Homecoming Announcement

Elder Ballif’s full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is coming to a close.

Here is a heads up! Even though I haven’t updated his blog (not an unusual thing for this Missionary Mom, sorry) I would like to post the information on his homecoming, talk and open house here.

Elder Ballif is to arrive home this Wednesday (two days from now) at the St. George Regional Airport. His flight comes in at 5:56 p.m. I hope you can be there if you are in the area!

His talk will be at 9 a.m. Sunday, June 25th. After the block of meetings, we are holding a gathering open house at our home from noon to whenever. There will be a light lunch. Bring a salad if you would like to.

I will update the blog as quickly as I can. 🙂

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“Probably pulled a muscle from lifting the car.” :-)

April 3, 2017

Thanks mom. I appreciate your wisdom. I have been thinking about college and all that a lot and in conference I had a feeling of reassurance that came as to what lies ahead. I know that as I work towards serving the Lord and doing my best to be where he wants me to be and following promptings it will all work out. I am confident in that. 🙂

That’s Kendal and us. He was the one baptized Saturday two weeks ago.

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April 10, 2017
Hey Mom,
That is really sad to hear about President Ivie (Darrin Ivie, former stake presidency counsellor was killed in a tragic crash on Highway 18). The world is losing an amazing servant of the Lord. I hope his family can find comfort during this time. My faith is unshaken in the fact of the resurrection. He is in peace and is working just as hard as he was here and teaching the gospel just the same. I would say more, but that’s what I feel like is happening. Death is just a catalyst to the eternities.
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Katie Christine Boren sent these to this missionary momma. 🙂

April 19, 2017

Note from Mom: I just got the travel itinerary for his flight home. Why am I crying? Tears of joy, no less. So happy he’s coming home…so knowing it will be his toughest day yet.

June 21, 2017 at 5:56 p.m. at the St. George Regional Airport – Skywest from Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Indianapolis…He’ll be home!

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Haha! The boy likes funnys like this. Bless his heart.

The rest of these pictures came on April 24, 2017

 

 

 

Missionary Boy sent this on May 1, 2017…but it happened on April 29, 2017

Hey Mom,

I love that chapter in the Doctrine and Covenants (84), lots of powerful blessings. Another baby huh (his cousin Megan had a baby named Branden)? That’s awesome, happy for them. Time is flying by for sure. I’m fine with getting a security job. I’m kind of leaning towards working for a bit then applying to DSU again and getting my communications degree with a minor in criminology then going through the police academy or whatever path I decide to take. Kind of the simple old fashioned way but it works so why complicate things? (Note from Mom: This IS Nick who’s talking, right?)
Oh the grand old DVLA, what happened to government staying out of people’s personal lives?
Anyways, in other news we have had quite the adventurous week (Note from Mom: This is code for “we nearly died”).
It started out pretty normal, we had our P-day and went to the park and played on the thing with the things that slide. Haha.
The next day we had our zone conference and I learned a lot from that, so it was good. The next few days we did a lot of service and stopping by people. Pretty normal days up until Saturday. Saturday we were helping a couple move and it was raining, so that was a muddy mess, but after that we went to pick up the other elders, got lunch then headed off to a small town called Linton. There were a few people we wanted to stop by down there, but that didn’t work out. We went to the music store and talked to the store owner and strummed the guitars and banjos (Note from Mom: I wonder what happened to the banjo we sent him money for last year?) and stuff then headed home. One of the elders wanted to take the “fun” way home (Mom note: Code  for “naughty” way home) so that was our first mistake, we drive a ’17 Subaru Legacy and so we were driving on the old county dirt roads and it was fine and then we came up over a bridge and the road had a lot of water on it but it didn’t look too bad, so we kept going. We didn’t really have much time to stop anyway so yeah.. So, we went into the water and the car sprayed it up over our heads and we couldn’t see anything. We hydroplaned and went off to the right side into the deeper water. It popped part of our bumper out and on the passenger side (my side) (Mom note: Oh, good. He wasn’t driving) after a minute the car started filling with water. It wasn’t up over the window on the outside, so I rolled the window down and got out and so did all the other guys. We said a prayer, then assessed the situation. After a minute, someone came by and said she’d get her husband and his truck to help us. While we were waiting we decided that instead of freaking out, we would do what we could to get it out of the water and make the situation better.  So, two of the elders got on the left side of the car and I got on the back and did my best to lift it out of the water while they pushed it towards the center of the road. We managed to clear the tailpipe of the water, so that was good. Eventually the lady’s husband came with his big ol’ Duramax and we got the car pulled out and we started bailing it out while some of us were checking the engine and trying to get it operable again. Eventually, after we did all we could, I felt prompted a few times to turn the key after others had already tried. I didn’t get anything those times. Then we grabbed a Book of Mormon that had been soaked and it was opened to one of the only unsoaked spots in the whole book and the word “three” stuck out to me, and so I told Elder Thompson to turn the key three times. He turned it once, nothing, and the second time it sputtered into life. So we kept getting all the water out and did all we could, and then we drove home and will be getting the car fixed today if all goes well. So, that was our fun filled adventure: No casualties. My shoulder hurt pretty bad yesterday, but feels better now.
Probably pulled a muscle from lifting the car.
All’s good though love you guys! 🙂

