Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Week of Miracles

In the jungle, the mighty jungle..

These leaves are so huge!!! I am going to try to bring one home with me.  haha

Making tortillas. They told me I am ready to be a wife now that I can make tortillas.  haha

Hermana Mercado and her daughter... Anyone want some fish?  They caught
all these and they caught them with that stick she is holding...
Paraguayans have talent!

My daughter likes to take lots of selfies....

It’s so fun training! It really is like being a mom. Training a Latina is a little different then I know it was to train me because I really knew nothing. At least my hija (daughter) knows the gospel really well. It’s just things about the mission that have become second nature to me that I have to stop and remember to explain. But she is a quick learner and I’m surprised at how much more patient I have become this time around.

We saw a lot of miracles this week. We spent much of our week visiting the sick and afflicted…. one of them came in the form of a reference from the elders. We found the house really easy, which normally doesn’t happen. We went inside and found the woman we were looking for. All the elders told us was that she was sick, so asked the woman who answered the door if we could talk to Concepcion. She took us to a room where there was a woman lying on the bed… she was literally skin and bones. We began to share with her and it was such a humbling experience. I really felt like we were doing what the Savior would have done if he had been there. We sang to her and testified of the love the Lord had for her and that he was aware of her even if she felt all alone. She was so happy to have our visit and wanted to know when we would come back. When we went back the next time she was really dirty in her little bed. The girl who takes care of her hadn’t come to give her a bath. It hurt my heart to see her like this. Being a CNA I know how to do all that stuff, but I knew that wasn’t my job right now. We talked to her and prayed and helped her calm down and we stayed with her until the girl showed up. I know there is little hope that she is going to get better and be able to be baptized in this life…. but I know that what we did was prepare her to receive the gospel. Walking away I just felt such a peace in my heart.

The elders also called us one night and told us that a woman from their branch had dengue and was in a clinic in our area. They asked if we could go with some priesthood and give her a blessing because no one from their branch was willing to go. We got a brother in our ward to come with us and we went to visit her. She was really sick too, we shared with her our love for her and some scriptures. Leaving her I thought about how it doesn’t matter what branch we are in, we are all part of the church. She was so grateful for our visit and the blessing.

It’s scary. There is so much dengue all over Caaguazú. I’m just trying to protect my daughter. I lather her in bug spray every time we leave the house. There are currently 4 elders in Caaguazú that have dengue. Good thing I got it first and out of the way.

So another miracle. We got a reference from the office this week and it came just when all our plans were falling through. We decided to go that minute and look for the house. We found a nice woman that let us in. She started talking to us and said that she had spoken to the elders two times before in the past. She said she loved what they said but she always told them she didn’t have much time. Then she got all choked up and told us that 6 months ago her oldest son died and that she has been really upset with God. But that she is now beginning to understand. She told us that she isn’t going to put the excuse that she doesn’t have time this time around. She told us to come back today and she said that she is going to try and get all her sons to sit down and listen to us together. So pray that everything with her goes well. Her name is Isabel.

As for the family Mercado, they are still progressing like crazy. The mom, Marta, has been helping us find new people to teach. We started teaching her daughter in law. So we are going to start having some miracles soon I can feel it. Lorenzo, we found out this week, has a smoking problem so we are going to have to push his baptism back. But we are going to try and convince his dad to go ahead and be baptized. We will see how that goes. But pray for Lorenzo that he can quit.

Also, I don’t know if I have told you about the familia Akuña. It’s the family we spent Christmas with, and where I skyped. We have been trying to reactivate this family like crazy. So this week was EFY and all the youth were going. Last Sunday I knew it was too late to ask if the Akuña kids could go but I just did it and I asked if Eugenio Mercado could go too. The leader was like “How did we forget about them? I will see what I can do.” He worked some magic and they were all three able to go!!! So after 2 months of calling this family every Sunday and visiting them the two kids and the dad came to church Sunday!!! I was crying like the whole meeting because not only did they come but President Vera asked all the youth that went to bear their testimony and Marco, the son, was the first to go up! His testimony was so powerful. Then President Vera saw the dad crying in the audience and he called the dad up to bear his testimony on his kids….. it was so powerful!!!!!!! 

So ya, miracles exist! People come back to church after years. I hope you all have a great week! 


Hermana Ball 

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Second Time Is the Charm

This is how they sell chipa here.  They fill this basket up with chipa
and then they go around and sell it in the streets.

With my new daughter, Hermana Gonzalez
One last hug with my best friend in the mission.  RIP Hermana Austin.
Mburucuya.  It's this fruit they have here.  You should have seen my daughter's
face when they wanted her to eat this.  haha
Look at her face!! Priceless.
So Monday we went to the doctor and he told us that our white blood cell count was doing a lot better. He told us we were now allowed to walk a few blocks. haha, After he told us that, we basically just took it as we are all good to go now. 

