Sunday, December 30, 2012
We’re Chillin in Jersey!
The snow finally hit! After last years dribblin of snow we were hopin for the same! Not to be! We have had several snow storms and it is beautiful with all the trees here, but it has a chill to it that we were warned about. My bones do ache with that chilly wind and air. I really have to layer my clothes and for sure wear scarfs and gloves. Otherwise my fingers can’t move and my ears freeze off. Does that sound a little chilly?
Speakin of chilly, I have cooked a lot of chili since the season started. I have also prepared a lot of meals for celebrations. President Jeppson and I had each zone over for a “Jingle with the Jeppsons”. We had what seemed like a full eight course breakfast of French toast, waffles, yogurt, bagels, sausage, bacon, fruit of every kind, whipping cream and then eggnog, chocolate milk, OJ, apple juice and milk! I think President cooked around 300 or so French toast! Then when the missionaries were stuffed we jingled with the bells singing Christmas carols, read missionary Christmas stories and studied from the scriptures of the Savior’s birth. President Jeppson and I ended with a song from Whitney Houston, who grew up in New Jersey, “Who Would Imagine a King”. We played a game where the missionaries had to guess a character from the Book of Mormon. Upon guessing the right one they picked a pair of socks which were so generously donated from brothers and sisters, cousins and children back home. Each elder had a new pair of either, dress socks, athletic socks, hiking socks and the sisters also could choose softies too. These new socks should keep the chill from their footsies! Not only that, we as a mission, want to “Rock their socks off”; the people of New Jersey that is! President was given a tie by every missionary with their name on it and I was given a personalized ornament by every sister. They are real keepsakes!
Besides new socks, our dentist, Dr. Craig Proctor sent out dental hygiene kits to go in stockings for all the missionaries. His Stake youth committee wrote personal Christmas cards to each elder, sister and senior missionary along with a scarf and candy for all. And to top it off, our niece, Hannah Rich, made a beautiful warm hat for each missionary for her Gold Award for Girl Scouts. Now that was a labor of love. She called this project “Warm Heads, Warm Hearts”. Hannah hoped that if the missionaries were warm then her heart would be warm! From their heads to their feet the chill of the weather has been taken away.
These New Jersey missionaries have been given a lot this year by many generous people. They have been so very nice and never naughty this season so that is why they have been spoiled. Many gift cards, money donations, clothing and such have been received with thankfulness and appreciation. We even received a box of little fleece scarfs from primary girls in Florida to help victims of Sandy for Christmas. It is enough to give you chills of warmth and tenderness to your heart!
Speakin of chills, we had two wonderful mission firesides with investigators and members of the stakes here in New Jersey. The missionaries spoke, and sang so beautifully. Everyone felt the spirit strongly. But, sadly to say, I blew it trying to speak Spanish. I am learning to bear my testimony in Spanish and I got up to say “Buenas Noches” and for whatever possessed me to say “Buenas Nachos” is beyond me! But when that came out, the house came down. I tried to compose myself and chill so my face would stop blushing! I have been teased ever since!
The highlight of the month was our All Mission Christmas Conference. Everyone came together to have a fantastic devotional with speakers on the Savior, Joseph Smith by the Assistants and missionary experiences related by all the Stake Presidents and their wives. We had a delicious dinner served by the Morristown Sisters, senior sisters and helpers, then Alex Boye’ entertained us and delivered a spiritual Christmas message for us all. He then spoke at two more firesides Friday and Saturday nights so our missionaries could bring their investigators. We had a great time celebratin and chillin together. It was a great stress reliever.
But our wonderful missionaries don’t chill very long. They worked very hard this year bringing children of our Heavenly Father into the waters of baptism. We will have over 325 baptisms this year! There are 325 more individuals who have changed their lives and accepted the doctrines of Christ. We see baptisms every week and believe me it NEVER GETS OLD! The chills run through your body every time!
And as each transfer goes, our departing missionaries had a great time seeing sights of New Jersey and culminating it all with a trip to the Manhattan Temple. It always puts a chill in your heart when they leave because you love them so much and you may never see some again!
But life happens you know and that is why you make the most of everyday with who you are and who you are with. We are lookin forward to an exciting New Year! We hope family wise it will be a better 2013 for us. We added a new grandbaby and lost two grandbabies so we are looking forward to an exciting New Year of more grandbabies!
We are also havin an exciting New Year about to begin with 100 more missionaries comin to our mission! Our first big installment is comin up! The first twelve of seventy sisters are about to make their move on Jersey! It just gives you the chills doesn’t it!
