Tuesday, June 30, 2015

VAYANSE AHORA (leave now)

Hola Familia!!!
Another week has gone by! This last Tuesday I was still at home with the sister who couldn’t walk, it was the worst. Oh, but before that I forget, the whole mission had an emergency drill. We got a call that said VÁYANSE AHORA!!!!(Go now) So we had to leave our house with our emergency kits and instead of taking a bus to our weekly district meeting, we had to walk. It was to see if we could do it if there was a real emergency. It took us an hour carrying 4 liters de water, but it’s ok. Haha In the district meeting we were in charge of the practice and normally I’m so nervous for that type of thing, but I can really see that God is helping me to have confidence in myself and my Spanish. I ended up talking more than Hermana Austin. So that was kind of a moment for me that helped me feel like maybe I can do this whole sister training leader thing. 

I spent the rest of the day with the sister and it was so hard because her and her companion aren’t getting along and its way sad. She was just venting to me the whole time. Hermana Austin and I feel bad because they are in our same ward and we are always so happy and we get along so great and they are both miserable. For one of them, this is her last transfer, so it’s way sad. She told Hermana Austin she just wants to go home. She doesn’t want to try and make it work. So we had that to think about. We were like, NO!!! Just try and make it work. 

Friday I had my first splits with a sister who is in training. She is in the same group as Hermana Paredes. It was so great, I loved it. I didn’t really feel like I was the sister leader but I think it went really well. She told me that my spiritual thought was an answer to her prayers. That was great because I had been praying so hard to know what she needed. 

Saturday we went straight from splits to the sisters in our ward that are having problems and we basically had a huge girl session. There were tears and lots of rude remarks. We read with them why we have companions and I felt like we did our job well but I don’t know if they are better. Saturday I hugged the one that’s has a hurt foot and whispered, “Are things better?” and she said kind of. There really isn’t much more we can do than to try and get them to talk things out. 

So I will just talk about Pablo for a second. He is just so great. He had his baptism Saturday and he was just literally so happy. He bore his testimony and the whole time he kept saying how happy he is to find the true church. His story is so great, I wish I had more time to tell you the whole thing but really he just made me realize that there really are people who are prepared and waiting for the gospel. His wife is a member and she had been less active for a year.  She said that she went through the temple, her husband was baptized, she got her patriarchal blessing and her blessing said she would be sealed in the temple, but her husband never got to that point and then they separated. Then she found Pablo and now she is active and he is a member and their goal is to go to the temple. I know I didn’t do anything, he was literally just waiting for the gospel to make his life complete. He is so great. I love this family so much!!!! 

I am the happiest I have ever been. I am working harder than I ever have. I’m more obedient than I ever have been because now I’m the example. But really I am just so happy to be here in the mission. I’m starting to really understand the atonement. I am so grateful that we have it. Christ didn’t just suffer for our sins, he suffered for our pain. We never ever have to be in pain, he can literally take it away. We just have to let him. Let him change our life. So if you’re going through a hard time, if you’re stressed, ask God to literally just take it away, to help you learn the lesson. He won’t take the circumstances away, but he will send you happiness. Things will still be hard, but you will have the strength to endure!!

Love you. Have a great week.

Hermana Ball

Monday, June 22, 2015

Cambios (transfers)

Last Sunday we were eating lunch and we got a call. I answered and it was a man that said “who am I talking to?” I said, “Hermana Ball” and then I asked, “and who am I talking to?”

“Presedente Agazzani”. 

“ What!!!” haha

 He told me to leave my companion so I could talk to him in private. He told me that I wouldn’t be finishing Hermana Paredes’ training. I was going to be a Sister Training Leader. I don’t know if you are familiar with this, so I will explain. There are only 6 Sister Training Leaders in the mission. Basically, we are kind of like Zone Leaders but for the sisters. We go on splits with them and we study with them. Anyway I was kind of freaking out and immediately began to cry because I didn’t want to leave Hermana Paredes. President told me that for a while he had been feeling like I needed to be a Sister Leader and he said that he thought, no, she is training, but the thought kept coming back so finally accepted the thought. Then he told me I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone: my family, my converts, my companion, no one until Tuesday in the night. Then he said Hermana Ball, I love you and I know you can do this. Ugh So then, of course, my companion was like “What did President say!!?” I’m like, uhhh nothing really. We finished lunch and went home to study and I was literally just crying during my whole personal study time and so she kind of caught on and said tell me the truth, haha, so I told her, I’m not so good at lying, but I didn’t tell anyone else and it was way hard. We basically just cried forever, ahah Monday we had family home evening like always but it was so sad because I knew it was my last one. They didn’t know and I hugged each one so tight and just said “I love you” and they were like “I love you too, Hermana Ball”. Ya, it was so sad. The longest three days of my life, I was just so nervous the whole time. But I read Moroni 7:33 which basically says if we have faith we can do anything God asks of us. So I just started to have more faith and that helped a little. But pretty much up until I was at the terminal I didn’t believe that I was really going to be a sister leader. But I guess that’s what Heavenly Father wants.

