Monday, September 18, 2017

Hey, Everyone!

This week has been great.  As I mentioned.... today is Chile`s ``Fiestas Patrias`` for September 18th, which is their independence day. That means, lots of barbecues, every house with a chilean flag (because it`s illegal to not have one).... and we went as the zone to a big fair they`re having for the 18th. There were lots of traditional Chilean games for independence day, such as trompos.... which are large wooden tops that you throw and spin with a string.... and they had lots of things to buy. I ended up buying a carved bull`s horn that says chile, that`s super cool:
This friday we`ll be having the ward party so I`ll make sure to take photos ;)

This week has been a good one as far as the missionary work as well. We`ve recently been working with several part member families that have children that aren`t members, but are super interested and excited to continue coming to church, and we are helping them prepare for baptism. These families are super great, and are really excited to be able to once again progress within the church.   Yesterday, we also had interviews with President Ferreira, which was great as well.  It's always nice to have the opportunity to talk with him.  Anyway, got to go!  Have another great week!

Love, PJ

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hi everyone!  I`m doing well, and this week was good!

Yeah, I heard about the hurricane in Florida, and the earthquake in Mexico.... but luckily nothing has happened here. In fact, people who live in the Atacama desert freak out with normal weather..... If it rains, if there`s wind, etc... But all has been well here in Calama :) The country is preparing for September 18th, which is like the Chilean independence day, and the ward is going to have a big party, so that should be fun!  And I think I`m going to take advantage one of these days and buy a chilean flag, so I have one before coming home!

And thanks Mom, for the comment you made about me being an example for you and for the family. I`m definitely not a perfect missionary, and there are still a million things that I need to improve, but I know that I have helped many people and have touched many lives and hearts during this year and a half that I`ve been in Chile. People say lots of things about the mission.... but one thing that I can definitely testify of, is that it has been the hardest two years of my life... And that I`ve experienced the extreme of every emotion while here. However, I also know that I`ve done more good here in my mission than I ever have before.

I`m glad to hear that the family is doing really well too! As for me, this week we`ve been working with an investigator named Andrea. I`ve met very few investigators with the interest and drive that she has to live the commandments and do everything possible to be baptized. We`ve also had several new investigators that are full of initiative and interest in the gospel, and we`re working on helping them to be baptized as well. Anyway, I hope you have another great week!

Also, we did service in a city park... picking up garbage, and painting benches. The majority of the ward participated, which was great! 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Hey, Everyone!

I´m glad to hear that everyone is doing well.  This week for me has been typical of the mission.... with it´s ups and downs. However.... I learned something about that, that I hadn´t really ever thought of before. This week was zone training, and the leaders were sharing what they learned in the meeting with the mission president. One of the Sister Training Leaders shared a quote that Hermana Ferreira had told them: ´´A calm sea never made a good missionary.´´ I thought about that quote for a while, and realized that it was true. If we are not constantly battling different challenges or difficulties that we have in the mission, we will never be able to see our potential, or how strong we can possibly be when it´s necessary to put up a fight. Through many personal experiences in the mission, I´ve found myself at what I had thought would be the breaking point of my patience, and have found myself asking for immediate help to be taken out of my stress or sadness of that day.  However, I´ve realized that God doesn´t usually work like that. He lets us make the necessary decision, but never leaves our side as we do so. If it weren´t for the challenges that my Heavenly Father has given me, I wouldn´t have learned to be more patient, or more courageous. It is truly an honor to be serving in the Lord´s work. This week we visited an investigator that was angry when we passed by because she was really busy, however, we fixed the situation, and helped her and her family feel that we only visit them because we truly love them and want to help them progress in the church. We also had several awesome investigators come to church this week that are extremely interested and we´re now working on helping them progress, to be baptized. I hope everyone has another great week! 

Elder Checketts

(From Preston's mom...  I just got this picture from a member in our ward here in Utah, whose nephew is serving in the same mission as PJ... so cool, and such a small world!  :)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hey, Everyone!

This has been a great week! As for our investigators... Andrés, María José, and their sons Matías (who´s 13) and Felipe (who´s 5) came to church! We´re currently working on helping Matias recieve his answer and be baptized, and help María José recieve her answer as well, get married, and help Andrés progress, to be able to baptize his wife! They´re a truly amazing family, and have a huge potential! This week, the stake presidency also came to the ward, and called a new bishopric. The new bishop is pretty young, but will definitely do a really good job!

Hey, I heard about the solar eclipse! I´m sure that was awesome! As for me, apart from Andrés and María José, we´ve found some amazing people this week! For example, yesterday we contacted a woman named Viviana who was sweeping outside of her house. She told us that she goes to another church, and so we began telling her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we believe in, as it is something that she believes too. We began explaining the importance of baptism, and that the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands must go together with baptism, or the baptism is incomplete. She took very seriously what we taught her, and invited her to be baptized in several weeks, after receiving the answer to her prayer. She told us yes immediately. She told us that if she had only been ''partially'' baptized, she wanted to do it completely.... to receive the blessing of God, and be right with Him. It was truly amazing to see someone with such faith and such an openness! Anyway, I hope you have another great week! I´ll talk to you next week!

Love, PJ

Monday, August 21, 2017

Hi there!

This week had its ups and downs. We found several awesome people in the streets that came up to us asking what it is that we preach, or asking us how they can change their lives and be happy. That was amazing.... but we also invited lots of awesome people to church, such as 2 awesome part members families, and several other interested investigators.... and no one came :/ But I guess that´s part of the mission. We´ll just keep working with them to help them understand the importance of WHY we go to church, and the blessings that they receive when they attend. Anyway, I´ll let you know how this week goes!

Oh! And before I forget, my shirts were starting to get really old..... so I needed more, and I bought several. It should be about 50 or 60 dollars, because I bought 5 of them. (My white shirts were starting to lose their whiteness) ;)

I´m glad that the family is doing well, and that everyone is preparing for school, and Tessa´s preparing for college!!! I still can´t believe that!! How long is it to be a dental hygenist by the way? I´m glad that you and Dad are doing well as well, and are enjoying time with the family. 

Have a great week!
Love, PJ

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hey, Everyone!

