Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Another GREAT week in Chile!

I hope everyone had a great week this week!!!

God has really blessed us lately!!!  Earlier this week, it felt like all of our appointments were falling through, and things weren´t going as well as we had hoped.  Near the end of the day, we came to a house that had been a reference for a long time, and the person always seemed to be busy.  As my companion began to knock he said, ´´If he's not home, I think we need to drop him.´´ I agreed, expecting that the man wouldn't be home, but to our surprise, he opened the door and let us in.  We taught him and his girlfriend the restoration, and the two of them were so engaged and interested in what we were telling them.  As I recited the First Vision, they intently followed along in the pamphlet, and asked a lot of questions to better understand, and were very receptive to our answers.  At the end, we gave them a baptismal invitation, and they said yes!!! I know God will prepare people for us, and we should never give up on any of His children.  And we had an old investigator come to church, which we were not expecting, and the members immediately welcomed him in! It was awesome!!!   

In other news, I realized I haven't said much about what it´s like here.  My area is in the city of Alto Hospico.  It's literally just up the mountain from Iquique (a larger city several hours North of Antofagasta), but to get up here from Iquique it takes about 20 minutes, because you have to go back and forth across the side of the mountain.  Alto Hospicio has a TON of stray dogs...but haven't really had any problems with them.  The city is really dry (people have to water their cactus), and it is definitely a desert.  Me and my companion live in an apartment with two other elders (in a gated community so you can sleep at night, Mom), and the apartment is a little....special to say the least. There are two showers, and one of them is in the kitchen, and the other one is missing a shower curtain, so some previous elders tied yarn to a big black garbage bag, and that works :) 

Also... Mom!!! You're going to be a great Relief Society President!!!! Just enough sweetness and anxiety wrapped up in one package!!! but seriously, I know you'll do great!!! Also, I got an email from Dalton Douglass. He told me he got his mission call to Manchester, England!!! So cool!!! So this week, we've been doing well! 

Anyway, hope everyone has a great week, and continues to do well and have fun!!! Sorry no pictures this week, but I'll send extra next time! Love you all!

Monday, April 18, 2016


Hope everyone had a great week this week!!! 

I made the mistake of letting my companion know my birthday was on Saturday, so a lot of members found out, and I ended up eating way too much cake!!!  We had a good week though! Yesterday was stake conference, and because the area I´m in is too small to be it's own stake, but too big to be part of another stake, it's an independent area under President Dalton (my mission president)... so he acts as the area's stake president, and so he and his wife both spoke at the conference..... and it was really good!!! They both started getting emotional when talking about the area, and you could really tell how much they love the people here.  It's so powerful to see how the Spirit not only blesses those we are called to serve, but it also blesses us, as we open our hearts to the needs of the people.  I know that the greatest blessing we can have in our lives, is the ability to help others find the truth we already know. I hope everyone has a great week, and continues to be doing well!

Here's some pictures you guys!! So that first one is a giant pizza Mamita made for us, the second one is me with the birthday cake the young women's president made for me.... and the third one is a pair of wooden legs we found poking out above someone's roof. Hope you enjoy them!!! :)

(And another separate note to our family):

So this was a great week again! But unfortunately, Maricel had to take her son to the hospital this Sunday, so she didn't make it to church, and investigators have to go to church three times before baptism, so the earliest she'll be able to get baptized is the 14th. Oh well! We'll keep working with her, and praying that things don't come up that keep her from coming to church.  Also, about Mother's Day... There's an older missionary couple in our district, and they don't live too far from us.  We will probably go over there to Skype, since they have internet... I'll let you know when we have established times though. 

I had a great birthday by the way, thanks for asking!!! We had cake and pizza, and then we got more cake at a the young women's president's house.... because she's a baker, and that was really nice of them.  Really feeling like I'm getting the hang of living the life of a person in a deprived South American country ;)

I'm sure all of you will be shocked to hear, that I decided to open my birthday package on Monday...... As I was trying to cut through an inch of tape, my companion kept saying 'you can't open it yet! it's not your birthday yet!' I then explained to him that birthdays are meant to be celebrated like Hannakuh (utilizing the gifts during the whole week). So yeah.... thanks for the package. :) Nutella for breakfast :) Love you!!

-Elder Checketts

Monday, April 11, 2016

Another great week, and first baptism!!! :)

Hola everyone!!!

This week has been another great week! I'm continuing to love the people here, focusing on them, and having fun with my companion!  This week I gave my first baptismal invitation to a woman named Maricel, and she said yes!!! Her baptism date is set for the 7th of May, which is super exciting!!!! I probably won't be baptizing her, since my companion has known her longer, but that's ok! She's such a loving person and so ready to get baptized!!! It was really cool to ask her if she would be baptized.  I could feel the Spirit so strongly through the invitation, and me and my companion had so much energy and excitment afterwards!!!! 

