Tuesday, April 22, 2014

P-DAY B-DAY!!!!!!!! Weekly email # 59

WOW!!!! Having a birthday on a p-day that just so happens to be the day that I can go to the temple is AWESOME! I highly recommend it to anyone that can do so. Let me start off my letter by telling you something that happened last Wednesday:
Last Wednesday I was struck by the Spirit of Elijah. I kid you not. Sister Sheperd and I were looking at my family tree as part of the 12 week training and we thought we had found someone that hadn't had their work done (Ann Batt. Turned out she has), but in that moment, I got so worked up. (in a good way) I felt a great urgency to have her temple work done because she's been waiting for years and years!!!! I kept thinking about how I don't know my grandparents very well and I don't know anything about my ancestors that came across the plains or who first converted to the church or what. I had a leaky faucet syndrome that day. I just kept crying every time I thought about my family! Then that night, Mom, you sent Sarah Lillian Minerva Briggs name to Sister Arrington to me to do her endowments today. I got so excited to hear she was a missionary! And the next morning I read from D&C 128 and I was crying during personal study. Sister Sheperd asked me if I was okay and I said "yes, it's just the spirit of Elijah again." I wanted to share the scriptures that meant the most to me. In reference to baptisms for the dead, Joseph Smith says in verse 15:

15 And now, my dearly beloved brethren and sisters, let me assure you that these are principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation. For their asalvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers—that they without us cannot be made perfect—neither can we without our dead be made bperfect.

I am curious as to why we can't be made perfect without our dead. Maybe it's because we need to do service for them? Either way, temple works pertains to salvation!!!! And then the next two verses I want to share with  you are quoted a TON, especially in Joseph Smith the prophet of the restoration video, but are never attributed to the section that is about FAMILY HISTORY AND TEMPLE WORK!!!!! Here they are:

 19 Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice ofagladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of btruth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great cjoy. How beautiful upon the mountains are the dfeet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the edews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!

 22 Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. aCourage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into bsinging. Let the cdeadspeak forth anthems of eternal praise to the dKing Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to eredeem them out of theirfprison; for the prisoners shall go free.

Oh, and on Wednesday Sister Arrington had general conference playing while we were eating dinner and the one by Elder Cook came on, which is about family history. I was crying again. Man, I just want to know all about my ancestors and do their temple work! Elder Cook said that the Spirit of Elijah is just the Spirit manifesting to you (or me, in this case) the sanctity of the family. Well, I felt it. =] 
To help me out with this spirit of Elijah, Mom and Dad, could you send me all the addresses of all your siblings? And for Grandma? I want to write and ask everyone for stories about grandmas and grandpas, and then could you send me grandma's address so I can ask her about herself and her parents? I need them for next p-day because Sister Sheperd has requested a nap. While she naps I can write letters to my aunts, uncles, and grandma! 
And then to top off the Spirit of Elijah, I got to go to the temple today!!!! It is such a beautiful temple. Sister Sheperd enjoyed it, too. I really did feel like I was having a birthday party with Sister Palmer (my 4 transfer  companion) and Sister Pond (we were in the same district for 3 transfers in my first area) there and other elders that I know. A good amount from my zone. There's a picture attached. But anyway, it was such a special experience to have a family name! I had been praying for her and for me since I got her name a week ago that today would be a good experience. Heavenly Father answered my prayers. I feel that Sarah Briggs accepted her work and I am so grateful I was able to participate. Mom, could you thank Aunt Diane for her part in getting me the name? I am so grateful!!! 
We have been adding a good number of investigators!!! It's really easy to find investigators, which is awesome. Now we have to find people that are willing to progress. Yesterday was my last interview with President Clayton before he goes home at the beginning of July. He thanked me for my work and he said he thought I was a wonderful missionary. I feel like that is the highest praise I could receive from President Clayton. Anyway, the point is that in his closing prayer he prayed for us to find many investigators that are willing to progress towards baptism. I loved that he prayed for us! So cool! Anyway, the work is pressing on.  We're staying busy. 

