Monday, August 22, 2011

Esta semana!

Hi everyone!

This was a good week for us as Lucimara was baptized! The spirit was very strong and there was a great turn out from both members and investigators. It went perfectly. She was very happy and so were we! What a blessing it is to be able to help individuals understand the truth and make covenants with God. It is so evident that this is what SHE wants both for her and for her children. It was really a great service.

On Sunday, after Lucimara´s confirmation, me and my companion sang with the Releif Society in Sacrament meeting and I had the privellege of looking out into the congregation and seeing ALL of the recent converts that have been baptized since I´ve been in Eden! What a beautiful sight that was! I instantly became emtional and couldn´t sing very much after that. It´s hard to end a mission isn´t it? I took a picture with all of them after. That is all of my recent converts for now......theres still a lot of time left!!!! :D

We were able to have a good meeting with Bruno´s parents the other day and I think it helped a lot. We were able to explain how we really only invite the people we teach and if they recieve an answer and have a desire they choose to be baptized which is what happend with Bruno. His mom seemed to be better about that and said she would speak more to him about it. So maybe we will just have to be a little more patient with the situation. He is an elect and choice young man of the Lord. His testimony astounds me and even if I won´t get to be here for his baptism, okay I will be sad, but it will be okay! It´s not about me, whats important is that he gets baptized!!

Today, P-day, was one of the best I´ve had in a looooong time! We went to a city called Votorantim and got together with all of the sisters again and had lunch at a members house.....a family that is AMERICAN!!!! So that was pretty much awesome! The father is here working for a few years and the whole family came with him. Today we had tacos and laughed and spoke English the whole day! Yeah it made me even MORE trunky.....dang it.....but I´m hanging in there! Like I said its an emotional roller coaster to end your mission. One day I´m crying cuz I dont want to leave the next day I´m eating mexican food and countind down the days! hahaha. Anyway have a great week e até semana que vem!

-Sister Peck

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Selado no Éden!

Last P-day when we received the call from our LD that we would be staying together we both screamed for joy (and actually cried a little too!) I did not want to die in a different area nor with a different companion. Suffice it to say we are very thrilled that nothing has changed. But it is still strange to think that very soon this will all be over and be just a memory. But I´m trying my hardest not to be trunky!!! I mean we´re still working hard and having success but sometimes its easy to get distracted and start thinking about home and then I realize that honestly there is no where I would rather be than right where I am, serving the Lord and the people of Brasil.

My knowledge and testimony of different aspects of the gospel sure has grown tremendously over the past year and half. One thing in particular is of the power of the enemy and just how real he is. For example there is a recent convert here who was baptized with 25 years. Unfortunately that's too late for him to serve a full time mission but he had such a great desire and received special permission from the first presidency to go! We were all SO excited for him. Sister P and I told him the first day we found out he´d start preparing to be a missionary that he would be tempted tremendously, now more than ever. A mission is a very important and sacred experience and Satan knows this and doesn´t want you to go. We tried hard to warn and help him but unfortunately he is now being very rebellious and isnt even going to church. It makes me SO sad. The power of Satan is so real.

I see the same things happen the weeks of our baptisms. EVERYTHING imaginable happens to make it so the baptism doesnt. It´s incredible. Last week Lucimara´s uncle had a stroke and her family was all in a panic, of course because its a big deal and sad. But to me it was just so obvoius that somethign like this would happen and that we would have to move back her baptism. Fortunately Lucimara told us that she TOO understood this and that she woudnt delay her baptism beacuse of something that could happen any day but because she wanetd more than anything for her family to be a part of this very important day. so now its marked for this Saturday and we are praying so much that nothing happens and that it goes through!

We are also having difficulties with our elect Bruno who is already practically a member. He is beyond ready but his parents are apprehensive to let him be baptized. We are doing our best to help his family as a whole but naturally the Lord has a plan for everything and maybe its just not the right timing yet. (though I really hope it is because I want so much to see him get baptized before I go home!!!)

