Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Brief Detour

Elder Checketts has returned home on a medical release for a few weeks. The mission clock has stopped while he recovers. In order to answer any questions, we are posting some information below.

His medical condition involves pain in his stomach. He has lost 26 pounds as a result from the pain and difficulty eating. His systems are similar to Gastritis. There is a great staff of LDS doctors in Manila and he met with them. They have been unable to find anything wrong like ulcers or gallbladder problems. They believe he is reacting to the food, water, or environment in the Philippines. This happens to a few missionaries.

Missionaries with this kind of reaction usually recover within a 2 to 3 week period in the United States. So we have been asked not to  try any interventions for that time to see if he improves on his own. He has already started to show signs of improvement.

The visas for the India missionaries started to come through the week before he came home.  We were notified that his visa was approved and just received it today.

As soon as he is medically cleared to return, he will go back to India unless the Quorum of the 12 decides otherwise.  Missionaries are in high demand in India right now, so we are very hopeful that he will again return to his Bangalore India mission.

If you would like to visit with him, please contact him through his mission email: zachary.checketts@myldsmail.net.  If he feels well enough to visit he will let you know.

Please keep him in your prayers and thank you for your support.

Ginny Checketts

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Off to the Hospital


So this week was a little bit slower than past weeks. We had a lot of people bunk on us and a lot of people tell us that we couldn't come anymore. But its okay. We still found new investigators and they are great. I hope that we can continue to find and teach and teach when we find. Anyway. We found a new family. Just a young couple with a little girl. Awesome people. I really hope to see them progress here. We started searching for some of the long lost less actives in our area and we found one sister that stopped coming to church after her husband past away. she is way nice and still believes the church is true but works. I think she is definitely ready to come back. This week we had a big stake conference and some general authorities addressed us over a broadcast. We also got to hear Elder Anderson speak. He gave a great talk on choosing to be the one to help. It was really good. Then they started showing Meet the Mormons after and all the missionaries were so excited but then the President called and said Missionaries can't stay. kinda sad but its okay. After the mission. 

Well yeah that was this week. We have baptisms scheduled for July but not much happening in June. No news on any visa. Not sure whats going on. Its okay though. So today I am going to Manila to the hospital there. I guess they will do some tests there and see if they can figure out the problem so I dont have much time. Hopefully it goes well. I am sure they will be able to figure it out. And yeah. Haha thats about all thats going on this week. We are having mission tour and Elder Bowen will be coming to our mission so I am really excited for that. It will be good! Well thanks for everything. All those that are praying and helping me and my family in any way Thank you so much. Love you all have a great week.

Elder Checketts

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Transfer Week


Well Transfer week has come and gone! I am still here in Mabalacat 2 with Elder On! There is a new elder in our apartment though and he is from Arizona! He is from Basically Mesa. He said its like 5 minutes away from Mesa. Pretty cool! His name is Elder Whaley. So yeah that's basically all that happened with transfers. I'm the District leader here now. Aspiring. Just kidding.  Anyway. yeah it was a good week!

We found some really cool people to teach this week. We were walking down the street in one of our areas and we heard some little kids screaming "Americano!" And then their dad steps outside of the house and he has a huge smile on his face and Says "Hi Joe!" I have decided that whenever that happens its best to share the gospel! So that's what we did and he invited us in and he and his friend listened to us! They Had a lot of questions and accepted to hear again. He has an awesome family so hopefully we can help them progress! When we went to a different area we were going to teach a sister that we hadn't seen in a couple of weeks and we found her she brought us around the back of her house and into her church..... It was slightly awkward but so awesome. She brought a friend in and we taught the restoration. Both accepted for baptism. I guess the one sister is like the vice president of this spiritualist church.... I really hope they can come to church! So we are teaching this other family and they are way cool. Ronato and Ronaldo. They read the Book of Mormon every night. i think they are already in 2nd Nephi which is way awesome. They really want to attend but they have work. Also when we walked by the other day the Father was completely drunk. Awesome. Sort of. Lots to do but I know this gospel can change anyone.

Yeah just the usual missionary life here. People running when they see us coming down the street. Rabid Dogs chasing us. Awkward public transportation. Trying to speak a language that makes no sense. Its cool. No news on the visa. I think I just miss chicken curry most. Some members tried to make some for me here. I commend them for their efforts. But... yeah. Joke it was really good. just not the same. Um I got more sick this week so that was cool. But luckily a loving Mothers package found its way to my stomach and I took medicine that helped a lot! Also thanks to Bishop Brisko for the help in getting it here so quickly! Also Tell Bishop I miss him. Also that the branches in India and Philippines need him desperately. 

Well yeah. That was this week. fun stuff. Whats new at home? How is the fam? That goes to all who read this. I hope that you are all happy and healthy. Be good. Don't do drugs. Keep the commandments. Read the book of Mormon everyday. Pray Morning and night. Serve Others. Love you all. 

Elder Checketts

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

New Investigators


Well another week dito sa Philippines gone by! No news on the visa so I am guessing that I am to be left here to wallow in self-pity until I die..... haha just kidding. I love this place. But I also miss India. I don't know what I feel. Everyone this week was telling me about the heat wave in India, so I was was semi-homesick. Like from India... Yeah anyway. This week was swell! We went finding a lot and we found a lot! Heavenly father blessed us with 12 new Investigators this week and most of them accepted a baptism date. Haha but I guess the Philippines has some weird thing with talking to you the first time and then they hide inside their houses the next time you come. Is it like that everywhere? I dunno. Sometimes its painful. We are trying to work more with members to help our investigators come to church. That always seems to be the problem haha oh well. Its fine. We found a couple of small families and they are awesome. They are busy but want us to come and teach them so that will happen tonight. Hopefully we can help them out! Thats basically all that happened this last week. Just the usual missionary work. Street contacting and talking to everyone! Our goal for this week is to involve members a lot more. We have selected fellowship for each investigator and will plan out lessons when the members are free. Also to coordinate more with our bishop and other leaders. They aren't too keen on working with us but we are going to change that! 

