Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brother Yang Lee gets baptized!

Elder Hicks and Elder Erickson's newest converts

Elder Carlos da Silva and Elder Wells' newest converts

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Missionaries sing at Leadership Conference

Sister Dicou and Sister Wright are loving life!

Elders loving the food.

Beautiful fall pictures of New Jersey

The "Name that Missionary" Blanket game!  

One missionary on each side of the blanket...

The blanket drops...whoever says the missionary's name on the other side first wins!

Turkey Bowl!

Wet and muddy field
President Jeppson wanted to play

Missionary Fireside!

Our daughter Becky surprises us with the news that she's expecting!  Grandbaby #14!
With Becky and Blake Seifers!

Leadership Training! 

Wild and Crazy Holidays!

 The Thanksgiving holiday is always such a wonderful time of year.  Extraordinary thankfulness for ordinary blessings in ordinary days keeps the sparkle in our lives.  We, however, experience extraordinary blessings and extraordinary days here in New Jersey.  Life is anything but ordinary.  But most importantly it is a time to truly reflect how grateful we are to belong to the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Having the restored gospel in our lives is such a blessing to us and to our families. It is a time to reflect upon the Savior, his atonement and all he continues to shower down upon us with His love.  We hope all had a wonderful time of being together.  We were so happy that our children got together and had a great day.  They were all missed by us tremendously.  Our Thanksgiving was extraordinarily different this year!  We attended a turkey bowl of some of the missionaries.  The grass was so wet and muddy they were sliding and slipping everywhere.  It should have been called the Soup Bowl.  I was nervous every time someone fell.  We ended up the day with 5 stitches, a dislocated shoulder that an elder popped back in, aches and pains from unused muscles and two blown out knees.  We are waiting for the results from MRI’s!  Oh My Word!
       The weather has been amazing since our record snow fall.  We haven’t even had to wear jackets during the day! But we can tell snow is on the way!  AHHHH! This month went by super fast! It seems like there is always so much to do and so little time.  We had a wonderful time interviewing all our missionaries.  It is so great to meet with each one individually and see how they are doing, their worries, concerns; their joys and successes.  Jon loves his time with each one.  While he interviews I give them a little message, object lesson etc. and feed them.  Yes it is always feeding time!  Sometimes I feel like I am a zoo keeper.  It is wild and crazy and I am always feeding someone!  We had our first Leadership Training this past month where we had 75 missionaries to feed lunch and snacks for two days.  We taught 8 lessons for new missionaries and their trainers, zone leaders and whoever else showed up.  Lots of fun, lots of food and lots of spiritual feasting.  The missionaries love to be together.  We played the blanket game.  Remember my children, our FHE game where you drop the blanket and you have to say the other person’s name before they say yours? Well they loved it.  They want to play it at every get-together.  They were doing all kinds of different things to confuse people.  Quite funny I must say!  We then had Zone Leader Council and more Specialized Training for our newest missionaries.  Like I said, not only feeding but also training like in how to eat, act, dress and stay healthy.  I should apply for a zoo trainer when I get home!  But don’t take this wrong…I love the zoo, animals, treats and the shows.  Jon and I are right in there enjoying the entertainment and contributing to all the wild and crazy things that happen.
         We were happy to have our daughter, Becky, and her husband, Blake, come in for a week.  Blake was here for training for his job and Becky came along to visit us.  We loved having them here. They surprised us in telling us number 14th grandchild is on the way!  Yahoo!  We are happy for them. It was refreshing and fun to show them the new Memorial at Port Authority for 9/ll, the Tear Drop given to New Jersey from Russia for 9/ll, the Cake Boss at Carlos Bakery and the Bascillica in Newark, a beautiful cathedral where the Pope stays when he comes to New York.   By the way, thanks to Jon’s brother, Taylor, we found that an ancestor of the Jeppsons helped to settle Newark.  Who knew!  It helps to do family history work doesn’t it?  We also had an ancestor burned at the stake.
           Anyway, my epistle is long enough!  That’s what happens when too much is going on and not enough time to write.  We love our missionaries!  They are working so hard and are so dedicated.  We had 25 baptisms in November and hope to reach our goal of 400 baptisms for the end of the year…we have 39 to go!!
            We finished off November to start December with a Missionary Christmas Fireside.  We have three firesides where our missionaries sing, talk, give scriptures and quotes of the Savior’s birth to members and investigators.  It was very touching to see them all in the choir seats in their red and green attire singing together.  There was a beautiful spirit there.  It is a great way to start off the season.
            We look forward to our Sisters Conference, Mini Zone Conferences and our all Mission Conference coming up for Christmas.  Alex and Julie Boye are coming in for a visit.  That’s right we are going to feed again, train again and have Alex entertain us.  It is wild and crazy out here!  But we love it and look forward to sharing this wonderful Christmas season of celebrating the birth of our Savior with the world.  Last thought….Love what you do and do what you love.  Become lost in the love of it….missionary work!  We love it and we love you!  Dad and Mom, Jon and Bonnie, President and Sister Jeppson

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween in New Jersey!