My new companion is named Hermana Austin from Springville, UTAH!!! POR FIN!!! (finally)  I’m with an American and we are assigned to labor in San Lorenzo. Right now we have 7 companionships of hermanas that we are in charge of, but we think that may change. We will probably get more this week.

So basically President doesn’t want to hear the problems the sisters are having, he wants us to find them and then find the solution and then we tell him that there was a problem but we fixed it. I don’t know if that makes sense, but basically we are like counselors, haha.

Anyway our life is so freaking crazy. I never really understood what the sister leaders did, but basically every Wednesday and Friday and Saturday we go to other areas and one of us stays with one sister and the other comes back to our area to work. we went to Ytororo Saturday to have studies with a sister from my group, hermana richards. She is in training right now, so it was super fun. I studied with her. I had been praying super hard to know what she needed and how we could help her. This was my first official act as a sister leader and I talked to her about the authority that she has and the responsibility. We both cried. haha I think I said what she needed, but it was the best seeing her. I just kept thinking how much we have grown these past months that we have been apart. Anyway, when we left their house we got a call saying that an hermana had sprained her ankle and they need us to have splits with them. so Saturday I sat at the house with her all day while my companion and her companion worked in both of our areas. It was loco. It was so hard just being in the house all day. I haven’t had so much free time in a long time. It was nice. I slept a little because honestly I haven’t really slept much since I got transferred. We always have to get up early for some reason or other and stay up late.  Sunday I went back to our area and worked and my comp stayed home but this time I was with a member and the other sister was with a member. The good news is my member knows our area super well so it was no big deal ahah. Hopefully this sister gets better soon because hermana austin really doesn’t like doing this ahah.

Hermana Austin and I are already super amigas, like from the first second I was with her. We were like, this is going to be the best. haha But we have been super good and we really don’t ever speak English, so that’s good. I’m really excited to be in this area. It’s way more city then my last area, but I have a lot of hope.

The last thing I wanted to share is we have a super miracle. Our area is the sister leaders’ right, so you would think it has tons of converts. The past 5 months there hasn’t been any baptisms. so the last Sunday hermana austin and her comp were praying way hard because it was raining and they just wanted a miracle in the church. They got there and there was a man and woman in the front row. Come to find out she is a member from Brazil. They just got married and guess what … he isn’t a member!!!! His name is Pablo. The sisters passed by his house the last Sunday and put him on a date. Then Thursday I went and we taught him for the first time together. Oh my gosh, he is seriously the most prepared person ever!!!!!! He said he prayed about Jose Smith with his wife and then he was just waiting for the answer. He opened his wife’s Book of Mormon in Portuguese  and he opened toAalma 5:38. Seriously, you should read it. I opened my Book of Mormon and I was like, oh my gosh. Basically it says that God is calling your name and if you don’t follow you’re not the sheep of God. Pablo didn’t understand in Portuguese because he is Paraguayo so he looked up the translation and he was like wow thanks. haha He said he got his answer and he knows that everything we share is true. We were like what!ª!! We gave him his own Book of Mormon and he was like, thank you hermanas!!! He is so great. Aanyway we had an appointment with him Sunday and hermana austin was like ahhh you get to go to the appointment without me. ahhh ahah I felt bad, but we made him a present for Father’s day because he doesn’t have kids. We wrote him a note and gave him a picture of the temple. He literally almost started crying. He was like, thank you so much. This is our goal, hermana, we want to be a family forever!!!! What! Really, our lessons with him are like the lessons from the district. He asks all the right questions and doesn’t have any problems. He is married and follows the law of chastity. He is just golden, really golden. So ya, he is going to be baptized Saturday, no big deal. We are super stoked!!!! Also, his wife’s son has his mission call. He is going to go to Argentina, but ya, We are super happy about Pablo. We also have some other really awesome people that I feel will get baptized. 

So ya, my life is a little different right now. We have a little more responsibility than before, but basically it’s the same. haha I don’t know what I’m doing, but we have a manual of how to be a sister leader and inside it says our main purpose is to love the sisters and serve by example. I know I’m not like the best missionary, but I know I can love the sisters and I’m just going to try and serve them. I loved being hermana paredes momma, but now I get to be the mom of like 14 sisters. So I guess that’s cool.

