Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Last chance to WORK HARD Weekly email #79

EVERYONE! This is my last email home as a missionary. WOW! I can hardly believe it. 

This week we did some service for people in the Jamul ward. (said ha-mool) We were moving logs and sticks and they had been cut down recently, so it was REALLY HEAVY! I got some good scrapes on my arm and my arms were SUPER sore for 2 days. Serving was fun, though. 

Regina, the investigator that was going to get baptized this week, moved to Arizona to live with her dad. There was a crazy situation and to fix the problem her dad just had her and her brother come live with him. So she's not getting baptized this week. =[

Also, a recently baptized member of the ward decided she doesn't want to come to church anymore. That was a blow. Sister Latham took it really hard. 

We added a new investigator this week. His name is Tim. He wants to know what God wants him to do. His girlfriend is a less-active that wants to come back to church. We have high hopes for them! (on a slightly unrelated note, I made my first appointment for a time that I knew I wouldn't be there. It was weird.) 

On Saturday morning Yolanda tried to drop us. But we went to the Mormon Battalion with them that night and their family had a blast! We're not quite sure if we're dropped or not. We'll call them on Wednesday

Sister Latham and I are speaking in sacrament meeting this week. It's funny because it's like my farewell talk for my mission. Sister Latham announced that in ward council this week so everyone knows. It's alright, though. I'm embracing the fact that I'm going home without slowing down the work. I think I'm balanced. 

I had my last district and zone meetings this week. I gave my departing testimony in each of them. I tried to make sure it was a testimony and not a "thank-a-mony" or just things that I learned. I feel like my testimony has grown a lot since I've been on my mission. I already knew the gospel was true, but I feel like I'm been here testifying of it to people my testimony has become solidified, .......or.....I can't think of the word. I guess I'll just share a scripture with you to try and describe my mission: 

Alma 26:16  Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.

My mission has been hard. I've been looking forward to coming home since the beginning, and along the way I discovered I loved what I was doing. I have purpose and I know that I'm doing exactly what the Lord wants me to be doing. My spirit is never hungry because I feed it every day. I loved helping people. I wonder if I've helped everyone that I could have. I hope so. I know the Lord has a plan for me that is better than my own. And while it's taken me a long time to learn this, I love God more than anyone. I want to keep that up and be a missionary my whole life. What point is there in enjoying the blessings of the gospel unless we share it? One more scripture:

D&C 15:6 And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.

Mom and Dad, I can hardly wait to see you in ONE WEEK. I have to use lavender and relaxation techniques to fall asleep at night. XD I'm excited. I love you all!!! 

-Sister Bishop 

pic 1 - outside the mission office. 

pic 2 - reference to the temple on a magazine about San Diego

pic 3 - last district meeting (the writing in Arabic above us translates into "I know a little Arabic)

pic 4 - last zone meeting 

pic 5 - my companion is so blonde! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

No!!! Only two more weeks! One more email. Weekly email #78

Hey family!!! 

The temple today was wonderful. As always. We ate in the temple cafeteria, and it was kind of expensive. Just make a note. But it was really good! 

I am late on this, but happy late birthday to Rachael and Taggart Bishop, and happy early birthday to Todd!!! Hope it's wonderful  in London. 

This week I did splits with Sister Arrington!!!! (woman we live with) We do splits all the time now because that's the only way to get things done. On Friday night we called so many people to try and do splits, but we could only find one lady. In desperation we called Sister Arrington and explained splits and she agreed to help us. It was fantastic!!! It really was a lot of fun being with her. 

Maybe I told you all about Regina, a 15 year old girl, friend of a member.......anyway. On Sunday she accepted a baptismal date for september 13th!!!! (I selfishly hope we're able to get her baptized on that day because that's my last Saturday. PRAY FOR HER!!!!!) (see pic 1 for a picture of Regina) She is a very sweet girl. 

Umm.......I read a great scripture this morning that helped me as I was wondering how I could make sure I fear God more than man. From 2 Nephi 8:12

I am he; yea, I am he that comforteth you. Behold, who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of man, who shall die, and of the son of man, who shall be made like unto grass? 

Just some food for thought. 

