Monday, August 1, 2016

August 1, 2016 - Last PDay Email!!

Well, see you guys this week! Will tell you about the week on Wednesday:)
Elder Ball

Shortest email ever, but he did upload some pictures...

End of mission celebration cake for Elder Banthi (Ball in Telugu)
Celebrating with Elder Thompson and the District Leaders

Friend from Bangalore, Aditya

Actually chilly this week in Bagaluru; trying to keep warm with sweaters.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae
Some sights and sounds of India....

 And Elder Ball left it all on the court during his service in India!  :)

Monday, July 25, 2016

July 25, 2016 - Bengaluru, Whitefield

Hello fam!!! 
This week was kind of disappointing, but i guess i can't confidently say that because we actually taught a great amount of lessons and saw some decent progress with a couple people. 

On Thursday we taught Sailakshmi with the Bishop, and she told us her parents aren't supporting her so she can't get baptized yet....So this is a huge issue in India.  She is 24 and living away from her family.  She is an adult and can make her own decisions...but it's so traditional here and this is how it normally is that even the adults need permission.  But anyway, she actually told us yesterday when we taught her that we can plan for next week baptism!!  We have been really praying for her parents' hearts to soften and it is working.  So if you could please do the same that would be awesome.  But it would be way cool if i could finish off my last week on my mission with a baptism!! But she is still awesome.  

Raj Kumar got the priesthood this week and he is super pumped.  Apsalom is doing well and we taught him this week.  We also taught a new guy named Aju Thomas.  Muthulakshmi is good but she won't get baptized until that's kind of unfortunate, but i guess it doesn't really matter when she does as long as she does.  And she will.

Other than that we saw some great success in getting the less actives we have been working with to church this week!! We worked pretty hard this week with the less actives since most of our investigator lessons bunked on us.  So for my last week we are still planning on hitting it hard:) But i have quite a few members inviting me to eat at their home so we are going to juggle that:)  I am going to try to get back to Lingarajapuram but not sure if i will have time:( 

Anyway i will have one more p-day, so next week i will shoot you just a quick email so this is pretty much our last email!!!.....what???? Where did the time go??? But i am ready to be home now.  Ready to move on.  I learned so much on my mission and really changed a lot.  Thanks for setting up that appointment with the stake president.:) Looks like dinner and then meeting the president on that night right???;) 

Some sad news this week huh??? That's a bummer.  Will really miss Michelle.....
Glad you liked that song dad...;) sorry i didn't play it very well.  It's been a while since i have played that song!! But this guy we were staying with in Goa was playing it. so i hopped on and gave it a try:) 

It truly has been a wonderful mission and been a great ride!!!! Thanks so much for your love, support and prayers....Love you guys so much!!
Elder Ball

Batch mates finishing together!
Zone Conference in RJY 2015 (above) BLR below

Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18, 2016 - Bengaluru, Whitefield

Hey everyone!!
Elder Thompson and I had a pretty good week this week in our area.  We taught our normal people.  Sailakshmi is doing really good.  She is awesome.  She always reads from the book of mormon and comes to church and is learning so well.  She takes notes on what she reads and so when we teach her she connects what we are teaching to some verses she has read.  Pretty great right??   

Muthulakshmi is doing okay.  She is coming to church and reading but it has been tough to meet with her since she doesn't speak english, so we are trying to take elders that know the language and they have been busy lately.  But she is still going strong.  Hopefully we get these two baptized before i head out of here!!

We found three new investigators this week.  All YSA brothers.  Naveen, Jerry, and Apsalom.  They are all christian brothers who have walked into our church before on sundays, and Naveen and Apsalom are really good.  They are solid August baptism prospects.  We also went door knocking again one evening this week, and we found a potential family who asked us a lot of really good genuine questions.  We're not sure how interested they really are, but we will see soon i guess.

