Sunday, October 25, 2015

October 26, 2015 - DapDap, Angeles, Philippines

Hey everyone!
Another week has flown by! Crazy that i am now down to single digits left....what the heck??? So fast. Sometimes i think it is too fast. 

This week was pretty good.  We had a couple of really great work days but most of the days we got bunked pretty hard, but still managed to teach about 30 lessons so that was good.

I baptized sister Baby this week! That was great! She was so happy, and we asked her daughter Daisy to speak at her baptism and they both cried during her talk.  It was so great.  Baby is going to be a great member.  And Sandra is still doing amazing.  I confirmed her yesterday which was tough for me because i only did it in English, but during my blessing to her i felt like i should bless her with understanding just for this time and think she did.  I struggled to keep it together confirming her because i have become super close with her.  Which is kind of crazy because i never would have guessed that i would have got so close to her haha, she is awesome.  I really love Sandra.  So with a baptism and two confirmations this week it was pretty good.  And also Brian came to church and is doing really great as well as Romel.  He came as well.  He was sick the night before church so said he probably wouldn't be able to come, but we prayed real hard for him and he came and liked it and his interview for baptism is this week!! We are really going to have a big november with probably 4 baptisms!! Romel, Brian, Jadalyn and Jenni.  Super excited for that.  

Many of the members told me something this week that was kind of touching.  They told me they don't want to me to leave DapDap because ever since i came, something changed.  There started to be more baptisms, and now members are more excited about what is happening in the branch.  There was one elder who served here for a record 8 months, and these members are saying they want me to stay the whole rest of my mission haha.  Pretty crazy.  It is weird how they are liking me though because i don't even fluently speak their language.  But i still am trying.  And we are seeing lots of success, so we are super excited about that.

I'll send pics next week of Baby's baptism and also of our new meeting house!! Brand new meeting house and it is nice.  Much better than what we have now.  

So I am doing pretty well here, and sounds like you are doing great there!!! That is great.  Nice to read those letters from the ward.  And sounds like grandpa has quite the keeper of a horse.  

So yep still trying to stay focused here despite the india-trunkiness haha.  Gosh i miss that place.  But as long as i stay here in the Philippines, i want to stay in DapDap because we are getting it done here!! 

Anyways love you guys so much.  Thanks for the continued awesome support and love and have a great week again!
Elder Ball

Saturday, October 24, 2015

October 20, 2015 - DapDap, Philippines Pictures

Elder Ball and Jayson, who always helps the missionaries, like a BML.

Cool Elders Ball & Van Tassell

Manipon family

Sandra's baptism
Elder Neri, Sandra, Elder Ball

Monday, October 19, 2015

October 20, 2018 - DapDap, Stayin' Alive

Hello everyone!
Yes i am still alive!:) haha. Yep there was a pretty big typhoon that hit our mission, so all of sunday and all of monday we were stuck in our apartment, and let me tell was BORING haha. Pretty bummed we didn't get to go to church and take the sacrament or work on Sunday because we had a really great day planned.  But we are safe, and our new apartment's location was pretty safe because it is on pretty high ground so that was good.  Our new apartment is better except for one thing....we don't get running water until like 9 pm haha.  So every night we have to manually fill up drums with water so that we have enough for the next day so that is a little bit annoying, but i guess when you are in Dap Dap everything can't go your way.  Heaven forbid everything goes right in Dap Dap;) haha.  Dap Dap is a weird place but i still am enjoying it. 

