Monday, April 21, 2014

Chickens, fries and more chopping wood

Hola familia. 

Ok this week was crazy. Seriously crazy. 

The most crazy and beautiful thing happened. God is real and he is directing this work. So we have been working with one girl and her boyfriend about the law of chastity and she is a newly baptized member and he is an investigator- but they are living together at her parents house- which is actually a little trailer home behind her aunt's house- that belongs to her aunt. Anyways, we have been working a lot with them- soo much. This week we printed off Elder Oaks talk in Priesthood session about women’s role with the priesthood--so powerful. To know the power of the priesthood and how it affects us and how we called and set apart representative de jesucristo. We truly have a power and a spirit. We read this and were both really, really touched, it was one of those true deep experiences.
So we shared this with them and they both just ignored us.  We left and decided there wasn’t much more we could do. Well, she lives with her family and aunt right? 2 days ago the house caught on fire and it was not terrible, but it was bad. And they couldn’t find an explanation of why it happened. The aunt and grandma were in the hospital. So sad, this family already has gone through so much, and has so little. But while it was on fire she called us and we ran over to try and help. We ended up having a lesson with just her- and here’s the thing. Its crazy! The family thinks that he started the fire, which we know he didn’t, but they are kicking him out and its this huge thing, the family also is moving and he is going to be moving to el campo to live with his grandparents. It’s crazy. 

I don’t know, I’m trying to explain it right now and it just isn’t coming out right. It truly was a miracle no one was hurt. In our lesson she explained she knows God is there. It was a powerful experience. And because of this week I know all will be good and I don’t know how to say it, but it was a humbling and crazy and wonderful and scary experience. I don’t know in a year and a bit I'll explain it in person. 


Also this week we had intercambios (changes with other missionaries)- this was crazy! I was so scared because it was a Latina coming to stay with me, who knew 0 English and I was in charge of all the planning and lesson and leading her around and I was so scared. Like tears scared. But it was the best. It was crazy to see how much Spanish I truly know- I feel like I have been doing myself a disfavor and been really hard on myself. But it was such a little blessing to be able to talk to her and to teach the lessons and really be the ¨senior companion" and lead out on everything. It was so good. 

This week has been so powerful- I have just truly seen Heavenly Father in my life. And to be studying on the atonement and resurrection because of Easter- I am just full of a lot of love and light and joy. I am so happy to be serving here. I love my mission so much. I love the people. I love knowing that I am representing Jesus and that he loves me and is proud of me. I love learning and testifying of him daily. I love him and I love teaching people how to have pure joy. 

Life is good. 

This week was so spiritual but also so fun. I love having a good balance. 

On Saturday we made kuhan the most delicious thing here with Hermana Zapata- ma momma here. Oh it was the best. Sooo much treats and laughs and flour fights and laughs and the best. 

We also chopped a lot of wood this week. Ma poor shoulders are killing and my hands are dead. But I love the work. We did a lot with Hermana Ceron. Who is the cutest little thing. Man she is a firecracker. I want to be like her when I grow up. 

Then we did a lot with a couple, Alejandro and Elliana. They are the best! I can just imagine them being neighbors with grandma and grandpa ball and I loooove it. 

We helped chop lots of wood, then for our other ¨service" with them we helped them name their chickens. Ha-ha soo fun. Cutest little investigators- the people, not the chickens. 

I think in the near future this little couple (81 years old and 78) are going to get baptized and I can’t wait. The only thing is they are quite the stubborn pair so we will see.  

Oh this was killer. We on intercambios and we stopped to contact this lady who sales French fries and they are the best in our entire little sector. So stop to get some and it's all good. We have a little chat with her, all spiritual and such, then as we are walking away I am not paying attention because I’ve got the most delicious fry in my hand (and its freezing here, so warm food is gold) when I pull a classic "Ali" and trip. But not just trip- but go down hard. So I’m just chilling flat on the ground, blood dripping and covered in French fries just laughing because what else can you do? And my new comp is laughing and then all of a sudden the street dogs start attacking the French fries. I almost peed my pants it was so funny and oh so nasty! Little 3 legged dogs and dogs missing eyes and just the ugliest things going crazy over these fries. Beeeeeest. We went back and bought more and the ladies just dying laughing- so good.


One thing about me serving here, a lot of people have mentioned that I show people that Mormons really are just ¨normal¨ people. Ha-ha I guess maybe I should joke or trip or be me more often. 

