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

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