Marching Through March

 

 

 

March 6, 2017

Hey, its been an interesting week. An elder in the Greenwood 1st ward went home for school just last week, so his previous companion Elder Litchfield is now in a trio with us and we have to cover both wards. Elder Litchfield is my 16th companion counting the MTC. Pretty crazy. So we’ve been figuring that out and have taught a couple people, we taught Tom Quednau this week (weve been teaching him for a little while) and had a great lesson with him. We shared a couple Mormon messages with him and taught him more about the importance of the priesthood with things like baptism. He is starting to get it and likes meeting with us. He came to church too! We were super happy about that. It was awesome! A scripture that’s been on my mind lately is Romans 8: 5-6 reminding us to not put our focus on things in this world and the here and now, but rather focus on what we can become and spiritually where we need to be. Hope you start feeling better, I miss all that dang wind! Haha. Gonna be happy to be in it again soon 🙂

Dang. We havent seen snow on the ground for more than a couple days all winter out here. Some big storms came through and knocked trees down with the wind though.
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March 13, 2017
Hey Ma! Wow, spring break already? That’s crazy.
We had two people at church on Sunday and one of ’em, Kendal is getting baptized on the 25th. 🙂 We are super happy for him. He’s a combat veteran at 21 years old. He was in Afghanistan and an IED sent fragments into his kneecap so he was medically discharged. We met with him twice this past week, and he already has the beginnings of a testimony in the BOM. He’s been reading and is obeying the word of wisdom.  I think the discipline he learned helps with that. Haha. So anyways, he’s the big story this week we love the guy and are excited to work with him more.
March 20, 2017
Hey mom. That’s crazy General Conference is in a couple weeks! I love watching it out here, I get a lot more out of it. Hopefully it’s that way when I get home too.
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March 31, 2017

Brother and Sister Ballif,

 We are preparing for Elder Nicholas Ammon Ballif’s return home, and we were hoping you could confirm and/or provide the information as requested below.  This will help us make complete and timely preparations for his return.  Please call me if you have any questions.

 

Returning Missionary:    Elder Nicholas Ammon Ballif

Release Date:     June 21, 2017

 

Home Town:      Dammeron Valley, UT        Airport nearest home:   ____________________

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February

February 11, 2017

Elder: Hey Mom! So, I may or may not have been able to see the ending of the Super Bowl, and it was pretty awesome. I bet Alex is pretty happy! Haha.

Mom: Yes, he was.

Elder: Many people in Indiana hate the Patriots. Mostly because they beat their precious Colts by 45 points two years ago in the playoffs. Silly Hoosiers. Deflated ball? More like Deflated heads for these folks. 😉

Mom: Pride is a big pill to swallow.

Elder: ‘Tis true
Mom:  Feeling trunky?
Elder: Why do you ask?
Mom: No reason. 🙂 I love you!

Elder: Hahah It’s just funny you ask. A little bit lately.

February 13, 2017

Happy Valentines Day! 🙂 Hope you guys had a good week. Thanks for all you do for me out here. I’ll do my best to repay you in any way I can, some things I can’t but I want to try. The prophet tells us to stay out of debt ya know 😉

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February 21, 2017

We had a good P day, did a lot of volleyball, basketball and just hanging out. We had dinner with our Bishop and his family last night and we had shrimp’n grits. It was actually super good! Haha. We have been getting used to working with each other since transfers, and honestly it’s pretty easy with Elder Harston. He’s a good guy, my camera is dead and I need to charge it so I can send you a picture of us but life is good, we are working with a total of four people that are progressing, which is great for Greenwood. We’re having some issues with some of our investigators, but nothing too major.
February 27, 2017
Hi Mama,

I still get emails about stake conference and it’s weird to think I will be there for the next one. Haha.

One thing I have learned out here is that when someone with an opposite view from you is talking about it and pleading their case, it’s really not that big of a deal. They have that right, and if you both listen to each other, I honestly believe you can at least come to an understanding of the fact that people will have differing opinions. Obviously in school that’s different, no teacher should be imposing their political view on a student simply because it is the student’s right to learn and decide for themselves where they stand in this mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. What Zack can do if an opinion on politics or whatever is presented and he doesn’t agree with it is simply say, “You have your opinion, I disagree but that’s okay because that’s my right.”