I know the church is true and that miracles happen daily. I´m grateful to be a missionary and if I had it my way I´d never let this adventure and journey end! It´s such a blessing and privilege to be here. Abraços and Bjus!

-Sister Peck

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Just so you know, I´m atheist."‏

I love Eden. I love Sister Pedroso. I love everything about my mission right now, I´ve never been happier! Just like normal, at the end of every transfer we are impatiently waiting to hear if one of us is going to be leaving our area. I doubt it, because I only have one transfer left, so I´m pretty sure Sister Pedroso will be with me to the end of my mission, but of course anything is possible. I will be SO sad though if something drastic happens!!!! We´re praying that we stay together and that I stay in Eden!

Well we had a pretty good week! We have made quite a few changes both individually and as a companionship and we can truly see the Lord´s hand in the blessings we receive. We have been helping and teaching a lady named Lucimara for quite some time and this week she accepted to be baptized! Her baptism will be held on Saturday and I am so excited. She is a single parent of two darling boys and has really had a rough life but it is amazing to see the power of the Atonement work in her life and to have been able to see her conversion process. A while back we had visited her and she told us about two dreams she´d had. The first was that her two sons were dressed in shirt and ties and had black nametags; they had both become Elders and served missions! The other dream she was dressed in white and was preparing for her baptism. Me and my companion were there and I had said to her "Let´s go Lucimara! We´ll help you!" and she said "No Sisters, I´m ready, I´ll enter the water by myself." Something to that effect. ;) Anyway the spirit was really strong when she told us and it was just one more confirmation for her and for us that she is ready. It has been such a privilege to know her and to see her tremendous example for her family and friends.

On Saturday we were running around to make our appointments that kept falling in the hot sun, when we saw Luiz. He was sitting on the sidewalk reading a book and I felt like I should contact him, but I ignored the tender voice of the spirit and we kept walking. My amazing companion didn´t let us walk 5 more steps when she said, "Lets talk to that guy, I feel like we have to." Yep, that’s the spirit alright. So we started talking. He said that he was reading his
second book of the day. Sister Pedroso gave him one of the pamphlets and he said "Too bad it’s kind of small." We both looked at each other and she said "Well here let me give you a bigger one!" So we gave him a Book of Mormon and he promised to read. I invited him to come to church with us the next day and he said he´d love to but "Just so you guys know, I´m atheist. BUT I´m always willing to be proven wrong!." After a few seconds of awkward silence we said "Well great then we´ll pass by at 8:15 to get you!" My first thoughts were "He is an intellectual and won´t be easy to convert but thank heavens we have the spirit on our side!" He is the first person I have met of this faith on my mission! Seriously! Sunday morning there was Luiz on the sidewalk waiting for us with his Book of Mormon in one hand and a cigarette in the other! I was so pleased to see him ready to go! The first thing he said was "Can I wear my Nirvana shirt?" hahaha! Loved it. So basically he loved church. Of course he did. Who wouldn´t? It´s nothing like anything anyone ever expects. And it´s literally IMPOSSIBLE not to feel the spirit when you´re there. He kept making comments like "It´s so calm, but not annoyingly calm ya know?" "Wow we actually learn things." During gospel principles HE was the one asking questions. One recent convert was able to relate to him and answer his questions because he used to be Atheist too! (what are the odds?) It was neat. Since yesterday was fast and testimony meeting it´s always special. The only thing that "bothered" him, for lack of a better word, was how EVERY single person said "I KNOW that the church is true....I KNOW we have a living prophet, etc." He said "How can you have an absolute certainty about something? You have to be willing to change and have an open mind!" We were able to explain about what it means to have a testimony and how it really is impossible to deny when you´ve had a personal witness from the Holy Ghost. It was SO incredible to see his intellectual side struggling and battling with the spirit that was touching his heart! We are going to meet with him again this week and I can´t wait!

