Tuesday, April 30, 2013

EMAIL:   Mon, April 29, 2013     11:21 AM
Subject:  scripture study class

Hello Y'all!

Hope that y'all had a great week! This week flew by! Texas is really "bi-polar" in its weather. They say if you don't like the weather in Texas, wait 10 minutes. That was so true this week! I think that we experienced every season this week. One day was so cold in the morning that I was wearing my coat and 2 jackets underneath and a lot of leggings and tights. It stayed cold for most of the morning, then suddenly in the afternoon, the temperature raised and got hot - this is a problem when you are riding a bike because there is no place to store your coat... At least for today, the weather is beautiful. Y'all never know though because tomorrow the weather might be completely different.

This last week Sister Brown and I, and also the Elders that attend at our church building, tried a new idea for finding people that want to be taught the gospel. We have begun a scripture study class every Thursday evening. The goal is to have a place for investigators and members to come and learn more about the principles of the gospel. The class is also meant to be a place for members to be able to bring their friends to hear a message about our church. All of us have been doing a lot of preparation to invite people to attend the scripture study class. We passed out hundreds of flyers and had it announced in church. We recognize that it might take a couple of weeks before lots of people come, but we are looking forward to finding new investigators through our class.

The Elders taught this last week about the Godhead and we had three members from our ward that came. They did a really great job on basing as much as they could from the Bible for potential investigators that may come to the class. I think the class turned out really great (we just need to get more people there). This Thursday Sister Brown and I are going to be teaching about Jesus Christ and His Purpose. The following week will be specifically on the Atonement of Christ. I am really excited to teach a class that is open for everyone to attend and hopefully be able to feel the spirit and recognize the truth of the gospel no matter who they are.

Everything else has been pretty good. Sister Brown and I are still striving to find people and referrals to teach. The sad part of the week, our investigators seemed to have all disappeared. We didn't get to teach any of them (not for lack of trying). Hopefully we can teach all of our investigators this week or find new ones that are prepared to hear the gospel.

Even though we didn't get to teach many lessons, I have been surprisingly happy this week. Thanks for all of the prayers and thoughts. I appreciate the love and support. I am also grateful for the abundance of letters that I received this week. I am so grateful for the encouragement and the stories from home. I love all y'all so much!!

I also finished the Book of Mormon again this week. Can I just tell y'all how much I truly love the BOM!?! I know that it comes from our loving Heavenly Father to teach us, to guide us, and to bring us comfort and peace. I love the BOM!! I am so grateful to read it and know that the BOM is true! I hope that each of you are reading from the Book of Mormon every day. Reading daily and feasting upon the words of Christ has been such a blessing to my life. I hope that all y'all can experience the blessings of the BOM too.

Hope y'all have a blessed week!

Love- Sister Peck
This   picture  was   emailed to  us and  Sister Brown's 
family from a   member of the  Plano  Ward. This  
member said, "Your   daughters   are doing  well,  and  
are a joy to be around. This is the second service project
I   have  been  at   with  them,   and  they  are  very cheerful 
  and  hard  workers!  They  are a delight."

Monday, April 22, 2013

EMAIL:   Mon, April 22, 2013     11:05 AM
Subject:  Chris and Amber

How are y'all doing today?

I hope everyone is well and happy. Every Monday morning during preparation day, Sister Brown and I have been attending an adult institute class at our church building. The teacher taught a really great lesson this morning about "rescuing" those that are "poor" in spirit, in testimony, in doctrine, financially, etc. As each of us are baptized members of the LDS church we covenant to mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that stand in need of comfort... (Mosiah 18:8-10). In essence, we all covenant to rescue the poor. I left institute feeling just how important it is to help other people that may be "poor" (plus, we need to allow others to help us when we may be poor). I am so grateful to be a missionary because I know that I am indeed rescuing the poor. As I serve other people and as I share the gospel, it truly enriches other peoples' lives and can fill their needs. I love being a missionary!

