Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!!! Weekly email #42

Hey familia and otherwise. =]  Merry Christmas to you! I don't have much to say today, but the little bit I have, I'll tell you. 

Does anybody know how Boyd and Susanna (also, I can't remember if her name is Susanne or Susanna. Sorry!) are? I thought about them the other day. Just wondering. 

Our mission fleet coordinator has been cracking down on mileage recently, so Sister Palmer and I borrowed bikes from the elders in Lake Poway and rode them to the church building that's 1 1/2 miles away for a lesson. When we got there our lesson  got cancelled, which we were super bummed about, but we sure liked riding our bikes there! (see pic 1) We did it one other time, this time with longer skirts, and it was a lot more enjoyable. Julianne, how did you bike on your mission? Haha. It felt good. 

I did an exchange with a Sister from Mexico that is English speaking right now. Her name is Sister Lopez. She's legit learning English right now. Anyway, we had a really awesome day! (see pic 2) Her teaching is really good because she only says what's necessary and she pauses to think which invites the spirit. It's the best. 

We had our mission Christmas party this week!!!!! That was SO FUN! They fed us breakfast and President and Sister Clayton gave us all a California San Diego temple recommend holder. On the inside it has the CSDM logo and our mission scriptures, 2 Nephi 2:8. It is SO COOl. Oh, and it says "With love, President and Sister Clayton". I am going to keep it FOREVER! They gave us time to take pictures while we ate. It was so fun to see friends from past districts and zones. SO GOOD! And then we did a gift exchange. I got two pair of earrings, one of them I'll probably never wear because they're so little, but the other pair is silver french twists or something like that.....hard to describe. I LOVE THEM! I wore them yesterday. After the gift exchange we went into the chapel and we just all sang hymns together! Our whole mission! I was so touched by the spiritual power in there that I just cried. President Clayton also told us about the mission president that is coming in July. His name is President Schmidt and he is from Texas! His family is young, with the oldest of 4? kids still in high school. It'll definitely be different, but I already felt a lot of love for him. President Schmidt will be my mission president for 9 or so weeks. Cool. btw, I got a picture with Elder Mason Lucero as proof that he's in my mission. Enjoy. =] 

Last Tuesday before p-day was over we went to a Christmas house. This guy that has a lot of money decorates his house up with no stoppers and has santa come. And it's free to take a picture with Santa there so tons of people go there. So we went there before everyone and we took a picture with Santa! There's a picture of some of us sisters in the zone with Santa and Mrs. Claus. =] 

Also, we have a baptism this Saturday! Ashley is getting baptized at 3 pm and I am SO EXCITED!!!!! Christmas gift to Jesus. =] 

Also, the best picture is of me and family! I asked President Clayton a little while ago about Don taking me and my companion out to lunch for Christmas and he said yes as long as it was in my zone and on a p-day. So today Don, Laila, and Rose took me and Sister Palmer out to a greek restaurant. And we've been at the stake center since then. I love this picture!!!!!! =D =D =D 

That's all! Merry Christmas! Love you all! 

-Sister Bishop

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas is coming! Weekly email #41

Hey family! I flew home a year ago today from school. Right before Christmas and stuff. What that means is that time is going by! Wow! First off, administrative items, as it were: 

Can I call you at 12 central? It would be perfect for me because it'd be right after our companion study. Let me know. If you don't say anything, that's when I'll call. 

Also, maybe you could make a list of things you want to ask or talk about for our phone call. It's only supposed to be 30-40 minutes and I want to make it efficient and full of fun. =] 

I don't know if I have a whole ton to say today. Just mostly pictures. I hope you enjoy them. One really great thing that happened this week is that Boone passed the sacrament for the first time this past Sunday!!!! It was SO COOL to see our recent convert to pass the sacrament. And to top it off, he passed it directly to us. SWEET! 

Ashley, she's in some pictures, is getting baptized now on December 28th, not January 4th. And Heather is now getting baptized on January 4th, not December 28th. Heather would be getting baptized earlier, but she has to come to our ward. She's been to church 3 times, so that 's not the problem. We just want her to be able to come to church. And she just found out that she got a promotion at a bank and she won't have to work on Sundays anymore! Whoo-hoo! And to top it off, this morning she texted and said she gets off work at 12:30 on Sunday so she can come to church after all! We are so excited to have her there for our Christmas program. 

