Monday, December 30, 2013

Week 29

Skyping with you guys was awesome. I loved seeing you. It sounds like you have had a good time all together and for the baby blessing.

I have not received my package yet. The one we thought was mine ended up being for Elder Slabbert. Hopefully mine will come this week.

I don't really have much to say. We did manage to see Boocker the other day. Our lessons with him go so well but he still hasn't made it back to Church since that first time. I was hoping to see him baptized before I leave which is looking less and less likely. I will probably leave Queenstown in three weeks at the next transfer but anything could happen.

I also gave my first talk on Sunday. It was about missionaries and inviting members to help with the missionary work. I was worried I wouldn't talk for long enough but then they had to tell me that the time was up. Everyone said I did a good job afterward so I guess I'll believe them. Not much else to say since we just talked. Love you!

Elder Kupka

Monday, December 23, 2013

Week 28

Sikalele as a Christmas tree 

Noloyiso and Limmpo

Decorating at the Hinana's house

Elder Kupka as a Christmas tree 

Christmas party with Apiwe
In the rain
The "ladies" love me !

Zone Conference White Elephant gifts

Elder Gillespie

Elder Thayne (Sarah's cousin)

Elder Radebe

Elders Cossey and Wells

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Week 27 - Part 2

I have some more time today to write since we didn't get to on Monday. Thank you for sending the package, Mom. You don't have to worry about what you put in it because I’ll appreciate whatever it is. My address is going to be the same my whole mission. It all goes to Cape Town and then the Post Elders send it out to us. As for Skyping I will need a name so if you could get me that it would be nice and if we did it at 10:00 or 11:00 in the morning your time it would be 7:00 or 8:00 in the evening here. If there are any problems I could always call.

This last week was transfers so we had Elder Quinton and Elder Erickson with us in our flat until Wednesday.   The Ward Christmas party was on Saturday and it was a lot of fun. It was supposed to start at 10:00 am but it didn't end up starting until 12 30. There was a talent show portion, a beauty pageant which I thought was kind of weird but then there was lots and lots of food. I’ll send some pictures next week.

Zone Conference was yesterday and it was amazing. We started with a training from the APs about Christ-like attributes and how they link to enduring to the end. Then President and Sister Wood gave a training on the Atonement and it was awesome. The Woods training sessions are always great.

After that we had the mission Christmas party. We started with Zone reports which is where each companionship puts on a skit to report about our Zone. We started with the Zone Leaders saying why each one of us are so spiritual. The one for Elder Slabbert and me was that we tried to go swimming once but the waters parted instead.

When they introduced Elder Erickson he burst into the gym singing a song called, “Spiritual As Me” from Sons of Provo. He handed out fliers with pictures of his face on them and a whole list of things that make him spiritual. He also read a scripture from the Book of Lehi that prophesied of his spiritual-ness. It was by far the best report.

We also did a white elephant gift exchange but we couldn't spend more than 20 rand. I bought a wizard nose to give and got two guns that shoot little foam balls. We also watched a movie called “Ephraim’s Rescue” which was actually very good.

It was an awesome day and made Christmas a little better. I met Sarah Thayne’s cousin who just got here last week and he's a real cool guy. That about sums up my week. I love and miss you.

Elder Kupka

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 27

I don't have a lot of time to email today. I'm sitting in McDonald’s in East London on my iPod right now. We have our Zone Conference/Christmas party tomorrow so I'll have lots to talk about next week.

If you could put a tie clip in my Christmas package it would be much appreciated and tell me when you want to Skype. We're going to a member’s home so whenever you want to Skype just tell me.

I love you and miss you guys. I'll say more next week.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 26

Elder Slabbert and I get along. He's a white South African from Centurion which is near Pretoria. He's a good guy. My day to day life isn't too exciting. We wake up, eat, study, and then try and find something to do in the mornings, which is hard because no one is home at 10:00 a.m. for lessons. The weather has been fine here and I don't miss snow at all. It's been hot but not too bad and it rained yesterday.

