Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rain, rain and pancakes!

This week I have learned a lot- a lot about obedience, a lot about forgiveness and a lot about love. 

First with the obedience, this Sunday we slept in 30 minutes extra. I hate it, I hate that we were not obedient and that it happened. We had a problem with the alarm, and I noticed it and just rolled back over and back to sleep. I'm so disappointed about this- because it really was stupid. 

That morning I thought about how I wasn´t obedient so now "R" probably 
won´t come to church- almost jokingly and in frustration with myself. But we called before church and she explained she was excited for sacrament. But when we got to church she was a no show- I was frustrated with myself. The fact I’d lost this, and ruined it for a couple minutes extra sleep. I just prayed so hard, for forgiveness, for her to show up and promised from then on I would be obedient. 

Right after I said my prayer and right before the sacrament hymn she walked in. I felt so much love and gratitude. Then during the sacrament I just prayed again and felt Heavenly Father and it was really special. A different feeling than I have usually had. I hate that this happened, that I made the wrong choice, but I am so grateful for heavenly father's forgiveness. And for the chance to take the sacrament- to listen to the prayer and feel that forgiveness and cleansing. 

However, I guess that’s what the mission is about- learning and growing and changing. 

This week I am also very grateful for my companion, Hermana Rodriguez. She is so patient with me.  With me stumbling through Spanish all day and trying to lead the sector. We have been reading the book of Mormon together every day in language study- she will read one verse in English and I help her with the pronunciation, then I will read the same verse in Spanish and she helps me. It has helped both of us in not only in our language skills, but as we read the book of Mormon together we find we have a different, and better spirit with us and we are a better companionship all around. 

Things are crazy with "R". Crazy good. We have the baptismal interview tonight! And if all goes well the baptism is next Saturday! Woohoo. Best news. 

First, it all started when she prayed for the first time- we were standing outside in the street because her family doesn’t like us much- and she prayed and it was so real. I actually opened my eyes because I thought she was talking to me for a minute. Then I realized she was just really truly talking to heavenly father. It was so cool. 

Then the spirit was so strong and she had said earlier she wanted to wait for a while before baptism to investigate more- but the spirit is crazy and right there I was like- "so you feel this?  It's the spirit."  Then were just like "your ready"- baptism this month and that jazz. And it’s a "yes" and it’s happening. 

Then, every lesson with her this week has been gold. She just knows its true. 

She told her husband about her decision and he just laughed and said some pretty nasty stuff about us. But she just explained its true, she knows its true, she loves heavenly father and knows this is what he wants. Crazy. 

Then she visited her brother this week and came back and explained how he talked about how much she has changed, how her eyes and whole character is different and when he asked why she said, ¨its because I’m going to be a Mormon! ¨ Cutest. 

Then, she doesn’t know how to read- but we are teaching her how and with the spirit its crazy how much progress she has. She wants to learn so she can read the book of Mormon! Best. 

I am so excited for her.

We also had a little miracle lesson this week. So we had an appointment but it fell through- so we were walking back to our sector a bit disappointed and we were walking a different way then usual and we started street contacting and were talking with this young mom and her babe and asked if a different day we could stop by her house and share more about our message and she explained that if it was ok with us, now was a good time (yeah-. I guess that ok with us! Woohoo) So we walked with her to her house, and ended up teaching all the about resurrection and she ended up praying and saying yes to the baptism invitation! Crazy. We have another appoint. With her in Monday and I am excited to see what will come of it! More to come! 

My other favorite lesson this week was where we talked about God’s love and a quote from president Monson- about how heavenly father loves us- always and how this love never changes. And it was magic. Seriously, one of those times when I was just testifying that he truly loves her and he truly knows and loves us- and I knew it was true. I was a crying, she’s a crying and the spirit- gold. 

It’s so true. He is my father and a lot of the time I think about my relationship with dad- and how even though he isn’t here with me, how I know he loves me and how I write him and explain my day and all. And I was just thinking about the relationship I have with heavenly father and how it is becoming so much more real. How it’s the same as with dad- he isn’t here- but he loves me- and it’s a different form of communication- but I can't see him but as I pray I really feel it. 

Funny of this week. Hna "C". We stopped by and chopped down these huge braches off of her tree. This was sketch. I’m standing on tiptoes with this saw. While they were all yelling Spanish at me. So funny. 

