Thursday, May 31, 2012

Elder Jepsen - Visiting the Washington Spokane Temple

Our prep-day was changed because of Memorial Day, this gave us an opportunity to attend the Spokane Temple and I was once again reminded how much I enjoy the Temple. It's a fairly new temple. Plans for the Washington Spokane Temple were announced in 1998.  

Temples are always beautiful buildings in each their own unique way. Exteriors as well as interiors are such as one would expect for a House of the Lord. But, I think the real beauty is in the transformation that follows the adherence to the teachings and ordinances performed there. 

The welcoming and all-embracing peace I experience in the Temple is unlike any other experience I have ever had. I feel closer to God while there but I can't spend every day in the Temple, or I wouldn't have time to practice and share the very teachings that makes the House of the Lord a blessing. A good visit to the Temple will renew my focus and lift me spiritually but I must live it and share it, and that has it's own rewards. 

The missionary work here began in 1854 with four Elders that came to the area and began sharing the gospel and the last available numbers show 257.710 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 503 congregations for Washington State.

We are quite blessed as missionaries that the Lord has chosen to trust us with teaching quite a few good people at the moment, I find it encouraging to see people progress and change as the gospel opens up to them. We currently have three baptisms scheduled and are hoping to schedule two more this week. I am grateful to be a part of it and I will let you know as it all develops. 

The Washington Spokane Mission is about to experience a change of leadership as President and Sister Palmer soon finish their missions (three years). Our new Mission President couple will be President and Sister Mullen and I am sure they'll be just as great as President and Sister Palmer. 

Love you all, 
Elder Jepsen 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Washington Spokane Mission - President & Sister Mullen

President and Sister Mullen 

Brother Donald E Mullen and Sister Melonie G T Mullen of the Canyon View 8th Ward, Orem, Utah Canyon View Stake, have been called serve as the Mission President couple in the Washington Spokane Mission, beginning 2012 and will be serving in that capacity until 2015. 

Brother Mullen was born in Borger, Texas and served as a counselor in a bishopric before being called to serve as a Mission President and is a former bishop, Young Men president and counselor, scoutmaster, institute teacher and missionary in the Belgium Brussels Mission. Brother Mullen's professional background is as a real estate developer with Mullen Associates. 

Sister Mullen was born in Murray, Utah and served as a Young Women president when called to serve a mission and is a former counselor in a Young Women presidency, Young Women adviser, Primary teacher, Relief Society teacher and ward activities chairman. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day 2012 with Elder Jepsen

We were blessed to visit with our Elder Jepsen online from Moses Lake, Washington on Mother's Day. Visiting our second son and his wife after attending church, we sat together in front of his computer (that has since died) and our first son and his wife was online from Copenhagen, providing the online pantomime entertainment while everyone else was doing the talking. 

Everything was a little confusing as almost everybody had a lot of questions for Elder Jepsen to answer and it would be difficult if not impossible to recount the event. In the end Elder Jepsen had mostly listened to a lot of simultaneously asked questions and we were out of time. But, Elder Jepsen is well and enjoying his mission.

To briefly explain who we all are: As Elder Jepsen's parents, we both served missions many years ago. When we met, I was planning to go on a mission and my yet to be wife was considering to prepare for a mission. With the natural bias that comes with a romantic interest I strongly encouraged her to also go on a mission, selfishly convinced that my chances would disappear if she was left to date, while I served a mission (I of course also thought that both she and others would benefit from her service). I must have been convincing, because she beat me to it and left for mission before I did and served as Sister Kirk in the Canada Halifax Mission. A few months later I too was called and served in the Canada Toronto Mission, as the first Elder Jepsen of our family. 

Our daughter went on a mini-mission that through a few extensions ended up lasting four months, which she thoroughly enjoyed. 

