Monday, October 27, 2014

Work, work, work!

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Chillin' on Exchanges in Colville

Hey Ya'll!

Things rockin' here in the mission as usual! We have recently been going crazy trying to get our investigators to actually show up to church, and even though we talk to them every day, and even the morning of, at the last minute, they find excuses to skip church. Why people?!? Is it so hard to sit, feel the Spirit, and do nothing but listen? Is that so hard?!? Ah! Why do people have to use their agency? ;P

Oh well, as far as me and Elder F-- go, we're great! Never worked harder, and we are constantly on the move. We've been doing a TON of service recently, which actually has been helping people soften their hearts a bit. We do somewhere within the 50-100 hours a week area, and it's been great! I'm getting SUPER good at cutting wood, raking, mowing, and moving furniture.

We love it! 

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The Hand-Of-God-Chair I be chillin' on.

Oh, and it's gotten RAINY here in Chewelah. It's been raining for nearly two weeks straight, and I love it! The other Elders (including Elder F--) don't like the rain at ALL, and so they get REALLY weirded out when I'm out singing and dancing in it with a Shunk ton of energy. The cold, the rain, the trees, the mountains, I love it all! God sent me to the perfect place!

Recently, I've been feeling a bit down though. Me and Elder F-- have been working our BUTTS off, and yet, our numbers are lower than we'd like them to be. I've been asking my leaders for advice, and what they keep telling me that numbers don't define success, and to keep doing what I'm doing, so, that's what I'm going with. 

Man, I can't describe how good it feels to just go out and work hard from 10:00am to 9:30pm. It's been great! I'm so fetching happy all of the time, I think Elder F-- gets bugged by it sometimes. Especially if I get to singing at the top of my lungs. He's a bro about it though! A lot of the time, we both just kinda laugh at my antics. When you're shredding "Praise to the Man" on the guitar at 6:32 in the morning, and screaming the lyrics like a 70's rock star, Elder F-- tends to poke his head into the room with a look that's just screaming "are you for real?"

This mission thing rocks! Especially considering the fact that, IT'S ALL TRUE!!! This message I'm sharing 24/7 is something I am able to personally able to apply every day. The Spirit is a real guide for us as we go out and work, and he has led us to some amazing miracles! We see 'em every day, and they always seem to come up just in the nick of time too! Every day, I'm able to rediscover what I'm doing, and realize: I'm doing the REAL GOD'S WORK!

Every once in a while, I'll get done with a lesson, walk down the street a ways, and stop. I kinda shake my head and realize: "I'm a fetching missionary!"

It's still barely starting to settle in, but I'll have those moments a lot, and when I do, I get that awkward smile of mine, and lift my hands to the sky, usually yelling something like: "I'M A MISSIONARY!" Elder F-- then usually face-palms.

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Our front yard. :D

Oh man, I love this stuff! And I love all of you! How are you doing?!? Write me! I don't get any letters/emails these days. :( 

Anyway, love and miss you all, and I hope to hear from you soon!
-Elder Brennan Keppner

Monday, October 20, 2014

Another Foggy Day in Chewelah

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Foggy day...

Hey ya'll!

This last week was great! We have worked our BUTTS off, and we just keep on going! We have two more people scheduled for baptism, and we are sometimes missing meals because we are so fetching busy. We've been doing a lot of service recently, like, 100+ hours a week, and some of it is truly back breaking stuff. However, I have a new found love of splitting firewood with an ax/maul. I really enjoy working hard, and I hope to do more of it when I get home. ;P Sorry mom and dad! I never realized how awesome work is until now!

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We also have been working a lot with the members. The previous missionaries REALLY did a number on the work here, and even our ward council has told us that they have really appreciated the fact that they can trust us missionaries, and that they would do whatever they could to help our efforts in this area. It's so flipping awesome! The members are REALLY doing a lot to help us out, and we REALLY appreciate it!

Elder Keppner at "Uncle Daddy's" house

The highlight of the week was probably when our ward mission leader invited us to stay at his house for a couple of nights so that he could take us around to people he knew in a distant corner of our area. Our area is HUGE! And so we don't get to see most of the people that actually live in our area because of our limited miles for each month. We agreed, got permission, and worked our butts off for those two days. We were fed well by his wife in between, so, that was good. :) 

With Elder F--

Anyway, I'm out of time, but all of you have an AWESOME day, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Love you bye, Love you bye!
-Elder Brennan Keppner

Monday, October 13, 2014

It's Fall!!! :D

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Fall! :D

Holy crap! It's Fall! I haven't had a real Fall season since 2009! It is BEAUTIFUL, and it is now my second favorite season. (Winter being the first)

Firstly, I just wanted to throw out there, that I am TIRED. Me and Elder F-- have been working non-stop to move this work forward, and it's really paying off. We have three people moving towards baptism, and four new people investigating the Gospel! Man alive, me and Elder F-- are up to our ears in work, and yet, we both are just, well, happy all of the time! We get home, go over our plans for the next day, report to our District Leader, and CRASH. We don't have ANY problem sleeping at night, and we really enjoy what we do.