So this week we traveled with president to Hyderabad, so that was good.  I haven't been there in like a year, so it was good to get back there before i left.  We are going to Rajahmundry again.  Goa is struggling.  That area is super difficult.  They should be having a baptism though on the 31st so that is good.  Probably won't keep missionaries there.  

It's super weird that a bunch of my batch is home now.  We left on the same day, and they are home two weeks before hard not to be trunky with that happening!!! haha.  But we are pushing along here and getting some work done.  So looking forward to another week.  We are starting to get fed by members now as they are realizing i am leaving soon haha.  Raj Kumar is doing awesome though by the way.  We used him in a lesson this week and it was super.  He really has a bright future.  
Anyways again not much to say this week.  Hope you have a good week! 

Elder Ball
From Matt Fisher who said they took Elders Ball/Thompson
to dinner at the BBQ place with Raj Kumar. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

July 11, 2016 - Bengaluru, Whitefield

Hello! Another week come and gone....Time is flying and counting down....I'm honestly getting a little bit excited about what will happen in three weeks. So don't worry mom...i am ready to come home;)  (I was a little worried that he likes India so much that my decide just to stay there...:)

But anyways this week we traveled with the new mission president to Chennai and Vizak so that was cool to see those places and missionaries one last time.  Travel is pretty exhausting though!!! And this week we might be going to Hyderabad to check it out one last time as well.  

Other than that a pretty normal week this week.  Teaching our normal investigators, and we made plans to meet some more members this week to try and get some more referrals and people to teach. People have been telling us that they have a few friends that they are thinking about, so looks like the ward is trusting us a lot better now.  So that is a step in the right direction.  

Sailakshmi and Muthulakshmi are doing really well. Both have baptism dates for this month.  The other investigator we are teaching is named Vanitha.  She is doing okay.  She will probably take some time, but we really see some great potential in her as we visited her this week.  She is just in a prime position to accept the gospel as she is having family difficulties and confusion and trials, so we know the gospel can/will help her if she accepts.  The first thing she needs to start doing is read the Book of Mormon.  Sailakshmi is golden.  She always reads our assignments and is understanding so well.  

Other than that, not sure what else to say except that now all the other NBA teams will be playing for 2nd it looks like! haha.  Should be interesting to see.  Thanks so much for your support and love throughout this time so far.  I hope you will enjoy the new me.  As far as things i want to do...definitely i want to eat at Flying Pie and.....Buffalo Wild Wings!!! But i want to see some friends and family and stuff you know, the usual.

Love you guys lots!!!
Elder Ball

Traveling in style from the airport in Chennai with Pres. and Sis. Mortensen
View from the Elders' apartment in Visak.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

July 4, 2016 - Mission President Change Pictures

Very sad to send President & Sister Berrett to the airport as they complete their time in India.
Welcome to India President & Sister Mortensen!
Introducing the Mortensens to the Coimbatore Zone.
Going to church with the Coimbatore Zone Leaders.  (No ties/tags outside in Coimbatore
due to issues in the past of people not wanting us there; here they are trying to keep a low profile!)
Leaving Coimbatore and headed back to Bengaluru.

Monday, July 4, 2016

July 4, 2016 - Bengaluru, Whitefield

Well another week gone.  4 to go........not that i am counting or trunky or anything....hahaha.  No honestly a little trunky but not letting it get in the way of our work! haha!   So this week was a pretty good one.  We were super busy with transition this week and also traveled this weekend to Coimbatore, so we weren't working as much as normal but we still did pretty good this week!!

We taught a decent amount of lessons but the best thing was Babitha and Helen got confirmed.  And also we are still teaching Sailakshmi.  She is GOLD.  We set her with a baptism date this week for July 24 and she accepted.  We were going to set Muthulakshmi as well with the 24th but didn't get the chance, so that will have to wait until this week..

