Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015 - DapDap, Philippines Pictures

Elder Ball & Elder Van Tassell

Dap Dap branch FHE

Not sure why the police-line-up look :)
That's the smiles.
Dap Dap Branch Conference & 1yr Anniversary

August 31, 2015 - DapDap, Miracle Sunday

Hello fam!!!!
This was.....well there isn't really a word for it (subject line of Miracle Sunday).  It completely threw us for a loop and blew our minds that is for sure.  So first of all we worked really hard this week again, and are getting closer and closer to our baptisms with Daisy and Inggo.  Their interview is next Saturday! We are getting really excited for them.  Inggo is a trooper!!! He is having all these like stomach acid issues and not feeling very well from not smoking or drinking coffee, but in the midst of all of that he still has not taken one sip or puff.  The guy is awesome.  He is doing amazing, and we are trying to prepare them for the interview next week!

So this Sunday was the DapDap Branch First Anniversary.  And it was also Branch Conference so we had like all the Stake Leaders there, and there was no better day for God to work his miracles in DapDap.  So normally our attendance is like 36...this time is was 72.  Many of which were obviously from the stake, but the miraculous part was that 1/4 of the attendance was investigators......that's right.  We had 18 investigators at church...It still tickles me pink.  One of which is a family of 8.  Here is their story. 
On Friday we only had two hours in the afternoon to work before going to the sisters area to do a baptism interview for them, and we had one lesson go through and the others all bunked, so we thought about just going back to the house and getting ready to go.  However, we decided to try one sister who we taught like three weeks ago, and her whole family was there.  They are the Dela Cruz-Castro family.  Their oldest kid is 24 and the youngest is 9, so they have 6 kids.  They are just a cute family of 8.  None of them are educated because they can't afford to send their kids to school.  They are so poor and humble and so prepared.  They accepted our baptism invite, and we went to church with them on Sunday.  So awesome.  They know absolutely nothing about Jesus Christ so we are starting from square one, which is okay because they have no objections haha.  

We also found another new family of six.  Beautiful adorable sweet close family named the Manipon family.  They reluctantly let us in the first time but loved our message about how the restoration can help their family, and then surprisingly they came to church on their own.  They are thinking about baptism also.  

What is awesome though is our branch is terrible at fellowshipping but all the stake leaders that were there gave up their seats inside for all our investigators and went and stood outside so the investigators could have a good experience, and then the stake speakers including the president spoke directly and personally to the investigators.  It truly was an absolute miracle, and we realized God had blessed us for our work and also brought these people on this specific week for a reason.  It was so awesome.  Sandra also brought her kids, and Daisy came and Caila came, and it was like ecstasy haha.  I was smiling like a fool the whole time i was playing the piano in sacrament meeting.  Beautiful ain't it? How much power God tagalog we call that "Pinakanapamakapangyarihan." 
Crazy that another school year has started.  Ty looks so tall....sounds like a fun trip to McCall!!  Very sad though about Sis. Dubois...:( I will pray for her and fast for her.  I really hope she gets better.  She is awesome. 
Well enjoying life and loving missionary work, but still wanting to go India...but not until next transfer because we are going to have like 10 baptisms this transfer...that will be so awesome.
Well love you! Have a great week! 
Elder Ball
PS: God Lives.  And Loves His Children.  Elder Van Tassell and I are proof...

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24, 2015 - DapDap, Angeles, Philippines

Hey loved ones!!! i have some good pics to upload this week but for some reason it isn't letting me this week so next week i will try and upload them!As for this week there is only one word to describe it: Odd.