Last Week's letter

Hello Everyone!

Well this week. We went Finding. And we found. Pretty amazing how that works! Really though. So. This week we were able to find and teach 9 new investigators. It started on Wednesday after we had a really good District meeting. the sister giving the workshop was talking about faith vs fear and asked why we don't ask for referrals after every single lesson. And I said sometimes its because we feel like we already know what they are going to say to us. And then she wrote "lack of faith" on the board and I was like... Ouch.... But I kinda hit me and I decided that I never want anyone to tell me that again...So after that we talked to literally everyone we could have talked to. So the first person that accepted us was a grandpa named Oscar. He is paralyzed on the left side of his body. He is an extremely nice guy but said that he cant come to church because of his condition. We are working on ways to be able to help him attend though so no worries. Also his Grandson named Dale wasn't there for the first lesson but sat in on the next one and is more interested than his Grandpa. He told that he has given up searching for truth because he hasn't been able to find it in any of the churches he has attended. He had to leave the lesson early because of work but Next lesson we are going to help him out! I believe he is one of those people that were kept from the truth because they knew not where to find it. Next we found a family and the father wasn't too eager to listen at first but after wards he was smiling and happy. His son accepted a baptism date but he said he wasn't ready yet. Soon! Also. We found a young sister named Judy who also has been searching for truth. She has been going to a lot of different churches looking for what was right but wasn't sure. She accepted a Baptism date also! Then we received a referral from the sister missionaries of a young man they had street contacted so we set out to a place literally called Africa to go and find him and his Family! Deep in the depths of the jungle we found them but he wasn't there! We taught his mom and her friend and the mother accepted a baptism date as well. Awesome! It was a really good week. We also have a lot of return appointments with others that we contacted for this week. 

I was able to attend the temple this week also! Such an amazing blessing! We were able to see 2 families sealed together for time and eternity. I love the temple for much! I missed it a lot! It was really fun and I am grateful I was given an opportunity to go! Also big news.. so I received a package! But it was dated march 17th. So the long lost box has found its way here! I got the camera and everything! Haha the other elders in the apartment were shocked that I thought HotTamales were good! They didn't like them very much!The milk duds were completely melted but the freezer Still haven't seen the other box yet But it will come soon I am sure. So that was our week! really busy but fun! I love you all and hope you are doing well! Take care of yourselves!

Elder Checketts

Monday, May 18, 2015

Going Finding

Sorry we missed posting last week. We were able to skype with Zach for Mother's Day. It was wonderful.


Well this week was semi uneventful... Haha We were finding a lot and we actually received a couple of referrals! We tried to contact them this week but a lot of people were busy or not at home everytime we visited. We had the Yu family attend the temple this last Saturday but I didn't go because of some stomach problems. But they are really an awesome couple. They are both maybe in their late 60's. They were both very catholic before and it took a long time for the missionaries to be able to teach them but they are really some of my favorite people here. they always argue over doctrine and so when we come they have a lot of questions for us! Haha something way funny. So they have been members for about 3 years and we were talking about some of the simple doctrines and We talked about the Godhead for a minute and we said that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, And the Holy Ghost are all separate beings. And the Father goes.."Wait What?!?" He was rally confused but we showed him a bunch of different scriptures to help him understand. Glad we cleared that before going to the temple though!

Drinking Coconut water

Well we are doing well here in Mabalacat. So big news. they just split our Zone! I am now a part of the Mabalacat Zone instead of Angeles Zone. Nothing really changed with us except for the name and some people were added to our district. Pretty cool though. Means the mission is growing! 

With my stomach issues, every time I eat a native food here my stomach goes crazy. So I think what I am going to do is just ask what they put into their food everytime I eat. I am taking a medicine called Buscopan and its for stomach pain and it seems to be helping. Other than that I am just going to look into my diet and see if I can find anything that helps. Well yeah all is well here. Thanks for all that you have done for me. I appreciate. it! Love you all

Elder Checketts
To God Be The Glory

Sunday, May 3, 2015



Well this was an interesting week! I don'y even know where to start. Maybe from the medical side of things. Oh man. So. I went to the hospital and I had like 4 blood tests taken, luckily they only had to take 1 sample for all those tests because that needle was gigantic. Anyway. I had another ultrasound done and yet again, no baby. So then I had a Ct scan. Oh my goodness that was like the most painful experience of my entire life. So that morning I already had to down a liter of water for the ultrasound, then I had to drink another liter of water with some weird chemical in it. And they told me that I was not allowed to use the restroom after I drank it, and they said I had to wait until I had to "go" really bad so that the test was effective. So once all is ready... I get in there and they scan me once and it was fine. but then out comes the doctor with a catheter. Yikes. This might get a little graphic. But the doctor turns me on my side and says breath in! Yeahhhhh so then all that is going on and lo and behold. behind the glass window of the room are 5 nurses all sitting there watching this go down! I don't know if they just want to learn about the procedure or if this was the first time they had seen an American rear end. Either way it was awful. Anyway. They inject fluids where they arent supposed to go and all the while I am in extreme agony because i need to relieve myself. So they get ready for another scan and they are all yelling at me to relax and I can't for reasons past explained! Then after that scan they hook up some weird fluid into my blood system and I was literally begging them to let me go to the bathroom but they said no. So I get hooked up to this machine and they inject something into me. And I dunno if my body just wasn't used to this but I am pretty sure I started going into shock. Like my arms went numb and I couldn't open my mouth and my vision went blurry. I don't know. It was weird. So they scanned me again and then finally let me go. So I was in full sprint through the hospital to the comfort room . Awesome. I never want to go back to that place. I thought I was going to meet my Maker. Yikes. Anyway. They still didn't find anything so I am just going to take medicines of my choice and pray. So that was my experience at the hospital.

