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