We had two days where we didn't teach a single lesson yet we still ended up with not bad numbers.  One of those days Elder Van Tassell had to travel a long ways to go to some District Leaders meeting all day, so i went on exchange in a different area and was with one elder who has been here for 8 months and the other is the batch behind me from india! Elder Broderick.  It was pretty fun talking with Elder Broderick.  And yes the batch right in front of me just got their visas, so it looks like i am next.  Probably will only be here for one more transfer and then get back to India.  And to be quite honest, i am dying to get back there.  I have enjoyed the Philippines and have learned quite a bit, but i still am just in love with India and miss being able to teach in English and people actually understand me. 
The two exchanges i went on this week in other areas were good because those areas are more city like, so pretty much everyone understood when i taught in English.  However, there was one recent convert we taught in one of those areas and i tried to only speak tagalog, and i actually did really well.  i am getting a lot better but it is still pretty hard.  And honestly it is nothing like spanish.  I mean a few vocab words here and there are Spanish, but overall it is not much like spanish at all but oh well haha i am trying!

So Daisy came to church again and she is doing really well.  Inggo was unable to come to church because of work, but he still is planning on getting baptized on the 12th.  Sandra also came which was awesome! However, she has so many issues that are holding her back and are a huge hurdle....But we are really trying to help her.  We also had a new investigator come to church named Arqueen.  He has cancer and a very soft heart right now so we are hoping he continues to progress as well.  But even though we had a weird week, we are really working hard and going for our life.  We are doing everything we can in our power to help the branch, even though no one at all helps us which is the frustrating thing and we are trying to maintain faith.  My area is a tiny little village isolated from pretty much most places.  Cute little place, but the people here are very different haha.  There is only me and my comp

Kourtni got engaged?!?!?!?!? Oh my gosh that is insane!!! Tell her congrats!!  Sounds like things are really picking up at home now as it is getting back to school time and busy time!! As far as things from home i pretty much only need a couple of shirts...maybe some garments and another sweat towel.  

Scripture: well since gay-marriage is legalized i studied a little bit about god's laws versus world laws.  What is interesting is all of the christians that believe in the bible but never actually read it.  And if they are so firm about their bible beliefs, then why do they approve gay marriage so readily when it is condemned quite often in the bible such as Leviticus and Genesis and other places.  Not really a scripture but just a thought...

Well love you guys hope you have a great week!!
Love, Elder Ball

Elders Van Tassell & Ball with their new jerseys

 Larry Bucatcat, the body builder

Sunday, August 16, 2015

August 17, 2015 - DapDap, Angeles, Philippines

Hey everyone!!!
Well this week is probably going to be a little bit of shorter email  It was quite the interesting week....we had a really good zone conference on Tuesday, so we got off to a slow start with our work but then picked it up hard the next three days! We are working so hard in this area trying to do our part and leave the rest up to God.  It has been super hot this week too.  And humid.  A lot like India;) but still nothing like Rajahmundry;) 

So the weekend to be honest kind of sucked....we got bunked on so hard by like everybody and no one would listen to us, and our branch president showed up an hour late to our missionary coordination meeting on saturday. so that was really frustrating, and then to make things worse, we were expecting like 12 investigators at sacrament meeting but only three showed up.  Daisy, Alexa and a lady named Anne.  Inggo couldn't come because he was sick, but he and his family are doing so awesome.  He is down to only one cig a day and no coffee and is awesome.  Daisy is reading and loves the church, and that family considers us as part of their family and Inggo always calls us his children haha.

Carlota has pretty much dropped off.  We have lost her.  Shane Rey has no interest anymore.  But we found 13 more new investigators this week, so we are still putting people into our teaching pool.  Although it was super difficult this week, i still love every minute of non-stop sweating and i love being able to just say hi to everyone and smile at everyone like a dork but not feel like a dork at all.  It is awesome.  Kind of sad though when people here are so mad all the time and not happy and nice haha but whatever.  

So i guess i have a few assignments for you this week that are kind of cool
1. watch the mormon message called "Lift." It is awesome
2. Read Alma 49 and 50.  Pretty cool parallel with the way Moroni fortifies the cities against the enemy and we should fortify ourselves against the ultimate enemy called Sin and Satan.  Awesome.
3. Another reason the Book of Mormon is true and is from not and clearly not from man: read Alma 36.  However, before you do this, research what a chiasmus is. and then study that chapter of will blow your mind i guarantee.

