Monday, April 25, 2016

4-24-16 Start doing missionary work now!

Kumusta po dad. salamat sa email!

 Man, everything is just going so great here in Alicia. Elder Umpat continues to be a great missionary and companion. I'm stoked to introduce you guys to him in just 2 weeks!! We're continuing to find new people to teach and less-active members who haven't been taught in a long time. Elder Umpat is definitely a hastener! 

 We also have 2 baptisms set for May! The first is Charlyn, I think I mentioned her last week. We only met her 2 weeks ago but she is progressing so quickly. All she needs to do is attend church a few more times and she can be baptized! The other is tatay Porras, the father of a few members and another progressing investigator. I've known of him since I got here in Alicia but he was always busy while we shared messages with his kids. A few weeks ago he fell and has since hasn't been able to walk on his own. He asked for a Priesthood blessing last Sunday and we were finally able to share a message with him for the first time. In the lesson he didn't seem very interested so we didn't think much of it. Yesterday though, Lee (daughter/progressing investigator) told us he's been wondering when we'd return to teach him. We went straight to him and shared another message. He's been having a hard time feeling Heavenly Father's love for him. We were able to help him remember that God does love us and knows what we're going through. And then somehow we connected it to baptism and was impressed to invite him to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized. He said yes pretty quickly, so we're 100 percent sure if he understood haha. But I have feeling he will progress and will be baptized in May. Great thing are happening! 

 I'm also so grateful for the YSA's (young, single adults) in our ward. We've been trying to visit Adesa, a ysa less-active member, for a while but haven't gotten a hold of her for over a month now. Yesterday the ysa's decided to do missionary work on their own and visit the less-active ysa's in the ward. They were able to get a hold of Adela and teach her a lesson about faith. How is that! None of them have served their own missions yet, but they're freely going out & doing missionary work. Through them we were also able to talk to another less-active ysa who usually hides from us when she sees us haha. After talking for a little while and getting to know her better, she said we can teach her sometime this week! My testimony on working with members in doing missionary work has been strengthened so much. It really is so much easier and more effective when you work with members. Thanks to another ysa, Charlyn had a friend at church and won't be to worried about returning this coming Sunday. For those who haven't served a mission yet, you don't have to wait until you enter the field. Start doing missionary work now! Even if it's just being a friend to a new face at church. It makes a huge difference. 

 Another tender mercy we experienced on Thursday was in a lesson with these 2 brothers. I was a little worried about returning to their house since our first visit wasn't exactly the ideal first visit you'd want as a missionary. The younger brother seemed pretty humble and willing to listen, but the older almost seemed mad and acted like we didn't know what we were talking about. Well this time, it was kind of the same thing haha. In the beginning at least. They came out with their bibles and it seemed like they were ready to bible bash. Somehow we were able to keep everything calm though and they're now willing to hear more about the Book of Mormon and read it! We'll hopefully get a hold of them this week.

 Alright that's about all I have time to share about for this past week, but the tender mercies don't stop there. We are being so blessed it's crazy. Although I should mention I totally jinxed myself with what I said about adidas last week, since I've had it twice this past one. It's not bad anymore! Another tender mercy haha. We also celebrated Elder Umpat's birthday on the 20th at the Porras' home. I'll send a picture with this email. But anyway, that's all. Know that I continue to pray for you guys and am still crazy stoked for 'Ohu. President Rahlf also says congrats on getting called to the second best mission haha. Have a great week!

Mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi

Monday, April 18, 2016


Kumusta pamilyak!

 Alright first off, CONGRATULATIONS OHU!! That is like the sickest thing that you got the same call as Herbert! How many people can say that! I'm so happy you're going to the second best mission in the world! ;) Haha joke. I actually feel really bad but I saw the thing about Herb's friend teaching you Fijian before I actually saw the video, but I wasn't super sure about it. When I saw the video I couldn't help but smile first-of-all to see and hear your voices again, but then I couldn't help but cry when I heard that you're going to Fiji. The mission itself is amazing, but to go and see the same people who know and love your own brother, I can't even imagine how that must feel. You are so blessed! Thank you so much for your preparedness in becoming a missionary 'ohu, you are amazing. Mahal na mahal na mahal kita!

 Man, I'm just so happy haha. This past week was a great one for me too. We're finding more people to teach and Elder Umpat is such a huge help. Our two investigators that we really focused on this past week are Charlene Bucatora and Caesar Martin. We actually just met sister Charlene for the first time on Monday. She was taught by the missionaries in the past but something happened and they stopped visiting her. Charlene is only 11 years old but she is really progressing. We even set a baptismal date with her for May 21! I'll keep you guys updated on that. Elder Flores and I met Caesar a while ago but he's been busy for a pretty long time. This past week Elder Umpat and I caught him at a good time and finally got to share a message with him again. I felt the prompting to invite him to be baptized and so did Elder Umpat, so he asked him. Caesar said that he needs to study the Gospel a little further before making a decision, but that he will be baptized if he finds out for himself that it's true. I have a strong feeling that it'll all work out with him. 

