Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 11

I'm glad that my emails make your Mondays better.  As for Pinky I think she has felt the Spirit but she just doesn't realize it. She hasn't met with us or come to Church for these last two weeks because she was talking about taking a break. We try to send her an SMS every day with a scripture to uplift her but I don't know if it's helping or not.

I liked what you said from Brother Kohler’s talk and I know what you mean about not worrying about myself. I try to give my best effort and always try to be an example of Jesus Christ and try to find the people who are ready. I've found a lot of people who aren't ready but all I can do is keep trying and put my trust in the Lord.

This week has been good. We had three appointments drop on us so that wasn't too good but we were able to follow up on some other people to teach. We stopped by the Richie’s house and he likes the Book of Mormon and he thinks it's the word of God but he just can't get over the fact that we are the only church that uses it. He doesn't seem to listen when we try and explain things to him and he always has his TV on and won't turn it off unless we pray.  He's never there if we make an appointment with him so we have to try and stop by at random times.

We did some service this week for Brother Mike. We tried painting some of his walls but it turned out terrible. The paint was white in the bucket but when we put it on the walls it came out grey and we ran out of paint. We're going to go back and fix things up but I just feel bad that they look so bad.

I also went on exchanges with our new Zone Leader, Elder Martin, whose Great-Great-Grandfather bought the lot that the church is on now in Mowbray. He's a cool guy and we did some tracting after we painted at Brother Mike’s place. Nothing too fruitful came out of it though. We met a giant of a man who used to play rugby but he doesn't "do" religion. 

We also met another lady who doesn't believe in Jesus Christ and I think she might have been another Wiccan. She couldn't lock her door and gate fast enough; she hadn’t even finished her sentence by the time the door closed. We met a few people who said that they would call us if they're ever free and I pray that they do but nothing has come out of it yet. 

Friday was Elder Sombke's one year mark and since we're supposed to be in by dark on the weekends we had some extra time on our hands so we went into town and got some ice cream. It was good and we also drove up to Signal Hill at night so I have some cool pictures to send home if the computers ever work.

We hiked Lion’s Head today. It was pretty fun. You get a really cool view of the ocean and Cape Town from up there and there's some parts where you have to climb up on chains and little metal foot holds. It was a good time and we did it as a Zone.  Afterward we went to a place called Eastern Foods Bazaar and I got this thing called Bunny Chow. It’s a half a loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with chicken and a spicy sauce. It was pretty good but very filling and I couldn't finish all of it. I've been learning to eat all sorts of food here that I wouldn't have before. It's been good. I think I've been getting a pretty good balanced diet especially because of Brother Mike.

One other thing is that we caught the end of a rerun of a BYU volleyball game at a member’s home the other day. It was weird though seeing the Smith Fieldhouse and Brother Robison and even Danny Rasmussen was there holding a sign counting all of the errors the other team made. It was funny but made me a little trunky; I got over it though.  I'm loving the mission and trying to do the best that I can. I miss and love you guys.

Elder Kupka

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 10

I loved being able to email back and forth with you last week, Mom, even though it was the middle of the night for you. Sorry. It makes me excited for Christmas when we can Skype. That's still a few months away though so emails will have to do for now.

The weather there sounds way too hot. Good thing it’s winter here. This last week has been pretty cold and it's rained every single day. We were walking one day and we got completely soaked in five minutes. It was a good thing that I had on that rain jacket Dad got me. The rain did soak through my backpack and got my scriptures a little wet. I didn't have them in a case because I assumed the backpack would be enough. Guess not. They're still usable and it's not too bad but I'm thinking about getting a new set.

The dogs sound crazy as always. Brother Mike has three dogs and they don't look anything like ours but they always remind me of them. If you could send some talks that would be nice. We usually just study the scriptures and the Preach My Gospel manual. There is a missionary library set that I can get from the Distribution Center in Jo-burg, if I need them.

The State Fair sounds like fun. It has been awhile since we've gone but they were usually pretty good times when we did. Who knows, maybe you'll come back with a bunny like we did that one time. As for me, this week has been a pretty good one. We still have the Meadowridge Elders staying in our flat. Mornings are pretty hectic because of it but other than that we’re fine.

We played Trivial Pursuit from the 1980s last night because we had some time before bed. I didn't understand half of the questions. Last Tuesday we went to a piano concert by David Glen Hatch. All of the missionaries serving in Cape Town went. It was really cool and they were very good and I was impressed but it went for two hours which was a bit too long. There was one point where a lady was turning the page and apparently it was too early so he pretty much back handed the page out of her hand. It was funny and everyone started laughing.

