Monday, November 2, 2015

Preach My Gospel!!

This is us with some of our favorite members.

I decided I wanted to go out on fire. So yesterday and this morning Sister Kranc and I went to visit people in our area that I knew and I told them (essentially) "I just dedicated the last 18 months of my life to this and it means the world to me. Will you allow the sisters come back and teach you? I know it will bless your life." We picked up 3 new investigators in the last 24 hours. Hurrah for Israel! I know this is the Lord's work! I know the Savior lives! I know the Book of Mormon is a true record with real people in it! I love the gospel and I want to live it and declare it forever! :D

Okay, outburst of excitement over. Except, not really. ;) Watch out Utah, here I come!

Seek This Jesus

Did I ever mention how much I love Nephi? He is my favorite Book of Mormon prophet. I love reading his record because I can see how human he was. He didn't start out with instant faith, he had to pray for it and it grew little by little as he journeyed along. He trusted in the Spirit to show him how to get the brass plates and then he grew more confident and trusted in the Spirit to help him build a boat and then grew more and eventually became king over a civilization and led them righteously. It can't have been easy.

The last words he wrote have spoken to my soul this past week. He said: "...I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry. And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal." (2 Nephi 33:3-4)

I love it because of how he speaks of his love for his people. He cried at night with concern for them. He worked tirelessly to persuade them to believe in Christ and follow Him because Nephi knew that that was the only way to find eternal life and happiness. He knew what he'd done during his ministry wasn't perfect, but he trusted that God would consecrate his efforts and make it good enough.

I guess you could say I feel similarly.

You can't help but get reflective and sentimental the last week of your mission, I guess. I tried. This was brutal. I never expected it to be so hard to end. (Mostly, it was so hard because I sincerely hate goodbyes. It got to the point this week where people would start to say "I'll probably never see you again!" and I would be like "Nope! Gotta go, bye!" And then I would run in the opposite direction. You probably think I'm joking but that actually did happen. Twice. Ha ha.)

No, but my point is that I look back and I can say I wasn't perfect. I wasn't everything everyone thought I should be all the time. But, I did my best to bring people to Christ. I loved everyone as much as I could. Most importantly, I never gave up. I always kept trying. So I know, even though I wasn't perfect.... I know the Lord will consecrate my efforts for the gain of the people I've taught. He has this amazing way of taking out imperfect offerings and transforming them into something incredible. Miracles happen every day in the mission field, and miracles can happen every day in our lives. That is what happens when you trust in the Lord. :)

I know Jesus Christ lives. When all is said and done that is what it comes down to. I have been touched and completely changed by His influence these past 18 months. He has made me into something better than I knew I could be. He loves each of us, and He never gives up on us. We are, too often, the ones who give up on ourselves. He never will. We are never out of His reach.

Approaching the end of your mission feels a lot like approaching death. It feels like my life is about to end, even as I know all the reasons why I've leaving. But as I sat in my last sacrament meeting yesterday, I had peace come over me and an excitement in my heart - as if the Lord was saying "Don't worry. I have a work for you to do in Utah."

So, the good news is that it's not ever. Not ever. I'm sad to leave (I have never felt such an unshakable sadness before) but I am excited to come home too. I can't wait to see what the Lord has for me there. I will always be a missionary, friends. I love the work too much to give it up now.

I truly, sincerely love you. And I will see you very soon.

All my love, Sister Ball

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Goofballs

Also, here is a picture of me and my goofball zone. These elders have been like my brothers this past transfer and I love each one of them. They make me laugh, as I'm sure you can guess. ;)

Forever Blessed

Once upon a time, there was a missionary. A very happy one. She was looking over her life one day and came to this conclusion: She was very, very blessed.
In case you were wondering, this missionary is me. ;)
The week has been a good one. Fasting for Amber and Kyle to quit smoking was an incredible experience. They still haven't quit smoking altogether, but they're both down to just one cigarette a day. For the longest time, Amber was stuck at two a day so we keep reminding her that this is remarkable progress. Especially for Kyle, who before this week hadn't been trying to quit at all! :) I have a testimony of fasting, folks. God always answers prayers and I know that before long, both of them will be free from this addiction. :)
A little miracle happened this week too. Remember Joe, who got baptized back in May while I was still with Sister Croft? Well, he moved out of the ward right after his baptism so we never see him anymore. :( But once in a great while I still find myself planning him in, hoping our paths will cross if we're in the apartments at the same time (his girlfriend lives there, so he stops in once in a while) One night our appointment cancelled and we felt this pull toward the apartments. We meandered that way and wa-bam, there was Joe just barely getting out of his truck. We were able to talk for over an hour and I am so proud of him! He still has this chain-link of scriptures Crofty and I made for him before she left and he keeps it in his office. Once in a while he'll be visiting with someone who is going through a rough time and he'll reach up and pull a link off the chain, read the scripture and it always turns out to be exactly what that person needs. :) How neat is that. He's being a little missionary. Joe is honestly one of the most selfless people I've ever met in my life. I feel so blessed to know him, and especially to see him at least once more before I go.
Talon is officially passed off the the YSA elders by now. He went the the YSA ward yesterday and lo and behold... there were many friends there he knew from school and stuff, so he felt welcomed and comfortable. It's hard to pass someone off when you love them so dearly. Fortunately, I trust those elders who have him now, and I trust the Lord. He was the one who told us it would be best for Talon to go to YSA anyway. :)
It's good to see the work move forward. Things are always moving and changing, much faster than I can keep track of. One of the things I've learned is simply to trust in the Lord. After all, He has guided my past and He will forever guide my future. Watching this period of my life come to a close is very, very hard. I don't like goodbyes and I don't like lasts and I don't like endings. All of those things are on my dislike list. :) I half-wish I could just stop it here so I would never have to deal with all the lasts.
But I'm very, very grateful for one more week.
We're having dinner with Amber and Kyle tonight (chicken salad sandwiches, yum! She said I had to choose a meal that didn't requite her turning on an oven because she has a curious tendency to turn things black when she uses an oven ha ha) and then we're watching the Joseph Smith movie together. We're going to invite Kyle to start taking the lessons now, pray for us! :) I bought her a journal to start writing down her story. I figured one day her kids will want to know how she came to gain a testimony that the church is true. These precious moments must be recorded, you know. ;)
I am so grateful to be a member of the restored church of Jesus Christ, folks. And I am so grateful to be his missionary. It is a blessing to be a witness to peoples' lives changing. It is a blessing to be on the Lord's errand. :) It is a blessing to know that THAT will never change, even post-mission I can still be His servant.
Well, have the best week ever and treasure each precious moment. I'll be doing the same. I love you all so much. Talk to you soon.
Love, Sister Ball

