Tuesday, February 23, 2016

2-22-16 Exactly Obedient

Alriiight kumusta!

 I just finished my other emails real quick so I could use the rest of the time to write this one. I have a lot to talk about! So many things happened last week. The first thing was Zone Conference! Man, I so wish we had Zone Conference more often, like at the very least every other month. The spirit is always sooo strong. Of all the things I learned, the 2 main things that stood out to me was the importance of contacting, and bringing investigators to church. I think I talked about contacting before right? It's pretty much just tracting, but here we call it contacting. For it to count as a contact we need to get the person's information and give them a commitment (return appointment, read pamphlet, read BoM, etc). The Zone Conference got me pumped to go out and talk to people! As for bringing people to church, they pointed out a lot of things I don't normally think about. We as missionaries need to realize that most of these people have no idea what to expect when they think about going to church. So it's important to explain every little thing that will happen beforehand. They also pointed out that we shouldn't pay for their rides when they need to catch a jeepney or bus or something, because that kind of takes away their opportunity to show faith. I don't know why that stood out to me, but it did haha. Just thought that's something we can do even at home if we have a friend we'd like to invite to church or something. For Zone Conference President also picks a story and breaks it down for us. This time it was the story of Joseph, son of Jacob. I'm so glad I saw the cartoon we used to watch as kids haha, helped me to visualize everything as President Rahlf explained. President Rahlf is a great teacher! I learned so much and the spirit was strong as always. We ended with a quick testimony meeting again. I love hearing the testimonies of others. Overall zone conference was a huge success as usual. Oh and Elder Rebojo was there too! We talked for a long time and got caught up with everything. I miss that guy! He seems to be doing really great. 

 After zone conference I spent the next few days in Jones, our District Leaders area. He, Elder Reyes, went to Alicia and worked with Elder Flores and I worked with Elder Kane over there. Elder Kane is from Salt Lake City and came into the field one cycle after me. So working was pretty interesting since we're both not yet fluent in the language. But Heavenly Father helped us both big time and blessed us with the gift of tongues in our lessons. I feel a little bad saying this, but those few days were a few of the best I've had in the mission. It's not at all because he's another American, it's because Elder Kane is exactly obedient. Because of that the Spirit is so strong with him. I learned so much from him and have been able to apply those things into my life. The work went so well those few days I was there, and we know it was because of our desire to be obedient and serve our brothers and sisters there. I'll share one cool experience we had there. On Thursday morning I think Elder Kane mentioned another name during planning, so we planned to meet this nanay. Later on when it came time to visit her, her daughter came out and told us nanay wasn't there. We got to know her daughter and she invited us in to sit down, before we even brought up the gospel. This daughter's name is Mona Lisa by the way, probably around 40 years old. We sat down and brought up the gospel and our purpose as missionaries. We asked if we could share a message with her and she said we could. The lesson went so well it was crazy. Evey time my mind went blank, Elder Kane had something to say, and every time he finished speaking I had something to say. Mona Lisa was understanding everything too well and quickly that we didn't know where to stop! Haha. Usually we'll share a couple or even just one principle from the Restoration pamphlet on the first lesson, but with her we went through 4. Elder Kane even invited her to be baptized if she found out for herself that the things we shared were true. She said yes so quickly we were wondering if she understood the question haha. How's that! On our way to our next appointment Elder Kane said that they had actually "dropped" nanay already (decided not to visit her anymore since she wasn't progressing). But that morning her name popped up in his mind and he felt that we should visit her. That's one of the many amazing blessings that come from obedience, the Lords guidance and trust. 

