Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Double the Thanksgiving, double the fun!

What a crazy week! I love being a missionary for weeks like this one.
First of all C is a rock star- I sent a photo of us and her (in pink dress) right before her baptismal interview! All is well and she is going to be baptized this Thursday! I love her so much- especially her love and understanding of the Restoration. We asked her what the significance of José Smith being a prophet was for her and she just testified that because of him we truly have the truth- that we can receive revelation and that we know that Jesucristo (Jesus Christ) has His church on the earth today- sooo good.

I love helping people prepare to be baptized because I can see how their lives change through living the gospel. How much happier they are and how they find a purpose to their lives through their knowledge that they are children of a loving heavenly father.

Last week I mentioned R and A. This week we went back and asked if they had prayed and what they felt- they said they understood it and felt good. But they wanted to know about the Book of Mormon (which was our lesson plan!) so we went through it and they have such great questions. We again invited them to keep praying to know and they really have started understanding the restoration. We have another lesson with them in a couple hours and I am pretty stinking excited.

However, he works every Sunday morning so we have to see what we can do about helping them come to church... prayers please! :)

So a crazy thing happened, I made a contact and it was awesome- so we invited her to the ward activity in 2 days and went from their hoping to see her again. Then the crazy thing- she actually came to the activity (its hard enough to get the members!) then that Sunday she came again with her 3 kids. She is awesome! The only thing is she also has a problem- that is that right now we can’t visit her in her house because it’s her aunt’s house. But we have plans to visit her in a member’s house this week. Honestly she is so cool.

Ok, lets see here- also we have been teaching J and his sister P. P came to church! Then we had a lesson with them, and their mom and brother (23 yrs.). They are an awesome family- but like I said they live way out in El Campo. So it’s hard. Hah, the other day we had a lesson and we couldn’t find a bus so we were late and then we had the lesson but it's late at night and have no way to get home. 

So we called a member to come find us. So they live about 15 mins walking from the main road through cow pastures and dirt roads to their house. So we called the member and then just take off hauling through the dark to get to the road. Ha-ha we got to the road and just start walking down and its dark and pretty late. So the member finds us by this sketchy little light- hauls it back into Rio Bueno and drops us off 2 minutes before 10 o’clock curfew. Soo crazy. But the lesson was sweet.

Then the coolest thing- we had that activity on Friday night and P and J ended up walking to the church to come, which was about an hour walk. Then on Sunday they and their brother D came to church.  They are soo good. J has the baptismal date for the 20th of December and we are way excited.
I feel like I have 10 more cool little lesson stories from this week- we had close to 30 lessons! But I have no time! The last is A. So she was a contact from a couple weeks ago. We talked to her and I felt really strongly we should give her a Book of Mormon even though honestly she didn't see that interested. So we did and let it go there. Then we tried to visit her at her house a couple times and nothing. They yesterday we were in the rain and thought we should stop by- we had such a sweet lesson. We asked her if she read the Book of Mormon, if she prayed and knew it was true and knew this is what God wanted her to do- if she would be baptized- all that jazz. And she explains she had been baptized before (like everyone else in Chile.) but that she was a baby. 

We explained how that must be a big blessing in her life that her parents chose to have her baptized her to grow in faith. We talked about Jesus baptism and the difference of hers and His. Then invited her to make the decision for herself and be baptized as He was. She accepted to have the 27th of December as a goal to work towards! I am so excited because I know if she does the work- then she can know. Hopefully si!

We had so many crazy good lessons this week. Seriously so good. I love teaching! This week we also had two activities. The first was Friday night where we had a little lesson about how the sacerdocio (Priesthood) is like a cupcake shop- then ate yummy cupcakes. And played a game- "do you love your neighbor"- sooo fun. It was crazy because we had a ton of investigators come- 7! Which was so fun!

Then we had another activity with the youth where we made "soy Mormon" video. (I'm a Mormon) We had them come with a talent and we recorded them and interviewed them- then we asked them and did a little interview about a spiritual question. It was a crazy success! The videos turned out so good. The elders are edited them right now then we are going to have an activity to watch them with their nonmember friends and their families. But a couple of the talents were siiick. Like crazy skateboarding and parkcour, beat boxing, typical Chilean cloth painting and one girl does crazy finger nail painting (definitely thought of megs) but like the cool pinterest ones. Such a fun activity.

