Saturday, June 25, 2016

6-24-16 Nothing is impossible to overcome

Bula vinaka noqu matavuvale!

First things first, Happy Father's Day dad!! I love you so much, I can't tell you in words how much I appreciate the countless sacrifices you make regularly for my siblings and I, and for the incredible example of love and charity you are to us. I hope that my success in the field and after and forever can show how grateful I am to have you as a father, love you dad.

Mom, thank you for the scriptures! I've found myself turning to the scriptures crazy often in the last two weeks, and wow. Kala'i and Lehia, READ THE SCRIPTURES. There's some amazing stuff in there (everything in it is amazing but lots and lots of things really hit home).

What an awesome week, as always haha. One awesome thing that happened was the new intake of missionaries in our zone! They're all super super good kids with wananavu spirits. I'm certain already that they'll take great care of the zone when we leave. There's one Elder in our zone, whose name I cannot remember for the life of me, that's serving in Hawaii! Marshallese speaking, so I don't know that he'll ever be around our home area but I thought that was way cool. There's also a missionary in the zone FROM Suva, Fiji! I forget his name, but he's super cool and has a great countenance about him. It's nice to have him!

Thank you so much for the brownies mom! It was actually perfect timing, and I feel like you were inspired to send them to me for more reasons than just my halfway mark (which is crazy to think about), because yesterday was Elder Green's birthday! I didn't break the cake open the night I got it because we had JUST gotten home from an Aloha dinner (Shoyu chicken, rice, mac salad and kalua pig, SO GOOD) and I ate A LOT so I couldn't take the cake. We decided to open it last night for Elder Green's birthday, even though he couldn't eat it because he was sick, but we'll feast on it today! My district says thank you, haha. 

Congratulations to Alohi!! And Sisi!! (I'm sure you guys have heard, she's serving in Tonga) How exciting! Give my aloha to Alohi for me please, I'm seriously so excited for her. This work is incredible. Incredibly humbling, incredibly enlightening, incredibly joyous and INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT. Anyways, my time is especially limited today as the schedule has changed and I have a session in about two hours, so I'll use that time to eat breakfast and get ready. 

I love you guys so much, and I see and bask in the blessings from home every single day, as they are marvelous and endless. Elder Hunkin is a wonderful companion and example. My district mates, my brothers, never cease to amaze me with their faith in trial and error. I love them, I love the MTC, but more than anything I love the work. I love trials haha. ONLY good things come out of trials, really, and I thank the Lord every day for mine, for I should treasure them forever. Bear through them, my family, because they're given of God. I know that. 1 Nephi 3:7 "-for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he hath commandeth them."

NOTHING, no matter how difficult it may seem, is impossible to overcome. Through the Lord, and through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, absolutely nothing is impossible. The Lord knows us individually and he knows our needs. I love the quote "When life gets too hard to stand, kneel." It is so true. I don't need to quote my favorite scripture because you all know what it is, but it says that if you trust in God, he shall direct your path. Give yourself to him, and he will give you to the Lord.

Again, I love you guys so much, thanks for all the letters, I'm glad all is well!!
Au lomani kemudou valevu, moce!

Elda Ishibashi

Thank you so much dad! Same here, I feel the blessings of prayers in my behalf from home SO strongly, and I know I'm receiving them from 'Io in the Philippines as well. I do hold my culture and my aloha spirit extremely dear to me, and I find that it does make it significantly easier to love people with the environment and family I was raised in. I love you dad, thank you so much for everything you and mom has done for me, tell everyone I love them! 

Mama Tiafala maka'ala na kanaka

Elder Jim, Kiribis mission, left Tuesday

Ai vola i Momani

Early morning session this morning


Friday, June 17, 2016

6-17-16 "This is, indeed, the place"

Bula bula bula noqu matavuvale wananavu!

Again, what a week!

