Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 81


This week hasn't been the most eventful of weeks since we weren't allowed to do much on Christmas Eve or Christmas.

On Tuesday we had Zone Conference and it was really good. We talked about faith, covenants, and goal making. It was really cool and it made me want to work really hard for these last five and half months; I just want to keep working really hard.

After Zone Conference we went and picked up the Santa suit that we used the next day and we had two appointments drop. On Christmas Eve we went to the Brummer’s house in the morning with the Borehams. I showed up a bit later in the Santa suit and when I walked in the first thing out of all the kids’ mouths were "it's Elder!" They were too smart and realized that I wasn't actually Father Christmas. Then the rest of the day after I had changed they kept telling me all of the reasons why I wasn't Santa.

In the afternoon Bishop Powrie had asked us to attend a funeral for a member who had passed away that no one had even known was living in the ward boundaries. There weren't very many people there but we went and tried to help out as much as we could which wasn't much.

After that we went to the other Elders' boarding and spent the rest of the day with the Zone Leaders and the Durbanville Elders. On Christmas we woke up and didn't really know what to do with ourselves. We weren't going to the Leroux's house until 2:00 so we had to spend the morning in the boarding and it was so boring. I'm glad that we're usually busy and always have stuff to do.

Once we got to the Leroux's place though we had a great time. They had made a ton of food. We started with a nice lamb curry which they gave me two plates of and then they brought out all of the meat and potato salad. There was lamb, chicken, roast, gammon, and cow tongue. The cow tongue was surprisingly good; I sent a picture of me licking it.

We talked with the Leroux family for a while and then we went to the Herbert's place to Skype. It was great to see you guys and all of the snow! Sister Herbert said that you guys look like a really happy family and Mom, she thought that you were my sister. I do realize that I talk differently now. Lots of people when I first meet them think that I'm South African. It's going to be weird when I get home.

On Friday we had lots of appointments drop, unfortunately, but we were able to have two really good lessons. One was with Brother Charles who is a recent convert. We're reviewing the lessons with him and he's a really smart guy and knows his stuff. He said that he really likes the way that I teach which made me feel pretty good.

We also had an appointment with Gammu and her friends and family; there are six of them now. We had a really good lesson on the Book of Mormon and they all committed to read and pray about it. Some of them are going back to Zimbabwe and some are going to visit and then come back here so when things become less hectic I think that they will be ready to accept the gospel.

Saturday was really nice. We met with a guy named Emmanuel and his wife Jolene. They are from Zimbabwe and were a referral from Durbanville. Emmanuel has a friend who is serving a mission in the States right now and he has visited the church five times before. We had a really good lesson with him and his wife and they were asking really good questions and thanking us because they said that they are both God-fearing people but that they need some revitalization. They are super powerful and I'm very excited to continue teaching them.

We also had a lesson with Lorenzo and Meroldene. Lorenzo is paralyzed because he was accidentally shot when someone was trying to shoot someone else and Meroldene is his sister. They are both very enthused with the gospel. Lorenzo is getting a new wheel chair next month and then he can come to church. Meroldene came yesterday and I think she really liked it. She even added some really good insights during the gospel principles class.

All in all it was a really good week. I'm loving Panorama and I’m working hard until the end.

Elder Kupka

Elder Santa and his sleigh

Christmas lunch with Elder Dryer

Trent's tongue touching a cow tongue - blech!?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 80


This week has been good but kind of weird at the same time. I'm liking Panorama quite a bit and we are keeping pretty busy which is nice.

On Wednesday we went to do service for an older woman in the ward. We put up a new laundry drying line for her. After we were done she asked us if we could take some Liahonas (Church magazine) to a lady she visit teaches - so we did. The lady is a bit older and when we got there she was waiting at the gate and when we gave her the Liahonas she told us how her arm is swollen and she doesn't know why. So we asked if we could give her a blessing. She agreed but she wouldn't let us in the gate so we did it though the gate and it was really weird because her house is on a busy street.

On Sunday we were able to perform a graveside prayer for a member whose mother had passed away a few months ago. Her mother and sister are buried in the same grave but her sister had passed away a while ago. So Elder Dryer offered the prayer for her mother and I offered it for the sister. I don't think I've ever seen a graveside prayer before so this was quite the new experience for me.

