Monday, December 29, 2014

Not Your Normal White Christmas

So this week unfortunately no snow fell so this Christmas wasn't white in the normal sense. In fact it was quite contrary to what I would have thought. Christmas day was about 50 degrees outside. It was super warm for up here. It was a nice change. But I'll get back to the whiteness in a second. 

Christmas Eve was a blast. That morning we had a priesthood leadership meeting down in Kennewick for all the District Leaders and Zone Leaders in the south half of the mission for a few hours. It was a fantastic meeting. We all learned a ton and enjoyed seeing past companions and other missionary friends. Superb three hours to say the least. But then afterwards since our zone was an hour away the two Zone Leaders, myself, and another district leader from near Othello all road tripped back up and since we were in the big city for once we made a very necessary stop to IHOP. Came away rolling but it was totally worth it. Christmas Eve night we went around with some members and the other missionaries in Othello and spread the Christmas cheer caroling to various ward members and friends whilst delivering an assortment of baked goods. It was a great (albeit freezing) night. 

Christmas Day itself was a blast. We woke up and the other elders in Othello that share the Spanish Ward with us came over and we cooked us up some breakfast burritos and then had our study and proceeded to open presents together. Always an enjoyable experience. Until I looked up, scanned our double-wide, saw the mess of dirty dishes from breakfast scattered across the kitchen and the wrapping paper from childhoods past littered across the floor, then realized I was actually going to have to take care of that now. A little slice of reality pie Christmas morning but it had to come eventually. So we just did the only logical response and watched some Bible Videos one of the Elders had gotten and postponed our problems until later (don't worry Mom the mess was taken care of before we left). Christmas day itself was pretty fun. We stopped by a few investigators to wish them a Merry Christmas and then went to a member's house for lunch and had a white elephant gift exchange. When even more wrapping paper was taken care of, we went and video chatted with our respective families and then had dinner. The members we ate with had all their family together so it was fun eating with such a big family again. Just like back home. That night we went to a baptism the sister missionaries in Othello had to support them, making the Christmas white despite the sun and abnormally warm temperatures. After the baptism we had some ice cream with a member to end a very memorable Christmas. 

Probably the best Christmas I got this year though, actually came Tuesday night when the APs texted us as we were crawling into bed. Going back to last October, there was a lady I had taught and helped baptize. Well, a year later, she had taken the necessary steps and prepared herself to go through the temple in Kennewick. So that text Tuesday night was the APs inviting us to the session to go through with her for such a monumental occasion in her life. It was a pretty singular experience. There’s nothing else quite like it. Saturday we went down and met her there and were able to talk with her and do a session with her. She is Hispanic so we got to go through in Spanish - which in and of itself was pretty interesting; definitely understood a lot more than doing it in Spanish when I was in the Mexico MTC - but it was just overall great seeing her and all the members from Benton City, not to mention my trainer, again. Made for a late night but it was a great way to end the transfer and still make the Christmas white. 

That brings me to my next point. It’s the end of the transfer so we got our transfer calls, and unfortunately my time in Othello is coming to an end. Wednesday morning I'm packing up and heading down to Kennewick. I'm sad to leave Othello but I'm excited for the new area and the challenges it will bring. I'm getting transferred into two English wards which will definitely throw things for a loop but it should be fun. 

So this week's quote comes from a local church's billboard outside and reads as follows:

"Mary wrapped the first Christmas gift"

And with that I bid you all farewell and wish you a happy new year!

Elder Kupferer

Monday, December 22, 2014

Finally...An Eventful Week

Finally at long last a week with something to write home about. So starting off on Tuesday we had our Christmas Zone Conference. We got together down in Pasco with another zone for three hours of Christmas messages and songs. Our President started off with a few remarks and then we watched our Christmas slide show, which is a compilation of pictures missionaries had sent in throughout the year. It was entertaining to see the various random things missionaries had done throughout the year. And then after that started an hour of musical numbers interspersed with readings. Our zone pulled through for that one. For every song the other zone put together (either as a zone or as smaller groups) our zone did two (I'm not bragging, I swear). But it was cool. We pretty much heard every song in the Christmas section of the hymnal and then some. For some reason (I don't remember how I got pulled into this one) me and my comp, one of the zone leaders, and one of the APs agreed to do a quartet as one of the musical numbers. Since the AP who was joining us lived in Kennewick (and yet somehow is still part of our zone in Othello - over an hour away) we never got the chance to practice our desired song. So Tuesday morning after caravanning down with the entire zone (never thought I would play a caboose so much on my mission) 30 minutes before the conference starts we all dash into a room and finally choose a song and start practicing without a pianist since she was occupied practicing for another song. Well the time comes and goes to practice so we run inside the chapel and as the conference starts the Mission President's wife who was organizing everything asks us what song we chose and we responded and then she said that song was already taken as a congregational number. We smack our heads in frustration and then quickly and fervently choose another hymn which was also taken by a group of sisters but since time was now in the negative (I think the opening hymn had started by this point) we say whatever since it will be a group of male voices and quickly divvy up parts. Never had I been so thankful for doing so much sight reading in High School. So those of you who are in choir or band, make use of sight reading. It is worth it. The song ended up going extremely well all things considered and definitely left a mark for the history books. After that we were able to calm down and enjoy the rest of the conference for a very enjoyable day. 

