Monday, December 8, 2014

The Netherlands and Belgium have become very holy places for me, because this is where I really came to know my Savior.

Brugge Belgium about 1 year ago
Well guys, this is it!!  I don't have a whole lot to say.  This week was a great last week.  We had some great lessons with investigators and members.  We went to the Corrie Ten Boom House this week as well.  That's where the story, "The Hiding Place" happened.  It was a really good tour.  We had an investiagator come to church yesterday.  We knocked on his door the first week of the transfer.  He has made a lot of progress since we knocked on his door.  He LOVED church and told us he wanted to come more often.  I have see the Gospel change a lot of lives this transfer.  Not only this transfer but these past two years.  I have also seen the Gospel change my life these past two years.  It changed my life in a sense that it set my life in order.  Not that I was totally lost before my mission, but now I have direction.  I know what I need to do when I go home, and that brings a lot of peace during this important time of my life.

I guess I would just like to share with you the biggest lesson I learned these past two years.  It's actually pretty simple, but it means a lot to me.

I learned who God is, who His Son, Jesus Christ, is, who I am, and who I need to become. 

I know that God really is our loving Heavenly Father.  That's the first sentance in the first lesson that we share with people.  I believe that's because it's the most important principle to know, and I know it.  I know that He loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to undergo every pain and affliction and die for us, so that we may live.  I know that Christ loves us so much that He was willing to obey His Father and do it for us.  I love my Savior.  And The Netherlands and Belgium have become very holy places for me, because this is where I really came to know my Savior.

I love my mission so much, and even though I am excited to see you guys again and go home to start the next chapter of my life, I am gonna miss this a lot.  This is the greatest work ever!  and I won't be able to do it like this again for the rest of my life.  I have a lot of mixed feelings right now, and I don't think it has really hit me yet.  But I am SO excited to see you guys and show you this beautiful part of the world!  You are gonna love it so much!

Well, I guess the last thing I can say is I will see you Thursday!!!

Ik hou van jullie allemaal!
Elder Bishop 

Monday, December 1, 2014

All the departing missionaries bore their testimonies, I got a little emotional bearing mine and it hit me so hard that I am gonna miss my mission SO MUCH!!! I love it out here, and I can't believe I'm almost done.

Hey guys!  Thanks for all the birthday wishes!!!  I don't feel 21, and I can't believe I was barely 19 when I last saw you guys!  I love hearing about Thanksgiving and what you all did.  I love the Holiday season, and I am looking forward to spending the rest of it with you.  I also had a great week this week and I can't believe how fast it went by.

Last Monday was a great P day.  We went to the St Bavo Cathedral in Haarlem.  It is MASSIVE and beautiful.  It also has a massive Organ.  The church was built in the 1500's and the organ in the 1700's.  It was the biggest organ in the world at the time.  Handel came to Haarlem just to play that organ, and Mozart also played that organ when he was 10 years old.  It's a white church and the ground is covered by tombstones.  It was really cool, and you guys will have to see it when we come visit here.  That night we went to Sister Den B's with the sisters to have family home evening.  She is an older member of the church and one of the sweetest ladies I've met.  Her husband never joined the church, but she wanted her kids to join and she heard something about the importance of family home evening when she joined 50 years ago, and she promised herself that she would have family home evening every week.  Her kids are all members of the church, but her husband never did.  He passed away and her kids are all moved out, but she still remembers the promise she made to herself and she still has family home evening every week, even if it's just her.  When we heard about it we decided that we would go with her every week.  She really appreciates it and it's a lot of fun talking with her and hearing all her stories. 

Tuesday We went to Alkmaar to run through our musical number that we would perform at the Zone conference the next day.  We got it down really good that morning and then all got Burger King together for lunch haha.  We went back to Haarlem that afternoon and had a nice lesson with A and C.  We didn't have a lot of time though, so it was more of a nice visit.  We then had to catch a bus to our dinner appointment.  Our dinner appointment was outside of Haarlem in a small town called Aalsmeer.  Guess where we had to go through to get there?  Yes, Schiphol International Airport haha.  I could only think about picking you guys up there in just a couple weeks!  Not gonna lie, I got pretty trunky haha.  We caught another bus from Schiphol to Aalsmeer and had a really nice dinner appointment.  The family is a nice young american family.  We walked in the house and the kids were running around and the movie Elf was playing in the background.  As if I wasn't trunky enough!!  haha it was a nice dinner appointment though and we all had a lot of fun!  They are one of my favorite families in this ward.  It was a nice day.  We got back a little late and went straight to bed to get some rest for the next day.

Wednesday was the big day.  We had Zone Conference in Rotterdam.  We had to leave at 7:30in the morning to get there on time.  It was a great Zone Conference though.  Elder Moriera was presiding.  He is an area 70 from Portugal and just happens to be in Elder Silva's home ward haha.  He was awesome though.  I learned a lot.  After lunch we were able to perform our musical number.  I don't know if I already told you, but we did a medley of Joseph Smith's first Prayer and O My Father, and we did it to the tune of Homeward Bound.  I was on the Piano and Elder Silva, Elder Cooper and Elder Hunter sang.  It was INCREDIBLE!!!  The next speaker (President Robinson's first counselor) couldn't speak because he was crying too much.  It was very spiritual and we were all very pleased with how it went.  After we performed all the departing missionaries bore their testimonies.  I got a little emotional bearing mine and it hit me so hard that I am gonna miss my mission SO MUCH!!!  I love it out here, and I can't believe I'm almost done.  My trunkiness that I had the previous night was totally gone.  I didn't want to leave.  I really am gonna miss my mission. A lot.  It was a nice Zone Conference though.  After the conference President came up to me and told me that Elder Moriera liked the musical number so much that he wanted us to come back the next day to the second zone conference and perform it again so he could film it.  We were happy to do it even though we had to cancel appointments with two of our positive investigators.  We called them and rescheduled for the next week.  I was pretty sad we couldn't teach them this week, but then the thought came to me, "I can touch the hearts of two people tomorrow, or I can touch the hearts of 100 missionaries tomorrow." That made it a little easier haha.  So we got home to go to sleep and then woke up the next morning to do it all over again.

