Monday, August 25, 2014

Shakira, Teaching English, and Riding in a Police Car!

Hahaha first things first... LOVED that Elf picture! Are there really only 20 Fridays until Christmas? Holy smokes, I´m excited. It also sounds like you guys had a super fun week. Dad, glad you guys got to enjoy the fair and thank you for that article... I´m going to read it for sure! I can´t believe school is already starting again soon. That´s crazy! Hope everyone is getting prepped and excited! And Tawny got married?! Holy cow!!! Tell her congrats for me! Whoever she married is one lucky guy. And boa missão for Sam Lee too. I can´t believe he´s already leaving for his mission. Based on this paragraph, it seems like I can´t believe a lot of things, yes, one of them also being that I´ve almost spent a year here in Brasil. It´s still not one year, so I´m keeping calm, but it´s getting there!
The English class is going well! There aren´t as many people showing up as we would have liked, but the people that do show up make it fun. It honestly isn´t affecting my decision for my major that much, but I think I still would like to do Elementary Education. What has changed the most is whether or not I want to continue with Spanish. I´m going to finish my minor, com certeza, but it´s just going to be a bit difficult to relearn Spanish and remember Portuguese too! But it will all work out :). And the mosquitoes, yes I´m alive! When I got here, it was  a lot worse, but now they´re used to me and almost never bite me.
So this week, a miracle happened. Last Monday, we were at M´s and she casually asked if I remembered V, her kind-of son who had visited the church with them a couple Sundays back. I said yes, and she mentioned, even more casually, that he wanted to be baptized. I kind of exploded with excitement and in unbelief! I only really believed it when he showed up soon after and confirmed what she had said earlier! So we spent this whole week preparing him to be baptized this coming Saturday. We´re spending more time preparing people now because we get to teach all five lessons before the baptism, and afterwards too. That includes lessons on eternal marriage, family history, temple work and more. So we´re packing a lot into one week (since he´s working this entire next week and won´t be able to receive us much) to get him ready. It´s so great to see someone though who´s so determined to do what´s right and leave behind his old life. He´ll make a great contribution to  the church and in God´s Kingdom.
Today, I was also studying a lot about family history...  And is there anyway that you guys could send me the information (names, birthdays, death dates, wedding dates, cool stories, etc.) about you guys, my grandparents and great-grandparents? That would make me a very happy sister! I know, now more than ever, how important our family history work is. It´s just as important as missionary work!  I love you all so much and, as always, hope all is well! Stay strong and remember... 20 Fridays until Christmas, WOOOOOOOOHOOOO!!!! Hurrah for Israel!

Com amor,
Sister Ball

Adventures up on top of the morro.

one of our investigators is a policial!

During divisões with Sister Martin, we made a goal to buy a treat from every little stand that was selling something that we passed. So I got to buy this little beauty--it was like a peep in a cardboard-tasting ice cream cone with a balloon stuck on top. Gotta love the creativity :) 
Our area

 Yesterday, I took the braids out of my hair that Sister Barros had done and decided I looked like Shakira from 2001. So I got in the most hippie get-up I have and took a picture.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Keeping Busy and Staying Away From the Mosquitos, Promise!

It´s always so fun to hear about how things are going back home. Wow, I missed girls camp so much but glad to hear that it went well! Tell all the girls who helped in the pranks good job for me haha. Noelle and Sheila´s cot... she cracks me up! Dad wrote about Steven too... hope he´s doing better, but I´m sure he is, especially after receiving a priesthood blessing. That priesthood is the same power that was used by God to creat the universe, so I´m sure it can heal a tooth or two. He´s a brave boy! And I really hope Sister M is doing better, the poor thing. I´m praying like crazy for her and everyone else who knows her here in Brasil is too!
So this week was full of action and lots of fun. We had our english class, a quick Book of Mormon lesson in a school, mutual, a Relief Society activity and a missionary fireside last night that all went super well. It´s so fun to see the ward liven up and get excited about the gospel and fulfilling their responsibilities in the work. To answer your question, our living quarters are great! I don´t think anything beats Socorro (seriously, that place was a mansion!), but it´s super nice here! Big enough for four sisters, clean and safe surroundings. The only problem is the canal that´s alongside our house which means... mosquitoes! But keep calm, Mother! I´ve already seen a car that sprays anti-dengue stuff in all the streets multiple times and we use repellent and shocking raquetes... I forgot how to spell that. Basically, we´re all okay here in Eduardo Gomes :). And my new comp! It´s Sister Barros! We were in the CTM together which is super fun. And Sister Martin´s companion is Sister Bento, who was also with us in the CTM! And Sister Barker is a sister leader trainer now! (That´s just a sidenote that I just wanted to throw in there.) Another sidenote: Yesterday, Marinalva was visiting with the stake in our ward! So that was super fun getting to see her :).
Other than that, we´re just working hard, finding new people to teach and helping out investigators accept the gospel and change their lives. There´s an irmã here in this ward that is a grand example for me. She told us that she decided to make a promise with the Lord--that she would put Him absolute first in her life in all she does. So if we call needing help, she helps. If we show up on her doorstep needing someone to come with us to visit an investigator, she drops everything to make that visit with us. She´s the ultimate example of putting God first in her life and makes me want to be a better person. I know that this gospel is the only way we can have true happiness in our lives. I love our Savior and I love His gospel. I love all of you! Hope all is well back home and hurrah for Israel :)

Com amor,
Sister Ball

P.S. My companion is from Cape Verde... well that´s pretty neat! She´s awesome.