I had read about it in the white hand book before and I was always so curious about it and then I got do it firsthand. It was a humbling experience. I was really nervous leading up to it but as soon as I opened the prayer I had this really calm feeling come over me and I said some good things, I think. Elder Dryer felt the same way too.

We talked about how we had just performed an ordinance for someone who is literally in the spirit world right then and they were probably watching us too. I can't put all of my emotions into words but it was a really, really spiritual experience.

We have a few investigators and they are all doing well. Apparently most of our investigators are gone for the holidays, which is ok because this week we have Zone Conference on Tuesday and then on Christmas Eve we are only supposed to go to places where we are invited. I was asked to dress up as Father Christmas and go to a member’s home, who has 12 foster kids, to give them presents. I'm really excited for that.

There's a family here whose father was falsely accused of a crime and put into prison. So we are going to go visit his family and try to cheer them up; I hope it works.

We are busy but not too busy with investigators and such. December is a very strange time for missionary work but it's almost over and then we can get back to work. Sunday was a much less busy one than last week and the Relief Society sisters gave us a huge Christmas present. I am so grateful for that and it was so nice of them. I think that I am really going to enjoy spending my last few months here. Sorry it's another short email but things are hectic because of Christmas.

Elder Kupka

A cool picture Elder Dryer took

Christmas present from the Relief Society

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 79

Hello again,

This has been a great week and I am liking the new area already, but I don't have much to talk about this week.

Last Monday we played a lot of sports and then that night I cooked dinner for the Xangati family. There ended up being 15 people there. Luckily it all worked out and everyone got a good portion. I made chicken spaghetti and it was the first time I've ever cooked for so many people. I respect Grandma Eustice so much more now for making us dinner every Sunday. Shout out to her - I love her and miss her a lot!

Tuesday was spent saying good-byes to so many great people in Uitenhage. I shed a lot of tears. I was really sad to leave but Cape Town is awesome. It is such a beautiful city and there's so much to do. But there are seriously too many people here. I was getting anxiety the first day because I am not used to all of these people.

Panorama is a really nice area and has a super good ward. This Saturday we had the ward Christmas party. The primary did a program and then we ate some food and there was a Santa Claus. It was nice and I got to meet a lot of the ward.

One funny thing is that there was a family that I helped move a long time ago when I first got to Grassy Park. They moved from Mowbray to Panorama and now he's the ward mission leader so I'm going to be seeing a lot more of him but we didn't recognize each other at first.

Sunday was a pretty crazy day. We have two wards that meet in the same chapel. Ours starts at 9:00 am but it starts with Priesthood and then works backwards. Elder Dryer had been asked to teach priesthood and he also ended up saying the opening prayer and I lead the music. Then the second hour was gospel principles where I taught the lesson.

When we got to sacrament meeting they asked Elder Dryer and I to bless the sacrament. And if that wasn't enough we had gotten a phone call on Friday telling us that we would each be giving 10 minute talks. As I was preparing to bless the sacrament they told me that I would be the final speaker. So by the time it was my turn I had 25 minutes to fill up, which I did.

My talk was on sharing the gospel so it was super easy. But I did a really good job and surprised myself even. I guess it was cool to see how much I've grown on the mission. I wasn't the least bit nervous. Usually  my knees shake behind the pulpit but this time I was completely calm and normal. I was pretty happy with myself.

Otherwise things are good. I'm still learning the area and the people and my companion; just a bunch of different adjustments going on. I'll have more to write about next week. The first few weeks in a new area are always weird. Good thing I'll be transferred to the Provo, Utah home mission after this!

I love you all,
Elder Kupka

The Thsibo family

The Frans family with their neighbors

Elder Dryer

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 78

Mfundo - our awesome investigator who will be baptized next month

Yvonne and her family and Busi who will be baptized next month

Motlalepula, Ketumetsi and Mompo - they will be baptized
when Despatch becomes part of the Kwamagxaki ward
Nwabisa - another great investigator who
will also be baptized next month

Good Morning!

Well, I was right, this was my last week in Uitenhage. I'm being transferred to the Panorama ward. My new companion is Elder Dryer from Utah and he arrived in Elder Decebal-Cuza's transfer but that's about all I know about him but I'm pretty excited.