January Blues

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In Greenwood with Elder Darrington.

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January 2, 2017 – No letter.

January 9, 2017

Dear Mom,

Busy busy busy.  That’s what it sounds like back there. It’s pretty busy for us here too.

Elder Darrington and I had a good week, and a cold one at that. We went tracting when it was 17 degrees outside! No one wanted to hear us, but it felt good to get out and at least make ourselves available if nothing else; and while we were at it we put some hair on our chests haha!

We met with Kristine and Bree, two of our investigators. We challenged Bree to baptism and challenged her to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. We hope she does and gains a testimony of it. Kristine is a bit more complicated, she’s hopefully getting baptized in a couple months though, so we have high hopes for her. We are staying busy working with the ward mission leader and getting to less actives and members that are just struggling; and we are gaining some new investigators that way. 🙂 Life is good, things are looking up. It’s great to hear about all that’s going on back home I hope you all have an awesome week. 🙂

January 17, 2017

Mom: I am on my way to school and we are pressing charges against a boy at Weston’s school.
Elder: Good luck with that!
I’m trying to send pictures but the technology isn’t cooperating. Hopefully it’ll work. We had a good week, and have interviews with President Carleson today and were going on exchanges. So, should be a good day. We found two new people last week and had someone at church so that is definitely a plus. 🙂 Love all of ya! Have an awesome week.
January 23, 1017
Sounds like life is eventful there! I will send off a letter to Weston today when we get home. We had three people at church yesterday! 🙂 One of them, Heather is getting baptized in a few weeks and we are super excited for her. 🙂
January 30, 2017
Haha! We went to Costco today. I got a good deal on a jacket for tracting in the cold. It’s around 34 degrees for the past few days. A little snow but not much. Sister Carlson took a picture of us to put on facebook and I knew you would like that. Haha.

I remember that cell tower! Kinda ridiculous that it hasn’t even been used until now. Careful with the community organizer stuff. Remember what Dinesh D’souza said about ’em haha. Our week could have been better.  It’s been super cold and our car was unusable for a few days so we walked. All good though we are excited for this next week.

 

December in the Ghetto

December 5, 2016

Hey everybody!

Just wanted to send you all a random update on how Jesus has influenced peoples lives here in the ghettos of Indianapolis. 🙂
Lately, we have met people interested in changing their lives, starting to show desire to do so.. aaand then they fall off the face of the earth… But we’ve also found people like Joe, or Jose who not only want to come to church, change their lives to follow Christ but who actually do the things that lead down that path that God has for all of us to be on. That has been cool to see for sure. More than just seeing them change and wanting them to change so we can say we had success but because we have grown to love them and we know that change will bring them closer to God and allow them to receive His grace.
I won’t make this a big ol’ long winded update like I have before, but I wanted to make sure that you all knew especially during this time of the year how necessary it is to “line up with Christ” I say line up because we are not at His level. But, as we focus on Him and align our will, desires, actions, passions and love with His. The only direction we can go is onward and upward. That’s what the Christmas season is about, not only remembering His birth and all He did but letting it affect us, mold us into who He knows we can become. The Love He has for us is incomprehensible. It can’t be measured. Can our love for Him be measured? Something to think about.
If you didn’t have the opportunity to see the Christmas Devotional last night I encourage you to watch it. And remember let’s #LightTheWorld this Christmas season and all year round. We can all make a difference and be a light for others in this often times dark and dreary world we live in. Love you all! Merry Christmas
Mom: I sure do love you! We want to know what you need/want for Christmas. Is there anything I can do for you today?
Elder Ballif: Can you let me stay out here another two years for my present?…
Mom: Ok. 😉

But, it’s not up to me.
Do your best with what time you have left!
( Who knows, maybe you’ll get an extension!)

Elder: I know, that’s what I would like the most. They don’t do extensions very often anymore haha.

As far as anything else for Christmas, well. I could use some warm (not big and puffy) winter gloves. Could always use a sweater or two. Ties are great to get. That’s all I can think of right now. I’m pretty set for the most part.

December 12, 2016

Hey mom!

