Monday, December 29, 2014

December 29, 2014 - Bangalore

Hello There! Well Christmas week this week was very unorthodox haha.  Pretty much everyone was so busy so we didn't do as much teaching as we would have liked to.  But we still did what we could and apparently were at the top of our zone so that is good.

We taught a 16 year old boy named Navaneet who is from Canada but is Indian.  We taught him and his friend the Restoration and committed Navaneet to be baptized on November 18 so we just have to get him to come to church.  That is the hardest part with everyone...Our church is quite a far distance for people to travel to because is another branch's building that we are meeting in.  Stephen did come to church which was great though and i think he is slowly and surely progressing so i think will focus on him a lot these next two weeks and try to set a baptism date for him.  

We also found more Africans...yes i said it. haha.  They are awesome.  Africans listen to us more than anyone anyways which is a little disappointing but honestly as long as we are bringing people closer to Christ and into his fold, it doesn't matter what kind of people they are.  These four guys are all from Angola so they speak Portuguese and French.  Their names are Mark, Paul, Jose and Antonio.  They are such cool guys and they seemed to have believed us and accepted what we taught about the Restoration.  Once again though, getting them to church will be the most difficult thing to do.  

So one of the best things that happened this week was on Sunday.  I got the privilege of conferring the priesthood upon and ordaining to the office of a priest, John and Simmy.  Our converts received the priesthood!! How cool is that! and that night we visited them and i was just talking to them and asking them how they feel about the church and how they felt getting the priesthood.  They both said they felt so awesome receiving the priesthood and that they are never leaving the church because they just love it so much.  They also asked if they came to the US or to a european country if they could find a church there and i told them it is worldwide and they were so excited to hear that.  John told me his experience about telling his parents about his baptism and he said they were so happy for him and that he found a good church with good people in it.  John just beams when he talks about the church.  John and Simmy wake each other up in the morning to make sure they both get to church! Even though it is so far! They are so awesome and when we saw john he told me he was studying a talk by President Packer called "The Witness." He said he loves it and learns so much.  Man these guys just bring me so much happiness.  I honestly didn't know how attached an elder could get to the people they taught and baptized!!  

So Elder Bandi and i are working really hard but still it is very difficult.  He is way nice and can be really funny sometimes.  He struggles with his teaching skills, but he tries so hard so i can't get upset with him.  I just really have to help him teach and practice and know when and what to say.  Basically i am training an elder who has been out longer than me...I have been doing a little bit better with my patience but it is so dang hard.  One funny thing he did was yesterday. We made rice and chicken curry with Elders Singh and Basil and he wanted curd rice so he got curd and then wanted salt.  So he asked Elder Basil for salt and Elder Basil said he could have some so Elder Bandi looked in the cupboard for like 5 minutes but eventually he takes a packet of washing machine detergent....So he takes it to his plate thinking it is salt and begins to mix it with some of his rice when finally we realize and tell him it is laundry detergent. haha.  But we are working hard and so i just try my best to think of the positives.  

So it was great talking to you guys on Christmas! It was so great to see you!! So glad Tyler still remembers his bro and loves him just as much haha.  honestly i keep having these weird worries and dreams that he won't know who i am and won't remember me when he sees me when i get home...but anyways i am so glad you guys are doing great and had a great holiday season.  To be honest, it did make me a bit homesick but i got over it pretty quick haha.  I did get to play ball today and man i actually killed it today.  I told you guys through skype that i am losing my game but today i was doing so good and shooting the lights out and my game was way good today. What a relief;)  

Well hope you guys have a happy new year, go broncos, go mavs, roll thunder, etc.   Scriptures: D&C 118:3 and 136:11
Love you guys chala much!  Will talk to you next year!!!
Love Elder Baller

December 25, 2014 - Christmas Day Skype!

Post by Mom...
We skyped with Elder Ball on Christmas morning, and it was awesome!  We loved seeing Ryan's smile, hearing his laugh, and hearing him tell stories of his experiences in India so far.  He's been out 5 months this week, and while letters say he's doing great, it was so good to "really" see that he is!  Tyler loved seeing Ryan on the computer, squealed and squealed, and before saying goodbye, kissed the computer screen.  We took a few pictures and brief video clips for Tyler's IPad, and he squeals again when seeing them.  These brothers do miss each other!

