Sunday, September 25, 2016

9-25-16 Namaste humar bahut julum priwaar!!

Namaste humar bahut julum priwaar!!

It's definitely been a very, very interesting week for the Nausori-Hindi companionship

Monday was good, we all (Elder Mong Yen, the Navatuyaba Elders, and myself) got sick haircuts after emailing. Qito was wayy fun that day, I'm developing a great passion for rugby and I think I'm getting pretty okay at it. Elder Mong Yen's steps are way good, he's super fast and agile on the field. He even reminds me of 'Io in his fake-outs and how he sticks his tongue out when he runs. We ended up spending that night at the Navatuyaba flat and having dinner with the family that owns the flat. (former bishop of the Navatuyaba ward) I loove that family. Way humble and way funny. It's funny being in the Navatuyaba flat and thinking that Elder Reuben was in that same room 2-3 years ago. Yes, he stayed in that flat when he served in this area! Pretty cool thought.

Tuesday morning, oh boy. I feel like I have to apologize to mom, for taking advantage of the lack of responsibility in the flat and breaking the word of wisdom in a sense. Pictures are attached and explained.

AFTER that event in which we failed for a hour to care about what we put into our bodies, we had a great and uplifting district meeting. Our District leader, Elder Kanogata'a, had some Elders share insights using their favorite object lesson, and I was chosen amongst them! I wanted to do the one where you slam a can on top of your hand and it doesn't hurt (in case you don't know it, I'll explain later), but I forgot to bring a can, so I ended up doing the quarter in the dish one (I'll explain this one later as well, but it's wayyy cool) just using materials I found in the chapel kitchen. All the insights were great, and Elder Carlson gave a wonderful training on the importance of heeding to spiritual promptings in dangerous situations. Overall, great meeting!

Wednesday was good I think, I don't remember much of it. 

THURSDAY. I'll begin by pulling this entry directly out of my journal:

I leave my trainer for three hours...
The sun is setting. Smells of rotti and cow poop linger in a still, quiet breeze.
Chickens are clucking. Children are screaming. I'm on a boat.
What island is this?
The water is black. The driver is gone. My companion is white. 
Wrong Karikaritus.

I cannot begin to explain this, but I will do the best I can. 
So Elder Mong Yen and I went on splits on Thursday, Elder Mong Yen with the district leader, and I with Elder Hamon. (a white guy from Australia) I had one job, comprising of different things: Visit families. The visiting part went okay, I was able to commit one of our investigators to baptism! Their date is set for October 15, so it was a awesome visit. The trouble started when we got on the bus to Nasila, where our dinner appointment was. Now, I had never met Sister Karikaritu, and I have only been to Nasila once to drop our WML off at home. What I knew: Karikaritu's house, 7pm. It was 6:30pm. When the bus route ended at a dock, I was confused  because that wasn't where Brother Rokendali lived. I asked the lady in front of me if she knew the Karikaritus, and she said "Yes! My village! Mai, in this boat!" So I figured, huh, maybe we just took a bridge I didn't notice before. I get on the boat, and after about a two minute ride she says, pointing to a large man sitting in a chair on the shore smoking a cigarette "Ekea (there)! That is Karikaritu!" We get off the board, meet this man, and he, not speaking a lick of English, said that his LDS family lived on the other side of the river (from whence we JUST came) we were able to catch the boat driver on his way back to the dock, and he picked us up. About a minute later, he said "Isa! Cold eh? One minute!" He pulls the boat over to the side, jumps out, and runs into the koro. 

So yeah. There I am, in a boat with a white guy, no driver, no clue where I am, children playing with chickens in the distance, someone making dinner somewhere and some cow making doodoo somewhere. The driver came back about ten minutes later wearing a beanie and a hoodie and with a bag of potato chips. By the time we reach the dock again, we decide it's too late to try looking for the Karikaritu's house and we take the next bus back to town. We tried calling to cancel dinner, but nobody answered. That night, Sister Karikaritu called us, and was very disappointed. "I made all this food! For all four of you, and no one come!"

Yes, all four of us. Apparently, and without our knowledge, the North zone leaders were supposed to join her for dinner as well but did not inform her that they were off island that day. She was very understanding of our situation, and we promised to make it for dinner this Friday night. Suuuch a sweet lady, we finally officially met her in church yesterday haha. ANYWAYS, so that was Thursday. Bahut bahut confusing, but fun.