But the craziness of that day didn't stop just there. So quick reminder part of my area here in Othello includes learning this random dialect called Mixteco from the mountains of Mexico that sounds about as foreign as Korean (and being from Irvine, trust me, I know what Korean sounds like). There was a lady that some sister missionaries in Basin City (a tiny little town about half way between Othello and Pasco) had run into that had come to church three times but they couldn't really teach her since she spoke Mixteco and they didn't so they asked us to stop by and have a quick little chat. As luck would have it, she speaks a different dialect than the one we have attempted to learn but as the Plan of God would have it, she speaks the same dialect as one of our recent converts who was baptized just a month and a half ago. So we set up a return appointment for that Saturday and after jumping through a logistical nightmare (if only we had miles on our car to drive the 40 miles to Basin City and back...) make it out there for one of the coolest lessons I have been in. It is kind of hard to describe the experience. We would tell her some stuff, she would look about like a deer in the headlights, and then the recent convert would babble off something incomprehensible and she would return the babble and then he would speak to us in Spanish. The interesting thing though is that when they would talk in Mixteco or when she prayed, I understood about 0% of what they were saying but could feel the Spirit like none other. It was really quite a remarkable experience. Now we just need to get the baptismal prayer in Mixteco for her baptism next month. 

So another fun little experience this week was the ward party Friday night. They made a giant batch - like giant batch, like the stirring spoon was the size of a small child and I could have fit inside the pot - of a Mexican soup called Posole. It’s only like the best thing ever. It’s kind of hard to describe. It’s a super watery soup (caldo) that has stuff called hominy (just google it I don't know what it is), meat, and various vegetables and spicy things in it. It is super good. Until I pulled out of the piece I had served myself. The member sitting next to me saw it and his eyes lit up in joy. He exclaimed "Elder! You got a piece of patita! It’s super good." I was confused since I had no idea what it was and when I asked for clarification he said "Its pig's foot." After 10 minutes of staring at it and having a mental battle between knowing what it is and thinking when else am I going to try something like this again? I finally decided to try it. Amazingly enough, it wasn't too bad. I can assure you all though it probably won't be on the list of things I want right off the plane. But it made for a fun night. After dinner they had a little piƱata for the kids that I got to pull up and down. Always entertaining watching small blindfolded children swing a broom stick wildly at a paper mache ball stuffed with candy. To top it all off, they had Monsters University playing in the background all night. In Spanish. I did my best but let’s just say this; Mike and Sully sound pretty funny in Spanish. 

So Saturday morning (jumping all back and forth through the days here) we got to be a part of the community gift basket program. So various companies and families donate food to this program that then puts together food and gift baskets for over 250 families in the community for Christmas. It was an amazing sight. They filled up half a fire station with all the food. We were able to go through and fill up the boxes with the food and toys for the kids that would then get put into trucks (since that’s pretty much all people drive out here) that go out and deliver the gift baskets to the various families. It was quite a remarkable experience to see the community come together and rally around something so simple yet influential for the lives of the people that would get the baskets. Definitely made me thankful for the plethora of Christmases I was able to enjoy with gifts and enough food. Really helped put things into perspective. 

And on a completely unrelated note, someone had left various threatening notes on our zone leader's apartment door consecutively this past week and so Wednesday night when they got a particularly threatening note that was stuck onto their window with a ton of ketchup splattered across it they were quite scared so they decided to call the police. Imagine their surprise when half way through the phone call the sister missionaries (who live in the same apartment complex) came bolting around the corner confessing to the supposed "prank." It hurt some feelings at the time but now we are having a good time laughing about it. Never know what to expect anymore. 

And for this week's quote it comes from a conversation we had a with a former mission president / temple presidency member who is sort of the old wise man of the ward. 

"Money is a tool." 

Made me stop and think about it for a while. Since we can't take money with us after we die, we might as well use it as a tool to convert it into 'heaven money' (i.e. buying gifts for the poor, helping someone out when they’re in a tight spot, things like that). 

So with that I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and will write again next week.

Elder Kupferer

Monday, December 15, 2014

Some Pretty Cool Miracles This Week

So this week not too much happened. Again. Ever since the baptisms we ran out of people to teach so we have been tracting a lot. And then kept tracting some more. It’s been interesting. You never know what you are going to run across. Sometimes you run into people that don't speak Spanish. Sometimes you run into vicious dogs that want to kill you. Sometimes you run into people twice. Sometimes you run into people that can't decide which church they belong to. Sometimes you run into people with interesting shrines. It keeps you on your toes. But this week we definitely saw some miracles from it. 

About half way through the week we had gotten in 3 days the number of OYMs (the number of people we talk to about the Restored Gospel) that we normally get in a week but we weren't finding anyone new to teach so we were getting a little disheartened. We were talking about it slash complaining a little bit about it to one of the APs who was here on an exchange with the Zone Leaders and he told us something new we could try so we did. Well the first day we get around to trying it, the last door we knock (it’s always the last door) there is a family that lets us right in. We start talking with the parents and they are super receptive. They said they would love to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. It was a nice refresher from getting doors slammed in our face or kids telling us that their mom's said they weren't home. But wait there’s more. 