That’s crazy CJ is back already, didn’t seem like he left that long before me but I guess it was about 6 months. Weird. That’s cool how much he changed, I feel like I’ve changed a lot too. Moving to Bloomington would sure put Bro. Gray closer to work so that’s good. What kind of job is Zack hoping to do at Wilding Wallbeds? Haha .As far as the moving in thing I dunno. Not sure if I should stay in the area or move up north after I get home. Depends on a couple things. I’ll definitely take a few months (not too long) to figure it all out and make some plans. It mainly depends on where the Law enforcement job ops are. Last I checked St. George and Washington County don’t really have any openings. Where does Alex hope to go? That stinks about Weston! He’s just breaking himself all over the place! Tell Dad that until I figure out my life, that I would be happy to work for him on that business to help it keep going/get it started. That would be cool if you taught journalism or creative writing.
The investigator we just started working with last week, Jose, started out here in Indy homeless and has been that way for a few weeks. But after he met us, went to church and met some members he is now living in a hotel paid for by the church (doesn’t happen often for non-members) and works for a homie named LD who is living in Indy for  a while buying up houses and starting a real estate company. Jose’s change is night and day. Before he came to Indianapolis, about three years ago, he was in prison and came to change his life around. He wants to write a book, it would be super good and it would be cool if you helped him edit it eventually when life calms down a bit for him. 🙂 As far as the package goes if you get it to the mission office by the 21st, I will be able to pick it up. If you can’t for some reason send it to Bosart.
Love you all! Thanks for the birthday wishes. 🙂

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December 15, 2016
So I just found out that I am going to be transferred back to the Greenwood Second Ward here within a few days. Just thought I would let you know so you don’t send any packages or whatnot until I give you the address. 🙂
December 19, 2016
Mom: Alex got in a crash with Brent. They were in the Outlook.
Elder Ballif: Wow, you trusted that child with the car?? I’dve given him a skateboard and said good luck haha
So we will be Skyping on Sunday around 12. Will that work for you guys? I guess it would be about 10 am your time.
Mom: Sweet! Can’t wait!

Thanksgiving and Light The World

November 7, 2016

Thanks for the note, Mama. I appreciate it. Hope the Laddie (Alex) gets feeling better.

You all sound like life is going on normal, that’s good to hear. Life here has gone pretty good for the most part. Our investigator Taylor will be getting baptized this Saturday and we are super pumped for her. When we showed up at the member’s house that she knows really well, she said she had all of her cigarettes, lighters, and everything like it in a grocery bag and we watched her throw it away. It was awesome and she has had no desire to pick them up since then. Miracles wrought in this the land of Indianapolis!
All things considered, we are being blessed and hopefully we will have a car for another week, but after that we will be walking all winter. It’s okay and good for the soul. Puts hair on yer chest.
Hope you all have a great week!!
November 14, 2016
Thanks, mom.

We had a great week, a busy week, but it was really good.
We did a lot of service this week helping different members and non members get their homes in working order for the winter. I guess people think it’ll be a cold one here, but we will see.
We also spent a lot of time preparing Taylor Combs for her baptism, which happened on Saturday. I was feeling sick this week for a couple days pretty bad, so I wasn’t theer for one of the lessons we had with her but she passed her baptismal interview and was super ready for her baptism. She and the Lucas family, who she is close friends with, are examples of strength and perseverance through trials, to me. Seeing the change that has come in their family since I’ve met them has really impacted me and has given me great reason to rejoice. I feel like Ammon did in Alma Chapter 26, absolutely overjoyed at the change that has occurred in the lives of these people.
Taylor is the 12th person on my mission that has been baptized that I’ve had the opportunity to teach, and I feel humbled by that because of mistakes I’ve made and my weakness as a servant. Yet, the Lord still sees fit to use me to help His children. I confirmed Taylor a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints yesterday and it was a special experience. Later that evening Elder Brown and I, along with Taylor and Ashton and Ava Lucas had the opportunity to tell others about how we’ve gotten to this point and how the Lord has shaped our lives. We were in a meeting called “Why I Believe,” which is centered around recent converts and their conversion stories and testimonies of the gospel. It was an awesome meeting and I was not nearly as nervous when I got up and spoke like I normally am. I felt the fear taken from me and I didn’t stink too bad, according to the Doans, who were also there at the meeting. haha. It capped off the week really well to see a bunch of familiar faces in a great meeting and environment at the stake center across from the temple.
Hope all of you guys had a great week as well!
Mom:

Thank you, son. We are fine. Keep on keepin on!

Elder (an hour later): Just remember when you say fine, I know what you mean. I do worry about you guys, it’s natural when I’m far away. So if there’s something that I need to know about or something major that’s going on, it would be a bigger help to me and my emotional state if you just told me. Not telling you what to do, just saying what would help me. Love you guys!

November 21, 2016

(Mom Note: I send an extensive letter with points I asterisked so the young missionary would be sure to address them. This is why moms get a special place at the table, just sayin’.)