The days following were great, lots of awesome appointments with awesome families. On Saturday, Elder Mong Yen and I received three calls, cancelling three appointments, leaving three hours open before dinner. As we were out finding, we passed a group of young kids playing touch. One of our recent converts were amongst them, so we decided to join in on the qito for a while. We played a few tries, then invited Ritesh (our recent convert) to sit on the sidelines with us for a minute for a quick lesson on the Plan of Salvation. When we sat and Elder Mong Yen pulled the Plan of Salvation things out, all the kids stopped what they were doing, came over and sit with Ritesh in front of us. Since it would have been difficult to teach a group of about ten (mostly methodist) kids between the ages of 10-14 the Plan of Salvation, we decided to just do some HTBT where we introduced ourselves and had everyone else introduce themselves. We played a little game called Bani bani and related it to paying attention to spiritual promptings. Everyone seemed to enjoy the activity and understand the message, it was awesome! I love these kids saraga. Elder Mong Yen and I like to joke that we got ten new investigators that day, but we actually did hopefully plant some seeds! 

Running out of time, the sabbath yesterday was awesome! We had a missionary fireside, in which Elder Mong Yen and I covered a workshop about the importance of home and visiting teaching. It had an awesome turnout! 

We actually have plans, in the next seven weeks, to bring enough Indians to church to start a Hindi branch in Nausori. There are no Hindi speaking units, branches, or wards in Fiji at this time, and I feel sorry for the Indians that come to church and are either weak in English or don't know it at all, and thus can't contribute to classes. Those people are awesome, to come despite not understanding a word being said, but to feel the spirit. 

Finally, WE GOT OUR TRUCK THIS MORNING! MORE APPOINTMENTS, MORE GROUND TO COVER! I'm soooo happy, we can finally reach out to everyone it's been difficult to see for the past three weeks. Elder Mong Yen keeps saying "This is our week! We're going to smash it!" in his heavy Tahitian accent. I love him, he's the man. Anyways, everyone seems to be done writing so I'll finish off. 

Thank you guys so much for the letters and pictures! 
AHRE, LEHIA AND MIKEL. That's one massive puhi!!! That's way scary, holy smokes! Did you eat it?? The thing is so big, save some for me. 
I'm so glad you're all doing great and progressing in all your ways! 
Kemuni a ciqoma e dua na ka special from au mai na nomu home away from home na tuakaqu wananavu sara, I promise. AU SA MARAU SARAGA ENA VUKU NI NA NOMU VAKAWATI! BAHUT ACHAA HAI!
The babies are getting so big! Jeremias gets more skux every picture I get, ahre larkaan!

Alright I have to send pictures and go. I love you guys so much, thank you so much for everything you've all done for me to get me to this point in my life. I pray for you folks every day, and I'm overjoyed to know that my prayers are being answered! 

Know I am well and in good health, my companion and I are working hard and are seeing great blessings from this gospel and from our awesome families! I love you guys so much, until next week!

Eldar Ishibashi

Can trick:
Get a food can with ridges (MAKE SURE IT HAS RIDGES), like beans or tomato sauce or something. Place two or three fingers on a hard surface. You can slam the can SIDEWAYS onto your fingers, and it won't hurt. The ridges allow for the can to "wrap" around your fingers as the top and bottom of the can hit the hard surface. It will look and sound painful, but it won't be. I like to relate it to testing faith. Try it, freak out your friends!

Coin in the dish:

Put a coin in a dish, and fill the dish with JUST enough water to just barely the face of the coin. Ask someone to get the coin out without touching the dish or getting their fingers wet. When they figure out that they can't, tape a match (sticking upward) to another coin, and place the coin in the center of the dish. Use another match to light that match, and immediately place a clear drinking glass over the lit match. Not sure exactly how, but the water will be sucked into the cup, leaving the coin on a dry dish. That trick had my district mates sprinkling water at me and shouting rebukes. 

-On Tuesday morning, we had deep-fried oreos and tim tams, french toast, and ice cream for breakfast.

-Yesterday morning

Sunday, September 18, 2016

9-18-16 Bahut daniwaad ee card ke lye!

Namaste humar pariwaar julum!!

