Monday, May 18, 2015

Already done...? (Papeete)

Ia ora na!

That's my last ia ora na after 2 years. Dang. Well how can I explain my feelings? I don't know if I can really, I'm sad because this morning I left Bora Bora after a 7 month stay. Honestly the last stretch of my mission has been extremely difficult, but extremely memorable. I've never gotten closer to members of one of my areas than I have in Bora, and I miss them a ton. At the same time, I'm stoked to get back home! I'm ready to continue life... but a part of me wants to continue it here. Well we can't all stay in paradise forever!

This week was quite a week. I wish I could say everything but I actually do not have a ton of time, I'm in Papeete and we got a ton of stuff to do before we head back. But when I do have time (at home...) I'll end my blog with a good wrap up of the mission. I love you all and have a great week, I mean, 2 days... crazy!

Elder Ball
Ward members in Bora Bora say goodbye.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Comin up on the end (Bora Bora - week #30)

Ia ora na tout le monde!

Another good week, and just one more to go. It doesnt really feel like I'm leaving yet, so I guess when the moment comes and I leave it'll hit me. But not yet. I'll just enjoy the sunshine while I still got it! Though it was good to talk to the family yesterday for Mother's day, I love you all and can't wait to see you all again!

Well, what to say about this past week. We had a good lesson with our new investigators, T, T and E. No alcohol included this time! It was maybe the best lesson that Elder Swartz and I have taught together, and you could totally tell that they felt the Spirit, and that they understood the lesson. They accepted the commitments that we gave them, and it looks like that they could really be baptized. Again, it's another unmarried couple situation, so the marriage is something that has to be taken care of first. But I have great hopes for them.

The works been pretty tough, all in all. In the past few weeks we've found many new investigators, but they've been dropping out as quickly as they came... Pretty much sorting through the wheat and the tares, those who are ready and those who aren't quite so serious. A lot of them have been the latter. But it's not stopping us, we'll just keep trying to have the same efforts in working well with our members in order to find new investigators.

I'm hoping for a strong last week, we're gonna be working hard. I love you all, have yourselves a great week!

Elder Ball

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day call (Bora Bora - week #30)

We had a nice call with Elder Ball on Mother's Day.  His brother, Thomas, Skyped in as well from the University of Oregon.  We received the happy news that Thomas has been called to the Maryland Baltimore Mission, Spanish speaking and he shared it with his brother Casey.  One Elder Ball  is coming home and one Elder Ball is leaving.  We are so happy for their service to the Lord and dedication to helping our brothers and sisters in the world.

Casey is doing well.  He is a little frustrated that he will be leaving beloved investigators not yet married and baptized as he had hoped. He loves the people so much and wants them to experience all the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives.

I'm not sure if we'll get another email from him before he is home (in 9 days!).  I'm sure he will provide a last blog entry and testimony when he returns.

For those who are local, he will report on his mission at the following place at 9 am on May 24th:

875 Quince Ave
Santa Clara, CA

Thanks everyone for your love and support to Elder Ball!

From his mother, Beth

Monday, May 4, 2015

The wheat and the tares (Bora Bora - week #29)

Ia ora na tatou!

Another week passed... and another week left. A little over 2 weeks left before I see all your lovely faces again. Things are going by quickly, but I'm just doing my best not to pay any attention and just work, cuz it's not over yet. 

Elder Swartz and I had another solid week of work, work, work. Last week we had found many new investigators, and the same has been for this week. The members have been outstanding and motivated in the work. But unfortunately, we've had many investigators, new and old alike, decide to turn away from our message... So it feels like we're just sorting through the wheat and the tares. We see that there's a lot of field, but is it really white already for the harvest?

Three of these new investigators were a couple named T and T [note from Casey's mom: sorry, that almost everyone's name in Tahiti begins with T], and the mother of T named E. They were a reference given us by the RS president, so we went over to contact them. We were greeted by a cranky E, who just started drinking and was already slightly tipsy. She was upset that we didn't call before coming, and we said sorry we didn't know we just wanted to meet them! We were going to propose to come back another day, but she insisted that we come in (after all that fuss...) and T and T were happy to see us. We learn that they are all inactive Adventists, haven't been to church in a while. As we start teaching, E asks a bunch of questions and making objections to our teachings, and we respond with the Bible, but you know you cant get far when teaching an intoxicated Mamie. But T and T were loving everything we were teaching, and T just tells her mother to hush up and listen a little to our message. All in all it worked out well, didn't get super far in the lesson but we fixed a return date and plan on calling in advance this time!

