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 :)