Monday, October 31, 2016

Hey, everyone!

Hope you are all enjoying a happy Halloween, and have had a good week! For us, this week was extremely productive.  We have been preparing seven people to be baptized in the next two weeks.  One is getting baptized this Saturday, named Cesar.  His girlfriend is a member in another ward in Calama, and so he already knows a lot about the church, and instantly accepted to be baptized and committed to living the commandments.  The other six baptisms are for the next week, and it's an amazingly humble family from Bolivia and Argentina.  We found the mom, Elena, a few weeks ago one night, and she told us, ´´I´ve never talked with the missionaries, but I´ve always wanted to.´´ Ever since then, the family has been extremely receptive, and willing to commit to all the commandments, as they know obedience brings blessings.  Such an important lesson that few people in the world understand.  The spirit is always strong in lessons with people who don't overcomplicate the gospel.  They realize that something can be both powerful AND simple. After all, Christ's love for us is not complicated. It's been amazing to see people with such simple faith, and help them to know the church.  

Today, as a zone activity for p-day, we also played soccer, which was a lot of fun to do.  
Hope everyone has had a great week, and I'll update you all next week!

-Elder Checketts

(From PJ's mom...  In response to some questions I asked PJ, about if Chileans celebrate Halloween, and if he sometimes forgets English words now that he has been speaking fluent Spanish for almost 9 months...  and if he has had transfers again, etc...  this is what he said...)

Yes, Chileans celebrate Halloween.  But it sounds like kids get really angry if you don't open your door, and they throw eggs at your door, to tell the other kids you are not handing out candy.  So that's interesting....  In Mexico and other countries, Halloween is called Día de las Brujas (Day of the Witches), but here, they just call it Halloween.  As for your question about forgeting English, it does happen quite a lot.  Because my companion is gringo, we speak a lot of English, but we always speak Spanish to other people, so sometimes we'll forget an English word, and just use the Spanish one, because we both understand it, and can' t think of the translation.  Also, yeah, cambios already happened. We're staying together for another 6 weeks. That's fine with me, since we get along. Also.... I should be getting my packages tomorrow..... I'll save the Christmas packages for Christmas (obviously).....but I can't promise the other one will last until December!  :)

Monday, October 24, 2016

This week we had the special opportunity to see Simon, Camilo, and Wladimir baptized, from the Monte-Avalos family.  

The baptismal service was a very happy experience for them, but the Spirit was especially strong during their confirmations on Sunday.  After the meeting, Wladimir mentioned the powerful Spirit of peace he felt while being confirmed.  It really shows what strong faith they have already, and how years of church knowledge is not necessary for a testimony of the truth of Christ´s gospel.  After all, a testimony is not something complicated. And as taught in Alma 32, all we need to recieve such a testimony is a true desire to believe.  Everything we have in this life is a gift from God.  The only thing that is truly ours, is our will.  If we give that one, small possession we have to our Father in Heaven, He will work miracles in our lives.  Hopefully everyone else had a good week as well, an I´ll write again next week!

-Elder Checketts

Monday, October 17, 2016

I hope this was a good week for everyone else, because it was very exciting for us.
First off, was the wedding of Wladimir and Vanessa (Vanessa being a less active, and Wladimir going to be baptized with two of their sons this Saturday).

It's been amazing and exciting to see them progress, and to continue to help the other investigators get ready for baptism.  We also have another couple (Nelson and Priscila), who are planning to get married the 28th, and baptized the 29th. I'm excited for them, and happy to help them continue to progress and find the joy of the góspel. I hope everyone has another great week, and I'll send pictures of the baptism next week! Love you all!

-Elder Checketts

(We also found an investigator with a pet llama!)

From PJ's mom...
In an additional note from PJ, he said that he had put a couple of his friends names down (from Canada), for missionary referrals.  His one friend said that some friendly missionaries showed up at her door, and they had a nice visit, and she is now a proud owner of one of these...  :)  PJ's friends in Canada were awesome--so great & open to discussions about all of their beliefs (he was the only member of our church in his high school).  They were always respectful of his beliefs & standards, and I'm so grateful for that.  They were all from different races, religions, and beliefs, so they had some great discussions.  It can be hard to be the only member of the church in your group of friends, especially when they don't completely understand why we do or do not do certain things, so I'm so grateful that he had such great friends there, and so proud of PJ for being brave enough to share what we believe!  :)   

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hi, Everyone!

I don't have a lot of time to write today, so I'll keep it brief.  

This week an awesome family passed their baptismal interviews, and the parents will be getting married on the 15th, and the family baptized on the 22nd.  The mom, Vanessa, is less active, and her husband, Wladimir, who is from Brazil, will be getting baptized with their two sons old enough to get baptized, Camilo, and Simòn.  They are truly an amazing family, and have strong testimonies that the church is where they need to be. We`re looking forward to that baptism and wedding, espically as they have progressed so far.  

In other news, we took a trip today to several  tourist areas not too far away... a historic town known as San Pedro de Atacama, and the famous Valle de la Luna. Below are the pictures. I hope you enjoy them, and have a great week!

-Elder Checketts

(The Atacama Desert is the driest desert in the world...)

(From PJ's mom...Here is another picture I just pulled off the internet of the Valle de la Luna 
(Valley of the Moon).

Monday, October 3, 2016

I hope everyone enjoyed conference weekend!

It's interesting... the mission really messes with perception of time.  I have never seen such a short conference! But in reality, it was very powerful, and the spirit was extremely uplifting.  I was especially touched by Elder Renlund's talk on repentance, and how simply it can be described as a small mistake with a fire-cracker, to demonstrate the power and directness of that gospel principle.  It really gave me added testimony and insight to teach this principle in the lessons to investigators.  I also loved the insight given in Sister McKonckie's talk about how God is the perfect judge, and if even the most unrighteous judge would avenge someone, wouldn't God avenge us when we cry out in faith? It makes me reflect on how God has always answered my prayers when I have called out to Him.... even if that answer was for me to wait, and figure it out on my own, because I already knew the answer.  I hope everyone else enjoyed conference just as much as I did, and in other news, we had a fun p-day doing things together as a zone.  We also had interviews with President Ferreira, and we're continuing to work hard with the people here. 

Hope everyone has another great week, and I'll talk to you all next week!

-Elder Checketts