Elder: I’m gonna address the things you didn’t put an * next to just to be a punk 😉 Just kidding. I am feeling better, I’m basically over being sick. I usually get over it pretty fast but this time it felt longer than normal. In any case we are all good now… Only problem is now Elder Brown is sick. haha He woke up and couldn’t talk. Trials do make us stronger, but we have to break through the stupid wall to get to that point sometimes. 😛

Happy Thanksgiving to all you guys too! 🙂

I am thankful for:

#1. A loving Father in Heaven.

#2. Loving parents on earth.

#3. All the other goobers, laddies and weirdies in our family.

#4. The opportunity to serve out here.

#5. And of course last but not least, Indoor Plumbing. A gift from God to mankind in the travail of the last days. 😇🚾

In other news there is a Christmas initiative that we as missionaries are a big part of. We are handing out cards for #LightTheWorld. That starts the 25th of November and we are going to be handing out the cards in the downtown Indy area when they light the Christmas lights downtown. Its gonna be freaking awesome!!!!
(Photo caption: Elder Ballif and Brown lit up their own little backyard world.)
We have a couple people that are feeding us on Thanksgiving and we are excited for it and for the turkey bowl downtown. 🙂
November 28, 2016
Hey Mom! I just got your package today right before we left for the day. Thank you so much for the shirts and I can proudly say I didn’t rip into the birthday packages when I got them haha. I hope that job works out. You two can work it out and things will get better, it’s worked out for over 21 years (28 actually, but who’s counting? Haha) So that’s kind of where my line of thinking is. One thing I am grateful about in the mission is that we have so many different people that are our companions. And every single one of them is bound to piss me off at at least one point, no matter how good of friends you are. The more you are around someone the more their flaws show. But, what I have worked on is looking at myself and what I need to do better in those situations and that’s helped a lot. 🙂
We went downtown to see the Circle of Lights lit up for Christmas. Ton’s of people there, it was pretty fun.
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October 2016 – Joy

Oct. 10, 2016

Hey family friends mentors and the like!

Wow! It has been a while since I have sent out an update like this. Life has been pretty busy recently out here in Hoosier-land.
Elder Wright and I got double transferred into crossroads and started out with nobody to work with… I mean absolutely no-body! It was crazy, so what we did is we knuckled down and hit the streets. We found a ton of people and were really ambitious and confident in them, but slowly the investigators we had started to fizzle out. Then because of the hard work we put in, the blessings started to come.
It all really started with Kimmie Tiburcio and her son Bryant. They were a referral given to us from some other missionaries. Kimmie is a super strong independent mother and does the best with what she can. She loves the church and the gospel. They were baptized on August 27th.
We continued onward and strived to have faith despite opposition, such as losing a car for our proselyting area and investigators dropping us without explanation and admittedly we did get pretty discouraged at times. But I honestly believe that again because we showed our dependability to the Lord and because the members recognized it we had more success.
One night we received a referral from Bishop Sorenson for the Rudolph family. Gil Rudolph is the father and he was a non member (key word “was”) He has an amazing testimony of the restored gospel now. They had lost everything before they came here, their house, Gil’s job, Sis. Rudolph’s job. Everything. Now they have the gospel actively involved in their lives and it has done so much for them. Gil was baptized on September 26th.
After Gil was baptized, it seemed like everybody we were teaching fell off the face of the earth. It was frustrating to say the least, and so we did a lot of referral contacting and reconnecting with potential investigators. One day we were knocking a street near where a referral from the Spanish elders was located. It was the last door that we were planning on knocking that we met Jeannie Hucks. She was an older lady that was kind and said we could come back, but didn’t seem too interested. So we went on with the work and didn’t think much of it, but something kept drawing us back to their house. The next time we stopped by we met Jeannie’s husband Bob and he was nice too, and has an awesome mustache, but also didn’t seem too interested. Finally we stopped by the third time and met Bonita, their daughter. She seemed kind of interested and we came back with brother Fishburne and taught the restoration, and like to all of our investigators, introduced The Book of Mormon and exhorted her to read and pray about it. She did. She’s now nearly in Jacob. She and her son Anthony were baptized this last Saturday, October 8.
I know that we are imperfect people, that’s how we were made. I also know that we are imperfect servants trying to do a perfect work. It may be discouraging. Life in general is a difficult thing to get through. This I do know, and am a witness of, God has a hand in our lives. Whether we want him to or not. If we had not knocked on those doors, or would have just given up, Bonita would not have been found and her family would not have been blessed as it has been. If any of you ever think for a moment that God does not work in our lives to help us to follow the path that can bring true joy, I give you my witness as His servant, one of many in this church – that God lives. That he is active and involved in our everyday lives. I know it, because his spirit has testified to me, I don’t know everything about the church, I don’t have all of the answers. But I have the ones that matter most. This work is true: It is the most important work we can ever be engaged in. This world is temporary. If we look to things of the world we are chaining ourselves to temporary happiness. We share the message of everlasting Joy, and we invite all to come and partake of it.
Thank you all for your support, to some of you I wouldn’t be out here if it wasn’t for you. I am forever grateful for this. Keep working, don’t give up. I love you all. Have a great week.

