Friday, March 28, 2014

LETTER 33: The one where Tessa hikes a canyon

Hello hello! Not a whole lot to tell this week--just doing the work, same old same old (: loving every minute and soaking it all up.


--Got a few new investigators this week, miracles for sure. Marty is an actor, he was on the original Karate Kid (don't ask me who he played...I don't know) and his daughter Rachel is super great as well. We've been teaching them and helping them to get closer to Christ, which is what they desire. Perfect! The third one is Andy, he is striving to understand the importance of having God in his life. I love being able to testify to people about how much I love my Heavenly Father and how I feel His love and help each day. It's so amazing.

--We went on a bunch of exchanges this week! 4 total. I feel like I'm with other companions more than my own haha but it's all great 


--This week I've done a whole lot of learning. I absolutely love it, one of my favorite parts of preparation day is looking back on the past week and seeing the personal growth I've made. I can't begin to express all of the things I'm learning, and I'm extremely grateful for them! A major thing that has stood out to me this week is how wonderful our gift of agency is. A huge purpose of our lives on earth is to learn to use our agency correctly and choose Christ--choose to be happy, choose to endure, choose to turn to God in trials. Each of our little decisions add up and can create a life spent close to the Lord. I know that as we consistently choose to act just a little better and a little more Christlike than we are prone to, that we can truly be refined and shaped into the people God knows we can be.

Hope you all have had a good week, remember to do the little things--Church, pray, read. It's simple and true (:

Sister Bishop


My district--love them. 

Birthday shenanigans


 Hiking Towsley Canyon this morning with some of the zone. Suuuuper long and amazing!

I wish you could tell how high we were! We got to the very tip of the mountain

Me and Sister McQueen

The whole gang!

The Sisters

The elders...haha who knows.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

LETTER 32: The one where Tessa survives an earthquake


--We've had TWO earthquakes in the past two days! Yesterday's was pretty small, but this morning at 6:20 AM I woke up to everything shaking and rattling. I screamed, "SISTER McQUEEN!!!!" and she just said, "it's ok, just stay in bed. It'll end soon." haha she was so calm, and right. So it stopped and I took some deep breathes. I think it was just God's way of making sure none of the missionaries slept in (; it really wasn't bad at all, but after 5 months of everyone warning me about "a big earthquake coming our way," it's become a fear of mine.

--We had a busy week, with 3 exchanges and interviews. The exchanges were super great. One of them got cut short due to a flat tire, but it was good. I love working with these amazing sisters!!

--Had some great experiences this week with street contacting. Really felt like an instrument in God's hands, and like He was trusting me and sending me to His children that needed Him. We talked with people at the perfect time, shared the perfect scriptures with them, and holy cow--it was just too good. No way that it was by coincidence at all. 

--Friday, our Zone had interviews with President. While the missionaries were waiting, us and the Zone Leaders had to give a training. So we were at the chapel from 7 AM to 10 PM. It was a looong but amazing day!

--Heather and Natalia are doing well. Heather goes in for surgery tomorrow and starts treatments soon, so prayers for her would be appreciated! Hoping she has a quick recovery and we'll be able to meet with her. 


--This week at the training, we taught the other missionaries the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We talked about faith, repentance, covenant keeping, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We set up different rooms throughout the church, and did a "tour" of sorts. I learned so much about my Savior, and grew in love and appreciation for Him and the sacrifice He's made. I encourage you all to take a few minutes to watch these videos and ponder who the Savior is to you, and how you can draw closer to Him. I promise that you will feel the spirit of God as you watch and ponder, and it can change you as it has me. 

I think that's probably what's made the biggest impact on me. It was an indescribable experience getting to spend 12 hours with these missionaries I love and respect, talking about our Savior and crying alongside them. Something I won't soon forget! I think as missionaries, and even just as people, we're so quick to forget our own relationship with the Savior. We teach people all day, but first and foremost, we are children of God. I am His daughter, and He loves me. I need the Atonement in my life daily, not just as something I teach others about, but something I'm applying, living, and loving. I hope each of you can remember who the Savior is to you.