The area is in Cape Town in the Bellville stake. I'm stepping down from District Leader also. President Merril's letter told me that this will be my last area and that seems super crazy. I feel old on the mission but to think that I'm on my last area is pretty crazy. It does mean that I'm going to have two 6 month areas in a row. I just feel good right now and there's no other way to explain it. I've got six months left to work hard and keep enjoying myself.

This last week has been a pretty a great week too. We've been super busy and had a lot of held appointments. We taught 30 lessons so there's no way I could talk about all of them. I even started saying good-byes. It was a bit risky because anything can happen but I couldn't take the chance and not. I got up and bore my testimony on Sunday and I will truly miss the Uitenhage ward. It has been an awesome six months and there are so many great people that I will miss. I guess I'll just highlight a few things.

On Monday we had a lesson with the Frans family and their neighbors who are interested in the gospel. We started re-teaching Siphosethu the lessons and having her neighbor’s daughter join in as well. Then this week the husband is coming back and Elder Decebal-Cuza and Elder Arthur(the Elder replacing me) will start teaching them.

District Meeting on Friday was super cool. I taught the Three Pillars of Eternity (The Creation, The Fall, and The Atonement) and it was a pretty good district meeting. Then afterwards our first appointment was with the Xangatis. We had planned on teaching about prayer and scripture study because half of them had heard it and the other half hadn't. When we got there it was only Arthur and Valentine and they were the ones that had already heard it before. So, I asked them if they have any questions about anything. Their questions turned out to be about the creation, the fall, and the atonement. So we read 2 Nephi 2 with them and explained it; I guess I really was an inspired district leader.

Saturday we got to see Asanda. It was good to be able to teach him again after he's been locked in his school for so long. He is such a sweet guy and I'm so happy that I got to teach him. We had a good lesson on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Then Sunday was great as well. Sister Hendricks was unable to make it to church because she had kidney problems and couldn't even walk. So that was a pretty good reason. She'll be confirmed this week with Siphosethu. Then I bore my testimony in Sacrament meeting. It was hard to say good-bye to so many great people. Sinethemba and Asanda got up and bore their testimonies and gave me a shout out too which was super cool.

After church we had a decent day. We taught two lessons; one with Nwabisa and one with Benjamin. Nwabisa was very sad to hear that I was leaving because "I won't be able to see her get baptized." It is sad that I won't see it but to hear her say that she is really going to be baptized made me so happy. Then with Benjamin we taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. We answered his questions about baptism and then I committed him to be baptized and he said yes. I'm so happy that I was able to finish strong in this area. I thought it would be hard to stay six months somewhere but it's been pretty easy. We'll see if Panorama will be the same but I'm sure it will be. Well, that's it for me. I'm happy, I'm healthy and I'm excited.


Elder Kupka

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 77

Hello again,

This week was good. Last Monday we played sports and had a really good time. We went to the Frans’ house that evening but Sister Frans had been too busy to cook dinner for us like she had planned so she gave us a small snack and invited us back during the week.

Tuesday was a pretty great day. We had some good lessons but we ended it with a big family home evening lesson that we set up. We had the Xangatis, Princess and Zandy, and Claudia, Phelicia, and Christina. So we showed them what a family home evening is like.

We started with an activity where someone goes up to the front and everyone has to say what they like about that person. It was super cool but then after everyone was finished I put a picture of Jesus Christ up and we said what we love about Him. I had created a giant scripture chain about Jesus Christ and we read that. It was super powerful and you could feel the spirit so strongly when everyone was saying what they like about the Savior.

Wednesday-Friday were all very busy days. We taught a lot of lessons but nothing too spectacular happened. This weekend there was a carnival here in Uitenhage so it made things kind of difficult. We were able to see Sister Hendricks and make sure everything is still set for her baptism on Sunday and then we also saw the Mooi family.

Sister Mooi is less active but her son is very active so we went and got to know her and had a really nice lesson about commitment to the Lord. She's a really sweet lady and we're going to keep working with her and hopefully help her out.

After that things were hard. No one was home because everyone was at the carnival; I have never seen the area so empty. So we tried going to the carnival to do some contacting there and it wasn't too successful. It was too loud and there were way too many people so we didn't have a lot of success.

