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, July 6, 2011

Conferences, I'm "growing", and some weird little... sightings :)

Only good things to report this week! It's been kinda a unusual week in relation to schedule, but it's been great!

Well, this past week we had some zone meetings/trainings and conferences so it kinda interupted the normal work a little, but it's been awesome learning so much. First of all, the baptism of Gisele was wonderful!! It was awesome having Caios there to support her and enjoy the sweet spirit of baptism again already. It's such a satisfying feeling when you baptise more than one person, be it a family or be it friends like these two, you just know that they'll be there for each other to help each other in the process. It was a cool miracle that happened there at the baptism as well cuz for some reason, not even one member from the ward could make it on a wednesday night :/ So we ended up inviting another companionship of missionaries that work close to our area to come and support her too. Anyways, they ended up bringing one of their investigators, who ended up being one of Gisele's close friends that none of us even knew about :D So now it looks like that friends is progressing to be baptized in a couple weeks! So cool!!! I love the way the Lord works. The other baptism this week was Junior!! I sent the picture of him with the picture of when his parents were baptized, so this week he finally was able to join the family also! It was really amazing how things went with him, because he wasn't able to be baptized earlier because he wasn't legally married, only living with his "wife". But we realized that being married isn't the pre-requisite to being baptized, it's living the Law of Chastity. So, we invited him to seperate from his girlfriend and move in with his parents, and he accepted!!! It's incredible how much power the spirit has in conversion of these people!! I'm so excited for him... Now being all 3 of them baptized, they'll all be a huge force in helping each other progress in someday going to the temple :)
  Well, besides the work here it's been kinda a funny time lately. Here in Sete Lagoas, the members are really strong and love the missionaries, so this means that the lunches here are wonderful. Also, this is like one of the only cities in the mission that doesn't have hills... These two factors combined means... yup, I'm getting fat haha. Obviously not huge or anything, but my gut is sadly developing :/ It's really obnoxious actually because there's not a whole lot I can do haha. I'm doing excercizes and all, but when you have lunch planned every day, don't have any hills to challenge you, it just kinda happens I guess. Oh well though, I still have the next 14 months to be switched to a "skinnier" area. This week I saw some cool/crazy things as well: I saw a flock of parrots fly over me, talk about beautiful. Bright green and red, it was awesome. I also saw a beer truck that flipped over (not rolled over but literally endo'ed, back over front) and spilled glass and beer ALL over the road, it stunk so bad. I saw a lady walking down the street with a machete in one hand and 4 large steak knives in the other... who know's where she was heading :) Right after that I saw a drunk guy sitting on the curb playing one of those antelope horns (like the one grandpa Ballard had in his basement) I love Brazil so much :D
 Well, this week I've been realizing that the Lord is truly beginning to shape me, especailly internally. Not in just what I do as a missionary, but a lot of what I think and feel. I've been really focusing lately on keeping my thoughts a lot more focused on spiritual things and less on stuff like home or friends or etc. Anyways, for really long periods of time I've been able to consistently keep a hymn "playing" in my head, and the difference it's made has been incredible. I'm beginning to realize that doing this is truly changing my inner desires. One of my struggles during the mission has been trying to subdue desires to watch TV, be with friends, draw things not pertaining to the work, etc. Anyways this week I've found that I'm truly beginning to change these desires. You all know the me before the mission, insanely social, always wanting to go on dates and hang out with friends, always drawing, animating, computering, etc. Anyways, I've truly been feeling these desires die down this week. Clealy one of my greatest joys is still receiving a letter and picture from someone I haven't heard in from a while :) But the actual desire that used to be almost nagging is finally being subdued. I truly am feeling like I'm becoming clay in the Lord's hands. Before I was all dry and hard, not allowing the Lord to do what He wanted. Now though as I've focused more on subduing myself to His will rather than mine, it's been amazing the changes that are happening. Wow this letter's a big'uhn, but I love this work. I love this life, and I love being a missionary. My old companion Elder Fife goes home this next wednesday so it was weird saying goodbye to him, I can't believe how weird others ending their missions seems. I'm so grateful to still have so much time left to improve and try to become what the Lord wants. Thank you all for you love and support, hurrah for Israel and I hope the Lord is granting you all the blessings you need! You're all in my prayers. Hurrah!!!!
 -Elder Ballard

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