Monday, December 30, 2013

Great To Talk on Christmas

Hey Family!

Well I'm glad everyone had a great Christmas. I definitely enjoyed talking to all of guys even though it made me slightly homesick. But I'm over it haha. Well not to say I don't miss you guys but I am back into the swing of things. ;)

The rest of my week went pretty well. We
 were able to take Tom to the trail center and walked around the temple grounds so that was very nice. He seemed to enjoy it but he's a fairly hard guy to read. But we did commit him to baptism on the 8th of February and he committed to read the entire Book of Mormon by that time. We got him the gospel library app as well, which I think will expedite the process. The ball is in his court.

There also has been
 this less active member we've been trying to see the past several months and we have a few times but it seems like avoids us, but we saw him this week and he opened up. He said usually when he doesn't answer the door it's because he's drunk and he thinks it's disrespectful to subject us to that. We also had a good talk about church and the gospel and his friend who is agnostic was also there. It was a very good discussion and I had a good time. His name is John Peoples. I think he has a bigger testimony than he thinks. And he also said he knows he needs to make it to church and he said he plans on it very soon.

We also got on the subject of basketball and he said he was an
 all state point guard in high school and that he had 48 points in the State Championship game and he said he can also dunk it. And he's 5'11. And white. ;) Anyways he said he is going to come play basketball with us today. So that should be a treat haha. If he is that good, hopefully he doesn't make us look that stupid.

I miss all of you guys!

Going to play some basketball, soon. And still have some other emails I need to work on. I love all of you guys even though I may not show it always. Sorry for that. Have a great and safe week!

Much Love,
Elder Ballif

Monday, December 23, 2013

Elder Collins Sick, Excited to Talk on Christmas

Hey there family!

I hope everyone has had a great week. My week was alright. Elder Collins got sick for a little bit of it so we didn't get as much done as planned. But we were finally able to see Annie this week. For some reason it's very hard to do so. That was the first time in over a month. Things have improved for her but it's still not perfect. But it never is. She still is smoking 1-3 cigarettes a day but it's still a big improvement from 1-2 packs a day. 

And we were going to see that guy where we accidentally knocked his door thinking it was someone else this weekend but that's when Elder Collins was sick so we did not get to do that. But we definitely will see him this week. 

So to answer some questions I have no clue as to what the exact time will be for Skype. I can probably give you guys a call when I know more. 

And thanks for getting the memory stick. That'll be a lot nicer having all my music on that. And yes my shaver did arrive. Thank you guys. It seems like a pretty nice one. 

And thanks everyone for everything else you've sent. I did get some cards including your card. And I will be going to Subway several times now haha. I still need to think of something to use that money you sent for. 

All the kids are looking cute. I can't believe Cameron is already 7 and a half. That's pretty darn crazy. 

But yeah our investigators are doing good I suppose. We didn't get to see everyone we planned on, Tom included so I'll probably have more information on all of that this upcoming week. 

But yeah I'll keep this a little shorter as well. We may go help someone move but they're not responding to texts so I don't know. And I'm definitely playing basketball today. So that's always fun. 

I'll see you guys on Wednesday! Have a great week everyone! I love you!!!

Elder Ballif

Monday, December 16, 2013

Another New Investigator Yay!

Hey Family!

How is everyone doing? Things are going well for me. Elder Collins and I are doing good. We are getting along quite well and it's been fun the past few weeks. This week wasn't the greatest teaching wise but it still was good.

We were able to see Tom again and had some good talks
with him. He still is struggling with the whole faith thing but he is more willing to pray now so that's good. Hopefully he can start praying on his own now.

Joseph and Celeste went to New Mexico last
week and will be coming back at the end of this week so we have not seen them lately.

Yes I will be able to Skype on Christmas day. I
don't know when. We still need to work out the details. I'll let you guys know.

And you guys don't have to get me the 2013 Edition for
the scriptures. I've thought about it more and I don't really need them. And they'll probably get beat up a little being out here.

Oh and
Mom I don't know if you made a mistake on the order for Costco or not but I did get a package from Costco but it was not a shaver. It was a couple of boxes of candy. Just letting you know in case that wasn't what you intended on ordering.

So one thing pretty cool that
happened this week was we were going to see someone that we gave a Book of Mormon a few months ago and we went up to the house and knocked on the door and a different guy answered and he took a Book of Mormon and wanted to meet with us again so we set up an appointment for this weekend. So as we were walking away I was thinking "That was weird" and then realized it wasn't even the guy we were planning on seeing's house. I swear it was at the time but it turned out to be his next door neighbor. So that was pretty neat. New investigator! Yay! And it was from my stupidity. But who knows maybe the Spirit made the other house appear to be the other one in my eyes ;)

This week we're
going to emphasize finding a lot more. I might even do some of that dreadful tracting people talk about. Tracting really isn't too bad it's just getting the motivation to do it. But whatever we'll do some this week.

I'm glad your job is going well for you. Booz Allen sounds
pretty neat.

Well anyways I'm going to get going. I love you guys!
I'll see you on the 25th! And I'll still email on the 23rd.

Have a
great week! Sorry if I forgot to answer any questions.

Elder Ballif

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pictures of Downtown Omaha

Pictures from the Gingerbread Festival Near the Temple

Training Going Well and It is COLD

Hey Family!

Things are going good here in Bellevue. It has been very cold here as well. Right now it's about 6 degrees and this morning it was below 0. A couple of days ago it got to like -5 and that's without the windchill. And there was a big snow storm yesterday that lasted all day. The roads do not get plowed very well here but so far so good. We actually saw something pretty funny last night. Someone was coming over a hill and lost control of their car and drove onto the side walk and ran over a street sign. And then they drove off. We were laughing pretty hard. Potentially dangerous, yes but it was still funny.