Oh last thing- it is so stressful writing because there is this clock that just ticks away the seconds while your trying to write. But, I'm a star.  Really!  We went to Lider, which is the grocery store here, and we were just doing our thing when this lady comes over and just starts chatting to me in Spanish.   I have no idea what’s going on, but I’m like "a huh."  Then she starts leading me over to this stack of chocolate.  Then they start taking pictures of me with all this chocolate and all this stuff. Haha, turns out I am the new model of Lider chocolate. I still don’t even know what happened.  The whole time Hna J is just dying laughing- she ended up having to walk away. But that’s pretty cool.

Well family I got to run. Happy Easter to y'all. 

This week if nothing, I found to just look for Heavenly Father in my life and now I find him everywhere. 

It’s the best. I love it! I love you so much. Stay good and eat lots of chocolate for me. 

So much love.

Xoxoxo Hna Ball

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mail, the #3 and living in a cloud

Hola. I love you guys so much. Thank you for all the love and support and prayers and excitement. 

This week was so good. But also so humbling- which is good. But with the word humbling also come hard and frustrating and raw but also lots of love and prayers and a true internal happiness. You know?

One of my favorite experiences of the week was with one of our part member families. The dad is a member- but has been inactive for real long times then the rest of his family are investigators. I love them so much- they are Bolivian and Peruvian and gold. 

We had just finished having our lesson with them and were just chatting about good life stuff and I had this thought "I wonder if they’d like to the Book of Mormon on tape"- because they’ve been having problems with reading. Then I was like "where am I going to get it on tape?" So I pushed the thought aside and kept trying to listen (while really only getting a small amount of the conversation.) when I thought it again- like "I bet they could really use the Book of Mormon on tape." But then again I was like "this is ridiculous. And what ever." Then the third time I got the thought real strong- and I’ve learned once you hit three times of a crazy thought you just go with it. 

So I just asked them- quite randomly- if they would be interested in the B.O.M on tape. And Hna J gives me that "what the heck are you doing" look.  The one I get kind of a lot. Ha-ha. And I felt a little bit like "what the heck am I doing?" But just went with it- and they got really really excited and really want the B.O.M. They work in their home sewing jackets all day and they want it to listen to while they work. So we made plans and we got our pal Carolina to help us order it online and they should get it soon. I am so excited because of how excited they were- they just kept bringing it up and cant wait to listen to it and learn the stories. 

It was soooo good. I love learning these little things- hopefully next time I'll just bring it up the first time the Spirit tells me, not the third! This is the new goal- so there will probably be stories to come of the Hna J's loving "what the heck face." 

Man, I am so lucky to be serving here and to be serving with Hna J. I love her so much. We’ve really learned how to not only work well together- but also how to really, deeply, trust each other. Man- I love- I am not getting excited for transfers coming up. 

Then this week we had interviews with the mission president! Oh, how I love that dear sweet man. While Hna J was in her interview, I was able to sit and talk to Hna Rappleye- our mission mom, president's wife- who is really down to earth. And we got to talk in English! Ahha! So it was one of the first real conversations I have had with someone other than Hna J in weeks! Oh it was the best. I love just the inspiration and insights and love she has.

Then I had the actual interview with president and oh man- even though he doesn’t personally know me the very best or I don’t talk with him a lot he is the priesthood authority over me, and had that special power to know and love me. He just knew exactly what to say and we had a very sweet and real and emotional and spiritual interview. It was powerful and I am pumped to get back to work. 

One thing that’s a bummer is they finish their mission in just a couple months so this was our last interview together- at the end he explained how he wishes I had come earlier, how he wishes we could have worked together and how I am a great missionary- and how he explained what I have been doing and everything was very real. It was exactly what I needed because its really hard here- and the language is hard. I love it and I know I’m doing my best and that’s all heavenly father wants me to do- but it was just nice to hear- you know? 

Man its hard going through days just hardly knowing what’s going on- but its getting better every day and I am understanding a little bit more. Today I read a whole chapter in the book of Mormon in Spanish and I didn’t have to use my English scriptures as a help at all- this was huuuuuge. I am so happy- I am only in 1 Nephi and its been a couple weeks- usually I just get a couple verses in and get the meaning! Hurray!

Oh, and speaking of mad sick Spanish skills, I was chatting with our zone leader on the phone- which is so hard to do in Spanish because you cant see their faces or mouths and its all the worst- but then that night we had a meeting and he explained he totally thought I was Hermana J because my Spanish was so good. Man I love the gift of tongues. It is the best seriously. 

