Sunday, April 30, 2017

4-30-17 Be wise, yet harmless

Kaise hamaar pariwaar??

Haam julum hai, iis pich le hapta bahut achaa raha! Haam Elder Datoon ke sange raha Sukh aur Sanichaar pe exchanges ke liye, toh haamlog duno bahut achaa kam kara jab haamlog saat raha. Haamlog saht nawa anveshak logan khoja, aur Sanichaar ke sabere me, Elder Mokie aur haam tin aur anveshak logan khoja. Iis pich le hapta haamlog tin nawa anveshak logan kocha, ek julum aur utpaadak hapta raha. Haam bahut din baad nahin iiske rakam achaa kam kara, toh ham bahut kushi rahe abii!

MAN it's been a great week! Beginning was pretty average, had a fun and uplifting district meeting. One part I liked particularly came from a training from Elder Larsen, who talked about being "wise, yet harmless."

He related the story of Ammon as he, after having chopped up all those Lamanites who scattered the king's flocks, was summoned before the king. The king is absolutely blown away to the point of speechless at Ammon's works and faithfulness. Ammon asks King Lamoni twice what his summon is about, to which no reply is made.

I've seen the importance of what Ammon does at this time in my mission, the example he sets here is key in missionary work. 

Alma 18:16 And it came to pass that Ammon, being filled with the Spirit of God, therefore he perceived the thoughts of the king. And he said unto him: Is it because thou hast heard that defended thy servants and thy flocks, and slew seven of their brethren with the sling and with the sword, and smote off the arms of others, in order to defend thy flocks and thy servants; behold, is it this that causeth thy marvelings?

Our investigators won't always tell us exactly what they need, and thus we won't always know exactly how to accomplish our purpose and help them in the most effective way. Ammon, being "stuck", listened to the spirit. By allowing the spirit to fill him and speak to him, he was able to know exactly the king's thoughts and desires. I've come to gain a strong testimony that the spirit's promptings are never wrong, and that following each and every little prompting spawns blessings. I can't count the times I've gone into a home with a set lesson in mind, but after talking to them for a bit or after the opening prayer, I feel prompted to change the lesson. Every time, without fail, that lesson reaches something within them that wouldn't have been touched had a different lesson been taught. Counsel: LISTEN TO THE SPIRIT.

Going on, King Lamoni asks Ammon by what divine power he's able to accomplish such remarkable tasks. He tells Ammon that he would protect him with everything he has and grant him anything he asks. 

22 Now Ammon being wise, yet harmless, he said unto Lamoni: Wilt thou hearken unto my words, if I tell thee by what power I do these things? And this is the thing that I desire of thee. 

King Lamoni agrees to listen and believe. Ammon basically has the king of this city wrapped around his finger at this point. He could ask for literally anything and would be granted that thing at the snap of the king's fingers. What Ammon asks is for the king to listen and believe in the power of our heavenly father.

Matt 10:16 Behold, send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

We missionaries are sent out in the midst of nonbelievers in Christ's divinity, foreigners to Christianity or even religion. We're delivered into the hands of clueless and often hateful people. No matter the circumstance, we're directed to be wise; to exercise and testify of the power of God boldly. We're also directed to be harmless; to go about our testifying and bold teachings with love and consideration. The way I see it, we're directed to be humble and submissive to the Lord. In Elder Larsen's words: Be smart, exercise power and authority, but never in the wrong way or for the wrong reasons.

Yesterday in church, we talked a little about humility as well. Taken from my notes:
I think a big part of humility is acknowledging the gifts and talents you've been blessed with, and acknowledging that there's always more room to improve. Being humble isn't being down on ourselves, it's the willingness/desire to grow by the example of others.

I also love Matt10:16 because it goes on to basically say that the Lord will tame any wolves as we stay faithful to him and teach with His spirit.

On Wednesday, I was on exchanges with Elder Larsen we got some good work done in my area. Elder Datoon and I were on exchanges from Friday to Saturday. It was way sick going around the area with Elder Datoon for old times sake, and we found sooo many new people to teach! This week is transfer week, and I was informed by President Layton last week that a change would be made in our companionship next transfer. Given all the new people/potential we found over the last few days, I want to stay and work and progress with them. However, I'm down for any curve balls or buses that the Lord has to lovingly chuck my way. We find out tomorrow where Elder Mokie or I go. We also had an excellent lesson with a sweet and humble family on Saturday morning, and I really look forward to teaching them and helping them to gain their own testimony. 