Celeste is doing good. Actually Joseph invited us over for dinner, but Celeste wasn't there since she was babysitting but it was still good. And then yesterday we were able to see Celeste and Joseph and visit with them for a little. We mainly talked about baptism and what not but the good part is she is set for baptism for the January 25th. That will be a nice year mark present.

Thanks for getting the shaver, Mom. And about the 2013 edition of the scriptures. They revised and changed the scriptures for the first time in 32 years. All of the ones we have been using were the 1981 edition. And this year they redid them. The print is nicer, they changed some typing "errors", have more information in the chapter headings more so for D&C and added more pictures and better ones and some other things. So yeah that's why. The 2014 will be the same as the 2013. That's why people made such a big deal about the 2013 Edition is there haven't been any changes since 1981. And the leather on them feels awesome. Actually like real leather--because it is! ;)  Even though mine say "Genuine Leather" they feel like butt compared to the new ones. They are nice, trust me.

Things are going well with me and Elder Collins. We had a pretty good week and we're getting along. Definitely my favorite companion since Chappell. This week went by really fast as a result I'm sure. Collins is still adjusting to the cold since he spent the last 8 months in Carlsbad, California. He was at BYU for 2 years on and off before that. Speaking of Carlsbad, if you want to look up his parents that would be great. But yeah don't worry about me and Collins, we are having fun. We also have a very similar sense of humor so that has been nice. Belnap was a nice guy but our personalities didn't mesh as well so it made for some crappy days. But yeah anyway things are going good.

We had a chance to see Tom as well and it was probably the best lesson we've had with him. At first it started out a bit rough. His main underlying concern is if there is a god that is all powerful and all knowing why does he allow bad things to happen. That's not a very easy question to answer. But we said something along the lines of free agency and also the influence of Satan and chastisement. But at the end of the lesson I really wanted him to just pray because that is honestly one of the only ways to gain a testimony of God. So I asked if it would be alright if I prayed and then right after he prayed. He agreed and we did just that. The Spirit was definitely there and he said he felt good and I really hope he felt what we felt. Well I'm sure he did it's just a matter of recognizing it. And we did go over that with him after as well. I really hope things progress from here. Well I need to get going. I'm going to play some basketball. I love you all! Have a great and safe week everyone!

Elder Ballif

Monday, December 2, 2013

 Chan with Ryan
 Elder Collins - Ryan's first trainee 12/2/2013

Still in Bellevue - Training Elder Collins

Hey Family!

I hope everyones week went well! That dinner at the Little America sounds awesome! Is it only on Thanksgiving? My Thanksgiving was alright. It was hard to get any work done but we did have the traditional thanksgiving food. A lot of desert. I did gain some weight so I'm hoping to shed it back off and more in the coming weeks.

My new companion should help with that as well. :) His name is Elder Collins and he's from Carlsbad California. He's into working out and nutrition so that should help me out--and also he's brand new so yes I'm training. Pretty stressful but I am getting adjusted and each day is getting better. Elder Collins is pretty good as well. Haven't gotten into any arguments but it's always an adjustment when you get a new companion. For example I didn't care for Elder Chappell the first day or so but he ended up being my favorite companion so far. I'm still learning what Elder Collins is like and so far I like him. He's a pretty funny guy.

One problem is he's not into sports at all but he's willing to play some basketball today so that will be fun. The Perry's didn't end up going to the trail center. The cancelled like 5 minutes before. That kind of sucked. We were already at the trail center at the time so we stayed for a bit and looked at the Gingerbread displays. There were some pretty cool ones. I also spent some time in the Lake Cunningham area this week. Up in the ghetto of Omaha. That was fun.  A little different from Bellevue but it was a good experience.

We did end up getting a new investigator on Saturday though. We got a referral from the mission office and I have no idea how he flew under the radar but he is a less active member that has been in the ward for about 4 years and isn't on the ward list and from the sounds of it a friend referred him. So anyway we went over there and his wife who is not a member was there as well and we taught the restoration and she said she wants to be baptized and he wants to come back to church. That should be pretty cool. Hopefully things will work out.  Joseph and Celeste are their names.

Other than that it was a pretty slow week as far as missionary work goes. We did see the Perry's though. Tom is doing good and he said he's going to start reading the Book of Mormon a bit more. Like I said last week they went to church and everything but Sylvia apparently thought it was really boring. She likes churches with rock bands and stuff and I don't really think she understands the purpose of church. I mean I'll be the first to admit I think Sacrament meeting is slightly boring if the spirit is not as strong, but like said she doesn't understand the meaning of it.

That is pretty cool about the Jazz. I figured they'd suck but it's good to see the youngsters show promise. And while Jabari Parker is great and all I'd rather have Andrew Wiggins ;)

Well I need to get going. I love you all!

And about Christmas the 2 things that come to mind are an electric shaver and a 2013 Edition of the Scriptures. 

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Ballif

Monday, November 18, 2013

Basketball Assisting in the Lords Work

Hey Family!

I hope everyones week went well. Mine was pretty good. This will be my last week with Elder Belnap so that's pretty weird. I wonder what will happen after this transfer. I honestly don't know. I mean I most likely will stay and train but that's not a guarantee. I guess we'll see soon.

This week we weren't able to see Eric but we'll see him this week, I'm sure. But we're going to have to talk to him about the YSA so we'll see what happens. If he wants to go that route, I'm sure things will work out.

So the Perry's. Well we will be most likely going to the trail center with them this upcoming Monday so that will be Elder Belnap's last day with me so that will cap it off nicely. The Perry's were planning on making it to church yesterday, but Sylvia said all forces were going against her, because he dress tore twice and what not. They didn't end up coming. That statement is probably truer than she realizes.

That's awesome things are going to be starting up for your job.