We finished the evening with dinner at the Frans' house as well as making sure everything was ready for Siphosetu to be baptized. Stats wise it was a hard day but we were able to see both of our “baptizees” and do the final preparations. Plus we were able to have a delicious dinner from Mama Frans. She has seriously been like a second mother to me here. We laugh so much, we have super spiritual lessons, her sons are amazing members and now Siphosethu will be another great member. I love the Frans family.

Sunday was a great day, of course, thanks to the baptisms. It's always hectic when you have to be in charge of gospel principles plus get everything ready for the baptism but it all worked out. The baptism was great and I got to baptize Sister Hendricks. She was a bit nervous in the water but it went off without a hitch. She is such a sweet woman. She bore her testimony and said how grateful she is for the ward, for the missionaries and for the Lord to allow her to be baptized "before she dies". It was a lovely service.

Afterwards we had a bit of a rough day but it ended with a great lesson with the Tshibo family. We read the parable of the ten virgins with them and then we had a lesson with the Xangatis about temples. It was a great ending to a great week. Some exciting news is that I asked President if I was staying or leaving Uitenhage and he told me that I am leaving. So I'll find out next week where I am going to go and let ya'll know.

Elder Kupka


Sister Hendricks

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 76


This week... I don't really know what to say about this week. It was good but not the greatest of weeks. I don't really know what to write about. Tuesday-Friday were great days and we had a lot of appointments and if I wrote about each one we would be here all day. Everyone is still progressing really well.

Some highlights for the week is that Sister Hendricks and Siphosethu both passed their baptismal interviews and will be baptized this Sunday. I went on exchanges with Elder Creech in Kwa Nobuhle and we had a nice day. It was kind of nice to go back to companionship teaching because I'm still adjusting to teaching with three people.

We got into some deep doctrine though. We taught a recent convert family about Patriarchal Blessings and we read the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood with a member of the Bishopric while at the same time, back in Uitenhage, they did the baptismal interview for Siphosethu and she did great.

Our day on Saturday changed a bit because we ended up having to go to Stake Conference. So we had Sister Hendricks’ baptismal interview in the morning and then tried to teach some lessons, went to Kwano to pick up some walking Elders on their side of Uitenhage, and then went on our way to Port Elizabeth and had a good adult session there.

We came back and had a lesson with Mfundo; he's such a stud. Then on Sunday we had the other session of Stake Conference, so we did a lot of driving this weekend.

It was a really good Conference - President Uchtdorf and Elder Bednar were there, kind of. They had made a recording to show to the 84 stakes on the African Continent. It was pretty cool. In it they were very straight forward and said, “Don't practice traditions anymore such as labola and worshipping ancestors.” Now no one has an excuse; if President Uchtdorf said it then it's as good as scripture.

We came home to find out that we had no power and I was STARVING. So we had peanut butter and bread. Then we went out teaching to our six appointments and all six of them dropped. It was horrible and it was raining and we were out of Ks from all of our driving. The only thing we managed to do was get a permission slip from Siphosethu's father for her to be baptized and give Sinethemba's father a blessing.

When we got back we had power so we made some food and went to bed. It was a rough ending to a pretty solid week. This week should be better and I'm very happy that it's ending with two baptisms.

One last really sad thing is that Brother Booyens passed away this weekend. He was a great man. He was so kind and loving to everyone in the ward regardless of race. He will be greatly missed in the ward. Sorry it’s kind of short this week.

Elder Kupka

Elder Creech and me on exchange

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 75


Well, to start off I'd like to give a shout out to the Xangati family who have Googled me and found my blog. I hope you guys read this and I'll see you on Wednesday evening; it will be a golden time!

Anyway it's been a pretty solid and busy week. Who would have thought that combining two areas into one would make us so busy? Along with transfers and having to take Elder Truscott to the bus stop in Port Elizabeth at 6:00 in the morning; I am mentally and physically exhausted but things are continuing to go well.

Last Monday we gave a member named Brian a blessing for his upcoming exams and then we went around with Elder Truscott as he said some good-byes. I'm going to have to learn his area now. Neither of my companions can drive so I'll be driving everyday again.

