First off, I'm so glad to hear you guys are all okay! I actually didn't hear anything about a storm hitting Hawaii until your email...maybe the Lord knew I wouldn't be able to focus if I did. I'm so happy & grateful to know that it was so minimum. We really do live in Paradise!
I enjoyed reading your emails and Elder Ishibashi's blog from Fiji. It's impossible to deny that living a gospel-centered life brings true happiness. I can bear testimony of that with power because I see it happening with you guys at home & with Elder Ishibashi. And it for sure has been happening with me. I had a dream the other night where I was talking with Brandon Meyers somewhere and I asked him how it is being an RM. He said it was alright, kind of used to it by now. I told him I don't wanna go home and actually began to cry because I knew it was coming up soon haha. In the morning I thought about the dream and thought, "Why is it that I don't want to go home?" Our house in Hawaii is nicer, my family's there, the food isn't as exotic, there's no language barrier, it's okay to watch movies, surf, listen to different kinds of music, and so many other reasons why home could seem better than here. Later on in church I realized why. I realized that it's because of living a more gospel-centered life than I did at home. Never before did I read from scriptures or books written by prophets for an hour each day. Never did I pray so many times throughout each day. Never did I actually look forward to teaching how we can return to our Father in Heaven. Because of these things I have felt the true joy that was promised in my Patriarchal blessing. I concluded that it's not that I don't want to go home, I just don't want to stop being a missionary haha. It'll be hard keeping up with these habits when there will be so many other things to think & worry about. Don't get me wrong though, I'll probably cry when I see you guys again haha.
I have so many other things to go over since I wasn't able to send a good email last week. So the splits I had with Elder Kearl & Elder Abubo went really well. Elder Labrador & I feel that they'll both excel really quickly in the mission. Elder Kearl has a gift of being optimistic and friendly with everyone. When I went over for splits that was his first time leading the area, and he took it like a champ. Although a few lessons fell through he just saw it as an opportunity to find others to teach. Elder Abubo came over to our area for splits so I lead, but it was a good experience too. He's a very bold & confident teacher, and enjoys addressing the needs of those he teaches.
This past week was a great one filled with more blessings. We had MLC this past Thursday and I enjoyed listening again to our leaders in the mission. I'm excited to relay their messages to our zone tomorrow. After the MLC I got some letters. Tell mom I said thanks for the card :) And thank you to Uncle Herbie them for their letters! I enjoyed reading every one. And to grandma, thank you for the small gift haha. Love you :)
Another great thing that happened this past week was having a couple come to church. We met nanay Ayda through contacting about a month ago but never got to return to her home to teach her. Last week an older man got onto the jeepney we were on and Elder Labrador decided to talk with him. Eventually we learned that he's nanay Ayda's husband! We got out of the jeepney and into a tricey with him (just so happened we were going to work near their home). After trying a few houses but being punted we walked over to their house. The first thing nanay Ayda said to me was, "How's my child from Hawaii?" She calls everyone her child haha. I thought it was interesting though that she remembered where I was from even though we haven't seen her for a long time and even that first time was only a couple minutes. It told me that she really did mean it when she said she was interested & that we could return on another day to teach her about the gospel. She even scolded us for not visiting sooner haha. We had a great lesson with them and answered nanay's questions the best we could. Nanay them go to church at the Catholic church near our chapel but promised that after mass they'd visit. She was even excited to do so since she's been wanting to see what it's like in our chapel. Elder Labrador & I were so stoked to actually see them yesterday morning! They even had one of their grandchildren with them, Kurt. I'm excited to ask them how it was this week and continue teaching them.
Alright, that's actually pretty much it for the week I guess. Something I love about the Philippines is they start celebrating Christmas in September, so Merry Christmas! I'm expecting a lot of Christmas songs to start playing this week. I love that they spend 4 whole months remembering Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ. Of course we should be thinking about him everyday, but it's still a good feeling. Besides, how often do we actually think about his birth & childhood? As for me, probably not enough. On Sunday our teacher kept repeating, "You know me, but you don't KNOW me". It's easy to say that we know Jesus Christ, but do we actually KNOW him? It reminds me of the story dad told me a while back with the 3 men who died and met someone at the gate in Heaven. I don't have enough time to write it out so you'll have to ask him for it.
Sorry for the long email. I love being here in Bambang and serving with Elder Labrador. We'll know by my next email if he's transferring or not. Again I'm so happy to know you guys are all safe and healthy. So many blessings going on. I love you guys! Have a great week!
Elder Teikauea, also going home next week. He'll be in Fiji for a bit before returning to Tuvalu so he says he'll keep an eye out for Elder Ishibashi! He's also planning on going to BYUH so he'll look for Herbert as well.
Pretty funny but also humbling to see this. We tend to forget sometimes how much we really do have. Count your blessings!
This picture was taken last week. What's funny is some people were actually calling dibs on the head haha. Last night I ate pig intestines for the first time. It was chewy and the after taste was a little weird, but overall not too bad.