Monday, September 30, 2013

hey all :)

How is it going?!
Life is good here in Red Oak, Iowa! It's been a crazy busy week, that's for sure.
First off, last monday, we learned how to quilt! We went over to a less-actives home. I LOVE HER. And she taught us how to quilt! Who knows, maybe I'll have a full on quilt done by the time I get home! That'd be cool... haha
It was 8:15pm. We had NO WHERE to be. We didn't feel like we should go and see any of our LA's or Investigators, so we said a prayer and I felt that we needed to drive to the town square. Well, NO ONE was at the square (which is unusal). We drive down a near street, I saw a porch light on and a man out sitting on a swinging bench. Sister Carpenter didn't notice him. I asked her to pull over and we walked over to him. It was about 8:25. His name is Jeremy. He is probably in his late 20's and he was sitting out by himself while his kids and wife were running around inside. His wife and childeren go the the Methodist church, and he'd checked around at different churches, but he said he just never "felt" anything at any of them. My heart smiled. We told him about why our church is different and went into the restoration. He is very intersted and wants to come to church! Yay! We gave him a BoM, told him to read and pray and gave him Moroni's promise. He said he would. We're going back this week to see him. But THANK YOU, SPIRIT!!:)
And then a lady that we met last week (kind of in this same way) we followed up with her this week and she's been reading and highlighting the BoM like crazy! They had a pipe burst in their house, so they need to move back to their old apartment and we're going to help her. She told us "I'm VERY interested!"-- Yay!! We are making a difference!:)
We had interview with President on Tuesday. Holy Cow I cannot express how much I love and admire this man. EVERYTHING he says is so profound. I wrote down in my journal all that I could remember him saying and I've taken it to heart. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
We did lots of Service this week. We helped a couple members move and unpack. Holy cow I love service. Makes me so happy:)
 The weather has been great here! Some of the members in our ward took us out on a picnic up by the FAMOUS Red Oak orange, huge water tower. It was the best:)
I've thought about grandma a lot this last week and I KNOW she is here with me.
I receieved a letter in the mail today from one of the senior couples, The Ellsworths, that I served with at the trail center. They are still serving at the trail center and they sent me the cutest card that just made my whole day. I took them and their friends on a tour one time and apparently one of the dear friends wanted them to thank me for them. Ahhh I love missions you guys :)
GENERAL CONFERENCE IS THIS WEEK!!!! Crazy exciting! Sister Carpenter, at the end of the day on Saturday, got to jump in our sweats and curl up and watch the Relief Society Broadcast with the member that we live with. It was SO GOOD. I LOVE President Monson more than words can express and I am STOKED to listen to the prophets and apostles this weekend. WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT IN THIS WORLD THAN LISTENING TO A PROPHET OF GOD SPEAK??? ....I tell you what. Nothing. Nuhh thing!! :) And it's my birthday... so as a birthday present to me, will ya'll watch it? Come up with any questions you have and WATCH IT!!! I PROMISE your questions will all be answered.
Transfers are already in like only 2 weeks! I hope and pray that Sis. Carpenter and I will both stay here in Red Oak. I don't want to leave these people. Mom and Dad, I hope to bring you back here some day:) You'll get a crack out of it:):)
Sister Carpenter was a tad sick this week, so we stayed in for a day, I got a lot done with writing and journaling, and so that was good!:)
WE HAD A BAPTISM THIS WEEK!!! ... Okay, so WE didn't, but the Elders in our ward did. His name is Kyle. His wife had been a less active for a while and then she started coming back. Kyle always swore that he would never join her church. And now here he is!! He's the best:) he recieved the Holy Ghost and priesthood yesterday and our whole ward came to support. They had a get together at their house after too and it's crazy how much this ward is A FAMILY. ... Literally. Like half the ward is one family. But they're a ward family too. Anyway, There's fighting that goes on too, but they all just crack me up and I love each and every one of them. It's just like going to my family reunions. They're a hoot. Anyway, It was a great and very emotional weekend for a lot of them with Kyles Baptism. Coolest thing ever and I'm stoked to be a part of this family. Our bishop is the funniest. Anyway, enough about the ward.
I LOVE MISSIONS! They're hard....ooooooohhhhh are they hard, but I wouldn't take back the things I have learned about myself, about others, and about the gospel for ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!! This gospel is the only way. It's EVERYTHING we need to know. This world is scary- it's true. And I'm scared to raise a family in it. But I know that as long as we hold on to the gospel, EVERYTHING will be okay and we'll make it through ALL trials that we are given. The gospel is the greatest, most pure and satisfying thing this world could EVER offer. I know it. I love it. and I will live it forever and ever.
I LOVE YOU ALL and miss you and pray for you every day!
-Sister Checketts
P.s. I'm making pumpkin cookes today and hot chocolate! I LOVE FALL!!!! :)
And I'll be partying on my birthday without you all.. my past birthdays, not gonna lie, have been the BEST and this one won't be any different. Even if we can't go to a corn maze :) I'm turning 20.... holy cow.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Another week gone by!

