Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Changes . . . HAPPY HALLOWEEN . . .they don't really celebrate that here . . .bummer

Pablo, Wanilda, Hermana Ball and Hermana McDougal from Arizona
Flia Domingez I love this family so much

Fail Vega, they are so great!!!!!!! She is like our mom.

Guess who is not only in my zone of hermanas but in my same ward.  HERMANA PAREDES!!!!
Chou best zone/district ever
This lady made me a temple dress for $50. It's so pretty.

The week of changes is always crazy, Monday and Tuesday were filled with goodbyes and lots of crying. I didn’t sleep at all Tuesday after we got the call that Hermana Austin was leaving. She had to pack all of her things and even after that we were just talking. I was really worried, I had forgotten what it was like to not be with Hermana Austin. I liked how we did things and I was scared someone would come and change everything. It was fun getting to go to the terminal again, and this time I knew so many people. Before, I always knew a few, but I know like everyone now. If there were Hermanas I didn’t know, I introduced myself, it was really fun. So how they organize it is they have different colors and your comp is your same color. They gave me the paper for my color to go and find everyone and tell them their comps. I looked down and I saw 
Hermana Ball y Hermana McDougal STL 

 She is one of my Hermanas. I know her pretty well. Not even thinking I just ran over screaming that she was my comp.... Before with Presedente Agazzani he would always call the Hermana leaders before hand but Presedente Wilson hasn’t been doing that. I had only been thinking of how happy I was she was going to be my comp and I didn’t even realize that she didn’t know she was going to be an Hermana leader. hahah She was kind of freaking out. She said that was the last thing she expected. She has one more change in the mission than I do, but we hit it off from the start. I remember I met her back last Christmas at the party. We were in the same group. haha I love her so much. We totally taught our taxi driver and he was so great, and he lives in her old area. We talked to him the whole time about the Book of Mormon and it was so spiritual. We gave him one. It was cool to talk to someone who is really searching for something more... why doesn’t he live in San Lorenzo? ... bueno no importa (oh well, that’s not important) but I was still a little sad. 

Before we left the terminal I had a mini freakout and Hermana Austin calmed my fears. But I’m really sad because Hermana Austin isn’t an Hermana leader anymore. I won’t see her again for a long time. It’s been really hard. I miss her a lot but Hermana McDougal is so great. We have been having a really fun first week together. She is from Arizona, she was companions with Hermana Austin a long time ago which is fun. Hermana Austin went to Ipicatai with Hermana GUADADO, one of my old comps, so fun. Sooo Hermana Mcdougal knows how to cook!!!, So much for getting skinny this change. But I’m so grateful I get to be with an American for Thanksgiving. It’s going to be great. We already have big plans.

Hermana Paredes is companions with the other Hermana in my ward so I will be seeing her all the time!!! I’m so happy, what a little miracle.

One last miracle. We had an investigator at church on Sunday and tons of menos activos (less actives). The guy’s name is Jose Maria, the other Hermanas of San Lorenzo found him playing the guitar on the street and invited him to church. He came last week and then this week he moved to our area and came again!!! We have a lot of hope for him. 

Pablo and Wanilda are doing really great, just trying to adjust to not having Hermana Austin around but they already love Hermana McDougal. Wanilda did lose her job this week, which I’m worried about so pray that she can get a job this week. They have an opening at the temple and she is hoping she gets that job. It would be so perfect. So if you could keep her in your prayers and Pablo too, he is trying so hard to be strong but it’s a daily struggle. The church has a counselor and we are praying that they can get in to her and start some treatment with her. Something else to pray about that the bishop approves that. 

That’s all I got this week. We are just working hard. It’s getting hot but today it cooled down. It’s been some crazy down poor. 

Hermana Ball

Espero que todos estén bien.

Ponderize ALMA 26:12 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Un obra maravillosa (written Oct 19)

This week was crazy, first off we didn’t have transfers this last week. They are this week. Maybe I didn’t explain that well because many were confused. But we were sad because we knew it was probably our last week together. I started kind of freaking out at the beginning of the week thinking about how was I going to be able to do all of this without her. I have had companions that made me feel so bad about myself and broke down my self-confidence. Hermana Austin just daily builds me up. She told me that whatever happens it is what the Lord wants and knows I need. But that’s what scares me more, what the Lord knows I need. But I’m really learning to just put all my confidence in the Lord and know that He loves me so much and will always do what’s best.