This week, Sister Brown and I met some great new investigators. Chris and Amber and their two children (5 years and 9 months) just moved into an apartment complex that we visit frequently. We had talked to Chris while he was moving a few things in. He was interested and looking for a new church since they had just moved. Thursday night we went back for our appointment. Their apartment was just a little bit of a disaster because of the move, so Sister Brown and I sat facing each other to teach the lesson with Chris and Amber standing to our sides. Amber has grown up southern Baptist while Chris was not religious until after they were married. Sister Brown and I tried to teach the Restoration, but Christ and Amber tended to just argue on their own personal opinions of doctrine that are not clear according to the bible. They had many good questions, but the problem was that they never really let us answer. They had questions about life after death, resurrection, and many more things that we teach as missionaries. I just wanted to yell at Chris and Amber to stop arguing and let Sister Brown and me teach because I know that we have all of the answers to their questions. I am not sure that I explained that situation clearly for all y'all to understand. Basically, once Chris and Amber have a lot of good potential to accept the gospel. They just need to stop talking long enough to let Sister Brown and I actually teach and answer their questions. I really like Chris and Amber and I am excited to keep teaching them.

One good thing that happened was that Sister Brown and I were able to go back to Chris and Amber's home the next day and help clean and organize from the move. It gave us the chance to build trust with Amber and show her how much we care. We were able to clear and organize the whole living room (which was quite a feat because there was SO much stuff). Amber was so grateful to have our help because that is what she really needed at that time. The gospel will really help Amber and Chris, but first we need to have a better environment to teach them and have them feel the spirit. Now that Sister Brown and I helped clean and organize their apartment, I think that the next lesson with them will go much better. I love doing service!

Sister Brown and I had another really funny/strange experience this week. We had some time, so we went to tract a street. I honestly don't believe that we have ever set foot on that street before that day. About 3 houses in, a woman named Joanne answers the door. She exclaims, "I am so surprised to see y'all again. I didn't think y'all would ever come back because I am wasting your time." I was so confused so I asked her where we had met before. Joanne told us that we had been to her home 2 times before. I tired insisting that maybe it was other missionaries like Jehovah's witnesses, etc. She claimed that she remembers us because of my red curly hair and Sister Brown's brown curly hair. I was so confused because I know that I have never been to her home 2 other times. Joanne continued to tell us everything that happened the other times we came to her home. None of it sounded familiar to me or to Sister Brown either. In the end, Sister Brown and I left with Joanne telling us we could come by any time we want. She says she isn't going to convert because she was born and will die a Catholic, but she will give us water. It was such a strange door contact... Oh the strange things that happen when you are a missionary.

Well, I hope that y'all have a good week. I love all y'all!

Love, Sister Peck

(rcvd on a second email at 11:30 am)
Mom - something else that I would like you to add to the email that I sent out, if you feel like it.

This last week has been really hard for me. I have just been feeling discouraged and disheartened about the missionary work in this area. I also have been wanting so badly to be exactly obedient and diligent, but it just seems harder than usual. I am so grateful to a loving companion for putting up with me and my struggles. I am grateful for her desire to work hard and talk to everyone. I am grateful for an inspired District Leader that lead the best district meeting that this last Tuesday I have ever been to on my mission. I am grateful for the best mission president ever that loves his missionaries and is the best example of obedience. I am grateful for a really good friend that writes me advice and always writes the things that I need to hear. I am grateful to attend church and be spiritually uplifted and enlightened and loved. I am grateful to all of the support and love I get from the people both in Texas and back home. I am grateful for the spirit teaching me what I need to learn and do. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that is always blessing me with mercies and love even when I feel that I don't deserve it. I am so grateful for the gospel and my Savior Jesus Christ.

I am feeling and doing a lot better than I was a few days ago, but I am still trying to get through my struggles. I know that the opposition and discouragement that I am feeling right now are coming from Satan. He doesn't want missionary work to move forward. He doesn't want me to be successful. Everything has seemed so hard right now, but I know that the hardest times come just before the blessings pour out from the heavens. I must say that I am looking forward to those blessing. :) I am so grateful to know that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to be one of His representatives and share our beautiful message with the great people of Plano, TX. Missionary Work is hard, but I love it!

