Friday, December 30, 2011

Eatontown End-of-the-Semester Party

Could we ever have a food-free or low-cal party?
Not on your life!
Pizzas with something for everyone!
Guess the person, the place and the action!

Who has the sign?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

NJ Trivia: Who Crossed the Delaware River Dec 25, 1776?

The first move in a surprise attack against the Hessian forces in Trenton, New Jersey was organized by George Washington. He led a column of Continental Army troops across the icy Delaware River in a logistically and dangerous operation. Preparations for the attack began on December 23. On December 24 the boats used to bring the army across the Delaware from New Jersey were brought down from Malta Island near New Hope and hidden behind Taylor Island at McKonkey's Ferry, Washington's planned crossing site, and security was tightened there. A final planning meeting took place that day, with all of the general officers present. General orders were issued by Washington on December 25 outlining plans for the operation. On Christmas Day, Washington ordered his army to prepare 3 days' food, and issued orders that every soldier be outfitted with fresh flints for their muskets. He was also somewhat worried by intelligence reports that the British were planning their own crossing once the Delaware was frozen over. At 4 PM Washington's army turned out for its evening parade, where the troops were issued ammunition, and even the officers and musicians were ordered to carry muskets. They were told that they were departing on a secret mission. marching 8 abreast in close formations, and ordered to be as quiet as possible, they left the camp for McKonkey's Ferry. Washington's plan required the crossing to begin as soon as it was dark enough to conceal their movements on the river, but most of the troops did not reach the crossing point until about 6 PM, about 90 minutes after sunset. The weather go progressively worse, turning from drizzle to rain to sleet and snow. Washington was among the first of the troops to cross....These troops formed a sentry line around the landing area in New Jersey, with strict instructions that no one was to pass through. The password was "Victory or Death".... As soon as the army was ready, Washington ordered it split into 2 columns....Only 3 Americans were killed and 6 wounded, while 22 Hessians were killed and 98 wounded. The Americans captured 1,000 prisoners and seized muskets, powder, and artillery.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pizza Fest

Our Tuesday YSA's chose Vinnie's Pizza
for our end-of-the-semester gathering.

Guess who chose the veggie pizza....

...and guess who chose the MEAT LOVERS pizza?

Just a few of our YSA still here during the holidays.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Celebrate the Reason for the Season

At our recent New Jersey Morristown Missionary Christmas gathering, one speaker told a story about two young missionaries serving in Canada who prayerfully planned their daily schedule. They planned to visit a family after 4 p.m. but when they arrived the family wasn't home. One young missionary was impressed to cross the street and knock at the door of an abandoned house. No one answered the door but that young elder felt impressed that someone there needed him. They went around to the backyard. No one was there. Then they saw the garage door ajar. As they lifted the garage door, they noticed fresh blood. A muffled voice cried out for help. Inside the garage lay a homeless man who was bleeding to death. The old man had drug himself inside the garage for protection from the elements and for a place to die.

As the young missionaries thought about their prayers that morning and planned their day's schedule, they were prompted by the Holy Ghost to be at the right place and at the right time.

Our wish for you today is that you will find a quiet moment to prepare to be at the right place at the right time when our Savior, Jesus Christ, comes again.

And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. -Mark 4:9

As full-time missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ, we have been called and set apart to....."warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ." -Doctrine & Covenants 20:59

God is our Father. Jesus is the Christ. The Holy Ghost will guide and comfort you....if you will listen and come unto Christ.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

New Jersey Morristown Missionary Christmas Party

158 New Jersey Morristown missionaries gather
to celebrate Christmas at 9 a.m.

Elders High and Wootten are my FAVORITE subjects
to photograph--they NEVER disappoint! ;)

Mrs Santa Claus (AKA Sister Jeppson) and her Elves
had Morristown Stake Center culture hall festively
decorated. We took a HUGE group photo, too.
A spiritual 2-hour meeting was held in chapel with
4 Stake Presidents, wives and members of Mission Presidency
giving testimony of Jesus Christ.

Singer Alex Boye, son-in-law of our Mission President and his wife,
performed after missionaries were given presents from their families
and served a Christmas feast.

Later in morning we visited Elder Phillips, another CES specialist
serving in Caldwell Stake, who was hospitalized with pancreatitis.

Our Mission President's wife knocked herself out
again by making individual dental hygiene
Christmas stockings for each missionary!
She's amazing!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Future New Jersey Missionary?

Fans of pop-singer David Archuleta were surprised to hear Monday that the singer-songwriter will be serving a proselytizing mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Archuleta made the announcement just before his encore performance at his concert Monday night at Abravanel Hall, saying he “wanted to make a special announcement while he was home.”

