Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The festival of the fried sin...

¨Gods plan is total victory. ¨

I have found a new way to work towards this ¨total victory. ¨  This week I started what is called the 40 day fast. I love it. What we did is made a promise with Heavenly Father to fast for 40 days to truly have the spirit with us. 

We started with a fast to look for the things that are withholding the spirit in our lives. Through out the 24 hours I had a post it in my agenda and wrote down the little details of every little thing. Then I took 5 of the biggest, or what I see as the most spirit impeding things and wrote them out. Then I wrote out 5 replacements- a couple things for each of the 5 I can do when this habit starts up. 

We started this week to fast from each of these 5 things, and will do so, praying for help in the morning, writing each night on a little journal page what happened with each of the five, how I saw the spirit more in my life, and then praying for help and strength and forgiveness. It is amazing.  Hard and amazing. I love having the spirit. And this week we truly saw miracles. In a big and clear way. 

And speaking of the ayuno (the fast), a bit ago I told you about O’s baptism and her son J. We have not been able to find or teach him because of his work schedule since then. This week we had a lesson with O about the ayuno (fast) and because this next week is first Sunday we offered to fast with her in a cause, if she wanted- for her first ayuno (fast). We are going to be fasting for her son J. For him just to have the time to feel the spirit. I am very excited because with O’s faith, we have it in the bag :) 

I still just can´t even explain all of the tender mercies we had this week. Down to the dogs- seriously. Get this, so we had 30 minutes left of the day and didn't know where to go. So we said a prayer and started down the street to a contact. This street has the most dogs and with my 7 weeks in Puerto Cisnes, I have only made it to the end 2 times. Ha-ha. But we went, rocks in hand, ready to fight off the dogs. We knock her door and the dogs start up- 9 of them just going crazy. It was actually quite scary. 

But we keep trying to talk to her over the sound and it wasn't working. We start talking about God and literally the dogs all left and it was so peacefully quite. We had a lesson about God's nature- how He is our Father and His plan. We testified and right as we finished we went to ask when we could return and all the dogs came back a howling. We walked away in shock it was crazy to see an answer and help so completely there. 

Other miracle, S. We had a couple super awesome experiences with her this week. First starting with her birthday. (Mom do you like her necklace?  Thank you for sending it for me because- it is completely perfect for her! She loooves it.) But we made a big deal- singing for her at work and stopping by with the little gift and a big card with a specific scripture for her and all. It was so good- and so fun to see her so happy. I think we were the only ones who celebrated or really acknowledged it was her birthday. But oh boy I love her. 

Then we had a great lesson. She is really into the whole nature, moon cycles and women power stuff. Its pretty cool but we have been teaching a lot about the sacerdocio (priesthood) and authority and prophets and we had a really, really strong lesson with her. And I think she got it! That’s the best part. Slowly and slowly I am seeing a change in her and its such a happy change. Because all of her doubts are slowly becoming things of joy and understanding. 

Then on Sunday she came to church! This was huge, best, best, best. And get this, so president told me right before the sacrament I was needed for a talk.  So with .2 seconds to think, I gave the first talk, which I love now. Before it scared me to death to just get up and give lessons and now it is my very, very favorite. 

But I used the time to just testify and teach of the Book of Mormon and a couple doubts that S had- to her but using the spirit of the sacrament mtg.  It was perfect because then we had 2 testimonies and they both got up and literally said they want to testify of my words and testify of the book of Mormon and they were such great testimonies. It was so cool to see this sacrament mtg for her- because it wasn’t just the missionary teaching this things, but the members. Love! 

Plus 100 other straight up crazy awesome spiritual awesome things but I only have a tiny bit of time left so the funnies. 

This week I started wood chopping lessons for one of our 35-year-old members. Ha-ha so fun. I love my mission. 

The sun came out like none other!  I really haven’t seen sun since Mexico- I send home a lot of happy photos. But this week I got fried. Like more than our 20 miles kayak at Powell. Fried. Ha-ha the people love it because now I am a little Chilean. But the members are so cute every house giving me creams and sunblock.  

Then we had a cool little service project on the beach with an inactive and her friend helping them collect wood for fires in their houses. Sooo good to be on the beach. Love, love, love. 

This week we have a big festival. The festival del pescao frito (festival of the fried fish). But I kept telling everyone how excited I was for the festival del pecado frito (festival of the fried sin). Sometimes I feel like I am still in my training ha-ha.

But the funniest and weirdest of the week. 