I haven't been working out lately because I'm just not very motivated and the weights aren't very heavy so they don't do much. When we come back at night we sit around the boarding and talk until bed time. It is nice being in a four man boarding with another one directly across from us and then the two Zone Leaders live close by. And now we have a senior couple too so that's been nice.

Yesterday was Elder Grant’s birthday so we all went over to the other boarding and Sister Thomas made a cherry cheesecake. We sat around talking and tried to come up with transfer predictions since this is week one now and we don't find anything out until tonight.

Driving has been good. It only took a few days to get used to driving on the left hand side of the road and since I didn't really know how to drive stick before it wasn't hard switching to it on the other side. I've been doing pretty good at stick and it's probably been a week since I stalled but then last night I did it randomly at a stop light. I was mad.

I'm sad that I missed baby Kate's arrival. I'm happy for Lynn and Joe and I hope all goes well for them. She looks cute and little in her picture.

Um, things I miss and want for the Christmas package are Reeses, sour cream and onion chips, barbecue chips, beef jerky, Pop Tarts, Milano cookies, Lindor chocolate, Dr. Pepper (but you can't really send that) just things like that. I'm not going to be sad with whatever you send.

Things have been going well this week. Luckily we taught more lessons than we did last week. We've been teaching this kid named Iko. He's 9 years old and his Mom is a member but his Dad isn't. I think he's going to be baptized soon. We've just taught him the first three lessons which is usually enough for kids but he wasn't able to come to Church last week because he was at the doctor for something. We're going to ask next time if he wants to be baptized. He also lives in Queen’s View Park which is a bit outside of town and we went and saw him on Friday but we forgot that we get the bikes on Friday so it was a very long bike ride out. Also the road is on an incline so it was a hard ride.

We also had a lesson with Daryll and Lianet this week where we had to tell them that Lianet couldn't be baptized until they are married or separated. Elder Slabbert and I were just looking at each other because we had no idea how to approach it. Luckily Elder and Sister Thomas were with us and Elder Thomas jumped in and explained it beautifully. They said that they've actually been thinking of getting married now and then just renewing their vows in a year; which is awesome!

As far as the death of Nelson Mandela goes, nothing has really happened here except that there are lots of signs and things. We dropped our car off to get it washed while we email and the guy turned to me and said that my president is coming. I had no idea what he was talking about because I thought he meant President Wood and that he knew that was why we were getting our car washed. He meant that President Obama is coming for Mandela's funeral along with George Bush and Bill Clinton. So, apparently there is a huge funeral going to happen but we're not the most informed people about what is going on around us since we're on the mission.

We were at a member’s home the night that they announced that Mandela had died and the daughter of the family was upset since she couldn't watch Generations, which is a TV show here, because of all of the coverage. He was born near Mthata which is also near where he died and there are missionaries there and they said that there were six armored cars blocking the highway to his house so you couldn't even drive by.

Well, that’s all of the news for this week. I wish we got transfer news sooner so that I could tell you guys now if I am leaving and I would like to have more time to say good-bye to people if it does happen. I think I will probably stay with Elder Slabbert this transfer but I will let you know.

Love you all,
Elder Kupka

The Hinana family

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 25

I received all of the pictures that you sent by email and I also got the flash drive today. It's crazy that it takes a month to get things to me. It sounds like I missed a lot of fun recently but I'm glad that you had a good time on Thanksgiving and your birthday. Happy Birthday by the way! I love you so much Mom and I miss you. I do like to hear about all of the fun stuff you guys are doing so I know that you don't just sit around missing me ;)  

This week has been a good but weird one. Last Monday we went to a Christmas concert put on by the local high schools that a few  members were singing in. It was held at the Roman Catholic church. It's a very large church with lots of ornate decorations inside. They also read from the Bible and taught false doctrine. It was supposed to be about Christmas but they started talking about Adam and Eve and how it was such a terrible thing that they did. Eventually they started talking about Christ which was good. But while they were doing it there were pictures of Santa playing an electric guitar on some projectors. It was all very confusing. They also sang Silent Night but changed the lyrics. It was weird night and we got lots of strange looks.