It's beeen a good week
A little slow, because of our current lack of transportation. Our truck was taken in for maintenance two weeks ago, and given that we cover two (quite large) areas, we haven't been able to visit a lot of families without losing a LOT of time; time lost waiting for buses, which drive very slowly, to take us into the outter reaches of our area boundaries where lots of crucial families happen to live. Anyways, we should be getting it sometime this week, which means less money spent on bus fare (more money for Hot Bread and milo) and less time spent on transportation (more time in the day, and more appointments!) However, the appointments we did have were golden and we were blessed with a good week with great results!

Oh, in regards to the title, I got the card! (and the hint, vinaka) I haven't attempted to draw from it yet, but let me know! I'm sitting pretty well off with money right now, so don't feel rushed to get me funded or anything. Also, I'm actually not ENTIRELY sure I got the hint. Is it put to MY inoa, or that word? Anyways, I'll survive another week without additional funds so to be safe, I'll wait a week for that sure answer to attempt a withdrawal. But here's what happened! 
Last week, after district meeting, Elder Vitiari (zone leader) handed me a letter from the Denver North, Colorado mission. Inside the envelope was a note attached to another envelope, reading "Hello Elder Ishibashi! You left this in the President's car when he dropped you off at the airport!" which is not true because I had never seen that envelope. President Mendenhall must have received the letter and forgotten to give it to me when we left. Anyways, I have it now, bahut bahut daniwaad! (Thank you very, very much!)

Last week Sunday, something awesome happened! Elder Mong Yen and Elder Monga (whom I replaced in Nausori) has been teaching a woman named Eta for several weeks before I came. She had accepted the baptismal invitation, and just needs to attend church regularly and receive the lessons before we put her on date. Between my arrival in Fiji and last week, Eta had been in Lautoka and thus unable to meet with us for about three weeks. Last week, when we showed up in Waila ward, we were told that she was there! And not only was she attending our services for the first time herself, but she brought her mother and sister with her! And they all stayed all three hours! We spoke to all three of them following the meetings (not including Eta's twin three year olds), and they shared with us their excitement to return the following week! We set up an appointment to meet with them in the week, and were able to introduce ourselves and our purpose to Eta's mother and teach her! They did again attend church yesterday, which was wonderful! The ward is sooo good with welcoming them. I see all the old ladies hugging and kissing Sara (Eta's mom) and the kids playing with Eta's daughters. After church, the girls were already running around with and playing with the other kids! Jeanette Maiwiriwiri, who conducts the youth class, did an excellent job at introducing Mere (Eta's sister) to the youth and making her feel welcome and comfortable. The class ended up being the missionaries sharing why we came out, how the mission will improve our lives in the future, and our testimonies on the importance of missionary work. Though it was an on the spot call, it was really nice to stand in front of that small class of youth and share with those future missionaries the importance and joys of missionary work. One awesome thing about Jeanette, if you didn't know, she just received her mission call to Japan! How cool, and exciting! 

But yeah, it's been a great week. The Singhs are doing really well. Funny thing, we have a recent convert named Aji. She speaks no English whatsoever, so our visits are always a tiny bit awkward because I sit silent for about twenty minutes as Elder Mong Yen and Aji speak to each other in Hindi. During our last visit, I was able to share a small testimony in Hindi, which she seemed to understand, which was awesome. Anyways, the funny thing I learned a few days ago is that Aji is not her name. Aji means grandmother, and everyone just calls her Grandmother. I have no clue what her real name is, but she's the sweetest old woman and she never lets us leave without having fed us something. She makes some BOSS halwa, which is like a sweet pudding, almost like poi but not healthy, like at all. 

Bats are still awesome, I thought I saw a crocodile in the river last week but it was a log, when the cranes here fly they look just like pterodactyls and it's way cool. 

Alright, Elder Mong Yen and I are going to get hair cuts right now so I'll finish this off now. I'm glad you folks are still doing well, and thriving physically and spiritually! 
Lehia, I want one tuna you speared yourself at my homecoming. Dad says your fish are getting bigger and bigger, I like see. Penina, just keep swimming, (just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming) and keep doing well in school! Give my love and face kisses to U'i, Mikel, and their babies, please! 

I pray for you folks multiple times a day, and I know that the blessings I've seen in my mission have come from my faithfulness to the work and your guys' love and prayers, as well as your efforts in serving those around you. Oh, speaking of which, my bishop in Nausori wanted me to thank you folks in his behalf for the blessings your prayers bring to the missionaries, and thus the ward. He's an awesome man, so humble, willing to help the missionaries in any way that he can, and accepting of any suggestions the missionaries have concerning the members and ward unity. He's a recently called bishop, so he's still getting the hang of it, but he's handling everything like a champ and the ward seems very supportive of him and him of the ward. 

