Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year <3

Hello Everyone:)
 
I hope you all had a great Christmas and I hope you all will have a super happy new year! 2014! I can't believe I have been around to see my 21st year. It's insane!! And I continue to grow and learn every minute. I never want to stop!
 
It's crazy where this past year has taken me! Going from questioning my testimony to giving up everything for it! I am so honored to be serving on the trail of the pioneers and for the chance I have had to study them and to learn of my family history and to feel their spirit SO STRONGLY out here urging me and reminding me of how IMPORTANT this gospel is! They gave up EVERYTHING!!!!!!! And there are many people out here who have sports to give up, houses to give up, and even family member relationships that have dwindled because of the conversion they had to the gospel. As I've realized lately, I would give up ANYTHING for it.
 
I know that Heavenly Father lives-- I have a witness of Him! I know that through Jesus Christ we can be forgiven of ALL things and strengthened through all our trials!! Even the greatest of heartaches! I know that they give comfort through the Holy Ghost, and I know that only through devoting ALL your time and effort towards the gospel, that you will receive the guidance you need to grow into who our Heavenly Father wants you to be! We all have SUCH potential!!!
 
I promise you that material things bring you NO eternal happiness. Learning and living the Word of God is the only way to receive enduring happiness and joy to the SOUL.
 
This week has been a great one:) Christmas was special and I feel so blessed to have spent it with the people I did. Sister Weber is seriously the best and the members in this ward are so generous!
 
Talking to my family was great! The highlight of the day <3  I do miss them:) But after hanging up the phone, I'm realizing that I wouldn't want to be ANYWHERE else that right here right now.
 
Staying with the Trendwood sisters was also SO GREAT!!! I have gained some amazing best friends out here <3
 
We were able to see our investigator family at church yesterday! They all came and the ward was WONDERFUL to welcome them! I seriously could go on and on about how much I love each person out here individually, but I wouldn't be able to express it.
 
Sister Weber and I have so much fun! I seriously am so blessed to have her!!
 
I really don't have much to report this week! I'm doing super well and coming out here has been the best decision I know I have ever made <3 <3
 
Fresh new year! Fresh new start!! Set goals (spiritual goals!) and make this the best year ever. I know it will be the best of MY life. 1 full year left in the mission field <3 <3
 
THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!!!! God be with you always-- I know he is!
 
-Sister Checketts
 
(we got a picture by a nunnery this week. There is one right by our house! haha. People always ask if we're nuns)

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!

Merry Christmas everyone:)
 
I love you all sooooo dearly and wish you the very merriest of Christmas's this year. I do wish I could be there to spend it with you, but I am determined to make this the best Christmas and one that I will never forget:) I love it out here in the mission field and the sisters and ward I am spending it with, I could not ask for better <3 <3 The Lord truly answers prayers.
 
It has been a good week!! Despite many things that have gone wrong, we've seen many many miracles!! Sister Weber and I have this knack for forgetting/losing things and it gets difficult! But we find ways to laugh about it and have TONS of fun:)
 
So we did service on Wednesday morning- so we dressed in service clothes and packed our dresses&skirts to change into after. We did our service-- helping people move, and then when we went to go change at the church, I realized I had forgotten my boots. NEW MOST EMBARRASING MOMENT!! I had to go ALLLLL day with wearing my dirty tennis shoes with my khaki skirt... uhhhh We were laughing soooooo hard. So were the members and investigators that we saw that day. HAHA. Yes, I took pictures, but you're CRAZY to think that I would post it on this email that goes to my blog ;)
 
THENNNN (it gets better). We did service again on Saturday! We again wore our service clothes in the morning and brought clothes to change into after we were done. But this time, Sister Weber forgot to grab her bag of clothes. So she ended up having to borrow one of our members that lives nearby's skirt so that she wouldn't look ridiculous as we went to the trail center.
 
YES. We went to the trail center this week! We took a LA family that we're working with and they absolutely LOVED the history of the pioneers. She said that it feels good to know that she's no the only one who has sacrificed much for the truth. The pioneers sacrificed EVERYTHING because the KNEW that this gospel and church is true and they wouldn't trade ANYTHING for the truth. It was a cool experience. We were all able to see the gingerbread houses again, and this time we actually drove back into Iowa, into Council Bluffs to see the Kanesville Tabernacle as well! Here is where I saw the gingerbread house and Christmas tree that I helped to put together from when I was in Red Oak. It was awesome and beautiful:)
 
We had our Christmas Zone conference this last week! It was AMAZING!! The spirit was sooooo strong and many of us had to stand up and give a talk that we had prepared on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I got to see soooo many friends and like my whole zone from the MTC! I saw Sister Goldsberry, my VERY first companion. It was the first time I'd seen her since she went home with a broken ankle after day 5 at the MTC. So that was cool! President and Sister Weston are the absolute BEST! They put together a book of all the NOM missionary's conversion stories and it is absolutely amazing. That was a wonderful Christmas gift. Then we also did a Christmas gift exchange with all the other missionaries. We read a story and passed our gifts left and right with like 50 missionaries in a giant circle. I ended up getting 2 nerf guns (YES!!) of which Sister Weber and I have had fun shooting each other and nailing the members that we live with :) It's fun:)
 
There is also a sister in the mission whose mother knitted like 140 slippers for all the sister missionaries! HOW SWEET!! So we all have matching slippers ADORBS!!
 
We went to the temple this week! I feel SO LUCKY that I have gotten to go so often. This was the smallest group that I have gone with yet, and the drive with the elders to Omaha was QUITE the experience. Hahaha they crack me up so much! The temple was the best this week though, and always brings SO MUCH peace into my life. Especially since things this last week have been stressful and hectic.
 
We did get kicked out of our house this week though. Our members son came home for Christmas last minute, so out of the blue we had to pack up all our stuff and gifts and move in with the Trendwood sisters's apartment. Which was kind of sad at first but I ADORE the Trendwood Sisters and it's been a HUGE answer to prayers for all of us. It's going to be great to wake up Christmas morning with them. We're all seriously like best friends! Sister Curfew (love her! She actually went to USU with me, but we never met up there) & Sister Sommers (from Utah! Super close to home). I know we'll be friends forever! They're amazing.
 
The members in our ward are awesome! Often we go to dinner appointments and they have a little stocking for us to take home and a BAZILLION treats. Funny thing is though, ALL our gifts have tissues in them. What is up with giving sister missionaries tissues??? It's like we cry all the time or something!! I seriously have received like 5 things of tissues. HAHA
 
I finished journal #2 this week! I swear, when I get home I'm going to be sick of reading about my mission life. But I know it will be a blessing too. Everyone out here just laughs at me, but they're all secretly jealous too ;)
 
We taught one of our new investigators this week! She is 19 and up here for college. We had a super good lesson and during it, I truly realized the power and mantle that we carry as missionaries. We had a member join us, and it was just an amazing experience and she wants to learn more! We'll meet with her again after Christmas.
 
There have been lots that has happened though. Good and bad! We're seeing someone we love DEARLY slipping away from things and it's so hard to watch. We went to her house the other day begging for her to let us in because we KNOW she needs a friend, but she wouldn't budge. She is at a very rough spot right now and things have gotten so hard that she's ready to give up, it's hard to see her making that decision when we know that if she just holds on a little longer that things will get soooo much better! But God has granted us agency and we get to choose what we want to do. I wish there was more we could do to help. I feel so blessed to be feeling love for people out here like I'm doing and to be able to gain these relationships with people and to help them through tough tough times is a huge blessing!! I want nothing more than to see the Lord trust me enough to do His will THROUGH me. It's the best feeling in the world.
 
This morning, we had the opportunity to go and serve at a funeral of a lady in our ward that passed away this last week from cancer. We never got the chance to go and meet her, but felt honored that they wanted our help at the funeral. On Saturday, the bishop had asked us to come in and sing for them to demonstrate some of our hymns (they aren't members) and we sang some that they had picked out. I pointed out my favorite hymn #100 (Nearer My God to Thee) and sang it for them and they chose that as a song to add to the program. This morning as we sang it and as I listened to the talks given, I couldn't help but feel pure joy and comfort in knowing that no matter how HARD it is to lose a loved one, we WILL see them again. And there is so much craziness and stuff in the world that pulls us away from what is SO TRULY important-- which is love and family. And as we sang I felt that joy from knowing that Heavenly Father worked through me to bring that song to this family-- to provide them with comfort and knowledge that families are most important and that they WILL see her again. It was just one of the many small tender mercies that the Lord provides.
 
