Monday, November 20, 2017

Hey Everyone!!

I´ve been doing well (though I forgot to take photos..... Sorry, I really don´t generally take many photos.. but I´ll take some this week to send to you for sure!) :) As for the investigators, we´ve had some progress, as well as some disapointments. Alicia got back from Santiago, but she said that she recieved news from the doctors that her health isn´t as great as she had hoped and has to follow a strict medical treatment. She told us that she has started suffering from depression and that she doesn´t feel up to talking with us for a while..... that was really sad, and we tried to explain that the gospel is the thing that will help her most to regain peace of mind and heart, but we´ll see what we can do for her. As for Fabian, his baptism will be taking place this Saturday. It wasn´t able to happen on Saturday or Sunday, so we´ll have it this weekend instead. As for the other investigators, we have a new investigator named Daniel, that is a young man from England that came to Chile for a few months to teach English. He understands enough Spanish to teach English...... but because he speaks so little spanish we´ve gotten to teach the lessons in English, and give him a Book of Mormon in English. It was really hard at first because we never speak English, let alone teach in English, but it was an amazing experience, because as we were teaching the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I felt impressed to share the First Vision... but as I have never memorized it in English, I was hesitant, but I continued to feel the strong impression and started with the little that I knew from the beginning. However, after the first sentence, the second entered my mind, and the third, etc... until I had recited something that I had heard hundreds of times in English but had never memorized. The Spirit was very strong in that moment, and it reminded me of the promise in Doctrine and Covenants that our mouths will be filled with the words we must say in the very moment that we are to share them. It powerfully reminds us that this is the Work of the Lord, and never ours.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving! I´ll let you know how Fabian´s baptism goes... and I´ll send you more photos!

Love, PJ

Monday, November 13, 2017

Hi Everyone! This week has been good. We`re waiting for Alicia to get back from Santiago, because she had to get several medical exams done, and we have to see when she`ll be returning. We have taught her and her husband Leo several times, and she especially has tons of interest, and commited to read the Book of Mormon to be able to recieve her own answer. We`ve also been working with a man named Fabian that had problems with alcohol and cigarettes, however, when we began teaching him about repetence he realized that he wanted God`s blessings in his life, and has completely dropped his addictions, to have the opportunity to be baptized. We have his baptism scheduled for this weekend, but we`re not sure yet if it`ll be Saturday or Sunday. He`s made tons of improvement and really wants to change his life with Christ`s help. We`re also helping a couple named Paola and Esteban that have been investigators for a long time, and all their kids are baptized.... but they are not married, and therefore cannot be baptized yet, as well as feeling nervous about making such important commitments. However, we`ve talked to them a lot about these sepcific topics, and they really just need help understanding the importance of recieving these blessings as soon as possible, to have a stronger and happier family. We continue to help the investigators understand the importance of making covenants with God to recieve His blessings, and we`re working hard to find more people to teach. Have another great week!

Love,
Elder Checketts

Monday, November 6, 2017

Hey, Everyone!!!

This week was a good one! The investigators are doing great!!! We've found several new investigators that must have been prepared for us to find…because several of them have hearts & minds that are very open, and are quickly able to understand the doctrine that we teach. We currently have several that are active in other churches, but that actually helps them understand a lot, like if the Book of Mormon were true, we could only know by way of prayer, directly asking God. They surprisingly are very interested and are progressing! There´s an older Catholic couple named Alicia and Leo, and Alicia especially has found a lot of interest in what we share, and has promised to read the Book of Mormon, to be able to receive her own answer, and know whether or not its true. Leo is EXTREMELY Catholic, meaning… it's difficult for him to understand different doctrine… EVEN if it's supported by the Bible. However, Alicia has helped us a lot, because, although she is Catholic as well, she is very open minded and has admitted many times how what we teach really makes sense, such as baptism with an age of accountability, and by immersion, or baptisms for the dead, and Eternal LIfe.

We also have an investigator named Ana, who was told by her Pastor that she shouldn´t talk with us or read the Book of Mormon, but has decided personally to do both, in order to recieve her own answer. We also recently met a man named Eric that believes in God, and said that he never has been baptized, but has always had the question of which church is the true church that was established by Christ!! We´re seeing miracles with the people that we´re finding and teaching!!!

As for your question about Halloween... we just kept working (though it wasn´t a very productive day). And no, the church didn´t have a halloween party. There are lots of people here, that actually look at halloween as an evil American holiday to worship the devil...... so..... The church doesn´t have a party for that, here... My companion and I are doing well and getting along.... On Friday, the missionaries got calls for transfers, but nothing happened with us, so we´ll continue to work together at least until the 17th of December.

