Monday, December 2, 2013

Mission Life

As for the mission, life is good. To answer your question, we´re kind of almost on the coast. . . we were actually going to go to the coast today (with permission from the President), but I think we´ll go next week now. And yes, I´m getting plenty of sleep. Well, it´s never enough, but it´s enough to keep me functioning during the day--10:30pm to 6:30 am cada dia :). Honestly, the last couple of weeks have been really disappointing, but I´m trying to keep my head up and look for the lessons in each experience. And I´ve been learning a lot--about missionary work and about myself. We haven´t had any baptisms, all of our investigators begin showing interest and then something bizarre happens and they don´t want to be baptized, and nobody new seems to be receiving us. We´re doing all we can to find new people and try to strengthen our investigators, but it´s tough. Everyday I have to remind myself that we´re doing our part and our people still have their agency to choose whichever path they want. I can only hope that they´ll start choosing the gospel soon! But nonetheless, the mission is still good! When life gets difficult, I just have to remember to look around a bit and then I realize how truly blessed I am. Seriously. The Lord has blessed me so much! The least I can do is be grateful for what He has given me.
We actually have been having success with one of our pesquisadores and her daughter and niece. We met Giane one night while she was walking her dog and we taught her the First Vision. She was intrigued by it all and said she would come to church, but never came. And she didn´t want to give us her address or number, so we thought we had lost her for good. Then the other week, we were walking along one day and I saw her in the distance. She made eye contact with us and then began running away, haha! But Sister Custódio called out and she stopped and came back to us. We joked with her and taught her another lesson, along with her friend she was with. She said she´d come to church that following Sunday, and she did! With her daughter and niece. We said we would visit her the following Wednesday, but Wednesday came and we got stuck in a meeting during the time that we were going to visit her (we got her address, but not her number). We felt horrible. Absolutely horrible. The next day rolled around and Sister Custódio and I were walking when a little girl began called for our attention. We looked and saw that it was Giane´s daughter. They called us over to learn more and we rescheduled for the following night to visit them. The next night, we retaught the Restauration to her, her daughter, niece and a friend and the Spirit was so strong. They came to church yesterday, and we´re planning on baptizing them this Saturday. Giane has been such an example to me. She has gone to show me that what might start out as a grain of sand, can easily turn into a pearl when worked on by the Spirit. She´s awesome!
This week, we also ran out of filtered water. We usually buy it, but we ran out on Saturday night, too late for anyone to deliver water. So what do we do? We went to the church with lots of water bottles, and filled up there! Haha it was funny, but we need our water!
This week, Sister Barker and I also helped Sister Custódio and Sister Ferreira celebrate their first Thanksgiving. And they helped us! For breakfast, I made them french toast with whipped cream and strawberries. They fell in love and said that when they get home from their missions, it´s the first thing they´re making for their families. (I also made them a trifle the other week and they loved it! It definitely wasn´t the same because Brasil doesn´t have pudding like we do, but I improvised and it still turned out pretty good!) Then for dinner, Sister Ferreira and Sister Custódio didn´t want us to go without a Thanksgiving dinner, so they prepared pretty much all the food we had and made a giant feast for us. It was so so sweet! And watching their excitement was so cute! We had lots of fun :).
My final "this week"... this week, we had Zone Conference! And I met the Geddes´ nephew, Elder Christensen, crazy! I did not recognize him at first. All the new missionaries got to bear their testimonies for everyone else, so that was fun and a bit frightening. But mostly fun! We learned so much about how to be better missionaries and I soaked up every word. And at the end, we received letters! I was so overly joyful to see that I had gotten letters from Elder Fore, Sister Granados, Sister Ropke, MY FAMILY, and Olivia Howard! Olivia, thank you so much for your sweet card and the cute pictures! I was so so happy to hear from you. And I still have my friendship bracelet here in Brasil ;). Family, thank you for the letters and postcard of Cam and Grand Dad! Hearing from each of you (well, almost each of you!) made my heart leap with joy. I can´t express to you how important letters are to missionaries! I always thought they were important before, but I never knew how important. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

One thing that I really have learned over the past several days is the importance of church members in missionary work. I know that the members have lives outside of missionary work and what not, but missionaries really need members! We´ve been struggling getting members to help us recently and it has made our work a lot harder. My testimony of "every member a missionary" has grown so much. I´m so grateful for the help we do receive and the love of our ward. I am so blessed to be serving in the ward Grageru 1. The members are wonderful and so loving. I´m grateful to be here in Aracajú, serving with all my heart, might, mind and strength. I´m grateful for this gospel and for my family and my friends and all things good in this world. The love you all show for me gives me hope and I truly feel your prayers every day. I love you all and pray for you as well. Have a fabulous week and until next time, tchau tchau! Hurrah for Israel!

Com amor,
Sister Ball

P.S. Shout out to Alyssa, Steven, Jacqualine and Kendall. I hope you all had/are having/will have an incredible birthday! I love each of you and feel so blessed to call you my friends, and family. Te amo!

Feliz Natal!

President & Sister Gonzaga

Us sisters at Zone Conference

Me and my District
We found an abandoned photo frame so of course, we took pictures. As you can see, Sister Barker loves Mouri the troll.
Sister Custódio loves the game slug bug, but here, it´s fusca [color of bug]. So in this case, FUSCA BRANCO!
Filling up on lots of water at the church :)
Ready to feast on our delicious Thankgiving dinner so graciously prepared by Sister Ferreira and Sister Custódio. It consisted of the equivalent of top ramen, eggs, pão com queijo, more eggs, LOTS of fruit, fresh mango juice and more fruit
-Posing with the flag of Sergipe!
Me with Sister Barra, the sister trainer I did a division with a couple weeks ago. She reminds me so much of Kayla Wright! It made me miss her!
The clouds on this particular day were beautiful and it reminded me of all the times Mom almost crashed trying to take pictures of the clouds with her iPhone back home :).

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