Monday, September 22, 2014

The best birthday ever!

This week was the best birthday week I have ever had in all my 20 years. (What? 20. Mom and dad do you feel so old?) 

But really, let me just throw the best news down....A and H are going to be baptized this Saturday! I am going crazy- so many prayers and prayers and prayers and then yesterday they had their baptismal interview and it was the best birthday gift I could have gotten! 

Also, just let me try and explain this week. It was so spiritual but also so fun- it is Chile's independent day and it was a weeklong event. The 18th and 19th we had rules were we couldn’t even just be in the street unless we had appointments. 

So this week we had a cooking class with the elders, the familia Stott and Julio (our coolest bff who is the ward mission leader.) we have been doing these pretty much ever-single week. This time we had a pichanga (the huge fries. Best) We made chilies, lemon pie and apple crisp. Soo delicious. 

Then, we also had a special mission conference. It was with Elder Viñas- a general authority. It was rocking- we got to be in a special musical number that was so pretty then we got to sit on the front row just a couple feet away. Which was sweet because I was able to focus better (aka not fall asleep or zone out the Spanish for hours. Ha-ha) and I learned so many things- this conference got me so pumped that when we got home we immediately had a lesson with A and H, and it was powerful.

But the conference was also sweet because I got to see all three of my comps that are in the mission, Hna L, Hna R and Hna S. So fun! Afterwards, celebrated our time in Osorno with hamburgers! (aye-aye 'Merica.)

Then the 18th was crazy fun. We had a huuuge feast and b-b-q thing with Hna E. It was delicious- they just feed us and feeeeed us. To walk off the food before heading over to the next house where we knew there would be even more food, we walked through the old cemetery. Very cool.  Very, very Catholic. 

Then we headed over to A and H house and chilled for a bit, helped bake traditional Chilean cookies and such. Then we had a little party with K and A. 

Then the next morning we went to pray and I almost kneeled on this huuuge bee. Oh boy momma, you'd really love our house. But I'll take it because we are having more sun right now and its dreamy!

Then the 19th we had another little cooking activity with the elders, stotts and Julio. We made 3 pizzas and ate like kings. Seriously Chileans know how to do it. Then that night we had a kiiiiiiler ward activity. I was having so much fun I only took one tiny picture at the very beginning of the activity before everyone really even showed up. We had a crazy turn out, tooons of investigators and it was so good. 

We played a lot of little Chilean games, we had yummy food (surprise- more food), we danced (and got permission to learn the Chilean national dance. So fun) and one of my favorite activities was a huge jump rope game where we dance while jump roping. So, so fun. All in all, a crazy fun night and the best part is our investigators are really feeling comfortable with the branch! 

Then we had a FHE (family home evening) with K and A and another family where we played Ping-Pong and had a killer spiritual message and all. They are coming along- still so much work to go but I have faith.

Then we had so many miracles this week with A and H, honestly I don’t even have time to write all the little spiritual things from this week- just know it was real. Oh boy, so good. 

Then yesterday a family made a big birthday lunch for me with a cute little cake and all the best little things. And oh boy, can I just tell you the love I have felt! So many notes and cards and little treat boxes and mom and grandma's you are the best! And all the picture postcards. Love. So much love. 

Yesterday morn Hna P made me a breakfast and we opened presents and then that night Julio and my investigators in our gospel principles class put on a little birthday party for me. Sooo much love to be had. All with treats, little gifts, hugs and love, love looove. 

It was definitely a birthday for the books. Full of so much love. 

I LOVE being a missionary. I can't believe at the end of this month I finish half of my mission. I had a dream the other night about home and half of my mission and just woke up crying- so we aren’t going to talk about that any more. But truly- I looove, love, love being a missionary. It is so happy and such true joy and soooo fun and so full of rewards. 

Next weeks will be with photos of A's and H's happy little baptized faces! 

So much love. 
Xoxo 20-year old grandma Hna Ball

Monday, September 15, 2014

Serving in mud, jeans and the sun!

