Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014 - Bangalore

Hi Everybody!
So this week wasn't quite as good as other weeks but it still was a pretty decent week.  Both Elder Bunga and I were feeling a bit sick this week so we didn't end up getting as much done as we wanted to.  But we still did our best.  

So on Wednesday this week, since we both weren't feeling well, Elder Bunga and I gave each other blessings before we left the apartment.  For some reason this week was a hard one on me in terms of homesickness.  I just missed the United States and my home and family a lot this week, but after Elder Bunga's blessing, I was doing a lot better with it.  So Vincent David was progressing pretty dang well lately.  On Wednesday, we decided to give him a blessing so i got the privilege of giving him that blessing.  It was a pretty cool experience.  Hopefully he continues to progress.  He came to church on Sunday again so we are still looking forward to that baptism date.  His wife also came to church.  Kishore however, did not come to church this week so we were pretty upset about that.  But Stephen, one of the Congo brothers did come to church this week so that was good. 
So i had a really good experience with a less active sister named Rushme.  So we went to her house but hadn't planned what to share with her, so Elder Bunga asked me to share something so i just kind of randomly thought to share Joshua 1:9. So after sharing, she just was kind of laughing a bit and i was wondering why.  She then said, "How did you know i was going through things?! How did you know to say these things?! This was exactly what i needed to hear!" It was a really cool experience.  Kishore is really struggling right now though.  He keeps disobeying his mother and going out with friends and stuff and so we are just trying to be there for him and be friends to him and keep helping him progress. 
On Friday, Elder Bunga and I had a really crazy experience that was kind of funny.  So we were standing at an intersection waiting for one of our members when this Indian lady and white British guy walk up to us and the Indian lady tries talking to me like i knew her and telling me how was talked and she asked me a bunch of questions and stuff.  But we have never met her then she points to this British guy and says "this is a missionary pastor.  You guys are missionary pastors too right?" So we shake his hand and he says his name is John, and the handshake was super weird and he had just been staring and glaring at us this whole time.  So we say no we aren't we are just volunteers/missionaries for our church and not pastors.  So this guys says, "what organization are you part of?" Us: "The church of jesus christ of latter day saints." Him: That is just a cult.  Then he started like scolding us and telling us how we aren't of jesus christ and stuff like that.  So he tells us to wait for a minute.  So he starts pulling something out of his shirt pocket and he pulls out a card.  He shows it to us and we try and take it but he holds on to it and points to it and says, "Look at it. Read it. Minister of Jesus Christ." So this was a black business card-like thing and he pointed at it and said "Minister of Jesus Christ" like it was all official.  We just looked at each other and held back laughs and then he just started walking away and telling us how we are just a cult and how we aren't from god and stuff like that.  It was kind of funny. 
So yesterday after church we went to Kumar family house and had really good food and then went on an exchange.  Bunga went with Kesterson and Basil and I were together.  Basil and I taught an African guy named Chris from Tanzania and he plays basketball and we had such an amazing discussion with him.  He was so incredibly interested and understanding and everything.  When we were done, he told us we have to come back and teach him again as soon as possible so we said tuesday.  Then without us bringing up church he told us he wants to come to church so we told him we would arrange him a ride to church.  It was so great.  He was awesome.  We then visited a family called the Bushi family.  They are members.  It was a really good discussion as well.  Then we visited the old lady Kitty.  And she just rambled on and on again.  

Mom: we don't watch general conference until the 11th and 12th.  On the 11th we watch the saturday sessions and priesthood session back to back to back from 2-8.  On sunday morning we will watch the sunday morning sessions.  So most members go to the Hong Kong temple and they have to save up a pretty good amount of money to go. 

Dad: BSU having a tough time huh? bummer.  Giants are improving too...Bledsoe is good so that was a good sign.  The only problem with that is Suns have 3 point guards now...thanks for the sports update:)
Sounds like you guys are doing well.  Thanks for all of your prayers and thoughts.  Scriptures of the week: Moroni 7:13 and Moroni 10:32
Well time to go! I miss you all and love you all!
Elder Ball

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 23, 2014 - Bangalore

Family and Friends!
So my email is coming one day late this week because there were transfers this week so our p-day is tuesday this week instead of monday.  So we had yet another really good week this week achieving basically all of our goals this week.  Elder Bunga and I are doing well and really improving and continuing to work hard and see the fruits of our labors.

