Monday, December 29, 2014

Everyday is a Happy New Year #BecauseOfHim

Gooooood day to y'all!

And anyone else that I've missed... I'm sorry.. it's so hard to stay up to date sometimes. :/ 

I truly hope y'all had an amazing Christmas! And that you saw miracles, and that on December 27th, you didn't feel the disappointment of Christmas being "over". Because truly, it never is over! We were talking to a member one day this last week who happens to work at a nursing home, and she said it's kinda sad how for the month of December, they have activities, and performance BOOKED for people to come and serve at the nursing home, and then once they jump into the month of January, there is NO ONE signed up. So spread the service ALL YEAR ROUND and plan times to go out of your way to serve, MORE than just in the month of December. I hope we can all make that one of our New Years Resolutions.

I know I saw miracles galore this last week. We've been challenged to write down at least 5 miracles that we see each day in our journal every night and it is SO EASY to find 5 because we're seeing way more than that. We've had people tell us that it's "because we're missionaries" that we see so many miracles, or that small things only "seem like miracles" to us. But I know that the smallest things, are still miracles, and sometimes even the smallest things are the GREATEST miracles.

Let me give you an example of this last week.

We had one of our investigators, and one of our LA's, in each of their lessons, say a prayer for us this last week. This is the first time I'd heard them pray since I've been here, THOSE were MIRACLES. The simplest of prayers. By small and simple things, great things are brought to pass.

One thing that I love so much about missions, is having the privilege to hear so many different people pray. There is so much power in prayer.

On Christmas day, we went over to one of our LA's house-- she's my favorite <3. We talked to her about how the morning went and she was saying that is was SUCH a good year, because her family didn't focus on the GIFTS. They had a simple Christmas, and there was no contention, which for them, was a miracle! We shared a little Christmas message, and then invited her to pray. She is so close to spiritual things, and so I love teaching her and seeing and feeling her reaction to scriptures and to the spirit. She told us no at first.. and really wanted us to pray, but I encouraged her a couple more times, and she finally gave in. She said the most beautiful, simple prayer, that I had heard in a long time. With a few pauses to bring forth some sobs of gratitude in her words. My heart was burning full of warmth from the spirit. When we all said Amen, I looked up to her with tears in my eyes, grabbed her hands, and said "THAT is the greatest Christmas Gift!" She then clutched my hands and gave me and Sister Tourtillott the greatest hug, thanking us soooo much for our sacrifices for being on a mission during this holiday season and having to be away from our families, so that we could be with her. It was the greatest gift I could have ever received on Christmas this year.

We were able to go caroling a lot this last week. We actually received a referral from the Millard Sisters (my first area) to go see the daughter of one of my favorite Recent Convert families from Millard. I had no clue her daughter was in our area!! I had heard so much about their daughter when I was getting to know the parents at the beginning of my mission, so I was SO excited. I had heard that the daughter had always been a little hesitant when around any missionaries, and this was a chance for the very first contact at her home. We put on our Santa hats on Christmas Adam Night (December 23rd, because Adam came before Eve ;)) And went to her door to carol. While we were singing, we weren't quite sure if she was a little angry or not that we were there, but when we finished, she got this big smile on her face and said "I wish my daughter would have been here!" She said that they had been at her parents house a few days earlier and some missionaries had come by to carol to her parents, and she wished that some would come to her house, because her daughter would LOVE it. So we talked a little more, made the connection that I knew her mom and dad, and she was totally friendly with us, and we made an appointment to come back and sing again, when her daughter would be home. Well, when we tried again, no one was ever home, so last night we decided to try again, PERFECT timing on our part, (SPIRIT)-- caught them right before her and her husband were leaving and we got to meet and play with her daughter for a little while, I gave her a little candy soldier that my mom had sent me in a package. It was the best thing ever!! She invited us back over anytime we want:) So she's warming up, big time! HEAVENLY FATHER HAS A PLAN.

We spent Christmas Eve with a super sweet family from our ward!! Their son, Blake, actually started the awesome website called Millennial Mormons, that many of you might know about. They've been mentions in the New York Times and whatnot-- it's really funny. Blake was there and was telling us all about it. His parents had given him an ornament with the MM symbol on it. I LOVE being able to witness how other people celebrate the holidays. It was fun doing puzzles with their youngest kids Christmas Eve:)

On Christmas eve DAY, my heart was a little sorrowful when we went up to this older gentleman putting his garbage can by his garage. He was nice to us at first, and we wished him a Merry Christmas, then gave him a 'He is the Gift' card. The man looked at the card, then back at us, with a much more disturbed face than before and said "You aren't supposed to be doing this.." We were both like "Doing what? We're just handing out Christmas cards!" And he said "there is NO soliciting in this neighborhood!" And gave the card back to us. We gently walked away, and sat in the car going "man... how sad! This poor man is worrying so much about solicitors on Christmas Eve..." My heart indeed WAS "exceedingly sorrowful"

It was the neatest thing though, because the weather here has been pretty gloomy lately. We've had NO snow, but clouds ALL the time. EXCEPT on Christmas Day!! The sun was SO bright! And as Sister Tourtillott and I were opening our presents and packages we had received (instead of doing exercise) we actually got to witness the sunrise!! Then the day after Christmas, it was back to clouds. Our Father allowed "The Son (SUN)" To come out on Christmas day, THAT was another miracle, that we noticed!

Christmas day was fun! We got to spend it with the Checketts!! I got to talk to my 2nd cousins and watch them all open presents and talk to my dad's cousin-- Gus all about miracles that he has seen in his life since he's been in the army and whatnot. I absolutely LOVE my family!! I loved spending Christmas with Gus and Nancy and all their MANY kiddos!!:):)

Talking to my family was another highlight!! Crazy how soon I am going to be seeing them all. My favorite part though, was being able to share my testimony with them. There is nothing I love doing more. And my daddy got to say a prayer will all of us together-- one that I will never forget.

It was a most incredible Christmas.

Christmas night, we decided to go and try a LA that we had received a little more information on from people and carol to them. We had only had an OLD Elkhorn address for this lady, so we decided to go in search of this house, where we had been told ABOUT where she lived. Sister Tourtillott was driving, and we had 10 minutes left to be out on Christmas night. I led her to what I thought was the street, and we drove down it, not being able to see any numbers on the houses. There was this one house that stuck out to me a bit more than the others. So I asked her to pull over so that we could try it. Low and behold-- we saw the number on the house as we walked up to it, and it WAS the house we were searching for. The spirit is so amazing to lead us to places even when we have no clue where we are.  We knocked on the door, excited to see another miracle-- because we knew we had been led there for a reason, and started singing as she opened the door. We got maybe 4 words into the song, and she went "NO." and closed the door on us.. a little sad, but I know that us showing up on this Christmas night, is going to be something that Heavenly Father will use to soften her heart ONE day. NEAT experiences, EVERY day.

One of our LA's has a grand-daughter, Diana that we are teaching. Diana could seriously get baptized ANY day!! She is the gospel smartest 10 year old that I have ever met. She's been meeting with sisters forever! She just can't get baptized because her mom won't let her yet. We helped her grandma put together one of her birthday presents, and then they made us try some of Diana's moms, spicy verde sauce. The recorded us as we ate it, and it is some of the best stuff I have ever tasted!! Ever since I've been companions with Sister Weber, I'm obsessed with spicy things, we asked Diana if her mom could teach us how to make it, so we can get to know her more-- and I wanna learn!! It was great:) I love that family so much!

We also had exchanges this last week with the Papillion Sisters-- Sisters Papavero and Taylor. I love them TONS!! It was so great! We were all serving in Papillion for a day and I got to spend it mostly with Sister Papavero. I felt so honored as she turned to me for advice and concerns, and as she expressed to me how much progress she has seen in Sister Tourtillott and I and especially in our area. That was SO amazing to hear and it was so fun to meet their investigators and members of the ward.

I also was able to connect with a man in Panera who had on a "Minnesota Wild" hockey jersey on... all because of everything my dearest friend Shai taught me about hockey in Kearney. I LOVE connecting with people, because of things I learned from my friends on my mission!! I miss YSA tons. I hope y'all know that! :):) There will always be a special place in my heart for my Kearney folk! And for every other single area I've served in! I feel so blessed to have been in so many areas!!!!!!!

Last of all (sorry this is so long) we met with our investigator's fiancé this last week, FINALLY! He JUST got home from being deployed in Cuba this week, right before Christmas. Amanda has been SO excited! So we met with both of them together yesterday to help them establish a plan of how they want to encorperate the gospel into their lives, and we're going to start teaching them together, we have a good feeling about this one!:)

Annnnnd.... We're going ice skating again today! YAY

So over-all, I am doing well!! Miracles every day!! Too many to count one by one:) Some days I'm soooooo sad to be leaving, and others, I'm sooooo excited to see all those at home, so it's a bit of a rollarcoaster... but nothing I can't handle with the Lord by my side!! It'll be good! Keep on Keepin on!!
The work is always moving forward, and there is no such thing as "the end".  #BecauseOfHim.

I hope y'all have a happy and SAFE New Years! And that you make goals and write them down!-- because "A goal not written is just a wish" Just the power of writing it down is huge! I know that as I've written goals down on my mission, sometimes without even looking at them super often, when I go back and see them, I see that I have achieved most of them anyways-- without even realizing it. Set goals. Give the Lord something to help you WITH. And realize that EVERY day is a new day, a new start, a chance to be forgiven and a chance to do better. A fresh clean slate!!
We get that all, #BecauseOfHim

I love you!
Love, Sister Checketts

Monday, December 22, 2014

He is the Gift.