Love you all oxoxooxoxoxoxo enjoy your week and give a hug to your dad’s because I can’t hug men. It’s way sad. Pablo’s wife’s name is Wanilda and in her city there are only elder.s haha She said she always wanted to hug them and it was terrible, but now she can hug us and she loves it. Pablo said, but I can. haha He was so sad. Sunday he just wanted to give me a big hug. I feel so blessed I have so many wonderful men in my life. I love ya Daddy, Grandpa Ogden, Blake, Cade, Sterling, Bran, Dan, Mar, and Ethan. ok I think that’s all in my family haha but I have so many. Really, I’m so blessed. 
Hermana Ball 
Hermana Austin

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Yo se que esta iglesia verdadera (quote from Maria) June 15, 2015

This week was another week of huge milagros! We found some really really prepared people! Wednesday we had our verification meeting for training, which is a test, but really it’s just an excuse for president to see how we are doing as trainers. He took us into a separate room and well, pretty much all of us were just saying our frustrations as trainers. It was like a little therapy session. He was so patient with all of us. The truth is, after this, I felt so much better. The only thing that worried me was when we were leaving president told us to enjoy this week because a few of us won’t be with our companions after this change. I thought that training was si o si you get 12 weeks together. I guess there is a possibility that I will leave Villa Elisa this week. I really hope not because I love Villa Elisa and I love my companion. I have never been in a more open companionship. We literally can correct the littlest things without the other getting mad. It’s great because literally every day I feel like I am growing so much, not only in my Spanish but in my teaching. She helps me so much. I feel like I don’t help her with anything, but then she told me today that I am always so positive and that my example of obedience really helps her. That made me feel like I am actually doing something as a trainer. Let’s just hope I don’t leave Villa Elisa. 

We have literally been finding people like crazy. We have more investigators right now then time to teach them. It’s so frustrating. We don’t get to them all. Then we feel so bad that we didn’t pass by their house all week. But we found literally the perfect family this week. We asked if we could come in and the dad was watching soccer, which is a huge thing here, and he had his jersey on and everything and we asked if he could turn it off and he said of course. The whole family sat and listened to us and they are just literally so prepared, it’s not even funny. They are the family Lesman, so look for them in future baptismal photos. hah Oh, also when we gave them the Book of Mormon the dad said I am going to start reading tonight, thank you so much. It was seriously such a miracle. But this is just one example. We have been finding soooo many great people this week. We had sooo many people with baptism dates, more than I have had in my whole mission. And they were all pretty solid, but then no one came to church. That was a huge bummer. It was raining way hard. So I will try and forgive them all this week as we put them all back on date.

Something else awesome happened this week. Everyone has begun to think that I’m Brazilian, wahooo. haha I no longer speak like an American trying to learn Spanish. I speak like a Brazilian trying to learn Spanish... which still isn’t quite what I want, but I think it’s a step up. Also, everyone thinks Hermana Paredes and I are sisters, literally. haha They always say, what? you look so much alike. How is it you’re from different countries? haha Literally everyone says that about all my companions so I think it’s just because we spend a lot of time together. The thing is I am just learning a lot. I literally can feel the atonement in my life daily because no matter how many times we ask ourselves what we can do better, we always, always, always come up short. I just have to repent and repent and repent until I finally get to where I need to be in a certain area. Then I find another area that I lack, so it’s just endless haha. Sunday was so sweet because Maria bore her testimony and she said that it’s been a slow process but there were always things in the Bible that she didn’t understand and now it’s like a light in her head with the Book of Mormon. She told us in private that she knows that we are in the only true church. This was huge because she wasn’t there when she got baptized, nowhere near there. Now she is the president of the relief society!!!! Her son, Cristobal, bore his testimony too. I cried. He is so much like Ethan. He told them if you haven’t been baptized, do it because you will change and will feel something amazing. It was great. The other miracle is the daughter-in-law of Maria, Mirian. She is so great. She use to have so many problems. She drank, but now she has changed so much and wants to be baptized. She told us this week too that she knew the church was true!!! I have never seen people so converted to the gospel in my whole mission. It was so great. It’s just hard because her boyfriend doesn’t want to get married. ugh We are going to keep praying that his heart will change. Love you all so much. Just when you feel like God isn’t answering your prayers, I think you should maybe stop for a few minutes and think, because I can testify that he is indeed in the very details of our lives. 

