It was so great to skype with some of you on Christmas and to talk on the phone and to received so many beautiful Christmas cards and notes. We had a wonderful Christmas even though we missed you terribly. As you know, the Sisters had a “sleep over” Christmas Eve. They planned our evening from having Chicken Noodle Soup in Bread bowls, to Christmas Caroling and delivering a few gifts. I had not made bread bowls before and since I could not find any at the store, miraculously our Wal-Mart had some Rhodes frozen bread dough. Even more amazing it has the directions for bread bowls on the package. They looked great and it was fun to have our soup that way. Dinner was at 5:00. Christmas Caroling was from 6:00 to 8:00. It started out shaky as the first home on the list, no one was home, but the second house and every house thereafter was so thrilled to have the four of us on their porch singing Christmas Carols. The Sisters have lovely voices, so our little choir sounded very “heavenly”. Our last house was Betty and Roy. Roy was almost speech-less. He said he had never had someone come and sing to him on Christmas. Roy and Betty are a black couple who joined the church about 5 years ago. They are the sweetest most humble people. His conversion (in short) was do to his reading of the scriptures and knowing that “Jesus came straight way out of the water” He had joined several churches and when it came to baptism, they said, yes they knew it should be by immersion, but with children and old people, it was just easier to “sprinkle” When the missionaries came by his home, he had a lot of company and asked if they would come some other time. As they left, he said, “How do you baptize?” They said “By immersion”. He said, “Come back tomorrow.”
At 8:00 we started our Christmas Eve Program. First we read the Christmas Story from Luke. Sister Olson had selected songs for us to sing interspersed in the reading. Then Sister Williams read a wonderful Christmas Story by Elder Anderson. A family in the Branch had been doing the 12 days of Christmas, so they brought the final night to our house, so we had that little excitement too. Several of the Branch members brought us gifts and treats during the evening, so we felt very loved.
We want to thank each of you for your love and support as we have served here in Camden. We know that you have missed doing some of our traditions and our get-togethers and that you look forward to our return. Our Branch members also thank you for your support in our being here. Senior Couples do help out in these little branches and give them strength and encouragement.
I think about our ward at home and although they too are looking forward to our return....we are NOT NEEDED there. Senior Missionaries couples are NEEDED in the Mission Field.
We so are blessed that we took the opportunity to Serve the Lord and some of His children for this time.
Love to each of you. Hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration.
Love you so very much. Grandma and Grandpa
To our Children and Grandchildren: We wish you could have been with us when we delivered the pictures that you put together on Thanksgiving. We delivered them to twelve homes and the joy and the tears and the appreciation they had, to finally have a beautifully framed Temple, Proclamation or Living Christ and to know that it came from you with your love. (Y’all) We are sure that they will be a treasured gift and testimony in their homes.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
We just know that you had a wonderful CHRISTMAS PARTY last night! We thought about you as we had our Branch Party at the same time. Our Primary did a wonderful little Christmas Play about a class room learning about Christmas and Samuel the Lamanite. It was complete with a class room, 3 young boy students, a teacher and a principal and on the other side of the stage, we had Zoie and Josie, two young Lamanite girls and Samuel on the Wall. They did such a good job. We then had a wonderful Pot Luck Dinner. As usual we had about 50 in attendance and food enough for 100. Out here they just ask that each family bring two covered dishes ( with food in them) They all are excellent cooks. One of the main dishes in the South is Macaroni and Cheese. (NOT OUT OF A BOX) Delicious Mac and Cheese like Grandma Murri always made. And a super desert table. Then back to the chapel/multi purpose room for games. We played the Pass Right- Pass Left game with the money in each envelope. They had not heard of that before and it was a BIG hit. Then we did the White Elephant Gift Exchange. ( Out here they call this Dirty Santa) Again, they had such a wonderful time. There were about FIVE favorite gifts that got the full 3 trades before they became the property of the 3rd owner: the children’s toys and the big can of popcorn were the favorites. The finale was the PINATA! Ours