(Mom), I'll let Hermana Mireya know that you liked the pictures! In fact the entire relief society was telling me about the photo that she sent to you, that she posted on facebook! hahaha! Did you remember that Hermana Mireya was my mamita when I was back in Río Loa, a year ago? She moved to Oasis while I was away from Calama, and now I got to see their family again! From what everyone has told me, it looks like you guys had lots of fun at the beach! And all the pictures of the kids make them look so much older! Time is seriously flying!

As for me... This was a good week. Andrés (who is a less active member) and María José (who is an investigator) and their children came to church this Sunday!! We´ve been working with them for a while, and they finally made it to the chapel, and they absolutely loved it, and said they felt the Spirit while there! They have so much desire to really progress and improve, and we´re helping them understand better the doctrine, keep commitments, and recieve their own powerful testimonies. Aside from that, we´ve been working and contacting as usual this week, and are currently teaching a Colombian woman that has tons of real intent, and even prayed to know if she should be baptized or not. She told us that she felt a great sense of peace as she prayed, but says that she doesn´t feel prepared yet to come to church or be baptized. We´ve worked on helping her understand the imortance of coming to church to recieve more strength from God and as part of the progression, but still did not accept said invitation. Anyway, we´ll keep working with her, and keep finding the people that Heavenly Father is preparing for us to teach.

Anyway, hope you all have another great week!

Love, PJ

Monday, August 7, 2017

Hey everyone!

So, the members just got back from the temple on Saturday. Since it`s pretty far away, they stay in a hotel in Santiago for a week, to be able to take advantage of the opportunity. I really miss the temple! But I`ll be able to visit fairly soon! I'm glad you are all enjoying the summer! It sounds like everyone is doing great, from the emails!

Anyway... as for me... this week was good. We passed by several times to visit Techi, and she`s doing great!! She`s keeping her commitments... and now we`re working on helping her husband!! We also found some amazing people in the streets this week, just by conversing with them, and several understood deeply the importance of baptism, and quickly accepted! This week we even found a young couple that is expecting a baby, and while talking to them, we found out that she is a less active member of the church, and that he is looking for the true church, to be able to be baptized!!! It was amazing! We also have an investigator that is the girlfriend of a less active, and after lots of inviting and animating.... they made it to the church parking lot... only to recieve a call from his boss, that he had to go to work immediately, because they were short staffed. It was really frustrating, but they continue to be really receptive... and we`ll help them to come to church next week! That`s about it for me... but I hope you`re doing well!

Have a great week!
Elder Checketts

From PJ's mom... I got this picture today, via Facebook, and it said that the Elders were at a member's house having lunch & celebrating their child's birthday. :) I love getting random pictures from members!!! It makes my day!!! :)

And... I got 3 more pictures the next day...

Monday, July 31, 2017

Hi everyone! This was a good week! On Tuesday we went down to Antofagasta for Zone conference, and we contacted lots of people in the street the rest of the week, with the youth from the ward, we found lots of amazing new investigators, just from talking to them!!. Almost all the members have left to go to the temple in Santiago this week, so hopefully we can find someone to join us in the lessons who hasn´t left!!

In other news, Techi and her son Derick got baptized on Saturday!!!!

We were able to see so many miracles in Techi´s conversion, and I´m so happy that I was able to baptize her and her son!!! Techi lives right next to us, but for a really long time, we had never tried to contact her. One day, while walking to an appointment we had in the morning, it crossed my mind that we should try contacting our neighbor, to see if she´d be interested in our message. We passed by with the owner of the house, who is also a member of the church, and she quickly told us that she had been pleading the night before, for help and strength from God because she was having difficulties with her husband. She told us that she had felt that he hadn´t answered her.... until we knocked on her door. After helping and teaching her and her husband for a while, she began to feel that we had been sent to her house to help her back on the path of God..... however, she felt that this path for her, specifically, was the evangelical church, where she was baptized when she was 13, and where here mother in law attends. We spent about a month doing lots of home evenings with her, and with members of the church, to better teach the restoration of the gospel, and the authority of the priesthood. However, we were puzzled as to why she seemed to clearly understand the truth of the church, read the Book of Mormon, and pray... but still say that she didn´t want to be baptized by the authority of God. Then, one night as we explained the principles of the restoration once again, she told us that as we spoke, she felt that Heavenly Father was speaking to her heart, saying, ´´It´s ok. Don´t worry. This baptism is something good.´´ Even after this experience, she was a little worried to take the step to be baptized, but in the end, decided to do so with her son... because she said she felt that it would be a new start, and that is what she needed and wanted more than ever. It really shows that God can touch every heart. When I was with Elder Urrutia, I also felt very strongly from the Spirit, that Techi would be baptized, but in the next cambio..... and that´s the way it happened!

The rest of our investigators are doing well too... but they need to come to church!!! However, blessings such as seeing the conversion and baptism of Techi give me reach to keep having patience with the people, and beleiving that they can and will progress. I hope you enjoy that inspiring story. Have another great week, and I´ll talk to you next monday!

Love, PJ

(Here are some additional pictures from P-day last week, at the waterfall.  And the sign on the side of the road says, "You must be the change you want to see in the world."

Monday, July 24, 2017

Hi everyone! This week was full of regaining people. The people we tried to find or contact were really cold this week, but we`ve animated a family of awesome investigators that were losing interest, and a family of recent converts that were leaving behind the things of the church that they were recently learning. I guess this week wasn`t the best in terms of finding new people... but we were regaining people that were beginning to stray from the path that we had showed them. It`s great to see the change that people go through, and see them now coming back in full swing! It`s great to see people progressing so much! And the ward is doing great!

We also have some awesome investigators right now, and hopefully, we`ll have several baptisms on august 5th.  Just working hard to teach the people!  I`ll let you know how the investigators are progressing next week!  Today, for p-day, we also went to a waterfall, here in Calama.  

Have another great week!
Love, Elder Checketts

Monday, July 17, 2017

Oh, sorry, Mom.... I forgot to tell you that I got the package! Thanks! It was yummy :)

As for my companion, he´s doing great and learning quickly! We get along really well, which is good, and we´re finding awesome investigators!!!! A young woman´s dad (Johnny) came to church, who isn´t a member, and never had interst in the church or reading the Book of Mormon. Now he´s doing both! Hopefully we can prepare him soon for baptism!!! I don´t know if I told you about María José as well... who is the girlfriend of a less active member. She has tons of interest and desire to learn more, but unfortunately had to leave the city for an emergency on friday, and got back sunday night. We have several awesome investigators.... but we just have to animate them more, to come to church!!! Hopefully we can help María Jose, Johnny, and the rest of them come to church and get baptized!!! They really are super awesome!!!