Also, yes mom, I got the package. Thanks so much!!! Also, some things I forgot to tell you.... you know how you all were so happy that I'd be suffering by getting up at 6.30 every morning????? Well, Chilean culture is to get up late, and go to bed late, so to increase our effectiveness, our mission president changed our hours from 6.30 - 10.30, to 7.30 - 11.30!!!! So yeah.... I get to get up at 7:30.... which is really nice!!! Also, to save us time, the mission set up what are called 'mamitas'.  They're women in the ward that cook us lunch each day, and do our laundry each week.  We have to pay them, but it's still pretty convenient.  Also, the sister that committed to baptism (Maricel), is so awesome!!! She's super nice, and loves to hear the gospel.  The very first lesson I had with her, I felt so much compassion for her, and wanted to help her know the truth so badly.  It was a kind of deep compassion I had only ever felt one other time: everytime we taught Greta.  I love being here in Chile, and finding a deep love for the people that I know can only come from God. 
Anyway, I hope everyone else is doing really well to, and having fun!!! Talk to you next week!!!

- Elder Checketts

Monday, April 4, 2016

First Few Days in Antofagasta!

Hey Everyone!!!  It´s been a crazy week!!!  So, I left Mexico on Monday afternoon, and we drove to the Airport.  The flight from Mexico to Santiago was eight and a half hours!!! It was really long, but we got dinner and breakfast on plane, so there were upsides.  We got to Santiago at 7 in the morning, and at 10, we borded the plane to Antofagasta, which was only two hours.  It was sad to leave my district from the MTC, since all of them went to Concepcion, but I´m glad for the time in the MTC I had with them, and to now be in the field.  When we got to Antofagasta, the Mission President and his wife were waiting for us, with big smiles on their faces.  We then stopped to take pictures at the Portada off the coast of Antofagasta, then went back to the mission home for empenadas and interviews with the president.  That night, the elders stayed in the mision home, and the next morning we drove to the mission office to get our trainers.  I found out that my trainer was Elder Francis from Farmington, Utah, and our area was in Alto Hospicio... about 20 minutes away from the big city of Iquique, several hours above Antofagasta.  Elder Francis is fun, and sticks to the rules without being an overbearing trainer, and I´ve enjoyed teaching and meeting people with him.  So many people here are so full of love and need for guidance, and it has been somewhat frustrating to not be able to say what I am feeling, in order to help them, but I know God has been and will help me as I continue to trust in Him and stay optimistic.  I hope everyone has had a great week, a beautiful Easter, and an uplifting Conference!!! Continue to pray for the success of the missionaries to help people who need them!! Love you all, and I´ll update you more next week!!

-Elder Checketts

(And additional funny story from PJ...)

Alright everyone.... So I know all of you will like some of these stories from my short time while in Chile.  To start, while Chile may be more civilized than the rest of South America.... it is definitely still South America.  Dogs wander all over the streets, and people don´t care when dogs and birds wander all through the bus terminal (that includes the food court).... I couldn´t help smiling when I saw a pigeon fly into a cafe without anyone stopping it, and thought about the Chipotle video, and ¨ Bird came back.´´ hahahaha!!!  Well anyway, we got to Iquique, and a brother brought his car to take us to Alto Hospicio.  There were two of us new missionaries, and two trainers, plus four suitcases.  The man opened his trunk, trying to fit as much as he possibly could into the small back, and when it looked completely stuffed, and he saw one of us still had another bag, he would mutter, ´´there´s still room.´´ and somehow fit it in there.  Even with that, my trainer in shotgun had a suitcase on his lap, and one of the suitcases had to go in the middle seat of the back.... that left two small bum-slots for three of us.  The driver looked into the back, and came to the conclusion that as the smallest, I would have to sit on another elder´s lap. He was pressed up right next to the suitcase, and I had to stand in the back for my whole body to fit in, with the other elder´s arm raised, to provide more space lower down.  This resulted in me sitting half on the edge of the car door, half on his lap, with his arm awkward having nowhere to go except over my back.... it was quite the experience.... especially because so much was packed in the trunk, so anytime we went over a bump, the heavy back scraped metal against asphalt. It was really uncomfortable, but funny in retrospect.  My first day out in the field, we also saw a woman pushing a stroller with her son of about two in it.  As we passed, it looked like the little boy was flinging a water bottle all over, but as we got closer, we realized he had not pants on, and was creating a trail of pee from his seat in the stroller.  It was super weird, but what made it funnier is when we passed them, we looked ahead of us, and saw that the trail had gone on for nearly a block!!!!!  Anyway, hope you all enjoy that, and have a great week!! I got to watch conference luckily!!! Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!!! Love you all!!!