Hello, my dear ones!
It's been such a great week! LOTS of miracles!! They never cease! (to amaze me)!!!
First off, happy belated birthday to my brother, Dustin! Love you, Bro <3
AAAND I hope that my parents are flying safe to Georgia!! Haha daddy informed me that they'd be flying over Nebraska about 1 o'clock he guessed... so I'm waving to you right now! ;)
It's Christmas time, so it's the season of miracles, the season of giving, because everyone is more sensitive to that light of Christ that we've all been given. Faith this time of year is stronger than ever!!
We had our fun fun Relief Society Christmas party this last week at one of our members homes. It was such a fun time! We had our investigator, Carol there and a couple of our LA members. They seemed to all have a great time, lots of love and friendship developing even stronger:)
They did a fun activity where they asked the RS sisters to bring one of their "favorite things". So we had ladies bring chocolates, treats, books, and stuff like that that they love, and then we did a little game where we exchanged the items with someone elses. It was awesome!! I was the last one to exchange my gift.. (haha I brought a "missionaries favorite things!" including a Law of Chastity pamphlet, lots of new sticky notes, pens, and some of my favorite treats) and in exchange, I got one of my favorite members favorite cook books! It was awesome! :) We might just use it to make a treat to bring to our Christmas Eve plans.
Zone Conference was this last week... my ALL TIME favorite one, the Christmas Zone Conference... it's always such a fun time!! The trainings were all about not murmuring, and choosing happiness, and that we need to ACT and not be acted upon. Lots of inspired questions answered:) Then we did a gift exchange and got to watch many people perform musical numbers and skits. Laughed a lot:) haha! Missionaries are the greatest people ever! :) I was asked to get up and bear my testimony, and it was super sweet, because one of my favorite sisters came up to me afterwards and said that I reminded her so much of Sister Weston. Biggest. Compliment. Ever. Because Sister Weston is just the sweetest woman I have ever met:) Lucky to have such great mission parents... for reals.
This week we've been finding and FINALLY meeting lots of LA's we've been trying for weeks!! There are 2 that we've met this week that no one in the ward knows anything about, and they've let us in and opened right up to us! One of them even admitted she has no excuse for not coming except that of laziness. They've been living here for years and she's just had a hard time stepping in the building because she doesn't know anyone. She is AMAZING!! She used to even teach seminary and such and she blames herself a lot for not teaching her children better and for not being a better example. We had the most amazing lesson with her last night and I know that we will get her coming back and making strong friendships!! It's incredible:) She even told us last night that only a week ago, she had pulled out her Book Of Mormon because she's making it a new years resolution to read it for the new year. How many times do I have to say that THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS COINCIDENCES:)
The other family we met is a part-member family. The wife stopped coming because years ago, she'd tried to get her husband involved and he refused-- causing marriage problems, so she gave up. Well we've gotten in and I feel, we've warmed up to the husband, she has her 2 boys and their girlfriends living with them, so it's a big family affair. Very nice people and we've offered to help them finish their basement! The haven't agreed to it yet, but he appreciated the offer very much. She is letting us right in though and we talk and laugh and have a good time with them both. It's great! We even doorbell ditched her later that night, leaving behind a package of chocolate chips that we just happened to have, because she didn't want to go to the store to get some. She called us later that night thanking us, and then invited us BACK for the next day, to have some of the treats she was planning on making with the chocolates. We'll keep working on this one:):) So we've seen them twice this last week:)
So. Much. Chocolate this season.... I seriously just want to eat carrots and run for the rest of my life.... I do run every morning, as it's not THAT cold outside, just rainy, but it just isn't enough... lol:)
We had another lesson with our investigators, Teri this last week. She is that one that has a daughter on a mission. We actually met her husband this time too, and they are the funniest couple. She is Catholic, he believes in God but doesn't go to any church or believe in any organized religion. They invited us over for pizza this last week, and the husband was just questioning us like crazy. Super fun and friendly, my some miracle, we actually committed them to pray as a family! I know that they will be baptized one day! And I know that when their daughter gets home from her mission in February, that that will help a lot:) Teri actually reminds me SO MUCH of my aunt. So it's amazing to be able to teach her:):)
We picked this last Saturday as a day to dress in our service clothes, and to stop by many members houses just to be of service to anything and everything they needed help with. We're doing our best to gain stronger relatioships with the members in our ward and get them to trust missionaries more. It worked out so amazing!! So we did lots of random service on Saturday. I love this ward so much <3 <3
We had dinner with one of our other favorite members this last week- she is actually the main director right now over the gingerbread festival at the trail center. She informed us that the night before, their had been vandalism to one of the giant gingerbread men that is up outside of the Mormon Trail Center. Where we began to go "oh no... that isn't good!" This GIANT smile appeared across her face and she goes "No! IT IS GOOD!!" All of the news coverage for the Gingerbread Festival happened right when it first opened, and this last week, she had been praying to think of new ideas of how they could get more news out about the trail center. then BAM vandalism.. haha the Lord works in mysterious ways:) 3 news channels apparently covered the story, RIGHT before Christmas, and so more people will see it and remember to come! Sometimes our trials...are blessings in disguise ;)
We have the cutest neighbor that lives down below us in our apartment complex. Her name is Ruth, she's a single, older woman, and we always help her bring stuff in from her car and whatnot. And put up decorations. Well we had just got in our apartment, finished planning, and we get a call on our phone about 10:00 from Ruth, asking us if we could come downstairs because she wanted to show us something. Then she preceded to pull up this "Christmas Advent Calander App" that she had and showed us what the cute little video was for the day. It was the sweetest thing ever:) We love her, and she is very much warming up to us as well!
Sunday was awesome! We sang in the ward choir! There was actually a song that we sun that I had sung in Madrigals in High School, so that was a tender mercy <3 Had 7 returning members back at church and 3 of our investigators showed up! The program was soooo good and the chapel was PACKED. All our members were coming up to us introducing us to their nonmember friends that were visiting. Then for dinner we shared a meal with some members and their nonmember family. They asked us a ton of questions--- I LOVE answering questions!!
Sooo excited for this upcoming week! We have lots of service planned for Christmas and I'll be skyping my family.... from my families house!! How many missionaries can say that?? #skypefamilyreunion hah:) I'll be at the Checketts-- they've invited us over for dinner, and then we have some fun Christmas Eve plans as well:)
I've been having amazing studies lately, and I just wanted to share my one from this morning with y'all. The scriptures say, and we know, that we can tell the good from the bad. Mostly "by their fruits". If we have good fruits, we are in turn, GOOD. We've come across SO MANY people this last week that tell us "Oh, I know Mormons! They are some of the nicest people I know!" .. FRUITS. I just want to thank you for all the charitable acts that you perform to others each and every day. By the good things you do, that is how people deem you as GOOD! And those fruits that we put out are all because of the CHARITY that the gospel helps us develop for others. THAT is why "if ye have not charity, ye are nothing". We must build our charity, to increase our good works and our good fruits. So what can you do to increase Charity for others at this time of year? Is there anyone that you could love more, or love better? The things you do, influence more people than you could ever image. Go about doing good, serving those around us, and THAT is how you feel and develop charity. That is how we feel our Saviors love the most.
I KNOW that He lives. That He loves you so much!! NO matter your mistakes, or what YOU deem as a mistake, He loves you still!! Don't regret things from the past, they've made you who you are! Don't doubt in His love, because it's simply ALWAYS THERE. It's okay to question things, but question with FAITH believing that you will receive an answer!! Don't worry about little things that don't matter in the long run. Take deep breathes. Plan and prepare for things to come, and realize that you might prepare for something DIFFERENT than how someone else prepares. Try not to compare, try not to blame, take responsibility, but take it knowing that IT'S OKAY. This is the time of year we celebrate forgiveness, we celebrate our differences, and we celebrate the LOVE of our Savior. He is the Gift. We celebrate the opportunity to CHANGE. That is why I believe New Years comes right after Christmas. After celebrating the ability to change, we make the plans and goals to do so. Think of these things, set the goals you want to accomplish and then ask yourself, "are these the goals that my Father in Heaven wants for me?" Ask Him what HE wants you to do, and then DO IT. Because of His grace, or the Enabling power of the Atonement, you can reach any goal that He wants you to set. I know these things are true, and how incredibly blessed I am to share this message with the people of Nebraska. And you can share this through your example to the people the Lord has placed YOU around. Look to the future with faith.
I love y'all... so much! And I wish you all the Merriest of Christmas's as we celebrate our Savior's birth. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love, Sister Checketts
Me and Sister Weston:)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Who let the dog out?

Last 15 minutes of the night... we go on walks and play with our neighbors dog.. haha:)

Got gingerbread??

This is the wizard of oz! A lady in our ward did it-- it was her FIRST time!! Crazy, right??

Our tree:)

"Have miracles ceased? I say unto you, NAY!"


Feliz Navidad!!

It's the most wonderful time of the year! And even better as a missionary! Don't get me wrong, it's still hard, but the most peaceful feeling as well because what better time to be representatives of our Savior, Jesus Christ, when we are celebrating His birth??

