Sunday, November 27, 2016

11-27-16 my slap-in-the-face BE GRATEFUL day.

 NAMASTE hamar bahut bahut julum priwaar!

MAN what a great and especially humbling week it has been. Recap of the week!

Monday was an awesome P-day, nice meeting all the new trainees in the zone! They all seem way onst and adjusting well to Fiji, Suva missionary life. One missionary, Elder Billings, recognized my last name and asked if my brother attended BYUH. He told me he skyped Herb in the MTC for TRC! Said Herb was wayy nice and chill, and wants so bad to reach the level of ease at which Herb pronounces his words correctly at lightning speed. But yeah! The zone seems way good. Elder Hariprasad and I decided that we'd switch off zones for P-days every week. Last week, we wrote and qito'd in Nausori South. Today, we're writing and qito'ing with the Nausori North missionaries in their zone. 

Tuesday was pretty chill too, caught the wrong bus into the wrong area for district meeting (the Toga bus does NOT go to Toga apparently, it goes to Navatuyaba. The LOKIA bus goes to Toga. Why? Life is full of unanswerable questions) and ended up having to boat across a river into the next area. District meeting was awesome, set some high (and reachable) goals for ourselves this transfer. Seems promising! 

Wednesday was a way good work day, and my slap-in-the-face BE GRATEFUL day. 
On a quick side note, yesterday in church the second counselor in Nausori ward (attended BYUH for a few years and moved back home after getting married just recently) asked me if I missed my family extra hard this week. I said... not especially, why?
... because of thanksgiving? You do something big for thanksgiving?
So for the last week, I actually forgot that thanksgiving was a holiday.

ANYWAYS, the work on Wednesday was awesome. Then night came. We had dinner with a family that lives in Kuku, a house to which I've been once. With Mong Yen. Like ten weeks ago. Only other time I've been in the area as well. I didn't know which bus went there or what time it left or even exactly how to get there, all I knew was that the number the family left on the dinner list was not working, it was 6:30pm and dinner was at 7pm. We get on a bus we know is going in the general direction of the area, and we turn before kuku. We get off the bus just in time for the kuku bus to come by, and we get on that one. About 20 minutes later, the bus reaches the end of its route and parks for the night. I realize we passed the house about ten minutes before. Elder Hariprasad and I leave the bus and walk back the way we came. As we walked, I complained about not having a truck in the area. We would have been able to freely go where we needed at as slow a pace as needed to be able to recognize the street post or driveway. When we got to the house, we found out that we were a day early. They signed up for the 24th, which I was positive it was. She showed me on the calendar that it was the 23rd. In unbelief, I checked my planner, and sure enough, it was the 23rd. I accidentally skipped Tuesday, and my Wednesday plans were being written on the Thursday page. A mistake easily made since my days are written in Hindi and sometimes I don't bother to read them to see what day it actually is. She insisted on feeding us anyway. 

As I sat there, I was really upset. I've been out in Fiji three months. I'm leading an area I don't know. I don't know the families or their addresses or numbers. I don't know the language. I sat there really discouraged and feeling sorry for myself, when Elder Hariprasad flipped open his scriptures and pointed to the scripture we would share with the family after dinner. Dinner was awesome, but the lesson that followed was far more fulfilling than any meal we could have had that night. We shared a scripture in Ether about how the Lord shows us our weaknesses that we might rely on him and become strong. I also related one of my favorite scriptures in Mosiah 24 (always thought that was funny) that says that Heavenly father will lift our burdens when they become too heavy for us to bare ourselves, if we let him. When we rely on him and allow him to help us, we get stronger and become more capable to bare the burdens that world has for us. I related the advice from mom, about acknowledging heavenly father for every tiny good thing that happens to us throughout every day. The father of the house told us that he does the same thing, but to add to that, he does it when something bad happens. He was walking at work and kicked a 2x4 that had a nail sticking out. The nail went through the front of his big toe and stuck out the top of the back. He thanked God for the nail. Work is stressful often, he thanks God for the stress. It reminded me of a story I had a loong time ago, about two young girls in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII. The young girl complained about everything from the brutality of the guards and the difficulty of the labors to the filthiness of their living quarters. The other being her older sister, however, exhorted for her young sister to thank the Lord unceasingly for the pains and burdens of the world, as they are graciously given from a loving father in heaven. They conducted regular (and very dangerous) bible studies in their barrack, and when their living quarters were infested with fleas, the young girl couldn't believe her older sister thanking heavenly father for the fleas. The older sister explained that she overheard the guards talking outside, and they refused to enter the barrack to check on the girls during their bible study because of the flea infestation. 

