Sunday, May 28, 2017

5-28-17 This last week was pretty awesome.

Kaise hamaar bahut julum parivaar!

This last week was pretty awesome. 
On Tuesday, we had a way nice and fulfilling zone conference. It was extra special because it was President and Sister Laytons' last zone conference before they're replaced by President and Sister Higgins. I'm way stoked to meet the Higginses (I looked up the grammatically correct way to put that but it still sounds and looks so wrong), but I'm gonna miss President and Sister Layton heaps. President Layton has taught me sooo much, and I'm really excited to see what I can learn from President Higgins!  

One training from zone conference that I especially liked was given by the AP's. It was about how the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion, the keystone of an arch being the only thing holding it up. The voussoirs (segments of the arch's sides) were likened to gospel principles like repentance, tithing, priesthood, etc. The keystone supports the voussoirs; keeps them strong and in place. The Book of Mormon supports the importance of all of these things in the true church of Jesus Christ. Not only that, however, it testifies of the importance of all these things in our lives. The Book of Mormon solidifies any doubts or confusions that may come about from the scriptures. A testimony supported by the Book of Mormon is a PA'A one.

We were able to (quite miraculously) find heaps of new and very interested people to teach! Over the last week, we extended several baptismal invitations and set more baptismal dates!  SUPER excited to work and progress with these people!

I'm overjoyed to hear about the nine new converts to the gospel! I've been so greatly blessed to be able to see my converts receive temple recommends, and though I was never able to assist them in the temple myself, it brings my heart so much joy to know that they're worthily and regularly participating in the saving ordinances of the temple. I would give anything to be able to come back and witness the sealing of their families, and I have utmost faith that it will happen with time, patience, and faith.  I'm so proud of my ward back home for the awesome work they and all of you are doing. 

The power in the last shop went down so we had to relocate, which took an hour, so we have to head out soon. SUPER glad to hear that everyone is doing great, especially grandma! Also, I'm really touched that Kailani finally has a grave stone. When possible, please take a picture of it and send it to me. I'd love to see it. Please also give my thanks to Anjo for his great service to my and so many others' families who've passed on. 

CONGRATULATIONS HERB AND JAZ! What an amazing thing it'll be to see this little Herb and the little U'i growing up so close in age! 

In closing, the main message of the last zone conference was that ATTITUDE is the key to SUCCESS, and I have a testimony that it truly is. If we choose to see everything as a blessing, whether one we appreciate immediately or one it may take some time to appreciate, we will live our lives fully and joyfully. Know that I'm REALLY trying to apply this to my own life haha. In conference, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts about Nephi. The thing about Nephi that inspires me so much is that he is put through SO much, yet he remains %100 faithful. The Lord asks some pretty intense stuff of Nephi, but he does those things without hestitation BECAUSE of his faith. He knew, and set the example for me that I might know, that if we rely entirely on the Lord and let him direct us, that we will see blessings and a closeness to our father in heaven that we could never achieve on our own. How sick is it that you're named after this valiant disciple of Jesus Christ, Lehia?

Know I'm in great health and great spirits and that Elder Mo'unga are working hard! I love you all so much, SO glad everyone is doing well!
Haam aapologke bahut pyaar karta!
Khyaal rakna!

Elder Ishibashi-Fiji

I'm figuring out the camera situation. I've figured out how I can take heaps of pictures on my camera's clipboard memory alone, but they're lower quality. It's also difficult for computers to connect to my camera and upload pictures from it, but I'm sure I'll crack it soon. 


From zone conference (I MADE IT TO THE FRONT THIS TIME)

Monday, May 22, 2017

5-21-17 I only have a year left

Kaise hamaar julum parivaar!!