Thursday the Zone Conference was in Zoetermeer, which is a little closer to Haarlem.  So that was nice.  I think the zone conference the second day was even better.  We performed again and it was just as good as the day before.  It was nice to be able to see that whole mission those two days though.  I saw a lot of close friends before I leave.  After the conference we had a dinner appointment with the R's.  It was fun to be over there and get to know them.  They have two younger kids and we shared a cool spiritual thought especially for them.  That's something I learned on my mission, if you want to get in with a family, go through the kids haha.  The parents really appreciate it.  It was a lot of fun getting to know them though.  After that we met our ward mission leader at the grocery store to buy a few things for our activity that we were throwing Saturday night.  We were both SO tired while shopping with him haha he even said something about it.  I really like our ward mission leader though and we were all getting excited about the activity.

Friday was our day for appointments.  We had an appointment with F first.  He had just received the Aaronic Priesthood and he has been making SO much progress.  It has been awesome to help him along the way and see him grow and see the Gospel Change him.  We taught him about missionary work, and it was a nice lesson.  After that we went to another recent convert who is less active to do some service.  She is renovating her appartment and we had to scrape all this wallpaper off her wall.  To be honest, it was pretty miserable haha I swear that's the kind of stuff they do in prison haha.  It was good to help her though.  She really appreciates it and she has been coming back to church these past few weeks, so we think it is helping.  After that we had an AWESOME appointment with A and C.  We talked more about baptism and told them that they weren't gonna be able to make their date on the 6th cuz they need to go to church.  They were pretty sad about that, but they understood.  We then talked about Fasting and the power of Fasting.  WE committed them to fast with us the next day.  They were gonna fast and pray to set a new date to be baptized in the beginning of next year.  It was awesome.  They were really excited about it haha.  They have also made a ton of progress these past few weeks.  When we first got there they were kinda questioning baptism, but now they want it so bad!  We are really tight with them and I think that has helped.  We also invited them to our activity that next day and they were excited to come :)

Saturday was a busy day.  We met our ward mission leader and the sisters at the church at 10:30to start cooking.  We were having a thanksgiving dinner/talent show for our missionary activity.  We prepared the turkeys and got them in the oven first thing and then we made sweet potatoes, greenbeans, cranberry sauce (I made that and not gonna lie, it was really good haha), we had mashed potatoes of course and carrots, pumpkin pie and chocolate cake.  It took us all day to cook and set everything up.  I'm pretty sure that was the worst possible day to fast, ever...  Haha Elder Silva and I were dying in the kitchen.  6:00 came around and more people showed than we had expected!  A and C were there too.  We broke our fast with the feast and had a talent show to entertain us.  It was a huge success!  A and C LOVED it!  F came and did a talent.  It was really good for him and it meant a lot to him.  an investigator of the sisters came too and there were some non member friends who some members invited.  It was awesome.  Everyone loved it and we strengthened our relationship with the ward.  It was also nice to have a thanksgiving dinner.  I didn't get that last year.

Sunday we woke up and we thought we were gonna die.  haha we were so tired!  It was a nice church service though and we didn't have to do anything, so we had nothing to worry about.  We had correlation after church which is Always fun.  After correlation we had to catch a bus to our next appointment.  We walked out of correltation and it was POORING rain!  Typical Holland.  It was strangely kinda nice, just knowing I would only get so much dutch rain haha.  We had a good 10 minute walk in the rain to the bus stop.  Not only was it raining, but it was freezing cold, about 3 degrees celcius.  We finally saw our bus coming so we stood up and waved, but the bus just kept on going...  What the heck?!  We had to walk to the station which was another 10 minutes.  We caught another bus and showed up about 20 minutes late to our dinner appointment, but we called in advance and she was fine about it.  We had a nice dinner with Sister C and the sisters.  She made cheesecake which is my absolute favorite!  We got home a little late last night and went straight to sleep.  It was the perfect ending of a great week.

Today has been a great birthday so far.  I woke up and made us some real dutch pannenkoeken (Pancakes).  we came to the church and I practiced the piano while Elder Silva emailed, and now I am emailing.  When I started emailing some alarms went off outside.  I remembered that every first Monday of the month at 12:00 they check the alarms for the dikes around the countries.  Then I remembered that Elder Silva didn't know that yet :)  I ran into the other room of the church and yelled at Elder Silva to get his stuff.  He got a scared look on his face and I told him the dikes broke and we need to get outta here.  Haarlems right on the coast so it was an emergency.  haha he ran into the other room to get his coat and bag and we headed for the front door.  The alarms are really loud and pretty scary.  I couldn't hold back the laughter anymore haha it was SO funny!!!  He thought it was pretty funny afterwards too.  I then told him how they do that the first Monday of every month.  Anyways, we will probably just explore Haarlem today and take some pictures.  We have a dinner appointment tonight and then we will buy some cake for tonight.  It will be a great day :). 

I can't believe I am in the last full week of my mission!!!  We are really busy and I think it will be a really good last week.  I miss you guys a ton and I am so excited to see Mom, Dad, Ross and Lainey NEXT WEEK!  I love you guys so much.  I hope you have a great week!!

Elder Bishop

PS sorry, my camera converter cord just broke so I can't send any pictures...  At least it happened at this point on my mission haha.

Monday, November 24, 2014

I think success as a missionary isn't necessarily measured by what you do, but by who you are and who you have become

Hey everyone!  It was good to hear from you and know that everything is going really good!  It sounds like you are all getting excited for the Holidays.  People are getting really excited here too.  Decorations are being put up and it looks really nice.  You are gonna love it so much when you see it for yourselves!  My week was also really good despite some bad luck.  I got sick on Monday night and it held us back quite a bit throughout the week.  It's never fun being sick, but it's especially not fun while you're on a mission.  I also had some bike problems this week.   We biked through a forest and my front tire popped!  haha dumb I know.  But it was still a really nice week.

Monday was a nice restful P day, no hospitals this time.  We just walked around Haarlem and took  pictures and stopped by some shops just to look around.  I started feeling sick that night and then woke up the next morning feeling miserable...