We were bummed though because it made us miss our appointment with Sister Zita and Jean Jacque and we haven't been able to meet with them for our last 3 or 4 appointments.  We're going there on Thursday come Hell or high water. Sister Zita did come to church this last week which was awesome. Pinky, our other investigator, is being a bit stubborn and I don't know what to do with her. She's thinking of taking a break which would be sad. We send her an SMS everyday reminding her to read and pray and we suggest scriptures to her sometimes but it doesn't seem to be helping.

We also had a Zone meeting this last week and it lasted for quite a while. They talked about the things missionaries are doing wrong and some policy changes and some training on using time wisely and a new way to plan for investigators. It was good and I got some ideas out of it. It's always a good time when you bring the 16 Elders in our Zone together. That's all I can really think of for this week. The Church is true and I find new revelations on that every day.

Love you guys,
Elder Kupka

PS – the computer won’t let me upload pictures so I will send more next week.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 9

I'm not too worried about getting mugged out on the streets and I keep most of my money in my white baptismal pants pocket in my closet. They didn't look there last time so I'm taking that as a good sign. I keep my camera in a back part of my backpack so they probably won't see it to know to take it. If they do mug us they say to just give them whatever they want.

As for our bathroom window, it’s just a plastic latch that is very flimsy and probably just popped open when they put some force on it so we lock our bathroom door when we leave now because the locks here are all keyed.

The ward is super awesome and I love it. It was the first ward created in Africa. There's a plaque that tells the story of a man who sold his bakery and moved to Utah and gave the money to the Church to build the chapel. That man’s great-great grandson just got transferred into our ward. So that’s pretty cool. It's a good mix of black and white and there are some colored people too. There are enough people for all of the callings. The missionaries teach the gospel principles class and I taught about service yesterday; it went very well so I was happy. I can't really speak with an accent yet but I am picking up on things that they say here such as “hectic”, or “yo” which means Wow or Really?

As for the click language that depends on where I go. There are guys from my transfer who are learning it because they are in a township called Mdantsane on the Eastern Cape. I have learned a few words so far. It’s called Xhosa and the X is a click noise with your tongue. How it works is that the letters X, C, Q and some others each make their own click sound. Most people laugh at me when I try but I'm learning it little by a little. It does stink about Namibia not being in our mission anymore because apparently it's the “Promised Land”, if you can get there. Members set up appointments for you and feed you all of the time.

I'm feeling much better now and think I just ate something that made me sick before. Brother Mike does still feed us. We were kind of worried that our new Zone Leaders wouldn't want to pick us up to get it or bring it to us since we don't have a car but they’re fine with it. In our flat we make PB&J, eggs, cereal, toast, etc. Elder Sombke is a good cook so he'll cook chicken or mince but usually if we eat breakfast and then have Brother Mike’s food we are filled for the day. I haven’t eaten anything crazy yet.

Brother Mike makes chicken broccoli, mince pasta bake, fish cakes, Hake, and there’s always two vegetables with his food; carrots, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, butter nut squash, pumpkin. There's a really good desert called Malava pudding which is delicious! It's also served with brownies and ice cream. There’s a food called smiley which is cooked sheep’s head and you eat the cheek and the brain. That’s usually more in townships though so I haven't had it yet and I don't know if I want to ever have it.

I'll send more pictures this week and see how it works. This last week has been so busy yet not. We've had two Elders from Meadowridge staying with us for a week and half. So things have been pretty hectic. One of them is getting the rest of us sick but I think I'm already over it because I'm feeling a lot better. It's putting a lot of stress on all of us though because our flat isn’t made for four people. Wednesday was transfers and we had to go with them because one Elder was leaving and one Elder was coming in and there is only one set of keys to our flat. It was good though because I got to see a ton of other Elders.

I've only been here two months but I've become pretty good friends with a lot of people and everyone seems to love me here. It's kind of weird but everyone thinks I'm super funny and loves being around me. Can't say I blame them but it's just kinda weird.

I love it here and I love my area and I love my ward and I love the other missionaries. I also love my investigators but they are making things hard. Some can't come to church some can but don't. They work all day or go to school so it's been a pretty rough first area. We do our best but a lot of other missionaries tell me that they’re sorry that I have to start in this area. I make the most of it though.

I had to say good-bye to Elder Morris this week which was pretty strange. I've only known him for six weeks but we spent a lot of time together and he's a pretty cool guy. He was the only one in his transfer so no one else left. Elder Gillespie, our district leader, got moved to East London and Elder Radebe has replaced him. He's a pretty cool guy and we like him so far. He did accidentally run over his companion yesterday but he's alright. I don't really know what else to say; it's been a busy week just not proselyting busy. I miss you guys. I've gotten a little trunky this last week but I'll get over it.