Last Friday during our weekly planning session we were setting some goals and we said it would be awesome to find a new family to teach. We go all week and after we found the aforementioned family we were pretty excited and had kind of forgotten about it but then last night when I was talking with our ZLs giving them the weekly numbers report they told us that a member had taken them to a family he wanted them to teach and they taught the first lesson and said it went super well and they are a solid family. We have a pass off lesson on Tuesday so we are looking forward to that. It was a great reminder that the Lord is always watching and that the blessings will come sometimes you just have to wait. Not the biggest fan of the waiting part but better late than never. 

And that’s about it for this week. The quote comes from our tracting experiences. We are sharing the "He is the Gift" cards the church has given us to flood the world with it and so we always like to include that the video (found at is a good reason to help

"Remember the Reason for the Season."

Until next week!

Elder Kupferer

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Rather Boring Week

This week nothing terribly interesting happened. Probably the biggest highlight in all honestly was going shopping down in Tri-Cities this past week. We had a temple trip on Tuesday and since we were down in somewhere with more than Walmart and Mexican tiendas [shops] we made as much use of it as we good. Also enjoyed the wider variety of restaurants than Othello offers. It was refreshing to not have Taco Bell or Burger King. 

Another highlight this week (and because of this you know it was a boring week) was the 1/8th inch of snow we got a few days back. It looked like someone took an oversized powdered sugar sprinkler and let loose over the whole field next to our house. But still, for this Southern California kid, it was pretty cool. 

Last night was also fun with the opportunity to watch the [First Presidency’s] Christmas Devotional. It was only us, the other 2 sets of missionaries in the area, and 1 set of older members, but it was still a good experience. Christmas music plus talks will always make for a great night. 

Speaking of Christmas, if you haven't already, drop everything and go to:

Or if you prefer in Spanish:

Or if you prefer Mixteco, you're gonna have to wait.  Sorry. 

Anyways the video is super cool. It’s a good reminder about why we have Christmas in the first place and reminds us why Christ is really the reason for the season. Since God so loved the world, he gave his Only Begotten Son as the first gift of Christmas. So this season, discover the gift in the Bible and Book of Mormon, embrace the gift, and then #sharethegift. It'll be worth it. 

In closing I am going to take a quote from the Elder Arnold conference we had about a month ago. At one point he told us that:

"Missions are to teach you the tough stuff of life."

It was only a few words, but it was dang true. I don't think I have been happier and disappointed/frustrated with people in any other experience I have had in my life, nor will I ever again. Until maybe I have kids. But then again my kids will be perfect so I'll never have to get frustrated. That’s how it works right? 

And without further ado, forgive my ramblings and enjoy the time of this Christmas Season.

Elder Kupferer

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I Love Food

Thanksgiving. Sooooo much food. That's pretty much enough said for the week but I know that wouldn't fly with my parents so I guess I'll expound.

So Wednesday we had a pre-Thanksgiving dinner which wasn't your traditional Thanksgiving dinner. They decided that since everyone was going to be eating tons of turkey on Thursday they decided to do something different so as to not turkey every one out. So instead they did barbecue. And then ceviche. AT THE SAME TIME. It was so good. Fajitas, chicken, ceviche, potato salad. I ate enough to last for me several days but Thursday our Bishop invited us over for dinner with him and all his family plus his wife's family. I think there were like 7 or 8 families there? All with several kids. It was a mad house. But 4 turkeys and a ham later, we left with enough food in our stomachs to last us a long time. All in all a great Thanksgiving. To top it off, the weather gods were with us and Thanksgiving Day and the following day it was over 60 degrees outside. It was a Thanksgiving Day miracle! And then Saturday came. That's a different story.

But then to top it all off, we had another baptism this weekend. I don't know where we keep finding all these people but we do so here is the story of William (as you can guess, not his actual name - or is it a her?!?!? The world may never know). Anyways some missionaries had talked with William (Will for short) a few days before I showed up here in Othello. They didn't get the chance to teach him at all so I got to teach him the first lesson and start the whole process. It was pretty slow at first but little by little he kept progressing here and there. We had invited him to be baptized once or twice but he never really accepted a solid date. There comes a time about a month and a half ago where we don't see him for almost two weeks for one reason or another since he hadn't done much and wasn't making a lot of progress. We decide to give him one more try and knock on his door, but we went in with the intention of dropping him for the aforementioned reasons. We sit down and start talking and come to find out he had read almost half the Book of Mormon. Since that was some pretty marked progress we humble ourselves and continue on the teaching process and set a date for about a month out. The date kept getting closer and we still were pretty far behind on the lessons since we had to help him overcome some concerns, which caused my companion and I to discuss pushing back his baptismal date a week so we didn't have to cram in the teaching last second. We bring a member over the Friday before his baptism (not the day before the week before so like 9 days) and on the way to the lesson that member said he saw Will in the store the night before and expressed how he was ready and excited for the 29th. I didn't feel like letting his hopes down to get baptized on that date since he was looking forward to it so much so we say sure and then express that we would have to meet every night for the next week to finish off the teaching process. He responds that he doesn't work since picking season is done (and then we thank the cold weather) so we start coming over every night until last Saturday, which was the baptismal service itself. Not a lot of people came, but the Spirit was there. Last night William shared with us how he has felt like he was walking on clouds since Saturday night. We asked him after the service was done Saturday night how he felt, and just the way he responded back with "I am filled with joy and happiness" is something that I won't soon forget.