Also every Monday night we have a noche de hogar (Family Home Evening) with president Matus and his family and investigators. I loooved it. Its one of my very favorite traditions of the mission here in Rio Bueno. (Mom just for you to know they are the family I am in with H. love. photo attached)

Also (ha-ha) this week we thought it was Thanksgiving. So we had a huge noche de hogar (Family Home Evening) with one of our favorite inactive families (pictures included). Whatever ha-ha, looks like we will just celebrate it again this week. But we planned with a lesson about being grateful with the Mormon message "gracias a el" and all this sweet stuff. 

But the sweetest part was them literally pulling out all of the food they had- emptying the fridge and drawers with all the little packets of stuff or cans so we could have a feast. It was so humbling. I love these people so much. It is such a truly good culture.

This 2-week thanksgiving (ha-ha) I just have double the opportunity to think about all the things I am so grateful for. And it all comes down to knowing I am a daughter of God. I love, love, love this knowledge because of I have the happiest family, an eternal family, I have the book of Mormon and I know who I am- which is why I am a missionary.

I love you muchly. Xoxxo Hna Ball

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Missionary, volcano explorer, and Book of Mormon lover

 ¨And what makes you different? I know that the Book of Mormon is true.¨ Elder Nelson

Elder Nelson related a story when asked, as a surgeon, what made him different from all the rest. And I looove his answer! How true it is- WE KNOW THE BOOK OF MORMON IS TRUE!

This week was amazing. One for the books! Because I know the Book of Mormon is true, my whole life is so much happier, fun and amazing. We had the conference with Elder Nelson- where I got to shake his hand! (haven´t washed it yet. ha-ha) and it was amazing. He is such a loving man. And his wife- when I grow up I want to be Hermana Wendy Nelson. 

Then get this, not only 1 conference with him, but 2! One live and one by satellite. He and Elder Christofferson had a special conference about strengthening marriages and we took A and L (the evangelicals) with us. Yes, oh yes, you can put your money on 2 apóstoles. (apostles)  After the conference we asked them what they thought and both were completely touched by the focus our church has on the family. (And it's because really, we know the Book of Mormon is true so we know what we have to do. You know? oh, Elder Nelson. love)

Also we have 2 new investigators we are excited about.

One is P (an inactive 22 who is a gem we are helping come back to church) and her brother is 11- we taught him and it was so good- we are hoping to teach the whole family. But J- the brother, is really mature for 11 years and is excited to be baptized and get the priesthood. 

We have a lot of work with this family before we can get the mom, sister and brother reactivated and the brother (and hopefully) dad members. But I have a loooot of hope. The only thing is that they live out in the countryside pretty far, so we have to take a bus, find a car (they are scares) or walk an hour to teach them. But it is worth it!

The other family is R and A- I am so, so completely in love with this family. We knocked their door 2 weeks ago and have tried again and again, to no luck. But he seemed nice and we had an appointment- so we show up and he wasn’t there, so we think he must not be interested but we talk to his wife a little bit and she asks us to come back in 30 minutes. So we go do a little work and come back- there they are sitting with their 2 kids, (5 an 7) and we sit and just have a straight up lesson. We teach the whole restoration, and it was so powerful. The kids were involved and so cute and the family is amazing- at the end of the lesson we ended with a kneeling prayer that was so dear and have an appointment this week. 

We really have been having a hard time finding new people, and I know they are an answer to literally prayer and obediencia. (obedience). They are soooo dear. Hopefully many stories to come- they have promised to read the pamphlet and pray to know if it’s true! ojala si! (hopefully yes)

Ok then this week, we had a couple cool things happen. We are helping everyone- but especially the youth get names for the temple trip the 28th. We had a really cool family history lesson with the kids and they are getting pumped. But one of the coolest things was H explaining he has already found and submitted 15 names on his own! Rock star. 

Also mom, this week my comps got their packages from you and LOVE them. You are the coolest mom ever. And I got your letter with the thing from Hna J's homecoming. So cool- crazy 33 missionaries. But it was definitely the best to get your little love note. Please let gma simpkins know I am still waiting on her package- but mail is a bit slow these days. 

Now let me explain the pictures! Crazy week. 

So first, I have a couple photos from our sector. I love this part so green and loving.  I love El Campo muchísimo. (beautiful El Campo)

Funny story about the one with us walking on the road- the bus system is sketchy and we had a couple problems so had to walk quite a few miles on the ¨highway¨ to try to get back to our part of the world. But it was pretty and a fun adventure. Ha-ha. Longer story to come in mail. 

