Monday, December 5, 2016

12-4-16 "slap-in-the-face" moments

Magandang hapon po family! Maligayang Pasko!

 Woo December na! I'm so excited for this month and to feel the Christmas Spirit again. So far December has been pretty interesting; this past week was a crazy one. Probably one of the more stressful weeks I've had haha, but like Elder Kane likes to say, "I didn't sign up for an easy mission". We had a really good MLC in Cauayan and learned more about our responsibilities as leaders of the mission. Because of transfers I think we only had one day to prepare for our Zone Training Meeting which was on Thursday. That went well too though; we're so blessed to have a great zone. Or to have had I guess I should say. I'll be transferring on Wednesday :/ 

 Besides the MLC & ZTM a few other things came up throughout the week that kept us from working as long as we're usually able to. The work that we did have went well though. One of my favorite lessons we had was with Germalyn, our investigator who wants to be baptized but can't since she and her spouse aren't officially married. If you guys don't know, there's no such thing as divorcement here in the Philippines. It's against the law to divorce. So that means once you're married and something happens to your relationship, you can't marry anyone else until your last companion dies or there's a really good reason that you guys are separated. Germalyn's spouse, Felipe, was once married. Germalyn has a strong testimony of the church and is so faithful, but can't be baptized yet because of the marriage thing. We shared 1 Nephi 9:6 with her and testified that God knows everything and will help her if she continues to trust in Him. Sister Germalyn, no job (Felipe looking for a job himself), lives in a humble home in the midst of rice fields a couple miles from the church. Yet she finds a way to get to church every Sunday, even if it means walking in the sun sometimes. She told us in the lesson that she does feel like giving up sometimes, but trusts with everything that the Lord will help her eventually. These are the kinds of people who deserve so much more than some of us. 

 I really enjoyed reading your emails as well as Elder Ishibashi's (Fiji) email last week about being grateful. I had one of those "slap-in-the-face" moments this morning as well haha. I read Nephi's experience on the ship in 1 Nephi 18. You guys can read the story from verses 9-16. Nephi is the type of person where all he wants to do is the right thing. He's always so diligent in following the Lord. Here in 18 Laman & Lemuel get mad at him again, and bind him with cords, again. Now imagine the cords they used, probably super rough and coarse. Imagine Nephi being tied, by his own brothers, to a post by his wrists and ankles in front of everyone, his wife and children included. A terrible storm came and lasted for 4 days. Imagine the cords rubbing against his skin for 4 straight days and him watching his family and parents tossed around because of the storm. Nephi doesn't complain, but mentions that this affliction was "exceedingly sore". I imagine Nephi had a hard time moving because of pain when the bands were finally loosed by his brothers. The greatest thing about this story was what he said in 16, that despite everything that happened, "I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions".

 The past couple days I've been kind of beating myself up and thinking more about the things not going so well with the work. But after reading this story again, I had to laugh at how little my problems are compared to Nephis, yet how quickly I complain and murmur! I'm glad I got to read that before getting the transfer list and finding out that I'm leaving, because I so didn't want to. We have a lot of great things happening here and I was going to be the one to baptize Lloyd this coming Saturday, but that's a pretty dumb reason to complain haha. Like you guys and Elder Ishibashi have been doing I too am trying not to focus on the bad things, but on the good. Like Nephi, it's possible to find good in absolutely any situation. 

 We'll find out where I'm transferring to tomorrow night and I'll let you guys know how it is in my next email. I love you guys! The Christmas tree looks really good! And you guys are looking really good too. Have a great week!

 Mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi

Sister Lanie. She works where we eat lunch every now and then

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