AND HE LOVES US SOOOOO MUCH that he even gives us the tiny petty little needs that are so pathetic!! We had an experience this week and once last week where we were SUPER craving certain types of food. We had spend the whole day talking about how much we wanted Asian food. The family that we were eating with had THE BEST compliments on them for the amazing cooks that they were and even though we were so excited to eat with them, we were craving Chinese food. We walked into the house, to see the mother apologizing over and over that they had just gotten to busy and stressed to make a big meal, and her husband was on his way home with Chinese take-out. Mind you, this has happened more than once with odd food cravings. The Lord loves us so much and will even satisfy our lamest wants. He's the GREATEST.
 
Anyway, as I begin to ponder this holiday season, I can't help but share a line of a story that I read. A boy is talking about Santa Claus and Jesus Christ and a line of his really stuck out to me. He said "I'd rather have Christmas without Jesus than Jesus without Christmas". I'd ask you all to ponder that line this holiday season and truly look deep into your testimony of our beloved Savior. And use this holiday season to celebrate His life and His birthday. He means the whole world to me there is no place I'd rather be (no matter how much I miss you) than to be out here, doing HIS will this Christmas season. Share His gift. As President Weston said this week " I hope this season will be a time spent with Him, doing His will, His work, and enjoying His glory in sharing the greatest gift!! "
 
I LOVE YOU ALL!!!! Sorry I rambled a lot today. I hope you all have the best Christmas!! Please let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do for you!!! Ya'll have done SO MUCH for me. I thank you for the letters, packages, and love that I feel from you always!!! <3
 
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-Sister Checketts

Kanesville Tabernacle!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Let the celebration BEGIN!

Hello my favorite people:)

Sorry I'm sending this in later than usual.... Turns out Sister Weber and I have the worst luck ever!! Haha everyday something major goes wrong.... but we're handling it:)

Today it was-- the carwarsh wouldn't take our card. Then Walmart took like 2 extra hours to print our pictures... but whatever. It's just worldly things.

Can I first say THANK YOU to the wonderful packages from my family?? Jordan & Carly, and Mom & Dad have kept with tradition and sent me the 12 days of Christmas. I get SO excited every morning that I get to open 2 presents under our tiny little Christmas tree:) It makes it feel more like the holidays.

You'd think that being out on a mission, the Christmas spirit would be like WILDFIRE in a missionaries heart. But it actually hasn't felt too much like Christmas except for the opening of my presents in the morning. We did a have a chance to run through the mall last P-day so that I could get a new coat, and the hustle and bustle of the Christmas shopping made it feel more like Christmas. But this year, it's just the peace and spiritual side of focusing on Christ and His atonement-- not needing to worry about all the craziness. It's really nice!

Tomorrow is our Christmas Zone Conference and I am stoked out of my mind!! President and Sister Weston have some big things planned I can tell and I know it's going to be a spiritual feast-- as well as a food feast :) He's asked us to all write a one page paper on The Atonement and as I've studied for the topic, the gentleness and meekness of Christ and the TRUE meaning of Christmas  has brought peace to my soul :) I love this time of year.

So Jordan and Carly sent me the CUTEST little poem that was in my package. It's called "The Littlest Christmas Tree" and I encourage you all to find it. It's a story and a message that we've been sharing with ALL our dinner appointments this month. (And BTW our meal calendar is FULL until the end of January-- yeah, we're pretty popular. Poor elders). They have all loved the poem-- so I thank you, Jord and Carly!!

We had many miracles this week and WE were immediate answers to peoples prayers. (hah, so the lady on the computer next to me right now is like blasting metal music in her headphones--- it's quite the day today.. hahaha) We're working with this woman in whom I love to DEATH. She is going through an EXTREMELY hard time right now. She's literally almost lost everything. Husband, kids, home, job, car-- like everything. And we had seen her a few times this week, but on Thursday, before our dinner appointment, we thought of her again and decided that we should go and see her. But thought we could wait until after our dinner appointment. We got done with dinner, then headed over to her house and we got out my hymn book to carol to her when she answered the door. When the door opened, she started BAWLING. We went inside and she explained that she had JUST gotten off her knees from praying, just pleading with the Lord to "hear him". She finished her prayers, blew her nose, and then *ding dong* the doorbell rang and there we were. It is the best feeling when we are answers to peoples prayers. She is amazing and I know she is on the right track in getting everything in her life straightened out <3.

(haha sometimes I just have to pat myself on the back.. ;) lol jk. The Lord just SO puts prepared people in our path!! So we're at the library and I overheard this man talking to the librarians about family research. They refurred him the the LDS church down the road. I whipped out my handy dandy pass-along cards and went and introduced myself! He's going to give us a call to come to the family research center-- YAY!)

So I got extremely sick this week. I woke up on Friday feeling like death. I hadn't really felt this way in over a year! Flu symptoms.... I was in bed ALL day on Friday and it was SUCH a bummer because Friday was our ward party. We missed it because of me :( I was changing temps from BURNING hot to cold like every 20 minutes. But our ward missionary and the Elders came over to give me a priesthood blessing, and RIGHT after it, I stopped changing temperatures. That night, Sister Weber and I had a party-- we watched The Restoration!! dun dun dunnnnnn!! Haha being sick as a missionary is the greatest-- hah! funny. But we still did have a good time!

I went to bed Friday night and felt 10x better Saturday morning. So Saturday we went out and it was a SUPER productive day! we committed 2 LA families to come to church and 1 of our investigators too!! We had some really progressive converstations with them!! And then Saturday night, the stomach ache came. I felt like something was ripping out of my stomach. :P Since then, I've felt SO much better, I just can't eat a lot or else I hurt again. I'm getting over it. But my testimony of the priesthood just continues to strengthen <3 <3 God's power IS REAL and IT'S ON THE EARTH!!!

Sunday was so funny..... so ALL the people that we committed to come to church-- CAME!!! MIRACLE!!! Some were families that haven't been in years! And our investigator came too. She has a 4 year old son with Autism, cutest little guy ever:) During the sacrament it was funny. We all closed our eyes for the sacrament prayer and then her little boy went RUNNING up to the podium up front, she went chasing after him and caught him and sat back down with him, JUST as everyone was saying "amen." So nobody saw it!! hah it was so funny:)

Anyway, it's been another trying week, but it's been the best:) we're having so much fun and meeting so many wonderful people!!! I can testify that obedience to the things that the Lord asks us to do, brings MIRACLES. If we do what He says, he will bless us more than we can comprehend!! And God does know all. If we are living righteously, and seeking for opportunities to serve, He will put thoughts in our minds and give us things to do that will lead us to being answers to peoples prayers. He WILL give us service opportunities if we but ask and look for them. And through service, comes infinite happiness. I promise you that. So think about that during this holiday season. Seek to live righteously. Ask Him for opportunities to serve your fellow man. Open your eyes to those around you. And then follow through with the thoughts that enter your mind and hearts. That is the Holy Ghost!! And by following through with these promptings, you WILL become happier and feel closer to Christ this holiday season. He is my world.

I love you all!! I hope you all know just how much I love you--- it's A LOT!!!!

I want to give a shout-out to those wonderful people in my last area of Red Oak! Sister Carpenter called me today and informed me that you're all stalking my blog ;) I love you all and miss you tons!!!!

Also, GREAT Christmas surpise?? TEMPLE TRIP THIS WEEK!!! I've been SOOO lucky to get to go so often!!! The temple is seriously the best.... oh gosh I'm excited <3 MERRY CHRISTMAS

I MISS YOU GUYS!!!!! Stay true <3
Your missionary,
-Sister Checketts

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's Beginning to FEEL a lot like CHRISTmas!

Hello again everyone!

It seems like it was just yesterday that I was typing ya'll a letter! Well, here I am again! Another crazy and fun-filled week in the mission field.

I stress out wayyyy too easily ;)

It's been an exciting week. I am glad to inform you that we now have a phone AND a car!! So that takes a load off :) We're still getting things organized and getting to know all the members, less-active, and seeing out all of our referrals. Let's see...

I LOVE THE COUPLE WE LIVE WITH!!! I don't know whyyyy the Lord has decided to spoil me soooo much with these people we live with. This couple is the CUTEST and every morning we come upstairs to a fun little surprise. "Good morning sisters! Have a banana if you'd like!" or "Here is some coupons- lunch is on us!" They are the sweeeeeetest!

ANNND they have a treadmill. YAY!!! Our workouts have been the bomb.com

It felt so good to drive this week. It's been about 5 months since I've driven, so it's a sweet sense of accomplishment:)

So our ward missionary is hilarious. I have a joke for ya'll. "Hey look! I guess a train has passed through here! See, you can still see it's tracks!"
Hahaha there are lots of trains through Lincoln and we laugh at the stupidest things:)

We TOTALLY followed the spirit from finding our first investigator in this area. His name is Evan and he and his wife know a lot about us already. They are SUPER smart and totally are loving the idea of learning more. We're excited to continue teaching them.

