Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"Did you know it's cold outside?"

Well, I know that Christmas is over but Merry Christmas on last time! We are still our caroling at least until the new year. But caroling is a lot cooler now (literally and figuratively) because it's snowing! On the 26th it started dumping snow and church was even canceled, which is really kind of a bummer since we had like 4 people we were pretty sure were going to go but what can you do? El Paso can hardly handle the rain so the whole city pretty much shut down, which was nice for us. People had nowhere to go which means that they are home! They're so funny though, they always say "Did you know it's cold outside?" Oh yeah? I didn't know that... 

So, the exciting news, Charles is on bap date! He should be getting baptized February 22nd and we have a word of wisdom plan for him and everything! It's even more exciting because the last time we really talking to him about it in detail he said maybe in a few years! So February is a pretty good improvement! We also talked to Judi about picking a date to get baptized on as well so she should be getting going here as well! Yay! And we got to see Ron and Teresa and we might get to help them with their remodeling soon. I was really glad we were able to see them again after so long. They need to get themselves to church! 

This Christmas Eve we had a Christmas miracle! They mail that they said we weren't going to get until January came on Christmas Eve! So it wasn't cancelled ha ha. We also got to pretend to be President Monson again this year and visited all of the single/lonely people in the ward. Mostly old people but a few Sisters whose husbands are deployed. It was really good though. One older sister we went to go see when we showed up said "Before you got here I was literally just praying that someone would come by." So that was pretty cool to hear. And lots of people told us that our coming meant a lot. It was a good way to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas. And all of our Hispanic friend invited us to party with them on Christmas Eve and have pasole and tamalies and all of our Caucasian friend were out of town because White people don't like El Paso ha ha. 

Also, we had a real Christmas miracle when we were caroling the other day. The lady that opened the door started crying and told us she had been feeling so down because people haven't been focusing on Christ. She said that she is looking for a place to go to church and that we should come back. So that was really cool. 

By the way, I totally had an insight this week that applies to what I know all of you are going to make one of your New Year’s resolutions. Exercise! We were teaching the word of wisdom and talking about the spiritual insights that come from abstaining from the things God has asked us not too. And we were talking about how for most of us who are already baptized the next step is do eat right and exercise. Imagine if we can see spiritual insights and growth from living the bare minimum word of wisdom that most of us do, how much better it will be as we live it as fully as we can. And I was thinking about the missionary schedule. The first thing you do when you get up in the morning is exercise. After that you prepare for the day and eat and then study. Exercising right after you roll out of bed is the worst but, I think that it might be designed that way to help us be able to get more out of our studies. And we take the opportunity to live the word of wisdom by taking care of our bodies through exercise and then eating a god breakfast, it will open our minds to further spiritual insights we can then receive as we study to help us throughout the day. At least, that's my new theory and it's a little better intensive at least for me to not be a slacker than "because you're supposed to do it." Spiritual and temporal knowledge is in the balance here! Ha, ha anyway, I'll try it out and let you know how it goes! Have a good new year! 



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Hey friends! Merry Christmas! Holy cow can you believe that Christmas is this week? That is crazy!! Also, sorry but I forgot my old planner at home so I'm just going to have to go off of memory oh what we've been up to. Mostly it has been adjusting to being in a trio! So far, so good. We even have like 6 inches between all of our beds so you know, what more do you need? Really though it's not bad at all and now when Sister Dummar is talking in her sleep I can just tell her to be quiet from my bed instead of having to get up. Ha ha, don't tell her I said that though =D

One thing that made this week exciting was that we had to take our car into the shop again. That's the third time since I've been here in Hondo Pass that we've had to take it in. When we got to the dealership people were like "Oh hey! Welcome back! Good to see you!" And stuff so... probably not the best place to be well known. Oh, that just reminded me of the best commercial ever for some electric car, I think a Prius but sadly I can't show it to you right now. Someone remind me in 5 months. Poor Sister Bishop though, we were like "welcome to the mission! ready to walk everywhere all day?" Thankfully we got it back the next day though and everything has been good since. 

Last Saturday we had a really cool experience. So we are allowed to do two hours of family history a week and on Saturday when we decided to go the family history library was closed so we went to the regular one. While we were there we saw a man who works in the computer lab and I had the random thought "maybe we're here to talk to him", but I didn't think much more about it and started to log on. About 2 minutes after being there the man came up to us and asked if we were from the LDS church. Well, it turns out that he used to be a member but after breaking an engagement with a girl who was a member (who introduced him to the church) left the church and became atheist. He talked to him about it of course and he said that he was pretty happy how he was, but it feels like it made a difference. Hopefully it will help him some way.

