Monday, December 30, 2013

Party Animals on the Loose (Tubuai - week #12)

Ia ora na!
Its been so great to be able to skype with the fam on Christmas! thank you for that, even if my English is kinda messed up now... Definitely a highlight of the week.

Skyping with Casey
Other than that, thanks to the holidays its actually been the slowest week of my mission. First of all, I've never seen a Christmas like they have here... Everyone drinks, and drinks, and drinks, and I mean almost everyone except for most of the members of the church. First of all, we were unsuccessful in fixing any lessons on Christmas and for the rest of the week because everyone was too busy, so that left to contacting and talking with members. And I'm not lying, every single non-member house we came to was a total party wreck, with some inebriated dude stumbling and coming to greet us. Even just riding our bikes we'll see people passed out on the beach or in front of their houses. Needless to say, nobody has been super receptive this week. We've just been trying our best to spread the message that Christmas is about Jesus, not alcohol. Sadly, the party wont stop until well after the new years.

But hey, that wont get our hopes down. With what little amount of lessons we've had, its been solid with them. For a while we've been teaching M. She has had a tough life, being raised in a pretty messed up family, so she has a tough personality. She lives with her boyfriend H and they have one child together. Right now I could say that she is one of my favorite investigators. She is sharp, quick to learn and best of all willing to learn. Since we've taught her we can see now how she's already started to soften up. This week we taught her about faith and repentance, and during this lesson she realized how much she needs to change in order to be baptized and follow Christ. We challenged and committed her to sincerely repent, leave behind her troubled life and come unto Christ. She knows that she must keep the Law of Chastity, and she knows she has to forgive others for their faults. She knows what she must do, and right now we're just praying and praying that she will have the faith and willpower to take these steps. She really is amazing, and she is someone that i would love to see have a change of heart and be baptized.
Other than the few lessons we've had, not a whole lot new. Elder Firuu and I both passed through the transfers without a scratch, so we'll both be staying here for at least another 6 weeks. Also Elder Randall gets his new companion today, Elder Wheeler I believe. Anyway, Its been bizarre living here lately. Our shower no longer works in our house, so we've taken to the hose behind the house to shower off every day. Luckily there are enough banana trees and ferns to censor our nudeness, Garden of Eden style. That's how we roll here on Tubuai. Also, for the past week there has been a cricket in our bedroom. We have no idea where it is, but every night it starts chirping, and it's loud too. Kind of hard to sleep at night, but hey it's whatever.

This island is definitely an experience that I'll never have again in my life. I look back and realize that never in America, or even at Tahiti, will I have problems like these: no water, no shower, crabs and giant spiders in the house, eating raw fish straight from the ocean, and countless other bizarrities. I just wanna say that its been so awesome here on Tubuai. All the experiences I've had thus far are life changing, and I am sure to have more to come. I'm totally fine with staying here. We've got some work to do.
That's about it for this week! Love you all, and happy new year! A faaitoito!
Elder Ball
http://mormon.org


Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy holidays from the middle of the ocean (Tubuai - week #11)

Ia ora na!!
Its been another interesting week! The first half was still spent on Tahiti, then Thursday we headed back to our tiny island Tubuai. Tahiti was a great experience, going on splits with other missionaries and getting to see how things work in other areas.

MTC district together again for mssion Christmas Party
For a lot of our time this week (both in Tahiti and Tubuai) we spent a lot of time doing street contacting and door-to-door... its been a while since we've done it, and man is it hard. In Tahiti there's been some real stingy contacts... first example: Elder Mariteragi and I, we came to a house with a huge gate in front of it (a lot of houses in Tahiti are like that). We can't see past it, so we shout over it to get someones attention. Suddenly the electronic gate slowly opens, and there's an old lady sitting there in a chair. All she does is look at us, wag her finger at us and then close the gate without a word said. Man did we laugh hard or what after that, so wicked. A lot of other houses there consisted of young French surfer dudes on vacation, who simply said "yeah brah i'm on vacation! Get lost!" It was a little tough, but you just gotta know as a missionary that, even though the message we have is easily the most important message in the world, there will be a lot of people who will reject us right off the bat. It's too bad, but just gotta faaoromai (persevere).
When we got back to Tubuai, we were disappointed to find that the drought has not yet ceased, and all of our investigators are at Tahiti for vacation. A lot of lessons have been cancelled for this next week to come, so it looks like for now we'll be spending most of out time looking for new investigators until the new year. Also, because Elder Maples, our zone leader here on Tubuai, has finished his mission, his companion Elder Randall has no companion, so we've been going around as a trio on the whole island to accomplish the work in both areas. A whole lot of biking, let me tell ya. Even if this island is tiny, its still big for us! I have no idea how they did it before with just two elders on the island. Not a whole lot of other news for this past week. Yesterday I did give my first 15 minute talk in French during sacrament meeting. Cool experience, I'm pretty sure I did well.
This week I feel like I've been making a real break through with Tahitian as well. We've had some good contacts with people in Tahitian, and I swear the gift of tongues worked its magic with these people. I understood everything, and my tongue was loosened and the words just came. So cool, its after experiences like that when you feel like a champion. Then after, we go and talk with some members in Tahitian, and suddenly I understand nothing again. Haha, weird how that works. We got some good potential from these contacts however, and we'll pass by them again this week to see if they will continue to follow the lessons.
Life is good, good. We're pretty stoked for Christmas to come, its been such a good time of year here... a little different because there are no Christmas trees or snow, but its been great. I want to testify that this is the time of year when we can really celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our Savior, the Son of God, was born in such humble circumstances, and left His heavenly home to dwell here on Earth as a mortal man, to atone for the sins and pains of the world. I know He is our Savior and Redeemer, and in humility He was born among us on the earth.
Remember the Savior during this fantastic time of year! Faaitoito, e ia oaoa i te Noela!

