Monday, September 26, 2016

¡Hola, todos! 

Soy Chileno ahora... (translated, "I'm Chilean now")
(He looks SO serious...but I'm sure they told him NOT to smile, like they did for all of our passports & official Canadian documents, like permanent resident cards, health cards, driver's licenses, etc.)

I finally got my ''carnet'', as they call it, which is just my Chilean identity card.  That was really exciting, but other than that, this week was very tranquilo.  We set new baptismal dates, and continued to meet with and support those getting prepared for marriage and baptism as well.  This week, the chapel was completely full, which was awesome to see, since it doesn't happen a lot, and we continue to meet new members, and have continued to get to know the ward.  

Something I noticed a while ago, that I thought I'd share, is a principle I am able to better understand, thanks to the Spanish language.  One of the most used scriptures by missionaries is Moroni's promise in Moroni 10:3-5.  The last verse promises that by the power of the Holy Ghost, we can know the truth of all things.  It is interesting, because in Spanish ''know'' has two translations. One is ''saber'', which is used when refering to information, such as knowing the answer, or knowing how to do something. The other word is ''conocer'', which means to know, in the sense of being familiar with something, such as knowing a person, or knowing the city.  With this in mind, it is interesting that Moroni's promise in Spanish says ''podréis CONOCER la verdad''. While it is important to know the truth, in the sense of understanding the information... it is important to remember that a testimony is more than knowing the facts. A testimony is understanding and feeling of its truth. A testimony is being familiar with the Holy Ghost, and the message He brings into our hearts.  And to truly know the truth of the gospel also means that we know God, and Jesus Christ, and that we are familiar with His Atoning sacrifice, and how we can use it to improve our lives.  

I hope everyone had a great week, and that they were also able to grow closer to the Spirit.  Talk to you all next week, and have a good one!

-Elder Checketts

Monday, September 19, 2016

This week was exciting, with moving sectors, and getting to know lots of new people.  We met with two families who are especially ready for baptism, and who are ready to get married then baptized as families in October!  We have met lots of new members, and friendly people who want to help us strengthen these families ready for baptism, and find more. 

Sunday was Chilean Independence Day, and on Friday there was a Ward party, where we met more members and investigators, and got to see more of the Chilean culture.  They had several barbecues going, with lots of chicken, rice, and Choripán (Chilean bread with chorizo, which is a type of sausage).  It was lots of fun, and we got to see the Chilean ''sapo'' game. (A game where you toss coins at a wooden box with holes in it, recieving points based on the holes).  Over the center hole is a metal frog, or sapo, with a small opening in its mouth for a coin to enter. The goal is to get the most points, and ideally, in the frog's mouth.  It was a great get-together, and many of the investigators we had begun to talk to were there, and really enjoyed it and felt at home.  this has been a good week over all, and I hope everyone else had a good one too. Talk to you next week!  

--Elder Checketts

(From Preston's Mom... I had asked PJ a bunch of questions in my last email, about various things...the brown belt he was wearing in his last picture, who the extra person was in the photo from the last baptism, the flip-flops he wears in the pictures at baptisms, if he needs us to send him anything (or if he can buy what he needs there), if he has played piano or taught lessons in the wards there, what he did on his last Preparation day (P-day), and if the Chileans have any traditions in Oct., Nov., or Dec. like we do here for the holidays...  These are his responses...)

