Monday, December 28, 2015

12-27-15 It was sooo nice talking to you guys!

Kumusta po dad! 

 Man, it was sooo nice talking to you guys! I passed our time limit a bit and even that didn't feel like it was enough time. Everyone looks so good. Eh I forgot to tell you guys to thank grandma for me. Tell her I said thank you so much for the gift; it's super special to me. By the way, how was Christmas for you guys? Are all the other cousins home? How are they? 

 This past week was just full of Christmas programs and activities. Something I really enjoyed was going caroling as a zone (just the missionaries). We had District Meeting on Tuesday morning then went caroling afterwards. The first place we visited was a hospital in Bayombong. Our original plan was to spend a few hours there singing to our sickly church members. When we got there they said most of the people were sleeping and we ended up only being able to sing in one room. I'm not sure if these people were members. Just walking through the hospital though, it was super humbling. I never realized just how blessed we really are back at home, having all the resources we have. We made our way into a small room with about 4 patients and their visitors, and we softly sang one of the Christmas hymns. After that Sister Romano bore her testimony on the Savior and passed out a few cards we prepared with our testimonies on them. After singing at the hospital we tried thinking of other places we could go. Eventually we made the plan to visit a member in that area and have her take us around a certain place to carol to others. We went around and sang, and the last person we sang to was the Governor of Nueva Vizcaya! Not gonna lie I'm still not sure why it was a big deal, but apparently it was haha. She had some mean security outside her office which was pretty cool. 

 Anyway, that was just one of the many fun activities we did this past week. Today we had a zone activity since transfer day is on Wednesday. Guess who's transferring! Not me, haha. It's funny, a few weeks ago as I realized this cycle was coming to an end I was super sad that there was a high possibility of me transferring. But within this past week I thought about it and was excited to get hit with something new again. Our Branch President even asked me to speak yesterday since they thought that would be my last Sunday here. The ZLs read the list when they got it and it turns out that Elder Bice is the only Elder leaving our zone. Him and a few sisters. He was super stoked haha, his area right now is a hard one. I'll admit I was a little bitter at first haha, but how can I complain? I know it's God who wants me here, so all I can do is continue to work hard and put my all into this area until He sees fit for me to leave.

 I think that's about it! Work continues to go really well here in Lamut. No one really progressing yet, but we're working on it. Thank you guys again for the Christmas package and everything! Know that I miss you guys, but I don't really feel "home sick" here during these holidays. I thought it would be horrible not celebrating with you guys, but Christmas was actually great and I'm stoked for New Years. I hope you guys have a great New Years too and that everyone is safe! Tell the family I miss and love them! Eh by the way, what happened to mom? I'll be praying for her. Sige love you guys! 

Elder Ishibashi

1. District picture after District Meeting

2. Caroling to the Governor of Nueva Vizcaya!

3. Christmas morning! The little sandal key chain was given by a member in our branch.

Christmas in the Philippines haha. On Christmas eve I realized it wouldn't be Christmas without a tree so I taped 3 papers together and made my own haha. 

Okay that's all for today. Love you guys! Have a great week and New Years!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

12-20-15 Time is going by too fast talaga

Kumusta po family! 

 Man I can't believe it's almost Christmas already!! Time is going by too fast talaga. I can't wait to skype you guys!! This week is going to be another quick one, so many activities and stuff going on. There's also a high chance that this is my last full week in Lamut! Transfer day is on the 30th and we think Elder Capulac will be training next cycle since so many new missionaries are coming in. It's definitely bittersweet that I might be transferring; I've come to love this area so much! It'll be hard adjusting to a new area, companion, people, etc. But, this means another opportunity to learn and grow so for that I am excited. 

 This past week was great! I won't go too much into detail so there's more to talk about when we skype, but a lot of great things happened. My favorite was our Missionaries Christmas Devotional in Santiago. Four zones met up together and President and Sister Rahlf really broke down the Nativity Story for us to understand it better. After that we had lunch and a bunch of fun activities. Then we ended it all with a short testimony meeting. The spirit was so strong throughout the whole devotional. They also gave us CDs with christmas-related mormon messages. I was like tearing up while watching them at the apartment haha. 

 On Saturday we had a Solano District Christmas party. Each branch in the district had games and a presentation. Did I tell you guys that like all Filipinos are into dancing? Almost every branch had their youth do a dance routine for their presentation. It was the sickest thing! I should probably feel bad because they all danced to "Babylonian" music haha, but it was kind of refreshing. I so miss dancing. Ang galing ng mga bata dito!

 Anyway that's all I'll talk about for now. I can not wait to see you guys oh my goodness. I hope this week is a great one for you guys! I hope everything's not too stressful while you prepare for Christmas. Love you guys!!

See you soon!
Elder Ishibashi

Baptism for Bayombong sisters

Christmas Devotional

Monday, December 14, 2015

12-13-15 Magandang hapon po family!

Magandang hapon po family!

