Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Short Letter (Bora Bora - week #28)

Ia ora na mom! 

This letter's gonna be a short one. I don't have much to say about this week, but things are going awesome! We had a lot of new investigators this week and are getting pretty busy, it's just what I need because it keeps me focused. We visited with a few inactive families that have been coming back to church, and it wasn't until they told me how grateful they were of my help for them that I realized the impact I had on their lives. It made me feel good, it motivated me for sure! Thanks for your prayers, I love you and until next week!

Elder Ball

Monday, April 20, 2015

Trust in Him (Bora Bora - week #27)

Ia ora na!

It's been a good week, Elder Swartz and I have been getting along great and he brings a lot of new talent into our team. He's way smart, he's into the Army and he's got a sound understanding, a clear intelligence. Kinda like Moroni. It's good to have him as my last companion!

I've learned (or relearned) quite a few things this week that have helped me come unto Christ. On Wednesday morning Elder Swartz and I went with the Relief Society president to visit a contact that she made with someone last week. During the visit, the woman, named V, expressed the difficulties in her family, not being able to see her husband often because of work and his opposition to anything gospel-related. She had been praying for her husband for at least three years that things would go better, and with total love the Relief Society President assured her that God heard her prayers, and sent us to help her. V started to cry. In watching this exchange, I remembered maybe the most important facet of missionary work: charity and love. Doctrine and Covenants 12:8 reads "and no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity..." V was touched by what was being said simply because she felt love. She felt our love, and through our love she felt the love of her Heavenly Father, made manifest through the Holy Ghost.

Later that day, after having multiple plans fall through, Elder Swartz and I decided to pray for guidance. We felt impressed to visit an old reference that we had already tried to contact, so we went over, and surprisingly enough the house of this reference was wide open, the TV is on and we heard people inside. We call out "Ia ora na!" then the voices in the house go silent. We wait... "Ia ora na! E taata to te fare?" ...Nothing. Already used to this kind of response, we figured it was best to leave this house. We didn't question the revelation we received so we decided to try going next door. As we come to the house next door, we see a woman sweeping her porch, we call out and she comes to greet us. She introduces herself as K, and we talk to each other for a little while. She and her husband moved from Tahiti about a year ago to work here at Bora, and K has had no time to go to her Protestant church since the move because of work. She had been hoping to rededicate herself to learning the gospel and learning about Christ, but she didn't really know how; she didn't even have a Bible! We explained our role as missionaries, shared a quick message about Christ and the family, and presented her a Book of Mormon. She was glad to receive it, and she thanked us sincerely! Here someone was hoping and maybe praying to receive guidance, and the Lord led us to her. He didn't tell us directly to go there, but by a means we were already familiar with, we were led to her whereabouts and with faith we were able to act on our revelation, in spite of the initial disappointment.

Saturday we had a lesson with a man named Y. About two weeks ago we met Y in trying to contact and old investigator. The old investigator wasn't there, but Y was, and he was completely wasted. Normally we choose not to spend a lot of time with the drunk guys, but he called us over, and Elder Duncan and I went to talk to him briefly, but ended up listening to him for about a half an hour about his recent separation from his wife and kids, and his feeling lost, not knowing which religion could be true. We bore our testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was indeed true, and that the fulness of the Gospel contained the solutions to his problems, and he accepted a lesson at his house for last Saturday. So Elder Swartz and I went to visit him Saturday, he was sober, we shared the message of the Restoration and he understood perfectly the message. I'm glad that we decided to listen to Yvon and recognize that he was someone who wanted help, rather than quickly judge him and dismiss him.

Those are my thoughts for the week. Life is going by pretty quickly, and in a month I'll be home... pretty sketchy feeling. With the weeks left, I'll be doing my best to get the most out of em. I love you all, have a great week!

Elder Ball

Monday, April 13, 2015

Making history at Bora (Bora Bora - week #26)

Ia ora na!

