I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving. Casey’s lavish Vegas experience sounds AMAZING!!! I’m glad he had a great time. And creating a giant “Jabari” sign on Y Mountain? That definitely sounds like something Nephi would do. He started the whole #ComeToBYUJabari hashtag on Twitter and BYU came out and issued a statement telling fans not to recruit to him on Twitter. So yeah, Nephi’s a big Jabari fan. I miss that guy. Somebody send him my regards. Also, I’m a Kaepernick fan. Keep him at QB.
Thanksgiving here was wonderful! The visiting apostle was… wait for it… Elder Holland! Apparently he hasn’t come to the MTC for 8 months so this was great. He didn’t give his usual MTC talk; he talked about all the things he’s grateful for. And I realized that I take the restored gospel for granted. In various dispensations the church was never as strong (number-wise) for very long as it is now. I’m so grateful to be among these whom God has chosen to bring about the latter-day glory. What a blessing. His talk also reaffirmed to me how grateful I am to be a missionary. These 18 months are as “real life” as it’s going to get. I’ll never be closer to God and more like Christ because everything He did was to bring the gospel to others. And during my mission I’m engaged in the saving of a human soul 24/7. Elder Holland said that NOTHING I do in my life will ever be more important. How great is my calling!?!
Thanksgiving was a blast! We made 4500 health kits and 4200 education kits for people in the village of Ouelessebougou in Mali. That really resonated with me, as service for Africa always does. We had a great Thanksgiving program with songs and skits that were HILARIOUS. Nothing wrong with having lots of fun in the MTC. We got to watch “17 Miracles” in the evening and I got to point out all the actors I know in it, which is like 90% of them. And the dinner itself was great. There was turkey, stuffing, potatoes, yams, cranberry sauce… I had a vegetarian wrap specially made more me. It was pretty hilarious. Anyways, this was by far my favorite Thanksgiving ever!
The MTC is still great. I’m still loving it. I’m feeling and seeing miracles. I think I said last week that I’m really striving to have the “character of Christ” and be more charitable, less self-centered, and focus on the needs of others. I’m starting to see this attribute develop in me, and I’m so grateful for that. I’m having really unique, personalized experiences where I’m already feeling the sorrow and joy that comes from teaching investigators in the field. And let me tell you, there is nothing better than that joy. Last night I couldn’t get to sleep for hours and hours, I was so wound up with happiness. I really can’t describe that feeling of joy but it is AWESOME. I am so happy. Teaching continues to go really well. We had our first “TRC” experience yesterday, which is where we teach members. That was so much fun! The 2 people we taught both told me I speak like a native. Then they look at Hermana Despain and say “and your Spanish is getting there” haha. But her Spanish is really getting better. I love her so much. But the Spanish is going as well as it possibly could be for me. I know when I get into the field it will be like a totally different language. But I’m so grateful that, through the mercy of the Lord, I’m doing okay so far.
I’m seeing tons of people I know here. Sister McKinney (Kimmy) is on my floor. I’m seeing tons of people from BYU and I saw Elder Gallagher from Pinewood. He told me that Elder Daines is also serving in one of the Salt Lake City missions. I counted, and there’s 7 of us from Pinewood serving missions right now (which I doubt is the case with any other high school in California) and 2 of us are in Salt Lake City. Amazing.
Oh, and I had a crazy “ah-ha!” moment in the Book of Mormon this week. You know Coriantumr, who was pretty much the last surviving Jaredite in Ether? Did you know that the people of Zarahemla(?) found him in the Book of Omni? Yeah, apparently everybody in the MTC knew that. But I didn’t know that, and it was so cool to make that connection!
Two sisters from our zone, Hermanas Ivey and Hunsaker, left this morning to serve in the Oakland Visitor’s Center. They think they’ll be in there every day for their mission. So next time you all in the Bay Area go to the temple, go find them and say “hi!” They would love to give you a “conversion experience” (rather than a “tour”… I guess I’ll be learning about that in my 10th week here). They’re super super cool and I’m going to really miss them.
All the best to you all! I love you so much! Go serve somebody today!
XO Hermana Ball