Well, we are certainly GRATEFUL we did not have another super storm Mary, Jane or Sue this year. Actually we are delighted that this autumn season was very much enjoyed! I took many colorful pictures this year. Reds, oranges, browns, yellows, maroons all blended together to make for a most pleasant drive on the busy roads of Jersey. GRATEFUL that we can see the beauties God has created! The trees are so tall here that it takes forever for the leaves to hit the ground and when a huge wind comes and blows them off, it looks like it is snowing leaves. People blow them out into the gutters and a big truck comes by and sucks them all up. It is pretty efficient I must say! No baggin leaves here!!
We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. However, we hope you didn’t “gobble til you wobbled”. We made sure that each missionary had a Thanksgiving feast somewhere during the day. They must have acquired quite an appetite after playing in the Turkey Bowls that were organized all over the mission that morning. The missionaries are always GRATEFUL that they can get together and have some physical activity. However it was very cold. We have experienced artic cold air here and we are layering up! Did anyone say “THERMOLS?”
Jon and I have certainly been GRATEFUL for the opportunity we have experienced here in New Jersey. All the missionaries and members of the church have broadened our circle of friendships, our testimonies have been strengthened, and we are a lot more aware of the missionary work that needs to be done. We hope all of you have picked up the pace and invited the missionaries into your homes so they can teach some of your friends! We hope that you not only opened your mouth for turkey but you are opening your mouths daily in sharing the gospel.
We had interviews this month, 235 of them. It was great to be with each missionary one on one, but we were GRATEFUL when we hit 235 because we were just a bit tired. Jon asks them all the in depth questions. I feed them, check on their health, etc., and give them a gospel message. Jon and I just wave at each other as we come out of a room and then go back in from 9:30 to 3:30 each day!
We continue to get many new missionaries to add to our numbers. We are GRATEFUL for each one. This month they have come from all over the place. From Arizona, Illinois, Idaho, Florida, Hawaii, California, Minnesota, Argentina, Brazil and of course Utah they come anxious to get to work and serve their Heavenly Father. They are amazing young men and women. We love them dearly. Watching them come off the plane and greeting them each time is a highlight for us. They are always eager and full of wonder and I should say a little trepidation. We have also had a tremendous group of senior missionaries. I can’t say enough about how GRATEFUL we are for them. They truly help the work go forward. We have one couple who came for 6 months so they can serve and be home to plant their crops by Spring. They are farmers and thought with the new 6 months time frame they can finally go on a mission and still have their livelihood to come home to. These couples and senior sisters really consecrate their lives to serve the Lord. It is very impressive. We would sure love some help!! (Hint)
Jon and I have been GRATEFUL for the opportunity we have to see baptisms every weekend. It never gets old. We have another amazing month of 42 baptisms! Seeing individuals come up out of the water smiling, crying, overcome with emotion is a sight you just never tire of seeing. There are those who have gained such a testimony of this truth we have that nothing stops them from accepting the doctrine and being baptized. We see recent converts passing the sacrament, others who have come from rough backgrounds dressed in Sunday attire singing hymns and partaking of the sacrament and still those who return after having fallen away to come back and partake of having the Spirit in their lives again. It is a faith promoting experience as you see how their lives have improved for the better. We love how their hearts have been softened and changed. They have mentioned that life is better with the Savior in it!
Baptism stories are just the best. An elder shared this story with us today. “We had a baptism for a little 8 year old and we were all gathered in the room waiting for him to come into the font. He didn’t come. A few minutes longer, still no boy…soon word got out that he was nervous, and so all the primary children gathered in the front of the font and began to sing their favorite primary hymns. Then one little girl offered a prayer for this little boy. It was an incredible thing to witness. The love and faith of children is absolutely incredible.” The most thrilling experience is seeing a family enter the water! A young couple was investigating lots of churches and got the book “Mormons for Dummies”. They got on Mormon.Org and became a media referral. The couple was baptized and then two weeks later three children were baptized by the father. Another young mother of two children, whose husband was anti, knew that this was the right choice for herself and her children. They love church and what it does for them. She was brave and was baptized. It is truly amazing what people will do when they come to know Jesus. Their hearts soften. They learn of faith and devotion and make a choice that will affect their lives forever.
We have truly been affected forever as well. Our lives have changed, our hearts softened, our love deepened for family and friends and our devotion to Heavenly Father and the Savior has been intensified. For that we are truly GRATEFUL.
May you and your families be blessed this holiday season with added joy and rejoicing for what we have been so richly given, life, family, friends and the testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
We love you so! Dad and Mom, Jon and Bonnie, President and Sister Jeppson-New Jersey Morristown Missionaries
PS – I am especially GRATEFUL for loving, supportive children who I love very much. Your dad is an amazing leader who loves and leads with his heart. The missionaries think he’s the greatest. They love being around him. His spirit is powerful! But then you already know that! Love you