We had a visit with Susie Hawes, who is working on coming back to church. She was expressing how it was hard to come to church because of transportation issues and her husband kind of gives her a hard time when she goes, but she came!!!! I just connect really well with Susie, so I had to get a picture. (see pic 3)

It's wonderful to see people progressing. It's really weird  that I'm making plans and extending baptismal date invitations for a time when I won't be here. I can hardly believe the time is coming to a close, and other times seems like it. Only one more email home!!!!! Wowee. Love you all!!!! -Sister Bishop 

pic 1 - Sister Latham, Regina, Amber (member) and myself 

pic 2 - a project I undertook while Sister Latham was doing language study. (all the letters I've received while on my mission)

pic 3 - Susie Hawes and her son, Jeremy (or P-nut)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Busy week! Went on splits twice! etc. Weekly email #77

Next week I'll be going to the 11 o'clock session at the temple, so I won't email until later. Just so you know. 

Last Wednesday we had MTE's (missionary training exchanges). We were trained by President Schmitt about personal revelation. He then transitioned into helping investigators come to church to receive personal revelation. It was perfect since the prior Sunday we didn't have ANY investigators at church. It was a very inspiring training and Sister Landeen came out with us to conquer the world. We had a great exchange. We added a former investigator and the lesson went very well and she said she'd come to church! That's what we like to hear! It was also just super fun to have Sister Landeen with me. She was one of my favorite companions. It's a shame we were only companions for 6 weeks. =/ 

President Schmitt read a bajillion verses about how the field is white already to harvest, so in our weekly planning we felt impressed to plan to have one baptism the coming week (this week) even though we didn't have anyone with a date for then. Then the next day we were talking with everyone trying to find the person that was going to be baptized that week. We saw a former investigator named Leo (18) who said he'd be baptized on August 30th!!!! It was a miracle. We set a return appointment for the next day, and we exchanged phone numbers. Sadly, his phone bill has not been paid so he can't actually call anybody on it. He called us from one of his friends phones later to say he couldn't make our appointment the next day, but he wasn't with his friend anymore. BUM! We were sad. We fasted on Saturday so that we could find him and help him be baptized. We even drove to his apartment on Sunday morning to knock on the door to wake him up for church if he wasn't there. Someone peeked through the blinds but no one opened the door. D:<  Then our family that had dates for September 13th didn't come to church. That was really hard. We were way sad. (see sad picture)

Later on Sunday we added an investigator that was actually meeting with missionaries in the Iowa Des Moines mission when she lived there. She is the daughter-in-law of one of our members and she is so prepared! Her name is Summer and her goal is to be baptized in October when her husbands moves here. She was at church, so we had one at church after all!!

Last night we added Regina at a dinner appointment with a member family. Regina is 15 and is friends with Amber who is a convert herself. Sister Taylor kept pointing out that Amber was sharing the gospel with Regina. Regina said her parents would be okay with her learning, so we taught and set up a return appointment! Miracles are happening, family. It's wonderful. 

We also added the Ramirez family, an RLDS family that is looking for more spiritual nourishment. It's super weird teaching them because they already believe in the Book of Mormon, but we're not sure they read from it much. They are very nice and we can feel the Spirit in their home. We testify often that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church and they said theyd' meet with us! It's kind of fun! 

I attached a picture of Roger and Virginia Meyers. They are recent converts. They are both brain  damaged, so they're a little slower, but they are AWESOME! Elder Lucero taught him. It's really funny because neither of them can say his name right. They either say Elder Lornezo or Elder Luceero. Anyway, they were engaged for 6 years before they got married and have been married for 37 years. We went to teach them a lesson this week and Virginia was all upset because her ex-sister-in-law (used to be married to her brother) was getting a divorce from her 2nd husband. Virginia is really distraught that people don't understand that marriages are supposed to last forever. I'm grateful for you, Mom and Dad, that you have taught me that marriages do last forever. 

Man.....that's what this week was like. It was a wonderful week. We are so busy we've done splits twice this week and we have them planned for tonight as well. We were feeling so swamped on Friday night that Sister Latham was getting anxiety. So in the morning during language study I made some calls and got us some members to do splits with. We feel much more caught up now. 

The work is going forward. It's wonderful to see. I hope you're all helping with the work where you're at! LOVE YOU ALL!!!! -Sister Bishop 

pic 1 - myself, Sister Landeen (one of my companions. We were only together for 6 weeks)

pic 2 - POWAY!!!!!! I served with all of these people in my favorite area, and we were together at one place so we took a picture! Elder Hill, Elder Arntsen, myself, Sister Landeen, Elder Nestoryak and Elder Harrison. 

pic 3 - me with Roger and Virginia Meyers 

pic 4 - me and goats at service 

pic 5 - our sad faces when people didn't come to church! 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Returning to the place of mission origin Weekly letter #76

Hey family!!! This email will be brief and wonderful. 