 Now on the more spiritual side of things. That very same day! After the hospital we had nothin goin on and I had been humbled sufficiently, so we went finding! We were knocking on doors and nothing then we walked past this brother and he was sitting there smoking and smiled at us. This is how the conversation went down. Word for word.
Elders: Hey
Grandpa: Hey
Elders: Whats your name?
Grandpa : Jim
Elders Hi Jim, can we teach you?
Jim: Yeah
Elders: Okay where?
Jim: right here
Elders: Sweet!

Boom! Taught the restoration and he accepted a baptism date. Proof that Mariah Carey taught doctrine when she sang There can be miracles when you believe! Haha Pretty cool Then on our way to the next appointment and talked to a man named Conrad. He spoke wonderful English. He told us he was busy working but he gave his number to us and asked us to come visit his family. Too bad he doesn't live in our area. So we had a referral for the Sisters serving in our ward! Solid. Well yeah We had 2 investigators at church which is way cool,  we are teaching a recent converts sister and when we went there she had a friend visiting so we taught her also! She was way cool and very receptive but again, doesn't live in our area. Thats okay though! I am fine with that! Planting seeds for future elders to harvest! Also we had a wonderful number of 98 people in sacrament meeting! I think thats like the highest its been in a while! In this area we mostly work with less actives but there are only like 8 families in our area that are members and 4 or 5 of those families are completely active. Pretty sweet. Not a lot going on here but We will keep working hard to get things moving. 

No word on the visa. I miss India. but I will serve where the Lord wants me to serve. I am learning a lot more Tagalog but still am handicapped when speaking it. We are going to the Temple on May 16! I am so excited! It will probably be in Tagalog so I will have no idea whats going on but I am still pumped. Well yeah. Those were the main events of the week. Hope all is well at home! Love yaa!

Elder Checketts

Monday, April 27, 2015

New Area!


What a busy week! So I have been transferred from Tarlac! Its always sad saying goodbye to the people you meet in each ward! definitely I hate goodbyes! But I know that someday I will be able to see them all again! Well. I have been transferred to the Angeles Zone. I am in an area about 45 minutes outside of Angeles but its still a big city called Mabalacat. Pretty sweet. My new companion is Elder On. Pretty awesome. He is from Cavite and is a way cool guy. Happy literally all the time! He reminds of the kid from the movie Up. Not so much the looks but just the way he talks. It keeps me entertained!  

Well this new area is going to take some work! I guess things have been going pretty slow here for the past year or so. My letters might get a little boring for the nest while because we will be finding all day every day! But I am excited! We have 1 progressing Investigator named Dina. She is way cool. She told us that she really wants a firm testimony of the gospel before she gets baptized. But she won't pray by herself. We don't know why! But we will be working on that. And we don't have any other investigators . Pretty sweet. But big news! Oh man. Are you ready. Okay. So. There was a less active couple in our area that they reactivated last transfer and they are now ready to go to the temple! Which means the missionaries will be able to go with them. And I am a missionary.... which means I can go to the temple!!! I am so excited! We will be going to the Manila temple on May 16. I have really learned how blessed we are in Utah to have so many temples around us! I think its something that we all take for granted sometimes. I have a goal that when I am home I will attend the temple weekly. I am really excited for the temple in Thailand because now the members in India can go there instead of Hong Kong! Really exciting stuff! 

Well no word on the visa. I miss India. But its okay. I just need some Chicken curry. I am having withdrawals! With the stomach problems I am going back to Tarlac today to go to the hospital and get another blood test and a stool check. Not excited for that one. But hopefully they can find whatever it is. I have found that the more I try to relax, the better I feel. but who knows. Well yeah. Thats about it. I hope all is going well at home. I will probably learn Tagalog pretty quickly here because I am living with 3 Filipinos! Its all Tagalog. but they all know English so its okay. Love you all. Be safe. Don't do drugs. 

Elder Checketts

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Hello Everyone!

So this week was awesome! We had a baptism! Andrew had finally made it. He is awesome. I was actually kinda shocked when he asked me to do it. We don't really speak the same language but he understands a little bit of English so its fine! but yeah it was an awesome experience and I am grateful I had it! So that was definitely the highlight of the week! But we also had another investigator at church and like 5 less active members! It was so awesome! Awesome way to end the week. We also found 4 or 5 new investigators and I think almost all of them accepted a baptism date. I feel like I should tell you this is mostly due to the efforts of my companion as I am handicapped when it comes to speaking the language. I just kinda sit there in the lesson, smile, maybe nod and act like I know whats going on, and then bare testimony at the end. Its pretty sweet. Anyway. It was a good week. Nice way to end the Transfer. 

With transfers I have no idea whats going on. Definitely I am staying another transfer here in the Philippines but we are pretty sure that we will both be transferred because this area is only temporary. This Wednesday is when we will find out whats happening. No word on the visa... Yeah. Um with the package I have no idea. Its probably somewhere in Africa. 

