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!

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