¨Think what a blessing it is to be called to give our gift of daily discipleship to the Lord, declaring in word and deed, ¨behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. ¨-Linda Burton (General President of Relief Society)

I loooove being a missionary. And I have loved this week. 

Here´s a little rundown;
We ended my cambio (companionship) with Hermana Latham with an empanada making party. So fun and so yummy. (And I learned real well, so I can make them for you when I get home!) 

Then we had a little goodbye party and our investigators came! It was sweet for them to interact with the members in a chill, fun setting. 

Then, Wednesday we had cambios (companion changes)- I bused off to Osorno real early and I had a really tiny training (they really just throw you into this whole training this... but I love it!) 

But guess who was in the new group? Ally Smoot from Lone Peak! It was sweet to talk to her for a couple seconds. But then I was with my companion- we took pictures and ate lunch then headed off to the mission home to grab some stuff... when I ran into Hermana Johnson. 

Hermana Johnson and Hermana Parkinson
BEST!!!!! I literally just dropped the bag I was holding, ran and gave her a hug and just cried it out. Ooooh best, best, best! How I love that little´ companion of mine. (She’s home now mom and dad- maybe when things settle down you can go to lunch with her and her parents or what ever- or just frozen yogurt because she really is a dear)

Hermana Laytham is off.  How I will miss her.
Then we bused off to the sector and got to work. That night we taught K and A- they are really progressing and really doing well. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE them? I know I was planned to come here and I know we were best friends in the last life- but really? I love, love, love them. And the thing that’s amazing is how natural it is with them- all of it. I´ll just be teaching the lessons but its really easy because I just have to share what I love and know to be true to those I love. It’s the best. 
National Service Day
Well, I prepped Hna Parkinson and got her to ask them for a new baptismal date- and they accepted! Still the whole marriage thing is a a bit of a problem. But we´re getting there. It was sooo cute to see Hna Parkinson teach! I love it- she is so willing to try everything and I am so proud of her-. She came into the mission ready and the best, but it’s been crazy cool to see her change just in these couple of days. 

Hna Parkinson

I love being a trainer- even though I’m doing all the learning! :) It’s sweet to re-learn and apply all the basics again. 

Ok- hahah so I had to do one joke, right? 

Soooo what we planned with our mamita was a little ¨Chilean tradition¨ so when it was time to eat mamita asked for prayer and we all stood up and walked over to the top of the refrigerator- where we had a pretty picture of José smith and candles and the mamita is all dramatic lighting the candles and explaining that we love the prophet José and if she would do the honors to pray.

We have the straightest faces and our hands in a prayer thing and I’m just looking at Hna P to pray- and she is like a deer in headlight. Ah-ha so she whispers to me if she is suppose to include him in the prayer and I explain that no- we pray to him. Then we just give her a couple seconds to sit stunned and then bust up laughing explaining it was a joke. 

Ooooh my. Sooo funny! Good things she’s a real good sport ha-ha. Sooo so funny. 
Hna Nino
The thing is we are having such a fun time and all- I like making all our studies fun and different. You know the little gems- ¨popcorn planimiento¨  (popcorn planning meetings) where we just do it while eating an American delicacy- the ever-delicious popcorn you know?  The classic mom thing, that she always made the best because it was just fun. mom- thanks for being the coolest. 

But we really have the spirit with us- like crazy. We are really working really well together. 
The BYU district (because we all went to BYU)
We taught A and H this week and H committed to a baptismal date goal- but still is just not  fully committing. He is the best and has such a strong testimony. We were able to have Hna P ask him to be baptized (and it was the best) then I was able to testify after to him and the spirit was so strong. I ended up just telling him how it is. And what’s up and H understood. We still have a lot of work- but tears were shed and happiness was crazy tangible. 

He is still looking for a big answer, please pray for him and send good vibes :) because he knows the answer he just isn’t "getting it." You know? 

Ok, this was the cutest experience. 
So we had an appointment with a member and her inactive mom. So we called them to ask if it was still cool for us to stop by and she was out doing errands but explained the afternoon was perfect. 

