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