week 12 Crestview Florida

Dear Family,
Hello from Florida! I hope yall have had a great week back home and
that everything is going well. it sounds like everyone had a fun week
with the 24th. and I hope yall have a great week this next week. Its
been a crazy week here on the mission, and very busy with transfers
and the work, and also more service. unfortunately we didn't have a
whole lot of time to find and teach people, but that's how it goes
sometimes, and we are hoping that we'll have more time this next week.
With transfers this past Wednesday we did a lot of travel and the
first part of the week was basically spent with Elder Richardson
packing, visiting a few members to say goodbye, and traveling to
Tallahassee so Elder Richardson could pick up his new companion. so we
drove to Tallahassee Tuesday evening and it was raining really hard
all the way there. then in Tallahassee Elder Richardson ended up just
getting transferred to take the sisters area back in Crestview. so him
and his companion, Elder Buetler will be serving with Me and my new
companion in Crestview so that'll be fun. then Wednesday we drove back
to Crestview where I would meet my new companion. I will be serving
with Elder Lindow for this last transfer. Elder Lindow is from
Highland Utah, he's been out for almost 18 months and he's a great
missionary and I will enjoy serving with him. I don't have much time
today and I don't know a whole lot about him so ill share more next
time.
this week we met with Aaron Waggy and had a good lesson with him. we
feel he I opening up more to the church and hopefully taking the
lessons looking to know it its true. so we are excited about where
that will go. we also met with Peyton and her family and we feel that
Jessica I ready to start taking the lessons to get baptized. there's
also a few other people we are hoping to start teaching that we are
excited about. we have a goal to baptize one person this transfer, and
we really believe we can, we just aren't sure who itll be, so we are
putting it in the lords hands, and we are going to work as hard as we
can and we know that he can lead us to whoever is ready. we are going
to focus a lot on working with the ward and members so that will also
help. that's about it. sorry for the short letter, but we have to meet
the Fountains for lunch soon. it was a good week, busy with a lot of
stuff and service and transfers. and next week should be very
successful. Its a new transfer, with a new companion, Elder Lindow,
and a new month. I have great hopes and faith for this last transfer
and again I want to make the most of the time I have left to serve the
lord. I love you all and wish yall a great week! Stay strong and keep
the Faith!
Love,
Elder Balling

ps I did get the birthday package yall sent, thanks!
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Week 11 Crestview Florida-transfer week

Dear Family,
I hope yall have had a good week back home and that you have a fun
next week. It sounds like yall have some fun things planned for the
weekend. it was a pretty good week here in Crestview. we stayed pretty
busy with a lot of finding, and then some good lessons with our
investigators as well as some good visits with the members, and the
service with Miss Donna. the week went by really quick and this week
marks the start of a new transfer. this will be my last transfer,
which is crazy! I feel that my mission has gone by way too fast,
especially these last couple months. I have learned a lot and I have
loved my mission so far. it has changed my life, and I now have a
strong testimony of the gospel. I could never express all that my
mission has done for me, and I am very grateful for the experience
that Ive had. my goal is to make this last transfer the best of my
mission, or at least work my hardest and give it my all. I want to
finish my mission strong and be confident that I did all I could to
serve. I want to come home changed and on the path to becoming who the
lord needs me to be.
that being said this next transfer should be exciting. yesterday we
got the news on Transfers...and... Elder Richardson is getting
transferred and I will be getting a new companion. so that will be fun
to serve with and get to know a new Elder for my last transfer, and I
feel confident that we can really have a great transfer. I find out on
Wednesday who my new companion will be. but again, ill be staying here
in Crestview till I finish.
So again, its been a great week and some cool things happened. through
out the week we have been meeting with more members as part of a zone
focus week to seek more member referrrals, so we've had some good
visits with a lot of members and have had some good discussions on
missionary work with them. also this week we met with our investigator
Aaron Waggy as well as taught a few new people. Aaron is doing good,
and still really interested in learning about the Church. we had a
lesson with him on Thursday and it went well, Brother Laughlin came
with us and bore powerful testimony of the Plan of Salvation and the
spirit was strong. we taught about the Plan of Salvation again to
hopefully answer a few questions he may have and it went well. we also
met a new investigator, Trent, who we met while tracting. he let us in
for a few minutes to let us teach about the restoration. he seemed
interested and willing to learn more, but he'll be going out of town
for about a month for work, so that's a bummer. I also met a couple
guys, Craig and Herald, while on an exchange with Elder La Suer who we
taught the Restoration to. and Saturday we met with Melissa who was
interested in doing her family history. so we've had some good success
in teaching this week and hopefully it will continue. that's my a big
frustration to me in this area, we aren't teaching enough. we have
been able to teach 2 or 3 lessons to non members a week since I got
here, so hopefully that will improve. we also met with Peyton Shumway
and had a good lesson with her. she is doing great and loved the youth
trip to Nauvoo! its awesome to see how happy she is and how the gospel
has changed her life. no I just hope that her mom will see that and
join the church too. and we met with a few other Recent converts and
less active members. doing service with Donna is getting closer to us
finishing the project with her drain and sidewalk so that will free
some time up for teaching. but that's about it for this week.
thanks yall for everything you do and for the love and support and
prayers. I love yall and it wont be long before I see yall again. and
im just about out of time so ill talk to yall next week!
Love,
Elder Balling

