Monday, March 30, 2015

Villa Elisa 1.2

WAHOOOO another Latina! Hermana Guardardo is from Honduras!
She is seriously the best thing ever.  I love her so much.
It was really hard to say goodbye to Justina.  She was crying and she kept
hugging me so tight.  She told me I'm her daughter! She was all, "What the?
 I get baptized and then you leave me!!" Oh man, it was terrible but she
was excited to be getting a new hermana.

This picture is great because Hermana Aguilar is the mom of Hermana Bronson.
I was companions with her too and now this transfer Hermana Bronson and
my mom, Hermana Escobar are companions!!

This is one of Hermana Guardado's recent converts.  She was baptized the same
week as Justina. I really wanted to send this picture because notice my
clothes!! This week it got cold and I actually got to wear a sweater.  I was so happy!

6 months!!! Hermana Gardardo officially has 6 months in the mission today and
I complete 6 months next Thursday! I can't believe how fast the time is going.
Hola Familia!!! 
Man it feels like it’s been forever since I wrote you. Soooo much has happened! Tuesday came and we were all at our reunion de districto (district meeting). It’s always so intense. We never know if we’re leaving or not. the liders de zona (zone leaders) received the call from the oficina (office) and when they came back they are always so dumb about the line of authority. So our lider de zona called our lider de districto (district leader) – we’re all in the same room haha and he started saying the changes. Of course I was last. He said “and Hermana Ball has one more change here with Hermana Aguilar” I was like “really!!!” “No, you’re leaving”. What! hahah I was relieved and sad at the same time. I was actually really sad to say goodbye to Hermana Aguilar and all our investigators and the members and JUSTINA! Oh man, it was so hard saying goodbye to her. She just kept bringing more food for me to eat. haha It’s their way of showing their love. She is really excited for me to send her pictures of my kids. haha She kept saying “Don’t ever forget me ok. You’re my daughter!” After lots of goodbyes we went home and I packed from 9:30- 12:40. Then I got a nice 30 min of sleep before we had to leave for the terminal. It was such a miracle. All my stuff fit in my bags. I have gotten so much stuff while I was there, but it all fit so it was great.                                  

In the terminal I just kept looking for Hermana Escobar. When I finally found her I just fell into her arms and we both cried. I showed her the picture of Justina’s baptism and she was sooo happy. She didn’t know. It was so nice to see her. It felt like she has become just this magical dream part of my mission when everything was perfect. It was literally so hard to leave her but I am so stoked. Hermana Bronson is her companion now. Hermana Bronson and I just need to be companions, I hope.  That would be the best thing ever. She is seriously my best friend in the mission. We always find sneaky ways to write each other, haha and send each other presents. Anyway, finally my lider de districto (district leader) found me and said that my new companion was waiting for me, so I had to say goodbye to Hermana Escobar, which was hard. I may never see her again. She dies (goes home) really soon....  but my new companion is Hermana Guardardo!!! She is seriously the best thing ever. She is so happy and just excited to be in the mission. We have the same amount of time in the mission but she isn’t from my group because she had visa problems and spent 2 cambios (transfers) in Honduras in a mission different than her house, but still in her same country. She reminds me of Sandy’s niece, Laila, so much. I don’t know why, she even looks like her to me. She is just so patient with me and she just loves to work hard. Our first planning seminal (weekly planning) she was so cute. Most of the time we are always so grumpy during planning because it’s so long, but the whole time she was just like “Ok what’s our plans for this investigator and this and this.” haha She is the best. haha For example she likes to plan during planamental seminal plan animo for the week. Our animo this week is we put the alarm clock in the middle of the floor and when it goes off in the morning whoever gets it first, wins. haha So literally we dive out of our beds every morning to be there first. hahaha She says it’s to help us wake up happy. hahah It really works. We’re always laughing. It is literally night and day from my last cambio (transfer). I finally feel like a real missionary!!! and Paraguay is starting to feel like my home. Everyone here thinks that I am Latino. When I say I’m from the United States they are like “Really, what”’!! hahah I never had that in Coronel, well sometimes, but literally everyone here says it.

