Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I made it through my first week in good old Paraguay!!!

This is our pet, Tina Fey, she lives across the street. ‏

So drum roll please....my trainer is Hermana Escobar from El Salvador!!!! When I first met her I was so scared. I sat next her saying nothing. Then she finally said “I speak English...” hahah and we were off on our best friendship. I am so relieved she speaks English but at the same time it’s hard to remember to speak Spanish. Also she gets frustrated when I struggle to say something in Spanish. Finally she says, “What are you trying to say?” hah but she is so great and I love her. When I met her I quickly asked what our area was called (like I would know it or something), Coronel Oviedo, or zone 13. President had told us the day before that only 3 zones were really compo or like farm land, 11 through 14. I was so stoked to be in the compo. Our whole mission is 4 hours wide. I don’t know how you would put that, from Asuncion to the farthest part is 4 hours. Our area took 3 hours to get to outside Asuncion on a big bus. Immediately my trainer fell asleep and I was left to look at Paraguay speed by as we bounced along on the bus. It was so cool. I watched the city fade away in the distance and then it would be pure jungle and then a city would randomly pop out of nowhere. After 3 hours we finally got to the terminal. We got off and loaded all my bags into a tiny car that looked like it was 100 years old. They drive psycho here and the whole time I feared for my life. Our area is perfect. We live like two blocks outside our area in a city and then you start walking and the longer you walk the more compo it gets. It’s way cool. I have never been to a place quite like Paraguay, which is one of my favorite things about Paraguay. After being in Argentina for 6 weeks Paraguay is such a breath of fresh air. The cab dropped us off at our pention.

Ok so if you were worried for my safety need no fear. Paraguay is the safest place, really. I asked all the missionaries and no one has ever been robbed or felt in danger. And, unlike Puerto Rico and Argentina the houses don’t have bars and multiple gates. Actually, many don’t even have a front door or glass in the windows. So anyway when I saw our pention I was feeling scared because I felt like Paraguay was not going to be safe. After entering a gate we walked down a hall then we unlocked a metal sliding door with a huge bolt. Then we locked that and you are technically in our house. You walk up the stairs and open another normal metal door and then you are inside for real. So again, I am very safe but here it’s not even necessary, I think they are just overly cautious. 

The first day we came home and planned and headed out. I was so scared..... here are some things I didn’t expect about Paraguay. Everyone, after I say I am from America, says “oh, so do you speak Guadani...?”  ummm Well, considering I don’t even really speak Spanish, no, I do not. And Guadani is the craziest language I have ever heard. It sounds like Asian or something mixed with Spanish. They never just speak Guadani, its Guadani and Spanish. And their Spanish, they never finish the whole word. So as you can see, I went from Argentina feeling like I could teach a whole lesson in Spanish alone to here feeling like I can’t even understand when someone asks my name! Most of the time I just fake it and pretend I know what is going on, smile when my comp does and laugh.. but then they ask a question and they are looking right at me... and all I do is stare at them and say como? (what?).... it’s very embarrassing. Sometimes my comp tells me what they say but a lot of time she doesn’t and I just feel so dumb and I want to cry and I wonder why am I on a mission. But then I remind myself oh ya, it’s because I love my Heavenly Father so much. ha The other thing that I didn’t expect is that people are friendly. I thought Argentina was friendly but no... here we walk up to a house and clap at the gate but almost always the whole family is sitting outside. I really don’t know how anyone makes a living, they always seem to be home just sitting around all drinking out of the same mate cup. Anyway so then before we can even introduce ourselves they open the gate and pull up two chairs and start talking so fast and I am lost. Later my comp tells me what they said, sometimes she doesn’t haha. But basically every lesson we teach is 45 min at least. We really need to work on it. Yesterday we talked to this old man for an hour and he was speaking Guadani the whole time and it was really hot and I was so tired and I kept falling asleep, it was really bad. I have had that problem a couple times. I get so tired of listening and I just start to fall asleep. I am working on that as well. The first few days all I would say is, “Hi, how are you? I'm Hermana Ball.” and my comp would say the rest. Then I made a goal to bear my testimony at each lesson even though when I do they just look at me like they have no idea what I am saying, but that’s ok. It’s hard to contribute to the lesson when you don’t know what’s going on at all. But we have never had someone say no to a lesson or letting us come back. This is a curse and a blessing because we are constantly teaching but it’s hard to tell if they are truly interested or not. 