Crazy stats for ya'll too. Our ward has 573 members. HUGE!!!! And we get an average of 250 members arriving every week. We have LOTS of work to do!!!! And us with the awesome Elders in our ward are seriously going to do it:)

The Elders in our ward are the BEST. They're our zone leaders too and they're hilarious. Last night after the Christmas devo, they were jumping on the ramps and sliding down them, totally falling on their faces.... haha Ohhhhhh Elders. But they're incredible missionaries.

Speaking of which, WE HAD A HUGE SNOWFALL YESTERDAY... It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! It's super slick and Christmas is in the air!! I love it:) Everyone this time of year just seriously has Christ in their hearts. The people of Lincoln are some of the nicest and the members of our church in Lincoln are some of the strongest I have ever met. Our ward is FILLED with RM's-- both brothers and sisters and they all have such strong testimonies. EVERY sunday is just the biggest spiritual uplifter ever. Yesterday was incredible.

The elders had a family of investigators at church yesterday and I have never met anyone so prepared. The father was actively participating in gospel principles and was SO excited for the activities the ward has planned and he just felt the Holy Ghost SOOO strongly yesterday. We all did. It was AWESOME talking to him after church. All the sisters went out of their way to make the wife feel comfortable. Now you know what I mean when I said last week that this is every missionaries dream ward!!

They are ALLLL young families with TONS of kids. Our primary is overflowing!! It's sooooo much fun.

So funny story of the week... we were going around visiting the lesser active people of the ward and we came across this one couple that we wanted to visit. We called them up, stated that we were from "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" and they told us to come over right away! We went in and had the NICEST visit with this elderly couple. She can't move around much and is getting bad with her memory, and he's SUPER tall (every in Lincoln is tall<3) and the sweetest man. They gave us ice cream, told us all about their kids. And said that "even though we aren't from their same church, they were super happy that we came to visit".... Sister Weber and I were wondering if they had forgotten they were baptized. Then later in the conversation, they started talking about the temple and the people from the ward that would come over to help them and kept saying, "we're Mormons! And you're from the church of latter day saints!"..... Finally we just came out and cleared up the air and said "We're Mormons too!" And then they FREAKED out and totally loved us 100000x more. They thought we were from a different church. Hahah it was the most confusing and most funny meeting. I love old people <3

We did a lot of walking on Saturday. We found out how many miles we have for the month, and had a little panic attack. We've already used a lot of miles trying to find our way around this huge area. So we decided to walk on Saturday and found out later that it was -5 degrees. It was cold! But now we can say that we're real missionaries ;) \

We went with a single woman member in her 30s out to Red Robin this week to meet one of her friends from college. It was the most fun dinner appointment I've been a part of. Her friend was sooooo funny and while we were eating, this woman and her two little girls came over to our table and said "hey sisters! My daughters just wanted to come say hi, they have never seen sister missionaries in Lincoln before!" And we got to talk with them. I totally felt famous and felt like a princess. It was the cutest thing ever.

Anyway, it's been an exciting week to say the least. It always is exciting:) We're still getting used to everything and figuring out what we are doing, but it's fun. Sister Weber is the BEST and she is already sooooo on top of it. I don't feel like I'm even training her!!

I hope you all had the chance to see the Christmas Devotional last night. Russel M. Nelsons talk was the sweetest thing ever!! (and did any of you notice the little boy that winked to the camera when the children were singing?" Us and the Elders totally laughed so hard in the chapel.) But it really started to get me in the mood of Christmas this year. I am determined to make this Christmas special since this time in my life, being on a mission, is the closest to the Savior I have ever been. Doing His work has caused me to get soooo much closer to my goal of KNOWING Him. He LIVES. And ONLY through Him can I receive the satisfying rest and peace that we all NEED in this world because of how crazy it is! The Savior is the way and I PROMISE you that by going to our church, by reading the Book of Mormon, and by praying to our Father in Heaven EVERY DAY, you will FEEL the Savior in your life. You will FEEL Him in your heart and He will give you rest. Matt 11:28-30

We all need rest, we all need His love and we all need Him.

I hope that you do all that you need to to feel Him with you this Holiday Season, I know that if you do that, that this Christmas will be a VERY special one to you. It's not about the gifts we give and receive from each other. It's about the gift that our Heavenly Father has given all of us-- which is His son, Jesus Christ.

I love you all! Know that I miss you every day, but I am so grateful for this decision to be out here on a mission that the Holy Ghost helped me to make. This will forever bless my life and the things I am experiencing has made my testimony so strong that I will never be able to deny that God and Jesus Christ live. Joseph Smith IS a prophet. "I know it, and I know that God knows it". I cannot deny it <3

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! See ya'll next week :)
-Sister Checketts

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fun day at the Trail Center!


Amazing Gingerbread!!


New Address

So of course you can always still send stuff to the mission home at 11027 Martha Street.

But this is where I am living now!!

2901 SW 80th Street
Lincoln, NE 68532

This is where you will want to send packages:):)

LOVE YOU ALL


Craziest Week of my LIFE

Hello!!!!!!!!!!!

HOLY COW I HAVE SO MUCH TO WRITE!! I hope I can explain to ya'll how CRAZY this week has been <3 <3 <3

First off- last Wednesday!!

It was tooooo good!! It's ALLL tooooo gooooood:) Soooo... we were staying with the Glenwood sisters and had plans to go back to Red Oak to have one of my FAVORITE members take us out to lunch before thanksgiving. We went to this little Mexican Place in town and we talked with her. She recently had her dad pass away and so she really just needed us to talk to and we just love her soooo much. I also ate frog legs... I did it.

Then we went and had a Thanksgiving dinner at our favorite families house! They are members & nonmembers and we love them ALLLL it's a crazy family, but it felt like home ;) They have lots of drama going on, haha but there were 18 of us all together in this super small house and we helped make dinner and played with the kiddos and just laughed our heads off! It was so fun:)

Then we drove back to stay with the Glenwood Sisters.

THANKSGIVING DAY!!!! We knew that it was this day that we would find out about transfers. President always calls our phones in the early morning to let us know who is training the new missionaries, but we were freaking out because out where we were staying, there was no service. If someone called us, it would just say "one new voicemail" and then we'd have to call them back. So we were in the middle of getting ready, stressing out, wondering what the day would bring, when us and the Glenwood sisters both got "one new voicemail" that popped up on our phones. We were like screaming.. haha we threw on some boots and hoodies and ran out the door with our make-up half done. Jumped in the car and drove down to the post office where we could get service. We listening to the voicemail and heard Presidents voice on the other end saying "Hey sisters, give me a call back" Eeeeeeeek We knew something big was happening at least 2/4 of us were going to be training.

Sister Carpenter called him back, then she said hello and looked at me and said "it's for you!" I talked to President and he gave me the knews that yes, I would be training one of the new missionaries, but I would ALSO be opening up a new area. WHAT?!?!

I said "okay!!..." I didn't really know what to say! HOLY COW.

So the rest of Thanksgiving day was full of text messages and calls saying goodbye to people. That morning we were able to serve at the Red Oak YMCA a Thanksgiving dinner to some people in town. It reminded me a lot of my Youth Council days <3. We had Thanksgiving dinner at one of our SWEET SWEET investigators houses and it was super hard to say goodbye to them :( They gave me a gift with a picture of them and a cute little hot chocolate mug <3 After I said goodbye to them, the rest of the night was filled with us driving around to say goodbye to all the people I love so much in that area! It was sooooo hard to say goodbye to the family we lived with... ahhhh so many tears :(

On the drive home, I had to be a part of a conference call with President and all the other missionaries that would also be training. He informed us that there were 31 new missionaries that had arrived this week- the biggest number of newbies this mission has ever seen and probably the biggest number it will ever seen. WE'RE GOING DOWN IN HISTORY!!!

We got advice on training and all of a sudden the stress started to sink in. I would be training AND opening a BRAND NEW AREA for sisters.... I feel like I have no clue what I'm doing and now I'm training! Haha :)

So I finished packing and got everything loaded into the cars, and Friday morning we drove to Omaha. Sister Carpenter would be staying in Red Oak and working with a sister that has been out for a while, and I would be training Sister Weber, and opening up an area in Lincoln, Nebraska called Mahoney.

TRANFER DAY!!! I walked into the mission office and who did I see?? ELDER DANO ADAMS!!! It was so great to see him!!! I love going to transfer point and seeing everybody again and it's awesome to have Elder Adams here in Nebraska now.

