Monday, March 30, 2015

Parataito (Paradise) Bora Bora - week #24

Ia ora na!

Another week gone by... and just like that, it's already time for transfer calls. We received em last night, and.... I'll be dying here in Bora Bora! Elder Duncan and I have been companions for about 4 months now, definitely the longest companion that I've had my whole mission. He'll be transferred to Paea over on Tahiti; it's been super great to be with him and to train him, and he's taught me a lot! After another week with Elder Duncan, I'll be getting Elder Shwartz the week after conference. He started the same time as Elder Duncan, and he'll be my last companion. Weird to think I only have one transfer left. Doesn't really feel like I'll be leaving any time soon!

We had a decent week... a good amount of lessons cancelled, but of course great lessons with the usual progressing investigators to help you remember how awesome being a missionary is! We haven't felt a ton of overall progress in the ward this week, and it's frustrating. But we did our best to fix as many lessons as possible for next week and plan them super well, and we had a good personal meeting with bishop to talk a little about the ward, find solutions to problems and to offer our help in any means possible. It was nice to discuss with him, he's a great bishop and worthy of his calling. It's just a matter of all the ward members and the ward council being on the same page now!

Saturday we participated in a ward activity with the young single adults. For the activity we basically went around with a list of services and favors to render to random people in the neighborhoods of Bora Bora, like washing a car or sweeping the patio to telling a story to a child. It was way fun, and it picked up a few references for the elders as well. Were planning to do that again in our area next time, cuz it works! 

Last Monday we spent a day at the motu. So relaxing and a good way to appreciate where we serve, in spite of difficulties. Pictures down below.

I love you all, until next week!

Elder Ball
Marona's the guy drivin the boat. He's a stud, and his mustache affirms this fact. 

Look at the water!

Marona lives on this motu

Perfectly candid shot

Monday, March 23, 2015

At last (Bora Bora - week #23)

Ia ora na!

Another week gone by, and with some great news. Three months from the day we first met him in the street, Taro has entered into the waters of baptism. Like most investigators, he had to make quite a few changes in his life to qualify for these sacred covenants, but he made em! Within the last couple of weeks, his desire to be baptized has grown so much, and he's still holding on tight till this day. It was a blessing to see him grow this much, and at last this ward has seen a baptism, the first of the year! Two in fact! It was a joined baptism with a primary child, Tamatea, the son of Stephanie and Eduard, a recently reactivated family that we visited for a while. It was a great service, and Elder Duncan and I had the privilege of baptizing the two. 

Things are going great with our other investigators. C----- and K----- came to the baptismal service, and they were touched, and had the chance to discuss with other ward members, and it looks like they might be advancing their marriage date now. We'll see! S---- and H---- came as well, and they felt the Spirit. We decided to push their baptism back until April because of certain issues, but they're still excited about the gospel and desire baptism more than anything else.

Things are going okay in the ward. Elder Duncan and I are just doing our best to work with all the members so that things can get moving a little faster. That's the good things about being a missionary, you learn how ward organization works, you don't really see church work in the same way that you see it before. It's interesting.

That's the news! I love you all, we're gonna go out on a boat to the motu today, so we're stoked for that. Have a great week!

Elder Ball

Anau love

Tout le monde

Monday, March 16, 2015

Short email (Bora Bora - week #22)

Ia ora na tout le monde!

Here's a trunky letter, I don't have too much time to write today so I'll just leave a little low down on what's been happening. Taro is doing good, should be having his baptism soon and we're praying and working to help him get ready! He's been doing a good job leaving behind the things of the world and starting to understand the doctrine, and he's been coming to church which is sweet. K---- and C---- still have the same marriage problem, but our love for them is still the same and they still make so much learning progress. T--- and T--- are starting to truly understand the importance of praying to know that these things are true as they face the dilemma of leaving the Pentacostal church that they came to love. S---- and H----- came to church this weekend and they are still as solid as when we met them last week. Things are looking good, as hard as it is to help them all progress. What we need the most is more member support, so we're gonna be working to gain more of that!

I love you all, and I wanted to leave you some photos of one of the greatest Tahitian meals I've had in a long time at Sam's house, the high council member in our ward. He's the bomb.

