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, April 20, 2011

Miracle week and the busiest sunday ever!

Pineapple here is amazing... soooo fresh
Oh man was this week amazing... But because of travel issues this week I'm just gunna have to burn out an email.

But this week has sure been an amazing one. First of all, since about the second day here in Itabira, we taught this friend of the wife of the branch president named Perpetua. She's a really emotional lady that sadly is very easy to persuade and manipulate, so other pastors and what not have really messed with her head. We tried teaching her about 2 or 3 different times that the Church of Jesus Christ is the only true church that has a truly authorized baptism. She would understand it and all but then the next visit she had been reconfused and we could tell the devil was working his head off trying to ruin her chances of joining the true church. So after those 2 or 3 visits, and a couple blessings of comfort, we felt like we had done all that we could and time would be the only thing that could make the difference needed. So that was kinda a bummer to just cut her. But, like I said last week we've been working with this awesome guy named Marcelino. He's a very simple guy but he's very sincere and really feels the spirit. Like I explained last week, he got yellow fever at 7 and his legs were amputated. Anyways, teaching him about the ressurrection was such an amazing opportunity... Man that was a sweet feeling to see him smile as he imagined running and dancing and swimming, stuff he hasn't been able to do for his entire life. After teaching all the lessons, we set up his baptismal interview for last saturday, and to our dismay the night before we called and he still wasn't home from his trip! Ah!! It's difficult in this area cuz the District Leader has to spend 50R$ and use basically his entire morning to get here, so we needed to know for absolute sure if the baptism was going to happen or not. So me and Elder Huntsman both prayed out hearts out, and at about 10:15 I called him up and he had BARELY made it home and was planning on being interviewed the next day!! OPA!!! If this wasn't good enough, Perpetua has been there at the house talking to Irmã Bel (the branch pres's wife) and out of absolutely nowhere, she told us she wanted to be interviewed the next day to get baptized!! WHAT?!
  So the next day we grabbed Marcelino, he was interviewed, and then Perpetua (who is also insanely shy) told us she wanted to get interviewed, and then be baptized that night so that she didn't have to have a lot of people watch the baptism. The only problem was that she hadn't been taught everything. So after she passed the interview (which took about an hour and a half, poor district leader) we took her to the house and did a 2 and a half HOUR long lesson, and went through everything. Super super frustrating, required a ton of patience and examples, but amazingly enough, the Spirit truly touched her and she was down for baptism! So after many many many ups and downs, we finally took her to the church and she was baptised!!! During the whole time we've taught her she's been a very nervous, anxious, and just in general timid and unhappy lady, but when she came up out of the water, she was literally laughing. Ahh.... best feeling that could possibly ever happen. So amazing. I can't believe the amazing effect that the Lord and the Spirit have on people's lives like that.

 The next day was Sunday, and wow I have never been so busy in my life. We got there to sacrament meeting, and it went like this: I played the opening hymn (btw Mom it's not a church, it's just a lower floor of a building and has a little electronic organ) with plenty of mistakes and it sounded horrible :D Then I stood in on the confirmation of Perpetua (smiling as big as ever =) ) then played the Sacrament Hymn, hopped up, sat in the front row, and then passed the sacrament. Then Elder Hunstman gave a talk, followed by a talk by me, then I played the intermediate hymn, and then the closing hymn. Haha... talk about a calling :D It was a lot of fun to do and help a lot though. I just wish I was better at piano/organ! Anyways, at the end of church, I went with Marcelino to help him get his clothes. We gave him a jumpsuit, and then just tied the legs together at the bottom. We had a really good baptismal service, and then we went to the pool (we don't have a font out here haha) and we helped him get in. I seriously can't even explain how special this was for me to get to do. We had the water really shallow just so that it came up to his neck, and then I just knelt next to him. He was really uncomfortable I could tell (just cuz the water was deep and he obviously can't swim or anything) but he was super excited to get baptised. Almost everyone in the branch came to watch, and the spirit was very strong sitting there waiting for the ok to say the prayer. After the prayer I baptised him, he struggled a little because he wasn't quite used to being in water or being dunked like that, but everything went fine and we only had to do it once luckily :) I was worried that he might have gotten a mouth full of water or something but he came up, sputtered a little bit, and then started laughing. I tell you, when they laugh after a baptism it is the best spiritual high for us missioniaries... The Spirit is just so strong after a baptism!! The branch was super welcoming, everyone shook his hand, welcomed him, or gave him a hug, and man... The Spirit was just amazing.
 It just never ceases to amaze me the power of the work that the Lord is doing out here. I thank the Lord every night for this opportunity, and everyone the reads this, every once in a while just think back to the day you were baptized. It's amazing how much the Spirit can renew those amazing feelings really every week when we take the sacrament. This church truly does change lives, and I can feel the Lord changing me every day out here, as much as I'll let Him :) I think that's one of the biggest things we can all do better on, is just submitting to the will of the Lord. He knows what's best for us, no questions asked. I love this gospel with all my heart, I'm so grateful to the Lord for what we all have, these doctrines and principles truly bring more happiness than ANYTHING else!! Hurrah for Israel! I love you my wonderful family and friends! I always keep you all in my prayers! I hope the Lord is blessing you, and thank you so much for your prayers and letters. Hurrah hurrah HURRAH!!!
 -Elder Ballard

Bit o Brazil - I don't know why or how, but here in Brazil all the dogs eat chicken bones... Seriously everyone feeds them to their dogs. I wonder if they've evolved or something to where they don't choke to death? :P
Elder Helston finally made it to Brazil!!! Him, Elder Bitner, and Elder Ison finally got here after 7 months in the states. I still haven't seen Bitner or Ison

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