for the last 10 years) is a great teacher of the gospel. She is a returned sister missionary and a convert, so she had some really great perspectives that she shared with Patty.

Patty is progressing so much! Another thing that helped Patty was an experience she had with the Book of Mormon last Monday. She decided to just open to a random place in the scriptures. Of course the verse she opened to was "do not procrastinate the day of your repentance...". Sister Brown and I soon received a worried text from Patty saying she had read that verse, was scared, so she shut her scriptures. Sister Brown and I were busily searching for another more reassuring scripture to share with Patty when we got another text from her. Patty said she had decided to have faith and open the BOM randomly again. This time she read "fear not". What great experiences Patty is having with the BOM! It was when Patty read these scriptures that she committed to herself and God that she would be at church this week, and we are so excited that she did come.

More exciting news of the week is that Sister Brown and I set two baptismal dates on Saturday. I can't even explain how happy this made us because our ward hasn't had a baptismal date since last October. On Friday we met Brother Davis. He didn't have time to talk, but invited us to come back on Saturday. So Sister Brown and I came back on Saturday. Brother Davis and his 9 year old son Taylor were home and waiting for us to teach them about Jesus. We still don't know much about the Davis family, but we taught them the Restoration and committed them to be baptized. Brother Davis was a little bit hesitant, but Taylor really wanted to be baptized, so Brother Davis said he would be too, if he finds out our message is true. Their baptismal dates are set for June 15th, and I am looking forward to teaching them more and having the gospel bless their family.

This week is transfers... Sister Brown is leaving and heading to Grand Prairie. I keep telling her that I am so jealous because I loved the few weeks that I spent in that area. I will be staying in Plano 6th- I love Plano 6th too. I don't know who my companion is yet because she is going to be a brand new missionary just coming from the MTC. I am really humbled but excited to be training again. There are so many good things finally happening in the Plano 6th Ward, but also still a lot of work to find and do, so it will be great training grounds for a new sister missionary. I am looking forward to meeting my companion tomorrow and getting to work (we will have to get her a bike first though...). I love Sister Brown and I am grateful for the 3 months we spent together. She is a diligent worker and very charitable and she loves riding the bikes (which definitely kept me going). Sister Brown will be great in Grand Prairie. I am looking forward to my new sister and all of the fun we are going to have and all of the people that we are going to baptize and share the gospel with.

I love being a missionary! I love representing my Savior! I love all of the companions that I have had for all of the different strengths that they have had. I love teaching the gospel! I love helping people to change their lives.

I love all y'all so much! May the Lord bless each of you this week.

Love Sister Peck!

Waiting for mail from anyone!

The Bluebells of Texas

With her companion Sister Brown

Sister Mc's original MTC group reunion

Transfer Day - May 13

Monday, May 13, 2013

EMAIL:   Mon, May 6, 2013     11:15 AM
Subject:  Hello!


How are all y'all doing this week? This weekend was probably one of the most amazing weekends on my mission!! On Saturday we had a special mission conference where we were taught and edified from special, guests speakers. Our guests were Elder D. Todd Christofferson from the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Hallstrom from the Presidency of the Seventy, Elders Funk and Vinzon from the Seventies, and Elder Hansen our Area Seventy. The meeting was marvelous!!!! I wish y'all could feel the strong spirit that was present with all of the missionaries and 5 general authorities. Wow!! I felt like I was in a mini general conference just for the TDM. All of the general authorities were in Dallas for a priesthood leadership training, but I felt so blessed and privileged that they would take time to also visit the missionaries. Each of these men took the chance to shake all of the missionaries hands. I was playing the piano prelude during this time (luckily another missionary took my place for a few moments so I could also shake an Apostle's hand). How wonderful to shake the hand of one of the 12 living apostles of Christ on the earth today and to also shake the hands of those in the organization of the 70.

Then on Sunday Elder Christofferson and Elder Vinzon also visited the Plano Stake for a special stake conference (I did not attend the stake center because my ward was invited to watch by broadcast, but it was still amazing because they were speaking to the Plano Stake specifically). I was so overjoyed that Sister Burns that we have been working with a lot and also our investigator Sandra both came to the special stake conference. The meeting was fantastic! Possibly the most touching part to me was Elder Christofferson at the end. He decided to end the meeting 15 minutes early so that he could take the extra time and shake all of the children and youth's hands. I wasn't there in person to see all of the little kids rush up to shake an apostle's hand right after the meeting, but I am sure it was a powerful experience. Elder Christofferson asking to shake all of the kid's hands reminded me so much of Christ suffering the little children to come unto Him. Even though I had shaken his hand the day before, my testimony was strengthened so much at that moment that Elder Christofferson truly is a representative of Jesus Christ on the earth today with all of the Priesthood keys that are bestowed upon the apostles of Christ since the beginning of time.