The weather here has been a little wacky. It’s starting to get cold and rainy- but lately we have been having this little cloud thing. No- not fog- full on clouds- it is sweet. Like right now we are literally inside a cloud-. And they just move through the city and you can see the little whispy puff things. Its wack. 

Ok the not good part of the week. Hate this. So I got this little mouth thing that’s not to fun. The mission nurse is in a different sector so we just called her and explained it- and we just had me gargle salt water- now I am on a z pack, which is good. But it’s weird. Like this open sore on the back of my mouth. Probably from something wack I ate. Then like this stuff on the roof of my mouth and tongue. Hah siiick. So that’s been a little gross. But when we were at interviews Hna R looked at it and took pictures and we are sending it to a doctor. Its nothing bad- don’t flip. More just pray for me. ahhaha. siiiick. 

What else is a happening here? We are working a lot with the members- trying to get them in the ward and excited. I love it. This ward is solid and they people are gold- we just need to focus a little bit. You know?

Oh, we are still doing English classes and they are soooo good. This week we had more nonmembers than members-, which is sweet. There is especially one girl- shes 24 and I think a gem. Stories hopefully to come- this week were going to try to contact her for the lessons. beeest- I’m excited. 

Oh, it's sheep killing season here. So that’s strait up sick. Hahah. Just walking and seeing it hung up-. So sad. 

Oh, my love this week. I got three letters from grandma ball. She is so good at writing ever week and I loooove it. Then i got a letter from the Strait family- beeeeest! Just a bunch of drawings that made me cry a little tear because they were the cutest. Got a massive package from grandma Simpkins. Seriously- I had to carry it from the church and all over and by time we found a little collectivo my arms were about to fall off- I couldn’t even carry it, it was so full of love! All the missionaries here are jealous of my grandmas. Because I seriously have the best grandmas ever. 

And I got the best note and hat from cinda and henry. I love them so much. So much love to be had and felt on this end. This week I just felt a lot of love. In the letters and such but also just in my heart, you know? I always heard missionaries who said they could feel prayers and I never got it. But this week I really got it. 

Then mom- I got your letter. You are killer. The one about the dream. I just sat and cried and Hna J walks up and just gives me that cute little "whhhaaaat?" face- so I just hand it over to her and she read it. Then we were both crying. I love you so much. I miss you like crazy. And I think about you and dad all the days. I just know how much you love me and how truly proud you are and how you support me in everything and I cant explain enough how much I miss you and how much I love you. Thank you for being my truest best friends. 

Well I better sign off. I want to go print of a couple talks from conference!

I love you! Keep reading and praying and smiling and being little member missionaries and I will get the blessings. 

The church is true! I love my mission, I love the people, I love it, I love it, I love it. 


Hermana ball

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Smores, a birthday and a prayer in Spanglish

Happy Conference! 

What a weekend! Soooo good! Conference is the best! Especially watching it in English! Hooray for being able to understand! All the gringo missionaries went to a little room in the church and it was gringolandia. We had empanadas, and tons of treats. Mom your sixlets were a huge hit and lots of English. Ha-ha the missionaries here commented how I actually am fun and have a sense of humor because I guess a lot of them thought I was super serious. I guess that’s what not understanding will do to you. Hah. 

But really- can we just talk about conference for a minute. This was a much-needed booster. Starting off with Elder Holland- ¨talk about man creating God in his image. ¨ I love that man. 

Then I love how Pres. Uchdorf talked about gratitude. How it is easy to be grateful for things, but we need to live in gratitude. Killer. 

Ok were you listening to Ballard?  Because that’s your homework fam. I’m ready to hear about your studies! Mamma go grab the Preach my Gospel from the basket by the fireplace and get to work. I cant wait to hear from you all, esp. Jeremy and Megan. (I am being dead serious right now. Megs and Jer get your inspiration on because I’m ready :) )

Then one of my very favorite was Stevens- chatting about the Olympics and how this life is our 4 minutes. This is my new outlook for my mission. I feel like our life is 4 minutes so that means my mission is about .2 seconds and I got to live it up- I have been preparing for this mission my whole 19.5 years of life and I will be looking back on it for the next. I loved the analogy and am kicking it into gear- I just got to get this little Spanish thing down. 

Then our dear prophet. I love that sweet dear man. I love being able to testify of him and his work daily. 

Oh man then I love the spirit so much. It was during one of the choir breaks and they started singing and I was just so full of love- I just closed my eyes and started a little prayer of gratitude. I am so happy to be a missionary. I love it. And I am so honored to be serving here. I have looked forward to my mission my whole life and I am here! I am a missionary and I absolutely love it! 