Tuesday was definitely the day I felt the worst.  I had a really bad headache and a sore throat and ears.  We had district meeting in Amsterdam and we went to that.  Afterwards, I really wasn't feeling well, so I went with Elder Cooper to grab some medicine to get me through the week.  We went back home after district meeting and rested for a little while before our dinner appointment.  Even though I wasn't feeling good, I was still looking forward to our dinner appointment that night because it was with the M's, and I really like them.  We had a nice time eating and visiting.  We got home that night and I was out.

We woke up the next morning and I was feeling a little bit better.  We had a couple of appointments in the morning and mid day.  We taught F.  He is a recent convert who has made a lot, A LOT, of changes in his life this year.  He got in a pretty bad accident earlier in his life and he has some brain damage due to that.  He also can't hear very well, but he is a really good man.  We taught him about the Priesthood to prepare him for the coming Sunday where he would receive the Aaronic Priesthood.  After that we did some service for another recent convert, Y.  She is also a really sweet lady.  Her health prevents her from coming to church every week, but she has been the past two weeks now.  Service wasn't very fun while being sick, but you still get that good feeling afterwards, so it was worth it.  We took it pretty easy the rest of the day so I could get feeling better.  Earlier on in my mission, I tried working through being sick.  Until it hit me one day in Brugge.  I had been sick for about  a week and I wasn't getting better cuz I just kept on trying to work through it.  I felt miserable, and that day we were biking in the freezing cold rain getting soaked.  We were stopped at a light and I told my companion (it was Elder Goates at the time), "This is the most stupid thing we could possibly be doing right now." haha he agreed.  From then on I realized it's better to take it easy and rest up so you can get better faster.  And that's what we did Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday we woke up and I still wasn't feeling any better!  I was getting pretty annoyed at this point.  We had our studies and rested a little longer until our appointment that afternoon.  We had an appointment with A and C, and we brought a really cool member with us this time.  It was a great appointment and she is really starting to feel comfortable around us.  The member was really good for her too.  A is really smart and loves reading and learning.  We showed her the Gospel Library app on her iPad and she absolutely LOVED it!  she mentioned it like 3 different times in her closing prayer.  They are really sweet.  We are just hoping that her work schedule changes!!!    It was a nice appointment though and it lifted my spirits too.

Friday we did some planning and got out of the house at a good time cuz I was starting to feel a little better.  We had an appointment fall through, but we rescheduled with him for next week and he felt really bad.  He is a pretty positive investigator, so we are looking forward to our appointment next week.  Our dinner appointment also fell through cuz the wife was sick.  Everyone is getting sick this time of the year.  We had spent so much time in the apartment the past week that we didn't want to go back to ear dinner until 9 haha.  We looked some people up and met this really nice man who said we could come back.  We also had an appointment with a recent convert named F.  She is from Ukraine and is a really nice woman.  She is very interested in the Book of Mormon and wants to know more about it, so we will be reading it with her every week from now on.  After that is when we rode through the forest and my tire popped... :( so dumb haha

Saturday was an awesome and busy day.  We had the annual Turkey Bowl that morning!  The Amsterdam zone all met at Vondel Park in Amsterdam to play some football.  President Robinson came too and it was a lot of fun!  We got back to Haarlem and had an appointment with and older lady in the ward.  She is in a wheelchair and needs help grocery shopping, so I pushed her in her little wheelchair and we chatted and got some of her shopping done.  She is such a sweet lady and a really good missionary too.  She has her little walker back at the old folks home, and there is always a Book of Mormon sitting on the top.  People stop her and talk to her about it quite often.  She is one of the sweetest old ladies I have ever met.  After that we went to our dinner appointment with the O's.  They are a family from Ghana and really nice.  They have one son who is about 7 years old.  WE had a good time over there.  The wife was pretty sick and has been for a while now, so we were able to give her a blessing.  The Spirit was very strong.  Some of the most spiritual experiences on my mission have been while giving blessings.  It was a fun dinner appointment getting to know them better.

Sunday was probably the highlight of my week.  I love Sundays here in Haarlem!!  We woke up and I was SO sore from the Turkey Bowl the previous day!  It was pretty pathetic haha.  We had church at 9:30 and President and Sister Robinson came to give a combined lesson about Preach My Gospel.  They asked the 4 missionaries in the ward to share something too.  They asked me to talk about the section, "A Successful Missionary".  I had no idea how direct that towards members, but I think it went well.  That is a subject I have been thinking about a lot lately as my mission is winding down.  Sometimes I think to myself if I was a successful missionary or not.  I think every missionary asks themselves that at some point on their mission.  I think success as a missionary isn't necessarily measured by what you do, but by who you are and who you have become.  And of course, what you do reflects who you are.  But there is only so much we can do as missionaries.  There are 3 parts in missionary work.  God's will, Our will, and their will.  We can only control our will.  I think successful missionaries do their best to align their will with God's will, because missionary work isn't our work, but His.  So if our will becomes His then He will lead us to those who are prepared to accept the Gospel.  The best way we can align our will with His is simply by praying daily and gaining a personal relationship with Him, obeying His commandments, and diligently working.  When we do those three things, our faith will grow and we will become great tools in His hands, and He will make us the means of performing miracles and bringing people to him.  I tied it in to the members by inviting them to pray for opportunities and then seek for those opportunities to be a part of His work.  After I was done, I sat down and really started reflecting on my mission, and I reallized that God really has led me to everybody who I was able to share the Gospel with.  I think it went well though.  Second hour was Gospel Principles which was nice, and the sacrament meeting was the Primary Program.  There are about 12 kids in the Primary here, and they are crazy! haha they are so cute though and I loved playing the piano while they sang the whole hour.  After church Frits was ordained a priest, and he was soooo excited!  I was excited for him.  I met him back in March when he wasn't baptized and he is a different person now.  It's so cool seeing how the Gospel changes people.  It was also nice seeing President and Sister Robinson again.  They are such great people, and I miss not being around them all the time.  It was just a good Sunday.  After chruch we went to our ward mission leader's house for lunch and correlation.  Our ward mission leader is SO cool!  He is French and he feeds us all this French food haha last week he fed us this cheese that he claims is illegal in America haha it isn't pasturized or something.  It was actually pretty good though!  We had a nice discussion and planning meeting with him.  We are holding a ward thanksgiving dinner and talent show on Saturday night, and so we did a lot of planning for that.  We hope it is a good turn out!  That night we went to Sister C's.  She is a really cool woman.  She lived in Utah for a lot of years, and she made 7 layer dip!  That was the first time I had eaten seven layer dip in 2 years, and it was so good.  I LOVE 7 layer dip!  It was a nice close to a nice week.  Even though I was sick and got a popped tire, it was a great week, and next week is set up to be another great one.  I can't believe I only have 2 weeks left!  CRAZY!!!  I am getting really excited to see you guys.  I miss you a ton and pray for you daily.  I love you so much!  I hope you have a great week!!!!!