Anyway, this week has been crazy, and fun, and cold, and HOT, and all of the above:)
First off... I just want to let y'all know that I FOUND MY SD CARDS!!!! It was a total miracle. Actually quite humorous, because last Monday, after email, Sister T lost her CAMERA!! We were losing everything.. and I never lose things! But we were oddly calm about it all. On, I believe, Wednesday, I decided to call around to the places we had been when I lost my camera case, and Sister T decided to call the zoo, and within like 20 minutes of each other, we found both of them!! It was great:)

We have done so much service this last week-- not a ton of teaching because it seems that EVERYONE is always on the go! No one will set appointments with us, because with the holidays, nothing is ever set in stone. So we just pop in wherever we can and they put us to work! I can't count how many artificial Christmas trees I've helped assemble and decorate this week. At least now I'll know the best kind of trees to buy for the future! Come to me for tree advice... lol.

Had another miracle. Every week we volunteer at the local assisted care center for the elderly. We popped in one day (And we LOVE the lady at the front desk, named Pam-- she's the BEST). We wanted to help with the activities that were going on.. but instead. SURPRISE, they put us to work decorating a tree! After we were done, we were walking down the hallway and this nurse named Katherine stopped us and goes "are you Mormons??" "Yeah!" We both said.
"Well that's cool! I was talking to my friend, Josh, last night and he was telling me that he was a Mormon and that he went on a mission to Brazil! Is that what you're on..? Missions?" We told her yes, and explained to her about what we do, she was SO Happy and excited. Said that Josh was going to be so excited too that she met us! She said she was going to come up with a list of questions to ask us! --- There are NO coincidence, everybody. Heavenly Father has a plan and places us where we need to be. We love Katherine! NEW INVESTIGATOR!

My dad would be so proud of me... I've decorated with SO many lights this week too. In the freezing cold! And we helped one of our members outside her house and I made that tree  look so good!

We also go to go one morning to help out of our members at her "Crafters Anonymous" class! She makes wood décor for holidays and needed our help- and let us make our own little ornaments! It was so fun:) During that, we actually met a few more of our members friends that we had met before-- it's a PERFECT missionary tool, these crafters classes.

Speaking of ornaments.. we have a little Christmas tree-- it's a super ghetto Christmas tree.. but it's still 6 ft tall! One of our members, Carol, is letting us borrow this tree that they aren't using. It didn't have a stand.. so it's held together with 4 cans of soup, and 3 shirts supported by a box. We're creative! Then our tree skirt are some extra skirts from past sisters that we found in the closet. WINNER. It's a masterpiece! With our like... 4 ornaments! haha:) I feel that out of all the trees we've decorated this past week.. ours has the most character.

Speaking of Carol-- had some miracles with her! We went to go visit her this week and the first thing she tells me is "I have bad news... I told my husband that I wanted to get baptized, and he freaked out." She was very sad about it the entire time and I had the prompting to read Alma 20 with her-- when King Lamoni and Ammon run into King Lamoni's father-- and his father is furious. We read it with her and it totally made her feel better and said it was "Very familiar to what is happening!" We left, COMMITTING her to January 3rd. Saying that she would get baptized.

2 days later, we went by again and she said she's thought about it some more, and she just wants to stay Methodist.. I was heartbroken.. We invited her to continue praying about it! And we know she still needs to recognize her answer that Joseph Smith IS a prophet. She'll get there! It just might take a little longer! Keep praying for Carol-- and Al!

Had some funny encounters this last week. One thing you learn as a missionary-- is you never know what is going to be behind that door you're knocking on... tried a LA this last week, and older gentleman, who answered the door only in his robe.. oops.

We also passed this really sweet house whose HUGE yard, both front and back were COVERED in those huge blow up decorations! It was pretty intense. We got a hilarious video from it though!

One morning, after studies as we were getting ready to leave, we were having a conversation about receiving refurrals from church HQ and how we really wished we would get one... then BAM, we get a text with a referral from HQ, JUST LIKE THAT. That is only the 2nd one that I've had my whole mission-- what are the odds??? So we went to go try this girl that requested us to visit her, and who requested a bible. This gentleman answered the door, and when we asked if Anessa was home, he was like "She's studying.. what do you want?" So we explained that we had a referral to come and give her a bible. He had his wife come over and talk to us and she goes "what's going on here?" So we explained again, to which she turned around and asked the like 7 year old that was sitting on the staircase, "Anessa, do you want a bible?" ... our referral was for a 7 year old! We have NO clue how that happened... she had never seen missionaries before. We put her info in the area book and wrote "umm.. try again in 10 years? Her parents seemed a little creeped out.." HAHA It was so funny.

You know that guy that I wrote about last week that Sister T and I gave a "he is the gift" card to WHILE we were emailing? Well, he called us this week and said he wanted to learn more-- and then today, we ran into him at Wal-Mart. Again, GOD KNOWS YOU AND HAS A PLAN! THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS COINCIDENCES. He's sweet... his name is Richard.

I made my pumpkin cookies this last week to deliver to those we serve. It was fun!

But amidst all the miracles and good times--- I think this is the most rejection I have faced my entire mission. I can't tell you all the people that I have had turn down even the smallest "He is the Gift" Christmas card! And during the Christmas season too! It's been insane... I don't know if it's because I'm closer to the city-- or what it is, it's been odd, but good! Because it reminds me every day how Christ felt and that He had to do it alone. I have prayed harder than ever, PRAYER IS REAL!! And so is fasting!!

The Christmas Devotional last night was the best thing ever!! If you missed it.. here it is!!

The choir was incredible! Love searching for Mrs. Hayward every time they sing. haha :) And didn't my man Mack Wilberg do an amazing job leading?:) Miss those choir days!! I loved D. Todd Christofferson's talk. We have a purpose in being here, just as Christ did! We all have a role we are to fill, and with communicating with God, we CAN reach that potential! Keep Him in our thoughts always.

I hope you all are sharing the "He is the Gift" video with everyone you can. At work, at school, at home, hand out those cards that came in the ensigns!! It is bringing MUCH success out here, and it totally brings the spirit of Christmas even more into our lives!

We finish the Book of Mormon tomorrow!! Reading it through this time focusing on how the Atonement brings a change of heart, has definitely changed me. The Book of Mormon changes us, teaches us to develop those Christlike attributes, and I know without a single doubt in my heart that it is true. Read it. Read it every day! It works, and don't let anything get in the way.

Go about doing good this Christmas season! Stand for truth and righteousness and be the light that you are-- the light of Christ that you hold. SHINE ON! Put a smile on your face and keep your eye out for the one that Heavenly Father has placed you where you are for.

I love you all!!

Harp Playin!!

Monday, December 1, 2014


Checketts Clan


The first of December..