So this week we committed 3 investigators to baptism in October.  One of them being....Vincent David!!!!!!!!!! We were so excited that he committed but we are still vigorously trying to help him keep the word of wisdom because that would be the only thing to keep him from getting baptized.  He has been doing really well with it lately, only drinking once in the last 2 weeks and only smoking regular cigarettes instead of gonja.  We are still working with him on the cigs though but we have faith that we can help him.  We are visiting him every night so that we can help him.  His wife also committed to baptism this week.  She is so awesome and so ready.  We also committed the 16 year boy named Kishore to baptism as well and i think he is really excited so hopefully these commitments end up going through and we have 3+ baptisms in October! We also taught Christian and Stephen the Word of Wisdom, and surprisingly, they took it soooo well and committed to living it and believed in it.  So that was really good.  We also have still been teaching our African investigators in Kothanur.  On Friday we visited a less active sister named sister Chantee and we shared a short message with her and then we gave her sick baby boy a blessing.  And then she came to church so that was really good as well! So not too interesting of a week but I had two really good spiritual experiences that i will share.

So first: So after we commit someone to baptism, they have to come to church three weeks in a row in order to be baptized.  So we were going to go on splits sunday morning and Bunga go pick up Kishore and I go pick up Vincent David.  However, the members doing splits, one didn't show up and the other showed up late to our apartment so we went to get Kishore and he was asleep still so we went to church with no investigators there.  However, i prayed during one of the talks and just plead with God to bring Vincent David to church, and not 5 minutes later, i look over to my left, and there he was sitting in a chair in church.  He came out of nowhere and i didn't even notice he walked in.  So that was a great answer to my prayer and a very quick one.  Then also, on Monday, after a really tough and trying day on Sunday, i was struggling mentally with something and so i fasted that things would just go back to normal and the way they were and prayed many many many times throughout the day just asking for that...and at the end of the day, everything was just so great and back to normal. Heavenly Father really blessed me more than i deserve this weekend.  He is so great.  

Mom: Kayla is so awesome and please tell her how much she means to me and much it means to me that she takes such good care of my brother.  Tell her that i appreciate what she does so so much.  More than i can describe.  I am glad Tyler is doing better.  I miss my best bud so much.  So i am playing the piano every week in sacrament meeting, but only when needed in primary.  So about Elder Bunga: He is from Hyderabad.  He has been a member for 10 years.  He is currently 24 and was baptized when he was 14.  He was a very devout Hindu before.  He has 2 brothers, both members.  They were baptized before he was and were a very good example to him he tells me.  His parents are not members, but i guess might be listening to missionary discussions.  He already has his degree and worked at Amazon before he came.  His personality is a very hard worker, very patient, very good missionary, funny, obedient, caring.  He is awesome.  He is also a pretty dang good cricket player...Love you too Mom!

Dad: Sounds like you will have to get working out again to gain some more strength to handle the big man Ty now!  BYU is still killing it sounds like.  Bledsoe played at Kentucky with John Wall and was a stud for Suns last season.  So i have been able to read Jesus the Christ and I am on Chapter 5 right now.  It is so good and so thick with information.  So great.  You are a great example to me Dad.  I never showed my appreciation enough for you and i really regret that because you are so strong in the gospel and a great father and a great example and friend to me.  Love you Pa.