On Tuesday Elder Decebal-Cuza and I went to work while everyone else was packing and preparing for transfers. We taught Mfundo about the priesthood, followed up on Asanda's neighbor, Siphosetu and had a good Restoration lesson with him and his sister who has started joining us.

Then we went to see Princess and Zandi and taught them about the importance of the Sacrament now that they are baptized. We then saw Sister Hendrickse and taught her about the priesthood and by the end she wasn't feeling too well because she had a headache so I gave her a blessing and told her that she'd be alright and that all of the pains will go away and they did right then and there. The priesthood is super powerful!

We then taught the other Siphosetu the Plan of Salvation with Sinethemba and Ma helping to explain things and it went well. We finished the night with Elder Truscott saying good-byes and having dinner with the Mendu family. 

On Wednesday we had to wake up at 5:00 in the morning leave Uitenhage at half past 5 get Elder Truscott to the bus station at 6:15 and send him on his way. He was gone before we were even supposed to be awake for the day. Then we came back and finished getting ready and went out to teach eight appointments which five of them dropped. It was kind of frustrating and it was basically how the rest of the week went.

We have full days scheduled but it ends up with lots of dropped appointments. It's been easier to schedule back- ups with so many people to go visit. We have 50+ people that we need to try and see between investigators, less actives, and recent converts. Luckily some of them are families so it makes the numbers a bit more reasonable but it is still difficult.

We had a good lesson with Gloria on Wednesday. She is another lady we accidentally found but is super prepared to receive the gospel. We talked about the Book of Mormon with her and it seemed to be going well; I'm excited to keep working with her.

Thursday we met with Sister Hendrickse, Mfundo and a guy named Rimano who is less active due to his work. Rimano is a super cool guy. His whole family is members but they live super far away from the chapel. Rimano comes when he's off from work but the rest can't make it very often. We had a great appointment with them. We watched President Uchtdorf's last conference talk. I love the First Presidency because they are so inspired and their talks really can apply to us in so many different ways.

Friday was district meeting and it was a decent one this week; I did it on studying effectively. It was interesting because on Sunday in Elder’s Quorum President Wildskut of the Stake Presidency had a lesson on studying effectively even as non-members. It added on to some of the insights that I had talked about during District Meeting and I had some pretty inspired studies this morning. I've been going through the Book of Mormon slowly. I read 3 Nephi 13 and really pondered on it and it made a lot of sense and I saw a few things that I can improve on.

I always look forward to emailing every week and then I get kind of sick of it by the end so I'm just going to talk about Sunday. It was a really good day. We went to walk with Nwabisa to church but when we got there her family said she wasn't there. We ended up meeting up with her on the way back to the church. She had started walking without us because she was too excited to wait for us to walk with her.   

Church was really inspiring this week. We were able to confirm Princess, Zandi, Claudia and Phelicia and that was followed by some great talks. I taught the Gospel Principles lesson on the Holy Ghost.

After church we went to give Brother Booyens, who is a member who has been very sick, the sacrament. He's in ICU and still struggling but he'll get better. We gave him another blessing. After that we went to the Devenish's for a delicious lunch. Then we were running late for the Xangati's so we had to re-schedule with them. 

Then we went and taught Gloria and she said she believes that the Book of Mormon is true and we just talked about what that means. Then we went to the Tshibos and watched some Mormon messages. And then we finished the night with Mama Juda and her granddaughter Q. Q is 8 and is preparing to be baptized next year because she's leaving for the holidays. We went over the baptism interview questions with her to see what we should teach her but she knew everything already.

It's been a solid, busy, stressful week. Our schedule for this week is fully booked every hour of the day until Saturday and Sunday which has a few more slots to fill. We have Stake Conference on Sunday and I'm going on exchanges with one of the Zone Leaders in Kwanobuhle this week. That's my life --- it's hectic but I love it. The church is true and I love it and all of you!

Elder Kupka

Touring the VW Factory

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 74


What an interesting but good week. To start off we got transfer news for the next week and it was quite a shocker. First off Elder Truscott is leaving and headed out to Sada in Queenstown and his replacement is no one! Elder Decebal-Cuza, Elder Welsh and I will be in a tripanionship for the coming transfer and we will be covering all of Uitenhage. I'll be super happy to have a car again. The rest will be kind of weird.

