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