I looked around for the new missionaries and couldn't find Sister Weber anywhere! All the new ones lined up on the line and they each announced where they were from and who their trainers were.

SHE'S SO BEAUTIFUL!!!! Holy Hannah I love her to pieces! She's this model of a blonde from Amarillo, Texas (so now I'm REALLY going to pick up the "ya'll";) ) She's so cute. She's actually 2 months older than me and it's crazy! We already have so much fun together and she's relieved that I don't really know what I'm doing either ;) haha

It was SUCH a hastle trying to get all of our stuff to our new area.... But we made it!! We live with more members. They are the Fergusons! They're so cute. She is this beautiful Asian woman and he is wayyyy cool too:) It's a SUPER nice place and so it's crazy jumping from Red Oak to here in Lincoln:)

Problems though... we're on a car share with some other sisters and we live way out in the middle of nowhere... AND we don't have a cell phone because they didn't get shipped to the mission office in time. So until Friday, we're without a car and phone... it's going to be an interesting week :)

We got all settled and started calling the bishop and the ward leaders to get things rolling. THEN Saturday morning we get a call from the zone leaders... "Uhh.... you guys are the Mahoney Sisters, and the members you live with are actually in the Yankee Hill ward." WE HAD CONTACTED ALL THE WRONG PEOPLE!!! how confusing is that?!? I called President and he was thrown off too because he thought that the members we were living with were in the Mahoney ward. Saturday morning for like 3 hours we were just calling SO many people trying to figure out what we were doing. President ended up calling back again saying "Hey, wild idea, how about we just make you Yankee Hill Sisters? We've been trying to get sisters in that ward anyways" So all of a suddent we had to switch district AND zone leaders and it's just been ALL sorts of confusing. BUT now we have it all figured out!

We went to our ward yesterday and they are the BEST!! It's a HUGE ward!!!!!!! HUGE. Like my ward growing up in Layton Utah, but even bigger! SOOOO many primary kids and probably 25-30 young men and 25-30 young women. It's sooo fun! Our building is the stake center and they filled it RIGHT up!! We got to go and introduce ourselves to the primary and RS and YW and I already love these people so much! It's a wealthier part of town, and they are SOOOOO missionary driven!!!! We had people like begging us to have them come out and work with us. It's the best:)

We went to the trail center again with a cute little family in our ward that recently got baptized. And the trail center is GORGEOUS!! They have decorated it all Christmas-ey and THE GINGERBREAD HOUSES ARE INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I took so many pictures... haha

Anyway, it's been such a great week I've barely had time to breath. I was soooooo stressed out at first, but sister Weber is the greatest and we truly have so much fun! I took her out tracking last night (cause we had no car;)) and she just about flipped. Haha she was so nervous. I was like "okay, it's your turn!" and then someone would start walking to the door and she would be like "sister checketts.. you do it!!" haha We'll get her over the fears:) She is soooo good at just instantly loving people, it's amazing. I am soooooo excited to work with this ward. I feel like this ward is like every missionaries dream ward!!

We have so much paperwork and stuff to get organized and stuff with starting the new area, but I am soooo looking forward to it.

It's amazing how much I have noticed the Lord with me this week. Calming me down and helping me to know exactly what I need to teach Sister Weber. At first I felt so scared because heck, I'M still new and I didn't feel like I knew what I was doing, but each day, as I teach her, I gain a stronger confidence in myself, and I recognize the Lord helping me as I help her. It's incredible and I feel so thankful and grateful that the Lord trusts me enough to put me in this position. Only with Him could I ever do this!!

Mission life is the best<3
I hope you all had JUST as crazy of a week ;)

Love you all!!
-Sister Checketts

Monday, November 25, 2013

Give Thanks :)

Hello all:)
 
First off, I hope ya'll have a tremendous Thanksgiving! It's going to be a different one out here, that's for sure, but you can bet your bottom dollar that we WILL be getting fed... holy cow are we going to get fed... We have a Thanksgiving on Wednesday night, 2 on Thursday (one of which we are helping to serve at the YMCA here in town), and 1 on Friday.  YAY FOR FOOOOOOD.
 
This week has been good! They are always good! There are always miracles:) It has been a slower one though. We weren't able to see as many people as we had planned.
 
Monday, we made orange cookies! Sister Carpenter has an awesome recipe! We always take the cookies we make around to all our people, and they all just loved them. YAY for orange chocolate:) Also, Monday, I chopped my hair off-- like for real this time. It's short:) CRAZY.
 
We did a lot of service this week. INSIDE service as it is getting SO COLD!!! -10 wind chill the other day. Yikes. So we hung pictures, helped cook, and painted inside-- helping out our investigators and less-actives.
 
We are teaching this AWESOME FAMILY!!! We started teaching their 14 year-old daughter before I even got to this area. She is such a great little girl. The more and more we went over to her house, to more comfortable her parents got with us, and NOW we're teaching them!! They are a family of 6, without a car, so it's a little tricky trying to figure out how to get them to church. They probably won't be able to come till the beginning of the year, but they both have church hopped for YEARS trying to find the right one. When we began teaching them, they were amazed at how our doctrine lines up EXACTLY with things that they have come up with on their own after jumping from church to church. She mentioned that our doctrine is what they have always believed- wrapped up into one church. They love it! As of now, they are taking the gospel VERY logically, but we're focusing on how we can get them to FEEL it. To recieve answers from the Holy Ghost and to have it revealed in their HEARTS that this is true. They are great though and I love them:) They have their daughter and 3 other little boys.
 
There are 2 boys here that have cute little crushes on me... hahah they're the cutest. :):)
 
We made a couple of CD's this week for our young women investigators. We put a playlist together and had a member put it on a CD for us to give to them with some uplifting music and a little note from us. It was fun! And in the process, this member made US some CD's-- so we're loaded with a few new songs which is ALWAYS a plus out here :)
 
Speaking of music.... we got roped into singing in the ward choir for Christmas! I don't have a problem with it.. but Sister Carpenter isn't too fond of the idea ;) She claims she can't sing. We'll also be singing for the ward Christmas party. Us, with the Elders are putting something together, but we're waiting till after this week to figure it out because of transfers.
 
WE FIND OUT ON THANKSGIVING MORNING. I'm hoping and praying that I don't get transfered. I'm not ready to leave these people yet!!
 
It's going to be a crazy beyond crazy week... This morning we cleaned like crazy and started packing because ALL this week we will be staying with the Glenwood Sisters. Our members that we live with have a daughter that is flying in tonight, so we're getting kicked out this whole week. So we'll be driving back and forth all week and it's going to be crazy. Then with transfers we might be driving all the way back to Omaha. LOTS of driving. So we have word searches to keep us busy in the car:) I've fallen in love with word searches:) hahah lame, I know :)
 
We will also be driving back to the trail center tomorrow! I love going back to the trail center. Heavenly Father blessed me SO MUCH by allowing me to serve there my first transfer. I love going back to see the sisters and senior couples:) And tomorrow we're taking an investigator and her husband up!! We love them so much. She has claimed she will NEVER become a mormon, but it's been SO amazing to see Heavenly Father working and preparing her. She doesn't see it, but BOY do we see it!!! She's amazing! Just stubborn ;) We're STOKED to both be able to take her on a tour:):) Gotta LOVE the trail center:)
 
So I had a HUGE surprise yesterday!! Holy cow, yes. We had a few meetings before church and then we were outside the chapel chatting with the 1st councilor and the Elders when I see a familiar face walk in the door. And NOT familiar from mission life-- but from home life. JULI WEBB walked in the door. Hahah I was speechless. Apparently her aunt lives in the ward and her and her husband and family are here for Thanksgiving. Umm.... WHAT ARE THE ODDS??? In Shenedoah, Iowa... who'da thunk?? She didn't know I was serving here. So they were there for sacrament and then we chatted after sacrament and we got a picture. We have plans to go to her aunts house for a Thanksgiving dinner on Friday to share a little message with them. Sweet!  Totally blew me away, and confirmed even MORE how much I LOVE being out here on a mission and how BLESSED I am. I'm a huge believe in there are no coincidences. So it's been awesome to see why Heavenly Father has put me right here right now and what surprises he ALWAYS has in store for me. :)
 
I absolutely love this ward... we're like one big family and they make me so happy. I'm nervous for transfers this week. I don't know what I am going to do if Sister Carpenter leaves :(:( And if I leave?? ahhhh we'll see!! Heavenly Father is always good about tricking me ;) And I love Him every day for it:)
 
Love is the greatest. It's the absolute best and I am SO GRATEFUL for the charity that he has given me for all of the people that we meet every single day. Charity never faileth!! And is the greatest of all the gifts of God.
 