Soooo I guess I haven’t said anything about my area, sorry, I’m just so happy about Hermana Guardardo, haha but we are in Villa Elisa!! It’s 30 from Asuncion, really close, so it’s also night and day from Coronel Ovideo. Our area is city, city, city but at the same time not. It’s basically suburb neighborhoods with big busy streets connecting it. I hope I can get some pictures of our area this next week. The best part is our area is soooo small. You can walk the whole thing in less than an hour. Coronel Ovideo is sooo big. I love it. We also have this big beautiful church. It is so beautiful but we have less people at church then we did in Coronel. We have so many less active members but it’s great. We get to work a lot with them and we had a whole family at church, less active, Sunday. It was great. The other thing is people have real addresses here! The street names are all countries so it’s way easy to remember: America, Jamaica Honduras, Cuba etc. The work here is really great, I can’t explain how great it was this week. We have lots of potential. Our lider de disticto (district leader) is kind of intense. He called us Sunday and said we NEED 11 with baptism dates. Well, we only had one in the runion. What am I saying, we had one in the runion and she is great, but to have 10 others is kind of crazy, but we got 3 which I was stoked about and they are all really great!

The other thing is CONFERENCE IS THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!! ahhhh I am so happy. I am also a little sad. I don’t think I am going to get to watch most of it. Hermana Guardardo is so great. She said we don’t have time to watch it unless we have investigators. So if we don’t, we won’t be watching it, we will be working. But it’s ok. I will look forward to the Ensign.  We didn’t get to see the Women’s Conference... but it’s ok. That’s just how things go on the mission. We will watch all of Sunday, so that’s great!

Ok, I’m sorry. I feel like I didn’t give very much detail only that I’m so so great. haha Literally, I am so great. haha I don’t want this change to go by fast! I’m just enjoying every minute. I finally am beginning to feel so comfortable in lessons. I don’t have to stress about what I’m going to say. I just talk and follow the spirit. It hasn’t been an easy process to get to that point and I still get kind of freaked out sometimes, but that’s what’s great about Hermana G. Whenever I am lacking, she steps in and helps me out. We are a great team!! Ohhh, I forgot. She does have one flaw. Her health is kind of bad. The main thing that’s bad is her back. Friday all day she was hurting but she just kept working because she is like that and then at 7 she could barely walk so we started heading home. We got there around 8. Luckily she doesn’t have a watch. She kept asking what time is it. I was like ohhh, it’s time to go home because you can’t walk. But when we got home she was like, “8! Hermana, we have got to go back out”  haha then she laid down and literally couldn’t get back up, she was hurting so bad. It was so sad. She was just crying and I felt so helpless, I was just holding her hand and rubbing her feet because she was so cold. This week was so cold. I loved it, but it only made her hurt more... but now she is just fine so hopefully she won’t have any more problems. It was a huge milagro when we woke up Saturday and she felt fine. She still hurts, I know she does, but mucho menos (less)!

Ok, love you all. Don’t worry about me because I am doing great! I love Villa Elisa. I love my companion and it’s finally not so hot.

Hermana Ball 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Letter sent Monday, March 23, 2015

Estoy muy feliz! (I'm very happy)
First baptism!! Sorry I couldn't send pictures last week. The computers weren't working!

HaHa.  I didn't even realize Eder Den is the only guy in this picture.  When we asked who she wanted to baptize her, she said,
"La blancito con lentes". Also  in this picture is Liz Marina, the granddaughter of Hermana Justina to my left. Nayelie
and Norma and Lujan.
Our zone after zone conference.  We sang like heavenly angels.  Haha.
 I really don't know what all the elders are doing, but us sisters look good.

Dad reminded me of something else that happened this week.  Mickey died and two days later Minnie.
We didn't even know we had two...Hermana Aguilar was kind of mad at me because she is like a hippie to
the extreme.  I can't even pick flowers or leaves, so she was really sad but afterwards  she wanted to
pick him up to take a picture.  She is a special girl.

You can always hear the frogs at night and it reminds me of Kentucky. I always want to catch one but its hard to see.
So one night this week I saw one and I caught it.  All the girls where screaming. It was so funny but I had to have
a similar picture from when I was tiny holding a frog as big as me.

This is as close as the girls would get, haha. It looks like I peed my pants but actually I had been eating an avocado and I spilled on myself, classic Ball! So I was trying to clean it up. But the frog did pee while I was holding it, haha and it
almost got on all the girls (girls being the sisters of Andrea - the awesome convert in our area.  She has like 7 sisters.)

This is us doing some service. We had a pollo cook for one of the little boys in our rama who had surgery.
Everyone came and ate and donated money.  It was fun.

