Monday, September 29, 2014

A little ditty 'bout *John and Diane

Week 30    Sept. 29, 2014  3:35 pm EDT.   A little ditty 'bout *John and Diane

So President and Sister Blatter pulled a surprise on the WaTac and told us that we would be going to Zion's Camp this past week. Zion's Camp is a church-owned recreation property up in Belfair, WA and is a girls camp, ropes course kinda place. The mission didn't think that we would be able to get up there this year, but Sister Blatter pulled through and got all the arrangements made for us to go. Lakewood zone went up the first day with the Elma, Centralia, Olympia, Lacey and Tacoma East zones.

There were opportunities all day to build unity with our companion and fellow missionaries, and build faith in ourselves, each other and in the Savior. 

Pretty much, Zion's Camp was the coolest thing ever. Remind me to tell you about The Wall when I have more time to reminisce.

And all that adventuring makes for some sleepy sisters.

(one hour bliss for these girls - it's the only nap they'll get.)

And another surprise from the Blatters: at the end of our time at Zion's Camp we then got to watch a screening copy of "Meet the Mormons" - which was way awesome (both to see it because we've heard so much about it, and to watch a real movie actually being shown in theaters.) 
To learn more, go check out 

This week we were also blessed to have Andrea come knocking with us.
(Lessons with, please and thank you.)
 Our faces are not a reflection of our true feelings...

Other super exciting things happening in the near future - sessions of General Conference! If the General Women's Meeting was any indicator of the awesome spiritual feast to come, it is going to be stellar. I love that in the women's meeting they focused on covenants, temples and our divine identity; all powerful sources of strength. Eternal blessings transcend any short-term sacrifice.

And in the words of my main man, Dieter*: Your best self is your real self.

So I'm going to go find my real self by being my best self. Feel free to do likewise. 

*all respect and reverence due to an Apostle of Jesus Christ, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. 

Most sincerely, and with a tiny froggy friend,

P.S. after months of anticipation, I finally spotted the nuns of Parkland - my fellow Sisters!

I am also very grateful for whatever dress standard church headquarters gives, those habits look none too breezy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week 29 Parklandia

Week 29  Sept. 22, 2014  3:45 pm EDT        Parklandia

Things learned this week:

- Little old British ladies make for the best investigators.
- Laying under pine trees = sap in your hair.
- Sap in your hair = impossible to get out.
- Musical numbers don't need accompanists to be awesome.
- How to make Sister Blatter's delicious (and painful) Scrunch and Munch cookies.
- Patience. Always more patience.
- Sometimes your Ward Mission Leader's cars both break down, so it's handy to have a Model A on hand to get to church.

- Sometimes your Ward Mission Leader will let you drive said Model A.

- When investigators want to come to church, they randomly end up in the ER on Saturday night.

- Investigators also love banana bread; it tends to make things better.
- Giant pumpkins are like, a thing around here.
(This one is still in its infancy:)

(Picture didn't come thru)

​- Catching up on a journal takes twice as long as just writing in the first place.
- Classical music has been approved for our mission! (Can I get an amen?)
- Park days include some aimless wandering. As does life.

(Picture didn't come thru)

​- Park days make for tired greenies. 

(Exhibit A:)

(Picture didn't come thru)

- Exchanges will keep you sane.
- President and Sister Blatter put on a great fireside (:
- There's nothing like the testimony of a recent convert to make you love this work.
- Fear of failure and inadequacy will only hold you back from your potential.
- Dish soap ≠ dishwasher detergent.
- Flooding the dishwasher makes it simpler to mop the floor.

Besides finding possible scriptural evidence for food in heaven (see Matthew 26:29), something that hit home this week was how in this work and in this life, we must always be improving and changing; reaching higher and becoming more creative. In this battle of souls, no casualties are acceptable. In Alma 49:5-9 we see the people had prepared themselves for war in a way above the standard that when the enemy came to battle they were left without a way to attack.

"to their uttermost astonishment, they were a manner which never had been known"

The battle had been won before it had even begun. The people had listened to prophetic counsel and acted in accordance. They reached higher and were protected and blessed because of it. So how can we prepare ourselves for bigger and better things? The battle will only rage on; we need to dig deep and stand taller, fortify ourselves and each other. 

Richard G. Scott: "To reach a goal you have never before attained, you must do things you have never before done"

So go out there and do something big.

Always so lovingly -
(Picture didn't come thru)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Parkland Grind

Week 28  September 15, 2014  2:39 pm EDT   The Parkland Grind 

This week has been one full of service (read: manual labor): moving people out of their homes, practically harvesting all the weeds of Parkland, setting up a bounce house for an investigator's birthday party and a Stake service project pruning back fields of blueberry bushes at Blueberry Park. Many Edward Scissorhands impersonations followed.

A few things of note this week:

The District.