So my scripture this week is 3 Nephi 9:14.  Well i miss all of you.  But i know the Lord is taking care of all of you for me.  Read the Book of Mormon EVERY DAY.  Please.. It is so good and is so important for us to read and study and ponder every day. Well another good week and hopefully another good week ahead. Love and miss you all.
Elder Ball

(So we were online at the same time last night, so got to "talk" back/forth w/ Ryan by email for a few minutes!  It was awesome!  Here are his emails back.)
--I am on for about another 30 mins or so if you want to chat a little bit mom:)
--I am doing great!! tired and exhausted, but that is just the price of missionary work and salvation i guess:) We are very excited and working so hard.
--We haven't played ball since my second week comp doesn't like bball that i don't ever really ask him to go play.
--I actually had Belgium waffles from a guy from Belgium last week at the mall:)
--I love Vincent David so much.  That guy has so much potential...I am glad Tyler is back to his normal happy perfect self.  Love that guy.  And my dad will do in a pinch...what a softie;) I love you as well mom:) Lots:) You guys are such amazing parents.  I never showed my appreciation enough. And now that i am away from you, i realize i took your amazing parenting for granted sometimes. Thanks for being the best family ever mom, dad, and Ty!
--So yeah we (he/Elder Bunga) are going to be together until november 6 or so. same with my apartment roommates.
--Yeah things are getting a bit better.  Pretty much everything is good to eat here.  I just feel like when i get home in forever, i will want to go eat out at indian food places all the time!

--No seikhs have chewed me out yet.  But i get made fun of and scolded all the time...the only thing is though it doesn't affect me because people always do it in their language so i just smile at them haha. I guess not having the gift of tongues can be a gift as well?;)  Just me being a white christian and stuff and i have been called gay and bad words and stuff haha kind of funny i think!
--They (Vincent David and wife) have a daughter and a son.  hopefully we can commit them too.  They (President/Sister Berrett) are awesome.  Very cool.  They do put Americans together sometimes.
--Yes sure i'll go on a ride with him!;) (w/ Jeff) Well I have to go! I will talk to you guys next week and it was great to talk to you!  Love you guys so much!

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014 - Bangalore Pictures

Elder Ball and an investigator, Vincent David
Elder Basil and Elder Ball (apartment roommates); both like
to play basketball so assume that's where they're headed
Elder Basil is from Melbourne, Australia (Jeff's mission)

Sai Baba

September 15, 2014 - Bangalore

Family and Friends!
Another fantastic week this week.  While it did seem like it went by kind of slow, it still was great.  Elder Bunga and I once again had pretty great success this week.

So this week we tried to meet with Yona again and get him to come to church, but he cancelled our appointments and then told us he was going to church to but then didn't come.  So we are kind of disappointed about that.  Other than that, there is nothing really negative at all to say about this week.  We met with a 16 year old boy named Kishore this week and he seems like he is once again very interested.  In one of our lessons, we taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he understood and was interested and we were thinking to invite him to baptism, but we decided not to.  At the very end of the lesson, he randomly brought up the subject of being baptized and said he wants to get baptized soon, so we told him that next time we meet, we will discuss the subject of baptism more and teach him even more about our message and then we will invite him.  I think he is really solid.  We also picked him up and took him to church on Sunday and he loved church and really opened up to us and seems to be really comfortable with us now so we are very confident that we can help him prepare for that key step in our journey toward returning to our Heavenly Father.

