Tuesday, February 25, 2014

LETTER 30: The one where Tessa avoids arrest...again

Well...not a whole lot is new down here in So. Cal! We knocked some doors...a lot of doors...the usual haha. But things are going well! We've been scouring our area looking for houses we haven't knocked, and re-knocking places we've knocked already. We found a jackpot of 5 houses tucked away in this corner that we didn't know of before. We had to sneak around the gate haha somewhat maybe not allowed...but we were desperate and soo excited to talk to new people!! The first house we knocked on was a cop, and he totally knew we snuck in. It was hilarious and somewhat embarrassing, but he was nice about it (: No arrests for us. (;

We had a big miracle happen--we committed Tashanna, Ederick, and their 2 kids to be baptized!! Buuut then they dropped us the next day. That was rough. It's just interesting how the spirit can be incredibly strong in a lesson, and we know their hearts were touched--but they still have their agency and choose to cast out the seed before giving it place to grow. We love them and will keep trying and praying in an effort to soften their hearts, but we know ultimately God has a plan for them. It's hard sometimes not to see these disappointments as a reflection of my efforts as a missionary. Ultimately though, I know that we are doing our part as missionaries in teaching simple pure doctrine, and inviting people to act. That's all God asks of me, so I can still feel like a successful missionary if I know I'm doing my part.

We went on two exchanges this week, first I was with Sister Marsh in Seco Canyon, and then with Sister Dials in Saugus 3rd. They are amazing sisters! We saw miracles and had fun working hard. We taught one of their investigators, Linda, and the lesson was incredible. Linda finally prayed for the first time, and then at church yesterday she got her answer that the gospel is true!! Amazing miracle, so happy to be a small part of it.

Something that's stood out to me more and more is just how we have one message. God has reached out again to us through a prophet to reveal His plan for us--a plan for us to return to live with Him. This includes taking steps in this life; namely, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. It's way cool that really our sole purpose for being here is preparing to meet God again. We make these choices now to change and become better, so we can be with our Father. That's what it's all about. Are we each doing all we can to make these preparations to return to God? There's just so much more for us than this life. We are eternal beings. We have an incredible purpose and divine worth. As we trust God and turn to Him, the problems of the world become smaller, it's as simple as that.

I loooove this gospel with my whole heart, and there's nothing that brings me more joy than sharing it with others. It's truly incredible. I'm blessed more than I deserve, I love the personal relationship I'm gaining with my Savior. It's priceless. 

Thank you all for your support! 
Much love,

Sister Bishop

Birthday dinner with the Gardner family, I love these boys!!

Presents from family, ward members, and friends. Too kind!

Me and Sister Marsh (:

We found a sushi place in our area!!

93 degrees...summer? Nope. Valentine's day. Ahh!

The lovely Sister Dials and I

Sunday, February 16, 2014

LETTER 29: The one where Tessa turns 20!

Happy b-day p-day to me (:
Haha thank you all SO MUCH for the birthday wishes, cards, etc!! It's made my day so special. Best birthday yet! And warmest birthday, that's for sure.

This past week was super great, I don't have much time to write but here's a brief synopsis:

We went on exchanges with Sister Attanasio and Anderson. I was with Sister Attanasio in Wiley Canyon, we saw so many miracles! Mainly we found Lina. Knocked on her door and she invited us in for hot chocolate and we met her whole family. She has the most incredible faith, and we were able to introduce the Book of Mormon to her--which she is really excited about! We will be teaching her again this week, but she's amazing and we're really excited. Not often that people let you go in and teach them right on the spot! She's elect. (:

We also started teaching another man named Jeff. He is amazing and we're looking forward to teaching him again this week.

We had mission leadership council this week and zone training meeting as well, which was great (: I've been learning SO MUCH it's crazy. I've never felt closer to the Lord in my life, it's the best thing in the world. 

As I mentioned, today is my birthday! It's been so special! I love all the love I've received from my friends and adopted-family here. I'm incredibly blessed and spoiled!

Well, that's about it for now--so here's some pictures. (: Love you all!!

Sister Bishop

Helping Bri move! Bittersweet, happy for her and her future, but sad we won't get to see her anymore!

The one and only Great California San Fernando Mission Leadership Council (: With all of the "fruit" we earned for getting 1,250 new investigators in the month of January!! Wooo!! Record high.

The great Sister Naylor and I

Sister Attanasio and our cat friend courtesy of my mom (:

Some surprises this morning! I have the best companion.

The elders snuck in while we were at the gym and filled the place with balloons!

Cupcakes from Sister Mathews

Sunday, February 9, 2014

LETTER 28: The one where Tessa sports a turtleneck

We finally got a little winter weather, it went from 70-80 degrees to 50 (if you can even call that winter weather...). Haha I'm lucky.

We had Zone Conference on Tuesday and I LOVED it. I have the best mission president in the world! We are having a huge push in the mission this week to teach doctrine simply. Our only job really is to be messengers of the pure, simple, doctrinal truths. We aren't called to flatter people or persuade them. We don't have to sell our message, we just testify! I love it. 

Went on two exchanges, I was with Sister Reese first and then Sister Wensel. They are amazing sisters! I'm blessed to be able to learn from them and work in their areas. Had some neat experiences, including finding a guy and teaching him the whole restoration right on the spot! He was so prepared for the gospel, love finding people like that.

Had a little rough patch with Sister Naylor getting sick for the past couple days, and Adeline dropped us ): We committed her to be baptized at our lesson on Friday, and it was such a powerful lesson. Then Sunday she texted us and asked not to meet with us anymore. A bummer, but we know God has a plan for her! She loves the gospel, but needs a little more time.

I've been studying faith a lot lately. This morning I was reading in Mosiah 23 and 24, when the people of Alma are in bondage to the Lamanites. First, the people saw the appearance of the Lamanites coming and were scared, but 23:27says: "Alma went forth and stood among them, and exhorted them that they should not be frightened, but that they should remember the Lord their God and he would deliver them. Therefore, they hushed their fears, and began to cry unto the Lord." Then in 24:13, it says "the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort... And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. And it came to pass that so great was their faith and patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage." 

These verses of scripture really helped me out and touched me. They led me to a few others, such as Alma 33:23 "And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his son." and Alma 31:38, "And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ." 

Moral of the story: Our trials and afflictions can be "swallowed up in the joy of Christ." As we increase our faith, it decreases our burdens by giving us the strength we need to push through them. The Lord doesn't necessarily take away our trials, but He helps give us strength. We can't be scared by the looks of things with our limited perspective. But rather, we need to trust God and turn to Him! Replace our fear with faith.

This helped me a lot this week, and probably is mainly for me haha but I thought I'd share. I'm eternally grateful for this gospel. Don't take it for granted! We are so blessed to have the truth <3

--Sister Bishop

We basically have the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Pictures do NOT do it justice.

Me and Sister Marsh with our apple-sauce to go (:

Low quality zone conference picture

A lady named Betty gave me a binder full of info for her ancestors and permission to do the temple work for them! I now have 80 names prepared for the temple, all coming from this family of 18 (: best thing ever!! A little pitch forfamilysearch.org, I'm a fan.

Exchanges with Sister Reese!!

Some members gave us these fabulous turtle neck shirts haha

They didn't have a blow dryer, but they did have this fan...that'll do. (:

Exchanges with Sister Wensel haha (: don't ask.

Our Zone Leaders...