Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall in Alabama

Dear Family,

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, October 20, 2014

Meet the Mormons

Have you been to see the movie, “Meet The Mormons”?  WE got to see it Friday at our Mission Interviews. Wow, what a great movie.  It was more than I expected it to be.  We had been told in our Zone Meetings last month, that no missionaries were to attend.  The Church did not want this to be a” proselytizing” movie or a “finding” movie.  They did not want Missionary Badges showing up with investigators or with member families, and the press than saying it was a proselyting tool.  The five families that were selected to represent our membership were great choices.  They have had many of the same life experiences and challenges that all of the world experiences.  The film is not showing anywhere near us, but our Mission President wanted us to have a chance to see it, so we got to watch it.  We even had popcorn, candy and carrots( for Healthy eaters).  Be sure to see it.
We had Stake Conference this weekend.  It was sooooo fantastic.
I wish there was a way to tell you about each of the speakers, but that always looses something in the telling. Our Area 70 is Elder Meredith is from Nashville Tennessee.  He is an absolutely fantastic speaker.  I am sure we will see and hear from him a lot in the future.   Think about 1974, this area was part of the Southern States Mission.  Guess what Temple District they were in???? Mesa, Arizona, Provo Utah or the Salt Lake Temple District.  Then in 1974, they announced a Temple almost in their backyards.....the Washington D.C. Temple.   There were two people in the congregation that had received their endowments at the Mesa Temple and they lived in Montgomery Alabama.  They have the same problem here that we experienced in Oregon. They were so thrilled to have the Washington DC Temple and then they got the Atlanta Temple and now they have the Birmingham Temple and it is harder than ever to get to the temple.  We hope you will each increase your attendance at the temple....even you who do baptisms.   He wants to give you more of His blessings. 
WE are trying to get our youth to the temple this Saturday, we only have three and one of them now has the ACT tests.  I hope the other two will stay committed to attend.  We have asked the adults to give us some family names and we do have a few, so we hope we can get their work done.  Keep the Missionaries in your prayers. (including us)  We love you so much and are so glad we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ to give us direction and peace.
  Love you!!! Love Grandma and Grandpa

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Rattlesnake Scare

On Wednesday night, we had an indexing class for the Young Men/Young Women.  As I knew they would, they loved it and took right to it.  Our branch goal for the youth was 150 and the three of them have already surpassed that goal.  Then we got home about 9:00, we had a voice message from our neighbor, Miss Ruby.  She said “ I don’t mean to scare you, but a man came to my front door about 7:30 and said...tell the people next door they had a very large rattle snake crawling up their front porch.  I know you don’t have a gun, so PLEASE be careful.  Drive over here and get a shovel so you can kill it if you see it!”   Well she didn’t mean to scare us, but it sure scared me.  Three times before I went to bed, I turned on the porch light to be sure it wasn’t on the porch. 
As we talked with people the next morning, we learned that rattle snakes often have a “path” that they follow. Then Nancy, a neighbor two houses up the street said, “ I killed a rattle snake in front of your drive way this summer.  I backed over it several times with my car.”  The neighbor across the street said “she thought she could smell a snake”    I didn’t know they had a smell, but folks here say “Oh, yes they have a smell!”    Miss Ruby said they don’t like moth balls, so I went to Fred’s to get some.  The Black man who helped me said with big eyes, “Put them everywhere, even some in your house in case they get inside.”  Needless to say that I have been very very careful where I walk and when; and I keep my eyes looking out about 3 feet in front of me, searching, searching. 
Another first in my our life.  We were over at Edward Smith’s, our trapper, gardener friend,  he had “pulled up some green plants and to my surprise, there were peanuts growing among the roots.  Lots of peanuts on each root.  I picked off a few, cracked them open and ate one.  They taste sort of like a peanut, but the nuts are soft and chewy.  Edward brought us over a big sack of peanuts he had taken off the roots.  First I filled the sink with water and rinsed them off good.  Lots of muddy sand in the sink.  Then I wasn’t sure what to do with them, so checked Google and then called Theresa Runnels, a member and close friend.  She said to put them in the crock pot, cover them with water and cook them over night.  It was morning, so I cooked them all day. Since I like Salted peanuts I put salt in the water.   Then I took them out of the water and “roasted” them in the oven.   They taste pretty good, but still need to “dry” more.  It is a lot of work.  I will never look at a bag of peanuts in the store again, without thinking of my experience with peanuts.   You may get a little sample in your Christmas box...if they turn out. 
Wasn’t our General Conference wonderful?  So much good that can help us in our day to day lives.  WE love y’all and are so grateful for your loving support.  Keep the pictures and texts coming.  Love, Grandma and Grandpa

