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

Monday, February 2, 2015


Well. I have arrived safely in the Philippines! I am in the city of Tarlac and I have been assigned to a ward! So crazy! They have so many members here its awesome! Well my journey was an awesome experience. So. We flew through Bangkok and I was able to get some Thai currency. Pretty awesome. Then We arrived in Manila which is a huge city. They let us stay in a way nice hotel for the night. It was so nice. I was in a room with a native missionary who had just come back to his mission. I guess he broke his leg or something before and now he is better. Way cool guy. Then we woke up at around 3 am the next day and they took us to the MTC here! It was soo weird! Lots of memories came back to my mind! The Temple was right across the street so we took some solid pictures and finally a cab came to take us to Tarlac City where the mission office is at around 8. So then for the third time we went through orientation for new missionaries and it was swell. It was fun with all the new missionaries coming in. They are all awesome. Then we got our companions! My new comp is Elder Olohan! Way cool guy. He is actually the same batch as me so he left last February as well. We get along great and we are enjoying nicely together! He is from the Philippines! From an area called Davao or something like that. We are opening an area together so we are basically starting from nothing. We won't even have a phone for 2 more weeks so its awesome. Church was fun! The people here actually speak a decent amount of English so I could understand maybe like 10% of what was happening!

Well we are serving in a Ward! Man it is so nice! The bishop supports us and so do the members! They have all been taking us out and showing us members homes! So I am supposed to be learning Tagalog. It is way hard. I still know basically nothing and Just like in Rajahmundry I don't understand anything! Except now its my fault for not understanding.So I really need to work hard to learn the language. Tagalog is like a mix of Spanish french and Chinese. Its crazy. But I am just happy I can read the letters now instead of all Telagu! I am learning slowly but surely! Its hard but I am excited. Well the food here is way good! Still lots of rice! And Tons of pork! They eat that with  every meal! My first day I had something called sisig. I guess its just like fried pig face, and pig ear. It was actually really good! The food here has zero spice so I will have to go find some chili powder and make some curry! We will see though. I have never done it by myself! Well we are in an internet cafe so I can't able to send pictures right now but I will try this next week. I didn't even take that many pictures so next week will be better. We are living in a small house with the Zone leaders here. They are awesome and are helping me a lot! Man people here are so rich. The houses are huge! All of them have like 3 to 5 rooms in them! Its so nice here! Crazy! Well I don't have much time left! I am safe though! No worries! Keep me updated on everything going on! Love ya!

Elder Checketts