Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mission life has never been so good! Weekly email #67


The first thing I want to say today is that I really respect Job. I haven't studied him, but I've contemplated a lot on something he said. It's from Job 1:21. He said " Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." I am just so struck by his absolute faith in Christ, and knowing that He exists and is just and merciful, no matter the trials that came Job's way. I love that scripture. No matter what, blessed be the name of the Lord. 

Last Tuesday we went to La Jolla shores/coves and saw the ocean and some seals! And got a cool picture of Sister Sheperd and I. (refer to pic one) But it was a hectic day. We had a special sisters meeting earlier that day so we got permission to use 2 hours to go grocery shopping a different day, which we did on Thursday. Sister Sheperd was trying on hats and scarves while I was printing some pictures, and then I joined her and we got a super great picture! (see pic 2) 

Last Wednesday we had zone conference and it was my last training with President Clayton!!! I am so sad he's leaving! But it was a wonderful zone conference and it made me pumped up to go and preach the restored gospel to everyone!!!!!! I LOVE THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST!!!! We talked about the missionary purpose which is to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end" and making it our own personal purposes. I want this to be my personal mission statement my whole life!!! Anyway, it helped me realize that if that really is my purpose it doesn't matter if I'm a full time missionary or a member missionary, but that I'm still helping others come to Christ. Sister Clayton talked about communication skills which has been helpful. President Morgan (member of the mission presidency) talked about asking questions and being better teachers. I have so much to learn to become a wonderful teacher. But I've come a long way! And then President Clayton taught us how to teach the restoration in one minute. I remembered how to do it from a previous training, so it wasn't hard. But then he helped us expand it and it was pretty fun! I know we have to refer to the restoration when we're talking about our church, because otherwise our church is the same as other Christian churches. So, it was great. We took a zone picture (see pic 3) with President and Sister Clayton. After all 3 zones got pictures Sister Clayton started giving hugs to the elders!!! I got excited because that meant I would probably get to hug President Clayton!!!! And I did!!!! It was so cool! I have such a respect and love for President Clayton, so it was like a dream come true being able to give him a hug. After he gave me a hug he said "Thank you for being so marvelous". Oh man. I feel so complimented. It was a great moment. =D 

Also on Wednesday Sister Sheperd and I taught a 15 min workshop class as part of the Relief Society activity. The theme of the activity was "B.O.O.T." which stood for "building our own testimonies". We  had the topic of "building strength and endurance", which was like your basic go to church, pray, read your scriptures. Or in other words, CPR. It's our own spiritual rescue going on. Church, Pray, Read. CPR. Use it. Remember it. Anyway, it was a blast and I think it helped us to gain member trust with the Relief Society, which is important because we need members! That's the  best way to find people who will stay active. 

On Thursday ALL 6 teaching appointments fell through, so we ended up weekly planning that day instead of Saturday, and after our dinner appointment we were led to go talk to a lady we street contacted about a month ago. Her name is Unique, and she is interested in learning more! We added her as an investigator. I hope she progresses. 

On Friday we had district meeting and Elder Lucero talked about using members to find! I had a revelation when I realized that I need to have extraordinary faith in the members that they can find someone for us to teach. But more importantly, that they can bring a brother or sister to the gospel of Christ. There is a woman in our ward that has been going through a hard time with losing a job and her husband losing his job and she's just been wondering what to do, and Heavenly Father led her to be part of the member missionary class that Brother Tills (our ward mission leader) puts on. She just blossomed as a missionary! She felt prompted to open her mouth and talk to a lady who works at Vons (a grocery store) and invited her over to a family game night and let her know that people from her church would be there (us! The missionaries!) to share a spiritual message before they play Uno. And she invited her dog's groomer, too!!!! Sister Pescar (this amazing missionary) is really feeling her testimony grow and she is led to invite people to learn about the gospel. Also, I attached a picture of my district. It's pretty great. Check it out below. 

On Saturday we helped out with a community thing. It was called "El Cajon's America on Main Street". It was a cultural fair, basically, and us missionaries came for the last 3 hours of the day to help. We volunteered at a craft booth and then helped take those craft booths down. I wasn't expecting too much, but then we had a lot of fun working with the staff and we even saw other missionaries (I love seeing other missionaries!) and then they gave us free t-shirts at the end! (see my next email of pictures for a picture of these t-shirts) 

Sunday was awesome! Mostly because of the mission presidents fireside that was that evening. On Friday night I got a call from President Hunt (member of the mission presidency that I was pretty close to from Chula Vista) asking me if I knew Heather Fugate's phone number. (my last convert from Poway) I said I didn't, but that he could get it from the sisters in Mt. Woodson. The reason why he needed it was because there was a cancellation of a testimony from a recent convert for the Mission Presidents fireside,  so he wanted to ask Heather. I already knew I'd be there to sing in the choir so I got so excited!!!!! Heather was indeed there along with Ashley (the convert from South Africa who got baptized the week before Heather), and Kadi, the amazing fellowshipper for both of them!!! AND Sister Palmer was also singing at the fireside, and we sat next to each other in the choir seats so I held her hand as Heather was bearing her testimony/telling her conversion story. It was very tender. I feel so blessed that Sister Palmer and I both got to hear/see Heather give her testimony TOGETHER. And I hugged all 3 of those women that I love before the fireside and got a picture. It's beautiful. Look at my next email for it. 

