Thursday, November 28, 2013

LETTER 20: The one where Tessa contacts 61 people in one day!

First of all, I must apologize for being a day late. We switched our P-day to Tuesday just for this week because we got to go to the temple this morning! More on that later (: We had the best week though, I'm stoked to tell you allllll about it. Here we go.


--Adeline is the best! We've had 2 lessons with her, and we are going to the LA Temple Visitor's Center with her next Sunday. We're excited about that. She amazes me with how well she understands what we teach her and what she reads in the Book of Mormon. She's super diligent with reading, and makes notes and asks questions consistently which is a dream come true. She really thinks about these things, and is solidifying her testimony that these things are true. We're just really excited and happy for her, we love her to death and it's the biggest blessing being able to watch people learn and grow.

--We knocked and met a guy named Ed, he's a cop for the LAPD! We taught him the Restoration and he had amazing questions as well. New investigator!! (: Unfortunately, we have to transfer him over to the Young Single Adult ward. But hey, what matters is that he's learning truth and growing (:

--This week, we focused on finding like crazy. We tried to contact as many people as possible, which is a new focus we've been having in our mission. We set a goal to talk to 50 new people a day, which was reeeeal difficult at first, but we got the hang of it! We've seen the biggest miracles from it as well. One of which is Jaune and Haruka! We knocked on Jaune's door, he answered and said "We just moved here, we're actually looking for a church to go to." Say no more! Haha probably the best thing I've ever heard. We went back and taught Jaune and his wife Haruka, they have 2 young kids as well. It was the best lesson I've had in a long time, they are amazing and the spirit was so strong. They really are incredibly prepared for this, and are searching for truth. Holy cow, I could just rave about them and go on and one. We love them to death already! 2 more new investigators (:

--We have been visiting with this sweet lady named Betty. She's 93 and the cutest little thing! We went over and she had a "To-Do List" ready for us, so we've been doing service for her and loving it. She sounds like Marcel the Shell (from youtube), and if you've seen those videos, you'll understand why everything she says cracks me up. She's adorable!

--We went on exchanges this week with the Canyon Country 2nd Ward sisters. I was with Sister Abbott and stayed in my area! We contacted so much, it was crazy. Set up a ton of return appointments as well and found a lot of people who are interested. We knocked on one door and a lady opened and seemed like she was really skeptical and going to close the door on us, but then she said "Abbott! That's my last name!" haha it really opened her up and we talked, eventually met her boyfriend/husband (not sure which) as well. That's the power of exchanges! If Sister Abbott wasn't there, who knows if Mallory would've listened to us. But now, we've gone back and had a lesson with Mallory and Chad, and they are new investigators as well! We love them tons, super excited about them. Miracles left and right!!!

--We got to go to the temple this morning!!! It was the best thing EVER. I've never appreciated the temple more. What a blessing it is, and I'm extremely grateful me and Sister Naylor could go this morning for her delayed birthday trip (: 


--A section dedicated to cute Dayna:
 While reading about Joseph Smith's first prayer: "Then Stan tried to stop him!!" hahah she meant was so cute.
 In Sacrament meeting after a young man handed her the bread tray: "He's CUTE!! He smiled at me like this. (:"
 In a lesson: "What if when you die, you can't find your mom?!?"
 Another lesson, us: "Ok Dayna, we're going to read for 20 minutes!"  Dayna: "Mom, you better let me play after this."

--Me and Sister Abbott were talking about how we appreciate when people are honest with us about if they're interested or not, but do it in a nice way. Then a few minutes later, we met this guy on the street walking his dog, and he says: "Ireally don't want to talk with you guys about Jesus."
Me: "Oh thank you!!!" 
Sister Abbott: "...for being honest..."
hahah yeah, that's what I meant...the last part of the sentence didn't come out, so I just gave him the warmest happiest 'thank you' after he blatantly rejected us. It was pretty funny. Luckily I had a companion who could finish my sentence for me (: We were laughing pretty hard.