So we go to the house- teach the lesson (it was golden! and the inactive mom wants to start paying her tithing and have us help her return to the church and the temple for the end of this year!) 

But then they pull out a couple homemade treats for us and the member tells this story: 

She was out paying the bills and buying medical things for her dad and ended with literally 0 money. But she knew we were coming and she wanted to buy a little treat- so she just said a prayer- knowing God would provide. 

She then walked a couple more steps and found 2 mil on the ground (4 dollars) she stopped, picked it up, looked around and saw no one was around who could have dropped it so went and bought the ingredients for a treat. 
President, Sister Obeso and Hna Parkinson
She then testified to us that she knows God will provide, but more so because we are His disciples. That we are doing his work and she will always help those who want to help us. I love the members’ here- so strong and so willing to give all to Him. 

Again, ¨Think what a blessing it is to be called to give our gift of daily discipleship to the Lord. ¨ 

All the streets were decorated for a National holiday

This is the mission. It’s serving everyday with people who exemplify this quote. Who declare in word and deed that they are disciples of Him? I love Chile. 

We are also working a lot with V- we have had a couple really sweet lessons with her. I had Hna P also ask her to be baptized (we have been asking and testifying to everyone!) and I am excited to see what happens with her in the future!

Then Saturday, was the church's National Service day. And let me tell you- it was goood to be out in the dirt, in jeans, digging in the mud and sweating it up in the sun for a couple hours. We all went and redid the garden and lawn area of a home of an elder couple. Sun! Dirt! Jeans! Service! Love! Love! Loooove!

Afterword’s we stopped off and treated Hna P to her first empanada. Oh, the joys of Chilean cooking´

This week was so happy and so good. 

I love being a missionary, love working and reapplying everything GOLDEN with Hna Parkinson and love declaring to all of Chile ¨behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. ¨

xoxo Hna Ball

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sometimes the bird poops on you and you just have to rub it off and keep going

¨We are not and never need to be alone. We can press forward in our daily lives with Heavenly help. Through the Saviors Atonement we can receive capacity and ¨strength beyond our own. ¨- Elder Bednar

Let me tell you- I am relying on this promise! I am so excited for this next cambio (companion changes). Literally my face hurts from smiling so much just thinking about it! I am going to be a trainer! 

But let me also tell you- I am so nervous. I am so young (in months in the mission) and feel so inadequate. But here´s the thing- I know this promise from Elder Bednar is real- that Heavenly Father knows I still struggle, really, really struggle with Spanish- but I also believe he knows we really only speak the language of the spirit! That I can just pray and pray and if I do my part and am obedient I can receive the help and make sure Hermana Parkinson (from Spanish Fork, Utah) will have the best first months in Chile!

Also I am so excited and already know that she is the best, because she has this sector to come to first! Ha-ha. She did something right in the first life! 

Our area is on fire. And I know it’s from hard work! I love it. But really, we have so much to do and so little time in the day. 
¨Mormonja¨ in Spanish monja is the word for nun.
So we are the morMONJAS. Ha-ha our rain gear is nasty ugly. 
"H" is rocking it. He is reading the book of Mormon- we asked him if he has started the other day and he´s all pretty muuuch- "yeah, I’m in 1 nefi (Nephi) chapter 3. Laman and Lemuel are lame. But Nephi is really cool and I love the stories of their families." Ha-ha, love it. 

Then he came to church and has been praying. Everything is so good- and he sees the importance of baptism- he just still isn’t sure if baptism is for him. Auucha. 

But we had a killer family night with him yesterday and the familia Moreno. We talked about the tree of life. Oh boy, let me tell you- this gospel is true and it makes people and families so happy! 
Our new roommate.  UGH!

Theeeeen- our other family. Oh my gosh, Hermana Parkinson is going to love them. It’s truly awesome to see. Nothing more than awesome. We watched the video about José smith and his experience with the first vision. Then when we finished we asked "V" what was his favorite part (expecting a typical 9 year old answer) but he blew us away. He simply stated the part when José prayed and received an answer. How it's really pretty and then he explained how he could pray and receive answers. (What?!)  

