Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What to do when nothing goes as planned

This week was amazing, the rain returned along with the heat which never leaves. We had Conferincia De ZONA this week. It’s with the AP’s and the President and we also had another zone with us. It was so great. I learned a lot. President is really hard to understand. Sometimes he speaks a really fast Spanish, but I was able to understand him so much better then when I first met him. There are lots of cool things happening in the Paraguay Acuncion mission. The technicalities I am not sure if you would really understand unless you served a mission. I will write Bridget and she can share with you if you really want to know exactly what we are changing, but it is great. This week we have begun to see the blessings of the changes. The reason my subject is what to do when plans go wrong is because the conference was all about planning and for the first time in my mission this last Thursday I loved our weekly planning sesson. We made plans and plans to make plans to talk to someone or teach or invite and it was so great and I was feeling really, really motivated. Then we started to actually attempt our plans and it’s really hard when you depend on others for your plans to work out. Members don’t have references, they can’t come to a lesson or give us a ride. I realize we ask a lot of the members, but it’s still frustrating when they promise to help and then flake at the last min. We had amazing plans for Justina and a lot of them went great. She is reading her libro de mormon every day. It’s hard because she doesn’t understand Spanish perfectly, so we got her a Guarani Book of Mormon but she doesn’t understand that perfectly either. Pure Guarani is really difficult and no one really speaks or reads pure Guarani but I think between the two books she is learning. Several times this week our plans didn’t go the way we wanted and we felt a little discouraged. But I am learning that when we plan it shows God what we are willing to do in order to accomplish the thing that we want. That’s what the quote by Bruce R McConkie was about. I know it’s in Spanish so it’s hard, but he is saying that we have to convince the Lord how badly we want something. I am working on showing the Lord how badly I want to learn Spanish and how badly we want Justina to be baptized. It’s a process. It’s not enough to just ask and have faith we have to prove to Him how much we want it. Justina didn’t get baptized Saturday as we wanted, not because we didn’t do everything we could. We literally walked the 30 min to her house everyday and we did our very best, but she isn’t ready. I know that she is preparing and we have great plans for this next week to get her in the water this Saturday, but again we are experiencing problems with the members. It’s so difficult. I just hope that things will work out. That’s the thing. When we plan and thing’s don’t go the way we want we just want to give up, but we have to learn to have a back up plan and back up for our back up. It’s hard when we have plans fall through. This also goes for goals, we are tempted to not plan or set goals because it feels like why try, they never go the way we want anyway. That’s what satan wants, but as we diligently plan and follow through we are showing Heavenly Father how much we want that thing and what we are willing to do to achieve it. 

Don’t think we aren’t teaching anyone other than Justina. We are trying to get more investigadors. It’s hard. We had an awesome mujer joven but we went Saturday to invite her to church and she said her family doesn’t want her to have anything to do with us. But she loves the Book of Mormon and she is reading. I know that she will be baptized someday. We are also teaching Justina’s family. haha She is such a missionary. She is always saying visit this person. We found out that she is always visiting the elderly in the barrio. She is turning 68 and she still walks all over visiting people, Paraguayans never die. She told us the other day she was going to visit her dad. He is 96. I was like what!!! Your dad’s alive? It’s crazy. We got a referral this week from the elder’s investigator. It was her mom. She is only like 30 and when we got there we discovered her mom was 92!!! and ONLY spoke Guarani. That was a fun hour in her house as the rain poured down outside and she jumped at the sound of each break of thunder and rambled forever in Guarani. It’s so hard. I love old people and their stories. I hate not being able to understand them. 

