Monday, March 31, 2014

Halo Everyone!

Waterfall at Salto Rayen

This week has been interesting.  It is starting to rain here and its getting super cold. Nevertheless, we are still eating a ton.  This week my comp and I made a huge almuerzo of rice chicken eggs bread hot dogs and juice.  The next day we bought a ton of food to feed a family we visit but they canceled, so we were left with all these bags of food.  So we went to the church, invited the Sister missionaries in our sector, and made a bunch of really good quesadillas with rice.
Over the past few weeks weve been hearing cats in our roof and they were getting super annoying.  So Elder Padilla and I went up and pulled out three little kittens.  We kept them in a cage in our house for a while and gave them some milk and stuff.  We later found the mom and returned them to her in the backyard.  We named them Kuky, Tody, and Frac, after our three favorite brands of cookies here. 
Hike to Salto Rayen
Anyway, this week Ive been learning more about faith.  Honestly, missions arent easy.  Its difficult going around everyday trying to communicate when there is a huge culture and language barrier between you and the people.  A lot of people dont take you seriously and few accept the message.  Even then its difficult to help them continue.  Its easy to get discouraged.  However, Ive realized that when I get in this situation, I need to practice what I teach every day.  I need to apply faith.  From where I am now, I cant see myself as a Spanish speaker somewhere in the future.  I cant see myself as being the kind of missionary I want to be.  But if I put my trust in God, have faith that I have been called of God, and work as hard as I can going forward, He will make up the rest.  Like it says in the Book of Mormon, faith is like a seed.  It takes a while to turn into a tree, but it will eventually if we work to nourish it.  So, having that principle in mind, I have started to walk out the door each day knowing that it wont be easy, but trusting that it will be alright.  That eventually, Heavenly Father will make me a tool in His hands if I put in the work.
Thank you so much everybody for the emails and support.  It means a lot to me and its so good to hear from you.  Have a great week!
Elder Peck
Chilean Birthday

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Como Estai

Hey Everybody!

First of all, thanks for all the emails! I love getting emails and I feel your support. It is so edifying every week to hear from you. I sure appreciate them and am truly grateful for your support.
I also love hearing about whats going on at home.  Its a great blessing for me to hear about the great things y'all are doing! ¡Que bakan!

So this week, no crazy stories, just another week of improvement. There's a man we are teaching named Mario.  He has such an honest and sincere desire to learn and grow.  He is already really close to God and just wants to get closer.  When we teach him, I realize the amount of faith and the kind of relationship I could have with my Heavenly Father.  He is so willing to act and there is not an ounce of pride in Him.  He is going to be baptized soon and is already taking steps to face towards Jesus Christ and His gospel.  I cannot wait to see him progress in the gospel of Jesus Christ and see the blessings it brings to his small family.  Even on the roughest days, simply talking with people like Mario make the whole day great.

Mario shows me what humility brings into ones life.  While pride is destructive, taking us away from God and away from truth, humility helps us to become more like Christ, strengthens us, and lifts us to a higher perspective.  An interesting side note: In my reading in the Book of Mormon, I was reading in the book of Nephi, chapter 8.  It talks about the dream of the prophet Lehi.  In his dream he saw a "great and spacious building" that we later learn represents the pride of the world.  In English, verse 27 says that the building "stood" in the air.  However, when I was reading the verse in Spanish, I didn't recognize the word used in that verse, "erguirse." In the dictionary, I read that this word both means "stood" as well as "to swell up with pride." I love the way God works through His scriptures to communicate truth.  My reading of this section of scripture revealed many truths and parallels that I can apply in my life.  1 Nephi 8. Read it and know that humility and submission to our Heavenly Father is liberating and empowering.  It brings us true and lasting joy.  This is what I learned from the Book of Mormon and from Mario this week. 

