Dear Leaders and Members of Holy Word,
I was wondering how I would be able to start this letter to you before chapel this morning. After hearing these comforting words, I knew what to say in my introduction: nothing. God says it the best. “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21). I have heard many good things about what you are doing well. God has kept his promise to equip you with everything you need to do all things pleasing to him. I look forward to serving with you in this new adventure.
Before we start that adventure together, I should tell you about me and my family. My name is Joshua Paul Bishop. I was born in Spokane, WA, June 8, 1986. I am the middle child of my four other brothers and sisters. We enjoyed life growing up together, mostly playing games outside. In 1997, my family moved to Port Orchard, WA, in order to be closer to Evergreen Lutheran High School. As long as I can remember, I have wanted to serve God as a pastor. My friends and family have been strong encouragers in my journey. My mom’s side of the family is full of called workers. Her father and grandfather were pastors. All my mom’s siblings are teachers. They were great models for me to follow. My dad was born and raised in Washington. His side of the family is filled with many different vocations. They taught me how to enjoy every situation God has given me. This was the foundation to my life.
Right after high school, I went to Martin Luther College. This was an adventure for me because only one other classmate of mine from Evergreen went with me. I was welcomed into a group of friends and we have been close ever since. MLC did a great job of preparing me for life at the Seminary. It especially did a great job in providing me with a wife. I met Elisabeth (Elissa) Kristine Zuehlke in class. She was born on May 13, 1987 and raised in Watertown, WI. She attended high school at Luther Preparatory School. Elissa is the first in her family to enter the public ministry. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to be a teacher or not, but decided to try MLC anyways. Lucky me, God used our time together to bring us closer. Elissa Zuehlke became Elissa Bishop on July 18, 2009. We have been happily married for almost two years now. We both graduated from MLC in 2009. Elissa was blessed with a call to teach 1st and 2nd grade at Salem Lutheran School in Milwaukee. She has enjoyed her first two challenging years of teaching other parents children to be God’s children. God was preparing her to help raise our first child. Our baby is due on August 4th. We will be delivering the baby here in Wisconsin and then making the move across the country to our new home: Austin, TX. God has graced Elissa with a problem-less pregnancy so far. We ask you to keep our young family in your prayers as we prepare for the many changes happening in the near future.
We are very excited to become part of your family. I want to thank you in advance for your continued support through your gifts and prayers. Your offerings make it possible for people like me to be trained to serve God in such a special way. I consider it a humble privilege to serve our God of peace together with you. Until we meet in person, may God continue to bless and keep you all.