The quote for the week comes from one of the lessons with William during that week of cramming in the lessons. We were discussing tithing and money and what not when someone made a comment about millionaires having lots of money but no faith. William said:

"I'm a millionaire, but with faith."

Classic quote. Gotta love the humble people in the world. Well, hopefully everyone's food coma has worn off since Thursday night and now we get to start working it all off, just in time for Christmas! Let the Christmas music binge listening begin.

Have a holly jolly Christmas,

Elder Kupferer

Monday, November 24, 2014

Freezing Rain?! Intense Weather Conditions?!

Things just keep getting crazier and to be honest this week probably takes the cake. So Tuesday we had a little meeting about the JustServe program (this isn't the crazy part) which was pretty cool. I have explained it before but just in passing it is a program designed to get members and missionaries more involved in the community for a myriad of reasons. If you want to know more check out the website Just do it. It’s pretty cool. 

So the real craziness that was going on this week. Let’s start Wednesday morning. Wednesday was transfer day which in and of itself was all sorts of craziness, but thankfully we stayed out of most of it since neither of us got transferred until we got a call from some missionaries that was actually our ZLs calling from Moses Lake (about half an hour up the freeway) saying they forgot their phone down in Othello and needed us to go pick it up so we did and by the time we got around to giving it back that afternoon things in our day had gotten pushed back and we were running way behind schedule and running from appointment to appointment. So dinner time comes around and we are just finished with a lesson and start heading towards dinner when we check the phone and see we have 3 voicemails (it’s about 5:15 at this point - dinner was at 5:30) with a text from the ZLs to call them. So we just assume the voicemails were something they can explain to us super quick and call them to find out what’s up. With an unexpected urgency in their voice they tell us to listen to the voicemails, which surprised us so we did. Now before I explain the voicemails, let me explain to you what was supposed to go down Thursday. 

Elder [Mervyn B.] Arnold of the First Quorum of the Seventy came to tour the mission this week and our zone conference was scheduled for Thursday morning. We were supposed to start at 7:30 AM with a leadership meeting followed by the rest of the meetings down in Pasco (about an hour away) so we were going to get up at O-dark-thirty to head down with the other Elders in our area that morning, attend the conference, and then be on our way back to Othello around 3. Well ladies and gentlemen that is NOT what happened. Now back to the voicemails. 

The mission office had received word that there was going to be a huge storm of freezing rain coming in Wednesday night which would freeze over the 40 miles of freeway we needed to drive to make it down to Pasco for the conference. Since that obviously is not good they decided to send all of us down to Pasco that night (Wednesday night) so we didn't have to drive so far in the ice. They said be at the church at 7 PM so we can caravan down which gave us literally 15 minutes between dinner and when we needed to be at the church gassed up and ready to go, in the which we had to pack everything - blankets included - to spend the night down in Pasco. So we head home after dinner (which thankfully was nearby) and pack our stuff super quick to meet everyone at the set time. Everything ran relatively smoothly despite the unexpected craziness that was occurring and we all made it down to Pasco safely around 9 Wednesday night. But wait, there’s more. 

Since there were only two beds in the apartment we stayed at (we stayed with some other missionaries that were down in Pasco) 4 of us spent the night on the floor/couches/whatever we could find. All six of us needed to be at the church for the conference by 7:30 so we started the process of showering and getting ready at 5 since the apartment was not built to handle that many people getting ready all at once. Imagine our surprise when at 6:30 just as we are about to head out we get another voicemail from the assistants saying that everything was frozen over so we needed to stay in our apartments until further notice. We kind of just throw our hands in the air not terribly surprised by any of this and just lay back down and start waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Around 8 we get another voicemail saying that everything was still semi frozen over but super dangerous regardless since the residential district where the church is located hadn't been salted so they gave us two chapters to read in preparation for the meeting, 3 Nephi 11 from the Book of Mormon where it talks about Christ's visit to the Americas and then Numbers 11 which starts off thusly: 

And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.”

We were a little scared but kept reading and realized that the leaders weren't actually scaring us into repentance and discovered it was talking about councils later on in the chapter. But anyways we read the chapters and begin discussing it amongst ourselves and then at long last around 9 we get another voicemail saying that the roads had defrosted enough to drive safely on BUT they wanted drivers who were "more accustomed to driving in the ice and snow" and continued on to say "so for example if you are from California or Arizona please let someone from Idaho or Utah drive." I felt a little rebuffed seeing as I did just fine last year in the snow of Chelan but interestingly enough since our car was the one we drove down no one else felt like driving so I managed to get us to the church safely. 3 hours later the conference starts and we all were able to enjoy the conference and feast on the words of Elder Arnold. After the conference ended we all got in our cars and made it back safely to our respective areas around 6:30. 24 hours later our ice adventure to Pasco finally came to an end. 