My stomach is still being a jew but I have gotten used to it. It doesn't bother me much anymore. So I am sorry if this offends anyone... But Filipino food is just not my jam. Compared to eating beautiful chicken curry everyday to plain rice with a little bit of soy sauce and a fried fish on the side just doesn't do it for me. Also there isn't much spicy food here. Its fine. They also have real beef here so I can't complain. Also Seven Eleven. I don't know how or why but those things are every where and it is so awesome!! 

Anyway. Did i miss anything? The Church is true. No matter how far away you think you are you can still always come back. Seriously I love studying the Atonement. Its power goes far beyond cleaning us from sin. I really do stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me! Well I love you all. Take care of yourselves. I will probably email from a different area next week. Maybe. Love yaa

Elder Checketts 

Monday, April 13, 2015


Hello my beloved family, friends, and acquaintances

What a wonderful week! So awesome. Where do I begin. Well Andrew (one of our few progressing investigators) passed his baptism interview and is now on his way to being that much closer to being able to enter the kingdom of God. So pumped. The event should be taking place this Saturday. Please pray that it works out! I am really excited for it! We had some awesome lessons this week. First was this brother named Raffy we taught when we first got here but he didnt seem too interested. about a month ago he asked for the testaments dvd and so we gave it to him. Also his wife is a less active member. Anyway. I guess he watched it like 2 or 3 times and we weren't ever able to meet with him again until this last week. He asked us a bunch of questions about the Book of Mormon. and He said he wanted to know more about what Christ did while he visited the people in America. Then he asked about Joseph Smith and about his life. We talked to him about how he was just a 14 year old farm boy who wanted the truth. He was pretty amazed with everything. The lesson was all over the place but the spirit was definitely there. It was way awesome. He really wants to read and continue to learn about the Book of Mormon. Such an awesome experience though. Also we taught a sister named Rika. We weren't too sure about her at first because she was wearing a hat that had "marijuana" written on it and she was a little crazy. but she invited us to her house. so we went. and we taught. and we felt the spirit. It was interesting to watch her understand. She seemed a little changed by it. We will be returning this Tuesday. Pumped. Anyway. Solid week. And this week should be another awesome one.

Conference, man. No words. My mind was blown spiritually. and metaphorically. Whatever that means. Seriously though so good. Although. I am not going to lie. After hearing the Saturday morning session and I was pretty convinced that I needed to get married Immediately. Just kidding. That phase of my life can wait. Well I will just tell a few of my favorite talks. Saturday morning session. Dallin H Oaks takes the cake. Such a great talk. I love that parable and now I understand it so much better. Also I love that he said that the root of all evil is not money... but the love of money. Doctrine. Anyway. Saturday afternoon session I cant able to decide which was my favorite. Between Elder Bednar, Elder Anderson, and Elder Renlund. Of course Bednar's talk blew my mind, but I love the story of the Indian that Elder Anderson spoke about saying "I can teach you to dance, but I can't teach you to hear the music." way cool. Priesthood session I think Elder Ballard wins. Actually one of my favorite talks of conference! The advice he gave for preparing, current, and returned missionaries was awesome. Sunday morning I can't able to decide between Elder Holland and President Uchtdorf. Really awesome talks. Sunday afternoon was great as well. Elder Pearsons talk about enduring to the end was probably my favorite. But Elder Nelson did a really good job of explaining the Sabbath day! Conference is a beautiful thing. I prayed for more understanding of the plan of salvation and I definitely got multiple answers! 

I am so grateful for Prophets and Apostles that lead and guide the Church today through revelation. For any that did not hear or listen I invite you to do so now! And not just once. Every day! every day! every day! 
The Bishop took us to Dinner!

No word on the visa. Transfers are next week. I will probably go somewhere else but then again, ya never know. Well I love and pray for you all. Thanks to all those who are supporting me and the rest of my fellow missionaries. Love yaaaa

Elder Checketts

Monday, April 6, 2015

Super Typhoon/Apostasy Week


This week was okay. We taught Andrew like everyday because he is moving out of the City but he will still come back for church every weekend so he can still be baptized on the 18th! He is a way awesome guy. He and his I think 4 year old son are great. So yeah. We are teaching the family whose son we helped with the whole accident and going to the hospital thing. The father has a BGD set for May 2nd but we will see how that goes. Hopefully they can make it to the church. On Sunday we had like 5 Inactive families there! So awesome! pretty sure it was only because of Easter! Still awesome! Also 2 Investigators came! Solid.
So I need to explain the hard core apostasy that took place this week here in Tarlac. I guess only this area has a tradition called Holy Week. And on the full moon tons of people come out to the streets and watch men Cut their backs open and literally whip themselves while walking up and down the streets in symbolism of Christs Atonement. There is usually some guy dressed in all black at the front of the line with Weeds on his head like the "crown" while carrying a giant cross. I guess it resembles repentance for all the bad things they have done? And then that night they all get drunk and party. Sooooo. Its gross. I added pictures. You dont have to look at them if you dont want. Its nasty. Blood flies all over the place and its all over the cars and sidewalks. I am just grateful That I am not in the place where they crucify themselves. But I guess its near to where we are.  It was filthy. Anyway. I am eternally grateful that Christ went through those things so that we don't have to. The love of God at its finest.

