Yay! Spring is finally here! At least the flowers and trees are telling us so. The blossoms on the trees are gorgeous, tulips and daffodils everywhere and purple and pink bushes are simply amazing. It is still a little nippy on some days, but summer is coming. And that’s a good thing. The winter was cold, freezing, icy and bone chilling. And that was not a good thing. But one thing we have learned here in New Joysee; when trials and tribulations come and we think not a good thing, often times these difficult times bring wonderful blessings, given a little time and perspective and that’s a good thing. Our nation had another terrorist’s attack in Boston. We felt its wave here in Jersey hearing missionaries in lock down and Mission Presidents worries. The state of New Jersey has had its share of flooding, hurricanes and devastation with Super storm Sandy, and each of us have had our own loses and trials, disappointments and failures. But through it all, what brings us peace of course is the gospel of Christ and THAT is a good thing.
This month the New Jersey Morristown Missionaries have focused on becoming consecrated to the Lord in every way. This gave us a shot in the arm to help us become more like Christ. It IS like an immunization vaccine in that its painful realizing our weaknesses (not a good thing) but also protects like a vaccine, as it fortifies us to be more faithful in shunning temptation and sin and returning our devotions to God and try to be more like him (that’s a GREAT thing). I think of the scripture “All things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory saith the Lord” (D&C 98:3). During all these calamities and struggles of life we all work together for good and increase our faith and love more to the Lord.
We had zone conferences this month! We love to be with the missionaries. Every chance we have to come together is a good thing! Miles on the cars, gas, food budget, long days not a good thing, but after a day of teaching, training, role playing, music, great food and a game or too it is all worth it! Just “Ask the missionaries”. They love getting together. During our conference we focused on the Atonement. Hearing our missionaries teach the atonement during role plays was very spiritual. It touches and warms your heart when you witness missionaries become emotional even in a role play. With Easter, General Conference and Zone Conferences, in all, made for a very spiritual month.
We are getting more and more missionaries! Lots of Sisters especially which is a wonderful thing! But finding apartments, furniture, cars areas is a hard thing! We now have 45 sisters and they are incredible. The elders are too, but everyone is excited about this change. We are having one trainer to two sisters so we have a lot of trios. We still have 30 to go. Tomorrow we have 17 sisters coming and 12 elders. They had more sisters than elders in the MTC for the first time this past month! Change IS a good thing.
We had a great departing trip to George Washington’s Winter Quarters, the Teardrop (memorial for 9-11 from the Russians) and the Empty Sky Memorial (Jersey’s Memorial for 9-11). They are opening the Statue of Liberty in July so we can start returning there for our departing excursion. A few days later we went to the Manhatten Temple with the missionaries. President Garff, temple president, spent an hour with the missionaries answering questions about the temple. It was a very good thing for them. Not often do you get to do that with a temple president. We then walked to Central Park and had a picnic for lunch. It is a sad thing when you see all those hundreds of people in New York without the knowledge of the gospel, but a good thing for missionary work!!
The senior missionaries had a field trip to the Paterson Falls. It is the second largest falls next to Niagra. It was quite pretty…good, but quite dirty…bad. It is always nice to be with the seniors on a P-Day.
We also had our first Mission Leader Council which takes the place of Zone Leader Council. We had our first 3 sisters attend. This was historic! First time for sisters to be part of the leader council, ever. These three sisters are excellent teachers and examples of obedience and hard work. This was a great thing to be part of.
In May we are looking forward to a month of interviews with each missionary and a Mission Tour with Elder Koelliker of the Seventy. We are particularly excited to have family come and visit too! Now that’s a great, great thing!
Jon and I had the opportunity to go to Washington DC for a Mission Presidents Seminar. It was only a day and a half which was a sad thing, but the instructions, trainings and a surprise visit from Elder Christofferson was a great thing to be part of. DC is a beautiful place, just wish we had had more time to enjoy the sights. Too much to do however trying to hasten this work!! On the plane home a steward came up and said “I know you people. You are good. We never see the LDS people or the Jews in the food lines. They know how to take care of themselves and help each other. I saw a couple on the plane once and just by the way they looked, I knew they were Mormons, just like you.” What a great thing. Made us happy to know we do make a difference. Our missionaries make a difference. Just today they baptized 14 more of Heavenly Father’s children. We got to witness 4 of them. It never gets old and it’s a great way to spend the Sabbath Day. Missionaries are starting to dot New Jersey. Keep ‘um comin. We’ll take them all!
You know, we have certainly grown these past almost 2 years. Hard to believe we will have one year left soon. It has been a very tiring, overwhelming experience….a hard thing, but the blessings, growth, experiences, the missionaries, the love, tears, joy etc. etc., make up for all the hard things and have turned life in New Joysee a wonderful, blessed thing. We love you and miss you terribly! Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Bon Bon, Jon and Bonnie, President and Sister Jeppson NJMM