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 9, 2011

Chicken feet and hearts, carnival, and 6 MONTHS?!!?

Everytime I sit down to write I can't believe it's already been another week...

Well, another week without a baptism sadly... The golden families we had randomly decided to travel or have work on sunday :( The hardest part with this area is definitely church. The people here are SO poor, and since the church is in a different area, they have to pay R$1.75 (roughly 1 dollar) for the bus fare, and seriously a lot of people can't afford that every week :( It's been so sad to see, because SO many people that were baptised here have gone inactive just because of conditions like that... It's been such a heartbreaker cuz us missionaries know what they're missing and some people just can't see the blessings that are sitting there waiting for them. It's been raining like no other this whole week, so that's slowed it down too. Along with this, this week was Carnival. Carnival is basically like a week long marti-gra, and luckily here in Minas Gerias it isn't big at all (If i remember right, didn't you have to stay inside during that week Aust?) but a lot of people traveled for it. So, it looks like this next week should really pick up cuz everyone will actually be here for sunday and stuff. I'm really excited for it.
 So some really fun stuff happened this week: Last sunday I ate my first chicken foot! It was actually much better than I expected, but nonetheless very odd :) The taste was awesome, consistency a little weird, but it was good. The only parts that grossed me out were the fact that my companion just said, "Just pick it up by the knee and suck!", the fact that I could use the foot as a fork to move around my other food (haha... I stopped doing that right after I instinctively did it) and the worse part was when the thumb fell off in my mouth... Bleeeck. Finger... err, toe lickin' good! Stupid pun sorry. I also had about 15 chicken hearts at a restaurant, but those are actually very good, and I had had them at Tucanos before. So this next week will be my 6 MONTH MARK! AH!! I can't wrap my mind around that... so crazy. I also realized that last week a turned 19 and a half... that sure went quick. I will never be able to understand time.
 Even though this week was hard, i sure have learned and am still learning a lot. During a member visit, Elder Fife shared a really cool insight. His dad went to israel a while ago, and learned something really cool about shepards there. When one sheep leaves the flock and gets lost, the shepard will go and look until he finds it. When he finds it, the shepard will actually break one of the sheeps legs, and then carry the sheep on his shoulders. The shepard then carries the sheep around for about 2 months until the leg heals, and then after that the sheep will never leave the shepard because he's learned how dependant he is on the shepard. Is that not an amazingly sybolic story of our relationship with Christ? When we stray the path, sometimes we are hit with some of the hardest trials ever, and this is to humble us. Then we are nursed back to health and safety by Christ the Shepard, and afterwards, we should truly learn out dependance on him. I'm beginning to absolutely love symbolism, it lets you learn SO much. I also read a cool thing this week about how in Christ's time, there was a man who asked to be His servant, but wanted to go back and bury his dad who had just died, and then return to serve Christ. Then Christ said, "He who putteth his hand to the plough, and turneth to look back, the same is not fit for the kingdom of Heaven." With me being on a mission, this really just hit me how i need to be COMPLETELY focused in this work. 100% This had really helped me to forget about the dumb things that don't matter that I  was holding onto and letting drag me. With all of us though, we need to think this way with our bad habits or old natural man ways. We seriously need to just learn to drop those things that are holding us down, and serve the Lord. I know that this is where i'm supposed to be, and I love it. Even though every day is hard and has plenty of trials, I love it. I'm learning so much and the Lord is shaping me so much, and nothing could feel better than having Him change me. I love you all, thank you for all that you do.
Hurrah for Israel!!
 -Elder Ballard
This little mushroom is growing in our bathroom door! Our apartments weird...
This little plant is growing in our dishrag :D shows how often we clean...

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