Elder Ball


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Exquisite Opposition (Tubuai - week #10)

Ia ora na!
First of all, greetings from Tahiti. Friday we flew in for a Christmas activity for all the missionaries. It was excellent to see everyone again and remember the good old MTC days. Had a great meal and some skits going on, it was definitely a good time. But, I am all ready to get back to work at Tubuai. Its been quite a crazy week here.
Before heading out to Tahiti, we had a great teaching experience. The nephew of F, named M, came in from Tahiti to stay with family. He's a champion canoe racer, super chill dude. We came over to teach his parents, but they ended up not being there, so we taught him instead since he was interested. I don't think Elder Firuu and I ever taught a better lesson than that. It was smooth, simple, clear, and precise, and it brought the Spirit in heaps. We answered all his questions with exactness. We taught the Resoration, and after we had just finished telling the Joseph Smith story, we paused and let it all sink in. After about 30 seconds of silence, he basically said "yeah man... that is way cool. That touched me, man" He really is interested and has a love for God and a desire to know the truth. I'm excited for what comes next with him.
Other than that, not too much awesomeness went on before we left Tahiti. Its been pretty nice here in Tahiti... nice and hot. We got to go to the temple on Saturday, which was another great experience. We've been staying with two other Elders in Punaauia, Elder Gervasi and Elder Mariteragi. Its been good, but since theres only two bikes with them one companionship has to go out on foot and the other on bikes. And like I said, its been hot... Never sweated so much in my life. Its good to see what the work is like in another area and with other missionaries.
Apart from the good times, this week has been rough... Saturday morning we were met with some heartcrushing news. Two sister missionaries were hit by a drunk driver Friday night on their bikes. One came out alright, but the other was left in critical condition. She went to the hospital and was put in a coma. She was a sister missionary in our district in the MTC, and for us all it was difficult news to bear. We love her so much and want her to recover so badly. We've been fasting and praying all the weekend for her and her family. Keep Sister Taylor and her family in your thoughts and prayers. She is an excellent missionary, and her faith and confidence truly inspired me as a missionary also.
What I want to say is that I know God is our Heavenly Father and that he loves us. He is mindful of all his children, and he wants only the best for us. In life there are the most exquisite pains, with the opposition of the most exquisite happiness. Ive just about felt the two this week. But all these things are done in the judgement of God, because he truly loves us and knows how we can grow and progress in life.

Keep the prayers comin, and love life no matter what! Nothin can stop this work, its on a roll.
A faaitoito,
Elder Ball
http://mormon.org

Monday, December 9, 2013

When the going gets tough, the tough get going (Tubuai week #9)

Iaorana!
Its been a while! Sorry that I missed last week--internet was down and out and thus the email was a no go. But to say the least, its been a testing two weeks for me and Elder Firuu, a lot of experience gained.
Our investigators are doin alright for the most part. For most of our investigators, however, there lies two problems: drugs and concubinage, two things that, without faith, are so hard to overcome. So, it's been so important for Elder Firuu and I to focus and bringing the Spirit into the lessons, because in all things, the Spirit is the one who converts them unto Christ. All we can do right now is do our best to invite the Spirit and testify and continue to teach, and then its up to them to make the decision based on the testimony they have thus far received. Its hard... but like I said, I have such a strong feeling that they will make it.
The lack of rain has continued here on Tubuai, and now we are officially at drought status. The water reserve is cut off for most of the day, and some mornings, because of such low water pressure, its either cold shower or no shower for us! It hasn't been easy for all the farms here either... its a real trial for this island. Right now our prime water supply is bottled water, not exactly the cheapest! We've been praying for rain, and now we just gotta wait it out and endure. The drought shouldn't last too much longer, because seriously, this is Polynesia, not Africa. The rainy season should be starting any day now...
Summed up in a short email, that's been our two weeks! A lot of people have already left for Tahiti for the holidays, and so many of our investigators will be gone for the next month. But, no matter the trial or wall in our way, we just gotta stand tall and break it down together. This Gospel is what makes us realize that adversity and weakness is in our life to strengthen us and help us rely more on the Lord for help in our lives. The Lord said to the prophet Moroni in the Book of Mormon, Ether 12:27, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them." Thanks to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we can know how to humble ourselves and rely on the Lord to make us strong in our afflictions and in our personal weakness as well.
Life is good! Love you all and keep the faith!
Elder Ball


Monday, November 25, 2013

Whackness (Tubuai - week #7)

Bonjour tout le monde!
I'll start out by saying that it was a pretty rough week for us. Lots of lessons cancelled, and I was out for a day with the stomach flu, so that caused some problems. All in all, the work was slow this week. But, despite the slowness, some great and memorable, and also bizarre, moments.

Keali!
First of all, baptism numba two with Keali! Man I love this kid and his family. Such nice people, and they still support the Church even if some members aren't active. They decided that I would be the one to baptize, and it was such a privilege. And this time I didn’t mess up. One and done baby! Maybe it was easier cuz it was in the ocean, another cool experience. But the Spirit was strong and it was such a unique experience to be the one to bring this person into making a covenant with God. The service was great, and the father, M, was really touched. We will continue to help this family for sure.

In the ocean. Awesome
Lessons are getting intense as the commitments start being extended... The F family is starting to get nervous from the outside pressure from family members to not join the Church. Also, because we’ve been experiencing a drought and a shortage of water, F has been extra busy at their watermelon field and hasn’t been able to be at the lessons or progress as much as we'd like. It’s difficult, and the same thing has been happening with other investigators as we've extended commitments. It's all thanks to one thing: fear, Satan's secret weapon. As a result, with all our investigators we haven’t been able to fix one baptism this week. Just gotta keep at it I guess, and rely on the Lord for help and inspiration!
Yeah, its been a weird week. More so after some excitement yesterday. We came home from Church in the morning to do some studies, and we see our neighbor Mike totally asleep, unconscious under a coconut tree. He's known for drinking and smoking a TON so we thought nothing of it and moved on. Just a few moments later, we look out our window and see his cousin waking him up. Mike wakes up, and all of a sudden he just freaks out, seriously freaks out. He’s all yelling and shouting stuff in slurred Tahitian and just takes a barrel and throws it through his glass sliding door. Then he starts chucking pieces of the broken glass at his cousin. His cousin gets all cut up and angry, so then he starts getting in this fist fight with Mike. They duke it out for a few minutes, and all the while Elder Firuu and I are calling the cops and watching the whole scene unfold. They stop and the cousin retreats, and Mike continues to freak out and throw chairs and a boom box and all sorts of trash out of his house. Then, he passes out. The police and an ambulance came and took him away. I think that’s the last time we'll be hearing from Mike for a while.

Just one of those beautiful days when you gotta take a beach photo
On a more positive, spiritual note, I would like to share a little scripture about the Word of Wisdom and the dangers of alcohol and drugs. Paul in 1 Corinthians talks about how the body is the "temple of God" and how we must respect this body that God has given us. That is why through revelation through Joseph Smith, God has given us a law, a Word of Wisdom, to not drink alcohol or partake of drugs, and therefore to protect our body. 1 Corinthians 3:17 states "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy." As we can see, as a result of alcohol, Mike was destroyed, as well as his house. Plain and simple, life is a lot cooler and drama free without all that stuff. And, God won't destroy you, so that's good too.
Love you all, and peace out!
Elder Ball
http://mormon.org
http://elderballintahiti.blogspot.com

Another daily farm animal encounter




Monday, November 18, 2013

At Last (Tubuai - week #6)

Ia ora na!
Well it was a great week to say the least! Some great teaching moments, learning experiences and a baptism.

