Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 43

Hello all,
Here's this week.

After emailing we went and changed our clothes to get ready for our appointments. It’s beginning to become winter here. It's getting colder and has been raining for the past two days. As we were headed to Capricorn Brother Davison called and cancelled our appointment with him so we just had Brother Chimonenji. We were late because of traffic but he was late as well and it all worked out.

Brother Chimonenji had recently moved to a new place so while we were teaching him his new roommate came in and we started talking with him too. He had questions about fasting and about little children if they can be blamed for their parent’s sins. We answered both of his questions using the Book of Mormon and he really liked the answers we gave him. His name is Alexandro and we're going to start teaching him tomorrow.

It’s just another example of how everything works out not how we plan it to but how it needs to be. Everything that had to happen for us to meet this guy makes it seem impossible. He's from Durban and only recently moved to Cape Town and then Chimonenji just recently moved to stay with him and then we happen to set an appointment for when he would be there. The Lord knows who He has prepared and He has prepared many people here in Capricorn for us.

It was a bit of a rough day. None of our appointments held. We were able to visit some people but not teach anything and we set more appointments for later on. The best thing that happened today is that we got our flat sprayed for fleas. We've had a flea problem since I got here. Hopefully this will help because I have been so dang itchy.

Today was Zone Conference. We had to be in Bellville at 8:00 o’clock. We left our flat at 7:00 and it's a 40 minute drive. We got there after 8:00 because we were stuck in terrible traffic the whole way. Luckily everyone else got stuck in it and the 8:00 o’clock meeting was just for leadership. The actual conference started at 9:00.

It was a pretty sweet training. The AP's taught on the importance of prayer and how we need to be praying at all times whether we’re teaching or finding because it involves the Lord in our work. After their training we had a snack break. Elder Freitas offered to bless our snacks for us. So he blessed it and then he threw in, “please help us to find someone to teach while we eat”. He meant it as a joke and we had a good laugh. But then while we were eating the phone rings and some lady that had known the missionaries before asks if we can come and help at the library.

Apparently the missionaries in the past had been doing this. We've been trying to find more ways to give service to people and we had just prayed to find someone new to see. It was pretty powerful. We were stunned. The Lord really does answer prayers and I've gained a very powerful testimony of that. Not just from today, though that helped a lot, but from everything that's been happening on the mission.

President and Sister Woods gave us training on the Tree of Life. It was really awesome and led me to think about it in a whole new way. The basics of it are that we can use it as an analytical tool to see if our investigators are in the great and spacious building or partaking of the fruit or somewhere in between. Then once we realize where they are we can tailor the lesson to what's going to help them the most to partake of the fruit. Pretty powerful and definitely something we're going to start using. We have a recent convert who relapsed and started smoking cigarettes and this will be perfect for her I think.  Sweet day.

Last week we had a plumber come to look at our bathroom to see if he can put in a shower. Apparently our bath tub was leaking into the flat below us. He showed up today with a few other guys and started ripping our bathroom apart. Our sink, bath tub and all the tiles were gone. Luckily the other guys stay in the same complex so we'll have to go there to take showers in the mornings. These guys are apparently going to be working on our bathroom until next week Friday. Lucky us!

Other than that we had a decent day. We went to see a less active family that had been returning to church but they weren't there. One of their daughters was there and she hasn't been coming at all. We were able to talk to her in the doorway for half an hour or so and she wants us to keep coming back and help her get back to church. Just another instance of the Lord knowing what's best.

I've learned that when appointments drop it's for a reason and there is someone else that we need to go see instead. After that we went to see another family that has been investigating. It’s a husband and wife and their son. They had another guy staying with them today that they knew back in Malawi. We taught them about the Book of Mormon and the wife loved it and was very accepting of it. The other two, not so much.

They had problems with there being another "bible" and Jesus couldn't possibly visit the people in the Americas and if He did why didn't he come to Africa. We kept showing them answers to their questions in the Book of Mormon and the Bible but they were still very skeptical. By the end I was just pleading with them to give it a chance; to read it and pray about it and then make their own decision about it. I didn't want to bash with them. I didn't want to prove that one of us was right and one was wrong, I just wanted them to give it a chance. I think eventually it got through to them and they said that they would.

I can see where they are coming from though. They've been taught one thing their whole life and now two white guys are telling them that there's more and some of their ideas are false. It's a difficult thing. But the spirit can work miracles in people and help to testify to them of the truthfulness of our message. I hope they read and pray.