Elder Bishop

Monday, November 17, 2014

I love the principle "giving is better than receiving" It just shows how good God is

Elder Bishop playing the piano in Amsterdam Centraal
Hey everybody!  Sounds like a busy, and cold week!  I can't believe it snowed a few days ago!  It has only been raining here the past three days, and it has been really cold and wet here, but still no snow...  It was a really good week though with a lot of miracles.

Monday was a better Pday than the last one even though we started off in the hospital haha.  We were only there because Elder Silva had to get this xray for some paperwork that needed to be done from the office.  It was really fast and easy, and after that we took it easy and went to some shops and saw some of the city.  It was a nice Pday.

Tuesday we had District Meeting which I Always look forward to, because we have really cool missionaries in the district.  After District Meeting, Elder Cooper, Elder Hunter, and Elder Silva and I stayed after to practice a musical number we will be performing at the next zone conference.  Elder Moreira from the area 70 in Portugal will be holding a zone conference and President Robinson asked us 4 to give a musical number.  I will be playing the piano and the other three will be singing a medley of Joseph Smith's first prayer and O  my Father to the tune of Homeward Bound.  It's gonna be so good.  And Elder Hunter sang a solo in the last General Conference during the Priesthood Session in the missionary choir, so yes, he is good haha.  That night we had a dinner appointment with Sister R.  She is a nice old dutch lady who had us over and enjoyed our company.  We went with the IJmuiden Sisters. (IJmuiden is just north of Haarlem, and they are in the Haarlem ward).  It was a fun appointment.

Wednesday we were on exchanges with the Alkmaar Zone Leaders, and I was in Alkmaar with Elder Pouwer.  It's been a miracle that I have been able to go back to Alkmaar so much after having served there.  That was my favorite branch, and one of my favorite areas.  We had a great day too.  We went to lunch at McDonald's haha and then went to visit T.  He is a former investigator who I taught with Elder Farmer.  His girlfriend is a Jehovah's Witness and she called them over after he went to our church and they bashed us pretty good, and since then he didn't really want us to teach him any more, but he is really cool, and we just stopped by to see him because it had been a year since I saw him last.  We knocked on his door and he answered.  His dread locks were long as ever and he was holding a new baby boy!  It was crazy to see how much has changed in his life since I saw him last, because it doesn't even seem like that long ago since I taught him!  It was good seeing him though.  After that we taught a lesson to a recent convert.  She is our age and we taught her about Eternal Marriage, so it was automatically a little awkward haha but it went well.  After that we got back to the car, and Elder Pouwer realized that he lost his wallet!  It was pretty bad.  We looked everywhere and couldn't find it.  We were praying as we retraced our steps back to the McDonalds.  It had been a few hours though and we began to lose hope.  We figured if it was there, some punk teenager would've stolen it.  We were almost there when we got a call from an unknown number.  She told us that she found the wallet in the McDonald's.  I told her that we were headed there right now and she told us that she would meet us there.  He got his wallet back!  She was a nice middle-aged Dutch woman who gave us that wallet and smiled.  We thanked her and then she turned back and drove off.  Her face lit up though when she gave it to us.  It was a miracle!  We prayed and thanked the Lord, and continued on to our dinner appointment.  I have been studying the topic "Riches" in my personal studies lately though, and this story goes along perfectly with what I have been studying.  In Jacob 2:18-19 it talks about how we receive riches and what riches we should be seeking for.  I realized that we only get riches if we don't want them for ourselves.  We need to want them and seek for them so that we can bless others.  I have seen that so many times on my mission, and I think that's part of the reason why missionaries grow so much in the two years, because everything they do is for others.  We pray for others, study for others, and serve others, and we are blessed so much.  I just love the fact that our Heavenly father uses people to be the means of blessing others, and then he blesses those people even more.  Just like we were blessed with getting the wallet back, but that lady was blessed so much more.  I could tell when I saw her face light up.  I think the saying, "giving is better than receiving" is based off of this principle, and I love this principle.  It just shows how good God is.

That night we ate with the 't Hoen's.  They are one of my favorite families out here.  It was fun being there with Elder Pouwer and Elder Cooper.  We just needed Elder Strikwerda and it would've been just like last year.

Thursday was a miracle day.  We had an appointment with the lady we found doing the "Chocolate" contact.  We had a great first lesson with her and set a date for her to be baptized!  She is very religous.  Her mom is even an evangelical pastor haha but she is searching for the truth and searching for that feeling that it's right.  We committed her to read and pray, because that's how she will find that answer and get that feeling.  It was a miracle.  She is a solid investigator now, all because Elder Silva wanted to see me use the word chocolate in a contact haha.  After that we had a lesson with our other two baptismal dates.  We had a nice lesson with them and are becoming good friends.  They are such great people. It was a really good day for us.

Friday we had a lesson with F.  He will be receiveing the Aaronic Priesthood this coming sunday so we taught him about what the Priesthood is.  After teaching that it reminded me of how great the Priesthood really is.  It was a nice lesson, and afterwards we had an appointment with another new investigator we found knocking doors.  His name is D and he is from India.  He is catholic but not active.  He wants to grow closer to Christ, and we had a great appointment with him.  He is a cool 26 year old guy who started his own business.  We are going back this week to continue to teach him.  That evening we biked and biked and biked in the rain...