So the first night we went to bed and I was feeling like ya this place is not so different then America, I can do this. I hadn’t seen any bugs or spiders in our pention. I was feeling really good. Then.... the next morning when my comp was showering I picked up a box with different food in it and I screamed. The whole box was full of probably like 100-200 cockroaches (even though I expected them to be as long as my finger and they are about the size of a quarter) it still freaked me out so bad!! I started frantically whacking them with a broom as they scampered away into unseen corners of the pention. My comp came out and was like “What’s wrong?” By this point, of course, there were only like three and she looked at me like, really? and went back to what she was doing. I felt way dumb, but it really creeped me out. I couldn’t eat like the rest of that day. By the third day I was so hungry that I stopped caring. They only eat breakfast and lunch here so if you don’t eat a lot at those meals you starve. I feel hungry all the time but I think it’s just because I am eating normal portions again, unlike the huge feasts of the CCM. I hope I don’t sound negative. I really, really love it here. My first two days were just a little hard but now I am completely adapted. 

So we study til lunch and then we go out prolitismo and man it is so hot in the middle of the day. They just keep saying its primovera (spring, it’s just spring) and I am like sweating so bad. Sooo I am scared for what verano (summer) will bring. I have a whole new meaning to “they live like 30 min away”... a 30 min walk on a dirt road in the middle of the day is very different from a nice ride in an air conditioned car. hahah But we just sing hymns and try and enjoy it. My favorite time of day is dusk. It gets cool and the sunsets are soo pretty and then when the sun goes down the stars come out and they are soooo pretty, but even when we are walking on a dirt road in the jungle there are street lights. It’s very strange, so it’s hard to see the stars and my most favorite thing when it’s night is that the fireflies come out or mua mua in guadani!!! I hadn’t seen fireflies in forever. We were teaching a lesson one night and it flew across my face and I just got soooo happy! 

The weird thing about Paraguay is that even though it is sooo poor almost everyone we talk to has a cell phone. They can’t give you an address to where they live, but they have a phone number. haha We always draw little maps to remember where they live. I would be so lost without my comp. It’s so confusing here, everything looks the same to me. The other thing is everyone has a motorcycle. Even if its way old they have one and it’s common to see 2, 3, 4, 5, people on one bike. The most I have seen is 5. A man with two little kids behind him and two in front. It’s so weird, a little infant will be clinging for dear life in front of his mom. The other thing is no one wears helmets and there is no real age limit. So I saw like a 6 year old, seriously, I am not exaggerating, driving a motorcycle the other day, it’s way creepy. Sometimes we look at them whizzing past and, well, I begin to covet ahha. But it’s good. Because we walk, we talk to lots of people. 

Sunday rolls around and one of our investigators, Pedro, came!!! We were so happy! We are teaching him today and hope he can be baptized in 2 weeks. We will see... anyway we are sitting in sacrament and I am just out of “what’s going on?” and my comp leans to me and says “the bishop just asked all the new missionaries to come and bear their testimony.” I wanted to cry. But I went up and I did it and it probably made no sense, but I did it! I told them I knew this was the true church and that’s why I am here and I said that I love them and that I know Christ loves them and I am excited to be serving here. 

That’s the other thing I didn’t realize, I am so use to never seeing the missionaries in Utah because they have like a whole stake they are over, but here we have 3 sets of missionaries for 1 branch. It’s crazy! Church was really different. The power was off so all the classes were taught in the dark. I was asked to read a passage in gospel doctrine. That was really hard but luckily everyone had a book so they could read it too ha. 

The other hard thing is my comps previous companion, Hermana Arrnell was apparently amazing and everyone always looks at me and says where is Hermana Arrnell and they miss her and I can’t speak Spanish to make them like me so they just always look at me like why are you here?... it’s hard. 

The roads go from asphalt to straight dirt, it’s weird. And cobblestone, they like mash up rock and then put the dirt on top. Basically my feet are always red. I can never tell if I am tan or just still have a layer of dirt. haha 

Saturday one of the members came teaching with us. It was really hard because he talked a lot giving me even less time in the lesson to try and say something. But I did get to do the first vision she always has me do that and I messed it up so bad and I wanted to cry because in my mind I was thinking she is going to say yes to be baptized. I knew it and then I heard her say no and I was like it’s because you didn’t hit it home with the first vision. As we walked away I wanted to just curl up and cry forever. Later that night at planning we were going over numbers and she said people with a date and I said 0 and she said no 1 and I was like como!!!!!!!!!!! and she said ya remember that lesson we taught and it was the one I thought I ruined. Ya, she said she will be baptized if she receives an answer. I was sooo happy! But then she didn’t show up to church so I was crushed, but we visited her and her husband was there and we shared about the el Libro de Mormon and he was sooo interested. I talked a lot in the lesson and he accepted a date too!!!! So that is our golden family right now.