was a small dinosaur which made it through ALL the hits from the children. Stone, our 14 year old, broke in each of his three hits, with the last one popping it open. It was the first real Christmas Party they have had and I am sure that it will not be the last. I think all totaled we had over 50 people in attendance. Some non members only came for the program, but the whole evening was just so special. Thanks to our family....back to Aunt Bebe and Uncle Carl for the first Christmas Parties with clam chip dip and a piñata and probably a few other “traditions”. WE have been truly blessed by our heritage! Earlier in the day, we (dad and I and the Sister Missionaries) had traveled to Birmingham for the South half of the Alabama Mission Party. You who have been fortunate to go on a mission know the wonderful spirit that a roomful of missionaries can bring. These young Elders and Sisters are so so so great! I just want to share with you, part of the Christmas Devotional that our Mission President, Elder Richard Hanks and his wife gave. It is a message for every Christian in the world, but especially for those of us who have been taught the Gospel and know the importance of the Birth, Life, Example, Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Our Savior. QUESTION: HOW CAN WE HONOR THE SAVIOR? 1. Like His Mother, we can honor Jesus by Loving Him. John 7:14 and Luke 2:12 2. Like the Angel’s. we can honor His Divine Gift by Serving Him. Luke 2: 13-14 Matt 2:10 3. Like those who seek Him, we can honor His Power to Heal the World. Isaiah 25:8-9 Matt 1:21 4. Like those who adore him, we can honor Him by Giving Him all that we Have. Mark 8:34 2 Nephi 31:20 Matt 25:40 We hope you have a most wonderful Christmas! Ours will be another interesting one. The Sister Missionaries had the great idea to have a “sleep over” here with us, so that they can have Christmas Morning with us. We are all very excited! They each have ytheir own family traditions, so we are going to try to do all of them. The are making the “list” so that we do it all. They will be skyping their families and we will skype ours, so it will be a fun filled day. We Love Each of You and wish you a very Merry Christmas! Love Grandma and Grandpa
Monday, December 8, 2014
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Hope each of you had a wonderful and memorable Thanksgiving. We surly did. New friends with food traditions. We had ham and turkey, dressing. mashed potatoes and gravy but THEN potatoes salad, chicken casserole and bean casserole with Mississippi Mud Pie, Sweet Potato Pie and Theresa‘s Cheese Cake. And I made Rolls. We were all stuffed to the brim. And the time spent with this family was very very special. We have been truly blessed!
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
As the Holidays approach, we are thinking more about each of you and the fond memories we have made over the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday. Last year we were so new to this mission life that we were sort of like “deer in the headlights”. We were alone on Thanksgiving and had the littlest turkey you ever saw. This year we have had several invitations to dinner and wish we could accept all three. The Sisters are excited to come over to help with cheese cake and chip dip and anything else they can do. It seems that folks are so busy with their holiday preparations and family gatherings, that they don’t open their doors to the missionaries. I have to admit that when I was home, I was the same way. I hope I will be changed when I get home.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Monday, November 10, 2014
We were able to go the Birmingham Temple yesterday with our dear friend Kay for her First Temple Blessings. It was beautiful day weather wise and a beautiful day spiritually. This has been her goal and our goal almost since we arrived and it was a great blessing for her and for us. Those special feelings just can’t be expressed in words, just know that it was one of the greatest blessing of our mission.
Monday, October 27, 2014
Fall has come to Camden. (Well, all of Alabama) The days are warm and sunny, not too much humidity and the nights are very cool. The humidity at night makes a huge difference. The temperature does read so cold, but skin and bones really feel it.
We heard an interesting fact about our County....Wilcox County. The whole county has 5 stop lights and Camden has 4 of them. 2 of them are on our 4 block main street (its called Broad Street) Bet there’s not many counties in Utah that can “brag” on that fact. Grandpa and I joke that if you have 4 cars lined up at a stop light or stop sign, we have a traffic jam. Most of the time there are only a few cars on even the main roads. Most of the people work at the paper mill, so they work a variety of shifts, so its not like everyone is going to work at 6 or 7.
