Sunday, December 26, 2010

FELIZ NATAL!

Wow it was so great to talk to you guys today! It's too bad the SKYPE didn't work but tudo bem. Sister Steinbeigle was able to webcam with her family just fine with out any complications. But It all worked out in the end! I can't believe how much I talked though! Sorry I just sort of couldn't stop. And then you had to go and get all emotional in the end....bummer. I really don't have a lot to say other than it has been an incredible Christmas! I feel so blessed. I thought it was going to be so hard being away from home but the memebrs take good care of us. Christmas is quite different here as they celebrate it the day before at MIDNIGHT! They even open presents on Christmas Eve! Different huh? We only had permission to stay out until 10:30 but the parties and dinner don't even start here until 12:00 in the morning, crazy huh? So we ate alone while the members watched us. A little awkward but it was okay. So as we started to leave the members we were with presented us with such a nice present! They gave us a HUGE gift basket with a ton of stuff!! I couldn't even beleive it! It is so beautiful. My inclination was to give it to someone less fortunate than us but then I realized, well I guess we are pretty unfortunate as we're poor missionaries. So I'll gladly accept free food! hahaha. Then today, Christmas morning, Sister Steinbeigle and I celebrated a nice "American Christmas" together by opening out stockings and things from home. Then we headed to another members house for lunch and they also had presents for us! Lunch was fantastic (as thats the main meal here), we spoke to our families, and we have been enjoying a nice relaxing P-day ever since! I couldn't be happier or feel more blessed. I received many Christmas cards from people at home and I thank everyone of you!!!!!! They are all hung up nicely in our decorated living room! Thank you for remembering me!

As far as the work goes, well since I'm shut up in the house I haven't been doing much as far as proselyting goes. I don't know if I mentioned last week or not but we have been using a lot of our time to make study journals for our investigators. I know, super Sister Missionary-ish right? But actually they turned out super chique! The only real material we have to use are the Ensigns so it took a LOT of effort but we are really pleased and so excited to give them! We have three really REALLY super investigators right now who are progressing so so SO well. Like I am stunned by each one of them. Maybe I have mentioned them? Paulinho and Fabiola are friends who own a graphic design company and were working on a Christmas project for the stake relief soceity. They were so impressed with the project they wanted to learn more about the church! They have just swallowed up everything we have taught them since day one! They even take notes! Have you ever seen anyone take notes during a lesson?? They came to church last week and LOVED it. So now they have two new, adorable, study journals, made with so much love to take their notes in! I am so excited for them. We are also teaching Pricila, a young woman who has so much faith! She also came to church and will continue to go weekly as she was so impressed. I love these people. I want so much to leave and be with them! Teach them and learn from them! But I guess for now I will be patient and do what I can from my apartment, make cute study journals and pray. :) But any little shout outs in your prayers for these incredible individuals would be glady appreciated.

Well I don't really have any novidades other than that! I wish to wish everyone of you a Feliz Natal. I thank you so much for your prayers, love and constant support. I want to leave my testimony with you that I know that our Savior and Redeemer was born in the humblest of circumstances many many years ago. I love that he was first worshipped by the lowliest of people, shepards! He came into this world to save all mankind. He lived a perfect life and established His church here on the earth with the proper preisthood authortiy. He also suffered an incomprehensible amount of pain for each one of us individually. Although he was compeltely devoted to selfless service throughout His life, He was eventually rejected and killed. Three days later He rose from the tomb! I was not there to witness his birth or miracles. But I know with all of my heart that He lives! I feel such an honor and privelege to be here proclaiming His gospel to the world, or at least the people of Sao Paulo. To tell them that yes, He does live! That His gospel, in its fulness is here on the Earth again in all its completeness! May we all remember who this season is truly about and ponder how we can better our lives at the begining of this new year. I love my Savoir, I love my mission, I love each one of you! This is my short testimony (that was really quite hard to do in English!) that I leave with you in the sacred name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

P.S. Mom thanks so much for the whiteout! Isn't that a ridiculous thing to be thankful for? But we NEEDED it and it is really expensive here! Thanks for everything. Amo voces! Tchau!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Twas the week before Christmas‏

I can't believe it's almost Christmas and a new year! I sure do love this time of year, as I know most of us do. I just wanted to share a quick experience we had this past week, actually two, okay maybe three. :) My companion and I were walking around the busy streets of Sao Paulo as our appointments had all fallen through. We had already made our 10 contacts for the day but that isnt to say we are limited to only ten people. We walked past a man who was sweeping the sidewalk in front of his portao, door, fence? I don't know how to describe it in English....anyway we walked past him and continued walking and walking and walking. We had already turned the corner and were headed up another street when I told Sister Steinbeigle that I couldn't stop thinking about the man out front sweeping the sidewalk. She said she didn't even remember seeing a man. So we went back. I stopped in front of him and he stopped sweeping and looked at me with the expression like Go ahead and talk, I already know who you are and what you're going to say. I told him I didn't even know what to say just that I felt like I should talk with him!

Turns out he is very intelligent having attended college in Ireland and has already received visits from the missionaries on various occasions. He had no interest in speaking about religion with us but accepted a Christmas song which we gladly sang to him with gusto and testimony! He just reminded me of Mr. Kruger from Mr. Krugers Christmas I guess. All alone during the Christmas Holiday. He doesn't have any family, that I am aware of, and he just seemed lonely. Nothing came of our short 15 minute visit with this little old grumpy man, heck, he doesn't even like the church! But I just cant stop thinking about him! I hope we were able to brighten up his holiday if even just a little bit. I dont know why I shared that story but there you go.

After Luis, the little grump old mans name is Luis, we really didn't know what to do. Sister Steinbiegle suggested we knock doors and carol. I have to admit I was a little hesitant.....but I didn't have any better ideas so I agreed. We went for the street of the church! Who would think to do the street of the church? One would think that everyone who lives on that street already knows the Mormons and has already been invited. you wouldn't believe the success we had! Obviously everyone knew who we were but NO ONE had ever been personally invited. I was stunned. It was actually quite satisfying and I really enjoyed it. Only one woman turned us away of like the 20 houses we visited! What a miracle! My favorite was a little old woman (I don't know whats with me and older people this holiday season) who answered the door. She told us her husband was sick. She had always wanted to visit that beautiful building on the end of her road but she has to stay home and take care of him. She also knew of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and said she loved to listen to them on the radio, however they stopped playing them for whatever reason. Again nothing drastic came from our short visit with her, she just touched my heart! I love knocking doors and making contacts! And this is recent! If you would have asked me that last week I would have said no way. Think of all the wonderful people that we walk past daily that dont know about the gospel! All we need to do is open our mouths and be an example!

I talked a lot. I love Christmas. Even though I sprained my ankle for the second time this month and I am stuck in the house for 2 weeks with a cast and crutches. I sort of feel like a worthless missionary but I am trying to stay positive and do my best. I know the Lord is aware of each one of his children! He loves us individually. for this reason He sent His only son to the earth to die for us. I imagine that would have been pretty difficult. For even Heavenly Father. We are so blessed! I am happy and hope all of you are too. Feliz Natal e Bom Ano Novo pra voces!

-Sister Peck

Monday, December 6, 2010

Olá familia!

Hi everyone!

Unfortunately I don´t have very much time to write today because we spent all P-day climbing Pico de Jaraguá! The highest point in the state of São Paulo! Can anyone believe that I did that!?? I sure can´t. It was hot and steep and hard but worth it! I feel very accomplished and it was nice to get outside and do something for a change. Plus I finally took pictures of Stanley! I hope Marshall and Anderson can still use the pictures! He totally had a blast up there!! :D It was a lot of fun but now we are EXHAUSTED, and no time to rest, time to work! We are about to find out about transfers this week too but the elders haven´t called yet. I´m not too worried; pretty certain Sister Steinbeigle and I will both stay here at least one more together. I mean you never really know but look at these stats: 12 missionaries are going home this week 4 of which are sisters. We are only gaining ONE elder!!!! Gosh I hope they don´t end up closing our entire mission or something....