By the end of the Stake Conference on Sunday, y'all can probably imagine that I was on a spiritual high. Sunday night though, I had one of the most miraculous experiences on my mission thus far. There is a lot of mini miracles that go into this story, but hopefully I can summarize a few and help y'all feel how much the Lord loves each of us:

Sister Brown and I hadn't heard from our investigator Patty in almost 3 weeks. We have been trying to contact her without any luck. Sister Brown felt super inspired to stop by Sunday afternoon. By much more than luck, Patty was home and let us come in. We found out that she is losing her job and has been really depressed with her life lately. Because she felt so miserable and stuck in depression, Patty really opened up to us. We talked with her about 3 main things: the Atonement, church, and faith leading to "doing". We talked of the strength and the enabling power of the Atonement- how it can help her get through her moments of temptation -how it can help her get to church. Patty then told us that she doesn't feel worthy to go to church. She feels like a hypocrite. I didn't yell at her at this point, but I did exclaim pretty passionately that if all of us had to be perfect to go to church then our churches would be completely empty. We also talked about how faith is an action. Patty also expressed a desire to meet the Bishop of our ward, so we reemphasized that she needed to come to church. By this point, it was a really good lesson with Patty. She had really opened up, and I had felt the spirit testify to her through my words.

Patty was about to let us leave when I randomly decided to invite her to our dinner appointment. Now this was a miracle in and of itself. As of that morning, we were supposed to have lunch with a family but they got sick, so our dinner had been cancelled. On the way out of church, Sister Solano (just baptized in October) asked if we had a dinner. I admitted that we didn't, so she invited us over for a Cinco de Mayo cook out. So I invited Patty to come with us to the Solano's home (before I had even checked with the Solanos). Astoundingly, Patty said yes she would come to the dinner with us. Not by luck, the Solanos were totally okay with Patty coming. We were really hoping Patty and them would be good friends because they are both Mexican. The Solanos had also invited over 2 other couples from the ward. We all had a really good time. The Mexican food was very, very delicious. Patty was enjoying the friendship of all of the members there. This was great because Patty was able to feel comfortable around members and this will hopefully help her feel more comfortable coming to church. They were all just chatting for a while and I was playing with the Solanos' kids, when out-of-the-blue (and most definitely by inspiration!) Bishop Shill happened to come over. He and his daughter were just dropping by some brownies for the Solanos. Remember, Patty had only a few hours previous expressed a desire to meet with the Bishop! Inspiration! Everyone just chatted for a while, but then the topic turned to the marvelous stake conference from Elder Christofferson that morning. Realizing that Patty wasn't a member, Bishop Shill started directing the conversation of religion toward her. Guess what Bishop Shill felt to talk about? The three things that Sister Brown and I had taught Patty earlier: the Atonement, church being a place for sinners, and faith leading to action!! It was so great because Patty kept saying: the sisters just taught me that before dinner. The Bishop and the members testifying were so great for Patty!!! We invited Patty to be baptized. She said yes! Patty also says that she already know that this church is true and she knows that the Book of Mormon is true.

I know that this experience was an answer to Patty's prayers, but I also learned so much at the same time. Sometimes as a missionary I have felt that it is just me teaching. Occasionally I feel the spirit prompt me very strongly to say something, but most often I am just teaching the principles of the doctrine as I know them. As the Bishop and members talked to Patty and taught her the exact same thing that I had just a few hours previous (sometimes with the exact same words that I used earlier), I realized how constantly and continually I am inspired by the spirit and I teach through the spirit. I knew in my mind before this that the spirit is always with the missionaries as they are obedient and the spirit will teach through the missionaries to help people. I am promised that all of the time in the scriptures, but I don't think I had ever fully realized this in my heart until this moment. It is by no coincidence that the Bishop taught Patty the exact same things that I had taught her earlier. What we taught is obviously exactly what Patty needed to hear. Only the spirit would have know that Patty needed those words. Only a Loving Heavenly Father would send so many witnesses to one of His beautiful daughters that is struggling. What a miracle!!!!

I am so grateful that the Solanos thought to invite us for dinner. I am so grateful that Sister Brown was inspired to stop by and visit Patty at that specific time. I am so grateful that Patty was home. I am so grateful for the power of the spirit to help me teach my investigators according to their concerns. I am so grateful that the Lord inspires his bishops. I am so grateful for a bishop that cares about all of the members and nonmembers of their ward. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that answers prayers. I know that all of this experience was answer to all of Patty's prayers. I know that she was being taught and guided by the spirit. There is so much more that I could tell you about this experience but I have run out of time. I am just so grateful that the Lord loves His children and now we have the chance to teach and help Patty once again.

I love y'all so much!!! I know that this church is the one and only true church and that it is led by a prophet and living apostles today. I wish I could have told y'all what Elder Christofferson taught but I don't have time.

I hope that y'all have a wonderful week!!

Love -Sister Peck