Thursday, January 31, 2013

EMAIL: Mon, January 28, 2013          1:20 PM
Subject:  JustServe

Howdy Y'all!

This week has been a great week in the TDM. Things are picking up especially in my Wylie area. I am really excited for our 2 investigators, Amie and her daughter Alexandre. We were finally able to meet with them last Thursday. Sister Overy and I weren't really sure what to teach because we couldn't find any record from the previous elders, so we decided to see what questions they had and then review some of the lessons. Alexandre had a question about the "doctrine of Christ" so we began with reading 3 Nephi 27:19 and talking about the principles of faith and repentance. We talked of how the fruits of repentance is baptism. Surprisingly, Amie and Alexandre said to us almost simultaneously, "What do we need to do to get baptized". It is always amazing and jaw-dropping to have investigators ask if they can be baptized. So know we have a baptismal date set in the middle of February. We are going to have to teach/review all of the lessons with them pretty quickly, but we know they are prepared for baptism. It is also exciting because Amie's fiancé, that is a member in Idaho, should be here in Texas the week of the baptism. Amie and Alexandre are amazing and their baptism is going to be great.

Another exciting thing happened this week. The TDM is going to be one of the 3 pilot missions for a new service tool that the church is trying to initiate. "JustServe" is eventually going to have a website with many of the recurring service opportunities all around Dallas. It will be accessible to everyone that wants to do service. It is going to take some time for the website to launch and all of the organization to be completed, but they have us missionaries busily searching for service opportunities in each of our areas. One of the reasons for JustServe is because they want more people to recognize members of the LDS church as Christians. Right now, as missionaries we are supposed to have planned service opportunities 2-4 hours each week. After this tool is initiated the missionaries will be serving 10 hours each week. I am super excited to do more service. Although we are not going to be actively proselyting while serving, I know that all of the service will open up more teaching opportunities. And even better, more people are going to recognize the LDS church in a better and more Christian light (because honestly a lot of Texans don't really like our church or they just have inaccurate biases).

My favorite story this week happened with a little 4-yr-old boy from one of our less-active families. We were leaving them with a thought about how God wants each of us to be happy. I was talking to the boy about things that made him happy. I asked him if his family made him happy and he said yes. I asked him if church made him happy and he said yes. I then asked him "What else makes you happy". The little boy thought for a moment and responded, "Batman makes me happy!!" It was so cute! For all y'all that know me well, you might remember that I am a fan of super heroes. So this little boy totally made my day when he said that Batman makes him happy. It was great.

Thanks y'all for all that you do for me. Thanks for the letters. I really appreciate all of the love and support.
I am so happy to be a missionary. I love being so completely involved in the Savior's work. What a blessing!

Love y'all. Hope all y'alls have a great week and may God bless!

-Sister Peck

Thursday, January 24, 2013

EMAIL: Mon, January 21, 2013          1:34 PM
Subject:  One Year as a Missionary!

Howdy Y'all!

I hope that y'all were able to have a great week. The weather has been warm here in Texas, but should be cold again this week. The warmth has been very nice because people are taking the opportunity to play outside and do yard work, so we have been able to talk to more people about the gospel. Sister Overy and I are still working hard to find people that have been prepared by the Lord to teach and to bring to Christ.

This past week we all had interviews with President Durrant. I feel so blessed to have the best mission president in the world. President Durrant is so loving and caring and obedient. Did y'all know he spoke in General Conference when he was only about 23 years old. He is the only young person to even have spoken in General Conference, which is amazing. I think this shows just how awesome my mission president is! Y'all can even watch his talk now online. Devin G. Durrant, Missions- Only You Can Decide
I feel so blessed to be in the best mission ever with the best mission president. President Durrant is working so diligently to make us the best missionaries that we can be- to help us be full of charity and exact obedience. I am really grateful that he wants us to keep being better and not just be lax or happy with how we already are. Life is about improving. I know that as we all come closer to the Savior, we will be happier and blessed.

Our investigators Amie and her daughter Alexandre came to church again yesterday! It is so great when you don't have to feel like you are forcing investigators to come to church or have to constantly keep reminding them. Amie was super busy at work this week, so we still haven't been able to teach them, but I am looking forward to meeting with them. Amie loved the Gospel Principles' class yesterday. We learned about the importance of the Savior in our Heavenly Father's Plan. Amie felt enlightened afterward and said that she learned a lot. Alexandre was also excited to go to YW's at church, so that is exciting as well. I know that Amie and Alexandre have been prepared for the gospel. I am excited to teach them!