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Quick Note

So, time is short today. Today Sister Kranc and I are doing a thousand things. It's Canadian Thanksgiving! One of our members is hosting a big ol' Thanksgiving Dinner for Sister Kranc and I. She served in Sister Kranc's hometown on her mission, so that's kind of fun. :) And this morning we went shopping with Amber (you know you're best friends with your investigator when you go shopping together) and in about 20 minutes we're going to go play sports with the elders in our zone. We're going to play dodgeball. But the best part is that a member supplied Sister Kranc and I with an entire arsenal of nerf guns to unload on them midway through the game. Hey, we're the only sisters and we have to protect ourselves somehow!
But, the big miracle of the week.... (drumroll please) Kyle, Amber's fiancee sat in on a lesson with us! And he said the closing prayer! And he confessed to listening in on our lessons all along while pretending not to! And he asked for our help to quit smoking! And he might want to get baptized too! Yaaaaaay!
I am seriously so happy about that I could die. :]
Our entire Gospel Principles class joined in on a fast for Amber and Kyle to quit smoking. They threw out all their cigarettes and have decided not to buy any more. It is a huge miracle. And, Amber got a priesthood blessing last night. That was one of the most spiritual experiences of my mission thus far. Amber is amazing. That is all I can say.

And to top this all off... here is a picture of me at the temple. Nevermind the goofballs in the background. (They're some of my favorite elders, actually. I'm totally unloading the nerf guns on them first. ;)
Love you all! Have a great week!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Let's Talk Conference

But in all honesty, wasn't conference just so amazing? :D Sister Kranc and I spent the entire week counting down with childlike excitement - "Only 3 more sleeps until conference!" and after Sunday afternoon session was over we found ourselves sitting in the emptying chapel staring dejectedly into space while the ward members starting taking down the equipment. How can it be over already?
I always assumed that my last conference, because it is so close to my departing date, would be nothing but revelation for what I needed to do when I get home. False. I STILL had notes that had everything to do with my investigators. I called Duane that night and told him everything I'd learned on his behalf. He just laughed at me. -.- It's proving very difficult to get out of missionary mode ha ha, but by the last session I felt like I'd gotten answers for myself as well. Phew.
Speaking of Duane, he came up from Coolidge this week to take Sister Kranc and I out to lunch. It was so good to see him. :) I guess technically I'm not his missionary anymore - he has elders now - but I still feel a strong obligation to do everything I can to ensure his testimony is still growing. We still talk on the phone at least once a week. But, do you know what he did to me this week at lunch?? He bought me SUSHI and he made me try it. (Okay, he didn't MAKE me, I have my agency and stuff. But still! ;)
Actually, sushi isn't bad folks. Who knew. O.o
But, that isn't the most appalling part. I guess there's this green stuff called wasabi that always comes on the side with sushi. I didn't know what it was. Neither did Sister Kranc. So Duane put a little on each of our chopsticks and had us both try it at the same time  and let me tell you... it was not guacamole like I thought it was! That stuff hit me so hard my ears were ringing afterward.
So that was my introduction to wasabi. :)
Okay, that was a total side note. I'm going back to conference now. My favorite talk was by Brother Devin G. Durrant, who invited us to do two things:
1. Save just a little money each week. Small efforts, sustained over time, yields great results. ;)
2. "Ponderize" one scripture each week. This means put it in a place you will see it regularly and ponder what it means to you. Again, small efforts sustained over time yields great results.
I felt like that was direct revelation to me as a soon-to-return-missionary who wonders how she can ensure that her testimony will still grow post-mission.
Okay, but actually Elder's Hollands talk was probably my favorite. It just about shook my world. If you haven't heard it, you need to. It will change your perspective on mothers everywhere.
Basically, all of conference was great. :)
Other news of the week: Talon is actually not getting baptized on the 17th. :'( but, it is for a good reason. He told his parents - who are none too fond of the church - and they decided they would support him. Yaaay! :D But Talon's dad is going to be away on a business trip over the 17th and doesn't get back until Halloween... so if we want him to come, it has be sometime in November. So, the four of us (us, Talon and Emily) decided it was worth it and postponed the baptism to a later date. Does my heart hurt? Yes, but it is far more happy than it is hurt. :)
Amber is still amazing and golden. She came to conference with a question in mind, watched all the session except one (she had to work) but recorded that one and is watching it today. Amazing. That's all I can say about her. Also, she is threatening to lock me in her closet so I can't leave. But that's another story. :]
Being a missionary is just wonderful. At times, I wish I could slow down time so I could enjoy the moment even more. But that doesn't work, they pass by quicker than you can blink. But, eternity is made up of these little moments and I am so, so grateful that my eternity is made up of so many beautiful and happy moments. <3 There are still so many memories to make.
I love you all! Don't forget to pray. Prayer changes lives. :) Have a great week!
Love, Sister Ball

Kranc and Kowen

Me and my companion! Off to another day of proselyting!

Amber adopted a blind dog this week and he is seriously the sweetest creature I have ever met in his life. His name is Kowen. :) I want to take him home with me. But I might not have room in my suitcases.