Then we had a FHE (Family home evening) with them and we made pancakkees- Chilean crepes. So good. However we had too much fun flipping them with the pan in the air- most landed everywhere else except the pan. So good. 

Also, last week elder Bradshaw sent me this link to a video with his letter and it was gold- we shared it in 5 of our lessons this week. In Spanish its "gracias a el." so probably thanks to him. But look it up. Love. 

This week I was attacked by another dog. Luckily I had 100 layers of rain clothes on so this time it didn't break skin- I just have a gnarly bruise on my arm. Love it. 

Yay I got two packages this week! Mom you are the best. One with the pink shirt from down east and love notes from meg (best love) and the other with the blue shirt and photos printed off. Thank you thank you. Best. 

I love it here. It’s really hard. Especially this week- with the cultural and language difference with Hna R. It's all-super great- just hard work. And I just am really grateful for you mom and pops and my heavenly mom and pops. 

Well family I've got to run. We have a baptism interview to prepare for! 

I love you! Keep praying, and reading, hiking and smiling. Sending the best of vibes from the rain and chilly of Chile (bad joke, sorry)

Hna (dog whisperer) ball

Monday, May 19, 2014

Rain and looking like the Devil...

Hola Familia!

What a week. I can’t believe we only talked on Sunday. Man I love you all. That was such a power boost for this week. You all are the best. And I still can't get over the fact Jeremy has abs. What happened to my little baby brother? 

This week has been one of, if not my favorite weeks in the mission. It has been so hard and so rewarding. I love my new companion and I love that she is Latina! This week my Spanish has improved so much and I have learned new ways to learn, teach and serve. 

We have been working really well together. My favorite part of this week was working with Hermana R, she is an investigator and the mother of our recent converso J. (convert J). We stopped by their house this week and R explained how she has depression and lately she has been feeling very nervous and scared. So we turned to the story of Jesus and Pedro (Peter) about walking on the water. My favorite part of this story is how it explains something along the lines of how Pedro (Peter) was scared, and then he calls out "Senior (Lord), save me." And immediately Jesus extended his hand. We related this to her and how it's ok to be scared at times, but what really matters and shows strength is what we do in those moments that we are scared. We explained how Jesus had his hand extended for her and all she had to do was grab it. We have a baptism date for her and we promised that if she came to church she would feel His love and the spirit.

Well, she came! When she walked in I was so happy, literally giddy. Then it was the best sacrament meeting we have had for the 3 months I have been in this ward. During the week our ward had a ward temple trip, and this Sunday was testimony meeting- the testimonies were so pure and full of love. Also her son, J, blessed the sacrament and bore testimony of how this church has changed his life and what he knows to be true.

I have never prayed so hard on the mission- the whole sacrament meeting I just sat and prayed and prayed that she would feel this spirit. Especially during the sacrament. And she did- there was one point where she was holding my hand and had a little tear in her eye and I had a little tear in my eye and we just looked at each other and smiled and it was in that moment I knew she was feeling it.

After sacrament we had our gospel doctrines class and then J explained he had to leave- so he told his mom they were heading if she wanted a ride- but she explained how she liked it and wanted to stay for the women’s class. Best. And in relief society all the women were so welcoming and loving.

I am so grateful for this experience because it was yet another testament to me that Heavenly Father really is directing this work. She is his daughter, and He wants so badly for her to know of his love. It was amazing to see his hand in not only her life, but in mine. He knew I was having a little bit of a rough week and needed the reminder that its ok to be scared at times. He knew I needed to have the test of faith to trust in him, first that I would know what to say, and how to say it in Spanish. Then that I needed the experience to just pray and pray and trust.

I am so grateful for Him and his hand in my life.

Also, this week my Spanish has improved so much. Just a little brag moment- I will probably pay for this is week- humility and all that stuff- but I am a little bit rocking it right now. I am so happy. It's hard and I still have a hard time getting my thoughts or points across in normal conversation- but in the lessons I am able to explain the gospel really, really well. And I am understanding almost 60 percent of the stuff Hna R. says - luckily her accent is El Salvador and much easier- but I am seeing progress with the Chileans. Hooray. But brag moment over because honestly it really is all the spirit and el don de lenguas (Gift of Tongues)- but either way it rocks. 