First things first, happy birthday Fia!! I miss Jeremias and Fia so much, it is crazy to think about how old they'll be when I get home! Also, thank you for sharing Kala'i's testimony, that is an incredible experience. It is sooo important to think about the future, about how these decisions affect our well-being in every which way, especially spiritually. To quote our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson, "The decisions we make determine our destiny." 

Okay!! So to start things off, thanks for all the letters! It really makes my day being able to lay in bed every night and read up on how you guys are doing, but of course do not worry at all if you don't have the time to write every day! 

So like I said last week, we have devotionals every Sunday and Tuesday evening. On Sunday, we had the oppurtunity to hear from Mark Lusvardi, excellent talk on faith and diligence. On Tuesday night, we got to hear from Elder Ulisses Soares of the Seventy! Another great talk on faith, obedience, and enduring to the end. He told a story about an investigator in Brazil who liked the missionaries and enjoyed their message. He felt something different with these missionaries, a deep spiritual connection. One day, as he walked through a neighborhood, he saw these two missionaries. He saw them ring the doorbell of a house and run. 

He was heartbroken. That destroyed all hope he had for the church. They must have been lying to him, because true representatives of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, would never do something like that. He refused to take any more lessons or be associated with the church. 

THIS. This is heartbreaking. It shows the importance of EXACT and CONSISTENT obedience. We are representives of our Lord and Savior, He who died on the cross for us. Us, imperfect people, us sinners. His love for us, being a love purer than we can fathom, is something that we MUST exude CONSTANTLY. I cannot stress that enough. I'm not even in the field yet, but I cannot and will not let anything like that happen. This is the Lord's work and should be done in such a manner that Jesus himself would. 

So yeah great testimony builder for me personally. Excellent, just an excellent talk. I'm SO glad I get to go to the temple every week, it's such a nice refresher. The temple is incredible, as are the sessions I get to take part in every P day. I love it, and I'm so thankful. 

Elder James (the one we met in the temple from Maui, we got our endowments in the same session) left the MTC Tuesday morning. I only got to see him a few times before he left, but every time was awesome. So full of love and so respectful, he'll make a wonderful misionary.

Changes in the District! Elder Green (Elda Drakodrako) was called as DL about a week into the MTC. On Wednesday, Elder Hunkin was called to be the DL, and Elders Morgani, Drakodrako, and Tiafala were called as Zone Leaders! It's all reallty exciting. OH I forgot to share, goodness gracious!
Apparently, the MTC had Elder Renlund the week before I entered. You guys got him the week after.
??????how is that fair????????? The Lord has a sense of humor for sure.

Speaking of humor and my cleverness, I picthed something to the district boys and they loved it.
MIGHT (impressive power, strength, or diligence.) 
Morgan, Ishibashi, Green, Hunkin, Tiafala. Oh, they tripped. I think of it as a reminder that we are to be mighty in everything we do, in the name of the Lord Almighty. 

Anyways I'll close now, this computer isn't letting me send pictures so I'll do that later. I love you guys so much, thank you guys for everything. 

Au lomani kemudou walevu, noqu matavuvale wananavu.
until next week, 

-Poly zone

-Elder Vagai (Samoa mission), Tiafala, and Green

-And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength such as is not known among men. D&C 24:12

-Zone 14

-Zone 14

-Just now.

Friday, June 10, 2016

6-10-16 2nd letter home from the MTC!

Bula vinaka family!! I'm so sorry but I'm going to have to keep this a little on the short side, as my time is limited, but WHAT A WEEK.

