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

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