Monday, May 30, 2016

May 30, 2016 - Bengaluru, Whitefield

Well to be quite honest there isn't much to say this week....only thing to say is this week was a pretty big disappointment and struggle.  It was very hard because Babitha, Sindu and Swathi, and Raj Kumar were all out of town this week! Like the whole week!!! so we didn't get to teach them!! and they are the meat of our investigator pool!! So it was a tough week.  We taught more recent converts and less actives this week, but other than that it was pretty difficult.  We did teach one of our investigators named Helen and she finally came to church, so that was a pleasant outcome of our struggle this week.

We worked really hard this week and had nice plans every day, but they just kept falling through so it was a tad disappointing.  But we are looking to bounce back this week.  Sindu and Swathi are scheduled to be baptized this week but we haven't taught them everything yet, so hopefully we can get that done before their interview.  Will be a tight squeeze, but hopefully we can do it.  They are doing really well, but they were just out of town this entire week.  On Thursday, Elder Thompson and I are going to Rajahmundry to check things out, so we are going to go see some people from our old stomping grounds.  We are pretty excited.

Things are winding down for President Berrett...only one month left for him, so we will be super busy when he leaves helping the new mission president out and travelling with him to meet the mission.  It will be nice because i will only have 1 month with him, but since we will be with him a lot i will be able to get to know him pretty well.  Should be an interesting change.  I sure am going to miss President Berrett though. 

Anyways Elder Thompson and i are still enjoying everything, and we are learning together how to cook some Indian food, and we are having lots of fun and working hard.  Just hopefully we and the Thunder bounce back from a bad week and have a good one this week!:)
Love you guys!!!
Elder Ball

Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016 - Bengaluru, Whitefield

Well another great week for Elder Thompson and I!! Man we kill it together! I don't know what it is, but we just seem to be able to work really hard and well together all the while enjoying it like crazy!! We really have a great time together!!!

This week we taught more lessons than i have ever taught here in whitefield.  We really had an awesome week and achieved most of our goals.  Prathapan and Shanthi got confirmed this week, and they are doing awesome.  So happy and it really brings me so much happiness seeing how well they are doing.  Also, a big step, Prathapan who just a few weeks ago was struggling with alcohol, is worthy for the priesthood and got ordained to a priest yesterday!!! So amazing to see that.  He and his family are so excited that he has the priesthood, and that in the near future he will be their Melchizedek priesthood holder in the home.

Sindu and Swathi are doing amazing and are still scheduled for baptism on the 5th of June.  Babitha was also scheduled for that date but again she didn't come to church.  Very frustrating.  Not sure what the problem is.  But at Ward Council we came up with a pretty good plan to involve her in the Young Women's because she is a teacher and also Preethi, her daughter is probably going to get called as a Young Women's advisor, so it will very comfortable environment for Babitha.  Hopefully that helps her get excited.

Raj Kumar is awesome.  He committed to June 12 baptism and came to church again and is doing really well.  We just have to keep working with him and help him get involved in the ward.  We found a couple new investigators this week.  One is Thanush's 10 year old cousin who we taught and his mother is also a potential.  Also we were looking through our area book and called every single former investigator, so we called like 100 people.  We only got like three interests but one of them we went and taught yesterday and it was good.  Very nice family, so hopefully there is some potential there.  

This week we have really been noticing God's help in our work.  This area was really struggling just a couple weeks ago, but now is really picking up and we are really improving things here.  The Bishop and the ward are really pleased with us right now, so we are going to try and keep that up.  But none of our successes are possible without the Master and the Lord themselves.  Especially since Shanthi keeps thanking us for helping her husband change, but really it was the Savior and his Atonement which has changed him.  And not only him, but has been changing me as well.  The Atonement and repentance are amazing.  And it isn't just to make bad men good, but also to make good men better.

Crazy about the ward split!!!! That is so weird.  Especially about the Harbaughs and some other people!! Not sure if i want to come home to that!;) haha. 
GO OKC.  Thanks for the trunky note dad;)  (note about OKC)
Love you guys!!!!
Elder Ball
Recent Leadership Training by President Berrett and Elder Funk
Elder Ball, investigator Raj Kumar, Elder Thompson

Elders Thompson & Ball with investigator, Shabbeer

Their housing complex called Brigade Metropolis.
An excerpt from Elder Thompson's letter this week...

"Walking around the streets of Bangalore with another tall white guy that looks exactly the same as me regularly causes people to lift their eyebrows and turn their heads as we walk by. When we talk to people on the streets, our conversation usually goes something like this:
Us: Hey guys, how are you?
Them: Fine! Where are you from?
Us: We're from America. 
Them: Ahh, okay okay. Twins Ah?
Us: No we're not twins. We're looking the same right?
Them: Yes! You are own brothers?
Us: Nope. Also not brothers.
Them: Cousin brothers?
Us: Yeah, let's go with that. We're cousin brothers. (which in India really doesn't imply that you are blood related but related because of friendship or something)"

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16, 2016 - Bengaluru, Whitefield

Well Elder Thompson is with me again, and wow.......we really were able to pick up right where we left off a year ago.  We are still super tight and really enjoy together and work really hard.  We had a SUPER successful week!!! Elder Thompson is just so easy to work with and we are doing awesome.  I think we can really turn the work around here. 