This Saturday we did have Sandra's baptism!!!!!!!!!!! This baptism easily competed with John and Simmy's because she was quite the project haha.  She was very very happy at her baptism and is doing great.  It was sad to move apartments a little bit because before she was our next door neighbor, so we saw her all the time and were able to help her and stuff and i became really good friends with her.  Even though i don't speak Tagalog, everything just seems to be clear and easy to communicate with her and i was able to become really close friends with her.  It was so awesome baptizing her.  And her friend and daughter came too and they are excited to get baptized in November.  I baptized Sandra in Tagalog (I memorized it).  That was cool, but i had to baptize her twice because the first time her hair came up, so i had to redo it but it was okay.  She is kind of a bigger lady so am glad i am not completely weak haha:)  It was an awesome experience.  Only thing is she wasn't confirmed on Sunday because there was no church on Sunday but it will just have to be this week.  Yeah I loved Sandra's baptism!

As far as Baby, she is supposed to get baptized this week but she wasn't able to attend her fourth sunday because of no church, so we still aren't sure if we will have to move it back another week.  but hopefully it can happen this week, then we can confirm both Sandra and Baby.

We got a referral from some new members who recently moved here into our branch, and it is their 20 year son that loves basketball.  so we taught him lesson 1, committed him to baptism in november so we are seeing some great things happening here.  We played ball with him on Saturday before sandra's baptism and that was pretty fun.  Except the basketball here is crazy.  It is jungle ball haha.  No one plays defense and cherry-picks hard haha, it is kind of frustrating but my comp loves it so i will play it once in a while for him haha.

My comp is good.  We get along well and talk ball and work hard so that is good.  He is getting a little bit better about talking in lessons so that is good.  But anyways, interesting week but pretty good overall.  
My ponderized scripture of the week was Alma 41:3.

It is pretty interesting though because during the day i am able to stay focused and not think about going back to india, but then at night as soon as the day is over, i miss it like crazy.  It is funny because quite honestly i miss india more than i have ever missed home.  I absolutely love that place with all my heart and really want to get back there as soon as possible.  I seriously can't wait to take you guys to India. 
As far as the typhoon, there was super strong wind and rain for two straight days and we even had a tiny tiny little earthquake here in Dap Dap last night.  It wasn't anywhere else, was but we felt it.  I was sitting on my bed and it began to shake and rock, and Elder Neri mentioned it too so i wasn't crazy haha.  Tiny earthquake and giant typhoon.  Pretty awesome right??? Man am i having a crazy cool/weird mission or what? haha.  Typhoon should be over though.  Wasn't TOO worried i guess.  It was pretty strong but when you are serving the Lord, not too much to worry about as far as safety because he will keep you safe as much as he needs.  The only thing i was worried about was not having water haha.  But every night right before going to bed, we got water haha.  Not too terrible damage.  Rubbish everywhere, trees down, some roofs torn off etc.  We might be helping clean up some of these the next few days.

So there is your update from me.  Hope you are all doing well also! Probably nothing too crazy there.  I feel like i will find America boring haha.  Heck i find the Philippines boring sometimes because of India.  India is just so different.  I absolutely love it to death.  Well Love you all!
Love, Elder Ball

Sunday, October 18, 2015

October 18, 2015 - Typhoon hits Angeles Philippines Mission

Typhoon Koppu (Lando) hit the island of Luzon this weekend, including the Angeles mission.  The typhoon is a Category 4 and moving slowly, so several days of heavy rain and high winds; widespread power outages,  roads/bridges washed away, mud slides, flooding, etc.  We don't expect to hear from Elder Ball tonight, but missionary parents have received emails from President Clark with status updates the last few days, including tonight saying all missionaries are safe and accounted for.

Parents Letter - Update on Typhoon Koppu (Lando)

We are pleased to inform you of the safety and well-being of the missionaries of the Angeles Mission this Monday morning, October 19, 2015. All missionaries are accounted for. All have endured well a soggy Sunday and are ready to begin our new work week. Your prayers on behalf of your missionary and our mission have been answered.

Our missionaries spent Sunday in their homes in safety and relative dry conditions.  Today the typhoon is still with us so we continue to have restrictions on missionary travel outside the immediate area around their homes.  Though we are on the back side of the storm, we continue to have strong (gale force) winds and intermittent rain. We have a great deal of high standing water, rivers are running very high and many streams are out of their banks.  It is not a time to put down our guard.   Much of the mission is without power, trees are down, homes have been damaged and other risks still exist.  We remain vigilant so limitations on missionary conduct will be in place.

