Sunday, July 22, 2012
Bring out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer! An old 60’s song sung by Nat King Cole that we oldies enjoyed hearing during the summer. But it is a song that certainly does not describe New Jersey missionary work! Oh wait, maybe hazy and crazy, but certainly not lazy! No way! We have the hardest working missionaries in the church. It may be hot, humid and hazy right now, and of course always a little crazy in Jersey, but we are loving the work in the summer because we find more people who are out and about enjoying the season. We have had 29 baptisms so far this month. Watching soon to be members enter the waters of baptism never gets old. It is very heart warming and tender. Last week we watched a husband get baptized followed by his wife and then her husband returned to the water and hugged her. Then they embraced the missionary! He was sandwiched in between the two. Not a dry eye in the place! Another favorite of mine was just as the prayer began to be pronounced to immerse this mother of twins into the water, the sun passed the skylight above the font and a beam of light came down upon her and the missionary baptizing her. Every week we have this marvelous opportunity to witness the work go forward. It is exciting.
We had our zone conferences the first week of July. President Jeppson gave great instruction on the MUST KNOW areas of the gospel from the rings of knowledge. We must know that Heavenly Father and the Savior are real and that they appeared to Joseph Smith. Then the NEED TO KNOW area is the Book of Mormon is true, the priesthood is restored, a living prophet is upon the earth today and the church is true. Next is the NICE TO KNOW…The Articles of Faith, Church History, the Names of the Apostles etc, and then the STUPID TO KNOW (even though we don’t say stupid) as in where is Kolob, where is the Garden of Eden, where the dinosaurs fit in, etc. Hey, did you know they just found more dinosaur bones in Jersey!!! Go figure! They probably got sucked into the marshlands! Ha! Anyway, Sister Jeppson dressed as a pirate waved a flag that said, “Mind Ye Manners” and discussed the importance of being polite, courteous and well behaved! We had a lot of fun with this topic. We always love zone conferences because it brings us all together.
Big changes in the New Jersey Morristown Mission!! We greeted 19 new missionaries and a senior couple Monday, had the biggest transfer conference ever and sent off 18 missionaries on Wednesday. President Jeppson and I stayed up with the departing missionaries telling stories, laughing, enjoying testimonies and experiences and finally went to bed at 2 am then up at 4:30 am to get them off to the airport. It was crazy, but so great. We continue to be amazed at how every time a great missionary leaves, another steps into his or her place and the work goes on.
Well, we are off to Utah, AGAIN, to get President’s back taken care of finally! He has been amazing! He continues to do the work even though he has been in a lot of pain. He is very brave and is the best example these wonderful missionaries could ever have. We feel of their love and support everyday. They are the best!
I’ll finish up with a couple of stories: “We contacted this lady on the street and we started to introduce ourselves and tell her who we were and she said, ‘I know exactly who you are’. It turned out she was a member who came to America from the Dominican Republic 1 year ago and could not find the church. She said she saw us around but was scared to talk to us because she thought we did not speak Spanish. We were guided to that area to find her. She was so happy.” Another: “We were called to go teach the “Mormon” unit in a Religions class at Pascack Valley High School. We stood in front of 90 high school juniors and seniors and taught the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in dual companionship unity. It was AMAZING. After they asked us questions about Mitt Romney, the Word of Wisdom, polygamy, daily life of a missionary, prophets, and one of them asked an elder if he had to take a vow of celibacy to become and Elder. It was the greatest opportunity. Through the course of this class, these kids have had visits form Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholic Priests, Born Again Christians, etc. and we were the final speakers. These kids were from all religions and this is probably the only opportunity that we could have had to teach them. One of the girls asked us how she could know if the things we taught were true!!! We weren’t restrained at all. We even did the full first vision.” Our missionaries are fantastic. They are asked daily about this “Mormon Moment” we are in. We hope you all have the correct answers when you are approached. It is a good time to know your religion to help others know the truth. It is a fun, exciting and a CRAZY time to be a Mormon! It’s simple the Best! Love to All, Dad and Mom, Jon and Bonnie, President and Sister Jeppson
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Summertime and the livin is easy! Not! We are workin hard and goin “Jersey Strong! Our missionaries are amazing. They are working so hard and bringing many souls into the water! It was terrific here in June. The weather was perfect. We enjoyed 70 to 80 degree temperatures. We were all enjoying it because we knew what lay ahead.