Another week went by like that, and the transfer went down. Elder Duncan left us and now I have Elder Swartz, from Federal Way, Washington! (If I'm not mistaken, that's where you grew up, right mom?) [From Mom: I am a 1978 graduate of Federal Way High School. Elder Benjamin Swartz is a 2014 graduate of FWHS. Go EAGLES!] It's good to have him, and he'll be the one to "kill me" meaning he's my last companion. Dang, last companion. Last transfer. It's crazy.

We had another pretty slow week, due to a week of scholarly vacation, so many people have left for the week or were busy doing other things, thus many lessons being canceled and many other backup plans falling through. Sooo we spent more time visiting members, doing contacting, doing a little door to door, with surprisingly minimal results. I guess it's just a bad week? We did our best, and during our weekly planning we made sure to plan our week out super well so that we'll constantly by plowing through and working hard. 

Things are going well for the few investigators we were able to see this week. For H and S, there are a few things that still need to be done legally so that they can get married, and its progressing but it doesn't look like I'll be here for their baptism... It makes me sad, but I guess it's been like that my whole mission so whatevs, I'm just happy to have seen the change that took place in their lives. Same for C and K, they have huge financial problems so marriage for them is difficult, I wont be here for their baptisms either. Seriously, that is the one thing that has driven me nuts, concubinage and marriage! They're all ready for baptism, we just gotta wait on the marriage.

In other news, I found out that I'll be making history at Bora. For one thing, it isnt often that missionaries finish at Bora, so Elder Hansen and I will be two of the few, but then I found out that I'll be the first missionary to finish at Bora... with... a new car! We finally got it, after quite a few months of waiting, and after quite a few more kilometers of biking. It will totally help us out, and it's practical. The members tease us now, saying that we're gonna get fat... probably true. Even with exercise in the morning, I dont know if I'll be able to equal out with all the eating that we do. Just dont be surprised when I step off the plane in a month with an extra chin.

That's the news for this week, we're hoping that next week will be the bomb and that with the new car we'll get some serious stuff done. I love you all, and have a great week!

Elder Ball


Goodbye Elder Duncan

Bienvenue Elder Swartz

La voiture

Monday, April 6, 2015

Poisson d'Avril (April's Fool Day) Bora Bora - week #25

Ia ora na!

Ehhh... I'll be honest, the week was a tougher one, but nonetheless with some cool experiences here and there. Wednesday was probably the worst day, Satan pulled a massive April fools on us by making sure that all six of our lessons for the day were cancelled. In addition to that, we were supposed to get a car that day, which is really needed at this point with the amount of lessons that we could be having without having to bike up to three hours of the day. But of course we get a call that it actually wont be coming until next week! Man it was pretty disappointing, but hey whats one more week out of the 4 months that we've already been enduring on bike?

The lessons we did have were not bad. We got a couple new investigators on Tuesday thanks to another neighborhood family night from last week. One of them was this big woman named Linda, who was once hard-core Protestant, and she had raised a lot of questions and thoughts during the family night last week. During our first lesson with her this week she spent a lot of time talking about her life story, about how her husband had a stroke and that he would soon return to Bora after having spent some time at the hospital at Tahiti. Then she starts asking a lot of questions about family, if it was possible to see them again after death. She displayed a lot of uncertainty on the subject of life after death. Elder Duncan and I eat those kind of questions up, and we talked about eternal families and God's priesthood power to seal families for eternity. It was a sweet lesson, and again it reaffirms my faith in this gospel that it answers all our deepest, most intimate questions, and it's so awesome to help people receive the answers to these questions.

Friday there was a ward activity at the beach, so we had the chance to go and spend time with members and investigators there. It's moments like that when we feel really close with the members of the ward, and they gain trust in us as we show our support in their activities. It helps me appreciate Bora so much, the beauty of the place and the greatness of the people.

We were supposed to watch conference as well this week, but since there is no satellite at the chapel they attempted to display it by Internet, so most of the time it buffered or cut out or crashed. I didn't have the chance to see much apart from the Saturday and Sunday morning sessions, but what I did see I loved. As always I enjoy Elder Holland's talk, which was on the Atonement, a fitting theme for Easter.

That's about the gist for the week, and the last for Elder Duncan here at Bora. I'll be getting Elder Swartz next week, as well as... a new car! I love you all, have a great week!

Elder Ball