Most awesome thing this week was seeing the great progression of the Dela Cruz family continue.  Not much sight-seeing on P-day.  We go to a nice mall sometimes.  About news yet.  Hope i get back before november though because Bangalore is going to be made a stake on the 14th-15th of November!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go India!!!!!!!!!  (Note: President Berrett posted on the missionary family fb page that actual dates and approval for creating a new stake are not yet confirmed.  India currently only has one stake in Hyderabad plus a few districts.)

And nope nothing fun on hump day just the typical work! If you could though, i could use a couple more short sleeve white shirts.  Tagalog is coming along well.  Interesting experiences on my mission for sure...not sure anyone has had experiences like this except for us indian missionaries.  Nothing like it!  Love you!!!
Elder Ball

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August 10, 2015 - DapDap, Angeles, Philippines

Hello everyone!!! Another has just flown by!!! really crazy how fast it flies by. 

So this week we worked really really extra hard and got 30 lessons in which for this struggling area is pretty dang sweet.  And we found 19 new investigators....3 times more than all of the other areas in our district combined...11 of those was a huge group of family and friends that invited us into their home.  And the funny story about them is the day before we door knocked them and they let us in, but they were drinking and smoking and playing cards and after we sat down they literally ignored us and were rude for like 10 minutes so we just left and said we would come back the next day.  So the next morning we had an appointment with an investigator named Rogelio and he bunked on us, and my companion was quite disappointed but i just had a feeling god had a different plan for us.  So as we go back to this house, he thinks we are going to get bunked again, but i still feel like we are supposed to be there.  So we get there and they let us in and all 11 of them intently listened and were super interested and wanted us to come back the next day which unfortunately was booked so we set another appointment with them on Saturday! It was awesome.  God has really surprised us a ton lately so we are quite confused haha.

Example: we originally thought Caila and Carlota would get baptized but now Carlota has absolutely no interest and the Dela Cruz family is progressing really well instead as well as sister Sandra who until last night hadn't smoked or drank once.  She really has been trying to follow the word of wisdom and is progressing well.  This week at church was Alexa, Caila, Inggo, a girl named Neseline Jacinto and also an American named Buddy.  There are many white people here it blows my mind.  Even in our area there are a few.  it is so weird. 

But we are really struggling right now with our branch president.  We are just really trying to get him to help us so it is frustrating.  And quite frankly we were embarrassed for our investigators on Sunday because of the talk he gave and his sunday school lesson were not really appropriate.  So it was really embarrassing.  So we are quite baffled as to how to progress with that.  We are basically carrying the branch on our back.  And the only person that comes on exchange is Jason who is the guy in the Jazz shirt in the pics i sent last week.  But nonetheless we are really working hard and doing our part so i guess that is all that matters.

So basketball analogy: So lately in the NBA a "Big Three" has been huge.  Like Miami, Boston, OKC, Cleveland you know those ones.  But i want to focus on the one that never fails to get the job done. That's right, Parker, Ginobli and Duncan.  So these guys never fail to make the playoffs and can easily lead you to a championship.  Although they are old and "boring" and fundamental, they really get the job done no matter what.  You can always count on them.  Well i found the big three in missionary work.  We always tell the investigators and members to do three things that will never fail.  And while they are old and sunday school answers and so simple and nothing really that special, they work every time. In tagalog, Magbasa (read the scriptures), Magdasal (pray) and Magsimba (go to church).  The Big Three.  How awesome is that?? I testify that doing those things will get us through 100 percent of the time.

Second, i came up with quote on my own.  I made it up: "Good Morning" ends with the morning, but "Good Morning" with smile, lasts a whole longer while.  Seriously when we say good morning or something to people it is nice and may help them through that brief period, but if we do it without a smile, it ends as soon as that period is over.  Smiles are so dang powerful it is crazy.  If we add a smile to those greetings we say, it will last longer.  Smiles are contagious.  So every day find reasons and times to smile and it will not only help us, but help those around us. 

