Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Faith is the Substance of things Hoped For...

Well from the looks of last month’s blog “Spring Hopes Eternal” twas obvious I was HOPING for some much needed sleep!  The correct phrase is “Hope Springs Eternal”! Jon and I had a good laugh when we saw it.  Whatever happened to auto-correct of the mind!! However, maybe many of you didn’t even realize the phrase I wrote was totally incorrect. But we did HOPE for Spring and it finally arrived! I love it in Jersey during springtime.  The dogwood tree blossoms look like lace, all the colorful flowers (that the deer haven’t chowed down on), the trees so green after being so bare and the sun, all make the earth seem to come alive again after a cold, harsh winter.  We have had rain and when it rains in Jersey, well, it pours! That is when everything turns green, green, green! The garden state becomes beautiful once more.  Much like the resurrection, the cold, sad event of the death of our Savior and then new life, new beginnings with His coming forth from the tomb to rejuvenate us all to keep moving forward and enjoy all that life and the gospel have to offer us.  Spring and Easter is a beautiful time of year.  Don’t you love hearing “He is Risen” and the spoken word of the miraculous event of overcoming death!
            What an amazing month we have experienced.  We started, of course, with General Conference receiving HOPE, advice and counsel from our prophet.  President Monson said, “The Savior brought to this world a message of love and goodwill to all men and women.  May we ever follow His example.  May we constantly nourish our testimonies of the gospel, that they will be a protection for us against the buffetings of the adversary.” Our missionaries were able to take investigators to their wards and watch conference on the big screen.  It was the best and we are sure they felt the Spirit.
            Jon and I were HOPING we would get to see the Washington DC Temple and sure enough, on our way to the Mission President’s Seminar, as we were traveling on the freeway, above the tops of the trees came into view a majestic looking castle which happened to be the Washington DC Temple!! It must be quite a sight at night all lit up.  No wonder it has caused accidents!  It is absolutely breathtaking!  We were able to spend two amazing days being instructed and taught by Elder and Sister Perry, Elder and Sister Rasband and the area Northeast area Presidency, The Hallstroms, The Perkins and the Nielsens. It was good to see the other mission presidents and their wives with whom we have become good friends.  The friendships were terrific, the food, delicious but being taught and edified by the Seventy and an Apostle of God was simply the best. Memories we will always cherish!
            If we ever HOPED for someone special to tour our mission, well, we got it!  The highlight of the month was having the privilege of Elder L. Tom Perry and Sister Perry come visit us following the Mission Presidents Seminar.  As The Perry’s and Jon and I walked into a chapel full of all 280 missionaries you could hear a pin drop.  We were so proud of the missionaries.  They all rose as Elder Perry walked in and you could feel power emanate from that room.  It was very impressive.  Elder Perry said, “Your missionaries look terrific.  It is clear that you love your missionaries and they love you!” We loved being instructed and taught by him and his sweet wife.  It was powerful when Elder Perry said, “I could never deny that He is the Christ”.  It is a day that will be remembered for years to come for us all.  We enjoyed having them stay at the mission home and catching up on family and friends from Utah. A funny story…we took them to a diner!  Have to go to a diner in Jersey.  It is the diner capital of the world and they have the best breakfasts! Elder Perry loves breakfast foods so one morning we took them to a nearby diner.  Our waiter asked if we wanted coffee.  Elder Perry said, “We don’t drink coffee. We are the healthiest people in the world.” Then he and Jon proceeded to talk about the gospel to him and found out he knows the Mormons, likes them, went on a pioneer trek with them, but has to work every Sunday.  Well, we took down his information and the missionaries are going to meet with him this week!!!  Just “open your mouths”.  That’s all it takes!!!
            We also had zone conferences.  We love those.  They are filled with faithful teachings, friends, food and fun.  Jon always gives such effective and powerful teachings.  He taught the Atonement in such a simple, spiritual way that every missionary could understand and feel the effects of that miraculous gift we were given.  The Relief Society always fixes great food.  We have missionaries perform talents at lunchtime and we are very impressed with what they can do.  We have had singers, pianists, tap dancers, how to spear fish off the coast of Sai pan, jugglers, artists, lassoing tricks and how to ride horses in barrel racing. We have had many instruments from saxophones, flutes, clarinets, cellos, ukes, guitars, harmonicas. Then of course we celebrate birthdays and sing “Be it” for the Way to Be Bag. (A bag filled with food and goodies)  In Jersey there is a way to be…..Way to be Healthy, Way to be Happy, Way to be Humble.  We have everyone stand and Jon reads off statements such as:  “All missionaries who had an investigator to church this week, please remain standing. Or, all missionaries who cleaned their apartment in the last seven days remain standing. Or, all missionaries who gave a compliment to their companion in the past seven days remain standing.”  We have 20 questions and the last missionary standing receives the bag.  It’s a lot of fun!  Jon and I HOPE that all our missionaries know how to be just that….Healthy, Happy and Humble!!!
            Jon and I have had such joy going to baptisms every week here in Jersey.  We will miss that!  The diversity here is incredible.  A special one today was a family!!! We have been HOPING and fasting for families and our missionaries have found them.  Today we watched a mother, father, then their 10 year old son baptized in one of our Spanish wards.  They joined each other in the font after and had a big family hug.  Very touching and many tears! We had 28 more get baptized this month. 
            Our HOPE for you at home is that you are helping in hastening this great work! It will bless your life and give us HOPE that we are going to come home to members who are doing just that!  Love to you all, Dad and Mom, Grandpa Jon and Bon Bon, Jon and Bonnie, President and Sister Jeppson NJMM
With Elder and Sister Hallstrom, our area authority

Arlington National Cemetary

John F. Kennedy's grave

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Mission Leader Council

Sister Training Leaders

Washington DC temple

At the lincoln memorial and Washington Monument

A few cherry blossoms left!

