Monday, March 31, 2014

Golden Investigator

Hey Family!

This week went pretty well. We weren't able to see Gary (we are going to try to set something up for tomorrow, perhaps) and we did not get to see Ron or Viki.

We went and tried to see Viki but she was recently
diagnosed with cervical cancer (stage 1) and she just had surgery so she was resting. Hopefully we can get in contact with her soon. From what it says on the teaching record from about a year ago is that she was raised Jehovah's Witness and what not but when she met with the missionaries, she was super excited to read the Book of Mormon. Her landlord didn't trust missionaries, and they lost contact with her after the holidays. But she is moving to Missouri Valley really soon so hopefully we can start meeting with her more regularly.

however, is awesome. She is so golden it's not even funny. She just needs to marry her boyfriend of 11 years hahaha. Yeah they're living together but we're going to teach him as well and we're going to teach her step-son. The boyfriends name is Eric and the step son's name is Spencer. She was fully planning on coming to church yesterday, and Eric and Spencer were going to come along as well, but they run a long term motel/hotel thing called Hillside Cottages and I guess they had a ton of people moving in this weekend and they had to get all the rooms ready.

On the 8th they're going to have like 50 people move in and
out, so we're going to help them get the rooms ready. And we have an appointment with them to do a lesson. We stopped by last night and basically just chilled there and got to know Pam mostly. Eric was doing stuff to get some rooms ready. Pam is super cool. She knows a ton of Mormons. And she has been to church several times when she was younger with some friends. She is going to be in Des Moines for conference but said that she will be doing a 5k there with her daughter-in-law who is a member so she'll probably watch it with her.

I'm pretty excited for conference. Ever since I've been on a mission I
enjoy watching it. Other than that, this week was mostly filled with trying former investigators and street contacting. We placed several Book of Mormon's (that's the correct way to say it, not copies of The Book of Mormon, because it's a title) so we're going to follow up with those contacts this week hopefully.

It sounds like you guys had some
fun in St. George. That's good that Austin seems to be doing well. I sent him a letter, and he should be getting it today. It may have been a bit too much fire and brimstone seeing how last I heard from him was Christmas so that's all I had to go off of. So tell him sorry if it was a bit much.

And that's great that everyone is doing well on the
weight loss. I have lost some weight since getting to Logan so that's pretty neat.

And that's awesome about Cameron getting baptized so
soon! Gosh I wish I could be there but whatever, I'm supposed to be out here.

Things are continuing to improve with Elder Scarpa and I.
One thing I need to help him improve on is talking. I do probably around 90-95% of the talking and I need to work with him to get more comfortable doing so. And with Heavenly Father's help all things are possible.

So yeah things are going well over here in Iowa. The
weather is good and the work is good. I hope everyone has a great week! I love you guys!
Elder Ballif

Monday, March 24, 2014

Things Picking Up in Our New Area - Several new Investigators

Hey Family!

 Well anyways I'm excited to get back and spend time with everyone. That is something I took for granted a lot and now being away from you guys I realize how much I miss doing that and I want to take advantage of it a lot more when I get back.

 Oh and Dad if you would, could you please keep me updated with sports and what not, because I don't check that stuff so I have no clue what's going on. 

 So as far as weeks go this was pretty good. We got 4 new investigators and will probably have a couple of guaranteed new ones this week. So the first one is Gary. He is an inactive RLDS member and Brother Hussing's (Elder's Quorum President/Ex- pastor for RLDS) brother-in-law. The lesson went pretty darn good and I think right there is a potential baptism. His work schedule makes him work every other Sunday but this next Sunday he is not working. He mentioned that the when he has gone to the RLDS church the past few years, he couldn't feel the Spirit there like he used to. And he said he felt the Spirit while talking to us so now all he needs to do is get married to the person he is living with and have her move out or him move out. The person he is living with his RLDS as well but she used to live in Utah and was baptized into our Church but went to RLDS when she moved here. I have no idea why anyone would do that but whatevs. We focused on the Plan of Salvation when we talked to them because the Community of Christ does not teach that.