A few things Elder Ball shared...
--Received his Christmas packages; was wearing one of his new ties, and made pancakes for breakfast from Trena's package.  Liked the Christmas tree, ornaments, and notes from family.  Took picture of his presents under his tree taped to the wall.
--He's starting to lose his "English" and finds he says things the way people in India say them.  Some of the things Indians say differently: "on it" and "off it" for turning the light switch on/off; "hit you with the left and the right" for getting angry at you; we need to "went" somewhere; and saying "aye" after a statement with a little "head bob" mannerism.
--He wants to learn at least one language from India while there.  Has started learning the language of Elder Bunga (called ?), and so far can say what, where, how, when, why, hi/how are you, I'm fine/thanks.
--Since they don't have toilet paper there, he doesn't like it any more...prefers the 'water sprayer' option.:) He takes mostly cold showers.
--Realizes how good he has it at in India are pretty small.  Their apartment is small w/ 4 Elders in one bedroom.  He sleeps on a bed that is too short for him, but doesn't really notice his feet hanging off because he crashes so fast, since he's so tired every night.
--Went to play basketball this week and was awful; thought he was losing his game, but played for a couple of hours and seemed to not be quite as bad by the end.  Still weighs 10 lbs less than when he left the MTC.
--Singing by Indian members isn't very good; they have a hard time keeping the tune.  He plays piano for sacrament meeting, so has a hard time not laughing (at the singing), especially if he catches the eye of Elder Basil.
--Likes to hang out with Elder Basil and with Elder Martizez (from Las Vegas).  Likes to speak Australian accent to his Australian housemate, while Elder Basil speaks American accent to him.
--The Seventy want to create a stake in Bangalore by Spring 2015, so mission goal is to get 170 more baptisms (5 per branch) in order to create a stake...pretty aggressive goal, but they are working hard toward it.  President Berrett is pushing for it and obedience by the missionaries.
--It's important for all of us to read from the Book of Mormon every day.
--His visa will expire July 15, 2015, which is when he will leave India for the Philippines while waiting for renewed visa.  Time there could be few weeks to few months.  His MTC batch and the one after got visas timely; batches since then have been delayed or denied.  Similar issues with current missionaries waiting in the Philippines for renewal.
--Education in India is advanced...graduate from high school at around 16 yrs old, then go to college.  14-15yr olds have 'full-on' mustaches.  Girls/women in India don't shave their legs or armpits.
--Elder Bunga stayed with him all 10days while he was sick; feels better.  Misses Elder Bunga.  New companion, Elder Bandi, has good intentions and tries hard, so can't really get mad at him .
--No more incidents with the RSS.
--He LOVES Indian food!
--Cedrick helps the Elders a lot and is a great guy. (He skyped from Cedrick's home and IPhone.)
--Cedrick and Elder Bandi stepped in to say hello via skype.

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22, 2014 - Bangalore

Hello everybody!!!
So this week went by so dang slow!!!!
Elder Bunga left on Wednesday and so i got a new companion.  His name is Elder Bandi and he is like 26 and has been out for 6 months....however, he has some struggles.  He is so nice though and loves to talk, so he helps a lot with door knocking and just talking to random people, but he doesn't know how to teach very well yet.  This week has been a little bit of a rough one mentally.  We did have some success though this week.  But as far as mentally, it is difficult right now because i am trying so hard to improve and keep my patience because he is really trying that patience.  He doesn't know how to do many simple things, but he is 26 and has a degree.  Plus Christmas is honestly a little depressing here because it is nowhere near as festive as the US, and it doesn't feel like christmas at all because it is still hot and there aren't hardly any decorations and we went caroling with the branch this week and they sing horribly haha.  I'm sure after christmas, things will go by a lot faster and better. So I miss Elder Bunga so dang much.  He was awesome. 