After this we talked to them and I was able to just bare testimony that marriage and baptism are part of God's plan for them. And I know this because of the change in their familia.  We talked about marriage and baptism and they still want to work towards it! 
Super cats. These are the girls of the branch president- they
make cat clothes and try to talk in English. It’s hilarious.
The latest are these capes with ¨super cat¨ written on the b

Then the next day was crazy in church. The time change was hard for a lot of members then on top of it we didn't have light or heat in the church (and we are still in the end of winter- so it was cold and dark). However, it was perfect. Because it was the Sunday of the testimonies and it was beautiful to hear these faithful saints bare testimony from a cold, dark pulpit- but truly radiating light and warmth. Beaut. 

I love serving here. I am so excited for Hermana Parkinson! 

You know what else makes me so excited? Every time we go to buy fruit. One, because it is so delicious. But also because I am really, really tall for Chile and I always get the best fruit because it’s the highest up! 

Also mail. Best. Love. I got a package from grandma ball- I didnt think about how it was probably for my birthday until after I opened it. But I hid the card under my bed with the rest of the stuff and some of the treats- then we celebrated and ate treats from gma ball and made a cake from gma Simpkins. It was a delicious week! 

Speaking of grandma Simpkins she asked about the pulga (flea) problem. Yep we are heading in to spring because the pulgas are back and a biting.  I don’t know why I do this to myself but I counted all the bites- as of right now I have more than 40. 

Also lets just talk about how my house in an insect zoo. We have spiders, fleas, whatever amount of snails and slugs (on the walls, floor, sink, doors, total.) But last nights gem was a spider only mom could love. 

We were sitting talking to "A" and "H" when "H" made this swan out of an apple. It was sweet (literally it was a delicious apple. (Ha-ha bad joke). 

Well family, I had an experience this week that I think just about sums up my mission. We were walking to an appointment when a bird pooped on me. We just stopped, and I grabbed a handful of grass and dirt- wiped off my jacket and then we just kept on going. It wasn’t until we were a block away that I started busting up laughing- pointing out to Hermana Latham how that was not normal. Ha-ha. 

But that’s the thing I´ve learned here- it sums it up, sometimes the bird poops on you and you just have to rub it off and keep going.

I love you!
 xoxo Hna Ball

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hiking in Rio Bueno

¨I invite you to treasure up in your minds continually the words of life. Treasuring up suggests to me focusing and working, exploring and absorbing, pondering and praying, applying and learning, valuing and appreciating, and enjoying and relishing. ¨- Elder Bednar

I love being a missionary! Truly treasuring, exploring, absorbing and enjoying every day!

Ok, today we so sweet- this whole week was actually pretty sweet. Today we got permission for the first time to do an activity with the Elders and we went hiking. For real! It was soooo fun and so good to get out in the fresh air in tennis shoes and jeans and pouring rain. Such a fun, fun, crazy wet day!

Then, we have so many investigators progressing.  F and H are killing it. We were not going to be able to pass by the other day, and then we felt like we should pass. So we tried- but H wasn’t home- so we were walking away and found her in the street- long story short, we finally did find them- then we taught them and it was crazy perfect. We taught about faith and F explained that because he couldn’t find work in Rio Bueno, at the end of this week he was going to have to leave to Vina del Mar- buuuumer. But we asked them if they have been praying and she has, but he hasn’t. So I got a little real with him and explained the power and true importance of prayer. Then gave them Ether 12 to read with the compromise to pray juntos (together). He ended up saying the closing prayer and it was so sweet. Well, the next day we stop by and ask where F was... turns out they read the scripture together, and then prayed. Then that morning he heard on the radio a job opening, they hired him on the spot and he started working!

Prayer is real! Heavenly Father loves us sooo much- all we have to do is ask!

