Monday, September 29, 2014

Tough Week Turned Better

First off, can I just say how excited I am for General Conference? Nossa, I´m so dang excited! THIS WEEK! Last night, we got to watch the general women´s meeting and I loved all they said about being worthy to enter the temple and make covenants with the Lord. We really need to live in such a way that we can be spiritually ready to enter those holy doors at any moment. The temple is such an incredible place. It´s great to hear about everyone back home... Alyssa is going to serve a mission! And Callie too! Wow, I´m so happy for you guys. You´re going to love being a missionary. This week was a bit tough, to tell ya the truth. But yesterday made it all better. I can´t tell you guys how happy I get whenever I see our recent converts, V and A. A is soaking up everything she learns and truly recognizes the importance of staying faithful and firm in the gospel. She´s so happy to be surrounded by people who recognize the same thing. And V, despite his little learning in school, is progressing so well! Yesterday, he showed up in a white shirt and tie and I got so excited when I saw him sitting where the deacons sit to pass the sacrament. He was sustained to the Aaronic Priesthood and helped pass the Sacrament! I literally cried a bit as I raised my hand to sustain him. Ahhhh it´s so wonderful to see people you love so much doing good things. I truly love this gospel and this work. I´m excited to work hard this week to find the Lord´s elects and I hope you are all well back home. Praying lots and sending my love! Hurrah for Israel!

Com amor,
Sister Ball

Our new quartet! Welcome to Eduardo Gomes, Sister Lopez!

Being a little girl, climbing walls

With some of my favorite moças at the General Women´s Meeting (is that even the name of it in English?) last night!

Catch Up!

Sept. 15
Ah glad Noelle made it there safely and it looks like she´s already doing well! Is that her with Chanelle and their roommates? Looks like a fun group! I can´t believe it´s already in the 20s... holy smokes, that´s ridiculous! I´m excited for you and your fun run too... or fun walk haha. I know you can handle it and of course I´ll be praying for you! Tell Grand Dad to eat an extra apple dumpling for me. Hope he makes it up there safely. Transfers are next week, but I think the only one leaving here is Sister Martin... who´s going home :(. But I´m pretty sure I´ll be in this area for awhile. Presidente is wanting to leave missionaries in their areas for more time, but who knows! We´ll have to see next week! And yes, I can´t believe that this week, I´ll be completing a year in the mission. Where did all the time go? It´s hard to believe that I´ve known some of the people I met in the CTM and in my first area for almost a year now. I just don´t believe it! And as excited as I am to be home sooner than later, I also get a little sad each time I think that I´ll have to say goodbye to Brasil and the mission soon. Of course, six months is still a long time, but I know it´s going to fly by like crazy. But what can I do about? I´ll just have to live each moment to its fullest and continue to work my hardest!
So this week was wonderful. First, A was baptized!!!!!! She´s been such a great person to work with and I´ve come to love her so much. She´s a less-active member´s mom. We had been trying to catch the member at home but she was never there, so we decided to sit down with A and start teaching her. She already visited the church a lot awhile back, so it wasn´t her first time for everything. But a few years ago just wasn´t the right time for her. So we helped her learn everything she needed to know and develop a testimony of the gospel and Heavenly Father´s Plan of Salvation, and she decided to be baptized this last weekend! She´s proof to me that the Lord really does have His own timing and we need to trust in Him.
Yesterday was also Ward Conference, which I love here. The members get all dressed up and it´s a huge deal! The Spirit was so strong yesterday during church. I know that our investigators felt the sweet Spirit there. And I also got to see Marinalva and Elizamar which was absolutely wonderful! Ah, I love those ladies! It was so so so good to see them. Oh and Sister Barros and I got to sing in the ward choir. I miss singing in choir so much! So it was good to get to participate in that. A little boy in our ward sang a solo that was so sweet. I think everyone had tears in their eyes.
Words really can´t describe how great this week was. I don´t think I´m doing a very good job at explaining everything because it was just that great. And as each week goes by, I fall in love with my mission and with this gospel more and more. I can´t imagine my life without these great blessings! Know that I love you guys heaps and am praying for you! I hope all is well back home and in all the other places that you guys might be. Noelle, enjoy college and make the best of it! Hurrah for Israel!!!

Com amor,
Sister Ball

P.S. Jacqualine, Karsten and Jaynie, thank you so much for the birthday letters!!!! Loved them! A big thank you is on its way!

