Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tera ava'e no Tiurai (Vairao - week 13)

Ia ora na!
Its been a good week yall. We've had some small successes in finding new investigators this week and some solid progression with our investigators. Aranui, the radio guy I talked about before, has been having a hard time accepting baptism because of family opposition. This week however, we learned that his family has finally accepted that he be baptized! It’s truly the answers to our prayers and surely his prayers. Since our first few lessons, he’s had powerful spiritual moments with the Book of Mormon, and he knows without a doubt that it’s the true church of Jesus Christ. He shall be baptized in August!
We also found a new investigator while we were out on the streets. We talked to him a little bit, and it turns out he had taken the lessons previously but left town for a time and just came back. His name’s Brandon. He’s a 19 year old dude whose dad is an inactive member. He told us about the first time he took a trip to the temple when he was invited for a ward activity about half a year back, and he felt the Spirit super strong when he touched the walls of the temple. We had a super solid first lesson with him, and he accepted right away the invitation to be baptized. He’s super shy, but he’s someone who has a real desire to change his life. I felt a real strong love for him while we taught him. We’re hoping things will continue well with him!
We also had a super great sacrament meeting this week when our stake president, President Tupai, came to speak about missionary work to our members and also teach the Gospel Principles class for the investigators. The Spirit was especially strong during this sacrament meeting, and the members were super motivated to work after such an experience. We had a member bring a new investigator originally from Tubuai that day, and were hoping to start the lessons with him this coming week.
I just wanted to share my thoughts about the atonement of Jesus Christ. Nothing can free us from the stinging burden of sin but the atonement itself. It is only through the gospel of Jesus Christ that we can find a true happiness through his sacrifice. Alma in the Book of Mormon lived through it all as he was converted. "I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!" So many people regret or sorrow over poor decisions that they have made in their life, and they often don’t know where to find relief for that. I testify that Jesus Christ is the way to find relief, He offered himself as a sacrifice and carried the burdens of our poor decisions so that we wouldnt have to.

That’s about it for this week! Here’s some pictures of chillin at the beach in Teahupoo. Love you all, have a good week!

Elder Ball

Monday, July 21, 2014

Too busy for an email (Vairao - week #12)

Hey mom, thanks for the email. Sadly, I wont be writing a long email this week, just because we don't have much time today. We have an activity planned, and normally because of emails we don't have time to do much during Pdays so for today I'm taking a break. I hope that doesn't bother you too much! We had a good week, found some good new investigators and we'll be doing some good things in the stake to find new investigators. I love you mom!
Casey Ball

Monday, July 14, 2014

So much power in one little book part 2 (Vairao - week 11)

Ia ora na!
First week with Elder Tera was a success. He's the bomb, and its good to be the getting the languages down with the native companion. We've had some ups and downs in our area this week, but we're expecting things to improve with the coming weeks. We've been working HARD, man.

First off, there's been tons of things happening here in Vairao this weekend. For one, it's the world cup finals so everyone turns off their brain for a bit to watch the tele. For another, there were town elections, and I'm not joking politics here are like a sporting event. The elections take place Sunday, and the Saturday before is madness. Everyone goes out in the streets with their cars and huge speaker systems and parades around the city with colored flags and T-shirts representing the political group that they support. They play super loud music and honk their horns, and the different groups go into open fields and do cheers... What? Even my Tahitian companion scratches his head about this behavior. Its absolute madness, all about a town election that probably makes no difference in the outcome. Like I said in another email,, Tahitians look for excuses to party!
Its been a pain for Elder Tera and I, mostly because the work dwindles. In spite of the neighborhood family night, the sacrament meeting in which we spoke, and our Sunday night fireside that we put on this week, we didn't have much fruit, since members and amis were out doing other things. Its good to see where everyone's priorities are! We saw it coming, but that's why we pushed for so much activity in the ward for the week. We're hoping that next week will yield greater results in terms of our activities with the ward.
Like I said, we were blessed with some ups to balance out the downs! Friday we had a lot of free time, so Elder Tera and I decided to go out to Fenua Aihere to do look for some teaching opportunities. We met some cool people who are interested in the gospel. Among them is the grandmother of Elder Firuu, my old companion! She's already received the lessons, and she received us and was impressed with our Tahitian, so she wants to see us again. We expect to go even further out into the wilderness some other time to find others who are ready to receive us. Also,I  snapped a sweet photo while we were out there. It was a full moon that night, it was rad.
Full moon in the Fenua Aihere wilderness
We also had a sweet lesson with T-----. He has had a hard time believing the importance of authority in baptizing, since he was already baptized Protestant. Last week we read 3 Nephi 11 with him, and asked him to pray about the Book of Mormon and its teachings on baptism. Sunday we were able to meet with him, and in doing the follow up he said "I thought about it a little bit... I want to be rebaptized." Score! He said in the past week he's had really powerful, spiritual witnesses in reading the Book of Mormon, and he recognized the need for proper baptism. What a blessing to have after a somewhat difficult weekend!
Like I said maybe two weeks ago, the Book of Mormon is absolute power. That was actually the subject of my talk in sacrament meeting on Sunday. When the Spirit testifies to us of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, it all becomes clear what needs to be done in our life. Without the Book of Mormon, we don't have all the information that we need, despite the existence of the Bible. Its pretty clear, seeing how many churches can't agree with one another in their interpretations of the Bible. Surely God didn't want so much confusion among His children. I once again bear my testimony that the Book of Mormon is true, it is the word of God.
That's a wrap for this week! Love you all.
Elder Ball

Monday, July 7, 2014

Good changes (Vairao - week 10)

Ia ora na tatou!
This week brought a ton of new changes into the missionary life. First of all, we had a transfer happen this morning and Elder Larsen was transferred to Hitiaa, on the other side of the island. It was way tough to see him go, because for him he truly loved our ward and him and I grew pretty close. He'll boss it up over there in his new area. That means that Elder Tera will be my new companion! He's from Papeete, and he's already 22 months through his mission. I could be the one to "kill" him (meaning I'm his last companion). He's way chill, hes super into surfing and long boarding, so we get along good. It also means that for a few weeks I'll be taking the reins and leading the area, in addition to the whole zone (gulp...). Hopefully I won't utterly destroy things while leading!
We had some very special opportunities this week. Were continuing the lessons with R------ after a small stand-by, since he's been too busy to see us recently. He's doing great, he's been awesome in terms of the Word of Wisdom and he smokes rarely these days. Even without the lessons he hast ceased to pray or read the scriptures. What a stud!

He also asked us to give blessings to his parents, who also aren't members. So one day Elder Larsen and I show up to their home to do a lesson with R------. He wasn't there, but his parents were, and they asked us to give them blessings for some sicknesses that they have. This is a golden opportunity for any missionary. We gave both S-------, the mother, and M-----, the father, blessings, and the Spirit was so incredibly strong during those moments. After we finished, M----- went to go get us something to drink while S-------, with tears in her eyes, explained to us that she felt a real warm feeling while we gave the blessing. She said it was something that she felt like she needed for a long time. What an incredible blessing it was to take part in that! We feel that this family could be a huge potential. We'll be keeping close contact with them.
We also had a mission conference with our new mission president, President Bize. He truly has a different personality that President Sinjoux, but he is way awesome. He is incredibly energetic and pretty hilarious, and he has a solid testimony on the Book of Mormon, him himself being a convert to the church. He'll bring a lot to this mission, he's someone who is easy to love and very personable.
Life is good in the zone and in the area. Just trying to keep cool and love life. I love you all and have a good week!

Elder Ball