This last week we got rid of everyone that didn’t want to progress. We had given them all 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 chances and they aren’t looking for the truth. So in the zone meeting you have to post the people under the Saturdays that you’re working with to get them baptized those days. For the first time in my mission we wrote nothing. We looked at them and said that we could write lots of names but we know they don’t want to be baptized, so we are looking. They gave us some ideas of how to find people and we left... but we were so determined to find people this last week. 

We literally just have been teaching progressively less people each week. That’s the best part of Paraguay, you can just teach all day long. But here in San Lorenzo we have days when not a single person will talk to us. That was like three weeks ago, then we focused on talking to everyone and we started to feel happier because we talked to more people. Each week we have been trying something different to find new people. This week when we counted up all our lessons our numbers were literally the worst of all the time we have had together, which is sad. The goal is to always be getting better, so you would think maybe we are discouraged or at least our district leader did last night when we talked to him. 

Elder: " Hermanas, don’t be discouraged by how bad your numbers are" 
Hermana Austin: "We aren’t discouraged, Elder, because we did so much this week to find new people and we did!! We have found so many new people!!!"

We were sitting Thursday just trying to figure out what we are going to do, I was worried about bring a new Hermana here when we had nothing. But the spirit told us to look in Preach my Gospel and we found an activity where you write all the references from the last month and go by them again. We went kind of crazy and made a list of all from the past 6 months Hermana Austin has been in San Lorenzo. It was a list of about 20. We found that lots of them we had never met. We started to get really excited. We had to talk to a lot of members to get info about these people and something magic happened. When we talked to them they started to give us more references. We received 8 this week. We have been getting like 1 or 2 a week. We were stoked. One member who never lets us share with her daughter in law who isn’t a member, just took us to her and left us alone. It was amazing. So our lesson numbers were low this week but we got soooo many references that are going to carry me the first two weeks with my new comp. I’m so grateful, god really loves us. 

Other than that, we felt really inspired to visit the Hermanas this week. We traveled Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Wednesday we did splits and the other days we just studied with them to see how they are doing. It was so great, I just felt the spirt so strong. I was able to share our hardships with them and I realized God was having me pass through a lot of this so I would know how to help the Hermanas who are passing through similar things. I love just being so in tune with the spirit. Friday we had no plans to travel and then during exercises Hermana Austin says “We should go to Ita.” We just start getting ready in a mad hurry and I was just praying we would get there in time for their studies and it was magic. We got a bus quick and our driver got us there so fast. I got to study with Hermana Gilchrist. I don’t know if I helped her. It wasn’t like they were fighting and needed us badly, but we just felt we should go and we just did what the Lord asked without asking questions. I have learned it’s better that way. He always tells us what to do but rarely why. I’m so grateful to be on a mission. I know that He knows what’s best. So we will see what happens this week with changes.

Love you all,

Hermana Ball

Ponderize: Moroni 9:6 I love it, at the first it says not withstanding their hardness. It doesn’t matter if people are mean or don’t accept us. We not only didn’t get accepted into people’s houses this last week, but people flat out said not to come back, which rarely happens and tried to give back their Books of Mormon but we wouldn’t take them. God says just work with all diligence. No importa su dureza, porque tenemos una obra que debemos efecuar!!!! 

I can't believe how fast time flies (written Oct 12)

mono (monkey)
The other day Hermana Austin and I were walking down the street and we found a frog. Wanilda has a huge fear of frogs so, of course, I picked it up and walked like 10 blocks home to hide it in a bucket to show her. hahahah Pablo helped us but it actually wasn’t that funny. She got so scared. She hid in her room and wouldn’t come out. She got so mad. She didn’t want to talk to us. They don’t really like jokes like that around here. She wouldn’t come out till we took the frog like two blogs away. Now she won’t let us live it down about how terrible we were to her... hahahah but we still thought it was so funny.

This week I completed a year in the mission. I couldn’t believe it, we had a little sad dinner and tried to not think about it, but I wrote some thoughts about my last year in my journal and as I wrote I just really thought about all the joy and hard times I have had in this year. I am really changing so much. I am nothing like I was a year ago. I think you will all be pleasantly surprised when you guys see me again. 