Could someone get Maren Bishop's mailing address for me? She wrote me a letter a long time ago and I responded on the same day but apparently I wrote it down wrong and it came back to me. I don't want her to think I'm scum. 
Family, THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGE!!!!! I love the Texas t-shirt, the yogurt covered pretzels, the kolaches with "Happy birthday, Audrey", on it, and all the self care things. I even put on the tiara for a little bit. Julianne, I haven't read the letter yet. I love how cute the card is, Mom! Thanks for the essential oils, and the love that went into this box!! And Mom and Dad, thanks for the birthday song you sent to Sister Arrington. =] I feel your love today. Don't you worry about that. 
I am just so elated today. Or joyful? I'm not sure which adjectives to use. I'm spectacular! A lot of people in the mission have been helping me have a great day. Anyway, I love you, family!!!!!! Thanks for taking care of me!!!!! 
LOVE, -Sister Audrey Michelle Bishop 

pic 1 - Eating deviled eggs Sister Sheperd and I made on Easter. 
pic 2 - I am eating a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats for breakfast that Sister Arrington gave me and a HUGE GLASS OF ORANGE JUICE that we fresh squeezed from the oranges that came from Sister Arrington's back yard!!! WHOO-HOO!!!! 
pic 3 - a picture taken at my birthday party!!! =D 
pic 4 - Ran into Elder Cardiff and Elder Bittner (my last zone leaders) at the mission office today! =D

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter is coming! Weekly email #58

Hey family! Easter is coming, as my subject line says. I'm excited for Sunday. I like how people have Christ on their minds this time of year. And at Christmas, too. But Easter is great because that's when we celebrate the atonement of Christ. We remember that everything is Because of Him, and we will be resurrected like He was. Please, watch this video and share it with ALL YOUR FRIENDS on FB and other social media sites.
It's wonderful. The Spirit is definitely there when you watch this movie. I promise you it will be worth the 2 1/2 minutes of your time. 

This week Sister Sheperd invited 2 people to be baptized!!! It's something that she's supposed to do right from the get-go as part of her training. She is doing awesome! I'm learning that I have to make sure I don't take over every situation when she's learning how to do it. That can be hard for me, but it's good for both of us in the end. Sister Sheperd and I have been having a good time with one another. We laugh a lot and have a good time. =] I feel blessed to have her as my companion. 

Last night we contacted a mormon.org referral which actually turned out to be a guy who wanted to teach us about his church. He goes to a prominent church in this area. But his dad came out and they kind of attacked us and wanted to know why we didn't believe Jesus was God and why we believe in something that's obviously not the word of God. Sister Sheperd, bless her heart, was doing her best to defend the Book of Mormon and what we know about the nature of God and Jesus Christ. If either one of us tried to back each other up he would get upset and say "we're trying to have an adult conversation! Wait your turn!" But then he wouldn't even let us get a word in. His son was a little nicer and tried to get his dad to let us talk. But man, it was ugly. He (the dad) eventually asked us to pray with him, which we agreed, and it was not a reverent prayer at all. Sister Sheperd and I both were praying in our hearts for him and for the strength to do the right thing. When we finally were able to leave, doing our best to say we know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Christ is the Son of God, Sister Sheperd was so shaken up she cried all the way home. I sang primary songs to try and calm her down. I think I feel a lot like a parent feels. I don't want her to feel sad or experience this hardship, but I know that it will strengthen her testimony. I remember when someone tried to bible bash with me and Sister Brown a long time ago, and I cried just like Sister Sheperd did. It's hard to hear someone diss the gospel that we hold so dear to our hearts. Anyway, I was able to show love to Sister Sheperd. I realized that probably training is helping me practice charity!!! Heavenly Father is answering my prayers.
The whole experience reminded me of something from Acts 5, after Peter and John are saved from execution and the Pharisees beat them up and tell them not to preach in the name of Christ anymore. But the following verses show their faith and the that they know the importance of their calling:
41 ¶And they departed from the presence of the council, arejoicing that they were counted worthy to bsuffer cshame for his dname.
42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and apreach Jesus Christ.
I am grateful that I am counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus Christ. I feel like I am receiving the best training for the rest of my earthly life and eternity by serving a mission. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live! I know that the gospel has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith and that the way to live with God again is to have faith in Christ, repent, and after entering in the way by baptism, to continue on by making more covenants in the temple and keeping them. I think I've said this before, but I'll say it again: My biggest anti-peeve (instead of a pet peeve it's something that I love) about coming on my mission is that I'm learning that I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ more than anyone else. As hard as it may seem, even more than you, Mom and Dad. But that's good, right? =]
On a less spiritual note, EXACTLY ONE WEEK UNTIL MY 21st BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! I am SO excited to go to the temple on my 21st birthday on my mission. I know I said it last week, but it's still super exciting. Also, if you hurry and send cards/packages or anything wishing me a happy birthday I'll get it ON my birthday because that's the day we get mail! Whoo-hoo! And if it comes a week late then I can celebrate even longer. I love you, family!
The gospel is true, the book is blue. I love Jesus Christ, and so do you! I hope you all have a wonderful Easter Sundayremembering Jesus Christ and His wonderful atonement. I wouldn't be without it.
LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE, Sister Audrey Michelle Bishop
I forgot to let everyone know that MY BEST FRIEND, Sarah Markle, got her mission call! She's going to the Mexico Pachuca mission and reporting to the Provo MTC on July 23rd. I am super proud of her. ^_^

