Monday, April 28, 2014

Southern BBQ

Dear Family,

April sure has gone by fast.  I thought Spring had come to Alabama, but no...we are suppose to have a huge storm here on Monday night and Tuesday.  Even possible tornados.  Then we read that Salt Lake is to have a hard freeze tonight..  So even though we are ready for sunny days, I guess we will all still be visited with colder storms.
Saturday was a beautiful day here in Camden and it was the morning of my “BIG” race. 
One of the less active sisters who has come to be a very special friend asked me to walk with her in the Race for the Cure 5K.   She said she would be last in the race and I was sure that I would, so I told her I would walk.  It turns out she is the Vice President of the local bank that was the main sponsor of the race and she was in charge of the race.
AS we gathered in the bank parking lot, there were many less active members and members participating.  Every one greeted us with warmth and excitement that we were there and that I was participating.  We even met some of our friends from the community and it felt so good to be among friends.
We started off and immediately I knew I was in trouble.  They could walk much faster than I, but I pushed and tried to keep up.  I told her that she should go ahead and I would meet her at the finish line.  A couple of Branch members stayed with me and we completed the walk in 64 minutes.  Not too bad.  My friend Leah, came back to meet me for the last couple of blocks.  It meant such a lot to me that she cared enough with all her responsibilities, to come meet me and go over the finish line together.    All the children from primary were doing the fun run and the color race.  We both got so many hugs from the children. They love Elder and Sister Hepworth. 
After we had come home and cleaned up and rested a little bit, we went down to the Big Barbeque in town.  About 10 different barbeque vendors were selling the style barbeque.  For $7.00 you could by 10 tickets to try a little taste at each vendor.  We chose to buy Barbequed Nachos and a Rib platter.    Our friend Margaret told us once we have barbequed nachos we would never have them any other way.  They are GOOD!  A paper tray with chips, covered with shredded pork, covered with barbeque sauce and then covered with melted cheese.  Delicious, but not so healthy.   The ribs were very very good.  Southerners really love their barbeque.  All in all, it was a wonderful day.
 Today however, I have aches and pains and muscles I didn’t know I had. 
On Friday, we met Elder and Sister Specht, the Senior Missionaries from Greenville for a day together.  They took us to lunch at the Montgomery Stock Yard Restaurant.  It is actually at the Stock Yards, though there were no auctions going on that day.  Then we went on a tour of the Hyundai Automotive Manufacturing Alabama Plant.  They build the Elantra and the Sonata, 1,550 cars per 24 hour day.   It is the most amazing thing you have ever seen.  The tour starts with a little lecture and videos and then you get on little trams cars that take you through the whole plant.  The steel for the frame is the thickness of ½ a dime.  It is placed in a mold and the pressed with 45,000 tons of pressure.  Then it starts on the assembly line.  The robots do the welding in 2200 different places. The tips of the fingers of the robots are copper and each place they touch is welded with the exact heat.  Each work station does their assignment in 48 seconds, then the line moves to the next station.  Even with the robots, they have a very large human workforce and it is a most desirable place to work.  Senior Missionaries are encouraged to see some of the sights in their mission and to spend time with other senior couples. 
We love the pictures and texts you have sent us this week.  It helps us so much to know what is going on in your lives and to feel you love for us.   We pray for you several times a day and know that you will be watched over.  Love each of you!  Love Grandma and Grandpa.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter

HAPPY EASTER!!!  We hope you have had a wonderful Easter Sunday.  How grateful we are to have the gospel in our lives and to know how our Father’s Plan of Salvation gives each of us so much hope for life here and now and for all eternity.  We had a wonderful day in all of our meetings, even with no choir, and no special musical numbers. 
A few of the children at primary were telling us that they were going to the “REAL” Easter Egg Hunt today.   After church we were invited to go out to this big family gathering in Coy, Alabama.  It is REALLY COUNTRY.  Really Redneck.  Dad asked me if I had dropped bread crumbs to find our way home. It was so much like the family gatherings I remember as a child.  Lots of OLD Aunts and Uncles, Young aunts and Uncles and kids from all ages running everywhere.  They had three tables filled with food.  Ham, Chicken, Sausages Sweet potatoes and Macaroni and Cheese.  The last two are BIG favorites. Lots of salads, casseroles and delicious desserts....even fudge.  I thought of Mom (Grandma Murri) as she loved to make fudge.  After the lunch, one of the older aunts told all the children to go out to the front of the house, while the teenage kids hid the eggs in the back .  They must have had about 400 eggs or more.  One boy got 59.   While they were in front, The Easter Bunny came.  He didn’t say a word, but hugged each of the children and posed with each one for a photo.  If you look on face book, grandpa and I got a picture too.  
Everyone seemed so glad that we came and we have been invited back for the next gathering at Thanksgiving.  After the picture taking and sitting on the bunny’s lap, all the children went out to the big back porch.  They sat on the steps, about 7 steps and had their picture taken.  Barbara Vick, our friend who invited us, said she had her picture taken on those same steps when she was just a toddler and every year after.   It is a tradition.  I have always loved our family traditions and the closeness that we all felt when we were together.  Whether it was long ago at Aunt Pearl’s out by Liberty Park when I was just 7 or 8 or Christmas Morning breakfasts at Grandma and Grandpa Hepworth’s or more recently at the last boating event on Pine view and dinner at Scott and Libby’s.  Our Family’s are the MOST important thing in our lives.  Heavenly Father placed us in Families so that we could love and care and help each other.  We are truly blessed to have had the blessing of “Goodly Parents” who gave us so much love and so many traditions to hold us together.  We love each one of you and are so grateful to have you in our lives.  Please stay STRONG in the gospel....strengthen your testimony and be a good example to all those you come in contact with.  Love Grandma and Grandpa

