Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 27, 2015 - DapDap, Angeles, Philippines

Well it has now been 52 weeks down and 52 to go on my mish! My official year mark is on the 30th, but in terms of weeks and when i will go home, i now have like exactly one year from today! So weird.  I feel old;) haha.  And it is weird to think a year from today i will be on a flight home....but i try not to think about that haha.  Still a ways to go so gotta keep focused:)

But this week was interesting for Elder Van Tassell and I.  We worked so dang hard this week and really thought we were doing awesome as we got a lot more baptism dates and found 16 new investigators, but on Saturday literally all of our plans fell through, so we were hoping sunday would be a bounce back day and we were planning for 7 investigators at church.  So in the morning we went and picked up a sister named Anne Marie who we are teaching and we took her to church.  She is married and has a couple kids and is really interested to change her life, but we got to church and like 5 minutes later, her dad shows up.....and he was very mad.  So he took her home so we are giving her space for a day or two and then will try again.  And then our baptism date for the 29th of August didn't show up (for a valid reason, but still) so we were really disappointed.  We did have three investigators show up.  One is an 8 year old named Alexa and she comes every week and should get baptized soon.  The other is an older fellow named Inggo, and he is really nice guy and he liked church and we had some pretty good fellowship for him.  The other is our best investigator.  So short backstory about her.  One night we were going to teach an investigator sister named Julie who has two daughters, JoAnn and Jessa May who are members, and we had a fixed appointment but they bunked so we were really bummed, but as we walked away from their house, we came across a house who had people in it that we talked to and they let us in.  we shared the Restoration and have now taught them a couple of times, but they seemed at first like they were just being nice and letting us in....until last night.  So the daughter of the family who is like 11, her name is Kyla, she has come to church three times in a row now and is doing great, and has great fellowshippers in JoAnn and Jessa May.  So last night we went to teach the family (name is Dunca family) and we had an awesome lesson where they really opened up to us and committed to all coming to church on Sunday and it was awesome.  They are doing so well now and we really believe The Man Upstairs had a little something to do with the bunked appointment a week ago and set us up with this family who we really believe will get baptized, so that was pretty awesome.  So it was a great end to a great first 5 days of the week that were followed by two really difficult and trying days, but it really humbled us after we thought we were so good;) haha.  God has a tendency to do that i think.  Humble us just as we think we are amazing, so that we realize he is actually in control and we need to lean on Him.  So it was pretty awesome.  

I love the pics of Tyler!! Adorable still.  Well hopefully all goes well with his new helpers.  I'm sure God will help them and guide them as i believe He did with Kayla.  Yeah my shirts are a bit yellow, but they were cleaned nicely by Sister Josie in our branch. She only had to soak my comps in the washing water and bleach once, but with mine she had to do it three times!!! They were shocked to see how yellow they were, haha but they are doing well now. 
Yeah i love John. I really miss that guy.  I got really close with him and he is such a delightful guy.  I still really do miss India though.  India is my hood.  haha i love it sooooo much and i knew i loved it before, but i didn't know exactly how much i loved it until i left it.  I miss it like crazy and can't wait to go back.  But i do love my companion.  he is awesome and helps me with tagalog and is a trooper.  He hasn't had that great of comps on his mission who haven't helped him much, and now he gets me who can't speak tagalog so he is awesome and i love him.  I can now give a pretty good but simple testimony in tagalog, and i am still learning some other things so it is coming along.  But we have lots to do here and we are enjoying it.  We played some ball this morning and i got my shot back!!:) i was stroking it like Steph Curry today so i was super happy about that:)

Scriptures to look up: 2 Nephi 4.  Pretty cool about Nephi's humility.  And in Jacob chapter 2 it is cool to see how much God cares about respect for women as He "delights in the chastity of women." Love that.  

Anyways hope you have a great week and have fun shaving the big man;)
Love you!!
Elder Ball

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015 - DapDap, Angeles, Philippines

Hello everyone!
Well week one has completed in the Philippines!!! We arrived on Tuesday afternoon and stayed in a hotel and chilled and walked around the Manila city for a little bit and then on Wednesday we went in for orientation with all the brand new missionaries fresh from the MTC.  Then on Thursday we were assigned our areas and companions.  I got a companion named Elder Van Tassell.  He is from Spanish Fork Utah and he is way cool.  We get along really well and he is a really hard worker.  He is really good at Tagalog also. 

So we are serving in a tiny tiny little branch area called DapDap.  There are only like 30-40 people that come to church there, and it is a small little village with really nice sweet people and everyone is christian so quite the difference in terms of religious preference! But i am slowly trying to pick up some Tagalog.  I can say hi how are you, i am good, what is your name, my name is, i am from, and can almost say that i know the book of mormon and the church is true.  It is quite difficult but i am trying to pick it up for the sake of my companion who does pretty much all the speaking to people right now.  Some people understand english but very little because we are in such a small place.  I help teach but i teach in simple English, and if they cant understand then my comp just translates it. 

