Monday, October 31, 2016

10-30-16 My testimony on the power of the Priesthood was strengthened

Kumusta po mom! 

 I'll just reply to your email today. Thanks to you and dad for all the updates! That was a really cool topic that dad shared in church; I'm sure it went really well. His topic is something I was reminded of just a few days ago as well, how studying the gospel will create good habits better than studying good habits will create good habits. It may sound a little confusing at first, but it really is so simple. Living & learning the gospel goes beyond becoming a good person, it leads to becoming the best person we can be, even unto being like Jesus Christ. The more we learn about Christ the more we will love and desire to serve Him, and others. Elder Gatus (I'll talk more about him later) showed me 2 talks from his jump drive this past week: & They're both pretty long, but so powerful! Please try to find time to listen to them this week. "His Grace is Sufficient" was especially powerful for me personally and greatly changed my point of view on some things. I'm not gonna spoil it though; you guys will have to watch it yourselves haha. 

 As for this past week, it was a great one! I finally got my birthday package; thank you guys so much! You don't know how stoked I was about the clothes haha. The snacks are perfect and I so enjoyed reading your letters again and going through the pictures. Along with that I also received a bundle of small green letters from other members, which I also greatly appreciated. Thank you guys! They're very motivating and makes me more grateful and excited to be out here in the Philippines. 

 Now as for Elder Gatus. He's my new companion here in Bambang, and we already have a pretty awesome companionship haha. I was a little worried of him becoming my companion since he's really good in English and I thought I wouldn't be speaking Tagalog a whole lot with him, but he's nice and speaks Tagalog with me anyway so I can practice. We've only been together for a few days but I feel like we're gonna have a great cycle. He's kind of just like a brother and we already tease each other all the time and joke around, which I enjoy. I also noticed that he's a great teacher and missionary overall. I'm pretty stoked about this cycle, assuming I'll transfer by the next one. 

 The biggest event last week, besides transfer day, was Mae Pearl's baptism! It was a pretty memorial day for me even from the beginning. We started our day with a CSP at some members' home in the sisters area. The elders' job was to take the pile of wood stumps and branches that they had and cut them up so they could be used as fire wood. Obviously, being hard-headed, I went for the thicker pieces of wood and left the thinner ones for the others. After 30 minutes or so of chopping my back was suddenly struck with pain. I couldn't even walk over to take a seat for a minute, it was so sore. Eventually I worked my way over to a small bench and after some rest got few more branches done before leaving their home. I was supposed to baptize Mae Pearl but asked Elder Gatus to do it instead because of my back. Luckily Mae Pearl was really cool about it. We were also wondering if I'd even be able to work after the baptism. Once the baptism was over Elder Gatus asked if I wanted a Priesthood blessing and I said yes, and was kind of surprised that the thought of asking for a blessing didn't even cross my mind. This was my first time getting a Priesthood blessing since leaving the MTC. My testimony on the power of the Priesthood was strengthened all over again through Elder Gatus's blessing. As soon as he closed I jumped out of my seat and my back felt great! It's still not fully back to normal but it was more than enough to get through work comfortably. It actually was a miracle the way I see it. And the baptism overall went really well :) Our other investigator, Maria, attended and has a strong desire to be baptized as well. The only obstacle right now is that she and her "husband" aren't yet married. She almost lost hope and decided to not follow through with the baptism thing but changed her mind again after our lesson with her yesterday. She's great and I have high hopes that she'll be baptized by December.  

 Alright, those are the main things that happened this past week! The quantity of lessons wasn't so high this time, but the quality was right on I think. Like Elder Ishibashi (Fiji) said, it's not about the numbers. But it is nice to have a lot of lessons too haha. This week will be a great one! I'm excited for it. I love you guys and hope you have a great week as well!

Ingat po kayong lahat,
Elder Ishibashi
Last picture with Elder Labrador before he got on the bus. Transfers were a little different this time; he traveled alone and I waited with other elders here until Elder Gatus arrived. 

He so didn't want to leave hahah

Biggest grasshopper I ever seen in my life! And Elder Gatus tried to eat it...good story for when I get home


Baptism ni Mae Pearl! Did I mention she's the firstborn of Sis. Susan, our recently returned LA member? They're doing great things! Next step, family sealing :)

Monday, October 24, 2016

10-23-16 The power of prayer is so strong,

Kumusta po family!

