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.


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!
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

Monday, October 14, 2013

Smelly Cat.. Smelly Cat.. what are they feeding you?

Hello everyone!! I feel like I have lots to say this week!
I LOVE THIS AREA!!!! Okay, it's so much different than ANY ward you will ever see in Utah. Everything is way more casual out here and Utah is REALLY formal about everything-- but I love them both! This ward just cracks me up- we almost had a fight break out in Gospel Principles on a debate over The Millenium. Haha it was intense:) Everyone in the ward is super annimated and I love them all!!
SAD NEWS!!! So you know how I went through like 4 companions in the MTC?? Well one of them-Sister Peterson- I heard went home this last week. I would see her every week at district meetings and about a month ago she started having lots of pain, I was informed this last week that she went home for further testing. I LOVE HER. Keep her in your prayers <3
In other news, my first companion- Sister Goldsberry, that went home in the MTC is flying out to join us here in the field TODAY. Cool stuff!
Yes, transfers end tomorrow-- can you believe I've been out for 2 transfers already? I cannot believe it. It goes by so fast. So we find out where we are going and what will be happening tomorrow morning.
I have a "feeling" that I will be staying here. And either Sister Carpenter will be leaving or we'll both be staying. But I think I still have work in this area that needs to be done. Of course, the Lord always plays tricks on me.. so we'll see.
So from now on, please send mail to the mission office- cause I'm not sure where I will be next week. :)
Okay, so this area is super slow moving. I think that's the reason I get discouraged sometime is because we aren't teaching all that much. But we're fully working with members and less-actives. The members here are SO STRONG. Many of them would LOVE to move to Utah or just move in general, but they know that if they do, things will fall apart here. These people are WONDERFUL. They do SO MUCH and so we try to help with just the members as much as we can so that they don't get burned out.
We're also working with less-actives. There are many people here who are single mothers or widows, or just more elderly couples that we go and see and just visit with because they get lonely. I love them so so much. So sometimes I feel like we aren't doing much because we're not teaching, but I know that this is what needs to be done around here to keep people strong. I love visiting with people.
So we had like 5 less-actives this last week say that they would make it to church yesterday-- only 1 showed up :/ Ahhhhh it's SOOOOO Disappointing when you walk in the chapel and they aren't there!
There is one less-active in particular that I've really pushed. She's 25 and lives right by the church. She's super funny and I love joking with her:) She stays in her apartment a lot and had a pretty hard week this last week. She called the other day to talk and we went to Shenendoah to visit her. We watched Pres. Eyerings talk with her and she LOVED it. She bought a new shirt and skirt to wear to church yesterday and I was SO EXCITED to see her there. We had rides all planned out and everything was going good. And then her ride informed us at church that when she went to go pick her up, there was a note on the door that said she wasn't going. I called her and she said that her decision to come back to church was a mistake. DANG SATAN. He's the devil... literally. So we'll keep working with her. It just breaks my heart when people can't see how much a BLESSING it is to live the gospel!!
Anyway, another 14-year old investigator that we've been working with that watched conference with us last week was planning on coming to church with us yesterday too. She was super excited! Then on Saturday night she got really sick... again, DANG SATAN. :P But it'll happen here soon:) We're helping her family move out of the trailer park this week.
I played football with a little kid this week while Sister Carpenter taught his grandpa to read and write. I love going to visit with them:) The little kid has a crush on us. He is SO MEAN to us, but does the typical "little boy flirting".. it's kinda annoying but kinda cute.
Can I just say that Richard G. Scott is like my favorite. Okay, so I have lots of favorites but I've gained a super big love for this man.
I'M GETTING A HAIRCUT TODAY-- whether it turns out horrible or not, this is the worst I have ever needed one. The haircut places around here are all pretty sketchy, but I'm to the point now where I don't even care if they mess up.
Anyway, I've had some SUPER AWESOME studies this week!!! like no joke, the spirit has been so good to me this week. I've had to humble myself in many situations this week and resort back to my purpose in being out here. MISSIONARY WORK IS AWESOME!!! And looking back, I actually have done quite a bit of missionary work as a youth than I ever did realize. I am so grateful for my ward back home... seriously I cannot even fathom how much moving there to clinton was what our family was supposed to do. I LOVE YOU ALL FOR ALL YOUR LOVE AND SUPPORT!!!! I'll never be able to thank you enough.
I FINISHED THE BOOK OF MORMON TODAY!!! If I could pick one part of my testimony that has strengthened the most on my mission so far-- it would have to be my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I KNOW that if I hadn't had come out here on a mission, I would NEVER appreciate this book as much as I do now. Seriosuly, so many prayers answered. READ IT EVERY DAY!!! I cannot wait to meet Moroni, Mormon, Nephi, Alma, Alma the younger, Helaman, Captain Moroni, ALL one day... They are the best hero's you could ever ask for. I KNOW THIS BOOK IS TRUE!!! I know that these men that I listed above LIVED through all that they wrote. That they were strong enough to stand up for what they believed and that they put God above EVERYTHING else. Even above their families and friends and other worldly things that they enjoyed. THEY LIVED and their stories are from us to learn from and apply!! I love it so much and sometimes wish I could just read all day.
So I challenge you to read every day!! If you haven't been reading, start at the beginning again with me tomorrow:) DO IT! We'll do it together.
Thank you all for everything. I know this work brings true happiness and I know that God lives, Jesus lives and helps us make all our weaknesses into strengths through His atonement. We have purpose in this life. We have a plan for our lives and it's the best plan that anyone could ever ask for. Heavenly Father, the one who knows ALL. Past, present and future, created the plan and through it we will grow stronger and stronger-- WAY stronger than we would ever be able to do on our own. You better believe it ;)
LOVE YOU!! Write me! I'm excited to let ya'll know how transfers turn out next week. Have a good one!
-Sister Checketts

