Monday, July 24, 2017

Hi everyone! This week was full of regaining people. The people we tried to find or contact were really cold this week, but we`ve animated a family of awesome investigators that were losing interest, and a family of recent converts that were leaving behind the things of the church that they were recently learning. I guess this week wasn`t the best in terms of finding new people... but we were regaining people that were beginning to stray from the path that we had showed them. It`s great to see the change that people go through, and see them now coming back in full swing! It`s great to see people progressing so much! And the ward is doing great!

We also have some awesome investigators right now, and hopefully, we`ll have several baptisms on august 5th.  Just working hard to teach the people!  I`ll let you know how the investigators are progressing next week!  Today, for p-day, we also went to a waterfall, here in Calama.  

Have another great week!
Love, Elder Checketts

Monday, July 17, 2017

Oh, sorry, Mom.... I forgot to tell you that I got the package! Thanks! It was yummy :)

As for my companion, he´s doing great and learning quickly! We get along really well, which is good, and we´re finding awesome investigators!!!! A young woman´s dad (Johnny) came to church, who isn´t a member, and never had interst in the church or reading the Book of Mormon. Now he´s doing both! Hopefully we can prepare him soon for baptism!!! I don´t know if I told you about María José as well... who is the girlfriend of a less active member. She has tons of interest and desire to learn more, but unfortunately had to leave the city for an emergency on friday, and got back sunday night. We have several awesome investigators.... but we just have to animate them more, to come to church!!! Hopefully we can help María Jose, Johnny, and the rest of them come to church and get baptized!!! They really are super awesome!!!

I´m glad the rest of the family is doing well too! It sounds like everyone has lots of plans for the summer, and are having lots of fun!  Hope you all have another great week! Love you all!

Love, PJ

Monday, July 10, 2017

Hi everyone!

This week was great!  I feel like I´ve improved a lot in the last little while, in lots of aspects... being obedient with exactness, contacting everyone, teaching with charity, and a lot of other things.... however, this week started with lots of stress.  My new companion is Elder Orellana, from Santiago, but he lived for 9 years in the southern coast of Spain, close to the Strait of Gibraltar, which is cool. When I started the week with him, I felt an incredible level of stress for being a PERFECT example, and felt extremely disanimated for my lack of perfection at the beginning of the week.... however, I decided that if I wanted to be happy, I just had to work, and not focus on my faults as a missionary! Instead of looking at every person that passed, as a challenge, I began asking myself, ''Do I desire his or her salvation?'' It became a lot easier to work when I did it out of love, and 
I could truly see the potential of that person, and could already imagine them in white.  We have found several people in this manner, that now have great desires to hear our message and be baptized. I am realizing more every day, that part of the missionary purpose is to be happy. We are doing well, and I´m seeing a lot of progress in the investigators and in myself.  

As part of the training, my companion and I are watching ''The District'' videos, and I was deeply touched when we were watching one, and the sister missionaries started talking about feeling inadequate while teaching, and that that feeling was washed away when they turned the focus from ''What am I doing wrong?'' to ''what can I do for the investigator?'' I´ve felt lots of joy this week because of this realization, and I don´t feel disanimated when I focus on the people, and how much I´d like to see them get baptized and become an eternal family. We´ve found several amazing new investigators because of that, and one of the young women´s non-member dad came to church on Sunday, (Richard) after hundreds of invitations!!! He´s so humble, and we´ll be working hard with him, to prepare him to be baptized! We found a young man named Frank, who was with his friends, and he along with all his friends demonstrated a huge desire to follow Christ and be baptized, to be happier and more righteous. We also visited a less-active member who invited us in when we were contacting with members, and we met his non-member girlfriend, María José, who has lots of questions about religion in general, and immediately requested that we pass by again to help her with her doubts. When I´ve focused on how I can help these people be happy, rather than my weaknesses, or what I did wrong in a given lesson, I find myself progressing much more.   This week I also found a scripture in Romans 5: 3-5 & 8, that I loved! 

Romans 5: 1-8
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Anyway, I´ve been great... and it´s sad to think that this time of such great growth in my life will be ending soon :( I just have to make the best of what I have! Anyway, I´m glad you guys are enjoying the summer, and are all doing well! Have a great week!

Love, Elder Checketts

p.s.  Here are the photos of my hijito (Elder Orellana), and of Jorge and Ana´s baptisms!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Hi everyone!

This week started out pretty hard (because of a difficult situation that we couldn't really help with) and I was kind of disanimated and stressed.....until I came to the realization that my potential is much greater than where I am now, and I began to think of the story of Peter, and the question, ``Peter, do you love me?`` I realized that I`ll always be happy if I put Him first, and always find myself answering, ``Yes, I love thee....more than anything else!`` This completely turned my week around, and I felt the Spirit much stronger, and I felt much happier.....because I decided to do so.