As far as the work goes it´s going well. Missions are very interesting emotional roller coasters. It´s amazing to me how you can feel so happy and on top of the world and the next moment have the carpet pulled out from under you instantly and feel so sad. I´m referring to our baptism which fell thru this Saturday only 2 hours before it started. It was difficult. But we learn and everything is alright. Just a few minutes crying in the street and a lot of praying can really help alleviate a lot of stress. I heard an Elder say once "Sometimes I feel like I´m killing myself to serve these people I love!" And yeah that's basically how we feel sometimes. But tudo bem. The ward is super supportive and he still came to church on Sunday. He will get baptized eventually it´s just not his time right now. As hard as it was for me, I am grateful for what I learned from it. It would take too long to explain everything! But I do know that the Lord gives us challenges and trials for our learning and growth. And really it sounds like this has to do with me, sorry if its coming across that way, but it doesn´t! We end up feeling sad and hurt for our investigators. I don´t know its a hard thing to describe unless you´ve actually been a missionary I suppose. My thoughts aren´t very organized right now because I am in such a hurry. But Luis (our recent convert) bore his testimony on Sunday in front of everyone!!!! Oh my word what joy filled my heart! There is nothing more gratifying. I love this work! I love Brasil! There is no where else I would rather be! I´m sure I am forgetting a million things but its time to go teach a great new couple that we found recently. Love you all so much!

-Sister Peck

P.S. I was telling Sister Steinbeigle yesterday all about Grab Bag and how we would usually be doing it about this time of year! Que suadades!!! :D

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Feliz dia de Ação de Graças!

Hello everyone!

Wow what a busy week. It´s hard not to have P-day for 10 days but its worth it when you get to go to the temple!!!! Oh what a tremendous blessing. I just love the temple. It has been such a void the past few months but thankfully that void has now been more than filled! What a tremenous blessing it is to have a temple in my mission, in my zone! I loved hearing and doing everything in Portuguese, it was just so beautiful. It was the spiritual "pump up" I certainly needed. I could definitely go on forever about the blessings of the temple but please just remember to go as frequently as possible! Who would ever want to miss out on the wonderful blessings we can receive there??

I don´t even know where to start. The Lord is truly opening the windows of heaven and pouring out blessings upon us and the area. Or at least the memebrs have been giving us references, haha. But not JUST references, SUPER GREAT references! Please allow me to share a few of our tender mercies and experiences from this past week! We met a young woman named Pricila this week who knows a member in our ward. She was very impressed with him and he struck up a conversation about the church....and then we come into the picture! When we arrived at her house she was very accepting. We didn´t know what we would teach but felt very prompted to start with the Plan of Happiness. instead of the Restoration, as we usually would do. After about an hour of conversing she told us that she was a little in shock. Earlier that very day she had been pondering about what the true meanining of Happiness was and where she could go to find it. As soon as my compaion said "We are here to teach you about God´s plan of Happiness for you." She felt very touched and surprised. We confirmed that that already was an answer to her prayer and she got extremely excited. We will continue meeting with her and she can´t wait to go to church this Sunday! We also met a brand new family from a different member of our ward. I guess the brother in our ward had done something nice for this man in the hallway of their apartment even though he didnt even know him. The man was SO impressed by the example of the brother in our ward he immediately asked if he was affiliated with a church....then we came into the picture! Despite my weaknesses, we had a great lesson with them. I unfortunately got a little nervous because the Father has studied 6 years of theology so I got a little distracted and felt that he would already know everything I would say. When I don´t concentrate, I don´t speak Portuguese as well as I should, and most importantly I don´t have the spirit. As i was attempting to explain the Apostosy his wife suddenly said "I don´t understand a single thing she is saying." This really hurt my feelings. It was quite a humbling experience for me because I learned that I still have a LOT of learning to do! I need to rely on the Lord and not be complacent but to always practice and be striving to do better. I tried to speak slower and clearer but ended up just getting emotional and started crying right in front of everyone. I have never done that before. I´m sure the little kids were freaked out. Even though I was utterly embarrassed as I tried to bear my testimony as clearly as I could through my sniffles (funny enough the wife told me she could understand me better haha), maybe it is what they needed because we ended up marking baptismal dates with the entire family. WOW! We left feeling very happy and I was grateful for the lesson from the Lord.

Okay. WOW! That was long. Why did I choose to include all of that? Because really what it all came down to the members of the ward, their examples, and willingness to give references to the missionaries! We need to always remember that people ARE watching us! Our every move. The slightest thing we say, the tinyest thing we do could have such an impact on a persons heart. I was very grateful for these brethren in our ward and their examples which allowed more people to be taught the beautiful message of the gospel.

In other news we have Luis´ baptism this weekend! He is so excited and so prepared. We have so much love for him, as his missionaries of course. I feel so honored to be a part of this work. This is a once in a life time opportunity and I know that no where else at no other time will I get to have these experiences. Sorry I talk so much! But thats just me isn´t it? The church is SO true!!! Love you all!

-Sister Peck

P.S. They don´t celebrate Thanksgiving here, so I kind of forgot about it! But Christmas is fastly coming, and its going to be a hot one! Who thinks of 90 degree weather and water melon on Christmas?! I sure don´t. As of right now though our goal is to have "O Natal Branco" or a White Christmas......which means....baptisms on Christmas!!! Da hora né?! Beijos! Tchau!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tudo bem gente!

I can´t believe how the weeks absoultey fly by. I feel like yesterday was JUST p-day! The weather here is absolutely crazy. We painted the house of our investigator Fábio on Tuesday from 9 AM until 8 PM and of course it was the hottest its been for a looong time. Needless to say we were exhausted. The rest of the week it has been cold, cold, cold, which I will NEVER complain about. I love to wear layers and no sun is fine by me! Unfortunately I think the drastic change in weather gave me a bad cold....bummer.

We were very busy all week long, which is probably why it went by so quickly. I am so grateful for all the work that we have. We are teaching such increddible individuals and families but it sure seems that everyone has quite a while to go before they can be baptized (need to get married, stop drinking, etc). Sometimes Sister Steinbeigle and I feel like we are doing everything in our power, to help these people; fasting, praying, inviting, encouraging, visiting every day, EVERYTHING! But what more should we be doing? We have no problem marking baptismal dates and teaching lessons, but actually bringing our investigators into the waters of baptism? That´s another story. If anyone has any helpful suggestions or experiences please send them my way! They would be gladly received.

One thing I´m learning is the reality of Satan and his desire to truly atrapalhar...hmm that was Portuguese hahaha....whats the word in English? I guess "mess things up"? haha, somethings are better said in other languages. It seems that everyone of our investigators has SUCH a desire to make correct choices, to really change their lives around. They are consistantly going to church, reading from the scriptures, meeting with us, we have family home evenings in the member´s houses. But there is always just SOMETHING in the way. I am doing my best to do my part. I know the Lord will do His, according to His plan. Even if I don´t get to stay here and watch my investigators make the sacred covenet of baptism, at least I can be satisfied that I am doing my part in preaching the gospel, "planting seeds" if you will.

I love being a missionary! Even with all its difficulties. I heard an Elder say it this way recently "The pathway is straight, narrow, and uphill!" And its true! Sometimes it feels as though we are killing ourselves for these people we love. But its for such a great cause. In the words of Joseph Smith "The Lord isn´t just building His kingdom, He is building us." I love that! I truly feel that I am "being built". I am becoming a much better person than I was 8 months ago, little by little. I´m just sort of rambling on here, but please know that I have a testimony! If I didn´t I wouldn´t be here doing what I am doing every day for 18 months of my life! Everyone who serves a mission is making some sort of sacrifice, but gosh the blessings are just SO worth it! Hearing investigators pray for the first time, bear their testimony, have a true mighty change of heart, nothing comes close to those feelings as a representative of our Savior Jesus Christ. I love this work! Vamos trabalhar! Thanks for your prayers in our behalf. We need them and we can feel them. :) Até a proxima!

-Sister Peck

Monday, November 8, 2010

Just another week in paradise!

Óla everyone! I don´t think I have mentioned that I enjoy being a missionary yet, so for those of you who don´t already know I LOVE IT! Among the hard work and challenges, there is just so much unexplainable joy I get to experience daily and I am so grateful. We really made an effort this week to invite people to church and it paid off! We had TEN investigators in the chapel this Sunday! TEN! That NEVER happens. It was such a blessing. It was fast and testimony meeting so of course the spirit was so incredibly strong in both wards too.
We were most happy to see William there! He is a 16 year old boy that is, ugh, amazing. We received a referral to go to his house with his name on it, could have been that he asked us to visit through the Internet or something. Anyway when we went to his house he said he never remembered doing anything to ask for a visit from the Mormon missionaries. But now we are teaching his family and its going so well. We are very excited not only for him, but his whole family.
I wish I had time to explain everything and everyone but I´m trying to learn how to shorten my e-mails a little bit! The work is going so well here in Caxingui/Vertentes. We feel so blessed to be teaching so many great individuals/families. We received a call from our Zone Leaders the other day who said that they had made it into one house and taught only one lesson. We know that here in the capital it´s tough so we feel very grateful for the people the Lord has blessed us with to teach. We are doing all that we can, and sometimes even more! For example, one day this week we got up early and went on a RUN!!! Can you believe it!! WOW! SUPER SISTERS!! Our ZL said he looks up to us and everyone will probably want to be us for Halloween next year! hahaha. Tomorrow we are painting a house of a part member family. We are really trying hard to mark a baptismal date with the husband, Fábio. But I´m excited to paint a house! ummm I don´t think I´ve ever done it before! haha!
Well I don´t have very much to say today. Only that I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven. So happy to be here serving no melhor missão do mundo!! Hope everyone is well! As always thanks for all your prayers and support!

