Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shaking things up in New Jersey!

 Well, we are certainly shaking up things here in New Jersey and I don't mean the earthquake.  Our missionaries are aweseom.  We have 15 baptisms this coming Sunday.  They have been working so hard and we are very proud of them.  As for the other shaking, it was quite eery.  I was coming down the elevator to get a fruit platter from the car and it started to shake back and forth.  I thought, hmmm, is this breaking or could this be an earthquake?  Earthquakes in the east?  I don't think so..I past it off.  Went to the car and on the way back all these people were coming out of the building looking very frightened.  They told me there had been an earthquake and not to go back in the building.  Of course most of these individuals have never experienced an earthquake and were quite shaken up about it.  I went back in and up the stairs this time.  Into the office I went and found that everyone had evacuated the building but the mission office!  They were all there still working.  It must be their faith! Certainly not common sense. They are all from the west and didn't seem to get all anxious about it even though the floor did wave and things shook.  West Virginia is where it all started with a 5.8 magnitude and was felt all along the east coast.  There was some damage to some structures, but no one here was hurt and everyone is safe.  It has been on the news all night and day.  They were checking the Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel and George Washington Bridge for structural damage.  It would be quite scarey if you were in one of those tunnels or crossing the bridge and had a major earthquake I must say.  I get a little claustrophobic just going through the tunnels myself.  
             I have turned into Beverly Cleaver and Jon is Ward Cleaver.  We are always dressed up!  I can cook, clean a toilet, garden, shop all in my skirt and apron.  I have forgotten to know what it feels like to wear pants and would feel wierd wearing them now.  We have had a little break, I must say, very little in the hectic routine.  We actually had a date night and our first p-day on Saturday.  It is fun trying new and different restauarants.  The Itailan food is very good here.  Could it be the real deal?  There are alot of Italians.  Alot of Italians mean alot of Catholics.  Our neighborhood is mostly Catholics but they are very good people.  We continue to open our mouths and give out pass along cards.  People are genuinely polite when we talk to them.  We continue to learn alot.  We start in with zone leader council on Friday and then start leadership training and new missionary training.  Jon does an amazing job in teaching these missionaries.  I must say I do an amazing job doing everything else!  I know this because I haven't curled up in a fetal position yet.  I have had a few blonde, ditz moments but other than that we are holding our own.  We are humble because if you don't stay humble, the Lord does it for you quickly.  We have learned that for sure.  Another thing for sure, the missionary work in New Jersey is rockin and rollin and not because of an earthquake.  Love to all, Dad and Mom, Jon and Bonnie, President and Sister Jeppson  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dementia has hit!

Hello to all,
      Yes, well we have had so much on our plate that we don't even remember if we have said the prayer at dinner.  We look at each other and ask,"Did we say the prayer?"  and neither one of us can remember.  Even with planners and notes we don't remember alot of things.  We are constantly reminding each other of where we are suppose to be, what we are doing, or where we are going, which missionary is doing what or when or how.  But it is all good.  We laugh alot!  This week we went to the Manhatten Temple with our departing missionaries.  Amazing.  New York traffic is unreal.  A sea of yellow cabs everywhere and a ton of honks to go with it.  I'm proud to say I was personally honked at 5 times because I was not moving fast enough obviously.  Jon drove in a 12 seat van into the city under the Lincoln Tunnel.  It was surreal going under the Hudson River from Jersey and then into New York.  It is incredible to see Angel Moroni at the top across the street from the Juliard School of Music.  We parked in the $30.00 parking lot, that is right, $30.00 to park and went inside the beautiful temple with stained glass everywhere.  So much noise on the outside and nothing to be heard on the inside except wonderful, quiet peace.  Small session of course but it was special to be with those missionaries who have completed 2 years of hard work and committment to serve.  Jon and I were the witness couple because we were the only ones married there!  After the temple president took us in a room where he talked to the missionaries and had Jon and I bear our testimonies (I have never borne my testimony so much in my life!).  Then he set Jon apart as a veil worker so when he comes he can help take missionaries through.  We then walked to Central Park down one block and had a picnic with lunch that we had ordered from the deli next to the temple.  It was a great day.  Cars galore however and so many people!!!  We had a real date night finally on Friday.  A good break.  Our p-day was filled with interviews, shopping for transfer conference and then we went to a luau that some of the missionaries had planned with the members of their ward.  Investigators came through to see each organization was a different polynesian island and then they told about priesthood, RS, YW, primary etc.  Then we had a luau dinner and program where the missionaries performed etc.  They worked hard.  We had an investigator named Junus.  A different woman's name for sure.  She loves her two missionary sisters.  THey taught her how to fast and prayer.  She said she have never fasted and everytime she went by the sick she was dying for a drink of water, but then she would go and pray and specifically pray to have her house sold so she could move to where her daughter lives.  Coincidence?  I think not.  The next morning she had a call from her realtor that her house had been sold the previous day.  A small miracle for sure.  She said it was because I let two darling girls into my home to teach me.  She still has alot of questions and hopefully before she moves to FLorida she can be baptized.  Today we went to the baptism of Sergio who is 27.  He had been stubborn, but finally realized what he was feeling.  He said he felt something special 3 times and decided he needed to be baptized.  Again they asked for testimonies from Jon and I.  Jon is amazing.  He can talk so freely and express himself so well.  I struggle, but do my best.  Tomorrow our next set of missionaries arrive from the MTC.  WE feed them dinner, Jon interviews them, feed them breakfast, trainers come in to be taught, feed them lunch, get paired up with their companion, leave for the rest of the transfers (feed them cookies), bring the departing missionaries home, feed them, interview, talk, etc. bed, wake up at 5:30, feed them, send them off to the airport.  Then Jon and I go back to bed....yeah right...maybe that is why we can't remember anything anymore.  We start all over again!  But it is good.  So great to be with wonderful young men and women who are trying so hard.  We are learning alot and realize we have a lot more to learn.  Love to all.....Jon and Bonnie, Mom and Dad, President and Sister Jeppson

