Monday, December 29, 2014

Short and Sweet

Hola Familia!
Welp, this past week was a joy. It was great getting to talk to all of you. And tell Carsen that I love him and that I'll see him soon enough. I'm doing my best to stay focused. I haven't given up. So Christmas day was fun. We had Christmas breakfast at our Bishop's house and then Elder Gardner talked to his parents there as well. Following that we spent most of the Christmas day at the Oltman's house and had a lot of fun. We even had a nerf war there which was awesome haha. Other than that not too much to tell about this week. We started taking the bus this week, so we've been doing a lot of walking. We haven't had much luck, yet. Tracting is not very effective. And even Less Active Members won't answer their doors haha. We had a pretty funny experience on the bus however. Some black chick called us Book of Mormons. I don't think she was all the way there but anyways she was like "Hey Book of Mormons!" and we respond with something generic, and then she followed with "Are Book of Mormons allowed to have girlfriends?" hahaha. It was quite the experience. Sorry, nothing spiritual or anything haha.
There are a lot of awesome members here so that is definitely a plus. Well I need to get going. I love you guys!
Elder Ballif

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas

Hey Family!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! Well I was planning on doing the Christmas call just on Christmas night but since it has been made known to me that it would be inconvenient for you guys, I just texted the AP's. I'll let you know the results. We'll be Skyping at the Oltmans house so she'll probably call you guys or something to let you know what's up. If the Christmas Eve thing doesn't work out. We will be at the Oltmans like all afternoon on Christmas so I was planning on Skyping then, and I figured Mom would get home around 8 so I could talk to her for like 30 minutes but I'll try to make the Christmas Eve thing work. 

Well so far I would like to say thank you for the Christmas cards everyone. The extra funds were sorely needed haha. January 25th for my homecoming talk huh? Well that will be fun haha. Oh and I did get the Christmas package you guys sent me. Thank you guys! However I do feel like you guys are trying to sabotage my weight loss. Beef Jerky and HiChews? My only weakness. Those socks were pretty spiffy too. And I don't know if I was suppose to or not but I opened the wrapped present. Sorry. But I'm sure all of the ladies here in Omaha will appreciate it hahaha ;) 

Well as far as my scripture studies go, I have been really digging Jacob. Jacob 4 is definitely one of my favorite chapters right now. I have been reading a lot of conference talks lately as well. And listening to them. I decided for my last transfer all I'm going to listen to is Mo Tab, Hymns, and Conference talks. President Uchtdorfs most recent talk "Receiving a Testimony of Truth and Light" is super good.

Well as far as investigators go, there is not a whole lot to talk about. We did see Jeff and Erin, that investigator couple. They're super nice, but just have a lot of hold ups. She was asking a lot of polygamy and if we claim God doesn't change, then why did we change our doctrine on polygamy and what not, so we tried to explain, in the most politically correct way possible, that the doctrine never changed, just the practice of it did. But they're just going to need to pray about it. They want to logical conversion rather than a spiritual one so we'll have to work on that. Well guys, I need to get going. I love you! Talk to you soon! Have a great day!

Elder Ballif

Monday, December 15, 2014

Transferred to Elmwood with 6 Weeks to Go :)

Hey Family!

Well the news has already been spoiled I suppose. Sister Oltman keeps that facebook stuff current haha. Yeah I am in the Elmwood Ward in Omaha. It's about right in the middle in Omaha. In fact Center St. is in our area. I am pretty excited actually. Elder Gardner is a stud. He is so tight. He is in the running already for favorite companion. Things have been going great so far.

This is a interesting way to spend my last 6 weeks but I'm up for it. I was pretty shocked to get transferred but it has actually been nice. The area is not as depressed either. I actually see a lot of white people now so that has been an awesome change haha. 

 We've already hit it off with some members. The Pearson family, oh man they are so cool. We had an awesome dinner. She actually made that chicken broccoli casserole that Mom would make from time to time, and guess what? I actually like it now. Oh the things a mission will do for ya haha. 

Well as you may now we are whitewashing the area. The Elders here before us did not take good care of the area and let's just say we have our work cut out for us. We do have a dinner with an investigating couple on Wednesday though, so I am excited for that. Other than that, I'm not really sure what to do. We really want to work with the members so we have been trying to get to know them as much as possible. 

I'm trying not to check out, and I think I'm doing a pretty decent job. I wouldn't say that I'm trunky, but I would say that I'm pretty hubbed out. You can figure out what that means on your own haha ;)

So as far as the Christmas call goes, we are still working out some details. We can Christmas morning for sure, but I have yet to get permission for Christmas Eve haha. I will work on that and let you know next week. Speaking of Christmas, 

 Well I need to get going. I will email earlier next week, sorry for emailing so late. Well I love you guys! Have a great week everyone!

Elder Ballif 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Moved Apartments

