Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jan 31, 2012 The Funnies

Remember February 14th is International Dear John Your Missionary day

The Daily Funnies
One of my favorite things to do every morning was to grab the newspaper and open up to the comics. This time honored tradition, sacred to many, was an essential part of my every day. My favorite comic was Pearls Before Swine. So I thought today I would write about some of the funny experiences that I have been having recently. I am thinking about doing one of these every other month or so, but first I want to clear up some confusion:

A lot of people have been writing me confused about why I am in the Ogden mission, how long I will be here, and why Elvis is thought to be alive. I am here waiting for my Visa, I have no idea how long I will be here (I have been told that I will probably know I am leaving the day before I leave) but plenty of people have waited such varied times to make me reluctant to estimate my departure date. Suffice it to say, I am on my mission and am where the Lord wants me to be now. Oh, and I have no idea about Elvis.

Now to the Funnies . . .

BABY BLUES - We were visiting a member house, encouraging them to think more about missionary work and the daughter was holding a baby. The baby was really quiet. Its head was shiny and had a plastic look. At the end of the lesson I assumed that the girl was in one of those Adult Roles classes, and that the baby was fake. So I asked her if the baby was for a class. She looked at me kind of funny and in that instant I realized my mistake. The baby was her two month year old, very bald, baby brother. A very real baby not for any class.

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE - Another member visit a lady opened the door and smiled widely, "We met this Sunday!" she enthusiastically exclaimed, "Remember me?" Honestly I didn't. We meet so many people every day I am surprised I remember any names. Luckily I had help from above. More specifically, above her head. She had helpfully put one of those decorative name plates on her door with her family name. So I paused for a moment and then said, "Oh yeah, your sister ----!" She was very excited about me remembering her name.

BIZARRO - I am ALWAYS losing stuff. I remember one time spending 10 minutes searching for a paper. I searched through all of my pockets at least three times. No luck. The next day I found the paper in one of the pockets. Now whenever I lose something, my companion jokes, "Is it in one of your pockets?"

DENNIS THE MENACE - We called who we thought was the ward mission leader several times and were a bit frustrated honestly, because every time we asked him if there was something we could do for him, he said no. This last week he told us, "Oh, you guys know that I am not the ward mission leader any more right?" Why else did he think we were calling him every week?
And Finally,

PEARLS BEFORE SWINE - We do a lot of walking in this area. I think it is actually to our advantage not to have a car because we meet a lot of people this way. Last Saturday we were walking past this house when we saw a middle aged gentleman installing some wires on his house. We asked him if there was anything we could do for him and he said "No thanks," and that he was just "Finally getting around to installing internet to his house," because "You can't do anything without it these days." We started chatting and he told us in a frustrated voice how everything is run by computers these days, "You can turn everything on with computers these days, and so can they." They? I was very confused about who they was until he explained more. Somehow I had contacted into another one of my beloved friends - The Alien Believers. Don't forget to duck your head when you walk outside today, UFO's are everywhere!

Thanks for reading my letters! I decided to start including quotes at the end of my letters, I hope you enjoy them!

"I think we need to remind ourselves that during this earth time, during the time that we are living right now, we are just as much in the eternity as we will be after we die."  - Fred Blaser: Funeral of Ernest Blaser

Elder Ball

Elder Taylor Ball
4380 S. Orchard Ave.
South Ogden, UT 84403

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jan 24, 2012 Elder Pollyanna

Elder Pollyanna

One of the 'blessings' of having Danielle as my sister is that I have watched the movie Pollyanna approximately 4 billion times. Somehow Danielle convinced my parents that this movie was appropriate for Sundays. So it became a weekly tradition. I think I can quote the movie from memory. The moral of the movie is that it is always better to look at what one can be 'glad' about.

New kid in town.
Syracuse is VERY beautiful. It is near Salt Lake and we have a nice view of the mountains. The people are very nice and the Lord has really been taking care of me.

Meets family for first time.
Elder Polendo is my new companion. Well I guess 4th time is the charm. I think that I have had more companions than my sister who has been out since September. Beating my sister in something is something to be 'glad' about!

Elder Polendo is a hard worker, quiet, and easy going. We work pretty good together and most importantly he is clean!

Makes new friends
We are opening up an area here that has not had missionaries for a while. It is hard work but very rewarding at times. I knocked on one door where the resident promptly told me she was Catholic and in no uncertain terms that she was not interested in our message. Well . . . we started talking about books. And to make a long story short, we were there for 3 hours talking before I left. We didn't leave any gospel message that time, but she asked us to come back again.

When we mentioned in Ward Correlation Meeting that we had met this family, everyone was really surprised. The Lord prepares his missionaries without them even knowing it.
Well that is about where the similarities come to an end. I haven't been climbing any trees. The outpouring of gifts . . . maybe all the food we get? One night we didn't have a dinner appointment but somehow we ended up at someone’s house who had made much more than they needed for some reason that night - The Lord takes care of us.

I hope you are all happy and healthy. Please remember the Missionaries everywhere in your prayers. This is truly the Lord's work.

