Monday, August 25, 2014

It's a Boy!

Well everyone, I've got some big news! I'm having a kid! He is coming straight from the MTC and is expected to arrive Wednesday sometime between the hours of 1 and 9. For those of you who are thoroughly confused, there are 24 new missionaries coming into the mission this transfer, and so I was called to train one of them, or in other words, break him into the missionary lifestyle. In missionary-speak, they call it “having a kid”, or sometimes “my first born in the wilderness.” Either way, I will go from having the oldest missionary in the mission (my current companion leaves today for the mission home and then flies home tomorrow) to the newest in a grand total of 2 days. Expect some funny stories. 

And in other news, I apologize for last week. I was sitting down writing my email and then all of a sudden this guy came into the Family History Center we email from and then took the keyboard out of my hands and just started typing away. Before I could ask what was going on, he had already sent it and then jumped out the window laughing at me. My companion just pointed and laughed. It was a weird week. But anyways, I was going to write about how last week for our P-Day we went and toured the dairy farm that a member of the mission presidency owns out here. He picked us up and then took us out to his house (down the road from the dairy) and gave us all lunch then took us down and drove us around the dairy. If I remember correctly, it is something like 2,000 acres with 11,000 cows. That’s a lot of milk. It was really cool seeing the whole process of how it all works. They have it set up where it’s basically self sustaining. The cows that they have keep having more cows until they can't have any more and then their cows just keep on giving. It made me think back to the good old days at Chick-fil-a. Felt right at home among my own people. 

And for the closing quote today, here's the story. We were walking to an investigator's house in an apartment complex when we saw another one of our investigators standing outside grilling some carne asada off the back of his truck so we stop to talk with him for a minute when he then invites us to stay for dinner. That’s totally not relevant to the story, but I thought I'd share it anyways. But as we were standing there talking, he told us how he was at the doctor's office with his 1 year old who was sick when they asked him what his birthday was to which he replied:

"That’s a great question. Let’s call my wife."

Until next week everyone!

Elder Kupferer

Also because I can here is a picture of me and Elder Smith (he's from Huntington Beach) having some ribs with a member. Smoked over hickory for 5 hours then covered in Sweet Baby Rays (with an extra cup of honey added) and then placed on the grill for 2 minutes to caramelize the sauce. The barbecue sauce on our faces wasn't actually that bad we just did it to rub it in to my comp (we were on exchanges and my comp was the one who had requested ribs). Anyways yeup. Always classy. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The 1-Year Top 10 List

Another week goes by in Othello. Nothing too interesting going on. Today for …..*static*…..
wait what?

*random newscaster*“We interrupt your normal blogging this week with a special edition of ‘Kupferer in Kennewick.’"

*dramatic music*

This past week Elder Kupferer has officially been out on his mission for 1 year. And since year marks on anything merit a Top 10 List, we figured we would present you with one highlighting the past year of Elder Kupferer's missionary service. 

*fly-by of an oversize 10*

10. Hiking the butte in Chelan. One preparation day, Elder Kupferer and his companion took a local member of the ward and hiked the Chelan Butte. It was 4 miles round trip with 1000 foot elevation gain in the first 1 mile. It took three hours and the hike up was literally up the side of the hill. At the top the views were very rewarding with expansive views of the entire Chelan valley and the Columbia River. The hike definitely took its toll though on their legs; for a week they didn't work probably and were known to give out from time to time. 

*massive 9 hitting screen*

9. Helping with the Brewster fire cleanup. This was explained in a recent email but to recap, it’s when Elder Kupferer traveled 3 hours from Othello all the way up to Twisp to help with the Mormon Helping Hands clean up fire damage around an older lady's home. It definitely left an emotional impact on all involved to see the sincere gratitude of those affected. 

*normal size 8 rolls by* 

8. Mexican Independence Day. Due to the limited time available in our broadcasting slot we cannot provide a full review of the intense awesomeness that transpired all the way back on the September night in Mexico but it was legendary to say the least. Filled with festivities, dancing, staying out past curfew, and the slight chance of getting hit by bullets, it was a night never to be forgotten. For full details, read my 9/19/2013 blog post titled:  ¡Viva Mexico!

*7 swings into screen and then fades out*

7. The Elder Ballard conference. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles plus Elders Risenmay and Elder Maynes of the Seventy came and visited the Washington Kennewick Mission. They put on a 3-hour conference for all of the missionaries down in Kennewick. There was so much doctrine learned they couldn't even contain it all. Missionaries traveled all day to come see this spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime event. Talk is still made of the promises he left the missionaries, as they still continue to bless them day after day. 