--Basically when you contact tons, funny experiences happen all the time. Most are those "you had to be there" kind of experiences though. Can't decide if this experience is one of those, but I'll try my best to explain it well! Me and Sis Abbott knocked on a door, and a guy just opens the door but doesn't even look at us, his eyes are glued to the TV and he just walks away. Uhh...what the? haha so we say "umm, hi!" and he's like "oh shoot, I thought you were my cousin!" haha gotcha! (; he really was super funny, we were laughing tons.


--This week I've learned a lot about the importance of talking with everyone. Really, all God expects of us is to do our very best in what we can control. He won't hold us accountable for things we can't control, ie: baptism--can't really force people to get baptized, unfortunately (; What we can control is how effectively we study, plan, set goals, and pray. That's completely up to us. We also have a good chunk of control on how many people we talk to each day. We can't, however, control as much how many investigators we have. Agency comes into play! So basically, it's just important to do the best I can on my part. God expects me to open my mouth and talk with everyone I can, and when I do that--I'm happiest, I have the spirit with me, and we see miracles for our diligence! I love it! We feel really blessed to have been able to work hard this past week and go out knocking TONS and talking to more of God's children than we have in a long time.

Amazing week overall, I'm so very blessed it's almost not fair (knock on wood). Haha I wish you all the best, thank you for your continued love and support! Have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! <3

Sister Bishop

I just really wanted to hang upside down last P-day...seemed like a good idea, until I realized how difficult it was in a skirt and got stuck haha. My loving companion laughed and took pictures of me struggling (;

I did it eventually!!

I got new cat earrings...laugh if you will, but I love them. (:

What happens when I try to take a picture with my companion... (; she's so funny.

The best doormat yet. (:

Me and Sis Abbott contactd 61 people in one day!!! The highest we've gotten yet. It was insane, we were freaking out about it. 

Woke up super early (4 am) to go to the temple!

Got there just in time for the most beautiful sunrise!! 

I'm proud of this picture, so beautiful!

It was really bright when we came out afterwards haha

Went to the visitor's center for a bit too. Love it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

LETTER 19: The one where Tessa has the tables turned

Another week bites the dust! (; Weeks fly by. Anyways, it was an interesting one, a little different than usual but still great (:


--On Tuesday, we went to visit a man named Frank who we found about 2 weeks ago. We knocked on his door, and he was pretty argumentative and wanted proof for everything. We spent some time answering his questions and being friendly and nice, and he was nice enough towards us. While we were leaving he said "you're probably never coming back!" but we felt strongly that we should, in fact, go back. So we baked up some chocolate chip cookies, and went to see him again. My goodness, he was a different person! His heart has been softened (I credit it to the cookies (;) and he really listened to us and asked good questions. He wants us to come back again and teach him. We were blown away! Crazy too see how his heart is opening up. We are looking forward to teaching him (:

--Sister Naylor got reeeeallly sick this week, which was unfortunate. ): We were pretty much confined to our apartment from Tuesday toSunday, which is basically the worst thing that can happen to a missionary! Definitely put a damper on our finding efforts...on the bright side, Sister Naylor is feeling better now and we are pumped to go out and work hard this week! Also, I had a lot of down-time which I could study during, and it was amazing.

--We ate dinner with the Matthews family, which was so fun, we love them to death. The two 14-year-old boys made the dinner; hot dogs wrapped in bacon, cheese, and then in cresent rolls. Haha total man-food, but it was great. We all played "scripture charades" afterwords and had a blast.

--Also got to teach one lesson with Dayna. She's adorable. This week, she brought out her recorder and played us songs and sang for us (: 

--As for our investigators, we had to reschedule most appointments for this coming week, but all our amazing people are doing well, we love them soo much! (:


--One night we were coming home to our apartment, and two guys stopped us and said "we have an important message to share about the gospel!" 
Wait a second...that's our line...
Haha so they went on and started preaching to us about some pretty, well...interesting...ideas. They didn't know we were missionaries, it was funny to have the tables turned on us! As soon as we said we were missionaries as well, but from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they left pretty quick.


--With so much down-time this week, I really did learn a lot through all my studying! I was able to read "Our Heritage," which is a book about Joseph Smith, the Restoration, and the early Saints. Oh my goodness, I loved it so much. My testimony really was strengthened like never before, I felt the spirit confirm to me over and over again that Joseph Smith was, in fact, a prophet of God and that this IS God's church on the earth. I love it!! And I can't wait to go out and share this message with people (: It's simply amazing.