Crestview Florida- week 10

IMG_0009[1]Dear Family,
Hello from Florida! i hope everyone has had a great week back home and
everything is good. Happy Birthday Mom!!! i hope you had a great
birthday, and know that i love you! sorry i didn't get you a gift,
maybe ill look for something around here that you might like. but you
can go ahead and put a few coupons from me into that book. Ive had a
pretty good week here in Crestview and this week seemed to fly by. i
don't have a whole lot of time this week to email. we helped Sister
Sallie move this morning so everything got pushed back.
I had a good week and we stayed pretty busy, mostly with service. we
did a ton of service throughout this week which was fun. but all that
service meant that we didn't teach as much as i would have liked. we
did have a couple good lessons with people and made some good progress
with the work.
Monday was a regular P-Day. that evening we went out and talked to a
few people. met and old guy named Mr. Barbaree who talked to us for a
long time, but he wasn't interested. we also stopped by the Della
Pietro's and talked to them for a while. Brother D.P. has a Delorean
like for 'Back to the Future' that he let us sit in. Tuesday we had
Zone Training in Niceville which was good then i had District leader
conference afterwards. we had an exchange with the zone leaders
Tuesday to Wednesday which was fun. I served with Elder Urquiaga in
Crestview and we had a good exchange. we had dinner with the Walkers
then had a lesson with Aaron Waggy. we taught the Plan of Salvation
and Andrew Linares came with us. it was great and Aaron is a pretty
solid investigator and he's really interested in what we are teaching,
just not in joining the church. Wednesday we traded back from the
Exchange then did more service for Donna. we are getting close to
finishing this project with the drain in her yard and hopefully we can
finially get to pouring her cement sidewalk. we had dinner with sister
Taylor and later coordination with Brother Boyd.
Thursday we did service at the RLDS soup kitchen then went to the
Bain's to help them get ready to move. later that night we had dinner
with the Ratcliff's and had a good visit with the Parsons. Friday we
helped the Bain's load up their moving Truck for a while. they had a
lot of stuff! and Saturday we had a visit with Brother Doman in the
Morning and then did Service for Donna again. Sunday, church was good
and then we had dinner with Bishop Parker, and had a lesson with
Avery.
haha well that was my week. sorry its not too detailed or there's no
stories and all that. but it was kinda just a regular old week of
work. Im doing great and really loving my mission. trying to do my
best and improve where i can. i miss yall and hope that everyone has a
great week! thanks for the Birthday package that yall sent, ill look
for that in the mail. i don't know what else to really say. i love you
all and im doing my best out here.