I´m glad the rest of the family is doing well too! It sounds like everyone has lots of plans for the summer, and are having lots of fun!  Hope you all have another great week! Love you all!

Love, PJ

Monday, July 10, 2017

Hi everyone!

This week was great!  I feel like I´ve improved a lot in the last little while, in lots of aspects... being obedient with exactness, contacting everyone, teaching with charity, and a lot of other things.... however, this week started with lots of stress.  My new companion is Elder Orellana, from Santiago, but he lived for 9 years in the southern coast of Spain, close to the Strait of Gibraltar, which is cool. When I started the week with him, I felt an incredible level of stress for being a PERFECT example, and felt extremely disanimated for my lack of perfection at the beginning of the week.... however, I decided that if I wanted to be happy, I just had to work, and not focus on my faults as a missionary! Instead of looking at every person that passed, as a challenge, I began asking myself, ''Do I desire his or her salvation?'' It became a lot easier to work when I did it out of love, and 
I could truly see the potential of that person, and could already imagine them in white.  We have found several people in this manner, that now have great desires to hear our message and be baptized. I am realizing more every day, that part of the missionary purpose is to be happy. We are doing well, and I´m seeing a lot of progress in the investigators and in myself.  

As part of the training, my companion and I are watching ''The District'' videos, and I was deeply touched when we were watching one, and the sister missionaries started talking about feeling inadequate while teaching, and that that feeling was washed away when they turned the focus from ''What am I doing wrong?'' to ''what can I do for the investigator?'' I´ve felt lots of joy this week because of this realization, and I don´t feel disanimated when I focus on the people, and how much I´d like to see them get baptized and become an eternal family. We´ve found several amazing new investigators because of that, and one of the young women´s non-member dad came to church on Sunday, (Richard) after hundreds of invitations!!! He´s so humble, and we´ll be working hard with him, to prepare him to be baptized! We found a young man named Frank, who was with his friends, and he along with all his friends demonstrated a huge desire to follow Christ and be baptized, to be happier and more righteous. We also visited a less-active member who invited us in when we were contacting with members, and we met his non-member girlfriend, María José, who has lots of questions about religion in general, and immediately requested that we pass by again to help her with her doubts. When I´ve focused on how I can help these people be happy, rather than my weaknesses, or what I did wrong in a given lesson, I find myself progressing much more.   This week I also found a scripture in Romans 5: 3-5 & 8, that I loved! 

Romans 5: 1-8
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Anyway, I´ve been great... and it´s sad to think that this time of such great growth in my life will be ending soon :( I just have to make the best of what I have! Anyway, I´m glad you guys are enjoying the summer, and are all doing well! Have a great week!

Love, Elder Checketts

p.s.  Here are the photos of my hijito (Elder Orellana), and of Jorge and Ana´s baptisms!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Hi everyone!

This week started out pretty hard (because of a difficult situation that we couldn't really help with) and I was kind of disanimated and stressed.....until I came to the realization that my potential is much greater than where I am now, and I began to think of the story of Peter, and the question, ``Peter, do you love me?`` I realized that I`ll always be happy if I put Him first, and always find myself answering, ``Yes, I love thee....more than anything else!`` This completely turned my week around, and I felt the Spirit much stronger, and I felt much happier.....because I decided to do so.

Also, we got the call for transfers this week, and Elder Urrutia is going to Antofagasta, and I`m training another new missionary, straight from the MTC! Should be exciting! On Wednesday, I`ll be going to Antofagasta for a few hours, to pick up and get to know my ``hijito.``

I loved all the photos you sent from last weekend too! I can`t believe all the kids are so big!!! Someone is going to pass my height before I get home!!! (Hopefully not Tessa)

Anyway, this week, we continued working hard, and had a mom and daughter come to Church, named Edith and Belen, that we`ve been trying to get to sacrament meeting FOREVER!!, and they came!!! And they were so interested in everything that was taught. Edith even said that she`s looked into a lot of different religions, but there is something in our church she had never felt before, and something special in the members of this church. We also had the opportunity to pass by Felix.... and he is so amazing!!! He told us that until recently, he had had several very complicated health problems that nearly cost him his life several times. He told us this week, that when he came with us the first time to church, as he was given the sacrament, he said a silent prayer to God to be healed, and told us that miraculously, his helath problems disappeared!!! It was incredible to hear, and reminded me of the woman that was healed, simply because she had the faith to be healed if she touched Christ`s robe. How powerful!!!

This next week, I`m super excited to start training the new missionary, and conitue helping the ward progress and find more people that want to come unto Christ! I`m doing great, and I`m so happy being on the Lord`s errand! I realize that the time is extremely short, and now that I have less than 7 months left, nothing needs to hold me back from enjoying the short time left, and continue to work my hardest!

Love, Elder Checketts :)

PS: Sorry that I couldn`t send the photos of the baptism again. The computer is being complicated. It`ll have to be next week :)

Monday, June 26, 2017

This week for us was good, with the baptisms of Jorge and Ana. They`re doing well. Unfortunately, Techi and her husband are losing interst. Hopefully we can help them better understand the restoration.... because we`ve explained it a lot of times, but she believes that we`ve come to teach her so that she can return to the church where her mother in law goes. Hopefully we can help her better understand. Sorry I don`t have more time today, but I`ll give more details next week!

Love, PJ

Monday, June 19, 2017

Hi everyone!

So, this week Jorge and Ana got married, which was great! And they are now excitedly preparing to be baptized this Saturday:

While it was great to see Jorge and Ana get married, our neighbor, Techi, has had a lot of doubts about getting baptized, and her husband Eric needs to prepare to live the Word of Wisdom before getting baptized. Techi was baptized in an evangelical church​, and feels that she would be mocking God if she gets baptized again. She´s confused about the Restoration and the Apostacy, but feels that our passing by to visit, and helping her back on God´s path is a sign that she needs to follow Him again. However, she´s leaning more toward returning to her old church, than joining the true and restored church. Today we have a Home Evening with her, and a family of members, so hopefully we can help her understand the story of Joseph Smith better, as we watch the movie ´´Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration´´. She truly has tons of faith, and just wants to do what God wants for her. I know that we will be able to help her find what she´s looking for, if she opens her heart as she reads the Book of Mormon. Anyway, that´s about it for this week, but I´ll let you know how Ana and Jorge´s baptisms go!