ANYWAYS, I will buy a new SD card today (which are way cheap) so I can take more pictures and send them to you. 

I love you guys so much, and I see the blessings of serving a mission and a wonderful family in everything that I see and do. My only request from you folks is to continue always to strengthen that relationship with God and each other. Again, hum aaplog bahut, bahut pyaar! Moce!

Eldar Ishibashi

-Crossing a small river from Toga to Navatuyaba for service, with a member we met on the bus. There's just enough space on the camera itself to take some pictures.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

9-11-16 Two FSM legends

Bula humar pamiwaar! Hafta achaa right kara raha! (which is probably extremely broken ' It's been a good week! ')

Where to begin...

Oh, something I learned about Reuben earlier this week: He's the MAN. 
Like I knew he was the man, but I wasn't aware of what an impact he had on this mission. Crazy how two FSM legends ended up in the same room at BYUH! 

Anyways, so apparently, Elder Reuben initially started the Hindi program here in the Fiji Suva Mission. We had interviews with the mission president and his wife on Wednesday (which was great, they're the bomb), and Sister Layton told me about the history of the Hindi program. As an Elder, Joseph Reuben taught some missionaries Hindi to broaden the teaching pool in the mission. Eventually, there were enough missionaries in the field speaking Hindi for President Layton to establish Hindi proselyting areas, and he began to call Fijian missionaries to switch into the Hindi program. Starting last year, President Layton began calling missionaries to be trained in and to proselyte in the Hindi language from the start of their mission. Now, I'm super glad they called me to speak Hindi now instead of when I'd been teaching in Fijian for a year. Anyways, one of the great families we like to visit often is the Singhs. Apparently they were initially taught by sisters, but the language barrier restricted a very clear understanding of the doctrine. Luckily, Reuben happened to be serving in that area and spoke Hindi, so that family was passed into the hands of Elder Reuben and his companion. The Singhs are preparing to attend the temple for the first time in October, and Elder Mong Yen and I are trying to gain permission from President to escort them. It would be sooo great to be able to take them through, they're awesome and well prepared. We try to visit them every night to discuss the temple book with them. They've been going to temple prep classes once a month for a while, but there are new attendees every class so the teacher starts over every time. For this reason, they stopped going, and we cover two chapters with them every time we visit with them. They seem way excited and ready to enter into those covenants and be sealed as a family! Anyways, just awesome family. 

Also speaking of the language, apparently Elder Reuben wrote a Hindi guidebook. I would request for Reuben to GIVE ME THE BOOK. PLEASE. WHERE DO I FIND IT. EXCEPT a Hindi guidebook is coming my way soon! Elder Green's companion, Elder Luatua, has been translating the Fijian guidebook into Hindi for a while. When we got here, Elder Mong Yen found that a draft of the book was sent to him this morning in an email. It's finished! The draft has also been sent to the church mission office to be printed and produced on a wider scale for in-field missionaries. Hopefully in time, as President Layton calls more people into the Hindi program, there will be Hindi speaking FSMRM's available to teach the language in MTCs worldwide! That's an awesome thought, and it all would have been possible because of Herbert's roommate. Good job Reuben, and thank you. 

On another note, SIKE. I'm not coming home skinny.
The reasons being these: Indians are extremely stubborn when it comes to food. When you're offered some more food, but you're full, you say "baas". I don't know what it translates to exactly, but Indians will decide whether you're actually full or you're just being courteous. It's hard for me, because I don't eat very much these days. I mean, I do now, because they make me! I'll say baas, and most of the time they'll frown and put the food away. However, to several families, baas must mean ' I would like that entire bowl of curry, please '. It's a good thing I looove Indian food. I haven't had a bad dinner yet. The only reason I'd ever wanted to throw up a dinner is if I'd been stuffed to the rim with it. Another reason I'm coming home looking like Buddha is that most Hindi areas have trucks, so I won't be walking very much. 

Anyways, just a couple of thoughts I've compiled in my head and wrote down. While in Colorado, I had never seen such a concentration of white people in my life. When I got here, I had never seen such a concentration of black people in my life. It turned from 'this entire congregation is white' to 'holy smokes Elder, look. A white guy'. It was honestly a weird transition haha, but not hard to get used to. 