The rest of the week went rather normal with the exception of Friday night where Elder Arnold came and had a conference here in Othello for all the Spanish speaking members in the north half of the mission. We expected our stake center to be jam packed with people but when we show up we see the chapel just barely being filled (don't get me wrong; it was still an awesome sight to see just not what we were expecting). We ask our zone leaders why there weren't more people and apparently half the stakes involved with the conference had received super intense snow storm that day, and road conditions were horrible. I know at least in terms of missionaries, while we were supposed to be seeing upwards of 50 missionaries show up, there were 10 of us. Either way though, the conference was amazing. It was nice to see such a group come together and have a General Authority come from Salt Lake and talk to a group that unfortunately doesn't get the attention they deserve. The conference brought a ton of miracles we had been desperately praying for and will be remembered for many years to come. 

So in closing I pull the quote from something Elder Arnold told us at least 10 times Thursday during the missionary conference. He was talking about goal setting and said:

"Try your best, and then sleep well."

Sometimes in life, our best can only get us so far. But if we are honestly giving forth our best effort we can rest easy knowing we did everything in our power, and rely on Jesus Christ for the rest. 

So, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and warm weather back down in Sunny SoCal. Until next week.

Elder Kupferer

Monday, November 17, 2014

Go Away Alaska!

So my hands are half frozen as I sit down to write this email. This past week a cold front came 'round the mountain all the way from Alaska and landed smack dab in the middle of the Columbia Basin. Literally overnight it went from mid 50's to below freezing. Like that’s just not cool. It should never get below 50 that fast. The worst part is since we are kinda just out in the middle of the desert randomly its flat and low elevation so it means high winds and no snow. Last year when I was up in Chelan at least there was snow to make it entertaining. Now it’s just plain cold with none of the fun side effects. They all said that we were supposed to get some this past week but behold, it did not come to pass. 

Anyways, that’s pretty much it for this week. Aside from that nothing too entertaining has happened. I got over a killer cold just in time for my comp to get struck with the flu. If it’s not one thing it’s another right? But on the bright side now that its colder outside than it is in my freezer (not okay) nobody can play basketball outside and since it’s a huge culture thing with the hispanics here we are opening up the church to play basketball. They think they are just playing basketball, but in reality, we are teaching them. They just don't realize it yet. It’s gonna be cool. 

The quote for this week comes from priesthood meeting yesterday. One of the members of said group was talking about how the Gospel helps us to live fruitful and fulfilling lives and said (in Spanish; this is the English translation):

"What we choose is what we will come to be."

Or in other words, as President Monson is so fond to say: Decisions determine destiny. It may seem tiny now but 20 years from now what will it mean? Thank goodness we have the Gospel to help us choose. 

Sorry for the lack of content on this week’s report. I promise you that this upcoming will be anything but. 

And with that, I bid thee all farewell.

Elder Kupferer

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

To Be Determined

Another fantastic week in the WKM. So first off, we had another couple hours spent helping out with the animal shelter. Insulation is not fun stuff to be putting on a ceiling. But alas, it was still a cool experience being involved with something like this and seeing the community come together to help one another out.

So Thursday night we had probably one of the sketchiest referrals I have received on my mission. We get a call from a member late Thursday night saying he has a friend that he needs us to go teach pronto. He tells us his name is Juan Jose (not really), he lives down in a part of town called Little Mex (it’s down the hill, little bit more run down, well, the name pretty much implies everything you need to know), and the password is "El Grupo del Siglo" but we didn't hear correctly the last word (I'll come back to this part). He didn't know where Juan Jose lived specifically he just knows he lived in Little Mex and is well known down there. So we say okay, wonder how we are gonna find him, and go home for the night. So my comp is looking in the dictionary what siglo meant (it means century in case you were wondering) but also comes to find out that the word sigilo (which when pronounced over a phone could easily be misinterpreted by two gringos to mean either) means secret. So translated, the password is now either "Group of the Century" or "Group of the Secret."

Well my companion and I come to the conclusion that we are basically trying to find a drug lord based off the password and are a little worried about what was gonna happen, assuming we were going to somehow get involved with an underground drug ring or something of that effect. Well we do some investigation and start knocking doors to see if anybody knows him (some do) but we never end up finding him. Sunday comes around and we talk with the daughter of the man that called us and ask her if she knows the guy and then tell her the password her dad had given us and she just starts laughing. Apparently, it’s just a little Mexican band they are in on the side. Although I was secretly disappointed I wasn't going to convert some drug king pin, I can now know my mother will sleep safely knowing I'm not chasing drug lords down anymore. Always comforting. 

