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