 

Oct. 10, 2016

Thanks mom, for everything. Don’t know what I would do without you guys. Tell Bishop Feller to email me! He’s not that busy haha. As long as his work gets done that’s all that matters.

Btw, Elder Wright is getting transferred and president wants me to be district leader so that’ll be interesting haha.

Oct. 13, 2016

Hi Mama!! It was a busy week for us too! I miss football games and going to W’s baseball games and all that, good memories. So you got to go up to conference?!? Thats cool! What session did you go to? I loved it, I had a lot of questions and concerns resolved in the talks. Lots of talks about service, repentance, family and Joy. It was on point, absolutely on point with what the world needs I feel like. I love the salsa you make, its awesome. 🙂

I hope you have recovered from that harrowing incident of getting slapped in the face by said unknown substance. Doesn’t sound like fun haha I’m sure he thought it was funny though.
I don’t want you guys to think you have to raise a bunch of money for Indiana, the people here are great and I do want to visit some of them, but if it’s a year or two down the road then that’s okay.
By the way I had to buy some lights for my bike. The other ones broke last year and since it’s getting darker I need them. So anyway, I was wondering if you could put some money in my checking today because I need some more socks. And today is the only chance I have to get them for at least a week. Probably longer.

And now my shoes have ripped in half and we have to walk everywhere. There’s a Payless I can get some new ones at if you can somehow get money to me. Probably like 40 dollars… if not I can manage. I made the mistake of getting cheap Walmart shoes last time and now I’m paying the price.

Oct. 17, 2016

Hey Mom,

We had a pretty good week. We got a car so we’ve been driving to see people we haven’t been able to a lot. Not much else exciting going on. Just same old, same old. I’ll send pictures when I get the chance today. Left my camera in the car. Hope all you guys are doing well. Love you all.

Oct. 17, 2016

Indy to mama bear. Package delivered and secured. No casualties.

Oct. 24, 2016

Being a District Leader doesn’t seem like a big deal to me honestly. Just more responsibity which is good. I’m gonna learn and grow a lot from it so I’m looking forward to it for sure. We had a good week and had our investigator Taylor come to church. She is awesome and is moving towards being baptized on Nov 12. A lot of our investigators have flaked out so we will be finding a lot more this next week to find someone prepared. Elder Brown and I get along, we have similar views on a lot of things which is nice. He is from Hawaii, not sure if I mentioned that. He is half Mexican heritage and half white. His dad was in the Navy and was stationed in Hawaii then decided to stay there.

It’s not easy to be a missionary, that has crossed my mind a lot this past week haha. To get up at 6:30 and not get to sleep till 10:30 each night and constantly be prepared and planned for the days/weeks ahead, district meeting, ward meetings and have lessons planned with investigators all while trying to be cheerful and find joy in it and strive to not go insane. It’s a tough mantra we have. But, it’s the small joyful moments that I find in it like when someone actually believes all this that we say could be true or when a recent convert gets teary eyed when you have to get transferred. Things like that make it not only worth it, but hard to leave. That’s the miracle of my mission, the people that I have known for just a few months yet leave an eternal impression on me. I don’t want to give it up. It’s scary to think about. I look forward to seeing you all again, but its gonna be hard to leave my family here too.

Mom: Sound a little like being a parent.
Elder: Well it is definitely appreciated, all that you do haha. Thanks. I’m trying.
Oct. 31, 2016
Hey mom we had an awesome week!!!

This week went by pretty fast for us. I guess the highlight of the week for me was a couple things. First off we got to go to the temple for a mission wide temple day with our recent converts/returning less actives. It was awesome! We went with Ashton and Cristi Lucas, two recent converts from a couple years ago. And, I got to see some people from my past areas there as well, which was great. 🙂
We’ve been working with our investigator Taylor, who is still working towards Nov. 12th to be baptized. Her only hold up is smoking, and that will go away soon. On the temple day (Saturday) Elder Brown, Taylor and I all fasted to help her. Elder Brown and I did a normal fast from food and drink and Taylor fasted from cigarettes and didn’t have one all day!!! Then the next day she really tried hard and only had 6 when normally she has an entire pack. She is awesome and has such a strong testimony that this is the direction God wants her to go. We are excited for her and some of the other people we are working with.
We decided to make a fire pit in our backyard since Indiana has like no fire restrictions. I’ll send pictures later. Forgot my camera again. *facepalm
It’s a ton of fun. Stuff finna burn out here!!