Bats are SUPER sick, and they're huge. I love seeing them flying around at night, my favorite thing about proselyting evenings. I've learned that bats and birds, even from way far away and the sky is darkening, are super distinguishable when they fly. Birds flap their wings really fast and they glide. Flutter, glide, flutter, glide, and they tend to bob around when they fly. Bats flap slowly, and they fly straight. I've been wanting to get a bat picture for you guys, but something happened to my camera! It says write protect and won't allow me to take pictures when the SD card is in. So really, it's a problem with the SD card. I've tried everything there is to do, and I threw away the manual, but I'll try to figure it out here on the computer. Also for this reason, no pictures today! Anyways, bats are way cool. The body of the thing is probably about the length from the inside of my elbow ( I don't know what that's called) to the palm of my hand, with a wingspan the length from my palm to my chest. Another cool thing, you rarely ever see bats in the middle of the day or birds in the evening. In the day, if there's something in the sky, it's a bird. After about 6pm, it's a bat. 

Now into the spiritual aspect of the week, wooooaaaahhh. This week has been full and incredible. On Tuesday, we had interviews and I got to chat with President and Sister Layton for a while. They're both so warm and sooo strong-spirited. On Wednesday, we had a zone training meeting. Those trainings were wayy good, mostly about developing a strong relationship, and more importantly, love, for our investigators. The district leaders in our zone are wonderful teachers and missionaries. I found an excellent scripture that I actually hope to do a training on one day, I'm certain it can help lots of missionaries. I actually forget where it is, shoot, I left my scriptures home, but it was Alma as he went about his preachings. He says, O, that I were an angel! and could have the wish of my heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance to every people.  O, if I were an angel! Missionaries often think, O, if I were Elder (Herbert) Ishibashi! If I could teach with his might and move with his zeal, and bring as much people to Christ as he! O, if I were Elder Ishibashi! They compare. Alma then acknowledges that his thoughts are sinful. He says, why should I desire to do more than what the Lord has called me to do? 

The scripture basically says that we've been blessed with our own ways of going about and preaching and bring people to Christ. Alma then says that his successes as a servant don't bring him joy. The number of people he brings to Christ doesn't bring him joy. The joy he sees that the gospel brings to THOSE people, brings him joy. The thought that those people are enjoying the sweet and wonderful blessings that faith in Christ promises, brings him joy. I'll go a little more into this as I go into Thursday. On Thursday, we had zone conference. Okay I'm running out of time, but I actually feel liked I came out of that meeting re-baptized. The trainings and the Spirit there was unreal, honestly. That meeting changed my view of the mission. As much as I loved this mission and the missionaries therein before, I already don't want to come home to be honest. Two years seems too short right now. 

Given my shortage of time, I'll share one training. It was given by Sister Layton, who based her training off a sign she saw on the street while on Vanualevu. The sign simply said "No grit - no pearl" If you don't know how pearls are formed, look it up. Her training was about attitude in trials. When the clam finds that irritation, or grit within itself, it does everything it can to smooth it out to make it comfortable. It doesn't know the value and beauty of the pearl it creates. 

When we receive trials, we need to do everything we can to find what we can do with that trial, or rather what the trial can do with us, to turn us into something valuable and beautiful and vice versa. 
Like I've said a thousand times, trials are good. Man, a positive attitude in challenges sounds a bit like my mission story so far. I have absolutely no doubt that the language change will become a pearl in my mission and forever thereafter. I have no doubt that learning manual will be of great value in my life. I've found that having a positive attitude in these things have made them not only easy, but almost fun to endure. My thoughts are no longer "Heavenly Father, why? What is this? This sucks." anymore. Now, it's more like "... alright. Lashgow."

Sister Layton shared an experience about a tree they have in the back yard. The storm that whacked them up a few years ago ripped that tree down. It lay there on the floor, and Sister Layton was heartbroken at the sight of her beautiful tree, beat down and leveled. When some people came, propped the tree back up, and staked it to the ground, she thought They're crazy. It won't grow. She was amazed to see it root into the ground again, and not only did it begin to grow, but bright purple flowers bloomed from it. She related a Chinese proverb: Fall 7 times, get up 8. 

I'm out of time! I'm doing really really well, loving my companion and the work! THANKS FOR THE PICTURES, U'I! I love them, holy smokes they're getting so big! So is Penina, wow! I Can't wait for those baptism pictures, man. Anyways, I have to go. I love you guys so much, I'll send what I can! Thank you, my incredible and loving family, for everything. I love you guys, moce! 

