Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Final Post


"All I can really say is wow. What a marvelous 18 months (and 2 weeks) this has been.
I've been blessed. I have changed. I have come closer to my Savior, and know who I am.
What a blessing, what a privilege!"

"I hope that everyone who keeps up with the blog will keep in touch, and I am really excited to come back out and visit the mission in the spring."

"I know this gospel is true. I know my Savior loves me. I know that when we keep our "eye single to the glory of God" we will always be right. I am go grateful that families can be together forever. I am so thankful to my wonderful parents for helping me find my testimony. I forever am in debt to them for making me go to church every week (: I know that I was sent to the West Virginia Charleston Mission for so many reasons of which I do and do not know. I am so thankful to my wonderful new-found friends and family that have helped me physically and emotionally through my mission while I served in their areas. I love the Book of Mormon. I know it's true, with every part of me. I know that when we read it, we find the Savior, and we come closer to knowing him. I know that our Prophet is a true prophet on the earth. I know the Atonement is real, and that it fixes broken hearts and spirits. I believe in using the Atonement every day of our lives. Heavenly Father Loves us. The Savior loves us. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Gator Hunting"

"Wow. 10 days. It's really almost unfathomable. But I will be completely honest. I am really excited to come home. I was thinking about it the other day...and I honestly feel like I have done all I can. Obviously I will continue to work hard every day until the end, but I feel very satisfied with my mission. I am happy it went the way it did. I am starting to see so many blessings come because of my missionary service. I am really excited to be a member missionary, to be involved in the work with a tag painted on my heart."

"Big rains finally quit. Now it's just hot and sticky, but the leaves are starting to turn colors. I can't believe it's fall already. We've seen some really pretty trees and some not so pretty trees...everyone's anxious to see what colors will show this year."

"Investigators are going semi-ok. One of our investigator's was going to move but it fell through. She's going to get a restraining order on her ex husband that keeps bothering her. She's going to get his mode of transportation (a four wheeler...everyone drives them around here) impounded. She's still strong in the gospel, and we're now working to put her on baptism date again for a later day. We had an amazing lesson with one of our investigators this week in her home. She's never had any religious exposure so we're starting from some serious scratch here. We taught her about Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost and we're looking forward to our lesson about the Savior. It should be neat. We haven't met with our other investigators lately. We are "Gator Hunting" this week haha...We have a lot of great potentials and a lot of work to do. Grateful that we have miles again on the car."

"Well, I hope y'all had a great week. Stay safe and be happy! Can't wait to see you NEXT WEEK!!!"

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wet, Wet, Wet

"A saying that they have in these here parts of Ken-tucky is "If God be willin' and the creek don't rise." Well, the creek rose this week. a little too high. "

"We have had a very wet week. We had severe slow moving thunder storms over like, 8 different counties including ours on Friday night. It poured for about 4 1/2 hours, causing serious flash flooding, mudslides, and rising creeks/rivers. There are still areas that are needing severe clean up. The side of the road at the base of our holler fell into the creek next to it was pretty awkward. There was a mudslide right below our apartment building. It literally is like, 20 ft from the top of the mudslide. One town about 30 minutes from Harold got completely closed off from in and outgoing traffic because it was so flooded and the damage was so bad. People are still cleaning up their hollers. Everything is still a mess."

"Besides wet, things here in KY are going alright. The work this week was really hard. We didn't get to see a lot of our investigators this week, and the thunderstorms were so bad every day this week we didn't get to work as much as we had hoped to. This week is going to be killer though, I am super excited! We are seeing really neat miracles with our investigators. We have two we visited this week who are both really new investigators and haven't been taught really anything yet. When we committed both of them to read the Book of Mormon, we had hopes that they would, but they are both super busy with their own lives, we figured we probably wouldn't get them to read. When we went to see both of them this week, both of them had read different chapters in the Book of Mormon. It was so sweet, and such a tender mercy. They are both very prepared and ready to receive the gospel, so we are going to continue to visit them more frequently."

"We have been working with our members in finding new people to teach. We don't get a whole lot of dinner appointments because everyone lives so far. But we always get Sunday dinner, and we always get Wednesday night dinner with the same families. The younger couples come out with us when they are available, but most of them are young married couples with kids and a med student husband. So we work with what we have."

"Well, things are officially coming to a close...and it makes me so hyped up with so many different emotions. I gave my first departing testimony last Tuesday at my last zone conference with the mission president. I almost choked up, but I did pretty good."

In zone conference, our mission president also announced the upcoming movie, "meet the Mormons". I guess it's supposed to be a really big thing- its supposed to help others see what Mormons are really all about, and clear up misconceptions and such. he and his wife saw this movie in the MTC.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Head Over Heels in Love with Missionary Work!

"AH! 25 days! Actually to be totally honest, I'm doing really good, cause I just barely had to count how many days I have left."

"Things in KY are going pretty good actually. We had one investigator at church, but he is solid, and we're going to try and set him on date this week. His whole family are members, but him, and after his aunt died, he started investigating the church. He was raised in it, and knows a little of the doctrine, but he is still very young in the gospel. He knows a lot of the branch members so that helps. I'm going to start teaching piano to one of our investigators. We had this REALLY amazing member present lesson with her at the park with a really solid recent convert. At the end of her lesson we got on the subject of music, and she mentioned that she had always wanted to learn to play something, but she never got the chance. So I offered to teach her to play the piano, and she got all excited and said she would love to learn. So I'm going to start teaching her (: I'm really excited!"

"This week was...well, eventful. That's a good word for it. Tuesday was the longest day of my life, I swear. Our numbers looked REALLY good this week, and we almost hit the standard. That is my goal this transfer is to hit the standard at least one more time, and with our awesome teaching pool (one of the best I have seen my whole mission), I think we will be able to hit it."

"Thursday we were teaching one of our investigators and Sister H got bit by a hornet or wasp or something. She said it hurt really bad once we got to the car. She almost cried it hurt so bad, and her arm started to go red. She had a rash and it was swollen, but it wasn't too bad. The next morning we looked at it and it looked worse. I tried to get her to take Benadryl, but she said it makes her extremely drowsy and she refused to take it. I had some extra allergy pills and gave her some anti-itch stuff to rub on her arm. She said it helped for a little. Then during the day it just kept getting bigger and redder and puffier, so finally we called the mission nurse and we sent pictures from Beth's phone. Frantically, the nurse called us back after she got the photos and had sent them to the big east coast mission doc and said we needed to go to an outreach clinic or the ER that night. It was like, 7 so we go to the outreach clinic. We wait an hour and ten minutes. The doc put her on this steriod cream, demanded that she take two benadryl every 6 to 8 hours and sent us home. It has cleared up really nicely, just a slight rash. She slept the day after the ER until 12:30 in the afternoon. No wonder she doesn't like to take it haha...I couldn't get her up, no matter how many times I told her what time it was. But she's doing better now."

"It has rained everyday except for like, 2 this week. Did I miss something, or is this another round of Noah's ark? I swear, I have never seen so much rain! Driving in the rain will be a cinch for the rest of my life."

"I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting on Sunday about the gathering of Israel. I talked about member missionary work and temple work. They live in the Louisville (loo-a-ville...) KY temple district. It's about 2 hours away. Family history doesn't seem to be huge out in these here parts as much as WV. So I told them to get crackin' (: haha not really. I was kind about it. but I did tell them that it's part of our duty as members to be gathering Israel just as the Savior has asked us multiple times."

"Well, not much else to report this week. I've fallen head over heels in love with missionary work! I can't wait to continue this at home. I love you all- hope to hear from you soon!"

Monday, August 11, 2014

Rain, Rain, Rain and a Banjo

"Well, we are very similar in weather patterns this has rained almost every day. And southern rain isn't like western rain. It rains and rains and rains, and then stops after an hour, and then rains again for another 45 minutes. It's sticky and hot until it rains, and then it's just way humid. The last sister that served here left her black rubber rain boots...and they have been my friend for the week."

