Sunday, July 20, 2014

Miracles right now!!! Weekly email #71

This week was pretty good. On Tuesday night I went on an exchange with Sister Garlow and Sister Pond, my sister training leaders. They helped me so much! They reminded me of my strengths and gave me the courage to be my best self. I love those sisters. Sister Garlow came out the same time as I did and Sister Pond came out just one transfer after, so we're all about the same mission age. It was super nice to just go out and work with them. It seemed like the theme of my personal study that morning (and this entire week!) has been to trust in the Lord. There was one verse I found in my personal study of the Book of Mormon that I thought hit home so well. It's Ether 3:5. It's when the brother of Jared is asking the Lord to touch the stones so they can have light in the boats/barges. It says
 5 Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks‍ small unto theunderstanding of men.
What hit me so hard is that the Lord is showing is great power all the time, but I just can't see it with my small understanding. It really strengthened my faith that Heavenly Father is performing miracles RIGHT NOW in this area, and I just can't see them. Speaking of miracles.....
We added 3 investigators last week! It had been a while since we'd added any, and I was feeling pretty sad about that, so I was really happy that we found a woman (who was a former investigator) and a couple! The married couple has 2 kids that are under the age of 8. We brought a member to that first lesson and we had a pretty good discussion on the plan of salvation. Our plan was to teach the restoration, but when we asked questions in how to begin teaching, Travis said he always wondered what happened after we died. Well! We have the answer! So we taught the plan of salvation. At the end they said they still aren't sure they want to investigate, but that they'd let us come back and follow up on reading the Plan of Salvation pamphlet. We brought a member with us and he really seemed to connect with Travis. It was a cool experience to teach a family. I've only done it a handful of times on my mission. I definitely want to do it more.
This week we cut down a tree! A good while back Sister Sheperd and I talked to a lady on her porch and offered service. She asked if we could take down her tree, to which we said maybe. She said she'd think about it. Then we asked for a referral, and she told us that they lady across the street needed her tree taken down. So we went right on over and asked if she wanted her tree taken down, and she was flabbergasted we would do it for free! We assured her it would be for free, but we'd have to make sure we could do it. We made some calls, and a good while later, we had our elders quorum president there to operate the chain saw, his 4 sons, and my district there to move the wood. It took about 2 hours. Not bad. Dusty was so appreciative. I hope her heart is softened towards the gospel.
Then that evening we did some gardening with a potential investigator. Her husband is an active member. She had us over for dinner and then we did some gardening! It was pretty fun. We didn't get as much proselyting done that day, but we sure went to bed happy.
On Saturday Sister Chavez and I made rice and chile rellanos. They were so delicious. Oh man. I ate the last one yesterday. I still have a good amount of rice left, though. That's super nice. Anyway, just wanted you to know. haha
Sister Chavez went home on Sunday night. She was good to have with us. It was different to see my mission through the eyes of someone who was only serving for 2 weeks. She worked hard. I'm glad she got to serve a mini-mission.
Other than that, things are good. The gospel is true! Serve the Lord by inviting!
I love you all! -Sister Bishop
pic 1 - myself, Sister Pond, and Sister Garlow on our exchange
pic 2 - the tree is coming down!
pic 3 - the group of us that helped cut down Dusty's tree
pic 4 - Sister Chavez's mom and friend came to pick her up. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Growing, growing, growing Weekly email #70

Well family, I've had some growing pains this week. Last week we met President Schmitt and that was great. His family is super cute. His youngest, Clayton, is 6 and 3/4 and when I stood up to make a comment in our meeting and announced my name, President Schmitt said that the night before they were looking at all the pictures and names of missionaries on the transfer board and Clayton pointed me out and said he liked my name. haha. I think I've said this before, but the two most common questions I get on my mission are "How come you don't have an accent if you're from Texas?" and "Was your dad ever bishop?" haha. Like I never thought of it. Anyway, it was cute.
But the growing pains came from the new trial of having 2 companions instead of one and President Schmitt letting us know of a new rule, that really isn't that difficult, but under the stress I was already in, it was the last straw on my back. Oi, it was hard. So I called in for heavy duty reinforcements! I texted Elder Lucero (the district leader) and asked if I could get a blessing.
I am so grateful for the priesthood. Dad, once again, I thought of you as I told Elder Lucero my full name. =P It's always nice. Anyway, it was a wonderful blessing, as they always are. The best part of it, and I'll share this because I hope it strengthens others, is that it said Heavenly Father has blessed me with the gift of love and the ability to make others feel comfortable and receive Heavenly Father's love. Then I was told the way I use it is by being obedient and sharing my knowledge. I don't know if I've said this throughout my mission, but I have STRUGGLED to  love people when it doesn't come easily. Man, I am usually on the struggle-bus. I cannot even tell you what peace it brought to my soul when I heard that. I have prayed for love and charity over and over and here it was, right in a priesthood blessing at a time of great need, that Heavenly Father has blessed me with that gift. The week was still difficult, but it improved greatly.
I am reminded of what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12. The gist of it is that he feels super blessed to be receiving so many revelations, and there was placed a thorn in his flesh. He prayed and asked God to remove it 3 times, but Christ said "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness". Paul says "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
That was me this week. I hope you all feel the power of the atonement in your lives. It is real. And true. And especially for you.
Will someone tell Sister Kathryn Balley thanks for the dear elders she sends me? I've received one almost every week for the past little while. I love the insights she sends. I just don't have much time to reply to her letters.
As far as people we've taught: Selena and her mom Theresa came to church on Sunday. Susie and Charles did not come. =[ We haven't found any new investigators in 2 weeks and I'm really starting to get hungry for new investigators. We're seeing small miracles, though. Last Wednesday a member, Sister Pescar, had us and 2 non-members over for dinner. We taught a little restoration and they said they'd be willing to learn. We tried calling them and they haven't called back yet. But it was a great meeting! Little miracles are happening! Keep up the missionary work!!!!
Love, -Sister Bishop
pic 1 - @ Balboa park before we went into the science center (I'm pretty sure Rose played in the waterfall-thing the week before)
pic 2 - myself, Sister Leonard, Sister Chavez, Sister Pescar, and Sister Sheperd at a "family game night" Sister Pescar put on.
pic 3 - me with Elder and Sister Watkins. I knew them when I was serving in Chula Vista and they knew Don because they were serving a military relations mission. They're going home on Friday and they took me and my companions out to lunch before they left!  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

