Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Email Where I Prepare For The East Coast Hype

Hey everyone!

Wow, the time has really flown by so fast! I have been here for over 5 weeks, and it's just about time for me to leave! I fly out of Salt Lake City on Tuesday the 22nd around 8ish, and I get into Baltimore around 3:25 PM. I'm not sure when I will write next, but it might be around the 28th. I'll be assigned to an area within the Baltimore mission, which extends from Baltimore and parts of the  coast to Maryland all the way to the rural farms of Virginia/West Virginia/Pennsylvania. So there's good chance that I could end up in the middle of nowhere for my first area. But I am so excited, and I know that I will have a purpose wherever I am assigned because God has a plan for me. One of the big things that I have learned in the MTC is to just trust in God and completely submit yourself to Him and His will. You all know me pretty well, so you know I can be pretty stubborn/stupid at times, so it was sort of hard at first to completely allow myself to fully trust my life into the hands of God. But during my time at the MTC I've worked hard to allow God to "mold me" into the missionary that I'm supposed to be, and I've really seen the blessings that have and will come from me submitting myself to His will and plan for me.

MTC District

The Spanish is coming along! It's gotten to the point where I can read pretty well, and my reading comprehension and pronunciation is getting a lot better. However, listening and speaking with consistency and being able to summon the verbs and conjugations that I need still needs a lot of work, but I know that will all come with time/practice.

Just real quick, it was awesome to hear that Marcus Mariota had a great debut in the NFL! It was such a blast and pleasure to watch him play in college at the University of Oregon. I still love my Ducks and am so happy that I went there for my first year of college!

Well that's about it! I would probably suggest not to put any letters for me in the mail now, because by the time they get here I might already be gone. But when I write again I will give my next address and you can send me letters there!

I love you all, and I know that God loves every single one of you so much. I know that his son, Jesus Christ, came to earth and died for us, so that through his Atonement when can repent and overcome any mistakes that we have faced/will face in our lives. John 3:16-17 just really puts it simply. I love you all, and I love to hear from each and every one of you.

God Bless and Go Ducks,

Elder Ball

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Email Where I learn a Lotta Spanish

Hola everyone!!

I officially have been at the MTC for over a month, and I have under 2 weeks left. The time really has flown by, and I am excited to get my travel plans tomorrow, but I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. My Spanish has grown so much, and I can truly say that during my lessons we teach, God blesses his Missionaries who haven't  spoken the language for longer than a month with the ability to understand and speak in a foreign language. I am nowhere near fluent outside of my lessons, but day by day the progression has been so fun to experience. 

Other than class, not much has really happened here. There has been a wildfire nearby, so we got a lot of heavy smoke on day recently from that fire, but it has been clear recently. I got a new companion, Elder Sheppard, who is heading to Trinidad, an island in the Caribbean. He has been at the MTC for his six weeks already, but will be here with me for the next two weeks because his transfer dates did not match up. He's a great guy who has moved around a lot in his life, but recently lived in Virginia. 

I got to get my Remicade infusion for my Crohns Disease today, which meant I finally got to leave the MTC campus for the first time in about a month. And the first thing that I see as I walk into the waiting room is Justin Beiber on the TV, singing his new #1 song that I didn't know. It was the weirdest thing. In just a month he looked so much different. Time moves so fast here. It's so funny/scary how hidden from the world missionaries at the MTC are. We have no idea what is going on in the world. 

I don't have much time today to write, but I know that I am here preparing to do the Lord's work. I cannot wait to get out to the Baltimore mission and just work, work, work. 

I love you all, and please continue to write and email, I love hearing from all my dear friends!!


Elder Ball

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Email Where...Not Much Happened

Hola familia y amigos!

It's been a real quick week, and yet not much has happened during it. Basically a lot of Spanish study, investigator teaching, and cereal. Seriously, I cannot get over this food.

Since it's been slow, I'll share my most embarrassing story so far. So it was my first investigator lesson, all in Spanish, on my third day here. Recipe for disaster, We were teaching about the importance of prayer, and I felt inspired to share a scripture from the Book of Mormon, in the book of Enos. Unfortunately for me, I couldn't remember exactly what verse was about prayer, and it was all in Spanish, and my reading comprehension in Spanish was horrible at the time. So yeah. I meant to share this:

3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.
4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.
5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
6 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.
7 And I said: Lord, how is it done?
8 And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ,whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.

And I accidentally shared this:

20 And I bear record that the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God. But our labors were vain; their hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature that they became wild,and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents, and wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girdle about their loins and their heads shaven; and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax. And many of them did eat nothing save it was raw meat;and they were continually seeking to destroy us.

I could tell something was wrong after he had read, and he got this weird look on his face, almost like he was trying to hold laughter back. After the lesson we went back and checked the scripture in English and we had a nice long laugh at my expense. It was embarrassing, but it was my first lesson, so not a huge deal. Hopefully that's as bad as it gets haha.

On Tuesday the MTC had the chance to hear from Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He gave a great talk about the plan of salvation, and how wonderful the news it that there is plan for us, and that it extends before and after our time on earth. It is wonderful that families can be sealed for time and all eternity, which is a message that is so special to our church. It was also cool to hear that the other 14 MTCs were either watching live or on tape delay.

The other 14 are as follows:

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Santiago, Chile
Bogota, Columbia
Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic
Acera, Ghana
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Mexico City, Mexico
Auddand, New Zealand
Lima, Peru
Manila, Philippines
Johannesburg, South Africa
Madrid, Spain

It would be so sick to travel to each one of the MTCs after my mission. Definitely a travel goal.

It is amazing to see the gospel being taught all around the world, and I know that it's message, centered around Jesus Christ, is true. We all make mistakes, and have our problems, but through Christ and His atonement and Resurrection, we can change ourselves, no matter what.

Elder Ball's MTC Branch. He's looking good in the center in his gray suit and flashy blue tie.

I love you all! Please keep writing to me and enjoy your September!

Elder Ball