Friday night, my Nasinu family (the Koyamaiboles) invited Elder Datoon and I over for dinner. I was surprised by Joji Fong, who'd brought the packages!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THOSE! I'll talk a little more about those later, but please thank the Koyamaiboles again for their love and care for the missionaries. We had a really nice evening, I noticed talking to Chochi that I've replaced a lot of my pidgin vocabulary with Australian slang, it'll be interesting come home with that I reckon haha. 

Anyways, it's been an awesome week. I'll let yous know if any of the people we found progress.
As for the package, Joji bought Elder Datoon and I each a box of Mauna Loa chocolates and a t-shirt, so I was extra pleased upon finding those other two boxes. I gave two to Elder Datoon and his companion as well as Elder Datoon's long awaited bag of one ton chips. He expresses his great gratitude, you should have seen his face. Elder Mokie and I have slowly been killing ourselves with chocolate-coconut sweets and beef-jerkey, and we're loving it. Don't worry at all about the other things, I still have a good number of hangers that will last me a good long while (there are always left-over hangers in flats anyway) and the other things aren't important haha. THANK YOU so much for the shirts, I'll preserve them until my current shirts are unwearable, but for now I can afford to keep them crisp for a while. ALSO thank you for the athletic shirt and shorts! I was honestly in need of more like basketball shorts but no more! I'll be wearing them today at qito. Speaking of the hug, Elder Datoon was fine with it, but Fane (Sister Koyamaibole's daughter, recent RM) scolded her haha. "Sobo mom, tabu!" (Woah hey, not allowed!) But I really appreciated that too, thank you! 

I'm so glad you all seem to be doing great and keeping yourselves busy (hopefully not too busy)!
Sorry about the lack of pictures today, this computer won't take my USB chord. Know Elder Mokie and I are in great health (for now) and GREAT spirits, and we're working hard before the transfer ends. We'll be heading out now, but know I love you all so much. Thank you for your love and blessings! Haam janta hai ki  bhagvaan haaame saab iis ashirvaad de hai kyunki aaplogke pratna aur vishwaas. Haam aaplogke bahut pyaar karta hai hamaar julum pariwaar, ek julum hapta rakho aur busy raho!

Khyaal rakna,
Elder Ishibashi-Fiji

Just read 'Io's letter, his letters are always SO fulfilling! Something President Layton has taught us is to be very simple and bold. I remember loving Herbert's letters because they were always way elaborate and descriptive, but 'Io's letters are so simple and straight and powerful, and I've gained such a huge appreciation for that. 

Upon receiving them

-Exchanges with Datoon! (promise I'm cutting my hair today)

-My district leader is trunky



When dad says "We go!" and we're all waiting in the car but dad is still talking to uncle

Monday, April 24, 2017

4-23-17 Come at me, bus...


Man, what a week it's been! 

A tough week, honestly.

We went and saw a good number of people, found some new people to teach that we look forward to following-up on this week. Nothing significant, except a significantly difficult visit with Shryna. 
We had a good lesson with her about the ten commandments, and she soaked everything up like a sponge. Lately, she's been asking us to cancel her baptism because her 7th Day pastor keeps putting things in her head that God doesn't want her to be baptized LDS. At the closing at our lesson, she demanded that we cancel her baptism. In fact (and it was pretty funny), she wrote me a note on the spot and handed it to me with a bold request "Read it, and understand it!" 

I took the note and unfolded it to read its contents. It read: Cancel my baptism, I don't want to do it!
I just took my pen, wrote a little response on the bottom corner, and handed it back with a managed smile. This was my written response: No :)

She just threw her head back, dropped her shoulders, and groaned in frustration. We told her that we would continue to visit for the next few weeks, and COME May 13th, if she is still feels that she personally is not ready to be baptized, THEN we'll cancel (postpone?) her baptism. She shook my hand in a deal. Unfortunately, we may need to speak with the talatala ourselves, which is always uncomfortable but sometimes essential. Elder Mokie is a good example of being bold with love, he's always so patient with Shryna but never takes her sass or irreverence. I'm still learning, haha.

