Monday, May 30, 2016

5-29-16. This was the best week I've had work-wise so far!

Kumusta po dad!

  Yup, another great week! This was the best week I've had work-wise so far! We hit it hard from the start and tried our best to keep the momentum going until the end of the week. There were a couple days where we got crazy punted and only had like 2 or 3 lessons, but for the most part everything was just awesome. One of the first things that made this week a great one was a text from one of our investigators, Michael. He & his girlfriend Lee have been investigating the church for about a year now. Lee's siblings were baptized a little less than a year ago. The only reason they themselves haven't been baptized yet is because they have a child and live together, but aren't married. Besides that they're basically like any other member; they even pay their tithing! Since I've been here in Alicia I've been asking often about how their marriage plans are going, expressing how much I'd love to be here when they get baptized. So you can imagine how crazy stoked I was when we saw their text during District Meeting that it's finally happening! They're getting married!! The plan is to be married on June 18 and then be baptized immediately afterwards. I'm so excited, since there's a chance that that will be my last Saturday here in Alicia (transfer day is on June 22). Hopefully it's not though! Haha. I love it here in Alicia so much.

  Like I said earlier, work this week was awesome. We were able to get at least one new investigator each day of the week! We also found a number of less-active members we've been looking for for a long time. They all have their different reasons why they're not going to church right now, but I saw strong potential that they'll all return some day. We're going to try to visit them all again this week, so I'll let you guys know how they're doing next week. Same with our new investigators. We have one certain investigating family though that is just golden. You remember how the Echague sisters had a baptism on May 7? I'm pretty sure I mentioned that the father of the family that was baptized, Bong, took us to his friend's house in our area and introduced us. His friend, Oses, was more than willing to hear our message, but for a few weeks he's either been too busy or they weren't complete as a family at home so he asked that we visit at another time. Yesterday we were finally able to visit him and share with his family. They are amazing! The kids didn't seem crazy into the lesson, but Oses was so attentive. He told us that Bong told him how helpful the gospel has been for him & his family, and how much they've changed for the better, so Oses said he was interested to know more. He also mentioned that he read in the bible about how, as important it is to feed our bodies, it's just as important to feed our spirits by learning about our Savior and His doctrine. I was so happy to hear this, since it means that when he prays to knows if these things are true he will do it with real intent, meaning he'll receive an answer. I have such a strong feeling that as long as Elder Umpat & I keep ourselves worthy & ready for the promptings of the Spirit, this family will be baptized, and soon. 

  Like last week, Sunday was my favorite day of this past one. We didn't have as many LA's or investigators go to church this time, but it was still a great 3 hours of learning. I was so happy to see tatay Porras there again, along with nanay. If tatay can go to church just 2 more times in a row, he will be able to be baptized along with his daughter Lee & her soon-to-be husband, Michael. After church & a ward council meeting, we had lunch at the house of a member couple, Jhonny & Debi. They're both returned missionaries and told us some mission stories as we ate. It turns out that Jhonny knows Kia Aquin from our stake in Hawaii! They weren't companions but lived in the same house for a little while in the mission! He said that even in the mission Kia was a great missionary and fun person to be around. Did you guys know he even became AP? Too good, Kia. 

  After lunch Jhonny worked with us. Brian Encarnacion, another RM in our ward and good friend of Jhonny (they're the same age & grew up together in the church), also promised to work with us yesterday so we walked over to his house from Jhonnys. Man, it was such an awesome experience working with 2 returned missionaries. I learned so much! I thought it was super interesting how different their styles of teaching was, but how equally strong the spirit was that illuminated from them. They're the kind of people where you just know they were great missionaries in the field by the way they act now, just like Herbert & dad. I've made it a goal to be that kind of missionary.

  Anyway, that's about it for the past week. I can't believe 'Ohu will be in the MTC in just a few days! I'm so excited for you 'Ohu! I can't tell you enough how you have no idea how amazing the mission is. Keep the positive, fearless attitude as you enter the MTC and throughout your mission! You will experience miracles. I have such a strong testimony that this work is true. In Doctrine & Covenants the Lord says multiple times that this is the last time, the last chance that we have to share the gospel before He comes again. So go hard! I love how Hamblyn put it when he said, "I'm gonna punch the mission right in it's face!" haha. As best as you can, hit the field running. Hasten the Lord's work in Fiji. You can do it! We didn't take any pictures this week but this picture I sent may be helpful some day. I saw it in the mission office and it hit me pretty hard. We are so blessed to have been given this opportunity to share the gospel; don't let it go to waste! I love you 'Ohu! And all of you guys. Have a great week!

Elder Ishibashi

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