Monday, June 30, 2014

New Companion - Elder Stubbs

Hey Family!

Sorry this is getting out a bit late, but we ended up going to Council Bluffs this morning and hung out with some other missionaries, played some basketball, went to a restaurant called Longhorn Steakhouse and it has been fun. The Stake President gave us 200 bucks (he's loaded) for lunch so 10 elders went to Longhorn Steakhouse. The final bill ended up being 221 bucks... haha yeah that place was expensive. But really good. It's like a higher quality Texas Roadhouse. So that was pretty sweet haha. It was really nice to play basketball again, as well. My shot has deteriorated a little bit but that's alright. I'll get it back. 

This week has been a good one. It feels like it is just a blur. I can't really remember much but it seemed to go quickly. So the results of transfers. Elder Scarpa is gone! Somewhat of a relief I have to say,  haha. My new companion is Elder Stubbs (kind of close to stud haha) and so far so good. He seems to be really cool. He's been on his mission for about 6 months now. He is from South Jordan, the same place Chappell is from so that's pretty cool. He new Chappell's little sister. He seems to have a lot more in common with me than Scarpa did, which is awesome. It's nice to have someone to talk to again. 

So as far as this week goes with investigators, it was so-so. We didn't get to see Gina Green (she was in Sioux City when we tried to set up a time to see her). We did however get to see Sister Bruck and her daughter again. Marissa said she had been reading the Book of Mormon which is awesome. We just need to set up a time to do an actual lesson again. We got Sister Brucks number so that should be a little easier now. Christine is still being frustrating. It's a long story but to make it short we saw her, for a second talked to her, set up a time to come back when we would have an adult male with us (2 hours later) and she made an excuse and cancelled and we decided to go back a little after the time we set up and we saw her in the window and when she saw us she ducked down and was hiding from us. Yeah I don't know. Oh well. 

That's pretty sweet about the draft. We were actually eating dinner at someones house and it was on in the background haha. Dante Exom should be good. I am kind of hesitant with foreign players though. Kanter was supposed to be good too. And Rodney Payne? I heard Rodney Hood. I heard he's a good shooter. It should be sweet. I'll only miss the first month or two of the season. 

I'm glad the wedding went well. It looks like it was a fun time. I wish I could've been there but I'll live haha. Pastel colors huh? I would've gone with more bright and vibrant colors but that's just me haha. I do like Chris' suit though. And Heather's dress looks nice. 

Well I'm gonna get going. I don't want to be in Council Bluffs for too much longer and I still have some more emails to conjure up. I love all of you guys!! Stay safe everyone!

Elder Ballif

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

More Tornadoes

Hey Family!

How was everyone's week? Mine was better than last week even though we had some frustrating things happen with Christine. Actually that was just yesterday. So we drove up to Dunlap to try to see Sister Bruck but she wasn't home because she went grocery shopping so we decided to go see Christine's dad, who is not a member, because he lives in Dunlap. Keep in mind we haven't heard from Christine in a while. We get there and lo and behold Christine's car is there. Awesome, we finally caught her. So anyways we knock on the door and Christine's dad answers the door and tells us she isn't there and she went on a walk maybe to the park with her kids and that she wouldn't be back till dark. So while we were talking you can see Christian in he background and he just was wandering by and then I heard some whispering and Christian turned around and ran back to where he came from. Christine's dad then said that Christine only took Aaliyah with her... I was so ticked off. Do they think I'm stupid? Oh you know me, being attentive to detail and everything, I also noticed that Christine's car had its window down. Drove by like 20 minutes later, it was up. So yeah at this point I don't really know what to do.
suppose there isn't really anything we can do. Just continue to do what's right and if they want to use their free agency that way then so be it. Anyways that was a joyous time. 

Oh and just some clarification about the storms. Blair was not demolished. It got a lot of hail damage but that's it. However... Pilger. That place got jacked up. It's in north/centralish Nebraska. So anyways there were what are dubbed as twin tornadoes. Both F4's right next to each other on the ground at the same time. Look up pictures of it. It is gnarly. Oh we were also shown the video of one of them tearing Pilger apart so I guess that pretty cool. Not really, but the tornado looked neat. So one of the tornadoes was just sitting there chilling in the middle of nowhere then all of the sudden it started moving and it moved across the highway into Pilger and then all of the sudden you start seeing debris flying everywhere and it completely destroyed that town killing 2. 

Just the other day (Friday I believe) we had a pretty gnarly storm roll in. There was a wall cloud with swirling clouds (right above us mind you) but none turned into tornadoes. But as far as damage goes the area I'm in as been pretty fortunate. Nothing really. Just that motel that got hit. 