I read 'Io's letter from two weeks ago and just about died laughing when I saw that he was gonna be doing exactly what he didn't want to for the exact space of time that he didn't want to do it. What followed what he said though really inspired and hit me. The mission is tough, some days are full of disappointment and others of grief and disdain. That's something I'm certain all missions have in common, and I think it's just awesome that despite this, 'Io prays for difficulties. As fond as I've grown of humbling experiences, as I've experienced them, I've decided to just let them come as the Lord sees fit that I should endure them. To pray for them seems difficult for me in all honesty, but I have such a strong feeling that that's exactly what I need to do. I will do that over the next week. I expect there to be no exceptions for me, that I get a bus as well, but if I need a bus, I'll gladly take it. I also have such a strong feeling that this is precisely what 'Io needs to finish his mission off with the BANG he wanted, and what a glorious bang it'll be as he sets that example of a great missionary to his greenie and opens a vineyard for the Lord's work to take place!

I got heaps of pleasant surprise letters from people today, thank you all so much!
I had NO clue River was married!! He wrote me and shared with me some great insights on Elder Bednar's talk from conference that I highlighted last week. I really appreciated his wisdom.
I also got several beautiful letters from several beautiful little spirits (including my most BEAUTIFUL little sister) in the stake! Please give my thanks and aloha to Sister Naungayan for sending them out! I apparently was smiling noticeably wide as I read Nina's letter, because the missionary next to me looked at me and asked "Did you get into BYU??"

What an awesome article about Herb and Jaz! New York though? How long did Jaz live in New York? (Jaz lived in New York??) Welp, I guess the time will come where I'll get to spend time with my new siblings and niblings. Speaking of which, how are the buns in the ovens?? Do yous know Herb&Jaz's baby's gender yet, or are they waiting?? 

Kala'i, that's the one. Most important thing is to have fun, and every tried opportunity is an opportunity to try again. Keep up the good, hard work! 

WOOO those are some monsters, Lehia!! That's bigger than the mahimahi 'Io and I ('Io) caught when we went out on Brother Prudholm's boat! We never even got close to catching an ahi! Man that's a mean looking aku too, TOO good you! 

Please send a picture of Nina's new hair cut!
Mom, thank you so much for your fulfilling letter. I had other things written in mine before I read yours that I decided were selfish thoughts and meaningless troubles. I am working extra hard on being extra dependent on the Lord and accepting his will in all things. 
Dad, glad you're keeping busy haha. SO good to know what a service you're being to the family and the church in every way that you can administer it.

OH on a side note. So I checked on my blog, did I really get my call on April 12th? I thought this whole time that I got it on the 23rd, I've been telling people that it's my mission call anniversary. Whoops. 

I can hardly believe that it's already been a year since I got my mission call, seems like just 11 months ago! Jk but yeah, time really does fly. 

Welp, I'll be heading out now, probably get a haircut. Know you're all in my daily/nightly prayers. Not a day goes by that I don't thank heavenly father for the blessings I get from your prayers and diligence. I love you all so much, thank you for your letters and your love. Have a blessed week!!

Mahalo nui loa, vinaka sara vakalevu, fa'afetai tele lava, malo 'aupito, whakawhetai koe nui atu, domo arigatogozaimashita, bahut dhanyavaad, and thank you SO much for everything! 
Haam aaplogke bahut pyaar karta hai hamaar bahut julum pariwaar!!

Khyaal rakna!
Pyaar ke saat,
Elder Ishibashi-Fiji

Fun fact: Did you know the wh in Maori is pronounced as f?? (so it's pronounced fakafetai) Had no idea, you learn a lot about the isles in the isles

-Sister Kumar (Joe's mom) takes excellent care of the missionaries. Tuesday nights are good/happy nights (her food is phenomenal but she's why I got fat again)
-Adrien says hello 

-TRY THESE. I thought a potato was a weird thing to put in donuts too but trust me, they're incredible. The ingredients may react differently in Hawaii so my bad if it turns out weird. If they do, I trust that mom would know exactly what needs to be done to perfect this recipe.

-We made a batch this morning and brought some for the district 


Monday, April 17, 2017

4-16-17 "Nothing draws you closer to the Lord, Jesus Christ, than a desire to change."