My lessons with our first investigator, Kalivati (Brother Ladoux, friend of Herb's) went pretty well if I do say so myself. I only cried after my first lesson, only went uphill from there. I also did run into someone that also knew Herbert! We were on a temple walk (where we just walk around the temple grounds and hang out there for a little bit on Sundays) and this guy walks but in a sulu and sandles yelling "Heyy! Any Fiji missionaries??" My district stopped and represented, I asked if he knew Elder Ishibashi and he's like "Yeah! (reads my badge) Hey!! I commented on your call opening video!! Wananavu!" Small world ay? I love my district, such strong spirits, Elder Hunkin is honestly such an inspiration to me. He's really obedient and faithful, such a good teacher, boy am I blessed. I can't send pictures right now for some reason, I will sometime today though!! I'm so blessed guys, I'm doing just incredible. To close, and you can have Herb interpret it, au via wasea na noqu ivakadinadina (also, sorry Herb if the translation is a little rough. Nah I'm not)
Au kila ni bula na Kalou, ka lomana keda na Kalou.​​ Au kila ni dina na lotu, ka na dina na kosipeli. Au vakadinadinataka ni kila keda gagadre na Kalou. Au vakadinadinataka ni dina na ivola i Momani, ka Porofita dina o Josefa Simici. Au vakavinakataka na noqu matavuvale, noqu matavuvale wananavu!

I'm out of time, I'll add a little more and post pictures later, I'm doing great! Thank you guys for everything. 

Au lomani kemudou valevu, noqu matavuvale ka itokani wananavu.

Yadra, and moce,

Elda Ishibashi

[The following is a 2nd email tha we received from Elder Ishibashi on his preparation day]

I have some time! Devotionals are Sundays and Tuesday nights. Sunday night, we had Sheri Dew! Excellent talk, excellent speaker. 

Tuesday night, we had Elder David A. Bednar!! Let me tell you, noqu matavuvale! What. An. Experience. BECAUSE, he didn't just talk. I'm not entirely certain I'm allowed to talk about it, I don't know why I wouldn't be able to but yeah, (it was so sacred) he actually wrote a song. He noticed the few times in the Book of Mormon it says "one by one", and every one of those scriptures are super strong, so he wrote lyrics about it and had a pianist compose music for it. I was in the choir that performed that song publicly for the first time ever. I got shivers TYPING that, guys. It was incredible to say the least. The song will be published in the New Era next month I believe, entitled "One by one". The Spirit of the song and the message of the song brought me to tears. Incredible. Just incredible. 
The language, as you might be able to see from my testimony, has improved a lot since last week. Though still crazy broken, my Fijian is waking up. Elder Tiafala is being really patient with me, as we've come to the lab on splits and he finished his writing like ten minutes ago. I honestly love these guys, men I've known for not much longer than a week, but now we are brothers. 

I thank God every single morning, multiple times a day, and every single night for this opportunity to serve. I pray for all of your safety and well being in every single prayer. I love you all so much, as I've said before, more than I can express in words. For everything you've done for me, everything you've helped me to become, two years away is the absolute least I can do to show my appreciation to both you folks and the Lord. Know I'm happy, know I love my district like brothers and my zone like family. My studies are going really well. 

Au vakavinavinakataka no noqu matavuvale wananavu valevu. 

If I have one request, it's to write through throughout the week. I wanna hear from you guys!

I love you guys so much, I'm gonna let Elder Tiafala eat lunch now I guess. You guys are the best, moce!!!

-From this morning while emailing you folks


-District boys (Viti lima)

-Most of the zone boys

-Sun in the face=no eyes

-I LOVE this one. We them viti boys


-Let your light so shine forth

-I've already lost it

-Elders Hunkin, Tiafala, and Tuikolovatu (ZL) going for temple walk

-Elder Howard (Elder Timberlake, Cali ASL mission)

-Zone sisters (Sister John, Fiji, Sister??, Marshall Islands, Sister Paku, Marshall Islands, Sisters Nawaya and Otea, Fiji, Sister Lee, Kiribus)

-Brother Maliwaukee (in the sulu), commented on my letter opening!

-Elder Wolfgramme, related to our wolfgrammes somehow 

-Card, key and vial

-Brother LaDoux feat. Sista Johni


-Vinaka valevu! I love them!

This man is a crack up! (Elder Green from Australia). His slangs are the best. His Australian vocabulary consists of these:

Bubbler (pronounced Buh-blah)- Drinking fountain
Torch (pronounced Toh-ch)- Flashlight
Ear buds (pronounced Ee-buds)-Ear swabs 
Cantina- Cafeteria
Bin- Trash can (that one was pretty easy)
And many more, and I love it. 

