Monday, July 28, 2014

Beautiful area, Awesome Birthday, Lizards, Pday at the Orla, I LOVE THIS PLACE!

Holy cow, I only have five minutes to write and there´s sooo much to say... I didn´t even get to read your e-mails. Sorry! But this week was so great! Everyone made sure to remind me of my birthday and it was an incredible day. Despite not knowing the people here suuuper well, they made me feel so loved. It was one of the best birthdays of my life and one that I´ll never forget... but I´m still going to say I´m 19 to stay in the teens :).
Like I said, this week was awesome. We had splits with Sister Smith and Sister Martin. I stayed in our area with Sister Martin and what seemed was going to be super lame because all our appointments fell through, turned out to be a miraculous day. We found a perfect family and I´m so excited to teach them. Anyways, I love you all! So sorry this is super short. Just know I love you bunches!

Com amor,/
Sister Ball

We got to spend our prep day at the Orla thanks to a sister in the ward who was kind enough to take us there to goof around and be little girls for the day! :)

My beautiful area, my awesome birthday, fun stuff!

Choose to Believe!

Love hearing about how everyone´s doing. Oh my gosh, I can´t believe Noelle saw Gloriana in concert! #jelly Okay, I´m back to being a missionary now. Fun to hear about the California road trip. I hope that Grand Dad eventually moves up there too... it´d be so good for him. And that´s so awesome that Tina and Garth gave Steven a world cup ball! Why are they so awesome?  Yes, Courtney, e-mailed me! Holy freak, I´m so dang excited for her! She´s going to meet Sister Custódio´s family! haha So proud of that girl for the decision she´s making. And for all the young men in our ward too. Super happy for everyone.
So this week was incredible. I can´t tell you all how wonderful it was to have a full week of work again with the world cup being over. So good! It was also ridiculously cold... is that even possible? But the week was filled with TONS of rain! The first few days I spent soaked completely through and the others, it started to calm down again. Like I said, it was so good to get to work normally again. We managed to follow up with our investigators find lots of new, wonderful people to teach and are seeing lots of progress. We began teaching a family that´s all grown up but still lives together here... the mom, her three daughters and sons-in-law, and two grandchildren. It´s been really fun teaching them because they´re super warm and show lots of interest in what we have to say. I was a little shocked when we returned a couple days after the first visit and they had all prayed. And then I was shocked again when they showed up at church yesterday. Usually to get people to church here, you have to walk around waking everybody up because they don´t answer their phones or leave that part to the members. So we did this yesterday morning, but no one that we visited showed up at church. I had tried calling this family before leaving to bring people to the chapel, but no one answered. So when we showed up at the church without anyone, I was a little disappointed. But I got all happy again when Sister Smith said that someone had called and said they were on their way. And about half an hour later, this family showed up! Wow, I was so happy to see them there!
So many more great things happened this week that I´m so grateful for, but there´s not nearly enough time to write it all. I just am so grateful for the mission. I´ve never passed through so many hard times in such little time, but I´ve also never experienced such joy. It´s amazing the happiness that the gospel brings to us when we really make an effort to apply it in our lives. Here´s just a little quotation to finish up from Presidente Uchtdorf:
"We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."
When you have the choice between doubt and faith, don´t ever choose to doubt. Choose to believe. And the unending blessings of faith will follow. I love you all! Have a wonderful week and hurrah for Israel!

Com amor,
Sister Ball

The power went out Monday night, so we had to stay in our house and had a fun story-telling party

Happy 10 months, Sister Ball

Monday, July 14, 2014

World Cup and American Roomies

Hello my dear family!

Sounds like you´re all doing great! Keep up being awesome and loving each other, whoo! To answer some of your questions, Mom, the lady with lots of kids... she´s doing well! Seeing as how we practically only had two days to work this week between the world cup and meetings and interviews, it was difficult to follow up with our investigators as we would have liked, but I still have faith that she´ll go far. We´re already seeing changes in her. It was crazy here when Brasil was playing but during the last game between Germany and Argentina, it was pretty peaceful. The only thing that happened was we saw a half-naked man leaning out his car window blasting music and waving a giant German flag while speeding down the road. And fireworks. But that´s all pretty normal here. ;) It is interesting living with two other Americans... kind of weird, but it´s also nice having people around who understand, well, American things... but poor Sister Caetano... I love that girl haha. As for Presidente and Sister Gomes, I love them! They are nothing like the Gonzagas, but they´re still great. Presidente Gonzaga focused a lot more on the urgency of baptism and he and Sister Gonzaga were a bit more funny and outgoing. Presidente Gomes is focusing a lot more on the temple and family history work which is super interesting and different. But we have a promise from Elder Nelson that if we do this, we will see more success in our work too.  I´m beginning to realize more and more just how important this other type of missionary work is! There are so many people waiting on the other side of the veil for their baptisms and other ordenances to be done!

All righty... what happened this week... lots of interesting things! I don´t have time to write everything, so after the mission will have to do, but we are teaching a great older lady who has a semi-rebellious son. I honestly thought she wouldn´t be incredibly open to everything, but when we felt inspired to teach the Book of Mormon and give one to her for her granddaughter to read to her, she got so excited! She already recognizes that it is scripture written by prophets of God. I´m excited to return to visit her and see how their reading is going. We met some other elects and have planned to visit them this week. And other than that, the town was basically shut down for the World Cup. But this coming week, we´re going to get to work how we were before, woohoo! I love missionary work and am so grateful to be here. I love you guys and am always praying for you! Thank you for all you do to help me through words and your actions too! Hurrah for Israel!

