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!