And on the more comforting side of things, we had another baptism of a man named Jesse (not his actual name). We found him my companion's first week as a missionary while out tracting and knocking doors. We went through the teaching process and had given him a baptismal date and got about half way through when all of a sudden he just dropped off the face of the earth for 2 weeks. Didn't answer the door, wouldn't pick up the phone or respond to text messages, nothing. So we are about to give up when all of a sudden he shows up to the Daily Dose English classes the church offers. We were super excited to see him and talk to him afterwards, when we come to find out he hadn't actually gotten offended by us, rather his roommates didn't like us coming over and waking them up (at 6PM when most normal people are up might I add...). Well that night when we were conversing with Jesse, we also discover that he had been reading the Book of Mormon and was ready to take the next step. Another little gem we found out, some of his siblings - thousands of miles away and with not much contact beyond the occasional phone call - had also converted and found the restored gospel about 2 years prior. Small world right? So we continue on with the teaching process and things start going smoothly until about Friday night, when everything that could go wrong did go wrong. We still had one final lesson to teach him so we set up a time to meet Friday night (the baptism was scheduled for Saturday) but something came up and he ended up not making it, so we schedule a meeting for an hour before the baptism since we needed to teach him the last lesson. Well Saturday we had a zone meeting that morning out in the middle of nowhere (the city is like WAY out there) and since there wasn't much phone service our phone died unbeknownst to us since it wasted all the battery trying to find service, so we had to try and go in blind since we couldn't afford to go back out to our house and pick up the charger. Well the time rolls around for when Jesse is supposed to show up, and he isn't there. 5 minutes past, still reasonable for him to be late, so no worries. 10 minutes, stress levels go up partially. 15 minutes, pretty high stress now. 20 minutes we think about calling it off but we don't have a phone to call it off so we keep waiting when at long last he walks in and apologizes because his car had almost died. Because apparently nothing can ever go smoothly in life when you need it to... Well the service is about to start when we get a text from one of the speakers he is still in Tri-Cities and won't be able to make it (again I repeat what I have said before: the gift of expounding the scriptures is a thing). The baptism gets going and my comp and Jesse go down into the font, and apparently one of the water heaters had broken or wasn't working right because the water was pretty cold. Well thankfully it’s not doctrinal that the water be warm so the baptism was still valid and the night ended pretty good and the confirmation the following Sunday went off without a hitch so all in all, it was one for the history books. It was such an amazing experience working with him and helping Jesse along this path. 

And for the quote of the week it has no correlation with the preceding story it was just a cool one I took from the board outside the local Lutheran Church because I thought it was pretty good:

"Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future."

Wise words to live by. Never judge. You don't know where they were before or where they can go from here. 

Have a fantabulous week and enjoy getting ready for the month of holidays where calories don't matter!

Elder Kupferer

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Crazy Weekend

So this weekend was one of those weekends that will go down in the history books for ever. It was a pretty normal Saturday afternoon. We had just finished cleaning up after a baptism of one of the other missionaries in the area and were on our way to dinner when we get a call from one of our investigators who asked us to come over that night. I thought he had read the pamphlet we had left him and wanted to know more so I said we would be by in an hour. Well, the time comes and we head over but we get stopped literally halfway through the door (like literally; I was inside and my companion was about to follow but he got stopped) by some random guy who insisted on talking to us. For almost 10 minutes he told us this story of how he had gotten robbed twice and since we looked like nice guys he needed a ride out of town to get away from all of this. Since we aren't really allowed to do that sort of thing we told him sorry but offered him some suggestions on where he could go for help. So we get inside and start talking with the guy who needed us to come over and he cuts straight to the chase and tells us he needs $1000 from each of us. Since we don't even get minimum wage we couldn't really help him in that department so we offered what we had and prayed with him that all would work out okay, and he promised us he would come to church the next day. 

So the night continues on (don't worry this goes for the good) and we have a lesson with one of our own dates who had come to know the recent convert who was baptized two weeks ago (Bill was (not) his name) through the English classes the church offers, so we invited him to come with us. Even though he wasn't an official member for a full week he taught and testified as if he had been a member for 20 years. It was such an amazing experience seeing him having grown so much in so little a time and all the effort he has put forth to embrace the gospel full heartedly. 

His story continues on when he goes to church the next day and all of a sudden gets the priesthood. In PEC that morning (a meeting with us and some of the local church leaders) our Bishop told us that there was a temple trip for recent converts this Saturday so he expedited the process, deferred the waiting period, and gave him the Aaronic Priesthood then and there. Bill is an awesome guy. He is going to do great things. 

And in other news this week, for only the 3rd time in my life, I have moved myself instead of someone else. Still a little weird seeing my stuff in the boxes and not someone else's. 

Also: menudo is not a good way to break a fast. 

So for those of you that remember Extreme Makeover Home Edition, they came out with an animal shelter edition, and Othello was one of the lucky winners (recipients? who knows) and so they conscripted the help of the local community to do a lot of the labor and who better than the local Mormon Missionaries? So this Wednesday we had the opportunity to go and put of some insulation in the future home of the Adams County Pet Rescue center. Sadly the TV crews weren't there that day so you won't be seeing me on TV anytime soon but I should be back this week so we shall see what that brings....

The quote of the week comes in regards to that. In District Meeting I was making an announcement that the aforementioned service opportunity was available and that since we were going to be working with insulation, I warned them to bring long clothes and to shower immediately afterward and what not since fiberglass stuck in your skin is not fun. Well there was a lull for a sec when my companion chimes in (sarcastically):

"Nah it looks like cotton candy. Just eat it."

Never a dull moment with my comp. He knows how to keep it interesting. 

Well everyone, just because its pink and fluffy my advice for the week is to not eat insulation, no matter how tempting it is, and to try and keep up with the awesomeness level of my comp. 