--Along with my down-time came a lot of pondering, which led me to be overwhelmed with gratitude for this opportunity I have to serve the Lord. This time is precious, and it's honestly the best time of my whole life! My 4-month mark was yesterday, how crazy is that? Time goes fast. It's such a blessing to be where I am, when I am, and who I'm with. Every factor just blows my mind how perfectly things fit together, every piece of the puzzle that is shaping me and giving me this amazing experience. Thank you Heavenly Father! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY.
Seriously though, read the Book of Mormon. Pray and strengthen your testimony. Understand God's love for you and the Atonement more fully. We always, always have room to grow, learn, and improve--which is such a blessing. This gospel is oh so true and amazing. I'm incredibly blessed <3

-Sister Bishop

Just some Elders with their's the one car in the mission that's different from all the others!

Yes, we got a lot of fast food...we had no food and no member dinners haha so funny. It lasted us a couple days (:

The Stake gave us a big box of supplies for Christmas! We're so happy (:

Map of California!

Our "family picture" haha so cute.

Me and Dayna (:

Not sure what they were acting out...but Sister Naylor's face kills me

Acting out Lehi's vision of the tree of life

"This is my beloved Son, hear him." Haha acting out the first vision at family night...

We put our couch out on the deck and I loooved studying out there. Or messing with my camera settings and making the lights look cool. (;

Elder Larman and Elder Chandler showing us how hitting each other with a cookie sheet "doesn't even hurt!" Haha the Elders are too funny.

Sister Naylor took lotsa pictures of me studying...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

LETTER 18: The one where Tessa makes herself as small as possible

If I had to compare this last week to something, it would be finals week at college...pretty stressful. Haha but on the plus side, I'm doing God's work and not getting a grade for it, so I really can't fail, right? (; Pretty sure this is the best stress I could ever have, and the most blessings I will receive as a result of my stress and hard work haha love it! (:


--We started teaching a less-active member, Raquel, and her adorable daughter Dayna! Dayna is going to get baptized November 30!! (: So stoked, love these two so much.

--Biggest miracle...we were in a mobile home park just knocking and finding, and asked everyone for referrals. We were bouncing around from house to house all over the neighborhood because people would tell us to visit their friends! However, no one was wanting to learn more, and we felt like we could not find out purpose for being there. Then we were knocking on one house, and a girl came out from next door and started talking to us, showing off her cartwheels and all (: Then she introduced us to her grandpa and older sister! Long story short, we are now teaching this whole family--the Partida family!! Love them to death. We had a lesson in their home on Wednesday and had them all gathered around, learning about Jesus Christ and how His church has been restored, and how it blesses families! The light in their eyes was so real, they are prepared for this. Miracle!! They are so cute, the girls bought us a flower and invited us over for dinner next week (: 

--Our schedule was a little crazy this week, a lot of things came up which is what made it stressful. Here's a little synopsis of our week:
·  Monday-- Preparation day
·  Tuesday--Sister Training Leader meeting from 9-5
·  Wednesday--Mission Leadership Council from 9-5
·  Thurdsday--weekly planning and working with the zone leaders to plan Zone Training Meeting
·  Friday--training at Zone Training Meeting
·  Friday to Saturday--exchanges with Sister Lewis
·  Sunday--teaching Relief Society (more on that later...)
So basically most of our time was taken up by other things...didn't have much time to go out and find, I miss it!!

--Remember the Marlows from Granada Hills? My favorite people ever! They came to Stevenson Ranch and fed us, had a whole picnic and everything (: so sweet of them, love them!

--Exchanges were super fun. As I mentioned, I was with Sister Lewis this time! We saw tons of miracles! Went around a different mobile home park knocking and pretty much every person we talked to was surprisingly nice to blew us away! Such kind people, it was our lucky day (: We found a lady named Jasmin who met missionaries in the past but then moved, so she never got to talk to them, but she really wants to meet with us. Say no more! Haha so we are teaching her this week. Miracle!