Hey Family!
How's everyone doing? I hope well. My week was pretty good. It went by super fast, which is always good haha. It is transfer week this week which is pretty crazy if you ask me. Then the next one will be me. Pretty weird stuff. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I'm trying not to think too much about it, but sometimes that doesn't work out too well. I am definitely excited to talk to you guys on Christmas. I'm sure I can work something out with your work schedule, Mom. But that is pretty lame that they're doing that. If you guys haven't already check and what that video. It is so good. I have been very impressed with the Church's media campaigning lately.
That is pretty scary about Grandma but I'm glad she's doing better now. Seizures are very scary. Not that I know a whole lot about them. But I will make sure to send some extra prayers Grandma's way. I wish I would have developed a better relationship with the extended family back home. Hopefully I can make up for lost time when I get home.
Well as far as investigators go, Nealia is still doing awesome. Unfortunately she couldn't make it to church yesterday. She gave us a call the morning of and said she was in a lot of pain with her knee, and it was all swollen. She is actually having surgery today on her knee so keep her in your prayers. The surgery she's getting is orthoscopic so apparently she wont be down for too long. We still went over to see her yesterday, and taught her the law of the fast and the law of tithing, and it is just crazy how accepting she is. She was already doing the math for the 10% right after we told her haha. She is so awesome. Austin is still improving. The situation is a little interesting though. His mother is not living the law of chastity and like, I've said he just doesn't have a very good home situation, so we are still trying to figure some things out as far as his baptism. We need to make sure he really, really wants it. We have not been able to see Chloe either. She'll answer our phone calls, but we have had the hardest time getting things set up and actually working.
So before I forget we have now moved. Our apartment is a lot nicer and does not have the very pleasant smell of weed. The address is 2619 Nicholas St. Apt F, Omaha NE, 68131. So do not send anything to the Ames place. And to answer your question Mom, it would probably be a good idea to send everything to the mission office. 11027 Martha St, Omaha NE 68144. We frequently go there, due to the calling. Also just putting some money in my account would be awesome. I dropped a ton and I mean A TON of money at Costco, getting healthy stuff. But if you guys don't mind today I would like to buy something at GNC so if you could keep an eye out for that, I would greatly appreciate it. It will be an early Christmas present haha.
Well I hope you guys all have a great week. I love all of you and can't wait to see you guys on Christmas! Take care!
Elder Ballif

Monday, November 24, 2014

Another General Authority Visit

Hey Family!
I hope everyone's week has been great! My week was pretty good, and it went by really fast so that was great. We had another General Authority come though. His name was Elder Martino. He said some pretty awesome things, and let me tell ya, we have our work cut out for us. He really pushed working with the ward council, and having the ward council find investigators. Being here on a mission (now I don't know how it was in Utah because I never paid attention) I've noticed the member missionary work needs a lot of work. Members are supposed to be the finders, but they don't do anything here (Nebraska) so it has been difficult. But we are excited to make a push to get something going. Some also that was really cool, is that the Church is launching a Christmas initiative called "He is the Gift". I'm sure you can imagine what that's talking about. Anyways they made a ton of cards to pass out and made a video and some other things. It should be really cool. You can visit to check some stuff out. The video is super awesome.
Well Mom to answer your question on Christmas presents, I can wait for most of the stuff. I just would really like some money to go to GNC or something and buy some stuff before I get home. I'll let you know if anything changes. A care package would be nice as well haha.
So as far as investigators go things have been great. We had an appointment with Chloe but that didn't work out, but the person I'm most excited about is Nealia (I'm pretty sure now, that's how you spell her name). He took her to the Trail Center, and showed her all of the Gingerbreads. I got a lot of pictures for when I get home so don't worry haha ;) Oh what the heck, I'll be nice and send you guys a couple of pictures today haha. Nealia said she "found her place" and that "this is where she wants to be". She'll be getting baptized sometime likely in December. Austin has shown improvement as well. He has been coming to Church regularly, with some member families picking him up, and yesterday we went over, and he was paying attention a lot more. I do thing he has ADD. But we'll work through that.
Just really quick, I'm glad Carsen had a great birthday. Happy Birthday, man! I love you. We'll have to have some wrestling matches when I get home.
Well I need to get going. I love you guys! Have a great week everyone!
Elder Ballif

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mission Tour and Investigators Doing Well

Hey Family!
Well this past week has been one of the fastest of my mission. We were super busy and didn't spend a whole lot of time in the area but we still worked hard and had a good time. We actually put up the Christmas lights at the Mormon Trail Center (the pioneer museum) which took us quite some time. So if you were to drive by and look at the building at night, Elder Pierce and I, were the ones that put them up, so that's pretty neat.
Well as far as investigators go, things are still going well, but not on fire. Neila didn't make it to church yesterday, because it was icy outside and she didn't want to fall and hurt her knee. She felt really bad though. She called and was asking us not to be mad at her, and she was crying. So yeah, I'm not really concerned as to whether she takes this seriously or not. She really is awesome. She is so accepting of everything we tell her. We actually got her baptismal date on the 30th of this month, but since she didn't make it to Church we'll have to figure something else out. 

So moving onto Austin, he is quite the puzzling case. I would never let my kids act the way he does. Sorry for saying this but he is a little punk. His grandparents who are members want him to get baptized on Friday the 21st but there is no way he is ready. I'll get into that in a second, but basically that's not going to happen. I think we can shoot for the 29th but he'll need to make some changes. I went over with Elder Markert, a new elder in the Zone that I was on exchanges with and we get along famously. We're super tight now... Anyways, we went over and he was being super disrespectful. When we would ask him if he wants to be baptized he would say yes and then a little while later he would say no, and we then asked him if he would like to go to Heaven and he said no. And then he ripped out the title page of the Book of Mormon and crumpled it up. Yeah we weren't too thrilled to see that. We took it and told him he needs to start taking this stuff more seriously or else he won't be able to be baptized. Obviously that is condensed but that was the jist of it. Hopefully he can get his act together soon. I mean I understand he's 9 but normal 9 year olds don't act like that. So anyways that's what's going on with that. 

Remember that super solid family I talked about a few weeks ago? Chloe was the name of the mom. Well anyways we lost all contact with them. And just when we were about the give up hope, she texted us yesterday and told us that there were some family friends that died recently and that these past few weeks have been crazy, but that she wanted to have us come over this week. I was really happy to hear that. I've been a bit worried because they seemed so awesome.
The Mission Tour was pretty dang awesome. Elder Nielson is a stud. He talked about a lot of different things but something that really stuck out to me is him talking about how the "ground always comes". He talked about the law of gravity and no matter how many times you jump out of a building, the ground will always come. Let's say it was a 5 story building, once you get to the 4th story, you're still feeling pretty good, and actually may think it's kind of cool, and so on with the 3rd. When you get to the 2nd story, you may have realized you've made a mistake, and then you realize that you've really done something stupid, and then the ground comes. He related that too how when we step off the building of chastity or the building of the word of wisdom, or whatever commandment it may be, we think we're fine. And then the ground keeps getting closer and closer, until we eventually hit it. Well anyways it was a great meeting. 

