Monday, June 27, 2011

Proud to be an American

E aí pessoal? Como vocês estão? We´re doing well here in the Garden of Eden! Our new mission President arrives tomorrow and I´m excited to meet him! We have a conference this Friday to get to know him and his wife, should be great!

We were blessed with new people to teach this week, including a young man named Fabricio. He is so happy and positive despite his broken arm and broken family. He´s only 17 and has an incredible amount of faith. It was very impressive to see. He should not be the good kid that he is because of the daily situation that he lives in. His mom died a few years ago in a car accident and he lives in a home where love is defintely not shown. His Dad and step-mom get drunk every night, fight, beat each other, him, his younger siblings, etc. He even showed us blood on the wall from a recent fight. It was horrifying. He told us that when his step-mom goes to beat his younger siblings he steps in the middle because "I would rather her beat me than let them suffer." He told us that he prays every day and night that God will send angels to his home and change the hearts of his parents so that there will be love in their home. We all cried together as Sister Pedroso bore her testimony of the gospel and how it changed and is changing her family. She came from a similar situation but was able to give hope to Fabricio. I don´t know what it´s like to be born and raised in a horrible situation like this. But I do know that God is aware of Fabricio and hears and has answered his prayers, even if he doesn´t know it yet--not saying that we´re necessarily angels or anything, lol. But really it was a very moving experience for me to be with him and hear his faith. We were able to share with him that families can be happy, show love, and be together forever. This is Heavenly Father´s plan. He doesnt want any one of His children to suffer. Fabricios situation made me feel so spoiled but grateful for my family and the love that has always been present. I have never doubted the love that my parents had for each other and for me, what a blessing. There are so many homes/families being destroyed by Satan because of a lack of love. Think of how much better the world would be if we demonstrated more love for not only our neighbor, but inside our own home. What a privelege it is to be able to be here and help individuals like Fabricio know that there is hope, that he doesnt have to go through this alone, that Heavenly Father knows and loves him, has a plan for him, and that families really can be together forever.

I´m not trunky (ready to come home) but last night we had dinner with a member and he said "Sister I have something to show you!" He put on a clip of Whitney Houston singing the national anthem at a baseball game with everyone waving american flags. Oh my word. I just stood there and bawled. Its been SO long since I have heard the National Anthem and it made me so proud to be an American!! Brasil will always have a special place in my heart but I cant help but love my country! Can´t wait to go to a baseball game again too! hahaThe irmao told me that he does this with ALL the American missionaries. dang it! Anyway hope everyone has a great week! and God Bless America! and VIVA BRASIL!

Com amor,
Sister Peck

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Highs and Lows of a Mission

When I was in the MTC I recieved a poem that was written about a mission called "Highs and Lows". I don´t remember most of it but one line that ALWAYS repeats in my mind is "I´ve never been so happy, I´ve never been so sad." I remember thinking, "Psh, what a terrible poem to write about all the negative parts of a mission too. Pretty sure it can be happy if you think happy always!" Well I´ve learned that the words of that poem really are true! I really have never been so happy, never have been so sad! I wish I could remember the rest of the words. But it amazes me just how much of an emotional roller coaster we experience as missionaries in such a short amount of time. One minute you´re floating on air and the other you just feel awful. The one thing that I have come to understand about the negative side of the poem is that we can be sad and have bad days because it has more to do with those whom we are serving rather than US! When an investigator gives up and decides not to be baptized, or someone marks a commitment and doesn´t keep it, or a recent convert starts drifting away from the church and doing bad things. It´s then that we as representatives of the Lord feel extreme sadness unlike anything we´ve ever felt. We pray for them, we fast for them, we cry for them, and in the end realize that once we have done everything we can, the have their free agency.

But at the same time when someone who is investigating the church makes the slightest progression it is like Christmas! What immense joy we feel to hear someone say "I´ve read the part you've left me in the Book of Mormon and I prayed." or to show up at church without our help. A baptism for a missionary is unlike any joy I have ever felt. Just like the negative side, it has nothing to do with me but everything to do with the person and the decision they have made to repent and change, to enter into a covenant with God and take upon themselves the name of Christ. For this reason we are here! We've been having a difficult time finding "elect" people lately, but we are confident they are out there. We just have to find them. I feel strongly that there are those who are praying just as much to find us as we are to find them.