Hasta Ver!!!!!  (Til I See You)

Hermana Ball

Written Monday, June 8, 2015

So this week was great, we had zone conference again. I don’t know why but we did and it went really great. We learned some new rules and we talked about obedience. This was a great opportunity for me to kind of bring down the hammer on my companion and tell her some things that we need to be doing better, and to be honest it was great. This week we just tried to be really focused on the work. When we were in the street sometimes I get really distracted and realize we have been walking a long time talking and not talking to the people. haha We just tried to be really obedient and organized and it went great. Our numbers this week were really high. We tried really hard to have great plans to get people to church because this week was stake conference so we wanted everyone because we had a Seventy from Chili present and the mission president. We had seven people with great plans. We had two people we were going to get but they live in opposite sides of our area. We asked a member to help, but they said they would only help if it was secure that they were coming. So we left early and went for the first ones and they weren’t home. We were so sad. Then we were going to take a bus to the others but no buses were passing. I was literally about to cry. I didn’t know what we were going to do if a bus never came, but then our mission president just happened to be driving by and he gave us a ride. I was so happy. Sometimes we ask God for something and he sends something else and maybe we think, no, I didn’t want the mission president, I wanted a bus. hhaha We don’t even realize that the mission president is wayyyy better than a stinky bus. I’m making a parable that sometimes we get answers to prayer that aren’t what we want, but better. So just be happy with what God sends you. The other girl didn’t come with us either. It was a big bummer. After all our plans, no one was at church.... but I told Hermana Paredes that we know it’s not our fault. We did all the planning. We got out early and walked and we called the whole world haha and did our best and they chose not to come. Sometimes things just fall into the lap of agency and what can we do with agency? Sometimes I want to just grab agency and throw it out the window, but I guess that would make me Satan became that was his plan. Maybe his plan wasn’t so bad after all, hahah just kidding. I know that agency is literally the best thing ever and I’m so grateful for mine. I just wish I could help some people here choose to use theirs in a good way. haha 

We are just doing really good. We are trying to just do everything God wants from us here in Villa Elisa. I can’t believe how fast the time is going, this change is almost over! I feel kind of stressed by that thought because I feel like I still have a lot to teach Hermana Paredes and honestly I have loved this time with her so much. We are finally getting our groove as a companionship. We are learning to teach together and we are improving so much on how we teach and how we invite people. We are having a lot of success, to tell ya the truth. We are really quite happy.

We got to do some service this week with one of our recent converts, Eli. She wanted to get rid of all the saints and clean her whole house and move everything around. It was great to really deep clean someone’s house. It’s one of my passions and lots of people here don’t really have the desire to deep clean, but we got her house looking really great and saint free! 

The first girls that we went looking for on Sunday are super awesome. They are both from part member families which we found by accident. We were just talking to them and they were like hey our mom is a member or your church!!! It was great because that means she isn’t going to have a problem with getting permission to be baptized. We were sad when they weren’t home, but we went by that night and her sister has dange. I don’t know if you remember, but it’s a horrible disease here. If you get it three times you die and this is her second time but its seriously so terrible. We are sad because we’re pretty sure she won’t be baptized while I’m here, but her sister, Florintina, for sure will be. We put her down for the 27th of this month! They are golden, I’m serious! ohh I forgot. I’m sorry this letter is kind of scatter brained - the best part of the conference Sunday was that they had all the youth with mission calls bear their testimonies and it happened to be three girls!!! I was so proud and I cried like a baby listening to their testimonies. They are all converts and one of them is the only member in her family! I just realized how the Lord is really strengthening his army with sisters!!! haha When president said his remarks he said that when they got their call just a few months later President Monson made the age change. When they got here to our mission we had 150 missionaries and like 40 sisters. Now we have 260 and like 80 sisters. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but it was something like that. He talked about how the work is really hastening and that he has seen so much change here in Paraguay in the past three years. They finish their mission this week. I want to cry I love our president soooo much!!! But it’s going to be fun seeing what the new one will change! But really I am so sad. I love president. 

But ya, that’s all for me. I’m doing good, just trying to keep working hard here in Villa Elisa!! 

Hermana Ball

Monday, June 1, 2015

Milagros (Miracles)

It's been soo cold. I forgot what it's like to be cold.  I'm loving it.