We also taught Vincent David a few times this week and the picture i uploaded with me and a guy with a thick mustache, that is Vincent David.  I absolutely love that guy.  While he is crazy at times and always seems to disappoint us by continually not following the Word of Wisdom, i just can't help really loving him.  He just seems like he is one of my great friends because he is so nice to me and i just have a tendency to really want to help so badly.  But when we visited him this week, we found out some pretty good news.  So the first time we visited him it was just me and a 16 year old member named Praveen (Bunga went with Praveen's friend Barath and we went on splits).  When we got to his home, no one was inside, so we called for him and his family but no one answered or came out so we were just about to leave when i felt prompted to go to the top floor and check there and when we got up there i saw his wife sitting in a chair and he was cleaning!! That is the most productive thing i have ever heard of him doing because he never helps out around the house and he doesn't treat his wife too well.  But i was so happy when i saw him doing this.  So we went back down with him inside his home and taught him Repentance doing the things the Lord wants us to do.  He really grasped it and i committed him to read the latter half of Alma 39 and to help out around the house for the rest of the day and not go out.  Normally when we commit him to do something he never does it so i asked him to promise me, and then when he promised, i asked him if he was a man. He said yes.  Then i asked if men keep promises and he said yes.  Then i told him that army men also keep promises even more than ordinary men (he used to be in the military) and he agreed. So i kind of caught him by surprise with this.  When we met with him the next day, he actually kept his promises! And we brought our new Branch mission leader with us and taught him the Plan of Salvation and when he prayed at the end, it was one of the most powerful and most sincere prayers i have ever heard in my entire life.  He plead with God to help him and he said he knew the church and the book of mormon are true..Every time we visit him, he cries from our message, but the goes out and does his normal stuff again.  However, during this prayer, he cried again, but this time, something told me he meant it.  I just got this amazing feeling that he truly wants help.  Over the next couple of days, my love for him grew even stronger and he has stayed sober for 5 days!! A new record for him.. So i hope we can continue to help him and i have faith that the Lord with help as well because every time we think about dropping him and stuff, i just get the strongest feeling to keep trying with him because i continuously am prompted that the Lord has something incredibly planned for him because he has no fear in talking to anyone about anything and so if we can get him to change and be baptized, he can  be such a great instrument in the hands of the Lord in spreading the gospel.  

We also found 13 more new investigators this week! We have been killing it these last couple of weeks so hopefully our great success continues and even improves.  On Friday I went on an exchange with the ZLs.  I went with Elder Mangum from Texas and Bunga went with Elder Sarkies from Delhi.  It was a pretty good day, but i was still glad to get back with my amazing companion Elder Bunga.  I am just so comfortable with him and i think we make a really great team.  He has taught me a lot and is such a great missionary and one of my best friends now.  I love him.

So my birthday was super busy so i did nothing whatsoever to celebrate, not even go out to eat, because we were so busy.  but it doesn't matter.  The only thing that really matters right now is the investigators i guess:) I think that's what God was trying to tell me because i had a couple things planned but ended up having extra, longer appointments. Thanks for the b-day wishes:) Tell Ava happy b-day for me.

Answers to Moms Q's: So on P-days we clean, email, do laundry, shop, see places, sometimes play ball, rest.  And yes we use rupees.  1 US dollar is about 60 rupees or so.  We use the computer at the church building for our branch.  Hardest thing this week was probably my fatigue at the end of the week.  I was exhausted by the end of week because we really went so hard this week and many nights we went to bed late and then woke up really early on Sunday to go pick up Kishore.  Funniest was probably Elder Bunga and I just talking about all of these sayings that our investigators and less actives say and how they say it all the time and then when we hear them we have to hold back laughs.  It is kind of an inside joke so i probably won't be that funny.  But visiting Vincent David is always funny because if he gets going talking, he won't stop for like 30 mins.  They have peanut butter but it is pretty expensive, but i am so addicted that i buy it anyway;)  The food is amazing.  When i get home i will probably want to go eat out at indian restaurants all the time because i love the food so much.  I hope Tyler is doing okay...I miss that little (big) guy so much.  I miss you guys a lot too.  I really appreciate how great of parents you were to me. You guys are so awesome, i am so lucky.  

Dad: Sounds like BYU is killing it.  and the Giants are horrible....Kyrie Irving is a baller.  I bet the Cavs have a good year this year.  Yeah keep helping mom out;)  You have to take my place now that i am gone;) Since the little guy (Ty) can't do a ton :)  Your cards you made for me are awesome Pa.  They help me a lot.  Thanks for the advice.  

Well that is about it for this week! Hopefully we keep up the great success! Hope you all have a great week! I miss you and love you all!
Elder Ball

PS-i decided i am going to do a scripture of the week that i found and loved in my personal study every week so this weeks scripture(s) are: Alma 29:9 and Alma 34:9.  I couldn't choose between them so i will give you both:)

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 8, 2014 - Pictures, Bangalore

Best pic yet...Elder Ball and Elder Bunga

With Elder Basil & Elder Kesterson

must be playing cricket

Anything goes on the streets, cars, scooters, cows, rickshaws, etc.
Ganesh Festival

Assume a pic for Grandpa Erickson

Leaves are often used instead of plates.  This is a dish Ryan loves called Biriyani


September 8, 2014 - Bangalore

Hello everyone!