The leaders of the mission got to have dinner with him which was awesome. There are some nice perks to being in leadership haha. But anyways that was a great experience that I was very happy to be a part of.
Things are going well with Pierce and I. We are having a lot of fun. It's weird to think that he's probably my last companion haha. Well I hope everyone has a great day today, and a great week. I love all of you guys. Stay safe!
Elder Ballif

Monday, November 10, 2014

Short and Sweet.

Hey Family!
I hope everyone has had a great week! Our week was pretty great. We went on exchanges with a struggling companionship and they said they now want to make some changes and I have already seen improvement so that was really cool. 

We should have a great week this week. Brent H. Nielson is going to be here on Friday

Things are going really well with Neila. She twisted her knee so she couldn't make it to church but we went and saw her after church. She was so sad she couldn't come. We hard set her for baptism on December 20th so we're excited about that. 

Also Austin is set for baptism on November 21st but we'll see if he makes it. He's being kind of a punk but that alright haha. 

Hey Mom don't worry about sending me Hillsong. I got it taken care of haha. I did use 17 bucks on the home card so watch that ;) 

Well guys I need to get going. Sorry this is so short, but I'll make up for it next week! I love you guys!
Elder Ballif

Monday, November 3, 2014

New Companion Elder Pierce from Ogden

Hey Family!

Well I hope everyone had a great Halloween. My Halloween was pretty meh. Transfer stuff all day. I got to hang out with Elder French a bit though. Man that guy is easily one of the funniest guys I've ever met. But also one who isn't the best example. But I still love him. 

So my new companion is Elder Pierce. He is from Ogden Utah. He is a pretty cool dude. We have a lot more in common than Edwards and I did. We're are getting along great. I'm training him as a new Zone Leader which is a pretty overwhelming, because I myself don't know what I'm doing. I hope he turns out ok haha. 

Well this week as far as missionary work goes, was just a lot of mission business. I wasn't in the area until Friday night, because I was floating around with some other missionaries since Edwards was gone. But we still got to see Neila and Sheila. Neila is doing great. We had a super good lesson with them. We talked about Joseph Smith and the Great Apostasy. We committed her to come to church next week. She said she was going to go for sure. I was really happy about that because I saw that as a big obstacle. We are coordinating with the ward to find her a ride. 

Since Dad is asking and I forgot, the process for highlight the Book of Mormon is highlighting anything that is related to the atonement and highlighting anytime it mentions a member of the Godhead and circling or highlighting the word heart. Any color. I'm doing blue, yellow, and purple. And I restarted so I'm super far behind. 

And Mom it's up to you if you want to get me a Hillsong CD. I heard they have like 9 albums. Another missionary in the Zone had his sister send him a CD, and she sent the one called United. It has that song Ocean you were talking about. If you feel so inclined, you can research and find out what is accepted as their best album and send it to me. If you don't it doesn't matter to me. You can surprise me haha. 

Things should pick up soon. Elder Pierce is a great guy and a great missionary. Well I need to get going. I love you guys! Have a great week everyone!

Elder Ballif

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bed Bugs Arghhhhh!!!

Hey there Family!
Well I don't have a whole lot of time so I'll just start of by saying Happy Birthday Mom! And Kim and Ellie! I forgot to say that last week. I always forget about that stuff, even with the calendar you guys sent me haha. Sorry.
Things have been good this week. We went on 3 exchanges this week so we were pretty darn busy. One with the AP's so that was fun. Elder Scott, my MTC companion is an AP so I went with him. It was a lot of fun to be back together. The low light of the week was that we got bed bugs. Gosh dang it. We have no idea how, but we've been cleaning like crazy and I think, and hope we got it all taken care of. I had no idea those things even existed until I came to Nebraska. They're really gross. To make matters worse, our bishop helped us out by buying mattress covers and what not which is good, but he ended up telling everybody in ward council about it, and then they people of ward council told everyone in the ward so now everyone in the ward knows, and doesn't want us over right now. We're like a couple of lepers. But oh well. 

We weren't able to see Big Mike this last week, but we did see Neila and Sheila. They're doing really well. They're set for baptism in December, which I know Neila will make if her health allows it. She is so solid. She's such a nice old black lady haha. Austin came to church again. I don't really know what's going to happen with him. His family is really broken and just does not a have a good mom. But that family that is helping us out with them is awesome.
Things are getting better and better as a Zone Leader. I'm adjusting better and Elder Edwards has been good for me. He has helped me improve a lot. There have been some growing pains though haha. I am really glad I am able to experience this. It has been stressful, but I'm becoming a better missionary. This week should be good. We're going to see Meet the Mormons again tomorrow with a less active and his girlfriend. Actually that reminds me. There was a preview for a new movie coming out about a Christian Rock band called Hillsong. If you guys could, could you please, pretty please send me their CD. I'm getting tired of the Christian Rock all of the other missionaries have. PLEASE! Hillsong....Well I need to get going. I need to fill out a survey on We have a general authority doing a mission tour next month so I guess this is in preparation. I love you guys! Have a great week everyone!
Elder Ballif

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New Shoes and New Investigators :)

