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