Our recent convert Jonanth bore his sweet testimony yesterday too! ahh there is just nothing better. It´s impossible to explain how I feel to see a recent convert publically bear their testimony and cry about the love they feel for the Savior and his Atonement and how he wants nothing more than to serve a mission to share this wonderful message with others! QUE ORGULHO!

Well that’s about it on my end! The Lord continues to bless our tiny branch here in Eden and I am grateful. I know he loves and protects his missionaries and I am grateful!! Thank you everyone and have a wonderful week! Bjos e abraços
-Sister Peck

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Loving Life in Brazil

Pancake party with our zone!
They sell lice in Brasil? lol
Biggest piece of Bacon I´ve ever seen!
Fila Unica!

Some Big pictures

We went to Itú where there are lot of BIG things! Pretty fun!

O Plano de Salvação

On Saturday we had an INCREDIBLE activity in our branch. It was an idea that an Elder had given me, so really me and Sister Pedroso were in charge of it, and also I cant take the credit. It required a little bit of work but boy was it worth it!! We played the game of life but instead of using the board game, the members were the players and we made the spaces on the ground to cover the entire cultural hall! We even had a huge dice. Every one separated into families and played just like you would play the normal game of life, with a salary, car payments, bonuses at work, etc. The difference was it had a churchy twist. We had set up a church and a bank. During the game you could win both "blessings" and "sins" and you would get these cards at the church where our branch president was sitting. I love President Ricardo! We didn't even ask him to do this but when someone would come to ask for a blessing card he would ask "What was the blessing?" And the member would say "I helped my mom clean the house!" or when it was a sin they would say "I forgot to do my visiting teaching this month..." it was so great! A lot of people said that it really applied to their lives. You could also "die" during the game and you would go to the Spirit World and wait until judgement. Once everyone had made it to "The End" we entered the chapel which was the Celestial Kingdom/judgement and President Ricardo spoke. (There is a trick to winning the game that I won´t tell you right now because maybe I´ll do this activity someday when I go home! But if you´d like to know just ask me!) This activity was SO great. There was so much to be learned from it. No matter our family or financial situation or if we were a missionary there was a great lesson to be learned.

Everything President said was so great. He shared the scripture that talks about for every time we are obedient we receive a blessing. We may not even notice but its true. It´s as if every time we have a family home evening there´s a little cabinet in Heaven labeled "Family Home Evening Blessings" and the cabinet opens and the blessing falls down for us. Okay that sounds funny in English but it sounded better in Portuguese. haha. But it is SO true! I can promise each and every one of you that obedience even in the little things is essential. I doubt anyone is going to kill someone or rob a bank tomorrow, but Satan doesn't start with the big. He starts with the little tiny things like skipping prayer, not having scripture study, not being completely honest, etc. I have come to gain a very strong testimony of this especially during my mission. One thing I have come to learn is that the Savior doesn't expect us to be perfect, its not possible. But he does want us to try our best and he WILL forgive us when we mess up, because we will!!

During the game of life, we added a twist at the last minute. Right before judegement every family had the option to or pay $1000 and get rid of all of the blue "sin" cards or keep their money and their cards. We didnt explain why, just gave them the opportunity to choose. The majority chose to pay and get rid of their cards. But I was very surprised at the families who replied "But I dont have any money left! No I´ll stay." Wow! What an important lesson. This part of the game was supposed to represent repentance. And how we all have the chance to be clean from sin. It´s not easy, we have to pay a price and suffer a little but its worth it. Thanks to our Savior Jesus Christ and the Atonement we have the privelege to repent and start over clean! What a tremendous blessing!! I sure am thankful because I recognize the need to repent DAILY! I´m grateful for the game of LIFE and for the lessons learned. I hope everyone can remember the importance of being obedient in the small things and realize that the Lord has so many blessings waiting in store for us! Thanks for all the love and support gente! Continue to pray for the misisonaries around the world!
-Sister Peck