Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015 - Bangalore, Convent Road & Linga

Hey everyone!
This was a REALLY weird week this week.  We had a training from President Berrett about planning and that was good, as we learned some great things about how to plan better. We also began teaching this brother named Arish and we committed him to be baptized next week.  We aren't sure if he will be ready by then, but I don't know if i will find out yes or no.

So the reason for that is the weird part.  I have actually been in Lingarajapuram since Thursday.  The elders there weren't getting anything done and got in a pretty big fight so i was sent there to try to help the area pick back up and to separate those guys.  So since Thursday i have been trying to help this Elder here learn the area and also see some members and investigators homes...but the even weirder thing is i might not go back to Convent Road.  I might stay here for my last two weeks before i leave.  And speaking of that issue, we still have no clue where we are going.  It is pretty much driving us (the missionaries who are waiting to find out their fate), and President Berrett, insane.  So i am still waiting to find out. 

But basically this week i got many food appointments and saw many more of my old friends.  I saw John again and i found out that him, Simmy and Claude all received the Melchizedek Priesthood a week or two ago.  And yeah i saw Frank which was pretty great!! Love that guy.  On Saturday i actually went and played ball for a little bit with a bunch of African buddies of mine, haha.  It was pretty fun but they all acted like a bunch of Elder's Quorum has-beens if you know what i mean;) They were calling stupid stuff and being babies and arguing with each other the whole time, so i was just trying to lighten things up all the time and be cool with everybody.  It was a good time and they were surprised a white boy could play.  Even though i kind of suck now...haha.  

Not much to update on this week because it was such a weird week, but in Linga we did find a new African investigator named Joel and he is awesome.  We taught him the Restoration yesterday and he absolutely loved it, and i think he could be golden.  but my belly has been filled this whole week because i got so many food appointments.  And not to toot my own horn, but i didn't realize how much people in that branch loved me.  Because i went to their church yesterday and everyone was stoked to have me back and were pleading with me to stay, and even kept asking me to talk to President Berrett to let me stay there and be transferred there.  Even the Branch President was saying "he needs me back here." Haha.  But anyways it was cool seeing all those people, but my mind is going insane with all this in-limbo stuff, because i still have no clue if i am going to stay in Linga or going back to Convent Road, and also where i am going when i leave India. 

Been pretty hot??? Crazy!!! I bet Ty is loving the pool. And yeah i got all the notes! Loved them!! Thanks for sending them (St George reunion notes/letters).  I can only imagine you trying to defend the raspberries!!! haha, laughing right now thinking about it:)  Anyways sorry for a short email.  Hopefully next week i will have more to update on, and also hopefully my mind will be put at ease with some answers this week.
Well i guess i better start sending scriptures again then!!! This week, Alma 7:11-16.  Awesome verses about the Atonement.  Read and ponder on that.  Awesome stuff.
Love you all,
Elder Ball
Pic that Franck sent me of he/Elder Ball this week.

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015 - Pictures Convent Road & Visit to Linga

Visit back to his first area, aka Linga...with Vincent David and wife;
he was an investigator at the time.
Elder Ball w/ good friend, John...baptized him while serving in Linga.
Elder Ball with Claude and John, two baptisms in Linga.

Friend Condie
Elder Ball w/ Brother Louis and family, BML in Linga.
Elder Ball w/ Pidugu family, a favorite from Linga branch
Baptism of Kanchana; she's in Convent Road branch.

June 22, 2015 - Bangalore Convent Road

Hey family!!!
This week was a pretty interesting week...It was pretty frustrating for a lot of the week, but there were quite a few little awesome things that Heavenly Father threw in for good measure:)  I think this week he was trying our patience and testing to see how we react to adversity.  We had many many many bunked appointments this week.  And for much of the week it just seemed like the world was against us.  It was so difficult to get the interview for our investigator set up because we need the branch president to come and our zone leader, and our branch president was really reluctant to come because he just doesn't get very involved with the missionary work here.  Then on Saturday night, one of the other sets of missionaries had our baptism clothes and wouldn't bring them to us, so we had to miss an appointment and go clear out of our way to get them.  And many other times things just didn't work out for us this week.  It was pretty frustrating.   However, we got some pretty awesome things happened to us.  