Sunday, April 13, 2014


SPRING HAS COME TO ALABAMA ! We feel sort of guilty sending you this news, but it is really something how the weather changes here so quickly. Yesterday was 80 and sunny and humid.   The azaleas and dogwoods are in bloom and they even have wild wisteria, a purple clusters like grapes that grow on vines and trellises at home, but here they grow wild in the woods, reaching to the tops of the tallest trees.  It is a photographer’s heaven.  We have included a picture of the azaleas in our front yard.
Note from Michelle:  Wow!! I can't believe these beautiful azaleas are in their front yard!!

We have been putting in study time and contact time and visibility time and sometimes it seems like there are no fruits for our efforts, but this week one of the less- actives asked me if I would like to walk with her in a walk/run on the 26th.  I am so excited because she initiated the contact and the invitation.   I confirmed to me that no effort is wasted, no matter how small.  I also have been working with pre-K, Kindergartners’ and first graders in an after-school program called BAMA Kids.   We have about 15 in our class.  I felt like I was a distraction to the teachers discipline and to her teaching.  I had decided that I would do it one more week and then tell them that I couldn’t continue.  Thursday, she tried to buy me a chicken salad that one of the schools was doing for a fund raiser.  She said she didn’t want one her self, but she wanted to get one for me to say thank you.  It turned out that I couldn’t go to pick it up, but I was so happy that she even thought of it.  When I left that day, I thanked her for the thought and mentioned that I felt I was interfering with her class.  She looked at me and said, “I just wait for you to come through the helps me so much to have you here”.  So you know I will continue to the end of the school year and see what happens after that.
We have a busy week this next week, Zone Training on Tuesday in Montgomery.  The have cut the mileage allowances for the young missionaries, so they called us to see if we could drive to Magnolia and pick them up and then go on to Montgomery.  That adds about and hour to our trip.  We need to leave our house at 6AM and will probably get home about 8.  Then they announced Interviews on Friday with the Mission President, again in Montgomery.  Dad volunteered to pick up the Magnolia Elders again on Friday.  We are so happy that we can be a support to the young Elders and Sisters.
We so were so happy to hear that Derek has been asked to extend.  I am sure that the Mission Presidents, with all these very young elders can use some help in getting them off to a good start in learning to be a good, productive missionary.  Some of them come out so very well prepared and others, need some tutoring in planning, studying, and in contacting people.  Keep him in your prayers.  Keep us in there too!.  We love each of you and pray for you in all things.  Love Grandma and Grandpa

Monday, April 7, 2014

Conference Weekend

Dear Family,

  It made us so happy that you were all together on this Conference Weekend.  It is so important to hear the messages and receive the council from our leaders.  There sure were some POWERFUL messages.  It is also important to stay close together as a family.  We know how important each one of you are to us and how much we look forward to being back with you when we have completed our mission.
We have had a week of service:  A sister who had surgery and her non-member husband was so thankful for our dinner, our Branch President who needed Grandpa’s help in setting up his new lap top and his wireless printer; and our neighbor who needed help with her yard.   Grandpa may have traded his golf cart for a John Deere mower.  Our landlord lives next door to us and she has several acres to mow.  Grandpa told her he would be glad to take care of it.  She also has a golf cart, so she took dad for a ride to show him where she wanted him to mow.  She is a wonderful lady and has become a very good friend.  She doesn’t want the lessons, but we give her little messages when the opportunity comes up. 

Inasmuch as Grandpa is in the Branch Presidency, President McIntosh asked that he set up the new 55 inch TV for all the conference sessions to be viewed at the church.  There was only the two of us for the four sessions but 10 came to the priesthood session.  It was a very rainy weekend here (as usual for General Conference) so we think that everyone chose to view conference on the BYU station as all the members have access to that.  It was strange to watch it all alone, but it will be a “Mission Moment”. 

We are so grateful to each of you for your sending us little “thoughts and pictures” from home.  It is so important to us that we feel your support as we try to serve the Lord.  We are all making a sacrifice for us to fulfill this calling and we know that our family is being blessed for the things we are missing out on. Our memories and our love for the Gospel keep us going and we are happy to be serving.  We send our love and our prayers  for each of you.  Love, Grandma and Grandpa

PS   Our little Storm Warning Speaker just announced Tornado Watch for Clark and Wilcox Counties in Alabama.  We are in Wilcox.  This is only a Watch...which means stay alert and be prepared.  We don’t have to leave yet.