Friday, August 12, 2011

This was a first!

Hello to all,
     We had our first zone conferences and had a blast!  Jon, of course, gave great training on working with the bishops and stake presidencies, I talked on their eating habits etc.,  showed a few church training videos, lunch, played a game with mini balls.  One ball had the word "trust" on it.  The missionary who caught that ball got a prize.  We are doing a "Way to Be Bag", way to be happy, way to be healthy, way to be humble.  The bag was filled with a bunch of stuff and we had them stand while we had statements like:  All those missionaries who brushed their teeth every day for the past 7 days remaining standing.  All those missionaries who laughed at least once a day in the past seven days remain standing.  All those missionaries who taught an investigator this past week remain standing, etc. etc. until one missionary was left and won the prize.  We sang a song to Be it (Beat it from Michael Jackson)  just changed the words of course.  The mssionaries got a kick out of that.  Then the remaining time in the afternoon was devoted to more training.  We have changed a rule for this mission and have asked if any missionary wants to use his musical instrument for the purpose of missionary work may do so. They were thrilled with that also.  Thursday I left zone conference to take 2 missionaries into New York to see a psychiatrist.  We crossed the George Washington Bridge.  It is huge!  Then traveled by the Manhatten temple.  It was all fascinating and a first for me.  Saturday we had dinner with the mission presidency.  The second counselor is from Cuba and his wife from Ecuador.  We had a lovely dinner with foods from all over and saw Elder and Sister Harlan Clark.  They had just been released  and reassigned to serve in our mission as member leadership support missionaries.  They are loving missionary work.  Sunday we went to a baptism of a Spanish brother who 2 of our sister missionaries have been teaching.  They asked if we would help sing a hymn at the baptism.  Well, little did we know that the hymn was in Spanish.  So the two missionaries and Jon and I sang I know that my Redeember Lives in Spanish!!!  Did we know what we were doing?  NO!  We were very entertaining however.  The two missionaries were all over the place with their pitch and I tried to sing Alto.  Jon just kept singing away.  I told him when we were home at the Spanish branches he should have been learning spanish!!  Now we are both trying to learn it.  We looked at the program and saw Beniveida a la Iglesia -- Presidente Jeppson, or something like that.  I showed it to Jon and he said, "What the heck is that"  After asking around we found that he was to welcome this new member into the church!  A first for sure!  We slaughtered the song and I laughed so hard on the way home I was crying.  That night we spoke at the YSA for a fireside.  Jon told his story, (that is what they wanted) and I told them some of our missionary stories.  After a man came up to Jon and said that he was told that President Jeppson could look into someone's eyes and feel of their spirits.  We think they got the wroooong impression and information because he asked Jon to look in his eyes and tell him what is spirit was like!!!!  Jon was baffled.  He then brought his wife up and asked Jon to do the same witih her! I wanted to say, wait we are having a seance tomorrow and I'm bringing the candles.  Oh my word!  I think they think that Jon is a psychic.  Hilarious!  A first.  Two classic stories this week..One of our sister went into the bathroom at an investigators home.  She came running out of the bathroom with a horrified look on her face.  Her companion asked her what was wrong?  She had flushed the keys down the toilet and was panicking.  They were far from their apartment and no other keys.  What did they do?  Started praying.  The investigator ran and got her plastic gloves, reached as far as she could down the toilet and walla!  The keys were there, sparkling clean no doubt.  THe other....Jon and I were having a very short date night Friday at Applebees and who I thought was the manager came over and asked if I had enjoyed the service today.  I replied, "Yes, it was very good"  He said, It was good with a question and I replied again, "yes it was good."  He then said, "Well I saw your tag and noticed you were from the Church of Jesus Christ and hoped you had enjoyed your service today!"  Ha! It dawned on me what he was trying to say!  So funny.  Tonight we are having all the senior couples over for dinner and FHE.  18 will be here to get to know each other better.  Tomorrow I go with an Elder to have some surgery at a hospital and then Wednesday take the departing missionaries to the Manhattan Temple and then to Central park for a picnic.  A first for both of us.  We keep laughing so we don't cry from an overwhelming schedule.  But we are lovin it and learnin so much.  Thanks for all your prayers.  We need them especially if we are asked to pray in Spanish!!!
Love to all, Jon and Bonnie