Love,
Elder Balling

Crestview Florida- week 9- Elder Richardson companion

Dear Family,
Thank you all for the emails! I hope yall are doing well back home and had a great 4th of July! haha it sounds like the parade was a hit as usual, and that it was a fun day for the family. I wish I could’ve been there, but alas, I’m on my mission and im grateful to continue my service for the Lord. I had a pretty good week and a good 4th of July, and luckily the weather wasn’t too bad either. most the week was rainy and overcast and it never got too hot, which was nice. aside from Independence day, this week was pretty normal and nothing too crazy happened.
Honestly it was a pretty hard week for me though. I think my main focus was adjusting back into missionary work and channeling my focus to the work. it was pretty hard leaving the family again, not so much in saying goodbye because I know Ill see yall in 2 months, but to leave the family support and love that I felt while at home and come back out here by myself. with leaving it took a few days to focus my attention on the work and less on Tiffani’s passing. but I feel that through the lords help Ive really been able to get back to work and even a higher determination to serve with all ive got.
Monday was a long day of travel, I was tired and feeling pretty down, but there were plenty of missionaries and mission president at the SLC airport to talk to and keep my mind busy. one of the Mission Presidents I talked to really helped and sat down to talk to me for a bit. all the flights went well and I got back to Tallahassee fine. waited a little bit to get picked up, then we drove back to Crestview. we had dinner with the Laughlins that night with was fun. Tuesday was a rough day, but a lot of good things happened too. in the morning we had District Meeting. I had delegated the meeting to the District, so I wouldn’t have to worry about preparing for it. so everyone in the district taught something and it was really good. then we had lunch and went out to work. we saw Avery and then Alex Rodriguez and had a good lesson with him. we taught the Plan of Salvation, which he already knew about, but I think I helped him a little. he’s still just waiting on a spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon. so I pray that he might get one, soon too. after our lesson with Alex we went to dinner with the Walkers, and on the way I wasn’t feeling too good. during dinner I had only taken a few bites and I had to run to the bathroom to throw up. and I did not feel good after that at all so brother Walker gave me a blessing before we went home. I don’t know if it was something I had eaten recently or the stress of the last few weeks but it wasn’t fun. so I slept all night and most of Wednesday.
Thursday was pretty good, and I was feeling a little better. it was also Elder Richardson’s birthday, he’s 19 now. we did service most of the day, both for Sister Sallie and at the RLDS soup kitchen. then we weekly planned before going to dinner with the Hammond’s. they gave Elder Richardson a birthday dinner and we had cake. then we visited the Galvins, a family we have been trying to teach for a while, but they said they weren’t interested in taking the lessons so that was sad. Friday we spent the day up in Baker and in the northern part of the area. we did some tracting in the morning and met Ted Haney, who we sat down with and taught the Restoration, gave him a Book of Mormon and asked about him and his family meeting with us. he understood what we taught, accepted the challenge to read and pray and was interested in meeting with us again. so im super excited about that and he seems very prepared. later we visited the Collinsworth’s, Peyton, and the Price’s before coming back to Crestview. Peyton is doing great! we taught the Plan of Salvation and it went well. She will be going up to Nauvoo along with the stake youth this week which is super cool. it sounds like it will be an awesome trip. they’ll be going to the Temple for Baptisms, the Pageant and all the church sites around Nauvoo. so im excited for her and it will be great for her.
Saturday for the 4th, we didn’t do anything special until later that evening. in the morning we visited the Doman’s (Part Member) and had a good lesson with them. then we met with the District for a short time to discuss doing a district fast for the work. so we came up with the things we’d be fasting for and focusing on for the rest of the transfer. then we had a quick lunch before going to do more service for Miss Donna. we made some good progress too. then we changed and went to the park to talk to people as they waited for the fireworks. we saw a few of them before we had to go home. Sunday was good. church helped me, and I enjoyed it. after church we went on Elders Quorum Splits before coming home to do our studies, then go out to work. it was a good day, and a good week. just a little rough at the start.
Im doing pretty good, still missing the Family and missing Tiff, but Im grateful for the lords help with that and for the time that I have to serve him. when I first came back out I was almost wishing I had stayed home, but now after seeing some of the miracles of the week, I am glad I decided to finish my mission and I really want to do all I can to make it meaningful. my time is short so I don’t have any time to waist. thants about all this week. I Love you all and hope everyone has a great week! Stay strong and keep the faith! #LiveLikeTIFF
Love,
Elder Balling
ps. Dad, i do have a copy of the King Follett sermon, but thanks!

Letter home after news of Tiffani’s accident and passing

Dear Family,
First I want you all to know how much I love you all. this family is the most important thing to me in my life. I love you all very much and do not know where id be without my family. it is a hard thought to think that our family is now one less, Tiffani will be greatly missed, but i know that she is with us in spirit. I wish I knew what to say that might help us all find strength and comfort at this time. and I pray that our Heavenly Father may bless us all with the spirit to help us with just that.
Tiffani was definitely and elect spirit. she has been a great blessing in our lives and we have all gained so much from her wonderful, happy personality and incredible example. again, she will be greatly missed. we all, im sure, have great memories of her and what a blessing those are.
i hope everyone is doing good, and handling it well. but i think we have all felt a great loss and sadness at losing our daughter and sister Tiffani.
im doing alright given the present circumstances. these past few days have been no doubt the hardest time of my mission. the initial shock of hearing that Tiffani passed away was overwhelming and unexpected. I have never faced the loss of a close family member and it has been hard on me. especially being away from the rest of my family at this time. i have done all i know to do. i have prayed more and with more sincerity then perhaps ever before. i have turned to the scriptures, and i have ultimately turned to the lord for help and strength to make it through this loss. i have definitely felt the spirit, giving comfort and strength, and an increased knowledge and testimony of the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement. that has been a blessing that i will ever be thankful for. I have felt your prayers and those of family and friends which has greatly helped. i also pray that you all may be blessed at this time of loss. i know and trust that Tiffani is now in a better place. she was one of my best friends, i love her and i will miss her very much. and i know we all feel this same way. i know without a doubt that we will see her again and that she will be with our family for eternity. it may be a long wait, and that is what is hard, realizing that she is gone for our remainder of this life. but i find comfort knowing where she is, that she is still with us in spirit, and that it is the lords will that she has been called home, having finished all she was called to do in this life. i find joy in knowing that she will one day have all things made up and be resurrected with a perfect body , thanks to the perfect and merciful plan of salvation and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Christ is the reason for everything. he is the Savior of all mankind and because of him we are saved, because he lives we too may live. and because of him, and the gospel we have in our lives, we will all see Tiffani again. and she will be with our family through eternity. i know Tiffani believed this, and it showed in her countenance and in her Christ like love and example. i pray we may feel her spirit with us at this time, and that we may all find comfort and peace in the gospel we are blessed with. i love you all very much! i know and have a testimony in these things, in the plan of Salvation, and in our Savior Jesus Christ. i love the gospel and i know its true.
i will see you all on Thursday. thank you again for everything yall do!
Love,
Elder Ethan Balling