Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Zechariah's Messianic Prophecies

Studying the Old Testament this school year has strengthened our testimonies on listening more closely to what prophets say!

Zechariah 9:9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly [humble], and riding upon an ass [symbolic of submission and humility--Messiah's submission to will of the Father, and to Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers who would crucify him], and upon a colt* the foal of an ass.

Yet another Messianic prophesy by an Old Testament prophet: Israel's king will ride a donkey. Taken out of context, the less spiritual would view this as contradiction. Those with ears to hear [listen to the prophets] and eyes to see [read the scriptures daily] will understand subtlety. Compare Matthew 21:1-11 and John 12:12-15.

*Did you know that the donkey on which Jesus rode into Jerusalem had never been ridden? Mark tells us that the donkey that Jesus rode was "a colt...whereon never man sat" (Mark 11:2). This is a reminder of the Savior's power and mastery over all things, including the animal kingdom.

Zechariah 9:10-11 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse [symbolic of military power or war] from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.
11 As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.

Elder Bruce R McConkie explained: "It was of these that Zechariah prophesied when as part of a longer Messianic utterance, he spoke of 'prisoners of hope'; it was of these that he gave assurance that 'the Lord their God shall save them.'  He gives the Messianic message in these words: 'By the blood of the covenant'--that is, because of the gospel covenant, which is efficacious because of the shedding of the blood of Christ--'I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.' (Zechariah 9:11-16) 'Wherein is no water'--how aptly and succinctly this crystallizes the thought that the saving water, which is baptism, is an earthly ordinance and cannot be performed by spirit beings while they dwell in the spirit world. Did not Paul say in this same connection, 'What shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?' (1 Corinthians 15:29)
-The Promised Messiah, p 241

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Party Animals

Party #1: Turning Basin Park with 13 YSA & 2 senior couples and one HUGE brown spider(!)

YSA grill hotdogs and hamburgers
Party #2: President & Sister Jeppson host New Jersey Morristown
senior missionary couples at mission home in evening

Sister Jeppson chooses "Bucket List" theme to celebrate Memorial Day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mission Conference

Elder Kevin & Sister Nancy Duncan with Sisters Barrett and Call
Mission Conference for four Zones was held today at East Brunswick Stake Center. (Another one will be held tomorrow at Morristown Stake Center for other four Zones.) Young missionaries were taught by a member of First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Duncan. The Doctrine of Christ and "Preach My Gospel" were reviewed. Encouraging investigators to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it is the key! Survey says 5% of investigators had meaningful experience after reading BOM. (Surveys also reveal it takes on average of eight contacts with The Church of Jesus Christ and/or its members before an investigator is ready to listen.) When member families invite investigator(s) to FHE with missionaries in their homes, it's often successful.
Elders Blake, Magleby, Pico, Barrio & Flake with Elder S

Talented Elder Montes played prelude music while missionaries filled chapel. (I predict
he will someday make a commercially successful piano CD with relaxing spiritual hymns.)

Our cute mission president's wife, Sister Jeppson, set cultural hall luncheon tables
with happy tulip bouquets, vibrant colors and, of course, created spiritual
thought magnets for missionaries to take home.

Princeton 1st Ward Relief Society prepared a banquet for us!
(Small world: 1st sister on left is a dear family friend
from our Greenwood Village Ward days in Colorado!) 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sacrament Talk Quote

"Acting for yourself
you are acting alone"
-Katie W, YSA

Friday, May 18, 2012

Samuel the Lamanite

Helaman 14-16....sounds like today, sadly....

Helaman 16:23 "And notwithstanding the signs and the wonders which were wrought among the people of the Lord, and the many miracles which they did, Satan did get great hold upon the hearts of the people upon all the face of the land."

Five actions Satan uses to challenge our faith:
1) Enlist followers who will spread opposition to God's Plan of Salvation
2) Explain away miracles
2) Portray faith as product of traditions and ignorance
3) Question motives of spokesmen
4) Rationalize matters of faith

In order to keep our faith in our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, we must hold tightly to the iron rod or the word of God with our daily prayers and scripture reading. This is not a recommendation but requirement to prepare for Kingdom of God on Earth!

October 2012 Elder David A Bednar: "Samuel the Lamanite identified 5 basic elements in becoming converted unto the Lord: (1) believing in the teachings and prophecies of the holy prophets as they are recorded in the scriptures, (2) exercising faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, (3) repenting, (4) experiencing a mighty change of heart, and (5) becoming "firm and steadfast in faith" (see Helaman 15:7-8). This is the pattern that leads to conversion.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Jabari Parker

Time Magazine 7 May 2012 Colleges are swooning over Jabari Parker, a 6'8" Mormon star from the Chicago's South Side. Why you'll be watching him in the NBA real soon.