First off, holy smokes, I have to address that video of Kala'i. 
It blows my mind how perfect Kala'i's pitch is even under the pressure of the crowd's eyes, and his vibrato is impeccable. Sooo smooth and mild, I straight up wanted to cry watching him. I'm suuuper impressed with Kala'i's coolness in his performance, it feels like last year I was watching you perform in a school play and you couldn't recite your lines without nervously rocking yourself on your toes. Kala'i, you are way talented. If you were nervous, you hid it nicely, and that is something I sooo wish I developed before I came out (I still get ridiculously nervous in front of a pair of new investigators, forget about a whole crowd). I've come to discover that being confident in your talents is a talent in itself, and I love the fact that you're sharing your talents by spreading good vibes and representing your cultural background. Having been away from my family and my cultural, I've come to so deeply appreciate my Hawaiian heritage. Our bloodline is a beautiful and a blessed bloodline. Hearing you sing that song just melted my heart and made me appreciate our language so much more. I have absolutely no doubt that your talents are being so notably improved because of your diligence in carrying out the Lord's work and living in accordance to His standards. I have a strong testimony that as we live in accordance to the teachings of the everlasting gospel, our talents with improve quickly and immensely. I learned that as we leave our comfort zone in order to bring joy to those around us, the Lord will bless us by seizing our fears that we might be able to continue to carry out that spirit of  joy and happiness. 

Kala'i, I have only one concern. All those young women in the background, if they weren't already, are pursuing you. Now you're skuxx, nice, and you can sing. Be careful, be strong, be humble, and always remember to keep your eye single to the glory of God. 

Anyways, it was sooo nice to see you all on Sunday! Everyone looks healthy, seems like everything is well with everyone. Thank you so much for connecting me with Herb! I loved being able to converse with him a bit in his mission language (and my very limited ability). So good to see him and Jaz, it was tender for me to see them all over each other and so in love. To think that there will be a little Filipino Ishibashi running (crawling?) around when I get home is crazy but I can't wait. 
So yeah, I told yous this but I'm not sure that it got across because of the audio difficulties (sorry about that again, won't happen in December), but as of last week, I have a year left on my mission. I feel like it's a pretty small thing, but it comes with some pretty low-key major feelings. It's crazy to think that what I just did, I only have to do it one more time. Elder Amai's teachings have suddenly become a reality. A lot of people think of their last year in the service as the peak of a mountain: it's all downhill from there. "I only have a year left" has two completely different meanings now.
I only have a YEAR left! In just one year, I can see and be with my family and friends again. I can play with my nieces and nephews and play music with my siblings. I can go to the beach and the movies, I can go to school and start dating.

I ONLY have a year left... I only have a year left to wear my badge. I only have a year left to bring back into the fold of the Lord as many lost sheep as I can. A year is a long time, but the world grows increasingly darker with every passing day. As the evils of the earth amplify, so much the work of the Lord. I can't waste a second of the time I have left here, for every second is a precious one and one I dedicated to this service when I submitted my papers. You can rest assured that I, for the next 12 months, will be working my hardest and praying earnestly for the Lord to humble me and afflict me as he sees fit. The mission is hard, it was always hard, it will become increasingly and mercilessly harder, but the heights will always far outweigh the lows of my service. 

Dad, thank you so much for your letter. It still blows my mind a bit that there are nearly 80,000 missionaries placed all around the world right now, teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to millions of people of polar-opposite backgrounds and circumstances. What's more incredible, however, is that all 80,000 missionaries are teaching the exact same thing, and all the millions of people worldwide are receiving the exact same message. This message is truly meant for the world, not specific to any particular culture or dispensation in any way. Something we make sure to testify to people as soon as we enter their homes is that the message we have to share with them will bless their lives. Every missionary on earth is making that same promise, and it is a true promise. 

The world will continue to change as we near the end of this blessed and FINAL dispensation. The gospel itself will never change, it will only continue to change lives. No matter where or how that life happens to be lived, the gospel will save it.

The last week was okay, Elder Mo'unga and I were sick for a few days so we weren't able to get heaps of work done. We're healthy now, so this week should be really productive. Know we are both in great health and spirits! I'm loving the work, the area, my wards are awesome and supportive and I see some great potential in the people we teach. We're meeting as a zone for combine-zone qito today, so I have to go. Sorry about the lack of pictures, I may just have to buy a new camera. 

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Kala'i, Lehia, and Penina, keep being a good example to everyone around you and a help to mom and dad. 

Aloha no au ia 'oukou(?), e malama pono!

