Monday, January 25, 2016

1-24-16 I ATE BALUT!

Hey mom! Kumusta!

 Thank you for the email! And thank you so much to dad, Lehia, Hali'a, and U'i for taking the time to email me this week too! U'i's always sending pics and short vids of Jeremias them which I looove. They're getting so big so quickly! Elder Kim also takes the time to email me every week. And then a handful of others who write as often as can. I'm so grateful! It's like impossible to finish all of my replies in just 2 hours haha. But thank you guys for updating me on everyone at home! It's so good to know that everyone is only moving forward in everything. And I'm so stoked to hear that 'Ohu's almost finished with his papers!! How much longer do you think before he'll get his call? 

 As for me, this week was another suuuper great one. We haven't had this much work in a long time! A lot of the missionaries have a hard time getting referrals from members, but we've been blessed in getting about 1 or 2 a week lately. I might have mentioned this already but what I love about looking for someone's house is it just makes it easier to talk to people. I'll ask if they know where the house of this person is - most Filipinos will know like everyone in their barangay/neighborhood. Then, if we feel like they're comfortable with us, it gives us the opportunity to introduce ourselves and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of them said we could teach them sometime, so we'll try to find them this week! 

 I also had another awesome experience this past week. Two weeks ago in my quarterly interview with President Rahlf, he advised me to really focus on less actives and getting them back to church. So I've been spending a lot of time thinking about them during studies and planning and stuff. This past Friday I was reading in Mosiah during my personal study time. In the first few chapters of Mosiah, King Benjamin is talking to the people in his kingdom. He talks to them about the covenant they made with the Lord to obey his commandments and really stressed on the importance of keeping to their covenants. It will be a sore day for those who have not kept their covenants when they come face to face with our Heavenly Father. As I read I thought about our less actives, especially the ones we were going to visit that day. I realized that we've been to easy in our lessons with them. It's actually a really serious thing that this nanay and tatay aren't going to church anymore. I had a huge fear that I would hurt their feelings and they wouldn't want us to come by anymore, but I really felt like Heavenly Father wanted me talk to them about returning to church. I committed myself to stick with it. Normally when we visit this house we only teach nanay. Tatay is usually out working and when he is there it seems like he doesn't want to join in on the lesson. When we got there on Friday they were just preparing for lunch so tatay was there too. I was so nervous! As usual they stopped doing what they were doing and let us share before they ate their lunch and got back to work. Man, the lesson went so well. I shared a couple scriptures from Mosiah, explained them, and told them that Heavenly Father wants them to return to church. Elder Capulac bore his testimony and helped explain the things I couldn't. They took it so humbly! Instead of getting mad or offended, they said that they believe Heavenly Father doesn't give us commandments that we can't accomplish. Tatay even thanked us for coming so often so that they don't forget about our church. When we left and headed out to our next appointment all I could do was shake my head and marvel at Heavenly Father's help in our lesson haha. Unfortunately they didn't return to church yesterday, but I have hope that they will someday. On Friday we also found the house of a less active we never met before. While looking for her house we met her cousin who said we can teach her sometime. When we got to the house this person was sleeping so her mom came out to talk to us. We spent a while talking and then asked if we could share. She was a little shy to answer questions and stuff, but I really think she can progress if we get her daughter to return to church. After that too, all I could do was shake my head and marvel at the blessings we're receiving. 

 So overall, super great week! So many great things happening and super stoked to teach new people and families this week. Oh I should probably mention too...I ATE BALUT! At the same house that fed me one-day-old and chicken head. This time I was no joke annoyed haha. I now can't trust them when it comes to things like that, but I still love their family. Luckily the the balut wasn't developed enough to where I could see the form of a body. But I mean the thought was still nasty haha. We have dinner with them this coming Saturday...I heard they're feeding us frog -_- oh my goodness. We'll see. 