This is a good story that I wanted to share with you because sometimes life feels this way. Love you all!
Pushing Against The Rock

Author Unknown

There once was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared to him.
The Lord told him He had a work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin, explaining that he was to pushagainst the rock with all his might. This the man did, and for many weeks he toiled from sunup to sundown, his shoulder set squarely against the cold massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling his whole day had been spent in vain.
Seeing that the man showed signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture - placing thoughts in the man's mind, such as “Boy, you've been at it a long time and you're never going to move it!” or “Why kill yourself over this? Just put in a minimum effort, that will be enough,” giving the man the impression the task was impossible and the man was an unworthy servant because he wasn't moving the massive stone.
These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man and he considered easing up in his efforts, until, one day, he decided to take his troubles to the Lord in prayer.
“Lord,” he said, “I have labored hard and long in Your service, putting forth all my strength to do that which You have asked of me. Yet after all this time, I have not budged that rock, not even half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”
The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, when long ago I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you your task was to push against the rock with all your strength. That you have done. But never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me, your strength spent, ready to quit, thinking that you have failed. But is this really so?
“Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewed and brown. Your hands are calloused from constant pressure and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your ability now far surpasses that which you used to have. True, you haven't succeeded in moving the rock. But your calling was to be obedient andpush, and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. That you have done.
“Now, my friend, I will move the rock.”

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Changes Weekly email #57

Wow! There were a lot of changes. First off, before I tell you where I am and who my companion is, last Tuesday I told a bunch of people that I was leaving Mt. Woodson and Kadi said she and Ashley wanted to meet me and Sister Landeen to eat at In-N-Out. Earlier Sister and Brother Brundage had given us a gift card there, so we went there for lunch. So instead we met at Taco Bell, and there were people waiting there and coming in the doors after us to say good-bye! It was really touching. Heather, Boone, and Ashley came. (we were just missing Nancy to have all the recent converts there). Nella came, Nicole (the RS president), Kadi (the boss member I'm totally going to be friends with after the mission), Clarke Steinman, and a few other people were there. Oh, and Boone's girlfriend, Nikki, who is awesome. It was really sweet. I miss Mt. Woodson, but I'm super happy to be serving in......
EL CAJON!!!!!! It's said like "el ca-hone" It's the Fuerte ward in the El Cajon stake. My companion is Sister Sheperd, and she's from.....Fort Worth, TEXAS!!! It is SO COOL that we're from the same state that isn't Utah. Sister Sheperd is great. And get this. Her favorite color is purple (so is mine!) and went to BYU for about 2 years before coming on her mission (so did I!). She just turned 20 in February. I'm really happy to have her. We "white washed" in to El Cajon, meaning that neither one of us was here the last transfer. There was an investigator with a baptismal date, but he pushed it back, so he might not have one anymore? Anyway, the sisters before us predicted a white wash so they prepared pretty dang well for it. We're well informed. We just have to meet everyone they were teaching and the members. It's fun work.
General Conference was awesome! Some things I learned from it:
2. in priesthood ordinances is the power of godliness manifest
3. have a gratutide attitude
I loved Elder Ballards talk on missionary work and following up. He invited us to share with members what we're learning in Preach My Gospel and for all the members to have a copy, study from it, and share with the missionaries what you're learning. Mom, you said that you're doing a good job at reading every day. Hurray! Now to get better, will you read from Preach My Gospel, also? And everyone that emails me, tell me what you're learning as you read from PMG! This week I learned about following up! And extending commitments! So I'm gonig to put that into practice as I follow up on reading PMG and telling me what you learned. PMG is the best!!!
Dad, a while back you were sending out family history things with pictures and it was really cool. I have a big desire to learn about my family history, but I don't have time on my mission. I don't even know where the name Bishop came from or who first crossed the plains to come to America or who first joined the church. Could you send out some kind of family history thing when you have time? I would love it!
Oh, and just in case everybody forgot, MY 21st BIRTHDAY IS IN 14 DAYS!!!! I'm not excited at all and I haven't told a single person. (lies!) But the good news is that I know for sure that I'm going to the temple on my birthday!! I just can't believe what a unique opportunity it is to go to the San Diego temple on my 21st birthday on my mission. And I can only go every 90 days. So it should be so awesome. And that means Sister Sheperd can go soon, too. The San Diego temple is SO BEAUTIFUL! And Sisters Palmer and Pond will probably be there, too. That would be even better because I love them. I get to have some of my closest friends with me in the temple on my mission on my 21st birthday. So cool!
And that's pretty much all I have. If anyone has anything you want to hear about, let me know! Love you all! -Sister Bishop
pic 1 - Elder Arntsen and I doing ballet on our last day in the same zone
pic 2 - Heather! Bye!
pic 3 - bye to Kadi who organized the surprise
pic 4 - Boone is givng me a "hover hug" haha
pic 5 - Sister Sheperd and I on our first day together getting a California burrito!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