So this Sunday was golden. We have three sets of missionaries in our rama. In my district between all of us we usually have one maybe two sometimes none investigators at church. But this week we all had someone!!! Gospel principles was packed! One of the women in the rama was suppose to go get Justina. We saw her at church and no Justina. I wanted to cry!! Hermana Sanabria told us when she went to get her she wanted to take a shower and Hermana Sanabria didn’t want to be late for church. I don’t know why she didn’t talk her out of the shower but anyway we were literally running all over like crazy trying to find someone to get her. We find the president’s son, that poor boy, he is the chauffeur of the rama, but we didn’t have another woman so we ran back to the capia trying to find someone to come with us. We finally grabbed a young woman and off we went. I was praying so hard the whole way that she would be ready when we got there and she was!!!! It was so great!!!! She loves church so much. The whole time she was smiling so big and she even read a part in front of the whole class. The lesson was on the sacrament and it was so perfect. I learned a lot. I’m grateful it wasn’t our week to teach. At the end Elder Den asked me to bear my testimony. I felt the spirit so strong. I have never had such a strong testimony of the sacrament before I came here. As I was leading the last song te nessisitio si (I Need Thee Every Hour) I was just crying so hard. It was kind of embarrassing but the whole room was investigators so they were all focused on their hymn books so it was ok.

The best part was we went to see Justina. After church she visited her son and we taught them about the sacrament and we had Justina share what she had learned and she knew so much!!! I bore my testimony again and her daughter said I believe in the blessings you’re talking about. Your Spanish is so much better then when I first met you. I know the Lord is helping you. This is someone who has never been to church. Then this question just came to me. I asked Justina if she has seen blessings in her life from living this commandment and she said she has. She has more energy to clean her house and she never wanted to read before and now she can for hours. Then she said I have been a part of three different churches and none felt right before now. I got chills. It was in Guarani when she said it so Nina, her daughter-in-law, said “she has been to a lot of churches and she feels so good in this one. I have seen a change in her. She used to be so nervous all the time and now she is so happy. She has found the true church.” The spirit was so strong. I know that people really can change!!! I know that I am changing so much. I was reading my MTC language journal and I never knew what the heck was going on. Now when I read it, I know what it says, and I was laughing at all the little mistakes I made. Sometimes I think we just can’t see all the progress we are making. I love you all so much!!


Hermana Pelota
Me and Hermana Escobar with our lamitos
It was raining really hard but we had no clothes to wear so we
treked to the ladies house in the rain.  We felt bad for the elders
so we brought theirs too.  They bought us lamitos. It's the thing
we had at Thanksgiving.

For fun Hermana Escobar and I ran to the cemetery last Monday.
It's crazy.  It's like a whole city.

This is an awesome quote, Maybe you can translate it. I don't know. Mostly it's for Cade.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Los Milagros Continuan

Hola Familia,

Man, time is just flying by. I can’t believe how quickly time is going. I am learning so much. My comp and I made really good goals for this change and we have been working hard at planning and eating healthy and speaking CASTELLANO!!! It is so hard especially when it is hot and I feel like my brain is in a frying pan. Basically in these moments this week we would just sing hymns in Spanish, which I am surprised at how many I have memorized. I guess singing a million times a day they start to stick. But ya, this week was really hot. I think it rained maybe twice for a few min. and that was it. It was hard getting people to want to do much of anything in that heat. 


Our main wonderful investigadora is still Justina. She is progressing so much. We went to see her juevas and we were reading from the Book of Mormon and she thought it was the Bible again even after we have explained a million times what it is. We explained again and I think she really understood this time and when we came back she said she had read what we had assigned her and was eager to hear what to read next. We told her to start from the beginning. She is such a missionary already. She is always thinking of more people we can teach. I love her so much. So we were worried she wouldn’t come to church Sunday because she kept saying if it’s not too hot I will come. I guess she has some kind of blood pressure problems that worsen in the sun, I don’t know. So we were praying so hard that we could get her there and that we could have a member help. So many milagros later she is sitting in church with a smile on her face and her Book of Mormon in her lap asking me to mark every scripture they are quoting. I love her. So ya, she is all set for baptism this Saturday!!! If only she will get on board, we will be all set. She thinks she isn’t ready so we have a way awesome plan of visiting her every day, which you have to do with any investigator leading up to the week of the baptism.  We have a member to help us every day and way awesome lessons planned. She is going to be baptized, I know it!!! We will nail her to Saturday as her date tomorrow. 