Scripture: we can all use a reminder about the basic simple doctrines of the gospel of jesus christ so i would that ye read 2 Nephi 31 :)

Well a pretty decent week and now on to another!! Crazy! Sounds like you are having much fun at home!! Enjoy! Love you all!
Elder Ball

Monday, August 3, 2015

August 3, 2015 - Pictures, Bangalore/India & Angeles/Philippines

BBall w/ Linga area friends

Above, upon arriving in the Angeles, Philippines mission.
With President & Sister Clark and with his new companion, Elder Van Tassell
Below is the Manila Philippines Temple.

Nanay Lim
This member fed them duck, squid, chicken, and frog...assume this is the frog!

Sister Emily

Elder Van Tassell & Elder Ball

August 3, 2015 - DapDap, Angeles, Philippines

Well another week has come and gone!! Crazy.  This week was another interesting one for us.  We worked really really hard this week and talked to a lot people and really tried to help our investigators progress.  That was the difficult part.  Getting all these people we are teaching to progress.

The Dunca family is kind of weird situation right now.  Kyla is coming to church every week still which is good, but we still can't get her to pray.  Carlota is shy about praying and reading also, and we don't think they are reading ever.  Plus, Carlota still didn't come to church.  But we still have her dated for September 5, so she needs to come the next four weeks for that to happen.  Another investigator named Shane Rey is about 12 and he was dated for Aug 29, and since he is under 14 he has to come 8 times in a row.  Well he missed yesterday. So now we have to move him back to the first of October, so that was kind of frustrating.  

However, we did see some great progress from a family called the Dela Cruz family.  We have been teaching them for a few weeks now, and the main people we teach in the family are the dad named Ingo, and the 18 year old daughter named Daisy.  Daisy is really shy and they both seem a little robotic, but they always read the assignments we give them and this week they both came to church and also committed to being baptized on August 29.  The only obstacle we will have with them is getting Ingo to quit smoking.  So this week we plan on teaching the word of wisdom lesson and committing him to quit.  But other than that they are doing quite well.

We also got a sister named Sandra to come to church and that was great.  She never really took us seriously in lessons, but this week she came to church which was awesome.  We found some new investigators this week including friends of the Dunca family named the Rosal family.  They are not too interested yet, but hopefully the gospel softens their hearts and we can continue to teach them.

So the Philippines is quite the experience.  Last monday we ate a members home and ate squid and duck and frog and chicken, and all of it was really good actually so that was cool.  Also it has been pretty hot lately, and the last couple of evenings it has rained buckets on us.  But i guess we are entering the main part of rainy season now.  Also because people are so crazy about basketball here, everyone wears basketball jerseys, mostly custom made.  And we can get them custom made for like 6 bucks so i put in an order today of like 10 jerseys...oops haha. but it will cheaper to get all of them here than to get one in the US.

Tyler is shaved now huh?? bet that was an adventure...
And yes it is so true...(you can take the missionary out of India but...)you can't take India out of the missionary. My comp still laughs at me for how bad my english is haha.  and every food here is so dang bland...i always have to ask for spicy stuff, and i even ate a spoonful of this chilli stuff at a place and it didn't even phase me.  Yes, Elder Bunga and Thompson are now together in Rajahmundry 1st branch, so that is cool.  Basil is in Hyderabad.

You had b-dubs!!! Lucky!!! yum! (Buffalo Wild Wings) Yeah i might be able to eat blazin now.  But they do have a curry flavor there but it is Thai curry, but a great idea mom!:)  Tagalog is coming along...sort of...i said a few tagalog prayers this week for investigators hoping that if they see i can learn how to pray in tagalog, it will help them to have faith that they can pray in front of us.  I am learning line upon line you could say:)

So i sent some pics this week!
Scripture: check out 2 Nephi 28:21-end of chapter.  So true.  I especially see that more here now in the philippines with so many christians who most of them believe all you need to do is believe in jesus and you're good.  Satan is lulling them into a complacent state and eventually could carefully lead them down to extreme as it is, it is true.  Satan is good at what he does. an absolute pro.  Anyways, God is more powerful anyways so we have no need to worry.

Love you! Have a great week!
Love,  Elder Ball