Monday, September 21, 2015

9-20-15 Another great week dito sa Philippines!

Kumusta po family! 

 Man, another great week dito sa Philippines! So many awesome things happened. First of which was zone conference! It was comprised of 2 zones, so I got to see 2 of my Provo batch mates again! The zone conference itself was amazing. President and sister Rahlf did most of the speaking, and their spirits are so strong. We also did a few workshops and some games. Every workshop and message shared was so inspiring for me. I don't remember a lot of what was said, but remember the feeling. Every time the leaders (President, his wife, couple missionaries, APs, etc) speak, it's revelation to me again that I am meant to be here. We had a testimony meeting at the end of zone conference and I was able to go up and express my thanks for them and for all of the blessings that Heavenly Father has given me so far. I can't even imagine what kinds of blessings and miracles I'll see in the 21 months I have left here. 

 Two days after zone conference, Elder Bice & Elder Eudela came over to do splits. At first the plan was for me to go back to their area with Elder Eudela, but things changed and we all just stayed here in Lamut, but took different spots. The main person I wanted to see with Elder Eudela was A.W. [name abbreviated for confidentiality]. We met him the day before and he had really bitter feelings toward the Church. He was converted in 2000, but went through many challenges dealing with the Church afterwards. In the end, his family left him. He wanted to know why we as missionaries teach that the gospel brings happiness and joy to families, but he still went through something like this. The next day Elder Eudela and I shared a message with him about faith and having a testimony. What's so good is that he still knows the Church is true. He understood that what happened to him in Cavite (where he used to live/was converted) was the doing of man, not the Church  He still has a strong desire to serve the Lord and be happy, even though his heart is broken. Elder Eudela really brought the Spirit into the lesson and handled everything perfectly. Elder Rebojo and I gave him an Aklat ni Mormon the next day and hoped so badly that he would show up to Church yesterday, but he didn't. Hopefully we'll see him this week and find out why. I really think he'll progress and return to Church someday though. 

 Saturday was a fun day haha. We had a CSP (Community Service Project) at the Valdez's house and the project was to cut down a tree. Man, the ants here are huge compared to the ones in Hawai'i! And they bite. And there were sooo many of them oh my goodness. The good thing though was once you wipe them off of you the sting goes away. But man there were so many haha. Anyway, after about an hour in, Elder Rebojo cut his leg. It looked like just a tap, but it soon began to bleed really bad. He tried aiding it and getting back to work, but the bleeding was too much. They re-wrapped it and bro. Balubal drove us to a health clinic place close to the ZLs' apartment. Turns out he needed stitches haha (4 total). After that he was still able to walk and stuff, but not too much. Bro. Balubal took us to his house for lunch and then we went to our apartment. He rested for a bit and we went out to work. That night we had dinner at the Pragata family's house. The parents are a little less-active, but their kids are active. We shared a message on keeping the Sabbath day holy, and they all came to church the next day! But after our message during dinner, I was kind of peer pressured into eating a suuuuper hot pepper. Elder Petersen and I did it. Man the back of my throat was on fire and I had a pretty bad stomachache for a little while afterwards. Never will I do that again haha. But good experience. 

 Now for the last big thing that happened since last week: Banaue today! Man it's soooo beautiful. The hike was death though hahah. Worst than any leg day. The steps are really close together and I swear like half of them were 2 feet high. How the Filipinos do it everyday, I have no idea haha. Mad respect. What's worse though is I'll probably do it again haha. We had the option to just stay at the view point, but the beauty of the hike is worth it. It's so beautiful. And I got Lehia a rock from there! I'll try to send it later on, but if anything I'll hold it until I come home. But anyway, it was so awesome to finally go to Banaue. I lost my hat on the way; we sat on top the jeepney and it wasn't secure and flew off of my lap. I was devastated at first but convinced myself that it made some little kid's day, so that comforts me haha. 
Anywayyy, I think that's about it for the past week. Such a great week overall! Heavenly Father continues to bless me in learning the language quickly. And it's also a huge blessing to see the ZLs so often so I can ask Elder Petersen about things that I can't find in books regarding the language. I'm just being flooded with blessings haha. I love being a missionary! And it's so comforting to know that you guys are doing well too. I love you guys so much!

Mahal mahal kita,
Elder Ishibashi

Provo batch mates!

Zone Conference

Heading for a wonderful experience

Panoramic view of beautiful Banaue!

Banaue's Rice Terraces

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