Saturday, March 29, 2014

Washington or Bust

Saturday March 29, 2014.  1:26 pm   Washington or Bust

Darling readers, adoring fans, or anyone who happens to actually read this email,

Life is pretty dandy. The MTC is the same as it's always been, and I am pleased to know that on Tuesday I'll be in Tacoma (for real.)
Again, I feel like the best word to describe what I feel is "surreal". Everything is falling into place, and it is all working out. 

A big thanks to those of you who keep me posted with current world/Provo/life happenings. It's very nice to not be ignorant (:

(Side note: this whole situation with Russia just seems like governments slapping each other on the wrists and flexing their metaphorical military muscles; it's like international relations went back to middle school.)

Some exciting things in my life lately:

Packages with yummy goodies and silly stories from fantastic friends

Temple selfies. Oh yeah.

Last week at MTC

Saturday March 29, 2014   1:20 pm

Your reading assignment: (cue drumroll)

1 Nephi 17 - and let me tell you why:

Nephi and his family have spent 8 long and toilsome years in the wilderness; although Nephi is always full of gratitude to God ("so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us"), it doesn't negate the fact that this has been a very big trial ("we did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness"). They then reach the land Bountiful - specifically prepared for them by the hand of the Lord with fruit, wild beasts and honey; a seaside oasis of sorts. Their journeying through the wilderness of affliction had ceased through the Lord's blessings.

But Bountiful was not where God intended for Nephi and his family to stay; it was not the final destination God prepared for them. He had a land far greater in store for them; a covenanted land; a Promised Land. The catch? The only way for them to get to the Promised Land was to construct a ship and sail according the the Lord's guidance and direction. But they were not ship builders and certainly not sailors. 

To face the unknown of the sea on a ship their little brother would build is a scary prospect, and it becomes far too easy to start regretting even coming to Bountiful in the first place ("we might have been happy"). Why leave? Life was so good in Bountiful! It was a respite prepared for them after their toils in the wilderness! God wanted them to enjoy the land Bountiful! Why would they leave and face uncertainty and hardship again when the present was comfortable, and a blessing even? They spent years in the wilderness and had only been in Bountiful for "many days" before the Lord asked them to build a ship and leave. Why can't we just stay in our own personal land Bountiful?

Because God has far greater things prepared for all of us than we can currently imagine. 

Going to the Promised Land meant leaving behind Bountiful and facing the trials of wilderness again, this time on a ship; something that was currently unfathomable, and completely out of their element. It meant going out into the unknown. It meant having to walk by faith and trust that the Lord will direct and deliver as promised. 

The key to this isn't just that God has our own Promised Land prepared for us if we choose to listen and obey, but that how we approach leaving our own land Bountiful will make all the difference in getting there (or in us choosing to even leave Bountiful at all).

Nephi didn't ask why, but how. How can I do what you have asked of me Lord? You've asked me to build a ship and bring my family across the water, so direct me where I can find ore to make tools to construct this ship you will help me build.
Nephi recognized that God's plans for him were more than just to be saved from the destruction of Jerusalem. More than reaching a land Bountiful. The Lord keeps His promises to His children.
Nephi understood that the why will come in the Lord's own time, but we can break tasks down and ask our own how questions to accomplish what the Lord asks of us.

"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save He shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which He commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)

What is your wilderness?
What is your Bountiful?
What is your Promised Land?
How can you get there?
What ship is God asking you to build?

These questions will change over time and with circumstance, but the lesson remains that it all comes down to trust, obedience and faith.

I love you all, more than you know.

- Sister Elizabeth Bishop

P.S.  The MTC makes me sad when it posts signs like this would think that an institution known for it's language skills would use foreign spellcheck. (#frenchproblems)

Sometimes we make blanket forts on P-days. (P-nights?) We also don't use flash apparently. #missionaryshenanigans 

Watch out world. These sisters are coming for ya

In short, life is so good. Hard. Mundane. Heavily scheduled. Mindblowing. But always good.

No really, EVERYWHERE. (p.s. me and all my friends are so photogenic

Our 10 minute study break ended up becoming assigning spirit animals to the district and teachers. Productivity at it's finest.

