Monday, March 21, 2016

3-20-16 kumusta po!

Aye dad, kumusta po!

 Did you send an email last week? I didn't receive anything. Thank you for emailing me today though, and sorry that you had to do it so early. I understand if you're just too busy to email sometimes, no worries. Eh thanks for the pictures too! I'm stoked to see more pictures of Lehia surfing. And I love the gift from Aunty Jo them! That is beautiful. Where is that though? Haha. And that's crazy to hear about Ketter and Yasmine! Congrats! Sheesh so many things are going on right now, how exciting. 

 I had another great week! This past one actually went by ridiculously quick too. The first big thing that happened was splits. I got to work with Elder Kane again! Like I mentioned before, his companion, Elder Reyes, is our district leader. Elder Reyes said he likes to do splits often just to keep up with how everything's going in his district. Our splits began on Tuesday after District meeting until Friday morning just before Weekly Planning. Man, I enjoy working with Elder Kane. You can just tell by his countenance that he's a good, obedient missionary. And because of that work is just awesome. It's almost impossible to not feel the spirit with him, in the lessons and at home. Elder Kane is going places! Jones is also a great place to work in. The members are sooo nice and supportive in the work. On Thursday we had a member, tatay Respicio, work with us and he took us to teach some referrals he had. He was a huge help in our lessons and is not afraid to share the gospel which is awesome. He also has a sweet slingshot that says "God is Love" on one side and "Come Follow Me" on the other hahaha. Tatay is a character. 

 Splits was really nice, and it was nice coming home again to my own companion. I don't think I give Elder Flores as much credit as I should. He's a great missionary. I still have a problem with talking to everyone, but that's one of his strengths. The day I came back to our area we got 2 new investigators, thanks to Elder. He's really good at bringing up the Gospel to people, and a lot of people feel comfortable with him because he's Ilocano. Next Wednesday is transfer day so there's a chance that he'll leave, which is sad. There's a chance that he'll be here for one more cycle though, so that's what we're hoping for!

 On Saturday we had a CSP at the house of a soon-to-be-member (baptized later on that day) in the Alicia 1st ward. We're in Alicia 3rd, but the Alicia 1st sisters are in our missionary district so we were able to go. Elder Flores really didn't want to go because there's been some unnecessary drama going on lately with some missionaries, but they said they really needed us so we went. It was a good thing we did too, the CSP was helping someone move to another house in the back of this one. They did most of the stuff themselves before we got there, they just needed us missionaries to help with the really heavy things. After that they gave us lunch which was nice. 

 Today naman, we had a zone activity. A couple weeks ago the zone leaders asked if we wanted to visit a place called Magat Dam for our zone activity or if we just wanted to do games and stuff at the stake center. Obviously majority of us chose Magat Dam and so that was the plan and we were all excited for it. Then just yesterday the zone leaders told us we weren't able to go to Magat Dam anymore and that we'll just do stuff at the church. We were a little disappointed but it turned out to be really fun anyway. We had a couple games in the cultural hall and then sports outside. 

 But anyway, that's pretty much it for the past week. Man I feel like there was a cool experience I wanted to share but I can't remember it right now...sorry. Aye and tell Ohu I said Happy Birthday!! 19 na yeee. I know it's in a few days but I figure better to be early than late. Kumusta po kayo dad? Kumusta po si mom? Sila U'i? Hope everything is going great. Love you guys!

Hanggang sa susunod na linggo,
Elder Ishibashi

While working with Tatay Respicio on Thursday

After our CSP

Sunset in Jones

FHE kagabi (last night). We played a game called "Dwee-Dow" and the losers got marked with charcoal haha

Monday, March 14, 2016

3-13-16 I myself have been strengthened

Magandang Hapon po! 

 This past week actually went by super quick, but it was another great one of course. Micks needed to do some things at home Monday night so I decided to stay the night with Elder Clarite. We returned home from the hospital around lunch time on Tuesday. Sister Rahlf told Elder Clarite that he needed to rest for a couple days so Elder Flores stayed home with him Tuesday and Wednesday while Micks and I went out. Those 2 days were like the hottest I've felt so far in the Philippines haha. The heat was torture, but work itself went really well. Micks is a great teacher and missionary. He wanted to serve a mission but some things happened and by the time everything was ready to be turned in, he was over-age. Maybe it was all a part of God's plan so that he could stay here and become a part-time missionary with us.

 We didn't have any crazy, stand-out lessons again this week, but I'm happy to say that our investigators are progressing! I think I mentioned Lee & Michael before. They're both investigators and are both so willing to learn more and ask questions. Lee's siblings were converted last year. The only reason Lee & Michael haven't been baptized yet is because they're not married. But I spoke to Lee about it and she said they'll try to get married soon so I can be here for the baptism! I guess they just have some obstacles to get through first. We were also finally able to visit Joselyn again! It must've been like a month by now. She's the one who actually asked her friend Sis. Soriano, our bishop's wife, to have missionary discussions. We haven't been able to visit her for a while since she's super busy every day. I asked Sis. Soriano about her multiple times, and she said she wanted to get rid of some habits before having us teach her again. On Thursday Elder Flores and I were looking for the house of a less-active member. We stopped at the house/workplace of Joselyn just because we saw a guy there and wanted to ask for directions. While talking to him she came out and we talked for a bit. She said we could teach her the following day! We got to visit her on Friday and share a quick message about the Book of Mormon since that's what she wanted to know about. We dropped a Book of Mormon off at her house on Saturday. We're sooo hoping she reads it and finds out for herself that it's true. Once you know the Book of Mormon is true, it makes it easier to believe that everything else we teach and learn in this church is true. 