I thank Heavenly Father from the deepest parts of my heart for all the things he has blessed me with in the past and present and future. I've never been able to, and never WILL be able to comprehend the love that He has for me. He has given me sooooo much!! SOOOO many miracles.
 
Count your blessings <3
 
I am so grateful for you all. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU has made an impact in my life. I hope you all can understand how much I love you. We are all placed in certain positions for a reason, and you all are part of my life for a reason. I thank you sooo much.
 
Have an amazing Thanksgiving!!
-Sister Checketts

Monday, November 18, 2013

Laughing with Heavenly Father

Hello everyone!!!!
Here's the report of the SUPER FUN week in Iowa!!! :) Seriously, my stomach is like quenching because I'm trying so hard not to laugh in this silent library and I can't wipe this grin off my face. Haha MOST FUN I've had in a little while. I absolutely love it here:):)
First off... I want to talk about how DUMB I am from my last email... I told one of our investigators what I had said in my last email and now she won't let it go:) Hahaha so embarrasing. I said Labor day.... and it was indeed VETRANS day... So sorry... also, I had a spell check! I typed 'couch' instead of 'coach'. So yes, I have a super good friend out here that we are working with and he is a COUCH.... haha I'm so dumb. So excuse my mistakes as I am typing a mile a minute:)
I THINK I AM SUPER JUMPY LATELY!!! Not sure why. So last night I woke up at like 1 cause I had to go to the bathroom. I came back in the room and heard Sister Carpenter stirring an knew that she was awake. I turned around and she was standing up right next to me and I screamed. At 1 in the morning. The people we live with were proabably so confused... haha THEN this morning, we were doing laundry and pacing around the hallway trying to clean when I walked past the bathroom and totally JUMPED when I saw Sister Carpenter going in to get her towels. She has scared me SO BAD this morning and hasn't even meant to! I'm such a scardy cat! We were laughing so hard.
Then the other night, I again woke up at like 1, and got on my knees and said a prayer because I thought the alarm had gone off. Then, super confused I started to get up and ready and I looked at the clock... it was one. So Heavenly Father just got a random little prayer from me at 1 in the morning:) Ahhhh I love Him. He has been laughing with me A LOT this week:):) I'm sure He's just shaking His head and smiling at me cause I'm such a dork sometimes... :) We have a great relationship Him and I:)
WE MADE GINGERBREAD HOUSES THIS WEEK!! Definately a tradition I am carrying on every december. LOTS of work, but super fun! Our ward is giving a gingerbread house to the Mormon Trail Center and Kanesville Tabernacle for the Gingerbread Festival and it is SO CUTE!! We met with the Young Women and Relief Society on Wednesday to decorate it. I just about died because it is so cute:) We're taking a few investigators down to the Trail Center and Tabernacle to see all the Gingerbread here in the next couple weeks, I AM SO EXCITED!!! :)
We've been having a TAD more member involvement lately!! Our ward still needs to get on the wagon of Missionary Work Excitement!! But we've been working with a few less-actives that the ward is starting to get excited about:) We're trying to get them to go out of their way to fellowship!! WE LOVE THESE PEOPLE AND WANT THEM BACK!!! The Lord wants them back and the members are starting to catch on:)
We did lots of service this week too! The weather has been SUPER nice and we've put on service clothes and gone out to rake leaves. LOTS of leaves. This WHOLE town is trees and it was BEAUTIFUL and now the leaves are all over. So it's a WONDERFUL opportunity for service and we've met lots of people through it. I love raking leaves.
One of our investigtors invited us to the Soup Kitchen this week for dinner. She volunteers at the local church every thursday for the soup kitchen and so we went and met with her and many of her church friends. They are all adorable and although they make fun of us "mormons" a lot.... we love them. We just ache for them to UNDERSTAND!!
WE HAD EXCHANGES THIS WEEK!!! With Sister Call and Sister McMaster! Sister McMaster was one of my companions in the MTC so it was SOOOOOO fun to go out with her again on Friday. She's the best:) Her and I went with one of the members in our ward ALL DAY to the little towns all around Red Oak and Shenendoah that we haven't even been able to make it to since I've been here. There are so many less-actives out there and so much work to be done!! We met with a few less-actives and they want us to come back! So we just have to figure out times in our schedule and figure out our car miles so we can get back down there again. We seriously need more missionaries in this area. We're praying, and President agrees that we could use them. All in the Lord's timing:) These little towns that we went to thought are SOOO small. Each town is like a half our drive away from the next nearest town. Sister Call asked our member "What do people DO in these small towns?!" our member goes "Drink and do drugs..." haha so that explains a lot:) it's a crazy experience:)
One of the couples in our ward went out on a trip to Hawaii this week! So we got to go over a couple times and help feed there dogs. They live on a huge farm, so we had a little photoshoot while the dogs were eating. Fun stuff:)
WE HAD AN INVESTIGATOR AT CHURCH YESTERDAY!!! It's been a looooong time coming. She's been wanting to come forever but she hasn't been able to. She's 14, so we were able to go to young women with her and yesterday was the primary program. It was SUCH a good day:) We gave her a tour around the building and when we got to the baptismal font, I opened the curtain and the spirit was SO STRONG. We asked her how she was feeling and she said "I feel totally comfortable here". <3 THAT'S THE SPIRIT!!!! The members were SO wonderful to reach out to her and it was just a great day:)
Ahhhhh smiles all around:) On exchanges, Sister Carpenter was able to do A LOT as she and Sister Call stayed in Red Oak. They found a new investigator who is TOTALLY PREPARED and a while back we found this young lady that has 3 kids and her husband and she has been jumping from church to church. When we taught her the restoration she literally grabbed the Book of Mormon out of my hands and has intensly been reading it <3. Then a pipe burst in her house and they had to move. So we offered to help them move and then she never contacted us. We tried calling and could NEVER get ahold of her. We were SO SAD. But on exchanges this week, Sisters Carpenter and Call FOUND HER!!! She was SOOO glad that they found her because she had broken her phone and lost all contacts and had moved. BUT THEY FOUND HER! We're now meeting with her every week and she is SOOO going to get baptized. I KNOW IT. Miracles <3 So many of them!
I love it here... Thanksgiving is going to be CRAZY. We have no idea what we're doing... haha We are getting kicked out of our house because our family has their kids coming back home. So we'll be staying with the Glenwood sisters and HOPEFULLY having enough miles to drive here every few days. The family that we had planned to eat Thanksgiving with has 2 daughters that are having to work all of Thanksgiving day, so they are doing dinner another day. Then we had an investigator invite us over and another member, so we're still working out the kinks. It's gonna be a strange one.
Missionary life is crazy fun.... Every day is an adventure and I'm trying to SOAK UP all my time as much as possible!!!!
Life Of A Missionary:
-You NEVER stop thinking. Seriously my mind just goes and goes. SO MUCH TO DO:)
-Constantly passing mormon.org cards out. My bag is FULL of them.
-Missionaries have WAY too many journals. Daily Journal, People Journal, Comp Journal, Address Book, Study Journal, it's the best:)
-We're always baking. Everyone here loves cookies and I'm becoming a pro:):)
-We have sticky notes EVERYWHERE!!!! I have to have my sticky notes. Just bought some more:) Always writing notes and promptings
-We rate how SOLID doors are. "Ehh.... I give this one a 3 1/2. Love the color, but there is tape on the windows"
-Having bruises on our knuckles!:)
-And coming up with clever knocking songs
-Pulling out your best Happy Dance when we get to wear jeans!!
-Saying prayers at 1 in the morning ;)
-Getting the strangest stares and glares when I stand behind the car to back up my comp.
-Getting flustered when the mailman is late.
-LOVING Mondays when everyone else is hating them.
-Seriously laughing with Heavenly Father <3-- it's the best
-Obsessions with pens
-Laughing our hardest and crying our hardest all in the same day. <3
I LOVE IT!!!!!!!
I think I'm going to cut my hair again. Chop it off. I think I am. Today. I need a change and it's SO DEAD.
Guys, I love this work. I PROMISE that if you dedicate yourself to missionary work and sharing the gospel- going out with the missionaries as often as you can- That you're happiness will GROW IMMENSLY!!!! Serving others is true happiness. I promise you. Heavenly Father is SOOOOOO real. He's my Father and he gets me. Understands me. And it's the best feeling in the world :):)
I love you all! I think of you often and pray for you always:) PLEASE write! I love hearing what ya'll are up to!! Life is amazing! Face it with a smile. God ANWERS PRAYERS and just know that alllllllll the hard things you're going through and will go through.... You'll GROW through. Seriously, it's hard in the moment, but have FAITH AND HOPE and HOLD ON!!!!!!! Because you will never regret it :)
I hope you all know that I KNOW this church is the truth. It is it. Christ is THE WAY and only through our devotion to Him and His gospel will we EVER be able to attain TRUE AND ETERNAL happiness. It makes me laugh when people ask "why are mormons so happy all the time" IT'S BECAUSE WE HAVE AND LIVE THE GOSPEL TO IT'S FULLEST!!!!!! I promise that THIS is happiness. THIS is ETERNAL happiness!!!!! Just do it. *nike swoosh*.
Have an amazing week!!
-Sister Checketts:)
 