Anyway the change before was Hermana Arnall’s last change and now she is home. Apparently they didn’t work hard so we only had one investigator when I got here, Pedro, but when we gave our numbers last night we had 22 new which means we have taught 22 lessons since I got here. That was crazy to me.  Anyway things are hard. I am just doing my best to learn the language and teach. I love you allllllllll sooo much. My heart hurts when I think of you. 

I am sorry if this was so scatter brained, ha but I love you. 

oh PS: I only have an hour to email so maybe if some of you could hand write me that would be cool. If not, it’s ok. I can still print here. I just have to pay money, anyway that’s ok. 


Hermana Ball

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I'm Alive - Nov 18, 2014

So we just got to the mission home after our hour and a half flight from good old Argentina. Our mission president picked us up from the airport and made sure we got our visas. I love him already and the amazing thing is I can pretty much understand what he says. He told me if I read El Libro de Mormon every day I will be able to speak Spanish in three months. So I am banking on that promise.


When I saw Paraguay from the sky I just started crying. These are my people! I love it here already! It was immediately obvious how much hotter it is here. But I love it. We are staying in a hotel tonight, well just the sisters, the elders are staying in this ghetto room at the mission home. I guess they love us a lot and tomorrow I get to meet my trainer. Odds are she will be Latino. President told me there are 5 trainers for us 5 newbies and 4 are Latino. I have faith that the Lord and President know what they are doing, but that news made my heart stop dead.


The last day at the CCM was so emotional. I know most people want out bad but I think Argentina is special. I loved my CCM time so much. President Willis put it good, “It’s like the Garden of Eden, you have learned everything you can. You have to move on to progress”.  So that’s what I am doing.


It was lots of tear filled goodbyes and now I am here and just ready to work.


I love you all so much. I pray for you!!!



Hermana Ball 


November 17, 2014

Hey family guess what! I leave the CCM tomorrow morning at 4 am. We head to the airport and our flight leaves at 7:15. There are 18 total of us heading to Paraguay, including Latinos. The flight is about an hour. The flight name is AR2260. I know most people say they are so ready to leave, but seriously, the last two days have been so emotional. We are all having a hard time saying goodbye, we have grown so close. But Elder Christofferson from the 12 was here on Sunday and everything he said was exactly what I needed to be ready. So I am really, really excited to head to Paraguay. I love you all so much! Hopefully I will write you when I get there, if not, I will write you next P day.


Hermana Ball


PS: I felt bad that I forgot to mention that we finally got the big red Spanish book. I am way happy. I love you all so much!!!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

If El Woods Can Get into Harvard, I Can Learn Spanish!

Hey family,

Man the days are long but the weeks fly by. First off Proselitismo. Rozsa and I switched areas. Our old area was like a suburb and now it’s a very busy city. It’s very very intimidating to walk down a very busy city and try and talk to people who have no desire to talk to you. We got like 20 contacts and 3 referrals, but all of our referrals were golden. Two of them were at the same time.  We stopped at this lady selling stuff on the road. She had these way cool fanny packs that she makes. (pictures to come) So we told her and another lady who stopped to look at them that we were missionaries. They both spoke English which was actually not that much easier because I guess I am losing my English or maybe never had it to begin with. One of the ladies said her father has cancer and she needs faith. The other said that she loves Mormons and she took a Book of Mormon. it was way way cool. Other than that, proselitismo was kind of a downer. We came home kind of discouraged, it’s hard not to compare with everyone else’s numbers. But I am so proud of everyone, it was the new North Americans first time and they all did so good.

So on to Sunday. Oh man, it was soooo good like always, the highlight was Hermana Willis. *The cool part about a small MTC is we get to know the MTC President and his wife and their councilors so well. They are like our parents. I love them so much!  Hermana Willis talked about gratitude. She gave us a talk by President Uchtodorf called “Grateful in any Circumstance”. A quote I really liked was “perhaps focusing on what we are grateful for is the wrong approach. It is difficult to develop a spirit of gratitude if our thankfulness is only proportional to the number of blessings we can count. True, it is important to frequently count our blessings... but I don’t believe that the Lord expects us to be less thankful in times of trial than in times of abundance and ease.”  I loved this so so much!!! I hope you can all remember that this week and try to be thankful in the circumstance you are in. You should all reread this talk. 

Monday was our group picture. It’s finally settling in that we are leaving the CCM. So I knew about this last week but part of me didn’t believe, it so I didn’t tell you. But they told us that today we would be going to see Elder Russell M Nelson speak, and because of this we would not attend the temple. Wednesday we got a surprise, we got to go to the temple! It was sooo great to be there one last time. I have grown to love the temple workers and this temple so much even with it being in Spanish. I love it so much. 

