Monday, August 5, 2013

Letter 3: The one where Tessa arrives in San Fernando/Granada Hills

Hello hello!!
Wow, so much has happened...has anybody else realized that this is my fourth week on the mission and only my second P-day? I got jipped. haha it's alright though, just lots to catch up on!

Well the last little bit at the MTC was seriously so great. I loved the MTC, and it makes me sad it's over! Again, thank you so much to everyone who sent me letters, and my sweet mom who sent me a Pioneer Day package! We went and played beach volleyball as a zone, and I brought up all the treats from the package. Everyone teased me that I was the team mom, passing out treats and telling everyone 'good job!' after the game haha. Also, my cute cousin Ashlyn sent me a 'greenie' package wrapped with wrapping paper and filled with green treats! I loved it! THANK YOU (: I feel like I got so spoiled at the MTC, I had the best companion, so much love and support from letters, great teachers, and the list goes on. Elder Toa and Cantrell always sang Disney songs at meals. It was actually really funny. I loved being sister training leader, the girls I got to take care of were the best! But of course, what I loved most is how much I grew. It stretched me and left me with such a stronger testimony, love, and understanding of the gospel.

The last sunday there was so great, Sister Jordyn Arndt played a musical number she composed on the piano. It was a mix of "Army of Helaman," "Till we Meet Again," and "Called to Serve." She is amazingly talented. And I love that she was in my zone. We went from playing club volleyball together in 9th grade to playing beach volleyball at the MTC. Upgrade! (: We watched another devotional by Elder Bednar, he is hands down the best. His talk was on the Character of Christ, and how selfless He is. It was inspiring and makes me want to be better. After that I got another Priesthood blessing with my district, those are the best.

The next morning we grabbed our bags, loaded into a big bus, and headed to the airport! I got to use a pay phone to make some quick calls to people, yes those still exist! haha but it was weird being out of the MTC bubble and being in the 'real world' with my nametag and all. Everyone stared, it was quite the spectacle with so many missionaries. Then when I was calling people, I was a little emotional haha hearing my family's voices hit me with a wave of homesickness that I didn't expect. But I loved talking to everyone.

So I'm not sure if my mom posted my short letter home that I wrote my first day in the field...**(I have not received this letter yet, so I'd better check with the neighbors who collected our mail while we were on vacation!**) so I might repeat some stuff. But on the plane I sat next to this cute little 15 year old girl who wasn't a member. Score! (; we just talked the whole time, then I eased into the gospel. It was great. Also, Mitt Romney's wife was sitting in front of me...what the random?? haha. I met my mission president, President Hall, and his fam. Love them already! We headed off to the North Hollywood Stake Center to do paperwork and go out PROSELYTING! For my very first time! I was super nervous, but it went amazingly well. We saw SO many miracles in a short hour and 15 minutes. Loved it.

Soooo my companion is.....drumroll please.....Sister Rhoades! She is from Alaska, and has been in the field for a year. She's very nice! Our area is Granada Hills, which is the very northern part of the San Fernando Valley. We have a car which is a blessing! It's got poor parts and rich parts. Pretty suburban though, lots of houses and apartments. Speaking of, my address is:
Sister Tessa Bishop
17346 Chatsworth Street #104
Granada Hills, CA 91344
We live there just the two of us, and it's a good place! Little run down but no complaints.

Well, it's a good area! Everything is SOO much different than I expected, so it's been an adjustment. I was prepared for it to be hard...but it is hard. This area is the "dead area" of the mission, which I've tried to just work hard and not let that affect me, but let's be honest, it gets to me sometimes. We have maybe 2 investigators, and teach 1 to 2 lessons per week...we knock doors basically all day and street contact, which I didn't think we'd be doing since the work of salvation there's been some rough days and I have a lot of growing to do,

it's still really great. It's hard, but I see the Lord's hand in the work and have learned to really on Him because I have nowhere else to turn. We need to experience hard times, because that's when we experience the most growth! And I guess I needed a hard time to be humbled and really rely on Him. I'm here for a reason, and each day has gotten a little easier. It's just a big adjusment, that's all! Just pray for me but know I'm doing great (:

