Monday, April 27, 2015

No Title This Week

So this past week Mother Nature hasn't decided if it wants to officially be summer or still be stuck in the tail end of winter. It has gone from 80 and sunny (which after the past 6 months is unbelievably hot; I'm not excited for summer) to the next day 60 and rainy again. Then throw in the ridiculous winds that come through on occasion and you don't know if you need short sleeves or if you need to unpack the big jackets again. Either way, it keeps you on your feet. Naturally the nicest day of the week was the day we had to spend 5 hours inside planning but I guess that's just how life works sometimes.

So some random goings-on for the week. We walked into a lesson kind of out of town around 6:30 PM and by the time we walked out at 8 (we had dinner as well) we look towards town and on the horizon there's a giant fire. My comp and I look at each other and remark "Well that’s not good." As we started driving back into town our first thought was that the packing plant in town had caught on fire. As we drove closer we were relieved to find out that it wasn't actually the packing plant. Only to have our hearts drop again when we realized that the fire was coming from a small part of town just outside the main city composed entirely of trailers and low-income housing. The smoke literally darkened the sky with how thick it was. Thankfully we came to find out later that no houses actually burned it was just a field that lay between the two parts of town. I guess that's a benefit of acres and acres of farm land.

Another fun story from this week was when we had district meeting all in Spanish. We attended a district meeting in the zone where the district leader was from Paraguay, his companion was from Mexico, and one of the other hermanas [sister missionaries] in the district was from Mexico as well, so we decided to have district meeting all in Spanish. Not the norm out here but it was a fun experience.

Another out-of-the-norm experience this week was when we got to teach a little bit in Primary on Sunday. They had asked us to come in and teach a little bit about Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the Gospel. To be perfectly honest, we completely forgot about it until 5 minutes before we were supposed to do it. Good thing we teach that lesson a lot though, so it went fine. It’s definitely a lot different teaching a bunch of 3 - 11 year olds instead of adults but it keeps you on your toes. It was a good exercise in teaching simply, let’s just say that.

The quote of the week comes from a talk delivered in church yesterday. Side note about church recently - I don't know if it’s because the end of my mission is drawing nigh or if all of a sudden everyone is interested in the subject but lately a lot of the talks and lessons and discussions have been about marriage. I can’t decide if this is mere happenstance or if someone somewhere is trying to send a message to me and my companion who goes home just before I do... but moving on to more pertinent things, the speaker was a young man who is in the same family boat as me, in that he is the oldest of 3 boys. When we was giving his talk (about the family, might I add) he said that he was so grateful that he "could be sealed with my brothers and sisters for eternity." It took a second and after he started his next thought he stopped and a sudden realization crossed his face as he said:

"Wait! I don't have any sisters!"

And that’s about all for this week folks. This transfer is winding down to an end so stay tuned next week to see what you think will happen with Elder Kupferer's future.

Until then,

Elder Kupferer

Monday, April 20, 2015

Another Week of Random

These past few weeks have been relatively uneventful, dominated mostly by actual missionary activities, which, on the whole, are relatively the same day in and day out. There haven't been any meetings really to attend or prepare for nor any emergencies requiring trips to far away places. In all honesty, it has been super rewarding being able to dedicate so much time to helping others. I was a little worried about finally leaving at 12 when we are supposed to (which happened for the first time this transfer this week - and we are on week 5) with not much to do (since we were usually planning during that time), but with this increase in time, the Lord has blessed us and we have found several families that are in a spot that makes them perfect to receive the message of Christ's Gospel and come closer to him. There was a family who we met last week, and due to some plans weren't able to attend church 2 weeks ago but almost without an invitation from us showed up at church yesterday. I can already tell its going to be a marvelous experience working with them.

In terms of random things to keep everyone entertained, our Ward Mission Leader in the Spanish Ward is a native speaker of that dialect that I was studying when I first got to Othello, Mixteco. For one reason or another he was not in a position to help during my first time around but things have changed a bit and he is now teaching us some of that impossible language. I am not focusing on it as I had been since it doesn't pertain as much to our area's responsibilities now but it is still awe-inspiring to listen to this language and try and grasp it. Half the time when we ask for clarification (in Spanish, by the way, since he doesn't speak English) he winds up just as confused as we are since the way the language is set up doesn't resemble Latin-based languages (i.e. English, Spanish, etc) in the least. As far as we know, he could just be speaking gibberish with how random the words are but nonetheless, we are going forward and praying desperately to be able to understand this foreign language. I don't know if I have shared some before, but to give you an idea of what this language looks like, this is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" in Mixteco (we think): ven'oo Jesucristo na'a yi'i kevi'i nu'u di'i.

But now with things that are more relatable but still slightly confusing, there was an interesting talk given yesterday that compared Joseph Smith to Harry Potter. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it but overall it was a good talk. I most definitely wouldn't have come up with it on my own but it was some good stuff to think about.

Also, not that its important, but I wanted to comment on it anyways, this past week I marked 2 decades on this planet and for the first time in 20 years, I could finally say that I felt a little different afterwards. I don't know if its the imminent responsibility ahead of me or no longer being able to call myself a teenager, but alas, I can finally move away from the children's table and sit at the adult table. That in and of itself is worth celebrating in my opinion.

