Monday, March 17, 2014

Another Great Week in the Mission!

Hahaha thank you for the list of things to take pictures of! We´re not really supposed to carry our cameras with us, but I´ll do what I can. I´ll take those pictures just because you asked! Tell Noelle congrats on the race... she´s such a beast haha. And I loved seeing pictures of you all skiing in the beautiful snow! Ahhh I could use some of that beautiful white stuff right now. In the beginning of the week, it was raining like no other here, but the past couple days have been super hot... like a Sergipian hot! Congrats to my stud of a cousin, Jesse Smidt, too. And to Emmy! Excited to see the announcement!

As for this past week, I learned that I haven´t escaped the growing pile of food on my plate during lunches. I thought once I left Aracajú, that people would stop plopping food in front of me, but no. It´s still happening. So much for trying to lose a little weight! But more importantly, this week we had a baptism! And it was a complete miracle!  on Friday night, we were visiting Aparecida and she asked if we were going to have baptisms this week. We told her that this week, we wouldn´t but next week we will. She had her baptism marked for the 29th with some other people, but wanted her baptism to be special and on a small scale. So when she heard that no one would be being baptized this week, she got this light in her eyes and shyly asked if she could be baptized tomorrow. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh-llelujah! What a blessing. We told her of course she could and immediately got started on making plans since Saturday was just around the corner. And Saturday, she was baptized, Sunday, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Her faith and desire to follow our Savior inspired me. She´s such a good lady and it´s good to see that she´s been converted by coming unto Christ.

Another interesting story--the other night, I had a dream that a week before coming home from the mission, Mom had a little girl. Bridget. Yep. So watch out, Mom. The last time I dreamed someone had a baby, Sister Priebe had Joshua the next day ;).

Other than that and the fact that lots of post offices are on strike so sending letters is a bit difficult, that was the highlight of my week! I love you all, as always! The only thing that changes is that each week, I come to love each of you more and more. Thank you for everything and hurrah for Israel!
Saying goodbye to Antonio Carlos and Marinalva... que triste

Found Sister Ferreira, minha tia, during the transfers conference!
Making guacamole! Sister L. Silva and I found a mutual passion for that avocado delicacy.
6 months in the mission for Elder Draper and Sister Ball! And lots of other wonderful people who unfortunately aren´t in my district
Just cruisin´along in a WWII U.S.A. jeep.

Aparecida´s baptism! She has such a sweet spirit!
At the transfer conference with Sister L. Silva, my new companion
Climbing coconut trees... welcome to Brasil.
Zona Tabuleiro, "continue a batizar!" (Our Finding Nemo-themed motto... like "Just Keep Swimming... but in Português... and batismo!)

The front of our pink house... and Mouri :)
Aaaand saying goodbye to my favorite sister... ainda mais triste.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Goodbye's and A New Area!

(Note from mom: I found some great pics on Sister Barkers FB of their area and some beauties of Bri asleep, fully clothed, studying.  I love them, but Bri is less than excited!  In her defense, she's not the only one sleeping in such a manner in the pics!  Those girls are working hard!)