picture: EXCHANGES!!:) SO FUN

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

GRACE

Hey everyone!
Sorry you missed me yesterday. LABOR DAY!!! Library was closed.
Oh boy, another tough week in the mission field! Tough but GOOD all at the same time.
Guess what.... we have bats in our walls. They creep us out at night, but we named them Boo.. not quite sure how many there are, but they're fun.
So I gave a training in District Meeting last Wednesday!! It was "Why must our prayers be ones of faith?" Holy cow is FAITH so important. The Lord only works by our faith and we NEED to trust him. When we act on our faith, it shows that we love and support our Father and that we are on HIS team. I hope it went well:)
I don't know if ya'll remember be telling you about Jeremy? He was a miracle find. We found him one night at 8:50. Ten minutes before we were supposed to be home and we did a "Heavenly Father, where do you need us to be for these last 10 minutes??" We drove around town and I saw a man out sitting on his porch. HIM! We stopped and were able to teach him about the BOM. He said he'd tried different churches before, but none of them could he ever FEEL anything. So we gave our testimonies and he said we could come back. This was probably about 5 weeks ago..?
So we went back and he was SUPER busy with football stuff. He's a couch at the High School, so he again said to come back in a couple weeks. Well we went back this last week and he is the nicest man ever. His wife and kids go to a baptist church and because of us, he went to chuch with them last sunday for the first time in YEARS. He said they were comfortable where they were, but he appreciated us showing up that caused him to reflect on what he can do better in life.
He's the nicest man. Probably in his mid 30s and it didn't quite seem that he was interested in learning more, but EVERY meeting that we had this week, we were told to seek out those who will one day be stake presidents and bishops and our mind always wanders to Jeremy. We have a couple of members that work at the high school, so we're asking them to fellowship and befriend him. I pray so hard that we can teach him. We're going to go over in service clothes this week to see if we can do anything for him.
IT SNOWED YESTERDAY!!.... okay, like less than a half an inch. There was frost on our car, and that's about it. But it is getting colder and colder! We're listening to Christmas music now:)
One of our investigators works at the food pantry here in town on Wednesdays, so we went to go visit her this week. We met up with a lot of her friends and invited them all to attend the Gingerbread Festival that is held at the Trail Center and the Kanesville Tabernacle.
HOLY COW I AM SO EXCITED FOR THE GINGERBREAD FESTIVAL!!!!!! So all the wards around here go ALL OUT to create these massive gingerbread houses and then they display them both at the Mormon Trail Center and the Kanesville Tabernacle. We have plans to go with MANY of our less-actives and investigators up there and I am so excited to see it! It's all anyone around here talks about at Chrsitmas time.
We were able to go to Shenendoah this last week and help the Red Cross set up for a fundraiser they were doing. Set up and take down chairs. Made me REALLY miss my days in the Clinton City Youth Council... holy cow I'm so glad I got involved in that in high school. Tell Julie hi for me and that I miss her!! Service is seriously the best, you guys. DO IT. The ladies running the red cross are ADORABLE!! They are super active in their church but we gave them some great sunday school activity ideas and we believe the Elders are working with them.
On Wednesday night we were able to attend our ward combined YM/YW/RS activity where they made ornaments. We were there to help set up and the ornaments they were making were going on a ward Christmas tree that will also be displayed at the Trail Center. While setting up, I was in charge of fluffing the big Christmas tree-- momma, you would have been proud of me:) Alllllll those years of fluffing our alpine trees have paid off :P hahah It was fun. I love our ward.
We also attended the viewing of the woman who passed away last week. So sad :( I hate funerals..... but how much HARDER they would be if we didin't have the knowledge that we'll be together forever:):) <3 We got to pass that along to the family who aren't members.
Sister Carpenter was sick on Sat and Sun. We had to come home early from church and stay in all day on Sunday because she was extremely dizzy. I got a lot of studying done and wrote some letters. I was able to chat a lot with the family we live with. Holy cow I love them:) She made us soup and pudding and sandwhiches Sunday night and it was nice. It's hard not being able to get out though.
I did have a miracle on Sunday though. I love little kids and my biggest miracles come through them.
Sunday, as we were partaking of the sacrament, I was just pleading with the Lord to know that what we were doing was acceptable. It was a really slow week and I felt like we didn't see a lot of progress. As soon as the sacrament was over, a little girl named Grace (the name is no coincidence) tapped me on the shoulder to show me a picture that she had drew during sacrament. She drew two sister missionaries with her standing inbetween and says "that's us!! See! You two and me!!"
I started crying... I hadn't felt like we did a lot that week, but Grace was just a reminder and tender mercy from the Lord that we're doing well. Even if we're just being examples to the little girls around us.
This gospel is true. No doubt of it will ever cross my mind. We cannot do everything, but we can do a LOT just by being examples. Let your friends know that you are members of this church. Invite people over to your homes to feel of the spirit that is in them! I know the Lord lives and that He loves ALLLLL of His children, even when we have a hard time loving them. Pray for guidence and pray to be humbled. We have the greatest gift this world will EVER offer--- the restored gospel and the full knowledge of God's plan for each and every one of us. SHARE IT.
I love you all!! I hope you all are well and wish I could extend to you how much you truly mean to me. I'll never be able to express my love and gratitude.
Have an amazing week! You're always in my prayers.
-Sister Checketts
(The picture is Grace:))

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kelly and Elder and Sister Haworth

Find Out For Yourself!!

Hey Crazy Cats!!!
How are all of you doing? I miss you! I love you! Never forget that!!
 
So seriously, this has been one of the most exciting weeks on my mission yet. SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED AND SO MANY SURPRISES!!!!!!!! I literally don't even know where to begin.
 
First off, CONGRATULATIONS TO MY SISTER-IN-LAW KELLY!!!! I found out last Monday after I sent my last e-mail that she recieved results from her tests. HER TUMOR HAS SHRUNK!!! I was jumping for joy and now all the members of my ward out here know the good news:):) I love you, Kelly!!
 
Second off, I recieved my winter clothes this week THANKS MOM AND DAD!! I'm roasty-toasty now!! I've just got to buy some thermal socks while I'm out today... the wind picked up pretty bad last night. Have a mentioned how much I dislike wind? And I thought I disliked it in Utah.... uhhhh now it's even worse. Welcome to Iowa.
 
I also now have boots!! A wonderful member in our ward in whom I love so much works at the Kmart here in town, she used her discount to get us some boots, so I'm ready to go pretty much for the winter! Which is good because we're expecting snow this week.
 
Update on the health of the area:
Monday night we went over to a members house for dinner and Angie informed us that Lanny, an elderly man in our ward was in the hospital. His heart was having pauses and they needed to shock it to get it back to normal, but it ended up getting worse.. later throughout the week though, we went over to Lanny and Ramonas house to see how there were doing and Lanny was happy as ever!! SO much energy! They had taken him off of the meds that he was on and found out that that was what was causing the pauses. So he's feeling like he's 30 again!
 
Yesterday, Sunday, we went to church and was informed that an active couple in our ward had an inactive daughter that had passed away in the morning from a heart attack. All the testimonies were so amazing. The worst part? This father had asked us about 2 months ago (before I came to red oak) to go and visit this daughter. She used to be a super strong member and then she just lost it. He wanted us to go and visit her, but she lives in a town that's about a half hour away from us and we had never gotten the chance. And now we can't... that was a hard realization. :(:(
 
This morning we got a call from one of our friends (she reminds me SO much of grandma zuech. Her house just feels like home) informing us that her son-in-law had a heart attack this morning and was being flown to Omaha for tests. He is in investigator of ours and we just saw him two nights ago. So we're waiting for updated info.. :(
 
Lots of crazy stuff going on....
 