The last tripanionship was nice because it was only a week. This one will be four weeks though because no one travels the week before or after Christmas. So four weeks from today I will be getting transfer news again and we'll see if I'll be heading out after six months in Uitenhage. Stay tuned.

Last Monday we got to play American football. It was super awesome because it's been way too long since I have played. Then we had a Family Home Evening at the Xangati's house and ate chicken feet. I don't like chicken feet; it's too much effort for not a lot of meat.

Tuesday we had a pretty solid day. It was Sister Hendrickse's birthday and she had cake for us. It's hard to buy people gifts when you're walking so we didn't get a chance to get her anything. Other than that we met with Princess and Zandi and prepared them for their baptism some more. We also met with Siphosetu who is very excited for her baptism at the end of the month especially after seeing the ones yesterday.

Wednesday was a decent day for a Wednesday. We saw Stalvester and we are still trying to work with him to get him back to church so we read from the Book of Mormon with him. We then visited with a lady named Christina because she stopped us on the street and wanted us to visit her. She's from Grahamstown and is going back there but we're going to teach her until then and then send her address to the Elders there.

We finished the day with Mama Franz. We are trying to help her understand English more by reading from the Book of Mormon with her and it is going very well.

Thursday we helped the other missionaries move. They consolidated eight missionaries in three different boardings into one place and it’s nice. It's a house that's kind of divided with a bachelor pad at the side. It's not a hundred percent finished yet and they haven't had electricity for two days so I'm glad I didn't get moved. I'm perfectly happy with my flat.

After that we were able to teach Mfundo. He's such a stud and I love teaching him. Unfortunately he's going to the bush in December and on the 7th of December he's going to be the main bout in a boxing match so we are thinking of moving his baptism date back which means I probably won't be here for it. 

We also did the baptism interviews that day. Elder Thomas came to do one of them. He's working in East London now and it was great to see the Thomas' again. I got to do the other one since I'm the District Leader and it was super cool. I liked doing it. It was for a girl named Phelicia. She's 13 and she knew everything. She was baptized with her sister Claudia as well as Princess and Zandi on Sunday.

Friday was nice because we had a great District Meeting, I think, and hopefully the others did as well. I did it on teaching is more than just talking from Preach my Gospel. Then afterwards we were getting fed lunch by Sister Cook at 2:00 so we went and had a powerful lesson with Benjamin beforehand. We taught the Plan of Salvation and it really clicked in his mind about Adam and Eve; it was super nice.

We then had lunch and gave Sister Cook’s grandson a blessing. We taught Yvonne and the Xangatis. With the Xangatis we taught about tithes and fast offerings and with Yvonne we talked about recognizing the spirit. Hopefully it will help her to understand the promptings and get answers to her questions.

Saturday we had a few cool experiences. We went to follow up on a guy that we had previously tracted into and the people at that home said that he was at a house two doors down. So we went there and he wasn't there but some other people were. One lady was named Gloria and she is very interested and we had a great restoration lesson with her and got a return appointment.

The other appointment was with a guy named Leslie. We had met his wife earlier in the week when she called us into her house and asked us what we do. She's part of an organization called Kolping. They work to help people get back to church and back on their feet by giving bursaries and other things like that.

She had told us that she was going to Cape Town but that she wanted us to meet her husband. So on Saturday we were going to meet him and while we’re walking up the road a guy stopped us and as we were talking to him he said his name was Leslie. I asked him if Olivia was his wife and he said yes but he was super surprised. His wife had apparently forgotten to tell him about us and yet we still managed to run into him.

We were able to go and sit with him in his front yard in the shade because it was a super hot day. We talked about what we do and what we believe in and it was very powerful. He asked lots of questions that we were able to answer and we are going to go back to meet with the whole family next week. They have some great potential and everything happens for a reason.

Sunday was very powerful because of the baptisms. We had four in the ward with two of them being from our area. I was running around the whole time getting everything set up, printing the programs, and getting all of the clothes ready. It was hectic beforehand but then I baptized Princess and Elder Decebal-Cuza baptized Zandi. I got nervous and forgot the word “of” so I had to do it again. I don't think Princess was too happy having to go into the water a second time --- ha ha.