Live, Love, Serve, and Learn

Like a blur, another week has passed by and I suddenly find myself on the brink of OCTOBER.
Probably I would be freaking out about that more if I wasn't so excited for Conference to come. :D We missed the live broadcast of the Women's Conference because we had a service project going on all that evening. But our good dear friend Amber recorded it for us and we had a girls party last night watching it. Amber LOVED it. I swear she couldn't be any more golden if she tried. While even I, as a missionary, struggle to focus and learn from the whole our and a half session, she drank it all in eagerly and proclaims that she can't wait for the next 8 hours of listening to conference.
Usually, we have to persuade people to watch conference. She just hops on board before we say a word. :)
Speaking of golden investigators, I have good news everyone. It is entitled I Will Have a Baptism Ten Days Before I Get Home. Yay! No, this isn't Amber who is getting baptized (though I admit I still am hoping a miracle will occur and she'll be baptized before I leave) but this is a new kid, someone I met while I was solo.
Okay, backtrack. First off let me note that the bishop's daughter in one of my wards has become my best friend, partly because she was with me every other day while I was solo. Her name is Emily and I call her my honorary mission companion because she really did feel like my companion while we were together. I love her to death. ANYWAY, her best friend isn't a member and sometime during that whirlwind of activity while I was solo, he agreed to meet with us missionaries, we had the first lesson and he was touched by the Spirit. Long story short: Talon, Emily's best friend, is getting baptized on October 17th.
I have a testimony of member missionary work, folks. :]
It has been so neat to see him grow in just the short time I've known him. He doesn't have a religious background at all and as we teach him, he will suddenly be overcome with emotion as he realized that Jesus Christ has been in his life all along. THAT is the best part of being a missionary: watching people gain a relationship with their Savior. I've seen it with Amber as she has grown more confident and drinks in all knowledge that we try to pour into her brain. I see it with Talon as he eagerly anticipates his baptism. I even see it in Emily! She said she's changed as she's worked so closely with the missionaries. Missionary work automatically brings everyone involved closer to Christ. Maybe that's why missions are such a monumental point in a person's life. :) I've seen myself change. I care less about what people think and more about what God thinks than I did before. I have a better vision of who I am and why I am here. Life is beautiful and wonderful, and I've never loved it more. <3
I hope all is well back home. I hope the leaves are changing and the air is getting crisp. It's STILL very hot here, so just think of me next time you feel cold. :) Thank you for your many prayers. I love you all and the gospel is true! Jesus Christ lives!
Sincerely, happily,
Sister Bethany Ball

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Sister Kranc and I at a transfer meeting. We took this even before we knew we were going to be companions. ;) We both had a feeling....

Transfer #13

Good news my friends! Transfers happened, and I have a companion again. Even better, I have the best companion a girl could ask for. :D Her name is Sister Kranc (rhymes with France) and she is from Toronto, Canada. She is such a happy person and she makes my life better. She gets along with the members and our investigators very well - which is good because she is going to be taking over this area when I leave! :O
But, no sense in dwelling on that. xD
Amber is still a super solid investigator. She's been to church every Sunday and has even posted on Facebook how much she loves it! This was met with questions from friends and she replied by sharing her testimony and what things she loves about the gospel. One of them even expressed an interest in learning more! Amber is a little missionary already! :D One of our members had her and us over for dinner last night and her fiancee Kyle came along. Have I ever talked about Kyle? I can't remember. Well, Kyle is hilarious. No interest himself, but he has been completely supportive of her decision to join the church. He often walks through the room during our discussions and sometimes derails our conversation with a side comment about something completely unrelated to what we are talking about ha ha ha. We have a good relationship with him. :) He loves plants, so when we were reading Alma 32 with Amber I got all excited and called him in - "Kyle! You have to read this one! It's about plants!" So now anytime we read about seeds or trees or growing things of any kind, I have to call his attention to it. xD Last night, we found a mormon message that had something plant-related in it to share - just for him. :) It was called "Will of God" and talked about how sometimes it seems God is cutting us down, when in reality He is preparing us to reach our full potential. He liked it and even talked about how Amber meeting us had been so good for her, and he believed it was God's will that we come into their lives and this point in time.
Yes, Kyle. Yes it was. :)
So that is the big exciting news. Still no sign that they're getting married any sooner than March though. :/
It feels good to be back out on my bike again, to be a normal missionary. But I will forever be grateful for those two weeks I was pushed to do hard things. I grew a lot. I face the future now with more faith than ever. I know God lives. I know Jesus Christ lives. His hand is in our lives every day. His tender mercies can be seen every day! Like today - it is raining. I love the rain. Every time it rains, I feel like my Heavenly Father is sending it just for me, for no other reason than to tell me He loves me. :) It is a good moment.
I am very grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost. During my studies this week I realized that the having the Holy Ghost with you means that your covenant relationship with Jesus Christ is still in working order - by making covenants with Him, you become part of a partnership with Him, a team if you will. And if you have a perfect person on your team, is your team going to lose? No! Which means that you are not a lost cause, not ever, as long as those covenants are valid. And every time you feel the Holy Ghost, that means your covenants are valid. It means that Jesus Christ is still part of your team.
Maybe that is why they call the Holy Ghost a comforter... because it is such a comfort to know you are not a lost cause. :) I am so grateful to know that. I am more at peace than ever before. I know I'm not perfect by any means, but my offering is acceptable to the Lord. Every time I feel the Spirit, I know my offering is acceptable to Him. :)
I love this work. I love being a missionary. I love you all. The rain makes me miss Utah, but the missing it isn't painful. It is simply a reminder that when my mission ends, there will be another beginning. I'm not ready to say goodbye to this life just yet, but I am at peace that that time is soon coming. I insist on living these last few weeks to the fullest.
And then I'll see you again. :)
With all the love my tender soul has to possess,
Sister Ball

Monday, September 14, 2015

Lessons Learned as a Solo Missionary

All I can say, friends, is that miracles are real.

Sister Fairchild stayed in the hospital all week. She has a disease carried in Arizona's dust storms, Valley Fever it's called. She has it pretty severe. For a while there, it looked like she wasn't even going to be well enough to go home on Tuesday, as she is supposed to.

She told me the best thing I could do was keep working in the area and keep it alive. That was a big challenge for me. For all my learning and growth and change over the past 17 months, I still struggle to feel confident in my abilities. So it was with trepidation that I faced another week solo. Again, I was going out with members each and every day. 

So here are a few lessons I learned as a solo missionary:

It is not requisite that a man runs faster than he has strength. I felt the need to be so busy while I was out with my members - I always had to be working, knocking on doors or visiting people or teaching, because that is what they expect when coming out with a missionary! But I would be so busy doing that that I wouldn't have time to arrange splits for the next day. I would arrive home at night and a feeling of dread would fill me when I realized I had no one for the next day. After a couple of mornings of waking up having NO idea who my companion was going to be that day, I read Mosiah 4:27. That scripture encouraged me to do things in wisdom and order.... so I found a member who let me use her desk for a couple of hours and I arranged all my splits for the rest of the week. :) After that, a load of stress was taken from my shoulders and I realized that I did not have to kill myself trying to impress the members.

Don't panic. When your member doesn't realize that she can't leave you ALONE with a bunch of teenage boys, stay calm and hide in a side room until she comes back downstairs. (I'm not sure how wise that particular decision actually was... but it was pretty funny.)