Saying goodbye to the family Martinez was really hard. I love them all so much.  I hope they can become active again. The dad told me it has been a pleasure eating lunch with me every Saturday and that its always the highlight of his week teaching me Guarani.

This is some of the sisters of Andrea before Hermana Escobar left
So we had our Conferencia de zona martes (Tuesday). It was so great. I can’t even describe all the things I learned. It’s like mini general conference, special for our mission. We talked a lot about how we are responsible for ourselves and that only God knows how hard we are actually working. We have always reported a whole bunch of numbers every Sunday night but starting yesterday we only report lessons with a member, number of baptisms, confirmations, how many we had in church, how many with a date and that’s all. They talked about how it’s important to have goals and to have faith in your goals but that we are only accountable to God. It was kind of intense. I think I’m just going to tell myself we still have to give the numbers so I don’t stop thinking those other things are important. We also talked about why we are here and what our goal as a mission is for Paraguay. It was really cool, as a mission our goal for baptisms this month is 204. We have never had more than 200. As of this week we have 174!! with 44 ready to be baptized this week! I know these are all numbers but it’s all connected to families and missionaries working hard and one of those 174 is Justina and one of those missionaries working hard is me...

We also got to watch.... CONOCEN LOS MORMONES!!! (Meet the Mormons) Oh man it was sooo great! At first I was nervous because the lady was speaking really fast in Spanish but after we got into the stories I understood it all. Man the last one was so trunky for everyone, haha especially when the missionary is leaving. It’s like the same drive in the car I made and the good-bye in the airport. Pretty sure we were all crying, ahah but man I loved it so much and the movie is coming here soon! Also we have Because of Him coming up. It’s going to be a lot like He is the Gift, we get to carry a DVD player and share it with everyone!!! 

President was really emotional. I think it may have been his last conference. They go home in June, the same time as Hermana Escobar. We found out our new president is from Uruguay!!! I’m stoked!

Something I never knew before was that the Liahona has a special part just for the area and it always says way cool stuff. I think you guys don’t get to see it, it’s just for us, so sorry, but maybe you can find it online. This month it said that we have like 5 new missions in our area of the world and a whole batch of new presidents, including ours!!!

In other news, Megan Gilchrist is officially here!! I asked president and he said ya she came this last change!! I am so stoked. Hermana Agizzanni said Megan is really worried about her light skin. haha They also said this change 10 elders are leaving but no sisters and we are getting 5 sisters!!! All North Americans, this was at lunch at the conference. President said this and all the Hermanas were like ahhh all Americans and then I realized I was the only North American there. There are lots of elders, but I was the only sister. It’s because they don’t like sending the blondes out here. I think they have had problems in the past.

Lots of milagros (miracles) came this week. One big one is the granddaughter of Justina. She is living with Justina right now and it’s just so great teaching her. She loves to read and she loves everything we teach. Some kids saw her walking down the street with us the other day and afterwards started saying rude things about how she was a mormona and that she is abandoning her culture and all these things. She looked at them and said "I would rather worship God then some photo on the wall" ... we told her we always need to be respectful of other religions but it was kind of cool to see after one time at church she sees herself as a mormon and that she is willing to defend it. Also we haven’t even taught her about the virgin yet so that means Justina has been teaching her. Every time we go to their house it’s like a beautiful picture, her and Justina sitting and reading el libro de mormon or pricipios de evangelio (B of M or gospel principles). Oh man it’s great. The health of Justina isn’t so great. She is still really struggling but she is so happy all the time! At church yesterday she was laughing and talking to everyone. I had to teach principios (gospel principles) solo because Hermana Aguilar said your turn. ahah So I did it. I was so scared, but I think it actually went really well.

I guess it started getting around that I might leave this week so everyone was hugging me and crying and I was crying, oh man it was kind of emotional and then they asked Elder Den, me and Elder Zavala to give our testimonies in sacrament. I was trying not to cry and make it all about me leaving, but as I looked out at our little rama and I realized how much we have grown. Every companionship has had a baptism this month and the past months we had 10 others, it’s amazing. I really love the people here. It’s hard not knowing what will happen, will I stay or will I go... to tell you the truth I love all the people here and what is hardest is to leave my investigators, Liz, Nayeli, Norma, not knowing what will happen to them. But I am kind of ready to go and start a new part of my mission. I can’t believe how fast the time is going. My 3rd campio (transfer) is already gone!!