 Thanks for the experience you shared with me mom. It's hard for me to see my mom have to go through things like that, but thank you so much for your example in being humble about it. You da bess haha. That just reminds me of grandpa's favorite poem about Heavenly Father giving us gifts in Heaven before we came down to earth. I don't remember it word for word, but whenever I think about it I imagine Heavenly Father standing in front of me, handing me His gift and saying, "These trials are for you and for you only. Only you have what it takes to get through these certain trials, and the blessings you'll receive are for you only". He has a special purpose for all of the hardships we go through in this life, all we have to do is endure and trust in Him. 

 Alright everyone's done emailing so I have to go. Love you guys so much! Thank you for the emails!

Mahal ko kayo,
Elder Ishibashi

Monday, January 18, 2016

1-17-16 It was another great week for me!

Kumusta po family!

 Sorry, I'm on even earlier this time haha. How's everyone though? How was this past week and your guys' birthdays mom and dad? And now Kala'i's birthday this week! Maligayang Kaarawan Kala'i! Mahal kita bro.

 It was another great week for me! Also a super humbling one. Before I get to that though, I ate something crazy again. At the same house as the week before. This time I was a little more annoyed than anything because after the one-day-old sister was like, "Wala nang ganoon, promise" which means they won't feed us anything crazy like that anymore. So you can imagine my face when we returned the next week and they bring out chicken heads haha. Yup, cooked chicken heads! One-day-olds can be eaten as a whole, bones and all. I had to be careful while eating the chicken head because their bones are developed and hard. I had to eat it slowly and pull each bone out of my mouth. It was like torture haha. I can't lie though, the taste was actually pretty good haha. Just the thought again was pretty gross. We're actually going there for dinner again tonight...if there's balut I might have to walk home haha.  Not yet ready for that.

 On Tuesday we had zone meeting and Quarterly Interviews with President and Sister Rahlf! Since it's quarterly it should be every 3 months, so I'm not completely sure why I didn't have one 3 months ago. I think there were just too many things going on. Speaking with them was great though! The spirit is always so strong when I speak to either one of them. The interviews are basically just so they know where we're at like how things are going, making sure we're healthy and happy, stuff like that. And with that zone meeting was super good too. It got me pumped to get out and work! Because of that our work this week has been great. And that leads me to the humbling experience.

 After Tuesday Elder Capulac started behaving differently again. I felt like he was mad at me but this time I had absolutely no idea why. Because of that we weren't united as a companionship. I was still eager to work and talk to people, but I'm not sure how much of it was effective because we obviously didn't have the spirit as a companionship. Over the days I began to be angry with Elder because, to me, it was his fault that our lessons weren't going so well. Throughout each day I thought about when the best time to bring it up would be. "What's wrong with you? You know you're being selfish by acting this way right?" and similar things ran through my mind as I thought about how to bring it up and fix the problem, but I never could find the strength to do it. Long story short, he talked to me on Saturday night after dinner. He mentioned that he's not mad at me and that he was sorry for his attitude lately. He then told me the real reason he's been acting this way, and it was a good reason. I don't know how I would've handled something like that if I were in his shoes, being depressed and then having a companion who's mad at me when he doesn't understand what's going on. The thought that I was that companion was actually pretty disgusting and sore. All my anger towards him turned into respect and admiration for his humility in opening up. It still hurts to think that my feelings were so bitter toward him when what he really needed was someone to lift him up. Such an eye opener and a life-changing, testimony-building experience for me. 

 And man, everything became great again after that. Yesterday was awesome and the lessons went really well. It's obvious and actually amazing how different lessons are when the spirit works with missionaries as a companionship. Everything just flows and the message is clear. I'm so grateful for trials and experiences like these in my life because when it's all over, everything becomes better, stronger. My respect for Elder Capulac is higher than ever and because of that I want to try harder to be a better person. Man, life is just so good! Haha. I love being a missionary. 

 I hope you guys have a great, great week! Happy birthday again Kala'i! You can take 20 bucks from my piggy bank and consider that a birthday gift haha. Ingat!

Mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi

Chicken head

Monday, January 11, 2016

1-10-16 Kumusta po family

Kumusta po family!

 Thanks for your email dad! I thought I was gonna miss you guys this time; I'm on earlier than usual. Glad to hear that you guys had a great week though! And it seems like this week is gonna be an awesome one too, especially since it's yours and moms birthdays this week! Happy birthday mom and dad!! Love you guys.

 I had a great week too! I can say I started my year with a bang. On the first Monday of 2016, I ate a one-day-old! It was more forced than anything though haha. A one-day-old is a baby duck that is taken and fried just one day after it's hatched! We had FHE at a member family's house last Monday and they brought out one for each of us. I was no joke terrified haha. They said we weren't starting anything until we all ate it. Elder Capulac was the only one out of the 4 of us who has eaten it before. Elder Teikauea enjoys stuff like that so it was easy for him. Elder Acosta was nervous but did it pretty quickly. It took me foreeever, but I eventually manned up and ate it! The taste wasn't the worst I've had but feeling the head, beak, legs, etc. in my mouth was what made it disgusting haha. All that's left is balut! By the way did you know all balut and one-day-olds are duck, not chicken? I just learned that this week. Elder Capulac said that chicken balut is disgusting. He and his dad experimented one time and found out the hard way haha. The next day after District Meeting I also ate this dish called bopis, which is parts of the lungs and heart of a pig. It looked more just like ground beef and the taste was actually pretty good haha. That one wasn't bad at all.

 Also this week, I've officially made 6 months on a mission! It's so crazy how fast time is flying by. And they say it goes even quicker once you hit your one-year mark! I've learned so much within these past 6 months, and I'm so stoked that there's still a lot more time to learn more. I just need to make the best use of my time and hasten in the work! I received a couple pouch letters and a DearElder from S. Ray again which was great too. Sister Stromberg shared a scripture with me in her pouch letter. I actually got this pouch a while ago but didn't look up the scripture til now. She shared Hebrews 6:10-15. I love how plain and straight to the point this passage is. It simply says in verse 15: "And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise". Heavenly Father says in Doctrine & Covenants 82:10 that when we do what he says he is "bound" to give us his promised blessings. My testimony has been strengthened so much out here that if we want to receive blessings and divine help from our Father in heaven, we must obey him (and mission rules). I think it's awesome that you guys will be teaching about faith this coming Sunday since faith is the first principle of the gospel. I also know that faith leads to action, which is why it's so important that our faith in Jesus Christ increases every day so that following him becomes a desire, not a task.

 Man I'm so jealous you guys will be at Pohoiki all day Saturday! I figured I'd get over surfing by now, but I still miss it haha. Not enough to distract me from work though. Take choke pictures if can and send them to me! On another side note, yesterday at the ZLs apartment I heard the song "Courage" from Aunty Jo's CD come up on Elder Teikauea's USB drive! I asked where he got it from and he said Elder Brandon. So cool how there are probably many other missionaries out here (maybe even around the world) listening to aunty Jo's music! 

 Anyway that's about it for the week I think. The sister who said she wanted to come to church wasn't there yesterday which was a little sad. We went to her house afterwards but she wasn't home. We did get to visit a lot of people this week though which was great. We have a suuuper sweet investigator who loves having us over. Her spirit and testimony in Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ is so strong. She also said she'd like to visit our church sometime but hasn't done so yet. Man she'd be a great mormon though haha. Pretty much all the people we meet and teach are so loving, they just won't progress! Yet. We're trying.

 Sige happy birthday again mom and dad! Thank you guys for everything. I hope all the activities planned for this week go well. Eh and thank you dad for the video you just sent of grandma and grandpa! How cool! Tell grandma I love her when you can.

Mahal ko kayo!
Elder Ishibashi


Monday, January 4, 2016

1-3-16 Maligayang bagong taon!

