Monday, June 26, 2017

6-25-17 This is the miracle I've been working and praying so hard for

Magandang hapon po family!

 Thanks for the email dad! I'm so happy to hear about the progress of the ward! And those notes you took are so great and I know are inspired. It's a little heartbreaking that the Aloisios are leaving, but I'm happy at the same time for Macmillan. Also I hope I can make it before baby comes! 

 Man, this past week was a memorable one for sure. And this week will be one too. I'll try to get through the smaller things before telling you guys about the miracle that happened. 

 For one thing, Elder Marquez has now hit "legend" status in my book haha. He's just too good. We're teaching nanay Sofia(progressing investigator)'s mother who lives a few houses away from them. The other day we went to her house to teach and found her smoking while washing dishes. This nanay is about 83 years old. Elder got on her immediately about how smoking is bad and how it does not give us strength, explaining that he knows because he's tried it too. He said that candy would be better for her and had me pull out the candy from my bag meant for kids. He asked for the cigarette, chucked it, and had me give my candy to nanay. Everything happened so quick I don't think nanay had time to think about it until after we left hahaha. We gave her more candy this morning. Yesterday he invited a member to do missionary work with us on Sundays instead of actual work (tricey driving). It's so fun just watching him sometimes haha. Never had a boring day yet with this guy.

 On Wednesday we had a great, great zone conference. We talked about the urgency of the work we do as missionaries. We also discussed a lot about talking with people and bringing up the Restoration through a boy prophet every first time we meet or teach someone. My favorite thing we learned about though was about quiet dignity. Elder Evan A. Schmutz said, "Irreverence is a sign of disobedience". This is something I've been thinking about lately as well. This gospel is so fun and should be seen as a fun thing, but there are times to be professional. When we're recognized as representatives of Jesus Christ - which applies to all church members and not just missionaries - we have a responsibility to be good. Everyone has weaknesses, but we can constantly evaluate ourselves and find ways to improve and keep ourselves worthy to hold upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ. 
 Alright I gotta tell you guys about the miracle haha. We had the zone leaders meet Jackie on Wednesday because she had some things she wanted to confess just to make sure that she can be baptized feeling free & clean. I didn't think it'd be something to keep her from being baptized this coming Saturday, but we planned for them to meet a week in advance just to be sure. Elder Palacio came out to us after meeting with her and said something I was not expecting at all. Jackie has been to church 3 weeks in a row but hasn't once stayed for the whole 3 hours because of work. I know working on Sundays goes against keeping the Sabbath Day holy, but we justified, convincing ourselves that there was no way to get her out of that. We spoke with the APs who spoke with President Hiatt, who said that we should praise sister for her faith and diligence in seeking the truth, but that she could not be baptized as long as she works on Sundays. Even just working after church was not good enough; she needed to have the entire day off. I was heartbroken and even a little bitter. Jackie has acted upon every single invitation we've given immediately and hasn't fallen to temptation once since doing so. In my mind it wasn't fair that she couldn't be baptized because of one small thing. While teaching her though after the zone leaders left I had a wake-up call. We taught about the Sabbath Day and how God has given us 6 days to do "all" of our work, and only asks for 1 day from us to rest and focus on Him. While teaching I thought, "Why are you sad? This is a commandment!" I know that commandments are not meant to limit us, but are meant to make us happy. My attitude changed and I became so grateful that Elder Palacio was more worried about what God thought rather than what we thought. If Jackie was to be baptized thinking it's okay to work on Sundays that could've been the start to many other problems. We urged her to find a way to have the day off, and she promised to do her best. Since that lesson I prayed harder than I ever have before and did some other things that I know provide special help. On Friday she called and asked if we could teach her since she'd be busy on Saturday. When we got there she said she had great news. SHE'S OFF ON SUNDAYS! She had to ask her boss and switch schedules with a workmate, but it happened. She stayed the whole 3 hours yesterday and we taught her later on that day about tithing which she's happy to follow. Right after the lesson the zone leaders called and said that the baptism, if she really did get the day off and stayed the whole 3 hours in church, was a go! So she'll still be baptized this Saturday!! And I'm blessed to be the one to baptize her. This is the miracle I've been working and praying so hard for these past 2 cycles. 

 This week is going to be another great, great one. We're gonna go extra hard and make sure the area is well prepared for Elder Marquez's next companion. Love you guys! I'll be able to email next Monday but I think they said it'll be a little later in the afternoon. But have a great week!

