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, October 26, 2011

Divisions, little bit o' difficulties, but learning a LOT

Dang, such good emails this week, thank you all a ton :) Lotta laughs and feel-gooders.

Aust--Question about Bahia for ya, did you have an época during the year when there was randomly MASSIVE numbers of these big flying ants everywhere? Here they're called tanajuras, but my comp says they even eat them in the Nordeste. Weird though cuz literally every 3 steps I'd step on one... really odd. 

 Alrighty, not a whole lot to report this week. I went on a division and ended up with my recent buddy Elder Cancino again! Ha, he's already speaking portugues better and it was fun seeing how he's growing. We've been having a little bit of difficulty here in our area, but it's helped me learn a few lessons that I wouldn't have otherwise learned, so I'm glad the Lord thinks I'm worth the trouble to send a little bit of trials my way :) I realized this week a lot about how the Lord's way is the only way. Not only as a missionary but with how we live life. My comp and I were having a little bit of a period where we were trying to teach using our own intelligence and knowledge of the scriptures, and without realizing it we ended up simply basing the lessons off of our own strength, AKA never works out here. The Lord didn't interfere obviously, He just kinda let us do our thing and learn for ourselves, and a family we'd been teaching ended up not wanting to go to church to be baptized, another family we had been teaching had a pastor from a different church tell them a load of junk about the Book of Mormon, and it was just a wake up call for us that we can't do this by ourselves. We were doing ok on some things, but had just kind of let ourselves slide into some dumb habits that weren't asking or letting the Lord help us very much. So to make a long story short, we've been humbled and we are now praying, fasting, doing everything we should be, and I am totally certain that it will bring about the results the Lord wants. I've learned as well that we can't ever worry about what will go wrong or what could prevent something from happening because when the Lord asks us to do something or when He makes a promise in the scriptures, our patriarchal blessing, or whatever it might be, we need to just go and do what He asks, without doubt, without fear, without question. Sorry the email was kinda rushed and short today, but I'm doing fine here. I'm excited, I'm healthy (thank heavens haha) and I'm so happy and grateful to do this work. I love the Lord and this Gospel! Hurrah for Israel!!!
 -Elder Ballard

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Water week - falling from the sky, filling the font :) and going through a filter to be drunken

Not cool that it's been two weeks since I've written :( Last pday we got to our area really late and it was also a brazilian holiday so no lan houses were open to send email... Lame wasn't it?

Whew, annoying when I get backed up on emails like this, but I'll try to type my fastest possible haha. So, sunday (the 9th) was a huge miracle. We'd been teaching a family of 4 (grandma, daughter, and two grandchildren) and things were going great until the baptismal interviews. When the grandma, Maria, came out, she said she still had a few problems, and everyone else had been relying on her. If she would baptise, they would too, type deal. So we went back there to their house later that day, fasting and praying non-stop, and tryed to help her resolve her doubts. Nothing seemed to be working and finally the Spirit popped a promise into my head. Instead of just blurting it out, I looked at my comp, and Elder Cancino proceeded to make the exact promise that I had had in my head. We promised her that if she baptized the next day, her health problems would heal, and her entire household would be blessed. She went from being completely worried and anxious and making excuses, to a huge change of heart where the Spirit left her completely calm and peaceful about the decision. The next day proceeded to be the best sunday of my mission. We got to church, and Rui and Fernando were both confirmed. Then, Yago proceeded to receive the Aaronic Priesthood, and his mom Helena recieve a calling as the young women's 1st counselor. I was blown away with gratitude to see all these people staying so firm in the gospel, even with only these few weeks as members. If all this wasn't good enough, after church, Maria, Odete, Vitória, and Fabiano were all baptized. It was such a sweet spirit there seeing 4 people (6 counting us) dressed in white, it actually brought back memories of being inside the temple. It was so amazing... I am so grateful for the change of heart that the Spirit can bring about. What a blessing to be a tool in God's hands.
  The next week I was transferred yet again for a city called Vespaziano (veh-spa-zee-ann-oh) with my new companion Elder Cavalheiro (translated means gentleman haha) and he's awesome. It was honestly very hard leaving Curvelo, I developed a love for that branch and those people so quickly, it was hard to just get up and leave all of the sudden like we did. Anyways, Elder Cavalheiro is from Curitiba (look up that temple on the church's site, it's a spitting image of the Rexburg one) and has 8 or 9 months on the mission .  We've been able to work really well together so far. Our teaching has meshed perfectly and this next sunday should be great. As people we're basically total opposites, but as a companionship we amazing work great together. The ward here is really strong, and I'm loving this city. Our area is one of the biggest on the mission cuz it covers about 3 or 4 cities, Vespasiano, Lagoa Santa (Sacred Lake) Morro Alto (High Hill) and a few others. It's a TON of people to take care of, but we are super excited to work together and things are going great.