Eldar Pattharkapul

Funny side note, two huge fears of mine right now:
Coming home with an Indian accent and getting called into leadership.
Reason for fear of leadership: Hindi Elders can't be in leadership. If they call me to be a district or zone leader, they throw me back into the Fijian program, and NO. NOOO. NO. THAT'S ENOUGH CURVEBALLS FOR ONE MISSION, DANBAAD.

For zone conference, we were all given SICK matching ties!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

9-4-16 Kaise hai??? (How are you?)


Just a lame fyi, nobody actually says that. The "pure" Hindi (Hindi spoken in India) salutation is namaste, with goodbye being something else. Here, it's a little different! The Fiji-Hindi greeting is "hello", with goodbye being "goodbye". 

Speaking of which, a thought occurred to me when I was first assigned to Hindi and trying to come up with the positive outcomes. The thought was: I could make bank speaking Hindi, maybe as a court translator or even in international travel or something. Pft, who even speaks Fijian? Fijians, and people that served in Fiji. Wayyy more people speak Hindi that Fijian, my language will prooobably be more useful than Herb's. THEN, God snuck another little thought into my head. That thought was: You're speaking Fiji-Hindi. That's a different language. So in reality, I think it's safe to say that sigNIFICANTLY more people speak Fijian than Fiji-Hindi, but that's okay! I'll have Joseph to speak our secret language with. Also Elder Green and Elder Mong Yen, who continues to be an incredible example and teacher for me. There are countless similarities between pure and Fiji Hindi, so heck, maybe I'll be able to pick up the pure form easily post-mission! Anyways, the language is cominnng little by little. I still haven't quite gotten around to using it around native-speakers without reading it, but the grammar and structure is starting to make more sense to me.

Alrighty, now for this last week! Spent my first full week in Fiji, and made three months out on Thursday! To start off, since I've already covered the language, the driving!
Oh boy.

It's definitely coming along! Another companionship taught me how to hill start a few days ago, so that's helping a lot. I still have a tiny bit of trouble switching gears without a little kick, but the kick has definitely gotten smoother since Thursday! (The day I started. We ran out of kilometers due to the truck being used in transfers, and they're reset on the first of every month) The driving coordinators are taking our truck for a few days this week for maintenance, so we'll get some good walking in. Anyways, driving is getting a lot easier and I've adjusted pretty well to the left side. Just don't let me drive for a while when I get home.

Oh, Sister Alldredge told me that she spoke to mom about my DMV records when I saw her at church yesterday! It was then that she told me you folks were bunkering up for another hurricane, and my first initial thought was "what the hhheeeck?" Like come on! BUT I'm so glad you guys are completely safe and were so ready to help out the community, I have the best family beneath the heavens. The power of prayer is real!

Those pictures are sick, Lehia! Elder Mong Yen body boarded back home, and he used to go to Teahupo'o all the time just to watch the crazy people surf and wipe. He never tried it because it's wayyy too crazy to body board, but you'll make it there one day. Keep going at it!

Kala'i, you's a skux. How are the gains, still going hard? Well me too brah. I'll come back bigger. Better. Faster. Stronger than ever. Like one Indian rhino. Except instead of a horn it'll be a little dot. Remember the deal! You get $100 if you get 7k followers on your music account, and no cheating! 

Penina, you just keep being you awesome girl. There's a little girl upstairs that reminds me so much of you, always singing from the Frozen soundtrack out loud and having to hold her head in place as she frantically tries to hug our legs. She makes me miss you so much! You give mom and dad a BIG big hug and kiss for me right now please! 

Let me see, significant things that happened this week. Oh, speaking of Joseph! Apparently, he served in my area, and we met a family that he started teaching! The Singh family are members now and they're awesome. I love how supportive all these Indians are when they find out I'm trying to learn Hindi. Immediately they'll say something like Oh! Okay, kana kau kamutla (means) "eat food." Kana kau, eat food. And then they have me say it. They're all wayy nice and wayy funny. 

Since we cover two areas, Nausori North and South, we cover two wards as well! The English wards in each area, I don't believe that have Hindi wards yet. Last week, we attended the Nausori English ward in the Nausori South zone. Yesterday, we attended the Waila English ward in the Nausori North zone. That's the Maiwiriwiri's ward! It's always so nice being around them, what an awesome family. It being fast and testimony meeting, I stole the opportunity to introduce myself to the ward and share a small testimony. That ward is awesome, such powerful things were shared in that meeting and the spirit was so strong. 

