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!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hello my dear family and friends!! Holy cow this last week has been so hard not having an email sent... I don't know why it drove me so crazy but I just have SO much to talk about in this new country. I'll respond to last week's emails as well today.
 Aust - Firstly, what is farinha? I don't really recognize names of food yet cuz people usually just give me food and I eat it. Don't ask the name all that often :P Also, I ate a coxinha last week!! Holy deliciousness!! I absolutely loved it! I love all the new food here, I'm constantly asking Elder Fernandes what stuff is and what it's called and all that. I'm actually keeping track of all the new stuff I try in the back of my planner. As of now its got a lot of kinds of sorvette and suco, with star ratings and little notes on flavors and stuff. With the language, I've gotten smashed with the accent of the people here! They leave off halves of words, talk fast, slur it together, it really has been one of those "this isnt the language I learned it the MTC" experiences :) I'm experiencing a similar deal with missing home. With you it was in the morning right? With me its the afternoon that gets me, I'm not sure why. It's of course getting better with time though. So I have a really cool thing to ask you, I was in the office the other day and one elder was talking about Bahia. I asked him and he said that's where he's from, and then showed him a picture of you and he said he saw you!!! I'm not sure if he actually knew you or had just seen you, but his name is Elder Carneiro, and he was in the ala Serrinha, estaca Kalilanelia. Ring any bells? It'd be crazy if you somehow remembered him. Nother question, my comp and I have been comparing names of american movies, and one that I can't figure out is a movie called "Nem Que a Vaca Tuça" which translated is Not even that a cow coughs, or something like that. Anyways I'm curious if you have any idea what movie :D  Haha, I can't wait to see this training video, and it sounds like Premeire is working well. Thanks for making the list for me too, I've already started up a list of places to eat, movies to watch, threadless shirts to make, animations to make, it's really fun.
 Mom - Thanks so much for making a blog Mom! That made me really happy to hear that some people had checked it out, especially the guys in the grade below me. I would love to influence anyone possible to go on a mission :) It was SO good to hear that about Hannah!! I sent an email to Elders Batt and Lindsay, and they told me that Janele was baptized the day before too!! Talk about amazing blessings!! That made me happy to hear that Hannah wanted me to baptize her, after showing her that picture of us at the temple and having that amazing experience it really seemed to open her up to the gospel. So good hearing that so many people were there and that the baptism went so good! That is seriously just the best thing I could possibly hear. As for my lack of a letter last week I'm so sorry!! Ah... that killed me when it didn't send. I've found that writing letters/emails is really a big stress relief for me, and it makes me realize all the blessings I've received, and I love how the sharing of missionary experiences helps other people as well. So luckily we're in a higher quality lan house today and its going much better :) 

Sandra's baptism!
   Alrighty!!! Finally get to tell about my adventures here haha. So Brazil is more different than I could have ever imagined. The missionary work is super different, the walking instead of car/bike makes a huge difference, it's crazy. So not this week but the week before was kinda a hard week. It was really setting in that this was my new mission, and that this is where I'm going to be living for the next 20 months. The weather here has been a huge chance for me. Went from the chilliness of a Texas winter (got below 30 like once i think, so not even bad compared to Rexburg of course) to the Brazilian summer. The temperature is in Celsius here, but from what I can tell, a few days it's been 38 degrees celcius, which goes to about 100 degrees... And the humidity is a killer with that kind of heat. My body sweats pretty bad as it is, and basically ever since I've gotten off the plane I've been wet. That's been kinda annoying for me, but with time it's basically gotten normal :) The walking has been really hard to get used to as well. My feet are burning by the end of the day, and we walk about 15 or 20 miles each day. Add the heat onto that and it gets pretty exhausting. Anyways, last week was tough just cuz of how everything just seemed to all hit me at once. I wasn't sleeping very well, I was exhausted, the language is pretty slow coming still, I can't talk with my companion all that much, it was pretty overwhelming. Last friday though we had an amazing miracle happen. Ronan and Renata have a sister named Sandra, and she's been going through the whole process with the family. She was accepting everything, accepting to follow all the commandments, even got interviewed and passed. But a couple days before he baptism she just randomly didnt have the desire to be baptized. Anyways, on friday we went over to visit the family, and out of nowhere she told us she'd been thinking and decided she wanted to be baptized!!

 So last saturday we baptized Sandra! And then on sunday confirmed the 3 siblings! That was so cool to see a whole family come together like that and become members :) So weirdly enough, even with the baptism and confirmations, my attitude was still pretty bad. Just having the Houston mission become the norm for me and then totally swapping my world upside down to the style of Brazil was killing me. But then one morning, I had one of the best studies I've ever had. I read the scripture about how  "All things will work together for your good" and then a quote from Elder Scott about something to the effect of "We need to thank God for giving us struggles, because this is what helps us grow." These two things together hit me SO hard. I realized that all things only work for our good IF we let them. It all hit me at once that all these struggles and hard aspects of the work here are shaping me into a totally different person, and that if I take them in a positive way, I can truly become the missionary the Lord is trying to shape me into becoming. This has totally reshaped my attitude towards the work here. I absolutely love it now and am finding so much joy in this journey. This past week has been wonderful. Randomly during the week I started getting really bad nosebleeds that I couldn't stop, during lessons, while walking, really random. So I ended up going to a nose doctor in Belo Horizonte and getting my nose cauterized :D Surprise!! Haha it was pretty crazy having all that happen while only being able to understand certain parts of what was going on. Every since then my nose has been fine and everything else has been great. So this last sunday, amazingly enough, we were able to baptise 2 MORE people!! There names are Douglas and his mom Iony. They have a family with 8 kids (just like us, and just like Elder Fernandes :) ) and they truly are elect. They understood everything so well and have been keeping up on reading and praying and everything so well. I baptized Douglas and it was so special. He was SO excited when he came out and both of them were just glowing. The Lord is blessing this area so so much, and I guess in January the total for baptisms here was 8! So cool! It's taken me a while to get used to the different style of work here but now that I've getting more used to it I'm really beginning to love it. The people here are great and I love working with them. I don't know what all I have/haven't talked about, so next email make sure to ask specific questions if I've forgotten to talk about stuff. Anyways, the Lord loves all his children so much. It's been so amazing for me to see the entire process of baptism happen these last 2 weeks with Douglas and Iony. I love this church and this work so much. I'm so blessed to be able to be a missionary!! Thank you all for all you do! Your prayers and support are more appreciated than you know! The Church is true and is so beautiful! I miss you all and love you all, but I know this is where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing. Hurrah for Israel!
-Elder Ballard

Bits of Brazil -
The napkins here are such a joke. They're made out of the same stuff as the popcorn bags at movie theatres :D
Rock n roll here is pronounced: Hock e hole. I cracked up the first time I heard that.
Wax paper here is called Papel Manteiga, which translates out to be butter paper.
A member had a Liahona from the early 90s. Great picture eh? :P
We found this little guy when we were cleaning the font.

Douglas and Iony! And they are a lot happier than they look.


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