This week we had a lesson with our new investigator Claudy who said something really cool. We were talking about how God loves us and wants to bless us and he asked if we believed in tithing. We said yes of course and he talked about how he has heard lots of stories about how tithing blesses people and told us a story about one of his acquaintances who was trying to out give God. He said that the more he tried the more frustrated he became because for everything he did for God, he got back way more. Things that he couldn't even explain were happening. Oh course you have to do it for the right reasons, but I like the idea of trying to out give God. I mean, it's impossible, the scriptures even talk about that, but I think it would help if we did it with the right mindset to help us to be humble. You know like "Because I Have Been Given Much I Too Must Give." It reminds me as well of this cool Mormon message I saw the other day. 

Anyway, I hope that you all have an amazing Christmas! It really is the best time to be a missionary and the best time if we let it to renew ourselves and help ourselves feel the love and light of God. I think there's a reason we celebrate it at the end of the year (besides of course moving it for pagan traditions and blah blah) because it flows so naturally into the new year and wanting to start again. Talk to you soon!  



Monday, December 14, 2015

This week has been full of singing!

So guess what this new transfer is bringing to us? Well, I'm staying here in Hondo Pass! This is the longest that I've stayed in any area so far, so that's kind of crazy. We are also going to be trio training this transfer! Which means that we are going to get another new missionary and Sister Dummar and I are going to train her together while I finish training her during her second transfer. How is that going to work? I have no idea. But we'll figure it out I'm sure. 

This week has been full of singing! We haven’t been caroling almost every night and on Saturday we sang at the mall for a few hours. It was pretty cool I have to say and the institute was super kind and feed us after. I really do feel like people are way nicer to us than we deserve. We also had an awesome ward Christmas party and Charles and his wife came. Ha, she was like "I didn't know Mormons celebrated Christmas!" A comment that became even funnier because just the next day we were talking to a member who told us a story about how she told some guy Merry Christmas and he response was "Don't tell me, you're a Mormon!" Apparently Catholics don't like Christmas? At least here in El Paso apparently? 

We had two lessons with Charles this week that both went really well. Our lesson yesterday we read over the baptism interview questions with him. He still has a long way to go until he's ready (prophets, tithing, and Word of Wisdom) but he has the desire to be baptized. He is doing really well and keep pretty much all of his commitments.

We also had a good lesson with Molly and will hopefully be able to schedule something really soon for her baptism. We're going to have dinner at their house on Christmas though so that will be awesome! 

Other than that it's just kind of been the same old same old. Sorry that I don't have too many exciting adventure this week. Maybe with a new person we can get into more adventures. 

This week I have been studying humility and how it helps with personal growth. I guess I don't have anything really interesting or enlightening to say about it, but really just the thought that it encompasses so many things. I think especially when we see something as either an exception or we think we know better. Of course there are going to be some exceptions to things but in the long run we have to ask ourselves, who knows better? Me or God? Or, what do I gain by "being right"? Sometimes you do need to be right, but sometimes you don't. In the talk We'll Ascend Together it talks about how often we have a choice, to be happy and progress or to be right. Pride also goes both ways. It can be in putting yourself above everyone else but also in putting everyone else above you. A sort of false humility. Anyway, I'm sure you all knew that already. I hope you are having a merry Christmas season and a fantastic week! 



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Would you like to be Baptized?

Hello friends, how are you today? Unfortunately, almost all of our appointments fell through this week so there isn't a lot of interesting news to report. We were able to meet with Charles and Molly though. They are both doing great! We taught Charles about the Word of Wisdom and at first he was very much like "No, nope, this is never going to happen." But by the end of the lesson, he had really opened up to it and was willing to give it a try. He says he's going to start with alcohol though. Which is good but... not any different than what he's already doing. Oh well, I guess you've got to take what you can get right?  

This week we've had a lot of meetings but it has been good. We had interviews with President Miller and he asked us to ask our ward in ward council what we can do to make it more of a ward where we assist members in doing missionary work, rather than doing most of the work ourselves. We brought up the idea and got a few suggestions but nothing really solid. But, at least it's out there now. Also, if any of you have any ideas that would be most certainly accepted! 

When we met with Molly this week we were able to talk to her about a new bap date! She doesn't have one yet, she needs to talk to her mom, but she said it is something she wants to do as soon as possible! 