Sempre,
Sister Peck

Friday, November 5, 2010

Olá família e amigos!

What a busy week it has been! We had transfers and the conference with Elder Bednar on the same day. All the missionaries in our whole mission were here at our chapel by the temple and it was SO much fun! How great it is to be a missionary!!! I knew I would love it, but I could never have imagined I would love it THIS much!!! It was so great to see old companions or people from other districts. But best of all was the news received from my previous area! Sometimes its easy to wonder, puxa, did I even do anything of great importance in those past three transfers? And then you recieve word of the recent converts who are strong and the individulas you were teaching who are preparing for baptism! What an increddible feeling. I simply can´t describe it! I was absolutely elated to hear about Marcel (Zach Efron look-a-like) who has a baptismal date, and Maria (his grandma, adorable little old lady we taught) who was already baptised! It was just so great to hear such wonderful news! They had even written me letters and thanked me for my work and what I had done for each of them! It was difficult not to cry.

Sister Santos was transferred, not to our surprise. Close to Sorocaba where I had been serving before here. It was really REALLY hard for us three to say good bye. I absolutely loved our trio. But now we are re-figuring out how it is to work/teach in a dupla (gosh I can´t speak english) and it´s all good. The problem is that Sister Steibeigle and I are both American! And although her Portuguese is PERFECT and everyone thinks she is Brasilian, it´s way too easy for us to speak English together! What´s funny is when we speak its half Port/half english. Most of the time we dont even realize what language we´re speaking to each other. It´s actually pretty cool!!! Until we start speaking to a Brazilian in English cuz we think we´re speaking Portuguese! hahaha. Suffice it to say it was easier to keep my Portuguese up with a Brasilian comp....oh boy.....

I learned a ton from Elder Bednar. It was great to have an Apostle of the Lord here to speak with us. He talked so much about faith as a principle of action. We can´t just be objects and expect things to happen, but really need to do our part and prepare first. Then we can plead with the Lord and exercise our faith. I dont know I´m very bad at re-telling what I learned. He is so eloquent and very intelligent. I´d hate to try and quote him because it just wont be the same! But he taught us how to be better effective in our teaching as missionaries, what to do and what not to do. It was very enlightening and inspiring. I wish I could share everything I learned but there frankly isn´t time!

The work is going just great here. We really have to work hard to try not to think about our companion who is missing. :( We set a date with Felipe who is just an increddible young man. Every day he just amazes me. He has so many difficulties but is so strong! He came to church and loved it and was well accepted by the young men. I am SO excited for him! And feel so honored to be a part of his conversion. Flávia is also doing well. She has some doubts about some things that we are trying to clear up with her. But all in all its going well!

Okay well I have talked and talked and now my time is up! Thank you for all your love and support! Until next week!

Sempre,
Sister Peck

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

E aí? Beleza?

Well there´s nothing too new to report from this past week. Things are still good here. On Tuesday after district meeting we had to pass by the temple store and just my luck, Daphne happened to be there again! This time we actually got to talk for a minute and take a picture. It was so good to see her! She looked great! I remember being in her shoes 5 months ago...wow has it really been that long?? It was funny because I didn´t know which language to speak in, Portuguese so my companion could understand or English so she could understand! I had to translate every sentence. It was pretty funny.

We are doing our best to work hard and to find people. Fortunately on Wednesday night we had a TON of people at our English class! It´s such a great way to slowly and naturally introduce the gospel. The people who came seemed to really enjoy it so I hope we will be able to start teaching some of them...if they live in our area of course!

Flávia is doing well. We had a great lesson with her the other day and she is starting to pray and read the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately she didn´t make it to chuch on Sunday but she did go to the regional singles dance on Saturday and loved it! We are really hoping that she will truly feel the truthfulness of our message and have the desire to be baptized. She is so awesome!
The bishopric has asked us to do a sort of "treinamento" for the families in our ward. This training is more of an explaination of how to easily share the gospel with our friends and family as members. Sure its easy when we´re wearing a black name tag, but what about in our day-to-day lives? We are able to share firstly how important and necessary the Atonement of Jesus Christ is in our lives. That without Him and the sacrifice that He made, nothing would be possible. In order to return home to our Father in Heaven, we have to repent and try each day to be better than we were the day before. And this is only possible throught the Atonement. We share that it is our responsibility as well as it is a commandment to share the gospel with those who surround us. We need to develop the desire to share the gospel, but it can be done so easily! One time I heard that we can bring up the gosel in a conversation in three sentences or less. It really works! "Hi how was your weekend? Mine was good I went to church...." or "Where did you go to school? I went to BYU....." or "Gosh I´m so tired because I had to get up today for seminary. Oh you don´t know what seminary is? Let me explain..." lol. Every ward has a ward mission plan, and now we are showing these families how to have a family mission plan! So far it´s seemed to be productive and successul. Plus I´m learning tons. Being a missionary sure prepares you for everything, including how to be a better member once you return home from a mission. I love this work so much! Without memebers nothing happens! We need you! Sure we have the responsibility to teach and prepare people for baptism but please remember how you, or your family came to know the gospel. Com certeza it was through a friend who was already a member. Help the full time missionaries out by being a member missionary! I love you all and appreciate all your love and support. Until next week!

-Sister Emily Peck

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Como eu adoro conferência!

Ah conferência geral! A gente aprende muitas coisas boas! I remember one time at BYU-Idaho my religion professor said to us "Isn´t it interesting how the bretheren are FINALLY speaking about interesting things??" We all just sort of looked at him strangely. Then he continued "The truth is, they have always been saying the same things and in the same way, WE are the ones doing the changing!" It really made sense to me at the time, dont know if it made sense how I explained it just now. But I pretty much LOVE conference now. I look forward to it so much and always leave feeling so inspired, with so much desre to be better and work harder. As a missionary I loved how I could apply everything to my life right now! Teaching, faith, trials, living in the world but not of the world, patience, families, families, families! I could go on forever! How blessed we are to have the gospel and to have the instructions we do from a living prophet! Sorry I havent written more but my time is short! Besides getting water splashed on us by a car this week in the street!!! THAT WAS AWFUL but hilarious!!! Hope everyone is well!!! Thanks for everything!!! COM AMOR, Sister Peck

Monday, September 27, 2010

More Pictures in the MIssion

Sister Santos!
I'm going to take this home as a souvenir!!! I LOVE HIM!!!

The three amigos.



Looks like we are in the Amazon right???

Pictures

I LOVE MY COMPANIONS!!!!
Baptism of Kayth!!! Notice we all match!


El libro de Mormon. My comp calls me "argentina" because of my spanish accent.

Esta semana corrida‏

Ola everyone! This week was pretty good, normal. Unfortunately our baptism that we scheduled for Saturday fell through because she was kidnapped! Not literally, but kind of! A little old lady named Maria, she´s 82! She is absolutely adorable! I LOVE HER! She is so elect and has such a solid testimony. She is from Spain and her accent rocks! Unfortunately, her family doesn´t agree with her being baptised and thinks she is crazy. Friday, the night before the baptism, her son told her to pack her bags as they would be leaving in the moring for the country, no idea when they´d return. :( Really. Sad. We were all really at a loss for what we should do. But we were advised from our leaders that all we really can do is just wait and pray. Ah patience.
We are doing the best we can to find the Lord´s elect. Fortunately the members here are super good about giving referrals, (WHAT A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER!!) so that is a blessing for sure. This past week we had interviews with President (at the mission office two minutes away from our house, YES! LOVE IT!) and he stressed the importance of really teaching about following Christ. Do we love Christ and desire to follow His counsel and be like Him? Then we will truly have a desire to be obedient to His commandments. So far I think its been really helpful advice. Except for the time we asked our investigator and he flat out said no, but he´s just stubborn. He´ll come around!
Just something before I go: I´m serving in the oldest stake in South America right now! How cool is that?! But really I hve never been happier and more excited to work hard and serve. Hope everyone is well! Thanks for the letters, love, support, and prayers! They are needed! Ate mais!!

