Monday, November 30, 2015

I'm thankful to be in San Lorenzo

I don’t know if I told you but the whole mission is doing a big event for Christmas and every zone has to come up with a presentation. I thought of doing a live nativity.... my zone was lame at first and complained that everyone would be doing the same thing, when in reality we are the only ones... We put in some classic jokes about Paraguay, but nothing ridiculous. Somehow I have become the director and it’s a complete disaster. No one listens to me. I have to run all over doing basically everyone’s part for them. Tuesday we were practicing and President came in with his wife.... oh man I was sweating so bad. But he approved it, so we are good to go. Tomorrow is our last practice so please pray that it all comes out good. 

Tuesday we also had Thanksgiving dinner the Biglers, the couple missionaries in our ward. It was way fun. Sister Bigler made us way good food. I was in heaven!!!!

So then because of all the practices on Tuesday and everything we didn’t have a lot of time so we were rushing and we didn’t think we would have a lot of time to talk to people. But my comp is so great and is always looking for people to serve. She runs up to this lady and we start talking to her and she accepted a Book of Mormon. ( I HADN’T EVEN BROUGHT ONE. I THOUGHT WE WOULD HAVE NO TIME. WHERE IS MY FAITH??) and then we had to go home and drop off our clothes and we really didn’t have time after that, I didn’t know what to do so then Hermana Mcdougal just walks over to our neighbors that are always outside and we start talking to them and they are like “Why do people call you Mormons?” I’m like man I don’t even have a Book of Mormon but then she pulls out another book. When we were home she had grabbed another one. We taught them about it and they accepted the book. I was so humbled and learned a lot from her. I am always learning and RELEARNING things in the mission. I use to be so good about stuff like that knowing we have a little time and leaving with lots of faith and just knowing God would but someone in our path, but I guess I lost it. After Tuesday I was determined to not give up more opportunities like maybe I have been. 

Wednesday I was with Hermana GILCHRIST in Ita. It was so fun to be with her. I shared the above story and told her that today we were going to look for people to serve. All day I was praying for someone to serve. In the afternoon we were walking and we see this woman that is pregnant and her mother who is older carrying a bunch of grocery bags. (just so you know, this was THE hottest day of my life) I was literally sweating so bad. I think the humidity was just so high. I don’t remember ever sweating so bad that I had drops falling off my face, but it was that bad. We asked if we could help them, normally people say no and keep going but these women were really in need and they handed us the bags with no problem .... I don’t know how they had made it this far!!! It was so hot and the bags were so heavy! We started to walk with them and the woman said they had been to our church before and had just stopped going because they knew they needed to be baptized and they are scared of water..... NOT A PROBLEM. haa We walked them home and we asked if we could share with them. After we shared they agreed to let us come back and then they hugged us so tight and told us we had been sent from God to them, that they were in need and they know God heard their prayer. I left so amazed at what God can do if we just look for people to serve!!!! I love being able to go to the sisters’ areas and getting to learn from them and also reminding them of stuff like service because I know I too need reminders. 

Thursday we had Thanksgiving. We got to spend it with hermana gilchrist and her comp. They needed to go to the hospital and our house was closer so we just went to them and studied all together and ate together. We already had plans to eat with Pablo and Wanilda so we all ate together. We went around and all said what we were grateful for.... Pablo said the church and the love he feels there.... it was super awesome, and Wanilda said that she is grateful that God hears her prayers and sends her people she can serve. She is always finding people that are going through the same stuff as her and she just holds them and gives them comfort.

I also made a trip to the hospital Thursday because since I fell I have had a big lump on my foot that never has gotten smaller. It looks like a goose egg. They said it’s a little tumor of water, I don’t know, but I have to put a cream on it three times a day. Dont worry about me, though, I really am fine. It doesn’t bother me. I just got worried about why it wasn’t going away and I wanted to go now while I live by the hospital. If I leave to the country it’s a lot harder to go to the hospital. But we did lose a whole day there and I got my very first ultrasound. haha It was a lot of fun... they also spelled my name wrong on all the official forms. It says Yenny hahahah which isn’t even how you spell it in Spanish, Yenni, but it’s fine. Just classic Paraguay. 