Wow this week was sooooo good! Because we haven't really had that many good investigators we spent most of this week finding people to teach and tracting.  Our goal this week was to find 10 new investigators.  We spent over half of the week in Kothanur (the place where many Africans dwell).  So we weren't scheduled to teach Yona until Saturday afternoon but on Tuesday, he called us up out of nowhere and asked us to come teach him.  So we went over to his house in Kothanur and taught him the Restoration.  He was very interested and Bunga and I made the big mistake of forgetting to take a Book of Mormon with us for him. So throughout the lesson he kept stopping us and asking us if we were going to him some book that we give people.  We were so mad at ourselves for forgetting.  But he was very interested in our message and he is such a great guy.  On our way down the stairs from his apartment, we met two more African brothers and they are new investigators now.  On Wednesday, we gave Yona a  Book of Mormon and while we were in Kothanur, we found four more new African investigators!!  
On Thursday, we decided to go meet one of our media referrals.  On his profile, he wanted a Book of Mormon.  We went to his house and learned his name is Lazar Kumar and he is a farmer and his family reads the Bible together every single night.  He is a very spiritual guy and his family looks to be like they could be very solid investigators because they sought us out.  We also went and visited a less active recent convert named Rushme, and during our teaching her, her mother and grandmother came out and listened to our message and also wanted to learn more and became new investigators! Then we took an auto home and our auto driver was Christian and we shared with him what we do and he stays very close to our apartment so he wanted us to come teach him sometime as well! 6 new investigators on Thursday!
Friday wasn't that good of a day because we went to a recent convert's house because she had a godhead question and we found out that she too doesn't consistently read the Book of Mormon.  That is a huge problem here.  All of the less actives or those who have so many questions are results of lack of reading the Book of Mormon so i cannot stress you all enough how important it is for us to read the Book of Mormon every single day.  If we do that, I know that we can have all our questions answered, our faith increased, and our happiness remain always.  It was also hard to answer her question because she had a Muslim friend over and our member that came with us got in a super long debate with this guy while we were trying to answer her question so it was very hard to feel the spirit.  
Saturday though was soooo great.  We went to Kothanur to teach Yona, but he had to leave soon so we left him a quick message and set up another appointment.  So we decided to do more tracting and found 8 more African investigators!!!! It is so weird how I come to India and in my very first area, my best and most investigators come from Africa....!  We have an active member in our Branch named Cedrik who is from Congo and so we are trying to find time where he can come with us because he would help us so much with these brothers.  Elder Bunga and I just keep feeling like we will get at least one baptism from Kothanur.  So this week was just so awesome because we found 20 new investigators and we are finally reaping rewards for our obedience and hard work.  
Some frustrating things though this week.  There is lots of contention going on in our apartment.  Excessive teasing, arguing, fighting, etc.  Elder Bunga and I never fight but he and Elder Basil have something bad going on between them as well as Kesterson.  It just stresses me out.  

In answer to your questions mom: We make food sometimes but eat out a lot.  We wash our laundry with a washing machine, but dry it on a rack outside.  My stomach is adjusted now.  I love the food.  We do have a real shower but the hot water does not last very long.  So basically it is not high tech at all.  It is sooooo third world, but you will see occasional glimpses of technology.  The strangest thing that happened this week was all of the African new investigators we got.  The most spiritual was probably reaping the rewards of our hard work and obedience.  Sounds like you need some help with that peanut butter! Wish i could help ;)  Oh and mom, by the way, i uploaded more pics to dropbox.  And that picture of that tall kid with me that you said was my companion, that isn't my companion.  That is an Elder Dildine who played for Middleton who i played basketball against...just an fyi:)  

Wow Dad, it seems like BYU is doing really good so far!! and Boise State doesn't sound like they are that good...oh and Dad, not only am i playing piano for sacrament meeting, but this Sunday, i also got asked to play for the primary......dang haha.  Keep taking care of my bro and mom for me ok? I know you are doing a great job at that.  Thanks for your great example Dad.  I love you all! 