12/30/11 Wall Street Journal blog
From American Idol to Mormon Missionary by ALLISON POND

At a concert in Salt Lake City last week, pop star David Archuleta of American Idol fame made an unexpected and emotional announcement. After a couple of years of skirting questions about it, he revealed that he will indeed serve a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though he hasn't made public where he will be sent.

Mr. Archuleta will join more than 52,000 Mormon missionaries serving in 340 missions, or geographic areas, world-wide. Eighty percent of them are young men who begin serving at age 19. The remainder are mostly young women age 21 and older, along with a small number of retired couples. It is estimated that roughly a third of eligible young Mormon men elect to serve missions.

For Mr. Archuleta, age 21, life is about to change considerably. He'll trade a life of stardom for the rigor of waking up at 6:30 every morning, studying scripture for a couple of hours, then working 10-hour days teaching interested people in their homes and taking on other community-service projects before falling into bed exhausted. He'll also join the ranks of other prominent Mormons who have served missions, including Mitt Romney (France) and Jon Huntsman (Taiwan), Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings (Spain), and actors Aaron Eckhart (Switzerland) and Jon Heder (Japan).

Missionaries serve on their own dime, swearing off dating, entertainment and even most Internet activity. There is relatively little direct supervision; they have at once rigid structure and significant autonomy. They work in pairs, reporting weekly in writing to a mission president, an older man called to serve a three-year stint.

Mission life wasn't always so structured. For the first years after the church's founding in 1830, missionaries were usually established men who left families behind as they set off on their own to spread their newfound faith.

Early missionaries branched into Canada, then Britain and Scandinavia, converting tens of thousands who immigrated to Utah in the latter half of the 19th century. By the early 1900s, the church began to restrict its calls to unmarried men and sometimes women.

By 1950, some 3,015 missionaries were called to 46 missions world-wide and the church began systematizing missionary work, emphasizing the duty of all young Mormon men to serve and establishing policies such as a formal business-attire dress code. In 1953, the church issued the first official set of lessons for use in all missions. Over the years, new materials were issued regularly, culminating in 2004 with "Preach My Gospel," a handbook that moves away from set lessons and gives missionaries latitude to personalize instruction, urging them to "follow the spirit."

This aggressive missionary effort bears fruit. In 2010, the church reported 272,814 converts world-wide, or roughly five per missionary. Of course, the number of converts varies widely by mission. A missionary in South America can expect to baptize regularly, while those in some European countries are lucky to count even one convert by the time they come home.

The most important converts to Mormonism might be the missionaries themselves. Studies indicate that returned missionaries maintain strong levels of religious activity, with more than 80% attending services each week and paying tithes to the church. Returned missionaries also tend to have high educational levels and marriage rates.

It's no surprise that the missionary experience leaves a lasting imprint on young people. While friends back home are heading to a house party, a typical missionary may be swallowing a lump in his throat as he stands on an unfamiliar doorstep, terrified yet hopeful. Or he may be on his knees on a dirt floor listening to someone pray for the first time, or pulling himself out of bed to pore over French grammar.

With Americans today fretting about prolonged adolescence, particularly among young men, the Mormon mission experience is a radical anomaly. It forces inexperienced young men and women, some barely out of high school, to grow up extraordinarily quickly. They minister primarily among the middle and lower classes, where they may find themselves giving marital advice, talking someone through the stages of grief or even leading a congregation. They wrestle with their own doubts and questions, make mistakes and experience the satisfaction of watching lives change.

Because of his time in the spotlight, David Archuleta may already be more grown up than the average 21-year-old, but a mission will challenge even him. It will put him in the company of hundreds of thousands who, by the end of their missions, have firsthand experience with the biblical injunction to lose their lives and thereby find them.

Ms. Pond, an associate editor for the Deseret News in Salt Lake City, served as a Mormon missionary in Rostov-na-donu, Russia.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Missionary Apartment Inspections Continue

Elders High & Wootten pass!
These six young Elders are on Mrs Santa's NICE list! Good job on cleaning your apartments! Ho ho ho
Elders Broadhead & Tuaila pass!

Elders Mortimer & McMillian pass!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Cooking

Dipped Marshmallows on a Stick--found BIGGEST marshmallows
ever and dipped them in milk, dark and white chocolate
and sprinkled with coconut, sprinkles, graham cracker crumbs,
or crushed peppermint
'Tis the Season for goodies! Here are some of the treats we are taking to Institute classes this week!
Dipped Pretzel Sticks--
when there is leftover melted chocolate in the house! ;)

Grandmother Gill's peanut butter cookies with large Hershey's kiss in middle!
(You either have to marry into the family or be killed to be given recipe!!!)

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Rice Krispies rolled in a log and sliced!
These don't photograph well but they were Y-U-M (if you like
peanut butter & chocolate together)!
And here's what we looked like AFTER consuming
meatballs in marinara, shrimp, and lots and lots of CHOCOLATE!