 Besides them we're also finding a lot of LAs that we've never met before. Today we actually met the wife of an LA while getting haircuts. The other day a couple members told us about this Salon since Elder Umpat mentioned wanting to get a haircut. So today we tried this place for the first time. There was only one person there besides the workers and she recognized us as elders even though we were in normal clothes (just finished playing basketball). She told the salon people about us and we all started talking about religion and our beliefs as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Through that we learned that this sister's husband was a Branch President at one point, but is now not active in the church. She also said that she has a lot of questions about the Plan of Salvation. She didn't seem overly excited when I asked if we could visit her home some time to share more about it haha, but I'm stoked. She herself is of a different faith so I'm excited to share the Gospel with her. 
 This past week we had a zone meeting instead of district meeting. Since then I've been thinking a lot about asking inspired questions in our lessons. Inspired questions are questions that really make the learners think about what they're learning and how it matters/connects to their life. As I thought about inspired questions I came across the topic of trials. One of our other progressing investigators wanted to learn about trials and why God allows us to go through them. Trying to use inspired questions, I thought that I could probably ask her why she thinks God gives us trials. Then I thought, "Wait, why DOES He give us trials?" The study then turned into a learning experience for me. I always knew that God gives us trials to learn, but I now have a deeper understanding of it. There are actually a lot of reasons Heavenly Father allows us to go through trials! From "to become humble" to "to try our patience and faith in Him" to "so that His judgments are just at the last day", so many reasons. I've come to love Him even more this past week for my challenges. No matter what the challenge is that we may face in life, I know that we can trust in the Lord and He will help us. He promises to do so.

 Alright on one last, not-so-serious note, I finally did it! I ate adidas! Lehia knows what that is haha. It's chicken feet! I won't lie and say I'm excited to eat it again, but it was a good experience haha. Man, just rat and frog left I think and I'll have tried about everything! There's also dog, but even a lot of Filipinos can't eat that so I don't feel bad if I never get around to trying it haha. But anyway, that's about it for the week! Know that Elder Umpat and I are doing great here, the work is hastening, and the blessings are flourishing. I love being a missionary! And again, I am so ridiculously excited that 'ohu will be in the field soon. I love you guys!

Elder Ishibashi

I ate adidas! Chicken feet

Oh yeah, there was also one day this week where I searched the entire sky and found not one cloud. Nalamiis met. It's more fun in the Philippines! 


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

4-10-16 A lot of tender mercies.

Kumusta po dad! Magandang hapon!

 I feel kind of bad. I don't have any crazy, "Wow!" moments to share this week, not even any pictures really. But, as usual, it was a great week. A lot of tender mercies. Elder Umpat continues to be a great companion and help in our lessons. I realized I'm super lucky that he's already fluent in Tagalog haha, imagine how hard it would be sometimes to train a foreigner. Elder has a strong spirit and does a great job re-explaining things when I have errors in my Tagalog haha. 

 Besides General Conference, my favorite part about this past week was our new leaders training meeting on Thursday. It was so great! Since an elder kind of near our area needed to attend the meeting, he and I went to Cauayan together and his companion worked in Alicia with Elder Umpat. I was so happy to get to Cauayan and see Elder Bice again! He seems like he's doing really well. He said everything is going well with him and his anak too, so I was happy to hear that. Elder Perkins was at the mission office too! He was there for a different reason, but we got to talk story for a while and catch up with each other. Although that was great, the meeting was the peak of my time in Cauayan. The spirit was so strong as President, Sister Rahlf, and the elders who helped taught about our roles as new District Leaders, Zone Leaders, and Sister Training Leaders. I realized how much more I need to develop myself as a missionary. And so many things I need to repent of haha. But I'm all the more stoked and honored to be a District Leader! This calling is pushing me to try harder and be better. 
 Like I said earlier, work continues to go great. We were able to share with a lot of LA's and some of them really seem like they want to return to church. We actually had kind of a weird experience just yesterday. We had a few fellowshippers (Jonathan, Rodel, Carmelo, and Novy) working with us and we decided to head to this one, unplanned area since we were punted. On the way Rodel said there was a house of a LA nearby. We visited him and just before sharing a message we realized it was actually the area of the sisters in our ward. We still shared though and all bore our testimony, but Rodel's stood out the most. As he bore his testimony I had a strong feeling that that was what this LA needed to hear. Later on at dinner I told the sisters we accidentally taught one of their LAs and Sister Baker said they usually can't get a hold of him. Maybe Heavenly Father needed Rodel to share his testimony with this brother at that time. I don't know, God works in mysterious ways haha. It was just one of those tender mercies of the week.