Namaste hamaar pariwaar wananavu sara!

Aaplog kaise hai??

Again, not very much time today because we're meeting with the zone leaders early so they can take us to the LDS college campus for combine qito with the Suva North zone. 

We watched general conference on Saturday and yesterday, and HOW awesome were those addresses? I wanna make this letter home especially fulfilling (I hope you'll find it fulfilling, haha) so I'll just share thoughts and impressions I received during the conference sessions! I brought my book this time.

I really liked in Elder Renlund's talk when he talked about how the savior handled the adulterer brought before him. He went on to say that, though the savior certainly does not CONDONE adultery, he did not condemn the adulterer. "Go, and sin no more." He simply implored her to change her life. Weekly, I work with people who either don't think they're ready or worthy to hold/exercise their priesthood or to be baptized or whatever. It's SO easy to see people's faults, and I reckon that's because every single living soul has them. Faults, whether physical, mental, spiritual, or social, often lead to feelings of shame and guilt, SO they draw their attention to someone else's faults so as to shroud their own. Regardless, every single one of us has our fall throughs and short-comings, but no matter how big or small they are, we are no less valuable in the Lord's eyes. As shared by Elder Joaquin E. Costa, there is not a soul on Earth who has not the potential to change their lives. Our responsibility as a part of this eternal family is to SEE this potential in everybody we meet and to HELP them to reach that potential. I loved his quote: 

"Nothing draws you closer to Lord, Jesus Christ, than a desire to change."
Everyone, being flawed and challenged, should desire to change, and what a great work it is; what a great work we've all been called to to help our faltering brothers and sisters to make that change and come closer to our savior.

THIS BEING SAID, I've come to see my need to repent. I'm not sure if yous have noticed that I've gotten into the bad habit of chastising people that don't do things the way I reckon they should be done. I'm really trying to humble myself and let the Lord humble me. I learned in conference that one who humbles themselves and asks for forgiveness/mercy is better off than they who rebuke those who need it. 

One quote I believe was shared by Elder Yoon Hwan Choi just reminded me so much of grandpa:
"When I get tired of walking, I could always run!"
It was also a nice little reminder that attitude really is everything. I've also gained a strong testimony out here that WORK is the antidote for being tired of or stressing over the work. How that works, I'm not certain, but it does. When you feel yourself slowing down or losing motivation, fight and work harder, and I testify that the desire to work will return even stronger. 

In the priesthood session, Elder Bednar shared something that hit home pretty good for me. He talked about how missionaries are not called to areas, they are called to labor. He emphasized the first two sentences on the call letter. My letter said this:

Dear Elder Ishibashi,

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Fiji, Suva Mission.

I was called to SERVE, I wasn't called to Fiji. I was assigned to LABOR, IN Fiji.
He talked about missionaries who often get disappointed or discouraged when their missions get reassigned. To me, that's a pretty random subject to talk about on a world-wide scale, so it meant a lot to me that it was discussed because I could relate (even if it was for just six weeks). I've expressed my love for the Denver North, Colorado Mission and especially the Tallyn's Reach ward countless times to yous. I know undoubtedly that I was there at exactly the time I had to be. I was blessed with an incredible ward with such loving and supportive members. My companion prepared me beautifully for the trials I'd face for the next two years, and put it all into a goofy light that I could understand and know I could overcome. I've determined that I would not give up that transfer in Colorado for one in Fiji or anywhere else. I was called by our loving and all-knowing heavenly father to LABOR, first in Colorado, then in Fiji. Where we go does not matter, only what we do and how we do it. President Uchtdorf later said that we as children of God are entitled to nothing, so everything in our lives should/will happen according to the Lord's will. It reminded me of Gordon B. Hinckley's story from when he was on his mission in London. He wrote his father about the hardships and unfairness of mission life, especially in his particular area. He expressed a desire to leave his service and return home. In response, President Hinckey's father sent a letter with a very simple and very bold statement of advice: Forget yourself and go to work.

I've tried to apply this myself, and I've come to learn that when you humble yourself, fulfill your responsibility to the best of your ability and leave the rest to heavenly father, that he will consecrate your works and guide you. I hope some day to go about my missionary labor with my companion with the boldness of James and John and the diligence of Alma and Amulek.