No, I don't know the area or the families or their addresses or numbers. No, I'm not nearly fluent in either of the languages I proselyte in. Yes, we walk a lot and spend lots of time and money on buses and taxi rides due to a lack of personal transportation. However, I've been blessed with a strong body that can take the walking and the heat. I'm blessed with an incredible family that loves and supports me while I'm away in a different country, and my parents have been blessed with incredible jobs that they love AND allows them to be together every day. Yes, I've been living off personal for a while now, and I know how hard it would be to support both 'Io and I on our missions without these jobs. The Lord knows EVERY aspect of EVERYTHING, and blesses us according to our faith and reliance on him. I've been blessed with a gift to pick the language up quickly, and though my Hindi is still extremely limited I can and WILL pick it up. Heck, I've been blessed with a companion who happens to be fantastic with names and addresses and he helps me to remember things. I have more to be thankful for than I can even begin to think about. Thank yous SO much for your love, support, and prayers for 'Io and I. 

BUT YEAH. That was my Wednesday, and it was an awesome Wednesday. 
Thursday Friday Saturday were way good, more great families reached out to. Nothing super out of the ordinary. OH found out some sick news on Thursday though, I'll explain with the pics. Also ended up eating with the same family from Wednesday on Thursday night, insisted on feeding on the signed day as well. They're awesome!

SUNDAY, we ended up attending all three hours of Nausori ward. Elder Hariprasad also suggested that we switch off weeks for the wards. Yeserday was a Nausori day, next week we attend Waila only. But yeah, after Nausori ward we headed over to Waila for a lunch that was going on. We got there to discover that the lunch was a going-away party for three people! A senior couple that attends Waila ward, the Aldredges, die in two weeks. The third was Jeanette Maiwiriwiri! She heads out to Utah on Friday and will spend a week there before she enters the MTC. Man, who is that sister from Keaukaha ward that left on her mission last year and is serving in Japan? She wanted to know haha.

After the lunch, we had an awesome visit with a new investigator! It was the first visit we had with her, except running into her on the street every now and then and sharing a thing or two. On the first appointment, we extended the invitation to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized IF she prayed and received an answer from God that the things we taught were true. She accepted! We look forward to visiting her and teaching her more often, I see heaps of potential!

But yeah, that was our week! It's getting hotter, and heaps of members are telling us that the cloud patterns and weather changes every day are signs of an incoming cyclone. A bit scary BUT I've no doubt that whatever happens, everything will be okay. 

Now to address the letters:

Glad everyone is still in AWESOME health and AWESOME spirits! Man, congratulations on the new position mom! What a huge blessing, both the Lord and the leadership there knows your capabilities and dedication to the work, I'm so happy for you! Also way happy that yous get to get together for lunch every day or so, what an enormous blessing! I imagine the work might get a little more difficult or stressful with this one-up, but I doubt I have to remind you that patience, diligence and dedication brings accomplishment because you taught me that. 

I do remember Brother Brown, and though not very well, I am saddened by his passing. I do remember that he was way nice and way funny. One of those unkos that just make old people jokes, and while all the other old people are laughing the kids are laughing because it was so cheesy. I also remember that he did have a bit of a heart issue when they asked for our assistance, and though his passing is a sad thing, it's good to remember that he doesn't have to deal with those health complications anymore. I know he was a great man, and he's with Heavenly Father now. Please give my aloha to the Brown family when you can.

Please, I feel like nobody brings anyone to Grandma's house unless it's serious. If it's not, waste time. Grandma no care who your friend is, grandma like know who her new grandbebe going be. 
Speaking of grandma, please give her another good long foot rub for me kerekere. As well as Aunty Roxie! 

I forget about the babies, there are so many now. I forgot Kiana was hapai again! Thank you for telling me, know I'm praying for the baby's health. 

Also know I pray long and hard for yous and Filipino Elder Ishibashi long and hard each and every day. I'll start sending the pictures now then head out to qito soon.

