Sunday, October 22, 2017

10-22-17 Kaise hei everyone!

Kaise hei everyone! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elder Ishibashi 

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

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

-Happy Diwali!


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

Monday, October 16, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Elder Ishibashi 

Monday, October 9, 2017

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

Kaise hei, pairwaar!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

OKAY I'll close now. 

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

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

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

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

Khyaal rakna! 

Elder Ishibashi 

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

-Tusi, Esther, Nasau,Sana, and Vuki

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

-Beach behind the dunes

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

-"stingy sea balloon"

Monday, October 2, 2017

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

Kaise hei, hamaar julum parivaar!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elder Ishibashi 

-Last district meeting with the "Nadisciples"

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

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

-Oh, Fiji

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

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

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

-No other mission...

-O Nadi Ko

-Sugar mill trains run on Saturdays

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

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

-Needed a quick feet-dip from the walking

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

9-24-17 A LOT of walking

Kaisa hamaar julum parivaar!

This last week was definitely one of those "slowly but surely" weeks haha. A LOT of walking with results that could have been better, still on the path to actually searching while we're out finding instead of passing by houses and people and considering talking to the ones that look friendly. 
It was just a really basic finding week, nothing super significant in that area. 

Nasau accepted the invitation to be baptized on October 21st if she came to know the church and its teachings are true. It was interesting to see the contrast between this last invitation and the one before. The first time we suggested setting a projected date, she was hesitant to even consider the idea of being baptized. This time, it was a very bold and easy "Yes". One of the best and most rewarding things to hear on a mission is the testimony of an investigator who's been blessed by your visits and teachings. Nasau shared with us how she's seen the change, not just in herself, but in her family as we've been coming by and teaching. It's pretty common for Indians and Fijians to get married, but a bit less so for the families to get along. She talked about how her husband's family would come by every now and then and annoy her in this or that way. She shared how her attitude toward them changed as she read about families in the restoration pamphlet. I'm just overjoyed that everyone is seeing the change in her life here haha. 

Another investigator we met last week, Amelia, came to church yesterday! She said she really liked it; in fact, she volunteered to pitch in for food for a YSA activity on Saturday! The ward does an excellent job at fellow shipping, it's such a blessing. 
To explain the title, this little Chinese boy in my ward is teaching me Mandarin. 
Ni hao ma? Wo hen hao, xiexie! -How are you? I'm good, thank you!
Zaijian! -Goodbye!

He also taught me how to introduce myself by name and age, but I didn't bring my language study book so I don't remember.

Thanks for sending the lyrics, dad! And I'm WAY excited to be able to meet the McCunes! 
We'll be heading out now, I love you all so much and have a great and blessed week! 

Dad: How's work? How are the missionaries doing, are they helpful to you and the ward?
Mom: How's work? How are your callings in church going?
La'i: How's school? Are you doing sports right now? How are you liking Kea'au, not half as bad as you thought aye? How are the youth?
Lehia: How's school? Are you doing sports? Are you still in band? How's the surf been lately?
Nina: How's school? How are you doing?

Love you all, khyaal rakna! 

Elder Ishibashi 

Monday, September 18, 2017

9-16-17 Mission tour was awesome

That was fast! Won't be too long, we had more stuff to do in town this morning (mostly replacing Elder Tui'one's stolen property). But the last few days were awesome! 

Unfortunately, I done goofed and left my notes back home so I can't share anything from mission tour or stake conference in as great detail as I'd like, but I'll try! 

Mission tour was awesome, we were accompanied by Elder Haleck of the Area Presidency who presided over both mission tour and the conference sessions. We received a lot of trainings based on treating our investigators as people with struggles, strengths, and weaknesses, rather than numbers on a record. We learned how to address their strengths and weaknesses and how to teach them accordingly. I can't remember any particularly strong impressions I received but I know there were heaps, we left mission tour edified and refreshed after a hectic last few days haha. The Saturday session of stake conference was excellent as well, and a big focus of the conference was missionary work. I feel like every insight was so vital and helpful for the members to see the importance of this great work, and I feel strongly that the member support will blast up after that session. The Sunday session was actually really interesting. I'll be completely honest and say I don't remember what a majority of it was about. When Elder Tu'ione and I showed up, the Hindi Elders in Lautoka asked us to help in translating the talks into Hindi as they're given. We were all given headsets and others were given out to people who'd rather hear the messages in Hindi. There was a classroom where several people were stationed with headsets and microphones to translate the talks into Hindi as they were being given,and everyone on the same station would be listening in on the translation. Our job was to listen in and evaluate the translation; to see if they were correct and simple. Because most the translators were speaking pure Hindi, I couldn't even understand half of the conference and decided to tune out. Elder Fonua (the other senior Hindi elder) and I, along with an Indian youth, decided to just translate amongst ourselves. I was honestly able to learn so much more as we discussed vocabulary and listened to the young boy translate the talks more simply. What I collected at the end, as Sister Higgins addressed the congregation, is that patience is such an important Christlike attribute that people often overlook; whether we're trying to develop the attributes ourselves or wanting others to develop them. When we have that earnest and patient heart, the storms have less power over us as we can be assured the storm will settle as we endure it well. We're also sure that when the storm does settle, we'll walk out stronger and appreciate the peace that comes with holding fast and strong to our faith in Christ.

