Monday, January 26, 2015

January 26, 2015 - Bangalore

Well hello everyone! Another week has passed...This week was a little bit different for us as well but not as different as last week haha.  Our good friend did go back to Congo this week so it was a bit sad saying goodbye to him, but hopefully he comes back and eventually i will get to see him sometime again.  
So there are two pieces of big news for me this week.  Yesterday I got the privilege of baptizing Claude! This week we finished teaching him and he had his interview on Friday, and Elder Singh (our District Leader) said that his interview was great and that he gave amazing answers and is ready for baptism.  So on Sunday he was very excited to be baptized and it was another good experience.  Not quite as great as our first ones but still great.  So now that makes 3/3 African baptisms for me haha.  But the other big news will ensure that i won't be baptizing Africans for a while...

So on Monday i did in fact finally get a transfer call, and i am leaving my area after being here for the first six months of my mission.  I am being transferred to Rajamundry which is a village of about 300,000 people and they speak very very very little English, but their language is Telugu which is the one i want to learn so i guess i will learn a lot of it while i am there haha.  My new companion will be Elder Chettimala who is from Hyderabad and is Elder Bunga's batchmate, so i am a little nervous about that but either way i think it should be good and i am going to make the best out it for sure.  Rajamundry is called "the promised land" here because the people are so humble there and love missionaries, and the church is growing so fast there, and the members feed the missionaries like every night.  That is where the baptisms happen, so i guess i am going to a pretty good place so i am pretty excited for that.  

Other than that most of our week was spent visiting members so that i could say goodbye to the ones i got close with.  We also had a really great specialized zone training from President Berrett this week and it was soooo good.  I think our mission definitely has the best mission president in the entire world.  He just has so much knowledge and is such a great teacher, and he is very firm but knows how to speak with people lovingly and motivationally and just so inspiring.  He is super great.  

Anyways yes mom i got your package last week and it is so great! The calendar is really really great and i was wondering about that actually so it was great to get one (the Erickson Family calendar).  Random facts for this week are: on the bus this week i sat by a few kids who freaked out because i was white so they were taking a ton of pictures with me.  They were so amazed at my height and my skin, so they were touching and pulling at my skin and stuff which is apparently what they do all the time in Rajamundry haha.

How cold is it in Idaho now? I bet you probably don't care right now anyway because you are looking forward to going to Hawaii so soon haha:) That should be heaps of fun.  Not as fun as going to March Madness though;)  Scripture: D&C 50
Well my week was pretty good and i am glad that yours was as well.  Next time i email you i will be in a new state and meeting new places and probably sweating like crazy so until then...
Elder Ball

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 19, 2015 - Bangalore

Well another week has flown by so dang fast!! January is really flying by i feel like.  So this week was a very odd week actually.  It was pretty good for us but very very odd because of something that i will tell you later.

So to start off with i will tell you the great things that happened this week.  So Claud, John and Simmy's friend that we have been teaching committed to baptism, and we will be baptizing him this upcoming Sunday!!!! He is so awesome and so willing to learn and really wants to be a member of the church and loves the teachings it brings.  What was also cool was that our appointment with him on Saturday had John and Simmy with us as well and as we were reviewing the Restoration and teaching the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity, John and Simmy were pretty much teaching the entire lesson!!! It was so awesome because everything they said was completely accurate, and they are really into the missionary mind because they are also trying very hard to help Claud and help him towards being baptized.  Their english has really improved since joining the church and their testimonies are growing so fast....John is going to talk to our branch president soon about going on a mission.....Man those guys are so awesome.  Anyways so Claud came to church this sunday which keeps us on course for baptizing him after church on this upcoming sunday.  so we are very exctied for that. 
Also last sunday, there was one other african brother named christian that stays near them and when we were walking back from an appointment, he was upstairs in his apartment and he saw us and called down to us and asked what we were doing.  so we told him we are sharing a gospel message and how we can become closer to jesus christ.  So he invited us up to we set an appointment for the next day and we taught him three times this week.  He is so anxious to learn and really wants to find a church and become closer to and learn more about god.  He asks very sincere questions and is such an amazing guy and he accepted our baptismal invitation to be baptized on February 8.!! So i know you are probably all thinking why am i teaching so many africans and not focusing on the indians who i should be teaching.  But honestly i don't care who i am teaching as long as i am giving them that opportunity to hear and accept the true gospel.  And quite honestly, right now they are our only investigators.  For some reason we have no indians that want to listen to us at all.  But one young man came up to us (Indian) and asked us if we could please teach him, so this week we will begin teaching him also.  Also we taught a man named Suresh who is paralyzed on one side of his body but is a very kind man, and also his wife and we taught them the restoration and towards the end of the lesson they said we are wasting our time because we already know the gospel.  So at that moment we just got to tell them that it is great they know some gospel, but we aren't here just to tell about jesus christ, but how to come closer to him and improve our knowledge and also that we have the restored fullness of gospel and priesthood once again on the earth.  It is really sad when people don't want to listen because i just think about how they had the chance and if they don't ever accept it they will wish one day that they would have listened.  Anyway those were some pretty good experiences.