  Sorry to be so brief on the email, but everything is going great here. I love the area, my companion and I are doing great, the only problems is that it's hitting the rainy season which I hate, cuz even with rain it's super hot and a sweat like a cloud. And the water here is TERRIBLE, so we always have to filter the water or buy mineral water. Oh well though, I love this adventure regardless of the difficulties :) I love this Gospel, every day I see changes in other people as well as myself. Thanks for you prayers and support! Hurrah for Israel!!!
 =-Elder Ballard -

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Conference miracles, and longest busride of my mission

Another General Conference already came and gone... Man that goes fast. The thing I can't believe is that I only have 1 more conference on my mission!! AHH!! How can that be?!
It's been raining again here (i think it's been a good 6 months since I last saw rain) and it's getting humid again... bleck. I don't and never will do good with humidity.

   Well, this week of conference was great. We had about 20 people to take to conference, and cuz of complications and, as we say in this mission, moleza (pronounced mow-lay-zah, it means more or less laziness or softness) only about 12 or 13 people went. Classic "walk 40 minutes to someones house to walk with them to church, just to find out they travelled to another city"-type situations :D haha. The sessions were awesome. Like you said Mom, Elder Hales really must be going through hard stuff cuz I didn't even recognize him when it was his turn... man. Amazing how even being sick like that how their spirit stays so strong to still teach with so much power. In this mission, you have to have investigators to watch a session, and when the afternoon session on saturday came, the people who said they'd come ended up having excuses. So, we left in the street, knocking people's doors and talking with people and inviting them to go to the church and hear the words of a prophet. We did that for about an hour and finally decided to just head back to normal missionary work. Right as we finished we got a call from the church saying the a guy had showed up for conference, so we were able to return and finish the session :) It was something really simple but really important for us, it was awesome.

  Sunday we were blessed with the baptism of Fernando, another young man from the same part of town as the other 4 converts. That place is doing awesome. We're just trying now to get the rest of the members in these families excited so they can join the church as well.. We'll see what happens!

  Yesterday I had the longest busride of my mission. You can tell that I ride the bus a lot here cuz I feel like I'm always telling about stories of crazy travels and stuff haha. Anyways, we left the house at 3:30 AM (woke up at 2:45) to go to a meeting in BH, and left BH that night at 6:15. Usually we'd get back at like 9 or so, but there was an accident in the highway, and as I'm sitting there trying to get some sleep, my alarm on my phone goes off. Yup, at 2:45 am the next day we were still on the bus haha. we FINALLY pulled into curvelo at 3:15 am, a total of 9 hours on that stupid bus. Haha... so crazy. I'm never gunna wanna ride a bus again after my mission :D

 Well, the missions going really good. I feel like I'm learning TONS of stuff every day, and it still amazes me how fast time is passing and how much stuff is happening. I am so grateful that we were all able to hear the words of our Prophet and Apostles, what a blessing that is. I know this church is true and that our Saviour loves every one of us, member of the church or not :) Hurrah for Israel!!!

   -Elder Ballard