People are amazing. I was constantly, constantly amazed by the sacrifices everyone was willing to make for my benefit. Once, I made a member family late for their movie because they couldn't leave me until my ride came and picked me up. They had no problem cheerfully waiting. :) Furthermore, people jumped to come out with me. At one point I had two girls with me on the same night. Both of them were preparing to serve their own missions, so I felt like a mama missionary with her little ducklings that night. :) I was so proud of them when they taught the 10 commandments to our golden investigator Amber! Even one Friday night, when I could find no one to come out with me, a nearby companionship of sisters came and picked me up so I could go to dinner with them and trio with them for the rest of the evening. On Sunday, I even had a member come with me for 9 hours of church AND stay with me for the rest of the evening! (She's going straight to the celestial kingdom, folks. ;)

Appreciate the little things. There is a trio of sister missionaries serving in the south end of our mission. One day, they took the time to come up to Gilbert (again, amazing sacrifices by others) so that one of them could be my companion for the afternoon. It felt so good to have a missionary as a companion again, I just kept hugging her with relief. My members have been amazing, but to have someone by my side who was in the same walk of life as I was felt so good. I never realized what a blessing that was. We tend to take the little things for granted.

Miracles happen every day. More so, I feel, when you're going through difficult things. What miracles did I see, you ask? I cannot list them all, but I'll name a few. I've grown to have amazing relationships with my members. One of the girls who has been coming out with me all the time even gave us a referal for a dear friend of hers, who we are now teaching. We got 3 new investigators this week, found two part-member families who weren't on the records, knocked on doors only to find that the people inside had been praying for an opportunity to speak with us. We got antied by someone, and I heard words come out of my mouth that I didn't even think up as I testified. A huge miracle is that I was okay, I never fell apart. I felt the enabling power of the Atonement and I know it is real. I could not have done this week. I wasn't capable of it. The Savior can make us capable of doing things we aren't naturally capable of doing. That is the beauty of the gospel - we can do hard things.

I can do hard things.

But the best miracle of the week has to do with Sister Fairchild. While all this was going on she was in the hospital. I got to visit her a few times and kept in contact with her mostly through text. When I would see her, she looked very weak and sick. It was hard to see her like that, so I never stayed very long. She had a member staying with her every single day. I knew she was taken care of. The best I could do was to pray for her. Every night and morning, she was the first person I prayed for. And it wasn't just me - I swear all three of our wards were praying for her to get better. Everyone asked for updates whenever they saw me. Even our investigators, former investigators and less-actives promised to pray for her. It was incredible to see the surge of love and petitions to the Lord on her behalf. 

It didn't look like she was going to get out of the hospital in time to go home, so on Sunday - yesterday - I fasted for her to be well enough to go home on Tuesday

3:00 came and I got a text - she was discharged from the hospital and had the okay to fly home. I wanted to shout for joy, but we were in the middle of Sunday School so I decided against it. 

Late last night, she finished packing up her things at our apartment. Well, she is still very sick so mainly we packed her things while she directed where to put them ha ha. But it was then that I learned the extent of her illness. She was very near death as she laid in that hospital. The doctors weren't sure she was going to live.

Every single prayer sent up to heaven for her was heard. Every single one of them. And I know it was the power of those prayers that kept my companion alive. Miracles happen. And I witnessed a huge one this very week. We had to say goodbye to her last night. It was a difficult goodbye. My emotions were all out of whack after learning how close we came to losing her. But one of the last things she said was "The one thing I want you to remember about me is that I know the Savior lives. I know He lives." Her brief and simple declaration then was the most powerful testimony I have ever heard anyone speak. I know that she knows He lives. There was no doubt in her voice.
I, too, know He lives. I've seen His hand this week, in my life and in the lives of everyone around me. I do not know all the miracles that happened around me this week - there were so many seen and unseen powers at work here. The entire week has been the most incredible experience I have ever had. I know who I am, and I know who He is. Because of Him, I never have to be alone. Because of Him, I can do hard things. Because of Him, we have miracles.

If I want you to remember anything about my companion Sister Fairchild it is that she knows the Savior lives. She was a great and noble soul. I was blessed to work at her side for 3 months. I've never known a stronger person, in spirit and heart. This week, I will get a new companion! And she will be wonderful too. This week is the beginning of my last transfer, and I have never been so determined to work so hard. I've seen the Atonement at work, and I cannot bear to waste a precious moment of this precious time.

Thank you for your prayers, everyone. I have never been so blessed as I was this very week. <3

All my love, Sister Ball

Thursday, September 10, 2015

All the Hard Questions

So. One thing I've learned during the course of my mission is that things usually don't go according to plan. In fact, sometimes, things go COMPLETELY haywire.

This was one of the haywire weeks. Sister Farichild got very very sick. She is in the hospital at this exact moment. The diagnosis was originally pneumonia but as the week went on she got worse instead of better and was admitted into the hospital this weekend, where she will likely be staying for a few days. They don't think it's pneumonia anymore, but they don't know what it really is. They're taking care of her as best they can but she is so sick. 

It's been scary. Mercifully, our mission nurse and one of Sister Fairchild's past companions have been staying with her for the better part of this week and I haven't been with her much. I probably wouldn't handle it very well ha ha. So this means that I've been a solo missionary for most of the week - staying in a trio with my roommates during the day and then taking a member out with me in the evening to go and work. 

It has honestly been one of the hardest weeks of my entire mission. I've seen it where occasionally a missionary has to go solo for a few weeks for one reason or another and it has been one of my worst fears. I never wanted that to happen to me, and certainly not under these circumstances! But while this has been incredibly difficult, I also find that it has been incredibly rewarding. Last night - after 9 hours of church on splits, without a companion - I laid in bed and I realized I'd survived. Not only am I still alive after all this, but I am well. I am alive and well. Each morning I woke up and prayed for the companionship of the Holy Ghost because I have no other companion. I've had to rely on the Lord more than any other point in my mission. I have found that He was there every moment when I needed Him. Even as my companion has been in dire need in the hospital, He hasn't forgotten her companion - a lone, anxious missionary still trying to do her very most best.

I haven't fallen apart, and I haven't quit. It's a victory. 

So, that is my haywire week in a nutshell. :) I completely believe in miracles, and I completely believe that Sister Fairchild will be okay again. I read from the New Testament during the sacrament yesterday, many of the accounts of Jesus Christ healing the sick. I know miracles at His hand happen today, just as they did then. I know she will be okay.