We had a huge miracle, we were knocking and came up to a house and 2 guys were doing construction inside. They were on their lunch break and thought we wanted to rent the place so they let us in haha. Surprise! We're missionaries! Haha so we actually taught them the restoration, and they didn't want us to leave! So we went back the next day and the next. Their names are Manuel and Denny. Unfortunately, they don't live in our area so we have to give them to the other missionaries now ): Denny's so funny though, he always gives me hugs even though I tell him over and over "This is not allowed!!" He sneak attacks me when I'm shaking his hand. I don't hug back though, don't worry.

I got to be the one to invite Denny to be baptised! That was pretty cool. He's not quite ready though, which is understandable because it was after 3 days haha. But he is open to it and I really think the new missionaries will be able to convert him fast. He's so prepared! Manuel has a little further to come, but he's prepared too. They're both so accepting and receptive of the gospel, it's amazing. Love them!
Down the street each friday all these food trucks gather and people come from all over to eat. We set up a table on the sidewalk by them with a bunch of Books of Mormon and stuff like that. People avoid us like the plague. haha but some people talked to us, unfortunately some Jehovah's witnesses came and were pestering us. And a guy who was adament that the Bible was the only word of God. I've also had to answer a lot of Gay marriage questions, polygamy questions, and good stuff like that haha. Never thought I'd be on the street corner of LA preaching.

I got another priesthood blessings, those things are my life savers. haha gotta love 'em. All the elders and sisters in my district are great! Right now they're having a nurf gun war behind me. Haha love it. Church yesterday went well, the ward gave me a warm welcome! We went to a baptism of another ward, and we got two new potential investigators there! Wohoo!! So funny though--

Me talking to one potential investigator: "We're just here to be your guides!"
Him: "You're just here to meet guys?"
hahaha NO.

There are some very funny experiences street contacting. We went up to one Korean guy on the corner who was carrying a bunch of groceries, and asked if we could help him. He just kept starring at I didn't know if he knew english or not, so I kept simplifying it and using hand motions...hahah turns out he knows english. He just thought we were super creepy and was just like....."why?" So yeah. We creep people out. Sometimes knocking doors it seems like a competition for how fast people can reject us. Or people just make eye contact with us throught the window and walk away. Good stuff.

I'm sorry, I realize this email is super huge. And I complained a bit...also I still feel like there's way more I could tell you, but this'll do!

Sooo yes, it's been difficult. I feel like I just bug everyone all the time, which I hate having people not like me. So I'm learning to brush the rejection off my shoulder and still smile. But I really have grown so much, each day gets better! There are plenty of little tender mercies throughout the day. I'm where I need to be, and I know I would rather be standing on the street corner talking about Christ than being at home (no offense(: ). The mission's great. This gospel is INCREDIBLE and people NEED it in their lives, so I will knock and walk and preach and teach as hard as I can. I'm excited to keep growing and becoming the missionary I know I can be. I love you all, thanks for the support!!!

Sister Tessa Bishop


Her MTC companion eating the cupcakes from her Pioneer Day package:

Her MTC district:

The sisters in her MTC zone:

The sisters in her MTC district:

On the plane with Sister Reese:

Her new companion, Sister Rhoades:

Her new apartment in Granada Hills:

New postcripts from later in the day:

We have bed bugs that break out in the mission all the time. Haha our bed posts are each standing in a tupperware container with vaseline to catch them. So "don't let the bedbugs bite" is actually a serious phrase here. haha so funny. 

One of the potential investigators I met at the baptism directed Mission Impossible 4. What the?? Haha so cool! There are so many directors and film people here. Also, my area is where ET was filmed. So I get to drive down the street everyday where the boy rode his bike with ET in the basket. Haha it's funny.

More pictures! (Tessa loves pictures!)
More of the apartment:

San Fernando from the air (smog!):

Getting off the plane in Burbank:

With the sisters by the mission home:

With Sister Reece and Sister Rodgriguez, whom Tessa met first on Facebook:

Another with her new companion, Sister Rhoades:

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