The quote for this week comes from a billboard in front of a local church, and caught my attention this week so I thought I'd share it:

"A different world cannot be made by indifferent people."

I'm still trying to envision the environment where this would be said (as with most inspirational quotes people find) but I liked the concept of this one.

And with that, I wish you all farewell until the upcoming week.

Stay awesome,

Elder Kupferer

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Week of Random

So this week was another week of random stuff, driving to too many meetings, and just doing our missionary thing. Probably the most random thing I saw this week was two horses getting walked by a truck down in a part of town called "Little Mexico." I couldn't really believe what I was seeing. It was a pretty comical sight, especially when the truck kept leading them over a hill and off into the distance out of our sight. It left us just sitting there, staring at where the horses were, wondering if we had really seen what we saw. I don't think we were dreaming at least.

This week we also had our Zone Training Meeting, albeit it a little late in the month. Overall it went great. We had left the last hour and a half of the meeting open to a guided discussion/goal setting thing and to be perfectly honest, going into it I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out but thankfully we had done enough preparation it all turned out okay. Through the use of a lot of inspired questions we were able to get our point across and everyone left bound to act to something they needed to do to improve.

The only other semi-entertaining thing this week came Saturday afternoon when we got a text from our bishop in the Spanish ward asking the four of us (us and the other companionship serving in the ward) to give talks the next day in church on our favorite talk from conference. We said sure but since we were so busy that evening with teaching appointments (we had 5 lessons that day and found 4 new investigators from a PMF - it was sweet) we weren't able to start looking over the talk until late Saturday night and since we were so tired we kind of just left it to the next day. Well after Ward Councils and having to prepare progress records, I had started reading through the talk 5 times but never actually finished it until English sacrament meeting had already started. I'm guessing God felt sorry for us because they turned out a lot better than we could have ever done on our own with such little preparation.

I think a fitting quote for the week would be one from the talk I used as the basis for my comments yesterday. It came from the Saturday night Priesthood Session talk "Priesthood and Personal Prayer" by President Eyring. He was talking about the multitude of responsibilities we have sometimes and commented that:

"Human judgment and good intentions will not be enough."

I have definitely come to know that is a true gospel principle. Try as we may, our efforts ultimately wind up as insufficient. Its makes me eternally grateful that we have the greatest force in the universe pushing for us.

And with that, I bid thee all farewell until next week.

Elder Kupferer

Monday, April 6, 2015

The 4-Man Crusade

Probably the biggest highlight of the week was hands down General Conference. Any opportunity to hear from the living prophets and apostles of God is always a good day in my book. Talks and talks about modern revelation pertinent to our day comes in super handy sometimes. This week we also had MLC (where we have a spiritual party with our mission president) and we discussed rescuing people and members of the church who may have strayed from the straight and narrow. Since conference was that weekend, and there is so much that can be learned and applied to bolster people up when times are rough, we started a four man crusade in our Spanish ward to get everyone back. Us and the other set of Elders here in Othello divided up the list of all the members in our two areas - covering the entirety of Othello - and armed with an inspiring Easter Message, went to work. Since the idea came with such short notice and a very tight time frame, we asked our ward mission leader and another member to help us divide and conquer so after fueling our Mexican spirits with some taco-truck type food Friday night, we split off and for three hours went through the country roads of Othello, finding everyone we could to show them the "Because He Lives" video. If you haven't already, I invite you to check it out at: It’s a short video that talks about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and what is possible because of his Resurrection, which we celebrated yesterday with Easter. If you've already seen it, watch it again, ‘cause it’s worth it. But after 3 hours of crusading, we met back up for the night and between sessions of conference the following Saturday continued on our quest to get people to watch conference with us in celebration of Easter and in search of answers to questions the following morning. Lamentably, not as many people showed up as we had hoped but regardless, our crusade will continue on in helping everyone come to the fold of Christ.

Speaking of conference itself, I was inspired by all the talks upholding the family. It seems hardly a talk went by without a mention to the family in one way, shape, or form. Especially inspiring was the talk about the colloquium held at the Vatican in Rome in which various religious organizations from around the world came together in support of the family, ours being one of the ones represented. Interestingly enough, another church made reference to The Family: A Proclamation to the World which is definitely worth a read through. All in all, I am excited to go out and apply the principles I learned this weekend (except on the family; for obvious reasons that will have to wait a bit).

Other than that it was a relatively uneventful week of attending district meetings and teaching the gospel. The “Because He Lives” DVD definitely saw some intense usage this week and I'm excited to see where it goes.

If possible, the quote of the week would be the entirety of conference but since that is rather unpractical I'll revert to a conversation we had on P-day. Currently in our zone of 24 missionaries, we have 5 native speaking Latinos who all played soccer growing up. My companion thought it would be a funny idea to play soccer with them vs. all of us white people. Mistakenly thinking it would be fun, I agreed and as we were starting I mentioned to one of the missionaries (this was in Spanish) "Well let’s see what happens." Walking away he retorted under his breath:

"A massacre is going to happen."

I think a massacre is an apt description of the slaughter that happened. I didn't know if I was spending more time on my knees trying fruitlessly to stop the ball from going in or praying for mercy once the score reached 15-0. Needless to say, I think we will be playing basketball today.

And with that I hope you all had a fantastic Easter and wish you all a warmer day than ours!

Elder Kupferer