This weekind Tatu was baptized. It was such a cool experience for me and Elder Firuu, and it was a great day for Tatu. It was also pretty cool being the one who performed the ordinance, actually using the Priesthood of God to bring Tatu into the Church and to make covenants. The baptism... well, let’s just say that it got done. Haha, it’s true, it took me three times to get it right. What can I say, it’s the first baptism I’ve ever done! The first time I didn’t say the prayer right (in Tahitian) and the second time I didn’t get him all the way under. Third times the charm right? But I felt pretty bad for Tatu, that water was cold in the font. But he said it was all good and that he felt totally clean and pure. So, despite Elder Ball who messed up, it was a great moment, the Spirit was strong and truly testified.
We had some awesome moments with the F family this week. Right now they want to get baptized, but they really do not want to pick a date yet. Nonetheless we’ve been able to see just how much they have been prepared by the Lord for us. After a lesson, H, F's wife, told us an experience a few years back when she talked to her mother-in-law. Her mother-in-law said that soon, the "maitai" (the good) would come to their door, and that it would be a difficult but life changing "maitai". She said that after thinking and praying, she felt strongly that we were the "maitai" and that these were the things that Heavenly Father wants her and her family to do. Man, was that crazy to hear. I know for a fact that this family will choose to follow Jesus Christ and join this Church whether I’m here to see it or not. They have some difficulties to overcome, such as opposition from outside family, but I know they will get there, and as missionaries Elder Firuu and I are going to do everything we can to help them.
We found some other cool investigators as well. Rohiti is a teenage girl our age who hates Tubuai. Haha shes here to help her family with work, a little store on the side of the road, and she hates it because there aren’t very many people her age since they are all at Tahiti for school. One day Elder Firuu and I stopped by to buy some ice cream, and we chatted with her a little bit about the Gospel. She said she was interested, since she doesn’t have much else to do, so a few days later we shared a message on God and prayer with her . She said she was touched by the lesson, and wanted to learn more. So in the coming week we'll have more lessons with her. Just a cool little experience in "opening our mouths" to share the Gospel.
Its been a good week. Something we need to work on is to really engage and commit our investigators. Sometimes its easy to be a pushover and not ask our investigators right away, but the thing is for the investigators to really progress, they gotta step out of their comfort zone. And to help them do that we as missionaries have to be bold and confident in asking them to do these things that are essential in helping them come unto Christ. Something that we've been really working on this week, and I can testify that boldness through testimony and comittment are a powerful tool, if used correctly.

That’s what I’ve got for this week! Some pics:
1. Tatu! all set and looking studly for the baptism. (see above)
2. Doin hikes on P-day, fun stuff.

3. Mount Taitaa, after the climb, not often you get to see a 360 view of an entire island like that.

4. Elder Randall and our Tahitian climbing possee.

5. The Addison Pratt memorial rock.

Love you all! A faaitoito, live and love life!
Elder Ball


Monday, November 11, 2013

Just keep on goin' (Tubuai - week #5)

Ia ora na!
Alrighty, not gonna lie this week was a killer. Lots of lessons cancelled on us, which is the greatest disappointment, and we didn't find a whole lot of people to teach this week. But, with the lessons and investigators we did have this week, we saw some nice progression.
The F family is doing well! We found that were gonna have to go slowly with them. They have a hard time quitting the prayers their old way and doing it the real way, but we can see the Spirit working with them and giving them a desire to learn more. We committed them to baptism; H said she wants to, the others aren't so sure yet. Its slow, but its progression! Were hoping that they'll accept a date for baptism in December. They went to Church this week and they totally loved it. The desire is growing and growing, I absolutely love to teach them.
Elder Firuu and I also committed another investigator to baptism, M. He lives in concubinage with an inactive member and they have a baby boy. He absolutely loves his family and he is really interested in the Gospel, hes totally nice. He accepted the invitation to be baptized but he doesn't want to choose a date yet. He still has to pray and ask Heavenly Father if it's all true, and when he gets an answer that's our moment to help him progress.
Other than that not a whole lot that happened. We do have a baptism this Sunday, for Tatu! Normally we do them Saturday, but the 17th is a special day for him for a personal reason, so were not gonna argue with that! And he chose yours truly to baptize him. Haha I'm excited, not gonna lie. The Saturday after is Keali's baptism, so were excited for the next few weeks.
That's about all i got! There will be more next week for sure. Love you all, and keep the faith!
Elder Ball

Monday, November 4, 2013

Piano Man (Tubuai - week #4)

Ia ora na tatou!
Allrighty, that makes 6 months out in the mission! Man it’s gone by pretty fast, its kinda scary. But I’m looking forward to another awesome year and a half.
This week has been just a little slower in terms of finding new investigators and attaining our goals, but we have had some great lessons nonetheless. The F family is amazing, simply put. It turns out that they have been to a sacrament meeting, and the baptism of their niece, and that they have already felt the Spirit in these experiences. You could say they've been prepared by God to receive us! We've committed them to read the Book of Mormon and to pray if it is true, and they said that they would totally do it, because in their other prayers that wave committed them to do, they've felt the Spirit testify of our teachings. Things are going great with them, absolutely kind and loving people. It’s not even us converting them, totally the Holy Ghost.

We had an interesting lesson with Puaihina also, the sweet old lady that I mentioned in another letter. She’s been having trouble reading the Book of Mormon, and accepting the true baptism through the priesthood. After some discussion, Elder Firuu shared a great scripture, Alma 32:28, about the gospel being like a seed helping our faith grow, and how we can come to know the truth of these things in that manner. After that, I promised Puaihina that if she read a certain chapter, 2 Nephi 31, and if she prayed, she would receive an answer that these things we're true, without a doubt. I have no idea why I promised her that, but it felt right I guess. We'll see what will have happened this week--I’m really hoping she did get an answer!
Other than these lessons, not too much else. People are starting to find out that I can play the piano. It turns out I’m one of 2 people who play the piano in the district, so now I’m playing for the musical numbers in the mission conference in a few weeks as well as the primary program for Mahu. I’m pretty sure I’m down for the Christmas program as well, I have no idea. Oh well, it’s fun being able to serve in a variety of ways!
I’ve been really gaining a desire to learn this week--just learn everything about the gospel. It’s so great to be able to have the fullness of the gospel, the truth, right in our hands, all the questions about God, life, the teachings of Jesus, this Gospel has all the answers for it all. And with this desire to learn and fully understand the gospel, my testimony has grown so much with just being able to study it all, and not just study it but live it as well. Man, I love the Gospel.
Well, that’s about it for this week! Thank you for your love and support, take it easy brothas and sistas!
Elder Ball
Please write me: (Put 3 stamps on your envelope.)