IN CLOSING, and something I just remembered: I want to extend to you, my incredible family whom I am incredibly grateful for, an invitation. It's an invitation that Elder Hariprasad extended to me, and I think it's really really good because It's something I seldom ever do to be honest. The invitation is this: Just say a thankful prayer. A long, heartfelt prayer where you just thank heavenly father for his many blessings and tender mercies. Don't ask for anything, just thank and express gratitude. 

I love you all so much, and thank you for everything you've done for me throughout my life that I could be where I am today. Have a blessed week, I love yous! 
Au lomani kemudou sara valevu!
Ham aaplogke bahut bahut pyaar karta hai! 

Elder Ishibashi

P.S. I think 4pm would work well for me! I'll have to check with my companion to see what time would be convenient for his family in India as well. I'll let yous know asap!

-Our like ten year old boat guide 

-Boat ride to district meeting

-Welcome to Nausori. This is every driveway. I'll come home with a six pack on my thighs. 

-Look at this cutie we found in the bathroom!

-One thing I had to rudely learn as a Hindi elder: you actually absolutely do have to learn Fijian, even as a Hindi elder. We primarily teach people who prefer to be taught/are more effectively taught in Hindi, BUT we do regularly go on splits with the district leader in their areas. It's a bit awkward sitting through a 20-30 minute lesson of lightning vosa vakaviti and I'm sitting their like "Oh she said kete. That means stomach." Also, as I've explained before, effective Hindi elders will be called as zone leaders and chucked into the Fijian program, so It'd be a bit awkward to be a zone leader that doesn't speak Fijian. SO YEAH I've been paying heaps more attention during lessons while on exchanges with the Fijian elders. 

-Look who's coming to Fiji!! I'd know that name anywhere, this HAS to be Hearii Lee Chip Sao's little brother or something. Please ask Herbert to confirm this with his first counselor for me! Please also tell him to tell Hearii that I look forward to training this young man in the Hindi program! Something's itching at me, I just feel it. Anyways, WAY stoked to meet him! Elder Lee Chip Sao was one of my favorite elders from back home, can't wait to meet this one!


Sunday, November 20, 2016

11-20-16 Namaste hamar bahut julum priwaar!!

I Namaste hamar bahut julum priwaar!!

MAN what a week it has been! Let me recap:

Most of the beginning of this week was spent vakamoce'ing (saying goodbye to) families before Elder Mo'unga transferred to Lautoka! Man, some way exciting news in the Hindi program: Because two Hindi Elders died this transfer, two new ones were called! One's name is Elder Fonua from Tonga. The other one is Elder Begman from New Zealand, who came into Fiji with me! Fresh out of training, Elder Begman expressed to president a desire to be placed in the Hindi program. After much prayer, President Layton decided that Elder Begman had what it took to take on the Hindi program. We spent the last 12 weeks here in training in the Nausori South zone. Elder Begman was transferred on Friday to Nadi Hindi, where he was assigned to kill my father! Elder Mong Yen! WAY stoked for him, Elder Mong Yen is the man. Still miss the guy heaps. But yeah!

Hours after Elder Mo'unga and Elder Begman left, I met my mission mother, Elder Hariprasad! Elder Hariprasad is from India and is awesome. Hours after our first meeting, we were out the door and teaching. He was way eager right off the bat to meet the people we teach and contact regularly. He's a way good teacher and example to me. He's also super chill, it was pretty easy to get along with him pretty quickly. It's pretty funny when Elder Hariprasad introduces himself. When he says he's from India, the Indians' eyes just light up and they get way excited haha. But yeah, we got heaps of lessons in this week already and we plan on getting two investigators on date in the next week! This transfer looks bright, I have a good feeling about it. Anyways, yeah! What I mean by the troubled childhood thing is this: I have three fathers and I've only just met my mother haha.

Same as usual, had some awesome visits with some awesome people AND heaps that we don't get to see very often. MAN we need the truck, taxis and bus rides suck up SO much time and money. Our area is too big to rely solely on those sources of transportation. Just wishing out loud. Hopefully soon! 
We have some big things coming up in the next month, including mission tour and Christmas zone conference! Way excited. 