This week we had to complete a lot of sister leader things. I feel really blessed for the opportunity I have had to serve here in San Lorenzo. We have transfers this Wednesday. So we will see what happens, but I really don’t feel like I’m leaving. We will see... I don’t want to leave but I do at the same time. It’s weird. Good thing we don’t decide. haha I will accept what God wants. 

I love you all,
xoxoxoxo Hermana Ball

Ponderize D&C 64:10 I the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all me.
I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately. Some people here just have no concept of forgiving someone. It’s so sad. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving - written Monday, November 23, 2015

Trying to look nice for church...haha I just like that Hermana Mcdougal's
hair is down.

Guess who I got to do splits with this week! My best friend,
Hermana Bronson!!

First off I just wanted to share with you guys how amazing President Wilson (my mission president) is. Hermana Mcdougal knew this lady from her last area that was really sick and she wrote president and told him and asked if maybe we could go to visit her in the hospital. He called within like an hour and that afternoon he came and took us to the hospital. This was last Monday. It was fun driving around with him and his wife. When we got there they said it wasn’t visiting hours. We got a little teary eyed and I told them it was our only free day. He then told us to wait. After waiting he said that only one could go. Well, that doesn’t work. We’re missionaries, but then he just looked at us and said just make it quick. It literally was such a miracle! It was probably one of the saddest things I have seen on my mission. This woman was laying under a blanket without clothes in a room with three other roommates with just this fan to keep them cool. She just started to cry when she saw us. She said she felt like God had forgotten her in this terrible place. We told her no and we sang her “I Stand All Amazed”. It was such an amazing experience and really meant so much to Hermana Mcdougal. Our president is just amazing! 

So before all that happened, at church the Sunday before, we had asked Ivanna if maybe we could talk to her family the next day because they have Mondays free. She called us and told us that they could but she couldn’t come. So she was all worried we were going to teach them more than they could take. But she kept saying “I know you guys know what you’re doing.” haha We went from the hospital to her family’s house. These people are really rich. They own a whole apartment complex and the whole thing is just her family. Once we get in with Ivanna it’s just going to be a matter of time but we taught her parents and sister about the restoration. It’s so hard here. People really don’t have a problem understanding that Joseph Smith saw God. They believe it, they just don’t think he restored the church. They think all churches are good and that they are fine in theirs. It’s really hard to explain. We did our best but I just felt like they didn’t get it. We left and after a few hours we needed to tell Ivanna something and we called. She was like, finally!!!! I thought you were with my family this whole time! haha (we had been home for like an hour) We told her how it went. I told her the thing about Joseph Smith and how it’s hard for people to understand. She was like “Yaaa that was my problem too. I just didn’t see why we need one religion but now I understand. It’s not like one religion. It’s the church, His church. His gospel.” I literally almost passed out, she is so amazing. We taught her this week about chastity and the Sabbath day and keeping it holy. She just understands the why of the gospel. Not only that, she is so willing to follow it. It’s like her whole life she lived like a member and just didn’t know it. I love teaching her so much. Her date for her baptism is not set because she is going to Utah for Christmas. It’s kind of a long story but she is going to visit the guy that helped her come to the church and she is thinking she wants to get baptisted while she is there so he can do it. Oh my gosh. I just realized that means you guys could go to her baptism!!!!!!! that would be so cool, she would love that! She already asked where you guys live. She wanted to come visit you. She is so amazing. Ok, I will keep you posted on what she decides on that. Pray for her family that they too can accept the gospel. That would help her so much. She is so worried about her family. 

Guess who I got to see this week, Hermana Bronson (companion at the MTC). I did another split with her. It was so fun. I love her so much. She is such a good missionary. It’s so cool to really see how much we have both grown. I just feel like when I’m with her I can remember so clearly where I was a year ago and not just Spanish, but everything. It’s cool that we haven’t been together this whole time but we are still so close of friends. When we get back together it’s so fun. Poor girl, she still hasn’t had an American companion, maybe this next change. .... maybe it will be me!!! ojala!!! (I wish)

Random miracle: There is a less active named Hermana Bovier. Her husband is from France and her son is against the church. I went to see her the other day during splits and she asked if we could say a prayer for her son. He is a Marine, so he is away on a ship right now. Later he told her he had been in a lot of danger and he prayed. They looked at the times and it was at the same hour we were praying for him and he said out of nowhere he was fine. That is so crazy. Prayer is so real, God hears our prayers for others. Thanks for your prayers for me. I feel them and I hope you feel mine.

My companion taught me something really cool the other week about people that haven’t been to church for a while and then they come and take the sacrament. That’s like them being baptized again....... so I started praying to help someone come back to church. Then we had a huge miracle this week. We were walking past a less active’s house and I thought maybe we should see if she is home. I clapped and she came out. We start talking and her daughter, Lilly, who got sealed in the temple 9 years ago and is separated from her husband and moved in there came out too. We shared with them and the spirit was so strong. That same day in our district meeting we had practiced for this exact circumstance. It was so cool. We told her God wanted her at church. She hadn’t been in 7 months. She said she would see if she could. I told her we would do an experiment. She would pray and we would pray every day and see if God made it possible so she could go. Well guess who walked in and gave me a big hug!!! LILLY!!!!!! It was so cool. So this week we had a baptism. I felt so good and she stayed for the whole three hours!!! 

Pablo and Wanilda have started to sell cupcakes which I was kind of worried about but they actually did really well this week. They made more money than she used to make in her old job. She said each day Pablo was like make sure you take out our tithing! On Sunday they were so proud to give their tithing to the bishop. I love them so much. They are really trying so hard. They have been going to this family counselor from the church and she is helping them so much. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know we will! We have lots of plans to make some good food. I just want you to all know how grateful I am for you. I’m also grateful for water, air conditioning and a new mirror. All the things we were lacking God fixed this week, so I feel bad for complaining. I am so grateful to be a missionary at this time in Paraguay. There are so many people in the world that are lost, including me. I have grown so much. I will forever be grateful for my mission, and everything I have learned. I’m grateful for technology. Ivanna has the church’s app and she watched a video the other day that just touched her heart so much. We are so fortunate to be living at this time! We have so many things to be grateful for.

Estoy tan agradecida por cada uno de ustedes. (I am so grateful for each one of you)

Hermana Ball 

Ponderize..... I forgot to pick one this week. Just ponder gratitude and all that you have. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

It's Getting Hot Here . . .

FHE with the Dominges family

Hermana McDougal soaking her legs in the pool to get cool

This last Monday we went to the familia Dominges house. They are converts that we always have fun FHE with. We make a matching game with those pictures of Jesus and then we played go fish with them. It was so fun, I love those kids. So that’s the picture of the kids at the table. 

A while back our air conditioning broke after me and Hermana Austin had fixed it only a month ago. So it was fine because it hasn’t been THAT hot, but then Tuesday it was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo hot, and on top of that we don’t really have water in our house. I can’t remember if I have told you guys before, but we never have water at night. So we always brush our teeth with water bottles. A few times with Hermana Austin when it was really cold we had to bathe with them too. But it’s been fine until this week. It’s been so hot so we haven’t had water really ever. We have to bathe with bottles and wash dishes with bottles. Pablo and Wanilda have water because they are on the 1st floor but it just doesn’t get up to the third floor. We have been bathing in their house. Then to add to that we broke our only mirror in the house. Paraguayans don’t build houses with mirrors in the bathroom so we had one and it fell. Then we had a hand mirror but it also fell and broke so now we have a half broken hand mirror. 

So having all that in mind we had a multi-zone conference in Asuncion with President and I got to see HERMANA AUSTIN!!! It was the best! I was so happy to see her.  We didn’t look so good and it was funny because there was a whole part of the conference about taking care of our houses and that if we don’t have things that work we need to fix them. It’s not part of the mission to suffer, it’s part of the mission to learn how to fix those kinds of problems. So we left the conference ready to fix our problems.

