Sunday, January 29, 2012

Is it spring?!

         We finally had winter in New Jersey, or should I say a winter day because the next day it was sunny, then it rained and melted all the snow, then cooler air, then warmer air, cooler, then warmer.  Today on the 29th of January people are wearing jackets and some of the spring flowers are trying to come up.  STRANGE!!!  But we will take it.  We love the weather. One day of winter so far and the rest cold and even warm, balmy days! We are grateful there is no ice to slip on so far.  Now maybe we will be pummeled in February, but it will still be a shorter winter in the long run. Yeah!!!
         It has been quite a month in the New Jersey, Morristown Mission.  We started off with Zone Conferences.  We always love being together as a mission.  We had great instruction from President Jeppson on the Plan of Salvation and focused on becoming Master Planners using the phone, Area Books and their individual planners.  The missionaries told us it really helped them be better organized and have more appointments during the week.  Sister Jeppson talked about their apartments and keeping them clean. We enjoyed music, talents from the missionaries, great food by the Relief Society, games and teaching from 9 to 4 everyday for 3 days. They were long days, but great, rewarding ones.
Jon and I went to the Manhattan Temple with 2 missionaries going home.  It is a great way to finish their missions.  We have a member of the temple presidency come and talk to them after the session where they can ask questions and bear testimony.  The temple it is so quiet inside and then you step outside to the noise of taxis, cars and a ton of people in New York.  It is quite a contrast.  We had our trip planned to the Statue of Liberty where we take a ferry to the island with the departing missionaries, but this past week Jon exercised and apparently aggravated an old injury in his back and laid him up good.  He can barely walk!  It has been quite painful and he is going to have an MRI this week.  He has had some physical therapy and it is going to take some time.  He is anxious and wants to be out working.  It is ironic too, because we have a lot of stairs to get in the house, stairs to get in the office and a lot of steep stairs to get to the bedroom.  More stairs than we have ever had!  Ha! I told him I would get a sled and send him down each morning and haul him up each night!   Enough of that.  We could not go to Lady Liberty and this time we had the film crew go who is following Elder Long who is going home from our mission.  They have been doing a documentary on this particular elder.  I told Jon we missed our chance to be a star and have our 5 minutes of fame. The documentary comes out in October. 
We have been to district meetings, zone meetings, correlation meetings and specialized training meeting for new missionaries, trainers meetings and zone leader council meetings. Aren’t you jealous? But these meeting help run the mission so we do them!
 We have 6 new missionaries coming in on Monday, Transfer conferences of around 100 missionaries changing all over the mission on Tuesdays and then we are going to start interviewing missionaries during the next 4 weeks with many more meetings to come!  But we are loving it and back on schedule with a great month of 28 baptisms.  That means 28 more wonderful souls were brought into the Kingdom.  In one of the baptisms, the person was petrified of the water. No one knew she was petrified! She kept struggling to keep from going all the way under and after 5 attempts Jon had to finally tell the Elder to push her down which he then did and she made it but came up coughing !!  One baptism, particularly touched us.  A mom with 2 daughters stepped into the font.  I watched her face.  She was breathing very deeply with her eyes closed and a big smile on her face. They pronounced the prayer and laid her back into the water. Arising from the water she became very emotional and later told us she felt this heaviness leave her body as she arose from the water.  It was very touching!
A great love month is ahead of us.  We love our missionaries, friends and family.  We found out besides Becky having a baby in May that Melissa will be having a baby in June.  More future missionaries!  YaHoo!  I might add a big month for Sister Jeppson who will be reaching the grand age of 30 + 30.  I can’t say it…it hurts me! But as long as I can walk and especially talk…I am good to go.  Keep Jon in your prayers….he needs them.  Love and miss you all…..Dad and Mom, Jon and Bonnie, President and Sister Jeppson

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

And you thought I was through telling you about our Christmas month!
We are looking forward to January with new goals, zone conferences, new missionaries, trip to the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan Temple, baptisms and more!
I tried to talk Jon into going to Time Square to watch the ball drop and he looked at me and thought I was crazy.  “I am not going there with one million people.  I watched the fireworks through the trees over the Hudson River, blew horns and yelled “Happy New Year!”  Had our New Year Kiss and then hit the bed exhausted.  But that is what we do every night!  Maybe this year will be different.  HA!  It has been great fun to see the Missionaries wearing ties donated by my family and Jon’s family this week.  We signed many a tie.  I guess that is what they like to do.  The scarves have been fun to see on sweaters, around coats and even tied in the sister’s hair.  Josh’s wife, Kellie, made all the sisters beautiful silk flowers that we have seen in their hair and on the lapels of their jackets. It is great that sisters can now wear color and accessories.  Some of the sisters have decided to wear a little makeup after our talk on being feminine and they have been helping each other shop and fix their hair.  All in all, our Sister’s Conference was very special in having the feminine side all together.  Thank you to everyone who helped our missionaries have a great Christmas. 
         One of the miracles this week:  Elder Wootton told us of  a lady who stopped them a month ago on the street and said that she is a member.  She has been in New Jersey for a year and has never found the church!  They gave her the address and their number.  She told them that her husband wasn’t a member but they were going to fix that.  They neglected to get her information for some reason.  She never showed up to church and she was lost to them.  But on Tuesday this week Elder High said a prayer to find her that Elder Wootton did not know about.   The next day Elder Wootton said a prayer that they would find her that Elder High did not know about.  That night their appointment fell through and they were thinking of what to do.  Looking across the street there was a restaurant that had just opened so they decided to try it even though they both were not too hungry.  As they were ordering their food they recognized the cashier as the member they had lost!  God had answered their prayers!  We have been blessed with stories like this every week.  It is amazing.   Well Happy New 2012 to all of you!  Come and visit us this year.  You will love New Jersey!  It is a fun, unique adventure!

