Monday, December 28, 2015

Feliz Ano Nuevo (Happy New Year)

It was so fun to see you all this week; we had a really great Christmas here in Paraguay. I have been thinking a lot this week about this past year. I spent the whole year here in Paraguay as a missionary; there is no greater gift I have ever received in my life then my mission.

We were able to go on Christmas Eve and buy food for three families in our branch that don’t have very much. We were able to buy them a lot of food for their dinner and it was so cool to see the look on their faces as we gave them the food. One family I love a lot, Familia Mercado, were so grateful. The mom held me so tight and told me she loves me. They didn’t know what they were going to eat for dinner, here it’s a big deal your Christmas dinner. They had this gross looking soup cooking over the fire. They basically just throw whatever they have in a pot with water, they buy bones to give it the taste of meat. I’m pretty sure that’s what they were going to eat just like every day. I know that what we did was so small. We just fed them for one day but they were just so grateful to be able to make their Christmas special. This same family we had visited a few days before and we found the mom down in the river. It’s funny, they have these wooden seats that are so tiny for little kids here but a lot of people don’t have a lot of chairs so it’s common for adults to sit in them too. I sit in them all the time you’re only like a foot off the ground. I will try and get a pic of me sitting on one. The mom was in the river sitting on one of these tiny chairs washing her clothes. I asked her if the whole neighborhood didn’t have water. Many times when it rains a lot they don’t have electricity or water. She said no just my house. I thought that was weird then I realized you have to pay for water. She told me they hadn’t paid in 5 months so this week they had shut their water off. When I went to give them the food on Christmas I asked if she knew how much she needed to pay to get her water back. It was like 40 dollars. She said “I know that’s a lot. It’s fine. You have already done so much.” I pulled out my wallet and started looking in the money my family had sent me for Christmas. I had exactly 41 dollars. I told her “Look, I have just enough!” It was such a miracle.

It was so beautiful to spend Christmas in the service of others. In the night we went to the hospital with our branch president. We sang to the patients and gave them dinner. My favorite part of this was going to the maternity unit. Well, it was like two rooms of maternity, haha there were two newborn babies and I wish you could have seen the dads’ faces as they looked at their little babies. It made me think of Christ and his humble beginning in the stable. I hope that you all were able to remember Christ this Christmas and the sacrifice He made so that we can all return to live with him. I love you all so much I know it’s hard to be apart during the holidays but I know that it’s worth it. I’m learning so much from the people here about what really matters in our life and what doesn’t matter. Too many times we put more importance in the things that don’t matter.

Que tengan linda semana (I hope you have a great week)

Hermana Ball  

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas is coming, Hermana Ball is getting fat...(written Dec 21, 2015)

This is a 94 year old lady and her brother we found. Aren't they
so cute . . . they only speak guarani.  The comunication was
limited.  haha

This week went by so fast! 

Tuesday my sister leaders came to visit us, that was kind of funny. It’s been a long time since I was the sister getting the visit. We had a good time. We are pretty good friends. We found a monkey and it bit her. I was dying so bad. I will try and get a pic with the monkey to send you guys. We also taught this girl me and hermana Lopez found named Sani. She is so cute. She is like 18 and is pregnant so she needs a lot of help. In her prayer she said “Thank you for sending the missionaries that are changing my life and helping me get ready for baptism.” She didn’t come to church because she left town for Christmas. But she is going to progress, I can feel it.

We had our mission Christmas party this week. We had to leave at 2 in the morning and didn’t get back till 1 the next morning. It was crazy, but so good to see my old comps. I cried so hard saying goodbye to hermana Austin and Mcdougal. I don’t think I will see them again till we’re all on the other side... I got to meet my granddaughter, that was cool. We also had our performance. I was nervous because I had to be in three performances, my old zone, my new zone and the special choir. I think it all turned out great. I am pretty sure we are going to get the recording of it. After that long day we were just so spent. Every day we were so tired. We’re still trying to make up for the lack of sleep, but its ok. We are so excited about this week. It’s going to be a really amazing Christmas. We are going to do some service.