Anyway, yeah, I really like that belt.  I bought it in Iquiquem but its a little big, so I might have to punch more holes.  I thought I'd fill it, assuming I'd gain weight, but I've lost it.  We are given lots of food for lunch, and I've never really been huge into breakfast, so usually, I just wait till the big lunch, and then am still full by dinner time, so I don't eat much at night.  And we also don't have time to snack! hahaha! But before, I never had a scale to check my weight, but now we're living in the pension of where the hermanas were before, and they left one. It said I'm 62.3 kilos, and I did the math, and that's 137 lbs!!! I was 153 before I left! I lost 16 pounds!!!!!! But you can definitely tell if you look at pics before I left, and in the MTC, in comparison to ones now.  I'm not starving though! Don't worry! I'm eating plenty! :)  Also, in the baptism picture, it was the Young men's president. Antonia wanted him to baptize her, and then I baptized Javier, and Elder Jennings baptized Justina.  And no, I don't need white slippers or anything... I just wear the flip flops because we usually do the photos outside, and don't want the socks to get dirty. I'm fine with that though.  At some point I'll probably buy more shoes here, since mine are slowly getting destroyed from walking and walking and walking.... probably another reason I've lost weight.  I could by shirts and shoes here, but not garments.  The closest distrubution center is at the temple in Santiago, and usually they only do a trip once a year or so... and I think that's against the rules as well.  I could order online on, but it might be easier if you just send some.  The members and investigators here in this Ward are great!  We have two weddings and five baptisms set up for October, which is awesome!!!  I've never played piano for the Ward, or taught primary.  I've played the limited parts of hymns I know for prelude sometimes, but to be fluid enough for the meeting, I'd have to practice, and I just don't have the time.  I've taught gospel principles, because its our duty if the teacher isn't there, and we've talked to the primary kids and been given pictures and cards from them, because the primary president wanted us to present just a little of what missionaries do.  The apartment is a lot nicer and bigger here than in Rio Loa though.  And we live in a house of members, so the mom brings us chicken a lot.  Last week for p-day, we changed it to Tuesday, because there is a city in our zone called Tocopilla that is two hours away.  It's too far for them to join us for a normal p-day, so we planned a zone p-day on that Tuesday, because that is when the whole zone meets for the zone training.  Then after, we had the p-day.  We watched Mulan, ate pizza, and played vollyball and soccer.  Interviews with the mission president are every three months usually.  This week we all went to Antofagasta to hear from a seventy that came to visit. I got to see Elder Aparco again, and Hermana Masina (the girl that lived across the hall from me at USU).  Speaking of fall holidays here though... yesterday was September 18th (Chilean Independence day). And they are crazy!!! It's illegal not to have a Chilean flag outside of your house on that day, and there is lots of music, lots of bbq's, and lots of drunk people that night and morning.  I've heard its by far their biggest holiday (even more so than Christmas).  Anyway, I hope you guys are doing well, and continuing to enjoy family time and school and work, and everything.  Hope you have another great week, and I'll talk to you later!!!  Also, I realized I haven't sent any pictures for a while except those from baptisms.  Let me know if there are specific things you want me to take pictures of. 

Love, PJ

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hope everyone had another great week.  

This week we recieved the news that we are going to a different sector in the same city.  I'm excited to begin starting here, and opening a sector is new for both Elder Jennings and me... so we will see how it goes!  This week we had several lessons that surprised us, with people who were previously very uninterested, and now are very apparantly growing in the faith of what we are telling them.  It has been great preparation for the sister missionaries that will now be occupying that area.  The ward was sad to have their elders leave, but I know the hermanas will help them just as we have.  This was a good week, all in all, animating people and helping them to better understand the gospel.  Talk to everyone next week! 

-Elder Checketts

below is also a photo from Justina and Javier's wedding, that I forgot to post earlier.

(From PJ's mom)...
Here is an additional note from PJ's letter to me.  I had sent him a care package a couple of months ago, that he just got last week, with snacks, treats, and some CTR rings (in Spanish), to give to little kids in his area.  This was what he said...

"Thanks so much for those CTR rings by the way! I already gave two away to Justina and Javier's daughters, Antonia, and Daniela (who will turn 8 in October).  The m&ms carried, just so you know... they were good, and intact :)  I'm excited for conference too! Last time, they set up a ''gringo room'', to listen to conference in English, in the church. It was only because one of the senior couples was in Alto Hospicio though, and they set it all up.  I think I'll have to listen to it in Spanish this next time. Anyway, I'm exited to start working in this new sector..." 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

This was a fantastic week! We had the three baptisms of Justina, Javier, and Antonia, and we had several lessons with new, very receptive investigators.  The baptism was really special for the entire ward, because they quickly became acquainted with everyone at church, and were waiting for months to be able to get all the paperwork done to get married.  And we got to go to their wedding as well, which was cool!  When they were finally able to get baptized, it was a huge, important event for many of the ward members.  
A little while before the baptism, we began filling the font, but soon realized, that after a few seconds the water heater shut off.  Since Antonia is only 9, we didn't want the water to be freezing, so we had to rush over to the stake center, and start filling the font there.  Luckily, it was a great service, and the water was nice and warm (though a bit shallow, due to the last minute change).  It is really rewarding to see people make necessary changes, to enter the waters of baptism.  It was truly a great week all in all, and I hope everyone else had a great week as well! Talk to you next week!

- Elder Checketts

(From PJ's mom):
I sent a care package a couple of months ago, with snacks & treats that he can't get there, and included some mini M&M's packs, and told PJ to share with his companion, & this is what he said...
"I got the package you sent me! Thanks so much! I saw the note you put on the m&ms, and gave one to Elder Jennings. He decided to email you out of appriciation, now ;) Hahaha!"

And then this was the message from PJ's companion... (his first name also happens to be Preston!)  Hahaha!

"Hello Sister Checketts, I'm the campanion of Elder Checketts and he got his package today and he was REALLY REALLY REALLY happy, and I am as well, because this was inside..."