This is the basis of my spiritual observations from conference, I REALLY liked it. As for the work, Shryna has accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 13th rather than the 20th. She's having a bit of trouble with her talatala (pastor), who tells her that she's 7 Day and should be baptized 7 Day at the age of 12 rather than 10. In this case, all we can do is invite her to continue to rely on the Lord and be sensitive to His promptings. I made it clear to her not to make a decision based off what Enosi says or even what we say, but to leave it entirely to God. She has such a sweet, genuine, and humble spirit. I reckon she'll make an excellent Young Women's President one day.

I'm glad everyone is doing well, thank you so much for the letters and pictures! Everyone is looking way good! Man, Nina's voice has changed since I've come. Now it's so mature, you don't even sound like a kid anymore! You're growing so fast and so beautifully, keep exercising that AWESOME voice of yours, it sounds so good! Then there's mom and dad looking like they're getting younger.
Please give my aloha to the Watson and Laie-Ishibashi ohanas!

I'll be heading out now. I love you all so much, have an incredible week! 
Ham aaplogke bahut pyaar karta hai hamaar pyaari pariwaar, achaa hapta raho!
Khyaal rakna!

Elder Ishibashi-Fiji 

-Reunited at zone conference! He got a bit taller I think...


-So here's what happened...
I went to the front to put my camera with the others, and by the time I came back the group, the front-row had already been taken up. I pleaded for a floor spot, but my fellow missionaries had to break my heart and exiled me to the back row (where the Goliaths dwell). Now all of Fiji knows I'm 5'5.

Monday, April 10, 2017

4-9-17 Let the Holy Spirit Guide YOU

Namaste hamaar pyaari pariwaar!

Sorry, not much time today because we're trying a new internet cafe and it's leqa (problematic) as so I don't reckon we'll be back here haha. Anyways, there were a couple of nice things that happened over the last week, otherwise it was pretty average.

On Friday, we were able to go see Shryna again. What a blessing it was to hear that she had decided to be baptized at her current age! 

It was pretty funny, the lesson we planned to teach her was focused on the Holy Ghost and his role in the godhead. As we taught, I discovered that she had no prior knowledge of the Holy Ghost. Now Shryna is a smart girl. She has a great memory and that huge book full of things the missionaries used to teach her. FROM THIS I deduct that she was taught improperly, and someone being baptized in order to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost should have an understanding of the importance of that gift. I actually think it's excellent that Shryna has been given this second chance at baptism. She has the knowledge and a testimony, and the Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to help her to solidify her knowledge and testimony.

Anyways, we very simply taught her that the Holy Ghost one of three members of the Godhead. He's our best friend, our protector, our comforter, and we've been able to feel him our whole lives. He's always been there influencing us, pushing us in the right direction when we need it and whispering words of comfort and guidance when we're low. He's a soft and gentle spirit, and though we may not (always) be able top hear his voice, we'll be able to feel him if we're attentive to his promptings.
Anyways, when she attended to her commitment to pray about baptism, she expressed that the decision just felt right. She felt comfort in her decision, like it was just the thing she had to do. 
When we told her that THAT was the Holy Ghost, she said
"... Ooooooooh. Huh, okay."

We committed her to be baptized on May 20th, but I think I may cut it closer to the 13th. She committed to coming to church and daily scripture study and prayer as she prepares for her baptism. Shryna is such a contrite Spirit, and honestly an inspiration to me. I may have some set plans for myself upon my return home, but I've committed to let the Spirit guide me in all big decisions both in and after the mission. It was, after all, the Spirit that told me in my heart that BYUH was where I needed to go rather than UH. I was blessed with that inspiration before the mission. What I love about Shryna is that she had a set plan for herself (to be baptized at 12) but asked the Lord for guidance anyway. She received guidance that went against her plan, and followed the guidance without hesitation. We need ALWAYS pray that we may be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I testify that as we pray and ask sincerely and LISTEN, that we will receive an answer. I testify that that answer is of the spirit, and it is the answer we need to follow. One piece of advice I've been following lately that has been blessing me in immense little ways is this: If you have a question for which you feel the need to inquire of the Lord, ASK. After you say Amen, don't immediately open your eyes and get up or go to sleep or whatever. Say Amen, sit there, and listen. Feel. Give yourself a minute to receive any personal revelations that the Lord may see fit that you should receive. It may not come after a minute or five or ten, as I've rudely learned, but I promise that as you continue to pray and live faithful to your calling that the answer will come.

