Monday, June 30, 2014

1st Transfer!

Dowleswaram, Dhavalaiswaram

Dowlaiswaram is located about 4 kilometers south of Rajahmundry right on the Godavari River. (Much smaller village.)


Hello everyone what is up? Man I am hearing some crazy things about the world cup! That is awesome. I am pumped to hear about how the U.S does! So big news this week! I am being transferred! But I am still in Rajahmundry! Its a place called Dowleswarem! Also, Its been nicknamed in the mission as the "Dirty Swarem".... Apparently is about as village-like as we can get here in India. I am pumped. My new companions name is Elder Sharma. He is an American-Indian from Utah! I am excited and it should be kind of a wild transfer! This last week was good but sad! It was my first transfer so it really weird saying good bye and thinking that I will never see these people again. I love them so much. I am grateful for the things that they have taught me. 1st Branch in Rajahmundry was awesome. I dont think we will ever have as many member present lessons as we did here! I will miss it a lot! 

So the work was slower this last week. Ravi Teja bunked on his baptism day so that was lame but its okay because next week will will be making sure that he comes. Awesome. I spoke in sacrement meeting along with Elder Britton and Elder Nepali. Those two nailed everyone on missionary work and i finished it up with Bearing Testimony. Solid. Hopefully it went well. So I dont have much time this week because of transfers/power cuts/Im really really hungry, So I will update you a lot more on what goes on in the Dirty Swarem next week! Other than that, Life is good. Im Happy and somewhat healthy. I think Ive been eating too much Kaja. Either that or the Chicken I ate last week wasnt very well cooked. Either way Its fine. The loose motions are subsiding. In case you were wondering.. Yeah. Anywho. I had Crab curry last night and it was the spiciest stuff I have ever had In my life. Ooohhh my gosh. My mouth didnt stop burning for hours. It was awesome. Well Love  ya all!

Love ya

Elder Checketts

Monday, June 23, 2014

Planting Seeds


District meeting on the Roof
How is everyone?? Work and life are going well? I hope so! Work and Life here in the Mundry is wonderful. We are slowly but surely working on getting the people to church! Sister Jyothi has had crazy excuses for the past month so I don't even know what to do with her. Buuuut! Ravi Teja is going to be baptized next Sunday! I am pumped. Kind of a crazy story with this kid. He was baptized 2 years back, but wasn't confirmed because I guess there was a transfer and the missionaries were white washed and so he was left and forgotten or something like that... But! We found him again and he is awesome. Also. His father, Dileep Kumar, Is interested also! One of the members had an awesome idea of baptizing Ravi Teja and then giving him the priesthood so that he could baptize his Dad! That would be awesome! His Sister was interested too but I guess she went to a hostel.. which means she is stuck there and cant leave until the end of the school year. kinda like Harry Potter but in a less exciting and more depressing way. Its okay. She will be baptized someday. The hastening of the work will move on! This week was really good! We taught a man named Gangadhar. He comes from a Christian backround and they were very confused about why all these different christian churches wanted to baptize them. We were happy to explain! We taught them the Restoration. It was a great lesson and they understood very well! I am excited to see them again. Also we found a Brother named Tinku, I guess he was a former investigator but we didn't know so we taught him. The next day when we returned he said he remembered everything and wants to be baptized. So we asked him a bunch of the interview questions and he will be baptized on July 13! Matt's Birthday right? Sweet! We will be celebrating with you! It was a pretty good week! Also. A sister named Amulia decided that she wants to come to church. She is also a former investigator. Her mom is a recent convert and her brother is a good member. So thats awesome too. Moral of the story is that Planting seeds can produce more miracles for future missionaries! Don't be afraid to plant your own seeds!
Two Elder Checketts?

Throwing Airplanes off the Roof
Anywho. Whats up? World cup!! Man! Update me!!! I have heard of some upsets! That is so crazy! Man One of the elders I know in Bangalore told me that everyone there is watching! But everyone here only cares for cricket! Yuck! Cricket still makes absolutely no sense to me. Probably because I have no desire whatsoever to learn. I need to change my attitude. I'm sure I will learn at some point! So District meeting was cool. We went up to the roof of the church and had our meeting up there.

 Then we made paper airplanes and threw them to see who could get them the farthest! Unfortunately I failed miserably. My airplane had some serious depression because it dived straight down right after I threw it... All three times

 Also. We went on a little hike this morning. We woke up at 3 am because it takes 3 hours to get there. But worth it! I sent some pics! But I took a lot more. It was awesome! We saw a lot of monkey - more pics to come - and I also saw some nasty spiders that I failed to take a picture of because I was too scared to get close. Its fine. Kaja is still as beautiful as it was the first time I had it. Also the food has improved a lot in the past week. I don't know what happened. Either Heavenly Father has adapted my mouth to handle the spice or these people finally came to their senses and stopped making it so spicy. Either way. I am incredibly grateful. Well. Life is swell. I still sweat 30 liters a day. All the natives keep telling me that rainy season is next week. They have been telling me that for the past month. Indian Standard Time is ridiculous by the way! But yeah. Its still hot. Transfer calls are coming today so I will find out if I am staying in the Mundry or if my rice belly is headed elsewhere. Let ya know next week! Love you all. Be safe. Look both ways before crossing the road. Don't do drugs. Don;t talk to strangers - unless its about the gospel - also Don't forget to pray! Or do scripture study because that's where your answers will come. Love yaaa!