At the beginning of 2013 I gave everyone a challenge to read the Book of Mormon in the year. I hope each of you accepted this challenge Thank y'all that have written me and told me that you are going to read the Book of Mormon in 2013. I love the BOM so, so much. It has been a comfort and a guide to me as a missionary. I have seen it bless the lives of so many people. I look forward to reading the BOM each day (sometimes I don't want to study anything else). I have finished reading through the chapters in 2 Nephi, and I am always amazed by how much the Lord loves each of us. I love whenever it mentions that the Lord's arm of mercy is always extended towards us. I know that it is true. The Lord is always waiting for us to come back or come closer to Him. I pray that each of us is striving to gain a better relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ and our loving Heavenly Father. I know we can come to understand this better through the Book of Mormon. I hope you each read this special book in 2013. I know that BOM is true!!!

So this Friday I will be celebrating my one-year anniversary as a missionary. I can't believe how quickly the time has flown but also how long of a journey it has been. I can't believe that a year ago I was leaving my family and entering the MTC for an adventure of a life time. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary. I am grateful to be a representative of my Savior Jesus Christ. I love Him so much! I know that Christ loves each and every one of us eternally and infinitely. I am grateful for His Atonement and role is helping each of us return to live with our Heavenly Father once again. I am grateful for all of the wonderful people that I have met as a missionary. I love the people of Texas! I love my investigators, and I love each of my converts so much! I am grateful for each for the companions that I have had, and all of the experiences and trials that we have had together. I love the missionaries in the TDM. I have made so many friends and all of them are so amazing and great missionaries. I am glad to be a missionary at this time, in this place, with these people, and everything else that comes along with being a missionary. I love what Mormon says in 3 Nephi 5:13 and I know it applies to me directly. "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people [in the Texas Dallas Mission], that they might have everlasting life." Isn't that beautiful? How great to be a missionary! I can't believe that so much time is already gone from my mission. There is so much left to do. But I am looking forward with faith to the next 6 months. I know that these months will be successful and miraculous. Oftentimes missionary work is hard and sometimes discouraging, but it is so worth it. The Lord loves His missionaries. He has blessed me so much, and I know that He will continue to bless me as a missionary. I pray that I can continue to be a tool in the Lord's hands to bless other people, whomever they might be. I love being a missionary!

Thank y'all for your love and support! I love you each so much!
Love always- Sister Peck

Thursday, January 17, 2013

EMAIL: Mon, January 14, 2013          1:34 PM
Subject:  Brad Wilcox!

Howdy Y'all!

So this week we had one of the most amazing speakers ever visit the TDM- Brad Wilcox. He is a teacher at BYU and author of the book "The Continuous Atonement" (which I really want to read when I get home now). He grew up with President Durrant, and it sounds like they may have even been mission companions. Brother Wilcox enlightened us by taking the idea of "I am a child of God" and expanding it so deeply. He talked of how we have a birthright to live in this generation and especially to be missionaries. He used the example of Jacob (Israel) and his 12 sons becoming the 12 Tribes of Israel and the blessings the followed. Brother Wilcox explained a lot about why we have an extra responsibility as Zion's youth in these days to spread the gospel, and he also debunked many of the questions people commonly ask about the church like polygamy, priesthood to the blacks, etc. I wish I could accurately explain everything Brother Wilcox said to y'all because it was so spiritual and so enlightening. I probably learned the most I have on my mission and probably also felt the spirit one of the strongest times that I have on my mission. Brad Wilcox speaking to the TDM was probably the highlight of my week! So Amazing!!

Sister Overy and I are going to be staying together in the Wylie/Sachse area for at least another transfer. We have a lot of work still to do in this area and many people to find and baptize. Sister Overy is getting very close to the end of her mission, and she has so much knowledge and expertise on being a missionary, so I am excited to keep working with her. I pray that we can get the work to progress- I know that it is just on the verge of exploding. The are currently building a new chapel in the Wylie area. Right now, the members of Wylie first have to travel anywhere between 30 minutes to over an hour to get to church. The new chapel is gorgeous and will be only about 5 to 15 minutes away from most members homes. When the Wylie Chapel is finished in May, the work is going to be huge and continue to grow because of the excitement. I am really excited for the Wylie members and for the explosion of work that is going to come in this area soon.

We had an amazing miracle over the weekend. About a month ago, Sister Overy found the name of someone the Elders used to teach in one of our towns, Lavon. Her name is Amie, but we hadn't ever been able to get hold of her. So we decided to stop by again on Saturday in the middle of a Texas downpour. Luckily Amie happened to be standing in her garage talking on the phone, so we made a dash from the car to the house (still getting soaked in the few seconds). We were able to meet Amie. Even more amazing, Amie told us how glad she was the we showed up because she was hoping to go to church with us the next day. Surprise! Come to find out, Amie had been in Idaho for a little bit. While there she got engaged to a member of our church- they will probably be getting married in about a year. Amie had never been to one of our church services and the Elders taught her about 6 months ago, so we gave Amie the address and time for church. Then, Amie and her 14-yr-old daughter Alexandre came to church yesterday!! Amie seemed to really enjoy church. One of the members asked if they would see Amie next week at church too and she responded "Yeah". Amie is already planning to go to the Relief Society mid-week activity this week, and Sister Overy and I will have the opportunity to teach her on Thursday night. I am really excited to keep teaching Amie and hopefully Alexandre too! They seem finally prepared and open to hearing about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I hope y'all have the best week. May the Lord bless and keep you. I love y'all so much. I really appreciate all the love and the letters that I get in return.