Last Wednesday we added 3 children of Adline, an investigator we had already added. And we got all 4 of them with a date forSeptember 13th! Last night we went back and added her older son and invited him to be baptized with them and he accepted. Sadly, they didn't come to church on Sunday and they have to come to church 3 times before they get baptized. So if they miss a Sundaythey can't get baptized on the 13th. We're going to do our best to get them there all 3 Sundays! Will you all pray that they'll come to church and keep their baptismal dates for the 13th? 

We're still keeping busy. We have received 20 referrals this transfer. It's almost impossible to keep up with it. But it's wonderful! 

One of our referrals led us to Brooks, a man who had a lot of really great questions! He was sleeping when we went back last night for our return appointment, so that was a bummer. But it was really fun to see how we had the answers to his questions! THE GOSPEL IS TRUE!!!!!

I went on an exchange last week with Sister Pond. I love hanging out with her. Because we're both so far in our missions we can just go to work and work hard. 

On Sunday we had permission to go sing in the Mission Presidents Fireside in Chula Vista!!! That was my first area, so I was beyond stoked. Also, it was my last mission presidents fireside, so it was sentimental going back to my first area. I saw Bishop and Sister Moulton briefly, Brother Dunford and his daughter Rachel, (who is a ballerina!!!!), Brother Keeler (a very nice man who's over missionary work in that stake) and SISTER SCHAEFFER!!!!! (I don't know how to spell her name). She's the less-active that I found and she was ready to come back to church. She was there and I got a picture with her. Her great-nephew is in the mission, his name is Elder Egnew, so I took a picture with both of them and Aunt Kathy's husband, Paul. It was very special. I loved being there and the spirit was definitely there. 

Otherwise, things are just great! Love you all!!!  -Sister Bishop 

pic 1 - Elder Egnew, Paul, Kathy Schaeffer (not sure about the spelling), and myself! 

pic 2 - Rachel Dunford and myself  Don't mind the grumpy sister in the back. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

29 SET APPOINTMENTS this week! Weekly email #75

Family!!!! This week has been CRAZY!!!!!! Sister Sheperd got transferred to Chula Vista with Sister Elyse Mims. I think they'll have a fun time. =] My new companion is SisterLatham (pronounced like lay-thumb) from Orem, Utah. She wants to be a pastry chef at Disney World when she grows up. She's a little more apprehensive about starting a family someday, and I said "I know why we're companions! I CAN'T WAIT!" haha. I did share an experience from our family struggles that became strengths that really helped her. I hope she has a brighter outlook on marriage and children after we're done being companions.
Sister Latham was originally called as a Spanish speaker, so we have language study every day. Sometimes I join with her and learn some things, and other times I update our area book and make calls and text people to set up appointments. There is a never ending supply of work to do here! Because....the elders that shared our ward were taken out. So we're kind of white-washing half of the ward. It helps that I already knew some of the recent converts and investigators. But really, we inherited a whole area. So now we are INCREDIBLY BUSY!!!! For example, our first day here Sister Latham didn't even have time to unpack because we had 5 appointments. We have somewhere around 29 SET APPOINTMENTS this week. Since Sister Latham got here we have added 8 investigators. Wow. It's a miracle ward!!!!
Some of the miracles are: we tried to see a less-active the elders had been working with, and we did see him but he was busy so we set up a time to go back and see him on Saturday. In the mean-time we were talking with his neighbors and the dad, Juan, was busy cleaning so he said he didn't have time to talk with us but that we could talk to his wife, Jessica. Jessica agreed so we went into her home and taught the restoration!!! It was totally legit! Wow. I don't know if I've ever had that happen. She has been looking for a spiritual home in a Methodist church and said she'd agree to read Moroni 10 and pray about the Book of Mormon. Her husband came in towards the end and said the closing prayer. He said it in Spanish, so I was lost, but Sister Latham said it was a really sincere prayer.
Then yesterday we went to see a former investigator (that we dropped because she just disappeared off the face of the earth!) that wanted us to come pray with her (obviously she didn't actually fall off the face of the earth). So we went and her nephew, Anthony, who is 21, was there. We added both of them with a short restoration/Plan of salvation summary and invited Anthony to be baptized on September 6th! He said it's been in his plans to get baptized so he'd get baptized even before then. I told him we have a rule that he has to come to church 3 times before he gets baptized, so that's the soonest, but he said okay! He was really sweet. I'm way excited. Sister Latham couldn't get over the wonderful miracle that was. We've said more than one grateful prayer this week.
I don't have anything else to say, and I'm sorry I didn't take more pictures. Oh! I could explain the pictures. I took the picture with Sister Arrington because Sister Sheperd was getting transferred and wanted a picture with her, so I figured that was as good a time as any to get a picture. And then yesterday we were walking to contact a referral (which wasn't home) and we stopped a man pushing his popsicle/ice cream cart-thing. He was Hispanic and said his English wasn't very good, so he ended up having a conversation with Sister Latham and I tried to catch a few words. In the end he wasn't interested, but he was nice and he gave us free popsicles! So I took a picture to document the nice-ness of Rodrigo.
Have a wonderful week, everyone! The gospel is TRUE!!!!! Love you all! -Sister Bishop
pic 1 - myself and Sister Arrington (who I live with)
pic 2 - me and my new companion!!!!! (Sister Latham)