This week I was working on really listening to the spirit in all parts of the day and I was getting a little discouraged because sometimes I listen to the spirit and it doesn’t seem to even make a difference to the person. Like I feel really inspired to say something and it doesn’t make the person accept a date. But I am learning that doesn’t mean it wasn’t the spirit. One great example was this week we were inviting Justina and she kept saying I need to learn more and we finally gave up and started to say the final prayer. During the prayer this whole speech in Spanish came to my mind. So after I said “I know that I struggle with Spanish but I feel like I have to share this” I then proceeded to tell her all about how God calls the meek and humble to his work. I told her that’s why he called Joseph and that’s why he entrusts 18 and 19 year old kids to preach his gospel. I told her about the priesthood and how it’s not about the person holding it. They aren’t perfect people, they are just striving to be worthy of the calling they have. At the end she didn’t cry or accept a date, but I think she finally understood what we were saying all along. I know I couldn’t have done any of that without the spirit. 


Another time this week we asked a member to come with us, she is really great, a new convert. We went to 3 houses and no one was home. I was praying so hard we would find someone because it’s really hard to get members to want and come and walk in the hot sun. Then when people aren’t home it really doesn’t make them wanna come again. I felt really strongly we should visit this contact we had been trying to get a hold of for quite some time. As soon as the thought came to me I got so excited thinking “ya this is the time the whole family is going to be home, I just know it.” Anyway we turned and went there and no one was home. At first I was so crushed and I felt like I wasn’t listening to the spirit close enough. Later that night I was still thinking about it and I came to the conclusion that just because the result we expect to happen doesn’t it doesn’t mean it’s not the spirit. Maybe if we had gone that other way we would have been in harm’s way or I don’t know, missed an opportunity to listen to this new convert and what she needed. The member who was with us, maybe she just needed to talk. I don’t know, but I do know if we listen, the spirit will guide us. So don’t feel discouraged when the results aren’t always what you expect. 


Cross your fingers that we have a baptism this week. I am praying for you always!!!


Lots of love,

Hermana Pelota

Monday, January 5, 2015

LLUVEIA!!!!!!! (rain)

This week was all about rain, rain, rain. Seriously, it was the greatest thing ever. It never rains this much in the middle of summer. It’s great because it gets so, so, so hot and then it just dumps buckets and buckets of rain. People always feel bad for us out in the rain, so we get lots of lessons.... and it’s just so nice when it’s raining. After it rains is the worst. It gets so, so, so hot, so we pray that it will keep raining till the sun goes down. ha One night, I think it was New Year’s -ya it was because we had to be home early, a huge storm came out of nowhere and there was huge winds and rain pounding down. Luckily we were at a member’s house and when we went home it was so calm and nice outside. It’s so weird, aha, one of the best parts of the rain is the rainbows!!! I saw the biggest rainbow yesterday. It was a double rainbow. I took some pictures, but it doesn’t do it justice. It was so beautiful. Ok, sorry Nan, haha. You said Blake’s letters were just weather reports, but the weather this week has just been AMAZING for the middle of summer. When it wasn’t raining, though, it was really, really, really hot. I always think it can’t get hotter than this - and it does. The amazing thing is when you are in the shade it’s really not that bad. It’s just the sun that kills you. It beats down so hard, and almost everyone’s home is completely shaded. When we are really hot it just motivates us to find someone to teach so we can sit down and get some water and be in the shade. 

I am going to start with the funny thing that happened because it was so awful and funny at the same time. My stomach was hurting because I ate too much at a member’s house and it was really, really hot so I asked Hermana Escobar if we could take a little break. She was like, where? We were on a dirt road with no benches or anything. I saw this old well a little off the road so I start trekking through this marshland over to it. As I sit down in an exhausted huff, I start to feel fire and warmth consuming my foot. As I look down, I realize I have literally stepped on a huge ant hill and my whole foot was completely covered in ants biting me. I started screaming and running around and splashing in the water. There was nothing you could do. If you wipe it with your hand they are on your hand. Hermana Escobar was yelling “What’s the matter with you???” When she realized, because they were biting her too, she started saying “take off your shoes”. So I did and I am running all over trying to get these stupid little satans off me. Aw, it was terrible. Needless to say, I guess that’s what I get for being lazy. I wish I could send you the pic of my legs after that they were covered in little red dots. It’s a mission rule that we can’t send wound pictures home. They don’t want you to worry. It’s really not bad now. They just itch like a mosquito bite, but really, it was just so embarrassing because the family we had just been visiting saw the whole thing and were laughing from the house. Well, I am not sure if they were laughing, I think they were generally concerned, but when we told them later what happened they were laughing pretty hard. 