And even admist all this, we were blessed to be able to meet with out investigators and less-actives. Amber came to church again and loved it still! Her fiancee wants to come with her next week, yay! We told her she couldn't get baptized until after they were married and she was disappointed. Their wedding date isn't until March and she was hoping to get baptized sooner. So, stay tuned! This sister missionary's fondest dream is to be able to attend an investigator's wedding and it may still happen! ;)

I love you all. Thank you for your prayers. If you would, please pray for Sister Fairchild. I love that girl with all my heart and I miss having her. I want to see her well again. <3

Have a wonderful week! Talk to you soon! Remember, miracles are a real thing!

Love, Sister Ball

Thursday, August 27, 2015

God Knows Us

So, I has a little story to tell you all. :)
Week before last, Sister Fairchild and I were tracting and we met this girl named Amber. She told us she was agnostic but that she was willing to listen to our message. I had a good feeling about her during out very brief encounter and I looked forward to our returning appointment.
However, experience has taught me that people we meet through tracting don't keep their appointments. So when we knocked on her door Wednesday night, I very much didn't expect her to be there. Surprise: She was there. She remembered. She was anxiously awaiting our arrival. She let us in, and we proceeded to converse and learn about her entire life story. In short, she's had a difficult life. I was very moved to compassion as she spoke. And then she told us that just a few days before we knocked on her door, she had an experience where God answered a desperate prayer she'd been pleading. He let her know He was there, and that He was listening.
When we knocked on her door that day, she knew immediately we were sent from God to help her answer her many questions. That's why she invited us back, and that's why she is meeting with us now.
We tell this experience to the people in our wards when they ask how the work is going, and no matter how many times I share the story I am still just amazed at how merciful our God is. I cannot even adequately explain because the feeling that existed in Amber's living room as we spoke cannot be described. All I can tell you is that I know Amber is a daughter of God. He loves her so much, and He has been with her every step of the difficult path she's been called to walk on. He always knew where she was and what she needed. He knew when she was ready to listen, and He sent two young sister missionaries to help her find the way to true happiness: through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Basically, Amber means a lot to me. When the call came, weeks ago now, that I would be staying in my area I immediately knew there was someone else for me to find here, and I think I found her. I love her so much already. :)
I never cease to be awed by the miracles I see. I know God lives. I know He loves us. There are evidences of it every single day. I have learned that He almost always answers our prayers through another person. My very most favorite part of being a missionary is the part where I suddenly realize that I was on the Lord's errand - without even realizing it, I was exactly where I needed to be visiting the very person that God wanted me to see.
That is a very blessed feeling indeed.
We talked to Duane on the phone yesterday. He went to his new ward and found it to be considerably less friendly than the one he just left. It saddened me to hear about his challenges. But then he told me that it didn't matter - he knows what it means to hold on to the iron rod. And he will never let go of that, no matter what challenges he faces.
That is also a very blessed feeling, to hear your recent convert say that.
Friends, I have been very blessed. I am so grateful to be here. I am grateful for every moment, the good, the discouraging and the in-between. God is in the details of our lives. He always has been. He loves you, and He always will. I know that for certain. :)
I love you.... have a very wonderful week. 
Sincerely, Sister Ball

Monday, August 17, 2015

Faith: A Principal of Action

Yesterday one of our recent converts in the area taught our Gospel Principles class in church. She was baptized back in December - before I got here - and is an absolutely amazing human being. She taught about faith, and rather than spew all the information she knew on the subject she encouraged a class discussion where all of us could share our thoughts and experiences. It was very uplifting. I left thinking deeply about faith and the profound effect it has had on me - on my mission and throughout my life.
Faith in its simplest definition is found in Alma 32: "Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hopefor things which are not seen, which are true." Or in other words, faith is believing in things you cannot see. We believe in Christ, though we don't see him before us.
But faith is also more than a passive belief. Faith is the power to act because you trust in what you cannot see. We do not simply believe that Christ is there - our belief in Him and trust in Him compels us to move forward and become better human beings, to follow Him to the best of our abilities. I believe that that faith is strengthened by an understanding of how powerful His love is for us. We do not have to earn that love, it simply exists, beautiful and unchangeable. That love He has for us draws us to Him, because we as human creatures all desire to be loved. He loves us, we love Him, we follow Him and trust that we are redeemed through His incredible sacrifice.....
Okay, I could discourse on faith all day. My heart is so full this week. Let me explain: I had an opportunity to go back to my first area, the very place I started my mission in. While I was there I felt like I could see myself as I was 16 months ago, compared to how I am today. I was nearly knocked off my feet with the strength of awe and gratitude I feel - because I have been changed! Over and over I've said it, but this mission has never been a sacrifice, but a gift from God to me. This week I saw it so keenly - how He has shaped me to become better than I once was.

I embarked on a plane last April and my heart was racing at a hundred miles an hour. I never told anyone how terrified I was. I still remember how desperately inadequate I felt and how I thought about turning around and leaving right then, quitting before I began so I wouldn't have to fail.
But I didn't leave. I stayed. And it wasn't that I had some incredible faith, just some tiny hope that this was going to be okay. From that small baby hope has sprung amazing things! I still feel like my faith is small and childish most of the time. I have profound moments but most of the time I feel like I'm desperately reaching in the dark and hoping to find what I need. I never know for certain that He's going to pull through. But He always does! 
I understand better now, not perfectly, but better what faith means. Why Christ says that if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed then you can move mountains. You don't always see the mountains move all at once. I didn't. But they move. Gradually, over time, your mountains can be moved.
A desire to believe is enough.
Simple faith works miracles.
Faith-filled obedience - obeying even when you don't completely understand or see the end result - brings blessings.
The Lord is anxious to bless you, but He requires your faith, no matter how baby it may seem.
I am still floored by these things I've learned this week. I am still amazed at the hand of God in my life. If I could cry happy tears, they'd be flowing. My life is forever changed. I'm not firm and unshakable, but I have a testimony  of the truthfulness of the gospel. And I know how to stay true. That's all I need. That's what I intend to do, now and forevermore.
So. There you go. Those are my words of wisdom to your for the week. :)
Other news: I learned why no one in Arizona drives old junker cars. It was something I noticed a few months into my mission: everyone has newer cars. Weird. I never understood.... until the A/C went out in our car this weekend.
(Insert dramatic music here.)