Thanksgiving was a nice day. One of the Elders in the other flat made muffins for everyone which were pretty good and a good way to start the day. We taught some lessons that day and then went to Spur with 8 of the 10 missionaries here. It was all you can eat ribs and wings. I sent a picture and the wings are hidden under the ribs. They brought out three more plates after the first one but the portions became much smaller the more you ate. I was filled though. We also got fed by a member just a few hours beforehand, so I was very stuffed --- just how you're supposed to be on Thanksgiving.

On Friday we had the bikes again but we had forgotten so we scheduled appointments that we needed a member fellow-shipper for but unfortunately we couldn't get anyone to go with us since we were on bikes. We were going to teach Apiwe and were planning on just teaching her in the parking lot at Pick N Pay because there are some nice park benches there. But when we got there a bunch of the youth were sitting outside waiting for the church to be opened because they had an activity. They said people were coming soon but we ended up talking with them for an hour and half before someone came. Luckily our next appointment wasn't for a while. It was good though to build relationships with more members.

I also was asked to dance with a couple of guys in the parking lot. They might have been a bit drunk according to Elder Slabbert. I told them that I was American so they told me that I should know how to shake my booty. I, of course, don't know how to do that so we just took some pictures. It was fun. Apiwe told me that I'm too trusting and would get mugged if I served in a township. Hopefully that doesn't happen if I ever go to a township. 

On Saturday we were very busy. We started in the morning by doing service at a member’s home in Ezibeleni. We were moving rubble and dirt around because he's remodeling his house. It wasn't too bad but my shoulders were sore the next day from moving the wheel barrow the whole time and I got a little sun burnt even though it was overcast and cloudy. They fed us afterwards too which made for a nice breakfast. We had an appointment at Daryll and Lianet’s house and they ordered a triple decker pizza for us from a place called Debonair's. It is basicallly three pizzas in one. The pizza was kind of late getting there which made us late for our next appointment. It was very good though and we couldn't be rude and turn it down.

The next appointment was a referral from Brother Qinesela and we were going to pick him up from another member’s house and then go to the appointment. We were running late so we hurried to get there and when we arrived there was this giant white tent and people talking inside. We went in the tent and it was Brother Jaxa Jr.'s wedding reception. They were doing their traditional wedding because they had already been married in the temple. There was even more food and everyone was dressed in traditional clothes and singing and dancing. It was the first Xhosa wedding I'd ever been to and it was really neat to see even though I had no idea what was going on since it was all in Xhosa.

Because of it we were too late for our next appointment and couldn't go see them so Brother Qinesela said he would reschedule. I'm very excited to meet this referral family. It's apparently a family of five and it would be awesome if they all got baptized. I haven't really done much teaching of families but they are the best way to build up the kingdom.

That's all I have for this week. Transfers are next week which has come up so fast that I still don't believe it. The most likely thing to happen is that I'll stay in Queenstown with Elder Slabbert but there are apparently 20 new Elders coming in this transfer and Elder Slabbert might train and if that happens then I will be gone. I don't want to leave though because I really like Queenstown; more for the people than the place but it's a great Ward out here and I would be very fine with staying. Anyway I love and miss you all and we will be Skyping in just a few weeks. I'm very excited.

Elder Kupka

Brother Jaxa eating a sheep's head
Brother Wayne
Me and Limpho

Me and Apiwe
Drunk guys who wanted to dance 
Thanksgiving dinner

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 24

I miss our animals. Dogs here are not treated very well and they are basically just left in the yard to stop people from coming in. It's sad. In the nicer areas they are taken better care of though. That's awesome about the Timpview football team. Ryan drove the pick-up to Grandmas? Dang, I'm impressed. I'm getting pretty decent at manual. There's been lots of improvement and it is kind of fun but I think I still prefer automatic. I'm doing very well with the food and water here, I don't think I've been sick since I've come to Queenstown. We have a water filter but it's not even necessary. There's nothing specific that I need but I am looking forward to your Christmas box. Our budget doesn't really permit for a lot of snacks and treats so I'm looking forward to whatever you can send.  

