Monday, December 15, 2014

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas!

Can I just say how impressed I get reading your e-mails and hearing about how fast David and Steven are growing up? Glad they had fun at Steven´s birthday party. He deserves it. And that´s even more wonderful that he wasn´t embarrassed to hug and thank you! I think my mission is making him more Brasileiro than me! :) Tell him that I want to see all his cool sporty presents when we Skype next week, okay? Oh and I want to hear David singing :) Good luck to Mom and Noelle on your finals this week. I´m sure that you´ll both do wonderful and will be praying that you can remember what you need to so that you can ace those tests! And thank you for sending me Courtney´s e-mails! I´m not getting them, but I got the two that you sent this week. Glad the little note got to her. I sent it with a young man leaving for the mission here and I guess he managed to find her! It shouldn´t be too hard to find a gorgeous blonde Sister Barbie though :). Aaaaand thank you so much for the shirts and ring. I really really appreciate it!
This week was wonderful. The biggest highlight was probably our Christmas Conference in Maceió. I loved being able to see all my friends that are still here in the mission and catch up with them. Presidente and Sister Gomes gave great talks and panettone (I think it´s fruit cake there... how did I never know that I love that stuff?!) and we had a talent show that was wonderful! Sister Lopez and I sang together and my district did a presentation that everyone loved, not to be modest or anything haha. We sang the cup song and rewrote the words to fit with the mission and Christmas.
This week, I also met an incredible young woman, Jaqueline. Sister Custódio met her last week on exchanges and we visited her again this week. She´s dating a young man from the other stake who´s going on a mission soon and was super curious about the church, so he set up a visit with us. When we got there, she was so excited! She whipped out her cell phone and started showing us all the photos she took on Sunday there at the church for her first time. She already knows pretty much everything about the gospel because her boyfriend is a great future missionary and she´s soaking in everything. She was so happy to receive a Book of Mormon and the Spirit was wonderful as we read it together with her. I´m excited to see where this young woman goes and hope that everything goes well for her baptism soon.
So those are the best parts of this week. Lots of other things happened... oh! We have transfers tomorrow but everyone stayed :). And Mom, Nordestino is someone from the Northeast... Northeasterner? Sei lá. But okay, I think that´s all. I love you guys! Can´t wait to talk with ya next week! Christmas is next week! Can you believe it? Nope. I know I can´t. Tchau tchau e até mais!

Com amor,
Sister Ball

 Yeah!  I finally get to wear my sandals!
Painting Bispo's house

Lunch with Bispo and family

Colorful parrots!

Panda's and Sister Ball love Nana

Feliz Natal Workshop

A Brasilian Nativity

Christmas Conference in Maceio

Monday, December 1, 2014

Seeing Growth From the Seeds I've Planted

Hey Fam Bam! Sounds like you had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Wish I could have been there to celebrate with you all, but we had a pretty good time here too. Our Thanksgiving consisted of three banquets during three days. On Thursday, the elders in our district prepared a wonderful breakfast for us in the church. They earned brownie points! On Friday, I spent most of the morning in the kitchen and we had a Thanksgiving feast in our own house for lunch with two other sisters who´s lunch fell through. And on Saturday, Talita, an irmã in the ward, prepared another feast which was followed by a delicious torta (sorry, I´m really not remembering this word in english!) that an irmão made for dessert. All in all, it was fabulous. Our area is great. It´s the 'interior', or more rural, but not as rural as Eduardo Gomes. It´s far away from the coast. And there are mosquitoes but nothing like Eduardo! I think I´ll be finishing my mission here, but who knows. I just hope I don´t have to pack my bags again before having to pack up for the last time and heading home. I don´t really like packing my bags for transfers haha. The work is going well! To answer your question, Mom, as sister leader trainers, we have leadership councils, take care of four sister missionary companionships and go on exchanges with these sisters to help them in their areas and also to help us out :). This week, I went on my first exchanges as a sister leader trainer which was exciting. I think I was more nervous than the sisters that I was supposed to help out! But it all went super well. I love the miracles that happen during exchanges. On Thanksgiving, I worked in Sister Sleeman´s area (which is my old area here in Socorro 1) and it was a great day. They´ve been having difficulty finding people to teach and it seemed that everything went right that day. We managed to find lots of people ready to hear the gospel who were open to our message. I love being back where I already worked, one of the reasons being because I can see how the seeds that I planted have sprouted. Sometimes as a missionary, we get a little hopeless because it seems that we´re just spending the months planting seeds. Seeing the effect of these 'seeds' has been one of the greatest blessings! For example, Sister Sleeman and Sister Caetano decided to start teaching a lady that I spent a lot of time teaching when I was here before. I can´t tell you how happy I was when I found out that  she´s reading the Book of Mormon and is in Helaman. Her daughter uses the CTR ring I gave her and this Sunday, they all came to church for the first time! It´s also great seeing other people that were my investigators as recent-converts now. Well, that´s my life these days. The miracles we´re seeing are wonderful. We´re working hard and hoping to have baptisms this Saturday. Pray that everything will go as planned! Tell Steven, Kendall, Jack Carroll, Kacy Johnson, Britney Spears and all my other December 2nd birthday friends Happy Birthday for me! That I love them so much and hope they have a wonderful day! There´s a birthday card in the mail for Steven, that stud of a brother of mine. I love you all bunches! Have a wonderful week and Happy December!!! 24 days until Christmas.

Com amor,
Sister Ball

Sis. Sleeman and I trying on heels with our dear friend, S

My first exchange with Sis. Pew

Plate full of Thanksgiving food from our lunch with an irma on Saturday ... soooooo good!!!

Thanksgiving breakfast with our district

Thanksgiving pie from our lunch with an irma on Saturday ... soooooo good!!! 
We made pumpkin pie!!!  Ah, que saudade!

Our Thanksgiving banquet that we cooked up for lunch 
Our Thanksgiving banquet that we cooked up for lunch 
Our Thanksgiving banquet that we cooked up for lunch 
Santa and Coca Cola

Yummy Chicken feet!

Yummy Chicken feet!