It was 11 AM, 112 degrees outside and after 3 minutes without A/C both Sister Fairchild and I were dripping with sweat. I have never sweated so much before IN MY LIFE. Not even while I'm biking in said 112 degree weather! We couldn't take it, so we hurried and pulled over into a gas station and got out of the car. Stepping out into that 112 degrees felt like walking into an air conditioned building! X.X
I am not exaggerating. That happened, exactly as I said. And that, my friends, is why you drive nice cars in Arizona. 
Don't worry. We got the A/C fixed. ;)

We're going ice skating today with our zone. I am super excited, partly just to pretend like I'm in cold weather ha ha. We also have a lesson tonight with David and Christina, our good friends who ran across anti material a while back and say they will NEVER join the church... but that we can still come and teach them. So, I'm a little nervous about that. But hey... I have faith. ;) Ha ha. It's a real thing though.
I will write more next week! Thank you for all your love, prayers and support! This has been the best experience of my life. I would never trade it for anything. But I do miss you and can't wait to see you again. I love Arizona, heatwaves and all! And the gospel is true. :) Talk to you next week!
Love, Sister Ball

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Best Investment

Transfers. They happen and pass, quicker than you realize. Time seems surreal when you count everything by six-week increments.
This week:
Duane moved. He never let us know exactly when he was leaving. We simply biked past one day and saw the moving truck, loaded up and ready to go. It was kind of sad. Okay, very sad. But, he came to our ward one last time yesterday and it was good to see him and his girls. He received the priesthood. Sister Fairchild and I got to be there for that. It made me happy. He seems so content. He knows he still has much to learn, and he looks forward with faith. I am so proud of him, every day.
We picked up a couple of new investigators, David and Christina. I met them when I first got put with Sister Croft (six months ago, crazy!) and we've been trying to get in to teach them ever since. We went over this week and Christina told us that she'd done some research and what she learned she thought was very false. But, she said she wanted us to come and teach them anyway, so she could hear from us why we believed as we do. I feel such hope in that. They are some of the nicest people I've ever met on the planet. So I eagerly look forward to our further meetings. :)
We met a couple of less-active families we've been trying to see and set up returning appointments with them both. Yay! :)
Our roommate, Sister Taylor from Japan is training a new greenie. Her name is Sister Drummond, from Oklahoma. The funny thing about this situation is that Sister Taylor is the music coordinator for the whole mission (a big job, I tell you) and my companion is kind of her assistant. The result is that we've been going on exchanges almost every day while they work on that stuff, so I've essentially been co-training Sister Drummond. Yikes! Training a new missionary is a big responsibility, I tell you. It's a lot of fun though. Sister Drummond is a fireball. I can hardly keep up with her ha ha.
Also, I spoke in church yesterday. I didn't know I was going to be doing so - we just showed up to Brighton ward and the 2nd counselor stopped us and said "Our concluding speaker is very ill... can you fill in for him today?" So it was with little advance notice that I stood in sacrament meeting and shared all my thoughts on the Book of Mormon and its power. Fortunately, I've been doing that very thing for the past 15 months, so it wasn't even hard. :) Adventures of missionary life, yay!
That's all for now, folks. The work rolls forward whether we hop on board or not. I read the talk again, "The Fourth Missionary" which, in simplest terms, explains that the only way you gain anything from your mission experience is if you give your whole heart and soul over to the Lord. I only have a limited time available to me, so it is will utmost willpower that I want to strive to do that very things. After all, what I can make of my heart and soul is nothing compared to what the Lord can make of my heart and soul. Since I want this mission to be my best investment, I must put in as much as possible, and that's what I'm going to do. That, I believe, is the solution for all happiness in life. :)

I love you all. I hope that life is going well, and even if it seems that it's not, I hope you are trusting in the Lord. He has it all handled. :) Have a faith-filled week.
Love, Sister Ball

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Transfer #12

Transfer news came in last night. Drum roll please........ I am STAYING!!!! And so is Sister Fairchild!
Honestly, nothing could have POSSIBLY surprised me more than that news. I fully expected to leave. I've been in this area for six months now - my longest area - and because Sister Fairchild goes home at the end of this transfer, I will have to stay one more transfer. Which will be my last transfer. Which means I am going to end my mission in this area. And did I mention that this means I will be in this area 9 months?? That is half my mission.
So, that is all the shock that went through my brain at the news. But you know what is awesome?? That means Sister Fairchild and I get another transfer together! I was very sad because I thought I would leave her, but this is not the case. We're staying together, folks. I'm sending yet another missionary home. This brings my total up to 4 missionaries I've sent home. Please note - that is a record in this mission. xD
Anyway,  now let me tell you about other news. Duane and his family are moving, the same day as transfers. I am very sad to see them go. But, something incredible happened this week. Duane has a good friend Shelley who has sat in on a few of our lessons over the past couple of weeks. It turns out that she used to take the lessons with her sister, months ago. And she was very close to a senior couple in our mission who I was very close to as well. So we had a connection, and she began to open up slowly to us.
And since Duane has been baptized and she's seen the remarkable change in him, she's made sure she comes to every lesson we teach him. This week, she gave us her address and phone number and asked us to send the missionaries to her house to teach her again. Miracle! Sister Fairchild and I were so happy, because we'd been praying for that very thing. :)
Duane has actually been causing lots of lives to change since his baptism. He has no problem telling everyone in the world what has brought him so much happiness over the past several weeks. His oldest daughter, though not interested herself, asked if he would take his grandkids to church with him. And he had a friend from back in Massachusetts ask how he could get missionaries to come teach him.
So much good is being spread out to the world by his influence. I watched his life slowly change as we met in his living room, week after week. It has brought me so much joy. But I never even realized the possibility that those little life-changing meetings could reach out an influence people far outside my own reach.
Missionary work is an incredible thing. And it is a joy to be a part of.
Folks, I know this work is the work of God. I cannot doubt it. I've seen too many miracles. I've seen the gospel work. I've seen it change men who thought they were too far lost. There is no one on this planet who is too far gone. The Savior descended below all things, so He could lift each of us up. Our lives can change. We can change. We do not have to be victims of circumstance. And it is all possible through the Atonement of Christ.
I am so grateful for it. And I'm grateful for each of you.
I love you.
Sincerely, Sister Ball