Then when Elder Decebal-Cuza baptized Zandi he dunked her super fast. It was pretty funny but it all worked out. We ended the transfer with four baptisms in Uitenhage and we'll hopefully end the next one with even more baptisms.

Things are going well and I'm enjoying my time here. I've been in Uitenhage a long time so we'll see if some new change comes in four weeks.

Love you all,
Elder Kupka


Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 73


Happy Halloween, even though they don't celebrate it here, and it was the quietest Halloween ever.

This last Monday we went to the Mendu's house for dinner. Our appointment before that dropped but we were able to catch Benjamin home and made a time to come back for him so that was good.

Tuesday was a pretty solid day. We were able to see Mfundo in the morning and had a great lesson on prayer and scripture study. He's super cool. Then we came back had lunch and went to visit a guy named Byron who had stopped us on the street last week and wanted to come see him. We had a great Restoration lesson with him. He knows the Bible very well and is very smart. We got through the first half and then we finished the rest on Thursday and it was great. He had a lot of questions that we answered and then invited him to be baptized and he agreed. He's very promising.

We also saw Sister Hendrickse and read Mosiah 18 with her since she is preparing for her baptism. She loved it and I also love that chapter because it talks about what we promise at baptism and how the church should be established.

Wednesday was not so nice. I don't know why but Wednesdays are never good days for missionary work here. We did get to see Benjamin in the morning and taught him about the Book of Mormon and committed him to read it. Then we saw Princess and Zandy and did the Alma 50 analogy. Then we had a big gap where we went finding and followed up on people but not much happened.

We finished the week with the Tshibos and read Alma 32 and talked a lot about faith. Friday was nice; we had District Meeting in the morning. I gave the lesson on Developing the Faith to Find. It went really well and we brainstormed fun finding ideas to use as a District. We came up with having a “hymn-a-long” with the ward and having them invite people to it. We would also have chapel tours to show the people around and how things work. We're also going to try and start a scripture study class every Wednesday night and some other fun ideas. We're going to ward council next week after the baptisms so we're going to present it then.

I went on exchanges with Elder Truscott and we had a great day. We get along so well and we had some great lessons together. The first one was with a guy who was referred to them by Brother Freddy who is a cop. His name is Dillon and he has fallen into some bad habits for the last five years but really wants to change now. So we went and had a great first lesson with him. We only taught the first three principles and then we just answered his questions and discussed things with him. I felt prompted to invite him to be baptized and he said yes, he really wants that. So that was pretty cool.

The rest of the weekend went alright. We had a few dropped appointments and way too many drunk people roaming the streets. I'm getting very sick of drunk people. Every single one of them comes up and tells us that they have a problem and they want our help to fix it but if you ever find them sober they won't even talk to you. It's quite frustrating and they roam the streets like zombies on the weekends. It's just another part of the mission, I guess. That's all from me for this week.

Elder Kupka

Two Very Awkward Pictures:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 72

It has been a great week this week. Unfortunately, I'm low on time so I will have to make it a bit short. We went to Jeffrey's Bay today which was super cool. (

We had a very good Tuesday with lots of appointments and great lessons but on Wednesday nothing ended up working out. Our plans, our back-ups, our finding/tracting - nothing was working. I was getting super frustrated and homesick and not very happy in general. We had one more appointment and about an hour to wait until then, so we went and tried following up on some people but had no luck.

We made it back to the appointment right when I was about ready to quit and go back to the boarding and it turned out to be a very great appointment. We were teaching the Franz' neighbor and we started the Restoration lesson and it answered a lot of her questions. The lesson went so well that it rejuvenated me and the rest of the week just kept getting better and better.

We had a solid Thursday and then on Friday I went on exchanges with Elder Welsh. He's a super cool guy from the UK. Our lessons went well and when the lessons didn't hold, the back-ups did. Saturday was very powerful because we had a lot of good lessons. We read 3 Nephi 27 with Princess and Zandy and they understood the concepts well. They were actually serious and they answered the questions we asked which they don't always do. They are more than ready for their baptism on the 9th of November.

We had a lesson with Yvonne and her son and niece on the Ten Commandments. It went well and was a nice review for Yvonne. After that we went to see Wendy. Her husband wasn't there so we read the Book of Mormon with her but then after she asked if we could do something for her son. He's 8 years old and he's losing his eyesight and he's too young for surgery so he has to go for treatments once a week for the next five years. So I gave him a blessing comforting him and telling him that everything would be alright.