Sept. 22
Hello my dear family! I love so much hearing from you guys and reading about your experiences back home. Dad, I absolutely loved this e-mail. It´s so good to hear that the deacons are 100% active. That´s incredible! And Bryan and Liss had another baby? When did that happen?! haha Boy or girl? And I can only imagine the joy you must feel, seeing how far the races you´ve helped organize/created have grown. I´m excited to see how much they´ve grown next year when I´m home! Mom, congrats on finishing your 3-day walk. So happy you finished strong and had a good experience. Cam... I´m gettin´ to ya ;)
This week was incredibly bittersweet. It was the last week of lots of sister missionaries here in the mission, including Sister Martin, who I was living with for the past two transfers. I learned so much from her and already am missing her but I know she´s moving on to greater things! I´m grateful for all the other people I had the opportunity to meet and learn from that go home this week too--Sister Smith, Sister Rodriguez... but okay, I´ll stop being trunky now. It was also great to see one of Sister Martin´s and Sister Bento´s pesquisadoras get baptized, A! They´ve been teaching her for a bit now and, even though I wasn´t really involved in her progress, it was still so good to see her make such a sacred and important covenant with God. Everyone was so happy for her! I can´t tell you guys how incredible this ward is. I feel so great here. The members treat us like family and are always willing to help, asking when they can go out and help us teach, giving us referrals and treating us how they would treat their own children if they were missionaries. It really is incredible when a ward is so involved in the work and has such a great love for it. It makes me want to be a better member missionary once I´m home so badly.
I honestly don´t know what else to say. Our recent converts are doing great. The other night after visiting V, he told us how he´s a different man now--how the gospel has blessed his life so greatly. Sometimes I worry about him because he´s so shy, but it makes me incredibly happy to know that he´s staying strong and desires so much to be a better person. A is coming to every single activity possible, studies the Book of Mormon like a mad man and is constantly asking when she can go out with us to make visits. I love these people. I love this gospel. I love our Savior and our Heavenly Father! What He has prepared for us is so so good! I hope everyone is well back home. Know that I love each of you beyond what words can say. 
Oh!!! And thank  you so much to Grand Dad, Heidi, Brett, Jayden, Spencer, Bella and their soon-to-be-daughter for the cards! And Chuck and Cindy, I can´t tell you how happy that box you sent made me. Thank you so so much! Have a great week, everyone! Hurrah for Israel!

Com amor,
Sister Ball

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Small and Simple

Thanks so much for the e-mails, my wonderful family! Ah, so much happened this week and I have so little time... first things first. We got a wonderful visit from Elder Aidukaitis, a general authority, who helped us improve in so many ways. Something that he seemed to really focus on was how God works in small in simple ways, line upon line and precept upon precept. I always love thinking about that. It´s incredible how we can look back and see how much we´ve changed and improved when we´re applying the gospel in our lives. In the moment, we might not even realize it, but a little later, we can see that we´ve grown so much! We´re also seeing our investigators progress so much. I love the people we´re teaching. They´re absolutely incredible and amaze me with the faith and determination they have to follow the Savior and do God´s will for them. I can´t believe Cam´s in high school and that Noelle´s going off to college this week! My prayers are with you guys!!! Mom, good luck with your race. I heard that Dad did that relay again. Sounds so much fun! I´m so sorry this is incredibly short. But know that I love you all. I love being a representative of our Savior and seeing His miracles happen every day. I might not be seeing people being baptized and converted left and right, but I know I´m being converted and that´s what matters. I hope you´re all well and again, love you bunches!!! Hurrah for Israel!

Com amor,
Sister Ball

P-Day Acai
This week, we had lunch with an irmã in São Cristóvão at their cítio (like a mini farm)... us holding crabs

-Sitting in tire chairs at a tire table and more photos at the citio lunch

While waiting for the ônibus (which takes forever to arrive in São Cristóvão), we made contacts and climbed the Senhor dos Passos, a statue that sits on top of a hill, overlooking the small city... kind of like Pipilá in Guanajuato :). It was a quick five minute climb with beautiful views!

 Almost made it to the top of this light house!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Miracles Happen in His Time

Hello!!! Boa tarde! Ou pra vocês, bom dia! (Since Mom and the boys are just waking up in the tent!)
This week was so great! As I mentioned last week, we got to see one of our investigators enter the waters of baptism. It doesn´t matter how many people are there or who´s being baptized--the spirit during a baptism is always so sweet and strong. Words can´t describe the feelings that come when you see someone you´ve helped apply the Atonement in their life take that next step of washing away their sins and starting a new life. So V´s baptism was the highlight of the week, com certeza. Yesterday was also a miracle. Sister Barros and I left our house early to pick up some investigators to bring to church with us but no one could go with us a.k.a. didn´t want to come. At least we knew that our lovely family would be there that we´ve been teaching. But it was a miracle when we were waiting at the doors and saw a man dressed in a pink polo and white pants pull up on his motorcycle with a little boy sitting in front and another on the back... it was JR!! An investigator! Then another miracle happened when we saw a little old woman walking by and enter the front gate... it was A!! Another investigator! And then another miracle happened when we saw an older woman hugging her granddaughter goodbye and the granddaughter running towards us, excited for church... it was J! Another investigartor! All these people were people that we were ready to give up on because things just weren´t working out. But we had been praying for them, that things would work out. And they did! I know that Heavenly Father answers our prayers in His own time. I haven´t been seeing these miracles happen during my entire mission, but that´s because the Lord´s ways are higher than ours. He knows when and where we´re needing His miracles.
 Keep up the family history work, thank you so much! When I come home next year, I´ll be sure to help. Congrats on returning to school too! That should be a great experience. Tell all those wonderful Primary children that I love them and hope they´re doing well and the family that I love them bunches! I just want to finish with a quotation I read today by Presidente George Q. Cannon:
'There is not one of us but what God´s love has been expended upon. There is not one of us that He has not cared for and caressed. There is not one of us that He has not desired to save, and that He has not devised means to save. There is not one of us that He has not given His angels charge concerning. We may be insignificant and contemptible in our own eyes, and in the eyes of others, but the truth remains that we are the children of God, and that He has actually given His angels--invisible beings of power and might--charge concerning us, and they watch over us and have us in their keeping.'

I love you all!!! Hurrah for Israel and Happy September!!

Com amor,
Sister Ball

Entrance to Eduardo Gomes

V's Baptism

Frosting fight at an 8 year old investigator's birthday

-Bem-vindo á Tijuquinha, aqui Alemão passa mal... Welcome to Tijuquinha, here Germans... I don´t know how to finish that in English haha