So we eat lunch with members every Saturday. And when we finish we always ask what we can do to help them. With different answers- dishes, chopping wood, etc. this weeks... "hna ball, can I have a bit of your hair.¨  Umm what? Ha-ha, so I was like "yeaaaaah. Why?"  And she is the cutest lady. She is like "I just need to cut a little bit it's perfect."

Ha-ha and I am just looking at my companion and seeing that this member is the best and always helping us and we did ask what we could do, so I am all- ok. Sure. 
Turns out its same color as a dolls she is making and wanted to use it for eyelashes or something. She said she would show me the doll when she finished. Ha-ha, so they literally cut a chunk out of the part hidden in the back by my neck.

And lastly, the other night I jumped up to get ready for the day. Kneeled and started my prayer and then I don’t remember anything else-  but I fell asleep. 

And I am not sure how much time later I woke up with my knees literally killing and I am all confused and its soo dark and I look at my watch- just after 1 in the morning. I´m not sure how long I had been there sleeping- but it perfectly explains it. I looove my mission. Dead serious. I love it everyday. And its funny because things like this keep happening because in my sleep I get so adjusted just laying there or not working I find myself getting ready or praying or dreaming of the day before it starts. 

I love it here. I love it, I love it. Right now we are writing from Coyhaique, we have the next days full of the Hna lider intercambios (Sister training) with the girls and I am so exited. I loove it.

I love ya'll. xoxo Hna ball

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hermana Ball: Cat Whisperer

´The answer to all of these challenges is the same as it has always been, we have a Savior. ´ -Elder Oaks.

This perfectly explains it. I love saying this to everyone I meet- WE HAVE A SAVIOR. And for that reason alone- it’s all good.

I love new cambios.(transfers)  Every 6 weeks we have the chance to start over. To make new goals, to see what worked and what didn´t. And with a new companion- we literally can start over. Forget the mistakes and try again to be the best disciple of JesuCristo possible.

This last cambio was killer. I love Hermana Segura so much. We kicked it and it was hard to say goodbye. We ended with a couple tears and a cotton candy.

I also sent home a photo of our old zone. We always take a zone photo but what’s cool is the people are in order of time in the mission. For example, Hermana Segura is on the far left because she's finished and the elder on her right finishes next and so on in the chairs then the kids standing up are the same.

I am waaaay to close to the end seat. It was hard for me to receive the card this week with all the "go home information." Just thinking about it again right now is making my throat really tight and my eyes are just killing with allergies....  I hate it. I love being a missionary so much. Presidente has banned me from asking for an extension. He says it just isn’t going to happen because I have another mission. . . chao no mas.

But lets just forget about that. Back to my week in Coyhaique.

We had more lunches and a family home evening with Familia Soto. They are soo good- always giving what ever they can to us as missionaries. Food, a house, the sleeping bags. Everything possible.

While in Coyhaique I had some time to be in a trio with two of my hermanitas. (sister missionaries) It was interesting and way cool. Interesting to make sure to help both and to see how they are working together and everything. I loved it. We had a couple really strong lessons.

One of which was with an atheist middle-aged man in the street. It was so hard to see how hard his heart is to God. I asked him why he didn´t believe in God. If he had had an experience specific, etc. and he quickly replied with ¨You ask me why I don´t believe in God. But I want to ask you- Why do I have to. ¨ In this moment the spirit confirmed to me so strongly that we are children of God. As I testified that he has to believe in God, because it’s who he is. He is a son of a loving father, truly and literally. It’s his soul, his spirit. Its just who he is.

I began to talk about his son, who has 7 years. I asked if he loved his son (with the plan to then relate his love for his son- as our father in heaven) to which he replied straight up that he does not want to be a father.

And that’s where the problem is. I love this gospel because we not only have the knowledge of our heavenly father and his love, but our home and families are filled with it.

We tried to testify, but were cut off. But I love this experience because the spirit testified to me as I testified of Him that is truly is true.

Its like Elder Oaks said, the answer to all of these challenges is the same as it has always been, we have a Savior.

This week had been awesome. Let me introduce you to my new companion- Hermana Contreres! She is from Guatemala and a rock star. She has two more cambios in the mission than me-, which means she is going to be finishing in these next two. I love being the young sister leader because I am learning so much. This weekend we kicked it. We fasted together to find new people then we went and spent 2 days straight of knocking doors. We have found just a couple- but I am excited to see what will happen with them.

2 funny stories. I sent home a picture of us by a car and a gate- we were in Coyhiaque and we were pumped to leave to work for the first time when we left the house of our hermanitas and went to the gate- to find we had left the keys in the house.

