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:)

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