My clicking is coming along alright. I don't understand most things but I'm picking up a few words here and there. It's nothing to be too impressed about. This last week has been a pretty good one. Sivu was baptized last week and he asked me to confirm him a member of the church and give him the Holy Ghost. So far I've done that for everyone we've baptized. I was a lot less nervous this time and things went well.

Last P-day we played soccer and then had an FHE with Bishop Bangani and his family. It's just him and his wife and their daughter who is back from University for the holidays. They have a son serving in Botswana and he should be back next month and an older son who is in Cape Town. Last time we had an FHE with them he gave the lesson so this time it was our turn. It was all six missionaries from the Ward there and everyone has been here for over a year except me. So I, of course, the least experienced Elder gave the lesson. I luckily had grabbed my notebook before we left so I gave a lesson on Alma 50 and drew a picture that went along with it; the Bishop said it was very powerful.

We also had a lesson with a man named Boocker. I don't know if I've mentioned him before but he is a referral from Bro. Qinesela in the Bishopric. Boocker is prepared and super powerful. He has come to Church once so far and was contributing in Elders Quorum meeting already. The last lesson we taught him was in his office because he was finishing up a school assignment which is what stopped him from coming to Church this last week. He said that once this assignment is over he is going to come to Church every week and he is going to read the Book of Mormon every day. When we walked into his office he was watching Jeffery R. Holland on Youtube and he already has the MoTab on his phone.

Boocker invited a friend to sit in on the lesson with us. His friend is a born-again Christian and didn't really agree with us and wouldn't take a Book of Mormon. Boocker was defending us whenever the other guy asked questions and I think our answers to his questions were more for Boocker than for the other guy and I think it helped strengthen Boocker’s testimony.

Nothing else too exciting happened this week. Sunday was the Primary program and it was so funny and spiritual. There were a couple of “you had to be there experiences” that I couldn't describe but the talks and scriptures that those kids memorized were very impressive. One girl who was 4 or 5 got up and used a lot of big words and then when she sat down everyone was like “woah”.

I don’t have much else to say and nothing picture worthy happened this week so I’m not sending any pictures but I love and miss you all and can't wait to Skype with you in a month.


Mdala Kupka

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 23

Snow and Winter - that's weird to think about. It's usually very hot here but it has rained the last few days. We have to start sharing our car with the Mlungisi Elders once a week now which kind of stinks because the two times I've been on bikes it rained very, very hard; the hardest I've seen in Queenstown. Lucky me!

Time is flying by very fast. Last December I was working on my mission papers and now I've been here for five months. I'm not entirely sure how Skyping home works but I do get to call you guys a few days before to set everything up so I'm sure I'll know by then. I got the iPod this week and they overnighted it from East London because they didn't have one anywhere in Queenstown. I will be able to Skype you guys from my iPod so I just need to find a place with WiFi. If I use Elder and Sister Thomas' laptop there will be ten other missionaries there and we won't be able to talk for as long.

As for a package I don't really need anything. Things like jerky or candy and stuff like that would be nice. I am very sad to hear that Diana Cranney passed away. She was such a wonderful woman and she was always so nice to me. That's sad that she's gone but life doesn't end after death. Even the JW's believe that. Two old ladies who were JW missionaries knocked on our door and asked if they could share something with us. We said of course and we were going to invite them in but they just gave us a pamphlet and walked away because they saw our tags. The pamphlet was interesting though because apparently God hates death and it is His enemy and there are at least seven instances of Resurrection in the Bible. They think that when Jesus brought people back to life that was resurrection. They're just a little bit confused.

That's great that you found the baptism picture. I can download things from the internet cafe and put them on the flash or the iPod. I haven't gotten the flash yet but I did get your post card and a letter from Mica and Quincie today.

This week has been yet another good one. Not the busiest ever becauee everyone is studying, writing, or marking exams because everyone seems to be a student or a teacher. We did get to see some good people though. Daryll and Lianet are doing awesome. They've been coming back to church and living the commandments. Daryll has gone to the Bishop to start making the changes he needs to so that he can one day baptize Lianet. I hope that it happens while I'm here but it might take a little longer. I'm so happy for them though and they are doing very good.

