Sunday, October 22, 2017

10-22-17 Kaise hei everyone!

Kaise hei everyone! 

MAN I'm so full of joy today. For one, today is Elder Tui'one's birthday, so we're looking at a good day with the zone. Also, I was able to baptize the first people I ever found AND taught to the point of baptism yesterday! That was wayyy exciting for me, I'll talk more about it later.

This last week was transfer week, as I shared last week(?), and this last transfer was THE craziest, unpredictable transfer I've ever seen in my mission. A LOT of things happened that have never been seen in the mission before, especially in the Hindi program! 

For the first time in the mission, THREE Hindi elders were welcomed into the program from the same intake (at the same time). One Hindi elder finished (I was able to see Elder Hariprasad off at the airport, that was nice), one went Zone Leader, and the last got his dying wish and was transferred to Rabi where he'll be finishing his mission. THAT made me really happy, because allegedly, this elder had a difficult time in the Hindi program his entire mission. He finally "made it out", and he gets to finish his mission in an area where he can teach in his mother tongue, Kiribati (Rabians speak Kiribati, which is cool because any elder assigned to serve there gets assigned to learn and speak it). Also, all three new Hindis were more than okay with their new assignment! Aside from all that, for the first time ever, a Hindi went senior companion STRAIGHT OUT of training! Elder Morgan received Elder Tavake, his own MTC companion, in Labasa to be his follow-up trainer. That means: he has a great drive, and his Hindi must be more than good enough to teach. Really happy for him as well! Throughout the rest of the mission there are a lot of intake-vatas together and new areas opened. Excited to meet the trainees in the zone at qito today! 

We spent a lot of time with the YSA this week, received heaps of calls for counsel and assistance in reactivating inactive / teaching non-member family members. It's a great blessing because we're meeting a lot of new people and getting heaps of referrals! We're looking forward to teaching a lot of people over the next week with the help of the YSA. 

Our YSA is awesome, there was a YSA activity after church last week. During church, Aggie never leaves Nasau's side to go to class or anything. She doesn't go anywhere or talk to anyone without Nasau, but the STLs were able to pry her away last week and take her to class. After church, Aggie was invited to the activity and decided to go. We got a call on Monday from Nasau saying how appreciative she was of the sisters and the YSA for making Aggie feel so welcome and for the awesome time she had. When we went over for their baptismal interviews on Tuesday, Nasau shared with us how overwhelmed she was to see Aggie so happy, and why. Nasau and Aggie are sisters by the same mother. When their mother passed away a few years ago, Aggie shut herself out and didn't associate with anybody of her age group. When Nasau saw what good a time Aggie had with friends, she wanted to cry and said she wished their mom was alive to see it. Since then, I've seen a huge change in Aggie. She's more willing to take part in the lessons and talks and smiles more. I think I've said it before, but there really is nothing like watching people's lives change as you teach them the restored gospel, and listening to them testify of its blessings as they live its teachings. Their baptism on Saturday was absolutely beautiful, and I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Nasau and her family will remain strong in the gospel for a very, very long time. I had the privilege of baptizing Nasau and Tusi, and Elder Tui'one was able to perform his first baptisms in the mission with Aggie and Vuki. They kind of gave us a scare when they weren't at church when church started, but they made it JUST in time to be confirmed and receive the Holy Ghost. We'll be seeing them again on Wednesday, way excited to follow-up on their baptism! 

Glad everything is going well back home! My love to each and every single one of yous, take care and work hard in everything yous are doing! One thing I've gained an unbreakable testimony of: Diligence spawns blessings, and hard work pays off in the end; no matter what.

It just occurred to me that Mother's Day next year is on May 13th, which is a week before my return. That'll be an interesting call haha, but until then, I CAN'T WAIT to see you all in December! Hopefully I'll be in an area with good connection, I feel really strongly that I'll finish my mission in the North, on Vanualevu. We'll see. Anyways, I have a few more emails I need to respond to before we head out to Elder Tui'one's birthday lunch. He LOVES McDonalds, he was overjoyed when he found out there was a McDonalds in our area. When he was being bussed through Utah on their way to Temple Square (I'm still salty I didn't get to go), rather than gawking at all the big buildings and structures, his eye was on the McDonalds on every corner. So, we're getting him McDonalds haha.
I love you all SO much, have an incredible and blessed week! 
Khyaal rakna! 