And, wouldn't you know it, the menu item I tossed in a crockpot--
Kirkland meatballs and Kirkland marinara sauce--
was THE HIT of the party!?!?!?!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Keeping the Sabbath Day--A Sign & A Promise to all Generations

As you know, our mission assignment is to teach Old Testament to young people (18-31 years old). To say WE THE TEACHERS are learning A LOT is an understatement! In recent weeks we discussed the 10 COMMANDMENTS. Yes, the ones we all memorized in Sunday School. But this year we discovered the FINE PRINT!
Exodus 20:8-11 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all they work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Exodus 31:13-16 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel [the Abrahamic Covenant adopts all people as God's children], saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.
14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death [actual physical death in Moses' day; spiritual death--separated from God--in our day]: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death [actual physical death in Moses' day; spiritual death--separated from God--in our day].
16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant [oath, promise].
17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

Isaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
Isaiah 55:12-13 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Isaiah 56:1-2, 4-7 Thus said the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
4 For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant.
5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
6 Also the sons of the stranger [Gentile who comes into the covenant], that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [our good deeds and service to others] shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

Isaiah 58:13-14 If thou turn away thy foot [our actions] from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Isaiah 62:2 And the Gentiles [followers of Christ] shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.

Matthew 12 Jesus's example of healing on the Sabbath day and doing other good deeds gives us further light into what we can and should do on the seventh day.

Mark 2:27 And he [Jesus] said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.

1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store [make temporal preparations on Saturday so Sunday can be enjoyed!], as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

Doctrine & Covenants 59:9-13 And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer [church] and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day [the Sabbath];
10 For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;
11 Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;
12 But remember that on this, the Lord's day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.
13 And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.

George Albert Smith: "...much of the sorrow and distress that is afflicting and will continue to afflict mankind is traceable to the fact that they have ignored his admonition to keep the Sabbath day holy."

Mark E Petersen: "Our observance or nonobservance of the Sabbath is an unerring measure of our attitude toward the Lord personally and toward his suffering in Gethsemane, his death on the cross, and his resurrection from the dead. It is a sign of whether we are Christians in very deed, or whether our conversion is so shallow that commemoration of his atoning sacrifice means little or nothing to us."

Thanks, Brother Bean, for these insights!

Christmas Spirit

Last night our stake (and the missionaries) put on a Christmas Fireside. When we came to our church building, this is what greeted us on the other side of the street! Today I am writing this (nameless) neighbor a 'thank you' note for sharing his CHRISTMAS SPIRIT in such a remarkable way!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Trivia: Jerseyisms

Did you know people from New Jersey never use 'New' when they are talking about their home state?

It's just 'Jersey.'

Did you know people from New, er, Jersey never call NYC 'New York City'?

It's just 'The City.'

Did you know people in Jersey never 'go to the coast'?

It's 'go down to the shore.'

Also, hardly anyone who has lived here forever says 'Joizey.' However, they do pronounce 'water' as 'wood-er' or 'waud-er.'

People who live in northern Jersey consider themselves part of Metro NY.

People who live in southern Jersey consider themselves part of Metro Philly.

Friday, December 9, 2011

This Christmas: Gifts of Service

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid.

I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.
Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted...."Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.

I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!

I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it.

Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.
Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were -- ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

--Thanks, Diane J!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Missionary Apartment Inspection-2nd Time

Sisters Wright & Dicou
 Who knew we could weld such power on a mission? The dreaded "WHITE GLOVE" apartment inspections continue! Who do you think passed and/or failed?
Elders Boyes & Tippett

Elders Clark & Kakiva

Hermanas Adam, Coley & Word

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Dear Readers:

Sorry for the lack of posts recently.

Nothing seems as interesting as snuggling under my electric blanket this past week as I endure the "common cold."

I would call it the "mighty cold" as it has brought me to my knees thanking God for my otherwise good health.

Look back later......

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Busy Princeton Church Building

Elders Broadhead, Wootten, Tuaila, and High
show off their best neck ties.
Wednesday nights at the Princeton Church building remind me how much use our meetinghouses get. When we arrive at the building at 6 PM., Young Women leaders are setting up the culture hall for YW Night of Excellence and Scout leaders are holding their monthly Court of Honor in the Relief Society room. While we wait, a Princeton RS sister comes and cuts missionaries' hair. We hear piano music coming from a classroom and learn another RS sister is teaching piano without charge to young people who want to learn! Around 7:55 PM, we reconfigure tables and chairs in RS room for YSA Institute class. After class we serve refreshments and visit with young single adults. As we are turning out lights around 9:45 PM, we note a Bishop is talking with members in the hallway and a few young people are shooting hoops in the cultural hall/gym. Ah, a day in the life of an LDS meetinghouse!
Sister Pinter cuts missionaries' hair
as her service project.

It's Lexie's birthday and YSA sing to her!