Well hello everyone!!! Happy Holidays!!
Can you believe it is DECEMBER already??? My dearest friend Kaitlin goes home this week... HOLY COW, Nevada has sure been blessed. I remember when we were taking our mission pictures together and packing her! Good times:))
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!!!! "The Best is Yet to Be"- Elder Holland
This week has been excellent! I still feel like I don't know many missionaries out here in Omaha after being out west for so long... but that is okay!!
Sister Crist goes home next week, that's crazy sad...
And sorry I'm writing late today... WE WENT TO THE HENERY DOORLY ZOO!!!!! It was such a GREAT P-day!!!!
Had an awesome lesson/service with our Investigator Carol this last week. She's the 84 year old. Her husband is like 6 foot 7 inches, but has scoliosis SO bad and so he hunches and stands up at about 5 foot 5. We went to go and see her and Al, her husband was trying to put out the Christmas decorations. He hasn't seemed too interested in our lessons when we go over, but we got to go out and help him put up lights (which is INSANELY FUN by the way, as a missionary) and we helped them put up their Chrsitmas Tree and his heart softened SO much. He even offered to give us some of their canned peaches! We had a great lesson with Carol and we're still working on her getting to reach baptism on Jan 3rd. She's just been Methodist most of her life and is afraid of change. Pray for her and Al!:)
We had a CRAZY CRAZY lesson with one of our Returning Members-- Melissa and her VERY Less-Active Mom, Annette. Oh gosh.... I made the mistake of just simply asking Melissa how she enjoyed church last week and she brought up some issues that she had with some of the comments that were made in Relief Society. Which, I have to admit, the comments made me a little uneasy too... so we talked it out with her and then Annette walked in as well and was going off on how judgmental and hypocritical the members of the church are. They weren't arguing, but were just being REALLY loud, so I whipped out my ensign and read a quote from President Uchtodft about how the church isn't for perfect people. It's a place where we ALL go to improve. And all of a suddent Annette told us all these reasons of why she stopped going to church. She said she recently had a dream and when she woke up, she knew God was telling her that the Mormon church is where she needs to be, but she was offended a lot time ago and won't go back. I just bore testimony about how it broke my heart that she was allowing what a couple people did 10 years ago keep her from enjoying the peace and blessings from living the gospel. We actually didn't make it out of that house until like 10:15.. curfew is at 9 or 9:30... but we just didn't feel like we could leave at the time. It ended up ending really well though and she committed to reading the Book of Mormon again and we just left EXHAUSTED. So that was exciting!:) It had been a long while since I've had to defend the church in that intensity. It was really neat. Sister Tourtillott was awesome and we left feeling pretty good with how things went.
We got to help one of our members decorate her outside and put up her Christmas tree this week! She is over the activities over at the trail center for the holidays and right now the HUGE FAMOUS GINGERBREAD DISPLAY is happening in the basement of the Trail Center. EVERYONE around here knows about it and we spend a lot of our contacting time inviting people to see the HUNDREDS of Gingerbread Houses that are made and displayed by members of all the wards in the Omaha/Council Bluffs communities. We get to FINALLY go see all the gingerbread tonight because our ward choir (we're singing in the ward choir) is performing at it tonight. SO YAY!!!!!! So excited:)
I got my package from Mom and Dad (THANK YOU!!!) Y'all are too sweet:):) That video is INCREDIBLE by the way. Everyone needs to watch "No ordinary Shepherd"!
Thanksgiving was SO great!!! We went Thursday morning with a family from our ward whose daughter just got back from her mission in France like 2 weeks ago. We went with them to a big school in downtown Omaha to help deliver a BUNCH of Thanksgiving dinners to people in need. The school was PACKED with people from all over the city to deliver these dinners. And OUR WARD ALONE had the biggest group their to help. It seemed like our whole ward was there. It was so awesome! We went up to the front to check in, and the ladies were all. "Oh, you're from "the church"-- you're good, you can go ahead in." It was too cool:) WAY TO BE SERVICE ORIENTED!
We went about 2 hours before our dinner to the members house we were eating at. She's a single lady and her mom was there too. Her mom has cancer really bad and this is probably going to be her last holiday season, we LOVE Pauline <3. So we helped the daughter cook all the meal! The turkey was DELICIOUS! We learned how to make some super interesting Sweet Potatoes and green bean casserole and all that good stuff! It was SO GREAT helping with dinner and helping to clean up. (I'm sorry mom, that I didn't love helping as much when I was at home... hahah)
This mom and daughter had one of her co-workers and their daughters family come to dinner. The mom of the co-workers family was from Texas. Her name is Lynette!! HOLY COW!! it was a TOTAL miracle!!!! Where Lynette lives in Texas, they just had a new LDS chapel built about 3 blocks from her house and she's recently had some Mormon ladies keep stopping by her house. Before we even talked to her on Thanksgiving, I overheard her say to our member that she was thinking of going over to one of our services. I had the opportunity to sit alone with her at the table as we were eating pie, and she totally just opened up to me and started telling me all about how she's looking for something solid and sure in her life, and right then and there, on Thanksgiving, I started talking to her about the Book of Mormon, she said she had just received one a few weeks ago. I started talking about Joseph Smith and by this time, Sister T noticed that we were deep gospel talking and came to join me. We taught her about half of the restoration and she was getting SO happy and excited. She said that she wasn't too excited to come eat Thanksgiving at a strangers home, that she and her kids really needed to get on the road, but she knew then why she needed to be there. Because God needed her to meet us. It was the BEST!!! We asked her to be baptized once she finds out the truth of this church and gospel for herself and committed her to meet with sisters when she gets back to Texas, and she said YES! She gave us all her information so we can stay in touch. So that was the GREATEST Thanksgiving ever! I am SO thankful for the guidance and placement of our Father in Heaven and in His plan for each of us. Lynette was such a miracle.
AAAAND---- She had a daughter named Nya.... *Tender Mercy* for my dearest friend Nya back in Kearney!! <3, Girl, you are still in my heart always!!!
It was my mommas birthday this last week, and Marissas!! SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! We celebrated by going to the TEMPLE!!! The first time in like 7 months!!! It was SO great!!! I never ever ever ever want to leave the temple <3 While we were in the celestial room, President Weston comes up to shake my hand and he says "what are you doing here??" Hah, I looked at him sooo confused like "umm.... aren't I supposed to be here??" And he just smiled and laughed saying that it's been a while since I'd been in the temple. It was the most peaceful and wonderful feeling to be back!!!! MAKE THE TEMPLE A PRIORITY!!!!!
When we walked out of the temple, we went to go stand in the trail centers parking lot, and WHO would walk out of their car but the WARENSKI'S from Yankee Hill!! Heavenly Father NEVER ceases to amaze me!! Turns out the Warenski's (one of my favorite families in the Yankee Hill ward) are moving to Virginia in like 2 weeks and it was SO lucky that I got to see them!! Guys.... Heavenly Father loves us...... it's not a joke. He loves you and knows you and always places miracles and surprises in your path!!
I got to share the story of my sister-in-law Kelly this week!! We're teaching a lady in the nursing home who is friends with the member that we ate with on Thanksgiving  that has cancer. It was a wonderful lesson. And although they are both struggling with something SUPER hard, they are some of the happiest people I've met. Reminds me a lot of my sister-in-law and brother. Positivity is key and they are amazing examples to me!!
The Fergusons came and took us to Breakfast this week. They are my life-savers and mean so so so so much to me!!
And one of our investigators is set for Jan 31st! She's just waiting for her fiancé to get back from the army in Cuba so they can get married, and we're needing to go through all the lessons with her again-- that is Amanda. She's so fun! If y'all feel good about something... GO FOR IT!! If the spirit is telling you to go for it, go for it!!
Sad story... I lost my camera case this week..... it had 2 full SD cards in it:(:( I'm supers sad, but I've prayed SO hard to find it and I feel ODDLY at peace ever since I lost it!! So it's either going to turn up, I know it can! Or it's okay that all my pictures are gone. Keep praying that I'll find it! I NEVER lose things like this!! I know the Lord is bringing that peace upon me!
The sunrises have been INCREDIBLE this last week!!!!
And Guess what..... the WHOLE Checketts family was in town this week for Thanksgiving! So I finally got to meet with Gus and Nancy and Nancy has given us updates on a lot of those that are Less-Active members that live around here! It was so fun to see them this week and Nancy said she wants to come on team-ups with us when they are back for Christmas. It's seriously been like a GIANT family reunion!!!!
My awesome companion just gave this guy a He Is The Gift passalong card.. and they are looking up RIGHT NOW!!! #newinvestigator. I love watching her do that:) MISSIONARY WORK ROCKS!!!!
Have a terrific week! Hope y'alls weather isn't as crazy as ours... it got up to 70 degrees this last week #NOCOAT. and the next day it was 14 degrees not including the wind chill. Nebraska Weather.... ROCKS!.
The zoo is incredible!!!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully YOU don't all smell like monkeys... haha
We even teach lizards about the Book of Mormon!!
Also... we have a stalker.. and he just walked in the library... HAHAHA (don't worry though, it's really okay!) So I guess I should go!
Love you!!
Sister Checketts

Baby Jesus!

Temple Zone Trip!


Monday, November 24, 2014

My "digs" haha

Study Desk!