I've also been humbled in a very different way. Like I said, we have no neighbors, and thus nobody to bother with noise. We had two other sets of missionaries over Friday night so travel into Lautoka for conference would be easier. We got a little over excited over several rounds of trump-10. Mom, remember when I got a little over excited at a wa'a regatta on Saturday and forgot I had a musical number the next day, so I woke up Sunday morning sounding like I'd been smoking for the last 60 years? That's where I'm at now. I haven't had to speak a lot since conference, but I'm really hoping my voice is better by our appointment tonight, and that by some miracle I can project the message confidently without wheezing or squeaking. I've gained a stronger testimony of the importance of reverence even when people aren't around. I see it as a tender mercy that this didn't happen the night before a full proselyting day, but this definitely won't be happening again. 

Dad, thank you so much for the scriptures. What you said applies to me directly, I feel horrible about the way we senior missionaries reacted to the game on Friday night in front of our trainees. However, I'm very aware that THAT was indeed my fault, but I'm trying to humble myself and I'll be putting extra effort into showing Elder Tui'one how to appropriately represent the Lord as his servant in public as well as in private. Training is stressful already, but my faith is in the Lord that he'll consecrate my works and my efforts as an example to a young missionary as I go about his ministry in humility, reverence, and genuine love for the people who surround us. 

I'm so glad everything is going well back home! 

OKAY I have to go, I love you guys! Have a blessed week!
Khyaal rakna,

Elder Ishibashi 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

9-13-17 Iʻm a Dad!!!

So this is it! And I have almost no time because we were out in town getting haircuts and whatnot, but I'll try to get in as much of the hype of the last week as possible! 

First off, I'M A FATHER! Last week, Elder Kioa was reassigned to serve in Nasinu, and I was assigned to train a new missionary! I rode into Suva on Wednesday, and Thursday morning, I met my son. I always looked forward to the day I'd be able to train a new missionary in the Hindi program for one particular reason: to witness their reaction. Everybody said that the newly-called Hindi elder's reaction is the funniest thing on earth, so I was way keen to see it. When my poor son opened his call, it wasn't so much funny as it was just sad. He looked like his whole world just collapsed and threw the letter haha. All I could do is hug him and take him aside. The look of fear in his eyes when he saw the indistinguishable squiggles on my name badge was pretty funny though.

Elder Tui'one was brought up in Auckland, New Zealand, but his family lives in Tonga now. His parents are President and Sister Tui'one, mission president and wife of the Tonga, Nukualofa Mission. He's the absolute man! Wayy humble, such a pleasure to be around and so ready to work hard. His love for the work, our investigators, and this gospel is so evident as he testifies of its truthfulness. I feel so blessed to have such a great example of readiness and diligence of a trainee. Right off the bat, he said he doesn't really mind and that he loves the language already. That's what I did for about six months while in my heart, I carried a sucks attitude about the language and the work that comes with having to speak it. Whether he's genuine about his comfort in the Hindi program or not, I'm trying my best to convert him to the light side of it. Right now, he has an awesome attitude about everything, and I'm so grateful to the Lord for that. 

This last week has been really hectic but extremely humbling. 

On Monday, our flat got broken into and a lot of things were stolen, particular those of Elder Tui'one's. I'm sorry to report that this is the second time in the last month that our flat's been robbed, the last incident was on the 22nd of August. I didn't tell you guys because I didn't want yous to worry. I'm telling yous now because these things are happening frequently and for a reason. The first time, they took some clothes (of mine, only running shoes and a pair of shorts, not too much), Elder Kioa's hair clippers and polaroid camera and all of our food. They must have needed food above all else, because that was honestly our biggest loss. We don't know their situation, but we hope they needed the food more than we did. This last time, we had no food for them to take (haha) so they took almost all of Elder Tui'one's clothes, his hair clippers, and my broken olympus. At first, and to no surprise, he was pretty heated. After four days in Nadi, he had heaps of stuff stolen. He cooled down quickly and accepted that there is indeed a reason for everything, and that trials are given lovingly by our father in heaven for our progression. 

