Monday, April 10, 2017

4-9-17 I'm so stoked with whats happening

Family! Kumusta po!
 Oh my goodness some amazing things have happened this past week! Awesome, awesome things. I'll just go over the bigger parts first. As you guys probably know, we didn't get to watch General Conference until this past weekend. So something we did last week was prepare people for General Conference by sharing Mosiah 2:9 with them, where King Benjamin has his people gathered together to hear him speak for the last time. He encourages them to not "trifle" or play around with his words, but to take them seriously, and open their ears, hearts, and minds that they may understand. Although I'm not sure how much it helped those we taught, sharing and diving deep into this verse definitely helped me to understand and know how to prepare myself spiritually to receive and understand anything that the Spirit wanted me to know when the time came to listen to our beloved prophet and leaders of the church. Because of that preparation I received so many answers and ideas that will help me to improve as a person and missionary. 

 On Thursday we had a great MLC and learned so many great things that will be shared at Zone Training Meetings this coming Thursday. Of all the things though the greatest thing that stood out to me was something Sister Hiatt did. She had an impromptu role practice with one of the elders and taught him about the Sabbath Day. She broke down the scripture verse in such a clear and simple way that I learned so many new things, even though I've used that verse countless times throughout my mission. I realized then how important it is not to just use the scriptures in teaching, but breaking it down, sometimes even word by word, and asking inspired questions, so that the person being taught can, in a sense, teach him/herself. Another great thing we learned at MLC was how to correct people in a loving manner, which proved helpful that night when we had to invite a member family, where both parents have callings in the branch, to stop selling alcohol at their home. 

 We found more people to teach this past week and a few of them have high potential. One sticks out more than the others though, sister Ana. We actually met Ana a few weeks ago, in that small compound where we met the man who thinks we can't live together as families in the next life. Ana was the first person we met in that compound but was kind of busy and seemed really shy, so we kept her in mind but didn't think too much about it afterwards. This past Tuesday we made time to visit that compound again and we caught Ana at a good time. Turns out she was actually wondering when we'd come back to visit her! We had a great lesson then and invited her to General Conference on Saturday and Sunday. We visited her again on Saturday and said we missed her at Conference then taught another lesson on prophets. Something you guys should know about Ana is that she really isn't a "people person". She's one of the sweetest women I've met but rarely ever leaves their compound, so isn't very comfortable around large groups of people. They also live quite a distance from the church which means they'd have to take a tricey to church. They live in a small, humble home and her husband works as a conductor for jeepneys. Something we shared with her on Saturday is that this gospel is a gospel of action. This is something that President Dieter F. Uchtdorf shared in the latest Liahona. It's wonderful to pray and listen to the missionaries, but that is not enough. We explained that we need to step out of our comfort zones sometimes and show the Lord that we're ready to follow Him. You guys have no idea how crazy excited we were to see her and her daughter Geian (5 yrs. old) get out of the tricey in front of the church on Sunday morning! Not only did they come, but they stayed through both sessions! Something sad I've noticed here is that less than 10 people (not exaggerating) will attend the Saturday sessions, the Sunday morning session will packed up to the back stage, then the afternoon session will go back down to like less than 30 people. But sister Ana stayed and her daughter was such a good girl the entire time. I feel that they are the miracle I've been praying and working for the past couple weeks. I'm so bummed that I won't be teaching them anymore though after tomorrow!
 Yup, I'm transferring again. Craziest thing though, and I'm so stoked with what's happening. I've discussed with my past couple companions what's gonna happen with me towards the end of the mission: where will I die (end my mission)? will I still be a zone leader? will I train again? etc. I said there were 2 things I don't want to do: train again or open an area. And those are the 2 exact things that will be happening these last 2 cycles I have haha. We just barely got home from work last night when President Hiatt called. He said I'll be training a new missionary and opening area in Gamu, Burgos zone (right next door to Roxas). I'll be a District Leader now. It was pretty much the exact feeling I had when I opened my mission call. You guys remember that? One place I didn't want to serve a mission and that's exactly where the Lord sent me. But, just like that time, I'm so excited now. A few days ago I prayed that I may have many challenges at the closing of my mission so that I could learn and grow more and quicker than ever. I told God I was ready and prayed that He would trust me to handle anything that He would throw at me. I didn't expect Him to throw a bus(haha), but I'm so grateful that He answered that prayer. I know how important training is and am excited to teach another elder how a missionary should be. I'm not sure why the Lord wants me to open an area but I'm excited to find out. Overall I'm just filled with so much gratitude that I can end my mission "with a bang".

 Alright those are the main things. It was such a fulfilling and wonderful last week here in Roxas. I'll miss this place and the people like crazy, but I'm ready and excited to get hit with something new. Thank you guys for your emails and pictures every week! You look good dad! It's pretty set in my mind that Lehia's the coolest person I know haha. I'm super proud of Kala'i for being a kind person. Continue to be kind to everyone, even those in church. I was thinking about that this past week and almost tear up now when I remember how rude and mean I was to my fellow young men, especially the non-locals. Don't be the reason that someone feels uncomfortable or unloved, especially at church. And for Sister Ray, I got your letter, thank you :) You can rely on "DearElder". I do remember aunty Malia and will keep her family in my prayers. I love you guys! Have a great week!

 Ingat po, sa ulitin ulit,
Elder Ishibashi

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