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 13, 2011

Week of Traveling, and Amazingly Humble Family Found!

'Nother week already gone... It's blowing my mind how fast the time is passing recently. Seriously, the weeks are truly passing like days for me now.

  Well, this was kinda a weird week cuz we had quite a few interviews to do, so this last week was super slow with regards to the work. Seriously it was like every other day we were leaving on a bus at 10 o clock and not getting back to work till 6. It's kinda taken its toll on the work sadly, but I know the Lord isn't gunna let something like that get in the way of the salvation of his lost sheep.
 Last sunday started out kinda annoying cuz the 3 people we have to be confirmed ended up not making it to church :( It's a huge bummer cuz every week that happens it's just one more week for Satan to try and attack them. Luckily they're all strong to go this next week. When we got to chruch though we met this guy who was there visiting the church with his 6 year old daughter. We marked to go visit his house after church and found out that he lives like WAY out in the middle of nowhere, but at least there was a bus we could take to get out there close. We went there later that day and found out that he's the Dad of 5 kids, and all 7 of them (counting the mom) live in 1 ROOM in the middle of the woods basically. The place they live reminds me a lot of Moody Meadows, it's not really the normal amazon type-forest that you usually see, it's a lot more dry and dusty, so a lot more like the forests in the US. Anyways, the 5 kids are 12, 10, 6, and then they have twin 2 year olds. So we walked through the woods and arrived at the house. He was really excited to see us and it was seriously such a humbling and amazing experience meeting this family. The dad is a super hard-working guy that knows how to do about anything with construction. He built their house, dug there well (which goes down about 36 feet.... I still can't understand how he dug it.) is building their bathroom, built a bridge, just all this amazing stuff. When we got there he was chopping wood for their fire, and his 2 little two year olds were running around with just shirts, aka barefoot and pantless running around in the forest. We found out that they've already found and killed about 15 snakes close to their house... so that's the part that worries me. The little kids are all pretty dirty, except for the 6 year old that obviously took a bath so she could go to church :) While we were there the mom heated up water over a camp fire and gave the two little guys a bath. Everything was just astounding to me. They live without runnning water, without light or electricity, without a sewer (luckily the bathroom the dad's making will let them have this at least) and even with all this they are all just SO happy!!! I'll try and get a video of the two little boys, cuz while we were there they were chasing chickens around the yard, and then when a couple chickens flew/climbed up into a shrub, the two of them clumsily grabbed long sticks and tried to attack the chickens :D It was one of those things where I was laughing and almost crying just cuz of how humbling everything was. These little kids don't have toys or even electricity, but every one of them is so stinking happy with just running around playing with each other. Elder Da Rosa and me about died laughing when the two little guys realized that their sticks weren't long enough, so they ran to the other side of the yard, one picked up a brick, and the other got this tiny little 10 inch tall stool, and they both brought the stuff over to the tree to try and be taller :D Man... all this was exactly what I was needed. I had been a little discouraged because of the lack of work we had had, but just realizing how much a have to be greatful for and how happy these people are with seriously almost nothing, I realized how bad they need the gospel. After talking with them for a while about their situation and the church and all, we taught them the Restauration, and the family accepted the invite to prepare for baptism!! Sadly the parents aren't married so they won't be able to be baptized on the 24th, but either way I am so so excited to see their progress together.
  I am so grateful to have the privelege of seeing a situation like this... I've been SO humbled to see the way that some people live. Watching them understand more about the gospel and what this actually will do for them was so cool to see how much hope it gave for them. I'm praying so hard that all will go well with them and that the marriage can go through quickly so they can begin their spiritual journey and start receiving the blessing the Lord has for them. Especially with this family I'm really beginning to feel a lot more of that love that God has for each one of us. It didn't matter that that family was living in such simple and humble circumstances, it was still so obvious that they felt God's love for them and the Light of Christ was so obvious in their eyes. All I can say is I hope that with time I can develop more and more of the kind of love and charity that I know God has for all his children. I'm so grateful for this gospel and the way that it helps each and every one of us. Thank you all for your support and all that you do every day to help others. As I see the way that the members of the Chruch here help others, I know that all over the world the same simple but amazing work is going on. I love you all!!! Thank you for your prayers, I truly do feel the strength that comes from them. Hurrah for Israel!!!
   -Elder Ballard

 Bit o Brazil - With all this traveling that we've been doing, we are constantly taking buses. Near the bus stations they always have like 5 of these sketchy guys calling out destinations of where they're going. So they always shout to us "BH jovens?" Which means "Belo Horizonte (the main city that we go to usually once a week) young men?" and at first we'd just ignore them and all, but since it's just gotten more and more annoying, I will usually just say straight out to them (in English obviously) "I don't understand spanish!!!!" And it usually makes them hush up :)

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