September 2016

Sept. 5, 2016

Dear Family and Friends of the Indiana Indianapolis Mission:

We have recently worked to get our mission Facebook page up and running!  From time to time we will post pictures and explanations of what is taking place in our mission.  We will do our best to keep it current.

The name of the Facebook page is: “Indiana Indianapolis Mission With Full Purpose of Heart”. There are several Facebook pages with the name of the mission but to see the page we are currently updating make sure you use “With Full Purpose of Heart” along with the mission name.  We love reading your comments and seeing your “likes”.

We also love your missionaries.  They are easy to love.

Love,

Sister Carlson

Sept. 5, 2016

Hey mom,

This week was a roller coaster: That’s the best way I can describe it. We had transfer calls last week and found out we are both staying, which makes sense. Hopefully there won’t be many crazy transfers for me from now on haha.
One problem we are faced with this transfer is the fact that we have no car in our area – not even sharing with other missionaries. So, we are on bikes, feet, and riding the bus -which kind of stinks but its do-able. There are a lot of changes that are being made with President Carlson getting settled in and making decisions. It’s all good and is meant to help us be more effective as we go out and work. Another thing we dealt with this week is a couple mouses (sic) that decided to make our kitchen their home. Yes, we keep it clean. So, we got some traps and set ’em up where they were coming from. I killed one of ’em with a broom a few days ago, but broke the broom in the process. I should be like Nephi and make a new one, then pray to be guided to where I may find my quarry.
This week we biked to a member’s house who lives like a 40-minute bike ride away, to mow her lawn. She’s been struggling lately, so we decided to make the sacrifice. We also went to go volunteer at the Fishburne sports complex to help with a scavenger hunt. It was pretty fun, I went to go help with the putting challenge at the golf course on the complex with Elder Walton.
We had a good week as far as missionary work goes. We put two new investigators on a baptismal date and had four people at church. There were a lot of stop bys we did and very few people answered the door. That’s just sometimes the way it goes, I guess.
We had our first lesson on the temple with Kimmie, the investigator who got baptized last Saturday. Her kids are crazy, but she is doing well.
We are doing great out here! Hope all is well at home, love you all.
Sept. 12, 2016
Dear Mom,
Glad you got the letter! We are doing well! We had three people at church this week and since we don’t have a car for our area, we did a ton of biking, walking and getting rides from members. Good week though. We have some awesome people heading towards baptism. Teresa and Willie, who live down the street from us, are hopefully getting baptized October 8th. We have to babysit them spiritually sometimes and help them realize what they need to do to help with struggles they have. They’re great though, Teresa is a super spunky black lady and Willie used to be a pro boxer and served in the navy. He can’t read, which makes it tough when we want them to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but Teresa helps him and reads to him so that’s good.
We’re working with another couple named Rick and Melissa. They are awesome, both really smart and eager to become closer with Christ. They will hopefully be baptized on the 8th as well. Other than that just working hard and movin’ on with the work.
Thanks for the pictures! Good memories of that place even though school sucked for the most part haha. I’m trying to stay healthy, but healthy food costs money and we have very little of that hahah. But all is well and we are pushing forward.
One other thing I wanted to ask you about… So not sure if you’ve noticed in my pictures but I haven’t been wearing my glasses. Why you may ask? Because they disappeared several months ago (turns out it was six months hence) and I didn’t want to tell you because… actually I can’t remember why (Mom thinks it is because he would get a wooping when he gets home. 😉 ). Anyways, I was just wondering if you still had my prescription and if I could somehow manage to get a new pair out here. There is a Costco in Carmel so if I need to I can make my way there to get a new pair. Or I can wait till I get home. I can see fine without them and I passed my drivers test without them but I do miss being able to see a few things I can’t anymore haha. Wuv You mommy!
(Punk)
Note from Mom: Turns out his new prescription and two pairs of glasses (in case he loses one 😉 ) cost $600. Outrageous!
Sept. 19, 2016
We had a topsy-turvey week.
We lost two investigators, Willie and Teresa. So, that’s pretty sad. We think they fell victim to some anti-church message from friends or something like that because it happened so suddenly. We’ve been working with them for a while now and we’ve had some very spiritual moments. I can honestly say that we taught them as well and as much as we could in the best way we know how. They used their agency and in their own words “Don’t want to become Mormon anymore.”
Other than that we had two people at church – Bonita and Gill Rudolph. Gill and his family were a referral from Bishop Sorenson from a month ago and Gill will be baptized on Saturday at 10:30 am. We are super excited for him and for Bonita, who will be baptized on October 8th.
Loving life despite the opposition! Hope you all had a great week too. Love you all.
Sept. 28, 2016
I can now email finally!! So last week was pretty awesome. We taught Gil Rudolph the commandments lessons and had an awesome time with him preparing for his baptism, which happened on Saturday of last week.