Elder Ball

P.S. Don't forget Feb 14th is International Dear John Your Missionary day. (Just want you to keep that in mind)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jan 17, 2012 Elder Cinderella

Well, it has been an exciting week here in Central Ogden. It also is my last. I received a transfer to Syracuse! Don't worry, I still have the same address to write to. (It is the mission address, they forward the letters to me.) For those of you who have a moment to write, I LOVE hearing from you! Here is my address:

Elder Taylor Ball
4380 S. Orchard Ave.
South Ogden, UT 84403

As always thanks for including me in your prayers and please continue to do so.

Elder Cinderella

My time here in Ogden has passed by quickly. (It was only a week.) But it felt a little like Cinderella. . .


When I first got to my apartment here in Ogden I freaked out. It was a TERRIBLE mess. There were lots of dirty dishes, a bathroom strait out of a horror novel, and a fridge overflowing with expired food. I was instantly overwhelmed and frustrated. I had a hard time functioning in that apartment, but I got some wonderful advice from my mom on cleaning the apartment. She said, "Start with what frustrates you the most and then just spend a little time cleaning every day." WONDERFUL ADVICE.

After cleaning the kitchen, and spending a little extra time cleaning every day, my apartment slowly started feeling more like home.
The First Step Sister

The first night I arrived, I had the opportunity to do my first lesson. I admit to being apprehensive and a little nervous. It was the first lesson with this family. We knocked on the door and walked inside. Inside was a wonderful lady and her sister, unfortunately so was her drunk brother (?) His Spanish was slurred and fast, and I couldn't understand a thing. Suddenly two years loomed over me, was this what I was going to be dealing with for the next two years? I didn't have the nerve to say anything. It was a long lesson. At the end I stuttering gave a testimony.
The Second Step Sister

That night made up for it though. We had a GOLDEN investigator. I was SO excited. This lady had already been to church. She knew a lot of members and had a good opinion of them. I felt much more comfortable and actually spoke more than my companion did. At the end of the lesson we asked her how she felt, and she said she felt like the things we said were true. SO GOLDEN. . . that is until we went back the next time. I was super excited for that next visit, but the apartment was dark and she wasn't home. We figured that she must have forgotten, so we went back later.  There was a light on, and we knocked, but no one answered. We later saw this investigator on the street, she hurried to avoid us. I don't know what happened, but this frustrated me more than the drunk Mexican.
The Step Mother

I finally had reached Sunday. I had survived strange visits and fool's gold. My apartment was now much cleaner and I had even started referring to it as home. The night before we had found two new investigators with beautiful families. We felt strongly that these families were golden. We listened for their concerns and tried to apply the lessons to be more relevant to them. We had invited them both to church and were very hopeful. No one showed up.

Honestly, this last downer didn't affect me as bad as the first two had. Somehow in the week I have been here, I have learned to let troubles roll off of my shoulder and just do the best to focus on things I can improve. Things like obedience, humility, language skills, and teaching skills. When I focus on things that I have control over, I am much happier.
The Fairy Godmother

Sometimes the Lord tries us before he sends us a miracle. Here are a few of mine.
·         I am still very hopeful for those two families that we met.
·         My Spanish is by all accounts very good. I have noticed that I can't speak it very well when I can't feel the spirit though. I definitely know that the Lord is helping me with Spanish.  I now can understand most of what investigators say.
·         That Sunday a nonmember showed up with a friend. He said that he wants to hear the lessons to figure out if he wants to be baptized or not.

Pumpkin Carriage

Sadly, my time here in Ogden is over. Tomorrow my Pumpkin Carriage will carry me away to a new area. I have heard good things about my new companion (My 4th in the first month!) and am excited about what we will be able to do in Syracuse. I have learned a lot and continue to learn. I will keep on working to help people find their happily ever after.

(c) Elder Taylor Ball 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jan 10, 2012 The Hitchhiker's Guide To (and From) the MTC

First things first,
Thanks for your prayers, I REALLY appreciate and need them.
You can now write me! Here is my new address!

Elder Taylor Ball
4380 S. Orchard Ave.
South Ogden UT 84403

I LOVE letters (hint hint! ;) )
and now…
The Hitchhiker's Guide To (and From) the MTC
First I have to say, you may be able to hitchhike to the MTC, but getting in is an entirely different story. Here are my tips from what I learned from my time going in and out of the MTC.

1.  Always remember the meaning of life is not 23

Sometimes I faced frustrating situations in the MTC, at times I even felt tempted to give up, but as long as I remembered the real meaning of life, I was able to overcome frustration.

Case in point - with my second companion we reached a point where we were frustrated with each other. This is not all that unusual in the MTC because this is the first time any of us have had to live with someone 24/7 and we didn't exactly get to choose who we would be with. He was frustrated with me because I had left the rest of our district to get a good seat for the devotional (Which in missionary standard time is 45 minutes early to any large meeting). So he voiced his opinion behind me as we were walking down towards the seats. Not seeing his face, I thought Elder Welburn was joking so I turned around and smiled - Big Mistake -. He then went silent for a while and waiting until after a few minutes of sitting to explain to me how he was not going to be bossed around by me. I stayed silent because I honestly didn't know how to respond.

