35 hours you ask? What can that even mean? The number of hours Elder Kupferer spent tracting? Or maybe the number hours Elder Kupferer spent reading the Book of Mormon? Possibly contemplating the fact that somehow February is already over and we are 1/4 of the way through March? Sadly, no. 35 hours is the number of hours Elder Kupferer and his companion sat in meetings and planning sessions this past week, not including driving time or pondering time whilst in the car. Since there was so much that went on, this week will be presented in more of a list style than story mode as I usually do. I apologize if there are any people that get frustrated at the change or can no longer tolerate this blog, but there’s a lot I have to type and not a lot of time to type it so let’s start on Monday shall we?
Okay Monday didn't actually have anything going on besides P-Day. Sorry to let you down. We did teach 4 lessons in 3 hours and found a new investigator though. One of the daughters of the family we were supposed to have a lesson with got admitted to the hospital the night before so that freed up our night to do some late night tracting.
Tuesday - now the fun begins.
- Pancake Palooza - If you remember back in October-ish we were asked by the seminary teacher (who gets paid because he is a full time teacher; still amazes me that they have those, and not just poor souls that wake up at o-dark-thirty to teach the class in addition to a regular job) to come make pancakes because all the students were inviting their friends from the high school to come over and eat some pancakes as a good way to get kids familiar with the church a little bit and the concept of seminary. And who doesn't like pancakes?
- Preparing Stake Reports - Once a month we meet with the Stake Leaders of the two stakes in our zone and normally this would have been taken care of Wednesday but the stake presidency asked to change to the correlation night to Tuesday so we had to finish it last second.
- Ward Council Training - This week was our ward conference and so the Stake Presidency took the opportunity to train the ward councils a bit and provide instruction. We were lucky enough to be able to sit in and gain a lot of valuable insight into the council system that we were able to apply the very next day.
- Stake Correlation with the Othello Stake - About what it sounds. We had the time to discuss a new plan of action on things we wanted implemented to help the missionary work. Since it was a late night meeting we didn't end until after curfew. Thankfully a member of the mission presidency was there to approve it.
- Zone Leadership Council - A chance for us do discuss with our District Leaders and our Sister Training Leaders how the zone is doing and things we can do to improve and help others. We applied the principles we had learned the previous night about counseling and it was a great meeting. Hands down the best one I've been a part of. We were able to witness firsthand the revelation that comes in when people truly counsel together on a subject.
- Correlation with one of our bishops and our two Ward Mission Leaders - all at separate times, might I add.
- Mission Leadership Council - Where the zone leaders and sister training leaders get together and have a party of the spiritual kind with our mission president while discussing various trainings and ideas he wants taken back to the missionaries. As always, a great opportunity for receiving training and revelation as well as seeing old friends again.
- Dickey's Barbecue Pit - Some of you may remember this restaurant because it was in Irvine some years back and I remember hearing they had one in Kennewick so we went on a hunt to go find it. Totally worth it.
- Blown tire - About 5 miles from the nearest town with no lights and nothing but highway on one side and crops on the other our tire decides to blow out; not slowly leak air but completely blow. So, we got to fix a tire in the dirt in the middle of nowhere at 8:00 at night with another 30 miles before we got home. Made me appreciate my dad forcing me to learn how to change one and the 120 lumen flashlight I had.
- Zone Training Meeting Planning - My companion and I sat down with the STLs to discuss how we wanted zone meeting (the chance we have to train the missionaries in our zone) to go. It was a long and arduous process and I'll spare you the details but needless to say it ended up being a great learning opportunity for us.
- Les Schwab - Spent 30 minutes getting new tires on our car. I have now planned for meetings in Les Schwab twice.
- A baptism! The highlight of the week. About 2 months ago a single mom with two daughters still living with her walked in the church having recently moved from Moses Lake in need of help and since she was baptized when she was around 9 she remembered the church and how much it help. One of the conditions of her receiving help was that we teach her and her daughters about the church and help them gain fellowship in a new town. Our ward did great. Instantly they had friends everywhere and all kinds of support, but the daughters were still a little hesitant about baptism. That’s when I jump in. They have taught them several times by this point and they weren't progressing much so literally our lesson plan was follow up on the reading (which talked about baptism) and go from there. Well, as evidenced by me writing this, it turned out pretty good. From that point on most of their concerns were resolved and so it was relatively smooth sailing from then on. The daughter getting admitted to the hospital the Sunday before her baptism was a little scary but it turned out to be a great experience. Their testimonies had developed so much and the gospel had really worked on them and helped them change for the better. It was a great experience working with them.
- Zone Meeting - The culminating event of the week. A 3 hour meeting to try and help other missionaries develop skills to become better finders and teachers (and therefore baptizers). There was a lot of time spent going into this meeting and thankfully it all paid off.
- Weekly Planning - Normally this takes place on Friday but since we had other business to attend to we had to postpone it until Saturday.
- Ward Conference - Awesome to say the least. Both our wards meet in the same building and so the time schedules got changed a bit which meant church for us lasted about 5.5 hours. Lots of great things were learned, but having lost an hour of sleep the night before due to daylight saving time, it was a little rough.
- More Weekly Planning - We didn't finish on Saturday so we did after church.
- Correlation with our other Bishop - Again, about what the name implies.
So that was the week. Probably the longest shortest week of my life. The amazing thing though is that it wasn't as bad as we had thought it was going to be. With such limited time to work in our area we were worried about how we were going to make it all work but the Lord blessed us with miracles proportionate to the amount of meetings we had (I say that in a joking manner since miracles aren't correlated with meetings; that’s just how I felt). We were still able to meet a lot of great people and have lessons that were nothing short of miraculous in the little bit of time we did have. The Lord saw us trying to magnify our callings and He in turn magnified our efforts. Our area came out doing even better than we had hoped by the end of the week and we are excited to see what lays in store this upcoming week with only a zone conference to attend.
The quote of the week comes from our time with our Mission President at MLC on Thursday. He was discussing how the mission is expected to jump from the current 230 missionaries to 400 in the next 6 months in preparation for the mission split. It was at this point he proposed the following question that was quickly followed up by his own answer:
"How young is the mission going to be? Diapers."
And with that, I bid you all a very exhausted farewell until next week.