Love, Elder Checketts

(From PJ's mom... yesterday, I also got some more pictures & a message (thanks to Google Translate) from one of the members in Chile, from the wedding. This is what she said, "Sister Stacey Checketts, they were evangelical and married to follow Christ, they are working so much and with love in this wonderful work, they will be baptized this weekend, congratulations for your son that Heavenly Father guides him with His spirit, they are some Angels."

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hi everyone! This week was great! Felix's baptism was so awesome! He bore his testimony afterwards, and it was so full of faith. He said that although none of his family members decided to join him at his baptism, he knew that what he had done pleased God, and that the members of the church had become his new family. How powerful!

This whole week, we´ve been seeing miracles as well! We have a family of neighbors that we always greet, but we´ve never tried teaching anything to them. However, one morning, as we were walking, it crossed my mind that we should visit our neighbor.... so we started heading back in that direction. As we were heading there, we recieved a phone call from the sister that was providing lunch that day, that she needed us to come by an hour later than planned. When we arrived at our neighbor´s house, the young mother (Teófila, or ´´Techi´´) answered the door, and happily let us in. As we began talking, she started crying, and told us that she had recently been having lots of problems with her husband, and decided that day before we passed by, that she was going to separate herself from her husband, and had prayed fervently for someone to help her not feel so alone or burdened..... then we showed up! It was incredible to see how Heavenly Father works through us to bless His children! After sharing scriptures with her, and her sharing her difficulties and stories with us, we left, edified by the Spirit, and then realized, that if we had had lunch at the previously scheduled time, we wouldn´t have had time to share with Techi. Everything had been expertly planned for that visit! The next day, we passed by to get to know Eric, Techi´s husband, as well. She had previously told us that he wouldn´t likely want to talk to us, but he warmly welcomed us in, and told us that he had been acting badly, and had been emotionally hurting his wife a lot. He told us that he was willing to do anything to improve and repent, and later told Techi that he is willing to do anything the save their marriage. It really shows that the Spirit can truly soften the hardest of hearts. They accepted to be baptized on June 24th with their 8 year old son, Derrick, and even came to Stake conference... recieving the opportunity to meet the mission president. Techi then came to Felix´s baptism that evening, and was very animated to see the ordinance take place. They are now doing great and progressing rapidly. Jorge and Ana will also be having their wedding this week, and will be getting baptizd on Saturday. This week has truly been full of God´s richest blessings, and I have felt an incredible satisfaction this week, by seeing the changes in these people, and the answers and support they are recieving from God... especially as we are the tools in God´s hand for them to receive these blessings. I hope you all had an equally incredible week!

Love, Elder Checketts

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Hi everyone!

Glad to hear everyone is doing well! As for me, we`ve been helping Jorge and Ana prepare more for their marriage, and their relationship has drastically improved, as they are reading the Book of Mormon together and praying as a family. Last week at church, Jorge also told me that he dreamed that he was having a conversation with Jesus Christ, and Jesus was telling him that both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are true, and that they are to be used as one. I couldn`t believe it when he told me!!! I quickly looked up Ezekiel 37, that verifies the same thing that he dreamed! It was incredible! We also have an investigator named Felix, that`s an older man that has felt very strongly that the church is true... by way of the discussions, and hopefully will get baptized next week (we`re still not sure about that, because next week is stake conference), but this Sunday, Felix went up to bear his testimony and told everyone, that he knows that the church is true and is preparing to get baptized. We were thrilled, and the ward was pretty shocked :) !!! Then, today, I recieved news from Bishop Martinez in Caspana. Do you remember Juan and Elena (familia Mora-Ferrufino)? They were Bolivian immigrants that were golden investigators, but shortly after getting baptized with us, had to return to Bolivia. So today, Bishop Martinez called me to ask me which of their children hadn`t gotten baptized... because their bishop in Bolivia called him, to be able to prepare the other two children for baptism!!! I was so happy to hear that they`re still active and progressing toward being an eternal family!!!! It was great news!! Anyway, that was about it for this week, but I`ll let you know how Felix`s baptism went if it happens this week!


**Ezekiel 37: 15-17 -- explaining The stick of Judah (the Bible) and the stick of Joseph (the Book of Mormon) will become one in the Lord’s hand:

15 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,

16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:

17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Hey, Everyone!

You´re right! I was super excited to return to Calama! Later today, I´m going to visit some families that I knew in other wards, so I´m super excited about that!!! So far I haven´t found the bloody, drunk guy again! hahaha! And the sector seems a lot safer, now that I know it better. The bus trip was without problems this time, which was good... and it was only 8 hours instead of 16! We live four missionaries together here, as well. My Chilean companion, another chilean from Santiago, and a Peruvian. (Another place with just latinos! hahaha!) I´ve gotten to the point that writing you guys in English is really hard, as Spanish grammar and vocabulary comes to my head faster now. I´ve also started doing all my personal prayers in Spanish... because everytime I start in English, I end up in Spanish anyway! hahaha! But about where we live.... I didn´t take pics ;) sorry. But we live with members, and it´s a safe area. I´ll finish explaining later today... Love you all!


(Several hours later...)
Hi again! Like I said, I was super excited to come back to Calama & we´ve seen several miracles this week! We had 5 investigators in church, and we met with a couple on Tuesday (Jorge and Ana) that we committed to get married and baptized. They immediately saw the importance of covenants with God, so they accepted, and we went with them to the government office, to set a marriage appointment. They are getting married June 16th, and baptized on the 17th! It´s been amazing to see their commitment, and that of the other investigators too. We also visited Bishop Martinez in Caspana, which was great! Anyway, I´ll write more next week, more specifically, because we have to go give a blessing to someone in the ward. 

--Elder Checketts

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

(PJ's response to a few questions we had...)

Yes.... I`m fine. I`m healthy. I`m eating sufficient amounts of food.... ;) We just got flu shots, so I should stay healthy and active. Yes, the water finally came back on, which is good! But then the water heater broke, but that's ok! But now, I`m not in Chañaral.... I was traveling all day yesterday, so I didn`t get the chance to write you guys.....but guess what?!?!?! I RETURNED TO CALAMA!!!!! I`m super excited to visit my converts and the members that were so awesome here!!! (Calama is the city in the middle of the desert that I was in for 6 months, the first time. ) I`m super excited to be here again!!! This will be my 3rd sector and ward in this city, since I was here before for 6 months in the Rìo Loa, and Caspana wards. Now I`m in the Oasis ward, and I`m super excited to have the opportunity to visit people I knew, for p-day, and to get to know more in this ward.