But get this mom, ha-ha. So my companion asked me if I had the keys before shutting the door, I felt in my backpack pocket. Yes. Then we get out and realized it was just my collection of rocks I’d picked up for you. Ha-ha

But it was funny because we were so pumped to leave for the first time to work and then had to sit and wait for the Hermana’s to save us. I was ready to jump the fence- but she thought we´d look like thieves and the neighbors would call the police because of the area we were in. ha-ha. That’s why it’s good to have a Latina companion.

The other funny thing. Yesterday we were in a lesson and this lady has literally 10 cats that are the worst. Always crawling over our stuff and us. So we are trying to have the spirit and when my comp is talking, I am trying to be the cat whisperer. Trying to get them away from us- and then she fights them off as I am talking. Well, at one point we are testifying of prophets and she picks up her backpack to grab something and reaches in and just starts screaming and throws the backpack- so I am screaming because she is screaming and the investigators a shrieking. Ha-ha it turns out that one of the cats had crawled into her backpack and when she reached in it freaked out. Sooo funny. We were dying laughing when we sit back down and we are trying to not laugh because of the spirit but we are dying.
So we just look at each other like- ok now what. And I go into this analogy of how this cat in the backpack in like the apostasía (apostosy) - honestly it was a killer analogy of the confusion and not knowing and stuff. But my comp is just holding it in as I am literally testifying of cat in the backpack as the apostasía. Soooo fuuunnny.

I think I am starting my own apostasía here in Puerto Cisnes ha-ha.

But this week I felt the love let me tell you. MAIL. Oh, I have the best ward ever.

I got the poster from the ward and loove it. Especially Jeremy’s little side notes to everyone. So funny. I also received letters from the Ostlers, Lymans, Lynell, Toni Foster, Thayns, Carters! Best ward ever!

Then I got letters from Elder Wasden, Jake Butters mom, grandma ball and dad's postcard. loove love love.

I also love this branch so much. Our presidente is the best. His family really is my family here (megs the plan is still on for the marriage right...?) but it’s been so cute. Him and his wife invited us over to have a nice dinner with them because it was the night of their anniversary. They said they would to celebrate it with us. I love them. Seriously who does that? They are so good.

Ok, last story short. We have an investigator. S who was not progressing at all. But long story short. She got hospitalized and while there she was really scared and didn't know what to do. She remembered how we taught her to pray and she said that she prayed 3 times that day. For very specific things as we taught. And that in the same day all 3 things were answered. Almost immediately.

We explained that she felt good to pray and that night while they were in the hospital at 10 o’clock she remembered her Book of Mormon in their house. So she made her mom leave- take the big walk home, in the dark and rain- to get the book. She said she read it and felt good.

All we could do was testify of God, of His love and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. It was amazing. She still has a lot of doubts- but wants to work towards the end of February as a goal to be baptized.

I hope she sees all of these miracles because I know God loves her and if she just feels and sees and prays and reads she´ll know it.

I love it here. I love it. I love it. I love it.

Well family I got to run. Love you.

xoxo Hna ball

Monday, January 12, 2015

Missionary and professional puddle jumper

This week was crazy.  Yet, again I am writing from Coyhaique- meaning it was a get up at 4:30 kind of morning. I love these days! Also we are best friends with the bus driver. :) 
But first off all, the best part. O was baptized and oh boy was it an experience! Get this: 
So we went the day before the baptism to clean the font out because it’s been a while since there’s been a baptism- and the font is in a bottom of a shed-garage cut out thing. So the back is always open. Meaning, for who knows how long it’s been the house of cats. Yuck! Oh my scrubbing the cat urine for hours. 
But we finished and it was glowing and smelling real nicely of Clorox. (This is the real side of the baptism- not just the happy photos ha-ha) but we had it all ready and perfect for the next day. But then the next day we realized the water did not want to stay in the font. It would not fill up!

So we were just going to go have the baptism in the ocean- but she is scared of the sea. So we started to  filled it up with a little bit of warm water and an hour before the baptism, it was only a couple inches up. So with the sacerdocio (Priesthood members ) we took water jugs and sprite bottles full of cold-water jug for jug filling it up. 
While our branch president was looking for a hose- it was so stressful!  But turned out to be one of the coolest experiences. O’s son, who before didn´t really want much to do with us, was the one who had the hose. So he showed up and helped the priesthood as we kept filling. It was crazy awesome for him to get to know the men. 
We ended up starting the baptism an hour later, and there was such little water that she and president had to kneel to be able to be fully immersed. The water was cold and it was late. But as O came out of the water it was literally magic. She was smiling so big- did a double fist pump and just said; "yes yes yes yes!" Afterword’s the spirit was so strong and they bore testimonies of how truly this work is true and how it truly is a family. 