Elder Ishibashi 

OH please let grandma know I received her letter this last week, and that I love her! 
I don't think I received an update on Ketter and Kaimi's progress in the police academy, how's that going?

-We hit up the gym in the mornings, Elder Tui'one is very supportive of my six-months-to-sexy goal.

-Happy Diwali!


-Waiting for the gym to open this morning (it didn't)

Monday, October 16, 2017


Keeping this one short as well because we had a late start to the day, and today is Elder Jackson's birthday so we're going out to lunch before qito. 

The last week was awesome! A really bittersweet one, I'll say. Basically a lot of good things happened, especially over the last few days, and one really bad thing. 

We just did a lot of finding over the week and found a nice handful of people I reckon have good potential. 
Every Wednesday night we have dinner with the Stake President. President Kaumatotoya's son, Tukai, is a really close friend and a pilot student. He always talks about the flight tests and exams they take and how flying is so fun and this and that. I always thought Uncle Stan's job was way sick growing up, but I never thought of actually pursuing a career in aviation until I talked to Tukai about it and listened to him share his passion of it. It honestly hit me like a wall Wednesday night, and I'm not sure exactly what it was, but I think the spirit was telling me I needed to be a pilot. I've been absolutely lost since I graduated high school as to what I want to pursue in my life, except for those little "maybes" like a teacher or a therapist or a graphic designer or something. My vision has never been clearer than it is now, and I feel oddly strongly that the spirit confirmed that that's what I need to do. It's like a light came on in my head that I didn't know was there but it's so bright and helpful. There are several particular reasons why this hit me so hard I think. One, according to Tukai, the need for pilots in America will spike next year, so it'll be a liiittle easier than it initially would have been. And look at that, I come home to America next year! Where pilots will be needed! 

Another reason is that apparently, pilots are some of the highest payed people in any given nation. If I can pull this off, the airlines will pay for my house and I'll be able to support for my family nicely. Also, mom finally gets those flight benefits she always wanted! All this in addition to the fact that I and my family gets to travel for way as cheap. Flying also seems like sooo much fun, and I hear it's way easy. Of all the reasons, however, one stuck out to me particularly. I JUST looked up what I was about to say and I'm significantly less excited about it now, but here's what I found out anyway: To back track a bit, a thought as come into my head recently. I found out recently that I am the 2nd shortest Elder in the entire Fiji, Suva Mission, second only to Elder Albert (whom I served with in Suva). Don't get me wrong, I don't mean this in a hexing way at all, but the thought came into my head: Why did God make me short? Again, I'm absolutely positive that God did make me short for a reason and it can't be a bad reason, so I'm trying to figure out how being my height can/will benefit me as I pursue a career. This was my initial discovery: Short people make the best pilots because of the limited cockpit space and they tend to handle G-maneuvers better. However I just found out that short people make the best FIGHTER pilots because of the limited cockpit space and they tend to handle G-maneuvers better; plus they fill the cabin less and thus creates a lesser chance of a round from an enemy anti-aircraft weapon (or an enemy aircraft) actually hitting you. I'm not down to be a fighter pilot, but I don't think it's impossible for me to be a commercial pilot because of my height. It's definitely a course that requires a lot of money and attention, so on the downside of pursuing a career at the airlines: my social life goes down the drain as well as my need to attend BYU as they don't offer aviation courses, so I'll have to school at an aviation academy near Hickam Field. ANYWAYS this is the highest possibility for me right now, and I'm really excited! 

Nasau and her family came to church yesterday and are scheduled to be baptized on Saturday, WAY excited! Aggie, Nasau's sister, has always been a bit more shy and never really says anything during the lessons, but apparently she attended a YSA activity yesterday where she opened up to the members and questions about the gospel were answered for her. These will be the first people I found AND baptized in my mission, and I can't express how excited I am to be able to assist them into the waters of salvation on Saturday!