Speaking of Christmas, I know they've been talking about allowing the missionaries to watch Finding Dory this year BUT I'm gonna kerekere to watch Moana. I heard it looks WAY good, and I bet it does! 

SORRY about the lack of pictures lately and today, apparently I happen to get the one computer in the shop every week that happens to be bugged that day and won't accept the chord or SD card. 

NOW to address the letters:

OH MAN, Penina got baptized already! Thank yous so much for the pictures!! Man everyone looks so good haha. Nina, you're getting way big! The thought that you'll be nine when I come home is crazy. But man, looks like a beautiful service! Please give them my aloha and congratulations to the Valeras too! 

Glad everyone is still in great health and spirits! Know I am as well! 

Okay sorry this one is so short, but we have heaps of things we have to get done before qito today. 

I love you guys so much, thank you for everything!
Ham aaplogke bahut pyaar karta hai, have a great week! Moce!

Aapke vinakaduadua larkaa/tuakamudou/chota bhaiya,

Elder Ishibashi

PS Aunty Alofa sends her love!

-The reason we obviously won the district games last week 

-Tattoo I talked about 

-Poor guy got caught in the rain so I invited him in for milo and a game of catch-the-dictionary (he lost)

-Because we're all about that zone unity 


-Moce Elder Mo'unga

-Namaskaram Elder Hariprasad

-Pidgy used glare. It was ineffective. 

-I have come to Fiji and become a Micronesian prince. Na yacaqu o Ratu Isipasi. 

-Cutting my own hair today, don't worry 

-E dua na loloma mai noqu ta 

-If I were a cat

Sunday, November 13, 2016

11-13-16 So what's gonna happen now, we ALL move somewhere or you all move here??

NAMASTE hamar bahut BAHUT julum aur pyaari priwaar!

What a fantastic and refreshing week it has been! We got some great work in this week, got around to talking to heaps of people, and found some who we could potentially start teaching!

SO, recap of the week.

Monday we had a special district-vs-district qito, and every district was supposed to show up in some kind of team uniform. Obviously, as you will see in the pictures I attached, we won by miles. When our district leader (Elder Paki) revealed the uniform that morning, we went nuts haha we thought it was wayy cool. We joked about going on the road right next to the chapel, where there were county workers at work, and telling them that their shift was over and it's our turn. No worries, we didn't. ANYWAYS, we ended up winning the games as well! Navatuyaba district sa na vinaka duadua saraga. 

Man, Thursday was a crazy day. Elder Mo'unga and I had to get some things from Nausori town, and as we strode through, something caught my eye. Newspaper stands. Everywhere. With Donald Trump's face on it. My first initial thought was "Oh no..." I read the heading of the front page and was greeted rather impolitely with big, bold, white letters reading "TRUMP IT IS!"
And a picture of a cabbage yelling at a group of people. I am aware of the large protests going on all over America right now, there's no escaping American politics apparently. HOWEVER, it is prophesied that the promised land would deteriorate and fall before the second coming so I take this as a definite sign. Important time to be a missionary, for sure. Vinaka, President Trump, and vinaka America. 
But other than that, Thursday was awesome. When we got back home, we went on splits with the district leader. Elder Mo'unga took Elder Paki to Baulevu in the Nausori North Zone, and Elder Lemusu stayed with me in the South. I'm sooo glad he's good at OYMing. As we walked and talked, he shared his discomfort in finding and approaching people. BUT, as we all know, you just gotta do it. As we stood at the end of the road, we noticed a Rotuman girl sitting on the curb by a school nearby. We approached her and asked her if she knew a Sera in the area (we were looking for Sera, who told Mong Yen and I we could teach her but she never gave her address and we haven't seen her since), but she said no. Slowly, we transitioned into sharing our purpose as missionaries, and we were able to get a return appointment! We'll be checking up on her this week, I'm excited to see her interest level! As we were walking away from her, I felt really good. After that, Elder Lemusu was on fire. We also got a return appointment for a Fijian family, whom we will differ to the Fijian missionaries in our area. It really made me see how OYMing is like a lot of things I actually tend to enjoy and are good for me, but getting started is hard and uncomfortable. I like to run, but building the motivation to get off the couch and get dressed and leave the house is so exhausting. I happen to find mowing the lawn relaxing, which I can tell yous now because you can't make me mow the lawn here, but the thought of getting geared up and out is tiring. VERY much the same with OYMing. Once I get started, I get used to it and it becomes fun and exciting. But yeah, awesome day!