Tahiti Papeete Mission
Elder Ball, Casey
B.P. 93 Papeete,
Tahiti 98713
French Polynesia

Tubuai from atop Sleeping Man Mountain.




Monday, October 28, 2013

Life is tight on Tubuai (Tubuai - week #3)

Ia ora na!
Yeah, not a bad week! Definitely some great accomplishments for me and Elder Firuu, some fun things and good personal strides of success.
First of all, two new baptisms fixed for November! We got it for Tatu, November 16th, and Keali for the week after. The lesson with Tatu... That was such a great lesson! We went in with President Noel, the Branch President of Mahu, with nothing planned because he had already received every lesson. We wanted to just talk with him and see what his worries were. He ended up wanting to learn about baptism again, so we taught him and explained it to him. He then said he was afraid of it, and that he didn’t want to sin and fall again. Perhaps a great moment of spiritual worth for me, was when I really felt prompted to share a scripture that I had read a week earlier, Alma 7:14-15 I believe? I didn’t really remember it; all I knew is that it talked about baptism. It ended up talking about fearing not, and trusting in the atoning sacrifice of Christ to cleanse us of our sins, through repentance and baptism. Man was that perfect! Elder Firuu and I worked together so well to testify in that lesson as well, the Spirit was strong, and all in all it convinced Tatu to go with it, and fear not. I’m so happy that I was just able to be an instrument in the Lords hands, and be guided by the Spirit to say what needed to be said.

Keali is the 9 year old son of an inactive member, M, who we've been working on to come back, and he’s been doing pretty good coming to Church. We're hoping to help him get ready and worthy to baptize his son, and bring the family back into full activity. That would be awesome, and definitely a blessing to see. It’s such a blessing now to have these baptisms fixed, it’s amazing!
We're finding a lot of potential here, thanks to the references we're receiving! We found the F family, F and his wife H, and we started the lessons with them last week. Such humble, nice people, who let two funny-dressed kids into their home to teach them about God. We have hope for them, they aren’t too familiar with the LDS church, but that a good thing that we're there right?
The Tahitian is coming, slowly but surely. I’m starting to understand a little bit more if I listen super carefully. The speaking is getting better as well, still miles ahead of my understanding. Eventually it’ll even out.
Sleeping Man Mountain in Tubuai.
Today we got to go and hike the mountain on the island! We didn’t get to the top, but it was fun nonetheless, and were gonna go a little earlier next week so we can climb the whole thing. This island still continues to amaze me with its beauty. There are tons of cool things. Like random tortoises... yeah, don’t mess with em. I picked one up, and it totally bit my thumb and wouldn’t let go. I got a good penny-sized chunk of dead flesh just chillin on my thumb now, gnarliest blister I’ve ever had. Yeah, lots of fun things!
This week I had the time to read the book Our Search For Happiness by M. Russell Ballard. Reading that book was excellent. From such a point of view, it made me realize how much of a blessing this restored gospel is. The true priesthood of God, which is the heavenly power held by prophets of old and Christ and his apostles to perform sacred ordinances, like baptism for instance; it is on Earth again! It’s thanks to this restoration that we have the knowledge that God has not ceased to communicate with His children. He loves us, and has from the beginning of time. It was man, not God, who decided that no one could communicate with Him after the death of Christ and the apostles; that all changed with the humble prayer of a 14 year old boy, who truly believed that he would receive an answer, and did. This gospel brings comfort, joy, and an eternal perspective on things. It helps us understand why we are here, where we come from and where we are going. It gives us a greater sense of self-worth and of our true potential. It helps us avoid danger and the heartache of bad decisions. I am so happy to be part of this Church, and to share the truth with everyone as a servant of the Lord. I know this Church is the true Church of Jesus Christ, restored to the Earth by a prophet.
Well, that it for this week! I love you all and whether you are a member of the Church or not, I encourage you all to read the Book of Mormon. If you want to understand who God is, what Christ has done for us, or find guidance to make life better, read it. Plain and simple, it’s through reading that book that you can find answers.
A faaitoito!
Elder Ball



Monday, October 21, 2013

This place is magic (Tubuai - week #2)

Ia ora na tatou!
It’s been a good week here in Tubuai! We're still getting adjusted to the new area but things are starting to get moving.
We spent a lot of time this week going around with the Mission leaders of both branches to meet all the members and find where inactives and investigators live, etc. It’s been great, the members here are truly awesome Everyone is so engaged in missionary work and totally love sharing the gospel and giving references to the missionaries. We've already received quite a few references, and we've visited them all. Of course there have different results from them all, but we have found some good potentials! Man, it’s so good to have members on our side. So good!
Like I said, we've found some solid potential investigators, some through references and some through some good old door to door. (Door to door is different here, with the fact that every door is probably 100 meters apart!) We are gonna teach the F family tomorrow, a solid find for us. Also another dude named Arii, who has never heard of our religion somehow but is totally interested. Just some good things that bring hope to us!
Our investigators now are awesome as well. Tatu is a guy who has been taking the lessons for a while now. He’s one of the nicest, humblest guys I have ever met. He’s been scared of baptism, and has pushed back the date several times now. So we gotta fix another date with him and help him find the courage and the faith in Heavenly Father! Also Puaihina, a super sweet old lady who we've been teaching. There are so many investigators that I can’t name them all, but they are so great. All of em, so great.
This island is also just awesome. Honestly, it’s like the craziest beach-farm place I've ever seen. We were at a members place, and he has a pretty good-sized farm complete with pigs and horses and goats and chickens and all that stuff. The coolest thing is, like on most of the island, there isn't really soil, just sand. But stuff just grows in the sand, it’s crazy! We were walking around and this dude just pulls a carrot right out of the sand for us to eat. How does that even grow there?? And he’s got pineapple and taro and tomatoes and banana and coconut trees. Its magic.
Our house though... that's another story. This place is totally ancient! It hasn't been used in a while, so there's a billion wasps nests inside. I'm pretty sure its full of mold as well, because i got a major allergy reaction on Wednesday. And I don’t know if it’s the house or the island in general, but it’s a little freaky to be taking a shower and have a crab come crawling out of the drain. But it’s all good, it’s not like we spend all day in there anyway.
Language is still incredibly difficult. I don’t know why, but Tahitian is so much harder to understand than French, yet much easier for me to speak. Yeah, just takes time a guess.

