Monday, June 25, 2012

2012-06-25 Sorry


Sorry.  No Letter this week.  I LOVE YOU.  I am going to work with my new companion ELDER GILLIS!!

Read the scriptures, pray, don´t do drugs, and give the next person you see a high five!

Monday, June 18, 2012

2012-06-18 First Quarter

RCN - For you spanish speakers, slang here consists of the form Vos. The conjugation of which is super easy. You take the verb and you take away the ´r´ and add an ´s.´

1st Quarter Mark
So this week I hit my 6th month mark. Which seems crazy to me, and probably anyone else who isn´t my mom. These months have FLOWN by! I wouldn´t know where to begin describing how I have changed and what I have learned. I have met so many people and been so many different places. But here is a fly by summary.

MTC - December 21st I entered the MTC. I was confident that I knew everything I needed to know to teach the gospel and get along with companions. I think I lost all of that in the 1st week. I learned a lot from my 1st companion, Elder Watson, who was quiet and easy to get along with. But, because I was eager to get into the field, I tested out of my class and got put on the fast track. I became companions with Elder Washburn, a small and stout guy who sometimes scared me. The next two weeks flew by and I found out that, due to visa problems, I was going to spend some time in . . .

OGDEN UT - I met my 1st trainer, Elder Laurente, with the enthusiasm that is common in all greenies. But the area was slow. Downtown Ogden was pretty scary to me. I honestly don´t remember a lot because I was only there a week before I went to . . .

SYRACUSE UT - Elder Polendo was a quiet trainer. I couldn´t have learned a lot more from him, but it took awhile for me to realize that his silence didn´t come from not knowing the answers. We worked hard, but the area was 90% member, and the other 10% knew all that they wanted to. I learned a lot about following the spirit, working with members, and not being worried to invite everyone to learn more. I was in Syracuse for 2 months exactly. I would have been happy to spend half of my mission in the stake there, we were treated very well, but I was super excited when my visa finally came through and I flew to . . .

SANTA ANA, Argentina - Here in my first area I have learned a lot of things. Not only Spanish, but how to work with the agency of others. I am learning how to persevere and continue in obedience, and how to have fun on the side. I was surprised at how similar Argentina is to the USA in a lot of ways. I guess it is like my grandpa told me, people are people wherever you go. The thing that has really changed is my relation to them. I had my 1st baptism last week and am excited to keep on working here in the area for a few more months.

I would say the biggest thing that I have learned these six months is what my role as a missionary is. I came out with the mindset that I want to make people happy. I think that is a great mindset to have, but I didn´t fully understand what that meant. In Syracuse I was scared to contact some people because they had been contacted so much that they didn´t want to talk to us. I figured they would be happier not hearing more. As I study more and more, I feel like my purpose is to call people to change their lives to bring themselves closer to Christ. This comes through Faith, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. The only way many people will change is if we invite them to do it. Not everyone will accept this message, but those that do will find greater happiness than they have ever felt.

I have never felt so tired, so hard worked, so inadequate, so entirely used up before in my life. But neither have I ever felt so happy. God bless you.
--
*Elder Taylor Ball*

“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33)

Pictures


1 - Me outside of the offices


2- My district


3 - A dog wearing people clothes. TONS of dogs wear clothes here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

2012-06-11 The Drought is Over!


Random Culture Note: Maybe I just notice it more, but it seems like the people here use a lot more titles (like sister, aunt, brother, cousin, etc) than we do in the states.

The Drought is Over!
By which I mean I had my first baptism. It wasn´t easy though. Remember the kid I talked about last week who was excited at first when we used the illustrated Book of Mormon, but then ran away crying? We baptized him.

The boy LOVES soccer, and so when we try and teach him while he is watching a game, playing, or thinking about soccer, he doesn´t want to listen. He had already been really close to baptism earlier, but had run away crying because he wanted to play soccer instead. This week my companion told me that we were going to visit him one more time, have faith, and invite him to be baptized this weekend. And it was Thursday that we were planning to meet him!

