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!