We monitor the well-being of our missionaries and their homes every few hours by text/phone call. We have been generously blessed by continued phone service. We are secure in knowing that all missionaries have food and clean water. Some homes had water ingress yesterday so emergency relocation was necessary. This morning water has receded from most homes and things are going in the direction of “normal”.

Today is Preparation Day but it won’t be a regular letter writing day. Missionaries will be mostly in their homes working on post-typhoon clean-up. They will also be allowed to help people near them who have problems. Because of massive power outage, we will move our emailing to Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. You will get a letter, but a few days late. Thanks for your understanding.

We are grateful for your fervent prayers.  The Lord loves and watches over His missionaries (and their families).  It will be several days before we are free of the typhoon and its affects.  Please continue to pray for us.
President and Sister Clark

Sunday, October 11, 2015

October 12, 2015 - DapDap, Angeles, Philippines

This week went by kind of slow because we literally traveled out of our area every day this week.  On Tuesday we had to go pick up an elder in our district because his comp was waiting for a month here for his australian visa, and he got it so he left before the transfer so tuesday and wednesday we were in a tri.  Then thursday was transfer day, and i got a new companion.  His name is Elder Neri.  He is Filipino and has been out only like 6 months or so.  He is a pretty nice/cool guy.  A little bit quiet in the lessons but hopefully he opens up a little bit, because i really need him haha.  He loves basketball though which is pretty awesome.  So it has been quite the interesting week.  Work was pretty slow this week because of the lack of time.  Also had zone interviews and paperwork to do for my Philippines visa on Friday.  

However, Sandra had her interview on Sunday and passed so that was awesome!! We were a little bit worried because of her lack of memory haha, but she did great and is going to get baptized on Saturday and asked me to baptize her.  So just for her i am going to memorize the baptism prayer in Tagalog so she can understand it.  I have been doing a lot better at Tagalog lately.  In fact, i have had some pretty long conversations and also taught most of a basic lesson in Tagalog, so i am still working on it.  But i do really need Elder Neri's help, so hopefully he opens up a little bit during the lessons.  Next week is Baby's interview so hopefully she will be ready for that.  We had to move her back a week because she wasn't able to come to conference this week.  But we should be having baptisms back to back weeks, so that is pretty cool especially for this area which has struggled for quite a while.  
So yeah I did at least want to stay until she (Sandra) is baptized so I hope my visa waits until next week but after that I will welcome it with open arms :)  And yeah it has still been a little bit of a struggle still not having my visa, but i really am trying to be positive and work through it.  At times the want to be back really sets in, and it is a little bit sad but most of the time i try and find out why God has me here.  

Conference was great.  Except we didn't get to watch the Saturday afternoon session, so i was really bummed about that.  The power went out where we were watching, and we didn't have the time to wait four hours for it to start back up again so we weren't able to watch it.  But i loved President Monson's talk.  The one where he REALLY struggled.  It was kind of sad to see but also a little bit impressive.  He is something else.  Awesome prophet and that was a great talk.  Also Eyring's about the Spirit and Haynie's about Repentance, and Durrant's about Ponderizing and always great talks full way through.  Different themes this time.  Seemed like personal faith and also being righteous even in a world of increasing wickedness so setting apart ourselves from the world.  

Moms Qs: We didn't move yet.  This week we are moving because our current one is terrible. haha.  the new apartment is much better and brand new so we will be the first ever to live in it.  Yep same lady does the clothes.  Still bucket showers but the new place will have a shower head, but there is no such thing as hot showers here.  Best thing this week was Sandra passing her interview.  Spiritual was definitely conference.  New comp speaks okay english but am used to it because of india.  Yes I got the bday letter from gma and gpa Erickson and also from gma Ball.  tell them hi and thanks :) 

So yeah still some struggles but trying to stay strong and happy and positive.  Really will need the Lord's assistance though leading this area, because it is pretty hard as it is, not being fluent in Tagalog, and on top of that the mental stress of not know where i could be in a week or in 6 months.  I sure have had quite the unique experience on my mission...