We woke up Saturday morning and biked in the rain some more haha it was a pretty long day on saturday, but it was still good.  We met with the Hoorn elders and practiced the musical number some more that evening.  Sunday was a nice day.  We had church of course and the first hour I was with the primary practicing for the primary program haha I am playing the piano, and it was SO funny!  The kids were crazy!  but so cute.  After church we had correlation and then a dinner appointment with Sister C  She is such a funny woman and we have a lot of fun over there.  It was a nice end to a great week.  I can't believe I only have 3 left...  I gotta get going though, but I love you all so much!!!!  I hope you have a great week!


 Elder Bishop


Monday, November 10, 2014

Just to make it fun I told Elder Silva to say any word in English and I would use it in my door approach. He said, "Chocolate"..... "Good evening maam, my companion and I are here in the area to share something. It's even tastier than chocolate, and that's the Book of Mormon" She laughed and so did I but it got her attention and we made an appointment this coming week!

Hey guys!  Here we are, another Monday emailing.  I Always love hearing about things going on back home with everybody, and I am glad everybody is safe, healthy, and happy :)  That makes it a lot easier for me out here.  This week has been another busy week with a lot of time to work, and a lot of miracles to see.  Last Monday was definitely not the highlight of the week though haha.

After we got done emailing, we wanted to bike to the beach and see those cool WW2 bunkers that I saw at the beginning of the year while serving in Alkmaar.  It was a lot longer bike ride than I thought and it rained the WHOLE way!  We got there soaking wet and saw a few bunkers and then went back home haha right when we got home we had to change and then bike back to the northern part of Haarlem for a dinner appointment and then back for the night.  That was our whole Pday we biked for a total of about 5 hours that day.  Pdays are supposed to be days to rest, but that was the most tiring day of the week!  Oh well, what do you do?  haha we just laughed about it later cuz it was so stupid!  Poor Elder Silva, that was his first Pday in the land and it was probably the worst one I've had on my mission!  At least they will only get better for him.

Tuesday was District Meeting in Amsterdam.  We got to the station there and it kinda felt like I never left haha.  We have the coolest district in the mission if you ask me, so it was fun being with them all.  Elder Cooper and I are in that same district again and it's cool to see him every week.  After district meeting we went back to Haarlem and we stopped by and met some investigators.  There is a mother and her daughter. They have a goal to be baptized on December 6, and we are working with them to try to make that happen.  They are super cool though.  The mother is from Ethiopia and her daughter is half Ethiopian and half Greek, weird, I know haha but they have been investigating for about 6 years now!  And they now understand that baptism is necessary.  I hope it works out!  But they are super cool and we are already really tight with them.  After that we had a dinner appointment with the Den H's.  They are a nice older dutch couple.  She is the relief society president and he isn't a member.  We are gonna try to work with him and hopefully start teaching him soon.  it was a nice dinner appointment though.  We had a really dutch meal.  It was sauerkraut mixed with some potatoes and then some meat and green beans.  That's about as Dutch as it gets haha but it was good.

Wednesday we had some stuff that we had to do in the morning and the afternoon we met some more people and did some finding.  We had an appointment with a recent convert named Y.  She is a really nice lady and we had a good visit with her.  We will be doing some service for her this next week.  That evening we had an appointment with a new investigator named J.   He is an older Dutch man and loves to read.  He is very smart, but just socially awkward.  That makes teaching less intimidating though to be honest haha.  It was a pretty good lesson.  We tried teaching the Restoration, but we only got through the first two sections.  We got hung up on the fact that God is a loving Heavenly Father.  He brought up the infamous question, "If God loves us then why is the so much bad in the world today?" That wasn't the first time I had been asked that question and we talked about agency and opposition, and the bigger picture.  That is acutally one of the big lessons I have learned out here.  Gods ways are higher than our ways.  His perspective is way bigger than our perspective.  I also believe that when we try to change our perspective to match his then we understand who He really is and how we can follow His will.  It can get pretty deep, but it's very interresting.  Anyways, we came to an agreement in the end and set up another appointment with him.  It was a nice way to finish off the night.

Thursday was a pretty tough day to be honest haha.  Some plans fell through and we had to do a lot of door knocking and didn't see any success.  I have had tons of days like that these past two years, so I wasn't too discouraged, but poor Elder Silva haha he was pretty bummed.  I talked to him about it and told him that's missionary work, and we need to find the positives every day or else we won't enjoy our mission cuz a mission is filled with days like that.  I also told him days like that make the good days even better, and I was just hoping that we would have some good days to finish up the week, cuz it was still pretty hard for him.

Friday was better than Thursday luckily.  We had an appointment with The mother and daughter again. At the beginning of the lesson I told her that we brought her a present.  I pulled out a Book of Mormon in Amharic.  She almost started crying she was so happy haha.  Amharic is the native language in Ethiopia, but not a lot of people know that.  It's not a common language, and I was surprised we even had a copy in that language, but I have taught a few Ethiopians throughout my mission, so I knew that they spoke Amharic.  haha the things you learn on your mission...  She was so surprised, and she absolutely LOVED it!  It was a good way to start off the lesson haha.  We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it was a really great lesson.  She really wants to be baptized with her daughter, but there is one thing holding her back.  She works a lot of Sundays...  She needs to come to church two more times to be baptized.  We are praying and she is praying that she can get it off.  I really hope it happens!  It was a good lesson though, and I am super excited to be teaching them.  That night we had dinner at the Bishop's.  We go there every Friday night and the sisters come too.  It's a lot of fun.  The ward here is really good at feeding the misionaries!  It makes the work a lot better when you are fed well and have a good relationship with the ward.  I love the Bishop here.  He is a great man and has a sweet wife.  They have two sons around my age who are both inactive.  We are gonna start playing soccer with one of them though and hopefully he will come back to church soon.  We will invite him in a couple of weeks after we become better friends.