"Things are getting a little more organized. We have one lady, a non member who runs a UK clothing store in town and we go help her with service every week. She's young, single, and a lot of fun to be around. The sisters have tried to teach her, but she doesn't want it right now. I know she will later though, when the time is right. She is the one who sent Daddy a video of me playing her dad's banjo. She told her dad to bring out his banjo, and he plopped it in my lap, handed me the book and said "go to town!" and he started kind of teaching me how to strum and how to use the little finger picks and such. It was super fun! It's actually a pretty easy instrument."  

"So we have several really promising investigators! We have one on date for September 27th. She was super strong in her church and then when the sisters started teaching her husband, she decided that she was interested, and ended up being more interested in the gospel than her husband was. We had a cool experience with her this week. We went to her house to teach her. She had expressed her desire to quit smoking several weeks before I got there. So we go to her house and the lessons we felt impressed to teach were tithing and fasting. So we started our lesson and all of a sudden she was like, "God told me I needed to tithe my cigarettes on August 12th, and he also told me that I need to stop drinking coffee." My companion and I were FLOORED. We hadn't even taught the Word of Wisdom yet!! So we taught her about tithing and about how when she payed her fast offerings, tithing, and fasted, she would be able to quit smoking. So next time we taught her the Word of Wisdom lesson...and SHE was floored that the Word of Wisdom required us to not drink coffee or cigarettes. It was her 2nd witness that she was being taught from on high and that God was really watching out for her and leading in the right direction. We are so excited to see her continue to progress."

"The other investigators we are working with are an engaged couple. They are adorable, and so prepared!! They are young, my age I believe. They are living together, but engaged to be married in October. We are going to try and get a wedd-ism out of this hahah...But all in God's timing of course. She always has these amazing questions. Yesterday after church we asked them if they had any questions for us, and I believe it was the 2nd question she asked was about how we do baptism, and she expressed that she had been deeply and seriously considering that she needed to be baptized, and wanted to know how to do it. It was incredible. We are going to try and set them on date this week."

"I am so grateful for you all. I am so excited to be a part of this marvelous work for another 5ish weeks. And then, once a missionary always a missionary! yay (: "

Monday, August 4, 2014

Living up a holler with my truck

"Alright, alright. Kentucky really isn't all that bad. But it is definitely different. Let me tell you a little about my first weekend in Kentucky."

"The Lord really surprised me this time. I wasn't expecting anything fancy, just another missionary area. On the front of my planners, I usually have a quote or picture that ends up relating itself to a transfer theme. A lot of things happen during the transfer that involve the cover of my planner and it ends up summing up my transfer lol...This transfer's cover is a quote by Joseph Smith- "Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven." I had to sacrifice leaving Bluefield big time, but since I have left, I have been blessed temporally and spiritually in so many ways. Heavenly Father really wants me to end my mission a solid, successful missionary, and the extra blessings must have come from working so hard in Bluefield. I'm not entirely sure. Still trying to figure that out."

"We live up a holler...lined with rose bushes. Our apartment complex is something out of a travel magazine. We have a pool and a gym- I go run at the gym every morning...the Lord really blessed me, I finally have a treadmill again. We drive a 2014 Nissan Terrain. Um, my next car will be a used truck or jeep. I'd really like a Jeep Wrangler. Sister H doesn't really like to drive, so I get to drive the truck (: it is the funnest thing ever!!"

 "We serve in a branch. It's smaller than Bedford, there was a whopping 45 people at church yesterday, lol. Services were nice, the ward members are great! Lots of young couples studying medical things at UPike and UK. It's fun to see new babies again. I don't think I saw any in Bluefield. The building is tiny!

The chapel has a divider and they use it as the relief society and priesthood rooms. There isn't a gym, not even a quarter sized one. The primary room is half the size of ours. The whole building is cute and little. My piano skills will be used, yes. The ward pianist and her family are moving in a week, lol."

"We have quite a few investigators. I haven't met all of them but the ones I have met are really promising. We don't have any on date, we're going to try and set about 4 on date this week though. Pikeville needs some work. There's a lot of clean up to do with the paperwork and we need to pick our numbers up out of the gutter. Still working hard, trying to make my last 5 weeks the best! The first day I got here I was seeing so many miracles. There is so much potential here, and we have a lot of work to do. But I am seeing the fruits of my labors, and I am really actually...happy."

"Transfer meeting on Wednesday was really bittersweet. My MTC companion went home. She took the early transfer. I would have been home this week if I had taken the early transfer. I can't believe how time has flown. I'm really glad I took the late transfer though. I saw a lot of elders and sisters at this meeting that I probably won't see again till they come home. It was so wierd. Everyone was like, "Sister Peck, isn't this your last transfer?" I teared up a little every time I thought about it. I am really excited but not at the same time. It's one of those things, lol."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

McDonalds, McDonalds...KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN (and a Pizza Hut!)

"Tell Grandpa he finally got what he wished for. That's right folks. I'm headed to Pikeville, Kentucky to serve with Sister H...again. I don't know what the deal is, but they really like to stick me with sisters I have already served with. All that I know about Pikeville is that it's 2 hours from any of the meetings we will have, out in the boonies. I am excited for the people. I love poor people, they are so humble. I think our apartment is one of the nicest in the mission. I think the complex has a gym so that will be nice."

"I'm dreading this. I couldn't even finish talking to the zone leaders last night I was crying so hard. I've been crying since then. I know there is a reason for all of this but it's not the last transfer I was expecting. I'm trying to have a positive attitude but I have been trying to avoid Kentucky my whole mission. Bluefield is my second home. If I ever ran away, I would run away to Bluefield. I am friends with all the ward members here. I'm praying for strength and courage to do what God asked me to do. I'm sure the ward is great. I'm sure that it won't be horrible. I hope they don't feed me Opossum."

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Baptism, Yay!

"I was blessed with my fourth baptism this week (: Our recent convert's nephew got baptized Sunday. It was the sweetest thing. One of our zone leaders, who has the same first name, got to baptize him. He got a little nervous with the water, so he had to be baptized twice cause he let his foot come up. His aunt and I stood at the top of the font and she wrapped her white towel that she used at baptism, around him. It was the cutest thing. She is so proud. In her blessing it talked a little about some of her family accepting the gospel as she shares it with them and she's seeing the fruits of her labors. I have never seen her this happy."

"The two girls are still trying to get permission to be baptized. Their mom and their grandma are pretty hard-hearted towards the Mormons, and so they are being stubborn with giving their consent. We are still praying that the spirit will work on them so that they can be baptized. We're trying for August 3rd now."

"Please pray for the couple that was baptized when I first came to Bluefield. She had a miscarriage this week and they, and her mom are very angry with God right now. Her mom only came for Sacrament meeting yesterday and the couple didn't come at all. We haven't been over there yet because she was worried that the husband would go off on us because we're "god's people" (another nick-name for the missionaries here in the south, lol). We're going to try and go over tonight to see if there's any way we can soften hearts and help them understand."

"Transfers are still up in the air. We have no idea who will be going where. I got a blessing at the beginning of the transfer that said that I still had people here in Bluefield that I needed to find, so I think I will die here (that is how they refer to finishing their mission) and I will get a new companion. But it's so bitter sweet cause me and Sister P keep having all of these awesome experiences and we just want to stay and die together, haha. But we are willing to do whatever God wants us to do."

"I love you all. Look for missionary opportunities this week!!"

Monday, July 14, 2014

Baptisms Next Week

"I have a lot to write. Let me see if I can get it all with the time I have." 

"So our recent convert is doing a lot better. Her 2 nieces and 1 nephew are all getting baptized on Sunday after church. We are so excited!! We are teaching another one of her nieces but it's going to be a slow process with her. Our recent convert had a little bit of a tough week- lots of people trying to convince her not to be a part of the church. She hadn't taken the sacrament the week before because she was ill and couldn't make it to church...which made things a little more difficult for her. She came to church with her nieces and nephew and had an incredible experience. I was asked to play a piano solo in sacrament meeting. I knew that one of her favorites was "Nearer my god to thee". Well, Marvin Goldstein saved the day again, and I had a piano solo arrangement of that song that was perfect. During the sacrament, I was reading the words to kind of prepare me for the kinds of emotions I would put into it as I played. I noticed her sitting next to me, with her eyes closed and head bowed in humble prayer. She had had an incredibly tough week (thank you for the prayers btw), but she was committing to Heavenly father to change and I'm sure she was pleading for peace (she's better now after a perfect week at church). So it was my turn. I was about to put the book back in the slot so I could get ready to go up and play, and she reached for the book. I found the page I was just on for her, and she stuck her finger in it. During my song she followed along with the words. That's a true disciple. Someone who's dedicated to changing despite what the world says."

