Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sharing is Caring

Something amazing happened yesterday! I walked outside and KA-BOOM! The sky was on fire! It literally took my breath away. 

.....I couldn't breath. 

.....For several seconds. 

.....I could have died. 

That's how beautiful it was.

So I, being the incredible photographer I am (this is a joke. I am artistically challenged.), scrambled through my bag to dig out my camera, zoomed in a little, and pushed the little silver button. And the result is an absolute masterpiece, if I do say so myself :D

Just take that in for a second. 

WOW, right?? There isn't another word for it! 

As I stood there trying to stop hyperventilating (my mommy always told me I am a drama queen) I looked around and realized I was completely alone on the street. Sister Raynor was in the car already, and everyone else was inside. I felt so excited, I just wanted to sprint from door to door in that little neighborhood in South Phoenix and yell for everyone to come outside! See what I am seeing! Feel what I am feeling! 

.....But I didn't.


I had a moment of complete joy, and my only desire was for everyone else to know and participate in that happiness.... and I kept it to myself. I snapped a photo and tucked my camera away into my purse. 

Why do we do that? God gives us blessings so that we can bless the lives of others! He gave me the gospel so I could be a missionary, and share it in Arizona. He gave it to me so I could be a mother, and teach it to my children. Not so I could feel a moment of perfect joy and then tuck my Book of Mormon on the back of my bookshelf and go back to my selfish life. 

King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon says, "...are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have..?"

Along with that scripture, Elder Jeffrey R Holland said, "Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case? Little wonder that King Benjamin says we obtain a remission of our sins by pleading to God, who compassionately responds, but we retain a remission of our sins by compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us."

Doesn't that touch your heart a little? We have so much... why don't we share it more? Especially when that is why we have it in the first place! 

CHALLENGE: Here it is. Don't do what I did! Be a better person, think a little harder, and love a little more. It is simple.... share something. Send your best friend a link of an uplifting video that you think will help them with the hard time they are going through. Or give half of your candy bar to your little brother. Or your little sister. Or your significant other. Share your toys. Or post your favorite verse of scripture on your Facebook wall. There are so many options! Buy a sandwich for that homeless guy on the corner. Invite someone you love to come to church with you. Give a hug, or a compliment, or a smile to someone who desperately needs it! 

I promise you will feel MORE joy from sharing than you would if you had kept it to yourself.  

"And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true." Mosiah 4:12

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

More Challenge 1 Results

Alright, here are some more results from Challenge 1: praying every day for a week! ENJOY! :D

"Praying every day (especially when I pray in the morning) gives me a sense of purpose. By praying I remind myself that I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. On days when I pray before going out, I find I am more turned outside myself - selfless - than when I don't. I'm more sensitive to the needs of others, and I feel closer to the Spirit and am more likely to hear promptings throughout the day. Also I'm happier. And I experience noticeably less / weaker temptation. Or maybe it's the same, but I'm stronger, so it seems weaker. I'm more at peace, I have a greater sense of myself and why I'm here and what I'm doing. I have a greater desire to do good things and serve others."

Neat, right?? This next one is super cool as well:

"A couple weeks ago I was hired by a woman in my ward to be a nanny for a 4-year old boy who was taken out of his home due to some pretty awful circumstances. For me, it's a terrifying thing. He's had a very rough life and I have to be very careful with how I approach situations or handle certain things with him or he digresses. He's often scared to leave my side, needs constant attention, and needs to know that he has a routine in his life and someone who cares enough to discipline him. In the last few weeks there have been some scary moments. Situations that I've had to jump in and fix having never dealt with something like it before. When I took Sister Bishops challenge to pray everyday, going to work that Monday morning it was completely different! I stayed calm throughout the entire day which allowed me to comfort him more. I could sit down and talk him through why doing something like he was wasn't OK without being scared of saying the wrong thing. He was able to leave me to clean the house long enough to build two whole Lego sets, and I didn't have to watch him do it! When I got home and began to think of what could have possibly happened to cause such a drastic change in both of our days, I realized it was the help of my Heavenly Father and because I had made a conscious effort to pray to Him everyday. I made a choice to rely on Heavenly Father to guide me through my insecurities and fears. It was a tremendous feeling of comfort and overwhelming relief as I left feeling accomplished and happy. Prayer is a real and powerful tool. Not only does it affect my life but my prayers can bless and affect the lives of those I come in contact with. "

And that wraps up Challenge 1! I hope you all enjoyed it, and thank you so much for your participation! Keep an eye out for Challenge 2, it is going to be AWESOME! And keep praying daily! :D

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Challenge 1 Results!