One was on Thursday, which was probably our worst day.  So this day, we went to give a sister a blessing who was in the hospital and had been complaining that elders weren't coming to give her a blessing, even though we had no clue about this until Thursday. We took an auto ride for 110 rupees which is pretty big sum for an auto ride.  We get there, and they had been discharged and didn't want us to come visit.  Then our recent convert Krishna rescheduled his appointment so we walked around looking for homes and found nothing.  Finally we go to meet Krishna at 6, and he ends up being an hour late.  Really frustrating.  And he is not coming to church and it is really difficult to get a hold of him, so it was pretty frustrating.  But at 7:30/8:00 we went to a family who had just moved into the branch and they were awesome.  It was a big Indian guy married to a Philippino, and they fed us pizza and we got a new investigator...the guy's dad! It was great and we had a great lesson about families and the importance of the gospel in the family, so we will be meeting them regularly now.  

Then last night, after a disappointing week, we met a guy named Harish who is the brother of a member and he came to church yesterday, so we taught him a great lesson about prayer and about God loving him.  He has very little faith in God because he doesn't think he listens.  But by the end of our lesson, his countenance changed and it was awesome.  We taught him also that sometimes God gives us things we don't want or doesn't give us things we want because it is good/not good for us.  So right after this, we were wanting dinner from a family that said they would feed us.  On our way over there, we found out they weren't home yet so we went for a small walk to wait, and we ended up meeting some really great potential investigators that really want us to teach them.  We went back to the member's home and they cancelled on God had us set up that appointment that he knew would bunk so that we would meet these guys.  We are convinced of this.  So that was still a pretty good end to the week.  We also met 3 other new investigators earlier in the week.  

Also on Wednesday, i went on exchange in Lingarajapuram!!!!!!!!! It was awesome! I saw some of my old investigators and members!  I first saw Vincent David...he is in rough shape.  They never taught him after i left.  He has lost his job and had to shift to a smaller place and they are really struggling and he is back to drinking a lot.  It was kind of sad.  but I saw the great Pidugu family!!!! They fed me twice...lunch and dinner haha:)  They are awesome and i really miss them.  I also saw my former BML Brother Louis and his wife and son!! Their son is being baptized this week! It was great to see them and they also fed me.  But the best part was seeing John and Claude!!! I was unable to see Simmy yet but i saw the two guys i personally performed the baptism ordinance for, so i uploaded pics of one convert in each arm;)  It was great! They are doing so good and so active and love the church and are going to share the gospel when they get home and found out they have branches in their place!  Also in Lingarajapuram last week in church 8 africans sang nearer my god to thee in French!! I heard it was awesome.  But that branch is in a bad state right now.  The members don't like the missionaries anymore and so many people went inactive.  People were so happy to see me and it made me sad seeing the state of that area....but it was awesome seeing the people i grew to love there.  

Another great thing this week was Kanchana got baptized!! My companion and i have been really working hard in this area but haven't seen much fruit from it...but we got a baptism together which is great and now that family, Megha's family, has a couple more brothers to teach and baptize before the whole family is in the fold of God, so this upcoming week we will be meeting those brothers and teaching them.  We have some good things ahead i think.  

So this week i will find out where i will be going in three weeks.  It is looking like it is leaning towards going to the states, but more missionaries are getting visas so i might not stay where i am going as long as i originallly thought.  So that will be good.  

Answers: Best thing we ate this week was a member made Chapati and beef curry for was so dang good.  Funniest thing was talking to kids here in Telugu.  They don't speak telugu so it was kind of funny because i pretended i didn't know English, so their mind was blown and you should have seen their faces.  Most exciting thing was having a baptism!  The apartment is pretty good.  Probably best one of i have had.  Great experience mom about the new PCS worker.  She should be good because she is strong as the little guy is getting huge!!!  The pool sounds great!! I bet Ty will absolutely love that and will probably want to play in it all day everyday...

Last thing...Happy Father's day to the best Dad in the world!!!  Love you pops! You are the best and a great example for me.  I definitely want to be as great as you when i am a father.. Although i probably won't be as good as you, at least i will try.  You're the best, mate!! Oh and the quote you sent this week was pretty much the epitome of our week so thanks for that!!! Really fits right in and very uplifting.  Holland always motivates everyone.  Also sounds like Kerr got it done and had quite the solid team! Lebron is not better than MJ.  MJ would have won even without those guys.  I think LBJ would have won with them honestly, but if he was better than MJ, he would have won regardless.  I think one weakness lebron has is in tough times, trying to do everything himself and not helping his teammates improve.  I think he needs to let other people help him sometimes and not always put everything on his shoulders.  

