Sunday Guest Post Series: Page Checkett's Out of Africa

"I wish I had looked for more opportunities to share the gospel before my mission” writes my 19 year old son from the Missionary Training Center (MTC). He went into the MTC on March 9th and leaves this coming week for Japan. He has been trained to speak Japanese, find people searching for God’s plan of happiness and then baptize them. But the truth is I have been training him to do this ever since he was born. Why? Because, as he states in his letter, “everyone needs the gospel of Jesus Christ, it will bring happiness to anyone”. I was surprised to hear these words from Layton. He was always a good kid, true to the faith. But he has always been a little shy to talk to people about his beliefs for fear of offending them. He never wanted to appear self righteous or prideful. But he can see now that the gospel is for everyone, that he has a treasure to share and that by sharing, he will gain more than he could ever lose.

I recently came back from a trip to Kenya with my son Seth (whom I am training to live and then teach the gospel of Jesus Christ too). We spent time on the coast with my Aunt and Uncle Chriss and Louis Pope. They have retired here to enjoy the beauty and the climate but mostly to keep working. They spend their time and resources building micro enterprise in the nearby village. It is called “Coast Coconut Farms” which makes coconut oil for Basa Body skin care products. It is beautiful and amazing to see what they are accomplishing so far away from life as we know it. This is their second project-their first being a micro financing organization where they give small loans to groups of women in the villages. Together they build their personal businesses, pay back the loan and then help others get the financing. I love it because they are focusing on the villages instead of the big city slums. By working in the villages, they are helping families stay together and villages remain strong. They have now helped 200,000 women in rural Kenya.

As I personally spent several days in the villages meeting my beautiful African sisters, I couldn’t help but think over and over “What can I do to help, to show my love, to do what Jesus would do?” Some said that the people need better education; others said cleaner water, more food, better sanitation, employment. What is it we as God’s chlidren really need? The thing my heart said was “they need the gospel of Jesus Christ, it will bring happiness to anyone”. That’s what I wanted to do most for these sisters of mine, I wanted them to have all the fruits of following the Savior. Of course I realized immediately that they, Christian or not, are living and enjoying some of the blessings of the gospel already. All love and goodness comes from God through the grace of Jesus Christ and these people were good and were enjoying the peace and happiness that comes from God. But there is more for them to enjoy. Living the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness leads people to education, to self reliance, to peace and joy, to revelations of all kinds that will enrich and improve lives. It is the foundation for all knowledge, all goodness and is the quickest way to answer all problems.

And so I danced with them and sang with them, I even gave out foot massages. But what I’d really like to do is teach them, in their own language, like Layton will be doing in Japan, what I know about who they really are, why this life is so important and what brings us the greatest happiness in this life and the next.

Page Checketts is a lover of life, mother of eight, RN and wife to Vance. Among many things she's domestic, open-minded and full of free-spirited opinions. You'll never find a person quite like her. And she's my sister.

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