Then, we have been teaching the Golden pretty much Mormon evangelicals- A and L. The lesson about the restoration was gold. They explained how everything we explained seems true- how they feel good about the message and how they especially like that José Smith read the bible and decided to ask God- because that’s what they do every day! Killer family. Also, I love how every single prayer we have with them is so sweet and every single prayer is kneeling. There is not only power in prayer- but also power in a humble prayer.

Also, I cannot even explain all the miracles with C and A and their 2 sons. They are progressing so much. They have come to church two times, they love it, they feel comfortable, are praying and the branch is so good. Only thing is, we still have to get them married! But it’s all good.

Then A and H are also killing it. They are so happy. They also came to church the last two weeks and they participated (along with C and A) in our branch activity. Not much to explain about them because they are dreams and so the best.

Last week I when on splits with a less active and this week we had a lesson with her and when we showed up she had spent the afternoon cooking my favorite treat- a raspberry cuhan. Which is a lot of work and really sweet. How she knew it was my favorite then she offered a prayer and explained how she hopes that even though we are far from our families we have family here and that she hopes we will always feel at home in her house. Simple service and a lot of love goes a long way.

Also, this week Hna L finished one year in the mission- that day we ended up having to bus an hour away to a pharmacy in the city and it was soo fun. I love Osorno (my first sector) and it was good to be back- but it was crazy. I had forgotten how small Rio Bueno is and how calm and great it is! And in Rio Bueno they don’t sale ice cream so we stopped by the beeeeeest ice cream shop in Sur de Chile and oh boy- it was a happy day.

Then there is a photo of us with a little boy. He was recently baptized and after we had a lesson with his family we played soccer with him and his sister to the end of the street. Love.

Also I got mail! Mom, I am not sure if I told you- but I got your birthday box (I hid it under my bed so don’t worry!) then this week I got two boxes from grandma simpkins. I opened one and hid the other under the bed! It was full of geeeeeeeems. Literally, the best surprise (and the yummiest) then I got a letter from gma simpkins about my great, great gggg gma. How craaazy cool! Crazy experiences and its crazy to hear her experiences from the Willy handcart company. Send more little gems when you find them.

Also, I have what the Elders call my ¨Chilean boyfriend¨ haha. Stories to come. But he is a guy who contacted us and we quickly gave him over to the Elders because he is a bit flirty. But here’s the thing- he is actually progressing a lot and so great. But he just doesn’t understand the whole sister missionary thing and keeps trying to get me to go on a date with him. Ha-ha it’s so funny.

Also, we gave service this week- we thought it was going to be a lot smaller but it turned into 4 hours of painting and a lot of pain, ahha my whole body is dead sore but dad you would be so proud- honestly I rocked it. Just going to be real. I mean hooking a paintbrush to a broom and all this crazy stuff. Hah "Lyle Balled" it for sure.

Then, oh boy, let me just tell you about our branch activity. It rocked. It was a night of the potato and a talent show. Everyone brought different food with potato and then we ate all of it- delicious (yes momma I was responsible- I’m doing real god with the food. Almost completely totally off bread. yay Chilean stomach allergies.) But then, for the talent show we were all trying to come up with something I could do for a talent. Hahah- it was hard. I'm not the most talented person. I mean I can hook a kayak up to a jeep solo real good, but that doesn’t really count.

But I remembered the "cup song" from girl’s camp. So we taught two of the Young women how to do the little cup flip (the same as the girl in pitch perfect- Meg knows which one) it was sweet. Then we sang "I am a child of God) in Spanish and part in English. The video is too long but I will send it in the mail.

Also, we have more than 75 people at the activity! (What?  This is Chile!) And 9 of them were are investigators! This is huuuuge- a record for this branch and the first time in my mission I have had more than one investigator at an activity. Best! We almost didn't know what to do with them all!

It was a crazy good week- a lot of work and a lot of smiles. I love you! Keep on ¨treasuring the words of life CONTINUALY"  like every day! Because, this, this is joy!

xoxox hiking hiking hiking xooxxo

Hna Ball