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 momon.org 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