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