And then there were three. Weekly email #69

Hey family! The big news of the week is that Sister Sheperd and I got a mini-missionary! Her name is Sister Chavez and she's from Chula Vista. She hasn't been to the temple, but she is set apart as a full time missionary. She's only here for 2 weeks. She seems to love it so far, but we only picked her up yesterday. Hopefully she loves it.
Before we picked up Sister Chavez, though, we had a pretty good week of referrals. One referral we received was from someone we streetcontacted a while ago for some men from Taiwan! They speak Chinese, mostly. Anyway, we had a lesson with one of them who goes by Tim, and he prayed for the first time! It was really sweet. We passed him off to the Mandarin sisters, though. We hope he gets baptized!
We had an appointment scheduled with an investigator named Unique on Friday morning. We were so excited that we forgot to check our phone as were were driving there and so we showed up on her doorstep and she said she had texted us and asked if we could meet later in the day. She had kind of just woken up and she felt like her house was a mess, but she let us in anyway! haha. We had a pretty good restoration lesson. She's not married, so she'd have to get married to her boyfriend named Jesus. (Not pronounced haysoos, but the English way, geezus). She didn't come to church, but she has a desire to be closer to God. We have high hopes!
I think I told you we were teaching a part member family, Charles (non-member) and Susie. They are pretty young and have an adorable son, P-nut. (His name is actually Jeremy, but he goes by P-nut and he is ADORABLE. Babies = trunky) Anyway, things are going well there. Charles didn't make it to church, but Susie and P-nut came! That was a little miracle. And Theresa and Selena came! It's always a miracle when they come because they haven't made it a habit yet. But things are going well there.
I'm afraid I don't have much else to say. Just invite people to learn! They're all hungering for the truth! Love, -Sister Bishop
pic 1 - Sister Chavez, myself, and Sister Sheperd
pic 2 - Look at all these clocks/watches!

Transfer #12 Weekly email #68

Well family, I'm afraid that this week's email won't be nearly as fantastic as last week's email was. Today is the day we find out about transfers. Nothing is happening in the whole zone!!! I have never heard of that before. I was kind of hoping for a new challenge, but it'll be good. Heavenly Father knows what I need and how I can contribute. We did some good service this week including painting and gardening. It was pretty fun. Service is nice. It's always nice to put pants on. (skirts are still pretty nice)
Sister Arrington (the member we live with) was gone for the weekend so we fed her horse, her chickens and her cat. I understand why it says in the missionary handbook not to keep pets of any kind. It gets in the way with some proselyting time. But it really wasn't bad and when Sister Arrington got home last night she took us out to eat at Applebee's!
On Sunday we had a really spiritual sacrament meeting! The first speaker talked about how sacred the sacrament is. It was really beautiful. He helped us know we need to be preparing to take the sacrament all week and that when we come ready, that ordinance can give us spiritual strength to make it through the next week. It was absolutely beautiful. It made me realize I want/need to think about Christ more during the week and how His atonement helps me become a better person. Right after that talk we sang "I Am a Child of God". The spirit was so strong in testifying to me that those words are true that I could barely sing for choking with emotion. It was a sweet experience.
Then on Sunday evening we had an apppointment with a part-member family, hoping to add Charles (the non-member) as an investigator. He's been taught a little bit before and he has a lot of faith in Christ and a belief that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It was a pretty good restoration lesson and while he wasn't super sure of his "yes" when we asked him to be baptized, he was alright with us setting up a regular meeting schedule to prepare him for baptism. It was really encouraging.
Everyone, please know that I love all the encouragement you're sending me! I have a good amount of time left on my mission, but it's also relatively short, so I appreciate all of the talks that focus me on Christ and make me excited to be a great missionary! Please keep praying that I'll change to be what Christ needs me to be and that I can help everyone here that I need to/can help.
Sorry, but that's really all I've got for this week!
Love, -Sister Bishop
pic 1 - district looking nice except for Elder Augusto
pic 2 - we're all looking at Elder Augusto's shoe with our tongues sticking out. Just for funsies.
pic 3 - A big picture frame that Sister Sheperd and I worked on for someone's graduation.