We called an air repairman. He came and said “Ya you need new air”. Well that’s great, so the office said they could bring a new one. President just happened to be close to us so he dropped one off. While he was there we told him about the water problem. I think we looked terrible because he went down and talked to our landlord that min and told him that if it wasn’t fixed that week, we walk.... I didn’t know he could be so scary. They said today we should have it but its pouring rain so I don’t think that it will be today but soon... I hope...

It’s just so hard to sleep without air when it’s that hot. We both just lay without sheets with a fan on each of us. Our house doesn’t have windows on both sides so our bedroom is the hottest room in the house. 

After two sleepless nights and not showering, my comp began to not feel so good. Thursday she lay her head down on the desk... she started to have an asthma attack or that’s what we thought. She didn’t have any more meds in her inhaler so I called the couple missionaries, the Biglers, that live nearby and they came and got a new one. At the pharmacy here you can buy basically anything without a prescription. It’s way weird. She felt a little better but not much. Hermana Bigler said maybe it’s because it’s so hot in our house. So we went to their house and we tried to cool her down. I’ll send a pic of some of the things we tried.... haha The Biglers have a kitty pool they put in their house and they like to sit in it when it gets so hot. So my comp put her feet in it.... it was so funny. She started feeling better so we just stayed at their house to rest and the Biglers left. After a few hours she still didn’t feel better. Her heart kind of hurt and she couldn’t feel her whole left side. The Biglers took us to the hospital at like 9 at night. They told us that the inhaler they gave her was way more powerful then what she was used to. That can give people heart attacks so they gave her some meds and she started to feel a little better. We didn’t get home till midnight. I haven’t been out that late in forever. I was so dead. We had to cancel splits Friday. Hermana Wilson wouldn’t let her go out. Saturday we went out and I had the worst allergies like the whole day, I don’t know why!!! That night we got home so dead and what happens as I’m sitting in front of my fan ... the power goes out! So we drug our mattress out on the deck and slept out there. It was so many sleepless nights in a row... which lead to just a really long week. But we fixed the air and they are supposed to fix the water soon. We have a promise of 24 hour water, and we will buy a mirror today! 

Although we didn’t get to work much, which is so hard when you’re a missionary, we did teach Ivana Thursday before my comp got bad, which was such a miracle. She is so great and is progressing so much. She knows she needs to get baptized. She was at church yesterday and we told her that she should see if we could have a FHE with her family tonight. She said she would see, then she just called and said that they said yes!!!! So we will go and teach her family tonight. I feel really good about it. So pray we have a better week. Elder Bigler gave my companion a blessing on Friday for her health and it was so beautiful. I was just sobbing the whole time. Then I thought maybe I need one too, so I asked and he gave me one. I haven’t had a blessing in a long time so it was just such a tender mercy. He told me what I needed to hear. I have felt lately like I’m not doing what I’m supposed to, like I’m not doing enough. Basically he said that’s not true. He told me specifically what I need to do for the sisters. Some of the things were things I have been doing. He literally described something I did word for word. It made me just realize God sees what I’m doing, my effort, my diligence, even on weeks like this. He sees me trying. He saw me on Saturday just fighting not to go back home because of my allergies. He was proud of me for sticking it out and blessed us with Ivanna in the church Sunday! I love the mission with all my heart. This week was the week last year that I arrived here in Paraguay!!!! I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE!

Hermana Ball
I tell Wanilda this every night. 
Ponderize: St John 15:13-15 Christ calls us his friends. He loves us more then we can comprehend. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Siga teniendo milagros! (I keep having miracles)

Splits in Ita. I was so happy to be out in the country again. The city is killing me.

Ivana at Church.  Miracles do exist!

I can’t believe how fast the weeks go!!!! Things are so great here in SAN LORENZO. I love my companion so much. We have lots of fun together and the sign of a true friendship is that we are so happy when we get back from splits. We just want to get back to working together in OUR area, but we had a fun week. 