 Man I'm so excited to skype you guys too! I think I want to skype after Christmas if that's okay with you guys. Like maybe the 26th? Around 7 pm your time? If there's something going on on that day, please let me know. I just want to skype on the most convenient day for you guys. Also what's the skype name that I'm going to call? 
 As usual, this week was another great one. Did I tell you guys about Bro. Mark? The scientist from Britain? He's a strong atheist but is super welcoming and open to discussing the gospel with us. I won't lie and say that I think we're making progress with him, but it's definitely a huge blessing for me having visits with him. Bro. Mark has so many questions about the gospel and always has a way to counter our answers. The huge blessing that comes from it, is my personal studies are more meaningful. And along with that I'm constantly thinking about principles I would like to share with him and the best way to share that principle. Doing these things not only help me in our discussions with him, but in our other lessons as well. So many blessings because of an atheist, how's that haha. 
 One thing I was pretty bummed about this week: The Enejas didn't go to church! On Saturday they were busy with a project for school so all we could do was invite them to church. Maybe they were just busy working on it again yesterday, I'm not sure. I just really hope we can have a great lesson with them this week and get them back to church on Sunday! On a good note though, everything overall is still going great in our area. We're slowly finding new investigators and even more LAs. It's so crazy that there's a high chance I'll be transferring in a couple weeks! I want to leave my area with a bang, so we'll be picking up the pace this week for sure. 

 By the way, did you guys see the First Presidency Christmas Conference? We were able to go see it at the Solano chapel last night. The talks were so great and inspiring! My favorite part of the Conference was when Elder Bednar talked about Jesus Christ's returning to earth 3 days after his death. Those 3 days he was gone there was absolute darkness. Not even a candle could be lit. Then the first thing they see after those 3 days is Jesus Christ, who says, "I am the Light". I have a testimony that Jesus Christ is the only true light, and that only through him will we be able to live with Heavenly Father again. I love him so much for this knowledge. 

 I'll be praying for you mom as you work hard to accomplish all these tasks and jobs you have. Kaya nyo po iyan! Let everyone know I love them please. By the way, how's Kaulike? And Logan Prudholm? Hyrum Kim emailed me this past week and it got me thinking about these guys. If you see Hyrum anytime soon, tell him and his family I love them please! 

Mahal na mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi

Some pics from Banaue today! The hike was death again, but worth it haha.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

12-6-15 The best of all the days

Okayyy Kumusta mom! 

 I left my planner at the apartment so I can't remember everything we did this week, but it was a great one! Yesterday was by far the best of all the days. We had an LA family go to church! Man, that was the happiest I've felt so far in the field. It's weird because it's not like their attending church does anything for me, but I was just so happy to see them there because I know that that meant they're trying to come closer to our Father in Heaven. It was so awesome! I think I wrote about this family before: The mom and daughter are baptized but one son, Jong, hasn't been baptized yet. He's excited to be baptized though, we just need to go through all of the lessons first. I've been a little worried of him eventually getting baptized because his mom hasn't taken them to church since I don't know how long before I came, and we know that it doesn't end there at baptism. After baptism comes enduring to the end, which means going to church and doing all the other things that we know Heavenly Father wants to do. Knowing that, I was worried that he'd be baptized and stop going to church. I still am worried, but I have high hopes for Jong and his family. The spirit was so strong during sacrament & testimony meeting and sis. Eneja wasn't afraid to answer questions during class. And on top of that, all of the members treated her so kindly and Nanay Bayon sat with her during class. It was just such a cool experience for me. I'm grateful for Elder Capulac's diligence and boldness. We've scheduled to meet with the Enejas every Saturday and at the end of our lesson this past Saturday Elder Capulac invited them to church like 5 times haha. I just can't wait to see their progress. 

 As for lessons and all that, they're going really well too! Many people were busy this week which meant a few less lessons, but it also meant more time to do contacting. It's funny, I actually like contacting now. I'm being so blessed in the language! And with that comes more confidence. It's fun talking to new people and introducing ourselves. Elder Capulac is really laid back which means I'm the one who mostly goes to the house and does the "tao po". That's like the equivalent of "anyone home?" It always starts out scary and stressful, but always ends with a good feeling even if most of the time they're not interested. Man, the blessings are just flowing. And this month is going to be another great one!  I can't believe I make 5 months on a mission tomorrow! Time really is going ridiculously fast. 

Anyway that's about it for the week I think! So many awesome things and experiences happened this week, but those are the main ones. We have a bunch of LAs, invesitgators, and referrals that we're planning to meet this week which I'm so stoked for. How are you guys mom? How's everyone preparing for Christmas? And was Fia really in a movie? Haha that is so cool! Love you guys! 
Tell U'i I said thanks for the videos and pictures!

Mahal na mahal ko kayo (by the way, if you want to say "We love you", it's mahal ka namin:) )
Elder Ishibashi

The missionaries in our district (2 districts in our zone)

District activity! The Sister Training Leaders are also a part of our district

Took pictures last night at a place in Bagabag (ZLs area). Here they usual have carnivals and stuff, but last night it was just us missionaries and a few other people walking around.