So the odd thing week....brace of the members went literally insane this week.  It is the weirdest thing.  Apparently he started acting really weird on saturday when he woke up screaming and shaking and then was acting totally weird and different.  So we spent all day with him trying to figure things out on wednesday and three hours with him on tuesday trying to help him.  Anyway, it was the absolute weirdest thing ever, and you probably think i am kidding or don't believe me but it is as serious as ever.  So serious that his brother is coming this week to take him back to their is so sad because he has been such a big help and a friend to us...really unfortunate.  Very weird, but very serious...anyways it is so sad so this week we will say goodbye to him :(

In other news, transfer calls come today so we will see what happens.  Pretty much everyone thinks i will leave because i have been here almost 6 months now, but i think i will stay because of Elder Bandi....i don't know though we will see.  

So the missionaries that got arrested knocked a hindu door so the person had them come back a different day, and when they came back they were arrested and then got released soon the next day.  but apparently the RSS is really trying to hit Christian missionaries hard now so....  So with my new comp, i absolutely love him....but honestly i don't think i can take it anymore, haha.  It is really hard teaching now without being able to door knock because we have to rely on members, and honestly right now, it is really difficult with the members not having much of a desire to help.  my fave thing to drink is probably guava juice or mango good.  I haven't really eaten anything gross lately.  I pretty much avoid that haha.  Best thing this week was getting two baptism dates for sure.  Something new i learned this week is actually how sensitive Elder Bandi is about his companions.  Because he loves everyone so this week he has almost cried a couple times because he is nervous about me leaving him. He wants me to stay haha.  

Pats and Hawks huh??? Go Hawks.  Kentucky is balling huh? of course they are...they have all the talent.  Tell mom to lay off you;) haha Lay off mom;) the big sports updates are great and i look forward to them every week and don't worry, they aren't distracting at all because we are far too busy during the week to even think about it...  So yes dad i guess i am a singer.  I actually discovered i really like singing haha.

And yes i am staying very thirsty.  It is weird because when i first got out here i thought i wouldn't mind if people don't listen and stuff and if we have some free time how great that will be.  But now i hate not having new people to teach and hate having time with no appointments.  All i want to do is teach people the gospel non-stop until it is time to eat or go back to the apartment.  Not teaching is one of the worst things.  I don't know i guess i just get a thrill out of teaching people what i know about the gospel.  

Scriptures: 1 Nephi 21:13-15, 2 Nephi 4
Well i love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!! Will talk to you next week.
Love, Elder Ball

Monday, January 12, 2015

January 12, 2015 - Bangalore

Hello my beloved fam!!!

Well to be quite honest this week was pretty discouraging.  It wasn't a bad week but it was quite discouraging for our companionship and branch.  This week many of our investigators bunked our appointments as well as many other appointments.  We did get to visit many members this week and were fed every day this week which is really unusual for india.  But overall we were just really discouraged about the lack of appointments this week.  We did teach stephen on monday and that went okay but he bunked our other appointments this week and didn't come to church.....and we didn't make much progress with anyone else.  We taught Allan once this week and he still hasn't began reading the book of mormon so this week we said either you will find out for yourself or you wont and the only way to find out is to read the thing that holds it all together.  He did come to church which was really great but we will see if he reads.  We are really hoping and praying that he does because the book of mormon never fails.  We also had a less active named Reshmi come to church this week and she also brought a friend which was so great.  It is also pretty discouraging that we don't have like any good investigators right now.  Vincent David came back so we started teaching him again but he is still the same so are going to just see what happens by laying off of him.  It is beyond our power now.  It is all up to him so we are dropping him probably.  Also this is a really bad time to not have good investigators because last week, two elders from our mission got arrested in Coimbatore so President Berrett shut down door knocking, street contacting, and ITLs for a while so we are really going to have to rely on the members now more than ever which is a bit daunting because they haven't been much of a help...

