Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dec 29, 2011 The Two Companions

(Coming Unto) The Lord of the Rings (& Everything Else)
Part 2 of 3
The Two Companions

Part 1 Elder Watson and Elder Holmes and the Case of the Cold

I am afraid I was battling the Cold Orcs from last Friday till Monday. It was a hard enough transition without getting sick. I kind of got frustrated. The transition is REALLY hard. I felt better Sunday night after hearing a talk from Stephan B. Allen. He identified 4 phases of missionary work:

1. Honeymoon Phase

Everything was wonderful in this phase, this lasted the first day and a half (two?) I was super excited and everything was going great.

2. The Hostility Phase

This is what happened when I got sick. I got sick, couldn't think and was frustrated at every little thing Elder Watson did. I was working hard but entirely focused on myself.

3. The Grin and Bear it Phase

This is what happened on Sunday. It was a rollercoaster of a day. But I decided to try and make sure that my bad day didn't influence anyone else. Writing home made me even more frustrated because the computer froze every 5 seconds (literally).

4. Endure to the End

This is what happened Sunday night when I heard this talk. Stephan B. Allen asked all the missionaries who had been depressed here at the MTC to stand up (85% did.) Then he asked every missionary who had considered going home to stand (80% did) ((Including me))

I am not writing this to complain, I am one of the luckiest people on this planet to have the chance to be serving the Lord. I am set apart to represent JESUS CHRIST. I can think of no better way to spend Christmas than that. I am writing this to let you know, change is hard. Adjusting is hardly ever easy, but the Lord will help you and after the Grin and Bear it Phase, you will feel better than ever.
I Love the fellowship in my district. I love the branch presidency. In my interview with the branch president (the elfin king) he asked me about my background and suggested that I test to see if I could go from the intermediate class to the advanced Spanish class.

This brought me to a hard decision. The fellowship of my district was threatened. I loved hobbit Watson, the dwarf Samuelian, and everyone else in my fellowship, but it was time to chance out on my own. I took the test and was informed that it was the end of my part in the fellowship.

Part 2 The Change

Yesterday they took me out of class and switched me to the advanced district. For the past two days I have been in a class where they speak only Spanish and focus entirely on teaching. It has been a refreshing change and I am enjoying battling the Teaching Orcs. My change also has some changes for you, 1.  new address, and 2. I will now be leaving on Jan 11 (?). Many of my new district are Hispanic and it has been a small culture shock.

Part 3 Hermano Gollum

Yesterday night I learned through sad experience the importance of obeying spiritual promptings immediately. I was journeying with my new companions (forest elves) to meet with the mysterious creature, Hermano Gollum (I can't remember his real name, but we were doing a practice teaching assignment with someone from outside of the MTC). My companions were weary of this creature because they had encountered him before, they told me he was hard core Catholic (Which in my opinion is wonderful to be invested into religion, I highly recommend it) and very mean (not suggested) and critical (not suggested either). After talking with him for a few minutes, I felt the spirit whisper to me that it was time to leave. It was a group teaching appointment in the MTC, and I was in a group, so I chose to ignore the prompting.

Hermano Gollum soon became very bitter. He used his twisted logic to attack our beliefs, and even went so far as to say that what we were doing was evil. The spirit could not stay with me in that room, but I continued to stay there because my elfin friends were there. After we left, I commenced the long process of trying to regain the spirit. Losing the spirit was like having thousands of darts shot into my chest (Shout out to all Boromir fans).

What I should have done was leave immediately. Every soul is precious in the sight of God, but that is why it is important to heed those promptings. He doesn't want to lose his soldiers on people who need time.

I Love you all,

Elder Ball

PS My new address in the MTC is:
Elder Taylor Ball
MTC Mailbox # 276
ARG-SAL 0110
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dec 25, 2011 A Christmas Hymn

Merry Christmas!!!
Christmas has been exciting here at the MTC, I have gotten a lot of packages, letters, watched A Christmas Carol, and even got to listen to Elder Bednar speak.

Letters and Packages
Thanks everyone for sending me stuff, it REALLY brightens my day when I got your letters and packages. It’s weird that this is my primary way of keeping connected to you. I particularly enjoyed the pictures of all of you!

Christmas Carol
Last night we watched A Christmas Carol; there were some funny moments that I think explain the MTC.
  • When Scrooge was rejected by Belle all of the missionaries cheered. Misery loves company
  • BUT everyone also cheered when Bob Cratchet kissed his wife.
  • The thing that I think BEST explains us is when the Cratchet family prays, the entire gym went silent and many of the missionaries (me included) bowed their heads out of habit.)
Elder Bednar
He gave a great talk about following Christ's example and turning outward and serving others. He said a lot of interesting things, but I will have to write about them later because the computers are REALLY slow right now because EVERYONE is on right now.

I love you all and hope you are having a wonderful Christmas!!!
Elder Ball

Dec 24, 2011 The Fellowship of the District

(Coming Unto) The Lord of the Rings (and Everything Else)
Part 1
The Fellowship of the District
It all began, as every good story should, with a sandwich. Not just any sandwich, but the sandwich to RULE THEM ALL. Also none as the Jimmy John's Italian Night Club. With a sandwich in one hand and my immunizations in another I was prepared to begin the most important journey of my life thus far. Leaving the Shire was hard, but Mommy and Daddy Hobbits had taught me that every good 19 year old male Hobbit (And 21 year old girl Hobbits if they wish) should go on an epic journey. I didn't know what to expect of the journey, but I was going. 

With my Jimmy John's Italian Night Club sandwich carefully hidden I braved the first few steps with an Elder who showed me to a line. I went through from group to group quickly and efficiently, wondering the entire time when I would have the chance to eat my Jimmy John's Italian Night Club sandwich. After getting my name tag, my loaner companion ushered me to my room where I thought I would be FINALLY able to eat my Jimmy John's Italian Night Club sandwich (;) "Not So," said my loaner companion, turned dark lord, "You must first make the fellowship of your district!" I reluctantly agreed because my Jimmy John's Italian Night Club sandwich (idk?) was getting soggier and less appetizing by the minute. 

The loaner companion, turned Dark Lord, showed me to my room where I met the first of the district: Elder Samulian, a dark haired, noble dwarf, and Elder Kenniard, a mysterious human of certain royal heritage. They waved hello and I looked at them, anxiously wondering which of them would be my companion. Neither were, but my teacher, the Wizard Walden, directed me to a computer where I battled a rule Orc. (The first of many.) I obediently vanquished the foe and returned to the room, where I met (almost) the rest of the fellowship: Elder (Tyler) Burke, a hobbit like me, from the Shire, he is very Merry and keeps us laughing; Elder Steele, a potato farming Elf from the mysterious land of Idaho, he is very tall; and Elder Watson, a hobbit from the neighboring Shire of Spanish Fork, he is a quiet hobbit, usually hunched over, shy, and very eager. Elder Watson was chosen to be my companion. 

The Wizard Walden guided us through some simple Spanish Orcs before going to a large meeting. We met with a council of elves and battled more rule orcs. My sandwich continued growing soggy, but eventually we vanquished the foe. 

We went to the lunchroom and had our first celebration feast. I proudly brought out the sandwich to RULE THEM ALL, cut it in half, and shared it with my companion. A neighboring Elder looked at the sandwich with jealousy, but I warded off his glares from MY PRECIOUS.