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!!!

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 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 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,
Sister Peck