 11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions andbtemptations of every kind; and this that the word might befulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and thesicknesses of his people.
 12 And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bandsof death which bind his people; and he will take upon him theirinfirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according tothe flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccorhis people according to their infirmities.
 13 Now the Spirit aknoweth all things; nevertheless the Son ofGod suffereth according to the bflesh that he might ctake upon himthe sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressionsaccording to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this isthe testimony which is in me.

Hope you all have a good week! 

--Sister Bishop

Exchanges with Sister Hancock in Valencia

At interviews all day Friday

The elders door bell ditched us and left us a bunch of food (:

LETTER 32: The one where Tessa dominates Chapter 8

This week has been full of miracles. God is so good!


--Tuesday we had 4 set appointments throughout the day, which is huge for us! They were all with new people, and we had planned to get 5 new investigators. by one, they canceled on us or didn't show up. It was a bit discouraging, but we pressed forward and kept working hard. We prayed over the map and decided to knock this one street. We had been at it for a while, and were continually improving our approach. At one door, we decided not to introduce ourselves and instead say, "We are representatives of Jesus Christ." So we did, and the lady says, "how did you know to come here? What brought you here?" and we responded that we had prayed and felt good about that street. She let us inside, called her daughter in, and we taught them the Restoration. Turns out, Heather had received some news about her health a few days prior that was not good, and she felt lost and alone. Then we showed up at the perfect time, went in and taught her, and she felt at peace for the first time since she received the news. We have since taught them 3 lessons, and committed them to be baptized! They are extremely prepared, it is unreal. Words can't express how blessed I feel to know that I was an instrument in God's hands, reaching out to His daughter who needed help. This is what makes missionary work all worth it! There is nothing greater than the joy that comes from seeing people accept the gospel.

--We had Mission Leadership Council this week, and trained at Zone Training Meeting on Friday. The theme was, "Dominate chapter eight!" which in our handbook--Preach My Gospel--is the 'Planning' chapter. I learned so much about how to master goal setting and making plans. The ZTM was probably the best ZTM I've yet to participate in. The spirit filled the room, we all were so pumped and set a zone goal to find 100 new investigators this month. I love feeling the spirit so strong like that, and it completely bonded and united our zone.

--I went on exchanges with Sister Hatfield wayyy up in Castaic. It's the very North part of the mission, out in the boonies (; We went finding a bunch and had many good conversations with people. Sister Hatfield is a fantastic missionary, I love having the opportunity to spend 24 hours with different sisters and learn from them. So great!


--We were walking into our apartment one night, and saw 2 guys trying to carry a huge dresser up the stairs. We offered to help them, and called the Spanish elders to do the actual help haha. So the elders came and they got it up the three flights of stairs. Woo! Then we're standing there and I patted the dresser and said "that is solid!!" haha and one of the Spanish elders thought I had patted his companion's lower back, and it was suuuper funny. The elder turned bright red, it was so awkward and great. I love it. 


--I've learned a ton about how God will either lead us to His prepared children, or lead them to us. As we are striving to do the best we can and working hard, God will place those people in our paths. Like with Heather and Natalia--though our appointments canceling that day seemed like a bad thing to us with our limited perspective, God had a better plan in mind and led us to where we really needed to be. God has a perfect plan. It's just amazing to see Him orchestrating these things, always mindful of His children. I'm learning to really trust in Him and live the concept of, "Thy will, not mine, be done." As I'm giving up my will, I'm a better instrument in His hands. That's the best blessing I could ever receive, to be trusted by God in bringing His children to Him. 

--As I mentioned, I'm becoming a better planner and goal-setter! I'm learning the doctrine behind setting goals. We have to back up our goals with plans, and use our goals to motivate and inspire us. God doesn't expect us to hit our goals every time. In fact, if we are always hitting our goals--we're doing it wrong! Again, our goals should be a means of inspiring us to work harder and achieve more, not a means of beating ourselves up when we don't achieve them. This concept I'm constantly working to understand and apply not only applies in the mission, but the rest of my life. Score!

