Monday, January 16, 2017

1-15-2017 Jesus Christ knows exactly what we're going through.

Magandang hapon po family! And happy birthday mom and dad!

 Thanks dad for the update on mom's birthday and I'm glad it was a great day for her :) I hope today was a great one for you too (and aunty Star!). And I'm so happy for Yasmine & Ketter and also for Herbert them! 

 Alright! I have a bunch of things to report on and not much time to type since I spent time watching mormon messages on the computer haha. First off, this past week was yet another awesome one. It's been a little weird without Elder Frei, but still great. I enjoy having Elder Fernandez as my companion. Tomorrow we'll know who our new companion is since the AP's said we'll become a threesome again this cycle. 

 Although we didn't reach the high expectations I had for last week, I wouldn't consider it a failed week at all. We didn't have the most amount of lessons, but I feel that most of them were more powerful than usual. I had a cool experience with fasting this week and have found out how to be more effective as a missionary. Fasting is such a blessing and is something we should do when we're struggling with something or need to make a big decision in life. Sometimes we tend to forget the power of it. I love that you guys are working with the missionaries and trying to figure out as a family who you can share the gospel with. Just remember that there's always fasting to give that extra help in thinking of someone to reach out to. 

 We got a couple more new investigators last week and they seem pretty golden! The first was actually taught in the past by Elder Frei & his last companion but this brother left to Manila and only just got home a couple weeks ago. Brother Mika. He's awesome! He has a super strong desire to know the truth and is willing to make the changes necessary to do so. He wasn't at church yesterday unfortunately so we'll follow-up on that this week. The other golden investigator is Jenny, the mother of the 2 sisters we met and taught the other week. Jenny too was taught in the past but things kept her from being able to be baptized. Now it's possible to work through those things so we're trying to help her and her family. 

 My favorite lesson we had all week was with the Espante family yesterday. As of now it's only tatay and nanay Espante; their kids are away with their own families. Tatay and nanay have to be the most humble people I know, living in the most humble circumstances. Their home is where they work, which is just under a large, open pavilion filled with glass bottles. Their job is to clean the bottles well enough to be able to be reused. They work so hard, sometimes over 16 hours a day, every day. And in one week they only make 500 pesos which is just over 10 dollars. Yet despite this they are always smiling and so are excited when we share messages with them since their boss won't allow them to go to church sometimes. Yesterday we had some members work with us and one of them, an RM, quoted Matt: 11:28-30, "28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
 Jesus Christ knows exactly what we're going through. He promises that if we take His name upon ourselves and strive to be like Him, our own personal burdens will be lifted. You guys think you could get that song related to this that Uncle Keenan sang and send it to me? If can, that would be super cool. 

 Something my thoughts kept turning back to throughout this week was the word, "sacrifice".Everyone sacrifices at some point of their life, but sometimes we sacrifice for the wrong things. I don't have enough time to go too deep into that, but I want to share a little about the testimony of another member who worked with us in visiting a less-active member. This less-active says she knows the church is true but sacrifices herself and duties as a member so that her children can be successful. Sister Nonie, the one who worked with us, simply bore her testimony that she doesn't care where her kids are in life, as long as their lives are centered on Jesus Christ. That reminded me so much of mom. I'm not near being a parent yet, but I imagine that would be the absolute best feeling, to have all your children strong in the church and living Christ-centered lives. Our Gospel Principles teacher yesterday helped me to see it more clearly. What would you prefer: to be eating dinner on a nice table in a big house, but knowing you're not living according to God's will? or being in a more humble circumstance but knowing that God is proud of you? I'd easily pick the second. It helped me to see that absolutely nothing ever should come before God. 

 Thank you guys again for the emails! Happy birthday again to mom, dad, and aunty Star! :) I love you guys!

 Sa ulitin ulit,
Elder Ishibashi

After Zone Training Meeting

Elder Fernandez's "Akyat Challenge"

Hung out as a district earlier after playing volleyball with some members

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