OH, I also got a tattoo! More on that later though. 

Friday was good, Elder Mo'unga and I OYM'd several more people. One Hindu family invited us to teach and help some kids that live with them who have parental problems. I think it's important for those kids to know at this time that they have a father in heaven who loves them very much, and is ALWAYS there when they need love, guidance, and support. We'll also be checking up on them. 
Friday night, I decided that I need to take in as much curry as possible over the next two years because it truly is a precious, precious gem of Fiji. As I ate the Pumpkin chicken curry and whole wheat rotis that were prepared for us by a member, I realized how different and unique real Indian curry is. I also got several recipes for Indian cuisine from some awesome members so we're having Indian when I come home!! 

We spent Saturday visiting some families in Baulevu, and got caught up in a volleyball game on the side. it was pretty awesome. As were walking when we saw four kids playing volleyball with their makeshift net, two on each side. Elder Mo'unga looked at me and said "Oi. Qito mada." as he slipped off his bag. The kids were way cool and let us jump right in. Not long after, a few more kids ran up and joined in. Within an hour, there were heeaaps of people all around! Easily about 20 kids, a good handful of YSA aged men and women and several older men and women all engaged in the game, whether playing or watching. As we switched teams, Elder Mo'unga and I got a good number of the kids to sit on the side with us and we shared a quick something about our purpose as missionaries and the importance of faith. They all seemed to understand well what was said! A little sketchy that right across the road was a church, but the adults didn't seem to mind at all. We said a little prayer with the kids, pulled a taxi off the road, and were vakamoce'd by everyone with such love. I love how easy it is to get along with Fijians, it really is something new and precious to me. 

Yesterday was an awesome sabbath! Heaps of people we're working with showed up to sacrament in Nausori ward. One awesome family that showed up, and have been coming consistently, was Christina and Shivani! They're sisters, and Shivani has recently been coming back to church after a period of inactivity and bringing Christina! Christina is 10, and has suuch a sweet spirit. The language barrier is a bit difficult to cross, given that she's currently learning English and I'm currently learning Hindi, but what I do say she seems to understand and accept. We'll be extending a baptismal invitation soon! Always awesome to see them at church. Following sacrament, Elder Mo'unga and I headed out to Waila ward, where we were greeted by the Naiaga family (who remains strong, active, and amazing). After church, we had lunch with the Maiwiriwiri family, and I met aunty Alofa! She's wayy cool and way funny. She and Aunty Sia remind me so much of you, mom! In that they're so sweet and loving and gentle, but there's also a tinge of fear that I'll say or do something dumb and receive a bear slap on the neck. Must be that Samoan mother vibe. Anyways, they're wonderful as well. 

Welp, it's transfer week! And according to President Layton, I will be receiving a new companion this week! Goodness gracious. I make six months out in two weeks, and I'm going on my fifth companion. I will have never spent more than one transfer with one companion. Several missionaries predict one of two things. One, I get on of two companions: Elder Toni or Elder Hari Prasad. For this or that reason, those are the only two missionaries I could possibly be paired with. Other prediction, I will be motherless in the mission and will instead receive a son! Both, I'm actually okay with. IF I am called to train, it's important to remember that the Lord calls those who are unqualified to an important work, so that they can exercise their faith in Him and rely on Him to progress. Rereading the letter just now, I will not be training, as President Layton clearly stated that I will be receiving a followup trainer. Bit of a relief, biiiit disappointing BUT the Lord will call me at the time he sees fit. 

Also given that it's transfer week, we have combined qito today! The Nausori North Zone, as well as the STL's and AP's, will be joining our zone in a mass qito today! Normally, combined qito is held at a beach in Nakelo, but there was another accident within the zone which left our zone with one truck. It's okay though, still looking forward to it and should be fun. That was pretty much my week!