Yay for all of us doing 12 Week. So many babies. So many hours spent in the apartment.
(Fife, Anderson, Pedersen, Byram, Bishop, Kramer and a small child she befriended.)

Brenda was confirmed this Sunday and is so excited to get to the temple soon!

Our ward had their annual Dutch Oven Cook-off which was delicious, fun and so great to invite recent converts and investigators alike. 

The winning hand of Apples to Apples. I'm not so sure how well they reflect me...I'd rather be neither quaint nor threatening. 

Playing the organ. oy. I never imagined I would have to play the piano so much on my mission. Apparently no one in the ward can play...which makes me slightly regret not sticking with it haha. sorry mama.

Our recent convert Allen bringing fresh salmon (like, caught two hours ago fresh) to our dinner with the Bishop. 

Found a gem at Walmart: if President Blatter ever lets sisters on bike again, I can always trick out my ride with this bad boy:

Having a fireside next Sunday in Tacoma! It's been too long!

Recognizing that the work of salvation is the Lord's work, and we are working right along side with Him. 
Jacob 5:72  - " And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things."

It's a team effort. And His team always wins.

Much love,


It's Not Easy Being Green

Week 27  September 8, 2014  3:11 pm EDT.     It's Not Easy Being Green

Well well well, I'm just adding to all the other Bishop girls having children this summer. So without further ado, a big welcome to the WaTac world for Sister Kramer!

​Hello hello sweet child o' mine!

(perhaps she has inherited my squinty smiles...)
Sister Kramer is from (you guessed it) Utah. But she's been born in the blessed land of Lakewood, and Parkland is as good as it gets. 

We were able to start out our first week with a bang (or really a baptism) for Brenda! She is the cutest little thing, really. Chipman and I received her as a referral from the Spanish Elders because her husband didn't want her to meet with men, so we were more than happy to take in Brenda and help her keep learning about the gospel. On our first meeting, she talked about how she was already reading the Book of Mormon and knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. She asked about addictions the next day and said she had given up smoking because it was keeping her from Jesus Christ and being baptized.
Seriously, Brenda has some rockstar faith. She has received answers to her prayers every step of the way and knows that someday she will have her family be sealed together someday in the temple.

Another great thing about this week is having Chipman come back for Brenda's baptism! We were lucky enough to have President and Sister Blatter be present as well - they're just the best.

We had had a fantastic time at the mission home for a Labor Day with them last Monday. Lakewood and Tacoma East and West were the lucky zones to party with the Blatters.

​Liao, yours truly, Mission mama, Chipman and Kramer

Just some thoughts on life/training/challenges:
- We learn by doing. By sometimes crashing and burning. But ultimately we learn by loving and by being loved. 
- When you get too comfortable with your skills, talents and abilities, it is no longer His work, it's your work. Relying on the Lord never gets old.
- Every relationship/companionship is a three-way relationship. If the Lord isn't involved, it just ain't gonna work.
- God loves us enough to let us fail sometimes. He also loves us enough to help us overcome failure and become better.
- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10  "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up."
- Trust.

Mama Bishop

​(just the usual antics)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Labor (and Delivery) Day

Week 26   Tuesday Sept. 2, 2014   2:45 pm EDT         Labor (and Delivery) Day 

Why hello there, I have some shocking if not exciting news:

I'm having a baby!

​(jokes about immaculate conception are welcomed, but verge on false doctrine. but hey, it's your call.) 

In the most shocking transfer call of our missions, we found out that Chipman is one-and-done-ing Parkland and going to Steilacoom for her last two transfers (probably) and I'll be staying (yet again) and training a brand spanking new missionary. Chipman will still be in my zone, so we'll see each other fairly often - we aren't done with our shenanigans yet.

What to Expect When You're Expecting:
- You will feel both excited and astonished that you're being expected to train (read: not royally screw up) a new missionary. No pressure.
- You will realize that not buying groceries this week was a mistake, because this child will starve.
- You will feel slightly lame for having your child before leaving the nest.
- You will also be thrilled because you are training in the best area in the mission.
- You will feel gypped for only getting six weeks with your last companion.
- You will fear that you will never, ever, leave this area.
- You will pray. More than normal. (Which as a missionary, is already more than normal.)
- You will feel dumb (and also poor) because you may or may not have already printed off goodbye pictures and written thank you notes for the ward you've been in for the last six months. 
- But mostly you will feel happy. Oh so happy.

The scriptures I read this morning seemed fitting for such an occasion:

"Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest..." (Jacob 1:7)

Until next week!

P.S. The man next to me at the library just rolled a joint at his computer. Bring on these next six weeks!

P.P.S. Buh Bye Chipman!


Week 26  Tuesday Sept. 2, 2014

Here are some of the pictures that she sent this week.

FHE with the Austen's (and Gripp's)