Time is still going by fast! So that's good I guess?
Cool week! Literally! It's getting colder and all the corn is turning yellow! The field here are way pretty.
Sister Carpenter and I's favorite past time? Record ourselves jamming out to gospel tunes in the car. We have A LOT of driving time most weeks.
We gave talks in sacrament yesterday! They were on "preparing for general conference". Sister Carpenter went up first, she gave about 6 minutes. I went up and gave a 12 minute talk and then one of the Elders gave theirs... 2 minutes. Haha this is his first transfer... Silly Elders.... :)
Hahahah We went to go visit one of our less active members who lives in this apartment building, as we were leaving the building, this old man-- 72 years old came up to us and started asking us questions. His name is Artee He told us he was in the special olympics and had won about 30 gold medals. We glanced in his apartment and his walls were FILLED with medals. He was this old man acting like he was so hip. He told us that he goes down to the club every weekend and goes dancing and invited us to accompany him. Haha we had no clue what to say... Silly old people..  
The Denkers (from Millard) called me this week! They want to drive all the way here to Iowa to see me. I miss them! They're the cutest:)
We're going over to one of our less active members houses today. Her name is Betsy. I love her so much. She lost her husband in 2009, has 4 kids that have been in and out of jail and don't really talk to her. She's raising her 8 year old grandson, and she has 12 brothers and sisters-- with whom she has no contact. We love going and talking with her and keeping her company. She came to church with us last Sunday and I started talking to her about quilting! She said she was big into quilting and said she'd teach me! When we went to visit her last week, she had pulled out all these patterns for me, made up samples, and gave me a quilting book! We're going over to her house today and she's going to teach us. I love her tons! She's the sweetest!
We're also teaching these two young girls. Lexi (14) and her friend Christina (13). They live in the trailer park nearby and are super involved with the youth in their church across the street. They really just want to bring people to Christ, so they love talking with us. Last night they mentioned how like everyone in their junior high is sexually active.
JUNIOR HIGH!! ..... I love the Utah bubble.... Makes me scared to raise kids in this world.
Then all our lessons in church yesterday were about "signs of the second coming" and how Satan is just taking over.. haha it's been an interesting week.
But guess what?!? THERE IS HOPE. And it's this gospel of Christ and the BOOK OF MORMON. Seriously, my most favorite book ever. It ALWAYS makes me feel better about life. Read it.
The Elders in our ward are having a baptism this week! He's the husband of one of our young women teachers in the ward. He's awesome and listening to him ask questions in Gospel Principles is the best. We're stoked for that:) He's a great man.
Anyway, not much more to say about this week! Just chugging along and sharing our testimony's.
Hey all ya'll.... I KNOW THIS CHURCH IS TRUE!!!! I know that it's the Book of Mormon that ties EVERYTHING we know together and, well, the book is either right, or it's not. There is no inbetween. And me, and millions of others have recieved a confirmation from the Holy Ghost that it is RIGHT. It is TRUE. I know it without a doubt in my heart. God is REAL. Christ LIVES. I have felt Him right here with me during the hard times and the good times. If we follow the commandments and do what is right, we WILL be SO HAPPY, I cannot even express to you how much I know that that is true.
These things that we, as members of the church are asked to do are NOT restrictions of ANY kind. They are guidlines from a most loving father in heaven who wants to keep us safe from harm. So follow them! And read the Book of Mormon!!
Prepare yourself for General Conference coming up. What in the world is more important than hearing a prophet speak and hearing what OUR CREATOR wants us to know?? .... Nothing is more important.
I love Thomas S. Monson. and I am proof that General Conference can change lives. The gospel changes lives ONLY for the better.
Have a terrific week!! Write me! :)
-Sister Checketts