It was amazing to see. The young and the old just doing everything they could. And you could see it in O- that she didn´t care at all. They were all little details to her because she knew she was making a promise with God so all the rest didn´t matter. 
She is amazing. The next day she came to church ready for to receive the Holy Ghost with her pocket full of tithing. I am so grateful to be here. And excited to see her grow as a part of this family and see what happens with her son. After church we had a really strong lesson with him about baptism. He wants to pray to know- but doesn’t want to commit to anything. 
We don't have electricity in our bathroom so we have to use head lamps
But he loved the baptism, loved his mom’s faith, loved the branch and loved that it was her decision. And that dear family is what I love. 
I love this ward.

One family, he is our branch president. (The family from Christmas and every other happy thing- they are the ones on the bridge walking home from church.) I have plans to set Megan up with their son. Don’t stress Megs he is a gem-. 16 yrs. old. A little young but a real gem. Then i can really be family with him. We have discussed it all- they just want to know if you can make good bread. Ha-ha. So get on that. 
Also can I tell you how much I love my companion? I am sad to see her go. She finishes her mission tomorrow. And I love her so much. We really kicked it these last 6 weeks- and more than that we had some really crazy experiences. It was a crazy good cambio. (companionship)
This morning I found out who my new comp is going to be. I can’t remember her name, ha-ha, but she is from Central America! Wooohhooo. I wanted a Latina so bad. I am excited to meet her tomorrow! Stories to come!
But this cambio was crazy. We were out of our sector just under half the time (from the hospital, recovery and traveling.) Almost 3 weeks. And it’s been hard on our investigators to not be with them constantly. But it’s ok. I’m hoping to see some love these next couple of weeks. We really only have 2 investigators right now. F- who had to work the whole week and we couldn’t meet with her and S. We have faith. 
It’s also been hard because our other 4 investigators have or will be moving in these last two-week and next week. Haha but one funny quick story. One of these invests was M.

He is a captain at the navy base in Puerto Cisnes, because we are right on the ocean. So we were in the middle of our lesson when out of the blue he just got up and left. He was gone for a time and then came back like it was nothing and asked something about what we had been talking about with the Book of Mormon. We just went with it. 
Here’s what happened. His wife told us that the navy had brought in a ¨prisioner¨ from the nearest island and he can feel the difference in the boat motor when it is coming up because its a special boat or something so he felt it- knew it was his bad guy they had found and left to go deal with it with the police or something. Honestly we felt pretty cool to know him. Ha-ha. 
Because we live so far out we skype into district meeting
Also, this week we were looking for new people and found a colony of evangelicals. Literally just in the trees. A bunch of houses and they all were in skirts and stuff. No one opened the doors when we knocked. Only one lady opened a crack and the light was off so we couldn’t see her but she just kept whispering no. So that was fun. We felt like Book of Mormon characters knocking down the doors of the synagogue. 
Oh, and last week I forgot to mention I got Meg's letter in mom package and I love it. And I got Nato tomato’s card. Send more. They make me so happy. 

Oh Chilean tradition. 
So, the first 12 days of January are important because each day represents a month. The first is January, 2nd Feb., 3rd march, etc. And how the weather is that day represents how the weather will be for that month. IT’S GOING TO BE A RAINY year. We had literally 3 days of straight rain with out stop. Then the rest on and off and mostly on. I have become a professional puddle jumper! 
After the three days of straight torrential rain we had a minute of sun and immediately bought ice cream. I love serving with Hna S because we celebrate everything. Ha-ha. It’s so fun. Either with a treat, a high five or a good ole song and laugh. 
Oh, then get this, did you not love the pictures of my hike? Mom and dad, I literally thought of you the whole time (not really, I was in awe) but I did think of you in like 2 seconds and how much you are going to love it here. It was the coolest hike I have ever had in my life. 
About and hour and a half up. Through green, green and crazy green. Then we had to trudge rivers and all the while it was pouring rain. I look happy and warm and it looks sunny. No lies. We were completely soaked through, it was no use to have the black raincoat. Ha-ha. It was so happy. 
Then we get the top, after passing about 3 waterfalls and get to the lake. Crazy. Then back down and at one point we were up to our ankles in mud just trudging. Sooo fun. We went with familia suarez. They are rock stars. 

Well family. I love you so much. Hope you had a happy week. 
xoxo Hna Ball

Monday, January 5, 2015

Backpacking through Patagonia



What a week! Seriously crazy! Today we have had a couple crazy things so I’m just going to give you a couple classic points of the week. 