Last time, I had lots of success in this city, as far as having converts and growing close to the members goes... especially when I was with Elder Jennings. Hopefully I have the same success this time!! I`ll let you know next week how it`s going! I`m in the Oasis ward..... the ghetto area that we visited, when we were confronted by the bloody, drunk guy. lol. But don`t worry... I`m safe ;) I was talking with the Elders that are now in Caspana, and it sounds like the ward has suffered a lot recently, with some arguments between members, and difficulty retaining converts, and several active members going inactive because of difficult situations. Hopefully they`re doing well.... hopefully I`ll get the chance to visit them next p-day.

Anyway, this last week was very low-key. We spent the entire week cleaning the Chañaral church (after the big flood) to be ready for a baptism that the other Elders had, and for sacrament meeting on sunday. Unfortunately..... I forgot to bring my camera to send you guys pictures today...but I did take photos this time! My new companion is another Chilean, from Santiago, named Elder Urrutia. He has 4 and a half months in the mission, but is a recent convert of a year and a half, and is 26 years old. It`ll be interesting to have an older companion, but it`s already evident that he has tons of love for the people, and is a very hard worker. I feel like this will be a really successful, and enjoyable cambio! It`s also really weird to think that I`m going to be home before I know it!! Everyone is telling me that I`m almost done... but I keep reassuring them that I still have 8 months left.... which is a lot of time still!!!! (No one buys it much.)

I`ll have to send you my photos next week.... and I have a few that the mamita and papito took in Chañaral, that they sent me... 

Have another great week, and I`ll tell you how it goes, getting to know Oasis!

Love, PJ

Monday, May 22, 2017

From Preston's mom...  Sunday morning, we got a bunch of pictures from a couple of the members in Chanaral, Chile (where PJ has been for about 3 months, I think), and one message said that Elder Checketts was being transferred back to Calama.  We aren't sure if we will hear from him today, since the last time he made that trip, it took the entire day by bus to get to his new area.  I'm sure that PJ will be SO excited to go back to Calama!  He absolutely loved the people there, and got to know them very well, as he served there for about 6 months.  We will be excited to hear all about the changes...  So, until then, here are the pictures that the wonderful members of Chanaral shared with us...  :)  
(I'm SO grateful for the internet & the ability to communicate, send pictures, & email-- it definitely makes it feel not so far away...)  And I'm so grateful for kind, caring members that watch out for the missionaries & take good care of them!  :)

Monday, May 15, 2017

This week has been interesting... It started raining (for the first time in my mission) on Wednesday, in the night.... right before we left Chañaral to go to Copiapó, for the conference we had with Elder Texeira (Area 70 of South America South Area.) It was extremely powerful! He gave us lots of ideas to have more progressing investigators, and talked a lot about our morning study as the ´´golden time´´. President and Hermana Ferreira talked a lot about exact obedience, and then Hermana Texeira talked a lot about the Spirit, unity as a companionship, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the desire to serve. It was extremely spiritual, and when we got back to Chañaral, we had just enough time to make it to our English class! It went great this week! We had 8 people come!!! That´s more than we´ve ever had, and we got several new investigators out of it!! Then on Friday, it rained off and on all day. (At this point, I was pretty sick of having my planner wet, when I tried writing). We found several awesome new investigators that worked in the stores that we ducked into to keep dry... and found some very interested ladies that had spoken to missionaries before!!! We´ll see how it goes with them. That night, it started pouring!! And despite having an umbrella, we got absolutely soaked, before getting to the house. Unfortunately, it only rains in the Atacama desert like every 5 years..... so the streets aren´t built for rain (they don´t have drains), and the roofs aren´t either. Luckily, our roof stayed dry, but shortly after, they cut the electricity and the running water. The electricity came back on... but the pipes stayed dry. The next morning, there were giant pools of water all over the streets, and we realized that a big group of people had gathered on the highway. As we approached, we realized that they were looking at the river. (The river of Chañaral has been dried up for years, by the way), but it was full of rapid, brown water, and had flooded several streets, including all of downtown, had ripped away a highway bridge. Chañaral is split into two sections: the north (called Aeropuerto), and the southern side that has downtown. The river completely separated the two, and no one could cross, unless it was in a helicopter. We received news that the church building on the other side, had been flooded as well, and when we had the opportunity to cross the river, once it had died down yesterday, we saw that the fence of the church parking lot had been completely ripped away and destroyed, and the giant metal gate in front of the church was forced open. The entire first floor of the chapel had been coated in mud (and that means carpet replacement)... but luckily the sacrament room is upstairs, and was unaffected. We can now cross the river, and helped clean the church a little, but they´re sending the church clean up crew to do a deep clean and replace carpet and everything. We are still without running water though.... Luckily we have several 20 liter jugs of drinking water, but we are forced to take sponge baths! hahaha! Anyway, we´re doing fine, and we´ll see what we can do for the investigators as well. Have a great week, everyone!

-Elder Checketts

p.s. (In reference to our Skype call on Mothers Day)...
It was great to see you guys! I´m glad you all looked so happy and are doing so well! And I hope you had a happy Mother´s Day, Mom!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!!!

After waiting about 2-1/2 hours, PJ FINALLY called!!! Hooray!!!!! Because of a few challenges, it took a little longer to call us... They had the first rain there in about 4 years, and it flooded everything... The church, the roads, destroyed bridges, etc. Church was cancelled & they've been without water & power for a couple of days (they have bottled drinking water, and the power just barely came back on). They are fine & safe, just couldn't go anywhere, so had to figure out a few things... They were finally able to walk to a member's house to Skype. .  SO glad he was finally able to call!!! We loved seeing his smiling face & hearing his voice (and cute Spanish accent!). He is doing great & is happy & healthy! (He's lost about 25 lbs since he started his mission, but he is healthy & feels good).  When we were talking to him, he had a hard time remembering a few English words & mixed in a few Spanish words while we were talking...hahaha!   He hasn't spoken English at all for several months, because his companion & the other elders in his apartment are all native Spanish speakers.  It was SOOO great to see him & talk to him!!!!  When you only get to see & talk to your child twice a year, it's a pretty big deal!!!  :) It made our day!!! 