Well. As you all may have heard there was a Giant super typhoon  that came to the Philippines this last weekend! It was sooo crazy! Winds picked up to an amazing 10mph! And it literally did not drop a single drop of rain! It was cloudy all day though so that was intense. Yeahhh. I was so excited. And then nothing. Its okay. If I am stuck here for the rest of my mission then I don't need to worry about not seeing another one.(please pray that that does not happen) it was wild. But I am alive.
In other news I went to the hospital and had an ultra sound done. Turns out I am pregnant. Its a boy! Really though it was so awkward. All the nurses in there were just laughing and kept telling me congratulations. It was a horrible experience. Also had a blood test done. And the results of both tests were quite interesting. Turns out I have absolutely nothing wrong with me. Besides the stupidity but then again they didn't test that. Next time. Anyway The doctor that I went and saw gave me some pills. Probably cocaine. I seriously have no idea what it was but my stomach feels so much better. Yesterday was the first day in the last 2 months that my stomach didn't hurt way bad. Miracles. And that's about it....
Well I hope all is going well at home. Dad I am all for More Cowbell Marketing. I would invest in that. I pray for you all everyday. Read your scriptures. Pray. Have FHE. I am sorry I was a terrible child and didn't want to participate in that beautiful event. I am stoked to have family night with you all when I get home. Love you all!

simulating Christ's suffering by cutting and flogging
Elder Checketts

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Typhoon Update from Mission

Families of Philippines Angeles Missionaries:

The typhoon that wasn't.  Today is Preparation Day in the Angeles Mission and we rejoice at the safety and well-being of our missionaries and members.  Tropical typhoon MAYSAK (CHEDENG) made its way to and through the Philippines over the weekend.  The storm was closely monitored by the Philippines Area Office with regular bulletins to Mission Presidents over the past week.  The storm was once a super typhoon over the Pacific but as it approached Luzon it drastically dissipated and finally sputtered across the islands.  Early forecasts called for a direct hit in the Angeles Mission. In the end,  Chedeng landed a glancing blow to a very small portion of the mission.  Ironically, we didn't even get badly needed rain for the farmers in our area.

We believe that divine intervention protected the missionaries of our mission and the good people of Central Luzon.  Thank you for your faith and prayers in our behalf.  Great vigilance paid off and we were ready for what was thought to be a severe storm.  We were safe and we are not sorry for the precautions that we took.   We followed the counsel and example of our Area Presidency and count ourselves blessed for obedience.  The storm has passed; all missionaries are accounted for.

We are gladly back to work.

President Scott Clark

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Another week in the Peenes

Hello everyone,

Another solid week in the Peenes finished! So this week was a lot better than last week! We taught the kid that got in an accident and they are way nice people. We set his father with a baptism date for the 25th of April. We are a little worried that they are just letting us in because we helped them out so we are visiting again tonight to kind of see if they really are interested. Way nice family though. There are 3 kids and the mother passed away a few years ago. I hope they can progress well! Also. We set like 4 other people with a baptism date this last week so that was awesome. And we had 3 investigators at church! It was great! So we have been teaching this sister named Arlene and she really wants to come to church but her husband has been saying no. We taught him and he agreed to let her come and then on Sunday Both of them and their 2 small kids came to sacrament meeting! The blessings of missionary work. So nice! 

I am so excited for conference! Oh man. Its like Christmas. We wont see it until the week after you all do so don't tell me anything! Has President Packer been translated yet? Anyway. Life is good. There are 10 other guys from India here with me but only one of them is in my zone. No news on visa or anything like that. They probably wont tell me anything until the end of the transfer. There are 4 or 5 guys in front of me so once they get their visas I will be next in like. They have been here for 4 months now. I am sure Heavenly Father will make sure our visas are granted when the time is right. 

Yeah I can't speak Tagalog. I am understanding more everyday though. I taught Sunday school yesterday in English. haha no one understood. It was awesome. But I am taking this time to really kind of redo my teaching. I am studying to teach a lot more simply. And to focus more on asking questions and relating the lesson directly to the investigator. Solid.

Cool. Well that's basically it. Oh! Man. Okay. So there is this inactive family we have been trying to teach and the father is really wealthy and gives all his kids his money so they support him in whatever he does. He was also the first stake president of this area. He has also turned from the church. We met him last week and he is crazy. It was so awesome. He told us that he has come to know that the remaining Gold plates are located in Nicaragua and he has been speaking to the "Americans" to go and find them. He speaks nice English though. Also he told us that if we understand that my companion is brown, and I am white, and there are negros, then we understand revelation. Pretty awesome. I felt inspired. Sort of. Haha no idea how to help him. But he talked for about 45 minutes. Solid.

Love you all. Hope you have a great week. Drink a strawberry shake for me.  

Elder Checketts

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Wild Week

George the Flattened Gecko in the Door

George's skeleton
Well this week was Interesting. Soo to start. We had a small St. Patricks day celebration. Pretty awesome.
Those pictures are gross. Got some awesome fake mustaches from Elder Christensens mother who sent him a package. Then On Tuesday a bunch of the elders in our Zone went and we all helped the sister move their apartment. They had so much stuff. My arms hurt so bad. It was solid. I installed the toilet. Planning on being a plumber when I get home now. Anyway. It was cool. We set Andrew with a baptism date for April 11. I hope that works out. he is a way cool guy. Except he didn't come to church yesterday. I guess he had to go out of town for a day or 2. But yeah. We are teaching this new guy named Jessie and he is cool. His neighbors were laughing at him for talking to us though so we are gonna go and teach his neighbors tomorrow. About Outer Darkness. Joke. But he is a way nice guy.
Hope he will progress. Umm yeah then Satan tried to burn our house down no joke. So Sunday was a way crazy day! After Church we came back to the house and there was a ton of smoke and we were like oh mann. But the other elders were there and told us to look out the back door. I guess there was a huge fire in the field behind our house and it literally came like 5 feet away from our apartment. (see pictures)
But yeah it was nuts. Our house is definitely being protected. Pretty cool. Well. then. After that we went and picked up some members for exchange. As we were on our way to an appointment when we see this girl start to cross the road and then this kid comes out of no where on his bicycle and slams into her and flies off the bike and into some rocks. We ran over and he was unconscious. Fortunately one of our neighbors is an Australian. He is also a paramedic. haha but he gave us his number like 3 days ago in case we ever had a problem. So we called him up and he flies up there in his ambulance and we pack the kid up and Phil (the Australian) tells us we need to come because we
Fire up to house
were witnesses. So for the first time in my life and hopefully the last, We were flying through downtown Tarlac in an ambulance. So sick. The kid is okay as far as we know. We stayed and he got an x ray and nothing too serious. So after like 2 hours we got him back into the ambulance and took him home. We met his family and its Just his dad and his brother there. Way nice guy though. We are going to try and visit tomorrow and teach them. God works in Mysterious ways. Hopefully this is one of them!