It was also a sad fireside because it was President Clayton's last fireside. That was kind of sad. =[ Not going to lie....I cried. We sang "I Am A Child of God" for the opening song, and each verse and chorus was a different language until the 4th verse when we all sang in English with the ASL elders signing. The languages were English, Spanish, Laotion (no idea how to spell that), Tagolic, Arabic, and Mandarin Chinese. It was so cool. And then the closing prayer was our mission song, that I love dearly. And President and Sister Clayton stood with us and sang to the audience for that one, and it was all I took to not break down crying. I just have so many wonderful memories!!!! I don't want them to end. I'm excited for President Schmitt to come and be my mission president, but at this moment it seems hard to let President and Sister Clayton go. It was a powerful evening, and I'm SO GRATEFUL I could be there. 

Right after the fireside we started exchanges. Our sister training leaders are Sister Pond and Sister Garlow. I went with Sister Pond (we were in the same district in Chula Vista for 3 transfers and I love her a ton!) and Sister Garlow went with Sister Sheperd. I was nervous for Sister Sheperd because it was her first time taking over the area, but not that nervous because Sister Garlow served here for a little less than 8 months! She said they had a good day. I sure had a good day with Sister Pond. We invited someone to be baptized on a specific date, and he's thinking about it. Then a member we were going to see after dinner called and asked if he could bring his non-member friend so she could learn about the restoration, we said yes and she was added as an investigator! It was also fun to work in a YSA ward again. I miss it, but it's alright. Good things are happening in the Fuerte ward! Anyway, the exchange with Sister Pond was exactly what I needed to keep me going for the next few months of hard work! She was very loving and listened to me and gave me encouragement. I'm grateful for the exchange. I also realized that for one transfer I was her sister training leader (that was my first transfer as a sister training leader and it was so long ago!) and now she's my sister training leader! I love how in the church there aren't leadership ladders. We just do what the Lord has asked us to do and every calling helps us move forward. But I know I needed Sister Pond, and we had a blast. 

Wow. That was quite an email, wasn't it? Well, it was a great week! Thus the email subject "mission life has never been so good". 

Keep moving forward in the gospel! Love, -Sister Bishop 

pic 1 - Sister Sheperd and I by the ocean! 

pic 2 - me and my companion at Target looking like ladies 

pic 3 - El Cajon zone with President and Sister Clayton 

pic 4 - my district plus the zone leaders 
pic 5 - American on Main Street t-shirts

pic 6 - myself, Heather (recent convert from Poway), Ashley (same), Sister Palmer, and Kadi Baggett (amazing RM that I'm so going to be friends with always) 

pic 7 - Myself and Sister Pond on our exchange yesterday
pic 8 - Heather! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Another soul comes to Christ! Weekly email #66

Family, this week has been pretty good and also sad. What was great is that Jesse was baptized!!!! It was a sweet baptismal service and the spirit was definitely there. I sang "Beautiful Savior" as a special musical number right before he was baptized. People said I did well, so I believe them. Jesse was confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday, and he was practically beaming! It's always exciting when people decide to come to Christ. 

One thing that was sad this week is that our investigator, Sister Trotter, dropped us. Once again, it felt like a break-up. Dumb. Well, she has agency. It's just hard when people choose not to act on the spirit they feel. I have to say, what makes me even more sad than non-members not accepting the truth, is when members that have gone less-active turn away from the truth and the spirit. That is so hard. And sometimes they're pretty mean. I mean, I don't like that they're mean to me, but mostly I'm just sad that they are choosing not to keep the covenants they have already made. =[

On Thursday evening we had dinner with a young couple that both served missions. (they fed us delicious food!) The couples names are Raymon(d?) and Amanda Agulair. They were talking about how fast people go home from their missions and get married and such, and I  said Julianne was like that because she got married like 4 months after she got home, and Raymon said "What's her name?" and I said "Julianne Bishop--I mean Julianne Roan."  He said "Is her husbands name Timothy?" I was really starting to wonder why he wanted to know, but I said yes, and he said that Tim (or Elder Roan) was his zone leader on his mission in Guatemala! You kmow how they say the mormon world is small? Well it is. And Raymon isn't even from California. He's from Honduras! He told me cool stories about Tim and what a great elder he was. It was fun to hear. 