 Phew, I'm finally caught up with replying to the emails from last week and can now spend some time on this one. I told this to mom already, but thank you guys so much for the prayers! Unfortunately a few zones were hit really hard by the second typhoon that came in, but nothing major happened at all down here in Bambang. It was nothing short of a miracle, especially considering that this would've been the biggest typhoon in the world, not just the Philippines. The power of prayer is so strong, especially when we do it with a broken heart and contrite spirit. Our topic yesterday in Gospel Principles class was on Sacrifice, and that's what they said the Lord needs from us. He doesn't require burnt offerings or things like that anymore like what they did in the Bible and Book of Mormon, but our sacrifice is to have a broken heart and contrite Spirit. Ultimately it means to give every thing that we have to the Lord, even up to our lives. Some great examples of that are the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, Mormon, Joseph Smith, etc., with the best being Jesus Christ. He gave everything and obeyed the will of the Father until the very end. I've made it a goal to give more of myself to the work and stop worrying so much about my own weaknesses. 

 This past week was another great one! I forgot my planner so I can't remember everything I wanted to talk about, but I'll try to go over the main things. I got to work with 3 different elders this past week: Elder Kearl, Elder Abubo, and Elder Gabelo. I had a great time working with each of them and learning different things from each as well. I really enjoy taking the good things I see from others and applying them to myself. It's like taking the shiny pieces of their armor and adding it to mine if that makes sense. I think the best thing I learned from all the splits is the importance of helping others feel loved, whether coming from you or from our Heavenly Father through teaching or prayer. Even if they're not yet ready or willing to hear the restored gospel, we should always make them feel loved and important.

 Another great thing that happened last week was Mae Pearl passing her baptismal interview! She'll be baptized this coming Saturday! :) We're super excited for her, especially since in the beginning we really didn't think she had much of a desire to be taught. She's doing so well though and said that she has a strong desire to serve a mission in a few years! I imagine that would be the coolest thing as an RM, to hear someone you baptized is now preparing others to be baptized as well. We're excited!

 Those are pretty much the main things that happened this past week. This morning we got the list of those who are transferring out of Bambang zone, and Elder Labrador is actually the only elder leaving. The whole transfers thing was affected because of the storm. I'm sad for sure since he's my favorite companion so far, but I'm excited as well to learn from and work with a new companion. We'll know who our new companions are by tomorrow. That's pretty much it though! I love you guys and hope you have a great week!

Mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi

Zone Picture from last week (Banaue)

Mosiah 28:3

3 Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.

This picture's a joke, but that's actually a really powerful scripture.

Friday, October 21, 2016

10-20-16 Typhoon update

Dear family and priesthood leaders, of course the typhoon came through an did quite a bit of damage.

All our missionaries are safe.
Though these disasters are unfortunate it brings good opportunities to bless lives both temporally and spirituality.

Thank you for preparing hardworking and faithful missionaries to bless our life and many others in the Cauayan mission. 

President and Sister Hiatt 

President C. Russell Hiatt
Philippines Cauayan Mission

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

10-18-16 A message from the mission home

Dear Family, Friends, and Priesthood Leaders of Cauayan Missionaries:

As you may or may not be aware, typhoon Haima, currently a cat 4 super typhoon is nearing our mission and will cross our northern mission boundaries on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.  I am writing to let you know that all missionaries in the path of the typhoon in our mission are moving to safer areas in the South well ahead of the storm.  

The health and safety of our missionaries is our number one priority and you can rest assured that we are always doing everything possible to make sure that your missionary is cared for in the best way possible.

During events like this, Mission Presidents are updated regularly by the Area Office and we are in constant contact with our missionaries to make sure they are not in harms way.  We also make sure that all missionaries have 72 hour kits that contain food, water, and any other necessary supplies that are needed during emergencies.  

After the storm passes, we will send out a second email letting you know the current status and that all is well.


It is such a privilege to be able to serve with these missionaries and we treasure our time with each one of them. They are incredible servants of the Lord and you can be proud of the service they are rendering to the those who reside within the boundaries of the Philippines Cauayan Mission.


We will send out another 

May the Lord bless each of you and your families in all that you do.

Much love,
President and Sister Hiatt



President C. Russell Hiatt

Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, October 17, 2016

10-17-16 I have been so blessed today

Kumusta po family!