Rescue the Lost Sheep

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello Dearest Family and Friends!!!
Happy Thanksgiving week!!! It's actually here and happening.. that is weird!!
This week has been great!!
First off, I cannot express how much I miss living with members..... I've been without it for like 7 months now... and we've been thinking a lot about it this week because all we want for Christmas is to live with members! There are lots of members in the ward who are able, they are just waiting till holidays, or they're still trying to get situated or whatnot.. so it isn't happening yet,  but I just wanted to say "thank you" to all those who house missionaries and especially to all those I've had the privilege to live with. They change the lives of missionaries, that is for sure!!!! Thank you to the Denkers, Nix's, Fergusons, Flacks, and Cammacks... I love you all!!!!!
We had exchanges this week! So although I've been here for only like 3 weeks.. I feel as though I know the area very well. So Sister Stiles, who goes home at the end of this transfer, came to our area with me and we spent a day and a half together. Golly, I love her! She's sweet and helped a lot! We saw MANY MIGHTY MIRACLES and tried to commit all our investigators to baptism.
We brought it up with our 84 year old investigators Carol-- and although she didn't commit, we are whole heartedly trying for her to be ready by January 3rd. She is soooo ready, just scared for the initial change and is letting a little thing like Coffee hold her back, but she is INCREDIBLE!!! We go and iron for her every week. This 84 year old is learning to play the harp and reads every book she can get her hands on. She LOVES the ward, it just nervous for the initial change. She came to the RS dinner than night and absolutely loved it, then came to church all three hours yesterday even AFTER attending her Methodist church. Said our church is MUCH different than hers, but she couldn't stop smiling the whole time and she always lingers around talking to everyone forever-- her fellowshipper, Sister Larsen, has the hardest time getting her to leave:) So that's a good thing!! She can just stay forever! She loves it when we call her Grandma.. so I have ANOTHER grandma out here in Nebraska. She'll make it to January 3rd. Everyone keeps joking with her that she "just needs to get dunked already" So keep her in your prayers:):
Sister Stiles and I had a sweet BOM handout too. We were on our way home for the night and were stopped at a stop sign. The car in front of us-- the license plate said "PRAYNOW" So we giggled and took a picture, and the car just kept sitting there. So we put our car in park, ran up to the window and the lady opened the door looking really confused. It was a crazy encounter and cars were all around us, but we gave her a Book of Mormon and a card with our number. #sweetaction
Teri-- is another one of our investigators that we talked to about baptism. She absolutely LOVES the ladies in the ward too. She has a daughter that joined the c church a couple of years ago and is now on a mission coming back in February, so sisters have worked with Teri for almost a year and a half. I finally just asked her.. "Teri.. why aren't you a member??" And she brought up some concerns. She fits RIGHT in with all the women and she has GREAT friends there. Earlier that day, we had prayed about a date to commit her to be baptized.. and we felt good about Feb 28th. So we asked her about that date and she said "... that is Sarah (her missionary daughter)'s birthday!! How cool would that be??? #NOCOINCIDENCES. She flat out turned us down still, but keep her in your prayers because I know she can make it for then too!! She reminds me SO MUCH of my moms sisters. I just love her!!
We had Zone training this week. Sister Crist, who goes home at the end of this transfer, gave such a great testimony!! She said something that meant a lot to me. She said "as long as you TRY, you ARE enough". Satan's really good at making it seem that we aren't enough. Don't ever listen to him. (easier said than done, I know, but it's true!!)
Sis T and I had dinner with the Checketts here this week! My 2nd cousins that are in our ward!! We drove out to their gorgeous house in the middle of all these fields and Laura Checketts had arranged for like 4 of the 10 siblings and their families to be there. So it was like a huge family reunion! It was sooo sweet!! Hahah:) They're hilarious:):)
I also got new this week that MY BROTHER IS A DADDY AGAIN!!!!!!!! To another one of the CUTEST little boys ever!!!! I swear.. my family just gets better looking with each one!!!!! AHHHHHHHHH I'm SOOOOOO excited! So yes, I am Aunt Sister Checketts to another beautiful child!!! It's hard to not be there, especially when ALLLLLLL  this week we have only really been focusing on families, and EVERYTHING is being tied back to Eternal Families.
I have a new baby nephew, the primary program put on our sacrament meeting yesterday, we taught Gospel Principles and the topic was "An Eternal Family". So many of my family have birthdays coming up, and the HOLIDAYS are a family affair. SO I just want to bear testimony on this lil email that FAMILIES ARE ETERNAL!!! And the GREATEST happiness in the world comes from learning and growing with our precious loved ones. They are literally my world and my rock. I love them beyond any words I could ever use to describe. And I know we will be close, and be together until forever. How BLESSED we are, family, to have the blessings of the sealing in the temple. So many people do NOT AT ALL enjoy those blessings yet, or only have partial of those blessings. My dear companion is only sealed to a portion of her family because her siblings do not yet understand the importance of the gospel. So DO NOT TAKE IT FOR GRANTED. But embrace and share the blessings we have. As a missionary, THAT knowledge is a big portion of what keeps me going. I will ALWAYS have that support from my loved ones, and I thank my Father every day for that. I serve for family. And for sharing the message of eternal families.
Anyway, I had a great study this morning all about Trust. It is SO easy for Heavenly Father to trust us. He knows His plan, knows what is going to happen, and places us in specific instances because He knows what we will do to fulfill His plan. HE TRUSTS US. The thing we need to work on is trusting HIM. You'd thing it would be the other way around since He is the ultimate creator and it should be easy for us to trust Him. But that is where FAITH comes in. We do not see him... so we act in FAITH, TRUSTING that he is there. The more we trust, and work for that knowledge, the more He will give us. Anyway, there is my 2 cents for the week!
I love you all!!! We have a TEMPLE TRIP this week! My first time going in over 7 months. How grateful I am for that.
I hope you all have a PERFECT Thanksgiving!!!!!! We'll be spending time with a single lady and her mom and children. It'll be good. Then we might be stopping at the Checketts' for desert or something too, so I can still claim to be with "family" for the holidays ;)
I miss you, YSA!!! Know how much I love you!! And thank you to all who are reading these, truly, I wish I could communicate my love and appreciation more 1 on 1, but just know that I love you sooooo much!!!
There is MUCH to be grateful for this holiday season.
Watch the "He is the Gift" video and #ShareTheGift!!
Please, SHARE with all you friends!!!
Love, Sister Checketts
My Checketts Family!!:)

Monday, November 17, 2014



Look who I found!

It's been a year since I've seen this kid!! Elder Adams! From High School.

Once there was a snowman.....

Hello on this beautiful wintery day!!
We've been receiving storms up the wazoooooo here full of wind and snow! It's already gotten to like 10 degrees.. not even counting the wind chill. WAHOO!!! It's going to be an intense winter:) It's been fun to pull out the heavy coat though! I always feel like super dedicated and hard-core missionary in my heavy coat:)
This week has been soooo full of ups and downs!!! That is seriously the sum-up of missionary life. We had Brent H. Nielsen of the Quorem of the 70 come and speak to us this week and all the sisters got together before the main conference started to meet with his wife, Sister Nielsen. Golly Jee... she's the cutest! She was saying that most people assume missionary life to be this uphill climb always getting better and easier and more knowledgeable and then reaching this point where you are unstoppable. But the reality is it is constant ups and downs-- just like normal life! And that is how we REALLY grow.
Anyway, coming into this area, there is SO MUCH to do!! And I do actually feel like there are a lot of ideas and things that I am offering here that is totally helping this area. Makes me wonder what was going on before I got here, because to me the ideas I'm bringing forth seem like common sense... but I guess they are just things I've learned and taken upon me my whole mission, and now is the chance to use them all:) YAY
We've changed our focus in this area to focusing mostly on our LA members. So this week, we've knocked on LOTS of their doors. A LOT of them, still wanting nothing to do with us, but we have gotten in a few doors that it has been MONTHS since that has happened. SO YAY. One of them-- is Sister Nichols! She's incredible!! AHHH The sisters have gotten in a LITTLE bit in the past, but we really had no information on her. Something that I am SO GRATEFUL that Sister Weber taught me-- is how to get good at asking questions. Some people just don't think to ask many questions... and it's SO IMPORTANT! So we spent a lot of time asking her questions and getting to know who she is and where she comes from. Turns out she was in the Army-- That's how she knows my family, the Checketts a lot. And about 10-15 years ago, she had a stroke and lost SO much memory. She doesn't even remember giving birth to some of her children. HOW SAD. No wonder she doesn't come to church anymore. She doesn't know anything about it! She knows she is a member, and she has tried to do some research on on her own, but she really doesn't understand any of it... So, as we talked with her, I asked her if she'd like to take the lessons that we teach to those who are just learning about the church. And with NO hesitation, she just said "YES". The wonderful woman was just waiting for someone to ask her. Golly I love her so much! People in the ward know her-- they said she used to give the most AMAZING lessons in RS, but no one knew about the stroke and figured she just stopped coming. We're so excited to teach her, and so many in the ward are excited to come with us. Just goes to show that we shouldn't assume or judge-- but we should ask questions and get to know people ourselves <3
We're teaching another LA member and she is amazing! Reminds me A LOT of Sister Muasau, and she's really trying to focus on fixing herself and aligning herself with God right now. She is an inspiration to me.
We're doing our best to go and ask all the LA if they'd like to take the lessons. Which is FUNNY, because in our conference with Elder Nielsen this week, THAT is exactly what he's asking us to do. Spend more time getting to know our LA's. INSPIRATION!! The spirit is wonderful:)
I got to use what I love and do what I love this week helping out one of our members with my graphic design skills! She's on a committee at her sons school and needed help designing a poster for their lockers, so I got to help with that for the first time in FOREVER and it was so great! She was really impressed and has asked me to help with making the invites for the ward Christmas party too... Who knew helping my mom out all those years with her little handouts and invites would come so much in handy one day and I absolutely love it!!:)
We're teaching this awesome mom named Amanda! We've met with her twice this week- had dinner at a members home with her. For the longest time, the sisters before didn't know how to help her progress. She seemed like she DESIRED to change, but wasn't WILLING. I'm telling ya... asking bold questions is the answer to everything. COMMUNICATION and humility will solve all the worlds problems. Companionship inventories with ALL those we have contention with is the best. Comp inventories is my FAVORITE time of the week <3
Amanda is the cutest though! Her fiance is deployed in Cuba and he is LA. They have 2 little boys and she's been meeting with the sisters the whole time he has been gone. She's been set for baptism a couple of times, but doesn't really know what that means. He fiancé should get back in a couple of months and so we're really wanting her to understand. Well this week we figured out where she stood more and realized that she just has a lack in understanding the BASICS of the gospel. Faith, repentance, and understanding the love of God. So we've talked with her about that and then asked her if she wanted to re-take the lessons. From the beginning. She didn't even know that there were specific lessons that we taught... I'm so confused as to what those before me were doing sometimes... lol. But she is a VERY logical and organized person, and just the fact that she now knows that we have specific lessons we teach, is getting her excited and wanting to learn more. I feel good things about her progression now:)
Oh gosh though, my FAVORITE part of the week was our mission tour with Elder Nielsen!!!!!!!!!!!! I NEVER WANTED IT TO END and I literally about cried as we drove away.
The night before, we had 4 sisters staying in our apartment with us. One of them was SISTER MUASAU!!!!:):) Oh gosh, we had the opportunity to catch up and talk about EVERYTHING. We stayed up a little later than we should have... oops... but it was a rare occasion and  totally worth it!!!!! We sang our songs that we were famous for and I just love her to pieces!!! That was the best:)
Then the next day at the mission tour, we saw EVERYONE!!! I saw Elder Dano Adams!! That kid is the coolest! And Elder Lafever who was in my ward at college and we caught up! 3 of the 6 of my companions were there. I saw Sister Mahlstead-- my trail center twin, and Sister Wilding whom I hadn't really talked to since I was in Lincoln.
I LOVE MISSION REUNIONS!!!!!! Seriously, they are the best days of my life. These missionaries are the GREATEST.
The mission tour was all about the Atonement-- my all-time favorite subject. Talking not only about the REDEEMING power of the Atonement, but the part I have studied about and come to know the most on my mission--- the ENABLING power of the Atonement. It is SOOOO real, and it is my favorite thing to testify of. We can do things BEYOND our natural ability if we only are obedient, and have FAITH IN CHRIST that it can happen. "It is by GRACE that we are saved after all we can do!" Grace is the greatest gift ever. Because of it "With God, anything is possible". That is something that I have studied and done my best to rely on my whole mission, and I finally feel like I am coming to a greater understanding of it. We must use BOTH the redeeming and enabling power of the Atonement. We need them both.
Sister Nielsen also talked to us, the sisters, a lot about finding PEACE in everyday living-- which is exactly what we needed to share with Amanda that night. Yes, life can be chaotic, but the underlining peace, our foundation of peace, will be there if we rely on our Savior.
After the conference, a prayer was answered in that we got to go on a "mini exchange" with Sisters Goldsberry and Weber for the night. So I got to be companions with my daughter again!!:) YAY!!! I had all 3 of my companions in one car... haha it's the funniest thing ever... apparently they all share secrets and stories about me... lol. #scarythought
Anyway, Sister Weber came with me into our area to have dinner with one of my favorite families, and it's amazing to see the great missionary that she is. She is my favorite! So sweet and it was SO fun being able to be companions again for a night. We also saw a sweet tender mercy from the Lord and we can both testify to you that the blessings that come from fast offerings and tithing are REAL.
Sister T and I had some hard days together too.. we had a day this week where we just felt that everyone was upset around us and we were just making it worse. We talked with our WML and did service and things seemed to get worse with our help instead of better, and to make matters worse, there was a huge snow storm, so I was driving super slow, and this car behind us kept HONKING like we were being soooo slow. And just ALL day that day, we wanted to cry because it didn't seem we were helping anything. As much as we wanted to just hide from the world and not cause harm, we kept our faith in the Lord and kept going, knowing that it just meant that SOME miracle HAD to happen that day.... We kept encouraging each other to press forward and our love for each other grew. There wasn't any HUGE miraculous miracle, but we were able to teach a great lesson with Amanda that day, and it was worth it. The hardest days, are the biggest testing days, and they days we learn the most. SO KEEP PUSHING THROUGH THEM!!!!
Anyway, it's been crazy! Overall I am doing really well and I keep pushing forward!!! Life as a missionary is the greatest thing ever!!!! It's never going to end:):):) When life seems impossible, just put a smile on your face, and DON'T WORRY SO MUCH!!! We always tend to beat ourselves up more than we need to. Christ won't beat us up for things we do wrong, he appreciates EVERY effort towards doing His will and praises us for EVERY effort. We need not be so hard on ourselves. DON'T WORRY SO MUCH!!! You ARE enough:)
I love you all!! Keep pressing forward. READ THE BOOK OF MORMON DAILY!!!!!!! Even if it's only a few verses. There is power in those little words. SO MUCH power. And SOOOO many examples of the enabling power of the Atonement.
I'll ALWAYS love you, and thanks for alllll you do for me and for the service you give to our fellow brothers and sisters!!!!!!
Love, Sister Checketts
Picture" #TheseAreAFewOfMyFavoriteThings!!!! Some of my FAVORITE sisters after the Mission Tour <3

