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

October 15, 2010

Hello Family!
Man.... day 30 out here. Time is the weirdest thing now because it feels like it was sooo long ago that I said by to everyone, but at the same time every day here seems the same so it feels like no time has passed. Then I think about how much I've learned and how different I am already and realize it's definitely been a while. Thanks everyone for the letters! It's seriously the best to walk into the class after lunch or dinner and see an envelope sitting on my desk :) Also, thank you so much for the packages! Those cookies reminded me so much of home and were delicious. And that jacket came at the perfect time too because it has not been very warm lately... some mornings are so lame. I don't think I would even mind that much except for the fact that I was expecting to go into a hot brazilian spring. I sure hope that my one suit lasts ok, ha, luckily my gray slacks match enough to where I can at least rotate a little bit between them instead of just always using my suit pants. By the way Mom, the penguin tooth brush is a big hit with all the other elders in the district :D
Well, a little bit on Visa news. From what I've heard, there hasn't been any other visas recieved besides those 25 or 30 last week, but earlier this week our district leader told us that the zone leaders were advising us to get our hair cuts because they were assuming we'd be getting our visas soon. So I don't know if they were thinking that for a certain reason or if it was inspiration or what, but we're all crossing our fingers. Also on that they told us we needed to have 200$ in our travel funds... and I can't remember how much is on my card. So Dad or Mom could you check that balance and then if you do have to add some, just make a note and then refund yourselves with my tax return or something :) I doubt we'll have to use that much or anything but I figure the Lord is more likely to answer our prayers for our visas if we're all willing to follow His suggestions for preparation 100%. I'll of course keep you all posted with anymore news or anything on that subject.
So I have to share a funny story that happened this week. Earlier this week I got a letter in the mail from Grandma. I opened it up and it was a card and I wondered if she had put anything inside of it (probably instinct from all the monies I received when I was little) and a news paper clipping came out. I'm not sure if she told you about sending me this at all but it was the announcement of that sister in my district from Texas (the one that was in Holly and Darin's homeward) going on her mission. So in the classroom I sit right next to Sister Hammaker, so I pulled it out and saw that it was her so I just turned to her and handed it to her for her to look at. I guess since we hadn't talked about Holly or anything much she had forgotten that I was related to her, so she got really confused at why in the world I had been sent a newspaper clipping of her in the mail :D So after a minute I finally understood what was going on and realized that she had forgotten that I was related to "Sister Bratsman" so for a second she probably was worried I was creeping on her or something... The whole district got a pretty good laugh out of all that :) After she realized we talked about Andrew and Holly and everything and it was really fun to hear about them from the angle of a fellow wardie. It's still pretty crazy to me that this world is so dang small... crazy stuff.
Alright so my little spiritual thought this week was shared with me by Elder Alexandre. He explained to me about how the parable of the talents applies to really all of us. Specifically with me, I am definitely categorized in the 10 talent servant box. Think about it, I was born in the church, amazing parents, big strong family, lived in super Mormon Rexburg, the things the Lord has given me go on and on and on. At this point I feel like I've lived my life and increased my blessings, and now I feel like this point (being on my mission) is really where the Lord is adding more and more blessing upon me like in the parable. It's such a hopeful and optimistic story for us! All of us have been blessed with so much; I think that even just the fact that we have the Gospel is one of the biggest blessings we could ever ask for. But in the story the Lord added EVEN MORE blessings to those that increased their talents. So that's really been a great thing for me to realize out here because as I've been working hard and being obedient, I'm learning so much faster than I ever could have normally and it's been a huge testimony to me of how the Lord blesses us when we do what He asks and expects of us. Another cool testimony of God's love was earlier this week, a member of my district, Elder Bitner, had to get surgery done. It was the first time he'd ever had surgery so he was really worried of course, but everyone in the district prayed for him and we all helped give him a blessing and stuff. Anyways, now it's like 3 days after his surgery, and he's sitting in this room im typing in, and he walked up the stairs to get here. His recovery has been amazing, it's so cool the kind of blessing and care the Lord gives to his missionaries. Last night I lost my wallet during study, so Elder Alexandre and I knelt down in our room and asked that I could find it (cuz if I didn't have it, we couldn't go to the temple today) and we ran back over to the building, looked in a couple rooms, walked into a classroom, I picked up a picture that was laying on the table and there was my wallet! The Lord is so amazing! Never forget that he loves us all SO much :) He really does and I testify that he answers our prayers and really does guide our lives in every aspect if we listen and pay attention to him.
Thank you all so much for everything my dear family! I really can feel the help of your prayers and your faith. I get a good chuckle (as does my companion) that I fooled all of you with my last email :) Don't worry about that stuff. I'm getting better and better at staying focused and I think the only thing that has been a problem with missing is just stuff like being able to draw more often, but like I've already learned, if I'm willing to sacrifice, the Lord will do his part and make it all good for me.
Eu amo voces muito! Tchau!
-Elder Ballard

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