Pretty crazy week! It was fun though. No news on the visa. I will probably die here. just kidding. But I might be here for a while. My Tagalog is Pitiful. I can bear small testimony though. Thats cool. I understand a lot more than I speak. Weird. Um yeah stomach is currently blowing up. No idea what is wrong with it. Either the parasite is angry that I tried to kill him or he now has a few friends. More to come on that. Umm. Life is swell. We are struggling to get people to church. We are working on ways to help them get there.  Well yeah. Love you all. Proud of you all. I am praying for you all. Love you

Elder Checketts
Experiment with hot dog, eggs and rice
Comp Study

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tagalog...I can't able to speak that one

Hello everyone,

Well another wonderful week gone by here in the Philippines. Our focus this week was just finding new investigators. We found a couple of good people but we talked to a lot of people on the street so we should have a lot more appointments this week. I am really excited to teach them all. We are now teaching one recent converts older brother Andrew. He is a really nice guy. I guess he attended our church like a year ago but was really busy so couldn't come. He has told his family he wants to learn more about the church. Really awesome guy. He was at church yesterday and I think the Ward here did a nice job of fellowshipping him. Mostly because his Mother went and introduced him to basically everyone in the ward haha. I am excited to continue teaching him. So Kind of a sad experience. I think this last week we were asked to come to a hospital and give a sister a blessing. She had a very young family around her I think she was maybe 25 and had 2 small kids. So I was asked to give the blessing and during the blessing I had the strongest feeling that she wasn't going to live. I couldn't bring myself to say it though. I just ended up saying it was Gods will and not ours. She passed away after 2 days. Kinda depressing. My testimony of the priesthood is still as strong as it was before but I haven't ever had that experience. Kinda sad. I know her Family will be okay though and that they will all be together again.

In other news a crazy old man at church yesterday told me that if I didn't drink salt water, I am going to die.... I dunno maybe he is a prophet. I'll pray about it. Anyway. Um yeah. What else. Tagalog..... I can't able to speak that one. I can understand a lot more now though. Its a learning process. Not going to lie. I miss India. Its really nice here. I am having fun. But I miss India. I want to go home. But my experience in the Spokane mission helped me to learn a lot about serving where I am asked to. But my mission call never said anything about Tagalog... :) 

Did I tell you guys about how they call Americans here "Joe?" Well They do. So I guess lots of old American war veterans come here after they finish serving in the military and come here to chase women. And it works for them because they are rich here. kind of gross. But that's life. Anyway. I talked to one yesterday! He is from England and was extremely drunk. It was awesome though. He invited us back to go and get some drinks with him and "Have a little chat" His name is John. He wouldn't say his last name because he thought we were police. He is nuts. But funny. But all the kids and people here always call us Joe. So when we are walking down the street we usually hear someone yell "Hi Joe!" and I say Hi Phil! Good times. Well yeah. That's about it this week. Also! here is the Address if you maybe might like to send a letter or something.... 
Philippines Angeles Mission Office
F. Tanedo Street, Barangay San Nicolas,
Tarlac City, Tarlac 2300

Love you all and hope everything is going well at home. Keep me updated on life and its events!

Elder Checketts

Monday, March 9, 2015

Good News. I have a Parasite!

Hey Everyone!

Well this week was a little slower than usual but still good! We taught some awesome lessons this week! So I went on an exchange with Elder Tucci this week! He finishes his mission in 4 days! And he is from Australia. Way cool guy! We taught some awesome lessons to sister Arlene. She really wants to join the church but has a hard time actually coming to the church. We taught about what she wants in life and in order to be happy we have to keep all the commandments. I dunno it was really good. Her Husband ended up coming and talking to us about the church and wanted to come also. Unfortunately Our meeting was "Gatorless." Anyway. It was a good lesson. Also we went and taught brother Willy about the BoM. Man it was awesome! We read Chapter 31 of 2 Ne. with him and we applied it directly to him. It was way cool. At the end he was like wow this is really true. And we were like YES! Although that clicked in his mind he wasn't able to come to church. Sad. It was a fun week though. We had a missionary fireside and the other elders in our Ward did most of it. It was good though. We talked about unity between Missionaries and members. So important! 

Well I have bad and good news. Bad news. My stomach went crazy again. Good news. I have a parasite! But I am taking pills that kill them and so I am feeling a lot better! So yes this week is transfer week here but they wont tell us what will happen until Wednesday! I am pretty sure that my companion and I are staying here though! No news on the Visa. Some elders have told me that there are crazy things happening in India. I guess there is a big revolt with all the Hindu's trying to convert all the Christians back to Hinduism. They are not allowed to street contact or talk to random people anymore. Hopefully that all clears up when I get back there! We will see. Well all is well here in Tarlac. I dunno if I have told you about our area? Its part of the city and one part is called San Isidro where we do most of our work and another area called Santo Cristo. A lot of our area is businesses so its pretty hard to find in some areas. But San Isidro is really good. lots of houses. Lots of "Sqauter" houses. Means that they dont own the land and they just built a small house out of random stuf. and they are "squating" until they get kicked out. Kinda wild but lots of good people! Well yeah I am about out of time. Love you all. Sorry I am bad at answering questions/emailing in general. Take care!