Another reason I reckon you should all be praying hard for the Spirit is because you're all doing these awesome, adventurous aaaand poteeentially dangerous things. BE SAFE! The Spirit will guide you and protect you from all things and in all places as you pray and feel for His guidance.

HOUU THAT'S ONE MONSTER LEHIA. You gonna have to double ya game when I come home though because imma be eating all ya fish. You and dad looking healthy and in your zone out there on the water! I miss water...

LET'S GO KALA'I! You keep up that ridiculous training and self-discipline, it'll take you places your siblings have never been. The focus in the mission right now is for missionaries to discover what they want their legacy to be when they leave. For myself, personally, I don't care how many people I baptize. I don't care to have my converts remember me and praise me for bringing them the gospel, or to have a kid named after me. If I could help someone to truly and sincerely convert to the gospel that they might have the opportunity to bless their entire posterity by their decision, I believe I'll have served a successful mission. Kala'i, you're leaving a great legacy in school it looks like. You have a good impact on the people around you, and I'm so glad you're making the effort to be nicer to the kaivulagi kids. I promise you that if you love and respect them, their response doesn't matter. You did your part, you did what the Lord would want you to do. No matter how they respond to your love, whether positive or negative, you're doing the right thing. Keep being that beacon of light and example to your peers, Kala'i and Lehia! Again, pursue your interests, but prioritize the gospel above all. 

I'm glad mom is safe and unchanging in her methods of cooperation. I honestly used to tell myself that I won't hit my kids because of the way I felt when I was hit, BUUUUT some of the kids here man... 

Mom, I can't tell you how grateful I am for every smack and squeeze and pana you've graciously bestowed upon me throughout my life, because all those things have shaped me into the amazing and humble young man I am today. 

In all honesty, I've definitely gained a testimony that appropriate consequences is required when we break a rule, so we may learn WHY these rules have been set and the importance of following them.

OH I don't have time now and I left my notebook at home, but I was graced with a great insight yesterday at stake conference that I'll share next week. It's related to keeping the family strong and united.

Best of luck at the concert, Penina! Not that you need it, I reckon you have the natural gift of confidence. I like to reflect on the video mom took of you as you played the troll in that little Billy Goats Gruff skit at school. I think about the way you stood up there and just claimed that bridge in front of the whole audience. That was YOUR bridge, and you didn't just want the goats to know it, you wanted mom and your teacher and your friends' moms to know whose bridge that was. The confidence with which you stood up there and sang your part at your young age is inspiring to me, and I know that that gift will carry you very far in life! 

I don't reckon I need to wish mom good luck with the bass either, mom can/will literally do anything she puts her heart and mind to. But good luck anyways!

Please give my aloha to the ward, the family, and especially the Wheeler ohana. I honestly don't remember the baptism, but I remember the family. They're in my prayers!

Elder Mokie and I are in great health and spirits! We're still working hard and toward bringing the strayed sheep back to the fold.

I love you all so much, have an incredible and blessed week! 
Ham aaplogke bahut pyaar karta hai hamaar pyaari pariwaar!
Khyaal rakna,

Elder Ishibashi-Fiji

-Daily inspiration

-Met this guy at stake conference yesterday, he came down from Tuvalu! 
I saw him up on the stand in the choir and thought he looked oddly familiar. After everything he approached me, introduced himself and said "Elder Ishibashi sends his love!"

-Just stolen from his blog

... that height contrast though...


It's hard trying to be lowkey in such an open space

Sunday, April 2, 2017

4-2-17 Kaise pariwaar??

Namaste, pariwaar!! Ham hope karta hai aaplogke paas raha ek julum hapta! 

Piche le hapta, kuch nahin hoige. Hamlog khali gharepe baita raha aur kana banais raha. Hamlog tora pariwaarlog mila, lekin dher nahin. Hamaar nawa saati ghare jae mange tabhesdo hamlog bahut kam nahin kare.