NOW, to address 

MAN, I can't believe you're already 8 years old! I'm preeetty sure you were six when I left, but time goes by so fast when you're having fun I suppose. I can't wait to see those baptism pictures!! Penina, I know dad told you this already, but know that baptism is super SUPER important. That's what 'Io and I are going around and telling people right now. You'll find out more about baptism when it comes around, but our job as missionaries is to make sure people know how important baptism is and how it can bless their lives. I know, Penina, that baptism will bless you in ways you cannot imagine! Just remember to always be a great daughter, sister, aunty, and friend to everyone around you! I love you so much, happy birthday Nina!!

Second things next, that's two so far. Two new babies I'll be coming home to, that is. WOOOOO!! I'm sooo excited for U'i them!! Holy smokes, I cannot wait to meet the new Watson pepe. U'i just sent heaps of pictures, they're getting TOO big TOO fast! I can't believe how much change I'm coming home to already, and I've only been out six months! Undoubtedly Herb them will have popped one out by the time I come home so there's that as well. MAN, all great great news!!! Glad everyone's doing well in body and spirits! 

Welp, better head out to qito soon! 
Thank yous so much for all the love and support, and for always letting me know how well everyone is doing! It makes my week, really. I love you all so much, know I'm in great health and spirits! 

Au lomani kemudou sara valevu!
Ham aaplog bahut bahut pyaar karta hai!!
I love you folks so much! Moce!

Elder Ishibashi 

Sidenotes: I have fallen in love with the new mango flavored Fanta, try it if you haven't already. Sooo good! Also, I've been hearing some of Bruno Mars' new stuff on the buses and in the markets. It sounds wayyy sick, way oldschool! The guy's a genius man. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

11-6-16 It is truly impossible to bask in the heights of life without first having wallowed in the depths.

Namaste hamar bahut BAHUT julum priwaar!!

It's been a pretty awesome week, I'll tell you. It's been quite a struggle without the truck, but this week we were able to visit several families we haven't been able to in over a month! Part of it is because the only window we had to visit was around Diwali time and all the Indians are busy at that time so yeah. 
ANYWAYS all those families are doing awesome and still holding strong. As always, great visits with greater people. The Naiagas are still awesome and we go over and read the Book of Mormon with them as often as time permits. Holy smokes the Book of Mormon is crazy man. Before my mission, I said I've read the Book of Mormon cover to cover. I've read the words anyway, never the story and the significance of it all. In complete honest, I finished the Book of Mormon in prayer and understanding when I was with Mong Yen, two transfers into my mission. 

Jeanette Maiwiriwiri teaches the youth class in Waila ward, and yesterday we decided to attend the class. Jeanette and three other YSA preparing to serve missions gave a wonderful lesson on gaining our OWN testimonies through self reliance. They related the parable of the ten virgins, saying you cannot rely on others' testimonies to teach and share. Growing up, I can't say I had a true and certain testimony of the Book of Mormon because I'd never read it. it was more like, Woah, he read the Book and Mormon and this happened, she read the Book of Mormon and she could do this, it must be true! AND, since reading is hard and time consuming, I never put the effort in to be able to do those things or make those things happen. We really can't rely on the testimony of others to carry ours, we NEED to put in our own efforts. Something I've been told by a member in Nausori a few weeks back, which I thought was harsh, but is true: You know how faith without works is dead? Well, the same is with a testimony. I testimony founded on another is weak in its foundation. A testimony comprised completely of bits and pieces of another will not progress. You MUST build your own foundation. Build your own walls, and then the bits and pieces of other testimonies can support yours. When I actually read the Book of Mormon completely in pondering and prayer, I was able to understand and appreciate the Book of Mormon testimonies I've heard so much more. A tip to the bebes: READ THE BOOK OF MORMON BEFORE THE MISSION. No, I didn't, but I promise you that it will prepare you more than anything can. I wish I did. 

One awesome thing I love about this gospel is that if you have a testimony of ONE thing, all other doubts diminish. That one thing is Joseph Smith. If you know without a shadow of a doubt that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of a loving and living God, then he DID translate and bring forth the Book of Mormon, which IS the word of God. The Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity ARE God-given laws and are absolutely required to be lived in order to achieve eternal life. 

