Monday, September 26, 2016

9-25-16 This past week was the best

Kumusta po Family!

 Thank you guys for the great emails! Thanks for sharing more cool experiences, dad. I'm kinda jealous that I don't have crazy experiences like that yet, but it's cool knowing that things like that still happen, in & out of the mission field. Maybe I just need to improve on some things before being able to have cool experiences like that. It was really nice reading about the support that brother La'a had at his funeral service. You already know he was a great person to have that many people show up. It's also heart-breaking to know that Lilly passed away. Most of the dogs here are so grouchy, I constantly think about going home and being able to just sit and hang out with Lilly & 'Ihe again haha. Lilly's in a better place now though so it's all good. Congratulations Herb! I'm happy for you guys :) Too good Lehia & Mikel! Ang laki laki ng eel! Although I don't believe the story you guys told U'i haha. And it's good to know that the others are doing well too, thanks for the updates mom & dad!

 We had another super great week as well! A lot of things I'm excited to share with you guys. For one, Ayesha passed her interview and will be baptized this coming Saturday! Her parents are away and not even members, so I'm super grateful for her cousins who take her to church every Sunday and will be able to support her throughout the years. Her parents know about the baptism though and are totally fine with it. Elder Labrador and I are excited. 

 Vinalyn will be baptized next week. Her interview will be this week sometime and, unless there's something she hasn't told us about yet, will pass with flying colors. We're not worried about her one bit either. A huge tender mercy actually happened with her these past few days. Around the middle of the week she told us that she had a fish bone stuck in her throat and that it was super painful. We suggested that she get it checked but she worried about the money it'd cost and didn't want to be confined and not be able to help out at home. She decided to just endure it and pray for a miracle. She texted us on Saturday night saying that it was too painful (to the point of coughing out blood) and that she wouldn't be able to go to church the following day. We were sad but understanding, and prayed for her. The next day we were super surprised and happy that she ended up going to church anyway, even though the fish bone was still there! The tender mercy came later on when we visited her at home to teach. The fish bone was completely gone! She said everything was good and back to normal. It's true what it says in Ether 12 :6 that the miracle only comes after the trial of our faith. Vinalyn continues to be a great example of faith and is so ready to be baptized. We also have a handful of other people who accepted the invitation to be baptized, but have a few things to overcome before we can settle on a certain date. 

 On Wednesday the Dupax Del Sur elders called and said they needed to sleep over our apartment that night since they had to go to Cauayan on Thursday, so we decided to do splits with them. We all worked here in Bambang and I got to work with Elder Kearl again. Elder Kearl's going to progress crazy quick in the mission if he keeps up with what he's doing. His greatest strengths are probably my greatest weaknesses, so it was great working with him again and seeing what changes I can make to become a better missionary. Something powerful happened towards the end of the day in our last lesson. We shared with a brother who we thought was just less-active, but he told us that he's actually excommunicated and needs to be rebaptized. He did one dumb thing and is now afraid to return to church. What's weird though is that he knows the church is still true and has a strong desire to return, especially for the sake of his kids. He's an RM and still knows the Book of Mormon well. We shared a message with him and then he asked for a Priesthood blessing. I don't remember what was said again, but I felt that the Spirit was there and that the blessings promised was not coming from us. As soon as he overcomes his fear, I can see him becoming a strong member again and leader in the church. 

 Alright I'll go over the other things briefly so this email isn't ridiculously long. Last week was actually Family Week so we had a nice "Family Day" District activity at the chapel on Saturday. All the branches in Bambang District attended. We played some games, had lunch, and spent some time getting to know other members and investigators from other branches. It was a pretty fun day & seemed to be a great way to help nonmembers feel comfortable with the church. 

 Yesterday we did splits with some members in our branch and I got to work with bro. Joker Igna again. He taught me more awesome things that I'm excited to try in my teaching. Another cool experience we had happened towards the end of the day. We tried all the houses we know in one spot and they were either not home or busy. While thinking of where we could go next, we were passing this one super nice house and Joker was like, "Aw, we gotta contact this one." There were people sitting right outside the door but I was ready to just keep walking. But Joker was determined, and we made a quick deal that he'd go up and say hi and then I'd take over the conversation and introduce us. The sister who owns the house let us enter through the gate and we sat down and got to know her and her sister. Turns out they actually have some member friends and family, and that their youngest sister, Princess, was taught by missionaries in the past! She apparently was really deep into the lessons, but it all stopped suddenly when she got a job. We shared a message with Ela (owner of the house) about the Restoration and then set a plan to return tonight so that we can meet Princess. This experience also reminded me of Ether 12:6. Sometimes the blessing comes after a while like in Vinalyn's case, sometimes immediately like in our case, but the promise is that it will come.

 And now for the last thing I'd like to share: I ate chocolate meat. It actually was pretty good, but still not necessarily a "go to" yet haha. That's it though. This past week was the best I had work-wise in my whole mission so far, and maybe even spirit-wise. Overall it was just a great, great one. Thank you guys for your prayers, letters, and emails! Have a great week :)

Mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi

Had a brown-out on Tuesday so did studies upstairs. Elder Labrador doesn't know about this picture yet haha.

Family Week/Day

It's hard to see this picture and not wonder what Heaven must look like.

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