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Humbled but Happy!

We have had a very busy, tiring, but amazing week.  We finished our interviews after 8 full days with 8 different zones getting to know our missionaries better.  They are wonderful young men and women with such a desire to serve and be obedient.  We had specialized training where we taught the new missionaries more about the work and then Zone Leader training doing more teaching.  I fixed lunch for 25 on Wednesday and 22 on Friday.  I just finished making 16 sack lunches for our departing missionaries going to Ellis Island to see the STatue of Liberty while touring the island all day.  We are going with them so it will be a first for us.  We are excited to finally see her after living in America all our lives.  We had a wonderful experience today at church.  We went to East Orange Ward to see one of the baptisms.  We walked in the chapel and there were only chairs.  It was a very nice chapel, just no pughs.  Everyone was black except for the missionaries and one woman.  The first counselor in the branch presidency had dreads!  Amazing.  The brother who said the prayer came to the pulpit and said, Let us pray!  Then said a beautiful prayer.  I think he was a minister before he joined the church.  The branch president was an amazing man with a beautiful voice and a beautiful spirit to match.  The speaker was a man named Brother Sims.  He called the branch president the pastor and told us he had been a full blown athiest who did not like organized religion in any way shape or form.  He talked about the preisthood of God.  He had been to many churches and they could never answer any of the questions he had.  He went to an LDS ward and said there was something that just stood out.  There was no foul language.  There were families, believers, working men who were working together to try and improve themselves.  They were showing him by example. It took years to mold me but it finally worked he said.  He said he got to see many saints of life doing the same thing over and over.  He travels and saw the same thing all over at the LDS wards where men were presiding with their priesthood and respecting the women in their wards as well.  He said it happened in no matter what LDS church I went to.  He said, I am not suppose to have pride , but I am so proud to be part of this church and have this priesthood.  The closing prayer was said in Spanish.  We went to the baptism following and the service was in French/Creole for a woman from Haiti. In that ward there was Spanish, French, Portugeues, English and when they sang everyone sang in their own language.  It was simply amazing.  Never have I seen anything like it!  We felt so humbled because we take the church for granted when we have it so easy every day of our lives.  The Spirit that was in that building was one I have never felt before.  We are in a foreign country here.  People wear whatever they want I suppose.  We had suits, levis, shorts, pant suits, you name it we had it there and it didn't seem to matter.  They were very kind to us and were so happy we were there.  Oh do I have alot to learn.  We are off to see Lady Liberty tomorrow and hopefully have a break from fixing food for awhile!!! Ha!  Our first set of zone conferences start on Wednesday and go through Fridays.  Busy and continue to be beat!  Love to all and miss you terribly.  Love, Jon and Bonnie