Happy Halloween!

            We hope all had a wonderful holiday.  I know the Jeppson household loves Halloween.  It was a little different to say the least here in New Jersey, but it was a memorable one at that.  We had more trick or treaters than we have ever had!  At least 100 if not more.  We had the senior missionaries over for FHE.  Soup, Chili, salad, jello, rolls and yummy desserts for all.  Our assistants answered the door for us when the children came so we could focus more on the group.  After dinner we read scriptures that had the word fear in them and read the last verse of How Firm a Foundation.  “Fear” not I am with thee so be not dismayed.  For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.  I’ll strengthen thee, help thee and cause thee to stand.  Up held by thy righteous, omnipotent hand. Jon then told about our Mission Presidents Seminar we hand in Rochester, New York earlier in the month.  We spent 3 ½ days being trained, eating and visiting church history sites.  Due to a cancelled flight we missed going to the Palmyra Temple, but arrived in time to hear Elder Jay Jensen.  We were able to go to the Sacred Grove, Joseph Smith Farm, Peter Whitmore Home in Fayette (where the church was organized) and Hill Cumorah.  It was beautiful, but rainy.  We sit in awe of those who are so knowledgeable not only in the scriptures but of the history of the church.  It was great to be with other mission presidents and learn how their missions are going.  Hey, we don’t feel so bad.  But we enjoy our evening with the senior missionaries.  They are incredible and hope to encourage any of our brothers and sisters from our families or brothers and sisters of our ward and stake to think seriously about serving.  They will not regret it and will be blessed for doing so.
            I was fortunate to have some of my sisters and brother come and visit.  I was so happy to see them and we had a great time being together.  When you come and see New Jersey you get a different perspective.  I thought it was all chemical plants and industrial buildings, but it is so much more.  Forests, marshlands, beautiful beaches and boardwalks, unique and quaint homes, forest animals and a ton of history.  We were able to see the Princeton Battlefield and Monmouth Battlefield this week.  A lot of revolutionary war stuff going on here.  We also enjoy driving through the Princeton University area.  The architecture is incredible.  They have very unique church buildings here as well.  People are still recovering from the storm of the century.  Power is still out in many areas and trees and power lines are down.  It warmed up for the trick or treaters so that was good. 
            We continue interviewing missionaries and start transfer planning because we are looking forward to 9 more missionaries coming next week!   BTW we have 10 baptisms scheduled for Sunday.  Wahoo!  Love to all! Dad and Mom, Jon and Bonnie

Sunday, October 30, 2011

From Shakin, to Swirlin, to Swimmin, now Shiverin!

Wow what a ride we have been on.  Earthquake, Hurricane, Flooding and now record snow fall for October.  The storm came in with a vengeance.  We were interviewing missionaries in the Princeton area and we crawled home with down power lines and trees.  The beautiful trees that were turning all colors were so full of snow you could hear the limbs crack as they fell. They haven’t had this in October for 50 years.  We were told it never snows in October. HA! They never have earthquakes or hurricanes either! A state of emergency was declared in the metropolitan area.  Many of the missionaries had to find shelter with members because they were without power and heat.  Several members have gone to hotels.  Does that sound familiar, family?  As in many years ago when the power was off for a week on Alta Loma? Our front lawn at the mission home has deformed looking trees because several limbs have broken.  Streets to our home are blocked off.  Many areas look like a war zone.  Today, however is beautiful, clear blue ski and sun but windy and chilly.  Weird!  Such unique happenings in this state for sure.  But we love it!  Interviewing missionaries is the best.  Long hours, but being with them is wonderful.  They are each unique and have so much to offer. Jon, of course, does the detailed, involved interview, while I talk about a Christ like attribute or some gospel topic for a few minutes, give them food and treats and just enjoy them.  We also had specialized training this week and Zone Leader Council.  Specialized training is when we have the new missionaries come to the stake house and train them with stuff and more stuff.  There is a lot of STUFF to teach them.  No wonder they are a little (a lot) stressed! It is always great to be with all the zone leaders.  To go from new missionaries to seasoned missionaries is quite amazing.  To see them change and grow, mature and blossom is great. We love it.  It is very involved, very demanding, but very rewarding.  We went to two baptisms today.  One was a Spanish man and another young woman of 13.  It is very tender to see the missionaries in action.  They work so hard and seeing them dressed in white performing this ordinance, feelings inside you swell and you feel a very sweet, wonderful feeling. Hmmmm, could that be the Holy Ghost confirming what we just witnessed?  We heard a wonderful story about a young 16 year old young man named Orange Calvacanti. His brother was named Yellow and the other Blue.  Go figure!  Anyway, he was investigating the church.  His friend was a pastor and told him not to join.  But he read the Book of Mormon and prayed finding it to be true. He went to Brazil.  He told no one he joined the church.  He went with the missionaries to church then to his family’s church so no one would suspect.  When he was 19 he decided to go on a mission.  He forged his parents name on his application, received his papers and called a taxi.  On the way to the airport he called and told his parents who immediately called the police to stop him. Luckily then were unable to catch him. Despite no support at all, he was a very strong, successful missionary.  Despite obstacles trying to pull him away he knew the Lord would help him through.  Today he is a Bishop in Brazil!  So great!  We are having wonderful experiences, growing immensely, deeply tired, but continue to shiver, swim, swirl and shake things up in Jersey.  Love to all and missing you a lot, Dad and Mom, Jon and Bonnie, President and Sister Jeppson  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Fall"ing back to our routine and lovin' it!

