Welcome to the blog of Elder Redge Ballard!

Redge has gone from planning to fly to the Brazil MTC, to driving to the Provo MTC, to the Houston Texas Mission, and now finally he has arrived in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. We hope you'll enjoy following his adventures in sharing the restored Gospel to those he meets!

Friday, January 21, 2011

December 13th

Me and Elder Lindsay eating ice cream on December 8th.  What a joke this weather is.

Isn't this legit? Best tree topper I've seen!
Hello everyone!! Great hearing from you all this week! Thanks so much for the Christmas package! Those ornaments are absolutely perfect! I love getting something from each person :) I just love how unique everyone is... My companions and the other elders all were confused about the lawnmower one from dad, bahaha I love it.  

Well everyone this week has been wonderful!! The week started out with a huge humbler from the Lord. There were 2 people we had tracted into earlier and were heading over there to actually meet with them, and all 3 of us had kinda low expectations just cuz the couple seemed to be kinda a rough-appearance, not religious, type people. So we expected kinda a pity appointment and everything, but headed over there. As we met with them though, they both expressed a huge desire for a change in their life, and the lady even got emotional as she expressed how bad she wanted to live good. The lesson was awesome and just leaving there all 3 of us missionaries realized how we CANNOT judge people by their appearance, and I also realized how the Lord sometimes does give us a chance because he's not going to let my doubt get in the way of someone receiving this amazing gospel, but also how important it is for me to keep my faith strong and to never doubt the potential of anyone. Well, this wednesday was an AMAZING day. We had received a referal named Janelle, and that she supposedly had some questions about the church. We went over there and the Spirit helped us have a very strong lesson. At the end, Elder Batt extended a baptismal date... and SHE ACCEPTED!!! January the 8th!!! We walked out of there beaming with happiness... The way the Lord prepares some people is absoultely astounding. She came to church yesterday and it was so cool to just see someone with a desire like that come to church and feel of the love and spirit that is there. We are all so excited for her, it's just amazing. Later that day we had kinda a mood shift because we were called in to the hospital to give one of our ward members a blessing, as well as visit another less-active who had a son there. Our member wasn't doing too bad and the blessing was great. He's a very nice member who served in the military and was very grateful for the blessing. As we went to visit the sister (she's about 75) we had to go to the ICU. I'd never been in an ICU before that, and man was that a humbling experience. Every since room we walked past had someone, mostly elderly people, sitting in their bed just full of tubes. Tons of monitors, feeding tubes, breathing tubes, beeping, it was extremely sobering. As I walked past everyone, the Spirit made me realize how blessed we members are for having the opportunity of having the comfort of this gospel. Of knowing why we're here and where we're going, and just having access to that comforting power of the Spirit. I had such a strong desire of wanting to just teach all the families of these suffering people... I said a little silent prayer in my heart to thank God for what I do have, and to help those people be comforted and come to the gospel so they can feel the power and happiness we have access to. Never take that for granted because after going into that part of the hospital and feeling the sense of worry and sadness of the people there, it just made me realize so powerfully how much the Atonement really does for us. The older guy we've been teaching (Stan) had a really cool lesson this week too. He has been having very bad back problems and he hasn't been able to even come see what church is like yet cuz he's been kinda bound to his couch and heating pad. As we were teaching him this week Elder Lindsay got a prompting to offer a Priesthood blessing to him, and that was such a neat experience. We kinda gave a basic explanation of what was going to happen, and focuses heavily on the fact that it was completely dependant on his faith. I gave the blessing and it was amazing to me what the Lord wanted to say to Stan. The Spirit was SO strong, and over and over I just realize how much I love the Priesthood. Stan has a lot of faith and is a really good guy so I know that if he truly does believe and does come closer to this gospel that he will be healed. Yesterday finished off the week with an amazing lesson with Hannah. She wasn't able to come to church which was kinda a bummer but luckily we were able to teach her at the Sinclaire's last night to at least give her some of that spiritual boost. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and it was astounding. At the end I pulled out the picture of all of us at the temple and testified of how happy this plan really does make us, and how knowing that plan really is what did bring me out here on my mission. As we all talked and testified with her she even started crying when she talked about a grandma that had died and we helped her realize that she really can see her again and the Spirit was AMAZINGLY strong... Man, I was getting shivers and everything. We asked her if she would like to be baptized and to tell her parents (since she's 17 and we'd need permission) and she's planning on doing that and it was just an amazing lesson. Overall this week has just shown me how much we really do have in this church and how much I take for granted with the Gospel, the Priesthood, the Plan of Salvation, just everything. Never forget how much we have everyone :) This really is the true church, and God really has given us access to the perfect plan to give us complete happiness. I love you all and I hope you all are having a great holiday season! Thank you all for you letters, emails, prayers, and just continually being strong in this gospel!
-Elder Ballard

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