The next person is Ron Chamberlain. We ran into him on the way to see a less active member in Harlan, Iowa. He lived in the same apartments as him and we were going up the elevator and he was waiting to get in and we came out and he asked us if we were business men and we said who we were, and he said "Mormons?" and we said yep, and he immediately told us to take a seat. He knows a lot about history and talked forever. He is really into genealogy. Well more so cemetery's but whatever haha. He is currently Catholic and he gave us his address and phone number and said we can stop by anytime. He is currently on dialysis so I don't know how much time he'll have left.

Anyways the next person is Viki, she is a former investigator and is moving soon but she will still be in our area. It sounds like she is going through some tough times and she said she wants to start having us come by again.

The next person is Pam. We got a referral from the Mission Office and it was original from a member who is unknown. Probably one of her daughters. Well anyways Pam wants to start coming to church and start being taught so that should be great. She has two daughters that are members, one living in Utah. The other people that will become investigators this week (if all goes well) are the children of a less active (I think). One is 9 the other is 11 and they were not baptized and the 9 year old for sure wants to be baptized but I'm not sure about the 11 year old.

So yeah things are picking up here in Logan. Hopefully some baptisms will come. I'm definitely excited.

Well anyways I hope all of you have a great day. I love every single one of you guys! Have a great week everyone!

Elder Ballif

Monday, March 17, 2014

Things Improving with Elder Scarpa and RLDS converts

Hey Family!!!

So this week was better than the last. Things are improving with Scarpa and I'm getting used to the area. I was a bit concerned at first because Scarpa did buy a machete and bottle rockets (definite no-no's) this week. I had to shake my head on that one. I was praying really hard for help to say something that would get through to him without starting another argument. And I believe my prayers were answered because I didn't say much but it worked. He was looking athis bottle rockets and I said "so what do you plan on doing with those?" and he said he was going to light them off on the and I responded with "You know that it says straight in the white handbook to not have fireworks, right?" And he said yeah, and I left for a second to finish brushing my teeth and came back and explained that it's not like I hate fireworks, I actually love them but we are forfeiting blessing and success in the area by having them. He then thought for a bit and after my nightly prayer he said "Yeah I'm going to send all of that stuff home. Missionaries should not have this stuff." So I was pretty happy and relieved. He already has a box with the stuff in it almost ready to send home. 

Anyways things are not too bad at all. Time is going by very quickly. I've already been here for basically a month. And the weeks fly by. We're still doing a lot of service but we've worked it out to the point were we try to get team-ups to go out with members to shorten the service we do. Sometimes it doesn't work out though, but hey at least we're trying. 

Oh so about the miles. That rule is from the Mission President not headquarters. We have A LOT of extra rules haha. But whatever. I'm sure they're all there for a reason. But the miles actually aren't working out too bad. We still have plenty for the month and they're doing it by 3 weeks now and I believe we're doing pretty good. 

We get a lot of team ups here so that's usually when we go to the further out places we have a team up with the RLDS convert. We had dinner with him and his wife. I looked through the RLDS Book of Mormon for a bit haha. The verses are quite different. Alma only has 30 chapters. I don't think they changed a whole lot but they made the verses different. Like  1 Nephi 1 has over 100 verses. We also have someone in the ward that is a direct descendant of Joseph Smith. 

So the RLDS convert... Brother Hussings has been a member for about 7 months and he is already the Elder's Quorum President. He was the Pastor for the RLDS church (Community of Christ) up in Pisgah before he converted. They're going to start allow gays to receive to priesthood starting next month I believe and that was the final straw, when they started to have that go into consideration back when he left. 

He has some people that we're going to go see with him to see if we can bring them back into the fold. It kind of helps when he knows like all of the RLDS people and seeing how most of them are upset with the gay thing I'm sure they'll be looking elsewhere. 

Oh and that's pretty neat about Chrissy. And I know who Ky Kunz is. I believe the dad is a stockbroker. 

Yeah I don't get to play a whole lot of basketball here. Every other week we've gone to the church and I shoot by myself while Scarpa does something else. It's a half court gym. Literally. There is one basket haha. 

And the Zone Leaders live in Council Bluffs, like 30 miles away, so yeah we don't see them much. 