-Sister Emily Peck

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ola from Caxingui/Jardim das Vertentes


Suffice it to say that the Lord loves me! All last transfer Sister de Souza and I spent hours and hours trying to find a decent house to live in. As you know, we found one. Perfect! But juuuuuust in case something happened and either one of us was going to be transferred the next week we didnt even unpack. We just lived out of our suitcases. As it turns out our area was closed which means we would both be leaving. So we basially spent all our time looking for the perfect house....for ELDERS! I hope they´re grateful.....lol. Actually I am very excited for them and I know they will have lots of success there! I cant wait to hear all about it! I am now serving in the capitol of São Paulo in two areas instead of one, Caxingui and Vertentes. We are two minutes away from the temple and mission office, in a very nice house (NO DOGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!), the members are awesome, and ITS VERY COLD HERE! I am SOOOO happy!!!!!!!!! Whats more? I´m in a TRIO! I think it has to do with the missionaries waiting for visas again in the states. But oh my goodness my comps are absoultely wonderful. We are all already besties! Allow me to tell you a little about each of them. Sister Kellie Steinbeigle is most recently from Issaqua, WA (she doesn´t know Jan and Jeff) but was basically raised in Utah. She is perfect. That pretty much sums her up! Seriously she has o dom de talentos or the gift of talents! She is an artist, a dancer, a singer, and she speaks absolute PERFECT portuguese. She is such a sweetheart. She always teaches with the spirit. She kind of reminds me of a quieter version of Jenna. Even though she is very short, I definitely look up to her. ;) We sing together in every lesson and it´s so great! I love singing with her! She is definitely the example of quiet, righteous dignity (haha Sister Przybyla ;) But yeah I adore her. Sister Santos is from Maceió and is oh my gosh down right HILARIOUS. I seroiusly haven´t stopped laughing since we all got together on Wednesday. She is always playing pranks or telling jokes and is just straight up cool. Apparently my spanish accent is still really strong, especially when compared to Sister Steinbeigle´s perfect accent, and Sister Santos thinks its so funny. She already has all these nicknames for me. I´m really trying to loose my Mexican accent by reading everything out loud and practicing like crazy. Everything I say Sister Santos follows it up with something like "Isso mesmo Argentina! or Mexicana! (or my favorite) Sister Cooley!" (Sister Cooley speaks Spanish too and has a very strong accent, just for your FYI) :) anyway we are having so much fun. I am learning so much from both of them!

On top of that the area is GREAT! I already love it. The members are wonderful and so eager to help. It´s like I´ve stepped into a whole new world. We already had a baptism on Sunday, a girl named Kayth, so that was a great welcome! We are teaching some very elect people too! Our first day we met a young man named Felipe (again, a referral from a member, WOW!) and he is SO prepared! We spoke to him just breifly then two days later had a real lesson with him. It was increddible the things he retained, even after my Sportuglish (Spanish-Portuguese-Enligsh). He is very excited and has a desire to learn more and more! We marked a baptismal date with him and we are so excited to see his progress.

Yep so pretty much I´m loving the big city life. I fit right in! Its cold, busy, and beautiful and I LOVE IT! Want to know the best part? We get to go to the temple while serving here!!!!! I don´t think this transfer, but the next one, so hopefully I stay at least for a little while!!! I feel so increddibly blessed to be here. I know the Lord is aware of me and my needs. What a privellege it is to be learning such a beautiful language and to be preaching the gospel to such an amazing people! My first Sunday in this area was Stake Conference. I just sat and looked around at all the people and thought wow. How lucky am I? I am serving in basically the center of the church in South America. This is where it all happens down here! We meet general church leaders almost daily! Yesterday I met Elder Godoy, an area 70 and, this is cool, the man who does all the Portuguese translations for basically EVERYTHING is our ward mission leader! All the church films, the book of mormon on CD, and any film down here, its his voice! yeah he´s pretty much a big deal. We had tacos at his house yesterday for lunch. I have only been here for 5 days and can you tell how much I love it? I don´t know if Heavenly Father could have picked a better place for me. As far as I can tell, I dont think it was Teresina. ;) Anyway sorry this is so long! Thank you for all your prayers, love and support. I don´t know what I did to deserve all of this but I am grateful! I hope everyone is well at home! Até logo!

-Sister Emily Peck

P.S. I don´t know if I already mentioned this but ficamos sabendo que Elder Bednar is coming next month to speak to us. Neat huh? Anyway President Cooley called and asked me..........to lead the music! hahaha. I thought he was going to ask me to sing but nope! Tudo bem. I told him that definitely would not be a problem. Just for your FYI!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Emily's Birthday

When I got the pictures from you guys, yeah!


Wow 6 months on the mission already! Can you believe it?? It has just flown by! I havent heard whether or not I will be transferred this week but its very likely. I´ve already said goodbye to everyone so that would be funny if I stayed! My birthday was wonderful!!!! Our friend took us to lunch, we went to the salon and I got a manicure, and then my companion planned a whole surprise party for me! It was so much more than I expected or needed but it was great. I loved the apple pie and pictures! thanks!!! I may or may not have cried when I saw them........:) The work has been going well too! We had a lot of investigators at my party and at church on Sunday too!! It was wonderful. I got a little emotional during church just thinking about the people I have come to know in this area. I sure hope I was able to be an instrument in the Lords hands and that I made some difference here. Even if it was just to plant a seed. That is alright by me! Everyone has their time and agency. And the Lord has a plan for each of us!
Many people were sad to hear that I wouldnt be teaching the English class any more which made me feel really good! haha. It really has been helping my Portuguese to teach the class.
Well sorry this is so short! I just wish to send my love and (the heat) to everyone back at home! haha. Things are super fine and super hot here. I am happy and one year older! Happy Birthday to everyone who has a birthday this week!

-Sister Peck

P.S. my new favorite thing is an Avacado milkshake!!!! ITS TO DIE FOR!!!!!!!!!!! Avacado, milk, sugar, and you can add an apple for taste (SO GOOD!) ;)

Em's Birthday and More

Karina and Clecia!!!!!!!! My favorite people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Funny how the less actives and investigators help the missionaries out more than the members.................whats the deal.....



Xico comes to church! hahahaha




Emily's Birthday and More

In case you're curious...this is our Zac Efron look a like investigator, Marcel. He's awesome!!!

It was one of our investigator's birthdays too, Fernando she is so adorable. We blew out the candles together.
the day we moved into our apartment in the rain! Thanks elders!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Loucura em Sorocaba!‏

This week has been nothing short of crazy! Everything has felt completely upside down and out of the ordinary. Fortunately we were able to rent a house--FINALLY!!!!!!!!!! Its in a nice neighborhood and very spacious. The lady who lives underneath our house is very nice and a member of the Congregação Cristã do Brasil and whats more?´Oh she doesn't have any dogs. lol. Interesting the little trials we get to endure.....:) However I am feeling very confident that I will be transferred this next week into the capitol (São Paulo) so I will get to enjoy at least one week of sleep! Today we will be spending our entire P-day cleaning and packing and getting ready to move tomorrow.

Remember our Zach Efron look-a-like investigator Marcel? We were so sad that we lost contact with him. He just stopped talking to us and it was really heart breaking because he was really progressing. We did what any sister missionary would do and wrote him a thoughtful note attached to a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and left it at his house. A week went by and we still didn't hear from him. :( Yesterday we were kind of sad because all of the people we invited to church had made excuses as to why they couldnt make it this week. In my morning prayer I fervently prayed for a miracle, that someone would come to church of their own free will. When we arrived at the chapel there was a young man talking to one of the brethren in our ward so of course we went up to meet him. To our SHOCK and JOY there was Marcel! In the capela all by himself!!! It was truly a miracle. We were soooo happy. He stayed for all three hours, loved it, loved our note, and wants to keep taking the lessons. He´s so great. He kept asking questions about serving a mission. We introduced him to our friend Fabricio who served in Japan, who speaks English too. He thought that was pretty trippy. In my broken Portuguese I bore testimony of the power of prayer and that miracles truly do occur. I know Heavenly Father listens to us, even in the smallest of situations. Prayer is real! So are miracles! I cant wait to hear where Marcel gets his mission call in a year!! :) haha, don´t tell him I said that, it would freak him out!

Anyway things are good here. Hope all is well at home and in the states. I hear bits and pieces about the U.S. I guess the troops are removed from Iraq now? Interesting. Well I gotta go. Beijos e abraços

-Sister Peck

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More Pictures

BAPTISM OF TEREZA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Our musician investigators Cassio and Talina and their adorable kids!!! Brian and Camila!!
Me in a tree??

More Mission Pictures

Just taking pictures of myself....I´m happy to be a missionary!
This is my absolute new favorite thing!!!! CORN ICE CREAM! I was really afraid to try it at first but now I cant get enough of it! Its like eating corn bread but in the form of ice cream!!!
Our last district....they were fun!