This week was kind of difficult because, I don’t know about you guys, but the New Year here is kind of about getting drunk and blasting Michael Jackson, haahaha. If the people weren’t drunk they weren’t home. We made great plans this week to visit people with members and at every appointment the people weren’t home. It was so hard. The worst one was Justina, our golden investigator. We have to have a member because, like I told you, she has been accepting the missionaries for a few months now and has been taught everything, but we recently discovered she doesn’t know very much Spanish. haha She is so funny. So we trekked through the rain to her far-away house twice this week, both with members, and the first time she wasn’t home. The second the member bailed on us. The picture of me in the huge puddle is right outside her house. It was the only way to get to her so we took off our shoes and trekked it. This time she was home, but we didn’t have a member, so it was a long 30 min of confusion and constantly us and her saying ¿¿¿¿ENTIENDE???? (understand). haha But I think she felt the spirit and she kissed us before we left and we arranged to pick her up the next day for church.

This gets us to miracle number one of the week, well number one that I am sharing. We have millions every day. Anyway, we were supposed to be at Roma 1 at 6 because the elders had a baptism. This is way far away because our building is under construction, we were already far away because we were at Justina’s house. So we make it to our building and we go about two more blocks and we are still probably 30 min from the chapel by foot and we see the president’s son driving by. I practically jumped on the hood. haha He happened to be caring the guest of honor and the whole family, including his grandma. So we were able to get in and get a ride. I was practically crying. I was so happy, it was one of the hottest days. 

This was my first baptism in the mission. I know we didn’t convert him but it still was great. I think of our district like a little team, so when he entered the water, he is like 10, I was crying so bad. He was so tiny and cute and excited and it reminded me I hadn’t been to a baptism in a long time. I kept thinking the last baptism I was at was Ethan’s, which made me cry and miss him. But as I am writing this, I realized I went to Sadie’s baptism, my cousin on Charlsie’s side, but oh well. It still had been a long time. It was beautiful and it reminded me why I am here. 

So this gets us to Domingo (Sunday). Oh man, it was so tough. The president’s son was supposed to take us to get Justina, but I guess he slept in. So we were frantically trying to get someone to take us, but it’s hard because no one knows where she lives. So we have to go with them and most people don’t have a car, they only have a moto. We aren’t allowed to ride them. So all through church I just felt sick because I knew Justina was just sitting at home wondering why we didn’t come. All through lunch I kept thinking - we should go see her. But we don’t have a lot of time on Sunday and her house is about a 40 min walk from our house. So we decided to visit her son who lives just two streets over from where we ate lunch and guess who was visiting her son, JUSTINA!!! Miracle number 2000000000000. ah We were so happy, but also felt terrible because the first thing she said was “Why didn’t you come?”!!! “I was all ready to go”. She said she didn’t believe that we wouldn’t come, so she asked her neighbor if she had missed us. I wanted to curl up and die. I felt so bad. We kept apologizing and telling her we felt so bad, but there was little we could do. We don’t have a car and she is too old to walk it all herself. But we had a great lesson and I took a pic with her for you guys to see. She is so sweet. She is like my grandma, haha, even if she doesn’t know what I am saying. We were teaching her about the Holy Ghost. I told her sometimes I feel bad and the Holy Ghost helps me feel better. She started laughing and said you feel bad because you don’t know anything. haha Then Hermana Escobar felt bad she was making fun of me, so she said “No, like if you do bad on a test or have family problems, sometimes you feel bad.” She was like “What, you had an exam yesterday and you did bad. What’s going on with your family?” ugh We really need a member when we teach her, haha. Also her son, we taught her son’s wife a week ago and then we visited Justina. Her son’s wife, Nina, told Justina that we believe God is living in America right now.... we were like WHAT!! We clarified it all to Justina, but we still haven’t found Nina to explain that to her. hahah Miscommunication happens when you don’t speak Guadani, shoot!! But one of our New Year’s goals is to learn a prayer in Guadani for Justina so please pray for me because, seriously, that language is psycho. 