Well love you all! Hope you have a great week!! Loving India! Y'all better be loving America though!;)
Love, Elder Ball

Monday, June 15, 2015

June 15, 2015 - Bangalore - Convent Road

Hello! This was a pretty decent week.  A few interesting things happened this week but it was pretty good i would have to say. 

The first interesting thing was on P-day last week Elder Dias and I went into a mall near our apartment to get some dinner and while we were in the food court walking to one place to eat, behind us we hear, "Elders!" So we turn around and see a black dude in a bro-tank.  We were both looking at him like we had seen him before and he was speaking like an american so we had this puzzled look on our face like, "who is this guy."  He asks if we are elders and we say yes.  He said he wasn't sure because we weren't wearing our nametags.  During this small exchange of words i finally figured out who this guy is.  This guy was one of the teachers that taught me and also taught Elder Dias in the MTC.....This guy is touring the world for 5 months before college and he has been to Tokyo and Thailand and other places and had seen missionaries everywhere except India so when he saw us he was stoked!! But it was insane that we saw a guy who taught us in the MTC!!! How crazy is that!!! So we went and sat with him and ate dinner next to him and his white friend who went to BYU and so we spoke to these two american guys for like an hour and half telling them what mission life is like in India and stuff and it was pretty dang cool. 
Then the other day, we were just about to leave for an hour bus ride to some less active members' homes so we stopped in McDonald's to get a quick hashbrown before we leave.  So we sit down and see two white guys next to us and they ask where we are from.  We end up finding out that these guys are american and return missionaries who are working in India so we talked to them for a little bit too.  It was so weird.  Oh and the same day as meeting the MTC teacher, right before that we talked to some other american guys right outside of that mall.  They weren't members but it has just been crazy seeing so many americans here after being in Rajahmundry.  Also every week, there are about 3 or 4 white americans that attend our branch.  Two of them are regular but every week we see a couple new ones that are here for business.  It is pretty wild.  

The mission conference with Elder Funk was great.  We were the second zone he spoke to, so the tour just finished this week.  So yeah Elder Funk was the Pres. right before Pres. Berrett.  Elder Funk is from Utah I think.  He and Pres. Berrett have been good friends for over 30 years and have basically followed each other around so it is kind of funny story about them.
We are thinking Elder Dias probably won't get his extension which could mean that he could be out of india in like 2 weeks.  It is weird and so right now the mission office is looking into sending him, another elder and my batch to states instead of philippines because there is a big possibility we don't return to is pretty crazy right now so our minds are going insane waiting for our update about that situation. 

Answers on pictures: Elder Dias is the one holding the pink baby chick.  The other one is Elder D'Vaz.  Elder D'Vaz is one of my best friends now so i had to take a pic with him.  He is very much like me.  He also has a bro with special needs and his dad is adopted and also he loves bball.  The person we were saying good-bye to is one of my faves if not my fave member in RJY.  His name is Chandra Shekar.  I love that guy.  and the ones on beds that is when i went to Hyderabad for my new passport. 

So about my branch.  One of the coolest things.  There is a ton of deaf people in our branch so there is sign language translation in sacrament meeting and sign language conducted classes.  In fact my new favorite member is a guy named Karthik.  He is hilarious.  He is deaf and so we communicate by sign language, and i am learning so dang much sign language it is quite awesome.  These hearing-impaired members are probably the most faithful members i have ever seen, and they are so fun to be around and so kind and nice.  they bring friends to church a lot and sign american sign language is english so it is an approved mission language, so we are trying to get referrals from all these guys and teach their friends because they are absolutely awesome.    

So this week we taught many recent converts and less actives.  We will be having a baptism this upcoming week which is great.  She is a part-member mother named Kanchana.  We also have like 3 or 4 members who are waiting for or having mission calls.  So the branch is pretty good.  I like the branch.  The area is okay.  It is so much slums though.  Which is kind of cool.  But i still miss RJY.  