Have a great week everyone and thanks for your support and prayers!
Elder Peck

Monday, March 17, 2014

Chile - Week Three

Between Angol and Temuco
He found his Dad's illustrations with the stories in Spanish

Chilean cemetery

Huequen from the hill

This week has been awesome! So many great things have happened but theres no way I can write all of them. Ill try to cover the highlights.
So we ate a ton this week.  In Chile, they eat a small breakfast, huge lunch, and "once" or a small dinner.  When we eat lunch with members its usually three courses, which I always forget.  So Ill like eat this huge salad and be full and ready to leave and then they bring out this ridiculous amount of pasta or something.  Then they whip out some super delicious dessert.  Almost every meal includes a salad (usually just made of sliced tomatoes with some kind of seasoning), some kind of noodle pasta thing, bread, and Coke or juice.  Its usually really good and there is always just a ton of food to eat, which is awesome.
We are at the house a little more this week because we are hand washing our clothes now. The sister who did our laundry broke her hand and cant do it anymore.
In other news, the other day and guy we are teaching asked us to come over to catch a bunch of chickens, which was interesting.  Then he gave us a whole bag of fresh grapes with which we made some pretty darn good grape juice.  They grow grapes everywhere here.
But the highlight of this week happened last Monday.  We were on our way home from Concepcion and we had to connect through another city to get home.  However, when we got to the other city, which is probably 30 or 40 miles from our house, it was really late and had missed the last bus home.  We had no phone and it was 10pm.  So we started walking to our sector, trying to hitch hike our way home.  Cars kept passing for probably 20 min. Knowing that it wasnt really possible to walk home that late at night without knowing exactly where to go, we decided to kneel and pray there on the side of the road. In the prayer, my companion asked that the next car to pass would meet our needs and bring us safely back to our sector. We said amen, got up, and started walking again.  After a few minutes we saw headlights behind us.  We turned and waved to get their attention.  The car passed, but turning around, we saw that he was pulling over to the side! We ran up to the car, asked if they were going to our sector, they were, so he hopped in and drove safely back home.  It was a definite and clear answer to prayer.  It strengthened my faith, as it was definitely a test of faith.  God hears us.  God gives specific answers to specific prayers.  I know God lives, with all my heart.  While my faith does not depend on experiences like this, they sure strengthen my faith and knowledge.
Keep up the good work and thanks for everything!
Elder Peck

Friday, March 14, 2014

Chile - Week Two

Elders, Hermanas, and new member in his area - this pic is from last week
This week has been great.  Still getting used to Chile and the culture here.  I still can't really understand anyone haha but hopefully Ill pick it up quickly.
No crazy baptism this week, but it was just a lot of work and a lot of travel.  I am in Concepcion right now, which is about a 5 hour bus ride from my sector.  Last Monday we traveled to our stake center which is about 30 min away for zone activity where we did Minute to Win It and soccer.  We went back Tuesday morning for zone conference and then again that night to stay the night with some other Elders to catch a bus early in the morning to a conference for the southern half of the mission.  It was great.  I saw several Elders from my district in the CCM which was great, as well as heard some great talks.  Our mission president spoke, and it was amazing.  While he was telling us his conversion story, he showed us some pictures of the missionaries that taught him the lessons.  Then he said, "Now Id like you to meet the missionaries that brought me the gospel," and two older guys walked up on the stand.  He brought the same missionaries that baptized him to the mission conference!! They both spoke and it was so cool.  We then had lunch.  They fed us super good tacos, which are super unChilean, but they were good anyway.  It was a great conference.  
Other than that, we just did regular missionary stuff all week.  Preaching the gospel! He had a family home evening activity at the Church on Friday which was fun. Sunday I gave a 15min talk, which was scary but went well I think. Today I'm in Concepcion where I just ate some Dominos pizza, the first somewhat American food I've had in forever! There's like one Dominos in the mission. It was so good haha!
Anyway, this week Ive just strengthened my testimony of the power of prayer.  We invite everyone to pray.  Why? Because it works! When the people we are teaching stop praying, they immediately begin to doubt.  Temptations are stronger, they are unhappy, and they start making wrong decisions.  But if they choose on their own to go and pray to their Heavenly Father, He hears them, answers them, and helps them out.  He comforts, uplifts, and protects them.  Life is better when you pray.  In my life, prayer has always helped me in ways I don't always expect.  Its so nice.  Praying plays a big role on a mission and in everyday life.  If you're struggling with something, pray.  Pray sincerely, taking the time to really communicate your feelings and thoughts with God.  He listens.  I know that this is true.  
Have a great week everyone and thanks for your support!
Elder Peck

Monday, March 3, 2014

First Week in Chile!


