Monday, December 15, 2014

LETTER 70: The one where Tessa has her last transfer: HOME

Can hardly believe it, but the time has come! I'm transferring home. This past week has been filled with the most amazing things; a lot of reflecting and a profound sense of gratitude. I'm convinced I've gotten the best last week of my mission possible!

I was able to have two trips to the LA temple--one as a whole mission, and one with all of the departing missionaries. Then to top it off, I am going to the temple again this Tuesday, the last night of my mission, to be there as my recent convert Glenn goes through the temple for the first time! I am sooo thrilled and blessed. Words can't even begin to express it.

This past weekend we had Stake Conference in Canoga Park. Elder Neil L Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came and spoke Saturday and Sunday, as well as a YSA fireside Sunday evening. He is absolutely amazing and I know without a doubt that he is an Apostle of the Lord! I was able to shake his hand, and he thanked me for my service (: Such a kind man. Filled with the Spirit. His words and testimony had a deep impact on me. 

We had a ward Christmas program yesterday, with a little pie party after as a farewell for me. This is the best ward ever, I love each person so much and they have treated me well! I've found lifelong friends here.

There are so many things I could say, and so much I feel in my heart, it's overwhelming! But the main thing is my love of the Savior. I have become more on my mission than I ever thought possible. I know without a doubt that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior, and that He is the only way to ultimate happiness and joy. I know the gospel is a gospel of transformation. It truly shapes us into the people God knows we can become, and outlines for us how to receive all the blessings God wants us to have. I'm grateful to have had this time to really allow the gospel to seep into me, and become a part of my very core. It means everything to me. I am nothing without it.
I have come to know of the reality of a living Father in Heaven who's love is vast and deep and all-encompassing. He knows me--and each of us. Our fears, inadequacies, concerns, mistakes, short-comings, strengths, aspirations, everything! And He is there to help, no matter where we are at. No matter what. He answers prayers. He really does communicate with us. 
I know that as we are faithful, all things work together for our good. The reason we are here is to learn and be tutored and shaped. As we allow ourselves to be molded by God through our experiences, we are fulfilling our purpose. We just need to hold to Him, no matter what.
The peace, direction, purpose, clarity, love, and all things good that come from living a life consecrated to God is priceless. There is great power that comes from establishing a pattern of prayer, serious scripture study, and active participation in church. It is real. I know it.

I could go on and on! But just know that this really, truly has been the best experience of my entire life. I have had the BEST mission in the world. I wouldn't trade it for anything, and I am going home with no regrets. I am completely indebted to my God. I love Him and the Savior with all my heart!

With much love,
Sister Bishop

Mission temple trip with my favorites. (L2)

Our Christmas booth at CSUN!

Departing temple trip <3

Last Sunday with Bishop and Sister Patton

LETTER 69: The one where Tessa is saved from the rain


We had a great week! Filled with lots of rain and all day meetings, which conveniently coincided so that we didn't have to be out working in the rain (: that was a tender mercy.

At church yesterday, we had our brand new investigator get up and bear his testimony! That was pretty neat (: He also tried to hug me in front of aaallll the members. That's always awkward for both parties involved. I just stand there, "We can't hug! We can't hug!!!" haha good stuff. 

I hope you all got to catch the first presidency Christmas devotional last night! It was lovely. If you missed it, I'm sure it's available online...somewhere...

One thing at Zone Conference that stood out to me is the key characteristics of Satan and Christ.
Christ=complete submission. Always doing the will of the Father. 
That's really what it comes down to. 
As we strive to come unto Christ, we must look for even the smallest hints of rebellion in us and give it up! That will continue our progression. 

Another thing I've been learning is how to deal with doubts, questioning, or uncertainties that arise. I think it's completely normal to have questions. No one is an anomaly for having them--it's part of the conversion process. What matters is how we react to being on shaky ground. The adversary tries to do anything he can to get us to stop living the gospel. Stop reading the scriptures, attending church, praying, etc. He'll try to convince us that we are not being true to ourselves or that we're ingenuine or blindly following by doing these things when we're uncertain.


In our search for sincerity and truth, we can not abandon acting in faith.    (that was an ah-hah revelation moment for me in church yesterday)

We must agree to be patient and to wait upon the Lord. So if every prayer doesn't seem to be answered, don't give up. And if ever desire isn't immediately filled, don't slacken faith. Conversion requires constant struggle and effort and great self-discipline, relying continually on the merits of him who is mighty to save. We must hold to what we know and pay attention to the right voices! Pay attention to the small, quiet whisperings of the Spirit. God is there. He is real. He will teach us truth. Going to church, praying, and reading scriptures is a blessed resource for getting answers. We can never abandon these simple practices, or else we lose our safety and promise of help. 

Things are going oh so well. Living it up! Cherishing each moment! Sharing the gospel with everyone!!

Sister Bishop

Institute Christmas party!

With our friends at "Heart to Heart." We made snowman earrings with Nancy (:

LETTER 68: The one where Tessa eats 2 Thanksgiving dinners

It's officially CHRISTMAS SEASON!!! Not that that has stopped me and Sister French from listening to Christmas music for the past 4 shame. It's my favorite. (: 

Anyways, Thanksgiving went very well! We had 2 dinners, which was lovely. We went on exchanges--I was in Mission Hills with Sister Lambert. Yesterday we had MLC (hence the delayed p-day) and will be having Zone Conference tomorrow. It's a crazy week, let me tell ya. 

Something that has stood out to me a lot (among many, many things) is how we truly become converted to the gospel. Elder Oaks so wisely and eloquently said, 

" It is not enough for us to be convinced of the gospel; we must act and think so that we are converted by it. 
It is not enough for anyone to just go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.
Our spotless and perfected state will result from a steady succession of covenants, ordinances, and actions, an accumulation of rights choices, and from continuing repentance."

Amen to that! The gospel is so much more than a check list. The gospel challenges us to become. That's what our whole purpose is. Becoming men and women of God, like Him and His Son in desires, actions, attributes, and more. We're not on this journey alone. We tie ourselves to them and have access to their (much needed) heavenly help through making and keeping covenants. As we are humble, our progression continues. 

It's quite simple. The callings we have in the church, the little things required of us, all are for our benefit. Though we shouldn't get wrapped up in the small details, they are there for a reason. Having the organization we do keeps us humble, service-oriented, and anxiously engaged in good causes. We should do all we do out of love, with our eye fixed on our purpose for doing it in the first place--becoming men and women of God, working towards the temple. I would do anything, anything, to have access to the temple. And all God asks is for our active participation and service in His church, and following His commandments. SO WORTH IT!

Anyways, I'll end there. I could go on and on (: 

Love you all. Keep your sights on things that matter most.

--Sister Bishop

check out The Church is doing a remarkable job using media to reach out to others of all faiths and promote the real meaning of Christmas--our Savior. Watch this video, and share with everyone!! We have been sharing it like crazy and it brings such a special spirit.

Zone hike last P-day!

Our district haha

Put our turkey in the fire place on Thanksgiving (: we think we're funny.

Made hand turkeys with our friends at "Heart to Heart"

Look, a bird!!

We're ready for Christmas. (:

A rainy day surprise! Came to the church, and found a lady with her pet Armadillos (: