Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March 25, 2013:

Hello Y'all!

I hope that y'all have had a great week. Sorry that I don't have much time to write today. Everything is going well. It is already the end of another transfer this week. Hopefully I will get to stay in the Plano 6th Ward and also get to stay on a bike. It is difficult and painful sometimes, but I have really loved riding a bike. I feel like a real missionary! It has been really great especially because Sister Brown and I have been able to talk to so many more people than when I drove in a car. I love being on a bike! I love being a missionary! I love spreading the gospel! The time of my mission is flying by so fast (which I don't really love)! I love my mission!

Sister Brown and I are still just trying to find people to teach. Things have been getting better though because we have gained the trust and confidence of much of the Plano 6th Ward now. At the beginning, most of the Relief Society was very scared to come do anything with Sister Brown and I. One of the Relief Society Counselors even threatened to ask to be released from her calling if she had to do any missionary work. Sister Brown and I are finally gaining the trust of the RS and the rest of the ward. We have had many sisters go to lessons with us and they have been sharing their spiritual experiences with the rest of the sisters. It is really great to see the progress the ward is making towards missionary work because I feel that their hearts need to be changed for us to see any baptisms this year. Their hearts are finally softening!

Sister Brown and I have worked a lot this transfer to find people that are prepared to hear the gospel. It has been hard to not really see any fruit come of our labors. In Doctrine and Covenants Section 4 it says the "field is white, already to harvest" but we have really struggled to find this white field. I do know that it is true that there are people out there prepared to hear the gospel. I have been thinking a lot about this recently and I also realized (though I know I knew this before) that someone has to be planting the seeds for the field to be ready to harvest. That is what Sister Brown and I have been doing a lot of this transfer. We have been planting seeds; seeds with people on the street, seeds with investigators, even seeds with members. I know that this is also important.

I love being a missionary! I love the Plano area! I love spreading the gospel to every person that I meet. The gospel has been such a blessing to my life and I am so grateful for it. I love my family! I love all of the teachers that I have had. I love my friends. I love each of my companions! I love Texas! I love my Savior Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father.

I am so grateful to be a missionary, especially in this Easter season. What a great time to share the message of the restoration of the gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ! I love teaching others the gospel! I know that this is the only way to experience true peace and happiness in this life and the life to come.

I love Y'all so much. May y'all have a blessed week. On lds.org there are some great new Bible videos about Christ. I would encourage all y'all to watch a couple this Easter week. Then.. look forward to General Conference!!

Love Always

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

EMAIL:   Mon, March  18, 2013          4:10 PM
Subject:  Life is Good

Hello Y'all!

Life is good here in Texas. The weather is nice and warm and sunny. I am either going to be very tan from riding my bike or else very, very sun burnt.

A couple of days ago, Sister Brown and I were headed to stop by a less-active family in the ward, but the family was busy. On the way out of the apartments, we noticed a moving truck. No one was around, but we could tell that it was being unloaded, so we decided to wait around for a minute. Soon we met a girl about our age named Janea, and her mom, and her daughter. Janea was moving into an apartment, so we offered to help. At first they were reluctant (I mean, who really wants two strange girls in skirts to help them move??), but they warmed up fast after Sister Brown and I took a few heavy loads into the apartment. Soon everything was moved in and we had set up the beds and the couches. Janea's mom was so great because she kept shouting (literally) praises to the Lord for our miraculous help. Unfortunately the family had to leave right away to return the moving truck to Oklahoma, but they will be back in the next few days. Janea already expressed interest in coming to church with us. Her daughter has decided that I am her new best friend :) It was a blessing to meet this family! Even if we don't get to teach them, I am still glad for the opportunity to cheerfully provide service to this family. I know that they will forever remember our help and how much it blessed their lives and touched their hearts.