Summertime and the weather is HOT, HOT, HOT! Once again, as a repeat from last July 1 when we arrived, you open your door and feel like you are in an oven! It is easy to get dehydrated here so we drink, drink, drink! As for the flower pots, they need continual water every day or they melt and shrivel just like us! We love the breeze from the ocean when we get it that’s for sure!
Summertime and the moving is challenging. Our Parsippany Office is no longer our mission office. We have a beautiful, cozy new office on 5 Cold Hill Road So. Ste #10, Mendham, NJ 07945. Our Senior couples worked very hard to get us relocated.
Summertime and the finding is easy! Elder Kevin R. Duncan came on a mission tour and the missionaries were told they will be more successful in finding investigators if they open their mouths and ask if they have anyone that could benefit from their message of Christ. We have seen miracles as in the following story:
The missionaries, Elder Williams and Elder Smith, went to a member’s house who were recent converts and taught them the importance of sharing the gospel, the hope and the love that we receive from the gospel with others. It so happened that a little neighbor boy was over at the house playing with the kids so when the missionaries asked them if there was anyone who could benefit from hearing the gospel message and having the same joy that you have in your life, they thought for a minute and said, looking at the neighbor boy, “Our neighbors could”. Then Elder Williams said, “Why don’t we go over right now and ask if they want to come to family night on Tuesday.” At first they were reluctant and asked the little boy if his parents were home. He said “Yes”. So over to the neighbors they went. The members knocked on the door and the neighbors let them into their house. The member family began to invite them to a family night where they would watch a movie about Christ. The neighbor said “Yes we would love to and we will be there on Tuesday.” So Tuesday came, and the missionaries got everything prepared to have them over. To their surprise, when they came over, they had also brought two other family members. So they had five new investigators! There have been many stories just like that. Hopefully they will all choose to be baptized!
Summertime and the Conference was fun! June 29th we had an All Mission Summer Conference Boot Camp! We met in the chapel at Morristown and while President Jeppson was in another room with the leaders of the mission, the rest of us were having Army drills. Drill Sergeant, Elder Archibald, took us through drills to be a better missionary. We ended with our Mission Cadence:
1. New Jersey is the place to be 3. Praying is our favorite drill
As missionaries we agree Staying worthy is our skill
We will serve with all our might We love to teach and testify
Our purpose here is to invite And baptize others that’s no lie
Sound Off, 1,2 Sound off, 1,2
We love others yes we do We serve God and others too
2. We all know cuz we’ve been told 4. The Iron Rod is what we hold
We are strong and very bold Teaching others seven fold
We open up our mouth each day The love of God is what we feel
To teach the gospel in His way We have a Savior and He’s real
Sound off 1,2 Sound off 1, 2
We love Preach My Gospel too We love Christ and we’ll be true
Then we all played Ninja Turtle, picked up our mission t-shirts and headed to the chapel. We had Brother Chester Elton who made the New York Times Best Seller List 7 times, speak to the missionaries on motivation and team work. It was fantastic. We were very fortunate that he would come and give us his time. The missionaries really enjoyed it. Then we moved into the cultural hall for lunch and zone skits that were very funny and clever. We traveled to Lewis Morris Park to have Book of Mormon battles, Broom Hockey, Obstacle Course, Scripture Chase, Balloon Soccer and ended with the final battle where some of the missionaries got a little hurt as in a broken finger, sprained ankle, hurt back and some bruises. But they loved it! It was a great stress reliever! We were all dripping wet from the heat and activity, but these missionaries are amazing! We finished up with Elder Chriswell playing his bagpipes and Elder Steel played taps on his trumpet. Then all the missionaries went to get their mail and tour the new mission office just 5 minutes down the road.
Summertime and the mission is busy! We are now into the 2nd year of our mission with zone conferences next week, new missionaries coming and old missionaries leaving and the routine continues to go forward! We are loving our experience. It is hard work, tiring, stressful and physically demanding, but we are privileged to serve these amazing young Elders and Sisters. We love them so.
We love and miss you all terribly, Dad and Mom, Jon and Bonnie, President and Sister Jeppson