Monday, September 16, 2013


Hey ya'll! Hello again from Iowa!!
It's getting colder--- you know what that means?!? SWEATERS AND CARDIGANS AND FALL AND PUMPKIN PIE
AND MY 20th BIRTHDAY!!!!! (Oct. 6th;))---- I'm going to be 20. And General Conference is ON MY BIRTHDAY (again;)).. repeat. I'm going to be 20. WHAT?
Umm... a year ago... the announcement was made and before then, I NEVER expected I would be where I am today. In this little tiny town, preaching the gospel to everyone I meet. FAR FAR away from all my loved ones and people I care about beyond words can explain and I'm meeting people that I care JUST as much about out here because Heavenly Father has allowed me to see His love for all His children here in Red Oak. It's incredible.
Anyway, this week has been good! Highlight? I PET A WOLF.
There is a couple in our ward who are obessed with animals. They have a literal zoo IN their home. 2 BIG full-grown wolves that live in their home and just act like huge dogs. They used to have crocadiles and big pythons, but about 4 years ago they had a fire in their home and they lost a lot of their animals. But ya, I had a wolf come and sit on my lap. Beat that!
 Okay, so as cool as that was, I guess it wasn't the HIGHLIGHT.
On Thursday, our zone got to drive back into the city and do a session at the Winter Quarters Temple. Holy Hannah I have never loved the temple as much as I do now. In Utah in the real world, we're so blessed to be able to go whenever we want, but as missionaries when we have that restriction of only being able to go when our zone is told we can, it's crazy!! So it was an extra blessing because absense always makes the heart grow fonder.
This temple is gorgeous. It's filled with pioneer symbolism and so many pioneer paintings. After serving in the trail center, it was overwhelming the connection that I felt to the building. So many of my questions were answered and the peace and love that I felt sitting in that building is something I'll never be able to describe. It was so cool to be there with the abundance of missionaries too. It was like this super powerful source was pulling us all together in this work.
After the temple, we got to go over back to the trail center across the street. It felt so good to go back and see all the sisters and senior couples that I've missed this last week and a half since I've left serving at the trail center. I about cried when I saw Sister Brough! I love the missionaries here so so much. It was hard to leave again-- but we went out to eat at Applebees! (mom, hence the 'applebees' notification you're going to get on my card statement, because I know you stalk my purchases ;)) Thursday was just such an uplifted and re-encouraging day. I KNOW without a doubt in my mind that I am right where Heavenly Father needs me to be.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CARLY!!! I love you Sis! I hope you have an incredible day and a great birthday week! Make Jord take you out to a really nice dinner there in Georgia-- vacation on you're B-day! Lucky:) Family-- I love you. And I hope you realize how blessed we truly are. Never take each other for granted! You all are seriously my pride and joy and I miss you every day:) Good thing we'll be together for eternity;)
This has most definately been a humbling week for me. I have many areas to improve-- but in so doing, I am only able to improve because of the sacrifice that the Savior made for me. That He made for all of us. People, I KNOW HE LIVES. He has been with me on my mission every step of the way. And I'm not just saying that. I know without a doubt in my hear that He is my brother, that He is my Savior and that He loves me SO MUCH that he was WILLINGLY WANTING to sacrifice all that He had, so that I can improve and use His atonement every day that I live. And when we are keeping God's commandments and doing our best every day to LOOK for those ways that we can improve, that is the only time that we are worthy of the huge sacrifice that Christ made for us. We only deserve that sacrifice when we're doing all we can to improve. Ahhhh I love Him so much and through my mission, i've truly made it a goal to not only understand what He is and what He did-- but WHO He is and I want to KNOW Him.
He's real-- and don't ever forget that He is always there for you, too.
I love you all so much I can't even comprehend it. -- and know that God loves you infinityX that.. He's your Father-- Talk/pray to Him.
Have an incredible week. I'll talk to you soon. GET EXCITED FOR CONFERENCE!! (and my birthday:))
-Love you.
Sister Checketts
(picture is me and wolf) :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hello Iowa!!!