Monday, May 8, 2017

(In reference to the talk by President Uchtdorf, "Fourth Floor, Last Door.")

I love that talk!!! It was actually in my mind when I decided to knock ´´just one more door´´. It´s such a powerful story. And like you said, it has everything to do with the principle of faith. Because real faith always leads to action. 

We´ve had a very productive week! I was a bit discouraged, and we weren´t finding many people, but I decided to apply more effort, and teach all the people I could... and it really paid off! We´ve found some super interested and willing people, to listen to the gospel. I realized that I had slowly slipped into the trap of just working with all my might and strength, but witholding my heart and mind. And I´ve been a lot happier. :) Hopefully, we´ll get people to church this coming week. I don´t remember if I already told you guys, but we found a young mom named Maricel.... That talked a lot with missionaries before, came to church, and even recieved a witness of the Book of Mormon. The only problem is that her husband told her that she can´t talk with the missionaries. :( We´ll see if there´s anything we can do for her....

However, your questions really made me think deeply ;) .... so as for the greatest lesson that I´ve learned so far on the mission..... A lot of things crossed my mind: that I´ve learned to be a lot more patient with other people and with myself, I´ve learned how to better forgive myself of weakness, how to work hard, and press through discouragement. But all those things I´d sum up as having learned better for myself, how to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ in my life. I´ve realized better for myself the love that God has for every one of us, and how to express that love to the investigators... and how to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ for myself. I have truly seen the Lord´s hand supporting me in the hardest days, and carrying me on His shoulders when necessary. Through His example, I have seen how I can better carry those I teach on my shoulders. 

As for my favorite companion... That´s a hard one. Elder Francis, Elder Jennings, and Elder Burgos specifically have made a great impact on me. Elder Francis truly became my best friend for the entire time that I was with him as my companion, and Elder Jennings and I saw lots of miracles occur with many investigators, and the blessing of many baptisms. I also grew to love Elder Burgos like a brother... (because sometimes he tested my patience in the same way as Jonah)... but I learned a lot from him, and helped me a lot to improve.

As for the greatest blessing from my mission so far: I´d say definitely being able to see huge changes in the lives of others. Nothing makes me so happy as seeing the Spirit touch someone´s heart to make true changes in their lives!

I know I didn´t finish all the questions... but I have to go now. You can ask me all you want during our Skype call on Mother's Day.... and I´ll answer the rest next week. 

Have a great week everyone!  
-Love, PJ

Monday, May 1, 2017

Hey Everyone!

This week was slow, but ended on a good note. On Friday, we had a home evening in the church as a branch, that was super awesome and super fun, but earlier that day, all of our plans and appointments were falling through, and we decided to knock doors, to find more people. NO ONE opened their door!! So as it got close to the home evening, we were getting ready to head over to the church with little success in our efforts, and I decided that we'd try with one more house. So I picked a friendly looking one that said welcome, on the door. A young mom answered the door, and said, "Elders! Come on in!" It turns out she and her husband had investigated the church for a long time in the south of Chile... but lost contact when they moved... but now, she wants to start receiving the lessons again!!! ¡Hay milagros! (There are miracles!) However, even with this awesome little miracle, none of our investigators came to church :( Even if we pass by ten different people on Sunday morning, sometimes it's difficult to remember that each person still has their own choice...and we simply have to trust that God will touch their hearts, and help them get HIS timing. Not always ours... :) Anyway, I'll keep working hard, and work on finding more people. :) Hope you all have another great week!

--Elder Checketts

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hahahaha!  So you want photos?  of ANYTHING!  Here you go.  Hahaha!  Sorry.  I should be better with taking pictures.  But I haven't really taken any more lately...
About Easter though... Chile doesn't have any traditions that are different from the US.  Just hide chocolate eggs and find them again!  But the lunch we had with the Peruvian family was potatoes, rice, and chicken... but the rice was prepared with cilantro, and was really good... and the potatoes had a really yummy cream sauce made from milk, cheese, saltine crackers, and hot peppers.  (It sounds weird, but is really yummy).  Anyway, I'll write to you later... hopefully later today, but the lady in the computer place has to go on lunch break.  Love you!

A few hours later...  (I'm so glad PJ was able to write more!!!)  :)

Hey, again!

This week we worked really hard to go on visits with the members. Yesterday, for example, we had the help of a young couple named Christofer and Yessenia. We had the opportunity to teach an investigator with them, and visit Zunilda as well (Catalina´s mom). Yessenia and Christofer have two young kids, and both Christofer and Yessenia have gone through incredible changes to become strong members of the church. Yessenia was baptised when she was nine, but left the church at a young age. She later met Christofer, and the both of them were extremely worldly, conflicted people with addictions and bad habits. The missionaries began passing by, to reactivate Yessenia, but Christofer didn´t want ANYTHING to do with the church. A little while later, their son, Jairo, began waking up hysterical several nights straight, and Christofer permitted that the Elders enter their home to administer a priesthood blessing. He told us that after the blessing, Jairo never suffered from hysteria, and Christofer was convinced of the power of the priesthood. The couple left their groups of friends, their addictions, got married, and Christofer got baptized. They are now preparing to be sealed as a family in the temple in Santiago. When we went to visit one of our investigators with this couple, they testified so powerfully of eternal families, and the power that the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation has had in their lives. It is not difficult to see when someone has reached true conversion, because their choices change, and they testify with true conviction of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

As for the investigators, they´re doing well. It´s been difficult getting them to come to church (because they enjoy sleeping), but we´ll keep working on that! And as for you´re question about Cristian (the investigator that works in the jail)... yes, he did take us on a tour... and yes, it was kind of freaky... at first. For security, they had to take our phone, and lock this giant, metal door behind us... but all the inmates were working, and didn´t say anything to us. They were actually really respectful. I can only imagine what happens if they disrespect the wardons, or visitors...... But I thought it was funny... they can do more things than we can!!! They have televisions, and a library!!! hahaha! 