I love being a missionary!

Love, Sister Peck

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

EMAIL: Mon, January 7, 2013            12:39 PM
Subject:  Temple!

Howdy Y'all!

It is already nearing the end of another transfer. Chances are that Sister Overy and I will stay in the Wylie/Sachse area for more time, but you never know where the Lord wants us. I will definitely let y'all know any news next week.

Sister Overy and I were able to attend the temple this week. I love the temple so much, and I know that it is the "House of the Lord." The spirit is so peaceful there, and everything seems so clear. I am grateful to be able to attend the temple. I am also looking forward to being able to attend the temples back in Utah more than just once every 6 months. It was great to be at the Temple. Sister Heuer, that I lived with in Rowlett, was able to lead the session and do many of the other ordinances with me - it was really great. I love the temple!

Right now we are just working and hoping to see miracles soon. Sorry - Don't have time to write much today....
Thank you Riches Family for the New Year's Card - I really appreciate the love and support!

Happy Birthday today Dad!

Love Sister Peck

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sister McKie's Christmas/New Year's Letter

EMAIL: Mon, December 31, 2012       2:39 PM
Subject:  Happy New Year!

Howdy Y'all!

I hope that everyone was able to have a very Merry Christmas and that all y'all will be having a great new year as well. Christmas Day was great as a missionary. I am especially grateful to those that sent me letters and presents. The miracle of Christmas Day was... SNOW. Yep, it actually snowed here in Texas, which apparently hasn't happened in many years. My area received about 5 inches of snow. Pretty Crazy! So while my companion was finishing her call to her family, I went outside with the members we were at and built a snowman! I had so much fun! Sister Overy and I also did some tracting for Christmas, but we sang instead. It was the greatest thing because everyone that was home opened the door, went to get more people to hear us, and they accepted our pass-along card. If only people we so interested in hearing from us all of the time.

One of the best moments on Christmas was District Meeting. Instead of having a normal training, we all decided to go caroling at a retirement home. We traveled through the buildings and sang hymns as 10 missionaries. It was one of the sweetest things to see how happy the old folks were to hear us sing to them on Christmas Day. I loved feeling the spirit of the season and of sharing the love of Jesus Christ. I loved being able to sing of Christ to those who may not have had family to visit them this day. It was a great opportunity and so spiritually uplifting.

I am blessed to live in an area with so many great members. They really took care of us missionaries this season and made us feel special. They gave us some of the best Christmas presents ever: nice toilet paper, tide detergent, make-up, toothbrushes, and all sorts of other items that missionaries constantly need but it takes a lot of money to buy. It was so sweet and I really appreciate their love and support. Christmas day was a special day to be a missionary. I am grateful to be a representative of our Savior Jesus Christ. I love being a missionary in the TDM. I am grateful for the area that I am in and the missionaries that I am around.

Many of our investigators left town for the holidays, so we have just been trying to find new people to teach this last week. It has been super cold and not the best weather to knock doors in, but the Lord has blessed us. We found a great family, Jason and Stacy. The let us in out of the cold and listened to the Restoration. They are newlyweds and very open to learning about anything. They attend one of the big nondenominational churches in our area. Jason does have relatives that are Mormon, but he also has very anti-Mormon relatives. I am excited to keep working with them, and we are praying that they will continue to be open to the spirit and that they will read the Book of Mormon.

So in honor of a Riches family New Year's tradition, I went bowling today. Sister Overy and I went with Elder Nelson, Elder Wheelhouse, Gina (that we just baptized), and Nick (her boyfriend that introduced her to the church). It was a lot of fun to spend time with Gina and with other missionaries. I miss Aunt Shauna and Grandpa showing me the right way to bowl, but maybe it is a good thing y'all weren't here because I haven't improved any since last year. The Riches have all been bowling as a family since before I was born, so I couldn't miss a year of tradition. We all had a great time bowling. Don't worry Mom, I took lots of pictures like you always do.0

I hope that all y'all are doing well. I love y'all. I am looking forward to the start of a new year. I can't believe that I have been a missionary for almost one year now- the time has flown by. I am excited to keep working hard and increasing the work in the Wylie/Sachse area. I know that I am in the right place at the right time. I love serving the Lord. I love spreading the gospel. I feel so blessed to be a missionary.
Sister Overy and I have been challenging everyone to read the entire Book of Mormon at least on time in 2013. I would love to give y'all the same challenge. Some of y'all are already great at this and some need some work. I know that the Lord will bless each of us as we take time to study the scriptures and grow closer to him this year. I love the Book of Mormon, and I know that it is truly divine scripture. Please read it!

May your new year be filled with miracles and blessings.

Love Always - Sister Peck