I’m doing really good. I am learning lots of things and I hope I am touching some lives. haha Justina started calling me the gordita this week (chunky girl).  haha I think I am gaining weight, but one of the members heard her call me that and I think he felt bad so he told me I was a linda chica (pretty girl). haha It made me feel a little better. Hopefully I can get a comp that likes to run. I use to always run with Hermana Escobar. I miss it. I love you all. Cross your fingers I get transferred to another area compo (country area) with a Latina. That’s what I want, but I think I will probably be in the city... Hermana Aguilar says I am going to be in the city with a North American white wash trainamento. Wow I hope not!  ok I’m rambling, sorry.


Hermana Ball

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tengo Gozo In Mi Alma Hoy!!! (There is Sunshine in My Soul Today)

This is the first song I learned in Spanish. It's one of my favorites in Spanish.

Hola Familia!!!! 

This week flew by with many milagros (miracles) and lots of sacrifice. So first off we have conferencia de zona (zone conference) mañana and it’s our zone’s turn for the musical number. A little background on this. My very first Sunday here was so interesting because, well to put it nicely, the saints in Paraguay don’t really sing in tune or well any tune for that matter. haha But they still sing with all the gusto they have in them. I have really grown to love Sundays for this reason, you can feel the spirit so strong when people who don’t really know how to sing belt their lungs out to worship their Lord. So anyway I wasn’t too worried about this musical number because, well, people here don’t really have musical numbers like we do at home. We are singing El Espíritu de Dios (The Spirit of God) but my zone leaders seem to think we need to sing perfectly, so we had 5 practices throughout the week. In order for us to have the practica it requires Hermana Aguilar y mi to walk 30 to our capilla. It’s not terrible once a week for district meetings, but 5 times was super tiring and time consuming!!

Also the first time we sang it one of the elders was singing a solo and Hermana Aguilar said it’s nice but it’s missing a woman’s voice. My companion should sing with him! I wanted to kill her! I love singing and I sing loud, but I think we all know I’m not the best singer ever. I love singing in choirs, but I do not sing solos no importa tango otro persona (it doesn’t matter that there’s another person singing).  It was seriously so out of my comfort zone to sing solo in front of all these elders in Spanish and try and sound good. Our zone leader, Elder Guitarra, kept saying HERMANA BALL what happened!!!! Hermana Ball you can do this. Hermana Ball, breathe trainquilo Hermana Ball. ugh I was trying so hard but I was so embarrassed and nervous. It wasn’t like “Oh just sing and we will see how it goes”. The elder wanted me to sing solo with him and then by myself and then ugh it was really, really intense for me. Then they wanted us to sing our part sin piano (without the piano) which is even harder. So then I’m trying to not go flat and sing these high notes.

Then the next day they call and say that they found a new arrangement of this song and would like me to sing the soprano part on the last verse. I said how high is it? A little higher, they said. Oh man, it’s a lot higher! I forgot to ask the highest note but it’s really hard. The first time I couldn’t hit it he kept saying all those same things, you can do this Hermana Ball. I just felt so dumb because they had to keep practicing my part and the whole choir is just waiting for me to hit this insane high note. ugh So then the next day they say, ok we changed it for you Hermana Ball. The elder is going to sing the high note and I am going to sing a little lower but still pretty high. So they teach me my part and I go and practice and practice and then we all sing together and when the elder hits the note I followed him and totally forget my part. Elder Guitarra was like what’s this Hermana Ball you couldn’t do it before and now you can! I knew you could do it. So now I’m back to singing the super high part. I know this was a really long story but this was a huge part of my week and I learned some valuable things. Number one: sometimes the goal seems so high and we keep trying and keep trying and then we try something new only to discover that we could accomplish the hard goal. I also learned that I need to have more confidence in myself. When I started telling myself I could do it, I wasn’t scared anymore and I started having fun, even when I didn’t hit the note every time. So pray for us that tomorrow I will be able to hit the note and that the people listening ears won’t bleed because seriously it is super high. Look up the Tabernacle Choir’s version and it’s the same, but in Spanish, and sang by people who don’t have the talent but practice like they do, but we are just doing our best!!!