Monday, November 10, 2014

"I cannot express that which I feel..."

Hello my beloved family and friends!!! OHHHHH how I miss and love each one of you!! I sooooo appreciate all your letters and emails even still!!! They keep me going:):)
I actually got a bunch of emails from my YSA family!! And just about cried... I miss you all soooooooooooo so so so so much!!!! You have no idea. You guys changed my life!!
So sorry if I don't directly reply to all emails that were sent to me.. I will do my best! :) And Heavenly Father will make up the rest!
This week has been really good! For about 3 days at the beginning of the week, I still felt like I was living in a daze. I knew NO ONE, I had NO CLUE where anything is located, and I just felt SOO LOST. It wasn't till about day 4 that everything sank in. I shed a few more tears, and then I FINALLY felt adjusted to this ward and this area. It was a GREAT feeling once it did come though, and I felt Heavenly Father answer my prayers.
Its crazy the feelings that you feel, that a long time ago, I didn't think I would ever feel. When RM's would describe their mission, and for the longest time I didn't get it... and now I'm starting to.
Elkhorn is GREAT!! Really, it is!!! It's way different than any other of my areas. We have a bunch of investigators... but we're sorting them out seeing if they are TRULY interested, or if they just love the missionaries. It seems to me, that for the past while, things here with the missionaries have been pretty "casual". The members are AMAZING at doing missionary work and inviting their friends to things, but the missionaries have been doing their own work completely separate. Sister T doesn't even know a lot of the members... so we're working on fixing that. Members are my favorite part of missionary work:):)
We've taken a LOT of time this last week to stop and meet as many of the members as possible. We have dinners every night this month and already half of next month. So don't worry about me not getting fed! ;)
One thing that I have been SOOO grateful for is being able to have learned how to be more BOLD in stating our purpose as missionaries and truly getting down to the point in our missionary work. I think Sister Muasau taught me a lot of that <3. We had this saying that we would use "no fluffy stuff" this gospel is important, our time as missionaries is SHORT and we should focus our efforts on those that are ready and prepared to learn. So we're sorting through everyone and figuring that out. It's actually super fun, and once I figured out that that is what I was needing to do, my heart became IN this area.
I've been pretty sick this last week.... and I had even gotten a flu shot a few weeks back... so that has been a mess... Some days I've wanted soo bad to just not do anything, but I know inside that I am well enough to keep going, so I have to keep pushing myself, but rest at the right times.
Sister T was sick a lot before I got here, so I think she just passed it along. We've been quite the pair with our tissues everywhere and our voices gone. But she told me this week, that our numbers have hit a record high for this area almost. So that's sweet:) She said that she has never had this much fun doing missionary work before. She is truly a joy to work with!! :)
One of our "investigators" is a mom of a RC who is actually on a mission right now. It's been really neat to get to know her. She asks a lot of questions because her daughter is out doing what we're doing right now and she doesn't' know anything about the gospel. We love going to visit with her!!
We've met some LA's this week that have softened up to us just because of my name. HOW GRATEFUL I am not only for the name of Jesus Christ on my nametag.. but also for CHECKETTS. Seriously, my family that just recently moved to Texas from this ward are AMAZING!! I think they reached out to like EVERY less-active member of this ward. We go and knock on a door, introduce ourselves, and they give a double take at my name.. they go "... ohhh, we know some Checketts! But you probably ar.." "Yes.. yes, I am related actually!" And they let us in. It's SWEET!!! I KNOW I am here to carry on much of the work my family has done here. THANK YOU GUS & NANCY and KIDS for being SUCH great missionaries!!
We had a miracle this week! The HARDEST part of our day to fill is the hour from 8pm to 9pm at night. Man, in YSA, that time of the day was EASY! Young adults are always up, but in family ward.... we have to be careful. This one night, all our plans had fallen through and we were driving around trying to inspire tract. This are is VERY intimidating knocking on doors because the houses are MANSIONS it seems. But we were driving, and Sister T goes, "why don't we just knock somewhere around here?" And I said, "Okay... There???" And I pointed to a house that was very lit up. We pulled over, said a prayer and got out and rang the doorbell. Two young women answer the door and they were SO nice. We got to talking... one of them is going through "Confirmation" for their catholic church right now and thinks it would be a GREAT idea to look into other religions to help her in Confirmation. Turns out she knows one of the young women in the ward and they have gone to school together for years! So we have another appt with her on Thursday. YAY!  You guys NEVER know who is watching you! When one of your acquaintances runs into missionaries one day, they are going to instantly think of you because they know YOU are a Mormon. It was neat! There are no such things as coincidences.
One of the members in our ward got in a car accident this week and asked us to come help clean their kitchen because her and the kids were sore and hurting. We talked to her for a while and I was SO impressed on all the GOOD she saw that came from the accident. It was her fault, but miracle after miracle she was naming off all these blessings that came from it. She said "this is all new for me! I have never been in so much trial, yet been SO HAPPY because of all the blessings that came from it!" She's a Recent Convert of about 3 years. It made me so happy, and everyone here are amazing mothers and they teach their children all about miracles and that "God will provide!!"
Funny story... we got news that a LA member from Plattsmouth, NE just recently moved here to Omaha in a nursing home in our ward boundaries. So we went to the nursing home to welcome her. Well all the doors were locked, and when I went to open it, an alarm started to go off, so we backed away and went to go try another door. We found another door around back and I went to go open that one, but it too was locked and ANOTHER alarm started to go off... haha we were so confused and couldn't stop giggling. We went back to the front entrance, the whole building full of commotion and noise and followed a man inside. Nurses were inside running around the building trying to figure out which one of their residence had escaped, and we had to tell them not to worry.. because I was the one who set of the alarm.. haha SO EMBARRASSING but they were such good sports about it. Then they led us the way to the lady's room. LOL it was the funniest thing ever. The lady wasn't home.
The next day, we went to go try her again, and as we pulled in the parking lot to the nursing home, we heard sirens going down the road. Sister T just started LAUGHING and kept saying that they were coming for me. We ended up meeting her though and she's a sweetie, totally working to get back to church.
Anyway.... always fun experiences as a missionary!!
Heavenly Father knows us SO WELLL. This week I noticed a lot of things that He did for me in this area that I had been praying for. Sister Tourtillott sings!! So this is going to be a GREAT Christmas. AAAANNNNND He knows how much I LOVE the holidays, so He placed me in a spot where there are going to be SUCH elaborate Christmas lights and decorations, and I am SO CLOSE to other missionaries and the Trail Center. We'll get to go to the famous Gingerbread Festival at the trail center A LOT this year. I'm just in awe at how much He loves us and answers our prayers.
I had an experience at Sacrament meeting yesterday. I was praying to Heavenly Father, telling him that I was still a little overwhelmed because I don't really know anyone, or feel like I belong, and sometimes I just want to stop for a while. When I opened my eyes it was my turn to partake of the water, and as I looked at the tray, there were only 3 cups left. There were 4 of us sitting on the bench.
I thought to myself.. "man, what if there was a limit to the sacrament, a limit to the atonement, and each week there were people that couldn't partake because they 'ran out'".
Then another tray came to the assistance with just a couple more cups of water.
Then the spirit told me... "just hang on, there are still a couple more people for you to touch"
And I realized that those "couple more people" are worth it. I just have to keep going :)
If y'all are still reading the Book of Mormon.. I hope you are!! Our mission should be on page 385! We just finished the WAR CHAPTERS!!!!:):) I love Captain Moroni soooo much. He's probably my number one Book of Mormon Hero!!
He had weakness too! Alma 55:1
Even he had doubts! Alma 59:11
Even he looked back and wished things had been different! Alma 60:16
And He only did things to please GOD, not man! Alma 60:36
He saw blessings amidst trials! Alma 62:12
And "if all mad had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever, yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men" Alma 48:17
He's the best!!
Also, we need to remember that we are NOT alone!!!
We've been focusing a lot on studying the Enabling Power of the Atonement as a mission to prepare for Brett H. Nielson of the 70 to come to our MISSION TOUR this week!!! And I know that our Savior gives us added strength beyond our own power if we seek for it and do what He has asked.
Heleman 4:14. Our strength is not our own!
Heleman 4:24.  The spirit gives us strength.
And that STRENGTH adds to us the more covenants that we make with our Heavenly Father.
I love you all!!! Sometimes I have those moments where I just get tired, physically and emotionally and I am about ready to be done, but then I remember about the "COUPLE MORE" to reach and I just keep on pushing!! Don't give up!!!
Because the GREATEST feeling is the atonement in our lives, and realizing the growth and the knowledge that we have gained because of the trials we have been through!!! It's the best feeling in the world.
I love you sooooooooooo much!!! I hope you know that!!!!! That love will NEVER dwindle because LOVE is an eternal principle. I'm here if any of you need anything!!!
Keep on Keepin on, and ALWAYS turn to your Father in Heaven who loves you and WILL give you peace!!
Love, Sister Checketts