So anyway it was super sad to see President Berrett leave.  And it is super different with the new president.  I miss President Berrett so much!! That guy is a huge part of my life now....But i guess life comes with change.  Hopefully i can adjust to the style of the new one.  He has really great excitement for the work and is really loving toward the missionaries which is great.  Yeah we didn't really get exit interviews because we were pretty much with him a lot before he left so that was basically it.  But other than that not much to tell about this week.

I guess mom to answer your question (re: a good friend struggling with cancer)....The atonement in relation to physical challenges is quite interesting in my opinion.  Most of us will think that the atonement will just "heal" us.  And in cases such as emotional and spiritual and anything really, the atonement doesn't always just "heal."  The atonement i have found can heal us for sure, no doubt, but many times it is simply there to give us added strength to "bear up our burdens with ease." If you read in Alma 7:11-14 or so, it really describes it well.  It basically says that he suffered so that he knows how to "succor" us.  Succor doesn't always mean heal or fix the problem.  It is like great assistance.  I found that a lot.  Many times we want out of our problems but the Atonement often helps to build ourselves stronger.  Often the power of it is called "enabling" power right? That's just it.  It enables US.  It gives us the strength and courage to overcome or endure.  Not sure if that helps or not.  

But anyway we will continue to help the new president get around and adjust to the culture and stuff like that so should be interesting!

Love you guys!!!
Elder Ball

Lunch at Absolute Barbecue (all you can eat buffet) with the zone leaders and Raj Kumar 
Prize from Bro/Sis Grundy for having the cleanest apartment in the zone at inspections...India's best soda, Thums Up.

Monday, June 27, 2016

June 27, 2016 - Bengaluru, Whitefield

Hello fam!!! 
Elder Thompson and I had a pretty darn good week.  It was pretty stressful and really busy but turned out great.  

The new missionaries came in so we met all of them, and all of the Americans are like super shocked haha.  Yep it really reminds me how in awe and shock i was and how it took a little bit to adjust. But they all seem to be really good Elders so should be exciting.  But i won't really get to know them that well in 5 weeks.  

Anyway this week we worked with our current investigators, and on Saturday we had Raj Kumar's baptism!!! He was super happy and excited and really has grown a lot.  He was also confirmed yesterday so he is all set.  Great guy.  We also baptized Babitha and Helen on Sunday.  I baptized Babitha, and the Stake President baptized Helen because he is her relative.  It was a good time and so happy.  Helen was happy, and when Preethi introduced Babitha to the members at the service, she and Babitha both were in tears.  They were very happy.  Especially Preethi because she got to see her mother get baptized.  Families can be forever!!!!!

So other than that, we had a small fear this week that we wouldn't have anyone to teach after these baptisms, but we got a referral from a member this week.  They are a family of three...Mom, Dad, and 1 year old boy.  Awesome family so they will be really good potential.  And then yesterday another baptism basically dropped out of the sky!!! There is a member couple who has a relative staying with them who recently came here, and she is Hindu background but is really interested in learning and boy is she golden.  Awesome understanding, and she has come to church a couple of times already.  So looks like July could see a couple baptisms as well.  We are planning on Muthulakshmi, and this new sister Sailakshmi for sure and maybe even that new couple as well.  Last night we taught another investigator we have and had a good lesson with her, so she will be potential as well.  She will take some time, but we think she could get there as well for August or thereabouts. 

Thank you so much for your prayers for our investigators.  The work has really been great lately, and the members are really starting to love us i think, I hope haha.  Well this week we will welcome the new President.  So sad to see President Berrett leaving on Thursday, so will have to try and spend a little time with him these last couple days.  

Well onto another week.  Time winding down.  Last minutes of the 4th.  
Elder Ball

Assume this is at a Whitefield Ward open house for the Berrett's before they leave Bengaluru.
Elder Ball, Raj Kumar, Elder Thompson
With Raj Kumar and the Grundy's

Elder Ball, Babitha, Helen, President Nithya, Elder Thompson
Elder Thompson said they were on speaker phone with President Berrett discussing transfers.