I love y'all!

-Sister Peck

I tried to attach some pictures. One is me and Sister Brown and our lovely bikes the first day we rode them. Now I have switched out the purple bike for a nicer teal colored bike. I named my bike "The Teal Terror". Sister Brown's bike I named the "Purple People-Eater"
Another is Sister Brown and our investigators, Sandra (left) and Patty (middle) at the ward Luau.
Another is Kelli on the left (the less-active that just started coming back) and her roommate Lia (that calls us the "Sisters of Mercy") also at the Luau.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

EMAIL:   Mon, April 15, 2013     11:14 AM
Subject:  Luau!!

Howdy Y'all!!

Hope that all y'all have had a blessed week! Sister Brown and I were blessed to be able to set up many return appointments this week and find many potential investigators. We are looking forward to seeing each of these people again this week and teaching them the message of the Restoration of the Gospel. I love teaching people about the gospel!!!

On Friday, our ward had a Luau! There is a less-active/part member family that Sister Brown and I have been working with. The Gonsalves family are Hawaiian and moved to Texas less than a year ago, so the ward decided to use their talents and have an authentic Hawaiian Luau. It was so great!! The best part was that over a quarter of the people that attended were not members! Another best part was that our 2 investigators Patty and Sandra came! Also the less-active Sister Burns that we have been working with came and brought her roommate Lia (who calls us the "Sisters of Mercy"). So I definitely felt like the Luau was a success!! There was "authentic" Hawaiian rice and potato salad and pineapple upside down cake. The coolest part was that they had Hula Dancers (some that have performed in the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii) come and dance for us. The men were shirtless (so not sure if that is appropriate for a missionary) but the dances were amazing!

The next night, we met with Patty. Patty said that she had really enjoyed the Luau. We have been struggling to get Patty to church, so I think that it was a great step to get her at least to an activity at the church. Patty grew up Catholic, so I guess she was expecting our ward party to be more strict and regulated with rules, but she was very surprised and happy when it wasn't. She loved seeing all of the little kids run around and play. I think this was a great step for Patty to see how kind and friendly and fun the members of the church are, and I believe this will make it easier and more comfortable for her to attend Sunday service soon. Patty is still progressing and she loves the Book of Mormon. When we saw Patty on Saturday night she actually had invited us over to feed us. She is from Mexico and made us the best Mexican Tacos that I have ever eaten in my life!!! I love Patty (and my other investigators) and I hope to see her baptized before I leave.

A few weeks ago President Durrant gave us a phrase that members can use to find people for the missionaries to teach. "Would you be willing to listen to a brief presentation about my religion?" Sister Brown and I have been trying to teach this phrase to all of the members because we have seen it work. The phrase can be used with complete strangers and the amazing thing is that most of them will say, yes, they are willing to listen to a brief presentation. It gives the members the chance to then get their name, address, phone number, and the best time for missionaries to contact them- then the members have a referral for the missionaries! So we ate dinner with an older couple on Tuesday night and taught them this phrase. Brother Campbell has a great conversion story and an amazing desire to share the gospel, so as soon as he heard this inspired phrase he said, "Sounds great!" Let's go try it!" So Brother Campbell shuffled Sister Brown and I out the door and over to his neighbor's home. They were outside doing yard work, and Brother Campbell went right up, introduced us, and asked the question. They said yes, and Sister Brown and I are going back to teach them this week! Amazing! All y'all should try out this phrase from President Durrant. It works!! People are truly out there and willing to listen to a brief presentation about our church. And of course, missionaries are always willing to teach these people! This phrase is so inspired and truly a great way to invite even random strangers to hear about the gospel.

I love y'all so much!! I am so happy and blessed to be a missionary in the "Texas Dallas Heaven." I know that I am supposed to be in Plano, TX at this specific time. I know that the gospel is true!! I love being able to teach other people about the things and truths that have blessed my life. What a great opportunity!