-Such talent. Such grace.
-Feat. Elda Tiafala

ALSO on another note, MOM. THEY ALL SING. Like really well. I'm so, so, sooo happy. It's so refreshing honestly hahaha.

Friday, June 3, 2016

6-3-16 First Email Home from the MTC!!

Bula vinaka family!

Oh man. Oooh man, where to even begin. I'm finally here! These past two days have just been incredible. I'll start with my companion and roommates!

So my companion is Elder Hunkin, the boy I think Aunty Jo knew his parents! He's the coolest guy ever, super easy going and easy to talk to, such a strong spirit and he's an awesome teacher! Oh man, my roommates. I guarantee you, I have the coolest roommates in the MTC. My room consists of myself, my companion, and a trio. The trio consists of Elder Tiafala (Born and raised in Mililani, lived in Orem before entering the MTC), Elder Green (from Australia), and Elder Morgan (Kiwi from Australia). Yeap, all polys! (Except Elder Green, but we love him anyway) But the best thing is that as cool as they are, as silly as they are and as loud as they are, their testimonies and spirits are amongst the strongest I've ever been in the midst of. We all clicked so instantly, we're all pretty much inseparable. I love my companion and my roommates, ONE of so many blessings.

THE FOOD. Everything is true, that's all I have to say.

As for the language, and please show this to Herbert, my teacher on the first day was Elder Heath. I walked in, and sure enough, 0 English. Like none. Of course when we were absolutely lost he'd say a word here and there but man, that was tough. I understood him when he said hello and asked how I was doing, I responded in Fijian, then he went off and lost me. He wrote some words down, translated it into "your brother", and I just said "Io!" which seemed to please him. He's a really good teacher, and yesterday we were joined by brother Day who also knew Herb. The language, for me and my roommates are going okay, still so much more to learn haha. We teach our first lesson in vakaviti tonight, so Elder Hunkin and I are squeezing in whatever rehearsal time we have.

I'm doing laundry right now, in the laundry room, because it's P day! My P day is on Friday. Obviously I guess. But yeah, I HAVE A REQUEST PLEASE. I need a lawalawa. Anyways, today we're going to the temple to participate in a live session at the temple right next to us (oops I forget what it's called. The MTC temple.) and I'm so excited! I already feel like I haven't been to the temple in forever. The environment here is so amazing. The spirit is crazy strong, and the thought that we, young men and women from ALL over this beautiful Earth, are here for one reason and one purpose: Because we love our Heavenly Father and our Savior, and to bring to past the immortality and eternal life of man. I love it here guys, so much. I know Herbert said it only took him a few weeks before he wanted to go, but I WANNA GO. Okay my time is actually running low and all the computers are taken and Elder Hunkin needs to write, so I'm gonna let him on. I love you guys so much. Thank you guys for everything, I'm so happy. I really am sooo happy. I don't know enough Fijian to bear my testimony completely in viti, but I'll do the best I can.

Au lomani Kalou valevu, I have an ivakadinadina of noqu Kalou and Jisu karisito. Oh man this is harder without notes, but okay!

I'm gonna let Elder Hunkin on. Again, I love you guys so much, thank you for everything, I hope everything is awesome back home. Know I'm doing fantastic. I love the environment, the food, the speakers, my president (President Willes, Hawaii mission president), my roommates and my companion AND my zone leader (Elder Tui says Hi).

Until next week, au lomani kemudou valevu!

Elder Ishibashi

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

6-1-16 Reporting to the MTC.

Aloha Kakou!

Here are pics sent to us by our niece Emi of Elder Ishibashi being dropped off at the MTC.  Mahalo Emi for taking such good care of your cousin this morning.  Also want to express our gratitude to our entire Snow and Kanahele 'Ohana there in Utah for your love and support of our son for the past 2 days!  Love you all!

Love you son!!!! IMUA!!