Well, that’s about it. I got the photos to work! Check it out:
1. Newbies at Tubuai, airport

















2. Our house. Check out that mountain
















3. One of the many awesome beaches here at Tubuai

















4. Found this gnarly thing in our house. Name tag to reference size, sorry that's as close as I wanted to get to that thing... It bites



















5. People love to fish here. That's a members. Its a good catch I'd say.


















6. First LDS church building on Tubuai.  (No attachment.)
7. Sunsets like this everyday  (No attachment.)

Love you all! I know this Church is true, and its awesome to be a servant of the Lord on the island of Tubuai.
A faaitoito,
Elder Ball

Learn more about what I am teaching: http://mormon.org

Monday, October 14, 2013

Woah (Tubuai - week #1)

Ia ora na!
It’s been a busy week... so much to say I don’t know exactly where to start! Everything is going well here in our new area, Tubuai. Man, is it beautiful! No cars, no buses, no awful reggae remixes of Bruno Mars playing everywhere we go... It's peaceful here, to say the least. Beautiful coconut trees everywhere, white sandy beaches all around the island, blueeee waterrrr, yeah you guys get the point. It’s a little cooler here than it is in Tahiti, which is awesome cuz it was really starting to heat up there. Weather is perfect here!

I guess I’ll explain a little bit how things work here. There are actually now 4 Elders and a couple serving here right now, and Elder Firuu and I are on the side of the island with poor phone service and no store... awesome! And because it’s far from where the Elders before normally live, there aren't as many lessons going on here. It’s been a little hard and a little slow getting all settled in and finding where all the members live and so forth. The other Elders have helped us a good amount, but again they’re on the other side of the island so it’s a little tough to get together right now..
Anyway, our branches are Ziona and Mahu. We’ve met a good amount of members in Ziona, so this week we really hope to get in touch with a lot of members of Mahu and find some more references. The members here really love to do missionary work. The few lessons we've taught have been pretty awesome, however. We have one investigator, Yanick, who pretty much knows all the lessons because he’s read like half the Book of Mormon on his own. We expect great things with him!

Things are pretty good with Elder Firuu. He's already a pretty good missionary; he has a strong testimony and he already knows a good amount of scripture. Only problem is I don’t really understand him sometimes... he refuses to speak French with me, only Tahitian. I'm not gonna complain though! By the end of this transfer, I expect my Tahitian to skyrocket. I can speak the language pretty well, but my comprehension right now just stinks! I bore my testimony in Tahitian in fast and testimony meeting yesterday, and afterwards everyone came up to me and starting speaking to me in Tahitian, and I was so lost. They wouldn’t stop too, I guess they didn’t notice my blank face when they were talking to me! French, that’s all good. It’s actually a relief when people talk to me in French.
That’s about it I guess! I have some pictures but for some reason, it won’t upload on this computer. Next week I guess! Love you guys, and take care.
Elder Ball


Monday, October 7, 2013

Hooolllyyy moly transferrr (Week #12 in Papeete Pirae 2)

Ia ora na!

Dang, what a WEEK! Huge week, with some big news. First off I’ll start with General Conference. I got to watch all the sessions, and it was awesome. It’s so great to hear the prophets speak, such a revitalizing weekend.

Elder Ball is transferring to the island of Tubuai
The work here was fantastic this week. We got 4 new investigators, with solid potential. We fixed a date for baptism November 2nd for one of them! She’s the granddaughter of a member who’s been going to Church, but her nonmember parents have been keeping her from taking the lessons until now, were super excited for her. Some great lessons this week, full of the Spirit.

We had a sweet, awesome experience Saturday. After Elder Ballard gave his talk in conference, we decided to go out and, like Elder Ballard counseled, talk to as many people as possible. So we went to the town hall in Pirae, and lo and behold: a huge religious gathering, with different religions sharing their religion from a concession/booth type thing! There was no LDS stand because of conference. So Elder Martinson and I looked at each other, seeing this huge group of people with open, willing minds... In other words, that field was ripe and all ready to harvest, so we got the heck over there. In no time, we were teaching a group of 20 Adventists, along with other smaller lessons. It was too bad, not a single person lived in our area, but we planted some major seeds. Man, that was a good time.

Alright, so there’s some big news right? But wait... it gets better! Transfers came this week, and my training has officially ended. I’ve had a great time with Elder Martinson, and he’s taught me so much. I love that guy and so grateful for him. So, who’s my new companion? Well, it turns out I’m training! I will be training Elder Firuu, from Teahupoo, just down on the smaller part of Tahiti. He’s a convert, and he’s actually in this very room with me at the Mission Office. He doesn’t know he’s my companion yet! But he’s super cool, I’m looking forward to it so much.
Now, other news: I will be training, but it’s too bad, because all that work we did this week, I won’t be able to see come to fruition. Yep, I will be transferred from Pirae 2. I will be going to Tubuai Wednesday morning! It’s a tiny little island about 400 miles south of Tahiti. It’s the first Pacific island to have received the fullness of the gospel by Addison Pratt (1844). Am I stoked? Yeah I am! But I’m a bit sad too. I wasn’t quite ready to leave Pirae 2, because I really wanted to see things grow there. But I’m sure the Sister Missionaries who will be replacing us will do well too!

Well, that’s the news! Yeah, I’m gonna be the only American guy on an island in the middle of the ocean for who knows who long... kinda intimidating, but I’m pretty thrilled too. Wish me luck, I’ll need it!

Love you all, A faaitoito!
Elder Ball
http://mormon.org

Check out the video below about life in Tubuai!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Beach soccer, ramming, and lots of chow mein (Week #11 of training in Papeete)

Ia ora na!
First off, a pretty slow week... all due to the beach soccer world cup which took place here in Papeete. Because of that, there has been a two week vacation for all work and school... ridiculous! So this week just about all of our amis (investigators) have been out of town, which means barely any lessons! Elder Martinson and I have been able to find some inactives to teach, but other than that, the most part has been contacting and door to door in some neighborhoods waaaay up high in the mountains. As usual, we didn't get anything from that either, other than a bible bash or two from hardcore Protestants. So it was soo slow this week, but it was great because we could tell when Tahiti scored a goal just from hearing  the cheering from every single house in the valley. Yeah, its serious stuff here, beach soccer.
I would also like to comment on the amount of Chinese food we had this week. Chao mein every single night, and im not kidding. I never expected how much Chinese food there would be in Tahiti, but truthfully there really is a ton of Chinese influence here. Its crazy... when can I have some fish again?

Anyway, I'm a little late sending this cuz we had a special activity today. To everyone who said I wouldn't be able to go in, or at least on, the water on my mission, you are all sadly mistaken. That's right, we went ramming (rowing) today, approved by mission president and everything. It was way fun, and no I didn't "accidentally fall in", my conscience got the better of me. But looking back, that would have been nice. It was definitely a nice break from the norm, and a good chance to regain some sanity and relax a bit after a tough week. Only in Tahiti!
This week, with the few lessons we had, I really focused on trying to listen to what the person we're teaching have to say. Many times before, I kind of get sidetracked when the ami is talking, trying to think of something good to say in advance. But honestly, that doesn't work nearly as well as just listening with love. I found, as it says in Preach My Gospel, that when I listen, I don't even have to think of what to say. The words just kind of come out, and they're much more helpful than what I would have said if I didn't listen. Listening is everything! Its really helped me grow in my teaching ability for sure, and its something that I wish i had done and should have done much sooner.
So some pics, and I'm out! Sorry I haven't had much to write, but next week is my last week of training... we'll see what exciting news we'll have next week.
1. Just drinking a coconut. Pretty tasty
2. Going ramming, missionary style
3. Hanging out by the ocean, dang look at that hair. No worries, it'll be all gone tomorrow
4. Other group of missionaries coming in. Didn't end up getting one of my group, a bummer but whatevs
Love you all, stay fresh and a faaitoito!