After that appointment we had dinner with Brother Sam and his family. We had rice balls and peanut soup which is surprisingly very hot but very good. It's something unique to Ghana. It was a nice way to finish the evening.

This week has been hard statistic wise but I don't care. I feel like we've still done a lot to help people and that's what I'm here for.

We had a really awesome lesson with a guy named Brother Stone. Missionaries used to teach him a long time ago but he slipped through the cracks. We found him again thanks to one of our fellow shippers. He's a way cool guy and owns a few different complexes to let to people. He never made it to church before but now he has a car and wants to come.

We had a great lesson with him about prophets and what they do and how we know if they're called by God. We resolved his concerns and he committed to pray about it. We also saw the Masselas. We decided to use the training we had on Wednesday about the Tree of Life with them. We went through it and had each of them draw their own picture and then we explained it along the way. It went really well. They are some really smart kids.

We had sports night with the Ward tonight. They do it on the last Friday of every month. We played soccer and volleyball and ping pong. There were even things for the Primary children to do and it was awesome! We had a few investigators come and I got to know some of the Ward members better; very sweet activity.

We met with Brother Ghanizani again today. This time he had two new friends who we met with. It's hard to teach him because he always has new friends there but they always turn out to be new investigators so it's not too bad. It was Frank and Lennox today and we got a return appointment with both of them.

We happened to run into Brother Alexandro on the street. He had missed our last appointment but it was due to some heavy rains we were having. He told us we could come over in half an hour and see him so we did. It was an awesome lesson. We just talked about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. He was a bit confused on the different roles so we cleared it up and by the end he was saying that it's true what we were saying. We then both felt impressed to invite him to be baptized so we did and he accepted. He then said that he just had one question. Which church do we represent? We hadn't even told him yet. Whoops. But he loves our message and the Book of Mormon. He's an awesome guy  and you can't help but love him.

Today started with correlation meeting at 7 in the morning with the Bishop and the 1st counselor. We do it every 5th Sunday apparently. It was actually really good. It was good to be able to talk with them about specific people and they were able to tell us what they want us to be doing. The two main things that happened were that we are having two baptismal services on the 12th and the 13th. The 12th will be for Sister Davison and three other convert baptisms from the other area. Then the 13th will be for the Massela girls. The Bishopric thought that it would be best for many different reasons.

The Bishop also asked us to strengthen the Melchizedek priesthood holders in Grassy Park. The ward is very close to splitting. The boundaries have been drawn up but there are a few small things to take care of and then the split will happen. It was very exciting and very motivating.

We then had Church which is always wonderful. In the third hour we had a combined meeting with everyone and Sister Marsh talked about family history. She is the sweetest old lady and she has a great love for family history. It was a lesson that you had to be there for and I'm glad that I was. The whole Ward was motivated by it.

The Ward is going on a Temple trip this week and I'm very jealous. They all piled on a bus and began the 18 hour ride to Joburg. They really need to get a Temple here. The Stake just split into two but they are already speaking of splitting again and the Grassy Park branch would help a lot.

I love being on the mission here in South Africa. There is so much going on and so much excitement everywhere I go. We had some good lessons after church. We saw Brother Nyarai and decided to talk about family history with him. Turns out it's something that he's already been trying to do and is very interested in doing more. If this guy could just get Sundays off from work he would be a powerful member.

We finished the night at the Kipela's house with some homemade pasta. It was very good. Sister Kipela's step father was Italian so she really knows how to cook. It was an awesome week. As I said before it was not the best statistic wise but I can say that I am very proud of the work we've been able to do.

Love you all-
Elder Kupka

Monday, March 24, 2014


Week 42

Hello again,

I've been working very hard on my emails so I’m glad that they're turning out well. Cape Town isn't the greatest for missionary work. We're all very surprised to be as busy as we are. Last year the Meadow Ridge Ward had one baptism and the year before that they only had two. This year they've already had two and have another eight coming up next month. We have probably at least another eight coming up in May. Everyone is surprised by the success that we've been having; both the missionaries and the members. Hopefully it will help the members be more motivated to get involved as well. Brother Mike is a definite bonus to being here; I love him so much.

It’s crazy that the Kohlers are going to be mission presidents. The Alpine mission covers several countries I believe. Thanks for your email, Mom, I loved it. It almost made me tear up a bit. I'm looking forward to the birthday box for sure. Time is flying by and I still don't believe that I'm almost 20 years old or that I'm almost a year on the mission.