The sisters in Branch 1

Running into old friends everywhere

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Your favorite email of the week (:

March 22, 2014. 9:25 pm. Your favorite email of the week (:

Greetings everyone!

I am still at the MTC and learning so much. seriously.
Life is good, but the learning curve is a bit steep sometimes. Regardless, the MTC is peachy keen and I am 

My new little district (Elder Mabey is super stoked to be here, obviously.) :

Sister Jensen, Elder Lyes and I got moved into the new district and it has been a blast so far.
It is also amazing to look back and see how much I have learned and grown since my first day. I can already see how much my life (and especially my teaching) has changed. 

My new comp is Sister Niska. She is from Spokane, super adorable, optimistic and always ready to party. Or bring the spirit. Or both (:

She is on the left, and Sister Clancy, our resident Aussie, is on the right.

#Prom  (#ConfuseTheAustralian)

We tend to live in the classroom or the cafeteria, but it's been so worth it. We're practically spiritual giants (not really. mostly just Elder Lyes; but after 6 weeks, he's a bit out of it.)

I love you and miss you all, but I know that this is exactly where the Lord wants me right now.

And now for some spiritual uplifting for the masses.

The gospel of Jesus Christ and His atonement is one of happiness; even when things are bleak and tumultuous, just remember that the Lord is right there with you because He's been there before.
By following the Savior in all things, we are allowing ample opportunities for God to bless us in every aspect of our lives.

Mosiah 2:41
"And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of neverending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."


Keep the faith. 

All my love,

Sister Bishop

(our favorite picture on the fourth floor - take a look at those short shorts.)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

One week down - part 2

March 15, 2014

One week down 77 to go Part 2


Me and Sister Swann 

And when you get a chance, take a gander at Jacob's story. Trials from his brothers, and tons of struggles but he come to the Lord and is healed just like we can be.
2 Nephi 2:1-4  --> Jacob 2:8
I know that he's writing from his own experience. That the word of God can and will heal the spiritual wounds we have.

Much love to you all,
Sister Bishop (and Sister Swann)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

One week down, 77 to go

March 15, 2014

One week down, 77 to go

Hello world,

How are things on the outside? I heard from one of my teachers that BYU is getting a new president - what the what? I leave for one week and things start changing (:
All I know is that "whoosh Cecil" isn't very transferable. It is so strange being disconnected from the regular goings on of the world. Hopefully Ukraine is still holding up and world war three hasn't started, and California is still one state. But letsbehonest I wouldn't really hear about it for a while if it did happen.

This week has flown by - we have learned so much about teaching, loving and serving. It's really amazing to see how much me and my district has grown up and grown together in the past week and a half.


#TrueFacts about the MTC: 
-  The food leaves much to be desired. What it lacks in quality, it makes up for in quantity.
-  Having been a former employee has its perks, i.e. running into friends and coworkers, having strings to pull when you need them, not ever getting lost, being able to navigate out of the missionary browser security settings if necessary...
-  Quiet time each evening: it is as mythical as it sounds - I have truly come to understand that some females have a very high minimum decibel level. 
-  Sisters here have this habit of singing in the shower, which is fine, I was prepared for that. I was not prepared for the spontaneous harmonizing that happens when one sister starts performing the hymnal at 6:15. #pitchperfectanyone?
-  Like everyone told me, being in the devotional choir is worth it. Definitely.
-  Also, temple walks on Sunday are so good. and so necessary. 
-  Foursquare is a matter of life and death. It gets ugly.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Weekend Update...

Saturday March 8, 2014. 11:27 am

Hello hello,

I've made it to Saturday, alive and well, so I can't complain too much.

My MTC experience thus far has been good, albeit tiring and a bit familiar (working here for two years will do that). My teachers are Brother Holmquist and the coordinator Rand Erickson; they are both fantastic and obviously do what they do because they are passionate about the gospel, missionary work and the people that we will be teaching. We also have other zone resource teachers on occasion as well, but the majority of our time is spent in the classroom (4+ hours before and after lunch as well as tons of study time in the evening).

It's kind of weird because I feel like I know what I'm doing in a lot of ways (I know my way around, or who to talk to for things, MTC procedure, etc.) and yet so much of what we do is new so it's a pretty awesome balance.

