Monday, August 25, 2014

Happy President Monson's birthday week!

¨God our eternal father lives and loves us. He is indeed our Father, and He is personal and real. May we realize how close to us He is willing to come, how far He is willing to go to help us, and how much He loves us. ¨ -President Monson. 

Happy President Monson's birthday week! 

This week I kicked it. Oh, I am so happy with this week. It was a lot of work but it ROCKED. 

Ok, just a quick list of my favorite lessons. 

-Knocking doors before one of our appointments and it was the ever-classic ¨just one more door- what do you think? ¨ So we look at the whole apartment building I’m all- "that one." (Because there was a light and it was the only apartment with colored curtains.)  So we knock and give our spiel to the man- he explains how he has a friend who is Mormon.  And we ask if he would like to know more about what she believes and if there is a day we can pass by that is good for him? That’s when he’s all excited and invites us in right then. (This is Chile- this never happens) well we chat a bit, testify of the book of Mormon and have to scram for our other lesson. But finish with everyone in a kneeling prayer that was given so dear from him. 
dinner Chilean style

Then the other day we went back to visit and he and his wife are the best! I felt like we were just visiting members. Everything is golden- except they are super evangelical. But the doctrine is always the answer- I am so excited to teach them more! We ended our last lesson by singing "I believe in Christ" and the spirit was so strong- golden. I have high hopes for this dear, best, young little couple. 

Also remember A and H- from our English classes?  Well they are just coming along. And it's gold. I love watching this change in people. We taught about the priesthood and authority to them with one of the members. And it was so great!  The member was able to testify of the priesthood in her life- as her husband has it. And we were able to testify that if he knows this church is true and has this correct priesthood he will be able to receive the same priesthood, the very priesthood and authority of Jesus Christ. Super powerful. 

We also visited the poorest part of our sector- sometimes it is hard to visit this part. But we were knocking doors and only one door opened in the whole area. He is a 15 boy and we taught about José Smith and the first vision. We then committed him to praying, like José did, to know. I love lessons in the street or doorstep so much. They are always short and to the point but so interesting and really spiritual because we really don’t know these people, but we know what they need and it’s a joy!

We also got to work a little in the sunshine (that’s right! it really isn’t much- and I still sleep in all my winter clothes (the same I used when we went skiing ha-ha)- but its sunshine. We did a little service with the owner of our house and fixed our garden up- it was a mess and all weedy and such. And now we´ve got the rose bushes planted- because you know ¨mama loves the roses. She growed them in her little Chilean yard¨ (An Elvis song for those who have no idea what she is talking about)

But we taught about how faith is like a seed and how we need good terrain- she probably thought we were super spiritual and all but we pretty much just explained all of Alma 32. Ha-ha. It was a morning of sun, and jeans (for the 2nd time in months and months!)

We had intercambios (splits with other missionaries) with the Hermana Lideres and Hna Nielsen, and it was rocking. I love them. We really got along great and kicked it. We had 3 miracles this day. The first was a contact we stopped in the street. We gave him a pass along card with the question  ¨how can I know if God has a plan for me? ¨And I asked him if he has ever questioned this and he explained how he heard this exact question the other day and has been wondering about it ever since. How he is studying in the university and working and wants to know what God has in store for him. (whaaaaaat?) 

Then C and A. We have been trying to meet with them for whatever amount of time and we passed by and had the craziest lesson. This what the first time I meet A (the boyfriend) and the first time I talked to C for more than 4 minutes in the street. We taught the whole restoration and then explained about families and marriage.  They are hesitant to marry because they are nervous- but I explained how this is the first step to show God you are serious about the relationship working- it's a promise to each other and a promise to God. Then how baptism is the second step- how it's the same and promise and how this more than anything will strengthen their relationship. (Ha-ha look at me giving grown up relationship advice.) But really.  They have a baptismal date at the end of September to work towards and have promised to start praying together!

Then we ended the day with F and H. It was H's birthday and we taught about the plan of salvation and a focus on eternal marriage. They bought rings for the wedding! (Woohoo its getting serious!) And it was so darling. The lesson, them, and just the spirit of love and excitement. Truly I believe the best present we could have given her- the promise of eternal families! Woohoo. 
our mamita
Then on Sunday we had 8 people who promised to come to church with us- but the first 2 hours of classes passed and no one had shown up. I was so frustrated and just holding back tears because I had so much hope and faith and worked so hard with them. We started the first hymn in sacrament and C and A and their sons walked in and I seriously can’t explain how giddy I was. Oh the best- then a little later A and H came in and they were so cute and so excited and nervous. 