Ok lets see here- new news with Hermana R- I have been teaching her all the finer points of English and the American way. 'Merica jokes and what crunchy peanut butter is-  the words to Katy Perry "I kissed a girl and I liked it"- probably not the best song for a missionary.

Things are really well with her- hard because we are kind of still in that awkward part where we are trying to figure out how the other does stuff- and little things. But it’s really good. She says the longest prays. Ha-ha, I usually fall asleep it's so bad. She actually caught me once this week. Ahahhaha so funny. Now I have to make sure I kneel really uncomfortably.

Also, we both think we are thugs so it works out really well. 

Oh, then you know D. and P.? So they are the couple that just had the bebe (baby). He is a death metal rocker and all this stuff in a band, but he loves his music and all the crazy stuff. So in our lesson this week we introduced them to Mormon message and while we were on YouTube I saw a singles ward thing so I showed it to him. Hah he loves it. Especially the "battle hymn of the republic" and a lot of the music in the RM. Go listen to it and try to imagine him and his one-month-old babe. Its super hilarious. 
Non stop rain
Oh, also I have been told this week that I am one of the best at the chopping of the wood. Ha-ha little do they know that it's the time I use to think all my angry thoughts. Usually about Spanish and how I can't say what I want to. It’s really good for the soul and spirit- however my shoulders are wreck. I think I need to not be stressed about the language because its coming.

This week we went back to the FBI.  This time I knew it was the FBI so this was good. But we are finishing up my visa so I am almost legal!

Also, the people here believe we are witches of sorts. But for real- how they explain it it's like a Nanny McPhee thing or Mary Poppins. And they are dead serious. They believe we just pop in and fix stuff or do magic voodoo.  And then when the people are starting to get used to us, or even like us we leave. Hah which is kind of true. But lately I have been working on explaining how I am not actually a witch. (I think Jer, Meg and Nate might say something different when trying to wake me up however....)
drying our clothes off before heading out again

Also, every single person I have asked on my whole mission how old they think I am every single one says 23 years old. It’s so creepy. Every single one. Except the 8 year old said he thought I was 30 maybe a little older. So this one hurt. Ha-ha but I actually found one gray hair the other day- I think this place is making me old. Booo. 

Oh funny thing- so we have to start taking pictures of proselyting. Of the teaching so you can expect some gems because they are so awkward. Ha-ha

Ok, so I was thinking today and there are a lot of things they don't prepare you for when prepping for a mission:

1.  Like we don’t learn how to help a pregnant lady not throw up in church with breathing exercises. 
2.  How to pick flees out of your bed. 
3.  How to stop dogs from attacking.
4.  Or how to build the most beautiful fires. 
5.  How to layer your clothes for the rain. 
6.  How to take showers by jumping in and out because the waters cold. 
7.  How to use gas stoves. 
8.  How to shove 7-8 people in a small car. 
9.  Or they don’t teach us how to dodge the drunken men kisses.

But I love it!  Everyday is full of crazy little adventures. I'll try to remember them for next week. 

Well family- I got to run. I love you all. Keep on keeping on. Head up the canyon this week for me and say a couple little prayers and send the American Fork canyon vibes my way. 

Xoxo this week a child ripped my lip open with his fingernail. The same fingernail he had just petted a nasty sick dog of the street. So if you think your week is hard, no xoxoxo

Hermana Ball.

PS look up the video "Earthy Father, Heavenly Father". Just watched it pops and thought of you. So good.  So much love. 

PSS  I didn't realize until after that in the rain I look like the devil. So scary- I wouldn't let me in. Ahh, so my goal this week is to look more approachable. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Going up flames...

(As Ali becomes more fluent in Spanish, English is starting to slide a bit.  Her Dad translated parts of this week’s letter for us.  His translation is in blue)

Tomorrow cannot come faster! I am so excited to talk to you- every time I start thinking about it I have to stop because I get little tears in my eyes- thats how excited I am. So prepare yourself for the waterworks tomorrow.

This week was soooooo good. Crazy. Good. But so hard. Luckily more good than hard.
Transfers are the best. Literally I couldn’t be happier. My companion is darling. Hermana Rodriguez from El Salvador. She is a tiny little thing and I already love her so much- she is very patient and kind. Which I was praying for. Then she knows the gospel and isn’t afraid to talk to everyone. Which here, the people are scary so this is good. Also her accent is way easier to understand than the Chilean. Por eso
(FOR THIS) I am so happy. Enserio (SERIOUS). Oh, I can’t even explain how good and how hard it is.