We saw Sivu afew times and finished teaching him all of the lessons and he was baptized yesterday. Elder Obonye and I were running around basically the whole time during church filling up the baptismal font and getting people their baptism clothes and making the program for the baptisms. Elder Obonye also gave a talk and baptized an 8 year old yesterday. So it was busy. We were also on exchanges yesterday so that why we were doing all the running around. It was hectic but everything went smoothly and there were no problems. Except when we came back to check the baptismal font the water had turned a dark brown. We told the Bishopric and they said it's normal and to just tell the people that it's like they're being baptized in the river. The water went clear again after that and it diluted the brown by the time the baptisms happened so it wasn't too bad. Brother Jaxa baptized Sivu. He's the ward mission leader and Sivu stays at his house so that will be memorable for them.

The little kid that I had to pull out of my car last week sat next to me again this Sunday. I tried to keep him under more control this time and he didn't run off with any of my stuff but he did try to pull the buttons off of my suit jacket because I wouldn't let him see my scriptures. I think he was doing it jokingly but I'm not sure. He's a wild little kid.

We also taught Brother Richard's 9 and 12 year old sons the law of chastity this week. I had no idea how to start the lesson with them but after a few awkward moments we started it and the rest of the lesson went smoothly and luckily they didn't have any questions afterwards. It hasn't been the most interesting of weeks and I cannot wait until exams are over but until then we’ve just got to keep pushing along. I'm also getting pretty good at driving stick shift. I only stall out once a day now and we've only had the car a week and we take turns driving. I think that's all I have for this week. I'll send some pictures too.

Love you all,

Elder Kupka

Monday, November 11, 2013

Week 22

I miss Sunday dinner at Grandma's house with everyone. Tell Lynnie to name her baby after me. I'm probably going to get an iPod today. I have enough money to buy one and I can get a decent one here. It will be more expensive getting it here but when you add in the shipping costs and the high possibility of it getting stolen in the mail it will be easiest if I just buy it. We haven't been taking as many pictures recently but I'll get some more to send home soon.

It’s nice that it isn't winter yet for you guys. I really enjoy Fall in Utah because it's not too hot and it's not too cold and everything looks cool. It's definitely Summer here. Or at least I hope it is because if it gets much hotter I'm going to die and start campaigning for missionaries to be able to wear shorts or at least Polynesian skirts.

Our Primary program is in two Sundays and it's a combined meeting with the Primaries from Sada and Illenge so it should be a fun Sunday. The baptism pictures are the only ones I can think of for you to send but any family pictures you can find would be great. I do remember all of Aunt Carrie's CTR acronyms and I'll try my best to not start any forest fires out here. There aren’t a lot of trees to set on fire in the middle of the desert though.

Last Monday we had FHE with Daryll and Lianet. They've now made it to church two weeks in a row and Lianet has agreed to be baptized. We want Daryll to be the one to baptize her though so as he starts coming back to church and doing all of the things he should be doing it will go well for them.

At the FHE Daryll made a chicken bacon mushroom pasta that was soo good! He is such an awesome cook and I love his food. We then watched a Mormon Messages about the testimonies of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. They are very powerful. The one about Jesus Christ is a collection of different Apostles testimonies about Him and the Book of Mormon one is Jeffery R. Holland's talk about it. The spirit was very strong and it was a very nice evening.  Lianet’s father even joined us so it was extra special.

Tuesday we had some very good lessons. We taught Sivu about tithing. Sivu also had his baptism interview last night and he is ready to be baptized this coming Sunday. I'm so excited for him. He's an awesome guy and he's going to make a great member of the church. He wanted Brother Jaxa, who is his uncle and the ward mission leader, to baptize him but he has been very sick the past few weeks. He was in Port Elizabeth to see a specialist and when he got back he still wasn't feeling good so he was admitted to the hospital on Friday. Hopefully he gets feeling better in time but if not one of his sons will baptize Sivu.

