Monday, December 9, 2013

I Still Have My Hair

 I know you aren´t enjoying the frigid air too much, but boy do I miss it during this time of year. The heat is nice... sometimes. I honestly don´t pay too much attention to it, but sometimes I wish so badly that I had snow and cold air and hot chocolate and a Christmas movie to watch. This time of year feels so strange without the cold! Can you do a favor for me? Watch Eloise at Christmastime... I really miss that cute movie! But life is so good here! I´m starting to get some great tan lines and am sweating. Always. We take at least two showers a day here. That´s just the norm in Brasil haha.  We do a lot of work with the ward which is awesome. Getting lessons in with members is a tad bit difficult, but other than that, they´re SO supportive! And we didn´t make it to the coast yet. We were going to go today, but I don´t think we will. We were going to go if one of us got transferred tomorrow, but last night, after hours of freaking out, we found out that we´re all staying together. Que bênção!!!!! I am so so so happy that we´re all going to be together for Christmas, the New Year, one more transfer, everything! The Lord is very mindful of us! 
As for this week, like I said, it´s been hot demais! So one day, Sister Custódio made a quick stop for ice cream. As we were waiting there for our cones, a lady came up and Sister Custódio made a suggestion to her for a flavor. The suggestion turned into a conversation about who we were, the lady´s beliefs and, by the end of the discussion, we had an appointment with her for the next day in her home/salon. When we visited her the next day, her friend/co-worker was there as well for the lesson. Before starting, we found out that she was willing to buy my hair to make a wig for about 300 dollars. Wow! And then we taught the lesson. It was so good! We taught about the Restoration and the First Vision. Helen, the lady, loved it all and said that our message felt familiar. She said that she was able to understand everything I said too and I told her that it was definitely the Spirit helping her to realize the truthfulness of our message. It was a great lesson and we walked about from it feeling very uplifted! This week, Giane, the lady who ran away from us at first, had us visit her and her daughter and niece. She made us each eat three Brazilian-style hot dogs before letting us teach the lesson.  But they come to church, all the activities, and they love everything about the gospel. 
This weekend, we had our ward Christmas party and the next day, a talent show. Lots of our investigators came to both and it was great. It´s fun to see that the church is the same all over the world. Sure, the language was a bit more confusing than the language at our home ward Christmas parties and maybe the food is a little different, but it still felt like home! One thing that really amazes me here is the youth program. The youth here are so strong! And not only are they strong, but they are willing to do anything. They´re so impressive! When we bring an investigator to church who is a youth, everyone gladly accepts them and sincerely tries to be their friend. But then again, that´s how the whole ward is. They´re awesome.
The other day, we were at a member´s home for lunch and we saw that they had the General Conference Liahona. As Sister Custódio flipped through the pages, I was surprised and beyond excited when I saw that there were pictures of Emmalee, Johnny and Toria in there. How neat! I may have teared up a bit from excitement at seeing their faces. It was a good moment.
This weekend, we also had a slightly difficult experience that helped me grow as a missionary. We came the closest we´ve come yet to having a baptism. On Saturday, Sister Custódio and I arrived to the church with our investigator and met the elders in our district there. While our district leader interviewed our pesquisador... for three hours!, Sister Custódio and I cleaned the baptismal font and prepared everything for her baptism. We were so excited! Anxious but excited! Then three hours later, they came out of the interview and announced that they decided it would be better if she was baptized before church Sunday morning. So yesterday morning came around. We all got there a little before 8am to wait for our pesquisador. We called her after a few minutes and were very disappointed with the news. She told us that she had searched the Internet last night and read some things that she didn´t like about the church, so she wasn´t going to be baptized. My heart broke. This woman was so prepared for baptism. I am not lying when I say that I´ve never seen anyone so ready for the gospel and for baptism. She was such an elect! Sister Custódio and I were devastated. Ah just thinking about it now is making me sad! But a wonderful member of our bishopric took us into his office and talked with us. He made us feel a lot better and reminded us of our purpose as missionaries. He was a comfort to us and got our spirits back up for church where I got to speak in sacrament meeting! I think I like giving talks in English better, but it was still a great experience! My testimony of prayer, my topic, was strengthened so much!
And last night, a miracle happened. Mom, I french-braided. Me! It was great. I have pictures. I also got Grand Dad´s Christmas card this week. Tell him thank you sooooooo much! It made me so happy to hear from him!!! And Happy Birthday, Katie!!!! I hope you have a beautiful day!
I love you and am so grateful for this time here in the mission. I learn so much every day and truly am happy to be here. Sometimes, it´s difficult, but that´s life. And all the miracles and good times completely outweigh the hardships. I LOVE this gospel! I love our Father in heaven and I love our Savior, Jesus Christ. How grateful I am for His example and love for us! I hope your week is wonderful and you can feel His love and see His hand in your life this week. I love you and am praying for you! Always! 

Com amor,
Sister Ball

Our Zone


Enjoying our apartment!

Cleaning the baptismal font

Gift of chocolate & nail polish from a sister

I can finally french braid!!!

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