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.


Come to the temple!!! Weekly email #72

Familia!!! This was a great week. A week of greatness. There never was a week great than this. Haha. Maybe there was. But I'm happy right now, so this week was great.
We taught a less-active, Mel, this week. We had a lesson with her a while back and I felt a connection with her, so I was praying she'd let us come back. It was almost 3 weeks before we were able to see her again, and apparently the time without us visiting was good for her. She realized she needed hope from the gospel! It was really interesting to see the spirit work on her. She asked what we would recommend to help her feel hope, and then she said "well, I know what you would recommend". I smiled. Then half-way through the lesson, without us saying anything, she said "But it's so hard to be Mormon!" as if she was yelling at the spirit. She finally agreed to meet with us and read chapters from the Book of Mormon. She was going to come to church, but she has insomnia and she couldn't wake up in time. Bum. But we're still hopeful!
I felt like I needed to fast on Sunday, for some special blessings. So I did, and it was a wonderful Sunday!!! Man, it was the best. First off the talks were on using the gospel of Christ and then how to gain a testimony on the gospel of Christ. They were wonderful talks and there was a less-active there that we're trying to help make an appointment with the bishop. After the meeting she said she was going to make an appointment! Whoo-hoo! Oh, and I forgot to say that Charles, an investigator, dropped us. He texted and said he wasn't interested right now. We were sad, but we decided we could focus on his wife Susie, who is a less-active member. During the week she texted us saying she wanted to be the example for her husband, and then on Saturday night she said she was going to come to church and she needed to talk with us. Well we didn't see her walk in and we were getting sad, but after sacrament meeting she walked up to us. She got there late and was in the foyer. Anyway, we talked with her and she came to relief society and she met with the bishop after church and paid tithing!! Susie made strides this week! I am so proud of her. She's 18, so it's fun teaching her because it's like I'm back in YSA. Except she's married and has a toddler, so she seems really mature.
Oh, this isn't too eventful, but it was an accomplishment. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we have to run for exercise in the morning. It's a rule. We live close enough to a track that we can drive there in the morning and then Sister Sheperd and I can run at our own pace. I've had the goal for a few weeks to run 3 miles in the 30 minutes that we have. I started being able to run about a mile without stopping. Anyway, Sister Sheperd was my cheerleader, and I ran 3 miles in those 30 minutes!!!! I was such a sweaty mess. It was awesome. I feel pretty good about my exercise goals and achievements. That's all for that. =]
Oh, on Saturday Elder Lucero and Elder Augusto (the other set of missionaries serving in the ward) had a baptism. Roger and Virginia got baptized. They are a brain damaged couple that's been married for 37 years. They are very special. I sang Beautiful Savior at the baptism, and it went well. Our mission President, President Schmitt, and his wife came. On his way in he told Elder Lucero that he got his visa, so he'll be leaving to Brazil in 2 weeks with our transfer cycle. I'm happy for him, but I'm also sad because he's a good elder and I'll miss him.
And today I got to go to the temple! It's been exactly 3 months, since the last time I went was on my birthday, April 22nd. The temple is as beautiful as ever, and I feel like I was taught by the spirit. We got there early enough to do initiatories, which I have not done in over a year. It was really neat to be reminded of those blessings. And also there's a new film!
There were a lot of missionaries there, one of them was Sister Palmer. She's going home in 2 weeks, and I'll miss her a bunch. It was a tender mercy to be able to see her. Also there was Elder Casey, one of my friends from Poway, and then Elder Harrison and Elder Arntsen, who are companions that were also in my zone in Poway. We took a Poway friends picture. I love it! Mission friends are the greatest. Anyway....
The gospel is true! Remember to study the words of Christ and think about Him always. I love this work. And I love YOU! -Sister Bishop
pic 1 - a bunch of missionaries after the baptism of Roger and Virginia with President and Sister Schmitt
pic 2 - Sister Palmer and me =]
pic 3 - Poway friends at the temple! Elder Casey, Sister Palmer, myself, Elder Arntsen, and Elder Harrison.
pic 4 - My sweet companion and I at the temple
pic 5 - the district.