After emailing today Elder Freitas and I went to Burger King for lunch. Another one has popped up since I left Cape Town. So after today I've eaten at all three Burger Kings in Africa. I also bought some casual shoes that aren't running shoes. They were only 100 rand. They're just some black slip-ons.

We had a practice in Mowbray for the song that we have to sing in the upcoming Zone Conference. I forgot what the song is called but it's to the tune of “Be Still My Soul”.

We had an appointment with Sister Davison again tonight. We saw her the night before and asked her to just read a few verses from 1 Nephi 4 and when we got there she had read the entire chapter. This woman has kept every single commitment we've left for her. I don't know why I am blessed with such golden investigators. We had a great lesson finishing the Plan of Salvation. I'm so excited for her. After that we had an appointment with James Chimonenji. It was around 8:00 pm and it had gotten super dark and neither of us were feeling very safe in Capricorn so we decided to call him and reschedule for another time. We tried following up with a few people in Grassy Park but to no avail so we went home.

We saw Brother Asombi again this morning and read 1 Nephi 1 with him. He's progressing and I have high hopes for his family. After that we had lunch and then went to get the tyres rotated, balanced and aligned on our car. Then we went to pick up Brother Davison to take him to see Brother Asombi's kids. Eden and Exauc were the only two there but they said that they had sat down together on Sunday and read with Brimadi. So that was pretty cool. We started to teach them the Plan of Salvation. Eden especially liked the part about Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. We saw James Mphandi and taught him about the Book of Mormon and he really liked it and said that he would start reading it.

We had a very interesting start to our day today. One of our neighbors teaches a tourism class at a high school and she wanted Elder Freitas to come talk about Brazil. So we went and found out that it is an all-girl Catholic school and he was teaching a bunch of grade 10 girls. So he talked about why we're here as missionaries and then about Brazil.

At the end they asked me why I had been so quiet. I told them that I don't know anything about Brazil and that I'm from the U.S. All of a sudden they had a ton of questions for me. Luckily the bell rang and the class was over. They apparently end each class with a prayer over the loud speaker. I was quite confused because everyone was crossing themselves. But as they were leaving we gave each of them a pass along card. We got a sweet picture with all of them holding up their cards.

After the class the Reverend of the school talked to us for a bit and he wants us to come and teach his religion class next term. We also gave him a Book of Mormon and he's very excited to start reading it. After that we saw Brother James from yesterday again. He had a few friends come over so we decided to watch the Restoration DVD with them. He was asking questions throughout the whole movie and it was really making things clear for him. After the movie he basically taught the Restoration to his two friends and we got return appointments with both of them.

We had an awesome lesson with Sister Davison about the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is my favorite lesson. I don't know why but it just is. It went very well and she's super excited for her baptism. I am too. Our last appointment was with Brother Nyarai. This guy is so ready to be baptized. He offered us tea and Elder Freitas asked him if it was roiboos and he said, “of course” because that's what he's been taught. We then watched the Restoration DVD with him. I've seen this thing so many times it's ridiculous. It’s always cool to hear Brother Sorensen and Brother Nelson's voices in it (note: men from our Provo Ward). Nyarai loved it. He said that he'd seen it before but that this time it made much more sense to him. If this guy could just come to Church he'd be a Bishop already.

We started weekly planning in the morning but only got half way done because we had to see Brother Mida. We got to his house only to find him not there. We stopped by again later and found out that he had been in the hospital but we're not sure why. So we came back to the flat and finished our weekly planning and then went to Brother Mike’s for lunch.

I was on exchanges with Elder Clarke, the District Leader, today. We had district meeting in the morning and it was about the power and authority of the priesthood. Afterward, we went to Eastern Foods Bazaar for lunch and to celebrate Elder Kively's year mark. After that we went to pick up Kalen Hendricks, a member, to come fellowshipping with us. He's a really sweet kid. He's 16 years old but he's big enough to be 26. We took him to see someone who dropped so he then came tracting with us. 

I hate tracting! I'm so grateful that I haven't been in an area where I had to tract. Everyone we’ve met has been because of referrals or street contacting. When tracting everyone is rude and won't let you say two sentences. So of course our next two appointments also dropped and we went tracting some more. Blech! I love my area. We finished our uneventful day with correlation meeting and chocolate chip cookies which made things a little better.

We had a pretty promising day but more than half of our appointments dropped. I wasn't very surprised because that is a typical Saturday on the mission. The white handbook says that Saturdays are the best time for proselyting because everyone is home. Wrong. Everyone is gone or if they are home they're watching soccer and want nothing to do with us. We did manage to see the Masselas though and went over the baptism interview questions with them. They did awesome and we found out that I will be baptizing Victoria and Elder Freitas will be baptizing the twins. Pretty exciting stuff.

There was a drunk guy from Zimbabwe who came up and asked my companion and I if we were from the States. I said I was. He then went on to tell me that he'll get baptized and do whatever I want him to do as long as I can get him to the States. I kept telling him that there's nothing I can do for him but he wouldn't believe me. Finally he just gave up and I gave him a pass along card for his troubles. Drunk people are crazy. 

We did try to see the Davisons but Sister Davison was not feeling well so we gave her a blessing and let her sleep. When we got back to our flat our neighbors came out and gave us some chocolates to say thanks for going to their class and talking to them. They then invited us in. Elder Freitas was talking to the wife and I was talking to the husband. His name is Ken and he's a super nice and awesome guy but he was totally drunk. He was mixing red wine and Pepsi and kept offering some to me.

We talked for a while and for the most part it was pretty normal, except that he thinks he can psychically tell where I have problems in my body. So he kept poking me in different places saying that you need to get this and this looked at. Their daughter and her boyfriend were there too and they were asking me questions about America. Everyone thinks it’s the coolest thing that I come from there and want to know all about it. I never really know what to tell them. 

They're an awesome family and they said that we can use their braai stand whenever we want. We're thinking of having a braai on my birthday and inviting them so we can keep building our relationship with them and hopefully get them to come to Church. We gave Ken a Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet the next day.

Awesome day at church. We had six investigators there and they are all awesome. I'm so excited for this area. There's a lot of work to be done and these next few months should be amazing. After Church we taught the Davisons at the Chifarimba’s house. We talked about prayer, scripture study, obedience and following the Prophet and the Spirit was very powerful in their home. When they say it's best to teach investigators in member’s homes they are right. It's just hard for us because we can't give non-members rides in the car and most people don't have transport here. We're working with a few really awesome members though and that should really help out a lot.

Our last appointment today was with Sister Noxolo. She's been less active because her husband is not a member. She was baptized in Queenstown so knows a lot of the same people as me. She's been wanting to come back and we're starting to teach her husband. We were supposed to see them tonight but he was in the Eastern Cape for a funeral. So we went to get Brother Miley to come with us. It was an awesome lesson and he even offered to start taking her to Church on Sundays. I have seen so many miracles these past few weeks here. Things have been working out exactly how they need to. Not always how we want them to but exactly as they need to. Obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles. I've gained a huge testimony of that. Elder Freitas and I aren't perfect but we're doing our best and we are seeing lots of results.

This morning we went to Somerset West to Monkey Town. It was 60 Rand to get in and another 50 Rand to go in a cage with some little monkeys and feed them and let them crawl all over us. Totally worth it. I took probably 200 pictures and I'm trying to get them all on Dropbox. I've got about 40 on so far and it may take some time. Other than that we went to McDonald’s and are emailing from here. We have two appointments tonight so that should be fun.

Love and miss all of you!

Elder Kupka

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Week 41

I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying yourself in California, Mom. I love the ocean and I love seeing it. It just stinks that we can’t go into it. That's crazy that you met Elder Hiltbrand's mom. There is a guy in the Meadow Ridge Ward that just got back from Kenya the week I got here. It sounds like it would be a very interesting place to visit but I don't know if I could spend two years there. South Africa has got a good mix of crazy and civilized.

I do still have the Ward member’s addresses. I actually just re-found them today. When I first got them I was in Queenstown and there were no postcards there and then I forgot when I was in Port Elizabeth but I'll try and get some sent out now that I'm back in Cape Town. We do have an awesome ward back home. I've been able to get wifi access at the email shop and at the Chapel now so I should be back on track for sending emails every week. Things are always hectic the first week in a new area.

After emailing we went to Spur for lunch. It’s always a missionary favorite on Mondays because of the two-for-one burger deal. After that we went to the mission office and washed the car. With a shiny car we went to play sports in Pinelands where the missionaries gather every P-day. A nice thing about Cape Town is that you are around lots of missionaries and you can always find something to do. We played rugby for a bit and then we had to start heading back to get ready for two appointments that evening. On the way home we got caught in the worst traffic I've ever seen in my life. It took us forever to get home and then we were running late to our first appointment with Sister Davison. We finally got there and read from the Book of Mormon with her to get a foundation started. She's doing great. She and her husband are also starting to teach us Shona a bit. We were then late to see Brother Mida Asombi. He's the father of four kids, three of whom we've been teaching. We ended up not getting there until 8:00 pm because of all of the traffic and he said it was too late and to come back the next day at 2:00 in the afternoon. We were pretty disappointed because we really want to teach him so we can start getting his whole family involved together.

Brother Asombi was the first appointment. We had an amazing lesson with him about the restoration. He was understanding well and asking good questions. He's from the DRC so his English isn't the best but we were communicating just fine and he accepted a baptismal date of May 25. We just need to get his wife and oldest daughter on board and then we'll have a new family of seven people for the ward! We are so excited for them.

We also saw the Masselas, also from DRC. Three of their children are going to be baptized on the 13th of April. Two will be children of record, they're twins, and one is 10 years old and they somehow just didn't get around to baptizing her when her siblings were baptized. We had left them with a commitment to read 1 Nephi 6 and if they did we were going to watch the restoration DVD with them. When we got there we asked them if they had read chapter 6. They said no. And we were very disappointed until they said they had read chapters 6 and 7! Made my day! So we watched the DVD with them and they liked it a lot. I'm really enjoying myself here and I love the people. We also saw the Mbombos that night. They are another member family that forgot to baptize they're daughter. Miradi is their daughter who is our recent convert so we went to see her. Oh and they are also from the DRC. I'm going to end up speaking French by the time I leave here. Miradi was sleeping when we got there but the rest of the family wanted us to still share something so we ended up talking about our favorite subject. Missionary work! During the lesson we mentioned the Asombis and now they want to get involved in teaching and fellowshipping them. Missionary work here is just too easy.

Today we saw Kama. He's doing awesome. We watched the restoration DVD with him and we were going to commit him to be baptized after. During the DVD however the electricity ran out and the DVD got stuck in the machine before it finished. So we just rolled with it. Elder Freitas asked him if he remembered the part where Joseph Smith’s father was baptized. Kama gave him a really puzzled look and said no. Elder Freitas didn't know how to respond to that. I then remembered that DVD had stopped before it happened and jumped in and helped him explaining what happened and then asked if he would be baptized on the 25th of May. He said yes. He's a really cool kid. I call him kid but he's 20 so I guess he's older than me. For now. After him we had a lesson with a guy named James. He's one of the ones we had met outside of Chwayatile's house. We're talking for a bit and then Ganizani, another one of the people we had met when we met James, walks in and says he wants to be there for the lesson. So we start teaching them both. We got through the whole restoration but it took a while. They were asking lots of really good questions but we were hitting them with really good answers. After the lesson they said how much they liked our answers and how much sense they made. Ganizani has a position in the Presbyterian Church but he said he's going to come visit our Church in two weeks and he wants to read the Book of Mormon. It was powerful. We also saw Sister Davison that night. We started teaching about the plan of salvation. She offered the closing prayer and in it she mentioned how she knows the Book of Mormon is true. Just a nice little moment!

We saw Brother Asombi in the morning and this time we were teaching him about the Book of Mormon. It was another solid lesson and we ended by reading Moroni 10:3-5. After we read it he turns to us and says, “I know this is true.” I always get the best feeling inside when investigators say that. It's been a very spiritual week.  We also saw James Chimonenji. We are teaching three different people named James. He's a guy who the APs were teaching before. Capricorn used to be their area but now it's part of ours. He's a really cool guy. We walked in on him reading the Book of Mormon and then re-taught him about the restoration to check his understanding. He knew it very well and we gave him a baptismal date for the 25th of May. After that we saw Lloyd. He's another guy we found on the street who has a girlfriend and two daughters. We're going to have to get some things sorted before they can be baptized but when we were ready to teach him he invited three of his neighbors to sit in and join us. That was pretty sweet. By the end of the lesson two of them had left but one was interested and wants us to keep teaching her. Her name is Yamkela. Not a bad day for my 9 month click day.

We had district meeting in the morning per usual. We talked about Christ-like attributes today. Afterwards we went to Brother Mike’s place and had Mike’s chicken. Afterward  we went and saw Sister Sifa. She's doing very well. She's still very pregnant and should be having her baby in the next few weeks. She's progressing well though. She feels like she's not getting an answer to her prayers about whether or not the Church is true. We told her it takes time and we introduced the Book of Mormon to her and said it should help her  get an answer if she reads it. We then saw Chwayatile and Kama and talked about the priesthood and prepared Chwayatile to bless the sacrament on Sunday. That night we got fed by Brother Sam. He’s an awesome guy with two little girls and they fed all six of us. It was good. Then we went to correlation meeting. Brother Knighton’s wife works for the U.S. Embassy so they live in a 10 million rand house in a super nice gated community. They have a great view of Cape Town so I don't mind going to correlation. Brother Knighton sells soap as a side business while the Embassy takes care of them. They are from Idaho

Wasn't our best day. Almost all of our appointments dropped so we set a bunch of new appointments for next week. We filmed our report for the upcoming Zone Conference. It's to the tune of “Last Friday Night” by Katy Perry but the ZLs redid it and now it's called “At Brother Mike’s”. They basically just filmed us having a party at Brother Mike’s place. I hope it didn't get too wild. They're going to make us a DVD so you guys will get to see it eventually.


Church was great today. We had six investigators there. In the gospel principle’s class there were only people from our area. After Church we were going to join the choir but it got cancelled. So we went back to the flat and I made some mince and pasta with frozen vegetables. Then we went to see Kama. He had a friend over when we got there so we started talking to both of them and then two more friends showed up. We talked for a while and introduced what we do as missionaries and talked a bit about our message and now all three of them want us to start teaching them. Afterwards we went over to the Davison’s house. We continued teaching the plan of salvation and Sister Davison was asking lots of good questions and explaining things well. You can see a huge change in her from the first lesson. She was very shy at first and it was hard to get her to say much but now she's asking questions and explaining things and doing amazing. I'm so happy for her. We've had a powerful week and the work here is just exploding and I'm grateful that I have this opportunity to be a part of it.

Love you all,
Elder Kupka

Week 40

It's been a very hectic week.  I haven't had time to start writing my email until now and it is Friday. Monday after emails I spent the whole day stressing out about where I was going. I still couldn't believe that they were whitewashing our area and I was leaving after just six weeks.

After emailing we went to an aquarium and it helped to get my mind off things. The aquarium also had sea lions and penguins and they did a little show with the sea lions and we watched them feed the penguins. It was pretty sweet and a girl from Wisconsin was the one doing the show. When she found out we were also Americans after the show she went and got a baby turtle and let us all hold it.

That night we had an FHE with the Chimutis again. We talked about charity and love then said our good-byes and took pictures. It's very strange telling people we both have to leave and they were sad to see us go. After that we just sat around the boarding waiting for the APs to call me and the ZLs since Elder Carlson had already gotten his news from the President. The call never came. We didn't want to bug the APs so we just went to sleep.

Elder Mahoney sent them an SMS in the morning asking what our news was. They finally called and said that they had forgotten about us somehow. But I finally got my news. I'm going back to Cape Town to the same Zone as before just in Meadow Ridge Ward. Elder Mahoney is coming with me to keep being my ZL and I'm in an area called Grassy Park. My new companion is Elder Freitas. He's from Brazil. I'd never met him before but we've had a blast together these last few days. He's only one transfer older than me so that's nice. Old missionaries all just talk about home so it's nice to be around someone else that's still got a year left.

We spent all of Tuesday saying good-bye to people. One funny story is that we went to say good-bye to some people with the car. During one of the good-byes Elder Mahoney went out to the car to grab something from the boot. When he came back in the keys were missing. He ended up shutting the keys in the boot when we were already running late to see other people. To make things even better. The Blatters, who have the spare keys, are in Joburg and no one has access to their flat. So we got a hanger. Pried the door back a bit and after 15 minutes Elder Carlson was able to loop it around the lock and pull it up. The alarm didn't even go off. Glad to know these are safe cars.

Wednesday was transfer day and Elder Carlson’s bus left at 6:40 and our flight left at 8:00. So we were running around all over trying to get everyone to where they need to be. Eventually it all worked out and everyone ended up in their new area. The nice thing about transfer day in Cape Town is that everyone meets up at the mission home and they provide food for us. So I was able to see so many people I hadn't seen in a long time and grab some food too. It was quite nice. Elder Frietas eventually got there and we left for the flat. I'm driving an Etios again and I'm pumped for the manual. Our flat is pretty nice. They moved in here about a month ago and all of the appliances are brand new. The only down part to this place is we don't have a shower, just a bath. They're nice but they take forever.