Elder Ball



Monday, September 23, 2013

Feelin chilly (Week #10 in Papeete Pirae 2)

Ia ora na tatou!
Another week gone by just like that, and that makes 10 weeks in Tahiti for me. Some good things happened this week, and the potential is building up big time.
First of all, the weather here is nuts right now. The past 3 days have been pretty rainy, and today has been the worst with crazy thunder and lighting and hurricane status wind. That makes biking around pretty fun, getting completely soaked in not just sweat, but rain and mud and who knows what else. I realised the dangers of not having a mud guard on my bike... the backs of some of my shirts are completely brown! So yeah, I went out and bought one of those today. Today its been unusually cold too, so I brought out my sweatshirt for the first time. Needless to say, its chilly for us all... and its probably not any lower than 65 degrees!
So yeah, we got a new investigator, Patrick! He's pretty chill (just like everyone else I guess) and he was referred to us by the Elders in Pirae 1. He has a pretty solid testimony already of Joseph Smith, and he's read some of the Book of Mormon, so that's a great start for us! Only problem is, his job is pretty demanding so he can only meet once a week and can never make it to Church. So it'll be a little slow, but hes someone that we can focus on.
We engaged Ruta to baptism for November 16, a day that would be comfortable for her but would still push her, because she cant meet with us that often either. She said she would think on it and talk with her family... but she does want to get baptized! Its not really fixed, but shes feeling really motivated to go through with it. Were hoping that Orama will be encouraged by her example as well.
We also got a ton of references from the ward council yesterday... about 20! Bishop got everyone into doing this program that helps them focus on the missionary work, reading certain scriptures about it and also thinking about, praying about, and talking to certain friends that they would like to have receive the missionary lessons. They've been digging it, and now so have we! I can say that coordination with the members is the absolute BEST way to improve the missionary work in any ward. We'll see how things go with all these references next week.
I wanna just say that I love the Book of Mormon, so much. There's a chapter in there that could help with any situation. One that really hit me this week is now one of my all time favorites, Ether 12. It talks all about faith, and how it can truly bring about miracles, and as Moroni states it, "hope for a better world." The best is verse 27, when the Lord speaks to Moroni: "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them." I realize that I have so many weaknesses, and so does everyone in this life. But with faith and humility, we can overcome these weaknesses and make them strong.
Yeah, that's a wrap for this week. Things are improving, and were gonna continue to pray that it will! Love you all, keep it cool in the states!
Je vous aime,
Elder Ball



Monday, September 16, 2013

Haere maru, haere papu (Week #9 in Papeete Pirae 2)

Bonjour mes amis!
After much toil under the Tahiti sun, things are lookin up!
Elder Martinson and I were able to fill our schedule up this week with some inactive lessons and good service projects. The inactive lesson were pretty awesome, a lot of these people have been inactive for a super long time and had forgotten most of the Gospel, so we got to testify of the restoration and the Book of Mormon quite a bunch, which is absolutely my favorite thing to teach! The Spirit was strong many a time, and it was awesome to see their face light up as they remembered why they were a member to begin with.
We had a couple of service projects this week, and they were both helping the cement walls of a house. Not easy work, especially when the cement mixer breaks and we gotta do i manually with a shovel! It was super funny though, because at one point Elder Martinson and I put all the water, gravel and cement into the mixer, and we thought we locked it into place (because it pivots from side to side)... but I guess it slipped or something. So I was just about ready to head over and eat a bit when I felt cement all over my foot... and I looked and the cement mixer had tipped over and spilled the cement all over the ground. Elder Martinson looked at me and said "what did you do?!" and I said back "no, what did YOU do?!" We had to hurry and shovel it all back into the mixer before it dried right there on the ground. All the other guys were teasing us, saying "you white boys..." yeah, pretty funny story.
All in all, these inactive lessons and service projects got us in contact with some potential investigators. We've talked to them a little about our message, and they were pretty interested. So we've planted the seed, no we just gotta water it and make it grow, we got hopes for next week! Also another great milestone: Ruta came to church yesterday! we were stoked beyond all belief, and she really loved it. We're gonna try to fix a date for baptism this next week. Things are looking good for her despite opposition from her Grandpa.
Aside from the work, its starting to gradually get more and more hot, and more and more humid at that... Its making biking up all the hills a little more difficult! On Saturday, it was super humid, more humid than usual. Those are the perfect conditions for these flying bugs called manumanu to come out and start mating I guess. So that night, these bugs were swarming all over the place; the air was literally thick with them. We were riding our bikes, and I'm pretty sure I opened my mouth for one second and like 5 bugs flew into my mouth. When we got back to the house, there were bugs crawling all up in our shirts and our pockets. It was gnarly, and it'll probably happen again.
The work is slowly starting to pick up, it looks like. The members are getting a little more motivated to do missionary work. The bishop has been really emphasizing it lately, so that's great for us. The DMP has been sick for the last two weeks though, so we haven't had a whole lot of help from him unfortunately.
A Tahitian saying that has helped me chill out a little and not stress is "haere maru, haere papu." It means go slowly, go surely, in other words chill out. Its like it says Mosiah 4:27, "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and aorder; for it is not requisite that a man should run bfaster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order." Its still possible to be smart and take it easy a little as to not burn out, but still be diligent. Something good to think about.
That's about it for the week. I love you all, I will do all that I can to bring good news next week!
Ua here au ia outou,

Elder Ball

Monday, September 9, 2013

In the Lord's hands (Week #8 in Papeete Pirae 2)