When the time came for our first son to serve, he prepared and was called to serve in the England London South Mission. After his return home he later married an American that served a mission in the Brazil Curitiba Mission and they currently live in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

Our second son began preparing and was called to serve in the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission but served the first four months as a missionary in Denmark Copenhagen Mission, due to a delayed visa. After his return he married a Spanish girl from Barcelona and they now live in Esbjerg, Denmark. 

After preparing for his mission, our third and last son was called to serve in the Spokane Washington Mission. Much like his brother, he also was blessed to spend the first four months of his mission in the Denmark Copenhagen Mission, due to a delayed visa. 

The occasion was Mother's Day and what could make a Mother happier and be greater tribute, than being surrounded by her children on Mother's Day? Completing the picture, our daughter called later and they also had a nice talk. It was a happy day and a good day to be a Mother of four wonderful children.

I feel richly blessed to have found such a gem of a woman to be the Mother of our children. Instead of personal luxury, travel to interesting locations or an all consuming career, she chose to give birth to and raise our children up to be good people. My good wife and the Mother of our children has sacrificed all her best years, the prime of her life, "The Bucket List" or "All the things you must do before you die" to be a Mother and raise children. All over the world, Mothers have for generations put their children first through most of their life. 

While unnamed in the great books of history, Mothers are the unsung heroes of all time. They go mostly unnoticed because of the many demands to being a good Mother. 

I can't imagine a greater feat with more lasting effect than true Motherhood. It can't be replicated, substituted or ignored without consequences, you can't outsource motherhood and you can't raise children as you would raise free-range chickens. It takes real time and real heart. But, a Mother doesn't think of all those things, she raises her children because she listens to her heart, telling her to do so. 

We all have mothers but those of us raised by a Mother and those of us blessed with Mother's for our children, have a lot to be grateful for. Let's give thanks to God and all honor the Mothers in our lives on every Mother's Day, every day!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Elder Jepsen - Test the Word of God and You Will Find it True

Sunset view of Moses Lake.
Thank you so much for being consistent and patient in writing me. I am very sorry that I have not been able to email you with regularity or very much at all but please understand that it's not always in my hands. Admittedly, I haven't been great at writing and I am sorry, because I really miss you and love you both. 

Last week we were moving and we now live with a very sweet member family. They cut our hair and ask that in return we  work extra hard and it's quite a good arrangement, because we keep busy and I'm exhausted at the end of each day. 

Wild cacti in Moses Lake.
Moses Lake is very different from what I am familiar with, it's really a desert and unlike Denmark where the trick is to restrict excessive growth in your garden, people's lawns die here if they don't water them and cactus grows naturally! 

People began settling the area of Moses Lake, Washington in 1880 and it was initially named Neppel after a German town. With an estimated population of 301 people, Neppel was in 1938 named Moses Lake after the Indian Chief Moses that was leader of the Sinkiuse tribe from 1859 to 1899. 

Moses Lake has since grown to a population of more than 20,000 people. The airport here has a main runway that's 4,100 m long, covers 19 km², is the largest airport in the entire US and began as a World War 2 training center. 

Elder Taylor (he's the one to the left).
Elder Taylor and I are now serving in three congregations as they just divided one into two. We're serving in the 4th, 7th and the 10th congregation, totaling more than a thousand people. The people here are great and we are not just searching for people to teach, we are also teaching and I love it. 

I am grateful to be here, serving as a missionary. I love you, and I'll show it by continuing to be a worthy priesthood holder and by doing my best as your son and as an Elder, called by God to serve a mission. 

We share a good message that brings out the best in people and can be of benefit to all who choose to hear it and act on it. Adhering to God's teachings brings peace and balance, even when the world around us isn't at peace or in balance. Test the word of God and you will find it true. God's words to us can easily stand testing and I wish more people would have the courage and commitment to do so. 

I'm running out of time again. I am sorry but the library only allows you a short time and it's all we have. I love you and wish I could write for hours about my experiences as a missionary. 


Elder Jepsen 

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