Mission Pictures

This is just a random but kind of cool picture of Sister de Souza and me!
Baptism of Jenifer. She chose her boyfriends dad to baptize her! I thought that was neat since her bf could have!
I´m obsessed with the sunsets here!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

vez enquanto, quando voce acredite!‏

This week was much better than the last one, stressful still, but better! And goodness how the weeks are flying by now that P-days are on Monday! Not sure how its changing things so drastically but it is! Good news numero um is that we found a house!!! I´m really amazed by the tender mercies from Heavenly Father. Allow me to tell you a quick story: One day we were walking around trying to find a store to make XEROX copies but nothing was open. We found one that we walk by every day but never had paid any attention to before. The young man behind the counter, Xico, (she-ko) was happy to help us with our copies and whatever else we needed! We became fast friends with him. He has helped us with so much from, making CDs for investigators, copies for church, whatever, and he always gives us free ice cream! One day we figured it would be a good idea to ask him about a house and as it turns out his brother owns an apartment complex and had one available. When we went to look at it it was beyond perfect. Definitely a miracle for us because we have been searching and searching and its been frustrating because our work isnt progressing because we have to find a house! Whats even better is that Xico is now reading the Book of Mormon!!!! However we´re not teaching him because he unfortunately doesnt live in our area. But we will pass his info to the elders soon. He also promised to help us move and buy us pizza on our first day! Xico helped us find a home and we´re helping him to GET back home! :D Isnt it great to help each other?!

Miracle number two: When I arrived here in Parque das Laranjeiras there was a family recently baptized by my trainor, well almost a whole family. Only the dad and son and daughter. The mother decided not to be. However ever since I´ve been here she has atteneded church every Sunday, goes to institute, holds FHE, even invites friends and family to church! Basically what we call a "dry member" Shes basically a member just not baptized! Well yesterday she was! It was a miracle for sure. The spirit at her baptism was so strong. Her husband (recent covert) baptized her and bore testimony after, especially about their goal as a family to be sealed in the temple in one year. I´m pretty sure the whole ward was there and everyone was crying. It was absoultey beautiful to see a complete family. It couldnt have been better!

So all in al things are good. We have had some recent changes in our mission too. For example after the first lesson with an investigator we have to have members with us! its a rule now!! It will be difficult for sure but we´ll do our best. We also have to do 10 contacts per missionary per day. Things like that. We had a ward talent show last week too that was.....alright. It was really chaotic actually and stressful. We´re not the activities committee but we might as well have been. But we did have some investigators come and participate. The professional musicians! I´ll see if i can upload the video for you to watch! Well that's all for now. Hope everyone is well! Com amor aqui no Brasil!
-Sister Peck

Friday, August 20, 2010

August 16 Letter

This week has been really....off.....I think having two P-days made things more confusing. In addition we´re trying to find a house and its been really complicated. Unfortunately we´re apparently supposed to do everything alone and our zone leaders forbid any Elders from helping us?? I don't know what that's all about. But its a little ridiculous. Anyway its been very dramatic and stressful but we´re prayerful and hopeful that we can find a place. I am hoping soon.......
The work is alright despite everything being crazy. we received the suggestion to pray for miracles each day. We are working with such great people but the pattern seems to be as soon as we mark a baptismal date...it falls through and the person no longer wants anything to do with the church. :( anyway the lord truly answers prayers because a miracle did occur on Sunday. I cant write about it yet...just because....well I don't feel its the right time to share it but I will! But know that miracles do happen and the lord truly answers prayers according to our faith. however we have to have patience and realize that its in HIS time, definitely not ours. I´m grateful for this knowledge and for the things that are happening in our area.

Today for P-day we went to a real Rodizio!! It was SOOOOOOOO good!! But if you see a big chunk of money out of my VISA that's why. I paid for both me and my comp. But it was fun to get out and do something for a change.
Well unfortunately there is so much to write and no time today but I will write more next week. Love you all and thank you for your prayers and support!
P.S. Mom, without cheating, do you know where Cashews come from? I´m curious.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ola

Sometimes I wake up and think "Wow. Do I actually live in Brasil??? How cool is that?!" I will be here in Laranjeiras another transfer with Sister de Souza. Things are okay here. We had Jenifer's baptism on Saturday which generally would be an extremely happy occasion. Unfortunately practically NO ONE from our ward attended which really was disheartening. There were only about 7 people including me and my comp, the elders, and Jenifer. She didn't seem to mind and was still happy so that was good to see. And honestly its not about the numbers really, I am confident the spirit can be present with 3 people present but everything was just odd. I´m not sure how to explain it. We really need more support from the members here but we can only do what we can do. We are teaching this guy, Marcel, right now that is just great. To paint an image: He is Zach Efrons twin. I dont even really know who Zach Efron is except that hes on the Disney Channel and this guy looks just like him! He has a real desire to learn about the gospel and is reading the Book of Mormon! I don't know theres just something about him. He treats us better than some of the members in our ward too....for example he always feeds us and gives us rides no matter the time or situation!

The other night it was really late and usually his mom goes with us in the car when he drops us off at home but she was already asleep. We assured him that we were okay to walk but he insisted and ran accross the street and got his NEIGHBOR! I´m sure she thought we were insane (what kind of weird rules do these mormons have anyway??) but he´s so nice and truly inquisitive about our teachings. He has a long way to go, that's for sure. But we are doing our best to plan and prepare lessons specifically for him that will help him feel the spirit and know that these things are true, that it IS possible for him to change his life around. He may think a lot of the things he´s involved in are "fun" but ultimately we know better. I was reading in Jesus the Christ about "pleasure" versus oh I can't remember the other word now! I think its "joy or happiness" or something....dang it I cant remember but anyway basically it talked about the same thing. Thigns that give us pleasure are but temporary and not of God. But things that give us pure joy will have a lasting happiness for eternity. This is the message we hope to share with Marcel! Pray for us!

We went to Sao Paulo today (its transfers) but only because it was free for us to take the bus and we were able to get our things out of our suitcases. It was fun to see people like the elders from my district in the CTM!!!! They are all so great! Some got skinny and others....well not quite so skinny lol. I wonder how I appear to them?? I am so excited to have an extra P-day on Monday! I got mom's mission ties letter and dads email. Thanks for all the updates. Wish I had time to go through everything but really I appreciate it. I am so confident the 24th of July Celebration was a success!!!! Wish I could have been there to be a part of it! How wonderful the missionary effort is continuing to flourish up there. Gosh!!!! And people said the USA is hard to serve!! I think no matter where someones serving a mission its difficult for different reasons. I wont lie and say that I dont have my difficult days. But I just breathe deeply and remember that everything is for my good and part of Heavenly Fathers plan. He is shaping me into the person He wants me to become, I can see that. I am grateful for the lessons I am learning and things I am experiencing. I know whole heartedly that its only here I could possibly have such experiences. I dont really care about the numbers of people I baptize or dont baptize during my time here in Brasil, I just hope to make a difference! If I´ve left an area better than I found it when I arrived, I will know I have done my part. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!!

-Sempre, Sister Peck

Friday, July 30, 2010

Com fe em cada paso!

We have a baptism this week! Her name is Jenifer and she is the girlfriend of a member here. We started teaching her and she accepted everything so naturally! Of course she is familiar with the church because of her boyfriend, but we felt that she isn't baptized only because no one has invited her! She is a great young woman and I´m so excited for her! We marked two more baptismal dates with the mom and brother of a member in our ward. It really appeared to be the same thing! No one had invited them to be baptized! It really strengthened my testimony and understanding of how important it is that we constantly share our testimonies and the gospel with others! We don't want it to be on our shoulders in the next life that our closest friends and family simply say "Well no one asked me!" That's why we as missionaries seriously talk to everyone!! As we pass people on the street I always think of this "future situation". We seriously never know who is ready and prepared to hear and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ!