The lessons we teach really have the Holy Spirit testifying of the truth, and the more we teach, the happier we are.

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This week, we had a couple of interesting experiences.

The first one was early this week, when we went to visit my man B--. B-- is an awesome guy who has a LOT of questions, and he likes to ask them in quick succession. But I love this dude.
Anyway, we were teaching him on his porch, when out of nowhere, his neighbor comes over, sits on his porch, and starts listening. She was about thirty, and she was dressed in a low-cut tank top and short shorts, holding a beer in one hand, and a cigarette in the other. We continued talking to B--, and answering his questions, when out of nowhere, this neighbor looks up at B-- from where she was sitting on the porch, and says: "Why are you listening to this bull sh**?"

B-- paused for a second, and then told her: "It's not bull sh**. I like these guys. They tell the truth."
She shook her head (by this time, it became pretty clear by her body language that she was SUPER drunk), and said: "This sh** isn't real. There isn't a God. All these f****** say the same thing. They just want your money."

B-- told her that he knew that God was real, and that we just wanted to help. He was a stout defender for sure.

After a pause, I felt prompted to ask: "What questions do you have? It sounds like you have a lot of questions."

She then went off for a bit about the bad experiences she's had in Christian churches, and she said that she hated how much people judged her there. We listened, and then explained that if she had been judged and mistreated, it was because people were failing to do what God had told them.

An hour, several scriptures, and a LOT of cussing later, her questions started to change. They became less accusing, and more from the heart. In the end she said to us: "I like you guys. You really believe this stuff. You can come by my house any time to argue religion. Hey, maybe I'll even be mormon someday. I'm sorry for being a b****."

We told her that we appreciated her questions, and that we would love to discuss the Gospel with her sometime. She then apologized to B--, who forgave her, and it all ended with a prayer and some high fives. This church is so fetching true! I love being here on a mission!

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 Our loverly shack of spiders. (Our house)

The second one was with our neighbor, who while he was walking past our house while we were turning in for our dinner break, Elder F-- called out to him: "Hey man! Have you ever talked to missionaries before?"

He stopped, came over, and said that in all of the time he'd lived in the house next to us, he'd never been asked. We had an AWESOME conversation, and he told us that he'd love us to swing by. He added: "Hey, maybe I'll even join your church if it's real."

Before he left, he took us to some chestnut trees, took down some of the weird prickly fruit looking bulbs, and showed us that inside of those things, there were the nuts. My mind was BLOWN. Maybe I'm just uneducated, but I was amazed.

Anyway, I hope you are all doing well, and I hope that you continue to do well.

Love you all!
-Elder Brennan Keppner

Monday, October 6, 2014

General Conference AWESOMENESS!!! :D

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Me, Elder F--, and some of the awesome J-- kids watching conference.

Hello all you wonderful crazy people!

So this week was a bit slower than last week. We had a LOT of meetings, and of course, General Conference. We also did a bunch of service for some folks, which was SUPER fun!

Our focus (in addition to talking to 65 new people a week), is to gain the trust and support of the members here. Missionaries in the past seem to have really dropped the ball on the members here, and we are working overtime to get it back. 

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Brother and Sister J--! :D

On that note, we actually got to watch General Conference with some of our favorite members of the ward, the J--! They are an AWESOME family, and they said that they love having us over! They're super fun, and really musically talented. After dinner and before lessons, we like to jam on our guitars with them. We have so much flippin' fun!

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Saturday afternoon session selfie!

Anyway, General Conference was AWESOME! Holy cow, I've never enjoyed conference back home NEARLY as much as I've come to appreciate it on my mission. I'm really able to see now that every single talk can, and should be applied to my life. We have LIVING prophets teaching us the revealed word of God, and it's all for us! I'm so grateful for it! It's really made an impact on my life, and it always seems to come just in time to help me through hard stuff that life likes to throw at me. 

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Conference on the big screen!

Anyway, the work continues to hasten, and we continue to work our butts off! As my good friend Elder W-- says: "Life is good in the mormon hood!"

I love and miss you all, and I'll be seeing you before you know it! :D

-Elder Brennan Keppner