We ended the year right with an awesome new investigator! She is golden. We had one lesson with her and found out she had invited us in kind of secret because her husband isn’t really a fan of Mormons. 

So that made me a little nervous- so we just prayed and prayed because she is really, really receptivo. (receptive) Well we went back for our next lesson, I was ready to mention that we can´t meet with her if her husband isn´t down with it, when she explained that she talked to him about us, and that he is completely ok with us meeting with her! Wooohoo. 

Then we taught lesson one and it was so powerful. When we explained the first vision the spirit was so strong, we asked her how she felt to know this wonderful truth and she said that she felt something she has never felt before, that she has a weird feeling that feels good and that she just wants to hear more, she asked us to please tell her more. Right then we explained that it was the spirit and I asked her to be baptized at the end of this month- to which she said yes! 

I am so grateful for this experience because Heavenly Father literally just placed us in her path. She is so wonderful! Please pray for her, especially that her husband (or boyfriend- we still have to figure out the legal stuff...) heart will continue to be softened. 

The bus we ride
After this, we took the good ole crazy bus ride back to Coyhaique for intercambios. We were out of the sector for 5 days. Which is hard with our investigators and ward- but is so worth it. I love being a Hermana Lider (sister trainer) so much. 

New Years celebration

While in Coyhaique we celebrated New Years Eve with a familia of members from my companion’s old area. They are awesome-- as a service to the mission they feed us everyday we are in town-, which you have seen we travel a lot. But I am really growing to love them.  But we cheered the New Years in with good ole family home evening and toasting apple juice, and eating potato chips; cheese puffs with an avocado dip. 

We then had to be in the house of 2 of our hermanas early because of all the crazy parties are at 9 so we were in the house and playing Uno. :)  Ha-ha it sure was a crazy new years eve, Mormon messages, Uno and in bed by 11. 

But the next morning started immediately with a big Chilean tradition. When you see someone for the first time after the New Year you greet him or her with a huge hug, wish him or her a happy new year and give him or her a word of two of love and support. I love it. The only problem is we have been dodging men all week. Ha-ha our poor ward members keep forgetting. 

Aaaaalmost hugged my branch president. Oh the sin it would be. :)

But then new years day was normal- except lunch. It was a good ole ball family affair. We went to the countryside and sat down at the table and they proceeded to feed us for the next 2.5 hours straight. It was terrible! Terribly delicious, but oh boy this is the hardest part about being a missionary in Chile- They LOVE us. They feed us so much.  This is embarrassing to say, ha-ha, but I literally had to unzip my skirt a little. I have now eaten 4 lamb bbq's. And oh my, dear Chile. 

After that we worked as usual. No one was really up to listening to our message after a long night- but it was a good satisfying feeling to just keep working the whole day and to finish the first day of 2015 so tired from lots of walking and trying. 

Then intercambios were awesome. Seriously it rocks. We had a jammed awesome week. I was focused in on and had exchanges with two of our girls. One is 26 years old and the other is 32- both of whom are training. It was very interesting to be their ¨leader¨. It’s almost not fair to them because I was the one doing all the learning. It was very humbling and wonderful to be with these hermanas. 

We worked like crazy. For example in one day, really just under 6 hours we had 21 contacts- where we had taught a principle and all. And 9 solid lessons. I love being with new missionaries because there is an animo (encouragement) like none other. 

Yeah it’s the coolest spiritual experience to be a Hermana lider. But get this- its also just plain fun. I literally get to do ¨missionary camping¨.  I'm just backpacking my way through Patagonia with my little sleeping bag, testifying of this happy gospel, and crashing on the Hermana’s floors at night. 

Patagonia's Golden Gate Bridge
This week I got to know Aysen- Google it. It’s like Utah Mountains. (But not really at all.) And the golden gate bridge (again not really at all.) but it was a beaut and with really happy, happy people to teach! 

We have been busing around a lot. By the end of this cambio I’ll have been in just under 40 hours of buses. Which is cool- I really and seeing and living the Patagonia dream- (literally. do you like our buses name!) but its hard to be in the bus because its a lot of time wasted not teaching and its impossible to read and study because its so jerky. 

So I have started memorizing my patriarchal blessing. What a way to start the New Year off. I´m a good chunk thought and it’s amazing to really understand it word for word. And I have found myself finding things that connect to it in my scripture study or other ways in my day which I hadn´t realized before. 

Our cute little villiage
Oh I got to run- we´ve got a lesson with O in a couple because guess what- we have a baptism to plan! Woohhooo my next email will be filled with happy pictures of O's cute ill face and in all white! 

I love you family. Hope this New Year is the beeeeeest.

xoxo Hna ball