Last night for fhe the bishop had a Christmas dinner at his house. IT WAS SO GOOD! The food was good, but mostly Sister Palmer and I were so happy because of the people that came. We had a lot of returning less-actives and some non-members and both of our progressing investigators. Man, it's awesome. We just could not get over how awesome it was. And then when we left we had a voicemail from Austin, a ward missionary. His message said he had super great news and to call him at his work phone. So we did and he had a referral for us! It was his boss! Austin was really excited to tell us that he testified. We had been teaching him how to do that. It's called teach, testify, invite. That's how you do it, people! Anyway, life is good. I don't have much else to say. 

Love you! -Sister Bishop                                                                                                                    

pic 1 - me and Elder Hill after zone conference. He's my district leader. He's cool. And he's from Mississippi. 

pic 2 - my zone after zone conference 

pic 3 -  The woman at the well!!!! I hope you enjoy this picture. I have wanted to take it for MONTHS. The church is on the street that we live on. 

pic 4 - my companion and myself! 

pic 5- me, Ashley getting baptized on December 28th, Sister Palmer, and Heather getting baptized on January 4th 

pi 6- Bishop and Sister Meacham! He's the Bishop of Mt Woodson. And all of these Christmas pictures are taken in his home.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

We got a surprise Christmas tree! Missionary miracle. Weekly email #40


I have to start out with saying that yes, mom, I got the package. It was super fun to open! I'm really glad you sent the blouse with the flowers on it and my headband and the other purple shirt with the pocket. And the scarf is so beautiful! see pic 1. And I am super honored to wear the sweater Julianne wore her whole mission. I put it on right when I got it and wore it for the rest of the day. *heads up to Julianne. This part is for her. And I hope she feels bad for NOT EMAILING ME THIS WEEK* When I took off the sweater to hang it up at the end of the night, I don't know what possessed me to do this but I looked at the back of the tag and I saw that Julianne had written her initials and a heart and a star. Julianne, I just want you to know that my heart melted. It was such a tender moment for me. (pic 2 I'm wearing the sweater)

This week I got to go on exchanges with Sister Sorensen. That was fun. =] We got to see a miracle. We had received a referral from some elders up in Ramona and they had already set up an appointment for us. So we went up there and 30 minutes before the lesson we got a member to say he could come. That was a miracle. Anyway, we go to teach Heather, who is 28, and amazing things happened. Heather used to date a mormon guy and he invited her to church. She liked it so she met with the missionaries. But when she broke up with the guy she stopped going to that ward and meeting with the missionaries. She recognized she wanted to make changes and what she was learning was good so she referred herself on mormon.org!!!! Cool, huh? Anyway, Sister Sorensen brings up baptism at the perfect time and Heather says "I was hoping you'd ask me that". WHO SAYS THAT?! Prepared people, that's who. So then we invited her to be baptized on December 28th, and she said "sure! What day of the week is it so I can ask it off?" WHAT THE HEAVEN?! It was really amazing. When we left the lesson Kyler, the member, said "Could she have made it any easier for you guys?" Haha. It was easy. Elder Ballard always says that when you teach the doctrine people will ask us if they can be baptized. That's essentially what happened. It was so wonderful. 

Sister Tengberg (you saw a picture of me in their decorated home before) asked us a week or so ago if we needed anything. I said we would love to have a Christmas tree, so she surprised us a got us a 4 feet tall Christmas tree with ornaments and decorations. Sister Palmer and I had a blast putting it up on Friday. see pic 3. Hey Dad! Are you wearing your Christmas ties? Will you take a picture with them on and send them to me? I miss seeing you in them. 

We got to watch the Christmas Devotional on Sunday. Elder Nelson said that at Christmas we spend time with our families and family time is sacred time. I was sitting there wondering why missionaries don't get family time (well, we do get to phone home. That's awesome. =] ) on Christmas if it's so sacred. At that point, I finally understood the saying "missionaries leave their family for a short time so others can be with theirs forever". It was really special. =] 

Anyway, family, I don't think I have anything else to say. I love you! Merry Christmas! 

-Sister Audrey Bishop 

pic 1 - Elder Casey (zone leader) put on my scarf last week 

pic 2 - Elder Hill (district leader), Elder Arntsen, myself, and Sister Palmer. We had a mostly district lunch on Friday which was my 9 month mark. Then took a picture. Gotta love timers! 
pic 3 - Us and our little Christmas tree. It adds a lot of Christmas spirit in our missionary apartment. There's a picture of Jesus taped at the top. You might be able to see it if you zoom in. 

