Monday, February 27, 2017

Hey, everyone!

This week was certainly eventful, with transfers that we really didn´t expect. My companion, Elder Burgos, and I are leaving Vallenar to go to a little coastal town between Antofagasta and Copiapó, called Chañaral. It stinks that we weren´t in Vallenar for very long, but I´m excited to start working and looking for more people in Chañaral. We prepared a lot of people in Vallenar, but the baptisms did prove to be more difficult to obtain. Nonetheless, I feel that we had a lot of success, and I´m excited to do the same here in a new part of the mission.  We're opening a sector together in Chañaral.  Beforehand, there were four hermanas in Chañaral, and President Ferreira decided to take them all out, and replace all four with Elders. So the whole city is being "white washed."  Chañaral isn´t as green as Vallenar, but it´s right on the coast, so that´s good :)  I´ll write you all to update you on Chañaral.  Have a great week!

-Elder Checketts​​   

Here are some pictures from Vallenar:

Monday, February 20, 2017

(From Preston's mom:  PJ didn't have time to write a public email this week, but he sent a picture of his area, that I'll attach below, and I'll share a little of my letter as well... AND, this past Friday, Feb. 17th, PJ hit his 1-year mark!!!  Crazy to think that it's been a year already!  The time has flown by so fast!!!  Also, He FINALLY got his new debit card, after several months & re-sending it twice!  So, he was able to go buy some new dress pants for $6.24 US dollars!  And it's funny, because the clothes that we bought him right before he left, all fit just fine, but several months ago he said that he had lost about 16 lbs!  So I wonder if he's lost more weight, since it sounds like his pants were getting so baggy! Hahaha!  At least he looks well & healthy in all of his pictures!  :))  

Wow, I`ve already hit a year!!! I can`t believe it either!!! About the pants I bought though... They were dress pants... because the ones I got from Mr. Mac are HUGE!!!! They`re clown pants, I swear! So I needed something that fit better. ;)   

Anyway, hope you have a great week, and I`ll talk to you again next week!  We are still working with those interested people!  We had several that accepted baptism immediately.... but they didn`t come to church :(  We`ll keep going!  Oh.... and today, we had a water balloon fight as a zone!

Talk to you later!  
Love, PJ

(I also asked PJ about a mural that he said he painted on the side of a school building in his first area (Alto Hospicio), for a service project, that he didn't mention until just a few weeks ago).  This is what he said...   I didn`t have my camera that day. For one, because we were in the sketchiest part of the sector, and I didn`t want paint on it either. But the mural was of hills and a sky, with kids playing and trees made out of the kids hands. Sorry I don`t take more pictures. I should do that more often. Or at least tell you guys more about what I do :)  (He's never been one to take a lot of pictures, or go on & on about details or brag about his accomplishments, etc., so we have to ask him lots of questions to get details...hahaha!)  

Here`s the picture of Vallenar from my sector:

Monday, February 13, 2017

Hey, everyone!

Hopefully you all had another good week, and that everyone is still enjoying the snow for me :)

As for my week here, we found several new people who are interested in our message as missionaries, and have commited to getting baptized. Today, we also have an investigator who is returning from her vacation in Peru, and will hopefully be getting baptized this week. 

However, this week we also had planned the baptism of Michael and his dad, Cristian. Cristian has been investigating for a long time, but is also investigating another church, and still isn`t sure as to which one he should join. For that reason, his and his son`s baptisms have been postponed, but we are going to keep working hard with him, to help him understand the Restoration of the gospel, and help him to undertsand that he can recieve his own answers through prayer. 

Also, It`s crazy what a mission does to your teaching skills. Before my mission, if someone told me 5 minutes before a class to give the lesson, I wouldn`t have been able to do it.... or we would have read the entire Book of Mormon as my ''class.''  But now, its commonplace and natural.  Lots of times, the teacher for gospel principles doesn`t come, so we have to do the lesson without planning.... and in Spanish.  It really keeps you on your toes ;)

That`s about all that happened this week, but we`ll be working hard with Cristian, Michael, and the other investigators that are progressing rapidly, to get them ready for baptism. Hope you all have another great week, and I`ll update you next Monday!

-Elder Checketts

Monday, February 6, 2017

Hey, everyone!

This week, we were looking for lots of people that are receptive & can be baptized soon. We found lots of people who were receptive, and commited to come to church. On Sunday, only one of those people came. The kid that came to church is named Michael, and has lots of real intent for a 14 year old. His desire to be baptized as soon as possible really animated us, but throughout the entire week, I was feeling really overwhelmed and pressured to be a better missionary, to find faster, to teach more effectively, to be a more consecrated Elder, and so on. As I was pondering this opposition I had felt the entire week, during church, the branch president got up to bear his testimony with the congregation. He started by saying that he had been thinking a lot about the apostle Peter during the week, and went on to share the story of when Peter walked on water. He explained that many times we are like Peter. We start a project or a task, with the faith the we can acomplish it with Christ`s help, but as we begin to examine the problems, we lose faith, and begin to feel like we are drowning in pressure and expectations. The branch president explained that when that happens, Christ is at our side, extending us His hand, and promising us that we can feel His relief and His peace, if we would just have faith in Him.  And that He will help us back up, and even during hard times, we don`t have to feel like we are sinking. As he explained this, the Spirit touched me powerfully, and I distictly felt that I had been losing faith, that I had begun to forget that the Lord will empower the laborers of His work, and will not permit that we drown in our efforts, as long as we don`t forget Him. That`s what I specifically learned this week, and wanted to share with all of you.

But in other news, today, being p-day, we went to the beach that`s not far from Vallenar:
I hope everyone enjoys the pictures, and I'll make sure to send more of Vallenar next week!  I'll write you all next Monday!

--Elder Checketts