Last P-Day, Sister Caetano and I climbed a hill with some people from a family we´re teaching. I love that family!

me in my cool hat I got for Christmas
With my new comp, Sister Barros. We were in the CTM together! 

In an irmã´s school during lunch. We taught a quick little lesson on obedience with Nephi... yeah, religion is accepted here in schools, woo!

We did an activity for the Young Women

with all the ladies is a RS activity we had and learned how to decorate cake. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Christmas in August!

Wow, yet again, I only have five more minutes. I´m so sorry! First thing next week, I´m going to write you guys! Really quickly, I got letters from Elder Jones, Sister Cruz and Elder Ferro. Thank you so much! And I don´t know if I mentioned Sister Geddes´ letter too, but thaaaaaaaaank you!
This week was rather normal. The highlight was celebrating Christmas yesterday and brightening peoples´ days with carols and presents. We visited a woman who is super depressed with the situation she´s in right now and helped her see the blessings she´s receiving in her life. We also started teaching English classes in the church which is going ato be fun! I wish I had maore atime ato writae you guys but as you can see, this keyboard is messed up and likes the letter 'a'. Just know I love you all! I´m really learnaing to love here. Also my comp was transferred and Sister Smith :(. But I´m excited to see who´s going to be my next comp. We´re going tao see lots of miracles! I love you all so much! Keep strong and learn to love the gospel. It´s the greatest thing we´ve got!

Com amor,
Sister Ball

Yesterday we celebrated Christmas. Yes, you better believe it. So here are some pictures of our Christmas! This family, Conceição, Osias e Laleska, is so wonderful! They knew we were celebrating Christmas so when we went there for lunch yesterday, they had a tree set up with Christmas sax music playing and gave us ornaments. We arrived there caroling with snickerdoodles. Wow, what a great day! I´m grateful to know that crazy people like me exist out there ;)

 Our goodbye for Elder Max (and Elder Rock, but he was busy during this picture)
 A bunch of fruit that an irmão gave us... he´s always stopping by to drop off fruit and juice!
 A cool part of our area... there´s a giant valley of green and right in the middle, a dirt soccer field.
 Holding the cutest puppy ever, Lafawnduh!!! We bonded


Monday, August 4, 2014

Blessings Through Trials and Successes

So... about that retainer... every few weeks I try to start using him... it (sorry that was awkward!) again, but it seems that each time I get sick. So I´m going to keep trying so that money isn´t wasted. It still fits, don´t worry! Wow, moms know everything! To answer other questions that I remember seeing in this e-mail, our turn out at church this week was GREAT! We had seven people show up there and a couple potential people to teach! We´re working so hard and the Lord is finally blessing us with good results. He was always pouring out blessings, but in different ways... for example, the blessing of patience. I´ve definitely learned patience due to some of the trials I´ve gone through here, trying to find the Lord´s elects. And these seven people will be baptized. I have faith! Now it´s just time to show the works!
The youth here are great too! I don´t think there´s a ward that exists like Grageru when it comes to the youth... here, they´re wonderful but there aren´t a ton. But they´re still such strong, wonderful examples of what it means to live the gospel. And Mom, don´t even worry about the food. I´m eating soooooo much! It´s ridiculous! Even when I try to eat normal amounts, everyone says that I´m just embarrassed to eat more and they put more food on my plate. Oh it´s horrible haha. But it´s great that people care so much about how freakishly 'skinny' I am... not for long! We do exercises daily and yes, taking care of my lovely knees :).
As for this week, the best part was probably Sunday when everyone came to church. I love this family that we´re teaching... it´s the one that surprisingly showed up to church a couple weeks ago and surprisingly accepted baptism and surprisingly follow through with every compromisso that we leave for them. Yesterday, they surprisingly accepted to live the Word of Wisdom which is another miracle. And soon, the ones that need to, are going to be surprisingly married. That´s the great thing about this work. Just when we think we know what´s going on, the Lord blesses us with a wonderful surprise that always teaches us something... sometimes it´s through trials and other times it´s through successes, but the two are grand blessings. I don´t even know if this is making sense. What I´m trying to say is that the Lord has a much greater plan for us than we think. His ways are higher than ours. And when we put our trust in Him, everything will turn out perfectly well in the end. I´m so grateful for that! I love you all and hope all is well back home. Stay strong, stay cool and... hurrah for Israel!

Com amor,
Sister Ball

P.S. I GOT THE BOX, THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!! Wow, I needed new shoes! And I also got cards from the Priebes, Gilleys, Elder Woodbury and Nana and Pops. Thank you so much everyone!!!! And Happy Birthday, Courtney, Sydney and Emmy a.k.a. Earl! I love you ladies a ton and hope your special days were/will be great!

Rockin' a cool horse hair hat!