Monday, July 25, 2016

7-25-16 I LOVE my mission here.

Bula na noqu matavuvale wananavu! 

So I'll keep this one a little shorter because I have sooo many pictures to send and about two hours before a lesson. 

I LOVE my mission here. I absolutely love the people and the work I get to do for/with them. Elder Sinden continues to be a wonderful trainer and example to me. 

Our most promising investigator at the moment would have to be L. Thomas, and I'll talk about him for a little bit. We visited him in his home a few days ago to set up another appointment and teach him how to set up referrals online. While we were there, he asked us about family history. Elder Sinden showed him Ancestry and Familysearch. L's father grew up in slavery, like his fathers before him, so their family history is almost lost. We, all three together, discovered the names of L's grandparents. That's more than L. ever knew above his father who died early on in Ls life. He really wants to look more into family history. When you first get on the site to create an account, it asked whether you're a member or not. He said "Nope, not yet."

Yes, he said "yet". Elder Sinden and I looked at each other immediately, it was nice to hear. We plan on extending the baptismal invitation (again) this week, and hopefully he'll agree. We think he's ready, but he doesn't, which is fine. Anyways, L. and all our other investigators are showing some real promise. I'm so blessed to serve in this particular area amongst this particular people!

My week has been great, I actually love all the walking. I've lost 15 pounds in the last two weeks! That's due to walking for hours in the sun every single day and a good diet. We eat healthy in the flat but these Coloradians like to spoil us. What a burden.

It storms a lot here, which is interesting and pretty cool. I've heard hail (BAD hail) is also super popular but I haven't seen it yet. 

OH I forgot to mention this last week, and these are two things that make me certain that I'm in the right place at the right time. First thing, Elder Sinden and I are covering two areas now! Because Elder Hirschi went to Jamaica and his companion was relocated to a different area, we took theirs. It's definitely tougher to manage the days and appointments and dinners and visits and whatnot, but I love meeting all these new members and investigators. Six hours of church yesterday haha. Second thing: Fort Collins temple open house starts soon! It's a new temple, recently finished, so it's an EXCELLENT opportunity for non-members to go in and see and feel what the temple has to offer and what it's all about. Elder Sinden and I don't get to go unfortunately, as it is outside our bounds, but I'm still way excited for the people that do get to go. Temple open houses don't happen very often!

Quick funny experience:
We've covered Tallyn's reach since I first came in, and now we cover Southlands. We met with a Southlands investigating family a few nights ago. The Martas, incredibly strong spirited Spanish family. We knocked on the door to their apartment and they answered. "Hello!" Brother Carlos Marta said to Elder Sinden as he shook his hand.
"New missionaries! What is your name?"
"I'm Elder Sinden!"
"Mui bien!" He then looks at me and his eyes seem to light up a little bit.
"Holla! Cual es su nombre amigo?" as he extends his hand to me.

Oh boy...

"I'm Elder Ishibashi!"
"...Oh I see!" *realizing I don't speak spanish*

It was so funny, I honestly expected to be mistaken as a Mexican at some point here, but not by one...

I'm gonna finish up now, sorry for the short letter! But I did hear that there's a big storm approaching/hitting(?) Hawaii at the moment. Please be safe, you guys are in my prayers. 

I love you guys so much! I'll start sending off pictures now (which should total near a hundred), which adds so much more to the letter anyway haha.

A few questions! How's Uncle and Aunty progressing? Where are the Bonds from exactly? 

Again, you folks take care and be safe. Thank you guys for everything you've done for me in my preparation to serve a mission, and in making me the man I am today. I love you guys so much, I'll talk to you guys again next week!

Au lomani kemudou sara dina, 

Elder Ishibashi

-President Willes (Gordon B. Hinkly's nephew!)

-Moce Brother Heath!

-Moce Brother Siga!

-Moce Samoa Elders!

-One time for my warriors

-Miss em

-Them too


-Lomani oqori


-I WAS SO HAPPY I had been trying to get a picture of this bird for four weeks

-Hawaii united! (from left to right)
Sister (oops) from (oops, east Oahu), Sister Mataele from Aiea, Brother Beckman from Kapalama, Elder Tiafala from Mililani. Missing: Elder Kaitoku (son of Herbert's Bishop) from Laie, Sister (oops) from Waianae.




-Moce MTC!!



-Train platform taking us to the airport

-Bula Denver!