Elder Checketts

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Thanks for Prayers


Well this week interesting! We met a few new people and they are awesome, but we still haven't had any investigators come to church... But, We did have 2 Inactive families come and another inactive sister! That definitely made it all worth it! It was awesome! Its always the best feeling to have someone you have been teaching attend all the meetings! Anyway, I have an awesome missionary story that you all need to hear/experience. So. Let the games begin. Do you remember Sister Lina who i mentioned last week and she is a crazy Seventh Day Adventist? Yeah so we met her again.... And it was so crazy this time. Man. Okay so we literally tried everything. Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and she was basically just yelling at us about how even the Book of Mormon says to keep the Sabbath day holy. So elder Olohan pulls out the Bible dictionary and I guess somehow she has a copy of our churches bible so she pulls hers out and we read a few of the paragraphs. Her interpretation of it was the strangest thing I have ever heard. It talks about how there is such a thing as "revealed Religion" and she goes off about how that is saying that Man changed the Sabbath and not God. Then after more apostate interpretations she finally yells "WHO WROTE THIS!" while she was pointing at it and we were like uhh and then she screams again "GOD WROTE THIS!!!" And at that moment my testimony grew so much stronger. Because our church is the one that wrote the Bible Dictionary. Was it Bruce R Mcconkie? I think so.. I don't remember. Anyway. It was awesome. We didn't tell her that though. We let her finish her violent opinions of the Sabbath day, and then bore testistmony and left. She always asks us to come back though. No idea why. I think she is possessed. Just kidding. But really she might be. Anyway. it was hilarious but awesome and it made me so grateful to have a Prophet of God that receives revelation for us and the church!

Well other than that we found a way cool family to teach. One problem. the Grandma doesn't want her kids coming to our church. Such a pain. Hopefully her heart will be softened as we continue to teach. Also we got a referral from one of the Bishopric members. His Nephew. Way cool kid but doesn't really care for Religion. That will soon change! He was way nice though. I am excited to teach him. Also this week we were out street contacting and I had "the Feeling" to talk to this sister and so we did. Turns out she is an inactive member since like 1996. Taught her about The 2 great commandments in the law. She is really nice and I hope to be able to help her and her family! 

Also another miracle. So my Stomach problems are basically gone. I was having some way bad stomach pains for the last couple of weeks and nothing was helping, but randomly one day it just kind of stopped. Its still there every once in a while but no where near as bad as it was. So to all those who were and are praying for me, Thank you!

Well I love it here in the Philippines. Definitely I want to go back to India but this place is wonderful and the people are very kind. Tagalog is.... fun... Still cant speak it but I can understand a lot now. Sort of. Thanks for all your prayers and all that you have done for me! So many blessing are coming every week! Also Ryan Happy Birthday! When the heck did you get a girlfriend and why were Mom and Dad the first ones to tell me?? Update me you Gentile! Also Matt and Chris good luck with the tests! and Dad with work! And the rest of the fam and your endeavors! Love you all!

Elder Checketts

Sunday, February 22, 2015

This week in Tarlac

Hello Family!
Well another week gone by in the Philippines! This week was alright. We have 2 investigators with a baptism date. One sister named Arlene and another named Rika. They are really cool but we aren't sure how serious they are yet. We will see. We are doing so much finding in our area. It is really painful. But we are talking to a lot of people So its good. We met with one Older sister named Lina this last week. She is a hard core seventh day Adventist. Man she is so confused. We tried so many things and showed so many scriptures. She ended up telling us that she believes that the book of Mormon is true... but that she doesn't believe Joseph Smith is a prophet..... Soooo Explain that one to me. I have no Idea. We ended up bearing testimony and just told her to read and pray about Joseph Smith. Solid.
Well yeah. We are having fun here in Tarlac. I bought a soccer ball last week. It has been glorious. Almost broke everything in our house but its fine. Worth it. Just kidding. But really. Its so nice to play a little again. This morning I remembered how bad I am at basketball! We played early this morning and I mad a 3 pointer... that was cool. Then I missed like 15 other shots. Everyone here is really good at basketball cuz thats all they play. Literally everywhere we go there are people playing on dirt courts. Its insane. Members play at the church literally every night! I wish we could join them! I want to get people playing futbol! Anyway. Life is swell. Have you guys heard of Balout? Its like famous here and all the missionaries hate it. I guess its a fertilized  duck egg and they eat it. I hear its gross. but I want to try it. Maybe this week.
Well this week was rough. I had to use toilet paper. Oh man it was awful. Took so much time and it was painful.I am using a bucket when i get home. I really wonder why i ever liked toilet paper. Its terrible. Anyway. I cant able to speak Tagalog at all still. I kind of gave up on it. I need to repent and try again. The words are so hard to say! Like Pananumpalataya means Faith. Ridiculous. Most people understand a little bit of English here though. Or at least i think they do. They all act like they understand and then I ask a question and they just sit there... So then my companion translates. Fun stuff. The church is still true though. no worries. Whit Happy birthday! Sorry I am a terrible family member and have like forgotten like everyones birthdays. Repentance. Love you all!

Elder Checketts

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hump Day and Birthday!

Hello everyone!