 I myself have been strengthened so much in my testimony of the Book of Mormon this past week. I told you guys about the "power read" right? Everyone in the mission is doing it. We were all given our own Book of Mormon and we're supposed to read about 9-11 pages a day, depending on the assigned chapters we're supposed to read per day. While reading we're supposed to mark certain things, like every time it mentions Christ, his ministry, life, his direct quotes, etc. The goal is for everyone to finish the Book of Mormon by April 15, where a special guest will speak to us and we'll have a discussion about the "power read". I forget who will visit us, sorry. But man, so this past week I spent a lot of time doing my "power read". It's amazing how many things stand out to me now! So many things I don't remember at all the last time I read through the Book of Mormon. I'm learning so much, and I know Heavenly Father's blessing me in our lessons because of doing the power read. A few times we were asked questions this week and I could say, "I just read something this morning about that!" The blessings are super cool, and I know that the power read idea was inspired by God. 

 Anyway, that's about it for the week. How are you guys? I heard Ohu's papers are officially in!! Soooo stoked! How are you mom? Hey a member near our apartment told me she served with a sister from La'ie in the Cebu mission I think. Do you know a Nele Leitaua? The member is trying to find her on facebook haha. Alright, love you guys! 

Mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi 

On Saturday we had a CSP. They said it was a lot of work so we invited other missionaries in our zone.

After the CSP


Monday, March 7, 2016

3-6-16 The work continues to go super well.

Kumusta po family!

 Perfect timing you guys emailed, I was just about to start my email to you guys. It's so good to hear how well Stake Conference went! And I love what Elder Nash said about sharing the yoke with Jesus Christ; I never pictured it like that. It's amazing to know that Jesus Christ, the King of Kings & Lord of Lords, is willing to bear our burdens with us. It kind of reminds me of the activity we had at the AP camp before I came out here. The activity with the water bottles. As for me, I don't like the thought that Jesus had to suffer for my wrong-doings and imperfections. But through that activity I realized that he's not only willing to bear our burdens, but it's impossible for us to be truly happy without his help. Only through Jesus Christ and his infinite help can we receive Eternal Life, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God. I'm so happy to know that you guys are trying your best to make family prayers and scripture reading a habit again! I know that that's something Heavenly Father wants, so He will provide a way. 

 I had a pretty great week as well! The work continues to go super well. Right now the whole trisome thing is a little confusing though. On Wednesday Elder Clarite wasn't feeling well again and we ended up returning to the hospital. Their ward mission leader, Brother Yuson a.k.a. Micks, stayed at the house with Elder Flores while I accompanied Elder Clarite. A couple days later when it was okay to return home, President Rahlf decided to make Micks Elder Clarite's official companion for the rest of the cycle as a part-time missionary. So now they're companions, but since Elder Clarite can't do too much while he recovers we'll still be working in his area every now and then. So things are a little confusing, but I guess that's what makes it fun haha.

 While at the hospital I was able to go on splits with elders whose area is right around the hospital. I went to work with Elder Swensen while his companion, Elder Doctolero, waited with Elder Clairte for a couple hours. I love going on splits! I enjoy working with new people and seeing how they teach and do things. Elder Swensen is from Sandy, Utah and goes home this coming July. He gave me a lot of great tips and helped me understand some words I didn't fully understand. I wish we could've worked more, but it was just for a couple hours and then we returned to the hospital. As boring as it was in the hospital, it gave me a lot of time to study and strengthen my testimony of the Book of Mormon, so for that I'm grateful. Sister Rahlf also dropped off church-approved movies to watch and she strongly suggested that I watch "Journey of Faith". If you don't know what that is, it's of  a handful of scholars and talking about Nephi & his family and their journey from Jerusalem to the Promised Land. It's actually an amazing movie! They brought the story to life. It helped me even more to know that the Book of Mormon is so true. There's no way that Joseph Smith could have written it. 

 The last thing I wanna share is just my gratitude for you dad. Since most of our lessons are to less-actives, most of them are spiritual thoughts that we feel will help them want to return to church. A scripture that we shared a lot this past week was 3 Nephi 13:31-33. It's main message is that no matter what, we need to search the kingdom of God first. Many people choose to work instead of attend church because they worry about their families. These verses say that Heavenly father knows. He knows our concerns and needs, and promises that if we just put our trust in Him and focus on Him first, these things will be added unto us. So I want to thank you dad for knowing that. I know it's not easy providing for 7 Samoans who enjoy breaking things, but I can't think of even one instance where I felt like you were putting anything before God. If that's not the reason we're so blessed spiritually and temporally, I don't know what is. And although mom doesn't work, she too has always made it known that Heavenly Father comes first. So thank you guys!

 And thanks again to the others who wrote me today! I'm so happy to have read about Ohu's spiritual growth and to know that his papers are going in tonight! And that Lehia has the board of a pro. That Hali'a is still cute and learning so many things. That mom is healing well and quickly. And U'i continues to keep me updated with her family. Thank you guys so much! I love you guys! 

Have a great week!
Elder Ishibashi

Elder Clarite was throwing up yesterday so he and Micks returned to the hospital. Today they asked that we bring his medicine (he forgot it at home). We hung out and took some pics haha. Elder Clarite is doing better by the way. His throwing up was just a bad reaction to the meds. He'll be able to return home tomorrow. 

Our zone picture from the last zone conference