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Life of a 20-year-old Sister Missionary;)

Hey everyone!
THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the birthday wishes, letters, messages and thoughts from ya'll even from miles away. I cannot express to you how much I love an appreciate each and every one of you. My gratitude to my Father in Heaven this week has been overwhelming.
It was a great week!!
First off, I finished my first journal already!! Like, every page is full. Hah! Those who know me know I have to write everything down. It's crazy!! So #2 journal here we go!:)
We made applesauce this week! There are so many members here who grow incredible gardens and like everything they eat is home-grown. So we helped a member pick apples, and make applesauce! Mmmm it was good stuff:)
I got a letter from Rachel this week!! All the way from Japan:) Waaay too cool:) Miss her! She's doing wonderful :):)
I got a package from Scotty in Maryland! Haha he's too funny:)
We had crazy severe weather this week too, that was exciting! Maybe some of you heard about the tornados that came right through town? Okay, that's expanding a BIT. We were teaching one of our 14 year-old sweet investigators outside of her trailer when the sky just got darker and darker. I got some amazing pictures GORGEOUS. Then it started POURING. We were dancing with her out in the rain and then the tornado sirens went off. We got in the car and drove home. The rain just coming down in buckets and buckets. The wind was INSANE. We parked our car in the driveway to get it out from under the trees and ran inside the house. We were soaking wet. The member that we live with came running up telling us to join them downstairs. So we hurried to change into warm clothes and spent an hour our so in the basement doing our studies while the weather passed. There was a lot of wreckage in the towns nearby. There were two small tornados that touched down shortly. It didn't last too long, but it was fun:) I LOVE STORMS.
Okay, so how did everyone feel about conference??? let me tell ya, BEST BIRTHDAY EVER. We went over to a members house on Saturday. Our 14-year old sweet investigator joining us for the morning session. She had lots of questions but said that it all made so much more sense than what her preacher is telling her at her church.
Saturday night, we had just gotten in and started our planning when the doorbell rang. Our member came up the stairs and asked if we had ordered pizza. No...? We went downstairs and there was a pizza hut pizza man the handing me a pizza. Can I just tell you how cute my parents are? I opened it up and "20" was spelled out in pepperoni's on the pizza. I opened the desert breadsticks and '20" was written across them in frosting. Best. Parents. Ever. :) Too cute right? I just about died :)
Sunday was the best:) Not only was it my birthday and the members we live with made us cinnimon rolls and eggs (Eggie for Meggie), but we had a less-active family that came and joined us for the morning session too. They made me a cake!! And the talks were incredible. I took sooo many notes it isn't even funny.
Pres Uchtdorft's talk <3
S. Gifford Nielson's talk <3
Richard G. Scott's talk was just for me
and Terence M Vinson!! <3
So many prayers were answered. At the end of the Sunday morning session, after Pres. Monsons talk the choir sang "we thank thee oh, god for a prophet".
The spirit in the living room was so strong... holy cow, I was bawling. So many prayers answered. So much gratitude and thanksgiving running through my veins. God lives everyone. He loves me and I KNOW he loves you. WE HAVE A PROPHET TODAY. I love him i love him i love him. We all have a purpose in this life. We are all loved by the greatest being in the universe.
It's been a great week. Sorry my thoughts are so jumbled today. I'm still trying to process everything. Maybe some pictures will help.:)
Thank you all though so much. I get so overwhelmed when I look into my past and see all the many lives that have touched mine. Some of you don't even realize how big of an impact you have in my life and I hope I get better at letting you know how much you mean to me. I am so blessed. And the motto I am living with here on my mission is "where much is given, much is expected". I have been given so much... SO MUCH and I know that the only way I can even try to repay Him is by giving my all each and every day. Some days are harder than others, but I'll try every day to do my best, and when I come up short, that is what the atonement is for. None of us are perfect, so don't get upset with yourself for not being perfect, but all we can do is try. Just try your hardest and live your life with PURPOSE. Because you have a BIG purpose. A BIG potential. And the only way to catch a glimpse of the potential is to turn to your Father in heaven who knows what you can become.
I love him. And my biggest goal on my mission, is to KNOW Him. He's there. He's always there.
Have a great week! I love love love you all!!
-Sister Checketts