Monday, June 20, 2016

June 20, 2016 - Bengaluru, Whitefield

Hey fam!
This week was a pretty good one.  It started off a little bit slow, but then got really busy and we had some really good successes.  

This week Sindhu and Swathi got confirmed, and our investigators came to church again so this upcoming weekend we will be having three baptisms!!!! The ward is pretty excited about that haha, but not sure who is more excited, them or us.  All of them are doing pretty well.  Again our less actives we have been working with came to church, so that was cool too.  We also began teaching a sister this week who is really good will probably if not definitely get baptized in July.  

But we are still trying to find people, because once all of our investigators are baptized we won't have much to do.....So as of now it is a good problem to have because almost 100% of our teaching pool is getting baptized, but after their baptisms then it will be a not good problem haha.  But we will see what we can do.

So President and Sister Berrett's days are winding down...only 9 more for them.  It will be really sad to see them leave.  I really love them so much.  They are the best.  But it will be exciting i guess to meet the new president and get to know him.  So yes this week is transfer week, and of course me and my boy Elder Thompson are staying together for my last 6 weeks.  Crazy that this is my last transfer and i am using my last daily planner on the mish.  

Mom as for your question about the members, there are a few that are endowed but not a ton.  I think there are more in Bangalore than anywhere else but not sure.  They go to Hong Kong.  That is the nearest temple.  And yep my last day is a regular transfer day.  This transfer we are getting 4 elders from the pines and 7 new ones, so we will be busy with that stuff this week.  And almost all of our batchmates will be going together.  One of them goes home tomorrow so one transfer early, but pretty much the rest will all be together.   

Anyways sorry about not much to say again.....running out of things to say!! haha
But last thing is HAPPY FATHER's DAY to my mate and pa!!
Love you!
Elder Ball

Monday, June 13, 2016

June 13, 2016 - Bengaluru, Whitefield

Hello everyone!!!!
This week was actually a pretty good week for Elder Thompson and I.  We are still moving along and have quite a bit of good things going on in our area.  A lot of the people we are working with came to church!! This week was a really good success.

First off, a less active brother named Moses that we have been working with FINALLY came to church.  He was really happy and he brought his whole family so it was great.  He is a way cool guy and has become a really good friend of ours.  Another less active sister named Dheena came again and another sister named Sowbagya.  It was really great to see some of these "lost sheep" beginning to come back and partake of the sacrament and the blessings of the gospel once again.  

Raj Kumar is progressing soooo well.  He is really close to getting baptized and is really getting into the YSA things now like Saturday night cricket, and next week they are going to Mysore for an activity.  He is really excited, and in his prayers says he is planning to get baptized.  Helen is also doing well.  Babitha came again is doing nicely and we set her with a date for the 25th of she, Helen and Raj Kumar are planned all for next week on Saturday!!! So we could tack on 3 more baptisms this month!! Pray for these people so that they all can make to that date!!:)

The best thing was about Sindhu and Swathi.  On Tuesday it wasn't looking so good for them.  The father was still being flaky, and so we were losing hope that this week they would get baptized.  We continued to plan with faith that some miracle would happen and we prayed so hard for them this week.  When Friday came, still didn't look good, then Saturday came still not good.  But Saturday evening we saw them and they said their father is giving permission!! So we took a member and got all the paper work done and we baptized them!!!!!!!!!!! It was so good and an amazing service.  All the young women got up and recited the young women theme for them and welcomed them.  It was a super amazing baptism.  I will send pics:) Their father is in a pink colored shirt.  Babitha, is in the Saree and Sindhu is the thinner of the two.  Really great miracle this week.

