Monday, July 14, 2014

This Place is Burning Up….In More Ways than One

So first the sun has decided to just hate hard core on Elder Kupferer. It’s been above 90 all week and more often than not almost a hundred plus. That much sun plus a shirt and tie makes for a not very happy Elder Kupferer. When I park the car at night to go home it shouldn't still be 87 degrees outside

So the second thing that’s on fire is the missionary work. I want to share the story of a man we shall call Eric. So Eric is the same age as me. He was a referral from the Bishop (he's like the pastor of the congregation) when I first got to Chelan 6 months ago. We tried and tried contacting him for about a month but he was next to impossible to find at home so we stopped trying. Well fast forward two months and my last companion and I find ourselves with nothing to do up in Manson one evening so my companion suggested we go try by Eric again. I will admit to having been a little skeptical saying ‘he wasn't there and it wasn't worth our time’ but since I didn't have any better suggestions my comments were kind of null and void at that point. So we try him and as luck would have it, he's home. He lets us right in and we get a time set up for a return appointment. So we start teaching him and the first lesson goes super well and so we invite him to be baptized and he says he needs to. It’s something the rest of his family in Mexico had done and he thinks it would be important. Well fast forward a month to when that date was supposed to be and it ends up not happening. He texted us saying he didn't want to be baptized anymore which was devastating for us so we give him a few days and then try by a few days later to see what happened. Well come to find out he had a problem with alcohol. He didn't think he was ready and he was super afraid of making that covenant with God and then falling short and screwing up later on. We reassure him that it’s okay and that the whole purpose of the Gospel is to help us change and be better people, and that God was almost expecting us to fall short from time to time, which is why he sent his Son Jesus Christ. This seemed to reassure him quite a bit and so we invited him to read from the Book of Mormon and pray and we would check in a few days later. Well a few days later the Bishop is with us who also happened to be Eric's high school principal so we stop by to see how he was doing and he told us that when he got home from work he was thinking of what he should do and he said that he just felt like he should read. I pick up my jaw and ask him what he had read to which he replied 2 Nephi 31. Throughout the course of the lesson we come to find out he just "happened" to read Mosiah 2 and Alma 7, basically hitting Elder Kupferer's highlight reel of the Book of Mormon. It was such a powerful lesson and we all 3 reassured him that he was ready and he had made the changes necessary, all he needed to do was kick alcohol and come to church. There’s an addiction recovery group in Wenatchee (about an hour south) but you can call into the meetings so we said we would get him the name and number of the person he needed to call. We make some calls of our own and about a week later get the information and stop by again to give it to him. He says thanks but he had already found a group locally here in Chelan. I'll explain later in this post about why I won't be able to see his baptism but even just seeing this change in him has been so amazing. To see his whole disposition change has been a miracle. He visibly looks just happier and as if an invisible load has been lifted off his back. The power of living Christ's gospel and applying his Atonement is such a blessing and I am so thankful for this chance I've had to work with him. 

So the third thing that was burning was Chelan itself. Like literally, on fire. Last Tuesday about 20 miles down the freeway in a place called Entiat what started as just a small fire to burn some yard waste ended up burning over 25 square miles. It lasted about a week before they finally got it under control but that whole week there was a thick cloud of smoke across the entire skyline plus a nice cloud of smoke that settled in the Lake Chelan Valley. Apparently every year in this area there are always super bad fires because of all the super dry brush and the inaccessibility of the mountainous terrain. Thankfully the fire burned in a back mountain area so not much was damaged. 

And for this week’s example of someone not thinking things all the way through, I need to give a little background. As missionaries, since we do what we do full time, we don't spend time on computers other than to write blog posts or email our mothers, nor do we get phones that do anything more than text and call, which barely even do that. So with that in mind, this past week we all got new insurance cards, and on the back it says "For additional information, scan this QR code, or visit *website*."

Because my $20 phone can definitely scan QR codes. Way to go missionary medical. Way to go. 

And so there really isn't any explanation for this other than it was a random thought that went through my head this week. Imagine for a second you're serving in the ward that President Monson or Elder Holland or any of the General Authorities really, and on Sunday you get the dinner calendar back and you see "Uchtdorf" or "Bednar" signed up for that week. I think that would be the most intense dinner of your life. How would you even give a spiritual thought? You would say something like "There was a quote I liked in Preach My Gospel" and they would respond back with "Oh yeah I remember writing that page." Anyways, just a little insight into what goes through my brain late at night. 

And now for the quote this week, I pulled this one from a sign I found in a little family-owned restaurant.

"My wife says I don't listen to her; at least I think that’s what she said."

Well I hope everyone has a cool next week and the surrounding areas don't go up in smoke!

Elder Kupferer

[Editor's Note]
Elder Kupferer said that he would explain later in his letter why he wouldn't be able to see Eric's baptism. If you have read this far, you have already figured out that he never explained why. He unfortunately ran out of time and promises to send more details next week but the short version is that on Wednesday (7/16/14) he is being transferred to Othello, WA to a) become a District Leader and b) learn the Mysteco language. From what I have gathered, Mysteco (also spelled "Mixteco", among other spellings) is the language spoken in the Oaxaca area of Mexico and Othello, WA has a large population from that region. Stay tuned for more details.

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