Well it was an eventful week! I finally hit my year mark! Man crazy how fast time flies by. I still feel like I just left the MTC! I still have so much to learn and so much to do! It was a solid week though! So for my year mark, we celebrated by going to Mcdonalds. The first time I have eaten real fast food in over a year! It was glorious. I teared up. Mostly because as I was taking my first bite into the juicy crispy chicken sandwich, Viva la Vida came on the radio.... It was so weird. I felt like I was in America for a second but then I saw my companion eating rice with fried chicken. Thats one of the specialties that mcdonalds has here I guess. Pretty sweet. Then for my birthday some members gave us some food! It was Tilapia and rice. It was actually really good. Im not gonna lie though... I still don't like fish. my tongue was stabbed by like 30 bones. Its okay though. it tasted really good! For dinner we went to a place called greenwich Pizzas. Man it was way good. I had eaten Pizza in India before but this was sooo good. Also. I prepared chicken curry for everyone staying in our apartment. It was nice and spicy! Not as spicy as I would have liked but it was still good. I missed the burn at the back of my throat. My companion wasn't too phased by it but one of the zone leaders was crying. It was awesome. We used curry powder instead of Chilli powder so it wasnt the same. Next time. 

Well Yeah. Back to work. We didn't have any of our investigators come to church so that was rough. But we are teaching some really cool people. We are starting to focus on the less actives in this area because there are a lot of them! i guess our area is only going to be a temporary one. There were like 30 new missionaries that came last transfer so they had to create a lot of new areas. I dont know how long we will stay here though. We have to travel to the other side of the city to reach our area. Its okay though. The people are are way nice. The biggest problem here is that no one gets married because divorce is illegal. so people just live together. We have 2 investigators with that problem and one of their boyfriends is a member. I have no idea how to help with that problem because that is unacceptable in India. If anyone does that there than I am pretty sure they will be stoned to death... Just kidding. But seriously.... Anyway. Thats basically our work right now. We street contact everyday all day. lots of finding!

This place is like in between America and India. They try so hard to be like America. I have seen more American flags here than when I was home! But its still kinda dirty and all the houses are stacked together. But no where near as dirty as India. I don't know how to describe it. They actually drive on the right side of the road! That was weird. Toilets here are nice. Haha there is toilet paper but I don't want to use it. I am using the beautiful bucket. Also! So theres no warm water here and our showers are freezing but its nice because it gets pretty hot here. not as hot as Rajahmundry but close. Anyway we use a bucket for showers as well. I will have to take a picture. I cant send photos today cuz this computer is ridiculously slow and wont load them. Next week!

Well i love you all and hope you are enjoying the warm winter like I am! I just want to mention one of the gifts of the spirit. I think i have talked about this before but I want you all to know the gift of tongues is real. I haven't had it constantly, but there have been many times on my mission when i heard someone speaking a foreign language to me and I have understood exactly what they said. That has happened a few times while I have been here in the Philippines and it is amazing. It usually happens when I least expect it but also when I needed it the most. More evidence that God really does love us. Oh that reminds me, I gave a talk on Charity in church on Sunday! Hopefully they understood my English! I thought it went well. I connected it with Matt. 22:36-40. When Christ tells the 2 great commandments in the law. Its amazing how all the law and the prophets really do hang from these 2 commandments. Also How in the last days men's hearts will fail them, but charity never faileth. I dunno. Charity is cool. love you all! 

Elder Checketts

Monday, February 9, 2015

Hello from the Philippines

Hello everyone!

Well another week has come and gone! Pretty sweet! Well the Philippines is crazy! Tagalog is a pain but I am slowly learning. I think being in Rajahmundry for the past year has prepared me a lot for being here. There is hardly any English there so here it is basically the same. Its amazing how every trial in the mission prepares you for the next one. The trials of my mission are just building off of each other. Its weird. Anyway. I have no idea what the heck is going on here but everytime we end up teaching someone it ends up being worth it. Sometimes I am hard hearted and I get really frustrated so I decide that its pointless to say anything because they won't understand me anyways but then I get into the lesson and the spirit tells me to stop being a Jew and teach them, And then I am happy and life is good again. It is an emotional roller coaster that I have been riding for 90% of my mission. Good stuff. The missionaries here are all way cool and fun. Except they all listen to EFY music so sometimes I want to kill myself. Its all good though. I am getting used to it. Just a heads up. If I ever ask you to send me EFY music I want to you scold me nicely. Haha thanks.

Well yeah, The food here is okay I guess. I'm not gonna lie, Indian food is amazing. The food here has like 0 spice. Its gross. Just kidding. I had barbecue chicken last night at a members house and cried. But still everytime we prepare in the apartment I have to go out and buy some chilli powder. Man I miss chicken curry. But they have pork and beef here so I can't complain!
Our area is hard but there a lot of inactives that we are working with. We are trying to find new investigators and we found a few formers. They are way nice people. None came to church but this week we will try to help them with that. We had an entire inactive family come to church yesterday so that made it all worth it! They are all extremely nice people here. Just to give you an idea, A sister in church gave a talk in mostly English yesterday and I am pretty sure the Bishop asked her to do it just because I don't know Tagalog. Haha and then all the members asked me to learn Tagalog after it hahaha working on it.
Hey you guys talked to Sonny right? Man he is awesome. He comes on full day exchanges with us almost everyday! He was baptized last May I think and he is preparing for a mission! Haha he told me that he added you all on Facebook and talked to a couple of you. He is a goober. Way nice guy though!
Well Life here is swell. Thank you for all your prayers. I can definitely feel the blessings pouring in. So many amazing things happen! I am praying for you all every day. I honestly think my testimony of prayer has become the strongest. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that God is listening and will always answer our prayers. Love you all. Have a good week!

Elder Checketts