Hey All!!
Well.. I get called to Nebraska and end up in Iowa!! Crazy stuff!
Umm.. this has been a MUCH longer week than usual. Lots of crazy changes! I honestly don't even know where to start.
Last Monday, Sister Brough and I moved into the Denkers home. They are amazing people that I love so much. And their basement where we stayed was like the best place ever. Referbished to look like an old diner and M&M stuff everywhere with all you can eat candy.. Woah.
Thursday morning was when we found out about transfers! We had just had exchanges with our sister training leader the day before and I had gained some AWESOME advice from Sisters Vance and Schrader. I love those two. We saw many miracles that day on exchanges. Sisters Vance and Schraders stayed overnight at our place that night and Thursday morning was intense! We were all scared and nervous for transfers. The 4 of us went out and exercised and then when we came back, Vance and Schrader got "the call". President was on the other end giving them their new training assignments. We finished getting ready and Sister Brough and I both started to feel SUPER calm. We both had this strong feeling that we wouldn't be getting transfered.
(p.s. when I get home, I want to learn to quilt-- the quilt show is in the Trail Center right now and they are GORGEOUS. Call me crazy-- but I want to)
We worked at the trail center that morning, so we drove there and right away we were super busy, so I had lots of tours. It was transfer time for a lot of different missions, so the two tours I took that morning were both different senior couples who were traveling home after finishing their missions. The first were driving through on their way home from Canada, and the second were driving through on their way home from the Palmayra Mission. It was awesome to take these senior couple missionaries on tour. The couple driving home from Palmayra were MTC friends from one of the senior couples that are serving at the trail center, so after we finished their tour, they asked if they could hear the song about one of the Pioneers that Sister Brough had written, so her and I performed her song for them.
After they left, I was so excited that I would be staying at the trail center for at least another transfer. By this time it was about 11 O'clock and we hadn't received a call yet, so we knew we would be staying. I went into the prayer closet and offered up a prayer thanking Heavenly Father for giving me another transfer at the trail center to be around all the other sisters and senior couples. I was so excited. When I got out of the prayer closet, Sister Brough came up to me with a sad look on her face saying that we just got "the text message". She took me in the other room and told me where I was heading. She would be staying in Millard and I would be leaving to Red Oak Iowa and finishing my training with Sister Carpenter.
I started crying... ya. I was so convinced I was staying that it came as a shock. And I miss Broughy!
I took my last tour at the trail center-- it was the best tour ever. This man named Jim came in and he was on a vacation by himself because he wanted to visit the last 4 states in the U.S. that he had never been to. It was "a bucket-list thing". He was super interested in everything that we told him about the restoration and about God. He had never thought about asking God, himself about the truth like Joseph Smith did. He literally GRABBED the BOM out of my had and said "I want to read that book!". He said he'd pray about it, and I committed him to baptism right then and there. It was the cooelst thing ever. I cried after he left thanking God that he gave me that last tour. I recieved Jim's contact information so that I can keep in touch with him. He left with a big smile on his face saying that that was "such an uplifting experience".
That night I did all I could to make the lessons that we had with the people in our area the best that I could do. I stepped up in the lessons and became more bold that I have before. That night, we committed a LA who hasn't been to church in YEARS and her two younger daughters to go to church yesterday. I'll still have to text Sister Brough to see if she went *fingers crossed*.
So I'm happy with how I ended in Millard. I wish I could have done more though.
So here I am now! In Iowa! And man is it a culture shock!
Whoever told me that you didn't have to go out of the country to get a culture shock -- was exactly right.
The ward building is in Shenendoah- about 30 minutes from where we live. It is a smaller building and only has 1 ward that attends. Apparently it used to have a branch as well- but after going to church yesterday, I don't see how that is posssible. There MAYBE 50 people or so in the ward.
The food here is a little sketchy, so I have to watch what people feed us. Which is a good thing because after being fed SO WELL in Millard, I could use the controlled diet ;)
When the church building was dedicated, apparently it was prophesied that one day it will be a stake building.--- that means we have A LOT of work cut out for us.
We visited a member yesterday in whom we are teaching to read and write. He had a granddaughter there with him that I absolutely adore. She's 12. She was the sweetest thing I have ever met.
I love you guys SO MUCH!! I think of you everyday and pray for you always. Please keep writing me! My new adderss is:
700 N. Broad
Red Oak, Iowa 51566
-- if you write there, things will get to me MUCH faster for the next 6 weeks. If not, just keep sending stuff to the mission home and I'll get it eventually.
-Sister Checketts
The picture is me and Aleeya (the granddaughter) and her grandpa (that we teach reading and writing to- Richard)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day? I forget that ya'll get holidays. HAH

So much to write, so little time!!

First off, there was no temple trip this week :( It got postponed until Sept. 20th for our zone-- which may not even happen depending on if/where I get transferred this week.

TRANSFERS ARE THIS WEEK!! I've already made it through 1 transfer? Time flies when you're having fun.

Elder Robbins from the seventy came and spoke at our zone conference this week! Ah such an amazing experience:) Him and his wife are wonderful and all the questions that I had going into the conference were answered. Good uplifting and encouraging conference that I'll never forget.

ALSO The night before our zone conference, Sister Brough got asked to do the musical number, and then she asked me to join her. So that night and early the next morning, we threw together a song and we performed for Elder Robbins and everyone in our zone plus mission president and his wife. I SANG SOLO-- what?? I was shakin. But it turned out very well and we got lots of compliments- mostly Sister Brough though because she is FANtastic!!-- no joke, you've got to hear this girl.