So Dad, of course i read your letters!!! Your letters are awesome! You also have awesome quotes or things you learned in the week that are very uplifting and helpful.  Seriously.  I promise i read them:) your SC updates are ight too;) as for LBJ...if he wins this finals without Kyrie or Love, i think i might have to agree with Lambier...i hate to say it but if he can do that on his own....dang.  That quote is true.. Although it is difficult.  Especially works for me and my frustrations with my comp right now.  But i am working through it and doing my best to stay positive.  He is pretty cool sometimes so i try and focus on the positives.  I guess that is what a mission is about anyways...focusing on the positives.  And i really appreciate the support at home.  I really do feel blessed on my mission, and especially being in India has really made me appreciate home-life and the gospel more.  

4 weeks to go before i leave this country for a while.  Hopefully we can help this branch out in this short time we have here.
I will talk to you all next week.  Love you!
Elder Ball

Friday, June 12, 2015

June 8, 2015 - Pictures - Rajah & Bangalore

New shirt via care package from home :)

Elder Ball and Grimmett (batch mates; while in Hyderabad getting passport)
Elder Porter and Ball (while in Hyderabad getting passport)

Elders Ball and Thompson with Chandra Shekar
Chandra was Elder Ball's 'fave member in Rajah'
Elders Ball and Dias, comps in Convent Road area

Elder Dias with a pink chic :)

Treated to dinner by Doug Quist while in Bangalore on business.
(email signed 'just a random guy who has a missionary of my own')

Elder D'Vaz is one of Elder Ball's best friends

Glad to see Elder Bunga at the conference!

At mission tour conference; they are Elder Ball's batch mates

June 8, 2015 - Bangalore - Convent Road

Note from Mom…After not getting a Mon am email, while sitting in the Tuacahn Amphitheatre in St George that night, got an email from our missionary son asking if I wanted to chat! J  It was so fun to “chat” with Elder Ball via email!  So rather than his typical letter this week, here are highlights of what he shared.

--Monday is still p-day, but we had mission conference yesterday with Elder Funk from the 70.  he gave one of the closing prayers in conference last session and gave a talk a couple sessions ago.  I am doing pretty well.  My new area is basically all is okay.  The other elders' area is americanized a lot more. 
--I really miss my old area and Elder Thompson.  I loved both of them so much.  Me and Elder Thompson became great friends and we actually want to room together at Utah State.  It was way cool!  He is an awesome guy!!!  And it was sad to leave that area.  I loved it so much. 
--Bangalore is so cool though!!  Much better weather than Rajahmundry.  It is incredibly cool, and i actually get cold at nights and in the mornings. 
--I am doing great spiritually, but mentally i am trying to recover from leaving an area i grew to love so much.  And now i am in Bangalore i learned that my old Linga area is basically in shambles, and the elders aren't doing anything there.  I am really trying to get over there soon to visit some people.  Yeah He is sure helping me.  He always does without fail.  (trusting in Jesus Christ, esp during tough times)
--We had some really good lessons this week.  Especially with one brother named Pavithran and his daughter Priya and son Arial.  When we went earlier that day to set the appointment he was working with his plants.  When we went back not knowing what to teach, we asked if they were reading the BoM and had received answers to their prayers if it was true.  They said not yet but that they wanted to know really bad.  So the spirit told us to turn to Alma 32 and since this brother knows a lot about seeds because of his work with plants, we talked about faith being like a seed and if it is a good seed it will grow.  It was such an awesome lesson and we came out of that with our minds blown.  We went in not knowing for sure what to teach because we wanted to see if they are progressing or not.  And the spirit filled it in for us and we had a killer lesson. 
--We also have one part-member investigator named Kanchana.  She is the mother of a really active member in our branch and we are going to be baptizing her on the 21st of June.  We had two really good lessons with her this week and she came to church so we have set her with a june 21 baptism date:)

--The food was pretty good too and way expensive.  (An American who has been in Bangalore for work took the local Elders to a nice restaurant to treat them to dinner before leaving India…also emailed both parents a pic of them at dinner and signed the email ‘just a random guy who also has a missionary’.  So nice! :)
--Yeah i will go and check on them:) (John and Simmy that he/Bunga baptized in Bangalore)  They are excited to see me.  Elder Bunga is awesome!! I uploaded some pics, and he is in one because we had the mission conference tour, so his zone and my zone were together so i saw him, Bandi, and Chettimalla.  Bandi and Bunga are companions now in Chennai.