Monday, November 3, 2014

Goodbye Country!

Bye Sister May!!:(


The Braytons!!:):)

3 of my 6 companions!!

Weber, Me, Goldberry, & Tourtillot:):)

the trio!!!!


Ian's Baptism!!:)


Hello Everyone!!
This week has been one of the hardest/most exciting/ crazy weeks of my mission!!! SO MANY EMOTIONS I think my head is about to explode still!!
I'll start with last Tuesday-- Goldsberry and I were able to drive all the way to Omaha with half of the branch to go to DEPARTING TESTIMONIES!!!!
It was PACKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The chapel was SO full and there were people all the way back in the far parts of the gym. It was crazy!!!! But probably the BEST day in my entire mission.
I got to see ALL my companions!!! I said goodbye to Sister Carpenter who is now home in Washington, it was great to see her and how much she has grown!
I got to see my baby, Sister Weber and see how AMAZING she is doing!!!! AHH We just hugged for FOREVER!
I got to see SISTER MUASAU!!!!!!! AHHHHH I cried when I saw her too!!!
And then Sister Goldsberry and I were there together <3 <3
There were people there from ALLL my areas!!! I could not stop BEAMING the whole night!!! I saw the Denkers from OMAHA,
The Nix's, the Braytons, Sister Marcantel, MIchelle (one of our investigators), the Dahls, and more, all from RED OAK.
The dearest Fergusons were there from Lincoln,
And half of our branch was there. It was like a GIANT family reunion!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That, my dear loved ones... is what HEAVEN is going to be like <3 <3
It was so crazy to say goodbye to 3 Elders and like 16 sisters..... I still don't think it has hit me that they are gone. Lots of them had their families there and there were just tears EVERYWHERE!!!!
We left Omaha around 9:30 and so we didn't get back to Kearney until about 1 in the morning. Jordan, our investigator came with us and he had loved it!! I think it was real cool for him to see all the missionaries!
That night, the Denkers had informed me too that Sister Brough had recently been back to the mission to see MARIA get baptized!!!!!!! Maria Lopez was the very first woman I ever began teaching over a year ago in Millard!!! In the last couple weeks, she got married and baptized and I started crying!! That was the GREATEST news!!! I love Maria sooooo much!
The next couple days after that were somewhat a blurr... I knew I would be leaving Kearney, because president had told me that about 5 weeks previous... silly president! And so I tried our best to let everyone know how much I loved them. I wrote letters to them all and spent as much time with the branch and our investigators as I could. I saw so much growth and love in Sister Goldsberry and we helped each other a TON. She is my forever sister <3
Thursday morning came.... and we got a call from The STL's.
....... They were closing YSA.....
SO SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With all the sister missionaries leaving, President is spreading us more thin than we have been in the past. The Kearney sister serving in the family ward would not be over the family ward, AND the YSA branch, as well as being STL's.... CRAZY!!!!!!!! I thought for sure Sister Goldsberry would be staying... we were both really devastated, but we knew everything would work out:)
We spent that day packing up both of us, AS WELL AS getting all the last minute stuff together for our BAPTISM that night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was the craziest day.
Ian Winkelmann got baptized Thursday night!!!! It was the best:) We showed up to fill the font and get everything ready and he was SO ready!! Excited, and nervous, and just looking forward to the things ahead.
His baptism was wonderful. It has been sooooo cool to see Ian transform into a more shy guy who had questions in his heart, to this excited and friendly guy sooo determined to learn about the gospel. He kept telling us "thank you" over and over again.
Then after the baptism, we both had to say goodbye to the branch. I love them so much. They have transformed my life forever.......
It's a normal thing I think to worry about your areas when you have to some-what close it... and the people taking over don't remember all the little details that you would... but we have seen the BIGGEST miracle and we've began to see some of Heavenly Fathers plan for this area.
Throughout the last few months, one of my dearest friends, Nya, has been able to come out with us a LOT on teamups. She's met most all of our investigators and knows what we were doing every step of the way.
Something that brought Sister Goldsberry and I a lot of comfort was knowing that Nya has become the PERFECT missionary for this area. The sisters taking over are going to be leaning on her a LOT because she knows how to do it. THAT Is a huge miracle that we have seen. I KNOW the YSA is in good hands, and I'm grateful for the strength that I have seen come to each and every member of that branch since I have been there. They know what they are doing and they are at the point where they can take care of themselves:): ) They're growing up!!! :') hahaha no really though, those members are some of the strongest I have ever met, and will FOREVER be my friends and family!!!!
The next morning, we took off to Omaha!!!
I am now serving in the Elkhorn ward IN Omaha,
and get this.. Sister Goldsberry is serving with SISTER WEBER in Glenwood!
It's strange having two of your companions serve together... hahah they'll be telling all my secrets now. LOL. I'm excited for them though!
At transfer point in Omaha, while we waited for our luggage, we were able to talk to so many sisters that we hadn't seen in a while. It's going to be fun being back in Omaha-- ending my mission where I started it, with SO many activities and missionaries around me. I'll actually get to go to the zoo! Finally!! After having a free zoo pass for over a year!! hahah:)
The funny thing about me serving in Elkhorn... is I have family, 2nd cousins, who JUST moved out of THIS ward only a few months ago. EVERYONE here already knows the Checketts and, YES, we are related! My family that just moved away from here have been the BEST member missionaries and fellowshippers to SO MANY people. It's SO GREAT that I get to be here to carry on the work they already started.
We have already noticed that some LA's we tried are a little more open to us, just because I am a Checketts. MIRACLES <3 So, THANK YOU GUS, AND NANCY, AND ALL YOUR KIDS for all the work that you have done for people here in Omaha.
This area, I have heard is actually the wealthiest area in the whole mission. Some of these houses are MANSIONS and it is a bit intimidating... I catch myself asking... what do I have to offer these people...? So many of them seem so well off already... in many ways, I have no clue why I am serving here. My companion is an AMAZING teacher and feels at home here with everyone, and it's going to take me a little while, I feel. At some points, I REALLY miss my YSA... hahah  but it's okay:) The greatest knowledge I will always have is that even despite changes and obstacles and unsure-ness, the GOSPEL is always what we can hold onto in these moments and everything will be okay!!! We live in a cute little apartment and will be here for the Holidays.
I really love my companion. Here name is Sister Tourtillot from Sacramento, California! She is the greatest teacher and is soooooooo determined and focused on the work. We will work wonders together. So far, she's a little more reserved and we're still getting to know each other, but it's going to be good!
I'm going to be the 2nd companion she's killing off. She just barely killed off Sister Kent.
I'm excited to be back in Omaha. I hope I can make the family name proud.
It's so important to hold the names we have high. We ALL hold the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Are you going to be a good example of Him? Are you going to treat HIs name the way He deserves? You carry His light. Your carry His name.
Something else I have learned is how important it is to ask God the "Why's" and the "What's" for the places we are put.
WHY am I serving in this calling/area/position??
WHAT do I have to give???
Pray, ask these things and Heavenly Father WILL give you the answers. I haven't receive mine yet, but I know I will. The most important thing is just to try and do your best to reach that potential you and your Father see in yourself.
I love you all!! NO ONE is letting me forget how much time I have left....:( it's awful. BE NICE!!!
Keep your head up!! Thanks for ALLLL your support!!!!
This is my new address:
Sister Megan Elise Checketts
20235 Wirt Street #11
Elkhorn, NE 68022