 We returned to our own areas on Friday morning. It was nice coming home to our shower haha. It was also nice being reunited with my companion and working with him again. The work has been going great in Alicia. We're finding people and have high hopes for many of them. Okay, so about the hospital thing. On Sunday I went to the hospital with Elder Clarite since his companion had to give a talk in their ward so he was gone with Elder Flores. The Rahlfs picked us up and we went to a hospital in Isabela. They had a friend with them too, Sister Stookey or something like that. On the way we talked story and the Rahlfs mentioned visiting Hawaii! They go home in June and their children told them that they have to visit Hawaii on their way. We talked about how cool it'd be if they even visited you guys! They didn't say anything for sure, but I told them it'd be super cool and you guys would love to meet them. Sorry if that puts any stress on you guys haha. We got to the hospital, they helped us sign in, and then Elder Clarite and I were led to our room. Our room was super nice! Almost like a hotel haha. Comfortable couch, fridge, cabinets, TV (had a USB port so we watched Elder Clarite's mormon messages on it), and even a warm shower! The only thing was, it was soooo boooring haha. I brought a lot of things to study while waiting with Elder, but I couldn't do it all day long. The Rahlfs checked up on us a few times throughout our stay and brought food and things to sleep with. They also allowed those in the hospital to watch Narnia! I watched Narnia 1 on Monday then they gave me Narnia 2 yesterday. It's actually cool how easy it is to connect those movies to the Gospel, like the atonement and restoration. It was nice watching movies again haha, but I'm glad it was just one a day. I don't think I could've sat through both in one day. While there in the hospital, Elder Clarite seemed totally fine! It seemed really serious back at home, but I think because of prayers and his receiving a blessing, he got better super quick. President Rahlf was wondering if he even needed to go to the hospital in the first place haha. Finally we were freed from the hospital around 6:20. President drove us to the mission home where I sent the quick email last night. He also gave us some money to go over next door and eat dinner. After that we returned to the mission home, said goodnight to those that were there, then left.

 I'll just share this last experience before we head out. We left the mission home and waited nearby for a bus that would take us to Alicia. While waiting Elder Clarite contacted this nice lady selling things on the sidewalk. Eventually a bus came and she told us it would pass through Alicia so we jumped on. We found seats across from each other in the aisle. I felt like I should talk to the guy next to me but he yawned a few times so I figured he was too tired. He then put earphones in so I kind of used that as an excuse to not have to talk to him. After like 5 minutes of being in the bus, he started to cry. I could tell he was trying to hold it in, but sometimes he just couldn't. I felt more horrible not talking to him but I didn't want to disturb him. He wouldn't stop crying. I decided to pray. I originally was going to ask Heavenly Father if I should talk to him, but I found myself asking if I shouldn't, saying that if He doesn't tell me not to, I was gonna do it. I then asked for the gift of tongues and for guidance as I spoke to him. I was still hesitant to open my mouth, but he wouldn't stop crying. I finally tapped his arm and he pulled out his earphones and we talked. His name is Anthony Navarro. He told me that his brother is dying, and they 2 are the only kids in the family. His brother also has 2 kids. I wasn't sure how I could comfort or connect with his situation, but I continued to talk with him. I brought up our beliefs as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and he said his daughter is actually a member. We talked a little more and when I realized we were getting near Alicia, I pulled out my Aklat ni Mormon and gave it to him. I had it with me for language study in the hospital; normally I don't carry that with me. I promised him that it would help and bore my testimony about Heavenly Father and His love for all of us. He thanked me and we got off the bus. 

 Sometimes it's awkward for me sharing experiences like that because I don't want those reading to think that I think I'm so in tune with the spirit or something haha. But I do know that that is what comes from obedience and a desire to do God's work. It was so humbling for me to know that Heavenly Father put his trust in me and allowed me to be the one who (hopefully) helped this brother. There's no doubt that He helped me. It was just a huge testimony builder for me. I know that this work is the Lord's work, and so it just makes sense that He is willing and wants to help us in it. Our responsibility as missionaries and members of the church is to be obedient first, and then to ask for that help. 

 Alright, sorry for writing so much! I wrote even more than I thought I would. Just know that everything here is going so great, and things are just getting better and better. Thank you for your emails! I'll keep that in mind, dad. And I agree with you that everything we teach in the church should always lead back to the Savior. It's so nice to hear mom's doing better and that everyone's working together to keep mom comfortable. Thank you guys for continuing to do good! Have a great week!

Mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi

Last zone picture in Solano. We took a zone picture at zone conference but it hasn't been uploaded to the blog yet

The other pictures are taking too long to load so I'll try to send them next week. Love you guys!

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