Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Baptism #5 is on the way! :D

Chillin' with Elder F--- on Exchanges. 

Hey Ya'll!

This last week, things have continued to press forward! And although things have started to get really rainy again, St. Maries is as beautiful and amazing as ever!

So, big announcement: S--- can finally get baptized! :D

He has been waiting for months, and now, he has gotten the green light to go ahead and get baptized! So, on May 10th, he will be entering the waters of baptism, and becoming an official member of Christ's Church!
S--- has been the most active non-member in the history of ever, and he has wanted so badly to be baptized since the first time me and Elder M--- taught him back in early January. He and his wife were some of the first people I met here in St. Maries, and they have flipped their lives around, and truly become converted to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are so excited for him, and we can't wait to see him and his wife M--- be sealed in the Temple, on May 10th, 2015.

My white chocolate cross I was given by a Christian well wisher (to hell)...

Stories from St. Maries:

So, cool story #1


C---, our recent convert, is an AMAZING guy, and he invited us up to his place for P-Day last week. Little did we know, that not only is he a blacksmith, he is also a SWORD SMITH. So guess what we've been doing for the last couple of P-Days? You guessed it: We're making swords! Not decorative swords, oh no. C--- said: "I want you to be able to use these swords in battle. When you run out of ammo, a man needs a good weapon."

I almost cried.

Cool Story #2-

Also, we're now teaching a 15 year old girl. Her name is C---, and she is pretty darn awesome! Her mom has been inactive for years, but her mom is starting to come back to Church, and C--- is interested in learning more. We've given her, her very own copy of the Book of Mormon, and we wrote our testimonies inside the cover page. :) Hopefully, she too will soon want to join this amazing Kingdom of God! :D

What's left of my white chocolate cross...

Cool Story #3-

Brother H---, a 74 year old member, somewhat less active, and a widower we've been teaching a lot recently hit rock bottom, and had started to lean back on his old addictions.

He had bought a can of coffee and two packs of Cigarettes, and had been drinking coffee and smoking all week. We came to teach him, and talked to him about overcoming addictions, and being worthy to enter the temple. I told him of my experiences, and told him, that to overcome addiction, you have to start NOW. 

Don't wait for the perfect day, don't wait for things to line up perfectly and things to magically get easier, do it NOW.

He was silent for a minute, and then looked me in the eye. He then told me: "I know what you've told me is true. I'll start now."

Brother H--- is a gentle and loving man, and being as old as he is, he usually moves quite slowly. But with a fire in his eye, he quickly rose to his feet, nearly leaping out of his recliner, and hobbled quickly to his kitchen calling out to us as he went: "Follow me Brethren!"

He went into the kitchen, and pulled out his boxes of cigarettes. He opened the boxes, turned on the kitchen sink, and rand them under the water. He then crushed the boxes in his hand. Then, bending down, he opened the cupboard under the sink, and pulled out his brand new can of coffee powder. He then quickly hobbled out his front door, telling us missionaries to follow. He went out in his back yard, opened the can, and flung the coffee out into the wind. He then came back in the house, but the crushed cigarette boxes into the can, sealed the can, and shoved the can into the bottom of the trashcan. Then, taking a deep breath he asked us: "Before you brethren left, could you leave me with a blessing?"

We said yes, and he then pulled an uncomfortable looking wooden chair out from under the table. Before he sat, Elder H--- asked if Brother H--- would rather sit on a more comfortable chair.

Sitting down, Brother H--- told him: "I am not in need of that kind of comfort right now."

He then turned to me, looked me in the eye, and said: "Brother Keppner, I would like you to give the blessing."

Brother H--- was the first person from St. Maries I met when I first came out here, and he is truly an inspiration. I love that old timer, and I can't wait to see him in the Temple, which is his goal right now. He wants to be worthy to enter the Temple again, and know that he and his wife will be together in the next life.

Thank you for everything you for everything you've done for me! I really do miss all of you, but I know, I will get to see you all again when I return home. In the meantime, I'm hitting the streets, and sharing this amazing Gospel of Jesus Christ, and this incredible plan of happiness to everyone I meet!

I love you all,
-Elder Keppner

Monday, April 21, 2014

Into the Waters of Baptism, and Beyond

C--- is getting dunked!!! :D

Hey ya'll!

This week was CRAZY! But, it was truly amazing. We have been working with C--- for a while now, and this past Saturday, he was baptized!