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Roll Tide

Boy, it has been a very busy week.  Of course, Monday is our P-Day.  We start by going to exercise at the local exercise place.  We have met several people there who have become very good friends, they are not interested in our gospel message, but they enjoy our friendship and they missed us when we came home for the wedding. We then pick up the Sister Missionaries and go to Hardee’s for a drive though breakfast on our way to Thomasville for Dry Cleaners, WalMart and Doughnuts.  We get home about 1:30 and the Sisters spend the afternoon doing their computer work...letter to the President, Family and whatever they do.  We just let them use our computer and Dad’s Laptop.  That is the Day Grandpa does his service here at our place.  He mows the grass on the 6 or 7 acres of our Land-Lady’s property.  He has the use of a John Deere and a zero-turn mower.  I wish you could see him.  You know grandpa, he does everything pretty meticulous, so the lines are straight and the property looks great.  He calls it his “plantation”.  Ms. Ruby is our Landlady and she is such a wonderful friend.  Her husband passed away 14 years ago and she recently started having extreme back pain. Looks like she is gong to have to have surgery and Grandpa taking care of the property is a huge help to her.     
Wednesday we had our Branch Council.  It was the best one we have had since we got here.  We heard reports from some of the Council on things they have heard from the Less Actives.  Phrases like, “We need to come back to Church.”,, “The Missionaries are helping us so much”. Yes, I know about Time out For Women and I am so glad you got to go”  So we are encouraged to keep going.
Thursday we had our Zone Training.  WOW...these young Elders and Sister are fantastic.  The meeting was so powerful and so motivating.  Makes me wonder what I was doing when I was their age.  They truly are a chosen generation.
Friday, we started with our Branch hosting the breakfast for the Wilcox Academy football team and cheerleaders.  Evidently all the other churches host one of these breakfasts.  This is the first time that the Mormon Church as been invited to host.  It was a great opportunity to have 42 young people come into our building, see our pictures a d Jesus Christ, have one of the members give the devotional message and another sister member give the blessing on the food.  There was a great spirit in the building and so many of our members were there to set up, prepare and serve the breakfast.   Then we dashed to Tuscaloosa about 2 hours away to tour the Football Stadium of University of Alabama.  WOW.  The stadium seats 101,000, BYU doesn’t seat nearly that many.  They have a section where the seats are $600.00 per game.  Then we went to DREAMLAND for lunch.  Tony Hanks told us about DREAMLAND and that it was a MUST in Alabama.  It was oh so good!  Its just sort of a hole in the wall place, where they give you a white paper plate and a black plastic fork.  Then they bring Barbeque Ribs and Sausage, baked beans, cole slaw and potato salad.  A real Southern feast!!! Tony had on a Dreamland Apron and he held a bottle of their famous sauce.  He orders a case every year.  Now we now why.  We will definitely be going back their.  Then we went to a State Park named Moundsville.  It is an ancient Indian Camp where the Indians built mounds about 20 – 30 feet high, all built by bringing buckets of dirt and dumping them.  You can’t imagine how long it took to build these mounds, basket by basket. The tribal leaders lived on these mounds and their special tribal sacred places were also on these mounds.  It is estimated that at one time there were 10,000 Indians living in this area.  This outing was for the Senior Couple and we sure enjoyed being with the six other couples.
Then to top off a busy week, we were blessed to have two days of General Conference.  How very blessed we are to have the Gospel in our lives and so many wonderful leaders to give us council and direction especially at this troubled time in the world.   Tonight we are very tired, but truly blessed especially for our membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
We hope you are feeling that way too.  We love you all and are grateful to have each of you in our lives.  Be Strong, Be Faithful and Stay Close to each other.   Love, Grandma and Grandpa