Stay awesome everyone,

Elder Kupferer

Monday, October 27, 2014

Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day

Well in the matter of about 2 weeks we have gone from too much sunshine to too much rain. Well, you can never have too much rain but it’s definitely been a bit of a change. Monday night for example, we started work after P-Day at 6, and since it was only a slight drizzle we decided we would walk to save some miles on our car and because it’s easier to talk to people that way. Well, we get into a lesson on the other side of town and come out of the house only to find that it is pouring outside. Since our car was a mile away across town (I don't know what we were doing thinking this whole walking thing was a good idea; I mean come on this is America not some third world country) and it was getting late we couldn't really wait it out so we zipped up our jackets and started walking. As luck would have it, as soon as we got back into the car the torrential downpour stopped, but it did teach me a few things. I have now learned that my backpack is 99% waterproof. My jacket is about 90-95% waterproof. Shoes are about 80%. Pants are about 0%. But alas, such is life. Sure made for a fun night though. 

So out here in Othello there are enough members to have release-time seminary (another thing I learned - you can get paid to be a seminary teacher and make a career out of it; who knew?) So this past Thursday they had a Pancake Palooza where the seminary students invited their friends to come have pancakes for lunch in the seminary building and since there were gonna be over 100 kids coming the seminary teacher enlisted our help in making 300+ pancakes. It was a lot but between 9 of us - err 7 the zone leaders never do anything - it was pretty light work. 

Now for a little teaching experience for all of you future missionaries (or just anyone in general). When you want to get somebody to do something, especially in the religious sense, make sure you end with an invite. Let me explain. Last night we were out knocking some doors since that’s all missionaries ever seem to do, when we came across this one guy who spent 5 minutes explaining very animatedly why we need to be baptized (keep in mind this was all in Spanish which made it that much more entertaining for us to try and understand). I then asked him a question about something then he went off for another 5 minutes (with just as much if not more animation) on a round-about answer that didn't really answer my question, when all of a sudden he extended his hand and thanked us for stopping by and wished us a good night. Since we weren't getting anywhere I took his hand, bade him farewell, and we were on our way, rather confused because he just talked at us for 10 minutes and didn't ask us to do anything. Nothing happened.  It was just a waste of 10 minutes. That is precisely why, future missionaries / teachers / etc., we extend invites. 

And in other news, Elder Risenmay of the 70 just casually showed up to church yesterday. We were talking with our Bishop and had just turned around to head out when all of a sudden out walks Elder Risenmay. Not every day you see a general authority of the church just walk out of the high council room like it was nothing. 

In closing, I quote a member quoting someone else. He had just taken us to show us our new place we will be moving into shortly and we were then sitting in his truck just talking when somehow we got onto the subject of money and retirement, when he offered us these words of council:

"Retirement is doing what you want, when you want to, with who you want."

If that means doing the job you want, I guess you can retire as soon as you find said job. Makes life seem a little bit more pleasant to face. 

Until next week!

Elder Kupferer

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Crazy Week in the WKM

Well this week was pretty intense here in the WKM. So yesterday we were fortunate to have the baptism of a guy who we shall call Bill (that’s not his actual name but like liability stuff man it’s the worst). So a little bit of background on Bill. He was looking for a job and found one with a member here in Othello and then actually moved in on their property to a little house they have for rent with the member's two grandsons who were working together. Well 2 years later they came to be really close, even to the point that Bill started going to their family reunions. So about 2 months ago, some stuff happened down in Mexico that really shook him up so he asked the members he lived with if he could go to church, to which they agreed. Well, he absolutely loved it. After that day in church (keep in mind he speaks English but very limited) he ended up meeting with the Sister missionaries assigned to that ward. They taught him a lesson or two but since his English was somewhat limiting him, they handed him over to us so we could teach him in Spanish. Well we come to our first lesson with him and ask him if he had read any of the Book of Mormon. He says that the past week when we were supposed to meet (for one reason or another it fell through) he woke up early that morning and couldn't fall back asleep because he felt like he should read the book, so he decided he would. He said he read it super fast and remembered what he read which was super rare for him since he didn't have any schooling, and because of that it had to be true, and consequently everything else must therefore be true. It was one of those times where there was no way he wasn't prepared in advance. 

So after that first lesson we had with Bill we ended up putting him on date for baptism for about a month away. The teaching process went great and it didn't even feel like teaching. Honestly at this point it could have been a robot for what it’s worth since he was soaking up everything we taught him. He was reading and praying and just seemed so happy. When we taught the Word of Wisdom (the Lord's law of health which includes among other things no smoking/tobacco/etc) he said that the day before he woke up and said he felt like he should throw away his 2 boxes of chew. It’s the little things like that that kind of just make your jaw drop and leave you in amazement at everything the Lord has done for you. 

So fast forward to this past week which was like the craziest week ever. As missionaries there are certain things we have to teach before someone is baptized so they know what the heck is going on and at the start of this week we still had a lesson and a half to go over (which would normally take 2 weeks meeting twice a week). Well Tuesday he had his baptismal interview (something the church does to make sure candidates are ready) and passed. So we said “Bill, we need to meet a couple times still before Sunday” and we then asked if Wednesday would be good but he said no because he had to go somewhere so we said Thursday. Well Thursday morning we call to confirm and he says he got sick and is on his way to Royal City to pick up some medicine so we start to silently freak out since there are only two days to go before his Baptism so we so okay we will be over tomorrow. We head over Friday and have a great lesson and then go back again Saturday to finish it all off. To top it off his girlfriend had come down from Spokane Saturday afternoon to attend church with him - except she didn't speak Spanish. Still struggling to figure out how that all worked out seeing as he doesn't speak a ton of English but alas, I guess the language of love is universal. Anyways church went good and Sunday night we had an awesome baptismal service for Bill. I will admit working with Hispanics has its struggles ("mi mama dice que no esta" ring a bell anyone?) but they are some of the best people I know. After the baptism the Elders Quorum president went up to him and said - having only known Bill for a matter of hours - that if he needed anything, the ward can help him out. The spirit of brotherly love was definitely manifest last night. It was just a great experience overall. 