So this week we did lots of knocking.  He has been out longer, but i am senior comp so at least i get that opportunity.  But it is kind of rough.  So we did lots of knocking and found and taught 12 new investigators including two families so that was really great!!! So hopefully we can find success together and that will offset the frustration.  But overall, it is really rough right now haha.  Not overly rough but just i think i am going insane!! haha.  He is nice though so it is so hard to get mad at him...but i will talk to you guys more this week!

In answer to questions, no we go to a different building, and it isn't even a church building. it is a rented building that we hold our meetings in. haha That church building is the whitefield road branch building in our district.  I don't know my exact address because the addresses are different. but you can try typing in "purava park apartments, jai bharath nagar, jeevanahalli, bangalore"  (this was in response to our looking on Google maps and seeing an LDS church building in Bangalore near the mission home location)

Dad: What a great SC update!!! Meridian is killing it huh? Axel is tough to handle.  Mountain View doesn't seem to have a take over guy this year, so that will hurt a bit but hopefully they will be okay.  OKC climbing for sure! Kentucky number one? of course they are haha.  Jabari wasn't doing too bad then!! Ron Baker is a stud so he will do well leading that team.  

When Connor gets his call, let me know!! Brian is doing good? That's great!! Yeah keep an eye on my boys!!!
Scriptures: Alma 7:22-24, D&C 98:1-2

Well i love and miss you guys so much!! Have a great Christmas and i will be skyping with you on Thursday!
Love, Elder Ball

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014 - Bangalore

Hello everyone!
Another really good week this week! On Monday, though, we got transfer calls! So Elder Bunga is going to Chennai!! I am staying in the same Branch and will get a new companion on Wednesday named Elder Bundi who is from a place called Vizakapatnam.  I heard he is very nice, funny and a good guy so hopefully all of that is true;) So Elder Bunga and I spent our last week together this week and had a great last p-day together today.  We went with Brother Louis and Cedrick to a place called Nandi Hills which is just like a Bogus Basin like area but in a complete village haha.  It was so fun, and we went for a hike and just went for a nice drive.  It was a great time.  So i will definitely miss Elder Bunga!

So this week we were able to begin teaching Simmy and John the new member lessons and also taught their friend Claud again.  He is doing great accepting things, but we just can't seem to get him to church.  But we did teach Allan again this week and taught him the Plan of Salvation and it was another really good one.  However, once again, it will be tough and might take some time to be able to get him to accept the true gospel.  He is such a nice guy though and we will continue to try and help him out any way we can.  So this week we visited lots of members, and we have been really trying to emphasize/share the He is the Gift initiative so hopefully this gets members excited.  

This weekend we also had a missionary fireside again.  We showed a Plan of Salvation video and also showed Christmas Bible video and the He is the Gift video also.  Then we played games and ate biriyani and we only had 25 members show up, but it was still a pretty fun time for us.

I am still playing in sacrament meeting...haha and yes doing Christmas hymns now.  So no one sleeps under a mosquito net, but i guess if he wants to he can.  It makes me so happy that Tyler likes my pictures!!  And so glad that he is doing well with his behaviors especially because he is getting big!  Oh my goodness those are hilarious! Those things they said are PRICELESS! Especially Kinsley! And Kasen does have a point about Tyler's chair;)

Dad: I bet Meridian is doing well actually because i bet Axel is really tough to stop.  Thunder will start climbing now.  Now that they have MVP back.  Really surprised about Atlanta, Memphis, Denver! Where the heck are the Spurs???????  Who is number one in college bball?  Marks is turning it up huh?? That's great! Thanks for all those positive thoughts Dad.  You are awesome.  Thanks for the scriptures as well! 

Oh and thanks for the package! I am very tempted to open before Christmas but i will hold off and wait;)  So this week wasn't too exciting.  Still trying to look for more people to teach.  We did find a new investigator this week named Mark, so we will meet with him this week and also try and find even more new investigators.  The missionary work is very tough here in our branch, but i and my companion are working hard and doing our best to move the work along.

We have a district christmas party coming up on saturday so that should be fun!  Well i hope you guys have a fantastic week! Sorry for the short letter.  Couldn't find too much to talk about this week because we visited lots of members and focused on them this week.

