Monday, August 25, 2014

Can I never leave? (Vairao week #17)

Ia ora na tatou!
It's been a fantastic week for Elder Tera and I. Some good small miracles that have happened here and there! First and foremost to talk about was the miracle or Aranui's baptism! At last! Aranui is the radio host that we have been teaching ever since I got here to Vairao. He's such a humble, shy guy, and he had a hard time understanding many of the principles of he Gospel that we taught, so it took slow, careful and patient teaching. But with the Lord's help, his life has been blessed. Not too long ago, his mother passed away, and that was a trial that took its toll on him. One day while reading the Book of Mormon, the Holy Ghost confirmed that what he was reading was true, and he felt a calm come over him. His mother came to his mind during this experience, and he felt the impression that his mother lived on and was watching over him. Since this experience, he has wanted to be baptized, but opposition from the rest of his family held him back, until finally after many prayers his family decided to support him in his decision. On Friday, the baptismal service took place, and when he came up out of the water i couldn't stop smiling! At the end of the service he bore a simple testimony of his experiences in learning the gospel, and he asked humbly that the members help him accomplish the ordinances for his parents. It was a beautiful night!
Elder Clark, Frere Teaue, Aranui, Elder Larsen, moi, Elder Tera, and Tati!
We also started the lessons with an investigator who came to the temple. Her name is T------, and she is the sister in law of one of our ward missionaries. Shes 16 years old, and shes already prepared to be baptized. About a year ago, her member cousin came to stay with them and spent some good time sharing the gospel with the family. He taught them about the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation and everything. Then he left, and no follow up was made! What?? So basically for a year T----- has been reading the Book of Mormon, and she already knows that its all true! She even keeps the commandments, and is just super righteous. Yet, she says that shes not ready for baptism and doesn't want to fix a date... she hasn't admitted it, but we believe that it could be the her parents who don't want her to be baptized. We've had some awesome lessons with her this week, and we definitely realize that its definitely about time that the Lord sent us to help her make the decision now.
Me and our humble Toyota pickup. We get anywhere together.
Another small experience, while one of our lessons were cancelled, we felt the impression to go visit an old investigator. She ended up not being there, but we met and talked with her grandson. It was hilarious, we introduced ourselves, and then he said "ohh, so it was you guys that I saw on TV Monday night, at the Billabong Pro!" Heh, yeah that was us I guess.This guy is the bomb! He talked to us how he doesn't belong to a religion, but he believes firmly in God and prays every day. He doesn't smoke or drink, and he and a group of friends basically pass their time talking about God and encouraging other youth in the neighborhood to stop smoking and drinking. We basically told him that that's exactly what we do, but we do it in all of Polynesia, and that he could become a missionary too if he listened to our message. He was down, we'll be seeing him this week! I feel that the Spirit truly led us towards this young man. I hope he'll accept us!
Me killing Elder Tera
Like I said, it was a fantastic week, but it ended bittersweet. I said goodbye to, or "killed", my companion, Elder Tera, since he finished his mission in time to head over to France to go to school. I loved Elder Tera, we were two guys with pretty similar tastes, and he's one of my best buddies. I'll miss him for sure! But, I'm happy to be with my new companion Elder Millett! He's from Seattle, and I don't think I'll ever have a dull moment with him. Hes very enthusiastic and a real jokester, and a solid worker at that. Life will be good with him.
A pretty sweet photo that a member found for us on Tahiti's news website. Model status.
I love you all! Have a great week.
Elder Ball

Monday, August 18, 2014

"Now that's the mission!" Catching the wave (Vairao - week #16)

Ia ora na tatou paatoa!
Elder Pearson, Elder Tera, Elder Ball, President Bize

What a week, what a week! I have absolutely no idea where to start, since everything awesome happened. I guess I'll start with the fact that we were totally blessed to have Elder Pearson of the Seventy come to the mission to train us all. On Thursday we had a leadership meeting at President Bize's home and Elder Pearson assisted. It was funny since it was all in English. We did our normal zone reports (a little nerve wracking in front of a general authority, and it didn't help that doing it in English messes with your head) and then Elder Pearson taught us how to be good leaders and how to truly help and
Leadership Meeting
love the other missionaries in the zone. He also came by Friday and we had a mission conference, and taught us how to truly serve with all our heart, might, mind and strength. Definitely boosted our morale and pumped us up to get working. He's a truly powerful man, called of God, and it was a blessing to hear from him.
We also had an amazing experience this weekend. We had a temple trip that we've been planning for a few weeks now. A couple buses were rented to pick up investigators and their member friends for our ward and the neighboring ward Toahotu, and we went off to the temple where we had groups go into the temple garden for a tour, and other groups go into the visitors center for a small lesson from the sister missionaries. It was concluded by our stake president, and finally everyone feasted a well prepared meal. It was an absolute success! Between 40 and 50 investigators came, and the Spirit was absolutely powerful the whole way through. Some of our investigators, such as Pamela and Tuare, Karl and Arieta and Aranui were all there and were super touched. The whole thing fell into place, and it was truly a blessing to see that happen.
I'll end quickly with our experience for today. It is the middle of August in Teahupoo, and guess what that means? Billabong Pro surf competition, of course! Since such a thing would interest Elder Tera and I, we worked up the courage to ask President if we could catch a boat to go watch some of the competition. Surprisingly, he said yes! Under one condition... that we go in our missionary attire. Well, we won't complain! So we went with some other Elders, bought ourselves onto a taxi boat and headed out there to the spot. Oh man, when we arrived, you wouldn't believe the ruckus we caused. Everyone's chillin' on their boats with their shorts and tank tops and hats and bathing suits, and a boat pulls up with well-dressed men sporting black name tags. Everyone pulls out their cameras and starts taking pictures, and even the television crew on their boat pulls up to film us. Were all just laughing and waving all stoked to watch some surfing. A member pulled up in his boat and said to us, "now THAT's the mission!" We had an awesome time, the waves were so fat, its not often you see awesomeness such as that.
Found on

We understand a little why President told us to go in our missionary attire. His goal is to make the church known to the world, and no doubt, we were well behaved in that boat, and we took every opportunity to talk to people about the message we carry. Just make sure to look in the next edition of Billabong magazine. Maybe you'll find a picture of a boat full of missionaries inside. :)
That's a little of the week. So awesome. I love you all.