There was a little light at the end of this weeks tunnel though.  So Claud, a friend that stays with John and Simmy, we have been teaching him for a while and he believes everything we have taught but just hasn't come to church yet....until this week...he came! And when we went and saw him last night, i asked how he liked church and he said he loved it so much!!! Then without even saying anything else to him, he said that probably at the end of this month he wants to be baptized....he said he wants to be a member of the Church of Jesus was so great to hear and really ended the week so well.  We are going to teach him tonight and give the official invite to be baptized so we are praying that everything goes well and that the spirit will touch him and that he will accept our invite.  

I think i agree with that quote mom...a mission is definitely the best two years FOR your life indeed.  This week it was fun to just go and get fed by members because the food is so dang good for one thing, but the other is that we rarely get that opportunity so it was nice.  I am trying to begin learning Telugu.  I have been looking many places for a book that can teach me.  When i find one i am going to buy it.  Plus Elder Bandi is trying to help me a little bit.  And we use regular bread for sacrament haha:)  

Dad you got released!!!!!!???????!???????? NO way!! I bet that is so weird for you now haha.  Probably don't know what to do with yourself on sundays!!! But it sounds like you are getting a great new bishopric and you guys did an awesome job yourselves.  John Reaman is back in the bishopric huh?? Wow that's awesome.  What is your new calling???  

Pretty great SC update this week Pa:)  Oregon will dominate the 'ship.  Mountain view seems like they can beat the lower end teams but just really struggle against the good teams.  Wade scored 46?! Dang!!! Baller.  Well looks like i will playing for a new coach when i play at Utah State when i get home;) haha.  So Seahawks will beat Packers and Patriots will beat Colts.  

I like your scriptures as well dad! great thoughts for me throughout the week.  Well you guys are definitely the best family.  No doubt about it.  
Oh by the way, me and my batch-mate Elder Martinez sang an acapella duet in our sacrament meetings yesterday...we sang "Come Thou Fount" my favorite song, and we did so well!!!!!!!!!!!! I will get a recording this week of us singing it and send it to you.  I haven't been able to send pics lately because my card reader is not working right now i will have to figure something out...but once i do then i will have lots of good pics to send:) 

Well i hope everything goes well for you all this week and thank you so much for your love support and prayers!
Weekly Scripture: Enos 1:1-17,27
Until next week...
Love, Elder Ball

Monday, January 5, 2015

Picture of Bangalore Zone

Bangalore Zone at Christmas 2014 Zone Conference
President and Sister Berrett posted a Christmas picture of each of the six zones on their blog.  This is Elder Ball's zone in Bangalore.

President Berrett also had a blog post about his birthday (Sept 2014) in the mission field...this is an excerpt from it.

"During the past several months I have been reviewing Missionary Recommendation forms for new missionaries. As I do so, the Spirit whispers to me that the "noble and great ones" are being called to the India Bangalore Mission. I know by the confirmation of the Spirit that you are among the very best missionaries anywhere in the world. Each one of you has been called to serve in this mission right now because God knew that you were needed here. You are here because of direct revelation, not merely because of administrative process or because of convenience. Some of you may feel that you should not or cannot be here. Maybe you are overwhelmed because of what is being asked of you. Do not despair. Heavenly Father knows you and He sent you here at this time because this is where you are needed. Sister Berrett and I are blessed now, and will be blessed for eternity, to be able to work with you. We are humbled because of the greatness of your spirits and because of the contributions you will make to God's work now and in the future."

January 5, 2015 - Bangalore

Well it is now a new year! 2015. The year i will be a missionary for the whole year.  This week was a pretty good one.  Very busy for me and my companion trying to find and teach more people.  This week we focused a lot on Stephen and i think he has really grown a lot, and we had one discussion with him this week where just asked him his concerns and what is holding him back from being baptized.  He just explained how he just wants to learn more and wants to be retaught the lessons, but he seems very willing to learn and progress so we are very excited about that.  He was also the only investigator for us that came to church on Sunday.  Which is unfortunate about the other ones but very good that stephen did come. 