Com amor,
Sister Ball

P.S. I got birthday cards! Thank you Dad, Mom, Noelle, Cam, Steven, David, Grand Dad, Tina, Shelli, Tiff, Dan, Keaton, Jack and Olivia! I love you all and am extremely grateful for you each in my life!

A shot of my beautiful area

3 Americans after dancing in the rain

Another band album cover... sorry for my awkwardness

Up close and personal with a cool-lookin' spider

In front of the coolest house here in Eduardo Gomes ... too bad Brasil didn't make it as far as we would have liked :(

Monday, July 7, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

I never got a video from Uncle Dan, but hope he´s doing well! And my knees are fine haha. Seriously! I´m doing what I can to keep them okay... after the mission is probably when I´m going to have more problems, but I´ll save worrying for that later :). Antônio Carlos is right... dating here is so different. They don´t really do dates here. And usually when someone turns 16, they start to 'steady date' and the boy has to ask permission from the dad which I think is pretty cool.
As for our 4th of July, we spent most of the day in our house due to the world cup game. I heard that Neymar is out which is a bummer but I still have faith that Brasil can win! I have no idea what´s going on in the World Cup right now, but I have faith haha. So for Independence Day, we worked normally until the game. The only thing I really did to celebrate was sport my red and blue skirt with a white top, and sing the National Anthem after the game with Sisters Smith and Martin when all our neighbors were setting off fireworks to celebrate Brasil´s winning... I don´t think that´s the right word.
The rest of our week was pretty good. We got to celebrate Sister Martin´s birthday on the second, which was great. We also started teaching quite possibly my biggest challenge yet--an older lady with twelve children and 36 grandchildren who all live in the same street. The challenge--she´s practically the Catholic pioneer of the neighborhood. Before they built the church in that area of Eduardo Gomes, everyone used to meet in her house. It´s going to be difficult to convert her, but I´m ready to accept the challenge. I want to see her and all her kids and grandkids there in the Church of Jesus Christ! Imagine the influence she´s going to have on her neighborhood!
Sorry this e-mail is super short, but not much else happened this week. I found a quotation that I really like--"The simple secret is this: put your trust in the Lord, do your best, then leave the rest to Him." -Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
I know that when we do our absolute best, the Lord makes up for the rest and is pleased with our work. We just need to confide in Him and give Him all we have. I´m so grateful for the blessings of this work. I love these people, I love this work and I love our Heavenly Father and His Son. And I love you guys! Hurrah for Israel!

Com amor,
Sister Ball

Oh! We live on the second floor of a house and it´s great living with the other sisters! I´ve been lucky enough to not have any problems with any living arrangements yet. Don´t know what I did to deserve such good companions and 'roommates' but I´m sure grateful!

Pictures with my new mission president, Presidente and Sister Gomes.  Sister Martins birthday breakfast, her birthday, and our beautiful area!  Holding up 4 fingers for Happy Independence Day!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

New area, New Mission President, Same great life in the mission!

I just want to apologize ahead of time... the internet here is incredibly slow so I´m not sure how much I´m going to be able to write or what pictures will be sent.   I´m in Eduardo Gomes which I´m super excited about. Socorro was such a great area but at least I´m in another good area. This is where I always went on splits in the beginning of my mission, so I already know some people here between that and it being in the same stake as Gragerú. My new companion is Sister Caetano, who arrived with Sister Costa. We live with Sister Martin and Sister Smith and are the first three Americans in this area for awhile... so I may or may not get some looks. It´s also my first area with hills a.k.a. I´m going to have to do even more knee workouts. To answer your question Dad, yes, I´m trying to run often and when I don´t run I jump rope. I can´t run daily because my knees were suffering when I was doing that (oops! I didn´t say that haha), but I do work out each morning.
Tomorrow, we also meet President and Sister Gomes. It was so weird to call Presidente Gonzaga´s number last night to welcome Presidente Gomes, but I already know that he and his wife will be great. I´m excited to meet them and to be led by their inspiration.
This morning, like every morning on P-Day, I was reading some Liahonas and messages about family and such (Presidente said we can be trunky on P-Days, so I take advantage of that haha) and have read some great things. I came across one talk from Elder Scott in the May 2011 Ensign about him and his wife. I love that talk so much! And there were so many other great messages about strengthening the family and the home. I know I´ve already said this so many times, but here in the mission, I´m learning how truly essential it is to have the gospel prospering within our families. I think it was President Kimball who said once that we can have all the success in the world but if we aren´t living the principles of the gospel within our homes and within our families, we have nothing.
All right, enough about that. This week, we found some great people to teach and were helped out by some great members. Last night, we were walking to an appointment with an irmão and his wife and two little boys when we passed a young couple in the dark. I didn´t even think to stop them, but the irmão stopped to say hi and realized that he already met the young man. So he immediately told them we wanted to share a message with them in their home. We went there and the Spirit was so strong as we shared the Restoration and all testified of its truthfulness and the power of prayer. They accepted to get married since they´re living together and get baptized at the end of this month. It was wonderful. It just strengthened my testimony of the importance of members in our work. They´re essential! I´m so grateful for the members in every area who are always willing to help us and drop everything to participate in the work of salvation. I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week. Boa semana and hurrah for Israel!

Com amor,
Sister Ball


Most of these photos are saying goodbye to people that I love.  The one super short sister is my new companion.  So happy to see so man great faces in Sergipe!