Until next week,
Elder Kupka

Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 8

Sorry about this being late, we went to the marketplace this morning and then I had my first Brai (barbecue) so I wasn't able to get on the computer until late.  I also have to go soon because we're getting haircuts in an hour and the place is 20 minutes away.

About the break-in, I don't really have anything of value that someone could take. I always have my camera and money on me. My passport is kept at the mission office and then we have a copy that is signed by the post office saying that it’s official.  I would have felt worse for the burglars if we would have been home because if they were small enough to fit through our bathroom window then they were small enough for me to beat them up.

All of the water in South Africa is filtered so there is no malaria here. I think I just was allergic to something I ate. I don't really need you to send me anything because I'm not a high maintenance person and anything I did need I could just buy here.  That way you also don’t have to worry about Customs or losing things in the mail.  

Apparently my old camera took pictures that were very large in size so this new one should be even better to send them on. Unfortunately, the computer I am on today won’t let me upload.  I will send pictures as soon as I can.

The weather has been pretty warm. Last week was rainy and kind of cold but for the most part it is just hot and sunny all of the time. I was talking to our second counselor at the Brai today and he said that it doesn't get much hotter than this even in the Summer. It rains here more than Utah but not a whole lot. And, as for Namibia I've been meaning to tell you that as of July 1 Namibia is no longer a part of our mission. It's part of Botswana which used to be part of the Joburg mission. So, no, I will not be going there. Ask more questions because I like to answer them.

On a normal Pday we're here from 10:30 am until about 1:00 pm - usually not that long.  It's just been a very busy day and a very hectic week. This week we had a lot of lessons set up but they all managed to fall through except for two of them. One was a less active member and we taught her the lesson called the Gospel of Christ. It went very well which kind of surprised me because I'd never taught it before. It turned out to be the most I've ever talked in a lesson which helps me because I'm beginning to become the best missionary I can.

The other lesson was with a girl named Pinky. We've been trying to meet with her almost every day since the previous Sunday. It finally worked out this last Sunday. She hasn't been reading or praying so it was a “do or die” lesson for her. I think she began to realize how important it is for her to read and pray if she really wants to find out. During the week I was thinking about her and it kind of just came to me that I should tell her to read on the bus. When we talked to her about it she said that she has 30 minutes to an hour of travel time and that she is never really doing anything important. So I told her to read the Book of Mormon and pray while she's on the bus. The member who came with us to the discussion downloaded the scriptures to her phone so now she has no excuse. I hope it works out for her. We can't see her until next Sunday because she's an art student and is in the studio until 11:00 pm every night.

Some other fun experiences were that we got to pick up the Fishhoek Elders car from the panelbeaters and drive it back to the mission office because they live an hour away. I really like driving here. It's fun to drive on the other side of the road. Most likely my next area will have a car which should be great but not so great for my health because I really have lost a lot of weight so far.

We also went on exchanges this week. I was with Elder Cathemer and we went tracting for a bit. The thing with tracting here is that everyone has giant fences with electric wires on top (which aren't usually turned on I've found out) so we just push intercom buttons and they talk through there. One guy actually came outside but when he saw us he put his hands in the air and yelled "Jesus Christ!" and then walked back inside. We later went to get dinner at a pizza place and we saw him walking out with a bunch of boxes of pizza. We just smiled and waved and he looked very astonished to see us again. It was pretty funny.

We also met a Wiccan while tracting. This was a normal door where she actually had to come open it. I said, “Hello, we're missionaries and we share a special message about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ” and then she went off.  She told us how we are so unfair to be going around trying to force our religion on people and how we are so evil and we didn't even try to find out her story first. We hadn't said more than ten words and she just freaked out.

So Elder Cathemer asked her what her story was and she said that she's a Wiccan and worships the seasons and doesn't believe in Jesus Christ. I was very confused and astonished. Elder Cathemer told her that he had met a Wiccan before. Her reply to this was that she should have stabbed him in the back. Again I was very surprised so Elder Cathemer asked her if there is anything service-wise that we could do for her and she said, “You can give me $10,000 to go to Julliard in the States” but before we could even answer she said, “You're probably not going to do that” and slammed the door harder than I've ever seen a door slam in my life. When I was told that I was going to get doors slammed in my face I never expected anything like this. It did make for a cool story though.

The only other notable thing that happened was that over the weekend we had two other Elders stay with us because their flat had become infested with black mold. It was "fun". These two guys were about ready to kill each other because they did not get along. I guess it’s a good thing that they got sent to stay with us so they didn't kill each other and luckily transfers are on Wednesday. That's all I have to report. I love and miss you guys. My click day is in 8 days and I'll be turning 2 months which is pretty crazy to think about. I can't believe how fast the time has flown by.

Love you all,
Elder Kupka