Saturday was our miracle day. Finally!!!  I was praying for this day all week, and it came :)  In the morning we had a lesson with a potential investigator.  His name is J and we found him on the street.  He is a nice guy too.  He didn't have a lot of time, but we explained the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy.  He is gonna read and we are going back next week to follow up and hopefully teach the first lesson.  We came back for lunch and then did service.  We met a sweet old lady who is a member at her care center.  Her name is Sister Den B.  We rolled her down the street in her wheel chair and helped her with her grocery shopping.  We brought her back and unloaded all her groceries.  She is about 80 and such a sweet lady.  She is very lonely and really liked us, so she asked us to come have family home evening with her once a week.  We are excited to visit with her every week and have a family home evening with her.  We both had a great feeling after serving her.  After that we had another lesson with Jan.  We finished the Restoration and he actually really liked it.  He was very interested in Joseph Smith and wants to know more.  We invited him to church and he said he would love to come, but he works a lot of Sundays...  Why does everybody work on Sunday?!  haha it's so frustrating cuz we can't do much about it.  Why can't people have concerns we can actually address?!  haha it was still a great lesson though and we have another appointment with him this coming week.  After that we had some time to knock some doors in his area.  We had a really good feeling about this area, and it came through for us.  We got three new potential investigators (2 of which we made appointments with) in just 30 minutes!  The really miracle was how we found the last one though.  So we found the first two and we were pretty happy.  We got to the last door of the street and then we were gonna go home for dinner.  Just to make it fun I told Elder Silva to say any word in english and I would use it in my door approach.  He said, "Chocolate" haha.  Nobody answered the door, but he really wanted to see me use the word chocolate in my contact, so we went to a house around the corner.  Nobody answered.  We walked down the next street a little ways and knocked on a door there.  A woman answered and I said, "Good evening maam, my companion and I are here in the area to share something.  It's even tastier than chocolate, and that's the Book of Mormon" haha she laughed and so did I, but it caught her attention.  I told her it was another testament of Jesus Christ and asked her if she believed in Christ.  She is very religious and was very interested!  Her cute little daughter was in the back and we made an appointment to share this book with them this coming week!  They were super positive, and we were both so excited!  haha it was a miracle we even knocked that door, just to use the chocolate contact...  God works in mysterious ways haha. It was a great day though and Elder Silva was SOOOOO excited!  it was cool to see how excited he was.  He reminds me a lot of how I was my first transfer.

Sunday was a great day in church.  I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting and it went really well.  I talked about how there is only one true Gospel.   I shared the Joseph Smith story and it never fails.  It brings sucha  strong Spirit.  After church we had a correlation meeting with our ward misison leader.  They fed us lunch.  I really like our ward mission leader.  He is a good guy and supports us in everything we do.  We had a fun dinner appointment that night to finish off the week.

It was such a great week, and I love this work.  I love my mission, and it scares me how fast it is coming to an end.  It's definitely bitter sweet though, because I am so excited to see you guys again.  It feels like forever since I last saw you!  I love you all so much though and I hope you have a great week!!!

Elder Bishop

**this is what you get when you move into a sisters apartment...

workout set

My Bed!

bottom drawer

Monday, November 3, 2014

We bike a lot in this city, and our butts our sore and we have blisters on our feet, but we aren't complaining, only enjoying. This is the perfect last chapter, and I am going to work til I see you guys, so don't worry about me!

Hey everybody!!!  Sounds like you all had another crazy week with a lot going on!  haha I think I can relate.  This week has been so crazy!  It has been super good though.  So since it's been 10 days since my last P day , and it was transfer week, I got a lot to say with not a lot of time to type, so I will get started.

Sunday was my last church service in Amsterdam.  It was a good one too.  We taught the Gospel Principles lesson about temples, and how it has always been a commandment to build temples.  It went well I think.  It's kinda hard to have a 45 minute lesson on that subject while keeping it simple, but we managed to do so.  I saw J in church and she gave me a necklace that Z made for me before I left.  It was a nice present and I really appreciated it.  I will definitely miss those two.  After church we went straight to President's to break our fast and then went to the office to finalize transfers.  We got done that evening and made some calls to let the mission know what was happening.  We got done and headed back to the mission home to stay the night. 

Monday morning we woke up and drove to the office.  We had a long day in the office getting things ready for transfers, and the numbers got mixed up so it took us forever to gather them all.  It was pretty stressful, and let's just say I was super excited that was my last day in the office!  We got back to the mission home that evening and ate dinner and went to bed early.

Tuesday morning we woke up at 5 and were out the door by 6:30 to pick up the new greenies!  They all came through the airport that morning and made a big scene haha a lot of people were stopping and staring at us and even a few asked us who we were and what we were doing.  It was a good missionary opportunity.  We got them all situated and back to the office to get some legality and financial stuff figured out.  They had their interviews with President and meanwhile we took them contacting.  It was pretty funny.  The sisters were terrified.  The first guy I stopped was this old man smoking a cigarette.  He was actually pretty nice.  We talked to a few more people and got this one guys information so they could give him a book.  They were so excited after that.  haha It's Always fun talking to people on a missionary's first day.  We had lunch and then they went out with the office elders to apply for their residency cards.  While they were gone, we met with President and assigned the greenies their trainers, that means I also found out who I would be training.  They came back and napped, and I went out with one of the office elders to run an errand with him.  While we wer out we stopped this lady and started talking with her.  We mentioned the Book of Mormon and Jesus Chirst.  The first thing she said back was, "I'm shocked".  We didn't know how to take that haha but then she started explaining.  She turned around and pointed to a spot on the walking path about 20 meters behind us.  She told us how she was just standing there a minute ago praying to God in her heart, asking him if she could get in better contact with him.  She went on to explain how she was walking home from work and she Always walks on the opposite side of the canal, but today she had the feeling to walk on this side of the canal.  She couldn't believe it, and neither could I to be honest haha.  She wanted to hear more about what we have to say and whe also wanted to pray with us.  We set up an appointment for the next day.  What a miracle!  It goes to show that God leads those who are prepared to us.  That's one of the biggest lessons I have learned out here is that this work is God's work, not ours.  If you think about it, we, as missionaries, do virtually nothing haha.  All we do is go outside and talk to people and then teach them, but even when we talk to people, He leads them to us like what just happened.  And even when we teach people, we aren't the ones teaching, but the Holy Ghost.  All we have to do is be obedient and faithful, and we will be great instruments in the Lord's hands. 