There is so much to say I dont know where to start! This week has been amazing and crazy.  Im wiped out but pumped for the work.

We gave away a Book of Mormon at the Mexico City airport, which was a really good experience.  We spoke al in Spanish, and we had a really good conversation with the guy.  Probably the best way we could have started off our journey.  We had an 8 hour flight to Santiago, and an 1 hour flight to Concepcion. 
So I arrived in Concepcion and the Assistants to the Mission President welcomed us at the airport. We drove to the mission home where we met the mission president, Presidente Martinez.  He is really awesome and he served us all a delicious dinner.  
We spent the night at a hotel in Concepcion, then went to the mission office for some orientation and to meet our new compañeros.  My companion is so awesome.  His name is Elder P and he is from El Paso, Texas.  He is Hispanic and speaks fluent Spanish and English, so I got super lucky.  Hes a great guy and I look forward to working with him. 
Later we left for the bus station. We took a bus south for 5 hours to a city in the south, where we caught another bus that took another hour to get to our sector.  I am assigned to work in a really small town in the South of the mission.  My comp and I live in a house that is about the size of my living room at home.  Its super good tho.  
On day one, we arrived at the house, I unpacked, and we started working.  We talked to one lady and gave her a blessing.  Then we went to the church and taught two more lessons.  Later that night, my comp bought me a completo, super common in Chile.  Like a huge hotdog with avocado, hot sauce, mayo, kethcup, and other stuff on it.  Actually super good.  

The rest of the week has been crazy.  We've done so much stuff.  Everyone here talks so fast.  I can only understand like maybe 25%.  The houses are all really small, there are dogs EVERYWHERE, and we walk everywhere.  The town is super small, so we can cover most of the town in a day.  
The best experience of the week tho, was this Saturday.  I got to baptize someone! I baptized a 19 year old investigator named Manuel.  He is in the Chilean army, and is one of the funniest guys Ive ever met.  His baptism day was crazy tho.  We got to the Church early, around 3 on Saturday to get things ready for the baptism.  We filled up the font, and my companion and I were there, along with the Sister missionaries in our sector.  Then some guy came by and told us to drain the font because Manuel wasn't coming.  We were surprised and tried to get a hold of Manuel.  We looked all over town for him.  We found his dad on a horse drawn cart riding through town, and he didnt even know.  The horse cart was cool tho.  We looked for hours and ccouldnt find him.  But still waited.  The baptism was supposed to be at 6, but at 9, we finally found him.  We got him across town to the church, changed into our clothes for the baptism, and took some pictures.  Then we realized that we had no refreshments.  So Elder Padilla and I ran to the store across the street (there are stores everywhere here, all in peoples houses).  I was just in my socks and in all white, as if I don't stand out enough anyway haha! We got the stuff, and went back and had the baptism at 10pm.  Because it took so long to find Manuel, some of the water had drained, so it was about at knee level.  It took two tries to get him all the way under, but he did and got baptized! I love seeing the purity and light in peoples eyes after baptism.  It is so true.  I love baptism.  
So far, I have already played a lot of soccer and eaten weird stuff.  I don't understand a lot, and people dont understand me very well, but I know that I will be able to communicate soon.  
Anyway, that was the big news for this week.  All kinds of other craziness has happened, but I dont have time to explain.  Thanks for the emails and support!

Elder Peck
Elder Peck and Elder P

LDS Stake Center in Angol

Neighborhood near Stake Center

Los Sauces

Elder Peck and Presidente and Hermana Martinez