Peace out, until next week!

Elder Ball
The meal. Lobster, pig stir fry over rice, ipo (tahitian cake), poisson cru, taro and fafaru. And that's not even seconds


Monday, March 9, 2015

More surprises (Bora Bora - week #21)

Ia ora na mes amis!

It was a great week for Elder Duncan and I, with some more popped tires and another 100 or so kilometers added to the meter. It was one of those weeks where there's some real good, enriching experiences, as well as some disappointing ones, and it all makes you love being a missionary and love the work!

The week started out good with a family night at the home of the first counselor of the bishopric, frere Florian. He had invited a couple over, H----- and S-----, who had previously been to another family night with them. We watched a video on the Atonement and had the chance to teach a little. Then at the end, S----- shared her thoughts, about how she really felt something while she watched the video and in the other family night and how she wanted to join the church. So we fixed a lesson with them for the next day, taught the Restoration, committed them to be baptized at the end of this month and they accepted! Before we had extended the invitation, H----- asked why it was important to be baptized, and we told him that we receive a remission of our past sins through it and that it's the door to eternal life. And as we explained that, it was just one of those moments when you feel the Spirit blanket tangibly over you, and you look over at H----- and you can tell that he's feeling the same thing, cuz he just starts smiling and crying and saying how he's wanted something like that for a long time now because of the mistakes he's made in the past. It was powerful. We just did our job, and I'm grateful for the Holy Ghost who played the greater role as the true teacher in that situation.

Then there's the disappointing experience... and it was with C----and K----. We show up to their house this week, and at the beginning of the lesson they explained how they were planning on going to the city hall to cancel their marriage... NOOOO!!! They wanted more time and money to plan a bigger marriage, to make sure that their house was well renovated to accommodate all the friends and family they decided to invite, and they were too embarrassed to ask for help from anybody else... they plan on a June marriage. For them getting married in the next month was impossible, and they were convinced. It was a moment when Elder Duncan and I just think "Father, please help us know what to say..." They are so ready for baptism, and the only thing keeping them from that is marriage!  We explain that to them, and Elder Duncan shared a touching experience about how God had answered his prayers in a seemingly impossible situation, and that with faith we can accomplish God's commandments and miracles can be wrought. It was another spiritually powerful experience, and they said that they'll think on it some more, but they were pretty decided on going to the city hall today to push the date all the way back. We're praying that they'll stay strong!

Eh, that's the mission for ya. Gotta love it, gotta love it. These last 8 weeks or so have been some of the most impressive on my whole mission, and I look forward to these last 10, cuz I know they'll be the most memorable. I love the work! Love you all, until next time!

Elder Ball

Monday, March 2, 2015

Tarooo (Bora Bora - week #20)

Ia ora na tatou!

We were blessed this week with some good experiences. The first would probably have to be with T---. We've been teaching him ever since we found him, and we've been going really slow with him since he has a really hard time understanding the scriptures, and some times we have to go over some of the same principles as before so that the can remember them. He makes such an effort and he's made so much progress, but he hadn't yet accepted baptism or come to church. This week was a milestone! We read in 3 Nephi 11 about baptism with him, and he understood then just how important baptism is for him. He accepted to be baptized this month! Then yesterday he made it to church with a member! Awesome progress! During the coming weeks we just gotta make sure he's all ready and he'll be down there in the water.We pray that he'll be able to overcome all temptation!

T---- and T---- progress well! T---'s  been coming to church, but T---  hasn't really made the effort yet, it's been years since he's been to any church! But Saturday there was a baptismal service for the Vaitape ward, and we had already invited them to come. The day of the service, Elder Duncan and I planned to ask them for a ride back to the other side to the chapel with us as a way of making sure they wouldn't miss out on this spiritual moment ;) T---- wasn't really planning on going, but luckily when we asked for a ride he accepted to go as well! He and T---- had a good experience at the baptism and they enjoyed it. We're glad they came as well!

The weeks keep passing by, there really isn't much time left for me huh? I'll be sad to leave my island home, but I am looking forward to seeing all your faces again. For now Ill be working hard until the end, no worries. I love you all, until next week!

Elder Ball