Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My latter days in St. Maries?

Snowy St. Maries

Hey everyone!

First, I just wanted to say how AMAZING being on a mission is. This is the best thing I've EVER done in my life, and I'm happier than I've ever been out here, serving the Lord.

This Sunday, we find out if either me or Elder M--- is getting transferred. I hope it's not a sin to pray that I get to stay here in St. Maires, because I kinda already did... ;P

Anyway, I've really fallen in love with St. Maries, and all of the people in it. It's a quiet, beautiful town, and the people are kind, understanding, and truly searching for God.

Elder M--- in the snow
This last Sunday was Stake Conference, and we missionaries had seven investigators there with us. Our newest investigator, R---, is a young mother who lives with her boyfriend. She actually came and found US because she had some questions for us. Her first question, which was totally sincere, was:
"So, I don't want to go to Hell. How do I not go to Hell?"
So, we taught her and her boyfriend about the plan of Salvation. She believed every word we said, and told us that every church she had been to, had told her that she was going to hell because she hadn't been baptized into their church. She had a bunch of questions, and we were able to answer all of them through the Spirit. She has been coming to Church ever since, and she is working towards getting baptized! Whooo! 

A Wedding for S--- and M---!

Last night, we had a wedding for S--- and M---, two of our investigators who are working towards getting baptized, got married in the Church building. As soon as they heard about the law of Chastity, they said they wanted to get married, and now that they are, it won't be long until they're baptized as well. :D

AND tonight, S--- and A---, two of our OTHER investigators, are getting married, and then baptized, all on the same night! We're filling up the font now, and all of the decorations are up! They're so excited, and they are so ready.

The Brides!

Me and Elder M---'s goal here in St. Maries has been to ensure that those we baptize are truly converted, and that they wont leave the Church later on down the road. You see, there are two hundred and fifty members in St. Maries, but only about sixty are active (ten of those are because of me and Elder M---!!! :D).

It's the worst feeling I've ever felt, as I see all of these wonderful people, who partook of the fruit of the tree, and then cast their eyes about, listened to the mocking of those in the great and spacious building. If I could do one thing on my mission, it would be to help everyone here be fully converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and help them see the importance of Enduring to the End.

I love these people, and it hurts when they lose sight of what is truly important.

Anyway, before I "Sign Off" I wanted to testify of the power of the priesthood. It is truly the power of God. I've used it to give blessings of healing, which saved a life. I've used it to cast out devils. I've seen and been a part of the miracles that can happen when we truly seek to do God's will. I'm so grateful for God's trust in me, and I'm so honored to be able to help my brothers and sisters through this incredible power. It reminds me every day that I must be worthy, and prepared to do as the Lord directs through his Holy Spirit.

The priesthood is truly God's power, given to man to do his well, and I thank God every day for this opportunity to do miracles in His name.

I love and miss you all. ;) 

-Elder Keppner

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Snow Deepens...

Cool Elder K

SNOWWWWW!!! The snow is going NUTS up here!

We now have about three feet of snow, and it's still coming down! Wedding plans and such continue, and there is A LOT of paperwork we've had to fill out, but, it's all so worth it!

We have two new investigators: L--- and R---.

L--- is a funny guy, and he is a BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN. I mean, he is NUTS about Jesus, and says "AMEN!" to everything we say that he likes, and he is constantly telling us how much Jesus means to him. He went on a Church Tour, listened to our first lesson on the Restoration, and then said he'd pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true.

R--- is a different case altogether. She told one of her Less Active LDS neighbors some questions, and he told her to talk to the missionaries. So we met her and her boyfriend, and the daughter they had together at their apartment, answered her questions, and taught the Plan of Salvation. Some of her questions were: "I'm terrified of dying. What happens when I die?" "I don't want to go to Hell. What do I have to do so I don't go to Hell?"

She also came to church this Sunday, and she really liked Sacrament meeting, so, we have another lesson with her later this week! Yup! She was so sincere with her questions, and she has always been extremely honest. After all three hours of Church, we asked her what she thought of church. She told us that the second and third blocks of Church were "Long, and kinda boring. But I liked the first meeting a lot!"

Also, I wanted to note, that Elder H---, one of my best friends from the MTC just had a family tragedy. His brother committed suicide. Please pray for him. He was crushed, but he gave an amazing testimony about how this is the true church, and that we can't be held back from our calling by ANYTHING. He told us, that no matter what, God will allow us to fulfill our mission. Because of this, and having talked with him, I can truly say, that we have NO excuse to complain or give up on our missions. If he can wade through ALL of this stuff, we can carry on through our small daily challenges.

On a happier note, I can't believe I'm getting close to the end of this transfer! I'm about one seventeenth of the way done with my mission already! It goes by so fast! I really don't want to be transferred out of St. Maries! I love it here, and I feel like I just got here! I hope it's not wrong to ask God if I can stay here for a few more transfers. :-/

I LOVE hearing anything and everything from you guys.


(Mom's note here: I am including a picture Brennan sent that shows a REAL road he found called "Kidd Island Road." Those of you familiar with the Keppner Family Game Brennan created will understand! :-D )

Who knew that Kid Island exists in Idaho???

Monday, February 3, 2014

Now things are getting a bit crazy...

Elder Keppner in a Winter Wonderland

Hey everybody! How are you all doing?

I was so happy to get letters from Susanne, Daniel and Valarie this last week, and I'm writing back today. I LOVE letters, so, if you send me any, I'll write you back as soon as I can.

So, here in St. Maries, we now have TWO baptisms coming up, and now, TWO WEDDINGS! You see, in St. Maries, a lot of people have trouble with Word of Wisdom (Smoking, mostly), and/or Law of Chastity. So, once they learn the gospel and accept it, they have to quit smoking and/or quit breaking the law of chastity. SO, this means, that we ended up with two weddings and two baptisms!

Yeah... they call us the "hitching" Elders around here. Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, planning two weddings at a time as a missionary, SUCKS. We have so many calls to make, so many things to oversee, dresses, rings, decorations, food, punch bowls, lists of things they are allergic to, cakes, pictures, and guests... AHHHH!!!

It's all good though, and I love and miss you all! Sorry the Email is short, but I have to go get four new tires for our car. (We popped one, and all of them are balding. :-p )

Love you!

-Elder Keppner
Beautiful Narnia-- er, St. Maries
PS: I'm serving in Narnia! I don't know who put it down, but tell them that I'm serving in flipping Narnia! :-D