I had another great experience this week. I had a really bad migraine on Sunday, that wasn't so great. But we had to go to a fireside all about missionary work. I was absolutely dying and one Irmao, who apparently knew I sang, approached me and asked if I would sing "I´ll Go Where You Want Me to Go". It was difficult to say yes under the circumstances of my health. But I agreed. I said a silent prayer and the Lord blessed me with health and strength yet again to bear my testimony through song. I was really surprised how it went and could tell others were touched by the Spirit. I of course knew it had nothing to do with me but was all the Lords doing. The words to the song are truly how I feel too, and I was honored to get to sing. As soon as I was done the headache came back with full force, but I was so grateful for the Lords answer to my simple prayer it didn't even matter! I know He hears and answers us according to our faith and His will. I was reading in Jesus the Christ today about the importance of prayer. One passage struck me in particular. It said something along the lines of "God will continue to be God if man ceases to pray, but without prayer, man is nothing." Something along those lines. It was really powerful! And so true. Prayer is for us! The Lord hears and acknowledges even the most humble of prayers. It is such a blessing and I am so thankful for it. Dang, I wish I could teach this way in Portuguese.... :)

Other than that things are pretty good here. Just living with the dogs and eating rice and beans! We had a Festa Julilhas the other Saturday at the church which was really fun to be a part of. Its a red-neck party where everyone dresses up like theyre from the country! usually involving beer, but obviously we had none. We had a lot of investigators come and a lot of help from the members, thank goodness. We had this idea to set up a board with holes in it for faces (I forget the name in English) and take pictures of all the investigators. We wrote down their addresses to "deliver the fotos we took for free" haha. Em serio it was a great way to get contacts! Legal nao e?? haha. I'll see if I can attach some pictures. Anyway things are great. Hope all is well at home! Have fun at the family reunion!!! Wish I could be there, but actually I´m quite happy where I am. Please take pictures and send them to me!!! Also from the 24th of July celebration! I want to hear how that went too!!!! Beijos e abraços!!
-Sister Emily Peck

Sunset and Coconut Pictures





First time drinking a coconut! This ones for you Mom! lol....just dont think of Hawaii. Apparently its supposed to be really good for you?

Also I´m completely obsessed with the sunsets here....

Friday, July 23, 2010

Boa Tarde! July 21, 2010‏

Today we had an activity for our zone, pretty fun except that we played an intense version of volley ball where you purposefully try and hit the other person. I´m still a little afraid of volleyballs flying at me, although Sister Przybyla helped me out a ton in the CTM so I didnt look like too much of a dork today. But it was fun! We had hot dogs, the elders brought their guitars and sang, and most of all I got to wear normal clothes!!!! Right now we are on divisions with the other Sisters in our Zone. My companion went to the other area and I stayed here with a new sister who just arrived on Monday!! She is serving a corto praso which means she is only a temporary missionary, possibly staying only until the end of the transfer. But that means I am senior companion for a day and a half which is pretty dang cool! I am excited to see how the next hours we have together go! Shes really sweet and speaks portuguese (duh) so I´m not the least bit concerned.
In other news....our baptism with Luiz fell through, again. Yeah the night before. It was super discouraging. We did all that we could to ensure that he was ready. Even our district Leader Elder Caldwell sad he felt something different about him this time and that all was well! But Luiz said "he just lost the desire to be baptized". I know we certainly cant blame ourselves but its just difficult when you spend time and energy and grow to love the people you teach--and in the end the choice is theirs. I would like to see one of our investigators progress and be baptised--not for me but for them! Seriously. The blessings of choosing a righteous life are so tremendous. But in the Lords time, right? We can take comfort in the fact that the Lord has a plan and a purpose for each of us and is aware of our needs. So we have spent the last few days finding new people! Hitting doors and talking to people in the street!!! There are wonderful people in this area! We just have to find them!!! I know the Lord will bless us for our efforts. I´m still as happy as ever and still excited to work everyday, though its getting harder and harder to get up in the mornings. ...I think its the dogs we live with..keeping me up all night! I love being a representative of Jesus Christ and feel it an honor to get to preach His gospel every day! He suffered and died for us and gave us the freedom to choose Him. I have so much to be thankful for, especially for my mission right now. Its easy to complain sometimes but I am trying really hard each day to just be positive, live in the moment, and let my light shine! I love the song "Faith in Every Footstep" because it truly describes missionary work!! I have it going through my head all day long usually as we´re walking, although its in Portuguese ;) Anyway thats about all I wanted to say! Lovin life and things are super! Eu espero que voces estejam bem! Eu amo voces e sinto seus faltas! Ate o proximo quarta-feira!
-Sister Peck P.S. We just found out that our P-day will be moved to Mondays starting August 9th! crazy huh?? just so you know!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Em on the Fourth

July 14, 2010

Not too much to report here. Unfortunately Alfonso´s baptisms fell through. We showed up at his house on Sunday and he was all ready to go...to another church!!! I don't understand. This week we had a member go with us to teach him who had also been a member of the Quadrangular church and knew Alfonso way back when. Now he is serving in the stake presidency. The lesson was soooo great and the spirit was so strong! But, as we know, we all have our agency. We are teaching a lot of other people and have made other baptismal dates so I´m hoping they will go through too!!! The worst feeling is when an investigator stops progressing. But like I said there is not a lot we can do. Only teach, pray, and be obedient. It is the investigators responsibility to prepare and accept the important and crucial step of baptism. Inclusive in one of our baptismal dates is Luiz, again. Remember him? The other day we were walking by his house and I suggested we stop by. I don't know why I just felt prompted I guess. What was going to be a short introduction to my new companion, turned into basically "We are here to baptize those who are ready to receive this gospel. You have had a witness 3 times now (three sets of missionaries and three dates) what are you waiting for? We know you know its true. Will you be baptized this Sunday?" Wow my companion is bold!!! When I turned to look at Luiz he was in tears!!! I have never seen him cry before. The spirit was definitely penetrating all of our hearts and he accepted the date, again. I am so so so so hopeful. Again all we can do is pray and have faith and help him the best we can. He is ready, he just needs a little faith! I love getting to share this gospel every day. The plan is so simple and perfect! Sometimes I wonder why everyone doesn't just accept it, but as I said, patience is something I lack and something I am definitely learning!
What else?? It rained for the first time in like 2 months here in Sorocaba. Apparently its really hot and dry, as if I didn't notice. This is the third time I have seen it rain since I've been in Brasil. I definitely prefer rain to the HEAT! Although it is a total bummer having water in your shoes all day long. Congrats to Joel and his mission call!!!!! That's so great! And Happy Anniversary to Chase and Emily. Wow a year already? Seriously cant believe it. I really don't have much else to say. Oh! I wanted to mention that this week we're doing EPJ or Especialmente Para Jovens (almost my initials, huh?) a knock off of the Especially for Youth program. Its so fun!! Every night there is a different activity. It makes me miss being an EFY counselor so much!!! Anyway that's about all I got! Hope all is well! Beijos e abraços!

Oh, one more thing...remember when I made a bad decision and dyed my hair black? Thank goodness I vowed to never do anything extreme again and it is back to normal...oh wait! To make a long story short, I met this guy a few weeks ago who stopped me because he loved my beautiful white backpack! He speaks English and is really nice. He does hair and makeup for a living. He works in a store we pass by all the time and keeps telling me to come by to have my hair and makeup done for free! Every P-day has been super busy but I keep promising him I will. Well, the member we live with has a granddaughter who is a hair dresser, she's 15, and she said she could trim my bangs! Why go to a salon? So against my better judgment I let her cut my bangs last night. I showed her a picture of how they normally are just to be on the safe side and she seemed confident enough. Next thing I knew she took regular scissors and chopped a huge chunk of my hair off straight across. SHORT SHORT SHORT!!!!!!! My comp screamed and burst out laughing. And Lauren, the 15 yr old "hair dresser" immediately started apologizing. So oh well. I wish I could say I'd learned my lesson the first 5 times, but I guess I am just trying to be trusting in people!!! Anyway its really really really bad because its a lot of hair. And I cant just pull my hair back every day because I SEE her everyday!! She will be offended for sure. I hope my hair grows fast. In the mean time I am going to go to see Rafael in the store and see if he can help me some how.
Other than that nothing too exciting to report here. I also discovered a nifty little tactic to meet people. As we're walking down the street I help my Brazilian comps learn English loud enough for other people to hear. It always sparks attention and is a great ice breaker! We are able to invite them to the English class I teach and then hopefully teach a lesson after! We met a wonderful family this past week, a grandmother, mom and two daughters. One of the daughters, Gabrielli speaks English practically fluently just from watching American movies and listening to music! She and her sister Fernanda came to the Aula de Ingles and church on Sunday too! We set a baptism date for them for the 24th and are working with Liliani, the mom as well! They are pretty involved with their church but we are hopeful! Its truly inspired to send Americans to Brazil! The people love everything about our country! We actually have a few members in our ward who joined the church through coming to the English class! Pretty cool huh?
Anyway that's about all I have to report! Hope everything is well at home!! I wore Red White and Blue for the 4th of July but I don't think anyone noticed!! ;) Sempre, -Sister Peck

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Well another week has come and gone. Things are going well. As I mentioned I was a little nervous to be receiving a new companion in an area that I barely know myself, but so far so good! Its amazing what the Spirit can do. For example I know there's no way I could find all the members and investigators houses alone! When we´re walking I constantly feel prompted to walk in one direction and we some how end up in the right place! Id like my comp to be impressed with my fantastic directional skills, but really I know where the credit is due! Its my job to listen to the subtle promptings of the spirit and be guided! It seems like such a small thing but honestly I am grateful because we cant really afford to waste time wandering around trying to find houses ya know?? many souls to find and teach!! Things are good with my comp. Boy what an adjustment going from one comp to another. She pretty much does thigns completely opposite of Sister Ribeiro. But I don't dislike her methods. I just figure I can learn many good things from both of them! Again its my job to be Jr comp and listen to the directions I´m given. I know its a big change for her too. Apparently the interior (country) is WAY different than the capitol (city). and I hear it all the time. She feels like she has switched missions, I guess. But yeah shes cool and we are learning from each other. Its funny because Sister Ribeiro has had all Brasilian comps and spoke awesome English. Sister de Souza has had all american comps and speaks NO english at all! Its kind of sad because we are all supposed to be helping each other. I guess her other comps just really wanted to focus on the Portuguese so they didnt teach her. But not to worry, I´ve already taught her to say "We are a big deal" and "Whatever" haha.