Oh one cool thing we will be doing is I invited some of the young men to play basketball on Friday nights and invite some of their non member friends and then a lesson is taught afterwards. I think it should work out pretty well. The Cottonwood and Ralston Elders did it last week but we couldn't get anyone in time but they said it went really well. And the young men seemed really excited and really interested in doing that. Hopefully some things will come from that.

Speaking of basketball we were walking down the street and some high school kids were playing basketball and we played with them. It was my first time doing that and I enjoyed it a lot. Even with the dress clothes I did pretty well. ;)

Well I need to get going. We're going to play basketball again if you didn't already guess. I love you all!

Have a wonderful and safe week everyone!

Elder Ballif

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Investigator fun!

Hey there Family! I hope all of you have had a wonderful day. And

My past week was not too bad. Not the greatest but still it ended up being pretty good. We didn't end up going to the Trail Center with the Perry's. Sylvia had some appointments come up or something but we did reschedule on the 23rd or 25th I'm not entirely sure-- the 25th will be my last day with Elder Belnap so that'll be interesting.

Things are still going well with the Perry's though. Tom came and played basketball yesterday so that was great. We will probably stop by their house sometime this week and see how they're doing.

Eric is doing pretty good. He still has some views that aren't exactly correct. Well as far as how we are. He, for example, said that he believes our church has a lot of false prophets. Reason being he thought every single ward had prophets. He didn't understand that the church has a headquarters so to speak. Well anyway yeah it's been fun teaching him.

I believe Annie is doing good but I'm not entirely sure. We didn't get to see her this week but she's been busy so I think that is a good thing. We'll try to catch her some time this week.

We also got a weird text from Dan saying his wife is angry with him for meeting with us. But he still wants to see us this weekend so that's good. I just don't want to get his wife mad at him. But yeah we'll see how this situation progresses.

We also have a pretty new investigator named Miranda. We found her because she lives in the house of a less active member that has now moved. She said her and her husband (who is deployed) have been looking for a religion. We have taught her the restoration but nothing since then because it's hard to get everything set up because we have to have someone else come with us because we can't be in the house of a women home alone. But when we start to get things going I could very well see her getting baptized.

We haven't seen Scipio since I last talked about him. His wife was upset or something (Jehovah's Witness) so yeah he said to wait a few weeks and let things cool down. So we'll probably try back sometime this week.

Yes Dad I did get the book. I finished it and it was a good book. I'm not sure how I can apply the views and things in the book to help Tom but I'm sure I'll be able to after a bit more study.

Well I need to get going. I hope everyone is doing good. Tell Austin good luck with school. And tell Mom she's looking good.

Well I'm sure she'll read this but yeah. I love you all!

Elder Ballif

Monday, November 4, 2013

Progression in the work

Hey Family! 

I hope things are going well for everyone. Our week was pretty good. We taught a number of lessons and reestablished contact with Annie. She's doing pretty good. Things are starting to work out for her. And she has cut back on smoking a ton. She was smoking 30 a day and now she is down to 2 a day. Pretty cool. We plan on seeing her tomorrow so hopefully that will work out. 

The Perry's are doing good as well. We set up a time to go to the Trail Center this week with them, so hopefully that will work out and hopefully they'll have a good experience. 

Eric is probably the investigator that is progressing the most. We saw him 3 times last week and he is so open minded. He is pretty awesome. He is singles ward age so hopefully that doesn't become a problem. It's ultimately up to him so we'll see. 

Chan is doing good. He does smoke however and yesterday we taught him the Word of Wisdom, so hopefully we can get that cleared up. He also didn't understand what's wrong with coffee and it was kind of hard to explain. A lot of things are hard to explain to someone who didn't even know what Halloween is. And he's been in the US for 8 years. 

Well I'm glad you guys liked the "testimony" thing. I figured I might as well send it to you guys since I had it typed up. It's not like my mission hasn't been a struggle. I've had a lot of tough days but I'm not quitting and I'm certainly not going to stress you guys out about that kind of stuff. Already over 9 months now so it's going by pretty quickly. 

Well anyways yeah that's too bad about the Jazz. I didn't expect them to be good so I'm just glad the young guys are playing well. Especially my Burksie. 

Dad I'm glad things are looking up with your job situation as well. Things always get better--just trust in the Lord. Alma 36:3 comes to mind. 

Thank you so much for everything you guys do. I am so lucky to be a part of such an amazing family. 

I'm excited for that book. Thank you, again. Oh and I did receive the package. I actually got it right on Halloween.
And it doesn't matter that the vial isn't new I really don't care. Tell Austin thank you.  

Well everyone I need to get going. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful day and week! I love you all!
Elder Ballif

Monday, October 28, 2013

My conversion story -- by Ryan Ballif

My full conversion didn't happen until I actually came on my mission. I was raised in a Mormon family and my parents were active as well and are very faithful. I lived off my parents testimony for most of my life. I did what my parents told me to do and always went to church, but I was just going through the motions. 

When I got around the age of serving a mission my testimony started to get smaller and smaller to the point where I questioned whether or not I believed in the existence of a god. I started my mission papers because that's what you do in Utah. I turned in my papers and was called to the Nebraska Omaha Mission about a month later. 

During this time I still did not have a testimony of Jesus Christ or Heavenly Father. I still was just doing what people wanted me to do because of the social pressure. About 2 months before my date to go to the MTC was my lowest point where I proclaimed myself atheist. But I still went along with everything. Things started to improve with the help of my parents because I finally told them of my struggles and concerns. 

My testimony was just big enough to get me out of the car at the MTC. 

During the MTC my testimony continued to grow but I still had questions and concerns. Out in the mission field I still had questions and concerns but obviously I knew I needed to gain a testimony fast. This work can't be done without one. I had never read the Book of Mormon my entire life on my own but I decided now was the time. I started it in the MTC and finished it at about 5 months out. That strengthened my testimony greatly but I never got an overpowering, overwhelming experience. 