Oh so I met someone pretty neat yesterday. A new investigator too. Her name is Gina Green and she is a direct descendant of Joseph Smith. She was raised methodist. I don't get that. Her sister was there as well and she has been given some RLDS Kool-Aid. "Brigham Young was already practicing polygamy so the Church instituted it to justify Brigham's actions"... "Joseph Smith
had nothing to do with polygamy" I'm sorry what? I obviously know she's wrong, and in the coming weeks I'll have to correct her haha. So needless to say I did a lot of studying on the subject last night. I read Church History books and what not. I love reading about the Church and about the stuff many people don't know. I'm getting the book "Rough Stone Rolling" when I get back. I heard it's really good and it throws everything out on the table. 

But yeah anyways we were talking about how she was a descendant and how it's not even a big deal here in Iowa and stuff like that but if you go to Utah you're a celebrity almost. She was invited to Joseph Smith's 125th birthday celebration in SLC and went and she said they were treated very very well. 

Anyways... Oh so Mom, let me clarify I will be coming home the 27th not the 29th. It will be on Saturday. And celebrating Christmas when I get home would be awesome. I knew you guys would accommodate haha. 

My training at DMeeting went well. It was about specifically "How can we tie the Atonement back to everything we teach and how does it make us more powerful teachers?" We did a little activity, where I wrote down every single thing we teach (all the bullet points in PMG) and passed around them in a bowl and we went around drawing the topics and we had to explain how that relates to the Atonement. I ended my training with the "Because of Him" video our Church made for Easter. I love that video. 

Transfers this week should be interesting. I'll find out Thursday. I'll let you guys know as soon as possible. 

Have a great week everyone! I hope Heather's wedding goes perfect. I love you all!

Elder Ballif

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Happy Fathers Day

Hey Family!
Well first off, this is a day late, but Happy Father's Day, Dad!!! 

So this week was just an average one haha. Nothing spectacular happened or anything. Talked to a lot of people saying they'd come to church and they didn't. It can get discouraging but I'm trying to keep a positive attitude. Christine didn't make it. We actually didn't hear from her this past week so I hope everything is alright. We tried calling but we weren't able to get a hold of her. And the Brucks up in Dunlap didn't make it to church either. I'm assuming that they went to the Zoo for father's day. I remember them talking about that and I guess we both spaced that it would be the next week. Michael also didn't make it to church, I'm not really sure why. I wanted to go and see him last night but we didn't get around to it. We'll try to do that tonight. 

And I didn't even get to play basketball last Monday :( I guess something came up in Council Bluffs so it didn't happen and we got a call by Elder Chappell saying not to come because it fell through. Speaking of Elder Chappell, he goes home in a week. That's pretty freaking nuts. 

And speaking of going home, I do have some details about that. So I was approved to go home a month early. However there is one small little detail that is inconvenient. The Church doesn't do any traveling between December 18th to the 26th so the earliest I could come home is the 27th.  

Well that's pretty neat that Chris' dad came here and talked to some Sister Missionaries that knew me. I have no idea who the Sister's would be. But I did serve in Omaha for 9 months so I'm sure someone out there must remember me, after being exiled to Iowa. 

So transfers are next week so that's pretty exciting. I am pretty much 100% positive that Scarpa will be leaving. A change will be happening somewhere, that's for sure. If we stay the same, I don't know what I'm going to do. I am so ready for a new companion it is not even funny. It's been a frustrating 4 months. But also a good learning experience. And we have had some great things happen. But I am excited to see what can happen if I get a stud missionary.  But I guess knowing the problem is half the battle. I'll do my best to get out and work hard the next week and a half. Heck it'll make the time go by faster.

Being District Leader is going pretty well. I mean it's something new and I love going on exchanges with the other Elders. The trainings are assigned topics each week so there's not much leeway I can give on them unless I tie it back to the topic. This weeks topic is focused on the Atonement so there should be plenty of subject material. 

Pam, Eric and Spencer are doing good. They had a very busy weekend at the hotel so they didn't make it to church. They also haven't quite given up coffee and tea, and I don't know what their thinking on that is but they just need to quit it. Stop procrastinating. 

I mean there are worse things they could be doing but still. That's pretty exciting that Heather's wedding is so soon. I hope it all goes really well. And yes I will be there for the most important part of the marriage so that's good. I hope every one is having a great week. I'll do my best to make my last weeks with Scarpa good ones. 

Have a great week! I love you all!

Love, Elder Ballif
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Monday, June 9, 2014

Crazy Weather!

Hey Family!

