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.

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

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.