 Man, thank you guys so much for the birthday wishes! Today was actually such a super great day. It just so happened that we planned to go to Banaue on this day! It was pretty crazy and stressful planning the trip because of the storm and a group of other missionaries coming along with us, but it all worked out and was all worth it. We got up this morning and had a great breakfast at McDonalds in Solano, where Elder Labrador treated me. Some from the other group of missionaries were there waiting and they greeted me with "Happy birthday!". They even surprised me with a nice tie they bought! The ride to and from Banaue was great since most of the other group are my closer friends outside of Bambang zone. And Banaue itself, of course, was awesome! The clouds were passing through the terraces the whole time we were there so the view wasn't as clear as usual, but it kept the weather cold which was perfect since the hike was death. Like even worse than the past few times. Still worth it though haha. I figured this was my last time ever visiting Banaue so I probably blew like 2000 pesos on souvenirs and things haha, I'm stoked. Before heading back to Bambang we had lunch in Solano and they surprised me with a birthday cake! What's crazy too is some members made me and Elder Labrador our own little personal cakes a couple days ago, and on our way back to Bambang today another texted us and said to drop by their house later on to pick up a cake they bought for me. We also have a dinner later on...I'm actually hoping there's no cake haha. I told Elder Labrador I wanted a simple birthday but somehow a bunch of people found out and did so much to make sure I had a good day. And I did. And your emails just made it that much better. Know that I have been so blessed today; this actually may have been my best birthday so far. I love you guys!

 As for the storm this past weekend, it really wasn't too bad :) The power went out on Saturday night and the winds and rain got crazy strong, too loud for us to be able to sleep. We were super blessed to have nothing dangerous at all happen to our missionaries here, although some homes were destroyed because of the storm. Our electricity was back on by the time we got home today, which we were really grateful for. I actually hope the members see what happened as a learning opportunity and humble themselves in being more obedient to the Lord in all things. Hopefully we'll also have some opportunities to do service this week. We also received a text earlier today that another, bigger storm is coming in this week. It will hit the more northern part of the mission, but we may be affected by it as well because of it's strength. Please pray for us and especially them!

 Sorry, the connection is really slow so I won't be able to send any pictures. We also got back a lot later than usual today so this email is just a quick one. Sorry to those who wrote me, I'll reply next week for sure! Elder Labrador & I continue to have a strong, healthy companionship and many, many great things are happening. We're slowly finding more people to teach and getting blessed with more progressing investigators! I can't believe that it's transfer day already next week! By my next email I'll know if Elder Labrador is transferring out or if I am. President Hiatt is super unpredictable so we have no idea haha, it's fun though. I love you guys! Have a great week, and thank you again so much for the birthday wishes!

Mahal na mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi

Sweet one picture was able to load. Love you guys!

Monday, October 10, 2016

10-9-16 Naimbag a malem!

Naimbag a malem!

 Thanks for the email dad! I couldn't help but laugh at what happened with Lehia haha. What a soldier! Only he would stick his hand in sketchy places to catch a single fish. That'll be a crazy good skill when applied to missionary work: not being afraid to go through sketchy situations to save even just one soul. That's the mentality the sons of Mosiah had, and they're blessings overflowed. I got a letter this week from a couple in my second area giving thanks for helping them enter the waters of baptism and some other things. It really was the coolest, most edifying feeling. I also admire Lehia big time for his decision to not continue reading that book. Great example of President Monson's "Dare to Stand Alone" talk. Keep it up Lehia! I know Kala'i them are doing great too and I'm so grateful for their examples as well. It's so weird that there's only 3 of them at home now haha. 

 Elder Labrador & I had another memorial week! Vinalyn was finally baptized! I bumped her head while baptizing her so she'll always remember that about her baptism...but there's nothing to be done now haha. She forgave me easily and just teases me about it. Of the whole week we only had the equivalent of about 2 and a half days of work here in Bambang, but we made the most of it. On Tuesday we had a couple hours of work before heading over to sleep over in Bagabag! The plan given by the Assistants was to sleep over in Bagabag and then Elder Hilbun & I would take a bus early Wednesday morning to Cauayan to get our Philippines Driver's License. It was pretty cool being in Bagabag again, but I don't like sleeping there anymore haha. 

 Plans changed when we were already there and Elder Hilbun & I were told to just head over after studies and lunch. We got to the mission home and just went on splits with the office elders. I got to work with Elder Warren again which was pretty cool. I really enjoyed our first lesson, which was with an American! Brother Jack, from Kansas. He believes in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father but really wants to be able to say that he "knows" they exist. He has strong faith and a huge willingness to do whatever it takes to have a personal relationship with God. He was excited to watch General Conference this past weekend, so I hope he made it and was touched by the Spirit.

 Elder Hilbun & I ended up getting our Driver's License Thursday morning before MLC. What's funny is we didn't even drive and Elder Hilbun's American license was expired but we passed anyway haha. MLC was super awesome and uplifting as well. We're super excited for the Mission Tour coming up next week with Elder Schmutz, who actually spoke in the Sunday Afternoon Session!