I actually got really scared last transfer with Elder Mong Yen. We regularly visited a woman who had a really hard time with the "trinity", or belief that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one personage. She was always loaded with heaps of scriptures that talked about their "oneness" (looks and sounds weird but that is in fact a word), and no matter what scriptures WE brought up, she always had one that said otherwise. This is the thought that scared me: In several verses, Jesus Christ is said to have been standing at the right hand of God. We take that quite literally, yet we tell these people not to take everyone the bible says so literally. I brought this concern up to Elder Mong Yen, and he simply said "Do you have a testimony of Joseph Smith?"
I said "Yeah, of course." 
"Do you believe he was a true prophet of God?"
"What does Joseph Smith say about the trinity?"
"They're three in person, one in purpose."
"Is Joseph Smith a true prophet of God?"
"Then they are three in person, one in purpose."

That was a huge help for me. He dies next transfer, and I hope I get to see him before then. ANYWAYS, to go back to the tip, it's not so much a tip as it is a very strong suggestion: If you don't already, gain and build your very own testimony of the Book of Mormon and our prophet Joseph Smith. The Lord promises blessings for doing that, and I testify of those blessings. Since I've gained those testimonies for myself, teaching has become significantly less nerve-wrecking and more fluid. 

But yeah! It's been a refreshing week, getting to see those long-lost families. That was pretty much the whole week too, up until Saturday. On Saturday, we had a birthday lovo for our district leader's companion, Elder Lemusu, who turned 20! Actually he turns 20 tomorrow but we couldn't celebrate tomorrow so we did it early. It also happened to be their bishop's birthday so we had a combined party! We put chicken, fish, palusami, kasava and dalo in the lovo. Man, the feed was meeeaan. We also had 'otai, kill the mouth. 
But yeah, that was pretty much our week. 

NOW, to address the letters!
I am SO glad to know that aunty Roxie is okay, oh my goodness. I really can't believe how incredibly blessed our family has been in dangerous situations. Please give my aloha to the Tubbs 'ohana, give Aunty Roxie, Kirei, and grandma a good hour-long foot rub for me. Goodness, we Ishibashis are ridiculous man.

"The normal man would have fallen and died!"
But yeah, I'm overjoyed that everyone is in good health and spirits.

Dad!! Something I thought you'd be pleased to know. Since I've been here, my Hawaiian has been arising quite often! I'm remembering words I've forgotten for years, and I'm actually starting to understand the grammar and sentence structure much more clearly! It's weird. I listen to Hawaiian music and I start to understand the words! I think it must have something to do with having so many poly missionaries around all the time. Often times when we're together, we'll just say Oh, what's ____ in Tongan? How do you say ____ in Maori? And we all go around and say that word in our native tongues. Countless similarities! Elder Mo'unga speaks a bit of Tongan so he usually knows the word, Elder Levasa and Elder Lemusu speaks Samoan, Elder Paki and Elder Levasa speak a bit of Maori, I know Hawaiian words, and we all speak Fijian. Way sick! DEFINITELY learning Hawaiian AND Samoan when I get home.

Mom, thank you SO much for getting the personal card situated! It honestly has helped HEAPS in getting to the other side this last week. Also, thank you so much for the letters! I'm glad to know that everyone is all good, that Herbert was able to enjoy some time with the family and the fiancee and that EVERYONE and safe and healthy. Tender mercies of the Lord, definitely. I miss hearing yous sing so much! I can't wait to come home and be able to jam and sing with my brothers and sisters, I definitely miss that the most, BUT I've been blessed with brothers and sisters out here in the field that love to sing so I'm still exercising my talents. 

Penina, thank you so much for the letter gorgeous girl!! Goodness, did you type that all yourself?? That's seriously such a huge improvement since I've left! I can tell you're doing well in school! Keep doing well Nins, I love you so much! Yes, I heard about Lili, but it's okay because she's very strong and healthy where she is now! Make sure to maintain her grave site so I can visit when I return. Huh, Ihe must be getting old though. Maybe soon we can let him off the chain like we did Tia! 

Alrighty well I don't have much time left so I'll use the rest to those I haven't been able to get back to in a while. I love you all and know that I pray for yous every day, and the blessings of obedience and prayer have become very very evident to me. Yous be safe, continue to strengthen the spiritual bond with our father in heaven and our wonderful and beautiful family here on Earth. I apologize for the lack of pictures today, this computer is being dumb and won't let me connect anything.

AGAIN, ham aaplogke bahut BAHUT pyaar karta, aaplogke paas ek julum hafta!

Elda Ishibashi