"Elder Bednar came to Charleston to speak specifically to the youth of West Virginia. The 3 girls got to go hear him speak and shake his hand (: It was incredible!! I never thought that my investigators would get to meet an apostle of whom I just taught them about. Her nephew is so funny...he's 8. His other aunt used to give him a cup of coffee in the morning, and a cup at night when she would drink it. So when we taught him the Word of Wisdom this week, I was not expecting the answer I got.. "WHAT?! Wait a minute. Just wait. Hoollld up. No COFFEE????..." He hasn't had it for a while, and our convert doesn't drink it anymore, so he'll have someone to lean on. He is the cutest little boy!! He's so excited to get baptized!

"So I am out of time. I always try and do 5 things at once on my email. I'm going to print some pictures and send them home with a short letter. We did a couple of really fun things this week!"

Monday, July 7, 2014

4th of July

"Not going to lie, I don't have a whole lot to report this week. But I will share my fourth of July with ya'll (: "

"We had a zone meeting from 9 that morning to about 3 that afternoon. I got to sing the national anthem and apparently it was so good that 2 or three people pulled out cameras and recorded it. I was then told that I needed to try out for the Voice haha...The meeting was really neat, we talked about Form and Essence. The zone leaders told us all about the new mission president. He seems like a good guy, I guess I won't know till tomorrow, when I meet him in Pembroke with the rest of our missionaries for the mission tour. After our meeting, we went up to visit a home bound less active member. Turns out her less active and part member family is all up having a BBQ so they fed us dinner while we were there. Then our recent convert texted and asked if we were around, and she brought us dinner as well. Then we ate dessert at a member's house. Funny story. We were trying to sticky note their door without getting caught, but we totally got caught and they invited us in for dessert. We met their friends, this cute, cute couple who travel and sing gospel songs at revivals and stuff. So we sang hymns for them and they sang "Please let me sing in the choir" and "Over and Over" for us. It was so much fun!"

"Please pray for our recent convert. She is having some hard trials right now, and needs all the prayers and support she can get."

Monday, June 30, 2014

Nap Time, please?

"Not a whole lot to report this week I guess. Tired. REALLY tired. I can feel it all coming at me. I'm slowly crashing..."

"Investigators are doing well. One is still out of town, we really hope she is doing ok. Hoping to teach her and put her on date this week. The kids are doing well too. They have come to church the allotted times they have to come, but obviously we challenge them to come for the rest of their lives. They love Young women's. They go to mutual on Wednesdays, too. We are teaching yet another one of her cute girls.  She's super prepared, reading the Book of Mormon and all. Our recent convert's family is very prepared."

"I'm sure ya'll are dying to hear about our convert's patriarchal blessing. Holy amazing. I cried during a couple of parts, the spirit was so strong. She had some really amazing promises and blessings given to her, and she had a really neat spiritual experience receiving them. She continues to progress. She is awesome (: I fetching love her."

"I've decided I want to go to the home ward when I get home...I'm not ready for the singles ward yet, and probably won't be for a while. I would love to serve in the young womens if God lets me."

"I hope ya'll had and have a great week. Sorry this is so short, and sorry nothing terribly exciting happened this week, especially with sheep haha...I hope to hear from you soon."

Monday, June 23, 2014

T-Minus 79 Days

"...But who's counting, right? haha (: My companion and I have been a little trunky this week...wait, did I just say that?...16 months came fast. I wasn't watching for it at all, it just kind of, slapped me awake yesterday when I realized that I only had 11 weeks left...WOAH. Brain blown."

"...Let's talk missionary- This week was awesome (: Not as great as standard week, we had some trials and our faith tested a little bit. Our miles are running short- I guess that is what happens when you are on the Lord's errand and driving everywhere to teach everyone. So we walked in 80-some odd degree weather, and like 75% humidity. I have some great lookin' tan lines."

"Our investigators are doing awesome! I love the kids we're teaching. They are all so full of faith and eager to learn. We picked up a new one of our convert's nephews this week. He is 8 years old. STOLE my heart right out of me. He is the biggest sweetheart. He's solid too, he loves to learn which makes things so much easier. He's an awesome reader, and we got him a children's Book of Mormon to read with our recent convert each night. She is so awesome- she got the elders 6 new people to teach in the last 2 weeks. She's got a lot of family she's trying to introduce to the gospel between our area and the elders' area."

"So Saturday we did something pretty once-in-a-lifetime. Our bishop has a farm. About 3 weeks ago he invited us to come help him herd, tag, and give shots to his sheep. It was us, the 2 sets of elders and our recent convert tagged along. (she had a total blast) Bishop invited us over again this last Saturday. Same crew. He told us we were castrating his males...we totally thought he was kidding. He was totally serious. So we castrated and gave shots to his sheep. It was really fun actually. It poured in the middle of it. I just gave shots to them, I couldn't do the rest...ugh..."

"So yesterday church was very temple oriented! The DC temple president came and spoke to us in sacrament meeting. Our recent convert and I both loved his talk. One thing that really stuck out was when he said that we came to earth to go to the temple. It was super powerful! Then we talked a little bit more about making and keeping temple covenants. She is so excited to get her endowments out next spring."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Drum Roll Please

"So you will never guess what's happening (: I'm staying in Bluefield, again!! With Sister P! 4 transfers in Bluefield- apparently my work here isn't done. I am so excited!!!!!! I really want to end my mission here, but we will see what the Lord has in store for me."

"So update on everything. Holy heck has this been an amazing week. I have seen so many amazing things, not just as a missionary, but as a person, a daughter in God's kingdom."

"Investigators- we are picking up so many, it's crazy. Most of them are kids that our recent convert is raising, her nieces and nephews, etc. We have two of them on date for baptism on July 13th.We are also teaching her friend and her 2 kids. Man, these southern kids are firecrackers! They are touched by the spirit so deeply, and they have a desire to really know about God and about how a family is really supposed to function...all of these kids come from super broken families."

"So one sister we are teaching is legally blind. She's kind of been putting off reading the book of Mormon, because she has been having a hard time reading. She can't see to read or write well. Sunday morning, she woke up at 5 AM so she could be ready for church. We had a member picking her up around 9:30. She got up at 5 so she could get ready for church, and so she could read the book of Mormon. We got her a large print, and she sat down, adjusted what she could, and diligently read only HALF a page in 2nd Nephi. Talk about prepared. She enjoyed every minute of church, paid her tithing, and told us she knew what we were teaching her was true. It was amazing."

"We had our last specialized training with the Pitts last week. It was one of the hardest meetings I have had to attend. I will probably see the Pitts next time in their home. At the conclusion of the teaching portion of this awesome meeting, we gathered in a large circle in the gym, and each missionary took a turn bearing their testimony of Christ. Then the Pitts gave their departing testimonies, and we all knelt in our final prayer together as a  zone. President bestowed blessings in this prayer upon our spouses, and our children that were being prepared to come to us. It was powerful. Sister P and I bawled. I had never felt so close to my future family in my life. It's like all of our children were in that room, watching us."

Monday, June 9, 2014

"Ahh, What a beautiful, rewarding week it has been (: "

"The Lord has really blessed me and my companion this week. We have seen more miracles than we could count. Although numbers are definitely not the most important thing as a missionary, we have been blessed with very high numbers this week (I've come to learn that numbers are a blessing and a privilege, not what missionary work is all about). They looked AMAZING. The Lord has blessed us with people to teach, whether they are totally solid or not, and in the eternal perspective, maybe it just wasn't their time to learn- nevertheless, we have been able to share that piece of the gospel with them that hopefully they will remember and carry."