I´m glad to hear that the family has been doing so well, and everyone is enjoying what they´re doing. Anyway, hope you have a great week! Love you!

love, PJ!






Monday, October 30, 2017

Hi everyone!  It`s funny that you have been talking about it getting colder and the snow in the mountains and such...... I think this winter may change my mind about the cold... as I haven`t experinced it in a long time!!! hahaha!

Anyway, you were asking about the investigators. We`ve haad some ups and downs with different people. Last week we found a Colombian man named Jorge that had lots of interest in our message and even began reading the Book of Mormon... however, he didn`t make it out to church.... and when we had the opportunity to meet with him after the first visit, he kept telling us that it doesn`t matter if we go to church or not because we can have God in our hearts, and everyone that believes in Christ is worthy to enter Heaven. We tried to explain the importance of church, but he kept coming back to the point that ``God is love``, and found it difficult to accept that God is also order. In the same visit, we were interrupted by a man that told us the church sends missionaries from the US, because we`re spies for the government! hahaha! We also found a young woman from Perú named Tanya that works in a hotel. She has tons of interest in the church, and wants to learn more and ask God if the Book of Mormon is true.... however her job makes it complicated for her to come to church, and her boss told her she couldn`t take time off to attend. So that kind of stinks... but we`ve also been teaching a woman named Ana, that is active in another Christian Church, and after the first visit she told us that she`d read the pamphlet we gave her, and we also gave her a Book of Mormon. When we saw her again, she told us that her pastor had told her to not read the Book of Mormon or continue talking to us. We told her that if she wanted to know if the Book of Mormon is true, the only way would be by reading it. She is now progressing and has decided to read the Book of Mormon anyway, because she truly wants to know if it is or is not the word of God. We`re continuing to help the investigators progress, and seraching for those that are ready to hear our message. Anyway, I`ll talk to you guys later! Love you!


--PJ

Monday, October 23, 2017

Hi everyone! My letter is short today, because I`m running kind of short on time again....

I`m glad to hear that the family is doing well! As for me.... this was a pretty good week, helping new investigators, (and old ones too) progress toward baptism. We have several that have lots of desire to receive their own answers to be able to be baptized, such as Raul and Cristina, that are good friends of the bishop, and are very humble learners..... as well as Josè, who is a young man that has lots of real intent and has quickly picked up on our challenge to start reading the Book of Mormon... as well as his girlfriend Fernanda, who is the daughter of a less active member. However, none of these investigators came to church yesterday, for different reasons. :( But, we`ve just got to keep working hard, and the Lord will bless us for our efforts. Yesterday was also the mission farewell of Pablo.... our ward mission leader. He left last night, and is serving in Brazil! The ward is doing great as well, and we`re continuing to help the people that we find each day! Love you guys so much, and hope you have another great week! I`m doing great, and enjoying being on the Lord`s errand. :)

Love, PJ

Monday, October 16, 2017

Hey, Everyone!

I´m doing great! This week was a really good one. Last Monday night, we had interviews with President Ferreira, and then we had Zone conference and lunch with him on Tuesday. Also, In the night between Monady and Tuesday, there was an Earthquake here that was a 6.3 (That´s something super common and relatively small here.... but in any other part of the world, it makes the news! hahaha!) We just woke up, and then went back to sleep. We didn´t even get out of bed! hahaha! But the yellow building that you saw in the photo (last week) is right next to our apartment building. But It´s the exact same building model. Anyway, the rest of the week, we were visiting and trying to find investigators. We had four investigators that came to church (two of them came by themselves, without us inviting them!!!) There was a young man that came with several less active members, and a woman that was curiously looking outside of the church, and we invited her to come back when the meetings started. And she came!!! It was great! We alse had an amazing lesson with Raúl and Cristina yesterday (the bishop´s friends), and we taught the Plan of Salvation. We felt the Spirit really powerfully, as did they, and when we finished explaining, I asked them if they would like to have Eternal life, and they quickly said yes. We then asked them what they thought would be their first step towards Eternal Life. They quickly recognized this first step, or covenant for them to take, as baptism. They are progressing tons, and we´re working hard to help them, and find more interested and willing investigators. Today, we went to a place called the Morro de Arica, that´s like a big plateau at the bottom of the city, where Chile won a battle, and claimed the city from Perú. We also played Volleyball and Frisbee with the zone, and I got burried in the sand. hahaha!

I´m glad to hear that the family is doing well. I hope you all have a great week!

Love,
-PJ

Monday, October 9, 2017

Hey, Everyone!