The best picture of all! It's a Texas ornament on Bishop Meacham's tree. They used to live in Austin. Anyway, enjoy! 

A picture from Elder Brent VanAlfen who says Mom and Dad sure raised a wonderful daughter!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving and Temple lights. Weekly email #39

Hey Family! 

Transfers were super crazy last week! My favorite district leader got transferred and became a zone leader back in Chula Vista! I'm sad he's not my district leader anymore, but I'm happy he's a zone leader and I got to see him at MLC (mission leadership council) yesterday AND at the temple lights, so it's alright. And our new district leader, Elder Hill, is way cool. Sister Pond, WHOM I LOVE SO MUCH (see pic 1)  is the new sister training leader!!!!! It was super funny. They pulled Sister Engebretsen out of Chula 3rd (my birth place!) and Sister Kober went home, which meant they were whitewashing Chula 3rd which is weird because they just white washed it in March when Sister Brown and I went in. But whatever. Anyway, Sister Pond's companion was getting transferred, so we figured Sister Pond and Sister Engebretsen would be companions and Sister Pond would be the new STL! Anyway, when President Clayton announced it in transfer meeting a ton of people around me (and myself) raised our fists and quietly cheered because we were so happy. President Clayton chuckled and said that it was the best muffled cheer he's ever heard. Haha. It was awesome. So maybe Sister Pond and I will get to be companions someday. I sure do hope so. =D =D =D 

Oh, but this is the part of transfers that you'll think is interesting. Elder Mason Lucero is now in my mission! Apparently he's waiting for his visa, but it's still super cool. I was so excited when he introduced himself in transfer meeting. I went up to him afterwards and had to help him remember who I am. But still. It's awesome. 

The next day was Thanksgiving!!!!!! Hooray! That morning a bunch of missionaries in our zone played football for exercise. It was fun to have a mini turkey bowl. ate dinner at the Brundage's. (he's in the bishopric) Their home is GORGEOUS and HUGE. Their was tons of yummy food made and there was so much food leftover they sent us home with some. Oh darn. =P But really, there were kids and adults and the food was yummy and Thanksgiving was awesome! (see pic 2) 

Our YSA ward combined with 2 other YSA wards in the area for fast and testimony meeting this week. It was a ton of fun. We had to get permission to go out of our zone for church, which was funny. But the missionaries serving in the Palomar ward had to call their mission president and get permission to come to church because they're in the Carlsbad mission! It was so weird when they walked in because we didn't know those missionaries. haha. But it was way fun. Our investigator, Ashley, was well taken care of. She went to church one time in the Black Mountain ward and she saw some of those people, but she said she likes our ward better! Yippee! Our ward is great, after all. I'm so stoked to be here for Christmas! =D ....Anyway....

Last night our ward was going to the temple for Sights and Sounds. Sights and Sounds means looking at the temple lights and listening to a small choir from a community church (as in not LDS). Anyway, we really wanted to go so we set up a lesson with Ashley for right after we watched/listened to the choir and got permission to leave our zone for it. The temples lights are SO BEAUTIFUL! After the choir sang we went to a spot of grass on temple grounds and had a lesson. We just briefly taught the beginning of the restoration, but we can tell that Ashley's faith is growing. She is becoming more confident that she'll be baptized on January 4th and she's reading the Book of Mormon and she can tell it's making her happier! Please pray she'll make her date. We are really excited for her. 

Everyone should watch the new Mormon Message that's up on lds.org It's called "The Reason Behind Christmas" and it's really cute and touching. Also, I really love this verse:  

3 Nephi 5:13  Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life. 

Being a missionary is so great. =D 

Oh, really fast: the call home on Christmas is supposed to just be for Mom and Dad, and it's only supposed to be 30-40 minutes. I would love to hear everyone's voice super fast, which is okay, but it's supposed to be quick. So what if we coordinate the timing of the phone call with everyone and see who can listen in to the conversation? But I can only say hi for a minute or two, and then it's back to mom and dad. 