Hanging with my Indian Bros
Elder Checketts

P.s Tell Benny I miss him


P-day Waterfall

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Father's Day

Hello Everyone!
Soo this week was really slow but awesome at the same time! I was given the opportunity to baptize one of our investigators this week! Sister Roni Ijjini! She doesnt speak any English but she is awesome! I still Speak like absolutely no Telagu. Its such a hard language! Anywho. The Baptism went swell. And Its definitely worth all of the pain when investigators don't come to church! This week we had a really hard time getting investigators to come with us. Ridiculous. My companion got pretty sick this week. It was crazy. Monday night he had a Temp of 40 which is like 104. so then we got him some medicine and checked it again and he was at 105.5 so we were freaking out and he asked me to give him a blessing. It was an awesome experience. We then rushed him to the hospital and he was back down to 103 so that was kinda crazy. So for the next couple of days I stayed at the apartment with him. Our other investigators are struggling with coming to church. But they want to join the church.... All they have to do is actually attend the meetings.

Also, Happy Fathers Day! To both Dad and Matt! Pretty sweet! How is everyone doing? Sounds like Ryan is doing well in Minnesota?? Congrats on beating the boss! And Chris has been in Tennesee for a day now? Crazy! Father, Mother, How is everything? Work is going well? How is Grandpa doing?? Havent heard about him for a while! How is Benny? I miss clean dogs. All the dogs here are nasty. I almost got bitten the other day, that was awesome.
I have started to notice the change that is taking place on my mission. I have grown a lot in patience. My patience has been tested a lot in the past couple of transfers and its been really hard but I have learned a lot and Its making me a better person. I love the people here although it bothers me when auto drivers try to rip us off all the time. Because we are white. I have almost started to become a little racist... But in a loving way.. If thats possible. It is. Anywho. I just had some Domino's pizza. One of them had corn on it. The other just onions. The corn made me want to die but the onion is pretty good. Veg meals are alright. I am getting used to it still. Potato curry is really good. I want to learn how to make that! Also Elder Britton and I had a break through on Kaja! While cooking, We put mixed fruit jam, Nutella, and Mango Inside of them, and then fried them. It was AWESOME. Anywho. Life is good. Let me know whats going on!

Elder Checketts

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Zone Conference

Hello everyone!

So this week was ridiculously busy but it was awesome! Elder Gong of the Seventy came and we had district and zone conference with him! He is a beast! I learned a lot of new things and he knows so much about the scriptures that its ridiculous. He talked about how in D&C whenever it mentions stakes, it is talking in the language of the temple which I thought was really interesting. So I want to study that a little bit more. But yeah those meetings were so good! That is why I am writing today instead of yesterday. We had a normal day on Monday and so today is our p-day! Pretty sweet. 
Holding a snake!

The work is still doing really well. It slowed down a little bit because the members stopped going on exchange with us. And telagu is basically impossible to understand without someone translating, although I am getting a lot better at understanding! I still cant speak very much but its whatever. The biggest problem we are having here is getting people to church. Sundays on missions are lame. I thought it was supposed to be a day of rest! They are awesome because they go by so fast but the hour before church starts is like the most intense hour of my life. We ride our cycles to our area which is like 20 minutes away and visit all our investigators to see if they can come. Its insane. Anywho. We have 1 baptism scheduled for this next Sunday. Everyone else is bunking. Its lame. But we have 4 others scheduled throughout the rest of the month. Hopefully we can get them to church. Man Pastors of other churches are so annoying. There is one sister and she said she loves our church and knows its true but she is afraid to come because her pastor and his church members are scolding her for coming to our church. But we talked to her about courage and had a really good lesson about Abinadi and other people in the BoM. We showed her 1 Ne 1:20 and its Nephi talking about how the jews were stoning the prophets and rejecting his father but then he talks about how those who are chosen of the Lord can be made mighty even unto the power of deliverance according to their faith. I dunno something like that but it was awesome. The rest of our investigators are slowly progressing but they are all very hesitant. I think the best way to help this is boldness. That is something I am learning a lot about here. Haha Somtimes I feel Like I am being a little rude because my companion will say "please come to church this week, but if you cant then its no problem." Then I kinda pop in and say "No, Its not okay. You need to come to church. Its a commandment from God and The blessing you are missing out on when you come take the Sacrament, and experience the spirit are things that you should not be missing in this life." Elder Gottipati doesn't like when I do that. I enjoy it though. 
Garbage disposal

So I think the culture shock has subsided for the most part. I saw a spider larger than my hand this week and couldn't take a picture because some crazy Indian kid ran over, picked it up and threw it 100 yards. I hope it comes back and bites him. Just kidding. I wanted a picture though. Maybe next time. Also. I saw something this week that I will probably see many times more in my mission but I dont know it just made me feel really sick. I saw a woman beating her child so badly and ruthlessly, I wanted to go and beat her the same way and ask her if she liked it. But I couldnt. I know its just the culture here but the way she was hitting him shouldn't be legal anywhere. 