I knew there would be miracles from praying every single day, and I was right! :D These are a few of the cool experiences that people who took the challenge reported:

"My day goes better, and I feel better, when I pray. Almost without exception. On days when I don't, I usually find myself feeling like something's missing, something's wrong, why don't I feel as good as I usually do... I can feel the difference."

True, right?? The next one really impressed me:

"I've been looking for ways to prepare for the Sunday School lessons this year and am trying to keep up with the member study guide and be open to new insights. I hometeach a single sister in our ward in her mid 30s and she's been through some frustrating dating situations in the last year. She was ready to give up not just on dating, but life altogether. However, she still knew that a priesthood blessing could help her regain some strength and faith. It was in that moment when some of Mary's words from Luke 1:48 gained New meaning. I shared this scripture and related to her that Mary could not accomplish the purpose of her creation without of "low estate" first. I never really understood what it meant to be of low estate until I was visiting with this sister. Then I was able to give her a blessing unlike most blessings I've given. It felt like I was truly acting as mouthpiece for our Father in heaven as I gave her counsel and promises that I wouldn't normally offer.
My daily habit of kneeling in prayer helped prepare me for this special experience and to help one of Heavenly Father's daughters to feel the hand of God in her life again. It also opened my eyes to new understanding and meaning from my scripture study. I know that He is mindful of our needs and wants to communicate with us. All we have to do is "knock, and it shall be opened unto [us].""

How incredible is that?? I love how his simple habit of daily prayer didn't only help him personally, it helped him influence someone else for good! :) One friend simply said:

"Things were insanely easier to deal with, and it was honestly easier to resist temptation."

PRAYER WORKS! Stay tuned for more results of Challenge 1! :)

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Power of Prayer

Hey! I'm Hermana Bishop :) I am a Spanish-speaking missionary in the Arizona Tempe Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! As a missionary, I see tons of miracles every day. Today I want to share the story of George, a senior in high school that we met in the streets of South Phoenix.

We pulled up to the house of a woman we wanted to visit, and there was a couple of little boys and a teenager playing basketball outside. We were informed that the woman was not home, but the young man said he wouldn't mind talking to us. (Remember it is SUPER obvious who we are! We wear name tags and drive in cars with bike racks and stuff.)  He began by challenging us and asking how God could let bad things happen like World War II. As we discussed how God allows us to make our own choices (whether they are good or bad), he became slightly less defensive. We asked if he had ever prayed before and he admitted that his football team prays before their games, and it makes him feel good. We told him that God is his father, loves him, and wants to hear from him. We invited him to pray and promised he would know God exists if he does. Before we left, we asked if we could have a quick prayer together. My companion, Sister Raynor, offered the prayer and when she finished, George looked up and said, a little choked up, "I know, and God knows, that I really DO believe in Him."

Wow! :D Just our simple prayer together moved this young man almost to tears! I know God hears and answers our prayers! Never underestimate the power of personal prayer.

CHALLENGE: This week, don't miss a single day. Kneel down alone at least once a day and talk to God. Tell Him what you are grateful for, and what you need help with. I promise you will feel a difference in your life as you try communicate more with your Heavenly Father!

For those of you who don't know how to pray, don't worry! It is easy! :)
Begin by addressing God. Say "God, or Heavenly Father."
Tell Him what is in your heart! Thank Him for what you have, and tell Him what you are struggling with. He cares!
End by saying, "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Aaaaannnnndddd repeat as often as possible ;D