Sooo anyway the Sister Training Leaders came this week I was with Hermana Martinez. Although she has a Latin last name she is from Texas and spoke to me a lot in English. I kept with my goal and didn’t speak any English, although it was really hard, I wanted to! We were so blessed. We found so many awesome people. I love the sister leaders. When they come I always just feel busted!

A huge milagro (miracle) of the week was that Hermana Aguilar and I are getting along really really great!  We still don’t always agree and sometimes I don’t know what she is trying to say. But we were both a lot more patient with each other this week and a lot more open with our communication. The change is coming so fast. I am actually kind of excited for a new area but I really am getting used to Hermana Aguilar. Something awesome about Latinas is they don’t really know how to give false praise. Hermana Escobar was the same, so you always know if they think you’re doing a good job or not. Hermana Aguilar is a little more frank then Hermana Escobar but still it’s the same. But it’s great because they give really true feedback of how you need to improve. With my singing she was so funny. She would be like you started out great but then, I don’t know what happened, it was not good at the end. Or, she would say you aren’t opening your mouth. Open your mouth. hahah no se (I don’t know) it’s really great having someone be really honest with you. It’s also humbling because she really doesn’t care to hurt your feelings. I’m starting to realize I’m not the greatest thing ever. haha I have lots of flaws, but we are working on them. 

I saved the best for last, why my soul has sunshine right now. So this week we worked with Justina a lot and I was starting to get discouraged all over again. But then we had a lesson on Friday and we said we wanted to have her baptism on Sunday. She was still a little unsure. She told us that she didn’t have clothing, we said we do!! We told her we would come the next day with the clothes. But then we had the practice in the morning and we still didn’t know for sure if she was going to be baptized, but we had faith. So we started to fill the pila (font) with water. It’s not a little thing. First you have to clean it. We planned to clean it and then turn the water on so when we were practicing it would be filling up, but Elder Guitarrra said we didn’t have time before practicing. We were kind of bugged because this was one of the only reasons we agreed to come to the practice. When we were singing one of our zone leaders, Elder Cronin, and one of the other elders left. I thought wow how awesome, they are cleaning the pila for us. But when they came back we realized they had been shopping or I don’t know what. I was bummed. So I told him this and he felt really bad so he cleaned the pila for us!! We still had to wait for the pila to fill, it was taking a long time. So I took a bucket to one of the faucets and started dumping water in by a bucket as well. About an hour and a half later the pila was half way full and the water shut off...... South American probs. So discouraged, we knelt and prayed and prayed and prayed. I was kind of upset because we were trying to do everything we could and there were so many forces working against us. We left sad... we went to Justina and showed her the clothes and she was kind of a diva.  haha She didn’t like any of them. haha Especially the jump suit, “no, no I don’t want to be seen in pants!” haha We found a dress she liked and we kind of just made all the plans and she didn’t seem to have a problem. We left around 7 and ran for the house of Norma y Niellie. We had a quick lesson with them and made plans for them to come to church in the morning. We called our district leader he, said all was good for the morning. We called the President of Rama. He was not happy. It was so frustrating. He told us we couldn’t have the baptism and he didn’t know why we were saving it all to the last min. But literally we were doing all we could all this time. We are also running to the capilla to fill the pila. I don’t know who talked to president but he got on board. Elder Den was so great. He was like ok just call all the members and invite them and don’t say anything about what president said. We will figure this out. haha We were literally running because by this point it was 8:30 and we didn’t know how long the pila was going to take. We arrive at the capilla and there is was awesome member there. She cleans every Saturday. She was so funny. When we came running up she said, “Need the bathroom?” Ahah no. We need to fill the pila. She said oh ya. I saw the water. I would have drained it if I knew how! Milagro (miracle) number one million, she didn’t know how! We ran to the font and it was filled to the point exactly where it needed to be. Hermana Aguilar said that before we left she had the impression to leave it on a little but she was scared. What if it over flowed! But literally it was at the perfect spot and there was water still flowing. I literally just cried looking at the font. It didn’t seem real. We ran back to our house to be home by 9:30. We made cookies for the baptism and then went to bed.

