As a child, Ball lived with a severe learning disability that made it difficult for her to communicate.
She remembers standing in a doctor's office as a second grader after a teacher recommended that she have her eyes checked. Perhaps sight problems were the root of her troubles in class, the teacher thought.
"Right in front of me, the doctor says, 'There's nothing wrong with her eyes, she's just stupid,'" Ball remembers.
But even as a small child, she found a refuge from all the problems at school in her church.
"I was devastated," she said of her physician's words. "But at the same time, what was running through my mind was, 'I am not stupid.'
"And in the midst of that kind of message and in the midst of the challenges and struggles at school, church -- the United Methodist Church-- was the place where I learned I'm not stupid and I have a lot I can contribute."
Ball was later diagnosed with dyslexia. She graduated in the top 10 of her high school class.
The bishop is in the process of developing goals for the West Virginia UMC for the next four years.
Being a prayerful community is one of those goals.
Ball is encouraging West Virginia Methodists to pray daily during their lunchtime.
In praying, she wants church members to reflect on how God is working in their communities and how they can partner with other denominations and organizations in that work.
"One of the really important things is to be a prayerful community of faith," she said. "Prayer changes things. Prayer is a powerful thing."
Other goals are to address poverty and children's health in West Virginia.
"I believe the West Virginia conference in partnership with others can make a tremendous difference and dent in the work that needs to be done to combat poverty and to raise our health to a better place," she said.
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.