Ia ora na ia outou!
Alrighty, I'm not really sure where to start off. I guess ill just say that this week wasn't much better than last week. In fact it was worse! But my attitude has changed. Ive felt better, and kind of different this week I guess you could say.
First of all, things aren't good with investigators right now. We lost our only fixed baptism, Vaitiare. She decided to split up with her fiance, and she moved back home with her parents about half an hour south, in Paea. She did it all without telling us too, so we were kinda surprised when we heard about it from her would have been in-laws at Church yesterday. The good thing is, she's not in concubinage anymore! Sad thing is, shes not in our area anymore. We haven't been able to get a hold of her yet, but were hoping that shes still clinging to the gospel and the desire to be baptised.
Ruta, Orama and Lani aren't looking so great either. The fear of being rejected by their Protestant families is starting to take hold of them. Its hard, were gonna keep doing our best with them and help encourage them to press forward. Not a whole lot of opportunities to meet with them this week.
Julie and William ducked out too. Turns out they were in it just to use the church gym for their reception. Apparently bishop made a deal with them that if they wanted to use the gym, they had to take lessons with us. So we taught em twice, and we taught them the truth. We were just kind of thrown in an awkward situation.
Still no sign of Tehaunui, we haven't been able to find him all week.
So after all that, I guess you could say were at square one. On the bright side, we cant get much lower than we can now! But in all honesty, its hard. Its so hard to lose investigators like this. So this next week, its mostly concentrating on Ruta Orama and Lani and the rest is just searching and motivating the members to help find people.
This week, Ive had a lot of time to think and to study. I realized that I'm out here on a mission to do the Lords work. This isn't my work, its his, so I gotta submit myself to him and just do my best. I remembered that before the mission I wanted to be tested and stretched more than I ever have before, more than any crazy school exam or any water polo game or whatever. And Heavenly Father is certainly making that a guarantee right now; this mission is the hardest thing I've ever done so far. So I've been praying super hard, acknowledging that this is definitely some hard stuff and that I'm being tested and getting what I wanted, all the while submitting myself to the difficulty and asking Heavenly Father for His help. Its been a faith-building, patience-growing week for me, and I'm positive that it won't stop there.
So I'm still pretty content, and growing more and more headstrong. Its hard to say it, but I really do love this work. Despite the difficulty, I would rather be here than anywhere else right now, because I feel the influence of the Holy Ghost every day, and that is something that I would never give up.






I love you all! Just some pics: me posing like an idiot in front of our house, Elder Martinson and I, Eugene the crazy homeless guy who does our yard work for free and who sleeps behind the chapel, a poisonous centipede on my arm, and a sweet view from the 'hood of Nahoata.
Peace out! Still livin life, keep the faith!
A faaitoio,

Elder Ball
-------------------------------------------
Elder Ball would love your letters of encouragement!  Please write him (Put 3 stamps on your envelope.):

Tahiti Papeete Mission
Elder Ball, Casey 
B.P. 93
Papeete, Tahiti 98713
French Polynesia

Monday, September 2, 2013

Feelin' the burn (Week #7 in Papeete Pirae 2)

Ia ora na ia outou!

Alrighty, like it says in the subject of the email, things are gettin hot and we're starting to feel the burn, physically and mentally. First physically: i kinda got a sunburn, my first one here. And by kinda a mean pretty gnarly. I can explain Mom, we were playing rugby on P day at our usual time, 3 o'clock. I never put sunscreen on cuz its pretty late, but there was something different that day. It was hot, wayy hot, and the sun was cookin. So that night before I realize it I'm totally cooked, my face was completely roasted. But it turned out nice, kinda faded into a nice tan. So I wont complain! But ill learn from that experience... ça faisait mal.

The work is still slow as well. We've worked our absolute hardest this week. We went on splits with members visiting every inactive member and every old investigator. There were two inactives who accepted a lesson and came to Church. Everyone else has no interest of coming back, or they're just incredibly lazy. I can't believe they think they can't come back cuz they "don't have any shoes" or cuz they "don't have a wife"... excuses excuses, But as frustrating as it is, I could never have real malice or dislike for these people. I love em all, their so incredibly chill and nice it's ridiculous. They just need a little kick in the pants to get em moving.

Investigator lessons have been a mixed bag. Tehaunui and Vaitiare have been gone every time we tried to come over, and they wont answer their phones so we dont know what's up. But the three new women we found two weeks ago are doin awesome! Corine hasn't been there this past week, but another friend, named Ruta, joined in the lessons with Orama and Lani. She actually took the lessons before, but ducked out of the baptism last minute because she was scared to offend her family. But we committed them to baptism this week and they're starting to read the Book of Mormon. We can see that Ruta is really starting to feel what she felt before, and that's so sweet. We found a good member friend for them too, and they all hit it off well. Things are lookin awesome for them.

Other than those lessons, not very many investigators who progress. Not many investigators in general I guess! I won't lie, this week was tough for me. I've been studying so hard and working so hard to understand these languages and doing my best to teach and Elder Martinson and I have been rollin everywhere to find people, and by last night I was just wiped out. This P day could have come a little faster! All the other Elders were telling me to just relax and have faith that things would get better, and to be patient. Patience is definitely not my strength, I would be so content if results just came like that. But missionary work is seldom like that. So that's my goal, just chill out and enjoy this work. I realized that my impatience could impede on my happiness, and that's no good.

Anyway, this week will be the change for me! I'm gonna work hard but not stress to bad, and have hope and faith that if we work hard things will speed up eventually! Thank you all for your love and support, and I love you all! I promise pictures will come next week. I just gotta take some.

Love,

Elder Ball

Monday, August 26, 2013

Time flies! (Week #6 in Papeete Pirae 2)

Ia ora na!

Another week flown by just like that! Already halfway done with my training, and it's ridiculous to look back and see how much I've learned in the past six weeks. I still plan on learning even more in the next six weeks, so now's the time to shine!

This week was a little slower, a little disappointing. Julie and William cancelled their lessons for this week and said to wait for next week. We're wondering if they just took advantage of us to use the chapel for their reception, but we're keepin' our hopes up high and we'll see about this week! Also Tehaunui pretty much cancelled every time we tried to meet with him, and he didn't show up to either the baptism or to Church. Let me tell ya that was frustrating! I love these people and its totally a bummer to have them flake out on us. We'll just keep pushing forward with them!

On the other hand, we found a few more investigators this week. We met three ladies out on the street the other day, Lani, Orama and Corine. They're all friends, and we taught em a little bit about God and the family, and they we're pretty stoked about our thoughts on that so they decided to start taking lessons together with us. They're super fun and ecstatic about having happiness in the family, so that's perfect for us. We teach them again tomorrow, and I'm stoked!

Other cool things that happened this week, we had a zone conference with three other zones this week down in Faaa. President Sinjoux is the man! He knows just how to motivate us to work our hardest. He also knows how to make us question if we work hard enough in the first place! So it was a good chance for me to reflect and ask myself if I was confident enough in my calling as a representative of Jesus Christ. I'm pretty shy sometimes, not gonna lie, and the language barrier doesn't help much with that problem. But I'm definitely gonna focus more on gaining confidence and trusting in the power and authority of my calling. Good stuff there!