Me and Elder H--- had to do ALL of the preparations for the baptism because our ward mission leader is out of town, so, we're pretty well tuckerd out. But, it all worked out beautifully, and it was an AMAZING baptism! The Spirit was truly there, and everyone present could feel it. After he was baptized, he shared his testimony of the truthfulness of this Gospel, and of his conversion story. I swear, there wasn't a dry eye in the room. Except mine. I'm to manly to cry. Yeah. *cough*

The work is EXPLODING here in St. Maries, and we now have the highest Baptism rate in the Zone. We are working hard to find more people to teach, because all of our investigators are getting baptized! One of our big focuses now however, is helping to expand our Youth program, so we're trying to put special emphases on the teens here in St. Maries. We're also working a lot with C---, and we are doing our best to answer all of his awesome questions.

Actually, for P-Day, we're heading up to his "Survival Camp", and he's going to teach us how to do Blacksmith-work, Leather-working, and a lot of really awesome stuff like that!

A new game: "DESOLATION: Wars and Rumors of Wars"

Anyway, we also had a lot of fun last week! I got permission to make board games on P-Day, as long as I get the idea for the game approved by the Zone Leaders first, I can make them! I've made two thus far, and even the AP's LOVE the games! P-day is pretty darn cool when you have four missionaries gathered around playing "Mission of Zion" or the new "Desolation: Wars and Rumors of Wars", and they are both quite popular throughout the Washington Spokane mission.

Even the mission President likes my Mission of Zion Game, and there are rumors that it may be used in Zone training sessions in the future... But hey, if my talent can be used to help the missionary work, than I couldn't ask for anything better. :D

For Easter Sunday, we had an awesome church service! We usually have about 60 people in church on Sunday, but yesterday, we had 110 (we have the exact amount because we talked to the ward clerk... ;) )!
After Church, we went over the the O---'s home for dinner. The O---'s are an AWESOME old couple, and they call us missionaries their "sons". Also, there is a part member family living with them, who we have been teaching a lot recently. Sister W--- is the mom. She hasn't been to church since she was a teenager and she just divorced her husband. 

It was a big mess, and we missionaries did the best that we could to help out. She has a 15 year old daughter, C---, who has not been baptized, and has never been inside an LDS church.

So, at the O---'s home, we had quite the party! In addition to the O---'s, us missionaries, and the W---'s, C---'s friend L--- was there too. We had a HUGE feast with a full turkey and everything else you could think of, and then we played piano, laughed, joked, and sang together for hours! After that, we missionaries taught a lesson about Jesus Christ and his teachings, said goodnight, and headed home.

A St. Marie's sunset

I can't tell you all how much I love this work. I'm a missionary, a representative of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and I am so happy to be a part of this wonderful work. 

I KNOW that the Lord lives. I know that Jesus Christ took upon himself all of the pains and sins of the world. I know that this Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is God's Kingdom here upon the Earth.

I love my Savior, and I love all of you.

Smell ya later,
-Elder Keppner

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Win some, lose some, but God always comes out on top. :D

Hey Everyone!

Things have been going crazy here in St. Maries!

I've got good news, and some bad news, but since I want to end on a positive note, I'll start with the bad:

We had R--- on date for this last Saturday!


At the last minute, her mom talked her out of it, and told her some anti-Mormon crap. Now, we're trying to help her through all of that stuff.

Also, R---, our other investigator, decided to get baptized into the Foursquare Church. A church known for their hatred of the LDS Church.

It's been hard to see them struggle, but they have their agency, and they have a right to exercise it as they want to.

The good news:

C--- is getting baptized next Sunday! We're so excited for his decision, and we are working a lot with him. As we've been teaching him the gospel, he asked me, if after we were done with our missions, we would come back, and be mentored by him. He said he wants to teach us the things we'll need to know if we are going to be ready for the future. He knows leather work, medicine, black smith work, gun making, fire arms, and so much more! He's pretty much the coolest guy I've met, and we're so excited for his decision to be baptized!

The work goes forward, and my testimony keeps growing! It's just like it says in Alma 32! As you exercise your faith, it grows ever more!

Thank you for all your prayers, and I can't wait to hear more from you all!

God bless,
-Elder Keppner

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Transfers again?!?

My haircut! :D (C'mon and smile, Elder!)

So everyone, it's that time again! TRANSFERS!!!

So, here's what happened: NOTHING!!! :D I get to stay in St. Maries, which, to be honest, is what I've kinda been praying would happen. If I could spend the rest of my mission here in St. Maries, I would be SO FLIPPING HAPPY. But, I'm sure that the Lord will only send me to the places he wants me to be, so, I"m really not TOO worried about it in the future. Anyway, me and Elder H--- are REALLY getting along now, and serving a mission with him, in this awesome area is, well, the best time of my life! :D 

We had an awesome time watching General Conference, and we managed to get some of our investigators to watch too! How grateful I am for the Lord's Prophet and Apostles, and I'm so glad that we get to hear their divine council at least every six months!

