Monday, July 15, 2013

Week 5

To answer some of your questions.  The Elder who is giving me his camera is okay with it because this is his 4th camera. He's been mugged twice and his broke once too. It's a South African camera so he would have to buy an adapter to use it in the States. He said it's totally fine for me to have it. I wish I could send you more pictures but it takes five minutes for one picture and I pay per minute here to use the computer.

I get emails from friends who are on their missions all around the world. It's great to hear how everyone is doing.  And some Elders from my MTC group send an email out to everyone and it has a long conversation from everyone.  Elder Ojok my MTC companion wrote me. He already has had two baptisms.

Our mission isn't a high baptizing mission and our area is even tougher but our mission has incredible retention and that's what we really focus on. Everything's been going great so far. We only get $78 U.S. to live off of for two weeks and stuff isn't a whole lot cheaper here so I've been dipping into my home account a little more than I would like but I'm sure I'll get better as I get used to it.

I finished the Book of Mormon the day before I turned one month on the mission. It was awesome to finally say I've finished. The whole time I was getting the yeah it could be true thing but then when I was reading the very last page I teared up a bit because I just had this overwhelming feeling of how true it really is. I always knew it was true but it was great to finally have the confirmation and it was my fault for not getting it sooner.

As for this last week it's crazy to think it's already been a week since I last emailed but then I look back and it seems like forever ago. We played some football after I finished emailing and it was great to play it again. I haven't played since November. I think I had about as many catches as everyone else playing by the end of the game. None of them really knew how to play though.

We had a lesson that night with Sister Zita and her husband Jean-Jacque was able to come. Sister Zita has a baptismal date but if we can get her husband too it will be that much better for building the kingdom and Ward up here in Mowbray. Jean-Jacque seemed really interested in the church and we got him a French BOM because English is his 3rd language. We taught them again on Thursday and he loved it and said that it really cleared some things up for him. It's hard for him to get to Church because of his job but we're going to do our best to teach them and pray that the Lord will provide a way because they are such an awesome family.

This week’s miracle came with them. We were talking about the Book of Mormon with Jean-Jacque and we asked sister Zita how her reading had been going. She said she's trying her best and that she is starting to receive her answer that it's true! This was the very next week after I had felt prompted to tell her to pray before and after reading. It was so awesome to see that I really do have an influence in these people’s lives and that I can help them out. It was hopefully the first of many.

We've had two investigators who have been ignoring us this week. Richie, who is the first person I ever taught, hung up on us a couple times and then told us to meet him at his flat and when we got there and called him, he said he wasn't there and hung up. We also have Mluleki who just started college this week so that could be why he's been busy and not answering. We haven't given up on either of them yet. It's tough when they don't answer but we just keep praying and hoping for the best.

One thing that was told to us by Brother Mocke in the MTC is that it takes someone an average of seven encounters with missionaries before they can finally accept it. So I just look at it as us planting the seeds in them so that they can one day accept the gospel.

I've been forgetting to tell you guys about Brother Mike. Brother Mike is the coolest guy in the Ward. He used to be a professional chef but he's retired. He has the missionaries over every Friday after District meeting for a meal. Its only 35 Rand and it's so much food and it's all really healthy. Speaking of healthy, I've lost 25 pounds so far. Brother Mike is just the sweetest guy and we love going over there and talking to him.  He has pictures on his wall of all the missionaries he's fed. He also hooks us up with haircuts from a professional guy who does it for cheap. I love Brother Mike and he is one of the best benefits of serving in this area. The guys in my district are awesome and we're getting along so well and having fun and doing work along the way. Our motto is Work Hard, Play Hard. I'm so glad that I'm out here serving a mission.

One cool thing is that an investigator named Pinky is getting back this week and she has a baptismal date so I'll hopefully be having my first baptism soon. We've kind of had a rough week because of the lack of investigators but we're doing our best and this week should be busier because we have a training meeting tonight at the mission home, we're going on exchanges tomorrow with the AP's, Wednesday is Zone Conference, Thursday we're going to an all-you-can-eat pizza place, and Friday is exchanges with the ZL's. It's going to be a crazy, awesome, long, fun week and I can't wait.

This last Sunday the Bishop issued a challenge for everyone in the Ward to go out with the missionaries to help teach lessons so I'm excited for that to pick up too. We already have one guy setting up an appointment and going with us this week. I still haven't had any super crazy experiences in South Africa but I'm sure they will come. We did have a guy come up to us late at night crying and asking for money but as soon as Elder Sombke told him we don't have any money he stopped crying, glared at us and walked away. He was Coloured and they have a super weird accent that I can't even understand. They said this was an English speaking mission but between Afrikaans, Xhosa and all of the accents from people all over Africa, plus South Africans have different words for things (like flat for apartment);  I really feel like I'm learning a new language.

I've also learned this week that washing your clothes in a bucket really stinks. It's not like we're in a poor area or anything it's just that we don't have a washer. When we're done washing, we have to hang our clothes around our flat because although we have a dryer it's broken. We've been trying to get it fixed but nothing yet. It just makes me more grateful for all the stuff I had at home. 

We also did some online training for family search which was awesome. I learned that a great-great-grandfather on Dad’s side died on April 12 -- my birthday! I thought that was pretty cool. Just kind of like a circle of life thing. I think that's about everything I have for this week.

Until next week -
Love, Elder Kupka