Well hey there family.
I hope everyone is doing great! My week was pretty good. We got some new investigators and had some good lessons. Zone training was this past week. That was fun. It was basically District Meeting but with a lot more people. And we have a lot more leeway on the trainings was give. We ended up talking about a plethora of things. Desire, hope, potential, acting, and not procrastinating, and tied it back to goal setting. It was fun. And then we went to Huhot after, which is a really good Mongolian grill buffet place. This is random, but I just looked over at this whiteboard here in the library, and it says movie night, waffles and soda. Man this place is confirming all the stereotypes of black people. Everything is true hahaha ;) EVERYTHING.
Well as far as missionary work goes things have been picking up :) We got a new investigator who goes by Big Mike. He's is pretty cool. He was outside working on his truck and we went up and offered to help him. We just talked a little bit and then he asked what we actually do, and then we got into a big discussion on religion, and we talked about prophets and he wants us to come back and show him stuff from Thomas S Monson. Apparently Edwards has talked to him before but he has shown no interest so it's pretty cool to hear how that has changed. We are still working with Neila and Sheila. Neila is progressing a ton. She is gobbling up everything we tell her. We got a large print BoM so she can start reading. I don't know if I've mention him, but we're also working with a 9 year old named Austin. His mom is an excommunicated member and it just a super broken home, but he has been coming to church with a family who we're getting pretty tight with. We actually taught their FHE lesson last night and had dinner. It was homemade lasagna and it was awesome :) Yeah I heard about BYU. That's too bad, but oh well haha. That's awesome about the Jazz. That's actually some great news. How does Exum look?
Hmmm responsibilities? Well if there are any announcements we are the ones to get them out to the Zone. Also if there are any companionships struggling we need to take care of it. Apparently it's pretty common in this Zone. There's some specific missionaries, that even argue at church. It's pretty ridiculous. And one of them has like 5 months left and is kind of giving up, so we're going on exchanges with them, and I'm going to talk to him. We get along pretty well actually. We go on a ton of exchanges. We're going on 3 this week with the average being 2. We also make sure everyone is doing what they should. We stay pretty darn busy, which has been great.
Oh so I bought some new shoes. Not crocodile skin. I decided that I wasn't black so yeah. They're some really nice lighter brown shoes with a nice design. I also got a belt that matches, all for a total of 52 bucks. I hope that wasn't too much. I got them at Burlington Coat Factory. I'm still going to check that Leflore's place out to see if there anything. If so Burlington has a 30 day return policy.
Well I should get going. I hope everyone has a great day! Things have been going really well here. Still a little uncomfortable being in the minority with all the beautiful people of color here but I'm getting there hahaha. The gospel is true!
Elder Ballif

Monday, September 29, 2014

Adjusting to New Area and Calling

Hey there family!

Well this past week was pretty good. I'm learning the area quite a bit better, and I'm starting to grasp being a Zone Leader a little bit. It is a lot different. But it has been a good learning experience so far. 

Well I'm glad everyone is ok with my going home in January. I just felt bad because all the nieces and nephews and everyone really was looking forward to having me home around Christmas and celebrating it together. Oh well, we'll have plenty of those in the future. 

Elder Edwards and I are still getting along fantastically. He's really into hunting and outdoorsy stuff so that's neat haha. He also looks like a model for Abercrombie or Hanes underwear haha. I tease him about it all the time hahaha. 

Things are going good in the ghetto. It's a rarity to see a white person here. I literally can count on 1 hand the amount of white people I've seen in our area the past week. Our apartment is on 49th and Ames. 30th and Ames is considered the most dangerous place in Omaha. I'll wait till after my mission to give you details so I don't worry Mom too much ;) 

Some old black dude, yesterday who lives in an apartment on 30th and Ames, started yelling at us when we walked in the building to knock on someone's door. He said in a really hateful tone of voice "Get out of my gosh dang house! I'll shoot you if I have to!" That was my rated G version. He sounded really angry. That was fun. We left pretty quickly after knocking the door haha. Ok sorry I just had to tell you guys about that, sorry for worrying you ;) 

We found this super cool dude, that lives in this random neighborhood called Miami Heights. It's on a hill, and there are like 8 houses that are super, super nice. Everything around it is dump, but that place is really nice. We talked to him for a good 30 minutes and he is super cool and invited us to come back. 

Well I need to get going. People are waiting on me. Oh hey so I got a question. I've had to throw away all of my shoes except one pair pretty recently. And this pair is little to big on me. So basically what I'm suggesting, is I am going to go the Goodwill today to look for shoes, but if I don't find any (I don't really want to, I'm tired of wearing old shoes) I was wondering if it'd be alright to buy some new shoes somewhere. I would love to get some nice ecco's but they're pretty darn expensive. But they last forever. Those dockers you guys got me before I came out got trashed in 2 months. I'll keep my eye out though. 

There is this ghetto dress shop here called Leflore's that I hear has sick shoes. Like light brown crocodile skin. I may have to get some just before I go home haha ;) 

Take care everyone! I love you guys! Have a great week!

Elder Ballif 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Transferred to Omaha

Hey Family!
So I have some bad news and some good news. I'll start with the bad news. I'm going home January 21st now. Sorry. I feel like it was the right thing to do and it was an inspired decision. 

So moving on to the good news. I got transferred. I'm now serving in the Fontenelle Ward in Omaha, in the ghetto. Black people everywhere. I'm not giving any details about that but it's pretty freaking crazy. Our address is 4907 Ames Ave. #5. I wouldn't look up Ames Ave on google ;) Oh and some more good news. I'm a Zone Leader now. It's so freaking weird. I'm like a deer in the headlights right now. 

Elder Crozier, my trainer actually just was serving here as Zone Leader but his mission came to an end so I replaced him. Weird stuff. In mission lingo, I'm following my father's (Elder Crozier) footsteps. 

My companion's name is Elder Edwards and he is pretty darn cool. We're getting along fabulously. Probably my best since Crozier and Chappell. He's from Las Vegas and is a bit of a cowboy or rancher or what have you. Not annoying like other people though. Like the cool kind. He doesn't have an annoying draw either. We're having a good time so far. 

Yesterday was pretty fun. We talked to some less actives yesterday who are going through some trouble, and they were saying how they wanted to get back into selling drugs and wanted to kill themselves. Oh man, this place is so much different than Logan. Oh and their dog peed on me. That was grand. But what was cool, is we just bore testimony and talked about Joseph Smith, when he was in Liberty Jail and how he didn't give up, and their demeanor completely changed and they said they want to be picked up for church this week. 