It wasn't until one night here where I started to have doubts again. I was thinking to myself "What am I doing?" "Am I just wasting my time?" I decided I needed to go to my Heavenly Father in prayer. I told Him I needed to know. I can't keep going on like this. Tell me right now if what I'm doing is not a waste of my time and if this work is true... I got my answer.

I know this work is true. I know this is Christ's restored Church, here on the earth again. Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. This Church is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Tom Perry, Scipio, and Chan doing well.

Hey Family!

I hope everyone has had a great week. My week here in Bellevue was pretty good. And Mom, I don't know why you're surprised I'm still in Bellevue. I'll probably be here until February haha. 

Well anyways are week was really slow until Saturday and Sunday. We were able to see Chan and we talked to him a bit about baptism and what it means and the commitment he'd be making and I really hope he understood. I have a feeling he's smarter than he seems but I have no clue because of his poor English. 

And no we did not get to go to the Trail Center this week. We are seeing Eric tonight but we're setting up something for the TC for a later time. And Dan had to cancel our appointment for the Trail Center. No clue as to why, but whatever we'll catch him this week. 

We didn't here from the Perry's all week this week and we just decided to stop by on Saturday night and they let us right in. The Perry's are a super cool family. There will be some hurdles but we can get through them. They actually went and saw the Book of Mormon play and they said it was hilarious and I'm sure I'd agree if I could go see it. It didn't scare them away or anything they just had a few questions which we answered. They then invited us to have dinner with them which was great. It was spaghetti and meatballs and it was pretty good. And I don't know how you can make bad spaghetti but I've come across it on my mission haha. 

They then wanted to play Settlers of Catan with us. A pretty fun board game actually. I won because I'm so awesome of course ;) But really I played it a lot in Grand Island so I'm not too bad at it. 

We're going to try to set up some basketball to play with Tom. He can't on Monday's so we've been trying to set up for other days but we've been unsuccessful thus far. 

We also had the chance to see Scipio briefly. He's doing good. He actually works for Google and from what he says they sound like a great company to work for. And we got him the Gospel Library app on his phone. He was really impressed by it and hopefully it makes it easier to start reading. He's a super nice guy and we'll be seeing him again, tomorrow

Oh and our investigator Annie that dropped off the face of the earth, we just made contact with her again and we are seeing her tonight. Hopefully that goes well. Last time we talked to her, she was in Alma and that was over a month ago, so she could be done, if she's been reading since we lost contact. 

I guess we'll see tonight. Well I need to get going. Going to play some basketball! 

And that's awesome about BYU. I miss watching the games, but they'll still be there when I get back. And as far as reading goes I kind of just jump around. I've been looking around in D&C lately though. 

You are all always in my prayers! Have a great and safe week everyone! 

And happy birthday 6 days ago, Mom! I love you and I love you all!

Elder Ballif

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pictures - October 21, 2013



Ryan, Elder Lambert, Elder French, and Elder Cena

Ryan and Elder Quayle

Ryan and Elder Call

Transfers pass, still in Bellevue -- for at least one more transfer ;)

Hey Family!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful week. My week was pretty good. Here was pretty good. But it was really long. It was transfers and transfer week is always the longest week of the transfer. As you probably guessed I'm still in Bellevue with Elder Belnap. One more transfer and he'll be going home. I'm sure I'll be at that point before I know it. 

Well I suppose I'll talk about some of the people we talked to this week. We saw the Perry family on Monday, so a week ago now. We brought Brother Tyrrell with us and I thought the lesson went pretty well. They have a ton of questions and some were difficult to answer. But it helped a lot that Brother Tyrrell was there. Tom is struggling with his faith overall and Sylvia (the wife) struggles with the idea of organized religion and so called "male superiority" in religion. But we are planning on taking them to the trail center this week so that should be a good experience for them. 

Speaking of the trail center, we're going to it with Dan George this week on Friday. That will be great. The trail center is a really good place to feel the Spirit and not to mention it's right across the street from the temple. 

Now Chan I don't know. I mean it's great and all he's set for baptism, but I don't know if you guys really understand Sudanese people. They will say yes to almost everything. They're "too" nice. They just go with everything. And I'm not entirely sure he really understands the commitment he will be making. And I don't want to bring him under greater condemnation if he's not aware of what he's doing. But the baptismal service is still a month away, hopefully we can clarify some things. 

Like we watched the Joseph Smith movie and he noticed that the temple doesn't have a cross or anything to his understanding a cross means you're Christian. We already talked to him about that specific thing but it sounded like he completely forgot about it or didn't understand when we did. 

And we got to see Eric last night. He brought up some concerns he had. Like one was how you have to be a member to go in the temple. His idea of it was, there are righteous people that aren't members of the Church. We helped him understand a bit better and hopefully we'll get to clarify even more next time we see him. We had to end a little early because it was getting dark and cold outside but hopefully next time we'll answer some more of his questions. He still needs to read the Book of Mormon and I feel that will help. 

And yesterday we got a new investigator as well. We had some time that we didn't know what to do with it and a couple of months ago I was looking through one of the progress records in the area books and there was this guy named Scipio who didn't have any teaching records. 

Anyways a few months ago we knocked on his door and he said he wasn't interested. And I just randomly thought (well the Spirit made me think, I'm sure) we should go knock on his door. He let us right in and we taught the restoration and he accepted the invitation to be baptized, so yeah that was pretty cool. 

Well anyways I think I'll leave off with that. We're going to play some basketball soon so that should be fun.

 That's great about BYU. I can't wait to be back for Taysom Hills' senior season. Well anyways I love you guys! And that's great Austin got a girlfriend. Have a great and safe week everyone! 

Oh and Josh's talk worked. It was great! LOVE YOU ALL!