After helping this family, Sister Brown and I started heading to our next plan. Over by our bikes were some boys messing around, and as we walked closer one mumbled to the others "Here come the Jehovah's Witnesses." I overheard (and we always talk to everyone), so I walked right up to them and asked if they had ever heard of the LDS Church or Mormons. Sister Brown and I shared a little about what we believed, but none of the boys seemed interested so we invited them to check out mormon.org and we left. The next day, Sister Brown and I were in the same area and one of the boys that we had met came up to us. He just sat down on the curb and started talking to us about God and prayers and prophets. We found out his name is LaRon and that he had met with missionaries about a year ago until his mom wouldn't allow it anymore. We talked about the Restoration and especially the Book of Mormon. LaRon told us that he wants to be baptized and wants to come to church too. Sister Brown and I are looking forward to talking to LaRon again and hopefully teaching his family too.

I love y'all so much! May the Lord continue to bless all y'all.

Love Sister Peck

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

EMAIL: Mon, March 11, 2013             2:35 PM
Subject:  Alexandre's Baptism
Howdy Y'all!
This weekend I was able to attend the baptism of Alexandre. The baptism was amazing and so full of the spirit! Alexandre is 14 years old and is very mature. She and her mom Amie starting taking lessons from the Elders last summer but then were too busy to come to church. My companion and I met up with them again in January, and Alexandre was so excited to attend church and read from the Book of Mormon. Alexandre has made really good friends with the Young Women's and the leaders. She loves going to church and especially loves to meet with the missionaries. It was great to see how prepared Alexandre was at this time to accept the gospel and have such an intense desire to be baptized. Amie is still excited to be baptized, although she is struggling with smoking at this time. As I talked with her at the baptism, Amie told me she hopes that I can come back for her baptism in the next few months, which is exciting that she still is pushing towards baptism. The baptism was so sweet. Everyone could tell how ready Alexandre was to be baptized. By the end of the talk on the Holy Ghost almost everyone was crying because the spirit was so strong. I was blessed to be able to play the piano for a special musical number "Baptism" sung by the other sister missionaries. Then Sister Brown and I were able to talk about enduring to the end and eternal life. Alexandre shared her testimony after her baptism and it was amazing. She testified so strongly that she knew that the Book of Mormon is true scripture from God and that this is the true church of Jesus Christ again on the earth. Of course we celebrated the baptism after with dessert and laughter. I am so happy for Alexandre and so amazed to see the change that the gospel has brought in her life. She wants to be involved in the church so fully that she is even headed to youth conference this weekend. I love how the gospel changes people! I am looking forward to Amie also being baptized soon that they may be a family forever someday.

Wednesday we had a Sister's Conference, which was great. We talked a lot about planning and putting to action the principles that Elder Aidukaitis of the Quorum of the Seventy taught us a few weeks ago. I love being around all of the other sister missionaries of the TDM. Each of them is so amazing and unique and powerful representatives of Jesus Christ and His gospel. I have to try not to compare myself to them because they are all way too amazing. I am grateful to serve around the best sister missionaries in the world. I am also grateful to have the best mission president, President Durrant, and his lovely wife. President is such a great example of love and obedience. He always wants us to be better and work harder and be cheerful. Sister Durrant expects a lot from us too because she once was a sister missionary and so she realizes our potential. President and Sister Durrant are both so great and I am blessed to serve in their mission.

Before Sister's Conference I made an apron for Sister Durrant (thanks Aunt Marlene for sending me the materials). I had fun at the conference secretly having all of the sisters sign it before giving it to Sister Durrant. I feel sometimes like President gets all of the thanks and the credit, so I wanted to do something special for Sister Durrant. I didn't want to be recognized for making the apron, but Sister Durrant knew it was me. She called me later and told me how touched she was and how it made her feel special and appreciated.