Things are going good here. I'm very happy with my decision to stay my entire mission. Probably because I know where I'd be right now if I didn't change. Elder Crozier found out transfer information before he went home, and it ended up being different. I would be in Lincoln right now, which would actually be pretty cool, but I'd rather be a Zone Leader. So like I said, both options were good, but there was one option better than the other. 

Oh can I ask a favor from someone, anyone. Please send me a letter. I had to pay 2 bucks here to get on the computer, because I don't have a library card, and I need a letter addressed to here to get one. Freakin bull honkey. 

Thanks pretty sweet about BYU. I'm excited to get home and see some of the games, if you're recording them. 

Thank you guys so much about everything you do. Sorry for switching the plans up. It was the right thing to do though, so you guys shouldn't fret too much, if you were going to. 

I love all of you guys so much. Have a wonderful week everyone. If I missed anything that you guys would want clarification on, let me know. I'll still be on for about 20 more minutes emailing other people. I love you guys!
Elder Ballif

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Transfer this Week - Leaving Logan ?

Hey Family!

So I hope everyone has had a great week. My week was just mediocre. Nothing too crazy. I'm ready to leave Logan and it's starting to get to me. We had Stake Conference which was really good. Our Mission President and his wife gave talks as well as the Temple President and his wife, and of course, the Stake President. 

We have been pretty short on miles so we can't go driving a ton of places. Oh but something really cool that I forgot to mention last week, is that in Fast and Testimony Meeting, Michael (the guy that was less active for 12 years who we promised would get a job) was there and he actually got up and bore his testimony. It was so freakin sweet. Very inspiring. From Atheist to bearing his testimony, in just a few months. So other than that, I don't really now. 

Jeff and Tina are doing well. We haven't heard from Christine, even after leaving messages. What can you do? 

So transfers is this week. That should be rather interesting. I am so ready to leave. The Zone Leaders say they're positive I'm gone. But anything could happen I suppose. I thought it would be pretty neat to become a Zone Leader, but honestly I think my decision to go home 4 weeks early screwed my chances for that, so it has made me second guess my decision to do that. 

I don't even know anymore. It just hit me yesterday at Stake Conference, not to mention I went to it fasting, not really for anything in particular I just did and it just hit me there. I would like some input from you guys. While coming home the 27th would be awesome, I just want to follow the Lord's will on this one. Which could be going home and starting school but I'm just so unsure of it. 

They could have already bought the plane ticket so It might not be worth it but that's a might. Oh and by the way Mom, my release date is the 27th. I was referring to the Skype phone call on Christmas. I feel either way would work out, but there is always a choice that works out better than the others. 

Oh and by the way Dad, you're going to need to continue to spot me money for the rest of the month. I have good reasons as to why am I out, but I don't feel like explaining myself. I spent 9 bucks at Walmart earlier and will be spending a bit more at Subway after this. I am starving. I've had 2 bananas today and that's it. I freakin love bananas though haha. Especially with peanut butter ;) 

That's pretty sweet about BYU. This sounds like it could be a great year for them. And yeah I heard a little bit about Dad's new TL, which I asked him to send some pictures of, but he must not have gotten around to it ;) The issue with the Acura is that Acura doesn't spell Audi ;) I only tease. 

You guys need to figure out when the deadlines are for applying to BYU for the Summer and Fall semesters. I wouldn't be opposed to going there in the Summer. I just need to make sure I buy an all sports pass, so I can go to all of the games. I think it's like around 100 bucks for the year. Also knowing more info about Weber would be good. I need to make sure I'm all ready to go, before I get home and find out it's too late. I can't imagine it would be that hard though. 

Things are going good with the Book of Mormon reading. I'm on page 105 or something. It's pretty neat. Apparently you're supposed to highlight anytime it mentions Jesus Christ as well. It's pretty neat. Every single page. Well I'm am going to close this up. 

I hope all of you have a fantastic week! Stay safe everyone! I love you!

Elder Ballif

Monday, September 8, 2014

Jeff and Tina's Baptism Went Great!

Hey Family!

I hope everyone has had a great week! My week was pretty great. The baptisms were awesome and everything went well. There was one minor issue. So I guess something happened to the hot water heater at the church. So it was a cold baptism. That was pretty unfortunate, but they made it through it hahaha. It was great to see Tina's dad baptize her. That was the first baptism he's ever done. We had to have him do it twice though. The first time he omitted some words in the prayer, but the second time everything was said perfectly. 

The confirmations went great as well. We're still going to have to figure out something with their kids though. They're a real handful haha. So here's the deal. I will send pictures of the baptism home. After this I will not be sending any more pictures of me home. I do this for a wise purpose, a purpose which ye know not. Sorry if this upsets anyone but I'm sure you can wait till my release date. Actually the25th of December. That will be an interesting phone call haha. 

So there actually is some information I need for the paper you guys got in the.... and never mind I used my noggin, and figured out I could just get that information on

So there is something I want to bring up and possibly get your input on. School. I've done some thinking, and in the long run I want to end up at BYU. But I was thinking I could go to Weber State for the winter semester, and then transfer to BYU for the fall semester. So I don't really know what I need to do to apply on a mission so if you could get that figured out for me and just tell me what I need to do, that would be sweet. I want to do my generals at Weber and potentially take an intro to Computer Science class, and if I'm able to transfer to BYU, if I'm still liking that I'll stick with that and have that be my major, or potentially venture and see if I could get in the law program or something else. I'm still not entirely sure. I'll have to do a lot of praying on this subject. But I definitely want to end up at BYU. 

So our mission president has committed us all to read the Book of Mormon by the week of December 8th, while highlighting in red everything that has to do with or has relation with the atonement and circle in red every time it says "heart." It has been pretty cool to see how much you're highlighting and circling. We've been doing it for 2 weeks so we're on page 70, but any of you guys that want to do this, I would highly recommend it. It would only take 5.5 pages a day starting today and you'd be finished by the week of December 8th. It is super easy to do. It  takes me at the most 20 minutes each day. 

