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

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