But anyway, hope that was a good bit of thoughts for the week :) Love, you! And since you want more pics... here´s one of my companion in the middle of a haircut ;)

--Elder Checketts

Monday, April 17, 2017

Hi everyone!  Thanks for all the birthday wishes!  I had a good birthday and Easter. We ate with a Peruvian family yesterday, and the food was REALLY good! Chilean food is really plain, and so every time we get a little touch of Peru or Bolivia, its a nice little change :) Thanks for the birthday/Easter package, by the way! I´ve been studying the Portuguese book of Mormon now, which is cool. Thanks for that! It makes me feel really smart, because I can understand a language I don´t know! hahaha! I can´t speak it.... or pronounce any of the words, but the grammar and spelling is very similar to Spanish. Thanks for all the candy, too! The smart food disappeared in about 10 seconds ;)  I´m glad that you guys enjoyed Easter as well! 

As for the investigators, there´s a young mom that lives in our sector named Thiare, that is super receptive, and has a lot of desire to change, and be baptized!!! She´s super humble, and willing to follow the will of God for her. The only problem is that she has to get married first. Hopefully we can help her with that, but generally its kind of a long process. The family that we found previously... Hilda, Amaro, and Francisca, are super awesome and receptive, but have been hard to find. It seems that they are really busy people, so we haven´t had the opportunity to teach them again :( But we´ll keep trying!!! We also have an investigator named Cristian, that is Catholic, but has a lot of desire to recieve the truth directly from God,  so he commited to pray and read the Book of Mormon! He´s also kind of hard to find, but he let us teach him at work. It was interesting, as he works in the prison. He gave us a full tour and everything!!! ;) It was super cool, and he´s a really sincere person. 

I´m glad that everyone has been doing well with school, and prom, and work, and that Dad enjoyed his birthday! Anyway, i´m running short on time, but have a great week!

Love, PJ

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hey Everyone!

This week was transfers. I´m staying here in Chañaral, but Elder Burgos is leaving to Arica (the most northern city of the mission). My new companion is another Chilean, named Elder Silva, from Concepción. Hopefully this cambio goes well, and we have lots of success, and help the branch a lot.  About conference in Spanish.... I understand everything at this point, so it was fine.  

About Valentina... the baptism fell through, and her mom asked us to stop passing by for a while, because she´s having difficulties with depression, and essentially doesn´t want the hope of religion to mess with her brain more. (It doesn´t make a ton of sense, but better not to make her mom mad.)

However, this week we were blessed to find a super receptive, religious family, that loved the message we share, and committed to being baptized, if they read the Book of Mormon, and feel that it´s true!!! It was super awesome to get to know them!   Other than that, the week was pretty slow. We worked hard, but it was simply one of those weeks :) We´ll keep working hard, and Heavenly Father will bless our efforts.  Have another great week! 

--Elder Checketts

p.s.  Also, just so you know...we only have an hour to read & write all our emails on P-days, so I usually end up having to rush, and can't write a lot, but try to share the highlights of my week.  :) 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Hey Everyone!

Zone conference was great last week. President Ferreira focused a bit on the numbers, because people were putting really high goals that were not realistic, so he helped the missionaries understand that we have to realize that growth is a process, and that 7 baptisms isn´t a realistic goal, if we didn´t have any last cambio. I don´t have the birthday package yet, but I´ll be getting it next week, at the beginning of the next cambio. We´ll see what happens with transfers, as my companion and I have been together 3 months now, but only one cambio in each sector. 

Conference was super good as well, but I swear it gets shorter every time ;) As the only gringo in Chañaral, I got to watch conference in Spanish. It was super uplifting, and I especially loved the talk by President Uchtdorf, about how fear often motivates us, and how we can have better things motivate us, such as the love of Christ, that will chase away all of our fear. I loved that message! It´s something I need to continue to cultivate as a missionary, especially when I have fear of baptizing someone that could go inactive, or teach someone that I worry won't progress, or try to make an important decision that I feel will upset my companion. If we act in righteousness, and with love, we will always be choosing the right, but also FEELING the right! 

In answer to your questions...  About earthquakes and bugs.... I haven´t felt any earthquakes lately.... and bugs are almost non-existant in this mission! There are lots of ants in Vallenar, as it´s the greenest city in the mission, but in contrast, a city like Calama, in the middle of the desert doesn´t even have FLEAS!!! (I loved Calama!)   About teaching English classes... we try doing English classes, but no one comes. :(   We´ll try it a few more times, but I think we will end up canceling, because it´s more effective to proselyte. As far as things I can´t get here, there´s not really anything I need... and the members are doing well too (and yes mom, they´re feeding me fine!)  In response to a friend who was called to Bolivia on his mission... My Bolivian converts have all been super awesome, down to Earth people, and the Bolivian elder here that shares the apartment is super cool too.  

As for us, we are helping several people prepare for their baptisms soon. The investigator closest to getting baptized is an 18 year-old girl named Valentina. She has a lot of faith in God, and says that our church is different from the others, because you can really feel a peace in the LDS church. She quickly accepted baptism as a way for her to become closer to her Father in Heaven, and she even came to conference with us!!! We´ll keep working with her, and our other investigators, and I´ll tell you how the progress goes!  I hope you all have a great week!

-Elder Checketts

p.s.  About the new temple announced for Saratoga Springs... That is Super awesome! I heard that and was super excited!  The other Elders were kind of jealous, as they´re all latinos.   They said, ´´Another temple in Utah??´´ hahaha! 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Hi Everyone!  

The baptisms of Dilan and Benjamín went great!  (In the photo above: Elder Burgos and I with Benjamín, his brothers, his sister, and her boyfriend and little boy. In the photo below: Elder Burgos and I with Dilan, his aunt, and friends.) Their baptisms were miracles really, as Benjamin had been investigating the church for several years, never recieving permission from his sister to get baptized, until now. And Dilan at first wanted to cancel the baptism since his mom wouldn´t be able to make it, as she doesn´t live with him. However, in the end, he also made the brave decision to be baptized, and the branch in Chañaral is now growing because of the youth converts!!

Speaking of recent converts, Catalina is still doing well, and staying strong in the church, and we´ve started teaching her step-dad, Hugo, who isn´t a member of the church. When we were passing by to prepare Catalina for baptism, Hugo always greeted us with only a few words, and then went into the other room. He seemed cold and unreceptive to us, but we decided one day, when we passed by after Catalina´s baptism to continue teaching her, that we would try teaching Hugo as well. And it turns out he is super receptive!!! He simply is someone that keeps to himself, but we never asked him if he was interested. He doesn´t have a firm faith in God or in Jesus Christ, but really enjoyed our message, and agreed with the principles of the doctrines of Christ, and that by having faith and praying to God to truly know for himself, he can recieve his own answer. He even accepted the idea that baptism is a necessary step, and that he´d like to prepare to be baptized if he feels that what we´ve taught him is true!!! 