Sorry again for last week! But as for your questions, My companion, Elder Pasigan, speaks Spanish, English, Tagalog, and the native language of his specific island: hiligynon (I don´t know if that´s how you spell it).... But yeah!!! And the other two Elders in our apartment are both from the US. One is from Pleasantview, and the other one is from Florida. As for conference....we had a gringo room, which was great! I always like watching conference in English, because all the speakers are actually speaking my native language....

But as for the investigators that are progressing.... I had mentioned a little bit a 19 year-old girl named Belen. She previously didn´t believe in God at all, until bad things started happening, and she desperately wanted to know if He existed... so she prayed and felt that she had recieved a confirmation of His existence. She later came in contact with missionaries in Santiago, and when she moved to Arica, she put her own name in the church reference system, for the missionaries to visit her. She has progressed a ton, and this whole week we were preparing her to be ready to be baptized.... and so, on Sunday, she was able to make this sacred covenant with her Heavenly Father:


It was a good week, and we were able to see the fruits of our labors. We are now working with several other investigators that are also progressing rapidly toward baptism, such as a couple named Raúl and Cristina that are friends of the bishop and his wife, and have tons of desire to follow God and are willing to be baptized when they recieve their own answers through prayer.

Now, as for the photos that I took from leaving Calama and entering Arica... there are a lot. It was super sad to leave behind the Oasis ward, because I truly grew so close to them, and several of these families in the photos truly became my family while there...

Hope you enjoy the photos!!!

But I´m glad to hear that you guys are doing well! We´re just working hard to prepare the other investigators to be baptized. Hope you have another great week (and that I sent enough photos) ;)

Love, PJ


  

























Monday, October 2, 2017

Hi there!  First off, yes... the trip to Arica was long.... but safe and without problems. My companion, Elder Pasigan has 14 months in the mission, and doesn`t have much of an accent, as he already spoke 3 languages before learning Spanish. And we also live with 2 other elders from the US.  

This first week in Arica has been a good one. Arica is really pretty, and we have several investigators that are progressing a lot, such as a man named Juan Pablo, who has been addicted to cigarettes for more than half of his life, but has put faith in the Lord this week, and has cut down from 20 cigarettes to 7 in a week! We also have an investigator named Belen, who is a 19 year-old girl who previously did not believe in God... but decided to do so after the occurance of several difficult situations in her life, and is now progressing tons, and is progressing toward baptism! The members that I`ve had the opportuniry to meet are also very good people, and willing to help the investigators progress.

As for General Conference... it was truly amazing!! I especially liked Elder Holland`s talk about trying to improve, but in constructive ways. It`s something important to always remember as a missionary, if I also want to influence others to feel the spirit and be happy. But to be honest there wasn`t a single talk that didn`t make me feel the Spirit strongly and recieve greater insight for myself and the investigators. I loved them all, and once again... it was too short ;) .

Anyway, I`m doing great, and I`m glad that you and the family are doing great as well! I`ll let you know how next week goes!  
Also, I`m really sorry, but I`m short on time again! I feel really bad, because that`s happened a few times. I promise I`ll write more next week, and send all the photos... 

Love you!
--PJ

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Hey Everyone!

First off, as you know... I got transfered, to Arica! It's Chile's northern most city. It is very pretty, and is right before crossing the border to Peru. I'm excited to get to know the area better. My new companion is Elder Pasigan from the Philipines. I´m glad to hear that you guys are doing great too! I´m really sorry, but because I was traveling all day yesterday, I don´t have much time now to write, but I´ll send you photos next week, and more info on how the sector is doing. Love you! Have a great week! (And sorry for such a short email).


This picture was sent to me by another ward member, before PJ left Calama.  :)

Monday, September 25, 2017

(From PJ's Mom): We didn't get a letter from PJ today, because he is getting transferred, but I got 2 notes from a couple members in the area that he served in. These ladies have sent us notes & pictures during the time PJ served there. I'm SO grateful for modern technology & communication, as well as google translate (so I can understand what they say, and can respond back to them!) Here is what they said:

I got this message from Sol Belen yesterday:
"Tomorrow is your son's last day in Calama and a family he teach cry to know the news. The City of eternal spring is going to Arica"

And I got this message from Mireya Vidal this morning... :) It made me cry & made my heart so happy! xoxox
"Our dear elder will write to you tomorrow for the changes...
He is super well and we love him so much! we will miss his big smile, his joy of working, and always willing to help others..
He leaves converts here who love him very much......
I had the blessing to be with him in two neighborhoods barrio Rio LOA and now in barrio oasis... Stacey has a great missionary and already soon to hug him."

These sweet messages totally made my day!!!  xoxox



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! 


Love, 
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!

Love,
PJ


**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!

-PJ


(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!  :)