I love you all and I’m excited to talk to you on Christmas day!!

Hermana Ball 
Ponderize Alma 7:10 And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.

Ivanna's BAPTISM!!!!!!

My daughter and granddaughter

Monday, December 14, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . . actually not really. It's really hot here.

So this week I was able to get to know my area a lot better. I’m in a place called CaaguazĂș. We are close to the border with Brazil. It’s only 3 hours from here. There are 4 Branches (Ramas) in Caaguazu. We are in the first branch that was every created here. There are a lot of pioneer members here which is really cool, they tell you all about the history and they remember when the first missionaries came to Caaguazu. Our area is more city but when I say city its nothing really like San Lorenzo. We live up on a hill and as you go down it gets poorer and poorer. Our branch president lives in a nice house but then just like a block from his house there are people that live in houses made of wood and the floor is just dirt. It’s been raining a lot and when it rains no one has electricity or water. I always just lay in my warm bed and think about the people with those dirt floors. But they are some of the nicest people here and something I have missed so much from Coronel Oviedo are the children. In my second two areas kids didn’t really play outside all that much but here the streets are filled with kids and they all know us. I love giving them stickers and candy. We have been getting to know that part of our area because the missionary that was here before me was really scared to go there. But we spend almost all our day there looking for old members and converts and old investigators. It’s so fun. 

I was really stressed last week because I just felt like there were so many things to do and I didn’t know where to start. But we got the area book all organized and that has been helping me so much. I keep finding out more disobedient things that happened here and it’s hard to not judge and get frustrated. I have been trying so so hard to be a good example to my comp and do everything the way we are supposed to. Last night we were talking as we laid in bed and she was saying that the first week with me was really hard. She had gone from being really relaxed to me. haha She said you were just always doing something, every second.  I told her how I had been feeling and how bad I beat myself up when I feel like I’m not being 100% obedient. She looked at me and said I don’t know if you know what it’s like to be with someone who is disobedient. She told me that no one can be perfect every second but the thing that matters is that we try and that she could see that I’m trying and that I really take the rules seriously and I don’t question them. She said that every rule before was like something stupid she just had to try and complete but now she sees why. This made me want to cry. I had been beating myself up for a few days feeling like I wasn’t doing everything to teach her. But she said just being around me and watching how I am is teaching her so much.  I feel really blessed for the opportunity to be with her.  I’m really learning a lot from her too. That’s the thing, she isn’t disobedient she just didn’t know how to be obedient about somethings.  Sometimes I forget she only has a little time in the mission and I forget to explain things and to teach her. I’m use to being with people older than me. The last 6 months I was a co-companion which is really fun but it’s different than being a senior companion. I need to remember sometimes that I’m the senior companion.  But we are both just working really hard and we have been finding new people. It’s just hard to tell the people who are really looking for the truth. In the city it’s really easy to tell but here everyone is nice and listens and promises to come to church, ahah, but they don’t. 

On Sunday we had 2 random kids show up that live next to members. It’s sad though, one of them doesn’t really have parents, her name is Paola. We are going to try and teach her but we sometimes don’t know where to find her. She doesn’t really have a home. And she only speaks GuaranĂ­ that’s such a daily struggle.

 We got to see the First Presidency Christmas Devotional last night, that was such a tender mercy for me. Man the music just got me so in the Christmas mood! I love the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The last song they sang is what I’m singing in this special choir I’m in, but I don’t think it’s going to sound anything like that haha. But it was truly amazing and really put Christmas in perspective for me.