I hope that all y'all have a blessed and miraculous week! I know that I will!!

Love always- Sister Peck

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

EMAIL:   Mon, April 8, 2013     11:13 AM
Subject:  General Conference


Hope that all y'all had the opportunity to watch General Conference this weekend. It was amazing!! I love being able to watch, listen, and learn from a modern-day prophet and apostles. How amazing is that!?! How many other churches can have that claim? The LDS Church is truly Christ's church again restored to the earth. It is set up the exact same way that Christ organized His church when He was one the earth and the same way that the church had been organized in previous dispensations. I love in Ephesians 4:11-14 when it tells us that Christ called apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to help all of the saints and followers become perfected and anchored in the gospel. How amazing that we still have that organization and strength and power on the earth today! It is so beautiful to me that this truly is the Lord's church as manifested by the organization. Our loving Heavenly Father truly is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I just love our church!!

Sister Brown and I are still working diligently to find people to teach and bring unto Christ. We tracted and found a man named James this last week. Turns out, his wife was a member of our church over 20 years ago. She stopped going to church when 2 of our missionaries told her that she would never go to the Celestial Kingdom because she was going to marry a nonmember. So now Amy is married to James (a nonmember) and they and their 2 girls are very active in the nearest Baptist church down the street. They are actually an amazing family and very sweet, so Sister Brown and I are trying to figure out how to teach them the lessons. They are willing to have us visit, but James and Amy don't really care to hear about our faith because they are so strong in their own.

Sister Brown and I found another man named Jimmy. He is also very active in his church and they have been studying Mormonism lately, so we asked if he would be willing to listen to our message as presented by us (actual Mormon members). Jimmy is going to let us come back in a few days and share the message of the restoration.

I have hope that these people will have the desire to learn more as we meet with them and share the gospel through the spirit. I loved in General Conference how Elder Andersen said that the Lord is truly hastening His work. It is amazing how many more missionaries there are now, and Elder Andersen promised that the Lord is also preparing more people to hear about the restoration of the gospel. There are prepared hearts all throughout the land that are waiting to hear the word of the Lord (Alma 16:16). People may not know that the gospel is what they are lacking in their lives, but as members and missionaries continue to share the gospel, our message will fill the holes and their deepest desires and questions.

I love y'all so much. I hope that each of you is praying for opportunities to share the gospel with others. As you truly understand the Atonement, then your desire to share the gospel with others will increase. As I understand more about the gospel then I want to share what I understand with others. It is like ice cream... When I find my favorite flavor of ice cream (Red Velvet Cake Blue Bell) then I want to tell everyone else about it. I want everyone to taste my favorite ice cream because it is so good and it makes me so happy and it sweetens my life. The gospel is the same! If is makes us happy and answers our questions, shouldn't we want other people to have the same? If we loved General Conference and were touched by the spirit, shouldn't we want others to have the same??

I love the gospel!! I love sharing it with others! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so sweet and so beautiful that I want everyone to taste of it goodness. I love being a missionary. I love being a part of the same church of Jesus Christ that existed on the earth during His time. Isn't that beautiful!

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

Love Sister Peck

EMAIL:   Mon, April 1, 2013   10:09 AM
Subject:  I Love the BOM!!!

Hello Y'all!

First news is that I will be staying in Plano 6th Ward for at least another 6 weeks, which is great! Sister Brown and I will be staying together, which is surprising because every other sister is training someone this next transfer. We are still going to be riding bikes. They have also changed this next transfer so we will not be the only biking sisters anymore- almost half of the sisters will be on bikes now! It is pretty funny because many of the sisters are frantic trying to figure out how they will do things like wear skirts on bikes. I talked to the assistants yesterday, and they said they can't even imagine how to answer the sisters questions, so they are going to have all of the sisters call Sister Brown and I for questions about beings a sister and riding a bike.