We had some great lessons with people this week unfortunately we have had some people flake out on us lately but we are still working hard and doing our best to push forward. Melissa and Rick got baptized into another church. That was an interesting text when they told us about that, but we shall not give up on them!! We had Melissa listen to “Safety for the Soul,” by Jeffrey R. Holland, last week and the spirit was definitely present but Melissa was a bit too stubborn to admit it. She struggles understanding the importance of the Book of Mormon in conversion, but hopefully if we are patient she will come to understand it.
Other than that, we had some awesome events occur that gave us some good motivation. We had an awesome zone meeting last Friday, which motivated us and gave us strength to go out and pound it. That same night, we also had a fall festival at a ward member’s house and it was a blast! Some great country music playing, which was out of our control so it was in the words of President Cleveland “a tender mercy” at least for me haha.
Then on Saturday we had Gil’s Baptism!!!! It was seriously awesome, I was asked to give a talk on baptism, and was scared to death as usual (I hate talks). Brother Scott, the elder’s quorum president baptized Gil and Brother Mckinlay confirmed him the next day. (Yes I have pictures) We were super happy for Gil and all the changes he has made lately. He is an amazing addition to the church.
After the Baptism we went to the Special Olympics and volunteered with the events there. Me and many of my past companions were able to reunite and remember some great times we had, so that was really cool. Its crazy I’ve been a missionary now for just under 16 months. I love the work and the fact that it is work. I’ve felt the promptings of the spirit in many cases and have loved receiving revelation in study for investigators and what we can help them with. Livin’ the Dream out here!! Hope all is well at home, Love ya!!
.

Let’s Catch Up a Little

August was very busy for everybody. Football and school started in Utah and (Mom couldn’t get to the blog) some pressure and trials happened in Indiana. All in all, it was a highly successful month.

Email and letters from Elder Ballif were mostly short and sweet. There were quite a few letters that will not be included here because of the delicate nature of a difficulty with a friend of Elder Ballif’s who is struggling with his testimony. Please pray for this young man. His struggle is actually real and very serious.

Here is a quick rundown of a few emails:

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A BAPTISM!

Aug. 13:

Mom: The teacher is always quiet during the test.

Elder: That is profound, Momma. You just blew my mind. That’s going on my quote wall.

Aug. 15:

Elder: We had a great week by the way. We had four investigators at church so that was awesome.

Aug. 18:

Mom: Did you get the package?

Elder: Yes, I did. Thank you so much!

Mom: Whew! Good.

Aug.  22:

Elder Ballif: Trials build our foundation stronger like mortar on the bricks of a drinking fountain. haha. (His Eagle Scout project, that took a year to complete, was actually a masonry drinking fountain.)
Aug. 24:

Dear Parents, Family, and Priesthood Leaders,

Today we had some extreme weather (including some tornadoes) pass through Indiana.  We have contacted all of our missionaries and can report that they are all well and safe.  There are still some spots of extreme weather in the State of Indiana, but at the moment it looks like it will not be impacting our mission.  We know you may have had some concern for your missionary, so we wanted to assure you that your missionary is safe.  Your continued prayers for our safety are so much appreciated.  The weather patterns change so quickly in Indiana, so we sometimes do not know what lies around the corner.

We love our missionaries so much and appreciate the sacrifices you have made to allow them to be here.

Sincerely,

President and Sister Carlson

Indiana Indianapolis Mission

(Elder Ballif is fine.)
Aug. 29 :
Hey mom we had a pretty crazy week, started out good on p day then we had a zone conference on Wednesday after a pretty normal work day on Tuesday. Wednesday was tornado day. There were a total of at least 10 that touched down in the whole state, most of which were in Kokomo. An EF 3 hit a bunch of houses and completely flattened a Starbucks up there. There were four small ones that touched down in Indianapolis as far as I know, but all the missionaries in the Indy area were at a zone conference in Fishers so we stayed there and waited out the storms in the church. So all was well and we were headed back to our area for an appointment and a couple guys rear ended us on our way back. Our back bumper and trunk have to be replaced so now we’re driving the pickup truck that just got fixed, which I am fine with. Haha.
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I will send pics here in a sec but we are both totally fine, no injuries. We finished the week strong and baptized Kimmie and her son Bryant. Just goes to show that at the end of any storm there’s glorious sunshine. That’s been our week in a nutshell, hope you had a great week at home!

I got a great deal on a pair of boots at burlington. There was a pair on sale for $20 and they fit great  and are good quality. Just wanted to let you know.
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Well, that’s all there is! Short and sweet and a little crazy.
We love all of you and are so grateful for your continued support of Elder Ballif.
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