Thursday, December 26, 2013

November 17. 2013 - Death of a friend and using American Sign Language.

November 17, 2013

I am still having technical difficulties due to viruses and computer compatibility issues so I am looking for another way to get pictures to you. 

This last week was way crazy and a lot of stuff has happened. First of with the huge storm and the Tacloban Mission being wiped out we received 16 missionaries into our mission this week and 4 into our zone. None got added to my companionship but it was still crazy! The Storm was a lot bigger than I thought. We heard from our mission president that it is flat there and that nothing was left standing... except the Missionaries apartments! They all lost stuff.  Some apartments were flooded but all the missionaries were safe in their houses. The Lord truly is watching over his Missionaries and keeping us safe.

Regarding where I am, this week was very hard for our ward because this last Tuesday one young man, who was 21 years old, died in an accident. He was coming home from a school project driving his moped.  He tried to pass a car but didn't see some road construction that was going on. He hit a road barrier went over his handle bars and flew into the next road barrier and it split his head in half.  Something that made it more sad is we were told that if he had been wearing a helmet, he would maybe only have been knocked out but he would still be alive. So this week we have been going to services for him. He was an awesome guy. I have known him the whole time I have been here. Its way sad. He was just about to finish school and then go on a mission. I guess the Lord needed him a little sooner and needed him somewhere else. It is sad but the ward really became closer through it.

Well now on a happier note. Elder Moreno and I were walking, it was late about 8, and we were on our way home. But, we felt prompted to go visit a less active member before we went home. We went to his house but he hid from us and wouldn't talk to us. My companion and I were both way confused and I was a little upset. As we were walking back we passed some drunk people and one of them stood up and started making weird hand signals... Then I realized that he was signing in American Sign Language to us. I was way surprised. I walked over to him and started signing with him. 2 things happened in our conversation. I realized I had forgotten a lot of my sign language and that he was born in Hawaii and he had been baptized when he was 10 years old. He said he has been deaf his whole life and had family here in the Philippines who he is visiting. I asked him about the drunk people he was with.  Two of them were his brothers that were born in the Philippines. He hated when they drank and wanted to share the Gospel with them, but he couldn't speak and they didn't know sign language.  So, we received 4 referrals from him and are teaching their families.  One family is showing potential. I was very grateful for that opportunity to know sign language and be able to talk with this man and help his family receive this gospel. Never in my life did I expect to use my sign language in the Philippines but I just did this last week. It was a week of many emotions and events. I am very grateful to be here and helping these people. I am also thankful for all of these experiences and different things. This Church is true!!  It is the only way to true happiness!!

Also, we have a giant rat in our roof above where we sleep.  It has walked away with 2 sticky traps stuck to it.  We can hear him dragging them around sometimes.

Gotta love it here:) Love you guys!

 Elder Ball

November 10, 2013 Barangy Captain

November 10, 2013
Okay, so the huge storm that hit really didn't affect our mission or anywhere more up north. I am fine and it didn't affect our work or our schedule. We did have some mean looking clouds but that was about it. So I am very grateful and I am glad to hear that Elder Newton is okay!!! 
This week was actually pretty good. Because our zone has been struggling all around with any type of success we did a zone fast. A different companionship will fast each day and it will last a month, so it will be like a continuous fast for a month. Immediately we started seeing success, Elder Moreno and I found a man and his wife and they are eating up the lessons and loved church this past week. We gave them a date to be baptized and they were so happy to accept it.
Here in the Philippines there is a city like back home but imagine if each neighborhood had its own mayor or leader type person. Each Barangy or neighborhood has a leadership system and the head dude is called the Barangy Captain.  They actually have a pretty big influence on the people. Right now we have a Barangy Captain as an investigator and he will really help with the work if he is able to know for himself that the message of the restored gospel is true and that this church is true. This would be really good for the people there. And, they could set the example for other Barangys.
So now a little tender mercy and something that really strengthened my respect for Filipinos. So this week I went on exchange with my District Leader and I had my over-night bag with my clothes, sheets and other things since I was staying at their house for the night.  I put my overnight bag on the back of the trike.  When we got there we got off paid the driver and started walking away. I then remembered my bag.  I turned around and watched the trike with my overnight bag still on the back of it driving away and turning a corner a ways away. So, the next day we went to this place in Urdaneta where a ton of trikes try and pick up people.  The first person we asked was super happy to help us.  He asked one of his friends and he said he had heard about a missionary leaving his stuff on a driver’s trike. He took us to this other guy who said he knew the driver of the trike who had my stuff. The driver of the trike with my stuff left it on the back of the trike. He didn't touch anything and started spreading the word that if anyone saw missionaries to tell them that he had another missionaries stuff.   - So the moral of the story is, I got my bag back. Nothing was touched, not even gone through a little. Anywhere in America I would have never seen the bag or anything in the bag ever again. So I am very thankful for the respect people here have for other peoples stuff and that they were trying to get the stuff back to (me) the Missionaries.
The Philippines has its problems but the people are so nice. Hope everything is going well back home!  LOVE YOU!!
Elder Ball

November 4, 2013

November 4, 2013

This week I had the opportunity to baptize 2 little girls. It was awesome!! It was my first time ever baptizing anyone! It was amazing to be able to pull them out of the water and they are so pure and so clean!! I really hope that I have many baptisms on my mission and can experience that a lot!

We also had a curfew on Friday and Saturday.  We had to be home by 6 so we missed out on a lot of work. While sitting at home in the evenings all I could think about was home and how long the mission is. I am having a relapse of home sickness and the work being slow isn't helping.  

They don't celebrate Halloween here.  They have all saints day which is kind of like a day of the dead. I didn't even know it was Halloween for you until the end of the day when my companion remembered.  His parents sent some stuff in one of his packages for me so if possible could you include some stuff for him in my package? Thank you!!  I am SO GRATEFULL to have you as my MOM! I LOVE YOU and really miss you a lot!!!! 

I found real milk this week.  It is kind of expensive but I bought some and had cereal.  It will only be a once in a while kind of thing.

It is the Bur months right now so it is cooler and it doesn't rain very often. It is still super super hot.  When we study in the morning it is 88 degrees in the house and gets up to 90 in the house by the end of our studies. 

I can't wait to call you guys for Christmas!  Hope you have an awesome week and everything goes well with dad’s new job! Love you guys so much!!!!!


- Elder Ball