Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mud, Muck and Missionaries

One Saturday afternnoon a few months ago, a 6 year boy named Mikey was hit by a car while fishing with his dad.  A woman had lost control of her car, slid off the bridge and hit Mikey at the rate of 50 mph. His grandpa came to the hospital and asked Mikey what happened.  "Well, papaw, I was fishin and some lady runned me over.  I flew into a mud puddle and broke my fishin pole and didn't get to catch no fish."  As it turned out, the impact propelled Mikey 500 feet, over a few trees and an embankment and in to the middle of a mud puddle. Only his right femur bone was broken and with surgery pins in his leg would hea.  His grandpa bought him another fishing pole and talked about fishing.  Mikey said "Papw, did you know Jesus is real?"  "Well, yes, Mickey, for all those who believe in Him and love Him in their hearts."  "No, Jesus is really real.  I know because I saw Him.  When that lady runned me over and broke my pole, Jesus caught me in His arms and laid me down in the mud puddle!"  The New Jersey Morristown missionaries have seen Jesus with the mud.  We have seen Him with the mucky flood water, with the devastation and we have seen Him in the hearts of all of us.  All of the wonderful members and missionaries from all over the world have helped lift burdens, sorrows; have healed, encouraged and given hope and countless hours of service to hundreds wearing their yellow "Momon Helping Hands" yellow t-shirts.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints know how to help people who have had their lives completely overturned and devastated.  At several church buildings, where command centers have been established, huge trucks have brought in supplies of food, cleaning kits, hygiene kits, tools of every kind, generators, pumps, masks, gloves, goggles.  Then there are all the computers and networks that are orgainized to list all those who are in need.  The tasks force have been all of our missionaries, members of the stakes and this past week several busloads of missionaries from the South New York mission joined us to continue hauling wet, muddy, mucky, smelly, moldy belongings of these people out to the sidewalk to be picked up with dump trucks.  Jon and I have been so proud of our missionaries.  They have loved serving and have been humbled by what they have seen and felt.  I was talking to a man that I stopped to see if he needed help and he showed me his basement that still had 2 feet of water in it.  I told him we would get a pump and generator within the hour and sure enough one call and a car with a generator and pump showed up, the missionaries set it up started pumping, then tore apart the sheet rock completely taking care of his basement.  They spent the entire day helping this man and his family.  The man started crying.  We have all seen tears of appreciation and gratitude in this effort of helping our Father in Heavens children.  We have all gone to bed completely exhausted, but so humbled and greatful for what we have experienced and how we have seen the church in action of helping their brothers and sisters.  Another man came up to me and said, "The Mormon folk are good people.  I will never forget what they have done for me."  These are just a miniscule experience of what we have been experiencing the last 3 weeks.  One more...we went to help a member and all the yellow shirted missionaries were carrying out her yucking belongings from the basement. Neighbors standing around watching with faces of despair.  So what did our missionaries do?  Went into several more homes to help. The member went to the city council the next day and told them they should be ashamed of themselves.  If it hadn't been for the Mormon Missionaries and their church none of us would have been helped.  We would have still been suffering and in a diaster."  One of the neighbors threw up her hands, praised the Lord and said Thank you, thank you!  This is what we have been doing.  Thankfully, many missionaries have been able to teach, testify and baptize.  But right now helping and serving is what we are about right now.  Hey and we have even found some fish swimming in the water in the basements of some homes!  After all we are fishers of men!  Love you all and miss you tons...Dad and Mom, Jon and Bonnie, President and Sister Jeppson

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hurricane IRENE rips through our mission!

Irene came with a vengeance and damaged homes, roads, and livelihoods.  Our missionaries came to the rescue!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Swimmin and Swayin' in Jersey

Well, the Jeppsons came to Jersey and the state fell apart!  Thank goodness the missionary work is up and going full speed.  After the earthquake, Hurricane Irene was a mean machine!  The weather was so calm and beautiful and the people were hustling to get provisions at the stores.  I saw first hand the bread isle- gone!  Water was getting scare.  Boards up against windows and buisnesses and generators were ready!  I wondered just how bad it was going to be.  Of course Gov. Christie told everyone to "Get the H...of the beach and evacuate"  and it is a good thing they did.  We got all our missionaries to ward houses and members' homes.  We had 6 sister missionaries come to our home.  That night was really creepy!  The rain came down in torrents!  I have never seen anything like it and the trees were bending and swaying.  I kept looking out the windows because of course I am one of those people who if they could would stand by a tornedo to watch!!!   It rained all the next day and the rivers were way over flood stage as in 22 feet!  The damage was so tragic!  So many homes were flooded, roads washed away, mud everywhere and the smell, well, its wierd because it smells like formaldahyde!  My anatomy classes came to mind when we were out to witness the devastation.  Today was a memorable one.  Everyone met in their sacrament meetings at 8:30 am.  All were dressed in levis, boots, yellow morman helping hands t-shirts, masks and gloves.  We had the sacrament and then all were assigned to go out and help communities that has been hit so hard.  One subdivision had 700 people from the stake helping!  It was inspiring!  Jon and I were assigned to a home where we went down in the basement and spent hours pulling bikes, suitcases, boxes of files, books, toys, or there was so much stuff that had been ruined by the flood water.  The water had filled to the top of the basements and the base of the first floor was wet.  Some of the homes had been condemmed. Streets and streets have all that they own out in the gutter waiting for trucks to come and pick it up.  Two of our sister missionaries cut apart a beautiful leather couch to get it out of the home they were helping in.  It was too heavily filled with water to try and lift it.  The stories can go on and on.  We will be doing the same thing tomorrow for labor day.  Obama came to see the damage.  Jon and I could not get out of the city we were in because of all the streets closed off for him.  Finally we made it back to our home so we could get ready for a baptism.  We went to a great baptism of two young black men.  We were so proud of our Elders.  We were able to get 15 people baptized today that should have been in the water last week.  At the baptism one of the elders came up to me and showed me his so-called mosquito bite on his ankle!  I about died when I saw it.  That was no mosquito bite.  His ankle was BLACK!  I took him immediately to the ER at a hospital down the road.  I walked in by myself and I was in a waiting room of at least 50 black people all staring at me!  I was the only white person in the room!  Alex Boye' said well now you know what it feels like.  It was a little intimidating.  I mentioned this to one of the  4 white elders when they got there and he said, "Hmmm, I didn't even notice".  Well there you go.  Now mind you he has been here a lot longer than I have and it is becomming more common to me, but it was great that he just thought it was normal and I should too!  Still learning alot as you can see.  Well, the elder did get bitten by a spider who had emitted a toxic to make his ankle bleed more so he could feed off him! Yes, sick isn't it?  He will live thank goodness.  Jon and I thought his leg was dying from the looks of it.  Back to the of the baptismal canidates came up to us and shook our hands and said, "I Believe!"  He had struggled for some time about Joseph Smith, but read the Book of Mormon, prayed and prayed and found it for himself.  AFterall it is hard to believe if you don't believe in Joseph and the Book of Mormon.  We are getting ready for a very busy month with ALOT of meetings coming up.  I was grateful to get some help finally with meals and cleaning.  There are alot of great people here who are so willing to help! This is too long and I am going to bed. Loved skyping with our children and grandchildren tonight.  Miss them! Love to all, Dad and Mom, Jon and Bonnie, Pres. and Sister Jeppson