Ham aaplogke bahut pyaar karta, aur haam yiis saab Ishu Masih ke naam se hissa karta hai, amen. Khyaal rakna hamaar bahut julum parivaar!

Elder Ishibashi-Fiji

Sunday, May 7, 2017

5-7-17 Heʻs still strong

Naaamaste hamaar bahuuuuut julum parivaar haiiiii!

Aaplogke kaise hai? Kam kaise? Pare achaa chale? Aaplog finbhi achaa rahe? Haam bahut kushii hai kyunki haam sakta dekhe ki aaplogke bahut achaa chale, aur aaplog saab julum kam kare khoi jaga aaplog rahe me. 

This last week has been a reallyyyy interesting one. The beginning was pretty average, had a way nice and fulfilling district meeting. The week was pretty much mostly vakamoce'ing new families and adjusting to my NEW AREA! I'll get into that a little later, just had some nice little experiences that occurred over the weekend I wanna share. So as you've all apparently heard, my brother Elder Koyamaibole has been called to the Philippines, Cauayan Mission! WAY excited for him! Raymond has come out with us a few times and we'd have FHE with his family every Monday evening, and I've no doubt in my mind that he's ready as he'll ever be to serve the people in the Philippines with all his heart, might, mind, and strength. He's such a bright young man and I see a big future for him. I love that family so much, Sister Koyamaibole is like a mum away from home for me, and her children are as easy to play around with and love as my own siblings.

Please keep the Koyamaibole family in your prayers.

On Sunday, we found out that the day after the letter opening, Sister Koyamaibole suffered a stroke. She was rushed to the hospital on Friday evening. Fane stuck her head out the window and waved enthusiastically as she passed by us on the road in a taxi. We had no clue where they were going, or that Sister Koyamaibole was unconscious in the back seat. Raymond is doing incredibly well, he has such a strong spirit. We were invited to the hospital after church to give Sister Koyamaible a blessing. It was really, really hard to see my Nasinu mum in the state she was in. The left side of her body is paralyzed. She cannot open her eyes or speak. She can hear and communicate with hand squeezes and subtle nods. The doctors say she will never be the same. I think about the way Raymond was in church that day before we even saw Sister Koyamaibole. He was all smiles, all laughs, the same enthusiastic man he always is. Fane smiled and waved and called out to the missionaries on her way to the hospital. I have so much respect for them and the faith that they have. If I were in the same situation, I would be destroyed. They love their mum more than anything, yet they remain strong and positive. Raymond shared with me during sacrament meeting "Maybe this is why it took a while for me to go out, aye?" Raymond ran into hurdle after hurdle in preparing for his mission. Had everything gone smoothly, he would have been out long ago. He seems to have gained a greater testimony of the Lord chucking us where we need to be at the time we need to be there. 

After the blessing was given, we went to the other side of the hospital to the children's ward where an investigator family was waiting for the missionaries to bless their daughter. It's a bit awkward that everyone here is so religious one way or another, because after that blessing was given, several other families asked for us to bless their sick children. I'm not certain, but I don't think it's allowed for missionaries to throw priesthood blessings around like that to random people, BUT I also don't know how to bese(reject) someone's asking to bless their disabled child. We blessed probably a good 6 kids that day, and I felt okay about it. Maybe we planted some seeds there.

Going back to Thursday after the call letter opening, I went about Nasinu to vakamoce some of my recent-converts and beloved member families. I had planned to visit three houses belonging to youth I had grown close to (including Tabokai, whom I baptized a couple months ago). Fortunately, all the youth happened to be grouped at the chapel for a sports night. All the youth I planned to see were there! I talked to them a bit, took pictures, said goodbye, and just watched them play for a while before leaving to our dinner appointment. As I sat there and watched Tabokai play with the youth like they were his own family, I felt accomplished. What a huge blessing it was to me, and what a feeling of peace it brought me to see Tabokai's relationship with the youth. I'm sooo appreciative to the Nasinu 2nd ward youth for being so warm and welcoming to our new investigator. I can see that Tabokai, through the gospel, has formed bonds that will bless him in his life. The church truly is the flock of our Savior, and I can't stress enough the importance of warmly inviting our lost sheep back into the fold. Though sheep ourselves, by the voice and influence of the shepherd, we will be able to bring our strayed brothers and sisters back to the fold. Please continue to be loving to EVERY new face that enters the doors of that chapel every Sunday, no matter the lowliness of its expression or the tattoo that covers half of it. Everyone is a sheep, just like us; one in need of our love as well as the love of the Savior.

