Monday, November 28, 2016

I hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving, and had a great week!

This week was extremely productive and fulfilling for us, as we had lots of great lessons, and a great baptism! The primary president´s nine year old son, Vicente, got baptized, and it was a great experience for us, and for their whole family.

While being here in Calama, I´ve really grown to love this family, getting to know them in Río Loa, and here in Caspana as well.  Vicente´s dad, Claudio, is not a member, but feels that the church is true. He simply doesn´t feel he´s completely ready yet, or good enough for baptism. 

We decided it was very important to just help Claudio feel the Spirit, and that this is where he needs to be. The baptism itself was a very special experience, and then Sunday night, we had a Family Home Evening with them, and watched ´´the Testaments´´, about Jesus Christ´s visit to the Americas.  By the time the movie ended, we were all teary, and had felt the truth of the story extremely powerfully. Afterwards, we bore our testimonies, and explained that the the Love of Christ is often difficult to describe. That we don´t need to understand all the facts to feel the Spirit´s influence in our hearts in the form of a testimony. Claudio told us that no words could accurately describe what he felt during the video, and when we left, we asked him to give the prayer... something he previously has not been comfortable to do publicly. However, he willingly did so, and it really touched his wife, Paz, to see his step-by-step progression. It really shows how the Spirit can touch hearts, and prompt us to do things that bring us closer to God. 

That family home evening, was an extremely spiritual experience, and I left, absolutely extatic. Truly putting your heart into the work, to help others discover the joy of the Gospel for themselves, is a joy that is hard to match. Nothing compares to the joy someone can have to see another´s progression. Nothing in my life has come close to the overall work, disappointment, but also joy of the mission. There is nowhere I would rather be :)

I hope everyone else has another good week, and that everyone remembers the Spirit of Christmas, during this wonderful season. Love you all, and I´ll write again, next week!

-Elder Checketts

Monday, November 21, 2016

I hope everyone had a good last two weeks! 
Unfortunately, I wasn´t able to write much for the email last week, so here´s what we did last week: We went to a little town not far away, called Chiu Chiu, and had a barbecue. It was lots of fun.

​Now, as for this week.. We had four baptisms!!!! It´s an awesome, very humble family (Elena, Juan, Rodrigo, and Carolina) that was entirely open and receptive from the first moment we met them.  They have truly been a blessing to watch, quietly and obediently progress in the work of the Lord.

​This Friday, we will also be having a baptism of the primary president´s nine-year old son, Vicente.  We have been working especially hard with his dad, Claudio, who is not a member, but already very commited to the gospel. He has paid tithing, come to church, wants to be baptized, and even says he is certain that one day he will get baptized. The only thing that stands in the way, is that he says he doesn´t feel ready.  Sometimes, situations like these make me very aware of how Heavenly Father sees me.  That I have everything I could possibly need to progress, but I don´t feel ready to take such leaps of faith. However, when we promise God to do whatever He asks of us, we will always be amazed by the outcome.... the kind of person He can help us become when we have enough faith to trust Him completely. 

Hopefully, everyone enjoys thanksgiving, and has another good week! I´ll write you all again next week!

-Elder Checketts 

Monday, November 14, 2016

I´m really sorry, but I can´t write a long email today. We just got back from a bbq. I´ll be really detailed next week ;)

Anyway... this week I got to add pig hoof to the list of weird things I´ve eaten! Chilean food is really normal..... its Peruvian and Bolivian members that give really weird food. It was like eating a tire, and it was very difficult to eat, but it didn´t taste bad.... just the texture..... 

Today for p-day, we went to a little village not far away called Chiu Chiu, and had a barbecue, so that was really fun!!!!  Anyway, hope you have another great week!

-Elder Checketts

(Elder Checketts is on the far right, back row)  :)

Monday, November 7, 2016

This week we had a great baptism for Cesar.  He already knew a lot about the church, and when we began teaching him, he vigorously accepted what we taught, and bore his strong testimony to us. He recognized the Spirit very strongly at his baptism, and it was a very special experience for him.

​However, the baptism was not without its challenges.  First.... we left the faucet in the baptismal font running a little longer than necessary, and we came back to find a flooded building.  Luckily, we cleaned it up with a high-powered vaccuum, before it started. Then, just before the service started, a member voiced concerns about the baptism that we decided to call our mission president about.  Beforehand, I was feeling very good, and that we were all ready, but was now doubting, based on the member´s concerns. As we talked with our president, he re-affirmed what we had felt before, and told us, ´´We cannot let the doubts of our minds interfere with what a person has testified.´´ This statement struck me strongly, and I realized how powerful it is.  Often we second guess decisions or feelings that we previously had a surity in. But God is NEVER the author of confusion, and all we ever need to do when confused, is ask.  It really taught a powerful lesson, and I´m glad we had the experience.  

I hope you all had a great week as well, and I´ll update you all next week!

-Elder Checketts

(From PJ's mom... in reference to some questions about his Christmas packages, and the earthquakes in Chile, etc., here are Preston's answers...)

I got the Christmas packages......And opened the flat one (I said PJ could open that one on Dec. 1st, because it had the paper Christmas tree that we made, along with some family letters, and gingerbread men--one of our family traditions each year to make & hang on the tree).  The other packages will wait till Christmas, but the other was a little more tempting. You know, it is almost December ;) I really like the tree!  :)  As for your question on Earthquakes..... we´ve had several... but nothing too huge. The biggest was a 5.7, but that's nothing for Chile!  Also, I tried to send you guys that Christmas package I wanted to send, and several places didn´t accept it because of its contents.  I´ll try somewhere else, but I may not be able to send it.  :(