I started getting frustrated with him for being frustrated with me. The situation was toxic for the Spirit. I remembered my reason for being at the MTC. To be effective in any way, shape or form, I need the Spirit. So after the devotional, we sat down together and talked it out. After that moment, we had the most highly functioning companionship in the district.

2. Enough is Enough

When you ask most Elders what their favorite thing at the MTC was, without fail, most of them will say the Cafeteria. Why you ask? Simply imagine in your head a buffet for every meal, and then it will not be hard for you to figure out why the food is people’s favorite part.

My goal when entering the MTC was to focus on eating only really healthy food. I forgot to focus on portion control so I felt tired after every meal because my body wanted me to sleep so it could have time to focus on the food. Remember moderation in all things!

3. Keep Moving Forward

Most missionaries deal with depression at least at some point while at the MTC. The work is hard, schedule rigorous, and we miss our families. I was able to mostly avoid this pitfall by focusing on where I was and what I needed to be doing. Not too far forward though, because looking at EVERYTHING sometimes makes most people want to curl up in a ball and cry. Already being a Ball (Get it? Elder Ball?), I knew this solution would not work for me, so I had to focus the best I could on where I was. Remember sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof. (First one to find the scripture reference to that verse wins!)

Elder Ball

Taylor went to Ogden while waiting for his visa.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Jan 5, 2012 Return to the World

(Coming Unto) The Lord of the Rings (& Everything Else)

Return to the World

This week was VERY exciting, lots of battles, confusion, and names that are hard to keep track of. So here are the highlights:

1 - I am not going directly going to Argentina as I thought I was. I will give 2 hints to you
1 . . . . . It is in UTAH!
2 . . . . . It starts with the letter O

. . . .. . .. OGDEN, UTAH!!!!

I am actually VERY excited about this

2 - Midnight Run with Elder Pesantes

Friday night as I was brushing my teeth, I heard my room door close. I turned around and saw that Elder Pesantes had locked us out of our room! My companion and Elder Pesantes's companion were both shirtless, so guess who got to run up to the front desk in PJ's and sandals? PICK ME!!!!

So if you happened to be driving past the MTC around 9:15 at that time, you may have seen two pajama clad messengers of God running to the front desk. I am not apologizing if eyes were scarred.

3 - Return of the Cold

I once again got a cold, so I took some Vitamin C, Mucinex (Thank you MOM!), and Zinc (Thank you Grandma Ball). While all of these worked very well, my illness made me very tired. So come gym time Monday, I felt extremely tired and not wanting to be a burden on my companion, I decided to go to gym and sleep on the floor. BIG MISTAKE!!!!! I now have a red itchy surprise on my arm; I think I will affectionately call it Sarah, after my red headed sister. (Don't worry I went to the Clinic and the doctor took care of Sarah).

4 - Temple Trip

This morning I got to go to the Provo Temple. It felt weird to take off my name tag to do the ceremony. There is such a wonderful feeling in the temple. It was a wonderful way to start off my day. With New Years recently passed it was nice to hear about some resolutions I had already made that I need to be keeping. I hope everyone will remember their 'resolutions' that they made in baptism, temple, marriage, etc. and strive to keep goals we have already made this new year.

5 - Missionaries and Aliens

After the temple, I got to do something I haven't done for two weeks . . . . go off of MTC campus!!!! My companion needed to go to the clinic for something so I got to go with him and wait for three hours in the waiting area. It was cool to stand out as a missionary. I enjoyed talking with most of the people I saw. I met a lot of veterans and grandmothers. The visitor I will never forget though was a Californian with sunglasses on, a beanie, and a hoodie. We had a very interesting conversation that went something like this:

Man: I am kind of bummed about the world ending this year. You know the Mayan calendar and all.

Me: (Thinking he is joking) Yeah, I guess I will be doing the right thing at the time then.

Man: It will probably be when the aliens come back.

Me: Excuse Me?

Man: Yeah, I was watching a Program on History Channel; it had a lot of cool facts about radioactive mines from thousands of years ago, pyramids and other stuff.

Me: That's interesting

Man: Aliens are real, man.  They come to this planet to mine our gold. Gold is the… (Spouts out random facts about how awesome gold is for a few minutes).  . . . so that is why Aliens placed us here, to get to the gold that was too hard for them to get to.

Me: I really don't believe in aliens.

Man: If you saw an alien and his space ship in front of you, would that change your opinion?

Me: Sure. (I REALLY wanted to ask him if riding a Unicorn would change his opinion at this point. Bringing up hypothetical examples are always such strong argument makers, but alas, missionaries must avoid contention.)

Hoping to change the flow of the conversation, I tap the old man sitting next to me on the arm and begin talking with him. To my horror he and his wife agree with the man. And ask me to find another explanation for Peruvian pyramids, and other world phenomenon.

Ay yayay!

The Gospel is True and I love you!

Thanks for your prayers! I Really Appreciate them! Don't worry about sending mail until I get my new address to you next week!

Thanks Katie for the Cupcakes!! (I don't have your address to get a hold of you!!!)

Please remember me in your prayers!

Elder Ball