On a side note, I read a poem that I looove from an ensign.

'Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.

"What am I bid, good people", he cried,
"Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?"
"Two dollars, who makes it three?"
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"

But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.

"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone", said he.

The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?"
Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Masters Hand."

"And many a man with life out of tune
All battered and bruised with hardship
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.

But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.

So beautiful.
Anyways, then came Friday. Back on Tuesday, we received our transfer assignments calls. Elder Hariprasad has replaced me in Nasinu, and on Friday, I transferred right over to the other side of town, in Suva! Now the last few days have been pretty familiar and odd at the same time. Familiar because I'm still in the city, and odd because I am very familiar with my current companion. I'm been placed BACK with Elder Mo'unga (the Hindi program is really weird)! Suva seems like a really nice place, both the wards we cover (Suva 1st and Suva 3rd) seem to have a SOLID member family and youth program. I'm wayyy excited to work with these people with Elder Mo'unga, super happy to be here. Herbert has apparently seen a video of me participating in a combine-ward FHE game from Friday night, SO much fun haha. Speaking of Herb, HERB, we've been invited to Brother Soko's house for dinner next week Wednesday. He told me to give you his loloma and thanks. Herbert baptized Brother Soko three years ago. He's still strong, very active, and seems very faithful. It makes me super happy to see the great results of Herbert's labor here five-three years later. 

We'll be heading out soon, but I'm way glad everything seems to be doing well back home! I hope everyone is in good health, thanks U'i SO MUCH for the pictures! Fia was way madua (shy) our last skype session, so I really won't believe she's so talkative until I see it because I can't imagine it. The babies are looking big and strong and still ridiculously cute. I'm sooo sorry but I need a reminder as to when my nephew's birthday, I'm sorry if I missed wishing him a happy birthday, and if I did HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEREMIASSSSSSSSS!!!! 

I'm also gonna need a reminder as to when my siblings' birthdays are, I'm honestly forgetting so much about home life it's scary.

AS FOR MOTHER'S DAY, I talked to Elder Mo'unga a bit and we should be good to Skype at 12pm Fiji time or later. IF 'Io wants to coordinate something, I could probably just plan to Skype around his time. Elder Mo'unga has no problem with coming back to the internet cafe for him or me to Skype, so he's okay with anything. We may need to plan around him, however, because his situation is a bit tougher. Utah is 18 hours behind Fiji, so 12pm Fiji would be 6pm Utah. He said they wouldn't mind Skyping at night, but if there's a time convenient for both of us to Skype our families comfortably, we'll find it. I'll get back to yous before Monday to finalize details, but for now, I plan to call home at 1pm Monday, Fiji time (3pm, Sunday, Hawaii time). Gotta head out, please give my aloha and congratulations to the 2017 seminary graduating class! I love you all, glad you're doing well, know I'm happy and healthy (fat) and safe! 

Haam aaplogke bahut pyaar karta hai hamaar julum parivaar! 

Khyaal rakna,
Elder Ishibashi-Fiji,Suva

Thursday, May 4, 2017

5-3-17 A letter from Bro. Irava

Bula vinaka  Sister Ishibashi, 

I am Brother Willie Irava, ward clerk of the Nasinu 2nd ward where your son is currently serving in. I just wanted to let you know that he is getting transferred to the Suva 1st ward and his companion will be Elder Mounga, who served with him at the beginning of Elder Ishibashi's mission in the Waila ward. He will get transferred this Friday but the good news is we will still be in the same stake. It was an honor working with your son and to see him grow since he came to our ward. I just love this kid of yours whom I have learnt some lessons from and I wish him well for the remainder of his mission. Thank you for supporting him in his service and he has indeed done a tremendous job. I have given him my email address and told him to to message me in case he needs anything. I am more than willing to help in any way I can. Thank you once again and may the Lord bless your family and this faithful brother of mine.

Brother Irava