After the reunion the whole branch went over and welcomed them- took them on tours and invited them to more activities or their houses. It was crazy to see the excitement of this branch to have so many new people in the church! 

Also this week we went to a Catholic funeral. It was interesting and so pretty. I especially love the little cathedral and the music. It was interesting to hear their take on the plan of salvation and we definitely stood out! But it was so nice and I love the plan of salvation. 

Let's see here- little gems of the week. 
My companion from my branch
Yesterday we went on splits with Hermana’s from the branch- I got the funniest of looks walking down the street with my little companion :) 

Also, can I just tell you how much I love my mamita? She is a hoot- mom and dad your going to love her. 

Also, everyday we walk by the prison to get to the other part of our sector- have I mentioned how much I love this area. Rio Bueno is super random and super the best. 

Also, I attached photos from the intercambio when we went down to the houses in the ¨jungle¨ but not really.  I just can’t remember the word for "by the river." This was funny, on family set their dog on us- but there is only one trail to hike back up to the street so I found a new use for my umbrella. Perfect for fighting off pups. :)

Well family. This is it. I love you muchly. Pray for you always and think about how much I'd love for you all to be on this crazy adventure with me. I love being a missionary and I sure love you! 

xoxox oxoxo

Hermana Ball

Monday, August 18, 2014

"The book is blue and the Church is TRUE" and "Hna Ball: missionary, wedding planner and mud trudger"

August 11th
Yet again, the computer crashed. And yet again I am sitting here fighting back the tears because this is so frustrating- This week was one of my very favorite weeks and so full of truly beautiful experience- which I had written but it looks like one more week of a quick rundown. 

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I awoke and behold, service was joy. ¨-Rabindranath Tagore

What a dream of a week it was! A week of service and so much joy. 

Favorite things:
- H and F. We taught them about the Book of Mormon, about how it can answer any questions and all- the spirit was so strong and when I asked them the baptismal question I thought it was a sure thing, an easy yes- but she immediately explained no- which was a dagger let me tell you. But it is because they know they are not ¨good in the eyes of God¨ and need to get married first! (woohoo law of chastity!) But they came to church and everything was perfect. woohoo. I love H so much. 

- Speaking of church, guess who snuck over to our church building in Sunday- R. The sly dog. She explained how it would never happen again, but ha-ha I love it. It's so bad and I do not like disobedience :) ) However, it was so good. How I love this crazy lady. She explained how even without our reading lessons she has been reading the book of Mormon everyday day (and showed me with her cute little notes and all) and how she hasn’t missed a week of church. How she is helping the Young Women and looooves it. This lady- I love R more than I can even explain. It is amazing to see the love and joy in her eyes. 

2 miracles:
1- the miracle of the inactive who would not open the door.
 We were knocking and knocking and he wouldn’t answer (which is so opposite of him- he’s the cute little old man who waits at the door for us to come) so right after knocking and all a lady walked by and we turned to contact her- we gave her a pass-along card of Jesucristo after the resurrection and I explained how we were missionaries and all that, then that families can be forever- to which she started to cry a little and explained she was on the way to the cemetery because it was the 1 year anniversary of her mothers passing. It was short and sweet and we were able to explain a little about Gods plan for her and her mother. She left for the cemetery so full of love and hope and it was the best thing to see and feel. 
our tiny barbie house
Also, the miracle of the forgotten scarf. Seriously I explained this in the other letter how it was all spiritual and all- but here it is. 
Forgotten scarf (which never happens really.)  We were walking away and talked about how we need to leave this family because it is hard to find the spirit in this house. The next day we realized that we had forgotten a scarf.  We went back for the scarf a couple days later- not only find the scarf but find a gooolden investigator- the granddaughter who we are now teaching.  I'm telling you- it’s so cool to be a missionary and see these little tender mercies everyday. 
My favorite investigators
This week was so spiritual and I had the best experience- but don’t have time now- I will go home and write it down and send it or something. Here are little facts of the week. 

