Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 35

It's been a fast eight months let alone a fast week, Mom. As of tomorrow I'll have been out of the U.S. for eight months and it is super crazy to think about how fast the time has gone by. I was the youngest Elder on this side of the Zone at last Zone Conference. So now we have a greenie (me at 8 months) and then the next missionary has been here 17 or 18 months. In other words, we are a pretty old Zone.

I'm sad to be missing the Olympics because those are always super fun to watch. I remember when they were in Utah very well. It kind of surprises me how well I remember all of the events we went to since that was 12 years ago. I'm so jealous of the ping pong table you have now, too. I played a ton in college and got pretty good. The pie social at the Ward sounds like a fun time.

This week has been a huge improvement from last week. We were able to teach a lot more and we found six new investigators and a few more people who have some potential. Unfortunately, none of our investigators made it to Church this week. Hopefully, we'll be able to change that.

We did have a bit of an interesting lesson with one of the potential investigators though. We went to teach a family that had been found last transfer but hadn't been taught yet. We started teaching the father and he's a super powerful guy and we thought it was going to be awesome. Half way through he invites his wife to join us and I was talking to her about prayer and I was asking her about how she would feel if her son didn't talk to her. All of a sudden she points at her husband and says, “This man is a liar! Our marriage is falling apart and we're going to get a divorce. He's abusive and he chased me with an ax the other day.”

The guy looks at us and says, “It's all true” and then tries to defend himself. Meanwhile my companion and I are just sitting there without a clue what to say while they went back and forth accusing each other of things. Finally my companion shared some ideas about eternal families and we talked about trials but now they want us to come back and start giving them advice on their marriage. It's going to be very interesting. We were supposed to see them yesterday but they weren't there. Hopefully we'll be able to help them to make the best decisions and not chase each other around with axes.

On Saturday we had exchanges again and I was in Lorraine with Elder Cobabe. We went to visit a family who live on a farm that is about a 30 mile drive away. That means when they come to church it takes them around 45 minutes to get there. They fed us an amazing meal of steak, boerewors, macaroni salad, real salad, rolls, and a berry meringue for dessert. It was amazing. We then just sat around and talked for a long time and by the time we looked at our watches we had been there for three and half hours and it was 9 o’clock at night. They are an awesome family.

As we were walking out the door their daughter told us that she had hurt her knee so she wasn’t going to walk out to the car with us. It is pitch black on their farm so we we're walking along with the parents when the daughter popped out of the bushes and screamed at us. I kinda jumped a bit but Elder Cobabe let out a super girly scream. It was so funny; he ran straight for the car!

Sunday was another good Sabbath day. I love having 10 o'clock church and we're a five minute walk from the Chapel so it's nice. We had no investigators between us or the Zone Leaders so we went to the adult Sunday School class. It was very strange being around so many old people in one class. By old I mean married.

After church we were fed by Sister Bell. She had a ton of food and it reminded me of Queenstown because it was a lot of traditional Xhosa foods; chicken, beef, rice, potatoes, beans, squash. I bought groceries this last week but I've only had to cook for myself twice.

Not much else interesting has happened this week. I think I'm going to start writing my emails every night before I go to bed and then I'll send them all on Mondays. I've had a great week and this next week is going to be another good one.

I love you guys,
Elder Kupka

This is Trent's response to his Dad's questions from this week's email:

Hello Dad,

I have had a great week. We were able to get a lot more teaching done. We stay in a large apartment complex. There is the member’s home and then next to it is a bunch of apartments that they built to rent out to people and then next to that is a little flat that the Elders stay in. We have two bedrooms that can only fit a bunk bed in each for the four of us and then there is a kitchen and a bathroom with a sliding door that doesn't completely cover the door way. It's a fun one.

The big fences are because of crime. All of the richer people from Cape Town to Queenstown have giant walls with electric fences or spikes on top. When you tract there you don't even get to see the people you just talk to them through the buzzers. That area that you saw south of the rail road tracks is where we do most if not all of our work. It's called a township and during apartheid it's where the white people put all of the black people. There are lots of townships scattered across the whole country.

Apartheid is over now so they can move out but so many of them are still so poor that they have to keep living there. There are some decent houses but most of them are super small or if they are slightly bigger then there are lots of people living in them. There are also tons of tin shacks everywhere for people to live in too. One of the people that we visit lives in such a small place that there is only room for a bed and a little burner stove. We have to sit on buckets of laundry soap and the bed and then there's no room to move. It's crazy how small it can get.

People cut hair in rail cars and sell things out of them and some people even live out of them. I saw one with windows and a door cut into it. I see cows and donkeys and chickens running around all over the place every day. The school uniform is something that every student wears throughout the country. All of the public schools have different uniforms and most are all-boy or all-girl schools.

We've had a lot more success this week teaching wise and found six new investigators but none of them came to Church so hopefully that will be the next step. Elder Carlson and I are getting a long good. He's a good guy and we're doing very well. He's one of my better companions. The bikes are good. It is getting me into shape but it's so hot out and I get so sweaty when we show up to appointments.

I got the package that you sent with the ties in it this last week. Thank you very much! I love them. I've worn all three of them already. Hope all is going well with the family back home. I love and miss you guys.

Elder Kupka