"Update on the 'gators...We have been blessed with two new this week! Our recent convert calls them her "daughters" but they aren't related. They come from a really broken family... probably moving back for good to Georgia this summer. She is totally heart-broken, but she figures the best thing she can give them is the Gospel, and eternal happiness that comes with it. The girls came to church and actually witnessed a baptism. We might be teaching one of her best friends who says he's pagan...oh boy. He's a way nice guy though! We're teaching a very prepared sister. She is leagally blind, but can still get around. She loves the gospel, the church, and the people in it."

"We had a really interesting miracle happen this week. We got a note in the mail from the mission office saying that a lady wanted to learn about the gospel. We called her because she didn't have a physical address, just a PO box number. She said she's still interested and we decide that we have the time to go see her that night. So we drive 20 minutes out, and into Maybeury. My GPS just happens to have this tiny little street programmed in. We get to this house, and turns out this lady is a less active from Cincinatti, OH. She wanted to "come home" to the gospel that she was baptized into so many years previous. She had a long road and experimented with so many different religions, but realized that it all came back to the gospel of Jesus Christ...that's what made her the happiest. Her, her non member husband and her stepson all want the lessons. They want to come to church. So we called the zone leaders because we weren't entirely sure that these folks were in our area...and turns out they aren't...they are just over the McDowell county line. They are part of the Welch branch. So we call welch. Turns out these elders have been struggling in their area, and I'm sure they had been praying for people to teach and visit. We were an answer to their prayers (: and although at first I was upset that we weren't going to get to teach them, I was happy that I had been the answer to a young greenie's prayers."

"This week my testimony of forever families (well, more like this whole transfer) has just exploded. I am so excited to have an eternal family of my own. That's really what this plan is, and what missions are about are uniting families. The plaque on the mantel says it loud and proud (A missionary leaves her family for 18 months so that the people she teaches can be with their family forever)...that's why I'm out here, is to unite families. Yesterday in church, I got to teach singing time. I taught them the 2nd verse of "The family is of God" which is part of the sharing time theme this year. The whole thing went really well and I had a lot of fun getting my teacher pants on again."

"Laughter is the best medicine. I felt like sacrament meeting went all revival on us yesterday when this dear sweet older sister in our ward (bless her heart, she has fathers and brothers who are preachers) got up and was supposed to "speak" on enduring to the end. She rather yelled about Obama not holding the priesthood, teens taking responsibility for themselves, and her neighbors arguing over property lines and who's trash was who's on trash day. As I tried so hard to hold back my giggle fits (even the bishop and his counselor were cracking up on the stand), I looked over at our recent convert, who had her hand over her mouth and her eyes were huge. She was trying so hard not to die laughing either. I said, "you know it's not normally like this, right?" and she said yeah, and later we told her "daughters" that as well, and hopefully our baptist-preacher sacrament meeting didn't completely scare them off. "All I care about" the speaker announced as she raised her arm and pointed to the ceiling, "is what the big man upstairs thinks of me!" We all thought, good, cause if you cared about what the bishop and the democrats in the room thought, you would probably be Less Active next week. I told her afterwards that I honestly enjoyed her talk, and she said "I didn't read a word off my notes". I thought, 'oh really?'...Bless her heart haha (: Maybe I don't need to go to another church to enjoy the diversity of the Bible belt. I love Southern people!"

Monday, June 2, 2014

True Joy

"I have never felt so much relief. So much of the spirit before. Sunday was amazing (: She, the one baptized last week, came to church, and actually brought one of her nephews (who we are now teaching, and he's really loving it). She was confirmed an official Mormon haha (: She came off of the stand glowing. It was so neat. This overwhelming feeling came over me- I wonder if it was true joy. The scriptures say "how great shall be your joy if you bring but one soul unto me." Pretty sure I felt true joy (: It was the coolest thing."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Baptism! Yeah!

"We met with our investigator every day this past week to prepare her for her baptism.  So before church, we came around 8 am (church starts at 10) to prep for the events to follow the block. We turned on the font to start filling it. We then went to sacrament meeting. Halfway through we went and turned it off, and noticed it wasn't quite full so we kept it filling. In the middle of Sunday school the following hour, Sister Pitt motioned to Sister P and asked "shouldn't the font be full?" so we went and checked it. Even though it was filling, the water level had gone down. We turned off the water. We figured it was probably something that had to do with the plug, so Sister P took off her shoes, hiked up her dress, and waded into the font to fix the plug. It looked fine and so she scooted it around to see if that would fix the problem. We didn't turn the water on, just so we could see if it would sit in the font and not drain. Following Relief Society, I mentioned to our ward mission leader that something was wrong with the font. He opened the accordian door, and looked in. There was less than six inches of water sitting in the bottom of the font. So he rolled up his pants, went down and noticed that the chain for the plug was stuck under the rubber circle that sits over the drain. He fixed it, stuck a brick on top of the drain, and turned the water back on. So as we're helping our investigator get ready, we're trying to figure out how to help the font fill faster. In most African countries, they fill buckets and pots from the faucet and fill their font that that's what we did. While two of the elders went to our apartment to pick some things up (including my talk that I had to give and forgot this morning), two other elders and a couple of Relief Society sisters carried big pots of warm water from the kitchen to the Relief Society room and dumped them into the font as it was filling. I believe in the story of the five loaves and two fishes, and I think Heavenly Father helped us fill the font. It usually takes about an hour or so to fill a font. It took us less than 15 minutes to fill the font. What a miracle (: The baptism was perfect. The song went well, my talk went well, everything fell into place, but most of all, the spirit was incredibly strong. She is a brand new person. She came out of the water a totally new being. She will get the Holy Ghost next Sunday, and we are so thrilled!" 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Scriptures, Prayer and Chocolate

"So we had zone conference Tuesday, and it went incredibly well. We learned a lot from president about the patriarch and the matriarch of the family, it was totally a side topic, cause a couple of elders asked some questions. My song went really well, and I had a lot of compliments on it. I sang "I stand all amazed" and played it too. Our zone leaders now call me Alicia Keys."

"As missionaries, we have studied about the last week of the Savior's life, and how incredibly difficult it was. Before the miracle of the resurrection happened, he had to die. You can't get much worse than that. As missionaries, we have also seen the last week of being a gentile, before stepping into the waters of baptism, and how incredibly difficult it is. Satan is after you the whole time. Stupid adversary, it drives me insane sometimes, especially as a missionary, when your investigators are doing so well, but they are struggling so bad."

"Our investigator is totally going through this. Caty- that scripture you sent me in your letter this week (D&C 58:2-5) could not have come at a better time. It was divine, the day I opened that she was struggling so bad with the influences of her life. So bad in fact, that I almost had an anxiety attack over it. At this point as a missionary, and as a disciple of Christ, I would do anything to provide her with the blessings of eternal life, and seeing her struggle is one of the hardest things for me right now. This week's forecast: lots of scriptures, lots of time on our knees, and a whole lot of chocolate for the three of us. I have finally discovered what being a missionary is all about, and I think I have even tasted of the bitter-sweetness (80% cocao) of charity. True, Christ-like charity. Holy Wow."

"So as for now, I am "pressing forward" as she says to us often. She is a very strong example of what true pioneer women were like. In church yesterday, a sister gave a talk about being pioneers of the gospel in our families and our communities. I could tell our investigator loved it, especially when she talked about being the first in your family to join the church, and how much strength that takes, and how much of an influence she will be- it's only the beginning to bringing her family to the Gospel and to the Savior himself. Keep her in your prayers, and pray for her to be strong. I seriously can't wait for her baptism- it will probably be one of the most spiritual things I will experience on my mission."

Monday, May 12, 2014

"EW. Elders."

