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!

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!

Sister Peck