Monday, May 26, 2014

Wilcox Academy

Dear Family,

This week has been the end of the school year and the Branch Members have been very busy.  I was asked to help with the Last Day activities of the First Graders at Wilcox Academy.  We were doing introductions and I was to the next to the last little girl.  I was so surprised when she said, “ I am Alondra and I am from Venezuela”  I quickly told her that my son had gone a mission to Venezuela and she smiled.  While we were doing the cookie activity, I thought I would call Jason and let him talk to her.  I got his voice mail, so I texted him.  We were out on the playground when the phone rang.  I called to Alondra and all the little girls came running.  Jason spoke to her in Spanish and of course she was a little shy, but she seemed pleased.  When Jason told her he had served in Maracaibo, she said” That is where my dad is from.”  I had put the phone on speaker, so all the girls could hear.  I’m sure it made her feel special and that the others were excited to hear all the Spanish.    Thanks Jason for letting a little girl have a unique experience.  Apparently her parents speak NO English.  They are here in Camden to help run a large farm.
You know that I wish I knew more about Family Search and had more experience with it.  I have been watching all the little videos that the Church has put out.  (go to Gospel Library-then to Temple and Family History-then to Getting Started and Beginning Research.  These are little videos that teach step by step.  I have spent several evenings watching and hopefully learning. )  I went to my Family Tree and to my surprise, people have added some pictures and some histories.   You who are very tech savvy, will love this and want to get started right a way.  This month’s Ensign has an excellent article about all of this June p. 20-23.  The Church has entered into a contract with, , My and; so that by the end of the year, church members will have access to these family history  records without cost.  Well, you can tell that I have been hit by the Spirit of Elijah and hope to help the members here.  We’re hoping to start a Family History Class.   We send our love to you all.  “Happy End of The School Year!”
Love, Grandma and Grandpa

ps.  The little girl on the front row 2nd from the left is Alondra... 

    Check out the Magnoia’s.  This is a tree across from the Church.  The Magnolia trees grow to be very tall.  Blossom come on a few at a time and do not last very long.  But the Blossom’s are gorgeous!!!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

School Programs

Dear Family,

The school year is about to end here in Alabama.  We have been invited to several school activities which we love to attend.  Last Thursday was the Pre-K graduation.  We had two of our primary children “graduate”  They both invited “the Missionaries”  They did a little play “Charlotte’s web”.  All the animals were played by the Pre-K and the humans were played by the graduating Seniors.  It was a darling little production with wonderful costumes and well delivered lines.  So great to see those big Seniors participating with the little kids.  This Friday was “honors Day” and Graduation from Kindergarten.  We had three children in the Kindergarten. Tucker, (The boy who made the Mother’s Day Cookies) invited us to come.  When we got there, the children were all decked out in White caps and gowns, with blue sparkly robs.  They had the audience stand as they played the “gradational procession music”. The first thru fourth grades came in next. They all got their awards and then the “Graduates” marched out and stood in a line and threw their caps into the air.....just like high school.  When we went to the Kindergarten room for refreshments, the teacher came up to us and thanked us for coming.  She said, “I asked Jim if he knew where his parents were?” Jim answered and said, “I know where my parents are, but where are the Missionaries?”   I think it meant a lot to the children and to their parents that we would support the families in this way.  On Tuesday night we stopped by to see one of the less active families.  When we first got here, they wouldn’t answer the door.  But now we have made a strong friendship with them, we were invited in for a wonderful visit and even invited to a Dance Recital on Saturday.  Again we were thrilled that so many people, members, less actives and community people spoke to us and welcomed us so sincerely.   The Lord truly works in miraculous ways.  One of the less active younger sisters is so sweet to us, but keeps us at a distance from her husband and her children.  As we sat at the awards ceremony waiting for it to start, the lady next to me said something to the lady behind me....mentioning the name Amanda.  Then in the next sentence, she said “Les bought her dress and her new shoes”.  After the program, I boldly asked if she was related to Les Lambert?  She said, He is my son.”  (The husband that has protected from  us.)  I said, we think he is a fine young man.  I told her who we were and why we are here in Camden.  The next day, I ran into Amanda.  I said, “Oh, I met your Mother in Law yesterday.”   Amanda said, I know you did, she told me she met you and how wonderful and friendly you were to her.  Every positive response is so gratifying.  Who knows where it might lead.  It already led to a nice friendship.   
On Wednesday, we had Transfers!  I didn’t know much about that part of the mission, but now that we have been in our District and come to LOVE our Elders, it was hard to see three of them transferred.  I called each of them to tell them thank you for serving with us and wished them success in their new areas.  They thanked us for being part of the District and part of their growth.  We develop such wonderful; bonds with these young men.  So many wonderful experiences on a mission.  We know now, more than ever, how much the Gospel of Jesus Christ means to us as individuals and as a family.  We love each of you!!!!   Love Grandma and Grandpa