I’m so grateful to be a missionary. I was thinking of all the gifts God has given me and the gift of being able to serve a full time mission is one of the greatest.
Love you all,

Hermana Ball o Vakapipopo

Ponderize: St John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

Monday, December 7, 2015


Hermana Lopez from Argentina
So this week has been so crazy and long. I can’t believe it’s been only a week since I wrote. It feels like a month with how much happened. On Tuesday we were waiting all afternoon for them to call and tell us about transfers. Last time they called around 2 with the changes. At 5 we finally got the call from our district leader.... he told me I was leaving San Lorenzo. We cried a lot.... especially Pablo and Wanilda. That was really really hard.... but they already wrote me. Today in my email I had a letter. Pablo kept telling me that he can never thank me for all I have done for them, for being there and loving them and forgiving him and for crying with them and for being with his wife when he wasn’t there. He told me he had never felt so much love and that he knew that I saw him like Christ does... It was sad to leave Ivanna too. She cried a lot but she told me something that just sunk down deep in my heart. She said whenever you ever feel like giving up, you can’t. Just remember me and know that there are people waiting for you. Waiting for the truth. I was and you were so patient with me!! She kept saying what do I have to do to get you in my baptism? What do I have to do... haha I’m so excited for her. She will be baptisted this next Saturday!!!

So we packed all my things up and I left my home in San Lorenzo. More than any other of my areas it hurt to leave. I felt like I was leaving big parts of my heart there... but at the same time it just felt like a split and that I was coming back in two days. It still feels like that. I think San Lorenzo will always be my home. 

In the terminal it was crazy. There were so many people and it was raining so hard. Hermana Mcdougal stayed in San Lorenzo with my old comp, Hermana Guardado!!!! She just came from Hermana Austin and now she is with Hermana Mcdougal. That made me happy. I know she will take care of San Lorenzo and she is going to be a great Hermana leader.

So as for me I was really shocked. I thought I was going to keep being an hermana leader but just in another part. Turns out I’m going back out to the country!!!! Remember my first area, Coronel Oviedo? Well my new area is an hour past that!! We are only 3 hours from Brazil! It’s super poor and really beautiful. My comp is Hermana Lopez from Argentina! She just finished her training. She is so cute and new in the mission. I went from being around Hermanas every day to being the only companionship of Hermanas in the zone! It’s so different here. My cute comp has a lot of excitement to work. She just had a little of a rough start. Her trainer is great and they had 3 baptisms but they just didn’t really look for people. They stayed in the houses of the members a lot, which is cool because all their converts are referrals from members but it’s hard. The members are really used to the sisters spending 2 or 3 hours just talking after lunch. We need to go and be doing things. So I’m trying to help her to see that she is on board. It’s just the members.... I think it will take them a little while. I went from one of the strongest stakes of Asuncion to a little rama.... branch... but they are really excited about missionary work here. I really really love it. I’m excited for the new challenge.

I got sick on Thursday. So sick I couldn’t walk.. I was really dizzy and I wanted to throw up. I don’t know what happened. I have never had to go back to the house for me but we went back and I slept all afternoon. We had an appointment at night so I sucked it up and went and then when we came home I crashed again. I woke up Friday basically fine so I think it was just some bug. I’m just needing to get used to the water here haha I have been in the city too long! Man they speak so much Guarani here!!! I’m so rusty, but I’m getting it down. It’s fun being with a Latina. Everyone thinks we are from Paraguay until they see that we can’t speak Guarani.... here in Paraguay its not impressive to them that I learned Spanish.... it’s not enough without Guarani... haha but I am trying really hard. I am pretty sure I will finish my mission out here which I’m pretty happy about. I love it here and the people are really great. There is for sure lots of work to be done. I love you all.... PS: I’m writing so late because literally everything is shut down for Virgin de CAACUPE day tomorrow. They all walk to this big basilica in CAACUPE to visit the Virgin.... I remember this day last year. No one wanted to talk to us. Anyway we had to get a member to bring their laptop to the church so we could write....

hermana Vokapipopo

Ponderize. Alma 18:17
I am a servant and I’m just here to do the work of my Father.