I don’t know what’s going on with the weather here. One day it’s sooo hot and the next it soooo cold. It’s been raining the past three days which is just so much fun for us to walk in the rain but the bad news is the Paraguayans like to sleep when it rains so we didn’t do lots of teaching. But the Lord loves us so much. He blessed us with many miracles this week. Some were just random. We were walking sadly and we found a monkey. It was a tender mercy because I love monkeys. It wanted to talk to us, unlike the people. Then later a nice less active member let us in her house and gave us some malta and crackers. So don’t worry. The members are taking care of us. 

As far as our investigators, we are trying to find new ones. Gretel didn’t come to church and we don’t really know why, but we are trying to be really creative in looking for new people. Really we are just talking to everyone. It was so cold one day and I saw a lady sweeping. Satan told me “Don’t talk to her” so then I did. I said hello and she said “I have my religion....” I said “Can we just share for a min?” She said no..... we walked away laughing. God purposely sent me to her to see if I would do it. She was so mean but I think part of being an old missionary is that stuff doesn’t even phase me anymore. We just shake it off and go to the next house and hope maybe they will want to listen. 

I’m still with Hermana Austin. This is week 6 of the change. I can’t believe how fast time is going. Changes are next Wednesday. I’m worried. I’m so use to her. I don’t want to change but I know that’s the only way we can grow.

I love you all, 

Hermana Ball

Ponderize: St John 14:27 I’m really excited about this one. I really need it. I realize I need to look for peace and accept that the Lord freely gives it. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

General Conference

This week was another week of trials and testing, but the good news is it ended with general conference and that just settled all my fears and upset soul. But I will get to that. 

One of the biggest miracles of the week was on Wednesday. I was able to do splits with hermana BRONSON!!!!!!! It was so fun to be with her again. When we were teaching I just looked at her and I wanted to cry. How far we have come! I remember one day in the CCM crying and just wanting to be able to bear our testimonies in Spanish. Now here we were alone in Paraguay teaching the whole lesson like we had been companions for a long time. It was so great, we taught so naturally together. I love her so much. We had so much fun all day long. I’m still praying we can be real companions someday. But the real miracle was that when we were ready to go home I called Wanilda to see if we could visit them and she was just crying. She told me that Pablo wasn’t home which means he was out drinking. We originally had made plans to do splits with another new hermana and we switched her for another day. I’m so grateful that I was with hermana bronson and not this new missionary I was supposed to be with. Hermana Bronson helped me comfort Wanilda and then when we got upstairs she just cried with me, and then was able to get me to laugh. We laughed all night... let’s just say we didn’t do much sleeping which killed me the next day. But Pablo is doing a lot better today. He is trying so hard. Today he went back to work, and is really excited about that. Just keep him in your prayers. I keep thinking that this is going to be a night and day thing. One day he will just never go back, but it’s really, really hard. He did make it 10 days clean. We were so proud of him. I know he can do it. I’m learning so much about the atonement. 

Do you guys remember the 3 doubters from a while back? Well we went to invite them all to conference, hoping for a conference miracle that would help them be baptized. Pilar sadly.... broke up with us...She said, "It’s not you guys. It’s my family. They are just really Catholic. I don’t want you to be mad....."
We said, "We aren’t mad, we are just sad for your salvation. "

Anyway we were really sad but then we went to another doubter, Gretel, the one who knows it’s all true, she just plays rugby every Sunday. We went by and she was so excited to come on Saturday. We picked her up in the morning and she came to the women’s session with us which I think was so good for her. She is so great. She speaks English so she sat with all the sister missionaries and watched it in English with us. Of course we all had our pen and paper ready. She looked at me. “I don’t have anything to take notes.” I gave her a paper and pen and she wrote notes the whole time. I guess she liked it because she stayed for the first session on Saturday!!! We got our conference miracle..........

She is so great. She said she is going to try and come to church this week. A while back we had a lesson with her about fasting and she thought it was really cool. She was like “We need to fast so I can have the strength to quit rugby.” Then nothing happened with that. We tried a couple of times and it never happened... then this morning she called and was like “can we fast together today?” So we are going to fast with her today. I’m really hoping that these two things together can be her answer. I love her so much. Please pray for her, that she can see what she really wants in life. 

I loved conference. There are so many things I wish I had time to share with you. More than anything else I took from it was that we are all going through trials and we need to learn to help others even though we are all in our own problems. We need to learn to love one another. I don’t know how many times it said that. So just learn to forgive and to look past all the hate in the world. I love you all so much!

Moroni 7:45 That’s my scripture for the week. I realized I really need to be more charitable. 

Hermana Ball