I cant tell you how much I enjoyed that peanut butter mom!!! I am almost out of it! You dont realize how much I miss/crave something until you cant have it! Cola products for example. Its a rule in our mission that we cant drink Coke or Pepsi products. I have never really been a huge fan of either but its like now that we cant drink them i crave it! Things like peanut butter, fast food, and american chocolate! I even decided the first thing I will eat when I get home! A huge chicken caesar salad!! But you know what I miss more than salad, naps, music, and texting??? The temple. Honestly! And I am actually fortunate enough to have a temple in my mission! Unfortunately, however, since I am serving in the interior (country) we are not able to go to the temple until we are serving in the capitol, or Sao Paulo. I miss it so much!! I try to encourage our members to go as much as possible to receive the blessings there! We are so so so privileged to live so close and have access to so many temples around the world! We can receive so much peace when we go and the service we do there is vital! Its basically the same as what I am doing here in Brazil! missionary work! I love the temple and feel a kind of void because I haven't gone in almost two months! Anyway just wanted to share that little insight to continue to go if at all possible! I hope you guys are still serving every Saturday, oh what a blessing!!!! :) and also if you want to send more peanut butter, by all means feel free to do so!!!!

Things are going super well with Alfonso! He is so elect! Unfortunately we had to postpone his baptism a little because he has to have surgery this week. From what I understood, it sounds like the same surgery Dr. Lessemier reccommended for me! The oblation surgery! Not a huge deal but big enough that he cant be, ya know, submerged in water the next day. I love that I have the same problems as older people....breaking hips, heart conditions....anyway he has a great testimony and we are trying our best to share the gospel with his family. He has had a rough time with his ex wife in the past but he is still positive and such an example! We had some brethren from the ward come and give him a blessing last night prior to his surgery so that was great. I feel very honored to be a part of his progress. He is very special to me! It doesnt matter to me that we only have one baptism date marked right now (yeah it matters to the ZLs) because to me Alfonso is a person not a number! We are doing our part and the Lord will do the rest. We are working hard to find the elect in this area. Making contacts and talking with everyone! Its a lot of work but I love it!!! Thank you for your prayers and support!!!

Sempre,
Sister Emily Peck

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Comp


Well my new companion is Sister De Souza. She is very cute and I think we will get along great. Since we have only been together about 3 hours and she only speaks Portuguese, I don't know too much about her. But! I am hopeful that my Portuguese will improve! I really want to try my hardest and study so I can be fluent ASAP. I do know that she is from Parana, has a boyfriend serving in Sao Paulo Sul, and likes the dogs we live with. lol....She was VERY surprised to see how small and.....humble....our place is. Apparently its the smallest and...humblest....in the mission. I´m used to it now of course and know exactly why the Lord put me here. So yeah anyway so far so good. I guess shes a very hard worker. She was in her last area for 6 months and had like a trillion baptisms so thats great for this area!! Anyway so wish us luck and pray that we will have success. She has 6 months left on her mission and is pretty sure she will be here for the rest of it. Which probably means I will be here for the same amount of time. That's a loooong time but its fine by me. I like it here!

So about the work. Remember the story about Sister Ribeiro just "knowing" which houses to go to? yeah well that happened quite a few more times and each time it always amazed me. The other day she did the same thing. She felt like we should hit a certain door....how do you say it in English...knock on the door? We don't knock here, we clap. so I forget how to say it....anyway we found a man, Alfonso, who is just, ugh! I adore him!! He accepted the first lesson, baptismal date, came to church, loved it, loved the second lesson, and we´re going to teach him again tonight! He is especially excited about genealogy and temple work. Oh he is just wonderful. And he is so patient and kind to me. He always tells me to try to speak Portuguese without using my comp for help. "I can understand you, try to do it alone." Last night he said something that meant so much to me though!!! It was right during a moment when I was struggling to explain the Plan of Salvation because the vocab is so stinkin hard!! He said when he was sitting next to me in church he noticed that my Portuguese is flawless when I am singing the hymns. He said he could really tell that is how I worship my Father in Heaven. I just really needed to hear that. After that I spoke with so much more confidence and truly let the Spirit teach. I am SO excited for him. And his 11 year old daughter, Leticia also. Anyway I will keep you updated on him!!

What else? I am just really grateful to be here and know this is where I am supposed to be! I hope you guys are well and everything is good at home. Thats so sad about the flooding up in the north. We have heard about it here too....Continue to pray for the people there and all the missionaries in the world! Ate quarta!!

Sempre, Sister Peck

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Brazil Won

Well another week has come and gone. I have to say the weeks are starting to go by really fast. The field is great! I guess you heard that the package arrived in the mission office. I haven´t gone to get it yet, I will today, but thank you for sending it. I look forward to the chocolate that shuold be inside I hope??? :) Also if you want to send a mission ties letter I will for sure get it next week because we have to come back to Sao Paulo for transfers. I am kind of sad to be losing my comp. Eu vou matar minha mae! or "I´m going to kill my mom" as they say on the mission. She has been a great trainer and I have learned a lot from her. I am excited to get a new comp and to learn new things from her as well, but there is always that twinge of apprehension like what if she does things completely differently or I cant understand her Portuguese at all! Either way I know it will be inspired and it will be great. If I stay in Laranjeiras though, its a little intimidating to think that I will be the only one who knows people and the area!

This week we did divisions with another dupla (that's what we call companionships here) of sisters. It was pretty cool. I went to another area, Progresso, with an American, Sister Knudsen, who only has four more months than me. I think she was pretty nervous to be the "senior comp" for two days since neither of our Portugese is ya know perfect. But I thought it was a great experience for both of us to learn. And I just compared it to when Sister Przybyla and I were thrown in downtown Sao Paulo and expected to communicate with people! haha. Sister Knudsen was part of the legendary "Mega District" of visa waiters in the Provo MTC--THREE MONTHS!! oh man. Anyway she is all about letter of the law and strict obedience. Needless to say she was a little shocked when she got here. Funny how the CTM prepares you for the field in more ways than one ;) She is way cute though, we had a lot of fun together. Their area is a lot different than ours. People have a lot of money and no time to talk two American missionaries that's for sure. For example we made a street contact with a lady who gave us her address and Sister K was shocked, she told me that never happens. We must be pretty lucky, or Sister Ribeiro must speak good Portuguese cuz we haven't been turned down yet in our area! Just different. It was a good learning experience. We had lunch in a mansion too. I am not even kidding. The house was soooooooooo nice and I was stunned! The food was spectacular and one of the ladies spoke English (I love it when that happens) and she lived in New Zealand for a while and she knows Lanae Fisk! Cool huh! I forgot her name. Dang. But she is going to contact Lanae on facebook and let her know. But what are the odds? the world is so small in the church!