I can get mail- and oh boy did I get it!

1- package from gma ball-. With the best little treats and I looove these little packs of treats in a mug. Gold. 
2- letter from mom. Love they made me cry and laugh and smile so much. Pls send more. (This was with the byu pin-love my pin collection- and the stickers) send more love notes. 

3- notes from gma ball. oh how I love it. She and grandma simpkins are SO GOOD to write every week. Best grandmas in the mission. 
- And 4. Oh wait no. 8 (oh my) postcards. Hahaha I wanted to kill you but I was laughing too hard. Oh my you kids. You little buggers. I love you so much. 

Cool things about Rio Bueno. 
-Its beautiful- my favorite geographical sector (not sure if that a word- its my favorite stuff about nature and all. You know)
But really, mud trudging all day, sometimes walking through cow fields, sometimes crawling through barbwire fences, sometimes slugs chilling in the house (love this. really its so funny), sometimes flashlights because the fog is so thick. 

My sector is about 20 miles long and so cool. We are focused in one part- but so cool. After lunch the moon is out all day long and so beautiful. The streets are little rivers in the rain. And it is so green and beautiful. Also we are somewhat heading into spring- so sunshine-ish. :) Did I mention I love Rio Bueno...?

Well family (hopefully) more next week. We never know- but hey that’s the adventure right!

This service is such a joy. 
I am literally living a dream and I love it. I love serving, mud trudging and mostly testifying of Him always! I love being a missionary! Have a happy last week of summer!

xoxo found bacon for the first time and could literally taste home  xoxo

Hna Ball

August 18th
¨To be humble is to recognize gratefully your dependence on the Lord. It is an indication that you know where your true strength lies. You can be both humble and fearless. You can be both humble and courageous.¨ - True to the faith

When I start out with a quote like this I think you all can get the feel of how the week was. Wow- what a truly crazy great, but what a hard week. You know? I learned a lot about my dependence on the Lord and where my strength truly is. But slowly, with the good, the bad, the rain, and the sun with it all I am seeing how through Him I am becoming fearless and courageous. Especially in these experiences where it’s so hard it’s humbling, or so happy I’m humbled to be a part of it. 
Our mommasita
The hardest for me is the rejection, the fallen appointments, and getting to know a new sector. The hardest was how we had 29 appointments this week- super crazy good appointments- but all fell through except 8, and out of these 8 only 4 were investigators. We had other lessons where we just stopped by- but oh my, it was so frustrating. 

Especially, because right now I feel I am the most obedient personally I’ve been the entire mission. But I just feel sometimes I am not having ¨success" and don’t understand why. 
Trying to stay warm
But then I just remember that in the experience to be humble and fearless and courageous- the humility comes first. 

The good thing is, the things good about this week- were really good. 

First we have a couple of gems that are progressing. "A" and "H". They actually contacted us- best. They showed up for English classes and loved it. Afterword’s we wrote down the direction to their house and have been visiting them. They are brother and sister, both young adults and so great. We have had crazy lessons with them- they don’t really want to commit to anything to much (and I think its because their mom is menos activo (less active) and has a little bit of problems with the church.) 
But she is fine with us visiting and we are slowly cracking the ice cold wall she’s got built up (oh boy its big one) :) Buuuuuut when we are with "A" and "H" we can just feel it. The spirit, the understanding when we teach. All of it. Love.  Just in one of our lessons we taught all of the restoration, the book of Mormon, baptism, and the first part of the plan of salvation. They are crazy- and I love it. 

We are helping a daaarling family prepare to be sealed in the temple. What gems. The kids were just baptized and we´ve been working a lot with them. Love. 

Then speaking of weddings- remember H and F- taught them all these good things, they came to church... well they want to get married- for real! woohooo. I called it. We´ve got some details to figure out, but oh boy I am so excited- and in a year I’m going to be in Santiago for when they go through the temple- calling it now. (Oh maybe I am getting little excited. They only came to church one time and still haven’t committed to a baptismal date hahaha, but I love them.)

Ok, but a cute little story about them. So one of our appointments fell through so we call them up and they are all, "oh it's late we are getting ready for bed" all this then we hear them whispering and they are all. "Come on over!" So we stop by and it’s a full on pj party, they are making us a fire and pancakes and ready with suuuch good questions. We are talking about F here, the guy who wasn’t quite sure about God. And now asking all these questions like ¨but if God loves us and the garden of Eden is perfect why would he let Satan enter- was it part of God's plan or did it just happen¨ (what? love.)