It was sad though, we called the sister who was struggling and we found out she was going home. We felt really bad but she was happy so I guess it was for the better. I got to see Hermana Gilchrist again. I love her so much, but this time I was with her companion. We had a lot of fun and I was so happy to be out in the country again. I’m dying here in the city. There were just wide open fields full of cows. It was so funny, the latina I was with hates the country. The whole time bugs where getting her and she was in misery. I wish I could switch her! but not really. I love San Lorenzo. I never want to leave. It makes me sad to think that maybe my days here are numbered.... Bridge asked me how I’m doing, this is the longest I have been in one area and honestly I’m doing really good. At the first it was so hard. I didn’t know who to put in our plans. I felt like no one here wants to get baptized, but now we are really finding lots of new people. There are always houses I have never talked to and I’m having a good attitude and going back to people if Hermana McDougal wants to go back. She is so great and patient and she just feel in love with San Lorenzo really fast. I was so worried I would get someone who would hate it here. The work here is kind of different than other parts. Honestly the closer changes get, the less I want to leave this change. I would be fine staying another change. After this change I have 6 months here so we will see, but our new president is doing all kinds of crazy things so we never know. Maybe I will have a Christmas in San Lorenzo! 

Ivana is doing really great!!! She said she wants to get baptized. She has known since she came to church last week. She could only meet with us Wednesday and I wasn’t there!!! stupid splits. She said even though I won’t see you guys, I’m going to be praying and thinking about this every day!!! Saturday we went by her family’s restaurant, which has such good food if you were wondering, and we ate. It’s a sneaky way to run into her or her family. haha When we were finishing up she came in and talked to us. She said, “Hermanas, I have been so worried all day. My mom said I need to be here tomorrow all day to talk to the new cook with her. I told her I can’t til 11” (when church is over) Her mom said she was being selfish. She told her family that she needed this time but they still didn’t understand. Then guess what!!! The cook called and said he couldn’t come until 11!!!! When she told us we were so happy. I almost cried. She was like “I know God is helping me!!” When we left I was like Hermana, GOD totally had our back on this one!! haha It’s true, if the people really want to complete God will prepare a way like what it says in 1 Nephi 3:7 God really does his part! I love teaching her, she just really gets it!!! She is so excited about her baptism!! 

Please keep praying for Wanilda and Pablo. They both don’t have jobs right now. I’m worried about them. But they are just so faithful. Last night they started the Book of Mormon in English. Pablo speaks English and wants to teach Wanilda and she is teaching him Portuguese. Wanilda went to visit her family this week in Brazil and I missed her so much. It’s going to be so hard to leave here!!! 

Hermana Ball

Que tengan linda semana, voy estar orando para ustedes (I hope you have a great week, I will be praying for you all)

Ponderize: 2 Nephi 25:26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophesies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. I really like this so much better in Spanish, but that’s ok. I just feel like this is our whole message. Christ and his love! and that really he is the only way we can be saved! I’m so grateful!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Living the Life

My face
My comp.  She is crazy. jaja
Wanilda didn't really get that they were suppose to be scary faces. Pablo made so much fun of her.

Classic Pablo.

I’m going to start with my ponderize scripture, Alma 38:5 “I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” I have had some hard afflictions the last few months and my family has too and my comps and my friends and converts and just everyone around me but this week I have seen the promise of the last part of that scripture. I really feel like the Lord is lifting me up!!! I literally just feel all my burdens lifted. I was having a hard time in our area. I didn’t want to keep going to people that didn’t want to progress but it’s hard to not, because we have no one else. We have just been looking for new people like crazy. We have found some, but no one really that interested. But I am seeing so many miracles from this last week. I’m going to start with the first of the week. 