My head actually hurts its so hard- I’m leading the sector, doing all planning and phone and stuff. Luckily she is catching onto the sector rapido
(quickly) pero (but) its hard. I love it. I love the challenge of it.

This week was crazy spiritual- I think its because I am 100 percent obedient with the language (well I have to be) but seriously el don de lenguas
(gift of tongues) (I cant remember what this is in English. Sorry for the Spanish mom I know you hate it ha-ha) is real. And it is crazy.

My favorite lesson we had this week was with R.  The mother of José, my favorite. This week we stopped by and helped her and her husband clean the truck of mud and after she explained how she has been scared and nervous lately and how she has depression.

So we turned to the scriptures, because what’s better. Am I right? We read in Mateo
(Matthew) 14:24-33, I think (go read it) about Jesus and Pedro (Peter). How el (he) had fear and such. Oh so good. My favorite is  ¨he was afraid... cried Senor (Master), save me.” And immediately Jesus extendiendo (Jesus extended) his hand. Then I explained how it the same with her right now and the spirit was so strong. It was crazy- the power in that room and the power of a pure testimony. Both me and Hna R just testified to her and I had little tears and R had little tears and José almost did but then he is a ¨man¨ or something like that :)  But we have committed her a date for baptism and for church on Sunday. I love Hermana R so much. I love teaching her and seeing a little more light in her eyes every time. I love being a missionary- being able to bring people to Christ all day every day. Nothing better.

The other power moment of the week goes exactly along with my loving being a missionary. I was in the choir for stake conference and as we sang "creo in cristo"
(I Believe in Christ). Don’t know the English. But to have the spirit of the conference and to have the spirit of that song then to be standing there looking out at my members and investigators. The best of feelings. Little tears and a lot of love felt this week.

Tears of the frustration of only Spanish and its so hard. Tears from being so happy about understanding Spanish. Tears from so much love. And tears just because. You know? Luckily most of which were when I was in the shower so we are all good. Ha-ha-hah. So my companion doesn’t think I’m a baby.

Oh, one of these tear experience were from laughing. Ok, get this. So it’s my comps first morning here so I have the best idea to make her muffins and cute stuff. Only our stove is really ghetto and sketch. Super sketch. So I’m all fiddling and half asleep and next thing I know there is fire on my face! Literally! I singed my eyelashes, eyebrow and half of my hair and face. Painful?  Yes!   Ugly? Not to bad. Nothing a little mascara couldn’t fix for the eye (the hair- eeeh) but funny and in shock.  I just yell for her and my hair is all nasty and its falling out on the front and all burned and oh my it was so bad. But so funny. And now you cant even tell I fixed it up real nice.

Oh dad, I thought of you this week- a lot, because it is your birthday week. You old man. What a fart. But last night we were just doing our thing with C,Z and her dad- our old mission leader and the best and my favorite. Gold. But he was coming home so I run and hide behind the door and I scared him so good. It made me think of our all-scare wars. Miss you pops. A lot. Oh no, now I have little tears again this really had got to stop. ha-ha

Ok moving on. The dogs here are nasty, oh I hate them. So gross. But they keep it interesting. Right? So this one is trying to pretty much eat my leg, which happens a lot, so I’m just speaking kind Spanish to it while trying to kick it away when my knight in shinning armor came. And when we say my knight, we mean the drunk on the street. This was so funny, so he starts going loco como
(crazy because) he wants to save me and he’s waving around these beer bottle and todo (totally) is crazy. But were just giggling and he is going at it- except he is so drunk he cant see straight and at times is talking to the dog pero (but) its in the wrong direction and all this fun stuff. Love it.

But really this week was gold. I am excited to see how the rest of this transfer will be. Things are really good with Hna H. We work really well together. The language is a coming. Slow but it’s coming. And it keeps it fun. Who else gets to play charades with their companion all day! Woohooo.

Well family I better sign off. I love you. I will talk to you tomorrow (tears. naaaah)

keep on keeping on. Xoxo. Hna Pelota. (
Sister Ball)