Those were my highlights for the week, looking at another great one! I might as well share the one really bad thing that happened before I go into the awesome things happening back home: my bag is broken right now, like the top has a gaping hole in it, and I think my camera fell out of it when my bag fell off the seat because the bus rammed a curb. Mom, I'm sooooo sorry. I am grateful that I was able to send yous the nicest pictures on that camera, but the camera really isn't lolo-proof. One of the YSA in the ward offered to give me his camera from his mission as he has a phone now and thus no use for a normal camera. My old SD works and I still have heaps of space on it, so I should be able to send pictures next week just maybe lower quality (depending on his camera). Still, sorry! 


It's actually pretty funny because I was in church yesterday when I received a call from an unfamiliar number. When I answered, it was a member from my last ward, Suva 3rd, saying "Congratulations, bro!" When I expressed my confusion, he explained that my brother's wife had their baby two hours previous. So I found out about Pierce yesterday haha and was WAYYY excited to see his pictures and find out his name! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE PICTURES, HE LOOKS SO SKUXX!! Au lomani kemudrau sara valevu, kei au sa misstaki kemudou kece saraga! Au sega ni wawa rawa meu raici na luvemudrau vou ka totoka, o koya sa rairai vinaka saraga! Solia na noqu loloma vei na matavuvale, au na soti kemudou ena siga voleka! Loloma yani vei na tuakaqu wananavu, vinaka sara valevu na nomuni example vinaka, SOTA TALE! OI au na vosa vei kemudou i rua na vula, SA au sega ni wawa rawa meu raici kemudou kece taleiga!

Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY 'IO!!! Have a wayyy as sick one, It's soooo crazy to me that I'll be able to hear your voice for the first time in almost two years in two months. Man, you don't even know how much I miss you. I can't wait to see you again, but anyways HAVE AN AWESOME BIRTHDAY, MAHAL NA MAHAL KITA KUYA, INGAT KAYO!

Glad everything else is going well back home, I love you all so much! Have an incredible and blessed week, ham aaplogke BAHUT pyaar karta hei! Khali jano ki ham abhi bahut kushii lage, iis kam nadi me julum chale. Hamaar sathii julum hei, iis kam bahut mushkil hei lekin uu hamme madat kare rojrojke saabchiij ki sange. Firse bahut dhanyavaad iis saabchiij aaplog hamar liye kare, ham abhi dhir ashivaad dekta hei aapan kam me. Ham aaplogke pyaar karta aur se ham sakta bole, khyaal rakna!!

Elder Ishibashi 

Monday, October 9, 2017

10-8-17 We're so quick to judge

Kaise hei, pairwaar!!

I'll keep the letter really short because I got HEAPS of emails last week that I have to respond to and I've got heaps of pictures to send from the last week. 

The last week was a pretty "red" (stressful) week for me, but everything is situated now haha. It was a really busy week because the zone leaders put me in charge of designing, ordering, and collecting the money for zone shirts because the embroidery place is in our area. The process was really hectic and time consuming, and the reason we weren't able to find many new people to teach. Today they decided it's too late in the transfer for the shirts to be done in time, so the shirts won't happen. Fortunately, we didn't pay the place yet so the money collected was distributed back to its owners. Despite not having been able to find heaps of people, we were able to have some awesome visits with those progressing. 

On Saturday we watched the first and second sessions of the Saturday segment of conference, and on Sunday, the first and second sessions of the Sunday segment. Nasau and her family came to the Sunday session and loved it! They seem to already have a strong testimony of the restored gospel, and I can't wait to be able to assist them into the waters of baptism soon! 