Can't wait! Christmas is the best! Love, Sister Audrey Michelle Bishop 

pic 1 - Sister Pond and I after transfer meeting 

pic 2 - my companion and I on Thanksgiving showing the porch of the Brundage's home

pic 3 - the 4 English sister training leaders after MLC 

pic 4 - I know you can't really see our faces, but it's Kadi Baggett (AMAZING member and fellowshipper. She's an RM. We'll probably be friends after my mission) , Sister Palmer, myself, and Ashley. 

pic 5 - A lot of people from the ward. Back row first: Jake, Chris, Thomas, Tom, Kyler
front row: Sister Palmer, myself, Kristi, Ashley, and Kadi . THE BEAUTIFUL TEMPLE AND CHRISTMAS LIGHTS! 

pic 6 - the most beautiful temple ever all lit up for Christmas. =]

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

You're in for a long one. Weekly email #38

Family! It's the beginning of a new transfer, and guess what! Sister Palmer and I are staying together in Mt. Woodson for at least another 6 weeks! A lot of other crazy things are happening, though. I didn't sleep well last night (I never sleep well the night before transfer calls) and then we had to get up at 5:45 this morning because we had to take Sister Buenning to the airport. She went home early for health reasons. That's the second premature death I've taken part in. Sad. It was really weird to see some of my friends go home. You might remember me saying Elder Wallentine's name when I was serving in Chula Vista? Well, he flew home this morning. I got to shake his hand at the airport. Anyway, it just made me realize that the time really does go by on a mission. At the beginning it felt like I'd never be at 9 months, but I'll be there on the6th of December. That's next week! I'm entering in my "hump" transfer. I have 13 transfers, and I'm at the beginning of my 7th. It's just absolutely crazy! I love all the things I've learned thus far, one of them being that the restoration is so important! This week I did a cool personal study suggestion from Preach My Gospel where I write the restoration like a newspaper article. I really liked it, so I'm sending it home! Here it is!

 God Loves His Children: Then and Now

God loves you. Simple as that. Hopefully it's not a huge surprise. He has always loved His children. Think back to Abraham and how God made a promise that all of the earth would be blessed by his seed. Some promise, right? Well, God gave Abraham, and other prophets like him the authority to act in His name in order to save His children. (in this context, save means to be with Heavenly Father for the rest of forever). God loves His children, so He would tell His prophets to tell people to repent (*to change to be more like God or Christ). Sadly, sometimes people wouldn't listen, so He would take His authority away until people were more likely to listen. We can see that pattern in the Holy Bible (and the Book of Mormon). When Jesus Christ started His teaching on earth He called 12 apostles (men called of God with His authority to help lead the church) and taught all mankind about God's love and what we are commanded to do in order to be saved. Thankfully, we have hope because* we know what Christ taught: have faith in Christ, repent (or change), be baptized by someone with God's authority (or priesthood), keep the Holy Ghost with us (it's a messenger for God that helps in life as long as we make right choices), and endure to the end (or keep moving forward). Christ also suffered for our sins, died on the cross and was resurrected sot hat you and I could change in live in our bodies again! How cool! What a man, eh? Unfortunately, after Christ went to heaven, the church He established only lasted about 100 years until people who didn't understand God and His love killed Christ's apostles. Oops! No more priesthood! Have you ever been in a really dark room and you're just trying to find any light you can? Well that's what it was like for a long time. Almost 2000 years, in fact.A lot of people wanted what Christ had put on the earth so they did their best, but just like any knock off brand, it just wasn't the same. But remember how God loves you so much? Well, because He loves you so very much He called Joseph Smith to be a prophet and restore Christ's church. When he was 14 he wanted to know what church to join, and after reading James 1:5 (see King James Version of the Holy Bible) and a lot of thought, he prayed about it. God and Jesus came and told him that the truth wasn't on the earth but in due time he would restore it back to the way Jesus had set up. Joseph Smith also translated another book of scripture, called The Book of Mormon. Christ came to see God's children in ancient America (SO COOL!) because God loves ALL His children, and told them to have faith and repent......(*see above reference to the gospel). Don't believe me? I dare you to read the Book of Mormon, sincerely pray to know if it's true, and then to tell me God doesn't love you enough to give you a prophet today. His name is Thomas S. Monson, by the way. I know that God loves His children. I have felt it and God's messenger (or Holy Ghost) has told me that the Book of Mormon truly testifies of Jesus Christ. God loves you, and I know you can feel His love in greater abundance when you read the Book of Mormon and live the way Jesus taught. THE END

Now about my week........