Wednesday afternoon we had a few appointments. The first lessons together are always a bit shaky but we did alright and got two new baptismal dates on my first night here! One is Sister Davison; she is married to an RM and wants to be baptized on April 13. We apparently have two more baptisms on that day too. The other is Sister Adesi and we’re going to try for May with her. We also got fed that night by a member who everyone said really wanted to see me. That member was Brother Mike! I'm in his Ward now. He gave me the biggest hug when I got there. I could not stop smiling the whole time I was there. I was pretty sad to be leaving Walmer but I love my area, love my companion, and love Brother Mike. This is the only place I could have gone and been happy about it.

Thursday we only had one set appointment so went around trying to find some people and meet members. It wasn't working out the greatest. We did have one recent convert tell us to come back; the Masela family. They’re a member family but they forgot to baptize one of their daughters who is now 10 so she’s one of the baptisms in April. She also has twin little sisters who are seven but turn eight on April 13th so they'll all be baptized together. They're sweet kids and they understand quite a bit. We read a chapter in the Book of Mormon with them.

Then we went back to see the recent convert guy. His name is Chwaytile. He was in a rush when we got there so we just scheduled an appointment. There were some other guys sitting outside and they started asking why we never talk about Jesus with them. We gave them pamphlets and then started getting their contact details. While we were getting their information two more guys showed up and wanted us to teach them too. So we got their info and then decided to just sit down and have a lesson with three of the four guys then since one had left. It was a good lesson and they asked lots of questions. We were able to get a return appointment with all three.

As we were about to leave another guy comes up and he's from Mozambique so the other guys introduced him to Elder Freitas since they both speak Portuguese. They talked for a while and now this guy wants to be taught too. I've never seen anything like this. It was powerful and exactly what they need. All of them are married and have kids and I'm very excited for them. They are trying to split Grassy Park and Meadow Ridge into two different Wards and if we added five more father lead families it would be perfect.

Another cool thing is that the Cape Town Stake split this last Sunday into two Stakes. I wish I had gotten here a few days sooner to see it. Oh well. Friday was another very solid day. We had Zone meeting in the morning and we talked about involving the right members with specific investigators. It was a good training and afterwards we went over to Brother Mike’s for food. I've missed these days. I really am glad to be back.

We had an appointment at half two with Sister Sifa. She's a very pregnant investigator and very prepared. We taught the restoration and she believes everything we said but she needs to pray about it which is exactly what we want her to do. She's probably going to have her baby at the end of the month but she said she'll start coming to Church after that. We were teaching her and her sister. Her sister likes it too but they're from Burundi and she speaks mostly French. So she'll have a harder time. Both are very sweet.

We had a lesson with a guy named Nhyarai from Malawi. This guy is awesome. We read 1 Nephi 5 & 6 with him and this guy understood everything and was making some deep connections. His problem is he works every Sunday and he's going back to Malawi next month. But he'll be back in June and things will be easier for him to come to Church then so he's got a baptism date in June.

We also taught a guy named Charles also from Malawi. This guy is sweet. His English isn't the best and we spent a lot of time trying to define words like nevertheless but eventually he understood it all and if everything goes well he'll be baptized on April 13. This area is crazy busy and I'm loving it.

Elder Freitas and I are doing great. I'll have to check on Monday but we might be the second youngest companionship in the mission which is crazy considering he's 10 months and I'm 9. Saturday was a pretty sweet day. We taught Zackeyo this morning. We read from the Book of Mormon with him and he had already started reading so we just kept going. He also asked us afterwards why Muslims are all so wealthy. Elder Freitas shared a scripture about trials and then we talked about how we really learn and grow and how money wasn't going to make us the most happy in the next life. He really liked our answer and said he wasn't going to go become a Muslim so that's a bonus.

We had a few other lessons and had one drop but we were able to make three new appointments with some other people so it worked out fine. We then went to correlation at the chapel. This Ward actually has Ward missionaries and they come once a month. We had to drive two of the three because they are only 16 and 17. They're pretty sweet kids though and I'm going to enjoy having them around. In this Ward there are six full time missionaries; two of which are the Assistants. Needless to say, Elder Freitas and I were the most productive. We have five people who could be baptized on April 13, a few in May and one in June. There's only one other baptism between the other four Elders.