Scriptures: 1 Nephi 13:37, 1 Nephi 14:7, 1 Nephi 15:23-25
Well i love you all soooooo much and miss you guys too!
Until next week!
Love Elder Ball

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014 - Bangalore

Hello everyone!
Another pretty good week.  Not quite as good as last week, but it is hard to get as good as a baptism week...This week we were trying to focus on some new people.  We did visit Christian and Stephen though.  They are both good except for Stephen likes drinking, and both he and Christian tell us they are coming to church but then don't get up in the mornings because church is at 8am.  However, we went to go to an appointment this week with Cedrick, but that person wasn't home and we still had time so Cedrick took us to one of his friend's house.  His name is Maurice, also from Congo.  He is a pretty cool guy.  Kind of weird haha but good.  I guess missionaries taught him for about a year and a half and he committed to baptism but he couldn't get baptized because he wasn't married and was living with a girl.  Now he hasn't been taught for a long time but we went and visited him and he is now married to an Indian girl named Mary, and he and his wife are both new investigators for us and if we can get them to church three straight sundays then we can baptize them. 

We also got a referral from the Pidugu family this week.  Her name is Aishwaria and she like 18 or 19 and pretty cute but is pretty weird haha.  She was committed to be baptized on December 21 if she came to church three straight weeks but this week she bunked church so we will have to postpone that date.  Plus Elder Bunga and i find her a little sketchy because she is engaged to a guy named Prashanth who is also a new investigator for us and when we visited her she was asking us if the church could marry her and him so we are thinking that she just wants to join the church so she can get married and have support.  This is because her family is Hindu and she used to be Hindu but this guy is Christian and most marriages here are arranged and her parents don't want her to marry him so we are worried she would just join the church for marriage support which would not be good at all.  But maybe things will change.  The gospel of Jesus Christ can change anybody.  It has changed me so much even.  I have become so much better of a person now and have come so much closer to the Savior than i ever have before and my knowledge of the gospel has grown tremendously.  It is amazing how a mission can do that. 

So on Wednesday we got new bicycles and have been riding them and man i am out of shape.  But they are not too bad.  Not too good either.  I have no problems riding the cycles the big distances that we do but the problem is riding them here in Bangalore.  The streets are insane and i feel like i am going to hit all the time. it freaks me out! haha but every morning before we leave i pray for protection throughout the day and i think i can already feel him watching out for me while we ride in the wild streets of India;)  But anyways we rode the bus home on Wednesday night from an appointment and i sat next to this African guy.  I just decided to start talking to him and he was super cool and told me his name was Allan and that he was from Ivory Coast like Frank.  He is so nice and as i spoke to him i asked him if we could come and teach him this week.  He said of course and to come see him anytime.  So the next day, on thursday we made an appointment with him and took Cedrick with us and went and taught him.  We taught him the Restoration and the spirit was so incredibly strong in that lesson.  I have been having a goal lately to testify more in my parts of the lesson rather than just teaching the people, and so during this lesson i testified multiple times and it was just so much more powerful and as i testified i could immediately feel my testimony of the restoration and His gospel strengthen.  It was incredible.  So after i described the first vision, i testified to him about knowing that joseph smith saw god and jesus Christ, and after he asked me how i can i know for sure.  I asked what the holy ghost does and he says guide and help us.  So i said yes and it also testifies of truth and how it is testified to me and that there is no way i can deny that.  That is something i probably wouldn't have said on my own so the spirit really guided me and he was like wow okay.  It was awesome.  We also gave him a book of mormon and he said he will start reading it.  He also came to church on sunday even though he had his church program he was in charge of at his own church at 11.  so he came and heard the testimonies and attended gospel principles class and then left early to make his service.  He is such a cool and nice guy and we are meeting him tomorrow so we are excited to teach him.  I know you are probably all wondering "why isn't he teaching indian people instead of africans" haha but a child of god is a child of god;)

I am soooooo glad Tyler is doing great.  I had one day this week where i couldn't help but think of him a lot.  Glad he still remembers me;)   Answers: In India they do celebrate christmas and some non-christians do as well but obviously it is not as big as in the US.  Not feeling too much like christmas right now, but our bml decorated his house all nice for it so it felt good to be in there and feel like home;)  On Christmas i do get to skype home:) oh real quick you should research the church's "He is the Gift" initiative if you haven't already.  It is so cool!! And about the transfer, we will either get a call today or next monday!