We also had an FHE lesson with the Hinanas on Tuesday. They are a member family and they feed us every Sunday after Church. They are in the Mlungisi Elders area and they were supposed to be with us but they got tied up at another appointment so it was just Elder Slabbert and me. We shared a video from the Hastening the Work of Salvation online clips. It went very well and afterward they fed us Mpogoqo. It was my first time eating it and it wasn't my favorite food. It's basically pap and amasi which is sour milk. They love it here and it wasn't terrible but it is very filling and I couldn't even finish a bowl.

On Thursday we took our car in to get the A/C fixed. We took it in at 8:00 in the morning thinking it would be finished soon. They ended up keeping it the whole day and we thought we were going to have to walk to all of our appointments. Luckily Elder and Sister Thomas weren't busy and they were able to drive us around but they had to leave at 2:00 pm to meet up with another senior couple who were coming into town for boarding inspections and Zone meeting.  We thought we were going to have to walk from one end of our Area to the other and it was going to be very far. But Elder and Sister Boyce brought a brand new Toyota Etios to give us and our Chevy Aveo was headed back to Mthata. So we didn't have to walk at all. The only Ks on the Etios were from the drive from East London and it still smells new.

The only downside is that it's a manual. I've driven it all day twice and I can get around but I'm still not perfect and starting on hills is definitely not my strong point. Hopefully I will get used to it soon. I think Elder Slabbert thinks we're going to die every time I drive but he's patient enough with me to let me continue to learn and we haven't died yet!

Friday was Zone meeting so we had the Elders from Mthata here and we had a great Zone meeting. Afterwards the Boyce's and Thomas' bought us all pizza which was very nice and then we made a video for the mission DVD. We did the Haka but threw in our own words and a couple of Zulu Elders did some Zulu stuff. It looks very strange to me. You guys will get to see it when I get back home.

Saturday we had two very powerful lessons. One was with Daryll and Lianet again. We taught them the Law of Chastity with the Thomas' and it went very well. I love taking the Thomas' to appointments because they add such a powerful spirit to the lesson and it's even more special with Daryll since Brother Thomas used to be his Bishop.

The other lesson was with a guy named Booker. He is a referral who was at Church last week. We were just about to start but his wife had a friend there and his sister was in town so we ended up teaching the whole lesson to all of them. It was an amazing lesson and one of the best restoration lessons I've ever taught. I think his sister was ready to jump in the water and be baptized right then. Unfortunately she lives very far away. Booker and his wife are great though and I'm excited to keep teaching them.

One funny story was that at church on Sunday this little kid came and sat next to me. He was playing with my scriptures and planner the whole Sacrament meeting and then after it was over he reached into my pocket and snatched the car keys and ran off. He's so small that he could just duck in between people’s legs so I was chasing him through the halls and lost him. I finally found him in our car hooting the hooter. I was trying to drag him out while he's hanging onto the steering wheel - still hooting. I finally got everything back in order. It was stressful while it was happening but looking back it was funny.

That's about all I have for this week. It's been a great week and a great five months on the mission. I miss all of you a lot.

Ndyakuthanda (I love you)

Elder Kupka

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 21

I really think that I have progressed a lot since I came on the mission. I've learned so much in what I was going to say is a short amount of time but it hasn't really been that short. I'll be turning five months next week. It has felt like a short amount of time to me though. I realize that it will be gone before I know it and I want to make sure I don't waste a minute of it. I do sometimes think, “Wow, I'm in South Africa far, far away from anyone else I know from home” but the mission is a very unique experience and I could never get these experiences doing anything else.

I'm excited that you sent the flash drive. I'll print off the pictures that I want and just look through the rest on the DVD player now and then. I actually already have the Brad Wilcox talk about the Atonement. We had training on it in my first transfer but another copy can’t hurt. I've been thinking of getting an iPod Touch. Some of the other missionaries have them. It would be a nicer camera than I have now and I could put lots of church stuff on it. The church is becoming very technologically advanced. Apparently missionaries in Canada are given iPads to use in their teaching. That would never work in Africa; we would get mugged every day. That's also why I'm not sure about the iPod - it might get stolen and also I won't really need it when I get home. Do you have any pictures from my baptism? Elder Mahoney had pictures from his and everyone here loves to see them.