This week has been a pretty good one. And yes, there was a crazy weather. There was a tornado in Missouri Valley (where I am right now) and it tore the roof off of a motel. There's not much damage from the tornado, other than that or so I think. But there is a ton of hail damage. Missouri Valley didn't get hit too bad, but Council Bluffs got hit pretty good, and Blair (only 15 minutes away but in Nebraska) got destroyed. There was baseball sized hail there, that caused millions of dollars of damage. Mostly to cars. I have pictures (I forgot my camera so next week) of some cars, with all the windows busted and bodies completely dented. It was pretty gnarly. But that entire day we were in Woodbine, so we just saw a lot of rain and stuff that like. I was kind of chapped I didn't get to see anything, but at least I was safe and our truck made it out unscathed. 

So that less active that got the job (Michael) didn't make it to church yesterday because he had he's 2 kids (from another girl) over. And they were causing him some trouble so yeah he didn't make it. But he did have us over for dinner last night and it was pretty darn good. He is really into hunting and he had some deer meat that he made pulled pork style and it was really good. 

We also went to a less active's house in Dunlap last night. That was the first time that we did, and her entire family is unbaptized, and we ended up teaching her daughter, who has a lot of potential. They said they were going to make it out to church this upcoming Sunday, so I really hope they do. The lesson went really well and I'm excited to see where it goes. 

Christine is really starting to frustrate me. We saw her and her kids (and her nonmember dad) on Friday and everything was great "Yeah we'll be at church" "Baptism on the 21st, we're so excited". Church rolls around, and they don't make it and we haven't heard a thing from her. 

Pam, Eric, and Spencer are doing well. Spencer passed the sacrament yesterday and he did well. Pam and Eric greeted people, as you could have imagined from their new calling. We had a good amount of less active members at church as well. 

So I haven't heard back from the Mission President about the request, but I can't imagine it would take that long. I guess we'll find out soon. Or I would imagine at least. 

There are 2 weeks left in the transfer so that's pretty crazy. Well technically 2 and a half but still. I wonder what will happen this next transfer, and I am excited to find out. We're going down to Council Bluffs today, so that should be fun. 

I actually think we're playing basketball and I am so excited, because I haven't played team basketball since Bellevue. I hope everyone has a great week this week. I love you all.

Elder Ballif

Monday, June 2, 2014

More Less Actives Making it to Church!

Hey Family!

This week has been a pretty good one I suppose. District Meeting went very well and this next District Meeting should be good as well. It isa little weird to be 'conducting' the meeting after having sat andwatched for the last 16 months. But things are going well. 

I went on exchanges with Atlantic and things seem to be going well with them.Their area is very stagnant, but hey so was Logan when I got here. I hope I can help them turn that around. There is no such thing as a bad area, or so they say haha. They cover even more ground than we do.They live 20 or so miles away from Atlantic and there isn't much other than Atlantic. 

Thanks for putting in that request for an early departure. I will email my President today. I don't really know what to say, but I will make sure not to get too caught up with all of it, and stay focused.

Church yesterday was good. We had quite a few less active members show up. Michael (the guy I talked about last week with the job) showed up and I was so happy. He brought his fiancee along, who is a non member so that was awesome. I am so happy that he came. He is also getting involved with the Boy Scouts, because I guess he is really good with survival. He has been "blown up 7 times and shot twice" so I guess that's pretty neat that he is still alive and seems to not have any injuries from it. 

Another less active member came who is a old guy who lives in Logan, and we just started mowing his lawn the past few weeks. He is a funny guy. He is super into conspiracy theories and thinks the world is out to get him. Every time we see him he always brings up "geo-engineering" and how the government controls the weather, and they're spraying chemicals in the sky, that are toxic to our health. Funny guy hahaha. 

So while we were on exchanges Elder Scarpa and Elder Adams saw Christine and her two kids. I guess Christian got mono. So that's not good. I hope he is able to recover quickly so that they can start coming to church again soon. 

Pam, Eric and Spencer are doing great. Pam and Eric were set apart yesterday  and they should have a good time with their calling. Spencer should start passing the sacrament soon, he just needs to get the right clothes haha. Even though there isn't a dress code so to speak for that stuff, our bishop wants everyone to look nice, which they should. 

I got up and bore my testimony at church so that was nice. I actually have gotten in the habit to do it every single month. Ever since December or so. It was a very good testimony meeting. I talked about the atonement and shared Alma 7: 11-13 and also talked about missionary work and shared D&C 18: 15-16. I'm not admitting to anything but I may or may not have started to tear up a little. 

And anyways. I hope everyone has a had a great week. I should get going, but I love all of you guys. Heather's wedding is this month, so that's pretty wacky. I hope everything works out. And was she able to find her ring? That would be nice if she did. Well anyways take care everyone. I LOVE YOU GUYS!

Elder Ballif