Area 3 week 50 – Dothan Alabama-New companion(s)

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Dear Family,

       Hello from Dothan Alabama! i hope everything back home is going well, it sounds like yall are having a fun memorial weekend. im sorry that Malcolm got hurt but thats pretty funny. sounds like Spence and the band did pretty well in Pleasanton this weekend, and that the band had a pretty good season.
       its been a really good week here on the mission, we’ve been busy and had some really cool experiences. the work is moving along, but not where id like to see it. we have some really great investigators but not a whole lot of em. Ben (10) and Elaina (11) Fricky are ready for baptism, their family is just waiting on the adoption papers. Willmer is another solid investigator, he comes to church every week and has a pretty good testimony of the gospel. he just has to quit smoking and he’ll be ready. then we have a handful of pretty new investigators, that we’re just starting to teach. there’s Jarrett, Tanner, Jeff, Diane and Chelby. so theres a fair amount of work we are doing, but we always need to find more, and hopefully as we work with the ward, we can reach those who are ready.
       From what ive seen, i think Dothan has got a lot of potential, and a lot of work to be done we’ve just got to do it. and i think with Elder Tautolo, Elder Hawker and I we can really get a lot done. im really looking forward to this transfer and working hard and hopefully seeing some results. i plan on being in Dothan for at least 6 months, that seems to be the pattern for my mission, but im okay with that and already love what ive seen so far. i haven’t been here long so i still have no idea where anything is or who anyone is, but ive got plenty of time to figure that all out. im gonna do my best as i go.
       my companions Elder Tautolo and Elder Hawker are awesome. im really enjoying working with them. Elder T is Polynesian, he is from California and has been serving for just over 20 months, so he’s getting close to heading home, 3 more transfers. he just turned 22  and he is super funny, its hard for me not to laugh sometimes when pulls a inside joke out during lessons. hes very people friendly and the ward loves him. he’s been here in dothan for 4 transfers. Elder Hawker is from west jordan Utah, and has been serving for 18 months, and just got here to dothan last transfer. so both he and i are pretty new to the area. he played a lot of sports in high school, mainly basketball and track. he is the district leader, and was a zone leader in Tallahassee. not sure what else yall would like to know about them, so if yall have questions let me know.
       this week has gone by fast! and we have had a lot of great lessons, and cool experiences. monday after pday we had dinner with Bishop Cain, it was really good and we had a good visit with him. he’s a good bishop and really on board with missionary work, and we have a pretty good relationship with him. we visited Barbara Phillips later, shes a recent convert taught by elder Stubs (also from Kaysville). it was her birthday so we sang her a birthday song, Elder T plays the guitar so he played that. it was super funny but she liked it. Tuesday we had a lesson with Jarrett, he is interested in learning more about the church and our beliefs but not so much in converting. the lesson went well and hopefully we can continue to meet with him. we had dinner with the Grantham’s before going to a leadership training meeting at the church. Elder and sister Zwick spoke, broadcast from Fort Walton. it was really good, and he urged the ward councils to be more involved in missionary work. Wednesday we had a lesson with Willmer which was good. we taught him about praying to know the book of mormon is true. he said he already feels the spirit when reading it and we challenged him to really pray sincerely to know.  around 4:00 we left for Tallahassee for the half mission conference with Elder Zwick. we swung by Bainbridge Georgia to pick up the Elders there, and got to Tally around 7:30, to help set up the Church for the morning. ive now been in 3 of the 4 states in our mission so that was cool. wednesday was also Elder T’s Birthday. we stayed in the zone leaders apartment that night which was fun.
       Thursday was the Conference, and it was pretty long but it was amazing. we had to wake up an hour early because of the time change, and we didn’t get breakfast but that was alright. it was fun to see a lot of the missionaries that ive worked with but havent seen in a while. when Elder Zwick got there we all got to shake his and sister zwicks hand and hear from them a little. Elder Zwick spoke a few times to us, and sister Zwick spoke as well as President and sister Smith. it was probably the best mission conferences ive had, so i took a crapload of notes. a big focus was on using the lords time wisely so i really want to apply that, especially with only having a year left, i want it to be a great year. it was pretty long, we got out at like 4:30 but they fed us in between really good BBQ. then we traveled home. 
       Friday was a long day, we were all super tired from the conference and then our AC wasnt working so our apartment was ridiculously hot. so we were all falling asleep during weekly planning, but we pushed through. we saw Brother Smith and the Browns that evening, but most of our plans fell through. Saturday was pretty good as well. we played volleyball but no one really showed up. because college football started saturday as well, so everyone and their dog were watching the games. we taught Tanner a good lesson on staying away from worldly things, using Lehis dream. we had dinner with the Bain’s, he is our ward mission leader. then we had a lesson with the Fricky kids on Faith that they really enjoyed. Sunday was fun and we got a lot done and a lot of people visited. we had dinner with the Lewis family, they are fun and true southerners. we visited Brother Tomly, Sister Rush and the Dills. we also taught a good lesson to Diane on the Atonement. so its been a great week.
       im looking forward to this week, and really getting to know the area and the people here. i also hit my year mark this thursday which is crazy! i cant believe that i have already been gone a year. its gone by in a blaze! im hoping to make this next year the best i can, i admit that this past year there have been times i havent worked as hard as i could, and i dont want to let myself do that. im going to keep a journal everyday, and a study journal and quotes. and just try to make this last year memorable. so i yall have any idea for things i could do or have or whatever for my last year, let me know.
i love yall and hope yall have a great week! im loving the time i have to serve the Lord and am blessed to have this opporitunity. ive learned so much and look forward to all the things i will learn in the coming year!
Elder Balling
“Stand for Something!” – Elder Zwick

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