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 11, 2012

BLESSing of an Easter, and celebrating with a BBQ :)

If you look at last year's easter, I had a big old chocolate easter egg, but this year our lack of funds and lack of time, we ended up these little egg-lets (ovinhos de Páscoa), but they were good too :)

Happy Easter this last week! 'Twas the best here in Sion... I couldn't be more grateful :)

    So like 2 hours after I sent my email last pday we already had an incredible miracle. We got a call a few days before about a guy who asked the other 2 missionaries who work on the other side of the city, for a Book of Mormon. He said he'd studied with some sisters that had been here a while before, but had lent his BoM out and never got it back. So we went there last pday night, and this guy, named Odair (Oh-die-ear) told us about a few addictions that he still had, but remembered basically perfectly the story about Joseph Smith and the BoM. When we gave him the book and told him the invite to read and ponder and pray, he accepted and said that that was what he hadn't done the other time when he'd been studying. We marked his baptism for sunday, and he had worries that he wouldn't be ready so fast, cuz of his addictions, but we testified that the Lord would help him and that the Book of Mormon truly had the power to help him. It was amazing how the Spirit testified cuz when we told him that sunday being Easter when we commemorate the resurrection of Christ, we explained how his baptism would be like a resurrection for his new life. The Spirit was super strong and he accepted the date. We came back the next day and he had read like 4 or 5 chapters even though we'd only left 1 chapter for him to read, and he showed us 2 or 3 verses that had called his attention that were super powerful about baptism and repentance. He told us that he had also stopped smoking and didn't even have any more desire to smoke, which was a direct blessing from his reading. Over the next few days he kept reading, kept progressing, stopped drinking, and on Sunday, Odair was baptized!!! There were a bunch of members who remembered him from the time when he had been going to church a while back, and the support that the members gave him was amazing. Odair is a really sarcastic and kinda impatient type of guy, but it was such an amazing thing to see him come up out of the water and just, wait. He stood there for just a few seconds and it was just like you could see the reality of what had just happened sink in, and he realized that he was finally free from the problems he had had before. Man it was an amazing moment. Elder Leite de Sousa was able to baptize him, and since it was the first person that he has baptized, it just made it all the more special. I think this is one of the parts I love the most about my mission is seeing the change that happens to someone from the first day up until the baptism. With him it was just like 5 days, but the Lord can make anything possible. It made it more real to me the why I was called to this area. Man I love the mission :)
  This week is going really well as well, we've been putting our focus on families and we're praying and working as much as we can to find families who are ready for this gospel. Today we decided to do something a little special, and we did a hamburger roast! The house here has an open area out back that's just overgrowth and trees and stuff, so we made a little firepit out of cinderblocks and ceramic tiles, bought some charcoal, and roasted up some american burgers :) We even found bbq sauce today, so it was a good old American Favorite. Really, the smell of smoke and the taste of barbeque sauce sure put me back in time... Not with homesickness or anything, but just like an extreme fondness for the good old days of camping in moody meadows and whatnot. Good times eh? And good times in the future as well! I sure am just loving every minute out here. It's kinda annoying cuz everyone I talk to and tell how much time I have on the mission, always says, "Oh, so you're time is basically out..." And I always retort that NO! There's SO much more that needs to be done!! It scares me cuz every day that passes I feel the reality of my time closing in... I just want to burn myself out to the last minute and do everything that the Lord has for me to do. Keep me in your prayers everyone, cuz I just desperately want to do all that I can. I love you all, things are wonderful here, have a splendid week and I hope to bring more good tidings next week :) Hurrah for Israel!!!!!

      -Elder Ballard

 Today's bbq. Nothing compares with the smoky smell of open-fire cooked patties.

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