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, May 16, 2012

Phone call home, amazing baptism, and bad stomach flu. Crazy fun Mother's day from my side! :D

Well, Sunday sure was a blast. For various reasons as the title shows haha. What an adventure!!
  So firstly with the call home on Sunday, that was a blast. I think one of my favorite parts is just hearing everyone's conversation and laughs. Obviously I don't get in on any of that through the email, so it's always fun hearing how everyone's changing. Man, just hearing the difference from the voices, I'm gunna die when I see the differences in height and all the other stuff that's changed. It sure makes me grateful for my family though. The majority of my comps until now haven't even come close to having a family our size, and so they usually have a phone call a little more calm and 'divided into groups of 10 minutes for every family member' type thing, but I enjoy the confusion of trying to jam 10 conversations into 40 minutes, keeps things interesting :D I forgot to ask you guys, did you guys film this last call as well? I forgot to do it from my side, but I'm just curious about your side. It's kinda weird how I feel like I totally forgot about everything we talked about, but I just remember that it was fun haha.
   It was kinda a funny end to our sunday cuz about 30 minutes after I got off the phone with you guys, me and my comp started feeling a little bit more nauseous, so we swung by the house to use the restroom and get some water. As we went in the house, I dunno if it was stomach flu or food poisoning, but it got us BAD. It was actually kind of humorous cuz everyone always jokes about being united as a companionship, and we both sat in our study room and threw up into buckets together... I couldn't help but laugh cuz as we vommited we talked about how funny the situation was. Throwing up as an adult sure is different than as a kid. Then sunday night on the way home I threw up again in the road at like 9 at night. Poor onlookers haha. We're all better now, but it was kinda funny how much was crammed into one day like that :)
   As I spoke about a little bit on the call, the baptism of Vinícius was incredible. Let's jump back about 3 weeks so that I can explain his story. A couple weeks back, we weren't finding a whole lot of new investigators, which makes a missionary worried. There are SO many people needed this gospel, and when you aren't finding the people who are prepared, you can trust that it's cuz you're not doing everything that you need to. So we were praying and praying for the Lord to guide us, and we received our response in an unexected way. One night we were running home, it was already 9:25 and we were sprinting up a hill to arrive at our house. Lungs almost bursting, throats charred with thirst, and as I finally made those last steps up to the front of our house, there was a guy stopped on a motorcycle in the front of our house. I stopped and he simply said, "Look up Vinicius who lives in Damásco, he's in your area book." And drove off. I was kinda confused and didn't think much of it, and stumbled into the house to plan and sleep. A few days later we decided to go to this neighborhood called Damásco, and arrived at a certain street and started knocking doors. We taught 1 or 2 lessons with nothing. As we climbed the street, we arrived at the house of a guy from the area book, but he wasn't at home, it was just his son. We tried to mark an appointment with his son, and he wasn't interested. We asked him if he knew anyone who was needing to hear about God, and he told us that a certain Vinícius lived in a house across the street, and that a while ago other missionaries were passing there. We went there, and no one was home. We went back a few days later, taught him the 1st lesson, and he accepted SUPER firm. He told us that 2 other groups of missionaries had passed there and taught him, but he just hadn't been able to get that desire to be baptized and follow the gospel. He explained how he'd been reading the Book of Mormon, and as we looked at his progress, he had already finished 2nd Nephi!!! He already realized the difference that the Book of Mormon was making, and later we found out that the week before we arrived there, he randomly told one of his friends when they were at a bar, "As of next week, I'm never coming back here again." We almost couldn't believe our ears through all this... To make a long story short, Vinícius (Vih-KNEE-see-us) who's 33 years old, was a smoker, drinker, addicted to crack, cocaine, and marajuana, and in a matter of 2 weeks (well, us working with him two weeks. I'm not sure how many months he's had the Book of Mormon helping him out) was able to stop and toss ALL of these addictions, and was baptized on sunday. He invited his mom to watch the ordinance, and he told us on monday that as his mom and him were riding the city bus back to their houses, he told his mom this, "Well Mom, you know that I don't have a job, that I'm poor, I live by myself, and that I can't buy you any jewelry or perfume or anything fancy, but this choice that I made today was what I wanted to give you for mother's day. A new me." ..........We were speechless hearing this. Even though I've seen lots of other people have amazing changes during my mission, the change that happened in Vinícius's life was incredible. I can't believe how much the Lord did in his life so fast. I love this work so much.

  Well Mom and all other moms out there, hope Mother's day was great, and hope everyone else is doing well. I'm loving my life as a missionary and am excited to go forth with even more determination and excitement! Hurrah for Israel! Happy end of the school year too!!
   -Elder Ballard

So, my clothes are finally hitting that degration point :D See ya socks.

One pair of shoes is definitely on it's "last leg"

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