This week we also gutted our mamitas backyard- then as a thank you (because she doesn’t already do enough- por favor) she taught us how to make sopapillas (mom don’t know how to spell it- but google it.so good) I am sooo excited to make these for you all. Mmmmmm. 

We had intercambios- and one of the craziest things of my mission happened. 

So, I am with Hna Nielsen and we are knocking a fence- and the lady is there, like 40 yrs. old and has big bushy hair. So as we knock two dogs come barking and she grabs one of them- who is big and barking a lot. She takes a metal chain and starts wrapping it around his neck- us thinking for her to tie it up for us to enter. This whole time she hasn´t said anything- and is still just wrapping this chain around his neck. Well, we are just chatting it up waiting for her to come and then we look and the dog has stopped making noises- he is still barking but it was weird. 

And he is wrapping its chain tight. Then it got crazier- she pulls out a huge saw like a big knife starts sawing his ear off. So obviously we just take off hauling out of there.We run about a block and a half and turn down another block and just stop, staring at each other in shock. It was sooooo crazy. So, so, so, crazy and so confusing. But we are most definitely keeping clean of that witches street. 

Oh also, you see the slug?  Todos los días. (daily) So gross. 

Theeeeen oh my gosh, hoy (today) was the best. We went to Volcano Osorno with the zone! So good. We are waaay up, above the clouds. On one side we have the volcano which we hike up and much was allowed and then on the other side of the clouds was a second volcano- honestly one of the most breathtaking things of my life.  Mom and dad when we come back you will love it. 

Well family. I love you so much. 

Here is another little elder nelson quote from our conference ta keep you happy. 

¨Keep going, because you don´t know whom you can touch and how they can change the world. ¨

xoxox Hna ball
Missionary, volcano explorer, and book of Mormon lover

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Miracle of the flea bites

 Looks like Ali was rushing today and many of her words are in Spanish.  I did my best to try and translate them (thank you google)

Hola Familia! 

 What a week! Time is flying by- way, way tooo fast. Someone just asked me today how much time in the mission and I realized I have about 10.5 months! Whaaaaat?

Well family, it’s sure been a crazy week.   First of all, Elder Nelson comes this week! I am sooo stinking excited. 
Also, I love the members of Rio Bueno. Tan buenos.(So good) We have a couple members we are working a lot with to go to lessons with us and to help friendship. It's a bit hard here because most of the women work and do all the house work. But we´re slowly getting it. 

For example, one of my favorite lessons was with Hna M. She is a gem. (I have sent pictures home with her when we went to the snow) but we have being helping a menos activo (less active) family return and we taught about el evangelio de jesucristo. (The gospel of Jesus Christ.)  Fue muy bueno porque ella is a convert. (It is because she is a great convert)  She was able to really testify and she was able to make them realize how the life is dificil (difficult) but how the gospel truly can help. It's crazy what a member's testimony can do- the family really opened up with us about how the wife doesn’t feel digno (worthy) to go to church and we are able to help them with their real need! Best! 

While there, we gave the husband an assignment in church. To give a spiritual thought in the class de gospel principles. (Gospel Principles class in Sunday school)  We explained what a spiritual thought is and then we gave an example. We had another lesson with them Friday night and he had been studying all week- turns out he got way into it and had been up till midnight the night before reading. We had a little practice with him and he rocked it. 

Then is Sunday they all came to church, all 3 hours, and he was a stinking rock star. He ended up talking about 15 minutes for the thought but taught it so good, included the whole class, was giving personal examples and leading discussions. It was swweeeeeet. Woohoo for members who are rock stars. 

Then, my other favorite lesson we had with a member was with Hna C. I don’t have a picture with her yet. But we have been doing a ton and she is awesome. 26-28 yrs. old and sooo solid. We have been preparing C for baptism with her and it's so good. We taught the plan of salvation this week and C really got in to it- especially the atonement. Love. And get this- Carolina is going to be baptized the 27th! Woohooo. 

Also, the start trek tee shirt. Is that not just so mom? Ha-ha tie-dye and start trek. We were walking last p-day on the way to an activity with the Elders and A and H and we saw it in the store window. For sooo cheap. So now I am happily sleeping in my "happy little´mom shirt." Ha-ha Chile. So random. 