"Welp. Transfers were last week. The day of transfers, I was told that I got to go to Charleston to the transfer meeting. I was pumped. I was so thrilled- I was going to see so many sisters that I hadn't seen in a while! Well, we get to Beckley, and Elder Morgan, the zone leader there I think, said "Sister Peck, will you and Sister S stay here in Beckley? we will be back to pick you up and take you 45 minutes away in like, 4 hours." So they kicked me off the transfer train and my trip to Charleston quickly ended. LAME. But I spent the day with one of my favorite sisters out here, so it ended up being ok. I actually served with her on a transfer day in Christiansburg waiting for our new companions. If we don't get to serve a full transfer together, at least we served two days with each other (: We literally piled into a truck with 4 elders (with permission of course- it was just super weird. The whole time I was like, "EW. ELDERS." in my head.) and went to Taco Bell to get something to eat (fast food before 1 PM makes me sick so I didn't eat till lunch). Me and Sister S went to a pizza parlor for lunch while we spent 4 HOURS in Beckley. We met a lot of funny people, and handed out 4 of our 6 Book of Mormons. It was a lot of fun. At four, the elders picked us up (again, we piled into the truck...EW.) and we went to pick up our new companions."

"My new companion is Sister P from Riverton. What a powerful 5 days she has blessed me with. She has taught me a ton of really neat lessons about charity, and about how numbers aren't everything. She really opened my eyes as to what missionary work is all about. I have vowed to always strive for true charity with everyone I come in contact with. I will now teach as the Savior taught. I now see numbers as blessings- when we truly act as the Savior did, and love the people we work with as the Savior did, and worry about the things he did, and teach as he did, etc, the numbers will come on their own. We will be blessed with numbers for our efforts. I love this lesson of missionary work (: "

Press forward!
D&C 42:61 (what has become my personal scripture)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

3 Transfers in the Same Area? Could it be?

"Holy. Week. of Miracles."

"...but first, transfer info...I am STAYING IN BLUEFIELD!!! I prayed that I would get to stay and see our investigator be baptized (May 18th, by President Pitt himself). My prayers were answered. I got a call from President this morning saying that the reason she has progressed so much is because of me. I have been so blessed- I have come to see her as an older sister. She means a lot to me. I realized that because it's so hard for her to open up to others, that she should have someone to open up to. So when I opened up to her, she opened up to me. I feel like the past sisters that taught her treated her like a baptism stat and didn't actually take the time to get to know her. I freaking love her. She has changed my life, as we have helped change hers."

"My new companion is Sister P- One of the three sisters I went to High School with. She is so nice, and I am really excited to be serving with her! Sister E is going north to Philippi. She is transitioning an area from a senior couple going home to a set of young missionaries. She will have the nicest apartment in the entire mission. I'm a little jealous. She isn't excited to go, but this is what we felt we should pray for, so although Heavenly Father answered our prayers, we are still experiencing humility in accepting God's will."

"Our other investigators are doing great. Our investigator's friend, came to church with us on Sunday. It was so great. She had a great time. My song on Sunday didn't go the way I thought it would haha- I thought I was singing one song, but then it changed cause it couldn't be played, and then I tried another song, same thing happened, so I ended up playing a piano solo from my Marvin Goldstein book. I played "Our Savior's Love."

Monday, May 5, 2014

"Like driving 75 mph through a car wash"

We got a letter from Elizabeth on Friday. Here is an update.

Her investigator is doing well. Her new baptism date is May 11. Transfers are May 8. "I'm praying the Lord will let me stay here for another transfer so that I can see her make covenants with Heavenly Father. (What, I have feelings for Bluefield now?!) I have absolutely come to love her. She's like the 3rd older sister I never had.(: LOL But I love the heck out of her and would do a lot to see her be baptized. she has worked so hard & changed so much."

Last week she had a district meeting in Wytheville which is about 45 minutes south of Bluefield. After the meeting they went to Denny's for lunch and she ran into her aunt and uncle in the parking lot. They live in Charleston, WV so they were a long way from home. She called it a tender mercy. These are her words about what happened next. "About 10 minutes out, the overcast skies turned into serious rain clouds and lightning broke through the clouds. It started to rain, and got heavier and heavier as we drove down the freeway, trying to avoid the run-ff and spray from passing tractor-trailers, and large trucks. The rain got worse and eventually my wipers were on full blast, and the lines on the road disappeared. The large white truck in front of me started to sway and I too started to drift. It was like driving through a car wash at 75 mph. I was praying so hard, I knew Heavenly Father would protect us. I prayed that I would make it to the East River Mountain Tunnel (Google image it) cause once you make it through the mountain, the climate changes and it was possible it wasn't raining on the other side. With the hand of the Lord, I was able to find and stick by the yellow line and we made it to the tunnel - low & behold, it had just stopped raining on the other side of the mountain. I am really grateful that we were protected while driving through the eye of this huge spring thunder shower. Plus it was really cool (:."

Monday, April 28, 2014

Quick email

"Just a quick email, I'm a little out of time today. I had so many things to do. I have some favors, but I'll write today. I love you and miss you!!" That was literally the entire email. At least she is alive and I'm guessing well. Next week is transfer week.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hoppy Easter

"What an amazing week this has been!! I am so excited to tell you about my week!!"

"So this week, we went on exchanges with Blacksburg again, and I got to go there, again! I learned a lot of amazing things- including, if you want God to change and build your area, he's going to do it to you first, so that you will be a pliable medium through which he can bless the area. On this exchange we found two potential investigators and we picked up one as a new. We finally have a new investigator! She's older, but has wanted to learn for years. We are so grateful!!!"

"So this entire exchange was super humbling, and I have had to make a lot of changes to my spiritual aspect of life. I have grown a lot in the past 4 days. When I got home from exchanges, we checked the mail, and there was a letter in it from the mission office for me. It had a return service thing on it, and from the transparent window it had, I could see that it was a form of some variety. Then it hit me. These were my "trunky papers"- the papers you fill out at the end of your mission for the office, that you have to send in before they give you all your flight information and release stuff. It's like, 2 pages worth of stuff to fill out. I shoved it in my drawer and refused to look at it. At lunch time, Sister E. crashed on the couch. I decided that I needed to face this one day. Teary-eyed, and so full of emotion, I pulled the envelope out of my drawer. I was struck with nostalgia and started listing off all of these things in my head that I needed to accomplish spiritually before I went home. I started thinking about how I wasn't ready to come home, I still had tons the Lord needed me to do before I could complete my service. I slowly tore open the envelope. Tears streaming down my face, I pulled the pages out of the envelope, and started to read "Sister Peck, we are updating our information for our driving records, and can't find this form for you. Please fill out the following form, and send it in with a photo copy of your driver's license, front and back. Thanks!" .....I burst out laughing. I couldn't stop. I laughed the rest of lunch. I learned a valuable lesson. Never judge a piece of mail by the return address. I also learned that I have a lot to get done before this event really does happen..."

"So I started running over spring break. There's a high school down the street and we go run on the track on warm, dry mornings. I love running, and it's so good to run after a long winter. I feel like my lungs are opening up and my body is stretching and "resurrecting" so to speak after a dreary winter on the east coast."

"Speaking of resurrection, I'm sure you have heard of or seen the new Easter video the church put out. BEST. MORMON. MESSAGE. EVER. Pretty sure I have seen it 15 times in the last 48 hours. We've been showing it to everyone. Also, one of my favorite bands, Neon Trees, is a band based out of like, Provo or AF or somewhere down there, and they are all members of the church. Their drummer is a girl, and she has an "I'm a Mormon" video out.

"I was asked May 4th to sing a musical number. Yay! Thursday night, the ward got together and made Easter "baskets" for the missionaries. It was this huge box, and they presented it to each companionship at the beginning of Relief Society. They pretty much have fed us for the next month. It was such a tender mercy. The ward is really looking out for us. I'm really starting to love the people here. (just watch, I'll getting transferred in 2 weeks...)"

"Our investigator is doing well. She couldn't come to church Easter Sunday, so her baptism has been moved to May 4th. (star wars day (: ...) Keep praying for her, she's been really getting hit with the adversary lately."

"Have a good week, I can't wait to get mail from ya'lll soon (:"

Monday, April 14, 2014

Baptism postponed

"I can't believe its Easter already. This week has been glorious, in weather and in miracles."