Lots of love from Paraguay!!!!!!!!!!!
Hermana Ball

This is our prime investigator, Justina.
She was so excited when I told her I wanted a picture with her.

Getting ready to make our trek the 4 blocks in the rain to the bus stop.
Seriously, this is the coldest I have been since getting here to Paraguay.

Trying to save our house from the rain.

On our way to the navidad activity at 3 am, waiting on the Elders, as usual

Papa Noel Came

Like I said, it rained A LOT


This is Pedro Juan, a new convert and also minas activo 
This rain came from nowhere.  This is outside our house.
 Literally 10 minutes before this it was so hot and sunny

We made empanadas this week. They were really good.


PS: About the Church Mail Pouch

So, I keep forgetting to say that you can't use the church mail pouch system for MY mission. I sent two letters that way and they came back. They said, get this, "only the North mission has it," I hate those guys. So, sorry to disappoint, ugh I was so bugged. If you get the letters back you have sent this way, just send them with another letter through regular mail in an envelope. Sorry, I keep forgetting.

Feliz Ano Nuevo!!!!!! written December 29, 2014

With my presents. Thanks so much for the blanket, Charlsie.  I love it.
Hermana Escobar and her presents.  She was so happy.

Man I can’t believe how fast time flies! I am going to go in order of how the week went. Monday we had our lesson with Andrea’s parents and the whole family to ask if her sisters could be baptized. Things went great. Everything went the way we practiced except the part where the papa said yes.... It was really hard. The whole walk home I felt a little discouraged but Hermana Escobar did so good. In the lesson we gave him a libro de mormon and asked him to read it and pray about his decision. He said he wouldn’t pray because he had already made his decision but he would read because he is curious about our church. He had lots of questions and I feel like we answered them well.

That night we had some guests at our house, the other sisters in our zone live far from the terminal, so they stayed with us to get up at 1 to go to the mission Christmas party. It was so fun. We didn’t do much sleeping. We walked to the terminal with the elders, it was way fun. The party was in Ita. It was a 3 hour bus ride. It was so good seeing my batch again and talking to them! It was basically like a youth conference: we played soccer and capture the flag and volley ball and that sponge game where you get all wet. It was great. I met lots of Hermanas. It was fun wondering who will be my comp someday. Lots of people thought I was a Latin. It was great until they heard me talk and then they would say “where are you from” and then they would say “WHY ARE YOU SO BROWN!!” haha I can’t wait till the day my Spanish will fool them. We didn’t get home this day until 9. It was way exhausting and we had just recovered from going to Asuncion so it messed up our sleep schedule all over again. ugh But it was great. We also had a white elephant. I got chocolate milk mix and we watched the Christmas devotional, but it was in Spanish and I was so tired. I kind of just slept on Hermana Escobar’s shoulder the whole time. We also watched David Archoleta’s song with the Piano Guys. That was way cool and we had a slide show of all the baptisms in our mission this year. I cried. I can’t wait till I have some up there!!!

Christmas Eve we had lunch with the Roma president’s family. It was way good and we didn’t really have much other success that day. Our study took lots of the day and then we went to a member’s house that night, the same one I went to call you guys. We were planning to act out the nativity with them because Hermana Escobar had never really heard of it soo we figured they hadn’t. But then we got a call saying we had to be home by 7:30 because it’s dangerous. ugh So we took them a dessert and gave them the little nativity puzzle Charlsie sent. We told them that the piece with Jesus was in the card and that they could do the puzzle with their kids and talk about Christmas without Christ is incomplete. They loved it so much. I think the dad cried a little, he loved it so much. Then we had to literally run 10 blocks home because we wanted to be obedient. We were 2 min late but we were ok.