Fishing in St. Maries! :D

Also of note, me and Elder H--- went to the H---'s, a member's home for P-day today, and we had an AWESOME time! We went fishing, played music, got music/singing lessons from Brother H---, and got haircuts from Sister H---! We didn't catch anything, but we had a good time, and we talked about the gospel with Brother H--- ALL DAY.

Anyway, I don't have much more time, but I wanted you all to know how much I love you, and that I know this Church is true. I grow in that knowledge every day, and I will continue to do so every day of my life.

Love ya!

-Elder Keppner

Thursday, April 3, 2014


M--- was baptized! :D
This last week was AWESOME!!! :D

Our investigator M--- was baptized this past Saturday, and she had an AWESOME baptismal service! We are so happy for her, and for her choice to take those first big steps towards Christ! :D

She came to us and told us that she really does feel that gift of the Holy Ghost, and she was so happy when she came up out of the water!

Now, behind the scenes, things were going crazy. It takes our baptismal font about two and a half hours to fill, and so we went to clean our car while the font filled. When we came back about two hours later, the font was almost full, but the water was FREEZING! We decided that we had to refill it, but the problem was, the drain plug was in the drain... At the bottom of the font...

SO, we went back to our apartment, Elder H--- changed into some shorts and a T-shirt, and we went back to the church, Elder H--- got INTO the freezing water, pulled the plug, drained the font, put the plug BACK in, and REFILLED the font. The font was filled just in time for the baptism. 

Yeah, so, I included a picture of the baptism, and of Elder H---'s font diving. ;)

Elder H--- is baptized! :D

I can't believe I'm heading into my third transfer next week! Once again, I hope I can stay in St. Maries, but I'll "go where the Lord wants me to go". I'm excited for the future, and I'm so happy to be here! :D

Every day out here in the mission, I feel, well, like I'm being filled with light. I feel Christ's love, and his aid in my daily life, and I see it in those around me as well. I am beginning to be more sensitive to the still small promptings of the Spirit, and I'm finding that the little things, like prayer, and scripture study, mean so much more to me now. Things that once seemed so hard are now made easy with the help of my Savior.

I love the people in St. Maries, I love this work, I love my companion, and I love my Father in Heaven.

This Church is for real, God loves us, and peace out ya'll.

-Elder Keppner

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Techie Work on my mission!!!

Guess who are now companions?!?
Hey Ya'll!

So, a lot happened this week, and I have very little time to write it all down. BUT, I wanted to start with the biggest stuff first. This past Saturday, me and Elder H-- did backstage work for a Talent Show. The show was to raise money for a family in the Ward so that they could retrieve their adopted children from Africa. It was a BLAST! And literally half the town came out to support it!

I ran curtains and props, and Elder H--- was in charge of the lights. We met and talked with A LOT of people there, and people really came to understand that we missionaries are here to help, and that we're real people too. I never thought I would be doing Techie work on MY MISSION, but hey, the Lord works in mysterious ways I guess!

We also have a new investigator! His name is C---, and he was a weapons smith and trainer for the U.S. army for about ten years. He spent that time in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has seen a lot of stuff in his life, but he told us that he had served with two Mormon boys for a couple of years, and he said he decided back then, that when he returned to the United States, he would join the Church! He came to Church this week, and told us he is here to stay! It's been so awesome to get to know him, and he truly has been prepared by the Lord!

(He also told us missionaries, that if the world goes to pot before we get home from our missions, that we are to go to his house and he would take care of us. And trust me, if anyone could survive an apocalypse, it's him!)

Temple trip!

We went to the temple today, and had a wonderful experience! The Spokane Temple is small, but it's beautiful!

Oh, and M--- is getting baptized on Saturday, and that is REALLY exciting! I was there when she and S--- first started being taught, and I'm so grateful that I get to be here for this awesome day for her!

Anyway, I gotta go. There is a member here who is feeding us tonight, and he is, well, kinda an Elderly rock star... He has a recording studio, a BUNCH of guitars, and he and I get along REALLY well. lol He wants me to come back up here after my mission and record and album in his studio, which, I really think I might do.

Godspeed! And I love you all!
-Elder Keppner

St. Maries grammar:
Rig = any motorized vehicle
Crick = Creek
A couple three = a few

St. Maries quote of the week:
"If they come for my guns, they will die in my yard."