Elaine is doing good. I'm trying to be a friendly as possible with her husband to gain his trust and we're going to try inviting him to church because if he okay's it, she will come too and will most likely be baptized. She really wants to go inside the Salt Lake Temple, so yeah she'll need to be baptized for that haha. 

Oh and they're going to be going to Salt Lake and the Toole area in June for some sort of convention. We'll see how that works out. They've asked me what there is to do around there and I mentioned a few things among seeing Temple Square. 

Well anyways I should get going. I hope everyone has a great week! I love you guys!

Elder Ballif

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Getting Familiar with Logan Iowa and spread out area

Hey Family!

So this week was good in some aspects. But whatever nothing crazy has happened this week. We actually haven't been able to do much the latter half of the week. They changed the rule with the miles for cars and they now a lot us miles every week (that is changing to every 3 weeks this week) and we had to do a lot of driving the first of the week so we had 26 miles left on Thursday. It's about an 8 mile drive to Logan and back so yeah we couldn't do a whole lot. And it used to be if you went over on miles it wasn't a huge deal. Now if you by even 1 you get your driving privileges taken away for 3 months and if you do it again you get them taken away for the rest of your mission. So yeah I'd rather not drive when we don't have miles. It's hard here because Logan is a 100% driving area. I think it's illegal and not safe at all to walk to town from where we live.

We live with members
 by the way. In there basement and we basically have it all to ourselves so it's nice. The house uses well water so they have some weird rules since they're in a drought here. We're not supposed to flush the toilet if we're only going number 1... Austin would fit right in. So anyways it's not too bad.

So as far as people we're
 teaching goes. Not a whole lot to talk about yet. There is someone named Elaine (the genealogy lady). She has been seeing the missionaries for like 2 years now. Her husband was/is angry at God because their son had a heart attack and passed away when they were hunting together. So yeah used to be very bitter towards the missionaries but now he's really nice towards us it seems. Elaine believes the Book of Mormon is true and all of that she just needs the support of her husband. So hopefully that will come.

There is also a 19 year girl named Claire
 (I've never met her) and she comes to church usually and she wants to be baptized but her mom is not supportive. So yeah that seems to be a reoccurring theme here. No support. 

Seeing the way this mission works I'll
 probably be with Scarpa for 3 transfers. So I need to make the best of it I suppose and do my part to make things work. What do I need to learn from this is the question I need to ask.

Anyways I hope I can get this work moving here in Logan. Have a great week everyone and stay safe! I love you!

Elder Ballif

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

First full week in Logan Iowa

Hey Family!

So I completed my first full week in Logan. So its not that bad. I do have some things I will need to take care of. My new companion Elder Scarpa has some serious issues I will need to address with my Zone Leaders and probably my mission president. It's a bit of trial for me right now.  

I'm on exchanges right now with Elder Paonessa we had a great lesson last night. It's too bad this is not my area. :) We're up in Denison which is in the Logan ward but the Spanish Elder's cover it. I have no idea who that Spanish Elder you mentioned is haha. The two Spanish Elders are Elder Smyth and Elder Paonessa.

Hopefully things will improve soon with Elder Scarpa, because I'm not enjoying life right now. On the bright side I am succeeding on working to be even more diligent as a missionary, despite the challenges with my companion. The extra effort is working, because the lesson I had with Paonessa last night was awesome. The Spirit was very strong and I had a great time. We talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and the importance and blessings of coming to church. He said he believes that the Book of Mormon is true but he just needs to make it to church. He wants to but I guess his son causes a lot of problems and it embarrasses him and he doesn't want to make other people deal with him. We addressed his concern and he said that he will probably see us on Sunday. This week is Stake Conference however so it may not work out but I did mention that a member of the Seventy would be there so it will be awesome--so hopefully he comes.

Well anyways, I need to get going. Keep me in your prayers and you are always in mine.

I love you all. And tell Heather congratulations for me. That's pretty awesome. I like Chris and I'm glad you guys seem supporting.

And the Alma 60:6 was more of a joke but that's alright that you went along with it anyways, haha.

Be safe everyone! I LOVE YOU!

Elder Ballif