We've been living with the Nawaka elders over the last few days. Tuesday was mostly consistent of a service project and making calls to ensure the upped security of our flat before we moved back in. I was absolutely adamant against moving back into that flat, because it's obviously marked (it has a history of break-ins and intrusions actually, just two since I've been here), but the mission is making a great effort to find new affordable flats in the area. We've been assured that the windows were again barred up firmly and that a double-bolt deadlock was installed, requiring a key to enter and a different key to leave. I trust that it's safe, so we'll be moving back in tonight. Through all of this, Elder Tui'one has been so patient and willing to help in any way possible. He's an awesome kid, taking everything in and seeing it all as memories for the books.

Yesterday, we met up with Nasau again. Oh, she came to church on Sunday! Nasau is probably the most golden and ready soul I've met yet on my mission. Nasau brought her sister to church with her,  the lesson in the second block really struck them both to the core. The lesson was about how each and every single one of us is so special to God; how we're so much more significant than we sometimes think. Nasau's explanation of how it touched her reminded me of President Uchtdorf's quote from his 2011 general conference address You Matter to him

"Compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God."

And another address from President Uchtdorf in 2009 titled The Love of God:

“Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely. … He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken”
The lesson with Nasau was beautiful, and she's already seen the blessings in her life since we've started visiting her. She committed to making the journey up to Lautoka for stake conference on Sunday, and I have all confidence that I'll see her at the stake center. 

I feel bad because this last week has been so weird for my son, so studies and the daily schedule's been a bit funky. REALLY looking forward to mission tour tomorrow and then stake conference on Saturday and Sunday. Monday, I'll have some hot new vuku to drop on yous. Hopefully by next week everything will be back to normal. 

Dad, I'm way glad the fireside went well! I've gained such an appreciation for my kupuna and the example they set in following Christ as I've served. I have no clue what legacy I'll leave in Fiji, and I'm sure the missionaries that brought the gospel to Keaka knew just as much. This is the work of God and we are his servants, purposed to bring the gospel to his beloved children so they might have the opportunity to return to our heavenly home. I also know with all my heart that that's true, obedience=blessings. I'll be one hundred percent honest, there were points earlier on in my mission when I was less-than-exactly obedient, and though it may be fun to deviate from the rules for a moment, it is NOT worth it. As simple as that formula is, another is just as simple: disobedience will cast the spirit away. Without the spirit, the work of the lord can/will not carry out. On the contrary, I have a testimony of the missionary principle "Obedience brings blessings;exact obedience brings miracles."

CONGRATULATIONS to Shon! I've heard there is an oddly large number of Indians in Logan, tell Shon I can hook him up with some vocab if he wants to impress some aunti on the street. It'd be a great OYM technique, I reckon. Let me know first thing when Siaosi receives his! My guess is Tonga. 

I'M OUT OF TIME, I love you all so much, have an incredible/blessed week! 
Hope you like the pictures!! Love yous! 
Khyaal rakna, 

Elder Ishibashi

Selections from drive from Suva to Nadi

-Seeing off the Australians finishing their missions (E. Kumar and S.Tuivai)

-Seeing off the pops

-The Tongan gene skips a generation

-Oldest Hindi Elders in Fiji with the youngest 

-Caught our ward clerk passed out after priesthood. When he woke up to me taking a picture:
"... Amen."

-Everybody that had anything to do with my upbringing in the FSM is dying. Soon, I won't know anybody out here. Moce to Sister Tupaea

-Na moko

-Literally me having absolutely no clue where we are

-"Everything the light touches is our kingdom..."

-Now feat. Elder Jessee

-Feat. Na luvequ

-Last night, sending Sister Teitiaki home to Kritimati. There were heaps of people from Hawai'i there because the Honolulu flight stops in Kritimati, but I was too shy to talk to anyone. I know, shame...

Monday, September 11, 2017

9-10-17 Don't be alarmed!

P-day was moved to Thursday due to travel complications within the zone, so my full letter will be sent then! My companion and I were given special permission to email briefly because he lost his wallet and needs to tell his parents to cancel his personal card. All is well, this week has definitely been interesting to say the least! Can't wait to share everything in a few days. I love you all, I'll wait till Thursday to read your emails as well. Just to let you know though, mom, I've received my camera! Yous are in for a treat.

I love yous, be back with more in a few days! 