I left my notebook home again but to point out several things that really stuck out to me during conference: 

I really like Jeffery R. Holland's address about how we've been commanded to be perfect, as the savior was. I can't remember much of it right now, but truly nobody is perfect. I also really liked what he said about helping those who are also searching for the right path. It reminded me of the story of President Aniu, how he was spotted by the bishop one Sunday morning in the back of the chapel with dreads, a beard, and his motorcycle jacket. Easy as it would be to judge him based off his appearance, and difficult as it would be to approach him for the same reason, he was ultimately fellowshipped and called as a (remarkable) stake president. We're so quick to judge, but when we begin to put on our "spiritual glasses", we begin to see that we, like them, are imperfect; but more importantly, that they're trying. Something that struck me personally when I heard that is this impression: They, in their dire situation in life, are trying to follow Christ. They're exercising faith in Christ by attending church for the first time , either ever or in years. What am I doing? How am I trying? We begin to see those people not even as people trying to strengthen their spirituality and relationship with Christ, but as our brothers and sisters longing for the long-missed or unknown tender love of our savior and father in heaven. Help those who are trying, and we will receive help. 

Briefly, I also really liked Elder Ronald A. Rasband's address about divine design. There truly are no coincidences, everything and everyone who falls into our lives come in for a reason.
Conference was especially edifying to me, I REALLY enjoyed it! A lot I can apply personally. 

OKAY I'll close now. 

Mom, I feel so blessed knowing that you have a job that you love with awesome co-workers you enjoy! Elder Jackson was born and raised in Utah, but he's actually half Indian! Quick and funny story about Elder Jackson: Since I visa-waited, we were scheduled to meet up with the Fiji group at LAX. Elder Jackson is from the intake after me, so I met him at LAX on our way to Fiji. When we arrived in Fiji, we were told that ONE of us was would be going into the Hindi program. Everybody just KNEW that it was him, including him. I could have put money on it being Elder Jackson. However, the Lord had different plans. 

As for Elder Tui'one, he received his card and extra support from his family via one of President Tui'one's counselors who came to Fiji. What a blessing! But the last week was also hectic to the extra ,money did help a lot. We received a budgeting insight by one of the senior couples here in district meeting on Tuesday and I feel a lot more confident that I will be rich and successful in life.
Dad, congratulations on/I'm sorry about (???) your release! It must be really tough but I can't wait to be able to sit with the whole family when I get home! Try grow out your goatee again, that'd be sick. I know without a doubt that the ward was SO blessed and is SO grateful to have had such a faithful and diligent bishop over the ward for the last 5 years. Also, congratulations on/I'm sorry about (jokes haha???) your new calling, Uncle Rob! Give them my love!

Thank you so much for the pictures U'i, I love your fat, fat little Talia! And your skuxx as Jeremias and beauty-queen Fia!

KAY I'm out, I love you all so much! Have an incredible and blessed week! 

Khyaal rakna! 

Elder Ishibashi 

-Last P-day w/ Elder Hunkin! So happy to be serving around him, first time since we got here!

-Tusi, Esther, Nasau,Sana, and Vuki

Today, we went to the sand dunes in Sigatoka! HEAPS of fun! 
-The hike up

-Beach behind the dunes

-Elder Ishibashi, Elder Aisa, Elder Hunkin (Jersey and hat courtesy of Elder Jackson. I've determined I really like wearing yellow)

-"stingy sea balloon"

Monday, October 2, 2017

10-1-17 We are all the Lord's seles

Kaise hei, hamaar julum parivaar!

The all-day P-day activity was postponed to next week. I'll try to keep this one a little shorter so I have time to send all the photos I've been slacking on sending over the last few weeks. Sorry, small kine ma'a already for no send pictures haha. But yeah, this last week was good! 

We had the Sigatoka Elders in our area on Tuesday, which was a HUGE help. When you have two pairs of missionaries sweeping through an area at once, it's called a blitz. We blitzed the back-roads of a "gray" part of our area on Tuesday and were able to find HEAPS of people! We look forward to following up with them all tomorrow.

We visit Nasau them every Wednesday and Saturday. On Wednesday we had an awesome lesson on tithing and fast offering. They understood and accepted everything, saying it all made perfect sense. They like the whole unpaid-ministry thing. On Saturday, we had a bit more of a difficult visit. Teaching the Law of Chastity is always way awkward, especially when the audience is between the ages of 7 and 36. Something I did notice about teaching that particular commandment though, over the course of my mission, is that you eventually stop caring about trying to sugar coat important things. The Law of Chastity is SO important, so there needs to be a crystal clear understanding of what it entails and what blessings come with obeying it. In the end, we were able to explain everything clearly and boldly for all the age groups to understand. They really liked it and committed to living it! 

