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 (: 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

LETTER 67: The one where Tessa and the bike disagree

Lets see--quick recap of this weeks happenings!
·  Lots of finding and teaching (: Finally got to see Nick again, and he's working for a January baptism!
·  Random things came up--having to get our oil changed, driving all over the mission to help the sisters on bike, a surprise MLC with Elder Garns, etc!
·  Exchanges; I was in a bike area, and everything possible seemed to go wrong with the bike, so we had to re-plan everything to be walking distance haha. It was an adventure! Fun day (:

What's been really standing out to me lately is how important it is to be diligent in keeping the commandments at all times, not just when it's convenient or we feel like it. Not even weighing the cost of obedience--just doing it and being committed to obedience. 
Even when doubts are there. Doubt is a feeling, but true faith chooses to act even in the presence of doubt. 
The only safety we have is staying with God! Just stay with Him, and keep doing the basic faith-promoting things: church attendance, prayer, and reading the scriptures. He will ensure our progression and growth. 
If our lives are centered on Christ, nothing can go permanently wrong.

The gospel challenges us to become something. We become through repentance. Repentance is our link to the power of the Atonement. This power and grace has the ability to change our very natures. 
I've experienced firsthand over and over that real changing power. I think that's one of my very favorite and most comforting things about the gospel--the fact that we can always progress and change. Our weaknesses are not permanent. The sting of sacrifice is always worth it. The deepest hurt and confusion can be wiped away. Becoming a disciple of Christ is soo much better than not becoming one. God ensures our safety and eternal progression as we are obedient, repentant, and humble. That's the core of the gospel.

I'm just learning so much. I could go on and on! I always feel like there's nothing noteworthy about my week, other than all the spiritual lessons God is teaching me haha. He is SO GOOD to me! And all of us! I'm happy to feel like my real, true, deeply rooted conversion is coming about. 

Working so hard these last few weeks. I'm absolutely overwhelmingly blessed. Grateful to have this Thanksgiving week to really focus on gratitude, and I hope you all have the same opportunity!

Sending my love from sunny California,
Sister Bishop

Fun fact: there are always shopping carts and toilets EVERYWHERE on the streets. Who knows why. Had to laugh when we saw them combined (: 

Mexican food courtesy of Rebeca!

Some members in our ward are little people--they have these custom made little couches (:

We got name cards at a special MLC with the Area Seventy, Elder Garns, last night!

NUMBER 66: The one where Tessa soaks it all up

Great week (: Normal missionary shenanigans haha. We went on exchanges, did some finding, teaching, the usual!

We had a neat experience the other night. We had a few minutes extra before a dinner appointment, so we decided to knock around on their neighbors doors. One man answered and promptly let us into the family room, with all of his family there--they were in the middle of dinner and a movie. Haha he was kind of funny, we think he was just being spontaneous and wanted to shock his family-- which it worked, their faces were priceless (; But despite his motives, we took the opportunity to get to know them and their experiences with God. The situation went from being a joke, to actually being a very spiritual experience that ended in prayer and tears shed by the family. It was a beautiful miracle! They want to learn more, and the family ward missionaries will be going over soon (: 

Something that's stood out to me a lot this week is the importance of keeping our eyes focused on our purpose in life--preparing to return to God. Distractions don't have to be evil to be effective. If something is taking us away from the most important things in life, then we need to refocus on spending our efforts and focus on the things that matter most--God (: It's so much better to look at things with an eternal perspective.
A quote from Pres. Hinckley:
"It is challenging to put this earthly experience together if we do not frequently look at what the completed picture ought to look like. The life and perfect example of the Savior provides this picture. Refer to it often."

I'm so grateful for the things I've learned throughout my mission. I know I'm exactly where I need to be. I'm learning about how God communicates with me. I know that revelation comes through the little things--going to church, praying, and reading His words in the scriptures. He is eager to teach and tutor us if we just humble ourselves and turn to Him. I love how you just feel good when you follow what God wants. Continually repenting, being rid of guilt, and having confidence before God is priceless. 

I love this work! Soaking up all I can. Thank you for all your support and love and prayers.

Sister Bishop

With mis hermanas (: We have a picture of us three our first day in the mission, and now 17 months later! 

Exchanges with the Granada Hills sisters (:

hahah. Problems of being in a YSA ward. (;


NUMBER 65: The one where Tessa gets a Canadian

Nov 10

We'll get right to the good stuff (;

My new companion is Sister French! She is from Alberta, Canada and has been out for about 10 months. (: She is so great, we get along really well and I'm learning a lot from her. Couldn't be happier!

This week, we had a bunch of our lessons fall through. Things keep happening with our investigators that prevent them from meeting with's a little strange how frequently it's happening--and most often, it's legitimate reasons not just them being flaky! Very odd. But it's given us time to find and work with less-actives.

We had Mission Leadership Council and Zone Training Meeting this week. We had such a great discussion on our 2014 Mission Training Plan. I absolutely love it and think President Hall was super inspired when putting it together. It's benefited me personally and the mission tons. 

Lame email again, sorry! Not lots to report. Things are going very well (:

I love my Savior. I love reading the scriptures, and truly receive revelation from God each time I do. I know God hears our prayers, He loves us and is eager to help us. This gospel has brought everything good into my life and the most happiness I've ever known! 

--Sister Bishop

We realized we didn't take any pictures this week, so snapped this one just barely haha 

LETTER 64: The one where Tessa stays in Northridge YSA


Drumroll please...

Sister Lewis is being transferred! ): Sad day. BUT I'd be lying if I said I wasn't way happy to be finishing my mission here! I'm thrilled to serve my last transfer in Northridge YSA (: it's the best ever. So, now the question is who will my companion be...? Stay tuned next week!

We had a good Halloween, had a mini exchange and did service. Had an early curfew and got to catch up on journal writing (: Didn't do any knocking, stuck to street contacting. Found a few new investigators. Definite miracles!

I'm super short on time today, but things are going very well (: I'm learning lots and working hard!

Until next week,
Sister Bishop

Institute Halloween party with these clowns. (: 


With Bishop and Sister Patton

Miracle investigator, Luz! Handed her off to the family ward elders