Elder Ball

Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1, 2014 - Bangalore

Fam-Bam and Homies,

India is so so cool.  I love it so much.  Things are so dang different though oh my goodness.  So everything i heard about high tech it is and everything is a complete lie.  It is insane.  It is very cool though and for the most part people are pretty dang nice.  I still get stared at non-stop which can be very irritating sometimes.  But i just stare at them back and smile at them and they stop. haha.  So I am pretty much fully adjusted now and loving every minute of it, but our area is really struggling right now.  Still no member help.  They just talk a big game on Sunday's and then make excuses later in the week when we ask them to come on exchanges with us.  But i definitely just have to gain more patience.  
So yeah mom, in answer to your questions: the food is soooo good.  It is pretty dang spicy though which can be rough at times but it is so good. Especially Biriyani.  It is a spicy rice with chicken and the other day we ate at some Hyderabadi Biryiani place and it was one of the most delicious things i have ever tasted.  And we ate it off of a leaf...haha i am getting pretty good at eating with my hand though.  Weird.  We do have a western toilet but no TP.  We do have a spray thingy though that is kind of nice;) It has been a lot cooler the last few days and honestly it really doesn't feel that humid.  It might be though, i don't know maybe i am adjusted to it now so i dont notice.  We mostly take buses and do lots of walking. Haven't played cricket again yet but probably will soon.  Funniest thing this week was either on P-day or on Friday.  On P-day, we were trying to take an auto (rikshaw) to the mission home to play ball and he wanted to charge us the meter times two which is ridiculous so we said no.  So he started talking crap about us in Hindi and my comp can speak Hindi so he knew what he said and told him to stop talking crap.  Then he said something about Bunga's mom and so Kesterson went over to him to talk to him and the dude swore at Kesterson in Hindi saying the two worst words possible so Kesterson got mad, and the driver tried to hit Kesterson and me so Kesterson just jumped in the auto and long story short scared him, so he brought him back.  It was funny.  On Friday, we were taking a 5 minute bus ride home and to my left there was a big dude who was like 50 or so staring at me hard.  The entire bus ride his eyes and head did not move.  I tried staring back at him but it was as if he was staring into the windows of my soul.  It was crazy.  
The people speak ok english.  some don't speak it at all which sucks and unlike what people said i will do about picking up languages is so false.  In bangalore they speak tamil, but most people can speak tamil, telugu, hindi, english and other languages so i have no clue.  But for the most part i can understand their english.  So we taught Vincent David again and for a couple days he did well at not taking any Gonja or alcohol but he went straight back to it again.  sad.  Frustrating.  but we aren't giving up on him. We mostly visited less actives this week since we couldn't get any members with us.  but on Sunday, we got a great surprise.  So two weeks ago we met a guy named Yona who is from Sudan and his brother Logo.  We went into their home and asked if we could teach them sometime and they said sure but we hadn't got around to that yet.  So at church yesterday, Yona randomly shows up and now he seems really interested and he loves talking to me.  So we are going to teach him on Saturday and i think he could be a really solid investigator.  We also had to go in early on Friday because they started what they call Ganesha Festival.  Hindu holiday.  Look it up it is kind of weird haha.

I miss you guys a lot too! Hope you guys are doing great! And Dad, Basil doesn't know them.  But he is a super cool guy.  Dad, i love your sports updates.  They are awesome! That is crazy about Love!! the Cavs are going to be so hard to beat man...Boise State lost huh? Bummer, how did they look? not very good? Keep updating me.  I love getting the updates.  You are my weekly SportsCenter:) Well I love you guys!! Thank you for all of your prayers and thoughts for me.  I really appreciate them.

Elder Bol (That's how they say it in Indian English)