This last week was good, the new focus on baptizing converts alone (instead of focusing on less-active members) has opened a LOT of time for finding. Elder Mokie and I found some good potential over the last week and we've been working as closely as possible with our current promising investigators. I just discovered on Tuesday that it will be impossible to baptize Naresh on the date we set for him (April 29th) because of the upcoming stake and general conferences over the next two weeks. We haven't been able to see him to extend the date yet, but we'll try to see him and Shryna two times a week now. Now SHRYNA has an interesting conversion story (in all honesty, if you can call it that).

There was a story told in Nasinu of a little girl baptized in March of 2016. The water in the font was low, and the missionary asked to baptize her was VERY eager for her salvation. When he baptized her, the back of her head hit the bottom of the font and her hand didn't fully go under water. She came up crying, and when asked to be baptized again, she refused. She and her family never came back to church, and the girl never received the Holy Ghost.

We found Shryna when we were out with Raymond Koyamaibole one day, and he pointed out a house he said he used to visit with the missionaries. We visited the home and sat with Shryna and her mother. We had a good lesson with them and they gladly invited us back! Shryna and her mother seemed very comfortable with our presence and spoke of the great lessons they had with missionaries previously. Shryna seems to have remembered everything the missionaries used to teach and even had her own (HUGE) study journal filled with Book of Mormon verses and sections from the Friend magazine. When we left the home, Raymond told us that THAT'S the little girl that was improperly baptized and never received the Holy Ghost. I was filled with excitement to give Shryna this second chance at baptism. Elder Mokie and I visited her on Friday and we found out a bit more about her situation; what happened preceding/following her baptism. She told us that she had decided for herself that she would wait until she was 12 to be baptized. She personally feels that she'll be ready by then. When I asked her "Shryna, why did you decide to be baptized into the LDS church?", her response was shocking and infuriating. 
"I didn't decide. Elder _____ forced me."
Now the way she explained it, it was not an aggressive type of force at all. He simply and literally begged her to be baptized. Pleeeaase be baptized! Please please pleeeease be baptized! Using everything from sad-puppy faces to lolis to get this 9 year old girl into the waters of baptism. 
That absolutely broke my heart. 
She learned a lot about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, I don't doubt that she did have a testimony of the church. She still reads from her bible regularly and has personal prayers every night, often with her mother. However, it was less her choice to be baptized than it needed to be. It needs to be %100 THE CONVERT'S DECISION TO BE BAPTIZED. Decisions like that need to be between the convert and God, NO ONE ELSE. Man should never EVER get in the middle of someone's decision to be baptized or serve a mission or get endowed or get married. These are all saving ordinances (except missionary service of course), and God is the only one who should impress someone truly when in their lives they should perform these ordinances. Truly God does send people into our lives to help us to make the decision and bring us closer to our heavenly father; people to help us to the point where we should inquire of our heavenly father assistance we cannot receive from man. In the end, final decisions are between man and God and only between man and God. 

We invited Shryna to pray about whether or not she should be baptized now, and she accepted.
I testified to her and I testify now that if we ask our father in heaven with a broken heart and a contrite spirit whether or not we should perform the ordinances required for the eternal salvation of our souls, be us worthy and ready to receive an answer, we WILL receive an answer AND that the answer will be YES and NOW. The second coming is near, and NOW is the time to bring in the Lord's flock before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

Shryna has requested more Friend magazines and another Book of Mormon, as all of her LDS study materials were taken from her room by a family member/religion student. She wants to learn more about the church and has even expressed a desire to return! I look forward to visiting her regularly over the next weeks. I see some great potential in her. 

Anyways, that was the highlight of the last week. Forgive me my rant, but I needed that out haha. We have some good work lined up for the next week! 

I'm so glad everything is going well back home! Thank yous so much for the pictures! Sorry for my lack of pictures, my camera is still being dumb. I'll get it fixed, no worries! That's actually something I forgot to kerekere from yous, a new SD card BUT there are some cheap ones here so not to worry. SO excited for stake and general conference! 

Alright we're heading out soon, I love you all so much! Thank you for your love, prayers, and support. 
Ham aaplogke bahut pyaar karta hai hamaar bahut julum pariwaar! Khali achaa kam karo aur apaan dostlogke pyaar dhekaue! 
Khyaal rakna,

Elder ishibashi-Fiji