 Now for the last part, General Conference. Sorry, I left my notes at home, but it was so good! It was sad that President Monsons talks were so short, but they were still just as powerful as the others. Overall, the main message I got was that God loves us. I feel like no matter how much we say it or believe it, we will never understand just how truly He loves us. This was a great spiritual experience for me, since lately I've been asking Him what I can do to feel His love for me more often. The Conference was a great reassurance for me that He knows me and does love me personally. And He loves you! And so do I haha. Thanks for the emails and pictures! 

Mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi

This picture is actually from Transfer day before Elder Umpat them arrived. This is Elder Reynolds, from Ogden! Look familiar at all dad?
*Elder Ishibashi is asking this question because I served in the Utah Ogden Mission.

Monday, April 4, 2016

4-3-16 Elder Umpat is awesome

Kumusta po dad!

 So much has happened this past week! It's been another super great one. You guys probably saw it on the mission blog, but my "anak" is Elder Umpat! He is so awesome so far, holy smokes. He's 22 years old and from Palawan, a place in the Manila mission. He was the Branch Mission Leader at home before he came out here, so he already knows pretty much everything about the work and mission rules. It's a huge blessing for me. On the bus back to Alicia he told me that he'd been praying that his trainer would be exactly obedient. I know I'm nowhere near it, but I was so glad to hear him say that. That means that he himself has the desire to be exactly obedient, and I've seen his efforts the past few days. We've already had some awesome experiences at work! Got a new investigator the day he came in, had a couple lessons with people Elder & I knew but never got to share with, found some LA houses, etc. We even met these 2 girls on Saturday and one actually called us the following day! That never happens haha. I'm a little worried that her mind isn't exactly on our message, but she has friends who are members and she wants to go to church this coming Sunday, so I'm pretty excited to teach her tomorrow and kind of discern with Elder Umpat what we should do with her. 

 But anyway, I'll try to make this email a little more organized. On Tuesday we spent the day visiting members so Elder Flores could say his goodbyes. We shared a quick message with most of them though which I appreciated. That night, while at a family's house for dinner, President Rahlf called me. He told me that, along with being a new trainer, the Lord has called me to be a District Leader. He said our meeting for people becoming District Leaders will be this week, so I'd have to teach one lesson beforehand. The DL has to teach a lesson in District Meeting every week to his district for about 1-1 1/2 hours. The thought of being a new trainer and DL is preeetty stressful, but I know that these callings are from the Lord so I know it's possible. I heard Elder Bice just became a DL too! So I'll get to see him at the meeting! Miss that guy. 

 Wednesday was great! We were the first to show up in Cauayan for transfer day. We didn't meet with Elder Umpat them until like 3 so while waiting for them we just spent time with the other missionaries who came to Cauayan for transfers. It was so great seeing familiar faces again! I got to talk story with people from my Utah batch and others I served with in Solano zone. Sister Abalos, our Sister Training Leader in Solano, is now in our Alicia zone! She only has 2 cycles in the field left so she's not an STL anymore. I'm stoked about our zone though, we have a lot of cool, new people. After a while everyone left to their areas and only us new trainers were there. Meeting with our new companions was awesome. It's actually pretty cool, I saw their pictures a few weeks ago and was like, "I feel like this one is gonna be my companion". And it turned out to be him! Again, Elder Umpat is awesome. He has a super soft voice and is shy, but he doesn't let that affect his work. The Spirit is strong with him in lessons, and I know it's because he actually lives the things he teaches. I already know these next 12 weeks of training are gonna fly by. I'm so excited to experience miracles though!

 Thursday was my first lesson as a District Leader. It was pretty boring for those in my district and I wasn't fully prepared, but the Lord did help a lot in putting words in my mouth and experiences in my mind that I could share. Do you guys have any ideas or advice on how I can make my lessons more powerful or interesting? Please let me know. 

 Friday was a great day of work and just flew by. On Saturday we had a CSP and then a baptism later on that day. I was given the opportunity to be one of the baptizers! It was a pretty cool experience for me since this was my first time ever baptizing someone. I'll send pictures with this email. 

 Elder Umpat's ready so we're heading out now. But on a quick side note, ask Kaimi Bourne if
he remembers an Elder Acosta. His family's in our ward and we had dinner at their house on Thursday. He said he served in San Pablo so I asked if he knew Elder Bourne. It was awesome hearing about Kaimi from the view of a fellow missionary! They served in the same zone at one point but never became companions. But anyway, so that's it for the past week. We're gonna do some grocery shopping then Elder wants to get some lessons in before FHE tonight, what a hastener! Thank you for the picture and email dad! And for the experience you shared. I constantly find myself trying to follow yours and Herbert's examples as missionaries. Thank you guys!

Mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi

Our bishop, Bishop Soriano, and his wife

FHE with the Castro family. I don't know if I mentioned this yet, but every FHE here is accompanied with some kind of game haha.
After our CSP. Elder Umpat, Elder Elicay, and me.
Baptism ng mga batang Esperanzate! 

Sunday, April 3, 2016


Iyon, kumusta po family!

 Sheesh, thank you guys sooo much for all the emails! I was already having a great day, and you guys lifted my spirits so much more. It's soso good knowing you guys are only getting better and progressing in everything. I'm also so grateful that you're back to normal, mom. I'll keep praying for you specifically though just to be sure haha. Also, thank you and dad for your examples again. I don't like telling people my dad's bishop and have people saying I think I'm so cool, but sometimes I just can't help but brag haha. I've been blessed with such "perfect" parents, it's hard for me to understand the things other people go through. And happy birthday again Ohu! I love reading your letters haha, it's so easy to picture the things you talk about in my mind. Kala'i is a stud! Man and these pictures of the boys campout are awesome. Lehia's a shredder! And I'm so proud of him and Kala'i for being so helpful to their fellow scouts. Aye and tell Hali'a I said thank you for the email too. She's so good at typing already...I'm not sure if that's a good thing haha. I'm also grateful for U'is diligence in sending pictures and videos every week. And I'm happy for Herb and the whole dating thing haha. Keep me updated on that! 

 As for me, this week was a suuuper great one. So many crazy, awesome things happened. Oh but before I get to that, I remember what I was gonna say last week. I saw a snake! That's all, haha. I've seen a handful of dead snakes that have been run-over by a tricey or something, but this one was the first living one I've seen so far. Elder Flores and I were walking to the chapel to meet up with the sister missionaries and then head over to our dinner appointment when we saw the snake next to a curb. I was able to get a picture of it as it got over the curb and was just about to hide behind some bushes. I'll send it with this email. It's really not big at all compared to other wild snakes I hear about it, but I just thought it was so cool to finally see a living one haha. Foreigner problems.
 The first big thing that happened this past week was on Tuesday morning. We were preparing to leave for a special training meeting at the chapel when the APs (assistants to the Mission President) called. Long story short, MAGIGING TATAY NA AKO! They told me I've been called to be one of the trainers for the incoming missionaries on Wednesday. I'm pretty horrified haha, but excited to learn and grow too. The special meeting was super great as well. President and Sister Rahlf taught us about what we can do to better ourselves as missionaries and children of God. President also taught us in depth about Easter week and the things Jesus did in the last week of his mortal life. The spirit was so strong and I learned so much! Again, I so wish we could have meetings like that more often. Unfortunately I don't have the notes I took with me right now, but one thing President said that I really liked and wrote down at the front of my planner is this: Until there is obedience, sacrifice doesn't mean anything to the Lord. For missionaries, of course Heavenly Father is proud of us for making that step to leave home for 18-24 months, but if we're gonna spend the whole time doing things not related to our purpose, what's the point of serving? Something else he said that I liked was "selective obedience brings selective blessings". I've learned for myself that unless we at least strive to be exactly obedient, we aren't worthy of Heavenly Father's help in our work. 

 Wednesday was the new trainers' meeting so I went to Cauayan. I was stoked to see some familiar faces! The 2 other elders training are in my batch and the 3 sisters came in one cycle before us. There are a total of 5 new elders coming in but the other 2 trainers have trained before, so they didn't have to attend this meeting. The meeting was super awesome though. President, Sister Rahlf, and the APs did a great job at motivating me to become a trainer. I'm still terrified haha, but ready I think. 

 That's actually pretty much it for the week haha. Work is continuing to go so well. On Thursday we got a couple new investigators and found a few less-active members who haven't been visited by missionaries in a really long time. The Lord helps us big time in finding people when we reach out of our comfort zone! That's something I'm still working on, and another reason I'm excited to train. I need to be a good example all the more now. The language is really coming along too. I find myself being able to tell stories now which makes hanging out and getting to know people a little more fun. I skipped language study the other day and I noticed I stuttered a lot that day haha. Just shows how much the Lord helps when I do my studies effectively. On a quick side note, I've made 7 months in the Philippines! And I'll make 9 months as a missionary next week on the 8th! Time is going by so quickly, it's crazy. But yup, Elder Flores is finished so I'll stop here. Sorry to those I wasn't able to reply to. Love you guys! Thanks again for the emails and pictures. Have a great week!

Mahal ko kayo,
Elder Ishibashi

Ahas! (snake. Elder says it's Sawa in Ilocano)

The infamous Elder Kane if I haven't sent a picture of him yet. We figured he'd be transferring this coming Wednesday so we took a picture after the special training meeting last Tuesday. Mamimiss ko siya!
New Trainers' Meeting last Wednesday. 

After lunch today (member's house). The others were downstairs

Trainers in training