This week has been an interesting one. It was transfers and Elder Mahoney left to become a Zone Leader in Port Elizabeth. I got along so well with him and we taught in unity very well. I'm going to miss him a lot. He was replaced by Elder Slabbert. He is from South Africa from a place called Centurion. He's a nice guy and things have been going well with him so far. I've been pretty lucky with my companions; it has only been three though.

Normally for transfers we would go to East London to drop off and pick up our companions but for some unknown reason we got left behind in Queenstown. Half of the missionaries left so when I say “we” I mean four of us got left behind without companions and no appointments planned because we all thought we would be in East London. So, we didn't really do much. The Zone Leaders said we could go anywhere within 40 k's so we drove to a place called Lady Frere. We thought it would be a cool place. It wasn't. It is a tiny town with nothing in it but a mini spar and Boxer. So that was a bit of a waste.  We drove back to Queenstown and ate dinner at Nando’s, which is a chicken place.

Then Wednesday we just waited for our companions. We had a dinner with some members planned and a lesson but they didn't get back until too late to go to either of them. We had a busy Thursday planned but lots of appointments ended up dropping. It is exam time right now and everyone in Queenstown is either a student or a teacher. It's so crazy. But because of it everyone is super busy and they don't have time for us. Things we'll definitely pick up when exams are finished.

Sunday was fast and testimony meeting and I was able to confirm Patience and Apiwe members of the church and give them the Holy Ghost. I don't even remember the last time I saw a confirmation so I was super nervous. There were four confirmations and I was doing two of them but of course I got to go first. I confirmed Patience a member of the Church of Jesus Christ but I left off the Latter Day Saints part so I had to do it again. Apiwe's confirmation went a lot better.

Daryl and Lianet also came to church which made me very happy to see. Richard was able to bring his kids that we've been teaching too so it was a very good Sunday. It's very strange to hear all of the Xhosa testimonies and not have a clue what's going on. They also like to tell jokes and everyone starts laughing and I'm just sitting there wondering what they said. After church the ward did a break the fast and we sang twelve hymns before we ate. My companion is the piano player so that must have been a fun first Sunday for him. I told him beforehand that we have the keys to the church so he was able to practice a bit and it went well. I hope this week is busier than last week. I'm getting sick of these exams. I have given a few blessings to people for their exams and I'm sure they'll do great. I think that's all for this week. I'll talk to you again next week. Love and miss you all.

Sala Kakuhle (Stay well)

Elder Kupka

P.S. People tell me that I can click very well. Now I just need to learn how to put the words together in Xhosa.


Monday, October 28, 2013

More Pictures

Week 20

My companion was dressed in white because he did the baptism. They choose who they want and they both knew him longer. I will be confirming them and giving them the Holy Ghost this Sunday. It was supposed to be last Sunday but we had Ward Conference and the Stake people didn't want to do it. I don't know why. It will happen this week though.

I have been very blessed with my companions. Elder Mahoney is great; I cannot find a flaw in him other than the fact that he's too nice and even that isn't bad. But President's favorite saying is that it is his job to afflict the comforted and comfort the afflicted so I'm worried I'm about to get afflicted. I'm ready for it though. I know how to work in this area and I'm ready to put someone to work if they don't want to. Hopefully it won't happen and who knows - Elder Mahoney might stay. I won't find out until tonight though so you guys will have to wait a week to find out!

This week has been a good one. Last Monday after emailing we went Chinese shopping. There's a ton of Chinese shops here and everything is super cheap. I bought a picture book for 15 rand and it even matches my pillowcase! Ha Ha - it was the only one they had but it's a nice one. I bought a jacket as well. It's the one I'm wearing in most of the pictures I sent you. I hope you appreciate all of the pictures. We went up to a dam and took even more pictures. We then had FHE in Mlungisi with Mama Noxolo and her two sons. They are recent converts but they are already super powerful in the Church. One of the sons is named Siamtanda. He is 17 and blesses the sacrament every week. The other son is the kid I sent a picture of. I have no idea how to even guess at spelling his name.