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day


We HOPE you have all had a wonderful and thoughtful Mother’s Day. 
Our little primary (9) sang two Mother’s day songs and it brought back to my mind all the Mother’s Day Primary Songs that have blessed my life.  A cute story about today, one of the songs was I Often Go Walking.  One line says “Blossom’s of Blue”.    Dad and I had purchased and wrapped the Mother’s Day Gifts to be given out after Sacrament Meeting.  I was just putting the bag in the Kitchen, when Tucker (6) came running in with a cute white basket filled with clear packages.  “Sister Hepworth, Sister Hepworth! I made these cookies to give to the Mom’s.  When can I do it?”  He was so very excited that I couldn’t tell him that we had gift for the Mom’s.  I told him he could do it right after the closing prayer.  He comes to church with his grandmother.  She told me the story behind the cookies.  He was spending the night and for an activity, they started making cookies.  She said they could take them for Mother’s day.  He was then very excited and rolled out the dough, cut the circles and then asked her to make blue frosting.  She said, I think pink would be better for the mom’s, but he said...”Oh no, the songs says blossoms of BLUE.  So she made a dark blue frosting.  They didn’t look to appealing, so she suggested they put some yellow dots on them.  It turned out to be a happy face.  They put them in little clear bags tied with a ribbon.  I think he was about 5 feet off the ground when he came in with the basket.  He was so proud when he handed the gifts to each mom.  ( I gave the Branch gift out in Relief Society...I just couldn’t spoil his excitement.)
WE had our Zone Training on Friday and you could just feel the excitement of the missionaries anticipating their skypes home.   I too have been looking forward to the calls from home.  I have to admit that I have felt a little lonely today, but once I got to talk to you, I felt so happy and so loved. 
Thank you for being such a wonderful and supportive family.  As a family and as individuals we are so blessed to have the gospel in our lives to guide and direct us in the pathway to eternal happiness TOGETHER.  We send our love and our prayers to each of you. 
Love grandma and grandpa

Monday, May 5, 2014

Feeling like "Real Missionaries"

Dear Family,

This past week was what you would call a typical missionary week.  At the first of the week we had several appointments and a couple of lessons.  One appointment cancelled and then one lesson cancelled.   We were disappointed of course, but the other two went very well. We were able to go with our Branch President Home Teaching to a less active couple.  It was a very good visit.  She is really an expert at Family History.  She would be such an asset to the ward.  So would he.  She expressed an interest in Indexing, so we are going to make an appointment to teach her how.  Dad is very good at it.  I have just my 5th batch.  It is very rewarding and gives you experience in reading different documents.
I have been doing records from Ghana.  The person who wrote the information on the ones I have done, wrote with very good penmanship in English.  

Our lesson was with a Sister who was baptized quite awhile ago and then went inactive.  Totally inactive.  Then in the fall before we got here, she attended her Uncle’s Funeral.  He was a member of the church and his funeral was at the chapel right next to the Birmingham Temple.  She told us how she rode up to the service with her two sisters.  When they pulled into the parking lot, she looked up at the Temple and it had a glow about it.  She kept telling her sisters...”Look at the Temple!” Look at the Temple” and they just said...where shall we park?  They went into the service and the first song that was sung was “Love One Another.”  She thought that was a strange song, but she listened to the words and found her self crying quite hard.  The closing song was another unusual choice: “Count Your Blessings.”  She thought it must have been her Uncle’s favorite song and it was one of hers too when she first joined the Church.  She came home with that special spirit that the Lord have given her and determined that she would go back to church.  The first week, something happened and she didn’t make it.  The next weekend her husband needed her help, so she didn’t go.  That week she told herself and her family that no matter what, she was going to attend church the next Sunday.  AND SHE DID.  She is so amazing.  She is a counselor in the Relief Society and I tell her if she was in Salt Lake, she would probably be on the General Board.  For 5 years of her inactivity, she gathered family history, records, pictures and names.  She has 3 large 3 ring binders full of plastic sheets with volumes of information.  Her husband is not a member, nor is her only daughter, but she brings her two grandchildren to church with her each week. Brooklyn is four and last week she proudly showed my her Scripture Bag with her Bible and her "Book of Norman".  Tucker is 6 and He invited us to attend his Kindergarten Graduation on the 16th.   
We are teaching the Temple Preparation Classes.  She is so excited to enter the Temple.

These are the kind of experiences that make us so glad that took the opportunity to go on a Mission.   These special moments  don’t happen every day or even every week, but when they do, you want to help them take the next step on the path our Heavenly Father’s
Plan.    We hope that you can feel the love we have for our little branch.

We do miss you very much and some days more than ever, but we are happy and our Testimonies and our Gospel Knowledge is growing so much.  We love you and pray for each of you.  Love Grandpa and Grandma

PS  Today is Six Months!