We got up the next morning at 5:40. We still didn’t know how everything was going to go. We ran to president’s house. Of course Isihias wasn’t ready, so we waited and waited. Finally we left for Justina. When we got there she wasn’t ready either. Her granddaughter Lee Mabel was trying to help. We asked if we could help too. She needed to catch all the chickens and put them in the coop. hahahah  So we are all running around the yard trying to catch these chickens. It was so hilarious. Finally Justina and her granddaughter were ready. We zoomed to Norma y Niellie and another milagro they were ready!!! and waiting. So we packed them and the little one Lujan in the car too. It was so funny. We were all just cramped and happy! When we got to the capilla everything was perfect. The elders were all waiting. I was still running everywhere to get the papers signed we needed and get Justina dressed and take the picture. Nothing felt real until the moment I saw her enter the water and even then I was still nervous. But she did it. She was baptized and I can’t even express how happy I was. Everything was crazy but it all just worked together into one huge milago! She said she hadn’t felt good but after her baptism she was feeling great. She attended all her meetings and in sacrament she was confirmed! It was so beautiful! Not only was Justina baptized, we had 3 or 4 investigators in the runion.  Lujan doesn’t count because she is 6, but she was still there and loved it. This week there were lots of Milagros. I’m sorry if this doesn’t make sense. The computer isn’t working great, but the main thing is that Justina was baptized! And I’m going to sing a solo, kind of. haha

Love you all, 

Hermana Ball

Monday, March 9, 2015


Christmas in March!!!!!

We made fajitas!!

A German man we met in the woods made the Eiffel Tower way strange

Today I have been in the mission 5 months. This is so psycho. I don’t feel like it’s been that long. My mission is almost a third of the way gone!!!! Ahhh. I need to get cracking on my Spanish!   

Ok, so I didn’t tell you guys this because I felt it was too good to be true, but not this last Saturday but the last we had a lesson with Justina. It’s been really hard because all we had been hearing from our leaders was when to drop someone. They wanted us to drop Justina, well not drop but tell her we weren’t going to be coming to see her as much as before. So we were so sad but we asked an ex-missionary to come with us and he taught the priesthood authority like a pro and she understood and she realized she wanted to be baptized. Before she just loved the church but she never understood why it was necessary to be baptized again. So she accepted a date for this past Saturday!!!! We were soooo stoked. I thought it would be awesome to just come this week and shock you all with my first baptism, that’s why I didn’t tell you last Monday.  All this week we had been working with her to help her feel prepared. Her health has been really bad lately. She had been in the hospital for a week, her whole body seems to have different problems that are all new. Before she was super healthy. So any way Wednesday we had the pre-interview with her where we go over all the baptismal questions (which we have done before but she always had so many questions we never got through them all) but everything went so great. It was the most spiritual experience I have had on my mission. We were all crying. We told her that she is the example for her family, that she is the key for her kids to follow. That’s all she wants is an eternal family. It’s so sad because all her kids have so many problems. Her favorite thing is to hear about mothers who had kids that completely changed their lives. We are always telling her stories like this. She loves that in the church all the kids are in shirts and ties. She just loves seeing pure youth. It’s true, lots of the youth here have lots of problems. It’s common to see little girls with children or 12 year olds smoking, so to see kids in church singing and bearing their testimony is really special to her. She had a question about fast and testimony meeting. She wanted to know if you have to go up haha. We told her no, but when you bear your testimony it doesn’t only strengthen you, but everyone present. I told her my mom doesn’t really like going up either and doesn’t do it often, but when I left for my mission my mom went up and told everyone her testimony and that she wanted to send me on my mission knowing that my mom has a testimony of this church. Justina was so touched by this. She hates that we are so far from our families. I tell her all the time that my family isn’t perfect. We have lots of struggles, we just try to rely on the Lord together. She is so sweet. I love her so much and she is so ready for baptism. So Thursday Elder Denhalter came with us to her house and we had a member so she could really understand in her interview and everything went perfect. I had to be outside and seriously I was so nervous. I couldn’t believe we had made it this far. When Elder Denhalter came out he told us that everything was perfect. She remembered everything. She has a testimony and she wants to be baptized but she couldn’t do it this week due to health problems. She is scared to enter the water because of the pain in her legs. My heart was so broken because Elder Den doesn’t think it’s just that. They think she has more doubts and we need to work with her more, but she pasted everything. She is living all the commandments. We went in to talk to her. I was trying so hard not to look disappointed. We talked to her about the story of Job and how he was faithful through all of his struggles. She was so sweet, she said “Ya, I need to be strong like Job.” She accepted a date for this next Saturday if her health is better. So we need to pray for her to recuperate. It’s so frustrating. We wanted her to get a priesthood blessing. The second day she was sick the president came to her house but when he got there she had left for the hospital. After that we had a lunch with the elders and president and they were all bashing on us for trying to force miracles and that she needed to ask for it herself. She doesn’t know to ask. When Benazio the ex-missionary taught about the priesthood he told her about blessings and she said she wanted one. We planned for one after church last week, but she never asked again and we aren’t allowed to push it, so she hasn’t had one... They are really strict about blessings on the mission. It’s so weird to me. Hermana Escobar was struggling during my time with her and asked for a blessing of comfort and she was denied. It’s like a whole process in the mission, I don’t get it, but I have faith in Justina. I know that she is going to be baptized. The hardest part was I realized how selfish I had been. I want her to be baptized on my terms. I want it before I leave so I can write her the rest of my mission, if not I can’t write her. But I realized I hadn’t listened to my spiritual thought last week. I was telling God, “Ok, I have been patient. I have been working with her for 3 months. I’m done with this trial. It’s time for her to be baptized” but I guess that’s not how it works. So for now we are just praying and waiting and trying to be patient and loving. It was hard because this is the third time we thought for sure she would be baptized and in order to prepare someone you visit them every day the week of their baptism and she lives far, so our numbers this week were really really low. It’s hard to know where to focus our time.  

