Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Feb 28, 2012 Sherlock 2


I am staying here in Syracuse for another transfer! (Well until my Visa comes in approx 2 weeks) I have felt much better since last P-Day's Sickness. The only aftereffects are me being really tired. But the Works goes on.

A lot of people ask me what serving a mission in Utah is like. Well I suppose it is different than most missions because we know already where all of the nonmembers are. But there is a lot of Detective work to it. Thus . . .
Sherlock 2
A Study in a Utah Mission*
Elder Polendo and I cover a stake with eight wards. (The name of our stake and stake president is in this article in the Ensign - link) We first meet with all of the ward leaders. In one of the wards we got an assignment from the Relief Society President to visit a recently reactivated member named Christine. So we went over, her house was decorated with Easter Island heads on the outside - very cool. We knocked and rang but she wasn't home. We tried again at a later hour but again she was not home. So we decided to ask her neighbor (The ward's last Relief Society President ha ha) if she could arrange a visit for us. She didn't return her phone calls so we decided not to continue bugging her.

We try and always ask every person we meet with for referrals. It says to do that in Preach My Gospel, but isn't usually too effective in Utah where we think everyone is a member. (WRONG by the way).  We did that with a recently returned missionary couple and they again mentioned Christine. Ok, we thought, maybe we should try and meet with her again. We again talked with the former Relief Society President and she was successful in setting up a visit. Christine's neighbor told us that Christine had questions about the Priesthood. So we set up the appointment time and waited until then.

We went over with the neighbor couple to visit her. We had a very strong spiritual experience. She had come a long way as far as changing her life after several years of inactivity. We committed her to listen to the missionary lessons because they really are the foundation of what we believe in this gospel. We also had the opportunity to give her a blessing after explaining the priesthood. We usually give about a blessing every week because of various circumstances and events.

Being a missionary here can also be very hard. We are almost never the first impression someone has had of the church.  People are either active members and love us or are non members who have been approached by their neighbors several times about the church. We have been finding a lot of people to teach though leader references, but also a lot of dead ends. Sometimes I get frustrated and feel like there is no one for us to visit, but by the end of the day I usually am overwhelmed by the amount of things that I can do. This work really is guided by the Lord and we are starting to find a LOT of people to teach, and not just Less Active members.

3 Nephi 27: 29 Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

*A cool note about Sherlock is in the first Sherlock story, A Study in Scarlett, mentions Utah and Mormons . . . not very kindly though.

--
Elder Taylor Ball


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ogden


Feb 21 2012 God has a Sense of Humor


God Has a Sense of Humor.
So I am staying here in Syracuse for at least the time being. Thursday I passed by most of you on the way to the MTC to talk with the consulate. They should have my paperwork processed in 3 weeks.

I loved going over to my Grandpa Ball's and watching movies with him. We would almost always watch Laurel and Hardy, Black and White films. They were funny and we always had a good time. My Grandpa Moon and my Father also have really good senses of humor, so I got to wonder, is it blasphemy to think that God has a sense of humor? I haven't read much about it, but I have had some experiences that make me think otherwise.

Mission Call - When I was waiting for my mission call I was super excited. I was SURE that I was getting off of the American continent. I basically wanted to go anywhere but Spanish speaking because I already knew the language somewhat. So of course I opened a call and read that I was going to the Argentina, Salta Mission. I have to admit I put on a fake smile initially, but the more I studied about Argentina, the more excited I got about going there. I am pretty excited now.

Utah - In the MTC I got to go off campus for a few hours and wait in the waiting room for my companion at the Doctor's. I had a really good experience (besides the weird Alien guy) and started thinking about how cool it would be to serve in Utah. Imagine my surprise when I found out that was exactly where I was going. I think I am probably the only kid in the history of the MTC to go chanting down the halls about how cool Ogden Utah is. People started recognizing me as the 'Ogden Utah guy,' a feat that I am impressed with.

Visa - Last week I got a phone call that I was going back to the MTC on Thursday to meet the consulate. My weeks here in Utah had flown by. I have heard of Visa waiters who have had much worse attitudes. I think their time here would have felt eons longer. I started saying goodbye's because I assumed I would be leaving Monday. I even went so far as to tell a Bishop I would stay here another transfer if I could. . . my mistake. I get there and found out I was staying here a few more weeks. About three weeks from now is what I have heard.

So, life is fun, be careful what you say, and I am still here in (Not- so - sunny) Syracuse. I am excited though because we have started seeing the fruits of our labors (hint hint), but there is a chance I could be transferred before I see any of them actually happen.

I have been sick all morning with I think food poisoning. So, as always, I would appreciate prayers.

--
Elder Taylor Ball

2 Nephi 2:25 "Men are that they might have joy"

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feb 14. 2012 Elder Libre - Fighting the Good Fight


First a quick, small note . . . I GOT MY VISA!!!! So hold off on sending any letters to Ogden after today (Feb 14th). THANKS! LOVE YA! HAPPY IDJYMD (See Last Week's Email). 

And Now . . .

Elder Libre

Fighting the Good Fight

"I Wanna WIIIIINNNNNNNN!"

Nacho Libre quotes are one of the more popular conversations here in the Spanish part of the Ogden Mission. Things like "I Baptize you . . . Felicidades," and "I look hideous."