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ian, Marleyna, and I




Hey there!!
Sorry I'm on later than usual today! We have had SOOOOOO much to do today and we're just now getting to email!
Oh my... this week has been INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!
On Tuesday we got to go to OMAHA!!!!! 3 hours away!!! YEAH, buddy!!!
You remember that kid, Ian, that I told you about??? Marleyna's boyfriend? yeah.... so he is getting baptized on the 30th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):) The night before I am to leave for transfers!!! Everyone keeps telling me "way to go out with a bang!!" haha but seriously... I haven't done anything! This kid is such a GOLDEN investigator!
So we went with him and Marleyna to Omaha to see Meet the Mormons on Tuesday. WOW. Being in a movie theatre as a missionary... seriously... happiest day of my life! It felt so weird! I HAD HAD HAD to get popcorn:):)
That movie is incredible though... if you haven't seen it... DO IT!!! Take ALLLLLL your friends to it!!!!
At the very end when they are showing the missionary mom... all 4 of us were just covered with tears. Goldsberry and I.. missionaries! So we cry a lot anyways. Then Marleyna who leaves on her mission the first week of November... then Ian, who is saying goodbye to Marleyna for 18 months and is getting baptized. It was pretty cute if you ask me.

On the way to and from Omaha, Ian just wanted to whip through the lessons. He has been studying all these lessons with marleyna for the past 6 months... so he already knows everything! But he said that as we explained them to him, he caught a few things that he didn't know yet that he NEEDED to know to help finalize his decision. We whipped out like 3 big lessons that night because of all the driving. Then after we saw the movie... we went to the trail center and that just completely strengthened his testimony of Joseph Smith. It was SO cool to be back at the trail center. I hadn't been there in over 7 months! I love that place.

We didn't get back to our apartment till midnight that night. We had fallen asleep in the car. But our leaders were aware and it was SOOOO worth it even though we were like DEAD for 2 days after!
That night while we were driving, Ian was just opening his heart to us and just felt sooo excited to be baptized. He picked the date and we started to get everything arranged.

District Meeting on wednesday was INCREDIBLE!!! Probably the most spiritual district meeting on my mission. Our INCREDIBLE zone leader, Elder Tatafu, is going home this week... so it was his VERY last DM and we went all out!! One of the Elders had bought him a nice Husker leather jacket that we all signed, then we sang for him and had his favorite member come and do a musical number. This kid is SOOO talented with singing! He's Polynesian, so that explains it all:) I had written him a poem that would be from our whole district. It only took me about 20 minutes to write and everyone was SOOO impressed. It was amazing because at the end of the poem, to finish it, I put down a scripture that I felt reminded me of Tatafu, and in the district meeting, he bore his testimony and he shared with us that same scripture 2 Nephi 1:21 and it just happened to be his favorite scripture. I didn't even know it!! Heavenly Father loves him a TON. We are gonna miss him SOO much! He served with my in my baby area-- Millard for my first 6 weeks. So we've been buds my whole mission. It's crazy that he is leaving! There are about 16 sisters and 3 elders leaving this week. And only 3 sisters coming out.

Lucky for us, we are going AGAIN to Omaha tomorrow for their departing testimonies!! We're bringing our invstigator, Jordan and like the whole branch is coming with. It's going to be the best day of our lives!!!! And I swear, EVERY missionary in the mission is going to be there.... SO EXCITED!!!!

Wednesday we had BACK TO BACK lessons all day. We didn't even get dinner. Those are my FAVORITE days <3
Exciting life! We taught 3 Law of Chastity lessons!!! Yeah, that's right! It was fun:)
Mission prep that night was also incredible. Probably my last time teaching it:(:( And we barely even taught! Jordan and Ian were there <3 Jordan had lots of REAL good questions and IAN pretty much answered every single one of them!! It was soooooo coool :):) the branch just loves them both!

One of our LA got kicked out of her boyfriends apartment this week, so at like 8:50 that night we went to go and help her out. It was the end of our SUPER long day, and we were waiting in the drive-through for DQ ice cream when we got the call, so we left the line to go help:) Heavenly Father makes EVERY minute of our day worth it!

Thursday we went to a nearby town-- Hastings all day. We were trying to track down one of our investigators that has kinda dropped off the face of the Earth... well we didn't have much luck :(
But our member, Nya was with us, and she used to go to Hastings college, so she wanted us to try some houses that she knew. We ended up finding this girl named Caitlynn and taught her the restoration on her porch. She read Moroni 10:3-5 and said that it sounded oddly familiar. She was super excited and interested and is planning on reading the whole Book of Mormon and then we have an appointment sent in 2 weeks. She is an English major, so she'll get it down:) I'm not sure if I'll be here... :(
We also had dinner with the Hastings sisters that night because it was Sister Wilson's birthday! :)

All this last week, we had 12 lessons with a member present in them. That is the highest we've sure had in a LONG while, it was incredible!! Our members are SOOOO up for doing missionary work and that has changed DRASTICALLY since I first got here, so that is a huge blessing to witness <3

Justin Ferguson came to take us out to breakfast one day and I got to say goodbye! He's pretty cool because this is the most active he has been in church in his whole life. He told me that from Sister Weber and I living with his parents, he saw a big diffrenece in the happiness that his parents had and he wanted that, so he started meeting with the missionaries more. That was a huge tender mercy to know that our examples helped their family feel the happiness that God has in store for them <3 I love them tons!!

This week has been insane though! I've been on this KICK about wanting to share the talents and abilities I have been blessed with, and Heavenly Father is for sure answering my prayers!! Yesterday, we were asked to sing in the Kearney Family Ward for Marleyna farewell, and then I spoke in the YSA branch, and then Nya and I sang a duet in the YSA branch.

It was sweet how that happened! I had this prompting to ask Nya to sing with me... and she said it sounded like a GREAT idea. I talked to our branch mission leader and he was all "oh, did Nya ask you to sing??" And I said "no, I asked her to sing" and he was like, "well that was VERY inspired because I had mentioned to her that it would be a good idea and i wasn't sure if she would do it" So that was a sweet miracle. We sang her favorite song "i'll go where you want me to go" and everyone said it was incredible!

Then yesterday, I got a text from our District Leader asking if I could give a training on Wednesday, and Nya and I are singing AGAIN for Ian baptism on Thursday, so it's been a VERY busy and exciting week:) PLEASE develop your talents, everyone!! Find a new hobby and build upon it!!

Everyone enjoyed my talk yesterday too... That was such a SWEET experience!!! I had kinda a hard time coming up with a topic.. but in the end, it centered around HAPPINESS. And it all came together just right!

I didn't notice, but Goldsberry said everyone was crying.... Even President Cammack! So I guess that is a good thing?? Haha. The greatest blessings and the greatest happiness really does come from being an instrument in the hand of god. A pure enough vessel that the spirit can work through, and I witnessed the spirit working through me a lot this last week. It's such a blessing <3 Heavenly Father is only happy if WE are happy. That is where His happiness comes from <3 The things that we think in our heads, seep INTO our hearts, so we must be cautions on the words in our head, that ultimately will determine how we feel. I love speaking in church!! I really do <3 This testimony of mine is one that I don't like to keep to myself.

Last night was incredible too. We met with one of our members friends-- Chris and taught him the restoration. He is already SO prepared too... he knows A LOT about the church and just really wanted a Book of Mormon. Our members are so great at finding those prepared people! We got a sweet picture with Chris last night and we have real good feelings about him. Which makes me excited but also SO sad because my time here is coming to a close.

I'm 88% positive that I will be leaving this week and the next time you here from me I will be in another area.... The Kearney YSA has changed my life and taught me how to be TRULY happy!!!

I'm ending with a baptism this week, my first one!!! But I can truly say that the satisfaction is NOT in having a baptism.... it's in the little tiniest moments where you see the light enter their eyes, when you see the people you've come to love desire to share the gospel with others. When you see those who have become your best friends, stand up in Relief society and say something that they have realized this last week, that you know the SPIRIT taught them through you. When you see the relief and peace in them that they didn't have before. It's THOSE moments that matter most.

So pray for Ian and Jordan this week! We finished getting his invites and programs done this morning. 

I have also seen Sister Goldsberry grow a LOT this week. She's been out a year and still has a hard time teaching. I think that has been our biggest struggle together is trying to teach in unison. I like to take over sometimes... hahah hard to believe, eh? But she's been feeling more confident and is finding ways to build that confidence. I totally felt the atonement this week when she asked me "Sister Checketts... how are you so confident??" because 5 years ago... I don't think I had any. It IS possible to change!! Believe that others can and believe that YOU can. It's okay if growth is slow.. that just means it is becoming PERMANENT!! And that is what we want <3

I love you all sooooo much!!!! I guesss we'll see next week where I am at!! CRAZY!!! Time goes by WAY WAY WAY too fast.....

Love you all, Sister Checketts "You are encircled about in the arms of His love" 1 Nephi 1:15

#districpic! Goodbye TATAFU!!