We also recently had the opportunity to have a home evening with an inactive family. Because of a problem of one family member, the rest as well stopped going to church. However, as we talked with them, it was obvious that they have strong desires to re-animate the family and begin attending again. I decided to share with them the story of Peter, and the perspective you shared with me a few weeks ago: that we often focus on Peter´s lack of faith, and the fact that he began to sink, but we forget that he didn´t drown! He got back up, and he continued forward with Christ, and they walked back to the boat together. Thanks for that insight, Mom! It really animated that family, and helped them realize that we all start to sink at some point in our lives. But it´s important to focus on what we decide to do afterwards... to stand up, and continue forward with Christ. :)  I hope you all have another great week, and I´ll talk to you later!

Love, PJ (Elder Checketts)  ;)
P.S... about conference... I CAN´T BELIEVE APRIL IS ALREADY COMING UP!!!! I feel like I was just watching the October conference in Calama!!! We also have a zone conference tomorrow with Presidente Ferreira, and those are always great! 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hi everyone!  

I´m glad you´re doing well!  This week, we´ve seen tons of miracles! First off, we have two baptisms this Saturday: Benjamin, and Dilan. Benjamin is 12, and Dilan is 13. Both are miracle baptisms. Benjamin has been an investigator FOREVER! His sister is a less active member, and she´s his legal guardian, so as he is under age, she has to be the one to sign the baptismal form. The sister missionaries had tried time and time again to teach him and prepare him, but his sister would never give permission for him to get baptized, because she felt like he still didn´t know enough about the church. However, we´ve only been teaching him for a little more than 2 weeks, and when we went to talk to his sister, she signed the baptismal form immediately!!! It just shows that everyone has their time, and that the Spirit will soften the hearts of the people, when it is God´s will that something happens. The other young man is Dilan. He lives with a part member family, and so he had already heard quite a bit about the church, but as we were preparing him with the lessons, and began planning his baptismal interview, he told us that he probably wasn´t going to get baptized, because it´s likely that his mom can´t come to the baptism. However, he agreed to have the interview anyway, and afterwards was super animated and ready to take the step of baptism in his life!!! This week, we also ran into a lady who is a member of the church, but her family aren´t members, and she was the mamita to the missionaries for several years! We also met by coincidence a woman who said her son goes to the LDS church. When she told us his name, we realized it´s one of the hermana´s converts, that´s now super strong in the church, and acompanies the missionaries frequently! So that was really cool to see!  In answer to your question, the other Elders that live with us are from Bolivia, and Peru. They´re cool as well, and definitely help to improve my Spanish. ;)   I hope everyone has a great week!

-Elder Checketts

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hey, everyone!

This week, we were blessed with the baptism of a fourteen year-old girl named Catalina. She was thoroughly prepared by the hermanas (sister missionaries) that were here in Chañaral before us. It was a beautiful experience for her, and for her mom, Zunilda, who is also a member, but has not come to church in several years. 

At the baptism, the Spirit was extremely powerful. Zunilda, who was normally telling us about something bad that happened during the week, had a complete change of perspective, and she mentioned how touched she felt to be part of the baptism of her daughter. In showed simply but powerfully, the change each one of us can have if we simply let the Spirit into our hearts. 

This reminded me of a scripture that I love:

´´I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.´´ Doctrine and Covenants 82:10

The Lord has promised us His Spirit if we simply accept Him and His teachings in our lives. I also love the fact that the Lord doesn´t limit us and our potential. He wants us to be as happy as possible. This not only became a realization when we saw the change the Spirit made on Zunilda, but also something I´ve seen with the loss of the Spirit any time I´ve had an argument with my companion. The opposite is very true as well: that we bacome extremely limited in our potential if we DON¨T allow the Spirit in our hearts. 

´´No estáis limitados por nosotros, sino que estáis limitados por vuestro propio corazón.´´ 2 Corintios 6:12

This scripture is one I´ve shared before, but one I love, especially in Spanish. The scripture is a little different in English, but the literal translation is, ´´Ye are not limited by us, but rather, ye are limited by your own heart.´´ I love those words, and are the ones the I reflect on again and again each day to see if I have done my part in the work of the Lord. Am I limiting myslef today? And how can I improve upon that? 

Overall this week was a good one, and I learned a lot. I hope all of you have another great week, and I´ll write you next Monday!

- Elder Preston Checketts

Monday, March 6, 2017

Hey, everyone! 

This week has been great, here in Chañaral!  The town is really peaceful, and right next to the sea, surrounded by mountains.  

I had the unique opportunity to visit one of Uncle Bart´s converts here in Chile!
When I entered Chañaral, I was really excited to be able to contact several of the people taught by Elder Vance, when he was here several years ago. I made sure not to forget the name Jorge Rojas, that he told me to contact, if I ever made it here. So the first thing I did when I got here, was ask the branch president where Jorge lived, and went to visit him. Unfortunately, when I passed by, he was working, but his wife made sure to tell him that I had passed by to see him. The rest of the week we worked as usual, with the hope to visit Jorge the next week sometime. However, during sacrament meeting on Sunday, during the opening hymn, the man in front of me passed me this photo:

Jorge was super excited to hear that Elder Vance was doing well, as was his sister Deisy, that got baptized at the same time as Jorge, but is not currently living in Chañaral. But upon the request of showing Elder Vance that he´s also doing well, we took this picture:

​Years later, and here´s Jorge, his mother, his wife, and his oldest son, who has since returned from a mission in Guatemala. It was super cool to be able to visit this family, and talk about his conversion, and all that has happened since the missionaries first knocked on his door in 1988.

In other news, my companion and I have a baptism this Saturday! It´s a 13 year-old girl named Catalina, whose mom is a less active member. Catalina was taught by the sister missionaries that were here before, and she has a lot of desire to be baptized and follow Christ. 

As well, today for p-day we took pictures of Chañaral from a local lighthouse. hope you enjoy :)

​Hope everyone enjoyed the photos, and I´ll let you all know how the baptism went!

-Elder Checketts