And that about sums it up for this week. To end I quote my zone leader. Don't think this needs much explanation. 

"It doesn't matter how good you are; it just matters how much swag you got."

Well I hope everyone has a fantastic week and I will write again in 7 days time. Adios!

Elder Kupferer

Monday, October 13, 2014

JustServe. It's that Simple.

So this past weekend we had a zone meeting where a new program was introduced that is gonna be the next big thing. It’s a program the church is starting to roll out where it tries to get community members involved in the community. Basically, whenever there is a service opportunity for something in the community (i.e. food banks, blood drives, clean-ups, things like that) somebody puts the project and information into the JustServe website and then from there members (or anyone really) can go in, search for projects listed in their area, find a project, and call the person listed for said project and sign up to come help out. It’s intended to help people help others and provide opportunities for people to get involved and closer with their community. Because of this, our mission president has taken steps to implement for us as well. His desire is that each companionship is providing ten hours of service a week in their area, which will be reported with our regular key indicators of conversion. I am super excited to see how this will work out and show the sincerity we as missionaries have of being Disciples of Jesus Christ and loving and serving those around us. For more information go to: JustServe (by the way, I looked, and there are projects in the Irvine area; check it out!). 

And in other news, the car struggles of my mission continue. For this week, may I present the saga of being stuck in Tri-Cities. So this past Thursday we had a meeting down in Kennewick with our mission president from 9 AM – 12PM. We had made some calls in our ward to see if we could find a ride down to no avail so the plan we came up with was to drive a little ways to the nearby town of Mattawa to get a ride down with the elders stationed there since they had to go anyways for the meeting and to put their car into the shop. Well Thursday morning comes and we get up at 0-dark thirty to make the time frame we needed to be where we needed to at the right times. The other Elders in Mattawa had made an appointment to drop the car off at 8:30 AM so they could start looking at the car and hopefully be done by 12 when our meeting ended.

Well 11 O'clock rolls around and still no phone call from the dealer and so the Mattawa Elders call the dealer to find out what’s up, only to find out they hadn't even looked at the car yet and would maybe get to it that afternoon. Well since we were 50 miles away from home, that caused a problem for us since we didn't have anything to do in Tri-Cities except just wait for the car now. We talk to the mission president after the meeting and he basically says to this effect "Don't they know you're important people? You have things to do and appointments to keep. Here are the keys to my car. Go drive over and put some pressure on so they will start looking at the car. Oh and while you're out, can you go wash the car? And go get yourself some lunch too." We warily accept the keys and then all pile in to start heading out on our errand. Ladies and gentlemen, that was the singular most stressful backing job of my life. Thankfully it all went okay (the driving that is; the car story continues on) and we were on our way.

We get to the dealer and the guy was on his lunch break but they would call us soon to let us know what was wrong and give us an estimate. All in all, things should be done in 2 hours (it was 1PM by this point). We sigh and continue on with our errands, which included getting lost in downtown Kennewick (all of us were serving in tiny farming communities that have no more than 7 stoplights; the big city was confusing), a stop at Carl's Jr, and a quick trip to the mission office to pick up a package for an Elder in my district. Well the time comes to return the president's car and we still are at a loss of what to do so we kind of just wait. Well about an hour (it is now 4:30) and a few phone calls later we discover that the part that was needed in the car they didn't have on hand so they would need to keep the car overnight (naturally) and give it back to us tomorrow. But since we still had to get back to our respective cities (we had cancelled three appointments by now) it was imperative that we get back that night. The solution? Cramming the four of us plus the two AP's into their Silverado (don't ask me why they AP's are driving a Silverado; they don't know either) and away we go. We make a quick stop at Panda Express (the biggest thing we have is McDonalds and Taco Bell in Othello we are not missing the opportunity for some quality fast food) and then hit the freeway.

By this point it is now about 6 in the evening. But wait there's more! As we keep driving back, we see off in the distance a giant cloud of smoke but it appears to be on the other side of the river so we make some speculations and pay no heed to it. Well the road continues and lo and behold, we drive right to it. Apparently a truck had tipped over on the side of the road and its contents - large bales of hay - had fallen off and caught fire. Just our luck. Thankfully by the time we got there they had cleared it from most of the road so they were able to let traffic through one lane at a time and we arrived just when our side was going through. Fortunately after that the trip was uneventful and 13.5 hours later, we roll into Othello at 8 PM. We had a good laugh and salvaged the remnants of the day. 

And in other news, somebody already had Christmas lights set up on a tree outside their house. It’s not even Halloween yet! This is insanity. 

So for this week's quote, it comes from the wise words of wisdom from my Zone Leader sitting right next to me quoting the scriptures as I type this email:

"Oh be wise, what can I say more?"

'Nuff said. Stay classy everyone. 

Elder Kupferer