Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Attitude of Gratitude

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.
It was my “opportunity” to speak in Sacrament Meeting today and of course I chose to talk on Gratitude.  I used the family farm story from President Monson’s talk in November 2010 and the May 14, 2014 talk of President Uchtdorf “Grateful in Any Circumstance”   The farm story is about a family who on each Thanksgiving, the father took them on a tour of their farm, the barn, the cellar and all the animals and listed all that they had worked so hard to grow and save for use during the winter.  Then they would give gratitude in the prayer before the Thanksgiving feast.  The most memorable thanksgiving, was the one where they did not have a successful year...in fact all they had for the feast was a bunch of turnips and a rabbit their dad had shot that morning.  In that year, electricity had come to their town and with great sacrifice, they had electric lights and an electric washing machine.  But the turnips and rabbit left the family with little to be thankful for.  The father went up to the attic and brought down one of the oil burning lamps that they had used before the electricity.  He lit the lamp and then asked one of the children to turn off all the electric lights.  Wow, they couldn’t believe that they had lived all their lives with such a little bit of light.  The turnips and the rabbit did not look so bad now and they were grateful in their circumstance.  President Uchtdorf suggest that instead of being thankful FOR  things, that we focus on being thankful IN  our circumstance, what ever
They may be.  Prs. Uchtdorf also shares a cute story about a man in a restaurant that complains about only getting two slices of bread with his meal.  Get out the Ensigns and read these two talks.  They will help you improve your “Attitude of Gratitude”

We are thankful for  all our blessings and thankful IN  our circumstances.
We wish each of you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day where ever you are and will express your gratitude to those you love so dearly.  We do appreciate each of you and your support of us on this mission.  It really has made the difference.  We LOVE you!!  Grandma and Grandpa

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Happy Birthday

So Sorry this letter is late.  But I had such a great Birthday, that I just didn’t get it done. 
On my birthday morning, the Sister Missionaries came over and fixed breakfast for me.  Delicious Chocolate chip Pancakes....Sister Olson’s family recipe.  Followed by lots of phone calls and people stopping by.  We were supposed to have a Branch Party...A SOUPer Supper....but it was cancelled due to the very very cold temperatures on Friday night.  One couple was so disappointed that they planned a Weenie Roast.  Saturday night was not as cold and Scot built a beautiful fire.  It was treated wood, so he didn’t let us roast on the fire, but we ate our stove cooked hot dogs sitting out by the fire.  We even had s’mores with marshmallows cooked over the electric burner on the stove.  We even tried to sing a few camp songs.  It was a fun time.
Sunday, we had the primary program.  I had practiced every day for two weeks to play the songs.  (Primary songs are hard...the notes jump around so much)  The program went so well.  Their favorite song was a new one called “A Never Ending Chain”.   Margaret, the Primary President, teacher and chorister asked me to come to the primary room about 11:15 for the treats she had brought to celebrate the completion of the program.  I went in and before I knew what was happening, the whole Branch came in the other door and yelled SURPRISE! It was a surprise party for me.  The kids were so excited, they had each made me a card and they gave me a jewel piece that hangs on a chain or bracelet and it has a BLUE jewel....Blue for Wilcox Academy where they all go to school.  Of course there was the song and a birthday cake. 

We had a guest over for dinner, Brenda Martin from Magnolia.  She is Second Counselor in the Stake Relief Society Presidency and is a good friend.  The day we moved into our little house here, the Elders from Magnolia came to help us move in.  The Elders brought with them some homemade rolls that she had made for us.  They are the Best Rolls.  I sent her a thank you and asked for the recipe and we have been good friends ever since. Magnolia is about 35 miles away from here, so when I knew she was coming to visit our Branch on Sunday I invited her for dinner.  She stayed and visited for awhile.  When you live in these small towns and Branches, it is so good to just sit and have someone new to talk with.  That night, our dear friends, Margaret and Jarrett invited the four of us for dinner.  (4= Senior and Sister Missionaries).   It was a most memorable Birthday.
Thank you to each of your for your calls, your texts, your face book messages and the wonderful cards.  I am so blessed to have each of you wonderful people in my life.  We love you!  Love Grandma and Grandpa

Monday, November 10, 2014

Man Hunt

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. 

I said in a previous letter, that the leaves were not as colorful as at home, well, I have to take that back.  In the past few days, we have seen greater color in reds, yellows and oranges amidst the shades of green.  It is a very Beautiful and Colorful Fall here in Alabama.

