April showers in Jersey brought lots of flowers in May. This area continues to be beautiful. The leaves are back on the trees which make the freeways very enjoyable to travel. Azaleas are blooming everywhere and the dogwood trees are lacey and pretty with blossoms galore. I want to plant those in our Utah yard. The animals have appeared once more. We have seen chipmunks, squirrels, large ugly ants, really cute rabbits, and even a red fox trying to cross the road. Saw us coming and ran back into the woods. And we are staying out of the woods! No ticks for us!
As for our health, Jon is still alive! He is still having some back issues and post-surgery pains but he says nothing too serious. He overdoes, of course, and I try to hold him down but the old saying holds, “You can’t keep a good man down”. As for me, the ankle is healing just fine and we both love riding the chair lift together!!! It makes an amazing picture to say the least.
We continue to enjoy serving in New Jersey. It really is an amazing place. Everyone tells us it is an amazing place. “It gets a bad rap, you know!” Well, I guess it can have a bad rap when Newark gets the reputation for the most cars stolen in the United States over New York City and LA combined! I would say that is quite bad. They can have a car stolen and in one night it is taken to NYC, stripped and smashed before the night is over. HA! But who is talking cars and crime here! We’re talkin missionary work and baptisms. We baptized 38 people last month! Now call that amazing! One of our missionaries told us “I was in the water waiting for this 10 year old to come down the stairs so I could baptize him. Well, he jumped in and started swimming underwater around me. I had to grab him, pick him up and say, ‘It’s time to be baptized’!” He thought it was time to swim. We have been able to see many enter the water! It NEVER gets old. Especially for me because I was used to seeing only 8 years and now to see converts every week truly is a tender experience. Watching our missionaries dressed in white and baptizing those who they have been so diligently teaching accept the gospel is truly very touching. A sister today who bore here testimony said, “I will never forget how I felt when I came up out of the water.” Being baptized as an 8 year old is a little different, I must say. I am grateful that I have had the gospel my whole life. But when I witness those individuals smile as they go down and many who come up crying, filled with such joy I am a little envious of the experience they have just had. I was much like the young 10 year who wanted to swim. It was fun, enjoyable, exciting and why not, it should be!
Jon and I finished off April by attending the Mission Presidents Seminar in Washington DC. 26 other Missions met together to be trained. What a great trip. It wasn’t a vacation for we were in meetings all day (good ones I might add) but it was nice to see a few of the sights our last night. Our previous blog has pictures of going to the Lincoln Memorial. What a spiritual feeling is there. It is peaceful, quite sacred, and in fact, the city was quite stirring emotionally. We were amazed! Taking pictures in front of the White House was always on our bucket list so we did. It was impressive to see. The police are in front 24/7 and the roads surrounding the house are no longer accessible due to the Oklahoma Bombings. Each memorial was lit up and beautiful. Hope to go back there some day. It was great to be with all the mission presidents and their wives in our area. The owner of Café Rio is in our group and treated several of us to the restaurant in DC. He was a rock star there and the employees treated us like royalty. The Nilsons are great people. I asked them if they had shipped out Café Rio to their missionaries for a dinner and they said “Of course” Wow spoiled…but then we brought out Alex to entertain so we couldn’t say too much!
Jon and I had a chance to go to Harmony, Pennsylvania, the sight of the Restoration of the Priesthood with our senior missionaries. It was a beautiful day, peaceful and quiet along the banks of the Susquehanna River. A CES teacher told the story of the appearance of John the Baptist and Peter, James and John to restore the priesthood to Joseph. Jon and I felt much like we did in Nauvoo and Jerusalem, we were walking on sacred ground.
We then had a Mission Department Tour. Two brethren came, Brother Drubay (who works with Christian Pulfer (childhood friend of our children) surprise, surprise…Christian worked on the billboard in NYC with Brother Drubay) and Brother Steinagel. They were terrific! They taught and trained us in so many ways using Preach My Gospel. It was nice to be told that our mission is going forward and on the right track, that President Jeppson has caught the vision of what he is supposed to be doing and teaching it! But of course….I am not biased in any way. Who would not want to be taught by President Jeppson. He is amazing! Brother Drubay got the missionaries pumped up by showing new Mormon messages and discussed more of what is happening in the media for the church. In fact, at the mission presidents seminar, we too, were shown what is happening with the media. The missionaries are to be on the Internet and become acquainted with LDS.org/ Mormon.org/Family History/LDS Newsroom. Time is to be given during the week for missionaries to get on these sights and use them. With the presidential campaign, TV shows, media, etc., they want missionaries and members to be aware of what is coming!! We were told at the seminar “for those presidents who have 2 ½ more years, buckle up! It is going to be a ride”. Simply aMAYzing isn’t it?
Miss and love you all, Dad and Mom, Jon and Bonnie, President and Sister Jeppson NJMM