Monday, January 23, 2017

Hey, everyone!

This week was really good. We had lots of success opening the sector.  We found lots of new people, and have found several people really interested in getting baptized. However, as for your questions.... the bus ride from Calama was really long.... and the bus broke down half way, and we had to wait for an hour and a half to get onto another one.  That was fun... but I made it in one piece :).  For the first bus ride, there were two other elders on the bus, but one got off when the bus broke down, and the other went to a different city on a different bus.  But Vallenar is really pretty, and it`s awesome in our sector, because our sector is an area on a big hill, and we can see the whole city. It`s super cool :) Our pension is nice, but we get a lot of ants.  As it is more fit for sustaining life than Calama, there are more bugs. Not tons, but if someone doesn`t wash the dishes, we get thousands of ants all over in the sink. And about my new companion, Elder Burgos, we get along really well.  

....And yes, Mom, the cities are safe.... but president just prefers that four missionaries are together. Each city is generally safe, but each one also has specific parts you don`t want to visit after sunset. But don`t worry... I`m fine :) The branch here is really good though. The members are nice, and we`ve found lots of people with tons of potential in our sector, and it`s definitely the prettiest sector I`ve had! The state of my area is about average. Alto Hospicio was fairly poor, and Calama had parts that were very rich, and so Vallenar is pretty average. But as for mamitas..... we don`t have one here :( I have to cook and wash my own clothes.

You asked about my favorite part of the mission so far... and I honestly had to think about that for a while. I realized that it`s not something I`ve asked myself, because I just enjoy the work when I`m looking for new people. While there are awesome, extremely spiritual moments that I`ve had here, more often than not the happiness I recieve is from simply working hard. It really brings a simple peace to the day. However, your question about my favorite area.... I don`t know what to say to that one. I love the hard work we`ve started in Vallenar, I loved the members and the things to do in Calama, and I loved Alto Hospicio for being my first area in the mission. 

Anyway, I`m glad you are all doing well also, and I hope you continue to enjoy the winter and the snow! 

And last week I was unable to send pictures, so here they are: from leaving Calama, the baptism of Nelly and Fernanda, and P-day in Huasco (a city on the coast, 45 minutes from Vallenar):

​(In the last picture, my companion and I are the ones wearing the most red). Anyway, I don`t have a lot of time to write much more, but I`m loving Vallenar, and we`re finding lots of people to teach. Work really is the secret to missionary work. The branch is great, and we`re working hard to help people towards baptism. Hope everyone has a great week, and I`ll talk to you all next monday!

-Elder Checketts

(A note from Preston's mom:  In many of the areas of PJ's mission, they have "Mamitas" that feed the missionaries lunch each day & also do their laundry each week (they are ladies in the ward who volunteer to do this to help out the missionaries).  When PJ told us this when he first went out, I said that he was going to get very spoiled!  Hahaha!  I made sure the year before he left that he had plenty of experience doing his own laundry, cooking meals, balancing his checkbook, planning meals & buying groceries, ironing, etc., so that he would be prepared.  So, I'm very happy that he actually has to do some of this for himself now.  :)  Hahaha!

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