Monday, June 3, 2013

One month down! Week #5


Well, it's officially been a month out on the mission! Only 23 more to go! Not that I've been counting or anything... haha but this past week has been somewhat long, and a little tough, but nonetheless full of learning and growth.

I guess I'll start with the trip to San Francisco! We got up nice and early at 3 AM and rode a bus to the airport that was taking a bunch of Brazil missionaries there as well. Our flight left at around 6, and we got to San Francisco at around 6:45 Pacific time of course.I was assigned the travel leader, so I was given all of our directions for the group I was in, which consisted of half of my district and half of the other Tahitian district. I had a cell phone! It was pretty fun, and it was used to call our shuttle guy named Edgar, who wasn't a member but was used to driving the missionaries to the French Consulate. So he drove us around, and he dropped us off at the consulate. We had about a half an hour before our appointment, so we decided to try and proselyte right there downtown. And I'm gonna say right now, that it was not easy... Mad props to missionaries serving in the States! Seriously, every single person we talked to, which might have been around 15, turned us down. Very few were polite, more straight up gave us the cold shoulder, and maybe 5 who didn't even acknowledge us. It was tough, and discouraging!

After that sad state of affairs, we got our visas taken care of, then we went to Pier 39 for some lunch. Of course I had the clam chowder in a bread bowl! We tried to proselyte a little there, and people were much more friendly. We talked to this couple from New Zealand for a little bit, but they ended up not being interested. So, with no success at all and feeling somewhat disappointed, we called our shuttle and waited. But, while waiting, this cab drove up to the corner. The driver opens his window, and shouts, "Hey! You guys are missionaries of Jesus Christ!" and I replied, "Yep, we certainly are!" And my favorite part, he shouted back, "Y'all are lookin' GOOD!" Let me tell you, that was really nice to hear! He offered us a ride, and I said no thanks we got one coming, but that we had a quick message for him. I gave him a pass-along card and testified of Jesus Christ. He thanked me, and went on his way. I guess you could say it was a success! So we went off back home, with one pass-along card given away, and several left in the airplanes we rode in. It was a great learning experience. We rode the frontrunner back to the MTC, and at the first platform I ran into Markus Foote, as you probably saw on Facebook! That was pretty awesome. I love that guy!

Elder Ball and Markus Foote that day
I didn't take any pictures, for one reason because I forgot my camera, and for another reason I realized how much I didn't want to look like a tourist (like the Sisters sort of did, for example!), especially in my own city. Wouldn't really feel right!

Elder Ball's district -- all are going to Tahiti July 15

So as the week went on, and the first month passing, we really started to feel the burn. We committed Manuarii and Marc to baptism! Although, we have to prepare them and help them overcome drug problems, family problems and whatnot. We are also trying to get another "investigator" by practicing our contacting. Frere Coulson is not going easy on us! Both times we practiced contacting he turned us down. It's frustrating for sure, but each time I gain so much more knowledge and insight on how to be persuasive and more in tune to the Spirit. This work is not easy, but very worth it.

The French is getting better and better, and we are pretty much speaking it all the time. When I want to say something now, my first instinct is to say it in French, or "Franglais". It really is a beautiful language, and I do love to speak it. However, today is the long awaited day when we begin to officially learn Tahitian! I've taken a few looks in the Tahitian language books that we have and sort of have a small head start, but I definitely am looking forward to the help of our teachers. They'll be teaching all the lessons in French, and absolutley no English, so I'll still definitely be working on the French! I'm feeling the burn!

For gym I've still been playing volleyball. On Thursday this week, we had our schedule changed around for a bit because we had a few observers from Church Headquarters in our classroom, so we had a different gym time. I ended up playing volleyball with a bunch of Tongans... that was the best fun I've had in any gym time!! Those guys were so good, and super nice, and playing with them brought me up to a new level. They would set up perfect opportunities to spike, and gave me tons of pointers. And they were really impressed with how high I could jump. Made me feel good! Hopefully I'll get some more opportunities to play in Tahiti on P-days or something.

So this week, I realized how crazy insightful and thought-provoking the hymn If You Could High To Kolob was. I never really cared for it much, until I heard and read the lyrcis! I'll share them with you:

If you could hie to Kolob
In the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward
With that same speed to fly,
Do you think that you could ever,
Through all eternity,
Find out the generation
Where Gods began to be?

Or see the grand beginning,
Where space did not extend?
Or view the last creation,
Where Gods and matter end?
Methinks the Spirit whispers,
"No man has found 'pure space,'
Nor seen the outside curtains,
Where nothing has a place."

The works of God continue,
And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression
Have one eternal round.
There is no end to matter;
There is no end to space;
There is no end to spirit;
There is no end to race.

There is no end to virtue;
There is no end to might;
There is no end to wisdom;
There is no end to light.
There is no end to union;
There is no end to youth;
There is no end to priesthood;
There is no end to truth.

There is no end to glory;
There is no end to love;
There is no end to being;
There is no death above.
There is no end to glory;
There is no end to love;
There is no end to being;
There is no death above.

For me, it's awesome how the glory of God is endless, and how important persevering to the end, "improvement and progression," is important for all of us. This life is the time for us to grow, and eventually recieve the glory of God after this life, according to our good works here on Earth. We must recognize the omnipotence and omniscience of God, and this World, solar system, and the perfect order of the universe is proof of the grand design that our Heavenly Father has put together.

Anyway, that's what I've got for this week! Thanks for all your letters and love, and I miss you all. A fa'aitoito!

Ua here au ia oe,
Orometua Popo
Elder Ball

Elder Casey David Ball
MTC Mailbox # 174
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

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