Well i love you and thanks for all of your non-stop support!
Elder Ball

Monday, October 5, 2015

October 5, 2015 - DapDap, Angeles, Philippines

Hey everyone!!!! A pretty interesting week this week as we had a lot going on.  Things are pretty crazy in DapDap.  Probably some of the weirdest things you can't really explain or understand unless you are actually here.  But other than that a pretty average week again.

We have been really focusing on Sandra and as far as desire and change she is super ready to be baptized on the 17th, but as far as knowledge goes she has a tough time remembering we are praying so hard for her and really hoping that she will be ready for her interview this upcoming week.  But the other day we were teaching her friend Jadalyn along side with her, and she committed to being baptized on the 21st of November.  another challenge to work with as far as her learning, but she seems very willing to change to follow Christ more in her life than she has before.

Felisa (Baby) Dela Cruz came to church which was good, so we just have to get her to come to general conference next week and she should get baptized on the 17th as well.  So pretty excited for her.  The Manipon's finally came to church! That was awesome.  They are still doing about the same though.  They love what we teach and believe, but just quite haven't worked up enough courage and faith to get married yet.  They are pretty scared of their parents as they don't want to offend them or make them angry. 

Other than that we didn't find many new investigators this week.  But we did find a new apartment which we will be moving into on October 15, so glad that pain in the neck is over.  And this upcoming week is transfer week.  It works differently here than in India.  Here, on Wednesday we will go to a zone meeting and get our transfer announcements as a zone.  Then the very next day, on Thursday, is the transfer so you are out of there quick.  So we don't know what is happening.  Elder Van Tassell has been here for four transfers, so he thinks he will leave.  I don't know how i can lead the area here though to be honest.  Like i know it super well and all the people and houses, but my tagalog is improving but still i can't lead out anything in terms of teaching, and so it will be really difficult if he does leave and i stay. 
Which is another thing...still no word on the visa...we asked President Clark this week, and he hasn't heard anything and said they have been "surprisingly quiet". the guy that works to get our visas is in Utah getting some medical procedure done, so we aren't sure what exactly that means.  So if i am going to be completely honest right now, it was a pretty tough week mentally for me.  I am quite discouraged about this visa thing.  I have learned a ton and have had a pretty great experience here, but i am super India home-sick.  Especially because normally indian missionaries who are in the 'pines at this time of year only spend max of 2 transfers here, but those who are here at the beginnings and endings of the year stay for a lot longer, and so i am super worried that if i don't get my visa soon, i might spend many more months, possibly up to like 7 more months is super discouraging...i mean i am fine in all and still doing the same missionary work and working hard and stuff, but i guess i am having like a missionary-mid-life-crisis kinda thing haha.  I really miss India.  I mean i was called to the India Bangalore mission...not this I don't know what else to say about it....

I think General Conference this upcoming week though will be a good energizer for me.  And mom in answer to your questions: We have eaten some good egg rolls lately and also some like rice-cake things.  But nothing like Indian food.  We mostly cook inside here.  Elder Van Tassell plans on going to SUU, but he doesn't know what he wants to do.  Lately i guess the tender mercies i have seen was probably last night.  yesterday was really hard mentally thinking about this upcoming week as transfer week and still not having my visa.  But last night there was a branch activity with some food and afterword, me and Elder Van Tassell went to Sandra's and just talked with her, and the kids played some games with us and danced for us, and it was just a really relaxing happy, fun end to the week. 

Other than that though not too much else...Glad you guys are doing great at home.:)
Love you!
Elder Ball