Elder Ballif

Monday, October 14, 2013

Set Baptismal Dates for Tom Perry and Chan -- not L. Tom Perry :)

Hey Family!
My week was pretty good. It wasn't the greatest number wise but we did get some baptismal sets. I'll get into those later. 

Well Dad, that's good you're switching over to gmail. Gmail is much nicer in my opinion. It's actually what my email goes through. That is very unfortunate that your work is being affected from the shutdown. As you would imagine I hear a lot about it seeing how I'm in a military ward. Well anyway I'll pray for you and hopefully the situation will improve. 

We saw Chan this week and set him for baptism for the 16th of November. I hope he can make it but who knows. We want to make sure he understands the commitment he's making which I think will be hard to get the idea across because of the language barrier. But he did come to church again. That's 4 weeks in a row. It's been a nice surprise. 

And I don't know if I have mentioned Eric before but he is some guy we met walking down the street and he asked us what we were doing and we told him we were missionaries and gave him a Book of Mormon. Well anyways that was a few weeks ago and we were able to see him this week and taught him the restoration. It went really well. That was on Saturday and he came to church yesterday. And yesterday was fast and testimony and he actually got up and bore his testimony which was pretty cool haha. He said we was "saved" by Jesus a few years ago, so yeah we need to talk to about how it's not that easy haha. 

And the meeting with the Perry's went really well. Well it was mostly just with Tom but we met his family and stuff and they're super nice. We taught him the restoration as well and he said he's been struggling with his faith for a while. He was raised baptist I think but yeah he doesn't have a believe in God or Jesus Christ anymore. But the lesson went well. He is set for baptism on the 23rd of November. He's not very confident in it but he seems to have the desire to believe like talked about in Alma 32. I'm sure he can make it. We are also seeing him tonight with Brother Tyrrell which should be great. 

And we're playing basketball very soon which I am excited for haha. I love playing basketball. That's great about BYU and great for Utah. We're going up in the world. And I told you Adam Hine would be good ;) I heard Jazz preseason basketball started. What's going on with that? 

Well anyways I love you all! The Church is true! 

Have a wonderful week everyone!
Elder Ballif

Monday, October 7, 2013

Great Conference! and Things Going Well

Hey Family!
I hope everyone had a great general conference weekend--I sure did. 10 hours of conference. It was pretty fun. I had a good time and yes I was at the church for each session.  As far as our investigators, we got Robert to come for an hour of the very first session. And Chan came for the Sunday morning session. It went well. 

Our week wasn't bad at all even with the 2 days of just conference for us--we had 13 lessons and got some new investigators. Robert is doing good but is still having a hard time with balancing his stuff as far as work, school and gospel stuff. We'll continue to work with him and then hopefully things will pick up with him. 

So anyways Chan is doing good as well. He has made it to church 3 weeks in a row now which is impressive to me because he's been taught for a year now and these were his first 3 times. 

We also were referred to a family by some members who are friends with them. We got to teach the husband on the doorstep and we gave him a BoM and set up a return appointment for Thursday with his whole family. Hopefully that works out. He had a ton of questions haha. The Perry's is their name. 

And we also got some some new potential investigators because a new person just moved into the ward and she has her grandson in law and grand daughter living there who are not members and they're planning on having us over for dinner sometime this week so that will be good.  We also got some referrals from the Sisters that seem pretty promising as well. 

Well I suppose I'll talk about conference now. I enjoyed it quite a bit. My top 5 talks were Eduard Dube's (you know why ;)), Holland's, Oaks', Uchtodorf's, and Monson's. I enjoyed each session but I think the Sunday morning session was my favorite. 

Just 2 more conferences to go until I'll be watching it with you guys again. That's pretty weird. Anyways I don't have much more time but I hope everyone is doing well. Things are going good here in Bellevue. It's almost transfer week again. That's pretty weird. Every 6 weeks. I'm almost 9 months out. Weird. Time goes by fast and slow at the same time on a mission. It's really weird. In the moment it feels like forever but when you look back, it's not. 

We're going to play basketball again today. Have a great and safe week everyone. 

Happy birthday in 4 days, Kim. 

I love you all! 

And that's great about BYU. Too bad they could not beat those yewtes. ;)
Elder Ballif

Monday, September 30, 2013

Another Baptism - Jaime and Chris received Priesthood

Hey Family!

I hope everyone is doing well. Our week was not bad. Not as good as last week but still not terrible. :) I've had worse weeks, is what I'm trying to say. 

Basically the only highlights I have are the baptism and Chris getting the priesthood. So the baptism. The girls name is Jaime and she has been investigating for almost 6 years. I don't know all the details but it was hard for her to finally make the decision. I think she has had a testimony of the Book of Mormon this whole time. Anyways I performed the baptism and let me tell you I was nervous. She was really scared as well and has a lot of anxieties. It took her a few minutes to finally come down into the font because she was so scared but she did eventually and everything went well. First try thankfully. 

I was praying so much that final hour up until the baptism for no mess ups and my prayers were answered. Even though more often than not the baptism is on the first try, I didn't have a good track record ;) 

But anyways yes she was confirmed yesterday and she was super nervous for that even though all she had to do was sit down. But hey I'm sure it was a little nerve racking. Elder Belnap and I helped in the confirmation. Well just stood there with our hand on her head but it went well. 

And then after church I was thrown a curve ball. I wasn't expecting it, but Chris wanted me to confer the priesthood upon him. So yeah I did that. I was pretty nervous for that as well seeing how I always am for things of that matter. Blessings are scary. I rely on myself a bit too much and I need to get better at that. But I'm sure I will. 

Well anyways those were the 2 main highlights. Nothing else has really stood out. That new investigator, Nixon, is planning on coming to church soon. Oh and Chan has come to church 2 weeks in a row so that is pretty awesome. I was not expecting that. 