I mentioned a short time ago that Edward brought us a couple of bags of peanuts....harvested right from his garden. So I looked on the internet as to what to do with them and decided to try boiling them in very salty water and then baking them for 1 hour and then just letting them “dry out”. Well first of all it was a big job just getting them washed, then I did the boiling and the baking and then they have been drying. I know that walnuts and pecans have to dry out before they are tasty to us. Otherwise they are soft and chewy. Ours have finally reached a point where they taste like peanuts you buy at the store. I told dad I would not complain about paying $1.99 per pound at the store again. It was a lot of work for 2 big bowls of peanuts. But another memorable experience here in the South. I keep asking people for their recipes for dishes that we have really liked and almost always there is an ingredient that I will never find at home. Today’s new item: Shoe Peg Corn. Debbie Tait made a dish called “Redneck Caviar” She said it is a real popular item for tailgate parties. After church today, we had a “Going Home” party for Sister Ray as she completes her mission on Wednesday. It was suppose to be just a “snack”, but it filled two tables with 3 delicious dips, chips, 4 different kinds of sandwiches, veggies and desserts. The children have really loved having the Young Sisters and it is hard for them to say good-bye. Sister Ray is from Sierra Vista, Arizona. (Janet and Wayne were stationed there for awhile).
Saturday we went to our first Black Funeral. Our dear friends and members of our branch, Roy and Betty Westry, it was his sister who passed away. We weren’t sure what it would be like and it turned out to be pretty much what we expected. They are VERY VOCAL from the start to the finish and it gets louder and louder as the service progresses. The Minister really keep them stirred up and involved. Roy had said to us right after her passing that he was so glad to have the gospel as he knows where she is and what needs to be done for her. It brought him such comfort to know the Plan of Salvation. I guess you have all seen our Face book picture of our being “Show and Tell” for the Pre-K class with our dear little friend Miley Vick. When she introduced us she said, “These are the Hepworths”, They are Missionaries for my church”, They have come to tell people about Jesus”. The teachers and the children were so excited to hear all about us, our family and how we came to be in Alabama. They loved the story about Joseph, the little boy living in our home with “The Green Alligator”. Alligator’s are big in Alabama.
This turned out to be a long letter, when I thought I didn’t have much to say. WE love each of you and are so thankful for the little texts, notes, letters and pictures. Thank you for just being YOU! Love Grandma and Grandpa
Monday, September 15, 2014
Thanks for sending us the pictures of Shayla’s shower. It was so fun to get the photos as the shower was happening, it really let us feel that we were there.
Elder Zwick of the Seventy was here in our mission last week. We went up to Birmingham for a Wednesday night Fireside and then stayed over night for the all day meeting with the Mission. The emphasis was on the Ward/Branch Mission Leader to spearhead missionary work. I don’t think this is a change such more emphasis on it. We don’t have many members for all the callings, so Dad and I are the Branch Mission Leaders. We have our work cut out for us. We have been working with and meeting with the less actives and they are so glad to see us and to talk with us. You would never know they are less active until Sunday, when they don’t come to church AGAIN. But we just keep loving them.
We completed our Book of Mormon Reading Challenge. Not everyone finished the book, but almost everyone said that they felt the spirit more in their lives. We gave out awards: “Reading the Book of Mormon is a “SPIRITUAL PAYDAY’ We attached a PayDay candy bar to the award.
Next we are going to read the New Testament .
We have also had some success with the Temple. Our youth have a temple trip on Oct. 27th. We challenged the Branch to find family names that the youth can take with them. Today, several of the Sisters said they had names ready and you could feel their excitement. That is our next big goal, to have a Branch Temple Session before the end of November. It’s a 2 ½ hour drive up to Birmingham and most of the Sisters work, so it will take all of a Saturday or part of Friday and Saturday, but the experience will be so good for the Branch.
Thank you for being such a wonderful thoughtful family. We love you!! Love Grandma and Grandpa