Monday, September 19, 2016

9-17-16 Hello po Family!

Hello po Family!

 This past week was another great one! Something that already made this week good from the start was a surprise visit from the Assistants, Elder Antenorcruz & Elder Saez. Elder Labrador and I were studying upstairs when someone just walked right into our room and scared the heck out of me haha. We didn't lock the door downstairs so they crept in without us knowing. Good thing we weren't sleeping...haha joke lang. I always enjoy seeing the assistants since they're, in my opinion, the best of the best. I always take advantage to hang out with them and learn as much as I can. They just visited us to attend our District Meeting and then headed back to Cauayan (about 3-4 hours north) aftwerwards. Elder Pangilinan is a great District Leader and the AP's had a bunch of additional things to say which was awesome. 

 Another great thing that happened was Transfer Day! Obviously not saying goodbye to those leaving the zone, but what we did while waiting for the new ones to come in. Usually on transfer days we'll just wait there at the chapel for the new missionaries to arrive. We'll use that time to read, go shopping, hang out, play card games, etc. It's fun, but it is a waste of time. While at the chapel the Solano Zone Leaders asked if we wanted to just work with them until the missionaries came in. I was stoked! 
 I worked with Elder Cloma (Solano ZL) & Elder Andaya (Elder Kane's last companion, waiting for his new one to arrive) and Elder Labrador worked with Elder Hilbun, my batch-mate & Elder Cloma's companion. We went over first to their apartment in Bagabag which I spent so much time in as a new missionary. We planned for a bit then I asked if we could visit the Bayatan family just a few houses away. This was the family that fed us dinner on my very first day in the Cauayan mission. You guys have no idea how great it was to see nanay Bayatan again haha. We caught up on things for a few minutes then headed out to work, and nanay told us to return for lunch. We only had time for one appointment before lunch time, and that appointment was at a house I've also been to before while on splits with Elder Petersen (my first cycle in the field was his last). We went to Fernando's house, a member who worked with me & Elder Rebojo quite often in Lamut, but the plan was to teach his brother who hasn't been baptized yet. Unfortunately his brother wasn't home, but he was! It was awesome seeing him again too and catching up on things. We had a good lesson and he was happy I've gotten a little better at the language haha. He was a huge help back in the day with my Tagalog. 

 After that lesson we returned to the Bayatans' home for lunch. Nanay's kids who are still in school came home for lunch as well so I got to see almost everyone again! It was so nice to be with them again, especially now that I could actually communicate easier and express my gratitude for them. After visiting them I've decided that I really really want to return to the Philippines after my mission. Even if just a week or so.  After work and doing some other things we returned to the chapel in Solano to wait for those coming in. We have some awesome new missionaries in our zone! I'm excited to get to know each of them better, including our greenie, "baby", Elder Waite. Bambang zone as a whole continues to be a solid one. 

 The days where we were able to focus straight on work went really well too. Vinalyn continues to progress so well in the gospel. She reminds me of the "many are called, but few are chosen" scripture. We went over one of the more serious lessons yesterday and she said most of the people in their area have problems with that certain thing that we shared, but she herself has never done anything like it, even though she has been tempted in the past. She even tries to help others not get trapped by committing those kinds of things. Vinalyn is awesome! We try to visit her everyday in preparation for her baptism in October. 

 Ayesha is going strong too. Sometimes it's hard to believe that she's only 8 years old haha. Her questions are so deep! Things that people my age don't even think about yet haha. What's cool is sometimes a question she'll ask will open a door of ideas in my mind. We don't answer any questions we don't know for sure, but her questions give me more things to ponder about which I enjoy. She too will be baptized in October, hopefully on the 1st. 

 Our other investigators are doing really well too, but those are the most-progressing. I also really enjoy teaching active & less-active members since in those lessons we'll usually share and expand scripture verses or stories. It's fun for me to see how others understand certain scriptures and how they are applied personally to different people. It gets my mind working more in those kinds of lessons than lessons where we just teach from the pamphlets. The spirit also tends to be stronger in those kinds of lessons. One scripture verse we shared this week with some active members was 2 Nephi 9:39, or the "SMILE" scripture. This scripture was actually taught to me by Elder Ngatuvai who served in our ward a little before I left. The last 5 words in the scripture reads, "Spiritually minded is life eternal." If you take the first letter of each of those words you get "Smile". I know that if we keep our thoughts, words, and actions clean at all times, we will be worthy to have the Spirit with us, and we will be guided throughout our lives, even unto eternal life. Always remember to smile :) That's how Elder Ngatuvai would close the lesson when sharing that verse haha. 

I love you guys! Have a great week, 
Elder Ishibashi

Surprise visit by the Assistants

Something I love about the people here: They're great at making things out of nothing

Bayatan Family :)

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