Speaking of powerful things, I've learned some lately. 
Last week in the Nausori ward YSA meeting, we discussed pride and humility. The teacher brought something up that I really liked, a little word of instruction. I don't know the original source, but the instruction was:

ALWAYS read the scriptures more times in the day than you look in the mirror. 
This applied to me quite a bit at this time to be honest, because I've been losing a lot of weight and I check my progress pretty often. Spiritual progress is FAR more important that physical progress. God gave us these bodies, not to look good (though I know sometimes we can't help that), but as instruments to do his work. As important as it is to work out our bodies, we must actively and constantly work out our minds and spirits as well.

Another powerful thing came to me this morning during my personal studies. I read a story from the Ensign of a woman who outgrew her YSA ward, and thus was encouraged to attend her home ward. She felt uncomfortable and out of place at first, being the only single woman in a ward full of families young and old. After several weeks, she thought about her feelings and what SHE could do to feel more involved and not so isolated from the ward, instead of waiting for people to reach out to her. She started to sit with people, instead of in the back by herself. She started to look for people that might need help or a friend. She started offering her services to the parents with teaching callings and kids who wouldn't leave them. 

Her mentality changed from "What can I get today?" to "What can I give today?"
This is an excellent mentality to have in any situation. It reminds me of Elder Bednar's talk about Christlike love. (It's an incredible talk, if you haven't seen it, DO. It's called the Character of Christ, and it's a tear-jerker) He talks about how Christ NEVER turned inward in situations that the natural man would. When the natural would think "you aught to feel sorry for me, you owe me this," Jesus Christ only ever turned outward. When the Roman soldiers came to Gethsemane to take Jesus and Simon-Peter cut the ear off of one of them, Jesus healed the soldier's ear. When Jesus was being spat at and mocked on the cross, He asked Heavenly Father to forgive them for their unbelief. In order to be like Christ, we need that love to turn outward and seek always to give rather than to receive. 

In priesthood yesterday, the bishop asked me to share a spiritual thought. The thought I shared was one of mom's, and I was reminded of its importance and significance as I shared it. I started it with my favorite scripture (of course), which says "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy path." 

At times when we're discouraged, when nothing seems to be going right, mom instructed me to try something she did. Thank Heavenly Father for every single little thing that happens throughout your day. If you find a quarter on the floor, thank Him. If you pass an exam, thank Him. If there's JUST enough milk left for a bowl of cereal, thank Him. When you acknowledge him for the small things in life, you begin to see His hand in your life more often. You begin to see his tender mercies, big or small. Through small, and as you'll see, frequent, tender mercies, you see how much the Lord loves you and that He's always there. 

EVERYTHING good comes from God, and ONLY good comes from God.
Also, remember that the Lord doesn't put anything in our lives that he knows we can't overcome. This idea has made everything that's happened SO easy. He wouldn't change my language if He knew it would overwhelm me. He wouldn't have me drive if He knew I couldn't learn. He wouldn't do anything he knows I can't. 

So long as we remain obedient and faithful to Christ's gospel and our families, and always strive to see His hand in our lives, we will be blessed with guidance and a knowledge of where to go and what to do.

Hum aapaan gawahi maangta share kare, hum janta hai ki ee gospel sachay hai. Hum janta hai ki ee church sachay hai. Hum janta hai ki Bhagwaan aur Ishu Masih ulog rahe, aur uulog humlog se pyaar kare hai. Hum ee gospel bahut pyaar, aur hum aaplog bahut bahut pyaar. 

I know that I'm here in the right place at the right time with the right people. I know that all the incredible things that have been happening in our family is a result of your undying faith and your efforts in physical, family and spiritual growth. I love you guys so so sooo much, I'm so glad you folks were missed by the hurricanes and that you're all okay and healthy! Know the same for me. Only one picture this week, sorry, but maybe next week! Alright, since we were late to get on due to a power outage earlier, we have a lot more to get done before QITOOOOOO so I'll finish off now. 
Again, I love you guys so much, have an awesome week!
Hum aaplog bahut pyaar, moce!

Elder Ishibashi 

(Oh man, I have to find out how to translate that into Hindi and order a Hindi name badge)