-- I might not end up going there (to Chennai).  So i leave for the philippines in 5 weeks, and i heard some rumors that there are like 25-30 of our elders waiting for visas there.  So i heard that if i go to the peens i might not come back to india....crazy....or i might even get sent stateside if there is a good chance of not returning to india.  (why the delays?)  Because the government is slow to give them but i have no idea why.  we will see what happens.  My comp goes the FRRO today to see if he gets his extension...if they reject it, he will have to be out of india by next week.  
--(There are long delays for visa processing right now…his mission has visa waiters in US trying to get to India, visa waiters mid-mission in Philippines trying to get back to India, and passport waiters of local to-be-missionaries trying to get to Philippines for the MTC/temple prior to missions in India.  So anyone interested in joining missionary families in praying for timely visa processing so that the work can go forth in India, please do!)

--Well i gotta go! I will talk to you guys next week!!! Hope you have a great week and make sure to tell the family all hi for me!! and tell them i am really grateful for their support!
Love, Elder Ball

Monday, June 1, 2015

June 1, 2015 - Rajahmundry Pictures

nice wing span; Ravi Kishore, Priyanaka, Silva Raj, Vamsi
Elders Ball, D'Vaz, Bandi, Johannson
Elders Monk, Harris, Ball, Thompson
Deepak and Sunitha 
Polimatti Pushpalatha family 
Dhanuvureddy Silva Raj

Sunset in Rajahmundry

June 1, 2015 - Rajahmundry

Wow i cannot believe i am in my 11th month on my mission.  Holy heck it has gone by fast.  In six weeks i will be off to the Philippines and then there i will hit my hump day!!! Crazy right???? Well time sure does fly when you are enjoying life and boy am i enjoying life.  Being on a mission is the best decision i have made so far in my life, and Heavenly Father has really blessed me and also changed me for the better.  

Well this week was quite a weird week.  In fact this email will probably be fairly short because not a whole lot went on.  But i guess the first thing i will say is i survived the 120 degree weather all week.  It is actually pouring rain as we speak.  But the biggest news of all is i was expecting to stay here another transfer.. But unexpectedly, i got a transfer call on transfer call day last week.  And guess where i am going....right back to Bangalore!!! How weird is that!? I am going to a different branch called Convent Road branch which is probably the most Americanized area in the entire mission which will be a weird transition because i have been in a village the past four months.  But i guess the Lord wants me in Convent Road for 1 transfer.  Next transfer i am going to the Philippines...which means in six weeks...that is so weird.  It came up so fast.  So tomorrow i am leaving in the morning and flying back to Bangalore.  I will be in an apartment with one of my batchmates Elder Pereira so i am really excited about that. My companion will be Elder Dias.  He is from Missouri.  He is OCI though (not from India but of Indian descent).  He is a pretty fun guy, so i should have a good time with him.  

So basically this week i spent most of my time teaching my investigators for the last time and saying good-bye to all those who i came to know and love here in Rajahmundry.  It is weird how attached you get to an area and people in so short time.  But as far as the missionary work goes...this week Ganesh and his family came to church again!!! We were so happy!! And also a boy named Sanjay Romathula finally came as well! He was an inactive that we have been working with for a long time and finally he came! It was a good way to finish off my time here in Rajahmundry.
I really enjoyed my time here but i guess God has called me elsewhere and it is all his plan. I will really miss many people in this area and am sure i will come to love those in my new area.  

Thanks for Aaron's email.  I will email eem soon.  If you see eem again soon tell him he is still my bro.  Our ward had a baptism...? i don't think i ever remember one happening except for maybe one the whole time i was there...That is way cool though.  Many baptisms in missionary work come from part-member families like that, and they are really prepared because of the example of their family.  I'm sure the Mercado family was a big help in that.  And yeah maybe i will try and fit one small girl like that in my suitcase on the way home...they are so dang cute!! (the cute 8yr old from last batch of pictures)  Wow you finished another jar of peanut butter?? Can't believe it takes you that long!!!;) haha. 

Grandma with another injury??? Oh no!!! not good.  She has been beat up pretty bad lately, but she is tough as nails so she will probably get through it okay.  As far as random things...the transfer call was pretty random.  I will miss Elder Thompson so much.  Man i love that guy.  We had such a great time together and really were finding success.  Goodness i didn't think i could get attached to people very easily but i guess i have gone soft;) haha.  Anyways sorry not much to say this week...mostly i just said good bye and gave my final testimonies to everyone...Will talk to you next week!

Love, Elder Ball