Oh there was an interesting development this past week that was halted, but Christine had made it to church 2 weeks in a row and came to the baptism and everything was looking great for her kids. We actually were going to baptize them this week. We got everything figured out. See the crazy part of the situation is, Christian is going to start chemo, and he needs a port put in and after that he can't get wet for 6 weeks so we got ok'd to do it this week, before he gets the port put in. Well they missed church yesterday, so that's not going to happen unfortunately. Hopefully it'll happen soon, but with chemo, he'll probably be pretty sick. It'll all work out. 

But aside from that, we've been teaching a few new people. Nothing really super noteworthy, because the library is going to close soon, and I need to finish up, but things are going great. I'll be sure to let you guys know what happens with transfers. Well actually I'll email you again, before transfers anyways haha. And that's pretty sweet about BYU. I am super excited to see some of these games when I get back. 

Have a great week everyone! I love you guys!!!!

Elder Ballif 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

All Set for Jeff and Tina's Baptisms

Hey there Family!

Well this past week was a pretty good one. We went on a ton of exchanges, one with Denison, one with Atlantic, and one with the Zone Leaders in Council Bluffs. The latter was for the baptismal interview of Jeff and Tina, which they passed! Everything should be good to go. We went over there last night and got the details of the service figured out. Tina's dad will be baptizing her, and the stake president in Omaha will be baptizing Jeff. I will be confirming Tina, and Stubbs will be confirming Jeff. So I'm glad we got that stuff, along with some other things, figured out. 

There still are a few things we need to get in order but I think everything will work out great. Jeff is doing good with the smoking so far. I have the faith that he'll be good to go. We're going back over there on Friday so hopefully he's still good then. If not that sure would complicate things, but he can do it. 

Christine came to church again, but left early, not really sure why, but I'm not too concerned about it. Two weeks in a row has got to be some sort of milestone for her haha. So if all goes well her kids should be baptized within the next little while. 

Oh someone else was able to make it to Church. You guys remember Michael? The guy who didn't have a job and we promised he would get one and he did. Well anyways, he's been struggling the past few weeks, and we were able to have a nice discussion with him last Tuesday with the bishop. Well anyways he made it to Church. It was great to see. And the talks were very well themed for what he's going through. They were about being happy and not worrying about the things you can't control. I hope it struck a chord with him. 

And what, Austin didn't go the open house? That kid. I'll try to whip him into shape when I get back ;) That's pretty sweet about BYU. I was super anxious to find out what happened. You guys better have that game on DVR when I get back. And that's sweet my boy Taysom balled it up. Was he able to connect on any bombs? That would be sweet. I heard he's a Heisman Candidate this year. I am excited to hear about the Texas game. BYU all the way! 

Yeah I'm pretty positive I'll have one more area before my mission is over. Transfers are on September 19th and I think it's very likely I'll be getting shipped somewhere else. I really hope I go to Lincoln or something. That would be so freakin awesome. 

Well anyways, have a great week everyone! That color run looked like it was pretty spectacular. Oh and since I have addressed this yet, I'm kind of chapped you sold the boat. I've had a complete change of heart on my mission, where I want to have a lot more family time.  

And if your going to buy any sedan you have to get an Audi. Never get before 2008. They had some bad years between 97 and 04 or so. The new Audi A3 is legit. It's their new car that has won car of the year and it is only $30000 starting price. I say only because that's pretty good for a luxury sedan, that goes 0-60 in 5 seconds. Not to mention the car is beautiful. 

 Anyways I should get going. I hope everyone has a fantastic week! Talk to ya later! I love you guys!

Elder Ballif

Monday, August 25, 2014

Jeff and Tina Doing Great and getting ready for Baptism

Hey Family!

It sounds like everyone had a great week! I was honesty a bit distracted this week, but as the days went on, it got better. 

Jeff and Tina are doing great. Jeff has a smoking problem to overcome but I have faith that he can do it, and so does he. We gave him a blessing to help him quit, and he has until Saturday to do so. The Zone Leaders are going to be interviewing them for baptism then, and then the following Saturday will be the baptism. 

We actually had some some other people at Church that we were not expecting. Christine and her kids came! I couldn't believe it. We didn't really get to talk to her after sacrament meeting or anything so that was a bit strange. Maybe she's embarrassed or something but oh well. At least she came to Church. I was really happy about that. 

The Lake boys also passed the sacrament and they did great! It was awesome to see. Oh one little funny detail with Jeff and Tina. They have 2 boys, one that is 5 and the other is 4. Anyway the 4 year old somehow always gets loose during sacrament meeting and runs up to the stand and is running around up there while someone is giving a talk. Oh my goodness. So anyways Elder Stubbs and I baited him with candy and he came over and we got him to go back to sit with his parents, only to get loose again like 10 minutes later haha. This happened like 3 or 4 times. Oh man. He'll learn... Hopefully haha. 

Oh and that family we chose for fellowshipping came on time! It was great. That was the first time I've seen them 2 weeks in a row at Church since I've been here. They also sat with Jeff and Tina so that was good. 

We haven't seen Gina Green the past 2 weeks. I honestly am not too upset about that or anything. She won't do anything we ask her to. We can't help her if she can't even help herself. We'll see if that changes anytime soon. We'll probably try to set something up with her this upcoming week, and lay down the law. 

I am so chapped I'm missing my second season of college football. Dangit! Oh well just one more. That's pretty neat they're playing UConn. I got to play basketball again today, as we're in Council Bluffs. I did slightly better than I have been so I'm happy about that. Still have a long ways to go but oh well. I also made some good plays in volleyball, what a shocker. 

Well I'm going to get going. I love all of you guys! Have a great week everyone!

Elder Ballif

Monday, August 11, 2014

Still in Logan, Iowa - Did not get transferred

ed up about it, but it didn't happen. I am still in Logan, with Elder Stubbs. I am completely fine now and regained composure. Elder Stubbs also being sick on Saturday and Sundayslowed things down a bit. But Elder Stubbs and I are doing great, we're getting along really well, and I am excited to get back to work. 