--We put some long hours into planning our lesson we were teaching on Sunday...then we get to church and they inform us someone else is teaching it. Haha all that stress and hard work down the drain! But actually, we were really relieved. I was nervous and felt under-prepared. At least now we are really knowledgeable about "Loving God more than we love the World!"

--Steve has been doing well! He's moving right along, I adore him. His back has been acting up lately though from an accident at work he had a while ago. We had Brother Henao come over and give him a Priesthood blessing yesterday, it was really powerful! Extremely thankful for the Priesthood.


--Elder Larman starring intently at my hand...
Me: "Uhh, whatcha looking at?"
Elder Larman: " should be a hand model."

--In MLC, Elder Larman turns to me, "do you use.....watermelon shampoo?" Hahah maybe you had to be there. Just the way he says things cracks me up.

--While out knocking with Sister Lewis, we are walking up to a door and I hear her say, "Oh, a dog!!" So I spin around and at the same second it barked at me and I let out the biggest scream. Hahah it was embarrassing, the people inside were laughing at was a good way to break the ice at least (:

--While teaching Dayna:
"Is magic real?"   
"What about the dinosaurs?"   
 "I don't know about this whole 'baptism by fire' thing!" (after reading scriptures about the figurative 'baptism by fire' aka the Holy Ghost. See 2 Nephi 31) 
Haha she cracks me up!!


--Ahhh man, I learned SO much this week. Working so closely with President Hall and the other leaders in the mission, I'm filled to the max learning things! It's incredible, honestly I can't say it enough--I'm so blessed!! We've been talking a lot as a council about re-focusing on our purpose, which is baptism. That doesn't mean we are only focused on numbers, or don't care about the people--exactly the opposite! We care so much about the people, that of course we should focus on helping them progress and be baptized, because this is the way to happiness!

--I've also been focusing on teaching simply with spiritual power. Teaching clearly so that the spirit can manifest the truth to the investigators, and getting the investigator to be asking the questions. More of them talking and less of me! It's so important as missionaries to make ourselves as small as possible. This isn't about me, or my personality--they need to hear God's voice more than they hear mine. They need to be converted to God not to Sister Bishop. Really, we have to be extremely selfless and other-centered. It's a good lesson I'm learning! 

Well, that's it for this week! Love you all, thanks for the support and prayers, it truly means the world to me. Add in Adeline, the Partida family, Dayna, Raquel, Jasmin, and Steve to your prayers please (: 

Sister Bishop

Jumping on a montain top!

Sister Lewis and I!

Her blanket and my pillow matched (:

Me and Sister Lewis decided to take some jumping pictures of our own...too fun, I'm tellin' ya.

Went on a hike today as a zone!

Just chillin on a tree...

Me and Sister Naylor had way too much fun taking jumping pictures up in the canyon last P-day (:

Group picture!! Elder workman's face kills me haha he's above the neon-shirt guy. (:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

LETTER 17: The one where Tessa is a missionary for Halloween

What a wonderful week it's been here in CA! We've been working lots with the members here, going out knocking, and just living the life! Missionary work is the beeeeest. Loving that it's November and I rarely ever have to wear a jacket (: 


--Remember the man I mentioned last week, Steve? Well we've talked with him many times, and finally got to teach him! At the end of the first lesson, he says, "Oh yeah, I was going to a Mormon church in Idaho a long time ago. I think I got baptized!" Haha say whaaat? That threw us off. So we figured out his story, and it turns out, yes--he was baptized a while ago, and he doesn't remember anything about the gospel. So we are re-teaching him the lessons, and he is crazy prepared to come back to church! We had multiple lessons, and he came to church yesterday (: He reminds me a lot of Glenn, which I love. It's incredible to see how God has reached out to Steve again, at the perfect moment when he is ready to come back. I love it!!

--Ok this was pretty crazy, but I have to tell a back-story first. A week or two ago, we ran out of toilet paper so we went to the grocery store to buy some, and the cashier guy was teasing us that we were probably going toilet-papering. Haha so we joked with him how we were going to get his house, and "he better watch out!" Well, this last week we went out finding and had a name and an address of a guy named Nick that missionaries had talked to a while ago. We knock on the door, and guess who opens? Yep--the cashier guy! Hahah we were so shocked. Then we could not stop laughing, joking with him "we told you we'd find you!!" We totally seem like the biggest stalkers, and I think he's legit worried now that we're going to toilet paper his house haha. Super funny.