General Conference was probably the highlight of the week (aside from Vinalyn's baptism). I learned so many great things! I have a firm testimony that everyone who spoke in General Conference are called of God and were inspired to share everything that they did. Something that made this General Conference really memorable was actually something that happened before the Sunday MorningSession even started. It's a long story, but it was exactly what I needed to be prepared spiritually to listen to our leaders speak in Conference. I learned that I still have a lot to work on when it comes to humility, and that through humility we can become more Christlike.

 Overall everything continues to be really great! I realized this week how much I enjoy working with Elder Labrador. He's a great, great missionary & companion. I hope you guys continue to progress in everything, especially the gospel. Love you guys!

Elder Ishibashi

Baptism ni Vinalyn

Sister Susan (green) returned and even brought her friend Maria (stripes)!

District Activity this morning

I don't even know sometimes haha

Thought Lehia would appreciate this one

Monday, October 3, 2016

10-02-16 Kumusta po family!

Kumusta po family!

 First off, my heart is so full of gratitude for what happened to Herb. I tear up a little imagining the car rolling and getting just 10 feet from the edge. And to imagine that this happened to Herb, someone so kind and innocent. It makes me think of the Savior, the greatest, kindest, most innocent person having to suffer the worst pain. I hope this doesn't make Herb feel uncomfortable haha, but thank you. His experience makes me more grateful for the Atonement. It also strengthens my testimony that there is a God and that He knows and loves us all so much. And hey congratulations on being enagaged! I'm super stoked for you guys and will write down the date on my calendar at home. As for the others, you guys are looking good! Keep it up with exercising and stuff! Lehia, you're probably the coolest person I know haha. And miss you pretty girl :) Also good luck to Kala'i in getting back into Kamehameha! 

 Elder Labrador & I had a super great week as well. We actually got more lessons than we did last week! It's a cool feeling, but I will admit sometimes I focused a little more on getting a lesson than actually inviting someone to come unto Christ. I'll be more aware of working with the Spirit this week. A lot of things will be going on this week as well so hopefully we'll still have some good work. 

 You guys remember me mentioning Princess last week? We visted her that night and she's awesome! The only stumbling block right now is that Monday is her only day-off, which means she wouldn't be able to go to church even if she wanted to. We'll visit her later on today and hopefully find a way for her to be able to progress. Two other great investigators we have with stumbling blocks are tatay Tony and Julicell (Vinalyn's older sister). Tatay also works too often to be able to make it to church and Julicell isn't yet married. We're trying to find ways to help them overcome these things, but maybe it's just not yet the right timing of the Lord. Hopefully soon though! Haha.

  As for Ayesha, everything worked out and she was baptized this past Saturday! I had the privilege of performing the baptism and Elder Labrador confirmed her the next day. She's awesome and we're excited. Vinalyn will follow and be baptized this coming Saturday! We'll also watch General Conference this coming Saturdayand Sunday which I'm crazy excited for. 

 Alright sorry, we really don't have much time today. Of all the week I'd have to say the best thing that happened was S. Susan coming to church yesterday! We have been working so hard with this sister for a while now and I knew that her desire to return to church was there, but she just could not get over the fear of what others might think. What also doesn't help is having a less-active husband who seems to not care at all how important the gospel is. They haven't been to church long enough for even their firstborn, Mae Pearl, to be baptized. She's now 15 and we've been teaching her for a while as well. Last Sunday s. Susan promised to go to church but at church Mae Pearl said that her mom said she's not yet ready.On Friday I worked with Elder Andaya and we visited her and those who were home listened as well. We shared Alma 34:32-33 with her and explained the importance of making the decision NOW. If not now, when? We never know when we'll leave this world, and if we'll wait it out until that time comes, it'll be too late. I also shared that experience at Hapuna where I almost died, which is an experience I share a lot. At that moment the absolute first thing I did was repent haha. There's no such thing as death-bed repentance, God doesn't work that way. But yup so s. Susan was actually at the church already when we got there and I almost cried of happiness. My face hurt later on because my smile was so dumb and big haha. She finally made that huge step of coming back to church, and now it'll just get easier and easier and they'll be more blessed! This Goespel is the best.

 I love you guys so much! And thanks for sending 'Ohu's email dad. Not gonna lie I'm pretty nervous now since this Wednesday I'll be going to Cauayan to get a Driver's License haha. I'll be super careful and pray hard that everything will be okay. I hope you guys have another great, blessing-filled week! And be more safe!

Mahal na mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi

Splits with Elder Oredson. Took this picture right at the back of Vinalyn's little compound of houses! 

Baptism ni Ayesha. She's a character too haha

Went back up to the cross this morning