Dad: Sounds like people are trying to be like me by wearing my number;) haha Damen had 22 huh?? Nice! That's good for him! I think when they get to their conference schedule we will see how they will do.  Maybe the quickness they have will be really good for them.  I really miss coaching my boys! They will kill it this year! Timberline ahead of Capital?? No way.  Captial will repeat.  BSU in the Fiesta Bowl?? Nice!!! hopefully they get the W!.  And wow those playoff games sound dang good.  KD came back? Good hopefully they move up in the standings now.  They will for sure.  What are the standings looking like??  Your hand gesture in the picture is awesome!!!! haha i laughed so hard at that!! Looking great Pops!  I hope the young men in our ward are doing well.  Especially the priest quorum.  I hope they are growing a bit.  How are the missionaries in our ward??  And yes a mission is by far the most difficult thing i have ever done mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.  Always exhausted in all of those categories, but pushing through it really brings blessings and being on a mission is easily one of the best decisions to ever make.  Only me and the Jenkins??? wow we need more missionaries from the ward...

Well hopefully another great week ahead and the days seem like weeks but the weeks seem like days so i guess time flies in the long run! 
Weekly scriptures: Mosiah 4:12 and D&C 45:3-5
Love you guys so much!!! Until next week...
Love, Elder Ball

PS: Mom, i love that christmas calendar you gave me so much! It is awesome!!! It is the second thing i do every morning right after praying.  Love it.  Thank you!

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014 - Bangalore Pictures

Elder Ball with John at his baptism
Elder Ball with Simmy at his baptism
John, Elder Ball, Simmy
Elder Bunga, Simmy, Elder Ball, John
Elder Bunga, BML Brother Louis, Simmy, Elder Ball, John
Pre-baptism work of cleaning the font! Courtesy of Elder Bunga. :)
John, Elder Ball, Stephen, Simmy, Frank, Sister Shobha
John, Elder Ball, Stephen, Simmy, Frank, Cedrick, Elder Bunga
Elder Mulampaka and Elder Ball

Elder Ball and Ammon (young man in their branch)

December 1, 2014 - Bangalore

Wow it is December already!!! 4 months down and 20 to go.  While i am loving my mission, i still kind of hope that time will go by a little faster.  But nonetheless things are going very well! So i am going to reverse the order of my email today and respond to the temporal things first.  It sounds like you guys had such a great time for Thanksgiving.  I am so glad that Tyler was good.  Wish i could have been there to have mashed potatoes and gravy and turkey haha:)  We did nothing special for thanksgiving at all here as you might have expected.  Be sure to tell the family thanks for all of their support and love and prayers.  Tell Ryker to email me sometime! I want to hear how he is doing.  Sounds like lots of babies will be born while i am gone!! And what an activity;) I think i will probably enjoy it very much;)  I have gotten the emails from the family but i really don't have much time to email them back, but i will try to do a better job about at least responding a short something for them.

Answers: Best i will tell you later.  Worst was probably nothing really except something i will tell later.;) Funniest was probably Simmy in one the pictures we took with him.  On P-days we sometimes get to do fun things.  I have played ball a few times.  In our area though there is nothing really to do or see which is a bummer and everything good is so far away that it wastes our entire day.  Plus we are getting some new mission rules about P-day that will restrict us from doing much fun...

Dang Dad!!! you got to go with a bunch of guys to the game!!?! that is so sick!!! That would be so fun!!! Too bad i missed it! It's okay though because i definitely had a better Saturday than you did;)  BSU in the Fiesta Bowl huh?! wow! who is it looking like will be in the playoff for college football? And is college basketball started yet? That is my favorite so i need some updates on that pa;) Mountain View basketball is going to have a rough year i think.  They don't have anyone to lead the team and take over a game.  Will be a rough one i think but i hope they do really good.  Keep me updated on my boys too dad.. I need to know if my coaching is still engraved in their heads;)  Maybe OKC will start playing a little better now that Westbrook is back.  Hopefully KD can come back in time to save the season.  The SportsCenter is definitely not interfering.  I love it and it is a great destress moment for me to read about it.  Plus i liked the Sports Page that mom wrapped my last package in;) I must admit that i read it a couple times at night;)   