Life is good, but tiring. There are always too many things to be done or studied or prepared for, so it really keeps all of us on our toes. I'll be honest, the transition to missionary mode has been a little bit tricky - calling everyone Elder/Brother or Sister isn't quite second nature yet, and my initial response to not knowing where someone is or not knowing something is to just pull our my phone or google it. It'll happen eventually (:

My district is 1-B and consists of four Elder and Sisters each. My companion is Sister Swann from Mesa, and she is an eternally optimistic and quirky person. My district gets along really well and we are really starting to become friends, which is crazy considering we have been with each other for three days.

We taught our first investigator last night, Carlos. Things went well, but there is a lot of room for improvement in our teaching, that's for sure!

We get to go to the temple this afternoon, which is awesome as always. I just love it there.

We just got our travel plans last night to leave the MTC (!); t's crazy because I feel like we just arrived. Time really does fly by here. I've been told multiple times that all I have to do is make it to Sunday. Seeing as it's Saturday and I'm doing okay, I think I'll be alright (:

also, to go along with the craziness of already having our travel plans, my district was assigned last night to be new missionary hosts next wednesday (because, we'll be pros by then, you know)

I took my dork dot off the first night. i didn't feel like a newbie so i didn't think it was necessary. I see some missionaries around here still wearing them and I wonder why they haven't taken them off yet haha.

did i tell you that i'm the senior companion for the next few days? it'll switch before a few days before we leave.
also, i was assigned to being the online coordinator in my branch...which is cool except that i can't even access the same things that the other missionaries in my district can because when i log in, i still get the employee portal instead of the missionary one. hopefully i won't have to troubleshoot too much haha

If I can leave a little nugget of spiritual insight with you, read 2 Nephi 31:20. When things get difficult (because they always do) keep the faith, rely on your hope and show love. Things always work out to our gain. Always.

Much love to you all,

Sister Bishop

P.S. A big thank you to all of you who have sent me letters and/or pictures. They are SO appreciated (:

P.P.S. I'll try to get pictures out, but the computers here are a bit on the archaic side

Friday, March 7, 2014

HI!!! from the MTC

March 6, 2014  11:30 pm from the MTC Provo

Mama! Daddy!

I'm alive.

So I've survived my first day - whew. I sent a letter out today so hopefully that will get there shortly (:

Let me answer your questions first.

The MTC is good. I feel very comfortable here, honestly. It's kind of strange walking into 18M where our classroom is and not immediately clocking in though haha. I luckily don't have the newbie phase where you get lost and don't know how to find anything or where to go, it's quite a blessing.

Things I need: 

Mom/Dad, I need one of you to call the Health Clinic located in Springville  I need a copy of my immunization record ):
Sorry to stress you out haha. Please let me know by Saturday when I email you back if you need more/better information. 

If you would send out a copy of my patriarchal blessing in my package to Tacoma, that'd be awesome.

Other than that things seem alright.

My teachers are Brother Holmquist and Rand Erickson (the Training Coordinator for this area) and we also have a few floating zone resource teachers on occasion. I've been acquainted with Brother Erickson before, but never directly since he isn't over any teachers that I would have sub in my department. They are both great, very sincere and knowledgeable. I think the most different part of the MTC is the residence hall because I've never had any reason to really be in there. It's just like going to a sports camp though in the way everyone is shoved in for a short time.

I have seen quite a few of my friends (mostly teachers) and I met Sister Flanigan today actually.

There are four sisters in our district, all going to Tacoma, and we all are in one room. Bunk beds, yes; but I have the bottom bunk, so all is well. My companion is Sister Swann and I'll tell you all more about my district/zone on my p day (which is Saturday - and my scheduled time to email will be in the morning, so you can expect me to be online around 8:30ish)

Thanks for the compliments, I had a lot of help getting outfitted for the mission (:

Much love coming your way. I miss you both tons, and Gus too. Give him lots of belly rubs and maybe even a treat or two!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Arrival at MTC

 Elizabeth entered the MTC today!  So proud of her.  She will be a great missionary.  Thank you Rachel, Shaun and her great friend Kiu for dropping her off today.  Watch out Tacoma Sister Bishop is on her way!