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, March 2, 2011

Blisters, tests, rain, and miracles

Well, this week was defintely a different one for me. This last sunday was the first week I haven't had a baptism. It's defintely a blessing that I can say this, not because we didn't have one, but because we've been so blessed to have ones all those other weeks. We had 2 ladies that could have been baptised, but one of them randomly decided to leave and travel for a week or two, and the other one decided she didn't want to pay tithing or live the law of chastity... Hmm, go figure right? Haha. But oh well, luckily in Brazil when you lose and investigator, it just gives you more time to go find new ones. This past week Elder Fife and I found TONS of new people. Sunday was definitely a test for us though, because we woke up that morning with 14 PEOPLE to get for church. This was by far a record for me, 14 people saying they'll come to church is seriously unheard of! We woke up so excited and just so ready to work. We left at about 7 am, and to make a long story short... only 1 person came to church. All 13 other people either didn't answer the door, decided to leave and travel, didn't wake up, or in one lady's case "decided it was easier to go to the church down the road" AAAH! Talk about the biggest let down ever!! Aww man it was so tough. We had done EVERYTHING possible to get these people to church, and then the gift of agency took it's toll and we lost them :( It was really hard recovering from a hit like this, but one thing I've learned is when people fall like this, what's going to get us new people faster: Giving up and not working? Or continuing to knock doors, teach lessons, and find new people that will actually progress. Obviously the latter, so that's what we did. The Lord truly was testing us because between sunday night and monday afternoon, we found some amazing people. One family is a married couple named Hederson and Eva, with two kids ages 5 and 2. The dad had seen missionaries walking in the street plenty of times, but never had had the guts to ask what they were doing. The first lesson went AMAZINGLY with them. They were saying things like "Man this is what I've been looking for for SO long!" and "I didn't even realize that a church needs the authority of God to act!" and Eva even said, "This is perfect because I know for a certainty that the pastore that baptized me didn't have authority." It was almost too good to be true. We gave them the Book of Mormon and just quickly explained that we would teach about it the next time, and that it was a proof of what we were teaching. We went back yesterday, and before we even taught anything, Eva was talking about how she'd read and understood a lot of the BoM, had prayed about it, and already knew it was true. Then she went off talking about how cool it was when Nephi killed Laban and all this other stuff like that. After one visit she had already learned for herself the reality and truthfullness of the BoM, and had already read till like chapter 10. Talk about golden elect, what a blessing. This is seriously one of those families that we have little or no doubt will one day be sealed in the Temple, and Hederson even said that he wants his kids to grow up and be missionaries. I can't even explain how much of a blessing this family is, and we are so so so excited to continue teaching and helping them to get baptized. It is just the most amazing feeling when someone taps into the importance and value of this gospel so much like this, ah I love it. We don't know if we'll have a baptism this sunday, but the week after regardless is going to be absolutely amazing!! I am so blessed to be a part of this work. I'm learning so much about me, about the gospel, and about the Savior every day. I couldn't ask for more blessings than what I'm getting now. The language is coming a lot faster, I'm getting a lot more used to the culture, I'm learning how to teach better, it's amazing. I've been getting blisters about every day in the same spot on my feet lately, but really little blisters are a small price to pay for this work aren't they? :) Always focus on the rewards and blessings we are promised and I know we'll never lose hope. Never. I love this gospel and our Savior Jesus Christ with all my heart. This gospel and the light it brings is so priceless! I love being a missionary!! I love you all my friends and family, thank you for your prayers and support!
Hurrah for Israel!!
  -Elder Ballard

Bit o Brazil -
 I haven't done one of these in a few weeks, so this will be kinda big :) Here in Brazil all the little kids are HUGE on flying kites. They don't just like it, but they're really skilled at it too. Also, to make it even more intense, they make a mixture out of crushed up glass and glue, and coat the kit strings with it. Then, when multiple kites are flying in the air, the kids have "Kite Wars" and maneuver the kites into each other's strings and cut the other people's kites down!! Once a kite is cut it's free game for whoever can get it. So crazy :D Even more crazy, sometimes the kite strings get strewn over powerlines and roads and stuff, so the motorcycles here have a thing that looks like an attenae on the front, and it protects the rider from getting his neck cut from dangling glass string :D Crazy eh? Also, I saw a mistranslated shirt here that was going for "Kiss me baby!" but it said, "Kiss my baby!" Haha, I got a good chuckle out of that :)

- BIGGEST lightning bolt I've ever seen in my life. It hit like 500 feet in front of me... It burned out the lightbulbs in the house we were waiting in.. Absolutely insane! I couldn't stop shaking for about 10 minutes!!

Thanks to former Brazilian missionary and big brother Austin for the explanation of groceries!
  Redge said it all cost like $12

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