Tuesday we went to our meeting with the elders, and we had a testimony meeting because it was the end of the transfer. When my comp was giving her testimony I just knew that we were going to have transfers. Our district leader called us in the afternoon to confirm what I had feared.  “Hermanas....  Hermana Lopez is going to be leaving.....” We just started to sob. I literally couldn’t even talk to him. I have never reacted so dramatically to transfers. I don’t know why. I think me and Hna Lopez just got really close through our shared dengue haha. The Elder heard me crying and he was like “Hermana Ball, Hna Ball, guess what’s going to happen to you!!! YOU’RE GOING TO BE A MAMA!!!!”

So here I am in ROUND TWO of training. It was so crazy. This transfer they changed the way that we do transfers. I had to travel by myself. It was so weird to be alone. I’m for sure going to be one of THOSE awkward return missionaries. When I got there I hadn’t slept all night and then I saw Hna AUSTIN and I flipped out. I think I had the opposite of a nervous breakdown. I don’t know what happened.,... but I was shaking all over from joy. I got to talk to her for a good amount of time. It was so fun but now she is dead (finished her mission).... and that makes me sad. RIP Hna Austin.

So I bet you’re wondering who is my second hija (daughter). Her name is HERMANA GONZALEZ and she is from Argentina!!! Argentina for life, my second companion from Argentina. I thought I knew all the weird words they say there but she has plenty that she uses that I don’t understand. I think she thinks I don’t understand Spanish, but it’s just because she is always using weird words. But she is sooooo cute. I think she is kind of having some culture shock. We were teaching a lesson the other day and it was a really poor house with all kinds of animals and the baby was just lying on the dirt floor. We left and she was like petrified. haha I felt right at home. The picture with the fruit, that was so funny. She did not want to eat that and I know she didn’t like it. I wanted to eat like 5. It’s one of my favorite things here. She is really great though and excited to work and she learns fast. We are going to have so much fun together.

Update on the family Mercado. Eugenio didn’t get baptized this week because the branch president went to visit him and the son that we have been teaching, Lorenzo, was there and Lorenzo told him he wants to get baptisted and president was like why don’t we wait and have a joint baptism!! Good idea, president.... that was our plan from the start and then he changed everything ahah but its fine. So now we are just teaching and preparing Lorenzo for his baptism. I love seeing this family change. The mom told me Sunday, “We had a lot of people in church. How many were there today?” I told her 96 which is tons!! I was so excited! I think we hit that once in San Lorenzo. She looked at me and said “We are going to start working in my part of the neighborhood. We can double that number!” haha she is so excited to share the gospel. I love this family. Her other son wants to start taking the lessons so we have an appointment with him on Tuesday. I’ll let ya know how it goes.

My poor companion. It’s her first Monday and her account isn’t working. She is just looking at me right now with this sad face. They told her tomorrow she will be able to get in. It’s so fun being with someone new. It helps me remember the beauty of the mission. Too many things have become normal to me, but watching her experience, everything for the first time, is so fun. I’m so grateful that I get to finish my mission that way!!!

I love you all so much. Have a great week and don’t worry about me. I think my dengue is all gone.
Oh I almost forgot. More than once this week we were in lessons with people that speak Guarani and I could understand them! It’s been happening a lot with the family Mercado. I understand everything the mom says. My companion says I speak like a Paraguayan. I hadn’t even realized how much Guarani I have learned but it’s crazy how much the Lord has been blessings me to understand what these people’s needs are. 

Hermana Ball 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Just another week of dengue

Cool river we found in our area . . .We took this over three weeks ago.

Christmas!!! Thanks for all the cool stuff

From my side on Christmas day

Our blood results when it said we have dengue

Guajaba.  One of my favorite fruits.  The Elders brought it to me and I was so
happy. My comp said it looks gross. haha.  She wouldn't try it.