On Monday, we were making our usual preparation day trip to Thomasville to the cleaners and Wal Mart on Highway 10, when we were stopped on the road by a line of several cars. There was no accident, nor was there a flagger stopping us,; nothing that seemed to cause the stopping.   We were stopped about 20 minutes, when we saw a little flicker of flashing blue lights, then just more waiting.  About 5 minutes later, we saw two men dressed in khaki brown running down the middle of the street.  Then we noticed they were chasing some little critters.  As they got closer, we could see that they were little dogs they were chasing.  As they got closer, we rolled down our windows and could hear the dogs yapping and sniffing.  We wondered what they could be chasing, drug dealers or something.  The Sister missionaries were with us and told us that one of their investigators works at the Work Release Facility and had told them that a prisoner had escaped Saturday night.  Could this be what the dogs were after?  We could now see that the dogs were Beagles and they had little antennas’ attached to their heads. One of the men in brown, picked up one of the dogs and took him to the back of a pick-up, picked up something from the bed and let the dog smell it.  The three dogs sniffed all along the side of the road.  At the first car, the dogs sniffed; then they were waved on.  They sniffed at the second car and it was waved on.  As they got to our car, all three of them were barking and sniffing, when the lead dog made an excited bark and all three took off....they had the scent.  We were waved on.  Would we ever know the rest of the story???
Tuesday, the Sisters visited with their investigator again.  She told them they did catch the prisoner about 11:30 on Monday Morning in Possum Bend.   That is exactly where we had been stopped.  We were witnesses to a “MAN HUNT”. 
It was just like on TV. 

We think this is a pretty small quiet little community and then once in a while, something pretty exciting happens. 

We thank you all for your texts, photos, calls and notes.  (And Colored Pictures!).  We are blessed to feel your love and your support.  Love Grandma and Grandpa

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Where are the missionaries?

November 2, 2014 and daylight savings time has ended and boy is it dark early here in Alabama.  I never really noticed too much the difference it makes, but as a missionary, it is tough.  Most everyone is home and snuggled in when it gets dark and are not too excited to have the missionaries stop by.  It is especially difficult for our Young Sisters.  Camden, is not a metropolis...there are not hundreds of street lights and business lights to brighten the dark.  When the sun goes down, it is dark.
We are working on ideas that will help the Sisters be obedient and successful after 6 or 7:00.  If you have any ideas....send them to us.
It seems that all of the country is experiencing an early cold snap and Alabama is no different.  The high yesterday was only 46 and the low was in the low 30’s.  In away that doesn’t seem that cold, but the big change in temperature has been hard to take.  On the bright side.....it is sunny and the leaves are starting to change and it is beautiful.  We don’t have many red or orange leaves, but the yellow and so many softening shades of green tell us that fall is here.
At Testimony Meeting today, our dear friend Jimmie said he doesn’t think we know the impact we are having on this community outside the members of the church.  We were not able to go to the Wilcox Football Game on Friday night and he said everyone was asking “Where are the Missionaries?  We so love to have them with us”. It really helped us to know that even our little efforts are noticed and loved.  We went to the School Carnival yesterday and were surprised at how many of the teachers came up and talked to us since they met us on our “Show and Tell” experience.   
The best news is that our Dear Friend, Kay Dunnam is going to the Temple on Saturday for her Endowments. She joined the church in 1988 but then became inactive about 5 years later.  During those years of inactivity, she was captivated by Family History work.  She has 3 very large binders, with names, pictures, and histories of her family.  4,000 names.  She has had some of the most wonderful experiences in finding these family members and learning of her heritage. 
We are so blessed that so many of our relatives have done so much work in finding names and stories.  There is always more to be done.  We need to find Pictures and family stories.  My sisters and I have a huge project when we get home; the closet in the playroom is full of boxes of pictures and “stuff” that we need to share. You grandchildren, ask your grandparents about when they were growing up....what they did for fun...for work...school...etc.  For example, did you know that your Great Grandmother...Alice  Johnson Hepworth played softball in high school.....”in a dress”?   
For Family Home Evening, make sure that your family has all 4 generations on the Family History Site.    Well, you can see that we are teaching Family History and I wish I were better prepared.  We love each of you and are so very blessed that we know about the Plan of Salvation and that we can live together as a family forever. Love Grandma and Grandpa Hepworth