“Fall”ing back to our routine and lovin it!   Yes, autumn has arrived here in the state of New Jersey and what a fall it is.  The leaves are turning and the colors are gorgeous.  They say it will be spectacular.  The trees are already beautiful and they haven’t completely turned.  I am grateful we still get to enjoy the seasons.  We love fall with the crisp air, pumpkins, leaves, Halloween and such.  It is a great time of year.  We have had a wild month. We finished helping the flood victims for the most part so the missionaries were very anxious and happy to get back to doing what they know best and loving it. We are getting back into our routine. September was a wash almost for missionary service, but having zone conferences at the beginning of the month has helped get everyone focused and finding once again.  Jon and the assistants taught great lessons on the apostasy and the restoration while I gave a short talk on handling stress.  Quite funny, I know, from someone who is quite STRESSED herself.  The Lord has really blessed me in handling the pressures.  I know I could not have done this without His help.  The Relief Societies of the wards put on great feasts for the missionaries and then we celebrate birthdays, have a Way To Be contest, play a game then go back to instructions where we role play.  I am amazed at the abilities of these missionaries role playing.  It is too bad the members of the church don’t role play more because as hard as it is, it is a great teaching tool.  I am STRESSED when I role play.  It is way hard!  Jon is a master.
We attended an International Night of Celebration.  The district that Jon is over has a night where they prepare food from many different countries.  There were dishes from Greece, China, Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala and America of course and others.  Then talent from those countries entertained us.  They asked Jon to do the talent from America.  He did the “Auctioneer” and they went crazy.  The MC came up and bowed down in front of him. It was hilarious.  They are so respectful of our positions!  They made us eat first.  I felt terrible because there were starving children!  They made us sit on the front row while people were standing who needed to sit down.  They insisted!!! I stopped looking at the people because I felt so bad.  I was STRESSED!  These people can not do enough for you!
We had an interesting experience this past month.  We have an Elder who is being followed by a company making a documentary of missionary life.  This elder was made a trainer for one of our new missionaries.  They asked if they could come to the home where we train them, fed them, help them etc. and watch, observe and film all that was going on.  I was ok with that as long as I didn’t have to be in the line of fire!  Wrong.  I was asked to play the piano at the last minute! There was fear and trembling fingers for I have not played in quite some time.  I am sure my faced expressions were hilarious as I struggled through.  They interviewed Jon with all the lights and he was amazing again! 
Then asked to interview the “mission mom”!  I froze.  They had me in the kitchen (of course..I was June Cleaver again.) All these bright lights which were so hot I thought I would pass out and I looked like a deer in headlights!  I can’t remember anything I said except Jon started laughing when I said, “We feed them a “yummy” dinner when they come!”  AHHHH! I do not remember anything I said or did.  I was in shock!  STRESSED!  The camera crew followed us all around that day at just filmed everything.  It was something to watch.  One of the crew men were given a Book of Mormon and was impressed by all that he saw.  The other camera man was a little confused. It was a day to remember for sure.  We all had a good laugh when they were gone.
We attended the baptism of a little nine year old girl that our assistants baptized.  She was the cutest little thing.  She made me homesick because she looked like Adanna.  She was full of the spirit and glowing!  What a special little girl. Her mother was from Haiti. The next day we attended the baptism of a husband and wife who had a baby.  You don’t see many families get baptized in Utah. It was beautiful.  The congregations are so diverse.  We have learned so much and continue to have wonderful experiences.
Family came out to visit and we so enjoyed having them.  It was nice to have a little break and see some of the sights of the metropolitan area. We loved seeing them and express our love for the efforts made to come.   We will attend a Mission President’s seminar this coming week, have interviews with missionaries, have more training and more meetings!  STRESS! Yes, but we are lovin it!  Love, Dad and Mom, Jon and Bonnie, President and Sister Jeppson