H appiness depends upon your outlook on life
A ttitude is just as important as ability
P assion for missionary work brings joy and love
P reach My Gospel Manuel is for Everyone
Y ou are unique, with special gifts, use them

N ew beginnings with a New year
E nthusiasm a true secret of success
Wishes may they turn into goals

Y ou can open your mouth and share the gospel
E nergy, may you have lots of it
A ppreciation of life, don’t take it for granted
R emember why and who we serve, the Savior           

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Jingle with the Jeppson's!

        What a delightful month we have had.  Breezy, warmer weather than usual (but then the weather has been unusual since we got here!), bright, colorful Christmas lights all over from New Jersey to New York and beautiful thoughts of the Savior!  What a great time of year.  Even with all the hustle and bustle, December is a great way for Missionaries to end the year and begin a new one.
          We started the month with Missionary Christmas Firesides which were held in many stakes.  We had great attendance and the missionaries, well what can I say, they were amazing.   They sang beautiful Christmas songs, expressed quotes and thoughts of the Savior and many shared their talents from amazing solos, to violins, cellos and piano numbers.  Our hearts were so touched hearing them sing all together.  Elders wore red and green ties and sisters red and green blouses, skirts, ribbons and bows.  They were a sight to see and hear.
            We had our missionaries come “Jingle with the Jeppsons”.  The sisters came to the mission home for an all Sisters’ Conference.  Salads and bread sticks with cookies and treats were served followed by spiritual thoughts and testimonies of the Savior.  My sister made beautiful virtue bracelets for all the sisters.  The Elders came in for breakfast followed by testimonies as well.  We rang bells and sang Christmas songs and took lots of pictures of all the zones.  Each missionary put a Christmas Wish on the front door for the mission.  They were very touching with the majority wanting families, friends and investigators converting and being baptized for the year 2012.  Our families donated 140 ties for the missionaries and 20 scarves for the sisters encouraging them to “tie” themselves to Christ.  They loved them and wanted to thank all of you for being so kind. Thank you, Thank you.
            We ended the month having our All Mission Conference.  We had 158 missionaries come together to be edified and uplifted with spiritual thoughts, a feast, beautiful music and fun.  The Stake Presidents told great missionary stories, the missionaries sang, “He Sent His Son” and “The Nativity” followed by talks of Joseph Smith and the Savior and our son in law, Alex Boye’ ended with “How Great Thou Art”. He and Julie came and entertained the troops! They loved it!  Each missionary was sent off with wrapped Christmas packages (the office sisters wrapped 150 packages!), pictures of the mission, a stocking filled with all kinds of goodies (and I might add that our dentist in Salt Lake Dr. Craig Proctor donated 160 dental hygiene kits for all them!!!!.  We love him!)  plus candy bags and a candy cane. They are going to need the toothbrushes for sure!  It was a Christmas we will all remember being together as missionaries here in New Jersey. So much fun, so much Spirit, and so much exhaustion! 
            Alex, Julie, Adanna and Zander all came in to help with the conference and spend Christmas with us.  We loved having them and it was great to reconnect with two grandchildren.  They were darling and we so enjoyed having all of them here for the holiday.  It made us homesick to say the least! 
            As for our mission goal of 400 baptisms, we achieved 397.  Four of the baptisms scheduled for 12/31/11 were postponed for various reasons.  But we had three baptisms on the first of January so I feel all in all that we arrived. Jon said no, it had to be on the 31st!! But I say Yes!  But uniting our faith and focusing on our goal and everyone including family praying helped bring us all together for a great cause.  Hey, we baptized a whole new ward this year!!
            Jon and I attended 6 baptismal services yesterday and today.  Each was a spiritual experience for us.  We are so use to seeing 8 year olds in Salt Lake and out here we have been privileged to witness many individuals of all ages, color and culture.  It is truly a remarkable experience to see.  So many have been miracles, as in one person coming up to one of our missionaries and asking if he could be baptized.  Another couple looked up and found the nearest church, came and following the meeting asked the missionaries if they could be baptized. Golden?  I think so.  Prepared by the Spirit?  I think so too.  Another great year ahead in 2012?  Not only do I think so, but know so.
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday jingling and look forward to sharing with the Jeppsons in Jersey in 2012.  Love to all, Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Bon Bon, Jon and Bonnie, President and Sister Jeppson