Monday, December 26, 2016

Hey, everyone!

I hope you all had a great Christmas, and that you were able to spend time with the family, and enjoy the season! 

Although we didn´t get any snow here, we got plenty of very good food from the members, and we had several families that gaves us ties and socks to make sure we got things we needed. It was very thoughtful of them to do so much for us, and I´m grateful for it.  

Christmas morning, before anything else, I decided to read the Christmas story in the book of Luke. It helped me keep Christ in Christmas, and gave me extra energy and peace for the rest of the day. When we put Christ first in our lives, each day we can experience the peace of His Atonement, and He will guide and direct our paths for the better.

I hope everyone has another great week, and continues to enjoy the season!
I´ll write you all next week!

-Elder Checketts

From Preston's mom...
Here is a picture of PJ, from when we were Skyping with him on Christmas Day.  We were able to visit with him for 45 minutes.  He was at the Bishop's house there in Chile, and had a great day celebrating.  It was SO nice to see his smiling face, talk to him, and laugh with him!!!  It totally made our day!!!  I would have loved to have given him a big hug, but the joy we felt from seeing him so happy & doing so great was enough for now.  :)  xoxoxoxo    (And he did mention in our personal letter today that after talking with us on Christmas, he didn't realize how hard it is to speak completely in English.  Hahaha!  When we were talking, he forgot a few words in English, and threw in a few Spanish words without thinking, and he had a little bit of a Spanish accent when he said certain things.  It was great!  Hahaha!  :) 

Monday, December 19, 2016

I hope everyone has been enjoying the Christmas season, this week!

For us, it`s been plenty of fun with the ward. On Saturday, we had a Christmas party, where each organization brought food from a different country, and presented it to everyone else to try. The food was judged, the primary sang Christmas carols, and we played a game, involving passing a wrapped gift in a circle, and unwrapping a layer of paper each time the music stopped. It was a blast, and everyone had a great time.  

My companion and I also recently moved to live with the other two missionaries in the ward. It`s been lots of fun, and we all get along well. (My companion is the latino in the picture below).  And on the 23rd, we`re all going to Antofagasta, to do a mission gift exchange.

It`s always a great experience to be able to share the Christmas story in the houses of members. It really helps us to focus on the work, and helps us realize what a great responsibility we have to invite this miracle of a Messiah into the lives of so many people. 

We also met a super awesome guy names Mariano, yesterday!  He's super humble, wants to get baptized, and more than anything wants to improve his life!  He also happens to be homeless, but we're going to keep trying to teach him, and hopefully help him find a job.  It's been amazing, how wonderfully humble people can be.  People I never would have thought about talking to before.

I hope everyone else has been enjoying the Christmas season as well, and continually remembering it`s constant purpose in our lives. Have a merry Chrismas, and I`ll email you all next week!

-Elder Checketts

Monday, December 12, 2016

¡Hola, todos!

This week has been good, and I´m getting along with Elder Pezo, which is really good. 
(We forgot to take a picture--sorry).

This week, like all of the best weeks, has had its ups and downs.  I started off the week, by meeting my new companion, Elder Pezo, from Cusco, Peru (by Machu-Pichu).  In fact he said that he has a grandma that speaks nothing but kechwa (the Inca language)!  He´s a hard worker, and wants to find the best, and most prepared people in our sector to teach. We have found several very interested, humble people this past week, and have worked very hard to animate the members and investigators.  However, at the same time, it has seemed  that each of our most promising, progressing investigators has hit an obstacle, that we don´t have much control over.  Whether it be surgery, the need to get married, loss of contact, or anger with bad experiences within the church, we have seen many very promising baptisms hit roadblocks that simply require patience. As the week went on, I became extremely occupied by this challenge, and it affected my attitude, and energy for the missionary work.  Later, my companion and I watched a mission video that talked about pushing yourself just one degree more, to be one degree better in the Lord´s work. In the video, the scripture, 2 Corinthians 6:12, was presented... and with everything that had happened, it hit me extremely powerfully. In spanish, it says, 

´´No estáis limitados por nosotros, sino que estáis limitados por vuestro propio corazón.´´ 

The English version of the scripture is a little different, but the literal translation of the Spanish version, is ´´You are not limited by us, but rather you are limited by your own heart´´. As I saw this, the Spirit hit me hard, and I felt that this scripture had something very important I was supposed to learn. I was disappointed that our plans and the people we were teaching were not going exactly as I wanted. However, I was allowing that disappointment to interfere with my work through the week, and I was not allowing myself to be happy in my own stubborness. I have realized, that often, we hold ourselves back in many instances when we need to work our hardest, and focus on others more than ever. This week ended on a good note, because I was finally able to understand that. :)

(In response to some questions...) About the light the world campaign... yes.... but ILUMINA EL MUNDO sounds cooler. As a ward, we went and gave food to homeless people, which was cool.  As for Chilean Christmas traditions, they don´t have anything that isn´t like the US during Christmas, really. Except pan de pascua (fruitcake). 
I´m excited to see you, and talk to you guys via Skype!  Christmas time is really fun here, even without snow ;) Hope you had a great week! I´m doing well, and continuing to work hard on finding and helping people. Love you, and talk to you later!

I hope everyone else had a great week as well, and i´ll write next week.

-Elder Checketts

Monday, December 5, 2016

This week we had transfers.  I´m excited that I´m staying in Calama,
because I´ve really grown to love the people here.  My companion Elder
Jennings went to a city in the south of the mission called Vallenar.  My
new companion is an elder from Peru, named Elder Pezo.  My Spanish will
continue to improve, and hopefully we will have lots of success, and have a
great cambio.

As for the investigators, we had a great stake conference, and our mission
president was there. He told us to bring as many investigators as we could,
so he could meet them.  He really animated them, and helped them to realize
how they could feel the truth of the gospel. Claudio is really progressing,
and has decided to read the book of Mormon, and pray about baptism, and was
really animated by President Ferreira´s promise that all he needed was to
know the book of Mormon is true, and then the rest of the conversion would

We were also a little disappointed to hear that the Mora-Ferrufino family,
who just got baptized, have to go back to Bolivia to do their papers.
Hopefully, they can come back soon, so the other two children can get
baptized. They have been so humble, and commited to the church, and I know
Heavenly Father will help them continue in that path.

I hope you all had a good week as well! Enjoy the Christmas season!

-Elder Checketts

Saturday, December 3, 2016

(From Preston's mom...)
I received another wonderful message on facebook today... It said, "Su hijo es un elder muy bueno!" (Your son is a very good elder!).  It makes me SO happy that PJ is doing so great, loving it there so much, and is being so well cared for by the wonderful members in the area.  Makes my mom heart happy!  :)

Friday, December 2, 2016

(From Preston's Mom...)

Today is my lucky day!  I just got ANOTHER letter tonight from someone else!  :)  It was from a man whose daughter served in Antofagasta Chile 2 years ago (and he served in Santiago 35 years ago), so they went back to visit.  She served in Calama, where Preston is right now (and loves it)!  This man said, "...Elder Checketts looks great and has a wonderful spirit about him.  Bishop Martinez said that he is a wonderful missionary!"

It's SO great to get these pictures & updates about our boy!!!  <3

Thursday, December 1, 2016

(From PJ's mom... I got this message in my facebook messenger today, from a lady in PJ's ward... it totally made my day!!!  xoxoxo)

"I want to send you a picture of your son, Elder Checketts.  He is so happy here, and we love him so much!!!  Thanks!  :)