We also had a Missionary Musical Program last night. It was a program that we've been preparing since I got here, and it was sweet! It was a choir of our zone, Papeete, with another zone Arue. I played the piano for all the songs, and it was way fun. Reminded me of my days in Zion Youth Choir! Hahaha good stuff, we're gonna be doing the same program three more times in the next few weeks. The purpose is to have investigators come and understand missionary work through a musical perspective. Unfortunately none of our investigators came last night, but that's why we have it three more times.

Well that's about it for this week. Language is getting better, I'm going on my first legit split tonight with the DMP for family night at an inactive family's home, while Elder Martinson goes with someone else to a member family with potential investigators. My French will be tested tonight!

Shout out to Grandpa and Grandma Call for starting their mission in Salt Lake City East! Love you two!

Ua here roa vau ia outou, e ua ti'ai au e e mea maitai roa te oraraa no outou!

Elder Ball

Monday, August 19, 2013

E mea maitai roa'tu teie ohipa (Papeete Pirae 2)

Ia ora na i to'u utuafare e to'u mau hoa here!

Life is still good here in Pirae. Lessons have been a little short this week because of a lot of cancellations, but that just gives us more time to move around and talk to people.

Lessons with Tehaunui are still great. We engaged him to baptism (I extended the engagement--wattup) and he accepted. We don't have a date for him yet because we want him to come to Church first as to make sure we can realize the date. But he said he's got no work for this coming Sunday and that he's down, so we're pumped about that. He's also coming to a convert baptism in another ward that's on Saturday to see what it's like. We have big hopes for him in the near future. Also for the record, these lessons are in French, this guy's young, like 23 years old.

Julie and William came back from their honeymoon a few days ago, and we'll start teaching them again tomorrow. I can't remember if I said in the last email, but we had to change the date of their baptism to a month later, September 28, because they haven't even been to Church more than one time in their life. We're really hoping that they didn't do all this just to get the wedding blessing from the Church, but we'll continue to work with them and hope to spark that fire inside of em.

All other lessons are going great. We acquired a new investigator named Tonio, he's at the hospital here in Pirae but he's from Punauia down South. His brother insisted that he takes the lessons, so he is with us for now. We taught him once, but the four other times we tried to go and teach him he cancelled on us last minute. Kind of a waste of time when it works like that. It's a lesson in Tahitian so it's good for us, and we want to teach him for obvious reasons, but it's no good for anyone if he keeps cancelling. Kind of a bummer.

The languages are still doing alright. I've been improving at speaking French little by little, and the understanding depends. Sometimes I can totally understand everything that's being said, like if it's a younger person, but if it's an old dude with no teeth I have no chance! Tahitian is coming along too, I've been making more of an effort to keep up on it. The understanding Tahitian depends just the same; if they have teeth I can pick up most of it! It's getting better and better. I know I say that every week, and for me it's even hard to see, but that's what everyone says so it's cool i guess!

Well life is good and I'm loving the work. Food is still awesomely bizarre sometimes, like fried bananas or straight up fish heads or whatever. Sometimes I don't even know what I eat, but I eat it anyway because I'm so hungry! I ate octopus without even knowing it... I'm serious when I say that I can't remember what it was, just that my companion told me I ate it!

That's about it! I've been thinking a lot of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and how we can apply it to our lives only if we choose to. Just remember that the greatest gift our Savior gave to us was his sacrifice for sin and death, and that we should never doubt the healing, cleansing powers that it brings to us.

Ua here roa au ia outou, e ua hinaaro vau e e mea oaoa roa to outou oraraa! Mauruuru no to outou here.

A faaitoito,
Elder Ball

Please write Casey; he'd LOVE to hear from you (put 3 stamps on your envelope):

Tahiti Papeete Mission
Elder Ball, Casey 
B.P. 93
Papeete, Tahiti 98713
French Polynesia

Monday, August 12, 2013

Improvement (Week #4 in Papeete Pirae 2)

Ia ora na i to'u mau hoa!

Another week out and it's crazy to look back and see that I've already been out here for 4 weeks. Time flies by so quickly in the field, it's ridiculous.

We had a lot going on this week! Our investigators are still comin along. Julie and William had their wedding this week, so we had a chance to talk with some of their family at the reception (and eat some more fafaru as well. Thats beside the point I guess). They liked the service, but none of them seemed too interested in our message. They're on their honeymoon for a week so lessons with them are on hold.

Our lessons with Tehaunui are probably my favorite. We had some sweet lessons with him. When we shared the lesson on the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, it was pretty sweet to just give him the book to have in his hands and read, and he said that he felt something different during that lesson than during any other catholic service or Jehovah's witness lesson. He's only finished the intro and testimony of Joseph Smith, so hopefully by tomorrow he will had read some of 1 Néphi. I'm hoping so bad that he'll have gained a testimony! That's all it takes to be willing to do the other commitments, like going to Church. He has to work every Sunday, so we're working with him to find a solution. We'll see soon what will happen!

This week we had the chance to go around with the DMP (ward mission leader) and visit a ton of inactive members, including ones who requested blessings at the hospital. It was pretty sweet, I gave a blessing in French and a couple in Tahitian. It seriously is not easy, but it came! We also gave a lesson to this one inactive family, however the Grandpa only spoke Tahitian, and the parents and children spoke mainly French, so during the lesson we would say every sentence twice in both languages so everyone could understand. That was actually pretty fun! These moments were filled with the Spirit, and to have these people feel that again was great, and we encouraged them to come back to Church and Sunday, and the most part of them did. Truly some really great experiences.

Speaking of the languages, they're coming bit by bit. The comprehension is still increasing after all, and I've been really striving to start thinking in French to make the speaking come more naturally, and the only way to do that is by speaking French alll the time, no English at all. It's working I'd say, but it's working slowly. I can say now though that my French has surpassed my Tahitian. That's okay for right now, once I get comfortable with French I'll start focusing more again on Tahitian. It's not as easy as I thought it would be... definitely underestimated balancing out the two!

Well, I just want to say how glad I am to be here in Tahiti and preaching the gospel. Life is just so great in general, and it really is a blessing. We taught Tehaunui about the Fall of Adam as well, and he was so stoked to figure out that the fall wasn't really a bad thing, and that the fall brought about the joy and existence of mankind. Like it says in 2 Nephi 2:25, "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." Like it says, we're alive to have joy and to be happy! We have so many sweet experiences to have and so many moments to share with others, so lets live it with the best of attitudes.

That's it! Just a picture of me and my homegrown bananas to send off too. Peace out everyone, gotta go out and play some weekly rugby soon. Fun stuff!
Ua here au ia outou,

Elder Ball

Please write me: (Put 3 stamps on your envelope.)

Tahiti Papeete Mission
Elder Ball, Casey
B.P. 93
Papeete, Tahiti 98713
French Polynesia