We taught a lot more than is usually taught in this area! And also we set Sindu and Swathi with baptism dates as well as Babitha.  We met with her this week and she had come to church a couple weeks in a row so she told us she started coming back because she wants to be baptized!!! So cool.  We are excited.  We also got a referral from a cool member named Moses.  This girl's name is Revathy.  She is 15 is so sweet and really is excited to learn!!

We also taught another new guy named Raj Kumar who we really think is going to get baptized.  Also, a couple of weeks ago, we were teaching a guy in a restaurant and another guy comes up to us and basically told us he overheard us talking about God so he wanted to know what we believe.  So we find out his named is Shabbir, so he is a Muslim guy but he wanted to meet with us and learn about what we believe so we met him at the church a couple days ago and had an awesome lesson with him.  So that was a cool unique experience. 

Yesterday was Stake Conference and it was awesome.  At the beginning of my mission i attended a District Conference here in Bengaluru but this time it was sooooo different being a Stake.  It was awesome!!! Such a different feeling being a stake.  

But things are going pretty well now so we are super excited.  We are hoping we can keep it running and keeping up the increasing member trust.  We are trying to work more closely with the Bishop and it seems to be paying off.  Things are looking up:)

Elder Ball

PS: Dad, yep it is Sharyn Thomas.  Oh and GO OKC!!! I knew my boys would pull through against those old farts!!! haha!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May 8, 2016 - Skype!

Elder Ball & Elder Basil

We had our last skype session with Elder Ball on Mother's Day.  He looks and sounds great!  They had two baptisms on Sunday, Shanthi and Prathapan, which makes a complete member family.  The work in their current area is quite challenging.  In the past the APs traveled quite a bit and had other responsibilities and didn't have much time to spend working the area, so it is taking some time to build the relationship and get members involved in missionary work.  Now there are office Elders who do office work as well as a set of couple missionaries.  Ball/Basil said they are working hard and are up late most nights taking calls/reports from the zone leaders, handling issues, etc.  

This week is transfers, and Elder Basil w/ a new companion will go to Goa to open up the area for missionary work!  Elder Ball and Basil were thrilled about that!  They were so impressed with the branch members while there preparing for the recent open house, and said there are people ready to get baptized soon there.  Elder Ball will stay in Bangalore to transition the new Mission President the first of July.  He's getting a new companion, Elder Thompson, which is exciting because they were companions for a short time in Rajah last year and got along well.  The mission isn't getting any new or returning-from-'pines Elders this transfer, but next transfer they are scheduled to get 10 new Elders from the USA.  Due to visa issues, the mission has ~80 missionaries right now with about 80/20 mix of Indian/ compared to when Elder Ball got there the mix was about 50/50. Not sure how many are still visa waiting in the 'pines.

The city of Bangalore is now officially changed to Bangaluru, so the mission name has also changed. Ball/Basil traveled to Visak last week to check on the missionaries there; they travel to another area about every month.  He's now been to all six of the cities/villages of his mission and has enjoyed seeing the other areas, especially since he has spent so much time assigned to work in Bangalore.

President/Sister Berrett just got back from Sri Lanka, and one set of Elders there just had 10 baptisms! The work could grow much faster if more Elders were available in Sri Lanka, but visas are very difficult so the missionaries have to be natives from Sri Lanka.

Monday, May 2, 2016

May 2, 2016 - Bengaluru, Whitefield & MLC

What month is it???? Not quite sure anymore! 3 months left.....not real, and not sure i want to go home;) 

But...this week wasn't too bad.  We were pretty busy but still managed to get some decent work done.  Elder Funk came and taught us some awesome things about teaching repentance, and he is a great teacher.  Great experience with him and President Berrett (who is also awesome). Best Mission President in the whole world.  

This week with Shanthi and Prathapan, Prathapan had a set back, but we and his family all fasted for him on Sunday to have the strength to overcome, and so we are hoping that our faith and fasting will work so that he can be baptized on Sunday.  But Shanthi is amazing.  So ready.  And Preethi, our recent convert, is incredible.  Amazing girl with a strong testimony.  We found a few new investigators this week which is good, so we have a few more people to teach! We are still going hard and finding some success, so as Dory says, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." 

About the area, Elder Basil will be leaving for a new area next week.  Not sure where yet, but i will be the transition assistant with the new mission president.  Should be interesting.  Many times i find myself completely inadequate, but i guess that is what this is for is to show weakness, make it a strength and grow in humility.  Nothing like a mission to bring someone down to earth right?? 

So life is continuing on.  Very hot in India.  As far as skype next week, i will probably skype you next Monday morning for me so it will be Sunday evening for you.  I got the package mom!! Thanks!!:) You are definitely the best.  I downed the Reeses in like 3 days btw, oops haha:) But we are enjoying the waterbottles and also the towels.  They are good for our morning workouts as well:)

Well i guess next week i will just speak to you on skype!! 
Have a great week!
Elder Ball

And an email we received from Sister Funk this week...

Dear family of Elder Basil and Elder Ball,

Elder Funk and I had the opportunity to be with Elder Basil and Elder Ball today during the Mission Leadership Council held in the mission home.

During his testimony Elder Ball said that "it isn't an accident that we are where we are and who we are meeting. We need to rely on God."

Elder Basil testified that "God is our loving Heavenly Father. If we follow the gospel we will find peace and happiness."

They are doing a great work and we enjoyed being with them. It has been delightful for us to be in India for a mission tour.

Sincerely, Sister Funk