Last week emails were really hard. I was so tired from doing MTE exchanges and then no one in the family had emailed me when I got on and then when I did get emails I saw pictures of Julianne trying on wedding dresses and Mom told me that she's getting married on March 8th. Oh my goodness, I cried SO MUCH. All day long, I was an emotional wreck. We went to eat dinner at the Brundage's (he's in the bishopric), and I had a big headache. When we got out of dinner I told Sister Palmer I didn't feel well and then I just started bawling again. I went to bed early that night but I still woke up with a headache on Wednesday morning. After personal study on Wednesday Sister Palmer just looked at me and said "you're not okay", and then she held my hands while I cried. Oh man, I must have been a mess. I admitted to her I was homesick and I didn't want Julianne to get married without me when I was supposed to be her maid of honor and etc etc. . . She suggested that I get a blessing, and after I prayed about it I knew that I should and who should be voice. So we called up our district leader and his companion and they met us at the church to give me a blessing. I asked Elder Arntsen to give me a blessing because that's who I felt should, and Elder Arntsen and Elder Nestoryak both knew I was going to ask Elder Arntsen. The spirit is awesome! Anyway, Elder Arntsen had to know my full name, which I didn't mind telling him because I love my name and it always reminds me of when Dad gave me blessings I would look up at him and say "my name is Audrey Michelle Bishop", and he would love and say "I know!" Miss you, Dad! Anyway, I was given a blessing that was so completely perfect. I feel like it was a sacred experience. I was told that as Julianne gets married I will be blessed to KNOW, not just think, that my family remembers me. I was also told that I should keep Jesus Christ at the front of my mind. Other things were said, but anyway, I was a lot better after receiving that blessing. I'm happy just remembering it! 

Then later on Wednesday I was on an MTE exchange with two sisters (one was Sister Memmott, my MTC companion) and we were helping their ward mission leader pack because he's moving, and he had MoTab Christmas playing. He offered to burn us CD's and we all jumped at the chance. So we've been listening to Christmas music this whole week and it's been AWESOME! I even pulled out my silver bell earrings and my snow flake earrings. Whoo-hoo! 

On Saturday night we got to help the Tengberg's decorate for Christmas! I sent a picture of that. Mom and Dad, don't be too jealous. They could never replace you. =P It was really great, though. 

This week I have been trying to keep Jesus at the front of my mind, like my blessing said, and it has really helped me feel close to Him. I also feel like I can do harder things. I know that I'm being watched over while I'm on my mission. I really love Jesus Christ. I know that because of His atonement, I can keep going on my mission, even though a week ago I was almost ready to head home so my best friend wouldn't get married without her maid of honor. I had a really weird dream where I was inside of a whale on a vacation because Mom and Dad asked for me to go because it was a special occasion, and I was crying because I missed my mission and I wanted to go back. So, even my subconscious knows I love my mission. No biggie. =] 

Mom, do you know where my flashdrive is? Do you think you could send it, por favor? Along with the purple shirt Julianne gave me for Christmas 3 or so years ago? 

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about our new investigator! Her name is Ashley. She is from South Africa! We got a referral from another singles ward and we went over there with our EQP to give her a blessing on Friday morning. Her fiance back in South Africa passed away on Thursday. She grew up in the church because her dad is a less-active member. And somehow she hasn't been baptized yet! She keeps running. Like the runaway bride, except she was the runaway investigator. Those poor missionaries! Anyway, she's super cool and the ward loves her. We have her with a date for January 4th. Apparently that's the 3rd time January 4th has been her baptismal date. 4th times the charm? 

Anyway, fam bam, I love you all! I am so thankful for you all. I really love being part of the Bishop family, even though people just keep asking me if my dad is/was a bishop. Haha, like I haven't heard that one before! Anyway, life is great! Another transfer with one of my favorite companions! And we get to spend Christmas together! Whoo-hoo! 

-Sister Bishop 

pic 1 - Sister Palmer, Elder Laxton, and myself. Elder Laxton went home this morning. These were our "Goodbye" pictures. hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil 

pic 2 - BACK - Sister Palmer, myself, Elder Nestoryak (who is getting transferred! SO SAD!), Elder Arntsen FRONT Elder Casey, Elder Eppich (he went home this morning. Sad day) 

pic 3 - Myself and Brother and Sister Tengberg (and their dog, Harley. He is the only dog I will pet or play with) Brother Tengberg is in the bishopric. We ate dinner at their house on Saturday and they put us to work decorating their home. And then they gave us a nativity to put in our apartment! 

pic 4 - District finding activity - Honk if you love Jesus! At first a lot of people didn't honk. Then a ton of people did. 

pic 5 - I LIKE ELEPHANTS! - part of the nativity we set up. Super beautiful