Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Things are great here!

Well as usual, things are great here! We had a miracle fall from the sky! We received a referral, Ligia from a member and met her two weeks ago at church. When we met with her we found out she has already investigated the church for quite sometime, been taught by the missionaries, etc. Only she never felt that it was "her time". Well as luck (quer dizer, o plano de Deus) would have it, she feels that NOW is the right time and wants to be baptized! She is so prepared its unbelievable. Her testimony is rock solid and everything she said just strengthened mine! Her baptism will be this Saturday! I am so excited for her!

We are now teaching Luca´s parents, and although they have not yet accepted an official baptismal date, I am confident that they will soon. I actually don´t get sad when investigators decline the baptismal invite because that means to me that they are actually paying attention and are serious about the covenant of baptism! They have agreed to keep attending church (because they love it!) and continue receiving our visits. I am very excited for this family.
I am so incredibly grateful for the gospel and the peace it brings in a world full of chaos. I know the Savior has given each of us the opportunity to embrace that peace as we come to know Him. I am especially mindful of the gift of the Resurrection that we celebrate this time of year. He truly does live! Although He died for us, He rose on the third day and He continues to live. In my Mom's letter, she shared what Sister Daines said in the Belle Terre ward sacrament meeting. I love the symbolism..."empty manger, empty room, empty garden, empty tomb." I hope each of us will reflect on the true meaning of those words.

Another great blessing of the gospel is the privilege of hearing an Apostle of the Lord speak! Next week, Elder Neil A. Anderson is coming to speak with us so we are all very excited! It is always so uplifting and insightful. Its on the same day as Ligias baptism so I´m praying that we make it back on time and that all will feel the full impact of the Spirit. We are doing our best to find new people to share the gospel with and the Lord is providing many blessings! As always se cuidem e até logo gente! Um abraço!

-Sister Peck

Monday, April 18, 2011

I love Eden!

I think the Lord is really opening my eyes and increasing my faith. I am learning that there really are people whom the Lord is preparing, many of them in fact, we just have to find them! They are waiting for to hear the gospel from us! What a blessing it was to be a part of a baptism this week of a young man named Luca. The sisters contacted him on the street and after the first lesson he gained a testimony of the truthfulness of the resorted gospel. He is amazing! The baptism was incredible. His whole family came, many of his friends and neighbors, and the branch supported him too! The spirit was so strong, his mom even cried! She loved the peaceful feelings. His parents came to church the following day to watch him be confirmed too. What a blessing! We are going to try to work with his whole family now too. What an impact this decision Luca made will have on the lives of so many others! His family, friends, when he serves a mission, etc. I feel so blessed to have been able to help teach and prepare him (a little because he was already prepared!

The funny part of the baptism was that the water in the baptismal font doesn´´t drain! It was still full from the last baptism the sisters had! So we spent all saturday morning taking water out with buckets...my back is STILL killing me! Appaerntly its been a problem for a while, but I hope they get it fixed soon!!! The water from Lucas baptism is still there because we just didn´t hvae the energy to take it out!!

We are also teaching a wonderful young man named Henrique. I love Henrique! He is 20 and has lived "the way of the world" his whole life. He has such a desire to change but is afraid of getting baptized and messing up after. We are doing all that we can to encourage him and tell him that YES it is possible! I even made him a calendar and a list of goals to mark off each day that he read the scriptures, prayed, didnt drink/smoke, etc. (I know totally sister right? lol) but he is so good! He is so true to his word and is reading the Book of Mormon every day. His baptism was marked for the 30th but he couldnt make it to church this Sunday unfortunately so it will have to be postponed a little. Pray for Henrique!

Well I could go on forever about how much i love this area and my adorable companion. I have never been happier because I am truly learning what it means to "lose yourself in the work". Everything just goes so much better! I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve the humble people of Eden and really end my mission with a bang! Um abraço!

-Sister Peck

Monday, April 11, 2011

And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put [Sister Peck]...

Oi! Oh my gosh how can I express my love, joy, gratitude, excitement, everything in one e-mail? I wrote a million letters today to everyone explaining about how I was transferred to Eden so I feel like everyone should know already but I realize that practically no one knows! Only the 7 people to whom I wrote letters! So here I am in the Garden of Eden! ! I was finally transferred out of the capital and let me just tell you it has been THE best thing that has ever happened to me! Not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous when I found out (up until I got on bus I was waiting for the Elder to tell me he was joking) because my first experience out here wasn´t exactly....umm the best? BUT I was fortunate enough to be with my beloved companion Sister Steinbeigle the night before she left for the U.S. and we talked until 3 AM (when I began to pack my bags!). She helped me soooo much! More than she will ever know. And I decided right there to stop thinking about my dumb self and GET TO WORK! The Lord called me to Eden so to Eden I will go! The first thing I noticed when I got here was the blazing sun, dang. BUT one of my goals is not to complain! The next thing was that my camera was missing! After 3 days of sorrow I was relieved to discover that I had left it on the bus and it had been found. I now have little sticky notes all over my house that say 'FORGET YOURSELF AND GET TO WORK!" And you know what? It´s working! The funny thing is this place is so incredible I don´t even have time to think about me! I left my last two areas completely mentally exhausted and drained and now I am PUMPED to get to work!