So that gets us to today. Why I didn’t write earlier today is because we got up and loaded into buses at 7:30 to head to a stake to listen to Elder Nelson. He shook each of our hands and looked into our eyes. It was incredible! We met with the missionaries from this mission, the Buenos Aries, Argentina South and listened to the words of an apostle of the Lord. He was also with a member of the Seventy who spoke Spanish so he and his wife’s talks were in Spanish. I got about 50 percent-ok 40, but what I got of it was really good. Then Sister Nelson stood. That woman is so amazing! She talked to us about how we are feeling as missionaries and she told some amazing stories about her experiences. One in particular that was cool - she said she was in Russia at a Women’s Conference and she felt impressed to say, “I want to get to know you all by lineage” she called out each lineage and people would stand. She said 11 of the 12 tribes were present. All but Levi. Maybe this was not news to you, but I kind of thought everyone on the earth but a few special people were from the tribe of Ephraim.  I was shocked to hear this. She said that news travels so fast in the church that by that next day when they met at a conference in Romania the first thing the mission president’s wife said when she stepped off the plane was “I got Levi.” She had a missionary who was of that tribe so within the space of two days she met someone from each tribe. It was so cool to hear her stand and say “The gathering of Israel is upon us, Elders and Hermanas, you get to be a part of this amazing work.” She told us that when we teach our children our ancestors and the ancestors of those we teach are there, particularly the ones we teach. They are begging and waiting for their family to receive the gospel. Then she said, “Think of the impact of your missions, not only in this world.” It really made me remember what missionary work is all about. Oh I forgot one other thing she said was her 30 day challenge, which I am challenging all of you to do.  Each day grab the scriptures and thank God for them. Tell Him your hardest and deepest questions of your soul and ask that the Holy Ghost will be with you throughout your study. Then open to a random page and feast. Look up words, the foot notes, everything. You won’t have to read far until your question will be answered. I thought “Wow, this is an amazing promise from an Apostle’s wife. She said “there is no asterisk that says unless your problem is learning the language, no anything you need will be provided.” How wonderful is that! 

Then Elder Nelson spoke and man, I love him! At the beginning he did the very thing his wife talked about. He had each tribe stand. At our meting we had two tribes present, which was still way cool, Joseph and Judah. When he said Joseph we didn’t know that meant Ephraim, so again I felt way dumb, haha, but he reminded us. He was so informal - he kept saying “I have a surprise, the mission president and his wife are going to share their one tip of advice, it was to “work hard and to be obedient.”   Oh, the president of the CCM and his wife, Hermana Willis said “Go and do” and president, who is like a way rough man, he is just really to the point about the gospel, got all teary eyed and said “You are loved by the Lord so immensely.” That struck me so hard. The rest of Elder Nelson’s talk was about how we need to be simple when teaching the gospel. This made me happy because my Spanish vocab is so so so simple. I don’t remember everything he said but it just seemed like direct inspiration that I needed so badly. He left us with an apostolic blessing and it included those we left at home who were sick or needed healing. That made me cry, he told us the Lord will protect our families. 

I love you all so much! I think of you so much! I may get to email when I leave Tuesday and when I arrive in Paraguay. If not, next time you hear from me I will be in Paraguay!!!! It seems so unreal to me! The church is true and I love all of you. 


Hermana Ball

Friday, November 7, 2014

I'm Not Dead Yet

All the girls going to Paraguay

Our Latin roommates that left

Rich y Brons

The day we got here. Playing mud soccer with the old North Americans.

The Sister I am hugging is from Spain. I love her so much. I am going to miss her!

Man another week gone by, I can’t believe I have almost been gone a whole month!

So there are a few things I keep forgetting to say. First off, when the new North Americans arrived we told them that touching this Nephi statue in the girl’s dorms every time you pass it, gives you good luck. So pretty much we started a CCM tradition. We didn’t tell them we made it up. That’s random, I know, but I think it’s so cool that they believed us. I’m excited for Megan Gilchrist to get here and for her to tell me if it’s still going on. Second, before the new Americans came, we moved our room around so our bed would be by the window. Now every night when I lay in bed I can see the temple shinning thorough my window. I love it so much.

So Halloween!!! I totally forgot to say Happy Halloween last week sorry. I loved seeing all the pictures. I think some of you have the wrong idea about emailing. I can read your emails all week because I print them. So don’t hold back. Send as much as you can. I love pictures too. I can print them off too. So ya, I just usually respond to the week’s before emails this week if that makes sense. So keep them up. I wouldn’t send anything else through the pouch or by mail because I only have like 12 more days or maybe less here and stuff keeps coming for the old missionaries and I feel so bad because who knows when or if they will ever get it. So email is good enough for me for now.