Compete for that Bouncy Trust ball!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Family Baptisms

Sunset in Jersey

Patterson Falls

2 more zones

We are heart attacked in the car!


Sister Maughan (senior sister) on floor trying to get a ball

Bouncy ball game-try to find the Trust ball

Four Zones

Senior Couple  - The Loerchers

Playing Bouncy balls!

Talent - Elder Morrill and Elder Obley sing Tagalog


Our visit with Elder and Sister Perry

Transfer Conference!

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Arlington Cemetary

John Kennedy's grave

Competition for that Bouncy trust ball!
Mission Leader Council

A few Cherry blossoms left!

At the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument

Washington DC Temple

Sister Training Leaders

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring Hopes Eternal!

I am sure you have heard the saying “Spring hopes eternal”. Well, we are ETERNALLY hoping for Spring!!! We think it has arrived and then another snow storm, freezing wind, or sub-zero temperature hits us and we bring out the thermals once again!  I keep looking for a bud, a sprout, a baby deer or bunny in the yard and all I can say is the groundhog must have seen several shadows because this winter is dragging on, for not six weeks, more like six months!  We, as New Jersey Missionaries, are ready for warmer weather and more people to contact when they come out of hibernation!
We have done an amazing job at contacting people however.  Even in the cold weather our missionaries contacted over 26,500 people this month.  They are fantastic! Here’s a great story: “Two of our missionaries were walking down main-street and saying “Hello” to everyone they saw.  They passed a man who was smoking and said the customary “Hello” and continued to walk on by when he asked “Where are you guys from?” We turned and replied, “Utah, but we are Missionaries.” That’s how the conversation started.  He asked what church and we answered.  But the two greatest moments were, in his words, “I would usually not stop you guys but something told me to stop you and also because you guys look the same and look very professional. What was that thing I felt?” We explained about the Holy Ghost. The next was when he asked about what the book was that I was holding. We explained.  We got his name and number. Yay!” 
I had a fun experience at Macy’s cosmetic counter.  My girls had given me a gift card to get some make-up for my birthday (I need all the help I can get).  So I went to a counter and no one was there. So I walked around until I found a woman who said she would send someone over.  Well, she came herself and helped me, then took me to her counter to show me something else.  I became brave and said, “I am a missionary and you have been so nice to help me I want to share a card that has a website on it that you would love to see and read a message about Christ.” She gasped! I thought I had really done something wrong. She said, “Oh my word, I was just telling my friend two days ago that I wanted to look into the Mormon church and see what they believe. And you know I have never gone to that cosmetic counter to help anyone.  You were the first one.  I guess I was supposed to meet you.” So I proceeded to tell her about the church.  The next week two of our sisters were in Macey’s cosmetic area and Donna, my contact, saw them and started talking.  They gave her a Book of Mormon and she said she would read it.  She was reading it under the counter at work!  I hope she didn’t get fired for doing that!  So we will see what happens with Donna.
We have decided for the rest of our mission we would all carry the Book of Mormon everywhere in plain sight so people can see it.   Our missionaries have had great experiences. A little boy came up to the elders and said, “Hey, my dad needs to read that book”. Two sisters were walking down the street and a man passed them and said, “I have that book” and the sisters didn’t get too far before they turned around and said, “What did you say?” He replied, “I have that book”. Well, they proceeded to teach him as well.  In our Preach My Gospel manual we read, “Do all you can to be placed in the path of those who are being prepared.” We just have to open our mouths to help find them.
This month three great missionaries left us to return home, 4 visa waiters who left for Brazil and we received 6 new missionaries from all over the place.  We were happy for a smaller group this time. We haven’t had a small group like this for a long time.
We also held Leadership Training this month.  We spent two full days, training, teaching, role playing, eating, singing everything we can to help motivate and inspire our new missionaries to greater heights.  We started at 8:30 am and went until 4:00 pm for both days. It is great to see how much the missionaries improve in their teaching abilities.
We also brought together all the sisters for a special training.  We love being together. These young sisters are so loving and supportive of each other. Our theme was “These Shoes are Made for Walkin”.
Exercises, foot massages, training on clothing/appearance etc., and games. We had three senior sisters talk about service, personal appearance and education. Jon played his guitar and we sang These Boots are Made for Walking with a twist.  Here’s the chorus:

These shoes are made for walking and that’s just what you’ll do
You preach and teach to all that the Book of Mormon’s true
Your shoes are made for walking and that’s just what you’ll do
You’ll go preach because you love the Savior this is true!

Jon and I then spoke to the sisters on self-esteem and walking with the Lord. It was a great day to be together!  We love our sisters!
This month our focus is to consecrate ourselves again to the Lord.  We look forward to conference with all the messages that will inspire us to do just that.
We hope you all have a wonderful Easter by taking the atonement into your life. It will help us enjoy the journey and to have a positive outlook on life. The Savior has given us a wonderful gift.  May we feel in our hearts and souls, His love, His guidance and His Spirit.  May we strive to be more faithful and obedient so that we can become more perfected and continue to reach our true potential. (Matt5:48).
We are having an “EGG”straordinary experience.  We love it and are very hoppy!!! Have a wonderful Easter.
Love to all, Dad and Mom, Grandpa Jon and Bon Bon, Jon and Bonnie, Pres. and Sister Jeppson NJMM