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,