"Our investigator had to move her baptism date back because she couldn't come to church one of the required weeks in order to be baptized. We're shooting for the 27th (my 14th month mark btw...). Her friend isn't totally progressing. In fact, none of our other investigators are progressing at this point. We are trying to focus a little on our members and the ward. I believe that if we aren't taking care of those we already have, the Lord won't bless us with as much more as he wants us to have, or we want to have. We had a meeting with the stake mission leader, Brother P. (Brother P lives in Christiansburg, and  I grew very close to his family while serving there, so being able to see him again was such a tender mercy. I'll get to see his wife on May 4th for ward conference!!)"

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring and General Conference

"Another week in Bluefield, and spring is well on its way! I am so grateful, mom, that you told me to seek for signs of spring. The dogwoods are starting to bloom, and we have had rain and thunder showers all weekend. Luckily, its supposed to be in the 60s and 70s the remainder of the week (:"

"CONFERENCE!! AHH!! It was so amazing, I am so grateful that I received so much revelation and answers to prayers through the talks given. My top 5 favorites:
5- M Russell Ballard
4- Gary E Stevenson
3- Russell M Nelson
2- Elder Bednar
1- Elder Holland

I need to go back and read Elder Oaks talk. I have heard it was incredible, so add that with Elder Nelson's at number three. I hope you all enjoyed conference as much as I did (: I wish it was every weekend."

"Yesterday we had zone meeting, district meeting, and president's interviews (his last ones...they go home in June!) so today is our p day. It's been nice to catch up on a lot of the love that sits in my inbox. Only having an hour sucks."

"I will write more about our investigators and such in a letter. I love you all, and I can't wait to hear from you soon!"

I did get a letter from her last week and her investigator is set on date for baptism on April 20th and her friend is now taking the discussions.

Monday, March 31, 2014


"Another week in Bluefield! Just a short update, I don't have a whole lot of time, but I wanted to let you know that I am alive (:"

"Our investigator is doing well, we are still looking for other people to teach. She has a friend we might start teaching if we get the chance to meet with her."

"It snowed AGAIN yesterday, and its supposed to be in the 70's the rest of the week. Hopefully my plea for spring has been heard, and the weather will start warming up soon. SPRING!!!!"

"Nothing really new this week, just still working with the bishop on how we are going to change the ward here. We have been listening to the spirit, and we are really excited for the ward to pick up here."

"Thanks for the love and support!"

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Staying in Bluefield

"Funny story, so me and Sister E got a text from our zone leaders Saturday saying that if we invited 5 people to learn randomly that night, he would tell us if one of us was leaving. Our zone leaders called and said  "Sister Peck, you are staying...and Sister E, you are..going...NOWHERE!" So we are staying together in Bluefield yet another transfer. We are both really excited!! Lots of good things are going to happen this transfer, we can feel it. We have a couple of really hard working elders coming into our ward (we share the ward with two other sets of elders) and we have high hopes that they will be ready to work, cause this ward has officially become a project, not just for the missionaries, but for the members of the ward council and hopefully the remaining ward members."

"Spring is around the corner. I am so sick of the weather. Snow. 40 degrees. 70. Snow. 30 degrees. 64. Snow. I swear, I am done. I just want to send my winter stuff home. Everyone keeps saying "oh Spring is here, the harbinger has spoken, blah blah..." yeah, tell that to me when it snows again next week."

"One of our investigators is on date for April 12th. She is so amazing, every lesson we have with her the spirit is so strong. Yesterday we taught her about the temple. Her favorite temple is the Salt Lake. She is so excited to come to Utah to go through the temple next spring. I am constantly amazed at her faith and testimony. We're gonna baptize this girl!! She's so ready!"

"I am way excited for the meeting on Saturday, and I am SUPER excited for general conference. Well, that's pretty much all for this week. I am so grateful to be on a mission!! Thank you all for your love and support. Y'all are FANTASTIC! (: hope to hear from you soon."

Monday, March 17, 2014

I absolutely LOVE the Book of Mormon!!

"This weekend was our stake conference. It was broadcast out of Salt Lake, so we were privileged to listen to L. Tom Perry. He gave a wonderful talk on missionary work, and that sharing the gospel to all the world is part of the covenant we make at baptism. We also got to hear the first counselor in the general Primary speak, and her talk was really good, It was on sharing the Book of Mormon. We also heard Bruce A Carlson and he said a lot of things about sharing the gospel that really hit home for me."

"Tuesday last week was Specialized Training for our zone. We talked about the Book of Mormon, and studied every page possible in PMG about how to use it and share it. Whenever I think about the Book of Mormon, or am asked to share an experience or testimony about it, I tell the story about how my dad and his companion changed the Belgium Mission just by offering the Book of Mormon to people to have in their homes. That's something I feel like our mission needs to understand. In Bedford, our zone leaders issued a challenge on the day that it was 11 degrees outside. We had a competition to see who could hand out the most Books of Mormon. The Bedford 4 got together and we handed out 30-some odd books to people that day. I love the Book of Mormon. We as a mission were challenged at our zone conference 2 weeks ago to read it again by June. I'm going to see if I can read it twice by June. My new year's resolution was to be able to read it 2 more times on my mission and then once at has increased, and I'm going to see if I can read it at least 3 more times as a missionary, and then maybe twice more when I come home. I absolutely LOVE the Book of Mormon!!!"

"After training, we got to go on exchanges with our sister trainer leaders.They are serving in Blacksburg, which isn't even a "far-see" away from Christiansburg. So for exchanges I went to sunny Blacksburg. I had the privilege to go through Christiansburg again. Oh the memories!!! I had a really good time in Blacksburg. That area of Virginia is very beautiful- but I'd still put Bedford first (:"

"I am really grateful to be on a mission. I wouldn't ever trade this time that I have to learn and grow the way that I have as a servant of God. Thank you so much to all you who have supported me in my endeavors to be the best that I can be! My scripture of the week- Mosiah 23:24. I am grateful for the Savior's amazing grace, and promised blessings of redemption as we plead with him to deliver us from bondage."

"Hope y'all have a great week! Can't wait to hear from you soon!"

Monday, March 10, 2014

Wow, What a Week of Miracles

"Wow, what a week of miracles it has been for us! Not only is the weather starting to warm up, and both of our other investigators are progressing, but two of our investigators joined the church this week...the baptism was held on Saturday evening! They were just glowing. Her mom was beaming- she had worked so hard for that experience. They were both confirmed on Sunday. What a special treat- I am grateful that the Lord saw fit to bless me with that experience."

"The weather is warming up, finally! Yesterday it was 50ish and then this afternoon should be upper 50's. The whole mission I think is excited for spring. We were visiting a member who was telling us about how she saw robins this week- and in Bluefield, that means spring is around the, it starts in 4 days. The harbinger has spoken (: The sky is blue, the wind is warm, our gloves and scarves are being stashed. I love spring!!"

"One of our investigators, S, is totally wonderful. She is basically a member she just needs to get baptized. She asked me this week on Saturday when we met with her if I could teach her piano. So once again, I have pulled out my piano books, and we will be teaching her back to back piano/gospel lessons on Fridays. She has investigated since last July. It has taken her a lot to get where she is at- but oh my gosh, I have never met anyone as faithful as she is. When I first met her, I wanted to get an idea of where she stood as far as the lessons and her testimony. She told me when I asked her if she had prayed about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith that she didn't have to pray- she just knew that they were true. How's that for a golden investigator?! She quite smoking cold turkey, and she is warming up to us. She texts us all the time with questions, and she is trying to get her nieces and nephews to come to church with her. I felt inspired to promise her that if she made church on Sundays a priority and if she came and partook of the sacrament every week, the Lord would help her quit coffee. She told us that as her priorities of coming to church more have changed, her nieces and nephews are attending churches, and are making God more of a priority for themselves. So many cool miracles!! I love her!! I want to stay another transfer and at least see her be baptized and finish her music lessons!"