We had other new investigators as well, such as H, a woman who was walking down the street as we were teaching another new investigator of ours, T, next to the road. She's a good friend of T and she was interested in what was going on, so she came over to listen. We taught about the Restoration, and it was awesome! They were both psyched to receive a Book of Mormon and read it, and then test Moroni's promise, especially H. I truly feel that she has much potential, and maybe we were in the right place at the right time and Heavenly Father led her right to us. It helps me remember that as we do our best, God takes care of the rest.

Those are just a few examples of the experiences of this week. We've been taking advantage of the awesomeness of this island every P-day, and we have some pretty great photos. Enjoy. Love you all, have a great week!

Elder Ball

We caught all that fish ourselves. Booyah

Beautiful Bora Bora, Casey's final area.

The district

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Short Letter (Bora Bora - week #28)

Ia ora na mom! 

This letter's gonna be a short one. I don't have much to say about this week, but things are going awesome! We had a lot of new investigators this week and are getting pretty busy, it's just what I need because it keeps me focused. We visited with a few inactive families that have been coming back to church, and it wasn't until they told me how grateful they were of my help for them that I realized the impact I had on their lives. It made me feel good, it motivated me for sure! Thanks for your prayers, I love you and until next week!

Elder Ball

Monday, April 20, 2015

Trust in Him (Bora Bora - week #27)

Ia ora na!

It's been a good week, Elder Swartz and I have been getting along great and he brings a lot of new talent into our team. He's way smart, he's into the Army and he's got a sound understanding, a clear intelligence. Kinda like Moroni. It's good to have him as my last companion!

I've learned (or relearned) quite a few things this week that have helped me come unto Christ. On Wednesday morning Elder Swartz and I went with the Relief Society president to visit a contact that she made with someone last week. During the visit, the woman, named V, expressed the difficulties in her family, not being able to see her husband often because of work and his opposition to anything gospel-related. She had been praying for her husband for at least three years that things would go better, and with total love the Relief Society President assured her that God heard her prayers, and sent us to help her. V started to cry. In watching this exchange, I remembered maybe the most important facet of missionary work: charity and love. Doctrine and Covenants 12:8 reads "and no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity..." V was touched by what was being said simply because she felt love. She felt our love, and through our love she felt the love of her Heavenly Father, made manifest through the Holy Ghost.

Later that day, after having multiple plans fall through, Elder Swartz and I decided to pray for guidance. We felt impressed to visit an old reference that we had already tried to contact, so we went over, and surprisingly enough the house of this reference was wide open, the TV is on and we heard people inside. We call out "Ia ora na!" then the voices in the house go silent. We wait... "Ia ora na! E taata to te fare?" ...Nothing. Already used to this kind of response, we figured it was best to leave this house. We didn't question the revelation we received so we decided to try going next door. As we come to the house next door, we see a woman sweeping her porch, we call out and she comes to greet us. She introduces herself as K, and we talk to each other for a little while. She and her husband moved from Tahiti about a year ago to work here at Bora, and K has had no time to go to her Protestant church since the move because of work. She had been hoping to rededicate herself to learning the gospel and learning about Christ, but she didn't really know how; she didn't even have a Bible! We explained our role as missionaries, shared a quick message about Christ and the family, and presented her a Book of Mormon. She was glad to receive it, and she thanked us sincerely! Here someone was hoping and maybe praying to receive guidance, and the Lord led us to her. He didn't tell us directly to go there, but by a means we were already familiar with, we were led to her whereabouts and with faith we were able to act on our revelation, in spite of the initial disappointment.

Saturday we had a lesson with a man named Y. About two weeks ago we met Y in trying to contact and old investigator. The old investigator wasn't there, but Y was, and he was completely wasted. Normally we choose not to spend a lot of time with the drunk guys, but he called us over, and Elder Duncan and I went to talk to him briefly, but ended up listening to him for about a half an hour about his recent separation from his wife and kids, and his feeling lost, not knowing which religion could be true. We bore our testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was indeed true, and that the fulness of the Gospel contained the solutions to his problems, and he accepted a lesson at his house for last Saturday. So Elder Swartz and I went to visit him Saturday, he was sober, we shared the message of the Restoration and he understood perfectly the message. I'm glad that we decided to listen to Yvon and recognize that he was someone who wanted help, rather than quickly judge him and dismiss him.

Those are my thoughts for the week. Life is going by pretty quickly, and in a month I'll be home... pretty sketchy feeling. With the weeks left, I'll be doing my best to get the most out of em. I love you all, have a great week!

Elder Ball