We actually had 2 miracles this week, and they were both on the same day. And what was even cooler, is that I specifically asked for some miracles the night before. So in the morning around 9 we get a text from Elder Crozier asking if we're teaching anybody with the last name Dozier, and I replied that I'm pretty sure there is someone in the area book with that last name. So I went and checked their first names and it turned out to be the same people attending the Fontenelle Ward with the wife's dad because he is a member. They had moved from the address in the area book, and Elder Crozier got their new address which is still in the Logan Ward, and they said we can start coming over. So I am pretty excited about that. 

And then the other miracle was us finding some lost sheep. So there was this that are members, that ended up moving somewhere else in town and the Church didn't know where to. So anyways, Spencer one of the recent converts that was baptized in May (the son) has a best friend, that we've seen quite often. He came to church with Pam, Eric and Spencer and the bishop recognized him. Turns out he is the son of that family that moved away, and he was never baptized because he was too young and doesn't have a recollection of going to Church. So now we know where this family lives and hopefully will start teaching the son soon, and getting the family back to Church. 

That's good to hear that Austin is doing better. And that's good he's hanging around Todd Smoot again. He's definitely a good kid. 

How's Heather doing? Last I heard she was sick, but I can't imagine that would still be the case. Oh and I forgot to say happy birthday to Jenn so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I have been pretty crappy at remembering that stuff during emails. 

I've had a good day today. We went down to Council Bluffs again and played volleyball and basketball again. I still am struggling a bit with basketball, but again, oh well, what can you do? 

We saw Gina Green again yesterday. It was probably the best discussion we've had with her. We talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and avoided the polygamy issue fairly well. Basically we said if the Book of Mormon is true, there is no issue. Hopefully she will actually start coming to church. That would be cool. She knows she needs to. She just doesn't so it can be frustrating. 

The Lake family is doing well. Jessup, the second oldest son is being ordained to the priesthood next week so that should be awesome. They're an awesome family. Brother Lake has so many funny stories from his mission. He also wasn't the greatest missionary, what it seems like from the stories, but he still is awesome. He served in Salt Lake City. And I guess he at one time was a really good basketball player. 39 inch vertical, and had a money shot. He is 6'2 and got 10th in the state of California slam dunk contest. Which is saying something for it being all of the states best high school dunkers. 

Sister Lake also holds the Nebraska state record in college for most 3 pointers made in a game and most in a season. Unfortunately for her the WNBA didn't exist when she was in college or she very well could have made it. 

I hope everyone has a great week. I love every single one of you, even though I may not show it all of the time!

Elder Ballif 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Hey Family!

I hope everyone is doing well. I am doing pretty great. This past week was a very busy one, but it was capped off by an awesome baptism. It was a great service. It was one of the best days of my mission thus far.
This past week was super busy. But we didn't get anything done throughout it. We spent most of our week in other areas. We saw a couple of people on Tuesday, and then Wednesday, we headed up to Atlantic for exchanges, and we ended up demolishing a house, so that was pretty fun. I got a lot of videos of it, and some pictures but unfortunately we're in Council Bluffs and the computers here suck and you can't connect a camera. Luckily Sister Lake sent us some pictures of the baptism so I can forward those. 

On Thursday we had District Meeting in Harlan and then we had to go to Denison so I could interview one of their investigators for baptism. He passed so that was good. He was baptized yesterday so that was pretty neat. And then we drove back to Harlan and then we drove to Council Bluffs, and spent the night there because I had a leadership meeting in Omaha the next day. And that lasted all day, and then Saturday we had the baptism.
All in all I really enjoyed the past week. This transfer has gone by pretty darn fast. This Friday is transfer day. I don't know if I'm leaving yet. I'll find out on Thursday, but I'm not holding my breath. There's a chance I could stay and there's a chance I could leave, so it'll be interesting to see what happens.

That's good Austin moved back from St. George. It'll be good to see him when I get home.
I hope everyone has a fantastic day. We are going to go and do some shopping in Council Bluffs pretty soon. We played volleyball and basketball earlier so that was fun. I absolutely sucked at both, but that's alright. My shot is so off right now.

Oh well there's nothing I can really do about it on a mission. That's pretty sweet about BYU. Record all of the games so I can watch them when I get back. Or I'm sure there will be other methods to do that, but just figure something out.

Have a great week everyone! I love you guys!

Elder Ballif

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Baptismal Preparations and upcoming Transfers

What up everyone!?

How is everyone doing? I hope swell. I'm doing pretty good myself. 

We had ourselves a pretty fantastic week this past week. Jed and Emmy Lake had their baptismal interviews and both passed so now where just waiting till Saturday. Gosh that's coming up quickly! I am pretty darn excited for it. Baptisms are always a "high" on a mission. I'm not sure how much time I have left in Logan, and I have a feeling this could definitely be my last transfer here, so it'd be awesome to go off that note. It should be interesting to see what happens. Transfers are next week. Freakin weird stuff. This transfer has flown by. 

I got the package, Mom. Thank you so much! The beef jerky is already gone and the Hi-Chews are depleting rapidly haha. I did get some help on them from the Zone Leaders though. They were over on Friday night and Saturday for the baptismal interviews. 

Speaking of baptismal interviews, I have to do my first one this week. That should be pretty fun haha. I don't feel super nervous right now, but I'm sure I will when the time actually does come. 

So what else to talk about? Oh Gina Green is still struggling with accepting the whole polygamy thing. Thank you for your input on that Mom. And it's not even the polygamy issue really. I say polygamy because it's related to the issue. Her issue is whether Joseph Smith was involved in it at all. OF COURSE HE FREAKIN WAS! It's a bit frustrating but whatever. They've been told so much crap it's not even funny. Brigham Young made Section 132 up?... What? Everyone and their dog that lived in that time knows and kept record that Joseph Smith was the instituter of that. Too bad the RLDS Church is built on lies. A sandy foundation. And we're seeing the results of what happens when you do that, today. Oh well. Sorry for the rant.  