Kumusta po mom!
 Maligayang bagong taon! Ah awesome! That's so nice to hear that Aunty Star invited the missionaries over for dinner. Did the sister say where she's from in the Philippines? When I get home I'll want to feed the missionaries a lot more, now that I know the struggle of not having dinner appointments haha. Our area really isn't that bad though. The Lagawe elders (area of Banaue Terraces) never get dinner appointments. They and we spent New Years eve at the zone leaders apartment. The next day we had like 2 lunch appointments and 2 dinner appointments. It was almost horrible haha, I was sooo fullll. The Lagawe elders forgot their phone in the apartment all day and when we got back they had no texts or calls from members haha. I feel for them. But man, New Years eve was super fun! We did this thing called a budo fight! Elder Teikauea cut off a few banana leaves outside and brought them in. They made sure they were clean, stemmed them, then laid them out on the table. Then we prepared the food and put everything onto the leaves when it was ready. When everything was ready we ate right on the leaves, picking whatever we wanted right from the center. And all this without plates or eating utensils haha (besides the things that needed to be in bowls). It was pretty awesome! Besides that we were also able to watch Inside N Out! It's a reaally good movie. Really sad at some parts though, like when Bing Bong sacrifices his life to save Rileys. So sad! But overall the movie was great haha. 

 I'm sorry you guys were so tired on New Years day, but I know the Gilsons are so grateful for your willingness to wake up so early to help them. It's a great example to me of being Christlike. I really hope everything is okay though, I'll be praying for their family. Man, I had no idea River was coming home so soon though! I just sent him an email but if he didn't get it, tell him I said I miss him! River has always been a friend to me even when I was so mean to him sometimes. He's also a great example of being Christlike. 

 Man, it's good to hear everything continues to go well for you guys. Aye by the way, thank the Primary girls, Sister Nguyen, and Sister Stockton for me please! They sent me a bunch of cards for Thanksgiving. I got it just a little before Christmas haha, but it was such a nice thing to receive an unexpected gift. Oh I also had a really cool experience on New Years day! After our dinner appointment we got on to a bus to go back to the ZLs again. On the bus we met a few members from New Zealand! It was a mom, dad, and their son who served in the Philippines Baguio Mission about 5 years ago. I talked with the mom and it turns out she knows the Bourne family! She went to school with uncle Clive them! She even remembered when they were making preparations to go to Hawai'i for Kaimi and Kiana's wedding! Her husband now is a Mutong which is French so I'm actually not sure if he's from New Zealand, but he had the accent so maybe. Her maiden name is Williams though. Now they live in Australia (still rep New Zealand when it comes to rugby though haha). They were here in the Philippines to visit the son's wife's family I think. He met her a few days before he went home from his mission then came back and married her haha. But man it was just so cool to meet a family who knew my family! One of those "What are the odds?" moments. 

 Besides all this, the work is going great. We have an investigator who wants to know more about the things we share and said she wants to attend church this sunday! I'll let you guys know about it next week. We haven't been able to visit a lot of other investigators the past couple weeks because of the holidays, but this week everything is back to normal so we'll hopefully visit most of them, if not all of them.

 Before I go I have just one more question. What are the birthdays of Kala'i and Lehia again? Haha. My guess is the 20th and 27th but I'm not sure. I know the months. I pulled out the calendar you guys sent me this week and marked the days of everyone's birthdays. They're the only two I wasn't sure about. But anyway that's it for this week. Glad to hear everyone's doing okay! Love you guys!

Mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi

Pictures 1 & 2: Budo fight! I think it's called a fight because after everyone's full you're supposed to have a food fight with the leftovers haha. Don't worry though, we just finished it the next day.

Pictures 3 & 4: These are just for Lehia to look at and help him with drawing ideas. The first one I did so a member can put it on a shirt. He said it'll take at least a few months so I won't even be here if he finishes it haha. The second one was for another member; he wants to try carving it into wood! 

Love you guys!