The rest of the week has been a lot of bike riding to try and find new investigators. I always thought Texas was pretty flat until I had to pedal my bike up the hills. (the "hills" they have here are more like small inclines, but they still hurt to ride a bike up when you haven't ridden a bike in years). I am really grateful to be a missionary in Texas! I have really enjoyed riding the bike though and just trying to have fun with it. Sister Brown and I will often sing hymns switching off every other line (so we can catch our breath while the other sings) or we will quote scriptures. It has been amazing how many more people we have been able to talk to than when we were walking. Usually Sister Brown has to get off her bike to hand people the card for mormon.org because I might not get back on the bike if I have to get off. But... I am sure I will be in good shape in no time. I feel really blessed that a member donated a bike just my size in a beautiful teal color. It is a really, really nice bike and I feel so blessed to have it. I also feel blessed to be serving in Plano because it is a very residential and a very safe area. I feel blessed for also having great members that donated gear and also all of the rides they have given us when they have seen us struggling to ride our bikes. It feels great to be seen more often as a missionary (although we might look funny with our skirts, backpacks, and helmet hair). This is so great!
Missionary work is hard, but I love it. I know that faith and obedience brings blessings and many miracles. It is crazy how fast my mission is passing. I can't believe that I have less than 5 months left! I hope to keep enduring cheerfully to the end. I know that I will see many more miracles before I am finished. Thanks all y'all for your love and support. I appreciate all of the letters of encouragement.
I love y'all so much!
-Sister Peck

Monday, March 4, 2013

EMAIL: Mon, March 4, 2013         5:30 PM
Subject:  Bikes!

How are y'all doing?

This week has been good here in the TDM. When we first moved into the area, our ward mission leader told us that we never would receive any referrals. By the end of the first week we had two referrals. One referral was from an investigator that the missionaries have been teaching for many years. She has a new assistant at work, Patty, that is interested in learning about the gospel and the reason why our other investigator seems so happy. So on Wednesday we were able to meet with Patty for the first time. We were told just to call her up and ask if we could come over. Sister Brown and I were a little bit apprehensive because we didn't know if Patty was expecting our call, but we called her, explained who we were, and asked if we could teach her more. Patty's response was great because she asked how soon we could come. We met her that night and took with us a great member that was only baptized a few years ago. Patty is super friendly and really interested in learning about the gospel and finding the church that feels "right" to her. Come to find out, Patty has even had missionaries in her home before when her kids were small so they could learn about religion. She admits though that she didn't really listen to the missionaries then, but now she wants truth. Unfortunately Patty was sick on Sunday, although she had planned on attending church with the member we brought to our lesson, but she is still excited to learn more. I am excited to keep teaching Patty and helping her not "run away" from any more churches because I know that our church is the "right" one.

Sister Brown is a really great companion. I am so excited to be serving with her. She is so soft spoken and humble. I am so grateful that she has a great control of her temper and never is angry with all of the mistakes that I make. She has a great desire to be a great missionary. Best of all, she is willing to walk and walk. As of today, we now have bikes, and Sister Brown is very excited to ride them. I am glad to be her companion and introduce sister missionaries to Plano 6th Ward and the surrounding area.

We finally figured out the whole bike situation late Saturday night. A member from a nearby ward that night called and offered to donate a bike that he bought for his daughters years ago but they never rode. We called the assistants to let them know that we found one bike and they told us about a miracle. Sister Brown had been doing service at a humanitarian center in Rowlett before she was transferred here. The people there missed her this last week. Her old companion said she had moved to Plano and was in search for a bike. So, the Humanitarian Center generously donated 2 brand new bikes to Sister Brown and I and the assistants brought them to us this morning. I will probably end up riding the bike from the Plano member because the other is a tad bit short for me. So we told the Plano 6th Ward that we finally found bikes - there was a member who has basically adopted us as her daughters, and she was still worried about our safety, so she gave Sister Brown and I some money to buy our helmets and some safety things. Sister Brown and I have been blessed greatly the last few days. I am so grateful to have a bike now and I look forward to riding it (although I know I will be sore for a while).

I also just found out from the Wylie sisters that one of the investigators that I helped teach, Alexandre, is going to be baptized this weekend. I am very excited for her!! I am saddened that her mom, Amie, has not been able to overcome smoking yet but I hope that her daughter will be an inspiration to her. I know that the Wylie sisters will keep doing a great job teaching them and that they will be able to be an eternal family some day soon. I am looking forward to going back to Wylie this weekend for Alexandre's baptism.

I love y'all so much! May the Lord bless.

-Sister Peck

New Bikes!

Maybe Not Mission-Appropriate Helmets?
Our Bedroom at the Moon's Home