Ok now to the good stuff. Halloween was way fun. Everyone dressed up like their comps. I was Rozsa. haha I got to wear her clothes and badge and sit in her desk. It was way funny other than that it was a normal day except our teacher also brought us cookies and we got some candy from president, so that was fun.

Saturday was PROSALETISMO again!!! Oh man, it was soooo cool. We were in the same area and it was really cold, it has been raining a lot this past week. It was so cold I was wearing my rain coat. Which is huge because usually it’s really, really hot. Anyway we were just taking random turns and just looking for someone, anyone to talk to us. Then we realized we hadn’t said a prayer so we just stopped and said one and literally a few min after that we saw the house of our golden family from last week, the Scarlots. Guess what, the mother had just stepped outside to put something in the trash and saw us and just opened the gate and let us in like it was normal. We went in their house and sat down and we talked to them for a good 5 min just about their week and how they were doing. They told us that no other missionaries had come by, which made us sad because we gave their info to them. We asked them if we could share a message. It was soooo cool. We taught them all about the restoration and El Libro de Mormon. They said they went to our church long ago and they loved the spirit there but then they moved and never went again. The mother was really interested because she said she was divorced and that they were married now. She asked how our church feels about that because when she was divorced the Catholic Church she went to basically said not to come back. I told her that my parents were divorced and the gospel is what helped our family get through it. I bore my testimony to her of the truthfulness of the gospel. Of course this is just whatI was getting. She could have been saying something else, this was all in Spanish. But it was lucky because her husband kind of spoke English and if we didn’t know something, he would help us. They agreed to take a Book of Mormon and some pamphlets. It was so so cool. We prayed with them and I felt the spirit so so strong. We told them we would make sure the missionaries came by this week. We left feeling soooo good. The rest of the day no one really talked to us but we felt so successful. The best part is when we got back to the CCM and told our teacher she talked to the head teacher and he let us call the sisters over that area and tell them about the family and gave them personally the info. I stared crying so hard. I couldn’t even talk, Rozsa had to. It all just felt so real. I could see that family in white and benefiting so much from the gospel. I fasted for them on Sunday. We are anxious to hear something about that, but we may never because this Saturday we will be given a new area.

Sunday my district decided to do a musical number, I Stand All Amazed, this was a huge deal because the boys really didn’t want to, but we convinced them. It was so spiritual. I felt such a deep love for all of them, as we sang of our combined love for the Savior. Sundays are always the best, so much inspiration. We talked about enduring to the end. I kept thinking that missions are so so different than I ever thought, or at least mine has been up to this point. The best part is Heavenly Father is with us every step.

It’s hard because I know the CCM is about obedience but for some reason some of the rules are so hard to keep, like no pictures and not eating outside the caf. But I am doing my best to be completely obedient and I have definitely improved this week. It’s just such a slow process and I feel like I am nowhere near ready to leave.

When the new North Americans came we found out that they got a Spanish for Missionaries book that we didn’t get because they ran out and we still haven’t gotten. But the book is so good, it has all these lessons and worksheets to study. We have two other books but that one is like real lessons. We basically just have phrases. For the longest time I was so mad that they were progressing so fast, it’s hard not to be mad because we still haven’t gotten the book. We have one for our whole class, but I guess the Lord is trying to teach me something.

Ok, I love you all so much. I wish I could say so much more. I love you all. I hope you all had successful fasts. I had my first real 24 hour fast, I think I have ever done. It’s easy because they just don’t have food. ha It was way hard but I had some really important things to fast for so it wasn’t hard.

I love you


Hermana Ball

PS: Each elder here reminds me of one of my brothers. Elder Burgess especially reminds me of Dan soooo much, he is from Canada. Everything he says reminds me of Dan and makes me miss dan so much. We have one elder, Eastmond, who reminds me of Mar. He is so thoughtful and is always leaving me scriptures to read when he sees I am sad. Elder Droubay, our district leader, reminds me of Ster. He is so business-like and dignified. He is also caring, but has to keep us inline. No one really reminds me of Bran yet, probably cuz no one is quite like Bran. Elder Neil is like Ethan. He is my best friend here. He always makes me laugh really hard because of his laugh. But at the same time they all drive meeee nuts! All summer I wanted to hang out with boys and now I am with them all day, every day. I wish we could just have a district of Hermanas, haha. But they need us, really they do. This week they kept throwing paper airplanes everywhere. 5 hit Rozsa in the face. It made her so mad, hahah so ya we have to parent them a lot, but that’s ok. I still love them.