Mahal ko po kayo,
Elder Ishibashi

Nanay Sofia & Nathaniel (son) sitting down, and a few other investigators. Nanay Sofia went to church again yesterday! She participated in the classes and is making a lot of new friends! She'll be baptized on July 15 if all continues to go well :) 

Monday, June 19, 2017

6-18-17 Magandang hapon po family!

Magandang hapon po family!

 I'm excited to tell you guys about our week! But first, thank you, dad, for sharing what Elder Holland said about this Dispensation. We really are so blessed to be living in this day! Great motivation to keep going and stay faithful. It's also interesting that you shared the Standard of Truth. I've only heard that for the first time here in Gamu. One of our housemates has it memorized and recites it every now and then as well. I'll try to get that memorized before I get home.

 Our District Meeting topic was on boldly giving commitments. One of my favorite stories is when Aaron teaches the father of King Lamoni and he develops a great desire to receive this "great joy" that Aaron taught about. He was even willing to give up his entire kingdom - including every worldly thing he owned - to receive eternal life. Aaron told him to kneel down and call upon the Lord. It was after that that he was forgiven of his sins and felt the joy he was looking for. If Aaron didn't invite him to do that, he wouldn't have felt that joy. We've made it a goal to be more bold in our teaching and stop worrying so much about what others think. Elder Pulley (AP) attended the meeting and the Spirit was powerful as he testified on the importance of being bold and clear so that those we teach can have the chance to exercise their own free agency. Elder Pulley's actually a legend haha, known for his boldness.

 Jackie is still progressing like crazy. She's reading the Book of Mormon daily and applies everything we teach immediately. Our fellowshippers are constantly following-up on things with her and staying close which I'm so grateful for. She's excited for her baptism and is happy to share the blessings that are coming as she continues on this path. We're so excited for her! We taught her about the Word of Wisdom and she said until then she's been drinking coffee pretty normally. But she accepted it immediately as something coming from God and said she'll swap it with milk. She is just so ready! 

 NANAY SOFIA WENT TO CHURCH YESTERDAY! She texted us on Saturday morning saying she wasn't at home (we usually visit her on Saturdays) but that we'd see her at church on Sunday. We planned for a member to pass by Sunday morning and go to church with her, but this member had something happen at the last minute and wasn't able to attend church. Yesterday we waited and waited until church started, but nanay didn't show. We went inside happy that 3 other investigators including Jackie were there, but so so bummed because Nanay's promised for about 4 weeks in a row that she'd go. When the sacrament hymn started I got up to close the doors and just before closing one I noticed her on the very back row! And with her was her one niece we're also teaching and then some other little kids! I was so happy it's hard to explain. The talks were great and they stayed for the classes but had to go home just a little early because one of the kids was tired and fussy. But we visited nanay today and she said it was a great experience and she'll attend again this coming Sunday! She's also now reading in Mosiah 13! Whenever she's not busy, she reads from the Book of Mormon. 

 We have a handful of other investigators who are slowly progressing as well! The work is going so well here it's crazy. That's it though for the main things! I love you guys! Next week may be my last time to email! I'm not sure if we'll have time to email on my last monday here. Have a great week, love you guys!

 Elder Ishibashi

ps. Thanks for the picture! Good job Kala'i and Lehia!

Gamu chapel

Monday, June 12, 2017

6-11-17 I traded seats with a woman

Magandang hapon po na naman family!

 I forgot my planner at our District Center yesterday so I probably won't be able to remember everything that happened last week, sorry. Everything continues to go well though! Our District Meeting last week was about service. Elder Palacio, the zone leader who attended our meeting, shared an experience he had in his last area. He went out of his way to serve their next door neighbor by getting up extra early just to help her pump water, and through that she treated them more nicely and gained respect for them. I thought that was a cool story and committed my district to go out of their way this past week to serve someone. I had a pretty cool experience the next day after our meeting in Cauayan for our going-home batch. On the jeep I traded seats with a woman so that she could sit more comfortably. It was a little awkward since we were already moving and jeeps get so cramped up, but I remembered what Elder Palacio did and asked the lady if she wanted to switch. We found our way around each other and even though it was a little awkward, it felt good to go out of my way to do something nice. She even thanked me using "elder" which means that she did recognize me as a representative of Christ and the church. Like what Sis. Housman mentioned in her email, we don't know how great one act of kindness can affect one person. 