That evening we had a fireside with the new missionaries and they opened up their letters to see where they would go and who they would be with.  We got to the very last one, Elder Silva.  He opened up his letter to find out that he would be serving in Haarlem with me as his trainer!  I gave him a big hug right after and we were both so excited.  Elder Silva was born in Brazil, but moved to Lisbon, Portugal when he was 8.  He knows the Flukigers, and he is a super cool kid.  He wants to work, and wants to see success, and that's what we are planning on doing. 
(*Note...The Flukigers are Hayden's Great Uncle and Aunt who are serving as Mission President in Portugal)

Wednesday we woke up and had lunch and then the trainers came and we all had the trainers meeting.  It was nice to be getting that training and not giving it haha.  We went to the city hall afterwards to get a few more things organized and then we headed to Haarlem, niether of us having been there before.  We got all our suitcases on the bus and found our apartment.  Right when we got to our apartment, we had to leave for a dinner appointment.  We went with the IJmuiden sisters.  They cover the northern half of the Haarlem area and serve in the Haarlem ward.  It was a nice dinner appointment though.  We headed back to our apartment on foot that night.  It was a long walk, but we we able to talk to some people on our way.  The first person we talked to in Haarlem was such a funny story!  So he had his headphones in, but I stopped him anyways and asked him about the Book of Mormon. He told us he had heard of the book of mormon.  We asked him where he heard of it, and he told us that he was on the series "Survivor, Holland" He ended up winning Survivor and it was held near Bryce Canyon, Utah.  He said that after he won, they gave him a Book of Mormon too.  hahahaha what the heck?!  We asked him what language it was in and he told us english.  We gave him a dutch one and he told us that he would read it while on vacation.  It was so weird!  We had a good laugh about it.  We got home that night super tired.  We didn't even unpack, but we just planned for the next day and went straight to bed.

Thursday was a busy day.  Our first priority was grocery shopping.  We got that done with right after studies.  Next priority was bikes.  We bought Elder Silva a bike.  I bargained it from 120 down to 100 and he got a good lock with it too haha.  We took a train to Heiloo after that to meet the Alkmaar Zone Leaders at the station.  They had my bike that I left in Alkmaar.  I forgot how trashed my bike got from riding the Streets of Brugge for six months haha but it's still good enough to ride.  We had our bikes, and then we were off!  We talked to a ton of people and met a few of the investigators that the previous sisters were working with.  We also called the Ward Mission Leader and asked if we could stop by that night to introduce ourselves.  We stopped by that evening and practiced the Restoration lesson with them.  He is a cool guy and I think he appreciated us stopping by.  It was so nice to be on a bike again on the beautiful Streets of Haarlem.  This city is incredible!  We were happy to be out working.  Maybe its cuz I've been in a car the past year, but it felt so good to be on a bike that day just talking to everybody.  I have never had such a desire to work.

Friday we had an appointment with a recent convert named F.  I met him back in March when I was a Zone Leader in Alkmaar.  When I saw him Friday morning, I almost didn't recognize him.  He was baptized in May, and he has made a lot of changes since.  He cut his hair and he hasn't been smoking for a while now.  It was cool to see how much change the Gospel has brought him.  I absolutely love seeing that change in people.  We did some good planning that afternoon and mapped out the area and figured out where everything was and where the members and investiagators and potential investigators lived.  We set some good goals and really just got our feet under us.  It was very productive.  We got out that night for a dinner appointment with the Bishop and his family.  The bishop's son was there and he isn't active, but he is about 23 and really cool.  We had a really good talk with him and he wants to play soccer with us now.  We are just gonna try to become his friend and help him and support him.  It was a good day.  Saturdaywe had some bike problems haha so it involved a lot of walking.  A LOT of walking, but we got the bike fixed eventually and had a lot of time to talk to people.  We were exhausted by the end of the day, but we set up a few appointments for next week.  We were so tired that night that we went to bed around 9:30 right after we finished planning.  Doing this stuff for 2 years really wears on you once you come to the end of it.  But I felt very satisfied.  It was fun working with Elder Silva too.  He is also super tired, mainly from jet lag, but we work hard and have fun.  Greenies are soo funny!  haha There are 3 things that he says over and over again, and all greenies say these 3 things too. 1. "There is SO much water in this country!" 2. "Everybody rides bikes in this country!" and 3. "When am I gonna see the sun again?"  I told him april haha.  Poor Brazilian...

Sunday was a great day in church.  I felt a click with the ward, even though it is a super dutch ward filled with old people.  They are all really nice, and I think they like me and Elder Silva.  We had correlation afterwards and then a dinner appointment.  It was a nice evening and we came back exhausted again.  We bike a lot in this city, and our butts our sore and we have blisters on our feet, but we aren't complaining, only enjoying.  We have set up 6 new appointments for this next week and we are really excited to see how it goes!  I am so happy to be ending my mission this way.  This is the perfect last chapter, and I am going to work til I see you guys, so don't worry about me.  I love you all so much, and I hope you have a great week!  Sorry I forgot my camera, I will send twice as many pictures next week!  I love you!

Elder Bishop

Saturday, October 25, 2014

I realized that joy on a mission comes from building lasting relationships. When you see people change and see that relationship grow between them and God, that's when you feel joy.

Hey guys!  Sounds like you had a nice trip in Las Vegas.  Meleese explained to me very clearly that there is a diiference between a vacation and a trip, and as much as she loved having baby Mia there, it was not a vacation, but a trip.  Haha Meleese is so funny.  Sounds like dad is passing up on all the good size deer to try to shoot his dream deer, but still no deer...  If I had that mentality dad, I would be 40 and still single hahaha.  But overall it sounds like you had a great week.  I also had a killer week this week!  We had time to get out and do some work this week!

Last Saturday we got a new senior couple and we helped them get situated and took them out for pannekoeken.  Afterwards, we went with the office elders to go go-karting!  It was a lot of fun haha they didn't care if you bumped into people and stuff like that, so it was pretty intense and a lot of fun.  It was a good P day spent with the office elders.

Sunday was a nice church service.  Elder Toole gave a talk in sacrament meeting and he did a really good job.  The other elders gave a nice lesson in Priesthood and I sat back and enjoyed :)  After church we did some planning and look ups and then we went to the P family's house for dinner.  We go there about every other Sunday for dinner, and we are getting pretty close.  We shared with them some miracles from our missions trying to get the 16 year old boy thinking about serving a mission.  It was a spiritual dinner appointment and we ate good too.