Monday, September 4, 2017

9-3-17 I figured out that the west is so hot because it's overheating from working so hard

Maika'i no au, makuakane! Pehea 'oukou, ku'u ohana??

Not very much time today at all! The computers are extra trippy today so half aren't allowing myldsmail to work. The shop is also extra full because the whole zone in in Nadi right now for qito, so I'm writing my letter quickly then letting Elder Kioa on this one so he can write President and his family. Too bad, because this last week was sooo great and there's so much to talk about! 

Our color war was wayyy fun, I'll definitely try to attach pictures. I got Elder Eberspacher, my zone leader, pretty good with red dye. Unfortunately, because he's blond, the red actually dyed his hair pretty nicely and his looks ginger now. It's pretty funny. 

On Wednesday we met up with a family we met last week, the mom's name is Nasau. Normally when we set appointments, the family doesn't remember. When we rock up to the follow-up appointment, the family usually just happens to be home so they're like Oh, yeah sure come in. As we approached Nasau's house about ten minutes later than we planned for the appointment to be, Nasau's son shouted "Mom, they're here!" When we got in the house, Nasau said that when 4:30 rolled up and we weren't home, she thought we weren't coming. Then, three other women walked into the house that Nasau invited to hear our message. We held an awesome lesson with the family! When we returned on Saturday, they accepted the invitation to be baptized if they came to know the message was true. Nasau expressed that it was definitely something new and interesting and something she'd never heard before, but something told me that it made sense to her. As I sat there with them, I thought... the relief society would love you. Your kids are way cheeky, just like our youth. They'd get along great. We'll be working closely with them as well, they have excellent potential!

Yesterday, we were privileged to witness the baptism of Afroz! It was an absolutely beautiful service. To top it all off, even though Afroz was too shy to bear his testimony, Shaehana got up during fast and testimony meeting and bore her testimony! She shared with the congregation the blessings she's since since they've started taking the discussions. She talked about the changes she's seen in her husband and their marriage since they started reading from the Book of Mormon together. It's definitely just a matter of time before she follows Afroz into the waters of baptism, and I'm sure that the desire to do so will grow as we prepare Afroz for the temple and teach him the significance of the priesthood he'll be receiving. They're awesome, so stoked to work with them over my time here in Nadi!

It's transfer week, so IF Elder Kioa leaves, we find out where on Tuesday. 

Oh yeah! It was also during fast and testimony meeting that Aunty Bale got up on the stand and told the congregation "He doesn't know this, but I've known Elder Ishibashi since he was this tall." *puts her hand at waist level* My reaction must have been pretty funny because she got half the chapel giggling. It was nice though, she's waayy sweet and funny. Please give her my aloha! 

I'll be heading out now, the zone is getting together at Wailoaloa beach nearby for qito today. We also have to go and collect the shirts that Elder Kioa and I designed for the district from the embroidery place. We have an awesome week lined up! Know that Elder Kioa and I are in great health and spirits! Elder Kioa is seriously awesome, his drive and love of the work is inspiring to me as his senior companion. The work is going really well here right now, dropping-off and picking-up at a good, consistent rate.

Dad, thank you so much for sending me your address for the fireside! I remember hearing those stories growing up, but only ever separately. Now that they've all been placed together and chronologically, I have a greater understanding of the significance of the work my forefathers did and the faith in the priesthood that they had. I see a lot of Indians out here making similar changes in their lives. Hinduism could have been in the family for thousands on thousands of years, so it's obviously a pretty drastic and heavy transition from such to Christianity. Like Keaka decided to follow Christ rather than the traditions of his family, blessings are seen in every instance. The gospel of Christ can and will help everyone that desires to know of its truthfulness and seeks it out just as diligently. I testify of that.

Mom, I reckon I'll definitely be seeing a lot more people especially here. Because Nadi is where the airport is, we have heaps of visitors every week, so it's nice to be able to meet a lot of new people every Sunday. I'm eating really well mom haha, don't worry at all! I'm actually pretty glad that my goal (of getting black and skinny) is getting closer! We just do a lot of walking here and it's wayyy hot. I feel 'Io's pain, except probably not because we have two really good fans in the flat. But yeah, I'm eating well and consistently; we never go without dinner. I haven't received my camera yet, but I should get it either during this week or next week. It's not that It's lost, packages just aren't very usually brought over from the mission office to zones outside of Suva. I did see the deposit though, and thank you so much! Elder Kioa and I ended up taking another pair of missionaries out to dinner on Tuesday night because one of their birthdays was on Sunday and the other's on Monday. I also want to take Elder Kioa out before he gets transfered, he's paid for my bus fare countless times and basically paid the entire district shirt fee. 