Lets see here, oh my gosh. Guess who found out where I was? Then found at I was at a lesson with A and H? And showed up to their house?

Only J, G, and B. I wanted to die. They are so bad with the rules! Oh my gosh! It was so bad (but soo good to see them.)  Then we went out and R and C were in the car.  I was so mad at them but I think I was smiling to big. They´ve promised not to ever do it again and like a good missionary I reported it to the Elders. But oh boy those kids! Hahaha they look so good! 

But it also was crazy to have literally my favorite people all in one room- A, H, their mom who we are working with.  Then J, G, R, B and C.  We ended up singing "I am a child of God" and it was so powerful to see them all there and think about all the crazy experiences.

Also, I think Heavenly Father loves me because seriously! No, let me take that back. I know Heavenly Father loves me so much because right now I have literally 100 pulga (flea) bites and we found out at the beginning of the mission I am allergic to them- so they get really big and itchy. But get this- they only itch in the street and in our house (and all night, ha-ha) but in our lessons I am itch free and can teach. Seriously. It’s like a bible story or something. Parting the red sea, the lion’s den, me and not itching. (Is this sacrilegious)?

But also I know that Heavenly Father loves me because I have Hna P as my companion- I love training. There is so much excitement and everything is new. Also, it’s cool trying to be exactly and completely obedient- and it’s cool (going to get real selfish for as minute) because obviously I am learning and benefiting more than she is (but really, having to try to figure it out and what to do and all) and I love it. I hope I train forever more. And she is the best, so it’s cool. 

Also, my companion says that when I get a little stressed out in the street because our plans fell through I start humming the Darth Vader theme song as I'm thinking of new plans.  Ha-ha I blame mom. "dum, dum, dum-dum"

Also this week we had multi zone conference. I sent a picture of just my zone, la union with president. But it rocked; shoot president just threw it down. But that’s what I love. And it was cool for me because they asked me to speak about retention. I chatted a bit and it was good I think. But it was cool for me to think about the different experiences with J, G, R, A and H. 

Let me just tell you how much I love those kids. 

Well family, I got to wrap up- sorry its scattered today, this cyber has like 20 preteen boys playing video and computer games on full blast and I can´t focus. 

But here´s a little food for thought. "I have observed 3 common characteristics of the Priesthood holders who are my hero’s. One is a pattern of prayer, the second is a habit of service, and the third is a rock hard decision to be honest. ¨ -Elder Eyring. 

How true it is! I have seen it first with dad, then different holders here, mission pres., certain elders or men in the ward. But it was amazing to hear J pray yesterday- so deep and so real. Then to see H turning into this type priesthood holder. 

I can´t even tell you how much he is progressing. He has the assignment to pass the Santa cena (the Sacrament) (which he loves) and this week he’s going to start blessing it. Then he has a solid calling-, which was chosen specifically by president to help him and for H talents. Where he is surrounded by exemplary priesthood examples- who truly love and respect him. 

He is a missionary in his house and at work. Then he is leaving with the elders and they say he is making a huge difference in their lessons because he can testify so purely. He is preparing to go to the temple in 3 weeks for baptisms- and has done family history to take names with him. And he is coming to all the activities the ward has to offer and is in institute, our mission training class, and everything. He is studying the scriptures every day and truly becoming one of my priesthood holder heros. 

I love this work, because it is the work of God- with his power and authority, help, guidance and love! 

I love being a missionary. 

xoxo. Hna Ball

P.s. its dog season. Which means only one good thing- baby puppies all through the streets! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Halloween in Osorno

¨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. ¨ -Presidente Monson

I believe this is one of the themes of my mission. Finding how real Heavenly Father is. How much He loves me and how close He truly is in this work. I know He is giving me so many different daily gem experiences just so I can feel and see His love. 

One way He loves this grand mission, Chile Osorno- is He is sending Elder Nelson of the Quorum of the 12 our way! Wooohoo. He will be here in the next couple weeks- we’re so stinking excited. Randomly, we´ll just find ourselves singing a song to the tune of “Santa Claus is coming to town”, but it’s just about Elder Nelson and all this mission stuff. So, SO, SOOOOOOO excited. 

Also, something cool we have been working on is helping everyone get a patriarchal blessing. Most people don´t have one- so it’s cool for us to help the members (for example our relief society president) then its very cool to help our inactive- help them with a goal that is personal and real. Then it’s sweeet with our new converts. 

