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!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oct. 22nd

First companion, Elder Alexandre

Samuel Smith and Redge Ballard

Hello family!
This past week has been soooo awesome... As always I guess :) First of all thanks for the letters, glad mine made it there without any problems. Thanks for getting my ipod figured out, still no music allowed but I'm glad to at least have that talk on there for later. So I'm curious, how legit do you think that rumor about the calls in Brazil is? I told my companion about it and we're really curious now. Because we were thinking that if that is the case, we'll be some of the last English missionaries to go into there, so especially by the end we'll only have mostly native companions there. Hmm, super interesting. By the way Mom, that'd be great if you could keep the announcements from the newspaper for marriages and what not. Also, would you look over the missionary announcements every once in a while to see if anyone I know is heading out soon or anything? I keep running into random people here at the MTC and I had no idea they were coming, like Kris Toll from the old burton ward, I didn't get to talk to him yet but I'm impressed that he's out here. I'm excited to see what the garage is gunna look like by the time i get back Dad, it'll be kinda like how the basement was the thing that got maxed out for Austin's mission, the garage will be what I see change :D That's crazy about the snow plowing too... I can't even remember the last winter that you didn't do that.
So, some random bits of stuff from this week. A random memory I missed: we were singing in class or something, and for some reason I started thinking about singing and sitting by you all at church, and I miss that! You'll all have to put in some extra singing for me :) We sing a lot here and I really enjoy it. So, we've been playing volleyball a lot still, and I've kinda even figured out a jump serve, crazy eh? I'm so glad they let you do volleyball here. Every week we have these awesome meetings with basically all the missionaries we came in with (i think) and the teacher is a spitting image of Bill Murray!!! His voice even sounds like it and it's so funny to just watch him as we learn. Yesterday we had our first ENGLISH FAST!!! I never thought we would do one so early! It was so crazy... There was a lot of silence and non intelligent conversation but it was so cool to see how much we all already know. I had the worst head ache by the end of the day haha :D I can't wait to learn more of this language!!! Today the last elder is getting a haircut so we're hoping that will let us get our visa finally hah. So one of the coolest things happened earlier this week, our speaker for the devotional was Elder Nelson!! This is super cool in itself, but even better is Elder Helston in our district is his grandson! So we were able to find out like a while before, and none of the district got cool seats or anything but it was one of the coolest things to watch Elder Nelson give him a hug and a kiss and everything. It really made me realize how real the Brethren are. They always seem like un-human or legends or something, and see his face light up when he saw Elder Helston was so touching. During his talk I had the coolest testimony to me of how real and important the apostles and prophet are. In the first lesson we always teach about that being restored and it just hit me SO hard about how true and amazing it is that we have them on the earth! So awesome!! This brings me to another subject that I realized a couple weeks ago but forgot to tell you all about. So one time we learned about how important it is that we represent a lot more than ourselves out here and 5 specific things that I think are really cool about our tags. First of all, our tags have the name Elder on them. The only people that have this as a title are missionaries, and the Brethren themselves. This alone shows how important our calling is, and also shows the examples we should be striving to follow. Next, it has the name of the Church on it. It's not just implied that we're representatives of the church, we flat out tell people that that's who we are. Elder Nelson's wife told us about how we have the prayers of 14 million church members backing us up out here, and it really puts a big responisibility on us to fullfil those prayers and truly represent what the church is about. Third, the tag only has my last name on it. Now it puts responsibility on me to honor my family instead of myself. And even though we aren't related, the last name Ballard has quite the weight as well :D Fourth, the tag DOESN"T have my first name on it. When I became a missionary, I feel like it was kinda like fulfilling the scripture that says, Whoever loses his life shall find it. That's kinda what it felt like I did. I gave up my old like to have a new life as a missionary. Fifth and most importantly, my first name was in effect replaced with Christ's name. I am now a representative of Christ. His glory, which is bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, is now my work and my glory. If I can fully capture this, this is when I will truly be a servant of the Lord. I am so grateful for this call, and I WILL continutally strive to bring honor to the Church, you guys, and most importantly JEsus Christ. I love you all family!! Thank you for your prayers! Have a great week!

-Elder Ballard

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