We weren't able to see Annie at all this week since her apartment flooded, but we set up something for tonight so hopefully that works out. 

Robert is doing better and is finally starting to pray on his own and is reading and we told him to watch some specific conference talks. We'll see if he did, this week. Well suppose we could always text him. 

Hopefully this week things work out a bit more. 

That's good about the BYU game. Hopefully Hill can continue to improve on his accuracy. And I told you Dad. Hine is the man. ;) 

And I'll get there in the Bible. Eventually. It'll be awhile since we're still supposed to focus on the BoM. 

Well I haven't gotten Mom's email yet, and I need to go but that's alright. I'll get to read it eventually. :)

Well I love you everyone! 

Have a great week!
Elder Ballif


Stealth Bomber

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bellevue Picking Up

Hey Family!

I hope everything is going well for everyone. Things have been pretty good this week. In fact we hit 21 lessons which is now my new record for the mission. And may be for quite some time. But it was good. Everyone is doing well. 

Chris will be receiving the priesthood this coming Sunday so that should be pretty exciting. He says he is nervous but he'll be alright. That's so weird to me that he is only 3 years older than me and is married and has 3 kids. He just got started early I guess. But he is doing good. We're planning on taking him to the trail center soon (Winter Quarters) so that should be a good experience. 

And Annie. She is doing good. Well her apartment flooded and what not so that kind of sucks and she's still going through some trials but we taught her the Word of Wisdom and things seem to be going good on that. She was smoking a pack and a half a day but now she's down to 10 cigarettes a day. Which is a great improvement. 30 to 10 in a few days. I think. I'm not exactly sure how many are in a pack. 

And yes the baptism did go well. I'm going to be performing a baptism this Saturday as well. That should be a good experience. Things are picking up here in Bellevue. We got 2 new investigators this week and a few potentials. Oh and Chan finally came to church. It's about time haha. 

Other than that we're still working with all of our investigators but time will tell if they start progressing more. My favorite one, Dan George hopefully will start reading the BoM soon. I know that's what he needs to do but it has been difficult to get him to. Hopefully that'll change soon. 

  And yeah that is too bad about BYU. I was kind of half expecting it actually. Bronco sucks at getting his players fired up. And yeah I don't think it was so much that Anae was good than it was that they had some really good quarterbacks. 

And the voice recorder is great. I haven't missed a day for my journal now. I think you guys will appreciate that when I get home. I feel bad for not starting it earlier but what can you do? One thing though, my card keeps saying it's declined. But it has worked at other places. I don't know it's weird. I'll check it at an ATM or something and if insufficient funds aren't the culprit I can call that number and fully activate it or something if that's the problem. 

 I hope you guys are having a great anniversary! LOVE YOU ALL!!!!
Elder Ballif 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Baptism for Chris

Hey Family!
Things are getting better and better here in Bellevue. Things are going great with Elder Belnap and I'm really enjoying serving with him. I have been laughing a lot more since serving with him which I suppose is a good thing. 

Well I guess I'll jump right into talking about the baptism. It went great. I gave a talk on baptism which was fitting. Everything went well and he was happy. I was too. 

Well Chris is doing good. And I forgot to get a picture with his whole family but I did get one with him. I work on the family picture next week ;) 

And right after the baptism we taught a guy from South Africa (not Sudan) and we set him for baptism. He seems pretty solid actually. We're excited about that. He's set for November 23rd but that could change we'll see. 

And Annie wasn't able to make it to church but she had a legit reason. She got in a car accident and her car was totaled but and her parents got her a car so she went and picked that up. So things seem to be getting a bit better for her which is good. We are going to see her tonight so I hope that goes well. She has been reading the Book of Mormon so I'm excited for her. Maybe we'll get her set for baptism. 

Everybody else is doing well. I need to get going so sorry guys. Kind of lost track of time since other missionaries came here with us.

Oh and Mom the weather here is great. It has been 60-75 this past week and today the high is like 70. It was 58 when we woke up and it felt great.

Well I love you guys! I hope everyone is doing well!

Oh and Elder Belnap is from Cedar Hills Utah ;)

Elder Ballif

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Companion Elder Belnap and Things picking up

Hey Family!
I hope everyone had a good week. My week was pretty good. Actually the best week in the Bellevue 2nd area. The moment when Elder Mendel leaves, go figure. 18 lessons. 9 since Elder Belnap, my new companion got here. So yeah I'm not training or anything, not in leadership, but still just serving. Belnap is actually going home pretty soon. 2 transfers. The same amount of time Mendel had when I got with him. But Belnap is a better missionary and I have a lot more in common with him so it has been much more enjoyable. And he actually talks. So yeah it has been good. 

We were able to see basically everyone this week except Robert but whatever we'll get him this week. Seeing Dan went really well. He was asking a lot of questions about baptism, which was really cool and we're hoping that things progress from there. He is really intrigued about everything and I'm excited to see how it goes. We got all of the things taken care of for Chris as far as his baptism goes. 1 on Saturday. It'll be good. The Ward Mission Leader is baptizing him, but I am giving a talk. It should be good. 

Steve is doing good. He is a little nervous to come to church but we'll keep working with him. Annie is doing well. She is planning on coming to church this week which I am excited for. We have a few potentials that we will see how they pan out. 

Oh and mom I was not able to get a voice recorder because my card expired. I cannot use the home card anymore. So if you can send me a new one or just order a voice recorder online from amazon or something and have it sent straight to my apartment (3804 370 Plaza #14 Bellevue NE 68123) that would be great. Or if we do the card route I can get one at Walmart or something. But I think it would be worth it. 

That's awesome about BYU! I wish I could've watched it. I believe Taysom Hill will improve on passing over time. Even when not passing well, it sounds like he's better than Riley ;) 

Thank you for all that you do! I love all of you! I need to get going. We're playing basketball as usual. I'll get pictures of the baptism. LOVE YA!
Elder Ballif

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Getting New Companion -- Training?

