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.