Monday was our day in the office.  We got everything ready for the week and cleaned our car really good. (it needed it haha).  Elder Alston and I couldn't figure out how to start the wash and I had to go in and ask two different times.  The lady thought I was an idiot haha it was pretty funny.  But things went pretty smooth in the office that day and we were out at a decent time.

Tuesday we began our week of exchanges!  I was in Amsterdam with Elder Bitters.  He is a really good friend of mine and we were excited to work in Amsterdam with each other.  We met at a district meeting in Almere and attended the meeting.  Afterwards we drove back to Amsterdam to do some look ups and finding.  We took a tram to West Amsterdam and talked to some people over there.  It started raining and wasn't very productive so we went back home for dinner and got the car for the evening so we could be more efficient.  I cooked Elder Bitters some spaghetti (that is my specialty because I have made it over a hundred times out here haha).  It has become my go-to meal and I have officially mastered it.  We got in the car that evening, and I am SO glad we did.  It got really dark that night and started hailing bad!  we had to drive super slow while looking more investigators up.  We got in contact with a few of them and set up a couple appointments for later that week.  By the end of the night we were on our way home and stopped by the McDonalds to get a Mcflurry.  The Mcdonalds was two stories and we went up to the second level where nobody was and had a nice talk.  A Coldplay song came on that has come out since I have been out, but it must have been pretty popular because I have heard it several times out here.  I think it's called Magic or something like that.  I really like it, but we were just listening to that and this guy walks up the stairs with long, curly hair.  He is middle aged and kinda scary looking.  He is walking towards us and we were getting a little nervous.  He had a mean look on his face as he kept walking toward us.  When he got about 10 feet from us, he stopped and spun around.  Then he totally started dancing for us!  hahaha he was doing these really weird dance moves and we were trying so hard not to laugh cuz we were still a little scared.  The Coldplay song ended and another crazy dance song came on and he started dancing even crazier!  We watched him for about 5 minutes and then we left.  He was still dancing after we left.  Pretty sure he was on some hard drugs...  haha it was pretty funny.  It was a good day overall though.

Wednesday we woke up and met at the office for our second exchange of the week, this time with Rotterdam Zone Leaders.  I went back to Amsterdam, this time with Elder Cooper!  We had a great time together and a great day too.  We first drove to our first appointment of the day.  It was a lunch appointment with Sister L.  She is a great cook and makes SO much food!  All 6 Elders were there and there was still too much food.  She is such a sweet lady though.  At the end of our appointment she explained to us that she had some health issues and was struggling a little bit.  She asked if I would give her a blessing, and I did.  It was a cool appointment with her.  Afterwards we did some more finding and lookups.  We stopped by Central Station, and there was a beautiful grand piano sitting there that said, "Bespeel Mij" or "Play Me".  So I did.  Haha it was pretty cool.  I played my chopin piece and people gathered around to listen.  They applauded and I looked over at Elder Cooper and just pictured us performing A Thousand Miles like we did in the talent show in Alkmaar.  Haha I was too scared though so we left.  We went over to J and Z's house that evening for a dinner appointment and then a teaching appointment for Z.  While eating, J told us how she has been struggling with some health issues and asked for a blessing.  Elder Cooper and I were able to give another blessing that day!  It was really nice and spiritual and it set it up to be a great teaching appointment right after the blessing.  We taught the importance of reading the scriptures, praying, and going to church.  We asked J to explain the difference she has felt since she started doing these again.  She bore a powerful testimony which led perfectly into the next part.  We then explained the difference between the influence of the Holy Ghost and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  We invited Z to be baptized so he could receive that gift and always have the Spirit with him as he does those three things we mentioned earlier.  He was a little surprised at first but thought about it and accepted.  He is working towards being baptized on November 23.  His mom was SO happy she started crying.  She was baptized when she was 12 years old and now her son is 12 and she wants nothing more than for him to be baptized.  It was a really great appointment, and I have grown to love those two.

Thursday morning we woke up early and drove to the airport to meet a senior couple at 6:30.  They were flying back home and we sent them off since President and Sister Robinson were gone.  Luckily, I had done that enough times to know where to go and what to do.  We got back home around 9 and slept for an extra hour before our next exchange for the week.  I was really looking forward to this one because I was going back to Alkmaar to work with Elder Bonney!  We had a great day too.  We went to sister V R's first to do some service for her.  She was surprised to see me and we had a good time catching up.  She loves the piano and I love the piano so we get along really well.  She gave me some Chopin and Debussy pieces to work on when I get home haha it was a great time.  Afterwards we had some time to go finding.  We found someone who agreed for us to come back, so we set up and appointment with him.  It was a pretty good day of finding.  That night we had a dinner appointment planned with the M's!  They are one of my favorite families and it was really good to see them.  We also had a good time catching up and then shared a nice spiritual thought at the end.  It was a really good day overall and it helped me realize something.  I realized that joy on a mission comes from building lasting relationships.  Relationships with each other, but more importantly, relationships with God.  When you see people change and see that relationship grow between them and God, that's when you feel that joy.  It was nice to see some old friends in Alkmaar who I have seen change and become better people.  

Friday Elder Alston and I were back in Amsterdam.  We were super tired and it was a slower day, but we managed to help a member move a ton of pallets to her new house she was moving in to, get in contact with some people to set up appointments, and find dinner out of an empty fridge because it's the end of the week.  You gotta love mission life :)  I have been thinking about some things I am excited to do back home, but then I get a little nervous because the thought comes into my mind.  In a few weeks I will be doing those things and yes, they will be fun, but I will be wishing I was back in Amsterdam preaching the Gospel.  And I won't be able to come back and do this again...  I am gonna miss it a ton.  But I am SUPER excited for my next area and my last transfer.  It will be a great ending for the best two years.  

I love you all a ton and miss you like crazy!  I can't wait to see you and show you around this beautiful part of the world where I have been living the past two years!  I hope you have a great week!

Veel Lief,
Elder Bishop

P day trip Go-Karting!

McFlurry with Elder Bitters

Sister L