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, June 8, 2011

Nother pday and another transfer! Left Itabira with a bang :)

Transfers always seem to come faster that I'm expecting... Here in this mission President Parrella always encourages us to think in months, not transfers so we don't get burned out and get lazy at the end of it, so it was weird when all the sudden the transfer ended.

Mom - Actually Mom my piano playing kinda died out with time. The Branch President plays hymns by ear and so after the branch got tired of me only being able to play hymns without flats or sharps, he offered to start playing piano again :) So sadly my piano practicing days are over for now. Itabira has a weird set up, cuz it was closed for almost 2 years, and before that (from what the members there say) the missionaries that were there were slackers, at least the majority. One member said that with missionaries they were having like 1 baptism per YEAR, and without missionaries they were having about that same number... It's really wierd. From what I know though they have about 400 inactive members here in this area which absolutely blows my mind. I have no idea how they baptised that many people and they all went inactive. Really strange huh?

 Well, last week (actually last pday after emails and all) we had an awesome baptism of a young man named Gabriel. Gabriel is the nephew of an RM here in the branch, and he'd been to church quite a few times, and just hadn't had the missionaries talk to him. So after talking to Alex (the uncle) we started teaching him, and even just being 11 years old he was super prepared from the start. We had to get authorization from his mom who doesn't live with him which ended up being suprisingly easy with God's help in the mom accepting us going to her house, and seriously everything just turned out swimmingly. It's really cool seeing someone so young get baptized because yes, it doesn't directly effect the branch's growth in regards to priesthood, but just knowing that in 8 years he'll go somewhere and serve a mission just gets me pumped up. Amazing the way the Gospel helps people regardless of age or situation.

 During the rest of the week we've been teaching Patricia (the lady who received her answer about the Book of Mormon while she was kneeling with us) and she had some doubts about how big of a covenant being baptized is and how she was scared of breaking the commandments afterwards. It was kinda frustrating cuz we'd taught everything as good as we possibly could, and it was just the matter of her putting her faith to the test and going for it. It was kinda cool though because towards the end of the week we started focusing on how the baptism would directly bless her and her situation. I can't remember if I already said, but she's 25 with 3 kids (the oldest one is already 7) and she's working and trying to raise them all at the same time, so it's pretty tough for her. Explaining how she would have the guidance of the Spirit to raise and protect her children really caught her attention, and then on saturday we got a text saying that she would be baptized on sunday :) So on sunday we had 3 confirmations and the baptism of Patricia, and the Spirit was amazing. After church we were talking with Rayandra Sabrina and Gabriel, and all of them had already had some sort of guidance of the Spirit in making some decision. Man this work is amazing.

 Well, Monday night me and Elder Fávaro were talking and saying how it looked like we were going to be sticking together for another 6 weeks, and seriously 3 minutes later we got a call from President saying that I would be transferred to a city called Sete Lagoas (being translated, Seven Lakes)!! I was kinda happy kinda sad cuz I absolutely love Itabira, but now that I'm here in Sete Lagoas I'm really excited to work here. My companion is Elder Da Rosa, and he's from Rio Grande do Sul, which is in Southern Brazil. Weirdly enough he told me that his family (or at least part of it) lives in REXBURG!!! Dad or someone look up this street: Aries Drive, cuz he says his family lives there! What a coincidence huh? Such a ridiculously small world. I'll find out more about why they're there and what they're doing and all, but how weird will it be if he can come to my homecoming or something, sheesh. Anyways, this area looks awesome. It's a really member-ful city, and even has a stake here. This will be my very first area to actually have a chapel so it'll be good having that finally. It's really weird getting so used to an area, especially one that you open like I did, but I'm stoked for this area, from what Elder Da Rosa says it's gunna be a very successful place. It's really cool recently cuz the way we're learning to teach now is helping us really help people have strong bases for their testimony. Truly understanding how to receive personal guidance through the Book of Mormon and prayer and stuff, so it's really a whole different work because it's not just, BAPTISE! BAPTISE!! but actually helping people change their lives and truly have a whole new life to look forward to. I know that this Church is true, and every day in studies or in some situation I learn even more and more how this gospel has so much power to change lives. We are constantly telling people here how this gospel and the Book of Mormon truly will help us prepare for the Second Coming, and I can testify that this is true. The Lord and Savior will come someday, and I can't even express how happy and grateful I am to spread this preparation for those other people who are looking for this happiness. I love this gospel, and I hope the Lord continues to bless all of you with whatever blessings you might be in need of. You're all in my prayers! Hurrah for Israel!!!

  -Elder Ballard

    Pictures didn't work :(

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