It has been pretty hard for us four missionaries in lingarajapuram to not get discouraged about this branch and area.  The branch doesn't seem to be very anxious about the missionary work and to help us.  Which really we are working so dang hard and we really believe we are one of the best districts if not the best district in the whole mission.  And really we are teaching many lessons every day, but most of them without members present which is key so it has been really difficult.  We are trying our best to help this branch move forward.  It is hard not to be discouraged, but my companion is very positive so he helps me not to be discouraged.  We visited many members and less actives on saturday to get them to come to church but none of the less actives came...part of the difficulty is because the chapel is so far.  Many difficulties here in India so the work is very hard but even through all the difficulties and stuff i still seem to be happier than ever and love it so much.  I just find a thrill in teaching people the lessons.  It just feels so good and so right.  Anyways we are dropping a few investigators this week because they are not keeping commitments and not progressing at all, so we are going to explore a place in our area that we are unfamiliar with and try and find new people there.  also we are trying to meet with the actives a lot this week to strengthen our relationship with them and to get referrals from them. We have had some referrals lately but all of them haven't worked out.
A couple interesting experiences: we were walking down the streets looking for a member (we have to look for long time for members because the addresses here suck quite frankly haha) and some guy who speaks really good english comes up to us.  He was an older guy and he asks if we were the mormons so we said yes.  He said he was catholic which normally results in a potential bible bash or scolding for us but he told us to keep doing what we are doing and keep spreading christianity and was so nice to us.  he told us he lived in salt lake city for 30 years and loved seeing the temple so maybe sometime we will try and meet him and teach him.  another experience was also looking for a inactive members home and a guy asked if we were from the latter day saint church.  we said yes and then my companion went off and talked to some of our african buddies next to us leaving me to talk to this guy solo.  He was talking with these african guys while i was trying to explain to this guy about the book of mormon (he asked for a book of mormon).  It was very interesting because he was trying to get me to trip up on what i say and also trying to confound me, but he didn't know like anything so i just told him to read and pray and find out for himself.  

One amazing experience was with john last night.  we were visiting him at his home and i was talking with john and talking about serving missions and how he possibly wants to and so i was telling him if he feels he wants to and should that he should do it for sure.  so then he started saying how he doesn't want to serve in africa.  so i began to explain to him how we don't choose and that god sends us where we can find those people prepared for us and where god wants us to go and how most of the time, missionaries don't go where they want like for me i gave no thought to going to india.  as i was explaining this to him, i was telling him if i was allowed to go where i wanted i wouldn't have met him and shared the gospel with him.  and as i said that, i was holding back tears.  i struggled to say it because emotionally it just hit me so hard how much i care about john and simmy and how i was meant to find them and teach them and it was just so awesome to think about that.  John has an amazing desire to serve god so we just talked a lot last night and was just so uplifting.  

Their friend, our investigator, Claud promised he would come to church but didn't so that was rough.  we are dropping navaneet because he keeps bunking our appointments and doesn't come to church.  Anyways pretty eventful week.  Still trying to help my companion be more obedient and it is really difficult, but i am really trying because i have seen how obedience brings miracles.  and also trying to teach him how to do some things for himself because i am basically his mom because he still doesn't know how to tie his own tie or turn on the gas stove or basic stuff like that. 

Answers: funniest- the dumb stuff my comp does all the time...worst-frustration with branch and attribute-he can talk to random people so easily and his positive attitude...yes, i have given many priesthood rule that is hard to follow is probably the p-day one (having to proselyte at 6 on p-day).  Random fact: so many beggars come up and ask for money and many of them who are ladies that carry around a small woven basket that has a huge snake (cobra) in it....had lots of them come up this week.  Also gays who dress in sarees (the women dress in india).

Dad: Such a great espn update this week! Thanks! Way to go BOISE!! Oregon and OSU? go ducks.  thunder with kd will kill it for sure.  utah number 10 huh? how is isaiah doing? that is great about jesse!!! Thanks dad for the preaching.  i don't get it every day anymore so a little bit every week is okay;)  

Scripture: Jacob 3:1-2
Well wishing you all a great new year and love you all so much! Until next week...
Love Elder Ball