Friday, June 28, 2013

Cape Town

Elder Kupka arrived in the South Africa Cape Town Mission on Tuesday. He spent that day in orientation, including a visit to Signal Hill, which overlooks the city of Cape Town and Table Mountain. The new missionaries spent the night at the mission home and then Wednesday they were assigned to their companions and areas. Elder Kupka's companion and trainer is Elder Sombke, who is from New Mexico. Your son will inform you of where his area is located, and how the first week went for him when he writes on his Monday P-day. 

President and Sister Wood

Thursday, June 27, 2013

No email today -

so I'll share a funny story.  

A friend of mine from Southern California received a blog update from an Elder in her Ward and when she clicked on it she said, "Why is there a picture of Trent in Elder Hiltbrand's blog?" 

They were seated side by side in a few pictures at the Johannesburg MTC. He went to Zimbabwe and Trent left for Cape Town this week.  

We will hopefully get an email soon so we know where he is located for his first area.  Thank you to everyone who is including Trent in your prayers.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Elephant skin

Johannesburg Temple

Week One

I don't even know where to begin. This has been such a crazy week. The week goes by fast but the days go by super slow. I miss you guys but not as much as I thought I would because I am so immersed in learning how to teach that I don't really have much time to think about home.

We have 22 guys here.  Eleven are from the States and then the rest come from Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Uganda, South Africa and even one from Kirabati. There are ten going to Kenya, seven to Zimbabwe and five of us going to Cape Town. This MTC sends missionaries out to 10 different missions and they have pictures of all of the other groups before us. We will be the 164th group from this MTC.

My Companion is Elder Ojok, he's from Uganda and has been a member for a year and 2 months. He is 23 years old and is the coolest guy ever. We get along so well and I think that really helps with our lessons because we're able to go off each other; some of the other companionships kind of struggle with that. I am so grateful to have him as my companion --- we even have our own handshake. We learn and teach and eat and play sports for 16 hours a day so the days are so long.  I’m loving it though and I feel like I am becoming a better teacher and will hopefully keep improving.  Our two teachers also act as our investigators and they play guys that they really taught during their missions.  

Now onto the fun stuff. We play sports pretty much every day. I've played basketball, futbol, and rugby so far and they've all been really fun. Everyone here is so great and I've never really connected with people so fast in my life. After just a couple of days we were all so close and such good friends that it was pretty incredible.

We went to the Temple on Tuesday and Elder Ojok along with six other Elders got to take out their own endowments for the first time which was such a cool experience to be there with them for that. Before we went in the Temple though we got to go to the Distribution Center and I got a scripture case made of elephant skin and a mini Book of Mormon also bound in elephant skin.

We also had a devotional by Elder Cook who is in the Presidency of the Seventy for the South East Africa Area. He said that now is the time to be in Africa because it is growing so much. It is so true because every African Elder here is a convert and most of them are older than those of us from the States. I am so happy that I was called here and it has been a great experience so far. The Temple was so beautiful, it was really small but it was really awesome. I've been so happy here and we've had so many hilarious experiences, spiritual experiences and just everything is so great. I've learned so much in just this one week and there are still 103 weeks of learning and growing to go.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Arrival in South Africa

We're in the MTC! It took a while but we made it. On the flight to Chicago and London there was Elder Barney, Elder Wells, and Elder Gittens. Wells and Gittens are going to Cape Town.

In Chicago, while we were waiting, a lady came up and started talking to us about the church. She has a friend who was a missionary and she had a Book of Mormon so we challenged her to read it at the end of our discussion. We hadn't even left the U.S. yet and we were already doing missionary work – which was cool.

Chicago to London was a pretty long flight and we were on a 777 plane. We were fed and there were movies that we couldn't watch and then when we got to London we were told that we couldn't leave so we just stayed in the main area. We met up with a group of 23 missionaries who were heading to Milan, Italy but they had missed their flight because their previous one was delayed. They were pretty cool.  One guy passed out in the most uncomfortable position; it was crazy, I could never have slept like that.

We also met up with 6 more Elders; Elder Best, and five other missionaries, who are going to the MTC and then on to Kenya. We just sat around in the airport and ate. We tipped the waiter 40% which made for a funny story because we weren't sure about the exchange rate and it was in pounds and pence and stuff. Some guy did give me a voucher for 5 pounds which made up for it and I went and bought Kinder bars and shared them with everyone.

The flight from London was pretty dull. I fell asleep before we took off, woke up in time for dinner, then slept through breakfast and woke up 20 minutes before we landed. It's nice though because I'm wide awake (and smelly) and most everyone else is pretty tired.

We got picked up by a guy in SA who I'm not sure what his name is but he's a cool guy. His son was the one that proposed after BYU rugby won the championship. At the airport we picked up 5 more Elders from all over Africa. Driving in SA is pretty sketchy. Some guy decided he wanted to be going the other way so he drove though the center divider and just started going the other way. The police also decided that the middle of a freeway was a good place for a party so there were a ton of police cars that shut down a couple of lanes and they set up a tent for a party. They pretty much do whatever they want down here.

They do have pretty cool cars though and I really want to drive a bucky (truck) in my mission. Elder Best said that it will probably be a 4 door Chevy though. We got to the MTC and it’s cool but small. We've filled out some papers and I got 3 more shots. We had lunch which was like a hot pocket pot pie is the best way to describe it and I thought we had mashed potatoes but it turned out to be some thick rice. It was all good though.

I have an interview with the MTC President today, then we get a tour and dinner and orientation and then the fun starts tomorrow. We will go to the Temple on Tuesday and I'll be able to e-mail again next Thursday. I think that’s everything.

Love you all -

Elder Trent Kupka
South Africa MTC