Hermana Escobar and I made some special food and sang every Christmas hymn. Then we read the whole Christmas story in the scriptures. She had never done that before on Christmas, and we watched The Lamb of God, it was great. We also had a popcorn fight, which felt like snow. hah I tried to make Christmas really special for Hermana because she was telling me she has never really gotten a present before and it’s really just always about food. It was so fun playing Santa and putting out all the presents I got her. Mostly it was my stuff, I gave her haha like a sweater and a clip she loves of mine, but she was so grateful. Christmas morning we just opened presents and talked and then we had study and weekly planning and then I got to call you. When I think about it I wanna cry because it was so great seeing all of you in the moment. I was just too happy to be anything else. So sorry if I didn’t seem excited to see you all. I was. It was so great.

After we talked we taught some way amazing lessons and we had a little miracle. Well, were walking and I remembered we had said we would go see Justina’s son that day. His wife had said “Oh that’s Christmas and my birthday but yah, we would love you to come.” Once we remembered that we ran there and when we arrived Justina was there and we haven’t been able to find her so it was great!!!!

That night my district leader challenged me not to speak any English on Viernes (Friday) and I did it!!! I have never done so well. It was great. That night when he called he kept saying “Hermana your Spanish is so much better”. Sunday I commented in church like 3 times and he said after “that was so great”. I know it’s a direct blessing from your sacrifice. So now we are trying to go a whole week, although I haven’t been too good today. I need to be better but it was so great. He is such an inspired leader. We found out he isn’t being transferred so we are really happy!!! One elder was, but his comp is training so we are getting someone newer than me!!!! I am stoked! 

Anything I said on Christmas or in my letters that seems creepy, or I don’t know, gross, don’t worry about me. It’s gross when I think about it or talk about it, but when you are actually there having to deal with it, God gives you strength beyond your own. Hermana Escobar has never seen a mouse her whole mission and she keeps saying “When I get home I am going to be so creeped out because our house is full of them”. haha Then we got home the other night and i saw two mice in our house. She hasn’t seen them, so maybe I am crazy. But ya, haa I am glad I’m getting all the worst stuff out of the way in my first area. I seriously love it here and never want to leave. There are so many animals haha in our house we have the cockroaches, the ants, the lizards, gecko and her babies, and now Mickey and Minnie and Tina the chicken. Shoot we aren’t obeying the no pets rule very well.

I have never been around so many animals. Daily I see goats, horses, cows, everywhere pigs, chickens, cats, DOGS, birds, frogs, weird bugs. We have two parrots in our area that people have as pets. They say “hola” when you walk by and Saturday we saw a pet monkey!!! I died. It’s like the mission golden treasure, not everyone gets to see a monkey! It’s like everyone had babies overnight, because when I got here there were just big animals. And now, next to every grown up are two babies. It’s really cute. And all the butterflies hatched overnight. They are everywhere. It’s great! 

Ok, my New Year’s spiritual thought and then I will go. I was reading in the Liahona and a man was talking about growing up in Idaho and having potato and corn plants. They would rotate the fields every year. One day when he was plowing the corn area he found a beautiful potato plant. He called his dad over and asked what he should do. “Pull it” his dad said. “But dad, it’s so beautiful. It looks better than any of the plants in the potato field.”   “Pull it” his dad repeated, “this year it’s a weed!” I love it. He went on to say "When I consider all the things Heavenly Father would have me do in this life, doing them at the right TIME is as critical as doing them at all" I think that’s a great thought. As we begin a new year there are lots of great things you could do this year, but maybe for you this year they are a weed, there is something greater for you to be doing. I challenge you to look at your year and think of what you want to accomplish. What do you want to learn and where do you want to be next year? I promise, as you do, when you finish another year, you won’t look back with regret. You will feel accomplished and ready to face new challenges. I am grateful for this opportunity of new beginnings, new planner, new goals, new language and new country. Lot’s is different and I plan to make the most of it. 

I love you all, 

Happy New Year

Hermana Ball