I have to admit I doubted at first. But the Lord always makes a way (1 Nephi 3:7) so when we went over Thursday, we also found his inactive mother there too. We got both of them to sit down and we gave them the third discussion on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (The big part of this lesson being Baptism!) I think I was praying every moment of that lesson that he would agree to be baptized. And at the end he did.

Even then I doubted a little bit, I was super excited, but he had promised to be baptized earlier and had fallen through. But this time he went through the interview and everything great. So we scheduled the baptism for Saturday and figured that everything would just work out. Wrong.

Turns out, that Saturday was Stake Priesthood meeting, so the Bishopric wouldn´t be able to make it. So we called a bunch of inactives and managed to get one over so we could do the baptism. But that wasn´t the only problem that we faced. Saturday, when we got to the church the fount was half way filled with cold water. The water heater didn´t work and someone had cut the water to the church. Someone REALLY didn´t want this baptism to happen. But we took some water from the fount and boiled it and dumped it into the fount. (Which really didn´t make any difference, but made us feel like we were doing something) ((One of my cousin Melody´s converts here helped us heat up some towels and have some other things ready for the baptism))

So then we go by to pick up the boy. He was there!!! But his mom wasn´t. I was starting to get worried, but five minutes later she showed up and we all went over. But then right before we were about to start the baptism, he disappeared!! We found him outside of the church playing soccer. We promised him he could play after the baptism and he came in and the baptismal service went wonderfully. The spirit was very strong.

I always imagined that my first baptismal service would be an overwhelmingly, wonderful spiritual experience, but it turned out to be a really exhausting experience. All and all it was very rewarding, but there is opposition in all things. Now we get to press on and invite our other investigators to make the same, crucial step. Pray for me.
--
*Elder Taylor Ball*

Baptism 

A railroad path that we walk on about four times every week.  

Our ward on the way to stake conference. (Can you find the red head?)


Thought
There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save. Are we doing what we should? - Thomas S. Monson

Monday, June 4, 2012

2012-06-04 The Random Thought Train


RCN - Everything closes here from 1 to 4 for nap time. Jealous?

June 4th 2012 - A Random Train of Thought

I usually have a really clear idea about what I want to write for this week. This week . . . not so much. I guess we should both prepare for my random train of thought for the week.

This week we visited a kid who didn´t really want to talk with us. He was hiding behind a fridge in his yard. I noticed him so I walked over and asked him how he was doing. He said he didn´t have time to talk to us. My companion told him that I had something to show him. I looked at my companion blankly until I remembered the illustrated Book of Mormon in my backpack. I pulled that out and showed it to him and he began to take interest. I started to put it away and told him that we would have to talk about it later because he didn´t have time at the moment. He somehow made time for us.

We got really excited for him because at our next visit he was waiting for us, but the next visit he was crying and told us he didn´t want to talk with us. Sadly, this story is a good representation of most of the people we are teaching right now. We do our best to find someone to listen, they listen and get excited, and then something happens that keeps them from progressing. Sad, sad, sad.

But, Hey! I got chased by a duck a week ago! That was pretty unique. (I can just imagine how impressed you all are by that).

This week I did splits with an Elder who has a week here in the mission. It was nice to have a change and we worked well together. He is from Virginia, has a terrible accent, and a great attitude. He´ll do great here. It was funny to talk with him though; we talked a little about BYU, home, and dating. I think the d-word scared me into appreciating my mission more. I am glad to not have to worry about that for now.

Anyways we heard this week that we are getting 2 more Elders in the area so we have to look for a bigger apartment.

So this is the end of my train of thought. I think I will plan something out next time.

Pictures:

 - The Refrigerator yard.


- Me and a Bird that I passed by this morning


--
*Elder Taylor Ball*

Never give up, never surrender! - Galaxy Quest