TRANSFER #10!!!!! Weekly letter #56

FAMILY!!!!! I'm starting my 10th transfer this week! Whoa! I'm getting old in the mission. And I have news that makes me SO HAPPY!!!!! 

I'M FINALLY TRAINING!!!!!! I'm leaving Mt. Woodson where I've been for 5 transfers, or 7 months, and I am ecstatic! The two sad things about leaving is that I won't be Sister Landeen's companion anymore and I'm sad I won't be a sister training leader anymore. But I think I'll offer good things to a new trainee. OH MY GOSH I'M SO EXCITED!!! 

Before I was so excited this week we were having a hard week! Man. I even cried at church on Sunday and everyone was asking what was wrong and I was having a hard time just saying I was stressed about not having people to teach and transfers coming up. Yeah. But on Wednesday I got a great priesthood blessing from my district leader, Elder Hill. It was super cool to have all 5 elders in my district stand around me to administer a blessing. The priesthood at it's finest, right there. =] 

At district meeting Elder Hill asked us to fast the next day for help in our areas. He showed us Alma 17:2-3 and how the sons of Mosiah had fasted and prayed many days for power. Elder Hill pointed out that we pray all the time, but we don't fast all the time. So we fasted and Sister Landeen and I could tell that the Spirit was with us stronger that day. We were fasting for a vision of how to use the Book of Mormon more in our proselyting. We were carrying it around and talking to everyone. We ended up talking to 21 people that day! That was so cool to us. We were walking a bunch and I even got a little sunburned. 

We got 3 referrals already this week, which is amazing considering it's week 1 and we only got around 7 all of last transfer! Mt. Woodson is picking up! I'm a little sad to be leaving, but I'm also just really happy to be training and going to a new area. 

On Saturday night we had the first ever General Women's Meeting of the church. It was a super great meeting. It made me miss mom and Julianne a ton. So here's the love! Hope you feel it! 

Everything worked out great to sing in the fireside on Sunday night. We didn't have any investigators there (we only have one and we haven't met with him for a few weeks) but Kadi and Ashley and Clarke and Bishop Meacham came and heard me sing. I got some compliments, so I think it was good. I was elated to be able to sing a song I have loved for so long at a Mission President's Fireside. Elder Cardiff was a sport for singing with me. =] I'll send a copy of it in another email. 

I think that's all. Mostly I just can't get over the fact that I'm going to train! In mission lingo, I'm pregnant right now. (that means I'm going to have a "baby" tomorrow) WHOO! So maybe you should be excited for next week's email. I'll tell you where I am and who my "daughter" is!!! WHOO! 

Love you all! -Sister Audrey Bishop 

p.s. Thanks for remembering "the answer is always yes", ELDER CRISTIAN MATTOON! 

pic 1 - me during studies one of the days during the week. It was cold. haha 

pic 2 - Sister Landeen and I

Isn't she beautiful?