So that is about it for our week.  It turned out really well and it looks like in about 12 days we could be having 3 more baptisms!!! So this week hopefully we can find a new family or two to refill our teaching pool!:)

Sounds like you all are doing well also! Love you guys a ton!!
Elder Ball

Swathi and Sindhu's baptism!
Elder Ball. Swathi, S/S dad, Sindhu, Elder Thompson
Elder Ball, Sister Babitha, Sister Preethi, Swathi, S/S dad, Sindhu, Elder Thompson
The exquisite cuisine at Shreedevi (Meals)

Monday, June 6, 2016

June 6, 2016 - Bengaluru, Whitefield & Visit to Rajah w/ Pictures

This week was a pretty decent bounce back week for Elder Thompson and I.  We were super busy as we had exchanges with Hyderabad Zone Leaders, and we had MLC (last one with Pres/Sis Berrett), and we also were in Rajahmundry from Thursday until Saturday afternoon, and on Sunday we had some busy work with the missions training plan.  However, amidst all of this busy work, we still managed to teach a solid amount of lessons and had some pretty good success.

So Sindhu and Swathi were supposed to get baptized this week.  We had their interviews this week and they both passed wonderfully, but last minute their father had to go out of town for a couple days so he wasn't going to be able to attend.  So we pushed it to next week but we are pretty sure about their baptism this upcoming Sunday so we are excited for that. Raj Kumar is moving in the right direction.  We were able to find him some fellowship on Sunday and are getting him involved in the YSA activities and i think he is doing well now.  He mentioned to us that has taken two steps forward so that sounds pretty positive doesn't it? But we have him scheduled to be baptized this month which is great.

We also taught Helen this week and had a great lesson with her and she really progressed well this week! She came to church again and we set her with a June 19 baptism date, so things are looking good for this month in terms of baptisms.  Looks like we can get 4 this month which is awesome.  Babitha came to church this week...miracle.  That was good so we will see if we can get her set for a date in early July.  So in the near future things are looking wonderful.  But we have to start finding some new people so that when these people get baptized we won't be wondering what to do all day haha.

Our trip to Rajahmundry was really fun.  We saw a ton of people and our old friends and really enjoyed it.  We got fed so much, and the members were super surprised and stoked to see us.  We really enjoyed our time there, and one of the sisters there was serving a mission in the philippines while i was serving in her branch and she was back, and so we spoke Tagalog for like 30 minutes straight!! It was awesome.  I love speaking Tagalog.  But funny thing is, she served with the daughter of my Branch President from DapDap.  Meaning, DapDap's branch president's daughter and this sister from Rajahmundry served together in their missions! Small world huh? But anyways i will send some pics to you!:)  I got to see one of my converts sister Neeraja and took a pic with her.  She is doing well and was happy to see me:) I think i can still get by okay with some Telugu haha but i was a tad rusty:)

Anyways a pretty good week for us and hopefully another to come for us and for you! 
Elder Bunthi

PS, Elder Thompson's letter described their visit to Rajah like this....
"We borrowed a few cycles from the elders serving there and went straight to Katheru Village that basically used to be our home. As soon as we got there, little children started waving, chasing us down, and yelling "Hi Ball! Hi Thompson!" It was so crazy to see how everybody still remembers us so well even though we've been gone for so long! It's like we never even left. The two tall white guys will never be forgotten in Rajahmundry. The members and investigators were equally excited to see us. We rolled up to their homes on our cycles totally unexpected and randomly. People's facial expressions were so sweet as they saw us ride up to their home. Some people were smiling, some were laughing or jumping for joy, some were confused as to what in the world we were doing there, and some even started crying a little bit."

Pictures of Elder Ball/Thompson visit to Rajahmundry...

Sathish, a member in Bangalore
With Neeraja, a convert of Elder Ball while serving in Rajah a year ago.

Polupalli family
Ramidi family (Priyanka and Ravi Kishore)
Deepak (BML) and his wife
Alamanda Ganesh family and Vamsi (boy)

Podi children
Podi family

Hitching a ride to their good buddy, "Auto" Ramesh!  (who also bought them breakfast on the way)

Whitefield Ward 1st Counselor Edwin