Dad, I love you. Just wanted to let you know. 
Spring has begun to sprung
Here the idea of the father is different. I don’t know how to explain it. But that’s why I love being here- I looove, love, love teaching people that no matter what the circumstance with their father here in Chile, they have a Heavenly Father who wants to be part of their lives and who loves them and knows them. 

When I explain whom our Heavenly Father is- I explain him, but a lot of times I explain the love, support and acceptance I feel from you, pops. And it’s through you and your example I’ve learned how to feel this love, support and all from my Heavenly Father- because I can acknowledge it. I sure love you punk. 
Thanks for the package mom
The other thing I love here- is kneeling in prayer. A lot of times it is the only time the family is together, kneeling in prayer and when they are able to hear their father pray. 

Ok, more about “F”. What? This kid! We were struggling one time- every plan had failed- literally plan a, b, c, d, e, f, and up to g. One of those times. So we stop and say a little teary prayer. Then we go and try more and nothing. Then more and nothing. Then we knock, literally, an entire street of houses and only 1 house answered (and they only opened the window for 2 seconds. ha-ha) So we are all "ok now what?" So we start walking to a different part of the sector and we contact him- then found out we had contacted his grandma earlier in the week. So we set an appointment with him (one of the appointments that actually worked out) and we taught him the restoration. So good. Oh, it was a lot of work before we found him but everything afterword’s had fallen into place. Bummer part- he’s leaving for a week and a half. Super good part he wants to learn more and has promised to read why he’s gone. So hopefully news to come. 
Our friend the goat
This week was also a week of sun! Oh my love. And a week of goat chasing in the street. Seriously this goat is just always chilling in a pack of dogs and I love it. The plan is to train it to follow us- I’m thinking a breadcrumb trail to start with. Then when he had confidence maybe a little name badge. Love him. 

We also had zone conference this week. Can I just tell you how much I love zone conference? First, it was about an hour bus ride and we were smashed in this sketchy bus with all these people- we used the time to have a little Spanish class for me and taught everyone around us the first lesson. Ha-ha 

Also now Hermana Spencer is in my zone and its giggles and pure joy all day. The new mission president is so good. Him and the Hermana are a bit... direct. But in the best of ways. They somehow convinced us to wake up 15 minutes earlier every day to start the work earlier. So yeah, momma and pops you know how hard the whole alarm thing is for me so it's true love. The conference was gold and we are applying it and I love it. 

(And after because we were in the city we got to stop off at a super market and buy some gluten free things so I am living the good life)
Rio Bueno
And zone conference means mail! 3 letters this week. All three gems, one from gma ball, Ange DeVore (woohoo best surprise ever) and one from the mama (with the baby pictures. so cute. ha-ha. here pictures are everything so send more.) Also, I think I say "send more" every week with what ever you do ha-ha so just keep being the best mom.

Eww, sorry this is gross but really it just explains the week. So it's so cold- sun is starting but it's still cold. There are frozen RATS, like big rats, in the street because it gets so cold they can’t walk to keep warm and just freeze. I told you its gross, but really. 
Rio Bueno
Ok, the other interesting experience of the week. We were visiting this inactive who things were going real well with. And were just chatting and stuff- just about to give her this assignment to come back to church when her pastor stops by (yeah in this moment we found out she’s visiting a different church and all these crazy things) but get this, it was so interesting. First, to just feel the different spirit, he is such a great man. And he is trying to help and lead, but it was just interesting to see and feel. Also, the fear in his eyes to talk to us- it was super interesting. A very pleasant lesson and all, but just interesting. 

I love being a missionary. And I love being a missionary here with Hermana Latham in Rio Bueno (aka beatifulville.)  But really, I am learning so much. Learning how to rely so much on Heavenly Father's strength and how to be courageous and fearless. I´ve got a way to go- but it's all good! 

Well family, this week I celebrated my 6 months here in Chile. I can’t believe it. Wowzers. What a wonderful, wet, happy, hard, best 6 months. 

I love you. 
Keep on keeping on. 

xoxo Hna ball; missionary, wedding planner and mud trudger.