*block 6 slams in*

6. Serving in Chelan. Living on a lake is always fun, especially when its 50 miles long and some of the most beautiful country in the state. Elder Kupferer served there long enough to see not only snow fall but the beach become packed on 2 major holidays, have three companions, live in two houses, and see the bishopric change. Not to mention all the memories made with some of the finest missionaries the mission has to offer, an amazing ward, and the best Ward Mission Leader ever. But after such an experience, what could possibly top that? Come back after the break to find out. 

*switches to commercial*

*deep announcer voice*:  “This year’s Top 10 List is brought to you by "The Book of Mormon: AnotherTestament of Jesus Christ." Over 400 pages of inspiring scripture that has stood the test of time, translated into English directly from the language of the prophets by which it was written. Now we can read the story of God's children not only in Jerusalem, but in the America's as well. Ask your closest Mormon friend for a copy.”

*block 5 with announcer voice*:  “For number five let’s jump into their car to hear the conversation preceding the event.”

*awkward shot of the back of two people's heads driving along a lake*

Elder Kupferer: “We only have like 10 minutes before we're supposed to meet Bishop at the church. Do you think we should just head there and wait for him?”

Elder Hansen: “I don't know we are only short like 2 on our goal for OYM's today. Let’s just go knock a few doors really quick.”

Elder Kupferer: “Okay sounds good. I like it”. 

“Well they went and knocked some doors, ladies and gentlemen. And rolling in at number 5…..”

5. Knocking 5 doors in 5 minutes and getting 5 OYMs

*large number 4 apparates onto screen, then disappears*

4. The ‘One More Door’ principle. Elder Kupferer and his companion were knocking some doors in an apartment complex (did all they do is knock doors? Geez) and were having absolutely no success. Time for dinner was rolling by and they decided to just finish off the building really quick. Door 1, no luck. Door 2 no luck. Door 3 no luck. Last Door. Opens up. They start the spiel, "Hey we're the missionaries..." and so on. By the lady's reaction, they judge correctly that she's a member. Then she tells them that she hadn't been to church in a long time since she got into drugs and became addicted, but had kicked the habit several months ago and was looking to start her life over again. She had just prayed and lo and behold when she looks out the window, she sees the missionaries walking by. She said that when they knocked on her door, it felt like God knocking. Always knock one more door. It saves lives. 

*intense 3 drops in*

3. Working with Chris and Erica (for liability reasons their names have been changed). Erica had a special friend who recently left on a mission and invited her to meet with the missionaries to see what they're all about. So she did, and took her friend Chris along for the ride. Long story short, after the first lesson they took the Book of Mormon home and read it, and came back and told the missionaries that they didn't expect what they had felt when they read. They said they just felt so good about the book and that after reading it all their doubts went away. It really is a good book ladies and gentlemen. You should look into it. 

*announcer's voice*:  “And at this time we have a bonus top hit, provided by “Preach My Gospel.” PMG wishes to thank Benton City for being an awesome training ground for their friend Elder Kupferer. There are so many learning opportunities had their and so many good memories they could do their own show on it.”

*giant 2 rolls through screen*

“Landing in at number 2, we have…”

2. Working with a kid named Ken (again, names have been changed). Ken is a kid who discovered the marvelous second chance the Savior offers. An alcoholic since age 14, he thought there was no hope for him when we found him 5 years later. A month, an awesome Mormon Message, and some reading of the Book of Mormon on his own (there's that book again) later, he discovered that through Christ's Atonement, he really could be forgiven. The change that you could see in him ladies and gentlemen was unbelievable. 

*Shot of random person walking dramatically towards camera across a stage*

“Now for our number one moment of Elder Kupferer's mission so far, let’s do some back story. It was Saturday night of Memorial Day Weekend and Elder Kupferer and his companion were sitting next to a trampoline judging a competition between some of a member's kids, when all of a sudden the phone goes off. His comp answers the phone and after a few short words back and forth leans over and says, "Elder Kupferer, it’s for you." He answers the phone with a simple hello.  The voice he heard on the other side was one he was not expecting. It belonged to a little 8-year-old girl whose family was not terribly active in the church. After identifying herself, she said ‘Elder Kupferer, will you baptize me?’”