Sunday was great. We had the conference in Port Elizabeth with Bishop Stevenson. It was for the whole Stake so it was like a mini Stake Conference. There were some great talks but something just as cool is that I got to see a ton of members from the Walmer Ward, and they all remembered me! It's been nine months since I left Walmer and I was only there for six weeks so I wasn't sure if people would. But I didn't need to worry and it was really awesome to see them.

After the conference we got back to Uitenhage and had lunch with the Xangati family who are super awesome investigators. I sent some pictures of them. Then we went to an appointment with a guy named Mark. He's a former investigator and he stopped us on the street and asked us to come and teach him again. We had a very nice Restoration lesson with him.

We went to see Nwabisa who had read from the Book of Mormon and knows that it is true. She is afraid to leave her church because it is her family church and she's afraid they won't like it. So we read 1 Nephi 3:7 and bore testimony about how the Lord will provide a way for her to keep the commandments. She committed to talk to them and invite them to be taught by us and talk to them about her coming to our church. She was a bit nervous at first but by the end she knew it was going to work out.

We are being so blessed for our hard work and obedience. The area has improved so much from my first week here. I was looking through my planner last night. We have doubled and even tripled some of the stats and I know it's not because I'm just some super awesome Elder but it’s because we are being diligent in our efforts, being obedient, and just enjoying it all. Things are going really well and it's helping the time go by. This transfer is almost over and I can't even believe it.

I love you all,
Elder Kupka

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 71

Hello everybody!

It has been a great week in Uitenhage again. Last Monday we had an FHE with the Tshibo family. Sister Tshibo wasn't feeling well so it was us and Brother Tshibo and the kids. It went well and we watched a bunch of Mormon messages.

Tuesday was a great day because almost all of our appointments held. We were able to see Sister Hendrickse and go over the baptismal interview questions with her which she knew very well. She's on track to be baptized next month.

Then we had a lesson with a lady named Joleen. We had tracted into her area and we had a great first appointment. She has been semi-active in her own church but she wants to learn more about our church and has a great desire to learn.

We saw Princess and Zandy and tried to fill out their baptismal records. It took forever because they kept trying to be funny and telling us the wrong information. They are so funny and Asanda was with us so it was a good time.

Then we had a lesson with the Xangatis about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Wednesday started off well with an appointment with Mfundo in which he told us that he wants to be baptized and become a member of the church so of course we were more than willing to oblige. He's scheduled for next month on the 23rd of November.

Then the rest of our day dropped until Asanda that night. So we tried tracting/finding and it wasn't too successful but hey, we're trying. We had a sweet lesson with Asanda about faith. We always have great lessons with him. Unfortunately, he's going to be locked up in his high school for the next six weeks. The school thinks that it will help the students pass their tests but I think it's insane. We're going to try and visit him there sometime. Hopefully it works out.

Thursday our first two appointments held. One with a lady named Shaida who we had tracted into. We had planned on teaching her about the restoration like we normally do but after we chatted with her for a bit I felt like we just needed to jump right in with the Book of Mormon.

So we did and you could see that it got her thinking and we read a few verses that she needed to hear. We don't have a return appointment yet but she said that she's going to call us so hopefully we got the cogs turning there.

Friday was a good day. We had district meeting in the morning and during this transfer President Merrill started something new where he gave us nine different topics for district meeting and we got to pick one and come up with the whole district meeting ourselves. It was different but I enjoyed it.

I did my district meeting on the talk "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox. It went really well and I talked about how we can use His grace in our lives as missionaries and in our own personal challenges.

After District Meeting we went on exchanges. I went with Elder Tennant who is a super awesome guy from Australia and we had a great time together. He also did Princess and Zandy's baptismal interview. They're date had to be moved back again to November 9th because the Presiding Bishop is coming to Port Elizabeth on Sunday to talk to the Stake so we are having a special conference with him that day. It should be really cool and I'm excited.

Nothing else very interesting happened this week. We have some new investigators and we have quite a few that we were already working with so we have some very successful months ahead of us. I'm loving the work.


Elder Kupka