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Duane's Baptizm

Disclaimer: Duane and his girls' baptism was my favorite day of my mission thus far. So I reserve the right to talk all about it now. :)
It was the most spiritual baptism I've ever seen. Did I ever mention that his 17-year-old daughter, Sabrina, was absolutely terrified of getting baptized? Well, she was. Our very first lesson with them, we talked about baptism and I told them that baptism symbolized the death, burial and resurrection of the Savior. Well, Sabrina (who has some handicaps) just caught hold of the word "death" and ever since, has been convinced that she will die when she is baptized. She would always ask us: "When you're baptized, are you still alive?" As much as we explained it to her over and over again, she couldn't get over the image in her head that she was going to die.
In spite of all this, she knew what the spirit felt like and knew what we were teaching was true, and she knew she needed to be baptized. So she went forward with it. Her sister Tiffany went first. When Sabrina's time came, she was so afraid but she squared her shoulders and announced to the room: "That's it. I'm going to do it everyone." And she did. Timid, shy little Sabrina has more courage and faith than most people. I've never seen her so happy as when she came out.
Duane, as you may recall, only has one leg. And he couldn't wear his prosthetic into the water. So it required two men to help him into the font. And he had to trust them completely to lower him under the water and then back up, because he certainly couldn't do it himself. That was my favorite part. It is so symbolic of our completely dependent nature on the Savior - not a single one of us can lift ourselves back up once we die, physically or spiritually. We need Him. Just like Duane needed them.
He was so content. So happy. All three of them were. And my soul has never felt so full. I was nearly bursting with all the emotion I felt - joy, peace love. My favorite little family were all baptized. The next day, they were confirmed in Sacrament meeting and received the Holy Ghost. Afterwards, Sabrina came up to us with her eyes shining. She said she felt the Holy Ghost inside of her. To hear her pure spirit testify that the Holy Ghost is real touched my heart so deeply.
And do you know how I feel right now? I feel like a parent whose child just graduated from high school! I watched this family - Duane especially - grow from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity in a matter of two short months. Being a missionary is very much like being a parent. I taught him, corrected him, encouraged him, watched him change and grow... Then, suddenly, he is baptized. And he doesn't need me anymore. In gospel principles they asked him to share his conversion story and his testimony. I was listening and slowly the realization came to me - he is like a child who is entering adulthood. I raised him, and now it is time for me to step back a little and watch him apply everything I've taught him. I'll still be a part of his life forever, but it's different now.
People need the missionaries to come unto Christ by being baptized. They cannot go any other way. Now he is baptized. And I feel like a mom watching her kid go off to college ha ha. Did I teach him enough? Did I raise him right? I can't reverse time and change anything now. That time is past.
And I just wanted to pitch a fit and cry and say it wasn't fair. But I didn't. Because I was in Gospel Principles surrounded by mature adults and that would have been awkward. So I just prayed my little heart out that night and begged Heavenly Father to take care of my beloved little converts and make up for all the mistakes I made while teaching them ha ha.
Well, now I've really just laid my soul bare. I hope you enjoyed that ha ha. My point is that I love that little family. As missionaries, we still continue to go in and teach regularly for at least a year. But there are a few things that shorten that time for me: 1) Transfers are in two weeks and I might leave the area and 2) They are moving within a month. Either way.... my time as their missionary will soon be coming to an end. And I am very sad.
But, not discouraged! ;) In spite of my emotional roller coaster with all these new and exciting landmarks, I am very happy. Possibly the happiest I've ever been as a missionary. We picked up two new investigators yesterday, two brothers who have questions about latter-day-prophets. The work keeps moving forward. The sun still shines. It's usually about 110 degrees outside and I honestly don't even notice the heat. Miracles happen, folks. :) Every day, they happen.
I hope you have a lovely and splendid week. I love you all.
Sincerely, Sister Ball

Monday, July 20, 2015

Dishwasher Avalanche!

Funny story: Sister Taylor (right next to me in the picture) has lived the majority of her life in Japan. Guess what? They don't have dishwashers in Japan. So Sister Taylor did not know that you couldn't put regular old Dawn dish soap in the dishwasher and then run it! The result? Sister Fairchild and I walked into our apartment in the middle of the day to find our kitchen flooded and bubbles all over the place.
Our apartment was taken over by suds, folks.
Unfortunately, we didn't think to take a picture of the actual disaster, but we ran the dishwasher later that night to rinse the remainder of the soap out. If you look real close you can see that suds were oozing out of the bottom of the dishwasher. it was like something out of a horror movie! xD One of the funniest things I've ever seen. Probably because we were all tired and anything would have seemed funny... but still. :]
Right to left in the picture is Sister Fairchild, Sister Hendrick from New York, Sister Taylor from Japan, and me. :)

Always Moving Forward

Dearest friends and family.... by the time I email next Monday, Duane and his girls will be baptized and confirmed members of the church. :) Teaching them has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. When we first met, their lives were strained by bitterness and loss. But I've been able to see that change into peace, love and acceptance of God's will. They are so near to my heart these days and I can honestly say that the sum total of all the sacrifices I have ever made to be here as a missionary now does not outweigh the blessings of knowing and loving this one small family. They say I changed their life, but they changed mine.
I know God lives. I know He loves each one of us. I was reading in 1 Nephi 17 earlier this morning and Nephi was talking about how Christ was a pillar of light leading the children of Israel through the wilderness. He was there with them, day and night, painstakingly guiding them to where they needed to be.
He is still that for us now. He is our light in the wilderness. He is with us day and night, painstakingly guiding us to where we need to be. We may be asked to forge new paths or do hard things, but we do not have to do them alone.
He is with us. He always has been, always will be. His love is there. We do not have to qualify for it. It is simply there. I know it is.
Thank you for all your love, support and prayers. I feel them
Love, Sister Ball.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Monsoon Season Strikes

Once again, I'm realized how much my mission is coming in full circle. Monsoon season has arrived with all the vengeance and suddenness that it did last year. Last year, I didn't appreciate it as much as I do now that I haven't seen rain in six months. :) Well, okay, it hasn't actually rained yet... just a few sprinkles here and there. But you know it is monsoon season because you can see this great big purple mass of clouds on the horizon constantly, and it feels humid. Oh, and when you unexpectedly get overtaken by a dust storm while you're out riding your bike, that's a good sign too. (Don't worry, we took shelter quick. ;)
Ready for some good news?? Duane and his girls are all getting baptized on July 25th! :D I'm so excited I can hardly even stand it. Teaching him sometimes means going around in circles and hitting walls and trying to get him back on track when he wanders off in the boonies of doctrine.... It means telling him time and time again that I don't have all the answers, but God does. It means tears of frustration too.
And what it comes down to is that it it means immense joy. Because Duane and Tiffany and Sabrina have become so dearly beloved to me. And I love sitting in gospel principles class and listen to him bombard the class with all his concerns and watch them scramble to answer his questions - while I just sit in the corner and smile because hey, that's Duane for you and God loves him deeply for who he is. :)
I feel myself identifying more and more with Ammon when he rejoices in his mission in Alma 26.
Verse 9: "For if we had not come up out of the land of Zarahemla, these our dearly beloved brethren, who have so dearly beloved us,would still have been racked with hatred against us, yea, and they would also have been strangers to God."
Verses 27-28: "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Goamongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success. And now behold, we havecome, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we havetraveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies ofGod."
Verses 35-36: "Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we,since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and allunderstanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on hisname Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption fromeverlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and hasbeen lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in astrange land."