Hey Family!
How's everybody doing? I'm doing pretty good. I dropped off Elder Mendel to the Mission office this morning. It's officially over. ;) There were some good moments and definitely things I learned these past 3 months. Holy crap it's been 3 months. Anyways I was under the impression that I was going to be staying with the Cottonwood Elders whom I love dearly. But I guess they didn't get the memo and I'm with another missionary who's companion went home, for the time being. I wasn't too happy because I was super excited about being with the Cottonwood Elders but whatever it's only for 3 days. 

My temporary companion's name is Elder Smith. Seems to be a good missionary. He does seem to be a little bit uptight about things, but whatever it'll be good for me. 

So I'll found out who my new companion is on Thursday and I will be getting him on Friday. Chances are I'll likely stay in Bellevue but crazier things have happened. 

One nice thing about Elder Smith I've noticed already is that he actually talks! haha. It really is nice knowing that you have someone that will have your back talking in lessons and vice versa. I've been on my own for far too long. But it was good for me and I'm probably going to get more of the same if I'm training this next transfer which is what the word on the street is. I'll try to be prepared for anything though. Always expect the unexpected. Especially when you have someone that sees the bigger picture making the decisions. 

Our investigators are doing good. Chris IS getting baptized on the 14th at 1 PM. I'm actually pretty nervous. I have no idea what I'm doing as far as coordinating things go. But I'm sure I'll get help from the Ward Mission Leader and what not. Chris actually came and played basketball with us on Monday. It was really fun as usual. I wish I could play more often than once a week but whatever, one of the many sacrifices ;) 

We unfortunately weren't able to see Steve this past week but we'll keep trying. I'm pretty positive he's not avoiding us. He's a good guy. And Chan. We invited Chan over to Brother Harris' house, who is a recent convert, and we were thinking since Chan is not very well versed in the English language that it would be better if we could play the scripture stories made for children (haha) for him so it would be more simple for him and use a simpler way of talking. It seemed to go pretty well and we'll how he progresses. 

Something I'm really excited about is that we got Robert to come to church! It was great  to see him there. I hope he had a good time and a good experience. We'll be seeing him sometime later this week. 

Well anyway until next week haha. You guys are all looking great! Thanks for all of the pictures. I miss you all so incredibly much but I know I'm doing what the Lord wants me to do. 

And Jenn don't worry about not being so diligent in your writing to me because you're busy. Let me tell you I know how that is. I can barely get one email out here and it's generally not too detailed at that. 

Well anyways I love you guys! Have a great week everybody! That is disappointing about BYU. Hopefully some adjustments can be made but I know how that goes for BYU. 

One thing I wanted to ask for is a voice recorder. I have not been diligent in writing in my journal and it's something that I would like to have for people when I get home. Even for me. I would like talking how my days went a lot better than writing. Only problem is a fairly nice one is like 50 bucks. Just something to think about. 

Stay safe everyone!

Elder Ballif

Monday, August 26, 2013

Testimony Growing

Hey Family!
My week was pretty good. I hope all of yours were too. We were able to see mostly everybody except for Chris. We haven't been able to see him the past two weeks but I don't think he's avoiding us or anything. There are some people that you can tell and it's like they think you're totally stupid. But anyways we hope to get to see him this week. As far as my knowledge goes, the baptism is still on so I'm not worrying yet. 

We were able to see Dan this week was well which was a real treat. He is probably my favorite person I've met so far. The only problem was he forgot we we're coming over so he was drinking a little bit before we got there and was a little buzzed. He seems super interested in the scriptures and stuff. He was trying to start reading this past week but things got a little crazy for him since his daughter is starting college so they were getting her all situated. But I honestly think he is genuinely interested and he just needs to start reading which I'm hoping he will. 

Oh and I'm not sure how promising Annie is but we'll have to reevaluate when we see her on Tuesday. To my knowledge she hasn't read. She says she has friends that are Mormon. I think I said that before, but hopefully that will help. 

 That brings me to Robert. We still are meeting with him and everything I just don't know if he is truly seeking. He's really tough to get to keep commitments but we did get him to say the closing prayer so that was some progress I suppose. We'll keep working with him and hopefully something will change. 

And the last investigator I'm going to talk about is Steve. Steve is a 60 year old brotha. He actually looks quite a bit younger than 60. Anyways he is awesome. He's a really funny guy and to my knowledge has read a little. He is also interested in coming to church so hopefully we can get him there. I think he'll come one of these times. He says he really enjoys talking to us and boy does he talk haha. I really enjoy talking to him as well. 

And Mom as far as what ways I've grown to me I'm still myself so I don't notice ways I've grown as much but I would say I for sure have grown in the aspect of talking to adults and carrying on conversations with them. I've needed to with Dan and Steve. We've had some pretty good and long conversations. And of course my testimony has grown. I wouldn't be out here if it didn't. I left on my mission with virtually no testimony but Alma 32:27 is true haha. You can't do this work effectively without a testimony. And with that said I do struggle with it occasionally but most people do. How quick humans are to forget. Well anyways I hope you guys have a wonderful week! I love you all!!!
Elder Ballif

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bapstism Set for the 14th

Hey Family!
My week wasn't too bad. Didn't get as much done as we did the past few weeks but whatever we've been preparing to move. We did get to see some people though haha. 

We got to see Robert again and that went pretty well. The thing is the Lord isn't going to answer his prayers, if he's not truly seeking and he's not reading or showing a whole lot of effort on his part. Hopefully that will change. He's a good kid though but just needs some motivation I suppose. 