On Monday we spent the day in Las Cruces for a zone conference. Elder Bennett of the 70 came and talked to us from 10-5! It was super good though and I was personally chastised for not inviting people to be baptized on the first lesson. Ha, ok not really chastised but he asked why we don't always do it and I brought up how often times for me it's because I'm worried that the person will be defensive and surprised and not want to meet with us anymore. Ha and then he talked about that for like an hour. So I guess I had better do it huh?! He was saying though that what it really boils down to is that if they get freaked out and they're not ready, they're not ready, and regardless of when you asked, they would have said no. And that by putting it off, which is what they're expecting anyway, you're just making it uncomfortable for everyone and actually reducing their likelihood of saying yes, because they want to know why their not being straightforward with you. Kind of like an awkward, beat around the bush dtr. Besides, something Sister Dummar and I were talking about a bit before the meeting anyway was that when you ask someone to get baptized the first time, you really aren't even asking them to get baptized at all. What you say is when you find out these things are true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the proper priesthood authority of God. So, what you're really asking is, are you willing to change? If you knew for sure that this was the truth and that this was what God wanted, would you do anything about it? Because if you're not willing to change, if you're not going to do anything, what is the point of us coming to see you anyway? Elder Bennett said that if we started inviting at the first and every lesson that we would see the baptisms in our mission double. So! Here we go ha ha. 

Oh, Sister Dummar and I had hot chocolate this week made from egg nog instead of milk or water or whatever. It was actually not bad but holy cow was it rich! Well, I hope you all are doing awesome and loving Christmas! 



Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Merry Christmas!

 Now that it's officially December I guess I can say that right? I hope that you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving. Ours was pretty great. We went in the morning to help with a service project our stake was having cleaning up after the Thanksgiving parade. We thought we were meeting when the parade ended but actually it was when it was starting, so we got to watch that first. I don't know, my opinion still stands that parades are kind of pointless and boring but it was a little interesting to see the difference in what made up an El Paso parade compared to an Everett or Marysville one. The El Paso parade was about 70% some form of military or police force ( Ft. Bliss, Border Patrol etc.) and 20% Catholic school or other Catholic things and then 10% random stuff.
After the cleanup we went and had a lesson with one of our new investigators Tim. Yeah, that's right; he's so cool he meets with us on Thanksgiving! Ha, actually his dad is in the hospital so they had their celebration on another day but it was cool to see him. We just started teaching him last Monday but he is doing really well so far. We also only had three dinners. It's kind of funny though because up until like a few days before no one was going to feed us. We were well taken care of though, as we always are! The last dinner we had was with two of our other new investigators Sarah and Iliria. They're Italian and Guamanian so we had gnocchi and lamb for dinner. And turducken ha ha. I actually didn't get to try that though but I will some day! Apparently it's a southern thing?
 Along with those three investigators we met another lady this week named Carol, who used to have missionaries come talk to her a lot about "Joseph Brown". Well, at least that's better than John Smith right? Ha, so clearly we have some foundation work to do but she seems pretty cool. She has a lot of questions about who God is and what His role is in our life.
Because of the Holiday this week we did a lot of less active work too, probably the most actually that I've done since coming to this ward. So that has been kind of cool to see. Less active work is always kind of interesting. Oh we saw Charles this week again as well and he finally prayed with us again! Right before he prayed he looked at us and said "a miracle is about to occur." ha ha. He is really coming along pretty well. 
Other than that we have really just been doing our mandatory caroling. That's right, mandatory spreading of the Christmas spirit, ha ha. It's been going pretty well though, and it makes contacting people after dark a lot easier. We haven't seen anything too cool happen from it yet, but I'm sure we will in time.
Something interesting that's been on my mind the past little bit is something that happened in one of our lessons yesterday. We were teaching about the restoration and more specifically about prophets. The member who we took with us likes to blather and as soon as we got into apostasy went into a long spiel about how God has proven that the apostasy would happen in his scripture and started throwing out scriptures from Daniel and Amos and Revelations and Corinthians. And then he went on about the Roman Empire and Nero and blah blah blah. It was really kind of interesting to see because it really showed how you just cannot prove that the gospel is true. You can't with history, or theological or philosophical debates, even or maybe even especially with the scriptures. How we use the scriptures in our teaching but we have to use them to support and explain, not to prove or convince. God doesn't stoop to man's level of persuasion for spiritual things, and I think he especially isn't fond of when we try to use His words to do so. Anyway, I don't mean to rag on this member, he's a good guy and was doing I'm sure the best he knew but it was just interesting to see. No, the way to find truth is so much more simple. Ask and rely on God, believing that He will answer and he will give it to you. Maybe not the answer you want, or the whole answer, but peace, or knowledge or comfort or something.
Well, I hope you all have a fantastic week!