Also, we got the call for transfers this week, and Elder Urrutia is going to Antofagasta, and I`m training another new missionary, straight from the MTC! Should be exciting! On Wednesday, I`ll be going to Antofagasta for a few hours, to pick up and get to know my ``hijito.``

I loved all the photos you sent from last weekend too! I can`t believe all the kids are so big!!! Someone is going to pass my height before I get home!!! (Hopefully not Tessa)

Anyway, this week, we continued working hard, and had a mom and daughter come to Church, named Edith and Belen, that we`ve been trying to get to sacrament meeting FOREVER!!, and they came!!! And they were so interested in everything that was taught. Edith even said that she`s looked into a lot of different religions, but there is something in our church she had never felt before, and something special in the members of this church. We also had the opportunity to pass by Felix.... and he is so amazing!!! He told us that until recently, he had had several very complicated health problems that nearly cost him his life several times. He told us this week, that when he came with us the first time to church, as he was given the sacrament, he said a silent prayer to God to be healed, and told us that miraculously, his helath problems disappeared!!! It was incredible to hear, and reminded me of the woman that was healed, simply because she had the faith to be healed if she touched Christ`s robe. How powerful!!!

This next week, I`m super excited to start training the new missionary, and conitue helping the ward progress and find more people that want to come unto Christ! I`m doing great, and I`m so happy being on the Lord`s errand! I realize that the time is extremely short, and now that I have less than 7 months left, nothing needs to hold me back from enjoying the short time left, and continue to work my hardest!

Love, Elder Checketts :)

PS: Sorry that I couldn`t send the photos of the baptism again. The computer is being complicated. It`ll have to be next week :)

Monday, June 26, 2017

This week for us was good, with the baptisms of Jorge and Ana. They`re doing well. Unfortunately, Techi and her husband are losing interst. Hopefully we can help them better understand the restoration.... because we`ve explained it a lot of times, but she believes that we`ve come to teach her so that she can return to the church where her mother in law goes. Hopefully we can help her better understand. Sorry I don`t have more time today, but I`ll give more details next week!

Love, PJ

Monday, June 19, 2017

Hi everyone!

So, this week Jorge and Ana got married, which was great! And they are now excitedly preparing to be baptized this Saturday:

While it was great to see Jorge and Ana get married, our neighbor, Techi, has had a lot of doubts about getting baptized, and her husband Eric needs to prepare to live the Word of Wisdom before getting baptized. Techi was baptized in an evangelical church​, and feels that she would be mocking God if she gets baptized again. She´s confused about the Restoration and the Apostacy, but feels that our passing by to visit, and helping her back on God´s path is a sign that she needs to follow Him again. However, she´s leaning more toward returning to her old church, than joining the true and restored church. Today we have a Home Evening with her, and a family of members, so hopefully we can help her understand the story of Joseph Smith better, as we watch the movie ´´Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration´´. She truly has tons of faith, and just wants to do what God wants for her. I know that we will be able to help her find what she´s looking for, if she opens her heart as she reads the Book of Mormon. Anyway, that´s about it for this week, but I´ll let you know how Ana and Jorge´s baptisms go!

Love, Elder Checketts

(From PJ's mom... yesterday, I also got some more pictures & a message (thanks to Google Translate) from one of the members in Chile, from the wedding. This is what she said, "Sister Stacey Checketts, they were evangelical and married to follow Christ, they are working so much and with love in this wonderful work, they will be baptized this weekend, congratulations for your son that Heavenly Father guides him with His spirit, they are some Angels."

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hi everyone! This week was great! Felix's baptism was so awesome! He bore his testimony afterwards, and it was so full of faith. He said that although none of his family members decided to join him at his baptism, he knew that what he had done pleased God, and that the members of the church had become his new family. How powerful!

This whole week, we´ve been seeing miracles as well! We have a family of neighbors that we always greet, but we´ve never tried teaching anything to them. However, one morning, as we were walking, it crossed my mind that we should visit our neighbor.... so we started heading back in that direction. As we were heading there, we recieved a phone call from the sister that was providing lunch that day, that she needed us to come by an hour later than planned. When we arrived at our neighbor´s house, the young mother (Teófila, or ´´Techi´´) answered the door, and happily let us in. As we began talking, she started crying, and told us that she had recently been having lots of problems with her husband, and decided that day before we passed by, that she was going to separate herself from her husband, and had prayed fervently for someone to help her not feel so alone or burdened..... then we showed up! It was incredible to see how Heavenly Father works through us to bless His children! After sharing scriptures with her, and her sharing her difficulties and stories with us, we left, edified by the Spirit, and then realized, that if we had had lunch at the previously scheduled time, we wouldn´t have had time to share with Techi. Everything had been expertly planned for that visit! The next day, we passed by to get to know Eric, Techi´s husband, as well. She had previously told us that he wouldn´t likely want to talk to us, but he warmly welcomed us in, and told us that he had been acting badly, and had been emotionally hurting his wife a lot. He told us that he was willing to do anything to improve and repent, and later told Techi that he is willing to do anything the save their marriage. It really shows that the Spirit can truly soften the hardest of hearts. They accepted to be baptized on June 24th with their 8 year old son, Derrick, and even came to Stake conference... recieving the opportunity to meet the mission president. Techi then came to Felix´s baptism that evening, and was very animated to see the ordinance take place. They are now doing great and progressing rapidly. Jorge and Ana will also be having their wedding this week, and will be getting baptizd on Saturday. This week has truly been full of God´s richest blessings, and I have felt an incredible satisfaction this week, by seeing the changes in these people, and the answers and support they are recieving from God... especially as we are the tools in God´s hand for them to receive these blessings. I hope you all had an equally incredible week!

Love, Elder Checketts