Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Elder Checketts' Arrival in Antofagasta!!!

We got a letter tonight from President Dalton & his Wife, letting us know of Elder Checketts' safe arrival in Antofagasta!  Hooray!!!  It looks beautiful!  We can't wait to hear all about PJ's experiences & service there!!!  :) His preparation days will be on Mondays, so I will continue to post each week when he sends updates.  :)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Last day at the Mexico City MTC...then off to Chile!!!

PJ's last day at the Mexico City MTC.  He flies out  tonight at 7 pm, arrives in Santiago, Chile early tomorrow morning, then catches another flight to Antofagasta, Chile, arriving there around 12:30 pm (on Tues. March 29).  We can't wait to hear all about it!  He is so excited & happy!  We sure love this boy of ours!!!  :)

(And as a side note... he said he was going to try to get a calling card & call us from the airport in Mexico, sometime between 3-6 pm on Monday.  We hadn't heard anything from him by 6, so figured he wasn't able to call, but finally got a call at 6:30!  Unfortunately only Tessa & I were there, so Neil & Jonah & Clay didn't get to talk to him.  It was only a few minutes, because he had to catch his flight, but it was so good to hear his voice & talk for a minute!  He was going to try to get another phone card & call from the Santiago airport early this morning, before flying to Antofagasta, but we didn't hear from him.  I'm assuming that it either took longer to get through customs than expected, or he wasn't able to get another phone card.  Bummer that he didn't get to talk to Neil & the boys, but at least we will get to Skype with him on Mother's Day (hopefully!!!)  :) 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Week 5... next week will be from Chile!

Hey everyone!!!

I´m getting so excited to leave for Chile, and I hope everyone else is doing well!!  Spanish is continuing to come along, and as of Friday, we learned everything we need to know to be fluent.  At this point it´s just practicing tenses and grammar, but we are doing review the rest of this week on tough parts, which is really good!!!  I´ve been ready to leave the MTC, but now I´m reallizing that I´m going to miss it a little, especially because I wont see my district or zone again, since i´m the only one in both going to Antofagasta.  I´m super excited though!! I´ve been able to make lots of friends here, and learn how strengthen my relationship with the Spirit, and work well in a companionship.  Next time I send my weekly email, I will be in Chile, and I can´t wait to teach people (real investigators!!!)....That reminds me, once a week we teach lessons to volunteers from Mexico City to improve our teaching and Spanish skills.  Most volunteers are members, and if you happen to get a non-member volunteer, you are supposed to have an instructor sit in with you as you teach.  Anyway, a few weeks ago, Elder Olsen and I got a girl for our volunteer who was about our age, and so we sat down, and started asking her what she liked to do, and how long she had been a member.  She looked at us with a blank stare, asking, ´´¿Un miembro?´´ We then clarified we were talking about the LDS church, and she looked shocked, and said, ´´¡No! No Soy mormón!´´ We quickly scrapped our lesson plan and just taught about faith and prayer.  It was really cool to teach a real non-member though, even if on accident... .)
I hope everyone is doing well, and enjoying themselves!!! Talk to everyone next week!

-Love, Elder Checketts

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Week 4...

Hey Everyone!!!

As of today, I have been on my mission for a month, which is super weird!!! The month right before I left was the slowest month of my life.... now this has been the fastest (although Mom might not agree).  The week right before my group got here to the Mexico MTC, Elder Oaks came to speak.  It was a bummer we missed him by such a short amount of time, but now, this Friday, Elder Cook is coming to give a devotional.  My companion and I are doing really well also!  The district continues to get along really well, and it´s sad to think I probably won´t see them again after the MTC, since none of them are going to my mission, but i´m so excited to get into the field!!!!  Sounds like everyone is doing really well, and I hope everyone has a great week!!!

- Elder Checketts

Also, I got the snacks!!! Thanks so much!!!  And sorry I didn´t send any pictures this time... There are only so many things you can take pictures of in the MTC.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Week 3... halfway through the MTC!

