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

September 24, 2010

Oi again familia!!

So great to hear from you guys! It's been funny because all the other elders in the district got emails last saturday and have been getting letters and everything and I just haven't known at all how anyone back there is doing! But like I said it's great to know you're out there :P
Well... all I can say is time is SO weird. The first week went by SO slowly, and after last sunday, this week has absolutely flown by. Every night we'd all be getting in bed and couldn't believe that the next day was wednesday, or friday, and now here I am on p-day! I'll get the scheduling stuff out of the way first. So, as of right now for the next 8 weeks (or until I head to Brazil) I have the same schedule. So for me p-days are on fridays. The time I get to email is usually some time in the afternoon. Oh! Just for future reference, while I'm here at the MTC, you guys should write me using Dear Elder. I guess it's like you're emailing me normally but it actually prints out a hard copy the day you do it, and that way I could read your letters before I start my 30 minute email time, so I could write more to you. Also with that could you go on my facebook and maybe on my status tell people to write me using Dear Elder too? I just get bummed out when I walk into the classroom and other elders have a stack of 6 letters on their desk and I don't have any :P Haha, it's all good though. It'd just be nice to switch things up.
Anyways back to scheduling. Basically every day I wake up and either have personal study, or go to gym. Gym here is such a blast! Our district all stays together and we play sand volleyball together, and since most of us are all relatively decent at it we get some awesome rallies. Personal study is so good... I cannot believe how much more I learn here than I used too. I used to be so bad at studying the scriptures. I would get on my touch and read like 5 verses or a chapter or something, and go to bed. Now I get like 75 minutes or of solid study time and it is amazing! The only hard thing is sometimes since it's so early I do sometimes have a little bit of a problem staying awake the entire time. I've never flat out fallen asleep but I sometimes doze a little... But the cool thing is, after a couple of days of this and praying that I would have the energy to stay awake, I realized that I was just asking and not really "doing" anything about it. So, I realized that since basically all I'm doing is reading during that time, I began getting up and walking around the room AS i read rather than just sat there dozing off. I've really learned a lot about how the Lord helps us answer our prayers for us. Following that is breakfast, and then we do companion study, or classroom study till lunch. My companion and I have such great studies. He is a very very good "studier" and finds some of the coolest insights in the scriptures. Being able to share what you've learned with someone every single day is an amazing help to learning more in the scriptures.
In classroom we either are taught by Irmao James (or Tiago) or Irma Gonzoles. They both served in Brazil and are amazing teachers. We've already learned SO much in portuguese. I can pray in portuguese, say my testimony, ask some very basic street contact questions, it's SO much fun learning this language. I've had some downer days with it because the sisters are SO fast at learning, as well as a couple Elders (Elder Nelson's grandson being one of them. He's going to my mission which is cool) But, I've realized how I can't compare myself to them and have to focus on my own speed and learning rate and that has been a huge help. We're learning so much about the gospel as well. We already went to the TRC where we basically teach a fake investigator, and we contact them and then teach the first lesson. When me and Elder Alexandre taught it went really well. It was an old guy and it was really cool to get a taste of what it's going to be like out there. I'm just in unbelief that we have so many weeks left here and have already learned so much!!
After lunch we usually have another block of classtime or study, and then it usually goes to dinner. Some days we have other stuff thrown in like Large Group Meetings and stuff but it's awesome how often we study here. I just love how efficient it is here, back home we have like 3-5 hours of "church" time depending on mutual and stuff, and here we have like 70 hour church weeks! It's amazing how much the Spirit here helps as well.
Well, my time's about to run out but I promise I'll write more next week. Especially if i can get your letters through Dear Elder. But I also forgot my planner with some stuff i wanted to tell you guys, as well as my camera. So I'll try and write you guys a letter and send it the old fashioned way so I don't have to wait all the way till next week. And I'll also work on getting pictures to you as well.
Thanks so much for the emails! It was so good hearing from you. Mom- I'm not sure about emails... I guess just maybe have Natalee ask people on facebook. Dad- Thanks for the chuckle... coffee haha.

Love you all so much!! I'll keep doing my best here and just know that I'm constantly striving to be the best missionary I can be. Thanks for your prayers!
-Elder Ballard

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