I love to watch the Jehova´s Witnesses. They really do inspire me! Such a dedicated people to their faith. EVERYONE proselytes, not just full time missionaries. Sometimes when we are on the street we see 20 or 30 duplas? (um companionships?) knocking doors and I think "Wow. wouldnt it be cool if members of the Church of Jesus Christ did that?" Sister Pedroso made a comment that I liked. She said, "There are so many of them! and just two of us. It makes me so proud to be a missionary of the Lord!" We are a small army but with His help we can make miracles happen.

We had Zone Conference this past week. President Cooleys last one before he goes home. It was wonderful!! I wish I could write all of the incredible things I learned!! Maybe I will save that inspiration for next week´s email since this one is getting pretty long already. But it sure has been a pleasure serving with him and Sister Cooley. They have done wonderful things for the Sao Paulo North Mission. I look forward to getting a new mission president and seeing the changes that he will put into place. I´m grateful for the things I am learning on my mission I can see the growth and I am happy. (spiritually and materially....I totally know how to make rice now just like a Brazilian!!! :) Hope everyone has a wonderful week!!
-Sister Peck

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Drawing a blank

Hello everyone! not sure what to write today. I´m kind of drawing a blank here at the computer screen. Lets see if I can summarize the week...our shower burned out so we had only cold water, we did a division with the Sisters in a different area, we made LOTS of contacts and met a lot of new people, I got to eat a dessert from the south that my companion made for me called Kuka which is basically spice cake (so good!), hmm lets see what else.... oh yeah! we had a CRAZY tropical rain storm that took the power out forever and knocked down a bunch of trees (gosh it seemed like we were getting cast out of the garden of eden!) and today I have 100 days until I go home! So scary!

I wish I had something inspiring to write I´m sorry that I don´t. I heard this happens towards the end of the mish, you sort of start running out of things to say! But I am NOT trunky, promise. More nervous than trunky. I don't want to go home! I love being a missionary! I say it every day! There is just simply no greater joy! Hopefully next week I have something more important to say!

-Sister Peck

Monday, June 6, 2011


This is my best friend I met in the street. He doesn't respond to anything except "Henrique" hahaha. The real Henrique couldn't believe we named a dog after him.
Sister Macedo, eu, and Henrique under our "learning tree"
Our zone from last transfer

6/6/11 Miracles and Blessings!‏

We had a pretty good week finding new people to teach! It really is amazing how the Lord puts the elect—those seeking a better life--in our path. Allow me to share a neat experience we had the other night. Renato, who was baptized last week, has a son who was pretty ill. He received a blessing from our branch President and recovered immediately. Renato´s family, who all went to his baptism were greatly moved and impressed by the Spirit they felt. His mom, Marlene, also has been very sick for the past few months. Renato told her about his son receiving a priesthood blessing and she wanted to know more. We went to her house with President Ricardo and Renato. Their house is literally in the middle of nowhere! If Renato hadn´t shown us I don’t know if I would have been able to find it! President Ricardo is amazing and explained perfectly about the priesthood authority to bless the sick in the Savior’s name. He taught Marlene about how Christ gave His authority to His Apostles to bless the sick, give sight to the blind, heal the lame and to cure the faithful and believing. That exact same priesthood has been restored to the earth, bestowed on His modern day Apostles, and is still used to heal and bless the sick—no matter the infirmity. He explained how the Priesthood power should not to be used frivolously, but should be used with discretion to bless those with the faith to be healed, in conjunction with the Lord’s will. It was a beautiful lesson! I have never seen someone give such a detailed description before giving a Priesthood blessing. Marlene was so moved by her grandson´s miraculous healing and Renato´s baptism that she stated assuredly that she had the faith necessary to be healed. It has been over a week and Marlene has not suffered one pain since the blessing. We are now teaching the entire family about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how it can change lives. How grateful I am for the Priesthood and the authority to act in His name that exists on the earth today.