Okay, so cool stuff. THIS WEEK WAS ZONE CONFERENCE. BEST HALLOWEEN EVER!!! It was allllllll the way in Sioux City. Like 3 hours away from Red Oak. We drove to Glenwood so we could ride with the Glenwood sisters and then they drove us to the Trail Center parking lot where you're never going to guess who picked us up to give us a ride to zone conference..... PRESIDENT AND SISTER WESTON!!! Haha so the four of us sisters got in the Weston's car and rode with them the other 2 hours to Sioux City. Holy cow it was a blast. I love President! He is SOOOO intimidating and Sister Weston is like the sweetest person on planet Earth. The whole way to zone conference he was quizzing us on how well we know Preach My Gospel. And can I just tell you, he has like the WHOLE thing memorized word for word. CRAZY stuff. We all felt stupid. But it was so good and he was giving us all these cool insights while he was driving.
 
Then we got to zone conference. AMAZING!! It was so good to see so many faces! All the trainings were SO inspired and so many prayers answered. For lunch we had soup in BREAD BOWLS!!! I love bread bowls. And LOTS of candy-- ummm it's halloween, what else are we going to have?
 
After conference was over, we had to wait for President to do all the stuff he had to do because he was our ride. So we played some bball in our skirts in the gym with Sister Weston. We all jumped in the car and started heading home and the Pres asked us if they could take the 4 of us out to dinner... HECK YA!! So they took us to Chilis on Halloween night. We went it in and RIGHT off the bat our waiter asked us who we were. Pres told him what we were doing and he was all "Hey, i've been to a mormon service before! When I was in the army!" And by the time we left, we gave him a BOM and had him all set up with the Elders in his area. It was so funny. President is the best. We told him how our area was going and he said "Well, if the Lord wanted you to have baptisms, He would have sent you to South America!" Haha
 
So then we headed home! But it gets better.... we got a text while we were in the car from our zone leaders that said "Hey Zone! We have a temple trip TOMORROW!!! Meet at the temple at 1!" WHAT?!?! Zone conference with pres and a surprise temple trip? Yes, it has been the best week ever. We spent Halloween night with the Glenwood Sisters again and they took back off to Florence. We got to the trail center/temple early so we decided to get on the computers and get on lds.org. I wanted to test my luck with FamilySearch.org.
 
Before I go further, I want ya'll to know that growing up, my parents ALWAYS told me that we didn't have any pioneer ancestors.
 
You know how TV and entertainment and everything now adays pretty much TELL you what to believe??
 
Well... I was looking down my grandmothers line and I decided to click on a random ancestor. Her name is Sarah Jenkins James. Someone has done a lot of work and her whole story is posted under her name. I got to reading about her when I realized she was born in Wales, and died in Providence, UT. ..... So i looked further! She had joined the church in Wales, sailed across to america and left from FLORENCE, NEBRASKA with the 9th handcart company where they settled in Providence. Here I am reading this and I'M SITTING IN FLORENCE, NEBRASKA!!!! I have pioneer ancestors and it was TOTALLY spirit directed that I found Sarah Jenkins Jones-- my great great great grandmother. I was running around the trail center telling all the sisters and senior couples my discovery and saying "I KNOW WHERE I CAME FROM!!" hahaha they all probably thought I was crazy:):) (The thing I miss most about serving at the trail center is seeing all the sisters and senior couples 24/7:(:(:( ) It was so amazing. The spirit in the trail center is the BEST and it is totally holy ground. I knew then that this was part of the reason as to why I am serving in the Nebraska Omaha mission. I love the pioneers <3 They are my ancestors..
 
Lesson from this? ALWAYS FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF!!! Don't believe what the world says (unless it has to do with the Word of Wisdom and dangerous stuff.. then it's just common sense) But discover things for yourself! That's what we, as missionaries get to go around and tell people to do. WE know that this gospel is the truth, but you get to FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF!! And that's one of the greatest gifts that our Father in Heaven has given us. Don't take my word for it. You can read the Book of Mormon and pray and ask GOD and Feel and understand it all for yourself.
 
Anyway, this week was like a total mini-vacation. I don't feel like we've been in our area that much, but now coming back, we're realizing how much work needs to be done and we're prioritizing the activities that we're involved in so that we can make the best of our time. Our schedules are always SO FULL!!!
 
Saturday, we had a baptism!! So do you remember that last baptism I told you about-- the one from the Elders that happened about 5 weeks ago? Well, his mom came to our ward from Mason City Iowa to get baptized here in our ward. SHE IS AMAZING!! I love her tons and she wanted our ward to be a part of it! We got to meet with her senior couple missionaries from the Des Moines Iowa mission-- they are from Las Vegas. I love chatting with other missionaries <3
 
I love you guys.... SO MUCH and this work IS led by amazing leaders and people who are inspired by GOD. Heavenly Father is in charge and if we're just obedient, and if we're searching for Him, He will show us the way. I love the people in my area and I pray for them everyday-- and I also pray for you because I love you all. Thank you for your love and support!! Letters are ALWAYS appreciated as I don't have much e-mail time. Especially when I write novels like this... haha
 
Stay true!! And as my cousin cole once wrote on my pillowcase.. "LIVE IT UP THE LORD'S WAY!!" No effort is wasted <3
-Sister Checketts
 
P.S. Happy B-day to Shayla this week! Love you girl!
 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Always Known

So for our Christmas zone conference, President has asked us to write down a conversion story and for Christmas, they will be compiling them and giving them to us as a present. I decided to write my conversion story in poem format.. so here it is:)
 

Always Known

By: Sister Megan Checketts

 

Have you ever questioned something you thought you knew?

Your heart sinking when it's possible your thoughts have lied to you?

Inside screaming, wanting answers, just aching for what's true?

I have.

 

I grew up hearing people testify that God, to them revealed.

Through miracles, strong feelings, and heartaches that were healed.

And after these experiences they knew.

Well, I had no story, no certain experience in which to cleave.

All I knew was that I admired these people and I wanted to believe.

After hearing all the gospel, wouldn't you?

 

So I lived on hope, acting as if I did know.

Attending meetings, saying prayers and from all that I did glow.

But I felt I needed some stronger witness that He was there.

One evening I got angry, I couldn't do this day to day.

So with tears down my face, I knelt down and again I did pray.

"Father, if you can hear me won't you share?"

 

It wasn't some beaming light or miraculous storm that did cease.

Just a thought, for a split second, that turned my worry into peace.

"Daughter, stop asking. You've always known."

It was at that moment that everything was made clear.

I'd been living based on faith and I need never again to fear.

I knew then that I was never alone.

 

It's through time that we will more-so understand.

Like a gradual sunrise in this beautiful land.

The more minutes that pass, the light gets bigger and brighter.

We just have to hold onto that hope and stay safe.

Doubting our doubts before we ever doubt our faith.

It's through patience and living righteous that this knowledge winds tighter.

 

I know that God is my Father above.

He knows my heart with a perfect love.

Through studying and prayer over-time I have grown.

Even when I only hoped and I did my best to obey,

There was a time that I let doubt get in the way.

But I know now that I've always known.

 

Now I have a story to testify.

A strong knowledge that I never will have need to deny.

Our father will always reveal to us that we are never on our own.

We have purpose, we have a plan, and in us He'll abide.

And even if it's very deep down inside,

We all have always known.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

Hey all you beautiful people!!
 
It's been a crazy-fast week. Good things, and hard things and interesting experiences! But what's new? It's the life of a missionary!
 
First off, hard things!
 
We can't ever get people here to church!! No one has a car or enough gas to get the church 30 miles away!! Most of the members in Red Oak are in leadership positions in the church and need to be to church super early (including us) and so the investigators that we want to bring don't have rides! Most of the people we are working with don't have cars period-- or cell phones -- or even often jobs ;) haha It's crazy:) So that's HARD! We had a family of 6 that we are working with that wanted to come to church yesterday, but they couldn't get rides.. it was so sad. So we have to figure out something...
 
Interesting experiences!:
 
We moved more people this week! I swear, I am going to be the BEST packer and mover whenever I have to move:) We've moved probably 6 families since I've been here and more planned to move in the next couple of weeks. This family that we moved this week is the one I mentioned above. Family of 6. We origianally started to teach the daugher, Lexi, and now her parents are becoming interested! We're going over to their house this next week to answer their questions and hopefully teach the Restoration!!!! But holy cow, when we moved, it was an experience:) They moved from the trailer park into a bigger home. And they had a major bug problem in the trailer. EEEEK They didn't have anything packed, so we were throwing everything in boxes and loading it out to the cars. We actually had a couple of members come over to help us and this family was SO APPRECIATIVE because NO ONE in the church that they had been attending even offered to help. And here we were, some random church that brought over people that were strangers to help them move. It was awesome:) They are so fun!
 
GOOD THINGS!!!
 