Elder Ball

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pineapples (i didnt know what to put as the subject so voila) Week #15 - Vairao

Ia ora na!
Life is beautiful again here in Vairao. Finally the vacation season is about to end so people will stop leaving and doing all sorts of dumb things and get back into a gospel-learning mood. Elder Tera and I have found another new investigator named T------. She's the cousin of a ward missionary in our ward, who actually wanted to talk to us just to ask why her boyfriend on another island was being faithless going out with a member of the church. Basically it started out with her a little ticked off, asking why her boyfriend would start to leave her and what the heck was so special about our church. Happily, we started to teach about the Restoration of the church of Jesus Christ and that families can be together for ever. We gave her a Book of Mormon and told her to read it to find more answers to questions. Thankfully she started to calm down a little bit. At the end of the lesson, she said "hey, I heard your church gives blessings. How can I get one of those?" Just a question that gets missionaries excited. She happened to have a broken ankle that was in the process of healing. We gave her a sweet blessing, and before we even started the Spirit filled her room and she started to ball, seriously. At the end, without us even asking, she told us to come back again next week and keep teaching her the gospel. Whatever you want Sista!
We also had the blessing to go to the temple this week. Its always good to get an endowment session done, and receive inspiration for the work. Since the zone has been struggling to find new investigators and fix new baptisms in the past few weeks, the temple was the best moment to seek counsel from the Lord. Naturally, I had the revelation that I needed to report with the other missionaries in the zone more frequently, to help them more personally and know more thoroughly their investigators. It was a chance to evaluate myself, and I felt so motivated leaving the temple to go work my guts out. My love for the other missionaries grew as I thought about them and their hard work, same for the investigators in our ward. Man, you gotta love the temple!
Its been a real workout, but also a privilege to be a zone leader. After thinking about this privilege, I realize that it is most definitely preparing me for future callings, but more importantly it is shaping me and molding me to become like our Heavenly Father. Only in being a leader or in having any responsibility in the church can we learn to love others, make just decisions, make plans and help and guide others along the way. The Lord gives us these responsibilities for this purpose. As President Spencer W. Kimball said, "Jesus gave people truths and tasks that were matched to their capacity. He did not overwhelm them with more than they could manage, but gave them enough to stretch their souls."

I love this work, and i couldn't be happier to be a part of it, even though it is stretching the heck out of my soul. I love you all, thanks for you love and support and your prayers!

Elder Ball

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Small but significant progression (Vairao - week #14)

Ia ora na tatou!
I'll be brief this week, but its been a good one! Elder Tera and I have had a lot of lessons this week, so things are starting to pick back up again after summer vacation. Were really trying to get the members going in the missionary work. Were in the process of planning a temple trip in a couple weeks that should yield much fruit. Were looking forward to exploding this sector. Some solid lessons that we've had, we've started teaching a less active member named E------ whose companion is not a member. They have a son whose a member in the Teacher's quorum whose been having a hard time coming as well. We had a solid lesson about the atonement and repentance. We cut right to the chase and invited E------to get married, and he accepted. Hes someone who wants to change his life and come back to the goodness that he once know as a child, as well as be a good example for his son. Unfortunately his wife hasn't accepted the lessons, but we'll see in the next little bit.
We had an interesting lesson with an Adventist pastor as well. He's actually the father of one of our other investigators, P------, so he was there for her lesson. Surprisingly it wasn't a typical bible bash on the Sabbath day. We started out by teaching P------ and explaining how to recognize the Holy Ghost, then the father starts telling us how he felt similar things one time, when he received the gift of healing... He told us about when he went around at the hospital one week just healing everybody with his gift that he had. My companion and I didn't really know how to respond, but we just said yes that was the Holy Ghost that he felt and the the Holy Ghost could help him know other things, like if the Book of Mormon is true, then we just taught him about that. He's a super nice guy with tons of faith. God must help his children through their faith even without the Priesthood. But next time we meet him, were ready to talk about the Sabbath.
Recently I've been struggling with the fact that a lot of our investigators progress slowly, whether it be not receiving answers to prayers or thanks to many worldly problems in their life, such as drugs, couple abuse, poverty, even crimes that have left them fairly scarred. However, these are people that want the Gospel and want to learn, and find solace in our lessons and in feeling the Spirit. Little by little their life does get better, but like I said, i struggle with the fact that its little by little and not miraculously in one week, and sometimes get impatient. Luckily I saw this video this week.
It made me realize that God works with his children according to their needs, little by little, according to a timing that He himself sees fit. Not always will people be able to change their life so quickly like I've seen with other investigators. But as long as they learn the Gospel and strive honestly to apply it, Heavenly Father will bless them and help them simply because He love them. But it takes patience.
That's the week! Thank you all for you love and your prayers, have yourselves a great week as well!

Elder Ball