-Denver airport

-Elder Sinden

-Study quarters

-Walk home from church

-Back yard

-Freshly grown corndogs at the peak of their harvest 

-Deer in the back yard

-You can kinnnnd of see the squirrel in the middle

-Prairie dog holes!

-Prairie dogs!


-Prairie dog skull!

-I kept it! I will be sending it home with my other things, so do not be alarmed and be reaaaally careful with it please love you guys. I also have some rocks for Lehia.

-These things are everywhere

-At the church building

-More deer

-Blue jay

-Blue jay going frustratingly fast 

-Poor guy fell out the nest 

-They're literally everywhere and people hate them

-Dead snake and its murder weapon. Elder Sinden scolded me immediately after taking this because we had just left an appointment in the park and he was like "Elder you can't just say goodbye to someone we're teaching the gospel to and lean over and take a picture of a dead snake." I understand that now. 

-They have weird clouds here.

-Vinaka! Sending this home too. 

A hui hou

Monday, July 18, 2016

7-18-16 The Lord is with me here

SOOOOOOOOOOO much to cover, so little time! I have no clue as to why I only have ten minutes to write, library's rule, but I'll find some way to do it, plus there is no SD card slot and I would need my chord to upload pictures, which is back at the flat. ANYWAYS, update!!

What an incredible week it's been. Main points I want to cover:
My companion! Elder Sinden is amazing. His transfer with me is his last transfer, he goes home in six weeks! The ward seems to love him, and the reason is so evident. He's super nice and way funny. He's patient in our role plays and lessons when I get stuck and he's always so supportive. The Lord has blessed me so much to be able to be trained by Elder Sinden. He's taught me so much in the last week, and I can't wait to see what I can learn from him in the next five! He's just an excellent man and missionary, and he will make me great(er). 

Next point: The area!
The Lord is definitely with me. These are amongst the friendliest, sweetest and warmhearted people I've actually ever been around. The aloha spirit is unparalleled of course, but these people have been so kind and welcoming of me. Even the street contacts are always kind, even when they're rejecting our message. The members of this ward are incredible, and being with them in church yesterday was amazing! The spirit in the ward is so strong, I love it, I really do. 

The wildlife! All I've been doing for about the last week has been taking pictures of the wildlife here. I'm so upset that I can't upload pictures, but I'll show you next week! I have pictures of deer in our back yard, squirrels, rabbits (there are rabbits EVERYWHERE, they're like our equivalent of mongoose), prairie dogs (also everywhere) and some awesome birds. Apparently there are also snakes and foxes here, so hopefully I'll be able to catch some of those by next week when I send everything. 

The scenery: Rolling mountains and plains as hard as the eye can see. I miss the ocean a lot, but I'll be able to see it again in five weeks haha. Our neighborhood is fairly new, a good fraction of it is still being built, so it's way nice. Almost as nice as the people, haha. 

The weather. HOT. KATAKATA SARA DINA. Apparently it's been especially hot in Denver since I got here (sorry Denver), averaging at 96. The elevation also kicked me in the butt the first day, I had a huge headache. I take my pain relievers every morning and I think that's what keeps my head level throughout the day as we talk and talk to people. We do a LOT of walking because the Denver North mission home is about a two hour drive from my area, so we're way ahead on miles. Unfortunately Elder Hunkin is not in my area, so I likely will not see him until we head out for Fiji, but President Mendenhall has cleared for Elder Hunkin and I to call each other for an hour a day for language study! We haven't done it yet, hopefully we'll be able to do it today, but I'm way excited. Anyways, yeah we walk a lot and Elder Sinden is a big believer in exercise and eating right, which is awesome for me. I definitely need it because 1. we're in a car a lot of the time and 2. we have dinner appointments every night, and these people like to feed. Back to the weather, I'm actually enjoying this dryness. My skin or hair or lips aren't really taking as much of a beating as I expected, and I don't really sweat much as I walk in 96 degree heat for an  hour. I'm excited because when I get to Fiji, after being here in the mountains and adjusting to the thin air and walking, walking around in Fiji might be a lot easier. 