LAST TRANSFER (#13)!!! Weekly email #74

As you can tell, this is the beginning of my last transfer. It's super weird. Last night Sister Stakkeland and Sister Montgomery who were serving in the Imperial Valley (far away from the rest of the mission) spent the night with our member so that they wouldn't have to wake up early to get Sister Montgomery to the airport (because she finished her mission). It was fun to have them with us. And it was actually kind of fun taking Sister Montgomery to the airport. It made the fact that I'll be going home in 6 weeks even more real and I'm ready to WORK for the rest of the time. Sister Sheperd is getting transferred, so I'll get another companion or companions tomorrow. (hopefully just companion. Companions are stressful) I'll have had only 3 areas my entire mission.
ANYWAY. The work moves on! We found a family last Wednesday! We street contacted the mom on Sunday, then on Wednesday we went by and she was home with her live-in boyfriend and their 4 children. (actually, the two oldest are from an ex-husband) They said they wanted to learn, but they understand French better, so we said we'd bring materials in French for them next week. We're hoping we get them in needs today. But anyway, the "husband", Jarvis, came to church on Sunday! We have a great member, BrotherJoubert, that went and got him and they got along so well Brother Joubert said he'd go pick him up next Sunday, and that was without us even asking! It was wonderful! We have another appointment with them tonight. 
 President Schmitt asked the whole mission to fast this past Sunday that we can find families, that our investigators will come to church, and that they will keep their baptismal dates. I felt a lot of power in the fast, knowing that the whole mission was fasting for the same reason. It was way cool. And then we had 3 investigators at church and the one that does have a date realizes she needs to pray harder for a confirmation that it's right to be baptized (thanks to her fellowshippers). I'm seeing blessings from that fast already!  
On Thursday I had my first interview with President Schmitt. He asked me about my family and what I liked to do. It was pretty basic. He also shared a scripture with me to think about this last transfer.
It's John 17:4 "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do."
I think it's a super great scripture!
But I don't have much else to say. I'm excited for this week! Love you all! -Sister Bishop
 pic 1 - my district drew the Plan of Salvation on the sidewalk. This is a picture from that
pic 2 - our district plus the zone leaders holding Elder Lucero because he's going to Brazil. He doesn't look happy! haha
pic 3 - it rained on Saturday. Sister Sheperd and I had umbrellas that matched our outfits! Totally on accident. haha

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Pioneer Ancestors Weekly email #73

Hey family! Not very much happened this week regarding missionary work. Melanie Arce, a less-active we've been working with, came to church today! That was really cool. I really feel connected to her, so I was elated. She almost didn't come because she thought she had nothing appropriate to wear. We called her and said she could come in her jeans and be late. So she did just that. I am so proud of her!
Our district meeting this week was on putting on the whole armor of God and enduring to the end. Elder Lucero had us do an object lesson that was pretty hilarious. I'll attach a picture or two.
Right now on they have a link to to see how many pioneer ancestors you have (by searching your family tree) and then you can read stories about it. During our time yesterday I did it, and found that I have 33 ancestors that crossed the plains! If you want to know how many you have, go to this link . It's pretty fantastic. Really. I read about Thomas Sunderland Hawkins (Dad's side, I think), and he had a journal he'd written, and in it he bore his testimony and told his posterity to stay true. I was really touched, because I know the gospel is true and I am grateful for his sacrifice and faith. I'm so grateful for my pioneer heritage!
Fun scripture about my companionship with Sister Sheperd. 1 Peter 2:25
For ye were as sheep‍ going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd‍ and Bishop‍ of your souls.
People laugh all the time at how our names are so church-y. It makes me smile.
I'm sorry I don't have much else to say. Hope everyone had a great week! Love you all! -Sister Bishop
pics 1 & 2- district meeting
pic 3 - a California sun set. It's cool, except I can't stand palm trees. They provide hardly any shade.