What we do is share 1 Nephi 16:28-29.  (28: And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.   29: And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.)
We teach how a blessing is like the liahona. How it is direct revelation from God, how it is writings (that change- not physically but spiritual in different times in our lives) and that it only work according to our faith. It has been really; really successful in helping our inactive families come back. Especially one family- the family G.

I love my blessing and love helping everyone get theirs- to have that personal confirmation that God is my Heavenly Father- that His is personal and real and wants to give me every blessing He can. Just about my entire mission I have read it every week during the sacrament and I LOVE it. 

One of my favorite lessons this week was with “A” and “L”- the evangelicals-. He is a professor of the bible and our lesson was on the plan of salvation. It was so spiritual and so doctrinal- we first explained it simply like usual. But then they had really good questions, so we took it to the Book of Mormon and the bible for the next hour. It was amazing. They especially love to hear about the spirit world because it is something their church doesn’t teach about but it is right there in the bible and it just makes sense. 

He ended the lesson literally by just testifying of the things we said. He said that we are speaking the truth because he can read it and feel it. Then he held up his bible and explained that the bible has changed his life. How wonderful it is and how by its fruits he has been able to change. To which I then held up my bible and book of Mormon in the same hand- and one- and testified to him, using the same words he has just said. Only this time substituting the bible for the bible and the Book of Mormon. I then bore my testimony of the truthfulness of los dos (the two) and how he can know it’s true for himself. All that good stuff. Oh boy, do I sure love the plan of salvation. 

Also, guess what? So you remember “C”?   I’ve chatted about her on and off. (She was the one who came out in the lesson with her Book of Mormon, hymnbook and stuff for our first lesson) So we were teaching her before I got really sick and it was great and she was really progressing. Then I got sick so for that time we gave her to the elders to keep teaching. Now it’s kind of weird because we are both teaching her. We teach her and they teach her in the week- just sharing in the saving of souls. But she has really, really progressed. She has the strongest testimony of the prophet José smith. And she has accepted to be baptized! 

This week was awesome- also because we got to bus into the city 4 times- crazy. 2 times to the FBI for legal paper stuff and the other 2 for Stake Conference! The photos in the plaza with the rain are of La Union and then the one with us and A and H are for the conference. It was cool we got a bus and went with 13 members from our stake! So fun. 

Then this week I got mail. The best surprise from the Pettit’s- soooo goood. Today we made the lemon bar mix with the Elders, A and H and our lider misional (ward missionary) and it was so fun and so tasty. Then I got a letter from Sister Shaelie Wood and Elder Bobby Alger. Aaaaand the Halloween Taiwan postcard from daddy. Such a happy week. 

Then something else we are doing right now is we have called ¨ward missionaries¨ who are youth and invited A and H (because they want to be missionaries) and are having little training meetings (pretty much mission prep- helping them learn how to teach the lessons and especially to their friends.) its sweet. Yesterday I taught about the book of Mormon and it was rooooockin. I love it all. 

Also with that this week we went out and taught with A. It was so crazy awesome to see her being a little missionary and testifying. 

Then Halloween here is interesting. First its funny because they completely copy the states and say they don’t really know what they are doing- that they are just doing what they see on TV. So it’s funny. But we tried knocking doors that day- ha-ha it was sweet but didn´t work out at all because people wouldn´t listen to a thing and would just give us candy. So it was pretty much the same as always only we left with little sweets- ha-ha. If only every rejected door came with candy. 

And the photo is with the daughters of our mamita. They are darrrrrrling. “F”- the youngest, was just baptized a bit ago and is so funny. We sing 3 little monkeys jumping on the bed everyday at lunch. 

Well family I better wrap up. But first, funny story of the week. hahahah. Yesterday we were teaching with A and it was our first lesson with a new lady, who is catholic. She asked us what we believe about the saints. And I explained the whole thing about how we respect them and all, but that we don´t worship them. Then I meant to say, ¨we only worship Jesus Christ¨ but I slipped up because we were teaching the restoration and said, ¨but we only worship Jesus smith. ¨ Oh boy, it was hilarious my companion just looks at me so scared and I catch myself trying not to laugh so hard. Oh boy.

Keep on keeping on. 
I love you. 

xoxox elder nelsons coming to tooown. He´s writing a talk...xxoxo
Hna Ball