We also sang in Relief Society this week! Sister Brough wrote a song about one of the pioneers that was here at winter quarters, I came up with the harmony, and we sang it there. So, mom, I'm using my talents ;)

It has been SO HOT this week!! It was about 106 degrees and the most humid that I have felt here yet. WOAH. Good thing we had a car and didn't have to be out in it. Outside is HOT and inside is FREEZING cause they have the air pumped all the way up.

MOM AND DAD. I met my long lost cousins! At the concert that we put on last week, I forgot to mention that Gus and his wife and 4 of their 10 kids were at the concert and I met them all! They're so cool and I'm so glad I got to meet them- They live in Elkhorn and hopefully at some point I'll be able to serve in their stake. They might be at one of our member dinners this next week so we can chat longer, but you'll have to let grandma and grandpa know.

Speaking of which, I got a letter from Gma and Gpa this week!! They sound good:) Gosh I love them, Grandma is 86 and she was telling me of their neighbor across the street that they have been doing missionary work with and got the woman to go to church!! They're the best examples.  Tell them I love them! I'll try to write them a letter today.

We're moving into our members home today! So we're spending this p-day packing up our stuff and hopefully getting over there. We won't unpack though because we don't know if we'll be moving again on Friday after transfers. We find out Thursday morning what our plan is.

Hey mom, I thought a lot of you this week:) Guess what I did?!? I canned Salsa!! Haha I know you just did that last week, so I got a picture to send to you. ALSO the member that fed us yesterday made French dip and we had peanut butter fingers... I was laughing so hard.

We had the opportunity this week to go to a cub scout activity and teach the boys about the symbolism on the Winter Quarters temple here. Oh gosh I just love this temple. It's so cool and so unique with the pioneer history all over it. I love the pioneers.

We had a miracle this week! We were on chat at the trail center when we got a call-- from one of the less actives in the ward that we have been trying to get in touch with like the whole time I've been here. SHE called US and wanted to come out on a team-up with us. (fyi, that never happens) So she came out with us to visit another less active member named Steve who hasn't been to church in like 2 years. SHE pretty much taught the lesson. It was so cool! And then Steve came to church yesterday, for the first time in 2 years. Everyone was shocked to see him and he kept thanking us for what a great time he had from our lesson a few days earlier.

Sometimes I feel like we aren't doing anything, And then something happens and I realize that we're at least doing something. It's a good feeling:) Steve is a great man and super awesome to work with.

So I saw president a couple of times this week! And both times I saw him, he came up to me, shook my hand and said "ready to train?" ... he's done that twice. So I'm not quite sure what that means... :/ But in preparation for transfers, Sister Brough has gotten me to be HER trainer this week. We'll see how it goes.

So I had a funny story this last week. Saturday night, everything was normal and I went to bed blah blah blah. At 3 in the morning I turned over in my sleep and my eyes opened for half a second. I saw this really bright light in our room, but I was so tired I just started to fall back asleep but my weird "sleep brain" had this thought that was "Maybe that was an angel"-- obviously I didn't care too much though and if that WAS an angel, I would have missed out. But I just went back to sleep :/

I woke up at 3:30 to a loud BANG out side our window. I literally jumped out of bed and was scared out of my mind! There was a constant flashing in our room and rain was POURING outside the window and the thunder sounded as if little kids were running up and down our hallway. My heart was beating so fast. Sister Brough then gave me the protocal on what to do if the Tornado Siren's started going off, we were to grab shoes, a jacket and anything else we would be needing as fast as we could and then get in the car and drive to the trail center. We then tried to go back to sleep. I woke up Sunday morning and it was absolutely beautiful outside. It was like there was no storm at all... It was the weirdest thing. But as I pondered the experience with me thinking there was an angel, I felt so blessed for the witness of the Holy Ghost in my life. We don't need to have an angel appear to us or see miraculous things to believe in God and know the truth of the gospel, we just need to be aware of the Holy Ghost and we can know the truth of all things.

The Holy Ghost is real!! The Book of Mormon is SO TRUE and even when you just read 1 verse a day, if you really ponder that verse, you invite the spirit and can receive answers to any questions you have.

I'm so glad to be out here. I'm learning so much and I wouldn't take back the things I have learned for anything. The happiest way to live, is by living the gospel. I see it in my life, I see it in the members and missionaries around me, and I see it in the letters of my friends and family that are all around the world. I love hearing from all my missionary friends-- It's crazy that we're all throughout the world. Sometimes it just hits me that we're like ALL over the world! Haha

I miss you all SOOOOO much, I really do, and I have never understood why God has blessed me SO MUCH by giving me you. Many times I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm happy and I know this is where God wants me to be.

Have a great week!!! Thank you for all your love and support always:)
-Sister Checketts