Good stuff. On a happier note. I have almost perfected Kaja. Its one of the best Indian sweets you can find here and I love it. Its awesome. I dont know about to describe it. Maybe the best way is that its like toaster stroodle but with sugar syrup. Pretty sweet. Life here is pretty sweet. There are going to be some big changes in the next transfer though (July 2). Im guessing I'll stay here in the Mundry. June is like the hottest month ever. Holy Shnikies. I have sweat more in 5 minutes here than I have during any sporting event that I have participated in. But... Rainy season is coming and I am so stoked.

Playing Cricket

So Cricket is stupid. I played it, and I am terrible. There was a 5 year old Indian kid making fun of me in Telagu. I was gonna beat him with the bat but I decided that Christ wouldn't do that and neither would I. I'll send a pic of that. On Pdays we play basketball, take naps, make kaja, and yeah. There is like nothing to do in Rajahmundry. Its okay though. I love it. 
Let me know whats going on and how life in America is! Go eat some hamburgers for me... :'( Just kidding I had like the best chicken curry the other day I almost cried.

Love you all!

Elder Checketts

A Room with a View


Hello Everyone!

Soo this week was a pretty slow one. The members were all really busy this week. They had a youth conference thing at the church so it was hard for us to go and teach people. I was able to play cricket for the first time this week! Such a weird sport. I dont understand it at all. Its a lot like baseball but not at the same time. This week was kind of rough with our investigators. None of them came to church this week. So we went to go and talk with them but they all had lame excuses. Its okay. Next week they hopefully can come. Fedro and his wife were supposed to be baptized like 3 weeks ago but they keep bailing. Next week we are going to kidnap them and force them to get to the church. Just kidding. But sometimes I would like to do that! Sundays are so frustrating on the mission. I think thats why they have P-day on Monday! And its something I am so grateful for! So this week Elder Britton(ZL in our apartment) were experimenting with mangos and a sweet called Kaja. We made a mango milkshake and it was fantastic. I Love mangos and I am depressed because mango season is at an end. So we went out and bought 50 for 200 rupees... about 2.50$ haha pretty sweet. We got a good deal. Kaja is like the best treat I have ever had. That stuff isso addictive. So of course I learned how to make it! My Kaja isn't quite as good as the shops but its still pretty good. So we made a bunch of those and now we want to experiment with putting mango inside of the kaja and frying it. More info on that to come!

So I think for the most part that the culture shock is kind of gone. Except for the heat. I dont think I could ever get used to it. I am always covered in sweat. its whatever. The food is beginning to taste much better. Its about time!! We had some really good chicken curry last night at a recent converts house! it was ridiculously spicy but so good! I am getting a little bit better with eating with my hands. I don't drop as much rice as I usually do! This week was kind of hard because now that I am used to this place I am starting to miss America! Man I miss Hamburgers. But its okay because we have mangos! Those things have saved my life.

This month we should have around 4 baptisms but we will see. We need people to come to church. We have set up a member to take them to church and they know where to go. We go down there every sunday morning and try to walk with them to the members home. But Satan does not want to let these people go. So annoying. Anywho. We have like 20 investigators right now. Some progressing much faster than others. We have a few Hindus we are teaching who want to convert to Christianity which is awesome. but their families are so against it. I am hoping there hearts will soften and they will allow their kids to be baptized without disowning them. Pastors here are awful. They always tell there congregations not to talk to us and that if we give them a book that they should not pray about it or read it. We then ask the people why do you think that they are telling you not to do that? Cuz its true! And they dont want to lose their "tithing" funds. Elder Nepali (the other ZL) absolutely despises pastors. its kinda funny. Everytime someone talks about pastors he gets kinda red and says we need to destroy them. I feel bad for any pastor that comes across him. He knows the bible so well he could probably prove them and their religion wrong with 2 verses. What a guy. He is from Nepal. And the funny thing is that he is probably the nicest guy I have ever met. Soo yeah thats life in India. Just dirt and smelly cows. Until Next week. Please send me some beef jerky. I miss beef. Also I was serious about the whole putting a pic of Jesus on the letter/package. Elder Britton has been doing that his whole mission and has only lost like 2 packages out of like 10. pretty sweet. I cant send pictures again this week because we are back at an Internet cafe. Thats the only reason I dont like Rajahmundry. The power cuts are awful. Well. Lova yaa miss yaa. 

Elder Checketts