Love to all, We miss you! Chillin in Jersey but lovin it! Dad and Mom, Jon and Bonnie, President and Sister Jeppson..New Jersey Morristown Mission
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Life here in New Jersey has been SUPER! Let’s see: Super Storm Sandy, Super hard clean up, Super tired, but amazing missionaries, Super neat experiences, Super great Red Cross and other Relief Agencies and Super awesome Mormon Helping Hands moments! What a month it has been. SUPER man President Jeppson has organized this yellow-shirted army into work teams and sent them out to help the massive destruction along the Jersey Shore, Emerson City, Paterson City, Jersey City, NJ and Staten Island, Coney Island NY. You have to see it to feel the loss and devastation that has hit these two states! The pictures don’t quite visualize what we have witnessed here. Estimated costs are up to $50 Billion dollars. Gov. Christie has said it will take at least $30 Billion dollars just to fix the shore and all the businesses and infra-structures that were damaged. On the other hand, people are super amazing! So many have stepped up and donated everything from money to anything you might need to survive. The Red Cross is everywhere as are many relief groups. Food, clothing, everything…are at centers that people can come and help themselves to whatever is needed. Our missionaries, of course, are super themselves. They don their shirts and vests and go where ever they are called or sent to serve. People are asking for the yellow shirt people to come and help them! The comments we have received from others would make you proud. In a good way of course! “They are God sent”. “They are angels”. “They are the nicest, most polite, gracious, kind young men and women”. After helping one household, we sang Called to Serve and the family started crying and hugged many of us. Our missionaries go with chain saws, picks, sledge hammers and crow bars in hand as they go from house to house hauling out everything, and we mean everything people own to the front sidewalk and make piles up and down the street to await pickup from huge dump trucks. Not only Elders are involved but Sisters as well. They are tearing up carpet, hauling supplies out of trucks, wrapping up a few belongings that might be spared and consoling many along the way. At the end of the day these super NJ missionaries are exhausted, dirty, muddy, covered with contaminated ocean water and who knows what else. Many have stepped on nails, received blistered hands and lots of scraps to body and face, but they are loving what they are doing and feel great joy and warmth in their hearts because they know that ‘when you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God’ (Mosiah 2:17).
Hopefully, our missionaries have shared many stories with family and friends because they have been super! One, 80 year old couple, would not leave to evacuate. The missionaries arrived and told them their house is no longer livable, but they refused to leave. It was all they had so the missionaries took everything out to the gutter, cleaned what they could, gave them hugs and the people cried saying, “We couldn’t have done this without you.” Another family stayed in their home and when the water got neck high they held their 1 month old baby above their head for 2 hours until the water receded. Wow! We tore out drywall, the floor and the cabinets. In fact, we did that at so many houses we lost count. 700,000 cars were damaged, boats were piled on top of each other, foundations were completely washed away. Several homes had 4 feet of sand in their front room. At the end of the street, piles of appliances, piles of people’s belongings, piles of wood, fences, trees, insulations etc. are everywhere. Well, we could go on and on with the super destruction this mini tidal wave created. People from all over have come to help Jersey and New York recover. It has been SUPER to see what happens when people come together and love each other. Christ-like service, comforting hugs and gentle handshakes and especially the condolences of sorrow for their loss continues to show who we are and the enormous amount of good being done by the missionaries. Goodness me, I think we have a gospel lesson that could be taught here! Yes, we are Mormons! We love it and we live it! President and I have SUPER smiles on our faces when we see what has happened here with the devotion of the missionaries to serve others. We all will be affected for the rest of our lives. It truly has been a life changing experience!
Even with all the time our missionaries have put into helping others, they continue to do super missionary work. Many have entered the waters of baptism this month and hearts are being open and receptive because of the service rendered from Hurricane Sandy.
We had super interviews with our missionaries this month. We love having one on one time with them because we get to feel of their amazing spirits. We are looking forward to next month’s holiday season. We will be having “Jingle with the Jeppsons” and everyone is super excited!
We just finished our Christmas Missionary Fireside tonight. The missionaries sang their hearts out and the Spirit was super strong. The message was beautiful and all about the Savior.
Well, this is super long, I am super tired and I am going to bed! But we will be ready to start again tomorrow to have another super day here in the New Jersey Morristown Mission! We love and miss you! Dad and Mom, Jon and Bonnie, President and Sister Jeppson