Unfortunately I don´t take pictures like Sister Barker haha. I can´t believe she sent those! Now that we´re separated, she thinks she can send whatever she likes to her family... oh I see ;). I´ll try to take more pictures of everything though. So far, I haven´t taken a ton.
Glad Noelle had fun at mormon prom.  I can´t believe all the rain... it sounds like Sergipian rain, nossa.
So this week started in some tears and bittersweet goodbyes... I had to say goodbye to Gragerú 1 and one of my best friends that I´ve been with since the beginning of my mission-- Sister Barker was the first person to greet me in the São Paulo airport! I found a sister in her and it was so hard to say goodbye to her along with the family I made in Aracajú. Please keep in touch with them, Mom! But I´m in a great place now too. Now my area is Cidade Universitária... Sister Castro´s and Sister Barratt´s old area, in Maceió, Alagoas (Mom, now I´m officially in Maceió so Antonio Carlos won´t have to correct you on the location haha). I live in a pink house right in front of the chapel. My companion is incredible, Sister L. Silva. She´s super tranquil but incredibly funny and knows how to do this work. We´re working hard but without the stress that I had before. I don´t know how she does it but it´s so nice! And we have baptisms marked for this weekend and the weekends to come. Our only struggle right now is finding good new investigators... but that´s every missionary´s problem :). I´m in the same district as an elder who arrived in the field with me, Elder Rossetto, so it´s nice to have at least one familiar face around. This last Tuesday, I also received some letters from missionary friends and a beautiful postcard of Alyssa and Jozette... thank you so much! Oh and fun fact: I´m actually teaching a woman named Josete. Cool, neh? Another fun fact: everyone thinks Sister Barratt returned to the area because we look so much alike to the people here.
This week was just filled with lots of lessons and getting to know the new area. We have lots of people here who need to be married before they can be baptized, so we´ll hopefully be helping with lots of weddings. And for now, that´s about all I have. Sorry my camera died so I can´t send all the pictures I have and my time is running out. But I love you guys so much and am extremely grateful to be doing this work. I´m grateful for a chance to be here and start with a new area, new companion and new people... I just really hope that I can return to Gragerú one day! haha I love you all and am thankful for you in my life. Boa semana e hurrah for Israel!
Com amor,
Sister Ball
P.S. One of the few pictures that loaded before my camera died... the closest I got to "carnaval," taken from our window.

With Elizamar and Osmário for the last time... they were beyond kind and drove us to the chapel we needed to meet in at midnight with all our luggage. I love these people!

Having FHE with Antonio Carlos, Marinalva, Osmario and Elizamar--some of my favorite people in the entire world

Monday, March 3, 2014


Então, last night, we found out who´s being transferred and who´s staying. Sister Barratt and Sister Castro are staying in Gragerú 1, the best ward ever in Brasil. And Sister Barker and I leave for Alagoas tonight to arrive at the transfers meeting tomorrow. There´s a chance that we´ll return to Sergipe if we end up training but there´s also a chance that we´ll stay in Alagoas. Either way, the chances of us staying together are slim. I´m really going to miss this area. I love everyone here so much! But a new start will be good for me too, to get recharged. Maybe I´ll get to finish my mission here :).

This week was good. We taught some really good lessons. We met Antônio who loved the message of the Restoration. Unfortunately he doesn´t live in this area, but he was so interested in our message and sincerely curious. It always strengthens my faith and hope when we meet people like him. We´re also teaching a rapaz named Lucas. He´s simply a good young man. This week we taught him the gospel of Jesus Crist and he´s following through with compromissos and all. His baptism is marked for the 15th so I´m excited to hear about how that goes! We´re teaching lots of other people too who we´ve marked baptisms for the 15th. Sister Barratt is going to baptize demais! :)

On Thursday, we also had a training with all the sisters in Sergipe. We did an exercise where we all taught the first lesson to Sisters Walker and Sierras and had written an inspired question to ask them (they were our investigators). They called us by name, one by one, and together, we taught the restoration and asked our questions. It was just really cool to see the Spirit work as they called each sister at the perfect time. For example, my question wouldn´t have worked at any other time other than towards the end of the lesson. Even though they didn´t know what my question was, they didn´t call on me until towards the end of our lesson. The power of the Spirit is so real!

This weekend, Carnaval also started so we taught little and walked. A lot. But it´s pretty tranquil here and by midweek next week, all should be back to normal.

I´m so grateful for this time that I got to spend in Gragerú 1. I made friendships and had experiences that I´m going to remember always. This area is every missionary´s dream! So my time here has been good. And now, I´m excited to see where I´ll end up. I´m so grateful for all that I´m experiencing here in the mission. I´m learning so much and growing incredibly! Both spiritually and physically... especially my tummy ;). Thank you for all the support and love. Hurrah for Israel!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ASHLEE!!!!! Feliz Sweet Sixteen! :)

Com amor,
Sister Ball

 Reunited, again, with Sister Custodio!

If you're friends with Noelle Ball on FB, be sure to check out the special music video Bri and Sister Barker made for Noelle for her birthday!