Anyways, I finally told her to read the section, beginning with a prayer and ending with a prayer, specifically asking if that revelation is from God. So far she has been unsuccessful in doing so. But we'll keep working with her. So anyways she's a tough code to crack. 

Moving on. Pam, Eric and Spencer are doing well. They haven't been to Church lately, due Eric getting a job requiring to work 6 days a week and he gets like 1 Sunday in 6 off. And his truck's breaks went out so he's driving Pam's car so she doesn't have a car. She could still get rides, but we'll stop by today, probably, just to make sure everything is good. 

I'm going to wrap this up. I'll make sure to get plenty of pictures of the baptism on Saturday. Have a great week everyone! I love you all!

Elder Ballif

Monday, July 21, 2014

Zoo and Trip to Council Bluffs

Hey Family!

So my last week has been pretty good. It was virtually the same as the week before haha. I got sick this week and we were in Atlantic for a day and a half so it was pretty similar numbers wise. Jed and Emmy Lake (the 2 kids set for baptism) are doing great. They were at church yesterday, and we went over for a lesson last night, and it went well. Everything is working out for the August 2nd baptism. I am pretty excited. 

We weren't able to see Gina Green yesterday, but called her on Saturday and set something up for Wednesday so hopefully that works out. Maybe I'll bring that church history book the member we live with has, so she can read that part of the history. The RLDS church is full of shenanigans. 

Oh speaking of that. So the Elder's Quorum President, the ex rlds pastor. So yesterday, in priesthood, he was talking about the sacrament and said that the RLDS church during sacrament gets on their knees and bows, and he said he thinks the LDS Church could learn a few things from the RLDS. Oh man that upset me. I didn't say anything, but goodness that irked me. But whatever. 

The zoo last week was pretty good. The gorillas were being lazy, that was my biggest complaint. But other than that it was good. Before we went to the zoo, we went to Guitar Center and that was really fun. We played around on their techno machines and synthesizers, and man those are fun to play with. 

That's not really surprising that Dante Exum gets lost sometimes. I mean like you said the kid is only 19. He'll get things figured out. But that's pretty sweet about Hood. Hopefully he can keep that up and doesn't turn into a Morris Almond. 

This week should be fun. We are getting a new car tomorrow. I have no idea what it is, but if it is a 2014 Corolla I wouldn't complain a bit. I think those are really nice looking. Or a new Subaru would be sweet. But whatever it is I won't mind. 

We also had interviews with our Mission President this last week. They went really well. He said something which could be taken as a hint that I'm leaving this area soon, but you never know. I am excited about the 2 baptisms coming up, for sure. 

I can't believe I've been blessed to be involved in 5 baptisms in Logan. Who would have thunk? You would think Bellevue would have had a lot more going on, but from what I hear it's worse than it was when I left now. Oh well, all areas go up and down. 

Oh and Mom, about things for that package. Hmmmm. Well you can't forget the HiChews. Also Beef Jerky is sweet. Maybe some giftcards to Walmart, or something. But other than that, I don't mind surprises ;) 

Well I'm going to get going. I hope all of you have a fantastic week! I love you guys!

Elder Ballif

Monday, July 7, 2014

Teaching Joseph Smith's great great great grandaughter

Hey Family!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic week. My past week was a pretty good one. Elder Stubbs is pretty legit. I like him a lot and we're getting along really well. 

As far as teaching goes this week, it was pretty good, nothing too spectacular. We saw Gina Green again. Joseph Smith is her great great great grandpa I believe. Joseph Smith >
Alexander Smith > Don Alexis Smith > Her Mom > Her. Pretty freakin sweet if you ask me. I guess a while back, those bozo's in the RLDS Church, told them that if "we" the mormon church found any descendants we'd send our "mafia" and kill them. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. But luckily our Church is smart and had a celebration of Joseph Smith's birthday a while back and invited her and her sister to it and they decided to go to it, and they were treated really really well, so that kind of thwarted the RLDS agenda. We decided to watch Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration with her. She had never seen it and it's probably the best movie the Church has put out. She liked it a lot. She told us she believes that he was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true and that there is no way he could have made that up. That was awesome to hear. She just needs to start coming to church and everything should be great. We will be seeing her sometime again this week so I am excited.

We weren't able to see the Bruck family this week, but that's alright. It seems like they're always out doing something. Oh well, we'll catch them sooner or later. Other than that there's not much to talk about. 

We talk some slightly trashy people. They smoke like chimneys and chew and all that. He has known about the church for quite awhile and was actually involved in the Boy Scout program there when he was younger. He said that the Word of Wisdom is a commandment that doesn't apply to him. And I then asked him, if God himself were to ask you to follow the Word of Wisdom, would you? And he responded "Well it depends on what he looks like"... What duh? What is that even supposed to mean? So that was fun. 

Things are going great with Elder Stubbs. I could definitely spend more than 1 transfer with him. He actually reminds me quite a it of Chappell. Hey quick question. Would any of you guys happen to have the book titled "The Infinite Atonement" by Tad R. Callister. I really want to read it. 
And a member here gave me a copy of Mormon Doctrine. Not a very nice one but it'll do while I'm on a mission. And I also got a $50 book called Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon. It is super interesting. I got it for free. There was this guy that passed away in the ward who had a ton of books (including the entire collection of the Journal of Discourses, a 500 dollar value) and they let me have that book. I wish I could've gotten the Journal of Discourses but that's alright haha. 

Oh and Dad, let me get this straight. I only watched the first 5 picks of the draft. I just heard about Rodney Hood from hearsay with other missionaries, since word travels fast. 

Have a great week everyone! Thank you Mom and Dad, for getting me out on a mission. It has been the greatest thing I have ever done, thus far in my life. 

Well I'm going to get going. I love all of you guys! Oh and by the way could you guys send me Heather's email so I can include her on the send to list or whatever. Thank you!

Elder Ballif