 Our going-home meeting in Cauayan was really good and it was cool being together as a batch again. We learned about setting goals and plans, but mostly about the importance of doing these things in a way that is in accordance to God's will. Something I liked that was shared was that even God has an ultimate goal and a perfect plan in order to accomplish that goal. His goal is " bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man", and his plan is called the Plan of Salvation. If we will follow this plan exactly, there's no way we can't receive the blessings Heavenly Father wants so bad to give us. After the meeting I also ran into some members from Alicia! It was super nice seeing them again and catching up real quick. 

 Before I end this I wanna give a quick update on our progressing investigators. Jackie is doing so so well! We felt like we needed to jump over to teaching her about the Law of Chastity before moving on to lesson 2. We hesitated a little but really felt like it was the right thing to do so we went with it. The Spirit guided that lesson again and we got to teach her very boldly, yet in a way where she could feel the concern that we have for her and that we, especially the Lord, only want her to be happy and protected. She texted us that night and thanked us for the lesson. She's reading through 2 Nephi now and is just soaking in everything we teach her.

 Nanay Sofia is reading the Book of Mormon as well and will stop what she's doing at any time to listen to us. She invited another friend to listen to us today while we taught her, and she was happy to tell her friend that her baptism is coming up! Once she can get to the point of steadily going to church, she'll be baptized. Unfortunately I won't be here to witness it, but I'm so so stoked for the email and picture confirming that everything went through. Her husband sat in as well earlier as we taught about the Plan of Salvation, and he seemed very interested. Hopefully that will push him to overcome his vices and have the desire to follow this great plan as well, because I know that that's nanay's greatest desire, for her family to be together forever. 

 Alright we're a little overtime again. I love you guys! Thank you for the pictures and updates. Have a great week!

 Elder Ishibashi 

Elder Tuwai from Fiji! He doesn't know any Ishibahis, but he knows the one Fijian kid coming out to the Cauayan Mission. This elder fell out of a coconut tree a few weeks ago so is in Cauayan while he heals haha. 


Some of our great YSA fellowshippers

Monday, June 5, 2017

6-4-17 True wisdom means putting the Lord before ourselves.

Magandang hapon po family!

 Alright almost my whole computer time doing things in preparation for our homecoming, so this email is going to be fairly short. Thank you for the email though and the awesome updates! What a cool activity! I've read so much about the pioneers since I've been out here; I don't think any of us could comprehend the things they went through. It's so humbling and amazing that they did the things they did out of pure love for the Lord and hope for the following generations. I wish I could've attended the activity myself, but I'm super happy to see that Kaukahi them got to attend. The boys are so tall! I had to laugh at what Kaukahi did hahaha, such a Kaukahi thing to do. I super enjoyed reading about Kala'i's experience, asking for help from grandpa. It's actually a really cool thing that you understand the closeness we have to those on the other side of the veil. That's something I didn't understand too well until just before serving my mission. Keep it up and always keep yourself worthy to exercise your Priesthood power at any time!

 Alright I can't go too deep into the many things that happened this past week, but it was another super great one. I just love working with Elder Marquez and it continues to amaze me how great a missionary he already is. He's so diligent and never let's hardships bring him down. We're continuing to find and teach great people who seem so ready. Sis. Jackie is still progressing so well! She got to 1 Nephi 15 within a week! She's highlighting verses that stand out to her and even posting verses on Facebook! Her parents are still against her becoming a member, but she feels that this is the right thing to do so she's pushing through with it. She went to church again on Sunday and she'll be adjusting her work schedule just so we can teach her more often. 

 Before I go I just want to share a quick verse I thought was cool during Personal Study. This week I decided to read Job's story in the Bible. It's actually a pretty interesting story: Satan is given permission to test this good man who serves others and has so many worldly blessings. I'm only on like chapter 33 so I don't know the whole story yet, but the cool thing is that no matter how hard these trials are for Job - and he makes it obvious that they are extremely difficult to handle - he never forgets the Lord's power. He says that these trials are almost too much to bear, but he never blames it on the Lord. Anyway, I thought Job 28:28 was really cool: And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. 

 True wisdom means putting the Lord before ourselves. One of my favorite verses in the Book of Mormon is Jacob 4:10, which testifies of the same thing. And if we truly understand the reason God gives commandments, we will follow them, keeping ourselves as far away from evil as possible. This is a great formula to follow. Thanks again for the emails and have a great week! 

 Love you guys! 
Elder Ishibashi

 p.s. Kita-kita po tayo sa isang buwan mula ngayon!

Elder Marquez

Service project painting school desks


Check out this cloud we saw the other day! First time I've seen something like that