So you know that investigator that I mentioned in the last letter? The one who wanted nothing to do with mormons that we've been helping remodel her house? Well we were over there this last week painting the outsides of the house before the weather gets COMPLETELY horrible and we saw another miracle <3 She still doesn't EVER want to become a mormon, but she felt bad that we were always over their helping and not really fulfilling our purpose as missionaries by being there. (She has been on 6 "Christian missions" before) So Sister Carpenter said "Well, you could help us out more if you'll listen to what we REALLY beileve!" And she said "Okay!" YAY!! Later throughout the time we were there she was mentioning how her "spirit has been stiring" and she just has all these questions and concerns. She said she feels that she has a big decision that she needs to make, but she doesn't know what it is. Sister Carpenter and I were smiling so much inside:) The spirit has MOST DEFINATELY been working on her. She can't sleep at night and we can't tell her what we thought because she will NEVER become a mormon, but we know what's going on-- holy cow it's so exciting and I love her SO MUCH!!! I was dancing all night when we got back in. We just gotta be patient <3
 
So we've seen some SLIGHT progression this week and it totally makes me happy. I am not the first to admit that this area is HARD. Satan is EVERYWHERE around here-- enough so that it get's creepy. But it's a huge testimony builder to me that there are good people anywhere you go. The members here so SO AMAZING!!!! The people we live with- oh my gosh I love them SO MUCH!!!!! They remind me so much of my parents. It's a small ward here, like i've mentioned before, but the relationships we are gaining with these people will ALWAYS be here, and I have this feeling ( okay, maybe this HOPE, that I will spend the majority of my mission here. I hope I hope.
 
So sacrament was interesting yesterday.. okay, the first thing you gotta understand, this ward is SOOO very different than the wards at home. Not in the doctrine, OF COURSE, because the church is the same EVERYWHERE!! <3 And I love that, but it is soooo different in the casuality of everything. Haha Bishop is the craziest cat I ever did see. So we didn't have sacrament bread.. Bishop got up and was asking questions from the pulpit and we had to rearrange the whole sacrament schedule to do sacrament at the end. It was humerous. We have a family moving here that is from Nephi, UT and the whole ward is sooo giddy about it! The father of the family has been here for about a month and the rest of his family will be here right around Christmas. (i'm a little nervous as to what the high school girls in his family will do when they get out here at first) Haha but he's a good sport:) I'm so excited to bring my family down here after I get home so that they can just smile :) Anyway, I love it here- it's crazy:)
 
We had lots of less-active that came back to church yesterday! It was so exciting! There are still SO MANY that are so close, but I can't get discouraged. I know that we've been very blunt about things, and they still love us! They are just using that dang agency and being as stubborn as ever. But again-- patience.
 
I GOT MY HAIRCUT!!! FINALLY!!!! Happiest day ever:) No more dead ends and I am ONE happy girl:)
 
So sad day... the end of transfers this time is the DAY BEFORE Thanksgiving... :( I will probably end up staying, but Sister Carpenter is way nervous. How mean! To make us switch areas the day before thanksgiving... Well. We won't be in Red Oak anyway for thanksgiving or Christmas :(:( The family that we live with have a daughter & son-in-law that will be coming to stay for thanksgiving, and a 21 year old son who is currently going to BYU that will be coming back for Chrsitmas-- so we have to get kicked out and will have to go stay with other sisters in Glenwood or something... it's so sad :( But whatever. We'll make it work.
 
Annnnyway! I hope you all have a wonderful halloween!! We have zone conference this halloween so we will be traveling 3 hours to Sioux City and 3 hours back on wednesday/thursday. It'll be a FUN zone confernce on Halloween though-- I'm stoked. President surprised us and randomly showed up at our district meeting this last week. I love that man! SO INSPIRED. So anyway, this halloween will be awesome!!  And we have to stay inside all Halloween night, so we'll be pigging out on candy and homade candy apples from a member <3 yay!!
 
Love you all!! I KNOW THE GOSPEL IS TRUE!!!! Heavenly Father has a plan for every single one of us!! We are all placed in this spot for a very specific reason and I promise you that if you look at every situation searching for the reasons Heavenly Father placed you there, you WILL find answers-- eventually. In His own timing. Just do the things you know you need to do, and if you need help knowing WHAT to do, pray and ask, and as long as you do these things, you will never be led astray. EVER. EVERYONE has a purpose in this life and I know SO MUCH that we can all recieve strength from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He lives and He loves me-- I know He loves and knows you.
 
Have a great week!
-Sister Checketts

Monday, October 21, 2013

I'm still an Iowa girl!

That's right! I didn't get transfered!! Yay!
 
I'm still in Red Oak here with Sister Carpenter.
 
It's been a crazy up and down week. A little more discouraging than I would have liked, but all we can do is face it with a smile:)
 
The colors here are GORGEOUS and just an update on the corn for everyone-- it's all just about harvested. It's fun to see the tractors out doing their thing.
 
Guess what.. ya'll are going to be jealous. I herded cows this week:) We went to help one of our LA's at her in-laws farm! We brought the cows in and literally had a bull chasing after us- but he was a really nice bull:) It was SO COLD. I felt like the marshmallow man from Ghost Busters because I had like 6 layers on.. my winter stuff still isn't here so it's layering t-shirt upon t-shirt. It's actually in the forecast to snow this week. Everyone is going crazy about getting the crops harvested.
 
So maybe you don't remember, but I had this experience when we were on exchanges last transfer where we found this totally awesome man named Ray whose wife had passed away about a year ago. We kept coming back and then he told us that he just couldn't do this anymore and he got really emotional. Well we tried him again this last week and he's doing SO MUCH BETTER. He himself, without us even mentioning anything is trying to stop drinking and he's ready to change. FINGERS CROSSED. The street that he lives on is GOLDEN. We met a couple other families there too this last week who said we're welcome back any time and didn't hestiate in taking a Book of Mormon. I sure hope things go well.
 
So it's getting dark SO EARLY here and when daylight savings comes I don't know what we are going to do. We have to be out proselyting until 9pm and the sidewalks are already "rolling up" about 6:30-7:00.. when daylight savings comes, people are going to hate us. This small town everyone goes to sleep SO EARLY.
 
Sister Carpenter has anger issues.... haha our tiwi (the little device in our car that yells at us if we are speeding) yelled at her a lot this week. The Assistants drove all the way out here this week to switch us cars because our new car has 4-wheel drive. Well the Tiwi in this new car had the wrong speed limit on the roads out here, so we had to call in and get it fixed because sister carpenter kept like hitting it... haha I was a little scared.. It feels weird that I haven't really driven in 4 months.. I miss driving :(
 
So this LA that I mentioned in the last email that i've been "pushing".. she still hasn't made it to church. :( And we found out this week that it's because she wants to go back with her boyfriend and she's waiting to hear from him before she does anything. ...... She hasn't heard from her boyfriend in 2 years.... I repeat, 2 years..... Hmmm we are so stuck on what to do about this situation, cause I have a feeling that he isn't coming back.... :/ any ideas?
 
So we have this other investigator in whom I just LOVE. She doesn't want anything to do with the Mormons. She has read some anti-material about Joseph Smith (grrrrrrrrr) and is totally against us, but she knows we are an answer to her prayers. We stopped by one evening when she was out working on the house. Her and her husband bought one of the houses here that was built in the 1800s and they are renevating it. So she allows us to go over and help her out, because before we came, she was just super unmotivated to do it. So we LOVE going over and putting up walpaper/painting/whatever else. We have grown to love each other and she is seriosuly the coolest person ever, but her and her husband are super involved in their church. So we just don't talk religion and "agree to disagree" --- for now ;). Well she entered this photo contest that they have here in red oak and we told her of one of the members in our ward who have a GORGEOUS farm house and offered to go over there and have her take pictures. Yesterday we went with her to our members home and took pictures, had lunch, and were able to share a message with her. SHE LOVED IT!!! She's getting there.. little by little. :) it was a miracle.
 
Anyway, that's about it for this week. Just gotta keep our heads up:)
 
I also recieved a priesthood blessing this week. Seriously the most spirital experience of the week. The portion of my testimony I want to share with you this week? THE PREISTHOOD POWER IS REAL!!!!-- And Heavenly Father knows each of us SO PERSONALLY and loves us so much. Through the priesthood we can feel and understand Him and recieve that witness that he is so fully aware of each of us. Biggest testimony experience of my life so far. Always strive to live worthy of the blessings the gospel brings. I cannot explain to you all how real this is. I love you!! THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the email updates I recieved this week. I absolutely look forward to emailing because I get to feel of your wonderful spirits and testimonies even if we are so far apart. THANK YOU. I love and miss you all SO MUCH. The gospel is real, Christ LIVES, and Heavenly Father is aware of every single one of you. Thank you for your love, support and prayers, I couldn't do this without you.
 
-Sister Checketts