The difference between here and Caxingui/Vertentes is drastic. I will never speak badly about my last area because I loved it there, differently. There were many people who touched my life profoundly and I will forever be deeply grateful for the experiences I had there. But in the words of Sister Steinbeigle Eden is a "breath of fresh air" LITERALLY! It is so darn peaceful here!Sometimes it feels like I´m on an island because it´s in the middle of nowhere. Instead of traffic, people ride horses for goodness sake! Instead of working in the oldest stake in Brasil, I am serving in a teeny-tiny branch that only has existed two years! The people here are the nicest, most humble, willing to work, help, and serve that I have ever met in my life. The recent converts: incredible. Our investigators: even more so! We will be baptizing a young man, Luca, this Saturday who is so elect! He even bore his testimony yesterday in church! I just sat in sacrament meeting and cried yesterday. I felt so strongly that this is where I am supposed to be right now. There is so much to be done here and I am refreshed and ready to do it! I could go on forever because there is so much to say but mainly I just wanted everyone to know that I am happy. Probably happier than I have ever been. Wanna know why? Because I´m not thinking about me! Why has it taken me a year to figure out the key to success? My mind is completely wrapped up in what I can be doing for others and it´s a wonderful feeling. I feel so incredibly blessed. So grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows me and knows that I need this. Or better, that HE needs ME here to help HIS children. I haven´t even mentioned my companion who is also just a doll! She is from Bahia (just like my trainer!) We get along great and sing Celine Dion all day long together! Ahhh where am I? Oh yeah! Paradise! It is very possible that I will end my mission here and how great would that be!!! I sure hope it happens. There is no where else I´d rather be! Sending my love and all the positive energy I´ve got cuz I have plenty to go around! :D
-Sister Peck

Monday, April 4, 2011

Temple Day and More

Our friend Leonardo!
Sister Lund and I look the same!

Oi gente!

E aí pessoal? Blz? Things are going pretty well down here. Right now I am on my FOURTH trio in my mission! Can you believe it? How many people can say that? We had an emergency transfer and Sister Lund left suddenly this past week. My companionship now consists of Sister Felipe, Sister Andréia, and me! I have to get used to speaking Portuguese 100% of the time again because I have been with an American companion now for 7 months! The end of the transfer is coming soon though and I feel like I will probably leave. Never know though! Could it be that I will stay for 9 months in the same area?! Vamos ver! lol. Our adorable Francisco received the preisthood on Sunday. That is always a wonderful thing to see. And we will be having another baptism of a girl named Nagila this coming week. She is a young woman who loves young womens! and how could you not? I dunno because I loved Young Womens. She has been going to church for about a month and is already working on her Personal Progress! What increddible programs have been developed for the youth of our church. I don´t think as youth we can even comprehend what a blessing it is to have leaders who care about and pray for us. How inspired programs like mutual, seminary, Personal Progress and Duty to God are. They really are there to help us make goals and correct decisions that will help lay the foundation for our futures! Missions, temple marriage, callings, not to mention success in college and in the business feild, everything! Anyway I have a testimony that truly they are inspired programs. I think I always knew but I am learning to appreciate it more and more as an adult. If you are a youth do them! If you are a parent, encourage your kids to do them! Prometo que o Senhor via te abençoar MUITO! Amo voces e até a próxima!

Com amor,
Sister Peck

Come listen to a Prophets voice!

Hey everyone! Wasn´t General Conference just incredible? I just relish any opportunity to listen to the words of our beloved prophets and apostles. What a privlege! I always learn so much and feel so blessed to be a part of the Lord´s church! As we were on our way to the stake center yesterday I thought to myself "What are all these people doing?? Don´t they know the prohpet is about to speak! Stop cleaning your house, walking your dog, talking on your cell phone, whatever and just come listen to his voice!" There are so many people who didn´t even know! They missed out but it wasn´t they´re fault, it was mine. What a tremendous responsibility we have to TELL and SPREAD the message that there is again a man on earth with authority who receives revelation and speaks for our Father in Heaven. Ah I just get so excited about it! I was so happy to see four of our investigators there though! Vanessa and Nágila, who will be baptized this Saturday and our new friends Diego and Wilma. It was they´re first time at church! Imagine your first exposure to the church being General Conference and hearing the words of a prohpet! I don´t know, I think its amazing! I prayed the entire time that they were feeling the spirit and understanding. I´m sure they did though, how could you not right??? Seemed like the main topic was families, families, families! How to maintain eternal families, Family Home Evening, get to the temple and do family history, be an example for your children, etc. There is such a need right now to have our families in order! Satan will stop at nothing to destroy the family. This has become so evident to me on my mission. It is absolutely heartbreaking to see. But what an absolute blessing to know that if we just do what is right, follow the prophet, seriously DO WHAT HE SAYS, we will have no need to fear. Home can be a Heaven on earth. There doesn´t need to be so much trial and suffering and sadness in the home. We were blessed with families so that we could grow, learn, and experience. A home based on Christlike atributes is a home of safety, refuge and peace. On my mission I have seen numerous families who are not members of the church who have very happy homes! Who live good lives and have lots of love. To these people I say Parabéns! Now please allow us to ADD to the things that you already treasure. Who doesn´t want even MORE happiness. Etermal happiness that doesn´t end after death! These eternal truths and doctrines we learn in Christs church which is here on the Earth today, which we can learn from a living prophet! WOW! Um I just basically love Conference. Hope everyone is doing wonderfully!!!
Com amor,
Sister Peck