"We are working with a few less actives, and our ward goals and plans for the year revolve around our ward roster and reactivation. We have 400 plus people in our ward and if we can activate at least 30 or so percent, we could split our ward. So we are trying to reactivate. We found a gold mine- we just have to be prayerful about how we extract all of these faithful members from inactivity."

"I hope everyone has had a great week! May the Lord bless you in your endeavors and don't forget us in the field! (: Hope to hear from you soon! Love you all!!"

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


"This week the weather decided to suck, and the library was closed yesterday. It snowed only like, 3 inches, but the ice was bad. It was 60 on Sunday, and it sprinkled. It smelled like rain for the first time since summer. It was so wonderful to feel the spring humidity again. I seriously can not wait for the summer time!!"

"We have had a super busy week getting ready for our 2 BAPTISMS ON SATURDAY!! WOOOOOOH!!! These will be my first two baptisms I've seen, but I don't really consider them as mine, because they are basically done with all the lessons. I have taught them the last two. Obviously they are the Lord's baptisms not my own, but it is so amazing to see two solid people ready to make covenants with the Father. They both love the church. They want to be sealed next year, and this is helping her mother (a LA) come back to church. We love these folks!! They are fantastic!!"

"This past week was zone conference, and as you have seen in President's letters, we are going back to the basics, and part of that is giving ourselves up to the work. Paraphrasing the Lord, C.S. Lewis says to us: "Give me all. I don't want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work: I want You, all of You. I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man, but to kill it. No half-measures will do. I don't want to only prune a branch here and another there; rather, I want the whole tree out. Hand it all over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them all over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart." (Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, p. 167)"

"I've been having a tough time adjusting to Bluefield - But I swear, this zone conference was totally for me! So much revelation & spiritual guidance! It was truly a neat conference. So my district leader knows I am/was having a hard time in Bluefield, so he told me to read D&C 25. I read it out of my quad with all my seminary notes, and Holy revelatory experience! Verse 4 really hit home and especially when I realized that I'm the only one keeping myself from loving Bluefield! I know that God blesses us when we're humble enough to learn what his will is, cause our will needs to be his."

"My heart is slowly changing, and I am starting to just absolutely love the people in this branch. They are so much fun, and there is so much love for the gospel oozing out of the members here. Even though the Sunday attendance is sparse, their spirituality is just busting out of their eyes, and they participate in what they are asked to do. I love Sundays here." 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

An Update From Bluefield

I got a letter from Elizabeth today with a little information about her new area. "Adjusting to this area has been kind of hard. . .but I know I'm supposed to be here." She spent 2 days organizing the maps, area books, materials with her new companion and now they have a lot of good things happening. They have 2 people on date for baptism on March 8th and they had 3 investigators at church on Sunday. They've made contact with a few "long-lost" less active members and the work is moving forward. They share the ward with the zone leaders and another set of elders.

This is a direct quote from her letter about her new living quarters. "Our apartment is a duplex. Living room, kitchen are downstairs; bedroom, bathroom, and spare 'dressing room' are upstairs. We also have a creepy cold basement where the washer & dryer are. This duplex is kind of older, so in the basement we have a coal & furnace room. Basically it looks like part of the Holocaust Museum or something. I've only been down there once & it was in broad daylight. Creepy basement."

Monday, February 24, 2014

Maybe Next Week

Well, she is in Bluefield, WV but I don't know anything else. She had time to email me and ask for a list of things to be sent but didn't have time to give me any details about her new area. If she writes a letter, I'll update the blog.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Alive and Well in Bluefield, WV

"So, just thought ya'll should know that I am still alive, hahah...what a crazy 2 weeks it's been. So transfer news. After 12 INCREDIBLE weeks with the Bedford 4, I was the only one transferred from Bedford. I am in Bluefield VA/WV. I "boarder hop" daily (: you will NEVER guess who I am serving with...I am serving with Sister E again. What a treat!" (She served with her in Charleston and finished up Sister E's training.)

"So some news about this weather/transfer fiasco. So transfers were originally supposed to be last Thursday. Tuesday night we were supposed to get transfer calls, but because of the snow forewarning, they postponed it. Wednesday wasn't terrible, but then that afternoon about 3ish it started to just come down, and it snowed for hours. Before transfer calls happened Wednesday night, the four of us had a really nice lasagna dinner and had our "this transfer rocked" discussion. After dinner we got phone calls and we all sat around the table as they told me that I was going to be with Sister E. I was excited to be with her, and to be in a new place...but leaving Bedford was one of the hardest things I have had to do on my mission. Serving in a branch changed me. So Wednesday night to commemorate our time as the Bedford four, we all pulled our mattresses into the other sisters' apartment and had a "sleepover". We had ice cream and told transfer miracle stories, and funny stories that happened, and it was so wonderful. The next morning we woke up and we were literally snowed in. We had to push our storm door to open it. It was snowed shut. We got a call that transfers were moved from Friday to Saturday morning, so Heavenly Father blessed me with two extra days in Bedford."

"I love Bluefield! I went on an exchange here when I was in Christiansburg, so I knew a little of what to expect. They canceled church because of the weather, so I have met 2 ward members so far. The snow is starting to melt, and its supposed to be in the 50s all week."

Thursday, February 13, 2014

No News is Good News, I Hope

This is transfer week and normally they have P-day on Wednesday when it is transfer week but we still haven't heard from her. I'm guessing that the big winter storm has them stuck in their apartment. Yesterday the internet said it was 20 degrees and they were expecting 10-14 inches of snow in Roanoke. She is about 30 miles from Roanoke. I'll update the blog when I hear from her.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Miracles and swimming with whales

"Boy has it been a week! So much to share!! Best, birthday, EVAH. I got the chance to swim with whales for my 20th birthday"

"One of our sister training leaders was on exchanges with Sister M. The morning of my birthday during work out time, Sister M distracted me, and we went into her apartment and played volleyball against the wall. We were totally into it, it was so hilarious. Meanwhile, Sister H (who said she wasn't feeling well) had shut herself in the bathroom. After I went into the other apartment with Sister M, Sister S (our leader staying with us)
slipped into the bathroom with Sister H...and they painted a giant ocean scene with washable finger paint on the tile walls of the shower. It's totally my dream to swim with whales one day, so that's what they got me for my birthday (: It was so neat! But alas, the whale named WALLter had to migrate, so we have a white tile shower again. It's so boring. It was so neat. Sister H has been hired to do that to my shower when I have a house of my own haha- she is so talented! So that's the picture of the whale on the wall. It was enormous!!" 

"We picked H's boyfriend up as a new investigator. The branch is having a temple trip this weekend and they want to go up with them to see the visitors center and the temple.We are totally teaching a family. It makes me cry- I've only taught couples and individuals, so this family is a huge miracle for me. This family is SO ELECT. I am so grateful for it. They all came to church yesterday, so we had 2 investigators at sacrament meeting- the most I have had since Christiansburg. We also picked up someone the day after my birthday, so not only did I see miracles on my birthday, but this whole week has just been the biggest miracle ever!! (Which probably means, that since everything has picked up in this area, I will most likely be transferred...that's how it always seems to work with me...)"

"Piano lessons are going well. I have one of the sisters I am teaching in the branch playing one of the Primary songs this week. They are working perfectly."

"I love you all!! Remember that miracles happen everyday- we have to be worthy to understand and notice them...always be worthy to experience miracles in your life! (:"

Monday, January 27, 2014

11 Months, a Kitten, It Pays to Listen, and the Avengers

"Today is my 11th month mark. ew. I turn 20 this week. ERMERGERSH. I'm so old!! ):

"So this week was a lot of fun! Lots of different adventures, for sure. Thursday this week was our LA (less active) friend N's birthday. She turned 73. She's so darling. She's also very lonely, and a couple of weeks ago, we found a lady that has like, 30 cats she's trying to get rid of. We asked her if she would like a kitten, and we got one for her for free from this lady and we took it to her for her birthday. It is the cutest thing! It's this little black and white kitten, and since we don't know if its a girl or a boy (we think it's a girl) we named it Nemo, like Captain Nemo and like Nemo the fish (: She is madly in LOVE with this cute little thing, it just loves on you. It is a way cute kitty and she loves it so much. She's a lot less lonely now, and she's definitely happier."