We also got to see Dan! I really hope Dan can get baptized. He is such an awesome guy. We will keep working with him and I'm pretty sure he'll start reading. I got Gospel Library all set up on his iPhone haha. He's got a really good head on him. He has looked at some things about Mormons on the internet but his conclusion is and he said in a joking manner "It's on the internet so it must be true" and he also thinks you shouldn't get information from sources that isn't the source of what you're looking up. But yeah I hope he has been reading. Especially since he can listen to it now on his phone. He said that would help a lot. 

We didn't get to see Chris this week because he had to work late on the day we had scheduled but they still came to church. He even went out and bought some ties and a white shirt and black plants to have all the church garb. He is doing well though. The baptism on the 14th is still set so I'm excited about that. I'm sure I'll still be here but hey I guess you never know. 

We also were able to see Chan and it went pretty well. We read Mosiah 2 and I had to explain a couple of times Mosiah and Messiah are 2 different words haha. It'll take some time with him. I believe his native language is either Arabic or Denke or however you spell it. 

And we also saw someone new named Annie. We taught her basically the full restoration but we'll probably go over it again. I think she can definitely make progress. Well that's basically all of the news about the investigators. 

We weren't able to see Steve but we'll try to see him again this week. And yes Mom, I got the care package. Actually a couple of weeks ago I just forgot to mention it. It was good. There were some Hi-Chews and beef jerky. And some other treats and those cards you guys wrote and 15 bucks to Walmart. Thank you guys! It was even nicer since it was unexpected. 

And yes Dad I will start reading the NT. I was reading a bit of Revelation this past week. And quit it with your man crush with John ;) Hey you could probably meet him some day in this life since you know he is still here ;) 

Oh and yes please Mom that would be awesome if you could get that book for me. I'm pretty sure it is on amazon. That would be awesome. Well I need to get going. We're going to play basketball again today so that will be fun. I love you guys! 

Have a great week everyone!
Elder Ballif

Monday, August 12, 2013

Got to go to the Temple Again

Hey Family!

 Things are going pretty good here in Bellevue.

We weren't able to see Dan this week but we did see Chan, Robert, Chris and some others.
Chan is so darn hard to understand. There is definitely a language barrier there but I try my hardest to piece things together. He usually just read out of the Book of Mormon and that can be rough sometimes. I think we should look into getting him a copy of it in his native language.

Robert is still atheist/agnostic. He doesn't really know. But we keep working with him and have been reading scriptures with him and leaving chapters for him to read. I don't think he's actually read any of the things we have left
him with. But we're not giving up.

 Chris is awesome. His last name is actually Brosnan. The ward directory says differently but yeah. We taught him the restoration and everything is going great. They came to church and he definitely is ready. September 14th. Hopefully I'll still be here.

We also taught Steve. I don't know if I've mentioned him. Well we basically got to know him. He's a super cool dude. He used to be in the airforce doing maintenance and he mentioned he's worked with Avionics so yeah I
definitely mentioned what you do, Dad. We talked for a good hour and a half haha. Super nice guy and he started reading the Book of Mormon so that is great.

 Another person is this lady we met named Anny. She has Mormon friends and says she wants to start taking the lessons. She seems super friendly and she seems like she could have some potential.

We're actually going to play basketball today and Chris said he'll try to make it. I hope he can.

And as far as reading goes I will probably start reading through Mosiah again and will definitely start the NT.

 We got to go to the temple again this past Friday and I got to see the new video. It's definitely better in my opinion. And that's all I'll say about that.

Well I should probably get going. Sorry for the shortness of email. We'll it's not like any of mine are long but it's kind of hard having to email multiple people in an hour. Some missions you can take as long as you want, but not here.

Oh well. I love you guys! Stay safe everyone. May the Lord be with you!

Elder Ballif

Monday, August 5, 2013

Taught 12 Lessons and set Baptismal Date for Chris

Hey Family!
My week went pretty well--probably the best week numbers wise here in Bellevue. We had 12 lessons and everything is great with the Brosmans. Chris the husband is the only one of age but he's pretty darn solid. He's actually set for baptism on the 14th of September. He just took everything in and he is really awesome. He is a mechanic for the military and works on Amtracks. Video games helped me out with this one. :) They're the tanks that can float and go into water as well. Thank you Battlefield haha. So yeah I actually knew what he was talking about haha. I have high hopes for him. He is a really cool dude. 

That brings me to Robert. Things are still going well to my knowledge. He continues to meet with us and we'll see tomorrow where he's at. He is a really nice kid. Actually could you guys look into getting this book for me called Reflections of a Scientist. It's by Henry Eyring (not the apostle but he was LDS and a very renown scientist) and it helps connect science and religion very well I hear. Reason I'm asking is I think it would do Robert some good as well. But I think he has great potential he just needs to understand and recognize the Spirit. 

And Dan. Dan is awesome. Arguably my favorite person I've met. It will be a challenge to get him to church seeing how he works on Sundays but Heavenly Father can help out in that aspect. Sorry if this is a short email but I need to get going pretty soon. He showed us one of his AR-15s and boy was it cool. It had a tactical light, a laser sight and a mounted red dot sight. He used to be in the military and actual combat. And don't worry Mom, we're careful. He is really serious about gun safety especially after what happened to his son. We got to watch Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration and it went pretty well. He said he really enjoyed it. I did too haha. 

 I hope everything is going well back home. And yes Tori's birthday is on Thursday and you can do whatever. I'm sure she would appreciate anything you guys got her. I'm working on getting some stuff for her myself. 

And I hope I get to catch some of the BYU season as well. It's all about Adam Hine, Dad ;) I've also been getting really close to a recent convert named Dean Harris. He's actually around your guy's age and he really funny. 

Well I love you guys! I hope everyone is doing good. I haven't heard from/about Austin in a while. 

Have a great week everyone! The Church is true! The Savior lives! Stay safe everyone. Love you guys.
Elder Ballif