We are going to the temple today, so I´m crunched for time.  I promise I will do individual emails next week, but I don´t have time today.  First off, I loved the pictures you guys sent me.  Tessa looks beautiful in her dress, and I know she will have a great time at prom.....Also, your dog is fat.  Anyway, I´m doing well still, and I can´t believe I´m half-way through the MTC!!!!  This week, our zone leaders left, and we are now the oldest generation in our zone.  Elder Olsen and I got called as the zone leaders on Sunday, and at first it was stressful, but we really get to know each person in the zone really well, and try to help them any way we can.  It is really a blessing to be given a calling that allows you to empathize with other people.  Oh, thanks btw for finding the online MTC package thing.... I kept forgetting to tell you about it.  Also, if you send all emails both to my email, and to: (letter@mtcmexicocarepackage.com), it is printed off and put in my mtc mailbox, so I can read the emails thru the week, and have more time on my p-day to email, and not read as many.  I´m doing well, I´m getting a hang of Spanish, the Spirit is very powerful during lessons, and I love my district and zone!!! Love you all, and talk to you again soon!!!

- Elder Checketts.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Week 2, in the MTC

It´s still going great Here in the CCM!! To answer your questions, Elder Olsen is from Washington, tri-cities area.  Before high school he lived in Virginia.  When we went to the temple, the session was in Spanish, which was kind of difficult, but it was still great!!!... And yes, I´m VERY glad I´m not driving in Mexico!!!!! Food in the CCM is pretty good.  The meat is really good, and so is the fruit, but the desserts are NEVER what they seem.  The other day they had what looked like vanilla pudding with an oreo in it.  Turns out the pudding was not vanilla flavored, but lime!!! It was really weird.  Also, like I said, I got to invite in all of the new missionaries, and Elder Isaac is actually in my zone too.  Ive found other people I have weird connections with too...like one of the guys from my student ward in Logan is here, and he was also in my institute class. He´s going to New York, Spanish speaking which is cool.  Most of the missionaries here are going stateside actually.  Everyone is either going stateside, to Mexico, or to Chile.  All the latinos are going to different places in Mexico, which is kind of funny.  Also, there is an Hermana who also arrived last week, and I came to find out that she was from Bentonville!!! I asked her about that, and we knew a whole bunch of the same people.  So that was pretty funny.  My branch president also has family who has been living in Bentonville for like 12 years.  He said he visits them regularly, so it´s weird to think that there were probably several times that we were both in Bentonville, years ago.  Thanks so much for keeping me updated on the family!!! sounds like everyone is doing great!!! Have a great week!

I´m also surprised at how well Spanish is coming along.  I haven´t learned anything yet that I didn´t already know, but I´m able to have basic conversations, where I was unable to form a sentence fast enough before.  All I can say, is that the Spirit definitely helps the missionaries.  Also, I gave my first blessing of comfort last week, which was a really cool experience.  I have learned so much this week that I didn´t know before, just from prayer to have personal strength, and realizing powerful things about myself, as well as realizing new things each day about the gospel.  Tomorrow Elder Olsen and I are teaching a real person which is awesome!!! It´s a member of the church who volunteers to take lessons from missionaries at the CCM.  Our lessons so far  have been our teachers pretending to be investigators, but it has still provided awesome experiences.  One of our last lessons was in the scenario of teaching a man who was only taking the lessons because his wife had cancer, and she wanted him to talk to the missionaries, because it would make her happy.  he did not believe in God or religion, but he said he would pray with his wife, and we felt the Spirit so strong, when I asked him about his love for his family, and he said he loved them with all his heart. I told him that God exists, and loves us more than he could ever imagine loving his wife or kids.  I know that God gives us the appropriate things to say, and that we can increase our own testimonies as we say what we are inspired to, in order to bring souls unto Christ.  The Spirit is so great here, and I love it every second.  some days are long, tedious, and discouraging, but prayer and scripture study really helps me to find solace, and I know God loves us and wants to bless us.. If we feel alone, and just want someone to talk to and love us, Heavenly Father is there with open arms.  All we have to do is ask for what we need.  i know so strongly that Christ died for all of us, and that everything in this Church is to bless our lives, because God loves us more than we could ever love anyone.  Love you guys, and talk to you soon! Have a great week!!!

- PJ