So that's me in Denver! I'm honestly so happy and I've been sooo blessed to be able to serve in this wonderful area with these wonderful people and my wonderful companion. I'm sitting here in a library with another set of missionaries we picked up this morning because they're car-less. Oh, one of those missionaries' name is Elder Hirschi. He's a visa waiter too, called to serve in Jamaica. We called President Mendenhall last night about some district business (Elder Sinden is the district leader) and President Mendenhall told us that Elder Hirschi would be leaving on Wednesday to Jamaica! This is unusual because the transfer just barely started, but here's what happened: Elder Hirschi's visas came in, and the mission office asked President Mendenhall for permission to pull Elder Hirschi out immediately. President was hesitant, because pulling Elder Hirschi would cause some difficulty with companionships. The mission office told President Mendehall that Jamaica has not had a new intake of missionaries in three months, so they really needed more. President agreed, and Elder Hirschi is preparing to leave! I'm happy for him, he's been here waiting for more than a full transfer. This would have been his second. My district back at the MTC spoiled any chance of Elder Hunkin and I being pulled out as soon as our visas came in, but whatever. All that really matters is that I work my hardest here until I get to Fiji, because this IS my mission. Love what you teach, love where you teach, love WHO you teach, and I truly do. I'm not a week in, and I will miss this place.

Looking back at the MTC, it was definitely a long time but DEFINITELY well spent time. I will never forget my experiences and the spirit I felt there. I miss my MTC comrades so much, but knowing that I'll see them in five weeks is super comforting. Knowing that I'll see you folks in only two years is way comforting, as I'll have grown stronger in every way. 

Vinaka, na noqu matavuvale, ena vuku ni KECE kemudou cakava ena vuku ni au. Au vakila na veivakalougatataki mai kemudou kei mai 'Io ena Philippines. Au masu veisiga ena vuku ni kemudou, na nomudou veitaqomaki kei na nomudou bulabula. Au vakavinavinakataka na kosipeli oqo kei kece na ka vinaka na kosipeli oqo solia vei au. Au kila ni bula na kalou kei ni dina na lotu. Au kila ni kila na nodra gagadre na kalou, kei a vakalougatataka keda kevaka keimami masu kei wilika veisiga na Kalou. Au na raica Viti ena lima macawa, soon sara dina! (Vosoti au ena vuku ni na noqu vakaviti ca)

The Lord is with me here, there is no doubt about that. I feel his love for me and the blessings from home in everything that I do. I can't thank you guys enough for everything you've done for me, I love you guys so much!

Until next week, moce!

PS I was able to add 15 more minutes several times as I wrote, which explains the long letter. 

More pictures to come next week

7-17-16 A picture text of Elder Ishibashi sent to us

This picture was text to us by a couple that were feeding Elder Ishibashi at his temporary assignment, the Denver Colorado North Mission while he awaits his visa to Fiji.

Monday, July 11, 2016

7-11-16 Bula na noqu matavuvale!

Bula na noqu matavuvale! 

I just wanted to inform you folks that I will be able to make a phone call home either upon arrival to Denver or upon leaving Salt Lake, I'm not entirely sure yet. I do know, based off of my new flight itinerary, that my departure time from Salt Lake will be 8:15am (4:15am Hawaii time), and my arrival time to Denver will be 9:50am (5:50 Hawaii time). Let's hope, considering the time difference, that I will call upon arriving in Denver haha. I should have all the facts by tomorrow, so I'll send another quick email when I do. What's great is that I can also call home between Denver and Nadi, so in the event that you miss my call or it's too early, I always have the other call! Let's just hope that the next one doesn't happen at 3am Hawaii time or while everyone's at work/school. Anyways, just wanted to let you folks know. Elda Hunkin and I just saw Elda Tiafala, Elda Drokadroka, and the sisitas off. Definitely way difficult and sad, but I'm overjoyed to know that I will see them in six weeks. I love you guys so much, hopefully we'll talk in a couple days! 

Na luvemu lomani,
Elda Ishibashi

P.S. Thank you sooo much for the package! We received it about ten minutes before my district left so they didn't take much (I gave Elder Tiafala the Mauna loas, he cried), and I didn't get the chance to show the sisitas as they were in their flats preparing to leave. That leaves me with a box FULL of food that I cannot annihilate by myself. In any case, my companion in Colorado is gonna looove me. 

Here is my address while in the Denver Colorado Mission, packages can be here to:

1250 Main St
Broomfield CO 80020
United States

-Mahalo nui loa and vinaka valevu!

-Zone seeing District G14 (Viti) off.

-Until we meet again

-Rarawa levu (ia keirau na raica iratou ena Viti!)