I've just never heard such beautiful language and more emotional expression. It's only one small piece of a testimony to me that Joseph Smith couldn't have written the Book of Mormon himself - he didn't know how it felt to be a missionary. But Ammon did. He knew what it felt like to be depressed and want to turn back. He knew what it felt like to rejoice when you see the people you've come to love so deeply change and enter into a covenant with God. He knew that you reach a point on your mission where you have nothing left to do but sing God's praises - because it was never you that did any of this, it was always His hand guiding you. Every step of the way.
I'm glad I didn't turn back in the dark moments, because I never would have reached this point. <3
Someone told us in church yesterday that a testimony is like a triangle with three sides. And those three sides are your feelings, yourknowledge and your experience. Your testimony grows through those three things. Maybe that's why your testimony grows so much on your mission. You feel so deeply, experience so much and you increase your knowledge every day. My goal in life is to always be growing my testimony - because it is never the same from day to day. And I'd much rather it be stronger tomorrow than it was today, than the other way around. :)
Have I mentioned yet that I love you? Well, I do. Thank you for staying tuned while I sing my joy over here. :)
Have a fantastical week, friends. Fight the good fight of faith! (See 1 Timothy 6:12)
Love, Sister Ball

Monday, June 29, 2015

Arizona in a Nutshell

My old companion Sister Taylor (who is long since home now) sent this to me the other week and I thought I would share the laughter. Arizona in a nutshell, folks. :)

Transfer News!

SO, transfer #11 has commenced for me. (Sisters only have 13 transfers in their mission, if that gives you an idea of how brief my remaining time is.) Sister Croft got sent home okay and she has been in contact with some of our ward members, so I know she's alive. :)

In the meantime, I got a new companion! :D Her name is Sister Fairchild and she is from Kaysville, UT. She is very cool. She loves to go running, so in the morning for exercise she'll run while I bike alongside her. She came out only a transfer before me, so the suspicion we are making is that I will also be sending her home. By now, I am a pro at that kind of thing. :) But we have had SO MUCH happen in the few days we've been together.

One, a recent convert from my second area (Gus, if you remember me talking about him) called us up and said he'd just talked to a lady at the bank and they talked about the Book of Mormon for over an hour and he promised he could get her one. He then found her address, found out the missionaries that covered that area (us, if you haven't guessed) and then called us to ask us to take her a Book of Mormon. Of course, we agreed. :) We haven't met her yet but we have talked to her over the phone, and we did meet her husband. They are both very interested. They went to a ward a couple of weeks ago with a friend and really liked it.

An update on Duane and his family - they've been coming to church and loving it. The ward has wrapped them up in their arms and adopted them. Duane still has a few doctrinal questions - for the longest time, his hang up was tea. Tea, he would insist, is very good for you. And of course he's ridiculously smart so he pulled up all the evidence WHY and all I could tell him is that all I knew was that God had asked us not to drink it. And that was good enough for me. And it was a very small thing to sacrifice for eternal life.
He battled with us consistently for a few visits, but then the day after his first time at church he said "I've figured out the tea thing! It's about your conviction, your faith, more than anything." Our jaws dropped. We'd been trying to tell him that very thing since the beginning but he had to figure it out for himself. The spirit told him while he was at church, and ever since he's been switching to herbal teas (which, of course, are not forbidden.). Talk about a miracle!

Do you remember Amey, who was baptized in April and then moved to Florida? Well it turns out the family who moved into her old house are part-member - she's baptized and he's not. She has been telling all her neighbors that she wants to try coming back to church and her husband may want to check it out as well. And, she has ten kids. :) Her across the street neighbor took us to meet them (member missionaries, yeah! :D) and they are seriously the nicest people I have ever met in my LIFE. They told us the same thing that they've told everyone else, and invited us to come back soon. So, even though I miss Amey a great deal, I am very grateful that I have the opportunity to get to know these wonderful new people, Angie and Woody.

Aside from all those, we've been knocking on doors and meeting people like crazy. Although not everyone is interested, most everyone is kind. We knocked on one door and the lady was pretty curt when she told us to leave, but we'd only gotten a few houses away before she came running out after us with two cold water bottles. She gave them to us with a smile and told us to have a great day. Summer is a time of miracles in Arizona. :)

I love being a missionary. Even in 115 degrees, it is worth every minute. Our mission had it's two-year anniversary party just this morning. It's been two years since the Arizona Gilbert mission was created! Back then, it was an experimental mission to see how successful we could be with SO MANY MISSIONARIES in such a small geographical area. We've thrived and flourished so much by now that there are other missions being patterned after ours. It's been incredible to be a part of it all. And it's strange to see the days repeating - this is my second June, second mission anniversary party, second 4th of July coming up. I remember it was this time last year that I'd gotten stung by a scorpion. I was so young then and just a timid little missionary. I felt like I was in over my head.
Well... not much has changed, actually. xD I still feel young and shy, and I still feel like I'm in over my head. But I have changed a great deal. I have learned to persevere through difficult times, because I know they don't last. I know I won't drown in my trials. I know the Savior has overcome the world! (see John 16:33) I know better now, how real the Savior's atonement is. I know the most glorious Being in the universe, with all His power and might, loves us imperfect little children more than we can comprehend. I know prayer makes impossible things possible. :) I've seen it.

I love you all, I really do. This is going to be a long hot summer, but it will be worth every broken moment. It always is, when you're pursuing the work of the Lord. :) Have the best week of your lives!

Love, Sister Bethany Ball