Tuesday we called some hermanas that we planned to visit and do splits with. She had been sick so we were worried about them. She told me that she was going home, but not because she had been sick. She was depressed. We asked if we could go see her right then. So we went and I have never seen someone like this. She was just crying and crying. So much for all our hermanas being chill. I didn’t know what to tell her. Anything I said she just erupted in mumbling “I want to go home. I want to go home.” I just held her and shared a few scriptures. We soon found that the comp was worse off because she had been locked up in the house with her like this for a few weeks. So we decided they should go out and work. I was left with the crazy one. We could hear her crying and talking to herself in the other room. It was so strange, she would be just fine one second talking about boys and laughing and then she would start to cry uncontrollably. It was so sad but I was just praying the whole time for her. They have her talking to a therapist and hopefully she will be able to do her treatment here in the mission so she doesn’t have to go home..... poor Hermana Mcdougal. Her first full week as an hermana leader was kind of crazy. 

So then the next day we had to go to Asuncion for leadership meetings. On the bus I saw an old investigator, and she told me her husband just died and would like us to come over that same day!!! It was such a miracle. We went and we just taught her the plan of salvation. It was such a cool experience. 

Friday we had splits with some hermanas. I went with a latina and it was way fun but it rained all day and the latinas are really scared of rain so that was interesting. I had to calm her down a few times. The weather has been so crazy lately. It’s so hot one day and the next total is a disaster. 

The other hermanas from San Lorenzo met this musical man in the street. He was playing the guitar. They invited him to church and he came twice and he just moved to our area! These things never happen to us!!! His name is Jose Maria, haha everyone is named that or for girls Maria Jose.... but he is really great. He wants to get baptized. He just needs to learn to listen when we are teaching him. He has a problem with that. ... 

HALLOWEEN!!!! So we had a great idea to carve a big box with Pablo and Wanilda and then light it on fire!!! It was so fun. The fire started out small and then got so huge... the cops may have come but they weren’t mad. They had just seen the flames and wanted to see what was going on... that may not have been a good example for the girls. I won’t be telling other missionaries about this but it was so funny. At the end there was this big twister of fire and Pablo was like “the spirits are free”!!! haha The best part is we live by the cemetery... Wanilda was like “What are people going to think of the Mormons? they are just going to be like ‘I don’t know them but one day I saw them behind the cemetery burning things.” hahahah anyway I just love them so much there down for anything. 

Highlight of the week, I get to church on Sunday and who is there, IVANA! I’m not sure if you guys know her but she came to church a while back with her whole family. She was a reference from that American, Andrew. Look up the pic I sent of a bunch of people at church. She is the girl two to the right of Hermana Austin. Anyway, she was there. Afterwards she told us that she had been in her car and had some time to kill and opened to 2 Nephi 31!!! One of the best baptism chapters ever! She was so hard to find and nothing really happened with her when she came to church. But she said she took this as a sign.  She is having a hard time so she came to church. She told us so many crazy things like “ya I stopped drinking alcohol and coffee.” It’s so cool. She is so prepared. We had a lesson with her today, which is part of why I’m writing so late. Well, first we had to go to the office. In the morning they called and said I had to go to migrations, which was a lie. It was a secret choir practice. They just knew I wouldn’t want to do it. We are going to have practices every Sunday from now on. So we were worried we weren’t going to get back in time for our appointment at 11. It was the only time she could do it, so of course, we didn’t care about our p day, you go when the people can meet you. Side note: today the buses decided to go on strike. They are always striking. So there are like no buses but we were able to find one and we got home. Huge miracle. We taught her about the Restoration. She speaks English really well. She lived in California. It’s weird speaking English but it just went so well. I was so happy. She is such a miracle. She told us that everything she believes she finds in the church and she feels like she has found her place after 24 years!!!! I haven’t found anyone like her since Pablo! and she doesn’t have drinking problems so it’s so great! hahah Not only does she want to change, she wants to convert her whole family. She said “I know this is the place for my family!” So cool!!! We have another lesson Wednesday but I don’t think I will be here. Stupid splits, oh well... 

That’s all for the week. I love you all. Can you believe its November!!!!  

Love you all, xooxoxoxoxox

Hermana Ball 
PS: This week I had a “Best Two Years” moment. A car pulled over and asked for directions and I told them... You can tell you have been in San Lorenzo too long when you know the streets better than the locals. It was a cool moment for me.