But I was just talking with Heavenly Father and right as the choir sang ¨Heavenly Father are you really there?¨ I had such a beautiful little experience where I just knew that He was there. I don’t know how to explain it but just little words in my head and a feeling in my heart and I know he was listening to me exactly in that moment- and that he is always listening to me! 

Oh, then last Saturday we had the Women’s General Conference session. We were planning to go to a member’s house to watch it but had stopped by José and Guisse for a lesson. Then we explained the conference was tonight if Guisse wanted to watch it- so we hooked it up to the TV and then the whole family, José- Guisse, and the two little "missionary¨ girls sat with us. (They were wearing our backpacks and badges all night. so cute. I will try to send a video of their lesson to us- sooo cute.) But it was amazing. I remember last Women’s session when I didn’t have my mission call I was just wondering where on earth I would be at the next session- and here I am. 

It was amazing. To think back to that and then to be sitting in the house of the family we just baptized and reactivated. To be watching it and having the craziest spirit with us. We all broke down in tears with the spirit there and as I just tried to explain in my broken Spanish how happy I was to be with them that night and how true this church is. It was killer. 

Then José explained that that morning he had prayed to Heavenly Father to know if he was on the right track- if this really was the best thing for his girls and wife- then the same night we watched the Women’s Conference- which showed him how this church honors women and mothers. And all it does for its girls and women. It was power to hear him explain this was his answer to prayer. Man what a week. 

We found another girl- Mara. Who is gold. I am so excited to be teaching her. She is really really smart and thinks a lot. She has been doing all the reading and praying. It is the best. And she is really searching for the truth so it’s only a matter of time. But she has awesome questions like ¨what happens if you sin in the celestial kingdom?" or just different things about the creation and our purpose and relationship with God. It is soo cool to have her really searching. 

Oh man I had one of those little hidden tender mercies from heavenly father this week. So the other day- I don’t know Thursday- we were struggling. It was just one of those strait up rough days where every appointment fell through and every person we talked to rejected us. I was soo tired and just getting a little bit frustrated. Like little tears in the eyes frustrated. You know? So we are walking down the street and I am saying a little prayer in my heart to not cry and to just keep working and we see the cute little man Alejandro (the one with all the medals) so we chat with him and he asks us if we can help him move his wood pile. If we did it would mean we were late to one of our appointment- Mara. But we could tell he needed the help, so we hiked our skirts and sleeves up and went to work. Before we did and right before we said yes I was just thinking how I really don’t have the strength to do this. Or the mental strength. But I just said a little prayer and dived in- the best thing happened. I literally felt the spirit- like you know when Elder Holland speaks and you just feel it- that was my whole body and mind. I was just given a boost and then we had that lesson with Mara that was so good- and I think I needed that boost to be able to have the spirit with me. 

I love heavenly father and I love the spirit. And I love how he loves me so much that he helps me whenever I ask. Sure the idea of moving the mountain of wood in my church clothes wasn’t the way I would have asked to receive help- but it truly was the best!

Oh fun thing this week! My favorite Hna J turned 21. Hooray. So we on her b day we did 21 contacts and then had a little party lesson with José and Guisse-. Literally the best. Man I love Hna J. I am so lucky. 

Then the other night we had another little party lesson with familia Zapata. So we actually had two little party lessons with them ha-ha the first was a Family Home Evening and we taught them how to make smores. Oh my dreamiest thing ever. I could literally taste American Fork canyon. And they loved them- such a fun night. Then we had a bbq for Hna J and oh I love this family. 

We also taught English classes this week. Little punks, I loved it. But we taught everyone to pray in English- then they asked me for an example and it was so crazy! I couldn't pray in English! It turned into this little Spanglish thing and it was so weird. Yayay I am learning Spanish. Ha-ha also I guess I have been sleep talking in Spanish so that’s the coolest. 

This week was the best not only did I get to watch conference! But I got to watch it with 4 letters in my backpack and 2 packages! Beest. Thank you mama and grandma ball for the packages. Mom you are the best ever. And grandma sent chocolate chip pancake mix and Sunday morn before conference we made them THE BEST. Oh my taste of heaven. Manna. The best of the best. Thank you. Then I got 2 letter from gma ball, 1 from gma simpkins with the cuuuutest little pictures. Hah love. And one from my darling- Hermana Haley Brunsdale. Best. I love holding these little pieces of home. 

Well that’s enough talk about home. But thank you all for the love. I can feel it.

I love you muchly. Keep praying and reading and smiling.

Xoxox Hna Ball.