That's that for this week, it's just amazing. It's all too great. This gospel is true, and if you haven't found that out for yourself, please do. It's simple, easy, and the greatest thing you could ever do for yourself. If you already know, keep learning--and share it. If we don't share the gospel with our friends and loved ones, we aren't showing our appreciation to God for the precious knowledge He's trusted us with. 1 Thessalonions 2:4, "But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts."

I love you all! Have a great week (:

Two selfies... I skimped on pictures this week, sorry!

I had fun making pancakes. B and M!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

LETTER 31: The one where Tessa meets Sister McQueen

Since I know you're probably dying to know, we'll start out with the cool information first!! My new companion is....

SISTER McQUEEN!!!! She's from New Zealand. Basically, she's the best thing in the whole world. I love her to death already. She's assigned to serve in the Temple Square mission in Salt Lake and has been there for 9 months. The Temple Square mission is a little unique in that the missionaries all serve for 3-4 months in another part of the country to gain experience in the field. So Sister McQueen just arrived here from Salt Lake to have her outbound portion in San Fernando, and I'm lucky enough to be her companion! (: She has the coolest accent, and I keep finding myself accidentally saying things with an accent. People love listening to her talk, which is a plus because it gives us more time at doors (: 


--My sweet trainer Sister Rhoades went home this week. It was bitter sweet! She was able to sleep over at our apartment the last night of her mission. It was so nice to be with her again, she means the world to me and I know she'll do great things back in Alaska!!

--We've been working hard and seeing miracles. Going finding a lot! We found a few new investigators--Jaune and Haruka were former investigators and we started teaching their family again, which I'm very happy about. We also knocked on a lady's door last night and she let us in right on the spot and we taught her and her 3 little girls. So neat! 

--It was pouring for 2 days this week, which made things tricky. It's difficult juggling your scriptures and planner and umbrella. We basically got drenched and I quickly realized I have absolutely no shoes or clothes suited for rain! Luckily the rain is gone and it's back to the sunny, 70 degree California that I know and love. 

--We had a Sister Training Leader meeting for basically the whole day Wednesday, it was amazing! We just doubled the amount of our STL's, which is really neat. There's a big group of us now!


--Yesterday we walked up to a group of four teenagers. We're talking with them for a bit and ask "what do you know about Mormons?" and one kid, while walking towards us with open arms, says: "Mormons need love." and hugs us. hahah it was way funny.

--We knocked on a door and two young Indian guys open the door. They're Muslim, and kept insisting that we come inside and drink coffee with them, both of which are against the mission rules haha. So we explained no, but they still insisted that they give us coffee. So they gave it to us, and we just dumped it out right in front of them--but they said "perfect." Haha it was an interesting contact, they were very kind though. (I really do love all the cultures here, and I'm not dissing their culture at all--it was just unique.)


--Repentance: we repent to show our love and appreciation for the Savior. If we aren't consistently and sincerely repenting, we aren't appreciating our Savior's sacrifice for us. We're setting it as naught. 

--Sister McQueen is amazing and I'm learning tons from her. I'm learning a lot more how to really "teach people not lessons." I'm working hard on focusing on the individual and where they are at spiritually, and what will best help them grow closer to Christ--that's what it's all about. Gotta start with the first principle of the gospel--increasing their faith--before they'll get to baptism. It doesn't necessarily matter if we teach them the whole Restoration if they're not open to receiving it, it wouldn't even be effective. We have to start where they are at and build up.