--Happy Halloween!!!  We dressed up as missionaries, super creative, I know. (; Haha it was a good Halloween, not much happened aside from weekly planning and going out contacting! It was fun to mix things up when we were out knocking, the Halloween decorations were a good conversation starter. "You realize you have a dead body on your porch, right?" Yes, we used that. (:

--Friday I went on my first exchange as a Sister Training Leader! As a STL, we switch companions for 24 hours with another set of missionaries. We do this for training purposes, etc. I went to Canyon Country with Sister Wensel! It was super fun. I was nervous, but it went really well and we both learned a lot. Had some great experiences and definitely saw miracles! 


--Talking with Bri, one of our investigators: "He was like a Jesus Power-Ranger!!" hahah she was talking about a previous Elder who taught her who, apparently, was very enthusiastic about the gospel!!

--We knocked on a door and waited for a minute, then a teenage kid opens the door and sees us and just screams, "ahh!!!" hahah he didn't hear us knock, so he was just leaving his house and we really startled him. Super funny. Surprise! (:

--Friday afternoon there was a baptism for another set of missionaries. We have the chapel keys, so we went to open up the baptismal font for them. Buuut we didn't have keys to the side door that leads to the font, so I had to jump over the glass and drop down into the font to open the door from the inside. Hahah if you've ever seen one of our baptismal fonts, you'll know how much skill that took, especially in a skirt. (; It was an adventure. 

--Elder Larman and Elder Chandler came to give us some clothes they needed mended, and we gave them a plate of cookies. Elder Larman is like, "If you eat one cookie, I'll eat the rest!" Uhh...ok? So he literally ate a plate full of cookies just for me to eat one. Haha silly elders.


--Communication. End of story. 

Ok, not really the end--basically though, I've learned tons about how to effectively communicate. Especially when it comes to the companionship. Learning how to express what I'm feeling and to listen to what she's feeling and then work together to come to a mutual understanding and agreement takes a lot of work! I'm learning tons though and am soooo grateful for the knowledge I've gained, and the patience of Sister Naylor helping me learn how to talk (: 

--I just can't get over how blessed I am to be sharing this gospel. Honestly--this IS God's church on the earth. The same exact gospel that has been preached since the beginning. The same one that Jesus Christ taught and organized when He was on the earth. We are so lucky to have it restored to the earth again, and to have a modern-day prophet. There is more to this Church than getting wrapped up in the frivolities and organization of it all. I think that we tend to forget just how amazing the basic, simple, profound truths of the gospel are. This is God's gospel. It's centered around our Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement. The knowledge we have through the Bible, Book of Mormon, and modern-day prophets is priceless. They bring us lasting joy, peace, and happiness that will continue through this life and the next. God has so much in store for all of us, and has provided a way for us to be happy and return to Him--the gospel! It is real, it is truly a gem, and I'm overjoyed I get to share it with anyone and everyone I meet. My testimony has just been strengthened over and over again. I love the knowledge I'm gaining, and I don't have words to express just how much I have learned and just how much I love it all with my whole heart!! It is seeping into every detail of my life, and I can feel it blessing me in countless ways. 

Thank you for all your support and love <3 Until next week,

Sister Bishop

Sister Naylor pushed me around in this as I preached from the Book of Mormon. Just kidding...that didn't happen. I wish! Haha

Elder Larman and Elder Chandler--basically the best Zone leaders ever and some of my best friends.

Looks like we're doing a little jig haha. After the jump!

Just me getting smacked in the face by Elder Chandler (; so many things to love about this picture.

Being a dork and showing off a cool tree we found...(:

Sister Naylor didn't want to take a Haloween picture with me...haha that didn't stop me! 

Trying and failing at opening a can of tuna for dinner... final score-- Can: 1 Sister Bishop: 0

Sister Wensel cut her finger open, too! Haha really had to put a lot of work into dinner that night, it was kind of ridiculous.

Just some random California scenery. (: "I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it!!"