Other than Justina this week was about the same, really hot, lots of rain, lots of Spanish. We still had a baptism in our district this week. A hermano (brother) of a family that was baptized before. It was so sweet to see the whole family together. I bore my testimony at the baptism on family and the importance of growing spiritually together. This change has been really hard for me but I am learning a lot and I hope I am making a difference. It’s hard to feel like you are accomplishing anything when you never see the fruits of your labor. We keep meeting amazing people and then they never progress. They just like having us around, and then we have to stop visiting them and I feel so bad. But I have faith that one day they will be ready and they will remember “the blue book on their shelf from those friendly girls” and they will read it or their daughter or granddaughter. I have faith that no act of love and kindness is wasted, no attempt to share the gospel is unnoticed by our Heavenly Father.   I can’t believe this week is already week 5 of this change. Before I know it I am going to be leaving Cornonel!!!! or maybe I will have another change here, who knows!! 

I love you all. I received a million letters this week. It was Christmas in March. I am trying to write everyone back. The main problem is money. It’s really expensive for me, but I am so grateful for every letter and email I receive. I read and re-read and re-read every one. So thank you so much for supporting me and sending your love.  

Con mucho amor, (with lots of love)

Hermana Ball 

Monday, March 2, 2015

It's March !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So animal report: We haven’t had very many cockroaches lately, basically since Hermana Aguilar came, and I was so stoked. But Mickey, our mouse, has become very prevalent. He started eating all our food, so now all the food is safe in the fridge. We think that’s why we don’t have any other animals, ‘cause Mickey ate them all. I can’t decide what I hate more, Mickey or cockroaches. I really don’t want them to come back. I killed one the other day outside our house as long as my finger. I was freaking out. I did not want that thing in the house. The ones in our house are babies compared to that!! We also have a chrysalis in our staircase waiting for the butterfly to come out. What else? Oh I also found a dead lizard. I think Mickey killed him.


Hermana Aguilar and I are still growing accustomed to each other. We had a heart to heart this morning and she said lots of things that have been hard for her this change. It’s all things I have been struggling with so I realized the importance of communication. I have been scared to voice my fears and problems because my Spanish is not so good and I don’t want her to be offended. But I realized it’s really important and I hope things go a lot smoother this week.... but I honestly love her so so much! And I know for a fact my Spanish is lots better. 