My companion just happened to have a Mexican Luchadores mask. So I decided to take a picture with it. I have been wanting to write about the Schedule of a Missionary for a while, so here is a day in the life of a Champion Fighter*.

6:30 - Wake up to the alarm on our cell phone. My companion showers first while I read True to the Faith. This is the time that I am supposed to be working out, but the neighbors downstairs don't like it when I jump rope.**

7:00 - Shower, every champion fighter needs to be looking his best, or else he can't 'flirt to convert.'

7:30 - I make myself some Blue Berry Pancakes from a mix. They are quick and taste pretty good. It's a hard life.

8:00 - Personal Study, I listened to some of the Book of Mormon is Spanish (Finished Yesterday) and watched a Church DVD on Temples.***

9:00 - Companion Study - Plan for 2 Lessons

10:15 - District Meeting. I find out Elder Monson went to the same high schools as a friend of mine from BYU. Small World. 

12:00 -Taco Bell. 2nd time ever being there, reminded why.****

1:00 - We visited referrals. No success. This is usually the slowest part of my day.

3:00 - One referral leads us to Charlene. She is a less active member who was at the house of a non member family. She invites us in and after chatting for a while she breaks down into tears. She asks us how we can be so strong in our testimonies. She makes the commitment to go to church on Sunday (She did) and we gave her some Champion advice.*****

4:00 - We go and visit another less active family from Argentina. Funniest family ever. The father isn't a member yet

5:15 - We arrive 15 minutes late to dinner at one of our Ward Mission Leaders Houses. He makes us Burgers. Which actually was a very refreshing change. 

6:10 - We arrive ten minutes late to a scheduled visit with a Less Active family. They haven't been going regularly since their daughter died years ago. I was able to relate to them the first visit and we have been making some pretty significant strides with them thus far.

7:20 - We arrive 20 minutes late* to a teaching appointment with the Ward Mission Leader. I LOVED teaching this family. Two young kids who REALLY want to be baptized. They ask about a billion questions. I need to learn how to teach little kids.**

8:30 - Go to the stake center to correlate with ward leaders.

9:00 - Back in the Apartment we plan for the next day.

9:30 - I wrote this in my journal while eating cookies a family had given us the day before.

10:30 - Crawl exhausted into bed. I have won the fight. 

ELDER BALL 1 WORLD 0

--

Elder Taylor Ball
Weekly Quote:
2 Tim 4: 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:


*Of course I am a Champion Fighter. 

**hehe I used to hear this thumping noise underneath me as I worked out. I thought it was just because the apartment was old. I was wrong.

***Got to be familiar with the resources at my disposal . . . right?? ;)

****Ok, not really all that bad, but I am eating REAL Mexican food every other night . . . Taco Bell? Well . . . My district wanted to go there. We usually go out to eat once a week after district meeting.

***** Having a Killer Awesome Testimony is all about doing the little things. Reading, Praying, and going to Church. It doesn't happen overnight.

* Funny how being late to one thing has a domino effect . . . 

** You would think with 8 kids in my family it would be SUPER easy. Wrong.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Hint...



Feb 7, 2012 International DEAR JOHN Your Missionary Day!


International Dear John Your Missionary Day!
At times of crisis we must all help those in need. There are people drowning in the typhoon of financial difficulties who need our help. And when I say people, I mean the Post Office because 'corporations are people.' To help alleviate this very real problem I am suggesting we all make Feb 14 aka Valentine’s Day aka Single Awareness Day also International Dear John Your Missionary Day. IDJYM Day for short.

Maybe you have noticed it in my last letters. Maybe you are wondering 'Why would a missionary EVER want a Dear John?' Well here is the truth - one Dear John can hurt. Seeing a fellow missionary get a Dear John causes all of us fellow missionaries to feel sorry for the unlucky recipient and smile inside because it could never happen to us. TWO Dear Johns brings a few jokes about the recipient being a player and spreads out the hurt feelings, but more than two Dear Johns brings about the WTH (What the heck) effect on fellow missionaries. It can become a source of bragging. Missionaries will start to ask 'How many DJ's did you get this week. (DJ of course means Dear John, us missionaries love our ab's aka abbreviations. Common ABs are DL - District leader, AP - Assistant to the President, and DLNIHA - Don't look now it's him again.)

Now your next question may be ‘How can I write the best Dear John possible?’ Good question. Every Dear John should have four things:

1 - It should start with a crossed out Dear John, John being replaced with the missionary’s name.

2 - A statement about you having to move on.

3 - A statement about why you are moving on. AKA for person/job/toaster.

4 - A laughable statement about how the missionary will be able to focus better on his/her mission.

Now that you know how, you will be thinking, of course Elder/Sister _____ doesn't want a Dear John from Me. If you just thought this, you would be wrong. (Except if you really are in a relationship with that missionary in which case you are exempted from IDJYM Day) Missionaries have a ridiculous love for any letter they get on their mission. We are funny that way.

Of course all of this is aimed at helping the people. Our friends the Post Office.

Elder Ball

PS The 'Corporations are People' was mainly intended for my aunt Marjorie. I hope to hear a clever remark about that in my next letter. If you don't understand the statement, google it.

PPS Way to go Aunt Sandy for being the first person to send me one.

PPPS We are going for the world record of Dear Johns people! Let's make this happen!





Attached are two pictures. One of them is a hint about what my letter will be about next week.