So about this week....Elder Bunga and i got to teach Christian and Stephen again this week and we taught them about tithing, and they really grasped it and accepted it really well...We are planning to invite them to baptism this week.  As we have been teaching John and Simmy (mom it is John not Frank.  Frank is a member that comes with us), their friend Claud has been really interested as well and we think that we are close to committing him to baptism as well.  We also got a new investigator (female) named Aishwaria.  She is committed to be baptized on December 21 and we are going to teach her more this week and also began to teach her fiancee Prashanth.  We are planning this week to also bring Sister Amudha back to being committed to baptism.  We have some big plans coming up.  We also got a new branch presidency this weekend so hopefully they will be good. 
So on to the best and biggest news of the week: Elder Bunga and I had our first baptisms this weekend!!! the first in the lingarajapuram branch in about a year!  So here is the story, we taught them the Plan of Salvation and the Commandments this week and they grasped pretty well.  So on Thursday they had their interviews.  So John passed but Simmy is kind of an introvert and so the zone leader who interviewed simmy came to know that couldn't be baptized yet until he had an interview with the mission president.  So we were kind of disappointed because John didn't want to get baptized without Simmy.  However, we were able to get Simmy an interview with the first counselor in the mission presidency on friday and when they came out of the interview, President William said Simmy was ready and that we could baptize him as soon as possible.  So on Saturday, we spend two hours cleaning and filling the cold baptism font and then we baptized John and Simmy.  So last week i had a dream that Elder Bunga baptized Simmy and i baptized we asked them this week who they wanted to baptize them, Simmy asked Elder Bunga to baptize him and John asked me to baptize him!!! The baptism service was so awesome.  The spirit was so amazingly strong.  I also got to confirm john on sunday.  And another experience.  On sunday john and simmy were supposed to get confirmed right? so they were not at church yet when the sacrament began. after the sacrament prayer i prayed so hard that they would make it for the sacrament and as soon as my prayer ended, they walked up the stairs into the building and partook of the sacrament and then we confirmed them.  They were so happy.  and during the talks, i look over simmy's shoulder and read his testimony that he was writing in his bible and it was so strong.  john also bore his testimony in gospel principles class and it was so awesome.  We think these guys are true converts and they will be great members of the church.  it was such an awesome experience. 
So our Branch mission leader brought his brother in law who is catholic to the baptism service by accident this weekend.  so on sunday, brother Louis, the bml, forwarded us texts from his brother in law that said when he was at the church for the service he felt something he had never felt before and that he didn't know what it was but he wanted to come to church again.  Brother louis said that the spirit at the service was so incredibly strong.  So tomorrow his bro in law will be at FHE with us at his house and we will start teaching him soon! it is so awesome.  

So the pictures i uploaded are these: there is one with elder bunga and i and all the africans after church last week.  the people in the picture from left to right are john, me, stephen, simmy, frank, cedrick and elder bunga.  i also posted our baptism pictures! John is the one with hair and simmy is the one with the eyes that look like they are closed.  The picture with us after the baptism also includes our BML brother louis.  i also posted a picture of me and elder martinez' companion elder mulampaka and also a picture of me and young man in our branch named ammon.  

So we had such a great week!!! I hope you all had a great week as well and i will talk to you again next week!
Scriptures this week: Ether 12:26-37, Moroni 6:8 and Moroni chapter 7
Until next week!
Love, Elder Ball

Note from Mom: I read on President Berrett's blog about a recent trip to Sri Lanka (country south of India that is part of the Bangalore India mission).  "We spent last week in Sri Lanka welcoming young branch builders again after 6 years.  We view them as 'branch builders' as their assignment is to work with people already members of our Church, but perhaps not attending, with relatives of our members and with good friends of our members.  Four Elders (native Sri Lankan) were brought back to work in their home country after each had served a year or more in the Philippines."  A senior couple also serve there, and Sri Lanka has three branches.