--I've also been studying "My Purpose" in Preach My Gospel lots and it's one of my very favorite chapters and things to learn more about!! Seriously everything is TONS better when I understand my purpose and focus on that. I'm working to have my faith in Christ be my driving factor for finding, for exercising, for teaching--every aspect of missionary work. What am I thinking about when I'm out knocking? Am I thinking about myself and dwelling on what I did or didn't say? Or am I thinking of Christ and focusing on the spirit? It just puts things in perspective. Really trying to be other-centered and Christ-centered. I have a testimony that cannot be shaken, and it really doesn't matter how people treat me. This gospel is simple and true. 

--I'm realizing how big of a role prophets are in God's plan for us. Just as Jesus Christ created the earth under the direction of Heavenly Father, prophets now lead and guide the earth under the direction of Jesus Christ. God's plan involves prophets so that we may have that guidance here on the earth. He gave us Christ, but also knew we'd need constant revelation and direction--not only through our personal prayers, but for the whole earth. We have a pure and simple plan to return to God, and we have the pure and simple authority from God to help us make those promises necessary to return to Him. That's what it's all about.

So there's my ramblings for this week! I love and miss you all, but things are going so great here. I just love missionary work with my whole heart. I love this gospel. I love Jesus Christ. He's my Savior, my brother, and my best friend. There's nothing better.

Lots of love,
Sister Bishop

With the new missionaries we took out proselyting in North Hollywood their first day

With our momma, Sister Rhoades

The New missionaries

Them again...with us (:

Last day with Sister Naylor!

Rainy day

It's a tradition to get In-n-Out the day before fast Sunday (: stock up on calories haha

Bowling this morning with the zone

Bishop and McQueen--good combo. (:

At the family history center with our favorite Sister Davis!

LETTER 31: The one where Tessa crafts Tamales

Short on time this week, 10 english sisters flew into the Burbank airport this morning and we're going down to North Hollywood to take them out proselyting (: it's my favorite thing!

Since you're probably wondering, it is transfer week: drum roll please......I'm staying! That'll make 6 months in this area. Sister Naylor is leaving sadly ): we're bummed about that, but know that it had to happen sometime, and we'll continue learning and growing from our next companions. Love the time I've had with her though! God definitely has a plan for me to become the person He knows I can be, and Sister Naylor was part of that plan. Learned so much from her!

This past week went really well, we've been working hard. Talked to 162 people about the gospel, which is a record high for us. Since we're re-knocking our area, we meet a lot of the same people. It's interesting to see how kind people are, even people who weren't the nicest the first time around. We see that when we come back a second or third time and go about our approach differently (catered to their needs), they respond really well! Planting lots of seeds. I know that these people will be more open to the gospel and to missionaries in the future because of our persistence in talking with them. 

We started teaching a new family--Amelia and her kids. We've been trying to get in to Amelia's home for months, and we finally found a way to get in--having her teach us how to make tamales! Haha who would've thought. So she taught us, and we had a short lesson afterwards. Then we taught her another lesson Saturday, and have one planned this week. They're an amazing family! And they make goooood tamales, that's for sure. (:

We have a few other people we're teaching, just trying to help them keep commitments. It's so important to cement our faith with action. The only way the Holy Ghost can testify to us about something is if we're acting and doing it! 

I super love my mission. It's the best thing I could have ever done, it's beyond my wildest dreams of what I hoped it would be. I love this gospel and the truthfulness of it. Remember to keep an eternal perspective. Make little changes in your life every day to align your will more with God's will--that's the purpose of our lives. Repentance is beautiful, and it is real. Do what you can now to strengthen your relationship with Christ. I love you all! <3

--Sister Bishop

Our amazing district! It's huuuuge

Making homemade tamales--she seriously has the best recipe

Best homemade salsa I've ever had

Me and Amelia!

The finished product...mmm

The Smiths--love them

Tashanna and Ederick (I forgot to mention, we got in contact with them again and they're allowing us to visit with them. Huge miracle!!!!)

We got to go to the temple again--the best!

Stevo is moving tomorrow ): one last picture with him.

They have a million dogs

Brother and Sister McEwan

With Kellsie at church

Eva, Lalo, and Aiden!

Aiden was acting like Moroni with the Book of Mormon