Monday, June 27, 2016

6-26-16 IT'S AMAZING

Kumusta pamilyak! Naimbag a malem!

 Alright, so many things happened this past week, it'll probably be another scrambled email. First off I'll tell you guys a little about my new area. IT'S AMAZING. I'll explain a little more soon haha. On Tuesday night President Rahlf called and told me I'd be a zone leader in my next area. I think he sped things up a bit so President Hiatt (our new Mission President by June 30) won't have to stress right off the bat with calling missionaries to leadership positions. Elder Rebojo has been called to be a zone leader as well, and so has Elder Bice! It's such a cool thing that Elder Bice & I have grown together from the very start. From meeting in the Kona Hawai'i Temple, to becoming companions in the MTC, to becoming district leaders and then zone leaders, both at the same time. I don't know why or how it happened this way, but it reminds me that Heavenly Father knows and loves me personally. I've also come to see that He loves me enough to not only bless me with the things I need, but even with things I don't even think about! Which leads me back to my new area.

 My new area is Bambang, which is actually touching Solano zone where I was born! Pretty far from Lamut itself though. My companion is Elder Labrador, who was my zone leader in Alicia for 2 cycles! When I found out he'd be my companion I was crazy stoked since I already knew he's a great missionary. He's also Ilocano so I'm making use of that. I was also super happy for Elder Umpat and our ward in Alicia since Elder Umpat's follow-up is Elder Olsen from my batch, who's also a great missionary! I know they'll do well and only lift the work there in Alicia. In Cauayan (we meet there on transfer days) I got to see Elder Bice, Elder Rebojo and a bunch of other familiar faces again which was nice. Everyone I talked to who knew about my apartment in Bambang told me it was the nicest apartment in the mission, which I had a hard time believing since our apartment in Alicia was so nice already. But they were right. They were so right. This apartment is ridiculous! Three stories, beautiful view, 2 working showers, water heater, air con, walk-in closet, clothes washer, everything. For a good half hour I just couldn't stop saying "wow". And not only is the apartment beautiful, but so is the area itself, and most importantly, the work. Like Lamut, this area is filled with mountains and bukids (rice fields) which is something I really missed in Alicia. And again, the work is super great too. We even have bikes here! They're owned by members but they allow us to use them on days we work in the farther areas. 

 Like I said earlier, Elder Labrador is such a great missionary. We haven't even been together a week yet but I have learned so many things. You guys know about my problem with talking to random people. That is one of Elder Labrador's strengths. He's not afraid to share the gospel with anyone! Because of him we already found a bunch of people who are willing to learn more. I'll share one awesome experience we had on Saturday. On Saturday we had a "beast mode" day which meant working from 8 in the morning all the way until returning home at 9 (we still had our meals, don't worry). I've never done it before and I don't think they did it often before I got here, but Elder Labrador suggested it since the work for the week was a little low because of transfer day. We had a great day! I want to focus on one lesson we had though. While biking Elder Labrador saw an older man sitting down by the street so he stopped and asked if we could get to know him. His name is tatay Reynaldo. Tatay told us that he stopped believing in God & Jesus Christ because of the many hardships in his life, one of them being his wife's death while giving birth to their first child. For some reason though, he allowed us to share a message with him. We felt prompted to teach him about the Plan of Salvation and Atonement. We bore testimony that we have a Father in Heaven who loves us, even if we don't believe it. We also promised that he can see his wife again. He committed to read the pamphlet and we're excited to visit him again and see how he's doing.

 Alright I'll end there since we're heading out soon. I am so happy to be here in Bambang! Everything is so great. The Lord is blessing me so much, almost too much haha. The blessings really are overflowing. And It's so good to hear that you guys are doing well too! I love you guys and am so proud of my siblings. Ingat! 

Love you guys,
Elder Ishibashi

Last picture with Elder Umpat before heading to Bambang

View from the 3rd story of our apartment!

bukids (rice fields)

My new companion Elder Labrador

Just one of the many beautiful spots in our area

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