We watched The Testaments and ate delicious food that she prepared. It was soo good. I thought that I would starve in South Africa but I get overfed more than anything. We have a big Tupperware full of food from the Bomelas in our fridge because the Jaxas were already feeding us last night not to mention we were fed lunch. And one of our recent converts says that I look like I'm losing weight. I love it!

On Wednesday we had Zone Training. We were trying to get our car washed because apparently in Cape Town President told the Elders to wash their car for training and they didn't so they had to walk and take taxis for a week. He didn't say anything to us but we wanted to make sure. We tried several times on Tuesday but all of the places were busy so we hand washed it at 6:30 that night. In the morning we realized we did a terrible job so we went to get it washed somewhere before the training. We left it there and came back 45 minutes later. They were still spraying the same car they had been spraying when we left! It was ridiculous. So we just gave up and went to the training. It ended up not mattering and we traded cars with the Elder in Mthata. Apparently their area is a very rough place to drive and their car was so old that they needed a different one. So we got theirs and the air conditioning doesn't work very well, we got a flat tire the first night driving it, and it makes a funny noise all of the time. We were told that we're going to get a new car soon though; a brand new Etios most likely.  It is a manual drive car so I'm a little bit nervous but hey, I'll come back knowing how to drive stick shift.

The training was about putting on the whole armor of God and being obedient; it was very good. President and Sister Wood are amazing. We also have a senior couple in Queenstown now! Their names are Elder and Sister Thomas. Elder Thomas worked for a mining company. They are from Utah but they lived in Joburg for 16 years as well as in Lima, Peru and Chile. They are super nice and have made us cookies and gave Elder Mahoney his favorite hair cut he's ever had. I'm very grateful for them and very excited for these next few months with them. They will be working with us during the week but they will go to Sada one day a week and on Sundays to help the ward there. They are so awesome.

We've taken them fellowshipping with us twice already. We took them to see Daryl and Lianet this week. They talked for a while and then at the end of the lesson Elder Thomas asked Daryl who his Bishop was back in Joburg. He said it was Bishop Decock and he couldn't remember the guy before him. Elder Thomas looked at him and said, "It was me." Daryl was so surprised and he let out a little gasp. It was the craziest thing. I really think the Thomas' were sent here to help him. He promised he would come to church this week but he ended up not because he couldn't find his church pants until 10:00 am. Lamest excuse I have ever heard. Apparently the last time he came to church he was wearing jeans anyway. I told him that he still could have come after that but he's like we missed sacrament meeting and that's the most important part. I told him there's still two more hours that will help you. It's frustrating.

We're going to take the Thomas' with us every time we see him now. Maybe this is the extra push he needs to come back to church and bring his fiance who is investigating. Thursday was pretty uneventful. On Friday we helped Sister Mkabile move back into her house and she was the one we helped move out when I first got here. We were also on exchanges so I was biking in Mlungisi with Elder Black. In the POURING rain. Luckily the Thomas' were coming with us that night so we just had to bike back to the flat and meet with them.

We then went to a less active member’s house and I shared an FHE lesson with her centered around Alma 50. She said that it really helped and that she will come to church. I didn't see her but she might've been there. It was really cool to hear how much it helped her and she was even feeling sick when we started but she was feeling better by the end because the spirit was so strong. The Thomas' were very impressed with the lesson as well. This is their first mission and they're still not exactly sure what they are doing. They'll be great though.

Nothing else crazy happened this week. We finished the transfer strong and taught 30 lessons this week which gave us a grand total of 136 for the transfer. I've loved these last six weeks and the worst part was being stressed out because we had too many people to see and were often times running late. It all worked out for the best though. I'm loving the mission and the time is flying by. I can't believe it. I miss you all and love you. Until next week.

Elder Kupka


Elder Mahoney

Pictures at the dam

Gang signs?

Jielafujafne (not his real name)
Trent is eating vegetables?

Elder Obonye

Paitience and Apiwe Baptism
Nice hat!
    He's licking Trent's head?   

Elder Neo


It's been a loooong day!
Stormer's Jersey