So a little while back when we had our zone conference we were told to go home and make a hit list from our area of all the people who already have come to church before. As a zone, we have kind of stopped putting so much emphasis in looking for new people. Instead we look for the people who have already accepted the missionaries before. It’s been going really great. My goal with my comp is to find two new people from our hit list everyday and we pretty much have kept it up. We haven’t found our miracle yet but I have a lot of faith in the hit list. That’s why I wanted to share with you about the hit list because I know sometime soon we will start having lots of baptisms from this new initiative. 
So basically my companion doesn’t have fear a of anything and sometimes it’s kind of bad, I think. I’m scared she is going to offend someone one of these days but so far it’s been pretty great. The other day we met this old man in the street who was just sitting in a chair cracking nuts because I guess that’s his job. We started talking to him. He is super cool. His name is Rogino. Towards the end of our conversation my companion spotted a suspicious bottle near his feet. Swiftly she grabbed it and asked what he was drinking. “Ohhh that” he said. hah “It’s just some old coconut water”.  My companion is so funny, she opens the bottle and smells it. “Hermano, this is not coconut water. This has alcohol in it.” hahah So then she breaks into the word of wisdom like fire and tells him exactly why he needs to follow this commandment. It was actually quite filled with love. Then she tells him he needs to start now! I was contributing too, but she was the one with all the guns in this encounter. Then she starts to pour the coconut water on the ground. I got really scared that he might get aggressive, but he just made some painful sounds like each drop that touched the ground was a knife to the chest. haha Then she handed him the empty bottle and we said, “How do you feel now?” He almost started crying. He said that no one has ever cared so much about him and never explained why he shouldn’t drink. We left feeling like real missionaries but then we went by Sunday and he was drinking again. That was a bummer, but I still have faith in him. The point was that we can’t look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. Sometimes I’m scared to tell people that what they are doing is wrong, but my companion doesn’t have this fear. I have a lot to learn from her.
My companion also likes to eat... a lot. haha So we study all morning and every two seconds she wants to eat something. Lots of the time I end up eating too because she never finishes what she makes. Friday we were doing this and then we remembered that we had lunch with this lady (I love her to death but her food is just a little hard to get down when you’re hungry and when you’re not hungry nearly impossible). Before we left the house I was feeling sick because I was soooo full but then I said a prayer that I would be able to eat all the food so she wouldn’t be offended and guess what!!! I literally ate every last grain of rice!! and I ate some of my companion’s because she couldn’t get it all down. I know you might be thinking what? That’s kind of a dumb thing but literally for me it was a huge manifestation that God hears even our dumbest prayer and wants to help us. The key is having the faith to know that when you ask, He will come though. That also doesn’t mean that He just wants us to be asking for things and never do our part. I learned from this experience, and I’m not going to eat a whole bunch of food before lunch this Friday. I just love that God is in every detail of our lives!
The other day we were walking down the street and this woman asked us if we could pray for this old lady who has cancer. We said yes and then she asked if we could pray for her too. Then she started to tell us a little bit of her life and she has a lot of problems. She explained where she lives and then she left. I was worried because I didn’t understand exactly where she lived but then we were walking where we thought she lived and literally at the same moment she came home and it just worked out perfect. We were able to talk to her a little and she said she would come to church. So, of course, when she didn’t we were disappointed, but that’s just what satan wants. I still have faith in her!!!! Her name is Edit for future reference.

Sometimes I do have more courage than my companion. She is always saying, “I don’t know if we can do this” and then I look at her and say “I know the rules and this isn’t a rule.” One of such occasions we were walking at night and there was no one, literally, no one. I saw an apartment complex and I saw an open door with a light. I proceeded to head toward the light and my companion was like “What are you doing? It’s night and I don’t think we can go to apartments.” I don’t know where she got that idea. I just kept walking and she followed me. When we got to the door there was this really cute woman and I don’t know what happened but all my Spanish fell out of my head and I literally couldn’t say anything. This use to happen in every contact when I was in training, but I have long since cut that problem out. I don’t know what happened and my companion was literally not saying anything, I think she was mad that I didn’t listen to her. Then the woman said “Ohhh, you’re hermanas, come in”. We proceeded to teach her the first lesson and she is literally really great. Her name is Mirta. She has had lots of hardships in her life. One being that her husband left for America with five of her 8 kids, so that’s really hard. But she is just so great, but then when we passed the other day, she was drinking and she didn’t come to church. But we still have faith in her. 
I think you’re seeing a theme in my stories: everyone drinks, isn’t married and says they will do things that they don’t do. You may think “Oh man, why is everyone like this? but the truth is it’s just stinking satan who has his hands deep in the hearts of lots of people, but they are really great people and I know that the atonement is real. I know that even the grandpa who drinks all the time can change and it’s never, ever too late. So don’t worry. We aren’t discouraged. We are filled with hope for this area because we know the power of our message. 
I love you all. Time is going so fast, we are already in week 5 of this cambio!!! 
Para siempre dios este con vos- (May the Lord always be with you)
Hasta ver, (Til I see you)
Hermana Ball