Brazil played in the World Cup for the first time on this day too. We tried to do something productive but the world absolutely shuts down and the city was a ghost town. So we went back to her apartment and cleaned. I wanted to take a nap, but I knew that wouldn't fly. haha. We could tell Brazil won when the city literally ERUPTED in one enormous cheer. It was insane!!!!!!! I wouldn't have been able to sleep anyway. haha. My favorite part was at the end of the day when we went to an appointment with a man named Renato. We were to teach him the second lesson and I thought for as little time as we have been in Brazil we did pretty well!! I was impressed. At the end of the lesson he told us that he really liked the teachings and doctrines of our church but he had one problem. He wanted to know why the missionaries don't teach with the Spirit for he felt nothing during our lesson. He said if felt as though we were nervous and didn't really know how to teach well....WOW slap in the face! We explained we did the best we could with our broken Portuguese! I think it hurt Sister K´s feelings but I just laughed about it! I guess its a good learning experience! I always hope that even though I´m not yet fluent, I can still convey the Spirit somehow. Because I truly do have a testimony of this gospel! Or else why would I be here? Its not like I am on vacation in Brazil for a year and a half. This is seriously work!!! Getting up at 6:30 every morning is a little difficult, yeah, but its worth it! We have a precious message to share with the world! So many people have so much knowledge and so many truths but we have the complete truth! Everything! We are not here to prove you wrong or correct you but simply to share more. Let us ADD to your knowledge, not take away from it. Sister Ribeiro is always so good at answering questions and doubts. She knows her Bible SOOOO well! Thats something I really want to know too. I know it will come with time and experience but during divisions lets jsut say I was very grateful for my companion! :)

What else? I teach English class every week. Its sooo fun I absoluetly LOVE it! I don't have many students but I hope more and more people will come. I am trying to think of new ways and ideas to teach to make it exciting. So many people have a desire to learn English and I feel so less than qualified to instruct anyone but its really good for my Portuguese and of course it is helping someone else too. The best way I learn of course is by song! So I teach the class everything by songs I remember from pre-school. Days of the Week, Months, etc. Its awesome! My comp knows so many random "slang" phrases I kind of feel bad, but its funny! She hears me say something and then wants to know how to say it too. So she writes it down and then says it over and over again. When the American Elders hear her they just look at me and shake their heads. Its pretty funny.

Anyway nothing else really too new to report. Things are good and I am happy. I am happy because I dont have to worry about the weather! Reading Laura and Jennas emails its so interesting! Way hot and way cold. Its perfect right now. I promised myself not to complain because I know for sure I will die in the summer here. So whatever the weather does right now is FINE by me!! Thank you for your love, support, and prayers, and chocolate! (I will be very disappointed if there isn't chocolate) hahaha. I love you guys!!! Until next week!!!

-Sister Peck

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Feliz Quarta-Feira!‏

Hey Dad, good job writing in Portuguese! I would be proud if you weren't cheating with Google translation!! haha, no its fun to read tho thanks! So we have missionaries living in our house huh?? That's cool. Tell E. Zonner I say hey, he´s way chill. How does it work having Elders living with you? Since they don't have like a separate place, do you feed them every day and everything??? I am so so so so SO jealous that they are sleeping on the temperpedic mattress. Make sure they know they are lucky!!!!!! :) No, really that's awesome that you guys are housing them though. I like living with a member because in case we run out of sugar or something we can just go get it from her! (which by the way, I made French Toast today AND syrup! I MADE syrup! Anyway I was proud, pretty sure my Brasilian comp thinks Americans are crazy.or at least that I am.....)

I like everything about living with a member, except the dogs. Did I tell you one had puppies??? I am SO excited!! I was pretty sure 5 wasn't enough so now we have 8!!!!!!!!! lol. Goodness......So I am looking over my list of things to write about. First I wanted to mention that I get opportunities to sing all the time! It really is a blessing. For baptisms, church, even zone conference! Unfortunately I don't have any music. I knew I should have listened to you Mom and brought at least something. So maybe next package you can put a few copies of some of my church music so I have something. Oh and maybe some instant hot chocolate and apple cider. hahaha. I know that's random but they don't have it here. And can you believe it gets cold in Brazil?? At least in the middle of the night and early in the morning. Okay funny story. So people have asked about how the language is coming. Well I was trying to explain how the Savior is the Shepard and we are his sheep. Well the word for sheep is ovelhas and the word for ears is orelhas. So I accidentally said ´As orelhas oviam a voz do Pastor´ or ´The ears hear the voice of the shephard´ which okay it actually makes sense but not for the analogy I was trying to make!! lol. Now I will tell you a neat experience that happened too.

Okay so call me naieve to the world, my instructor in the MTC did, but I really was clueless as to how organized the USA is. I am referring to addresses. It makes absolutely no sense and it is a wonder how mail ever arrives to anyone here! Let me try to share a quick story. So we made a street contact with a man named Jose one day. We were trying to find his street but couldn't so we asked a lady for help. She suggested one that sounded similar and then of course we made a contact with her too! We wrote down her address and planned to visit her the following day. So we go to Joses street, we hope, and are searching for the number. We pass a random house and Sister Ribeiro says "We need to visit this house after, I have a feeling" ?? Okay...We find the number Jose gave us, and its wrong. We share a message with the lady and ask if she knows Jose. She points to the exact house Sister Ribeiro mentioned to me! I was astonished. When we went to that house it was Joses. We were able to share the first lesson with him even though he gave us the wrong number! The next day the EXACT same thing happened with the lady who helped us find Joses house. She had given us the wrong number too, 75. What the heck??? So we were walking back and we stopped in front of a pink house, #226 and Sister Ribeiro says "I think this is it". We ask the man outside if he knows Fransiana and he said that's his wife!!! Oh my gosh. If this wasn't a testimony builder of how the Spirit is present in our lives I don't know what is! Whether or not these individuals become progressing investigators and join the church is beside the point really. Sister Ribeiro was in tune enough with the spirit to know where we needed to be. How is it possible that we found these people??? Its difficult enough with the CORRECT address!!! I will tell you. Its the spirit. I am so grateful to be learning how to listen to its promptings and to have a trainer who is already so accustomed! It made me very grateful for those who are praying for the missionary efforts all over the world! truly your prayers are being heard and answered! thank you. This may not seem like a big deal to any one else but it strengthened my testimony tremendously!

In other news....things were going so so so great with Luiz and Jose until last night which was their baptismal interview. They both are having doubts again, which I know is common. Specifically since they have both already been baptized. The baptism that was scheduled for Saturday is now canceled and I am heart sick. It is the worst feeling in the world!!! I know we all have our agency but it makes me so sad. Not for me but for them. I know we did all we could do and we should take comfort in that. All we can do now is pray and hope they have a change of heart.....:( I am really learning patience and the Lords timing... Goodness I talked a lot! I had better go! I send my love! Thank you for everything!!! God be with you til we meet again!!

-Sister Emily Peck

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Boa Tarde

Hey how is everything?? All well here. We just got back from the zoo!! How fun to go to a zoo in the country where the animals are actually from! They have a trillion types of monkeys and the most extraordinary birds. I always here Moms voice in my head saying something like "Heavenly Father must have had so much fun coming up with all these varities of animals! So many colors, and features, etc." ;) but truly! Its amazing. We took lots of pictures and had a great time.


You asked about bottled water. Sister Cooley is really mindful of it and we receive reimbursements for that and sun screen. lol. So yeah we always have mineral water. In addition did I tell you they gave us water bottles in the CTM that have filters in them? They are pretty trippy. We can get water from any tap and it filters it for us. So yeah dont worry about me, I am adjusting to all the cultural differences. Including my comp putting ketchup and mayonnaise on her pizza. YUCK!!!!!!!! Oh I also wanted to thank you for sending me birthday updates. Please tell Shelly and Mel happy birthday for me! Also please thank Blayre for sending me her wedding announcement!!!!! I was SO excited to receive it. that was way thoughtful of her. AND KALI GOT HER CALL!!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOSH SPANISH! Dang, I was kinda hoping shed go here....but no seriously I am so so so excited for her. Please tell her congrats! She is going to rock it out in the field. I am sorry to hear about Gram and Mel. Gosh dang it. Please tell them I love them my prayers are with them. I wish there was more I could do. But i am glad you are there now to help out.

Okay now on to the work quickly.....things are progressing as usual here. We have so many investigators and so much work and for that I am so grateful!! We had a baptism this past weekend, Camila. She is 9 and has such a tender spirit. her family is less active but it was so great that they came and supported her. My comp and i sang "I like to look for rainbows" and she cried from that moment til the end of her baptism! We also were able to convince her Dad to speak a little bit and bear his testimony and you could tell it meant so much to her! She is so special. The spirit was so strong! We are continuing to teach Luiz and Jose, the funny old man we randomly met on the street. turns out Luiz has had the lessons before but I don't think he was ready then. We are so excited for both of them! We are also teaching this other family that are, ugh. just incredible. I now understand when people say "Golden" I can already see them in the temple, and their kids on missions, oh man......I know I am going to get too attached. But part of me doesn't want to be transferred because I really am falling in love with this area and people so so much!! I will definitely receive a new companion regardless, but despite the stupid dogs, I hope I stay! But whatever the Lord wants of course! Anyway things are great here. I hope everyone is doing well. I really appreciate the emails, letters, prayers, and love. Missionaries need it! I wish I could share all my experiences.....but I guess you will just have to ask to read my journal one day!! haha. Com amor,
Sempre,
Sister Peck