On Friday we had zone meeting. It's where the zone leaders tell us information that President Clayton wants us to know. It was pretty good. It just so happened to be my 15 month mark, and I realized I only have 3 more zone meetings left on my mission (one a month)! Wow. Sometimes I look back in my journal and I read what was going on a year ago (I was in Chula Vista and Sister Brown was just about to go back to the battalion) and I see how the Lord has helped me on my mission and how much I've grown! I know I've changed and I hope to keep changing. I know that change is good as long as it's repentance change. (meaning it's bringing me more in line with God's will. Anyway, keep praying for my growth, please! 

Another thing that made this week harder is that we dropped 3 investigators (maybe more? Some we just haven't been in contact with since we've been here) and one or two dropped us. (see story a few paragraphs above) So now we have almost no investigators. It's alright. Then we'll just add them like crazy. We, and the elders that share the ward, have really been seeing that street contacting doesn't help us get solid investigators. What we need is the members help! I really have a testimony that the members and the missionaries are supposed to work together in this work. So now we're on a mission to meet with a bunch of members and see what work they're already doing and encourage them to do more. Everybody, if you don't know your missionaries, go meet them! Invite them into your homes and get them to teach a lesson and commit you to something and make them follow-up! I know that if you are strengthening your testimony of Jesus Christ that it'll be easier to share the gospel and I also know that as you share the gospel your testimony will be made stronger. That's just the way it goes! 

So.....that's all I've got to say today. I love you all!! -Sister Bishop 


pic 1 - Oh-my-gosh-we're-still-weekly-planning faces!!!!!

pic 2 - I-have-the-best-companion-ever faces! 

pic 3 - This man, Raymon(d?) Agulair was Tim's zone leader on his mission! 

pic 4 -  Jesse got baptized! 

pic 5 - El Cajon zone! 

What a week! Weekly email #65

Family! This week (last Wednesday, tobe exact) I finished reading Jesus The Christ. It was an absolutley wonderful book. I am so glad I read it and that I grew closer to Christ as I did so. This week we worked hard and guess what? It felt awesome! I love working hard. Especially for a good cause.
Also last Wednesday we met with Jesse, an investigator that had a date when we got here, but has since been trying to drop us. But this time he said he regretted not getting baptized when he was scheduled to and now he wants to get baptized on June 7th! That's this Saturday, people! We are so excited! He was interviewed again by the district leader, and now he's getting baptized. I'm especially excited for Sister Sheperd because this will be her first baptism as a missionary. It's pretty sweet!
We had 5 investigators at church this Sunday!!!! I've never had that many at church my whole mission! We had Don, Jesse, Theresa and her daughter Selena, and Linda. It was kind of hectic. Sister Sheperd had a little bit of a hard time because Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. I used to feel that way. But it's not as a missionary! Every day is a day to work! Even on p-day.
On Sunday afternoon we went to the Tills (our ward mission leader) house for dinner and they invited Sister Trotter (Linda). It was so cool! We felt the spirit and it was nice for Sister Trotter to feel the spirit in a members home. Sister Tills asked me to sing a song for Sister Trotter, so I sang "Faith" from the childrens songbook which led in nicely into our discussionon faith. It was really, really cool. I have really been appreciating the Tills and all they do for us. Oh man, Sister Tills has delicious cooking and I always tell her so. She says I can come back anytime! haha Anyway, the picture is of Brother and Sister Tills (Sister Tills has the dark hair. She's from Peru), Sister Trotter, Sister Sheperd and myself.  Oh, and the Tills have a bajillion and 5 fruit trees in their yard. It's really like a garden of Eden. I have had MANY tangelos, oranges, grape drinks from grapes and kumquats from their yard. I LOVE IT!
Oh, and President Clayton decided this week that Elder Lucero should be the district leader so he can have some leadership experience before he goes to Brazil. She in the middle of the transfer, Elder Lucero became my district leader! It's such a small world, I tell you. Mom, did you ever talk to Sister Lucero!
I don't have much else to say. The work is moving forward! OH! This is pretty cool, but it's not related to me. There are a lot of Arabic people in El Cajon, and about my 4th transfer President Clayton received revelation to transfer 2 elders to Arabic. There are now 2 companionships of Arabic speaking missionaries and just this last Saturday they had their first baptism! I could not be more excited for those hard working elders! They give us referrals all the time. Anyway, that's all. LOVE YOU ALL! -Sister Bishop
Brother and Sister Tills (Sister Tills has the dark hair. She's from Peru), Sister Trotter, Sister Sheperd and myself.