I love you all so much, sooo glad everything is going well! You all have an incredible and blessed week, aloha nui! 
Khyaal rakna! 

Elder Ishibashi 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

8-27-17 This week was AWESOME, WAY busy!

Kaise hai hamar julum parivaar!

This week was AWESOME, WAY busy!

The highlight was definitely zone conference! Zone conference was a bit different this time, it was a sweet little change from the normal finding-techniques trainings and scripture-study insights. The focus of each training was more on the "gray areas" of missionary work, so to speak, particularly when preparing an investigator to be baptized. Zone conference was basically about investigators who've already agreed to be baptized on a set date, gained a testimony, and received all the lessons. The zone leaders trained us on how/when to set a baptismal interview with an investigator. The AP's taught us how to use every minute of someone's baptismal program as a teaching opportunity to nonmember friends and/or family members in attendance. The STL's taught us how to build a good relationship of love and support with investigators, but ensuring that they're converted to the gospel rather than the missionaries. President Higgins trained us on how to extend invitations, connect the blessings with each invitation, and teach the particular principles in a simple and bold way that they'll understand its significance. All in all, zone conference was AWESOME and way fulfilling! 

We moved Afroz's baptism to this coming Sunday, and it may even be extended yet. He doesn't feel quite ready, so we're working really hard with him to prepare him properly. Shahana continues to be a great support for him, she herself seems to set for herself that she isn't quite ready to follow Afroz into the waters of baptism, but still sees it as a possibility in the future. 

The only issue with Patrick is that we don't get many opportunities to meet during the week. He wants to be baptized as soon as possible, but he may have to wait as well.

My internal struggle is this: Elder Kioa hasn't been able to baptize anyone he's taught yet, so I want him to have that opportunity. This coming Sunday is the last opportunity we'll have to do that, as he's most likely leaving the area next week. On the other hand I don't want to rush any baptisms at all, teach short and simple lessons where we cover more principles than they may be able to remember just to cross them off as 'taught'. It's definitely all about the investigators. 

Elder Kioa and I are seeing a lot of success in the area right now, finding and teaching heaps of people who are interested in hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ and finding out how they could possibly live with their loved ones in a state of never-ending life and happiness. The field truly is white already to harvest.

Glad everything back home is all good! Keep those baby pictures coming, sista! MAN I can't believe Jaden, Makana, and Anjo are already heading out, please give me their report dates and emails! 
Please also give my warmest aloha to the new Pachecos! Beyond happy for them! 

Dad, that sounds WAYYY cool! We're actually planning a cultural fireside for the future, and an idea came up for each missionary to sing a song in their native tongue. If you could send me the lyrics to E Ke Akua Mana E, I think that'd be a perfect song! That's way exciting to expect every living active descendant of Keaka to be in attendance, and I think that'd be an EXCELLENT teaching opportunity for any less-active or non-member descendants as well.

Mom, I haven't received the camera yet, and I don't think I'll see it until late next week or two weeks from now (when transfers are in movement around the mission). Don't worry about anything else, once I get the camera yous won't be without pictures for the next nine months. How crazy is that, just nine months before I get to see you guys again. It was honestly way too fast already. 

Give 'Io a BIG hug for me before he heads out, don't worry man. I'll be there with you in no time!

We have a wayy sick qito planned for today, we're combining holi with a game called tin pani. Don't have time to explain now, but I'll get pictures off someone and send them. It's gonna be awesome. 

Again, glad everyone is all good! I love you guys, know yous continue to be in my prayers every day. Have a blessed week, I LOVE YOUS! 

Khyaal rakna, 
Elder Ishibashi 

PS Elder Kempe is serving in Pahoa ward right now, please give him my aloha! He was assigned to Hawaii speaking Marshallese, I was three weeks into the MTC when his intake joined our zone. He, in all honesty, is the most incredible pianist I've ever witnessed with my own eyes. His cover of Be Still My Soul is impeccable, give him a listen if possible. He's also way cool, tell him I said Aloha and Ij iokwe eok! (ask him how to pronounce it, Marshallese is alien) 
I also met a sister from Waikaloa in church yesterday, she just got back from her mission in New Caledonia (it's evident in her thick-as accent) and married a FSM RM who served with Herb (Elder Heiman). I forget her last name but it sounded familiar, and she said her dad just recently got released as bishop in Waikaloa.

Zone conference 

-Wailoaloa beach

-Zone dinner

-A quickened spirit exhausts quickly

-Elder Kioa 


-Votualevu gang