I am really excited to stay in Plano because all of the work seems to finally be progressing. One of the investigators that Sister Brown and I have been working with is Patty. She was the referral from one of our other investigators. Patty grew up Catholic and went to Catholic school, so she is very hesitant to come to church because it is not what she is used to. We have been having some amazing experiences with Patty though. Last week we decided to watch The Restoration DVD to help her better understand Joseph Smith and feel the spirit. Right as Joseph Smith was about to have the First Vision, Patty's phone rang and killed the spiritual moment. I was a little bit annoyed, but we kept watching the movie. At the end, Patty couldn't wait to tell us what had happened to her during the movie. She had been putting up walls to not feel the spirit or believe the story, but then the phone rang. When we hung up the phone, she placed it on top of the Book of Mormon. She glanced down and saw right under the phone the words, "Fear Not"... This was a little miracle because Patty cannot read without her glasses. She did not have her glasses on and the book was far away on the coffee table, and so in a typical situation Patty would never have been able to read any words. But she saw "Fear Not" and it was a miracle because it helped her not put up the barriers and actually be able to feel the spirit of the Restoration DVD. It was amazing!!

So then Sister Brown and I went back to teach Patty this week. Previously Patty had read a few chapters of the Book of Mormon, but she was "fearing" that it might be true. We had planned to read with Patty from the BOM that day because she had before struggled to do it on her own. I asked Patty where she was at in the BOM so we could read it together, and she responded that she was in chapter 27 of Nephi. I was puzzled because I knew there are not that many chapters in 1 Nephi, so I asked again where she was reading. Patty responded that she was in 2 Nephi 27! In one week Patty had read from 1 Nephi 8 all the way through First Nephi and the majority of Second Nephi. She has been reading every night for at least 15 minutes, which is amazing!! Patty admits that she has been reading partly because Sister Brown and I are so disappointed when she doesn't and also partly because the BOM told her to "Fear Not" in a miraculous way that could only come if the book was truly from God. What a miracle!!

Sister Brown and I are still struggling to get Patty to church, but we are looking forward to this weekend of General Conference. Patty loves, loves, loves to watch TV - so conference is going to be great! It will be a great experience for us to talk about living prophets, modern revelation, and the feeling the Holy Ghost - then Patty will hopefully be happy to watch conference because it is on TV. I love General Conference and I pray that Patty will be able to feel the Spirit and further desire to make changes necessary in her life and be baptized. I love the Book of Mormon and how we can have amazing, miraculous, spiritual experiences even when we just glance at it. What a beautiful gift from our loving Heavenly Father! I am so thankful that Patty is having personal experiences with the BOM are going to shape her testimony.

It has been funny this week because Sister Brown and I have been called some funny titles. We were stopping by a family that had learned from the Elders before (we are going to be teaching them tonight). This family is only familiar with the boy missionaries, so it was interesting for them to meet sisters. As we left the house, the mom waved goodbye and said "Thanks for coming by, Sister Elders!" So we were called "Sister Elders" by her. Then there is a recent convert family in our ward that I just adore. The Solano Family was baptized in October and were actually introduced to the church by President Durrant. They have 3 children. The smallest is Sofia and she is 3. She's so cute in her little spanglish language that she speaks. This family too has only know Elders before Sister Brown and I. Little Sofia is still trying to figure out who exactly we are- she knows that we are missionaries and she knows that we are sisters. So she calls us "sistermaries". She even called us the sisitermaries in front of President Durrant a few days ago, and he just laughed. It is so cute! The final name we were given this week is my favorite. We recently found and activated a less-active named Sister Burns. She has a roommate named Leia, who is not very familiar with the LDS Church and she can never remember what Sister Brown and I are. So we are called by Leia the "Sisters of Mercy". Maybe the name comes from her Catholic background. She always asks Sister Burns if the Sisters of Mercy are going to be coming over soon.

I love being a "Sister of Mercy"! I love being a "Sistermary"! I love serving my Savior Jesus Christ and bringing the gospel unto those that are longing for it. The gospel is a beautiful thing!

I love y'all so much! Have a great General Conference weekend!!!

Love Always, Sister Peck