I feel kind of bad because I sometimes hesitate to tell you all about some investigators because Monday comes right after Sunday and when they don’t go to church I am discouraged and lose faith in them but that’s something I am trying to work on, having faith in people and knowing that it’s never too late for someone to change. So we have been working with this family, it’s a single mom and her two daughters. The mom works a lot and so the girls are home alone a lot. The mom’s name is Norma and the girls are Nilley (11) and Lujan (6). Nilley is so cute. She loves learning. They have never been very religious, which is kind of a breath of fresh air. They love every new idea we present, well Nilley. Norma is still a little hesitant. Nilley is so responsible. She takes care of Lujan every day and cleans the house and cooks and basically does everything a mom does while her mom is working. I know I was not that responsible when I was 11.  We taught the 10 commandments the other day and in the end we asked her to name them all off. It was so funny, she was like, hmmm love God, don’t love other Gods. Be good on Sunday, be good to your parents .....she forgot don’t murder so I started pretending to stab Hermana Aguilar and she was like oh oh oh yaaa No Mutar!!!!! haha I love her so much. We had family home evening with her and her mom and Andrea. I don’t know if you remember, she is the golden convert in our area. She has been a member 1 year and is super strong and the only one in her family. Her sisters, Rosanna and Lori, want to be baptized but the parents won’t give consent. Anyway we had a way fun time. Norma, the mom, was laughing so hard when we were playing this game called chancho (pig). Later in the week we had a lesson with Nilley and Rosanna and Lori. Lori didn’t want to say the prayer and Nilley was like it’s so easy you just say what you’re grateful for, what you need, it comes from the heart!!! Anyway when we left her house she said she was so excited for church. She felt like she was going to get up at 6 to get ready haha. It’s like Christmas Eve for her. I left a note saying when we would call in the morning for church, what day we were coming back and her baptismal date.... but when we called in the morning her mom said she had to go work for her aunt. I was so crushed. She also said she saw the note we left and wanted to talk to us. We are going today to talk to her. I feel terrible. I wrote the note for her to be excited about what was to come, but I’m scared of what Norma is going to say. In the past, Norma has had lots of problems with Nilley, so I don’t understand why she has a problem with her learning more about God and trying to be a better person. Pray that everything will go well. It’s hard because since they didn’t come to church, now her date is pushed back and it’s the Saturday after the change. So, I probably won’t be here anymore. It’s hard to think I may not have any baptisms while I am here, but I know that my time here has not been wasted. I found a really amazing talk this week titled “More Than Conquerors Through Him that Loved Us” by Elder Paul V Johnson, I think, from 2011 May General Conference. Man it really was what I needed this week! He talks about why we have trials in our lives. A quote I love in the talk is from Orson F Whitney dice (it says) “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted... all that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, build up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable.. It’s through sorrow and suffering, toil, and tribulation that we gain the education that we CAME HERE TO acquire!!”  Isn’t that awesome!! I teach the plan of salvation so much but that really puts into perspective for me why we are here. We came here to have these experiences, to prepare us for the life to come, to prepare us for the people we need to be! He also says that beautiful blessings are always on the heels of great trials. ...It so true. Christ suffered the pains of the world and died on the cross and three days later the moment that changed everything happened. He was resurrected, he came back, he lives... but he had to go through the pain first. Elder Johnson also says sometimes we want to have growth without challenges and to develop strength without struggle. I think this has been my attitude my whole life. I want the benefits without the pain. But it really doesn’t work that way. Elder Johnson also quotes Elder Oaks when he had been going through a struggle. He said he was tempted at times to say to Heavenly Father, I have learned the lesson by now, I don’t think I need to go through this anymore. Can you take this away now so I can go on to other things?


I think this is one of the biggest trials of faith in our lives, having enough faith to understand that God really knows what is best and the trials we need to learn. I love the last part of the talk, when we die we don’t want some random person at the gates of heaven to say well you’re done. We want to meet our Savior and have him say, well done thou good and faithful servant. This is our goal!!! This is why I am here in Paraguay. You can live a good life, you can be a good person, but there is only ONE way, one person, one path, that is going to lead you to salvation and it’s through and by our Savior, Jesus Christ. We didn’t come here to just be good, we came here to acquire the knowledge it takes to be goddesses and gods. 


I had a great week. I learned a lot, but most important I shared my testimony of my Savior with LOTS of people and at the end of the week, after the trial of my faith, countless times when Sunday came the blessings did too! We had two investigators at church, Justina, which is huge blessing. She didn’t come all of February and Ramon another abuelo (grandfather) who is super sweet, haha both are over 65 so all the elders where kind of chuckling because all our investigators are old, but they are the ones who want so bad to come to church. So, like I said before, it’s never, ever too late to change. You may be 70 or 98, like Justina’s dad. 


I am getting so stoked for conference!!!! Only one month away and the last Saturday of this month is woman’s conference already. Pray hard I get to go. Hermana Aguilar said lots of times the zone leaders say it’s not a productive use of time, so I wanted to cry! I want to go!! I love you all and I hope my little thought helps you this week!


Hermana Ball (Pelota)