Sunday, July 22, 2012

Crazy days of Summer in Jersey

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

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