Today, the Sisters from another area spent the day with us. We made lots of food and a delicious cake and laughed a lot! It was a ton of fun. Then our recent convert called me and I could barely hear her because she was whispering, but I finally understood that she had invited some Jehovah´s Witnesses into her house and she needed help. lol. She didn’t know that we had Re-RE-enforcements from the other Sisters who were with us. So we spent several hours kindly discussing the gospel with some very nice women of another faith. It was sooo very interesting to hear their point of view and to see just how many truths they really do have. And to also see where their teachings deviate from the gospel of Jesus Christ that has been restored to the earth. When Christ came to earth, He brought the fullness of His gospel and set up the organization of his perfect church under His authority. But because of the unbelief of the people of His day, they rejected Him and His teachings. The Savior was crucified, the Apostles were eventually killed and the authority they held to act in the Savior’s name was gone from the earth. Doesn’t it make sense that a loving Heavenly Father wouldn’t leave us alone to wonder without direction? If the organization he set up when he was on the earth was perfect (as it most assuredly was), why would it be any different today? He restored His perfect gospel to the earth along with the priesthood authority to act in His name. He restored the same church with the same organization that existed in His day. We are part of that gospel—members of His church—participants in the same organization that existed in His primitive church! And we are blessed to have His priesthood authority. I saw that Priesthood authority heal Renato’s son and his mother, Marlene. I truly respect members of other faiths. These sweet Jehovah’s Witnesses spend a majority of their time knocking doors--just like us! The other day we saw two women who had to be 90 years old showing a Bible verse to a young man in the street! Pretty impressive! In the end I told them, really we are all on the same team even if we believe differently. And it´s always great to learn other´s beliefs! I am so grateful to be serving a mission and inviting others to accept Christ and his teachings. I know lives can change and be better. I hope everyone has a fabulous week! Tchau tchau!
-Sister Peck

Me and Sister Pedroso

me and my beautiful filha Sister Pedroso!

My companion has a whole line of scorpions!

This week we were privileged to be a part of Renatos baptism that went through wonderfully. He works with our Branch President so it was an honor for President Ricardo to perform his baptism as well as his confirmation the following day. His entire family came and loved it (of course) and the spirit was so strong! His wife, Mileide, unfortunately works almost EVERY Sunday but it was a miracle that she had the day off this Sunday and was able to attend Sacrament meeting to watch his confirmation. We are working with her, she still has a few doubts but really likes the church. She goes to almost every activity its just as I said, getting to church on Sunday is a bit tricky. But our goal is to baptize her soon (actually have Renato baptize her) and have them be a complete family in the gospel!
We had lots of investigators in church on Sunday too so that was a blessing. Henrique is...well he is good! Right before Sacrament meeting the 1st counselor asked me "Sister, do I need to announce a baptism for this week?" and I replied "Just a sec, let me see." And I sat down next to Henrique and asked "President would like to know if he needs to announce a baptism for this week. what do you think?" hehe. And he said "What do you mean? Mine? ...ummm okay. Pode ser." hahaha. I was SO happy, the ward was so happy, I sure hope Henrique was happy. He told us that it seemed that every talk/lesson on Sunday was directed especially for him. He even fasted yesterday for 24 hours all by himself! I´m so proud of him and for the process he is going through to change. I feel that he is ready he just needs to have the confidence to know that he is ready! I am praying so hard that his baptism goes through this week.

Training is also going very well! It doesn't feel like training, it feels like I have a rad roommate who I get to teach the gospel with every day! Sister Pedroso is an incredible missionary and I totally love working with her. She will be (is already) a huge asset to the mission. She is such a good example to be of obedience and love for everyone she meets. We really are having so much fun as we work! Men have already called asking her hand in marriage, hahaha. Guess we´d better be careful huh? ;) Things are wonderful as always! Até mais!
-Sister Peck