“So rolling in at the top spot ladies and gentlemen,…”

*giant lights shine on an oversize '1'*

1. Baptizing Natalie. 

Let’s see here. They said there was a scripture that was associated with it. Let me see... ah! Here it is. It’s in the 84th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, revelation given to mankind through the Prophet Joseph Smith in modern days. It reads:

"Therefore, in the ordinances (of the Priesthood), the power of godliness is manifest."

“Well ladies and gentlemen, thank you for watching this special episode of ‘Kupferer in Kennewick.’  We hope you enjoyed. We now return to your regularly scheduled program.”


Until next week everyone!

Elder Kupferer

Monday, August 11, 2014

Disaster Relief

So the highlight this week was without a doubt the opportunity of helping clean up some of the damage from the fire up in northern Washington. Some of you may or may not know this but the church has a disaster response team that dispatches whenever there is a natural disaster, i.e. earthquakes, tornadoes, or fires that burn up 240,000+ acres in northern Washington. The cool thing about it though is its all based off member support. They have the team of leaders that organize everything but then they rely on members in the surrounding areas to come provide the man power. In this particular case they have members coming all the way up from Walla Walla (about a three hour drive to Brewster). So this past Tuesday our stake was called on to provide members and so me and two other missionaries went up to help support the ward. On that particular day they had over 50 volunteers. That was just one day. They said they had gotten almost 200 people one day to come help clean up. So we left Tuesday morning at 0 dark 30 to make the 2 hour drive so we would be there at 9. They got us all together and divied up assignments. Our particular group was going to help clean up some stuff in another town called Twisp, which for those of you who don't know (and I'm assuming most don't…it’s a small town) was another hour up the mountains. So 3 hours of driving later we finally get up there and we get to the place and get to work. Our group helped a single older lady who had lost her husband about a year ago clean up burnt vineyard and bushes and miscellaneous things around her house. It was a miracle that her house survived because bushes up to 3 feet from her house had burned, but her house was unscathed. She was so appreciative of what we did for her because being old and single she didn't know how she would clean everything up. It was a truly amazing and humbling experience.

And in other news there was a little Mexican fiesta concert thing going on in one of the parks here Friday and Saturday. Have no idea what it was about but the little bit of music we heard sounded pretty cool and there was a ton of people out.

So this week for a quote just simply typing it isn't enough. I need to include the picture. It just isn't the same. Here’s the background.

We were walking through a trailer park around 2 in the afternoon. It was over a 100 degrees outside, nobody was home (literally, no one), none of us were in a terribly good mood, and then we realize that all the Mexicans that live in said trailer park were still out in the fields working. So we face-palm ourselves for not realizing that sooner and begin the walk back to our car when we see this sign:

I have never felt so mocked by a dumpster before. But anyways things go on and eventually the day got better.

Stay awesome everyone!

Elder Kupferer

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I See Dead People

Okay so now before you all freak out let me explain. When someone starts their mission, in missionary culture they consider it being 'born' as a missionary. Then you grow up and progress through life and eventually, after two years, you go home, or 'die.' Tomorrow, one of my companions goes home. In three weeks, my other companion goes home. In three months, one of the other missionaries serving in our ward (a Zone Leader) dies. And then 6 weeks after him, the other zone leader dies. So the reason I bring this up is because the 5 of us were helping someone move and after we finished we were chit chatting and somehow Christmas zone conference was brought up and so I made the comment of how Christmas this year was going to be awesome and I can't wait to watch the movie. Then I look around and everyone is staring at me, and then I realize, all of them were going to be home for Christmas. At that moment having a year under my belt didn't feel like all that much. They all thought it was pretty hilarious though. #struggles. 

But in other news, last week for P-Day was pretty cool. One of the members (who happened to be our neighbor) had a little going away party for my companion that just so happened to involve the entire zone. We played kickball and soccer and had a barbeque. Twas fun. Especially when the sprinklers came on in the middle of the kickball game. Never boring. 

So in closing this week, I need to explain something for the quote to make sense. In Othello, 7th street is littered with churches. In a 1 mile stretch there are no less than 8 churches (ours being one of them). Most of those churches have little signs out front that say random things like "Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost - get to know them" or Bible verses and the like. All pretty standard stuff. But then one church was smart. During the middle of the heat wave when it was 100+ for way too long (1 minute at 100+ is way too long if you ask me) they changed their sign to the following:

"You think it’s hot here?"

And left it with that. 

And with that, I'm off. Until next week!

Elder Kupferer