Unfortunately, and for a reason we haven't been able to address yet, Nasau and her family weren't in church yesterday. We'll be reiterating CPR (Church, Pray, Read) on Wednesday. Remember when I told yous about the family members Nasau invited to our first sit-down with them? We've been teaching them with Nasau, and they all agreed to be baptized with Nasau them on October 21st. GOLDEN family, SO excited to work with them! 

Set I'm running out of time, those were some highlights from the week! Before I close to post pictures I'll just share an insight from Elder Jackson (our district leader) from district meeting:
We're often told that we're to be instruments in the Lord's hand that we might be able to carry out his work effectively. Elder Jackson likened that analogy to a sele. We are all the Lord's seles, but we can't be dull seles, otherwise we won't be as productive as we could be. The sharpening process is a timely and often difficult one. One thing I was never ever a fan of when working with a sele was whacking through some thick bush and accidentally wrecking my blade on an unseen tangle of wire or metal bar sticking out of the ground. Things that like will happen every day, but we need to know how to A. be able to bounce back quickly  and B. Use those experiences as sharpening tools. Often times in the work we're kind of just grinding by, just frustratingly whacking at the ground; using our tools but not being productive with it. In which case, we need to change our "angle", or perspective. Have the idea of "Okay, this didn't go as planned/this is terrible, how will this benefit me?" As we keep in mind the fact that every trial is a growing opportunity, it'll be easier to adopt and use those experiences for our betterment; and as we use those experiences as sharpening tools, the work of the Lord will increase as will the ease by which we get it done. 

Thank yous SO MUCH for the extra support! It really did help significantly, Elder Tui'one is beyond grateful. 

You don't even know how hyped I am hearing about all the Chuukese members coming out of the shadows! I never even heard of Chuuk until I came here and met a sister missionary from Chuuk. She finished almost a year ago, and she was wayy funny, so I'm way excited to meet these Chuuk members! Being the teacher for the Hindi Sunday school class in our ward, I've been able to see firsthand how much a blessing it is for people to hear the gospel in their own tongue. Like I said, these things are all so important, and there needs to be as clear an understanding of the doctrine as possible in order for us to live it to the best of our ability. Keep finding those Chuukese and bringing them in, what an incredible blessing it is for our ward to be able to pioneer something like that! I see a great future for the LDS Chuukese community in Hawaii because of the hard work of our members. Tell them I said u tongeok! 

Also give my aloha and thanks to Elder Dushku and Elder Roberts for their great work! Number one in the Honolulu, Hawaii Mission! WOW!

I'm way excited for conference this weekend, I heard it's really good! 
I died seeing your pictures dad, I just see 'Io aye haha! They capture your personality as a young missionary so perfectly, and it looks like you killed the work and just had heaps of fun doing it. That's what I aspire for! 

Thank you so much for the pictures U'i! MAN Talia is getting huge! And Fia has so much teeth! I watched my letter opening earlier and almost cried watching Jeremias cover the camera and hearing his squeaky little baby voice. 

I miss yous all so much, OKAY I'll send the pictures now!
I love yous so much, have an incredible and blessed week!
Khyaal rakna,

Elder Ishibashi 

-Last district meeting with the "Nadisciples"

-Scraping coconuts for the otai (what they drink in heaven)

-Ratu Ishibashi, Ratu Jackson ka Ratu Kioa vata kei na otai maleka sara

-Oh, Fiji

- "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

- "Don't be too critical of the barrier; it's the only thing keeping you from being devoured." 

-Spent the less-productive later hours of the day at a nearby beach

-No other mission...

-O Nadi Ko

-Sugar mill trains run on Saturdays

-Found these kids swimming in a river, this guy need a push through and the kids were way excited to help

-I wanna look back at my mission with the pride these boys have of the great service they just rendered

-Needed a quick feet-dip from the walking