If Jabari Parker were just an unfailingly polite and devout honor student from Chicago’s South Side, he’d still be one of the most remarkable 17-year-olds you’ve ever met. But Parker is also the nation’s top high school basketball player and his unique mix of athletic talent and Pollyanna charm has him poised to become basketball’s next big thing.

Parker’s day starts before dawn with an hour of Bible study at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His Mormon faith comes from his mother; his 6’8” frame is passed down from his dad, former NBA first-round pick Sonny Parker.

On a recent morning, Parker’s Spanish class was interrupted by NBA veteran Alonzo Mourning, who dropped by to surprise Parker with the Gatorade National Player of the Year Award. Always eager to please, Parker is bound to disappoint dozens of colleges when he chooses a school this fall. The scholarship offers started in 7th grade. As a devout Mormon is he interested in Brigham Young University? “Oh yeah.” As a Chicago native, is he considering Illinois? “I’m very interested in staying at home.” There’s seemingly no college Parker won’t consider.

But in the end he may even disappoint the university he attends–Parker says he’ll leave for the NBA once he’s projected as a top five draft pick, which will likely be after just one year in college. First, he needs to finish 11th grade.

See also favorable Sports Illustrated article.

Friday, May 11, 2012

White Glove Inspections

We get to serve with these GREAT young men. We also get to inspect their apartments every 6 weeks. Their apartments were above average clean this time! One senior couple is assigned to solve any problems missionaries have in their apartments. On this visit we observed how our concerns from last visit were all quietly and efficiently addressed. Once again, we are humbled by those with whom we serve!
Elder Turnbow & Pruitt

Elders Noxon, Ruiz & Taylor

Elders Marshall & Sanders

Elders Mortimer & Gardner

Elders Jellen & Hicks

Frosted Pumpkin Bars

These were a BIG HIT this week at Institute!
Frosted Pumpkin Bars
4 large eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 (15-oz) can solid-packed pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (3-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 Tablespoons milk
Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts
1) Preheat oven to 350oF.
2) Line cookie sheet (17”x11”x1 ½”) with parchment paper. Lightly apply cooking spray to paper.
3) Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda in separate bowl.
4) Mix eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until well blended.
5) Add flour mixture to egg mixture. Combine thoroughly.
6) Pour into prepared cookie sheet. Lightly shake back and forth to spread batter over entire surface of paper.
7) Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool.
8) Prepare frosting by combining ingredients in order. When cake is almost cool, spread frosting evenly over top. Place in refrigerator to set and then cut into 1” squares.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Bug Boys (and Girls) Are Here!

Summer Members: "Bug boys/girls" arrive to contract for pest control!
On 1st Sundays of each month, our YSA Branch holds a "break-the-Fast" potluck. Today we had at least 16 "bug boys/girls" attend our potluck for first time and they didn't know they were supposed to bring food. Most of them arrived yesterday and hadn't had time to grocery shop. They were VERY HAPPY they didn't have to Fast until Monday!

Look closely at table in middle.
These kids see me snapping photos all the time!
They are getting use to me--and help to enliven my shots! :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Entertaining Ezekiel

Who knew?! Ezekiel may be one of my new favorites in the Old Testament!

Last night Elder S taught Princeton Institute and enlightened his students' on the book of Ezekiel.

Did you know Ezekiel was a peer of Jeremiah and Daniel (and Lehi)?
We learned King Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem 3X. The prophet Jeremiah remained in Jerusalem and prophesied from 13th year of Josiah till after downfall of Jerusalem, over 40 years (626-586 BC). Ezekiel prophesied to Jewish captives carried off throughout Babylonian empire during period of 22 years (592-570 BC). Daniel was in first wave of captives carried away to Babylonia. After he interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he was kept in King's court where he had prophetic visions.

Ezekiel 37:1-14 talks about Ezekiel's vision of valley of dry bones symbolizing both resurrection and restoration of Israel to promised land.

Of particular importance is Ezekiel 37:15-20: "The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it. For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it. For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions. And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes."

Elder Boyd K Packer said in November 1982: "The stick or record of Judah--the Old and New Testaments--and the stick or record of Ephraim--the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ--are now woven together in such a way that as you pore over one you are drawn to the other; as you learn from one you are enlightened by the other. They are indeed one in our hands. Ezekiel's prophecy now stands fulfilled."

Best. Brownies. Ever.

If you don't have time to rush to grocery store to gather ingredients for brownies-from-scratch, grab a box of Ghirardelli triple chocolate brownie mix. I made these for YSA treats this week and didn't bring home any leftovers!!
If you have time and ingredients, make my mom's brownies!
Bodie's Fudge Brownies
(Makes 3 dozen)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon double acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Optional: 3/4 cup chopped nuts
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour 9"x13"x2" pan.
2) Melt chocolate and butter. Cool.
3) Add sugar and eggs. Blend well.
4) Add dry ingredients. Add vanilla. Add nuts.
5) Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Note: Bodie ALWAYS frosted these!