It's fun to find all the time! Weekly letter #55

Well, family, the motto of the week is that it's fun to find all the time! (shout out to Elder Cristian Mattoon who is in the Iowa Des Moines mission and that phrase is from a song on a CD that came from that mission) We are trying so hard to find new investigators!!!! We're asking for referrals from everyone and talking to people on the streets. We have handed out 20 potential investigator referrals to other missionaries this transfer, some of the Spanish speaking. I love that I can speak a few words of Spanish. It really comes in handy on the mission in San Diego where a ton of people speak Spanish. It also helps that Sister Landeen knows more than I do and can really talk to them. About all I can say is "Me nombre es Hermana Bishop. Como te llama? Soy missionara de la Iglesia de JesuCristo de los Santos de los ultmos dias. (Have you heard of) el Libro de Mormon? Yo se el libro de mormon es la verdad. Quiero apprender mas? Donde esta su casa?" Haha, I can street contact. Maybe not well, but a little bit. It's worked before! Anyway, we're trying to find investigators!!! We didn't find any this week, but we are not discouraged. Especially after we saw this cool sign in an apartment complex we were contacting in. (see pic 1) 

 I'm getting better at not being scared to talk to people. I was taught something by the spirit one time. I sometimes ask myself "should I talk to them?" and the spirit whispered to me "the answer is always yes". So sometimes I still ask myself that and then answer it and then we go talk to the person even if they're across the street. Missionaries are so weird that way. But it's good. I've been called to preach the gospel. And....on Saturday we went to the same apartment complex that we saw that cool sign at we saw a family walking on the sidewalk by the complex. They looked like they were dressed up for church or something. I looked at Sister Landeen and said "the answer is always yes" and went off to talk to them. We introduced ourselves and asked their names and told them we were missionaries. Turns out they were "witnessing" for Jehovah in the same apartment complex! I didn't know what to say, and I think they just wanted to avoid conflict, so they walked off. I wish I had bore my testimony, but maybe the blank mind meant to just let them go? Hmm....But yesterday we were walking in a condo-y neighborhood and some guy yelled across the street at us and asked if we wanted to buy some water. We crossed the street so we didn't have to yell back and told him we were missionaries so we traveled light and didn't have a lot of money and we didn't want to buy any water. He asked what church we were missionaries for, and when we told him he started preaching about his church. The Rock church, which doesn't have a super good reputation with the missionaries. He was really concerned about our salvation. Except instead of bearing his testimony he just tried to shake our faith in our doctrine. He said Joseph Smith was a false prophet and Jesus and Satan couldn't have been brothers and how could God have once been a man if He created man and such as that. He also said something about the King James Version of the Holy Bible, but I'm not really sure what he was trying to get out. He didn't say things very clearly. It was a little amusing how hard he tried to get us to argue and he even came back and had us roll down our window so he could push another scripture in our faces that might shake our testimonies. But I think I realized I need to evaluate the way I street contact, because I certainly don't want to be like him! I understood he was concerned about my salvation, but I had no idea what he was trying to say! Didn't anyone ever tell him to simply and intensity? So, those were fun encounters. 

Todd and Rachael - tell Thatcher happy late birthday! I thought about him on the 23rd. =] 

On Sunday night we stopped by Kristi's house to say bye because she was getting set apart and then leaving on Monday to head to the MTC with her mom. We knocked on her door and her mom answered and told us she had been set apart already. So we waited while she came downstairs and I gave her a huge hug! I cried a little bit. I think it just brought up a lot of memories from a year ago when I left on my mission. I wanted to take a picture of the 3 sister missionaries that were in the house, so I let her wear my name tag and I put on my extra pocket name tag I keep on my scriptures and we took a super cool picture! (see picture 3)

I still love living with members! They are really nice. =] I attached a picture with them so you know what they look like. (see pic 2)

Yesterday as I was reading the Book of Mormon I noticed in Mosiah 18:2 that Alma taught the people about redemption. I was pondering what redemption meant, and I looked it up in the dictionary. It means something like "to atone for, to pay the price to be free, and to make something of value". I really liked thinking about how through Christ's atonement we could become someone of value because He atoned for our sins. =] It's super good news! Tell everyone! And then this morning I was reading Mosiah 20 and I realized how it was kind of funny that the Lamanites were coming to attack the people of Limhi because some daughters had been kidnapped. Just goes to show how special women are!! 

I think that's all I have for this week. We're just so busy trying to find new investigators! I love you all! -Sister Bishop 

pic 1 - a really encouraging picture that we saw as we were trying to find new investigators! 

pic 2 - Sister Landeen, the Quiggles who(m?) we live with and myself on Sunday 

pic 3 - myself, Sister Kristi Krause (who doesn't have her name tag yet so I let her borrow mine for the picture, and Sister Landeen

pic 4 - Poway has signs like this all over the place. It's a special place. We took this picture shortly after we talked to two women walking their horses.