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 Mormon.org 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