We had some good success this week in finding new investigators and even set four baptism dates and have like three more baptism dates so in August we could be having like seven baptisms.  We found this family this week and one of the sisters named Tess is really interested.  she says she is so happy when we come over and that she wants to be baptized.  But she hasn't committed to a date yet so that could be another one also. 

We stay in a small little home.  In this mission everyone stays in houses.  Nice cold bucket showers and bucket flushing toilets.  It is pretty cool.  There are like 220 missionaries in this mission which is like triple the Bangalore mission. So the Philippines is okay.  It rained like non-stop through saturday literally 24 hours each of the days.  but yesterday and today it has been pretty hot.  Last night we had a really fun family home evening with the branch.  The branch does this weekly and it is a good feeling activity because it is a small community that can get together and have a good time.  And also, people here are obsessed with basketball.  It is awesome.  So this morning we played a little ball.  They all make their fake jerseys and like everyone, even girls wear basketball jerseys all the time.  So that is really cool about the Philippines. 

However, i miss India so much.  I love that place so much.  I am hoping i am only here for one transfer.  I think i will be here for 6-12 weeks and then head back to India.  But i am trying to adjust here and make the best of it and we are working hard and having a good time.  The branch leadership isn't very good so we are basically doing all the work on our own, but we are really trying to bring people to Christ.  We have had some really good lessons this week and this upcoming week we will be having some more.  I am trying to learn how to pray in Tagalog by the end of this week.  I feel like a junk guy sometimes because people are really disappointed when my white companion speaks really good Tagalog and then i don't speak like any haha, but i try and they are still really nice people. 

The food is way different also.  It is honestly it tastes really bland to me! haha. So when me and my companion make noodles for dinner we always make them separate because he likes his with just the regular flavor but i like to make mine really spicy so everything is really bland to me now because i got so used to the spice!! haha but it is fun and i really have an awesome companion.  He has been out for about a year also.  We get along really well and get work done.  So anyways there is my schpeel on the Philippines.  I am not a huge fan of this place because i fell in love with India, but i am sure it will grow on me a little bit.  However, there is no place like home (and by home i mean India, for i am now Indian) :)  

So now that i have been year out, my shoes are actually still in good shape, but they are always dirty or wet.  However, my shirts are looking in a little bit rough shape.  Like they are having yellowish tint.  The philippines elders have really white shirts because the members handwash them for us for a small fee and they wash them so good.  Plus it is clean in the Philippines compared to India and the air isn't so polluted.  Seriously the Philippines is crazy, but India definitely beats it out in terms of craziness and i even think poverty and stuff like that.  I definitely have had some interesting mission experiences.  And i don't expect that it will cease to be that way.  But i can't wait to get back to my native (india) but while it lasts, i will try to make the best of this opportunity.  And maybe i will come home knowing like 5 languages haha.  or at least bits and pieces of many.  Well love you guys, have a great week! 

Love, Elder Ball
Pictures from Angeles Philippines Mission of last week's incoming missionaries...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 13, 2015 - Bangalore, Lingarajapuram

Hey family!!!
Well fairly early this week my anxiety wanting to know where i will be going was relieved! I am going to the Philippines Angeles mission and i actually leave in about 12 crazy!!!! A couple things i heard about that place is there is a good mixture of big city (more developed than India) and absolute village and rice fields.  So that should be interesting.  Also, most people there speak some english but the overall language is Tagalog.  So it will interesting to see how much of that language i pick up while i am there.  Also, Filipino people are nuts about basketball which should be dang awesome.  So i am pretty excited to see a totally new place but at the same time, i am nervous as heck.  I am getting those same nerves that you get right before you leave on your mission because you don't know what to expect.  And even though i am full into missionary life and have been out about a year, i am still super nervous because it will be a completely new life and culture and it will cool/crazy/challenging.  So next time i email you, i will be in a completely different country:)

So basically as far as this week goes, it consisted of mainly two things: 1. bunks 2. food.  Sooooooo many people bunked appointments this week which was a huge disappointment but we had some really good lessons with Joel.  Joel even came to church and so he and the branch are really excited to have another baptism.  Their first since i left.  We also had an investigator named Mahesh come to church.  A couple of the pictures i uploaded included both of those guys.  Joel is the african who is not John:) and then Brother Louis the BML is in one of the photos and also my companion Elder Sharma, and Mahesh is the little short guy.  So Mahesh is really good.  He is the friend of a family in our Branch.  So he is doing well.  But this week we got fed so many times.  So many members wanted to feed me before i left that a few of them didn't even get the chance because we were booked with so many food appointments.  Some days had both lunch and dinner. 
The africans fed me their african food which consists of fried bananas and egg and ketchup, it is a bit different but pretty good actually.  So we had a good time getting fed and meeting our investigators but other than that, that is about it for the week.  This companionship has been frustrating, but now i will be off to the peens and meeting new people and learning new things, and i guess pretty much getting a fresh start for my second year of my mission.  