My mosquito net.  haha

I thought maybe I would explain a little more about my symptoms from the dengue because a lot of people asked me about what it has been like. The first few days I had a high fever, my body just hurt all over. I had a bad headache so for the first few days we literally just laid in bed all day sleeping, we didn’t even want to eat. New Year’s Eve my comp slept literally 24 hours and only woke up to throw up. I also slept almost 24 with occasional breaks to eat and pee and read some BOM and then back to sleep. I have never slept so much in my life. Honestly, it just takes everything you got from you, and we didn’t have any energy. Sometimes people would come with medicine or food and our house is on the second floor so we have to go down this big staircase to open the door. Every time we went down so slow and I would get really dizzy. We had to do it like little old women, one step at a time holding tight to the railing. But the worst of it was really just Sunday and Monday. After that I would start feeling really good and start cleaning the house (because with two sickies the house gets bad) and fixing up our area book. Then it would all come back, not really the pain, just the tiredness and I would have to take a nap again. So really last week when I wrote you I felt perfectly fine I just still got tired if we did too much. After writing last week we went and got all our food and by the time we got home we were spent. We slept all afternoon. Tuesday we went to our district meeting and we were telling all the elders ya we’re all better now, we can leave the house now. They were like “Are you sure? You still look kind of pale….” But we didn’t want to hear it. After the meeting we went to our doctor who told us that our white bloods cells were still down so we couldn’t leave the house, come back Wednesday. So we thought Wednesday for sure we would have permission to leave the house, Wednesday came and he told us, “No sisters, you are not up to it just yet. Come back Friday. After many prayers Friday came and guess what? He told us…. Monday again… so here we are Monday again and he told us that we can start to leave little by little….
He is so funny. We are trying to do everything he says but it’s impossible. He didn’t even want us to go to church the last two weeks but our mission president gave us permission. We also got permission to go to visit a family on Saturday that we have been working with. Remember the one that didn’t have water and we helped them out on Christmas. Well, they are called the familia Mercado. They are so awesome. One of the sons is a recent convert and the whole family is pretty inactive. But we have been working really hard with them and little by little they have opened up to us. They have a son who was in jail but now wants to change his life and he isn’t a member. His name is Lorenzo and he went to church the day that dengue started to get bad. Then we didn’t visit them the whole first week of dengue and they all still went to church and the dad even went. Then this last week the son got really sick with dengue… everyone’s got it ….so the mom and him couldn’t go to church but the dad still went this Sunday with all the little kids. We cried when we saw him in sacrament meeting. He was baptized a long time ago and has been inactive for a long time as well. We noticed that he and his wife weren’t in the ward list so we called the office and they looked into it and it turns out the mom is a registered member but the dad’s records were lost… So after two weeks straight of being stuck in the house we have a baptism this week for the dad of this awesome family!!!! I’m so excited. We are going to reactivate the whole family. It’s been really cool to see the change in this family. I love them a lot.

So as far as dengue goes I just know what they tell me that there isn’t a cure for dengue but it can be really dangerous if you don’t rest properly because you start feeling good and go out and then you start to bleed inside. That’s what they tell me. But there are so many other people who live here and they have it for a few days and then the next day they are out playing and being normal but I guess not everyone walks as much as we do either. The area doctor told our president that this can take months to completely go away and the danger is that you get bit again and then it’s way worse… but honestly we did everything they asked of us and they can’t really keep us in the house much longer. But I feel great and ready to work and I’m excited about this baptism! We also have transfers this week; this change went by so fast. I am praying my comp doesn’t leave. That will be really sad and crazy for me. Pray we don’t get changed…. I am…..
Hasta la vista, hahah
Hermana Ball 

Monday, January 4, 2016


So two Saturdays ago, the day after I talked to you guys, I woke up with my eye all swollen and my lips covered in little bumps. The pharmacist told me it was a sty on my eye and my lips were from an allergic reaction. All day I was a little bugged about those things. On Sunday I woke up and my whole body just hurt. We went to church and the whole time I was basically sleeping on my companion. I didn’t feel good at all. Then my comp started to feel dizzy. She couldn’t even walk straight. We went to lunch and then went home to study. When we got to the house we were really not feeling good. We decided to nap during our studies and then leave after the nap. We slept for like 6 hours and then woke up all worried because we had a meeting with our ward mission leader. We hurried to the church. When we got there our ward mission leader was like “Are you guys ok? You don’t look so good.” We didn’t feel so good either. So we went home and when we got home we realized we had a pretty high fever and so we called our leaders. They informed us that we needed to go to the clinic immediately. I guess there has been a huge break out of dengue, a disease like yellow fever, transmitted by mosquitos. Luckily we have a clinic in front of our house. We went over and he was like “Yeah, you have dengue but we will take a blood test to be sure....” the blood test said that we BOTH had dengue. The elders came and gave us a blessing. There is no cure for dengue just rest. So we had to stay in the house this whole week. And we are actually still on house arrest until Wednesday of this week. Hermana Wilson called us every day to see how we were doing. The dumb thing is we were fine, just the first few days we couldn’t walk, but then we got better and then we were fine and we just wanted to leave but they said that if we left that we would get a lot worse and we could give the dengue to other people. We also had to go in every few days for them to do blood work to see how we were doing. Our white blood cell count went way down so we are susceptible to other things right now. That’s why we still can’t leave. We are waiting for our blood work to be better. They said that if we had been in Asuncion we would have had to be in the hospital that whole time. Luckily we are in Caaguazu and there aren’t good hospitals here so we just had to stay in our house all day long. It was fun for like five seconds, then it was just terrible being trapped inside. Saturday President came all the way from Asuncion with his wife to visit us. They stayed for two hours. That was the highlight of the whole week. Don’t worry about me. I’m really fine. The side effects are all gone, we are just waiting on our platelets and white blood cells. They are being way overly cautious because there are people here that have dengue and just keep working normally.  I guess that’s why it’s spreading so much, haha.  The funniest thing is we had to sleep under a mosquito net so we are just laying on our beds, “Hey, how you doing over there?” “I’m fine. How are you?” “My back hurts” haha just comparing our pains all day long. But I’m really fine now.

I love you all so much,

Hermana Ball