"Sunday, oh geez, so funny. So we had branch conference, and a counselor in the Stake Presidency came and spoke to us. He talked in sacrament meeting, and in the middle of his talk, he randomly calls me up to talk about some of the things that Elder Nielson talked about. He was talking about the trip to Charleston, and that he got to go. It was SO FUNNY. I was making faces at the baby in the row in front of me, and all of a sudden I hear him say "I would now like to call Sister Peck up to the stand to talk a little about the conference they just had in Charleston". I was mortified. I felt everyone's eyes turn to me, so I slowly walked up to the stand and gave like, a 3 minute schpeel about what happened in Charleston. It was hilarious. I couldn't think of what to say. I learned that I should pay more attention to what the stake leader is talking about in sacrament meeting. I didn't see that one coming at all!"

"Our investigators are doing well. H is very pregnant, and we probably won't get to meet with her until after she has her baby, but we at least made contact with her, so she'll remember us when she is back to normal. But we found a new investigator this week, and she is totally awesome! Her name is L, and she lives under N (I'm tellin' ya, we are going to CONVERT all of building L!!) She was a referral from N. L goes up and visits with her a lot. Yesterday before we went to our dinner appointment we knocked on her door, and she very excitedly took the Book of Mormon and was like, "you should come back and teach me about this! maybe all of us can meet in N's apartment". GOOOLLDEEEN!! She basically set herself up for a member present lesson, which is one of THE best key indicators you can hit during a week."

"Piano lessons are going great! There's a cute little Spanish family that comes, and the other sisters just picked them up as investigators!! So this piano class is totally working. I'm so happy!! Sister H is an amazing artist, and she usually draws during the class. She sketched the Bedford four as Avengers this week! It was so cool- I am Ironman, Sister M is Thor, Sister B is Captain America, and Sister H is the Hulk. We play this game- whenever we are talking about groups of four out of the scriptures, movies, books, whatever, we all tag each other as those characters. So the Avengers came up and we all chose who would be who, based on personality or looks or whatever. It is SO much fun! haha (:"

"I love you all, and I am so grateful that I am out here doing what I am doing."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What a Good Week!

"What a good week! The weather is so weird here. I don't even understand. Yesterday was almost 60 degrees. Then today it was colder and snowed for about 30 minutes. Didn't stick, just light flaky pretty stuff. I did get my voice back finally, which is such a tender mercy. I am grateful for a companion that can sing. We sing all the time (:"

"Miracle for this week- we got 2 new investigators, by way of miracle! One is the son of a returning less active member, and the other is his next door neighbor. There's a cool thing we use called the "Zion around Zion" principle. Generally people who live by or around members of the church can feel that there is something different, so they change, or just the realm of the spirit is sweeter. I'm not sure how to explain it. The Spirit spreads ha ha (: so knocking on doors around member's houses are some of the best finding tactics. One lives across the apartment breezeway from his mom, and the other lives next door to her. The Spirit is on the 3rd floor of building L (: Our other investigator is doing well- we are slowly but surely making progress with her. Baptism is hopefully in the near future. No solid date commitments yet."

"We've designated Monday evenings for an hour with the sweetest lady in our ward. Sister H helps her with her cross stitching projects (they both love to sew), and she is helping me with family history. So I am starting our family history work (: SO excited!!! She's teaching me so much, and I am learning a ton about family history."

"Music classes are growing slowly, but growing nevertheless. We have a whole non-member family attending these classes which is really fun. They are in the other sisters' area, but we are hoping that the Spirit in our building will get them asking questions. We have several ward members taking, and then these cute kids. Lots of fun- totally helping, I love it."

Monday, January 13, 2014

Wacky weather, Elder Gifford Nielsen and a chemical spill

"What a week. so much to say, not sure where to begin."

"So the weather this week was insane, super bipolar. Pretty sure if the weather here were a person, we'd be in trouble. The thermometer on my dashboard said it was 10 degrees when we came home Tuesday night. Wednesday morning it was 11. It stayed under 20 degrees all day. We had to let faucets drip, prepare for the electricity going out, it was totally crazy. We actually tracted for part of the day. I was so cold, the wind here bites you so bad. The rest of the week warmed up a little, but not much, maybe the 30's. It was almost 50 degrees one day this week, and today it's about 40ish."

"So, Elder S Gifford Nielsen came to our mission this week. We had to drive from Bedford to Charleston, which is about 4 1/2 hours. It was like pulling teeth to get a member to take us, cause the drive is so far. Finally this sister in our ward who was preparing to go on a mission took us. She had the feeling she needed to be at that meeting. So in the dark, at 2:30 AM, this almost brand new driver drove all four of us Bedford sisters to Charleston, and then on the way back, the car broke down 20 minutes from home. We got help from a passerby and his passenger, and eventually this sweet sister's father came in his pickup and drove us home. It was dark, rainy, and muddy. Oh the adventures. We got back at 9:30, so we hit 2nd curfew ok haha..."

"The meeting itself was INCREDIBLE. I learned so much during this meeting. The chapel was PACKED. I saw tons of the elders and sisters I hadn't seen forever. I got lots of good news about past areas. I even got to see a couple of members from the Bridgeport ward, which was a lot of fun. I saw Aunt Lilith and Uncle Gerald of course (: "

(There was a chemical spill that affected the water supply in West Virginia on Thursday of last week. It affected about 300,000 people in 8 counties, including Charleston.) "The water hasn't affected us, so I am the most grateful sister right now that I don't have to wash my hair with a water bottle. It is the most tender mercy that I am in Virginia, but we are praying for those who are not, haha...that really stinks. They just had us bring bottled water for the meeting."

"The work is going ok- still looking for people to teach. Our investigator is back in town, and we had two very powerful lessons with her this week. We're still trying to resolve baptismal concerns with her, but she is getting closer and closer to being baptized. We have been focusing a lot of our efforts on saves and retention of converts. Overall, the work is kind of slow, but its good hard work, and that's what we need right now."

"Sister H is amazing. She is from a tiny town in Arizona, on the border of Mexico. She is the most incredible artist I have ever met (Seems I keep getting put with artists). She sketches a lot, and the other day she sketched the Bedford 4. It was so much fun! She is so knowledgable about the Gospel- she has this beautiful strong testimony that always brings the Spirit into a room. She talked in Sacrament meeting on Sunday about agency and accountability. It was such a good talk! She is a lot of fun. She just hit nine months on Friday."

Monday, January 6, 2014

What? Staying in Bedford?! YAY!!!

"The transfer news- I DID NOT get transferred. I am staying in Bedford, which is what I was hoping would happen, so YAY! (: My new companion is Sister H. She is so much fun. We have such a fun time together. Sister M and I were hoping to serve together, but we both stayed and are helping our new companions learn about the area to help it grow. The day of transfers, Sister M and I got to serve together. We both got here and had basically the same ideas and dreams for Bedford, but couldn't really put them into action because our companions weren't as all for it, or couldn't handle the awesomeness of our vision haha...we sat in the bathroom and wrote on their giant mirror with Expo marker all the ideas we had. We came up with a vision for the area, based off of the branch mission plan which hasn't really changed over the past four years. The vision is that the Branch will be a Ward by the end of 2014. Our goal is to have 100 people actively at sacrament by the end of the transfer (which right now we're at about 85ish.) We both love our new companions and the four of us are looking forward to working together a ton this transfer."

"We still have the same investigators, but because of our vision and goals and plans for this area, our focus has changed a little bit. We have placed our focus on part member families and the less actives of our branch. The transfer so far has just been finding those families. We have one sweet girl, who is a member, the niece of a less active family. She wants to serve a mission in 4 years, so we have permission to take her out with us. We're trying to get this family to come back. They've been in and out of the church for years. We visited them this week, and we fell in love with this family."

"I hope y'all are having a great week! I miss you and love you. Keep praying for the missionary efforts."