So i bet you enjoyed talking to the other india missionary parents!!! Sounds like some fun things are going on back home!! Mom, you rock for always doing that angelman party.  Sounds pretty funny about Kyler wanting Ty's attention.  Those two are good friends!! I love the pics! So adorable! (of Tyler/Kyler)  Well sorry for the short email.  Not a ton went on this week but next week you should get quite the email as i will have to tell you about the Philippines!!!
Love you!!
Elder Ball

Elder Ball and John

John, Manesh, Elder Ball, Joel
Brother Louis, Elder Ball, Elder Sharma

Dinner with African friends

Monday, July 6, 2015

July 6, 2015 - Bangalore, Lingarajapuram

Hey family!!!
Well first things first i do need to tell you where i am.  So last Monday, right after emailing you, i spoke with President Berrett and he ET'd me to Lingarajapuram (emergency transfer), which means i have been here this whole week and will finish the transfer here also.  So i only spent like half a transfer in convent road and now spending the second half in Linga. 

So this week has been quite interesting because my companion here is a good guy, but he is about to go home and knows very little about the area even though he has been here almost three months.  So he is a great guy, but it is difficult being his companion.  But i will only be here one more week.  Speaking of which i still have no clue where i will be going!!!!!!!! It is driving me insane!!! Hopefully i find out today because today is transfer calls, so my companion will be getting a new comp next week, but hopefully the calls also include where we are going to be for the next while.  i have just been really trying to work hard to keep my mind off it.  My companion has had a reputation of not wanting to do anything, but i have been working him pretty hard here in Linga, trying to prepare him for next transfer and trying to resurrect this area because it is in shambles.  The sacrament meeting attendance is significantly down, and the branch seems to have lost faith in those missionaries.  However, since i have been here, they have really been asking me what help i need and telling me how grateful they are to have me back.  And during PEC yesterday, they were speaking to me the whole time, and even the branch president said that when he saw that i was back in this branch that "our branch will have another baptism for sure." I thought that was kind of funny because i will be leaving after this week, so the baptism won't happen while i am here but we are setting up some nice baptisms for the future if this Elder actually does work his last transfer.  

Anyways so this week we found a few new investigators.  We went to visit a less active Chantee, and she introduced us to her friends Kim and Ricky, so we taught them and will go back again this week to teach them again.  I also talked to a guy named Bablu on the bus and asked if we could come teach him, and he said sure so we went on Saturday and taught him the Plan of Salvation and are going again this Thursday, so we will see where that goes.  We also taught a guy named Mohit and he was interesting because he is pretty much waist deep in anti-mormon material with all the questions he had for us, so that was frustrating.  We are planning to go try and teach him one more time, but if he just continues with all the doubts and anti-mormon questions, we will just drop him pretty fast.  We also did get some good referrals this week.  Apparently not many referrals had been given to these elders, but this week the branch president came up to me gave me a part member family to go visit, and also the Elders Quorum President gave us a referral of a family of 6 which will be awesome.  We also had a walk-in at church yesterday and that is a family of about four, so on Tuesday we will be going to teach them and they seem pretty solid.  

We have been teaching this sister named Anjeli and her family and they have been quite difficult.  So we asked President Berrett to come and help us with one appointment, and it went really well.  President Berrett is so awesome.  Easily the best mission president in the world.  Love him.  He is an amazing teacher.  I thought i was improving on my skills, and then President Berrett comes and makes me feel like i have no clue what i am doing haha.  But it was really good.  We committed them to read the Book of Mormon every day this week and then we will see if they kept their commitment.  If not, then we will drop them. 

We also taught Joel again this week and had a really good lesson about the plan of salvation.  We asked him to be baptized and he said yes but then didn't show up to church the next day, and we weren't able to get ahold of him that day so not sure what happened.  Other than that, i have had so many food appointments it is insane.  I felt so bloated this week and have a bunch more dinner and food appointments this week.  All the members are asking me to come and eat before i leave, but i am not having time for all of them haha.  so that is pretty good.  Don't have to worry about if i am eating good;)

Highs from the week were getting fed and teaching many good lessons and also playing basketball again with the African guys.  Lows were probably just the frustration with all the uncertainty of my next destination and also the small frustrations with the companion.  

And Pa, i love those pics! especially seeing your super tan skin;) haha I bet that pool is a lot of fun!! Sounds like the family is doing good! And also, the NBA is going nuts!!! Crazy!  But i love you guys a lot!! Hope your week is great!  And also tell Ty that he is the man, I miss him like crazy and that he is my best friend:)
Love, Elder Ball
PS: pray that i find out soon where i am going!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!