So you could say we're the best, but really the spirit is the best. The spirit has been so strong in some of the lessons that we had this week and I'm so grateful that we don't have to do it alone. I've only been here four days and it's been a great four days.

Sunday was awesome. The Ward is pretty great. There's actually quite a few that I recognized from my time in Mowbray Ward. Everyone always asks where I'm from when they see Kupka and when I tell them Utah you can see that they are disappointed. I guess that's what you get for being from the “missionary factory” as everyone here calls it.

After Church we had a very busy day. We even had to turn down a dinner appointment from a member because we were so busy. We taught Chwayatile and his brother Kama. Chwaytile is a recent convert and his brother was taught the first lesson today. He seems very accepting to it because he's seen what it has done for Chwayatile already. We then saw Brother and Sister Davison. Brother Davison is no longer working at his job so he made it to Church today. Sister Davison didn't make it today but should be able to come for the next five weeks until her baptism. Everything is in order for her to be baptized we just need to finish teaching her. We watched the restoration DVD with her today and then introduced the Book of Mormon.  It was such a spiritually charged lesson. Everything was flowing perfectly and her husband was bearing powerful testimony which helped. It's too easy with her.

Our last lesson was with brother Nyarai. He had read chapter 7 and summarized it perfectly and then compared it to a chapter in Judges. I am so impressed with this guy. We went on to read chapter 8 with him and afterwards he commented on how when we read with him he feels a burning desire in his heart to keep going and learn more. That was a pretty awesome and spiritual moment for me. I've been so happy this week and so busy that it is just flying by. I love the Ward and everyone that we are teaching.

It's been a great week and it's only week 1! One other side note; I found out this week that Sister Zita and Jean Jacque, who were the only progressing investigators I had the last time I was here, are both getting baptized at the end of this month! It's so awesome to see that the seeds that I had planted are blossoming into such a wonderful thing. This has been one of my best weeks on the mission.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 39

I'm glad you enjoyed my last letter and I think this week’s letter is going to be even better. Unfortunately, I don't have the wifi password here just yet so I'll hopefully be able to send it later today. We're going to Spur and probably going to stop by the mission office and I'll be able to send it from there.

In case I don't get a chance to email today; I'm in Cape Town again, serving in Grassy Park in the Meadowridge Ward. It's the Ward next to Mowbray. My companion is Elder Freitas from Brazil. He's awesome. He's only one transfer ahead of me and we've been doing great.

I've taken lots of pictures and they'll hopefully be on Drop Box. They're mostly saying goodbye to people and from the aquarium we went to last week. I'll try and upload some now.

Love you!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 38


You guys aren't that boring, Mom, and it's good to hear all that’s going on at home. We don’t have the same rule about not eating with the members like you had in your mission. Most of the members in our area are rich. There's only one family in the township that feeds us every other Monday and they drive a car so I don’t think it’s hard on them. We paid Brother Mike in Cape Town because he would feed six missionaries a day and then ten on Fridays.

I've been doing good health wise so far. Unfortunately, we found out today that they are white washing our area. There was an Elder who needed to train but he'd been in his last area for six months so they had to white wash an area for him so they chose ours. Elder Carlson is going to Mthata and I'm going to Cape Town but I don't know where; I'll find out tonight. I'll tell you next week where I end up in Cape Town. Or Cape Tizzle as the missionaries call it.

We started today off at the frail care centre. It was us and the Zone Leaders. We thought we were going to do gardening but when we got there they asked us to come inside with the residents. We were totally unprepared so we decided we could sing some hymns to start and then go from there. Luckily my iPod has sheet music on it so Elder Mahoney used it to play and then we sang. Elder Torr, Elder Carlson and I are very tone deaf and we didn't always remember all of the words. We introduced ourselves between the songs and then talked with the people. It actually turned out pretty well and I enjoyed it.

After frail care we went back to our boarding to help Brother Fourie move a mattress from another one of his properties. That only took 20 minutes so we went to email since we didn't get to on Monday.

We had two good appointments but then our next two appointments dropped and we could not think of anything to do so we took Elder Maynes’ training advice and did “finding” for two hours. It was a little rough at first but the more we did it the better it got and we ended up getting six return appointments. There is a couple with some great potential and I'm very excited.

Elder Carlson is a computer genius. He fixed them back home for work. Elder Silcock and his wife have been here for about two months but they needed help setting their iPad up to print so they called Elder Carlson and we went over there this morning to help. I got to eat bacon, eggs, and pancakes and talk to Elder and Sister Silcock while Elder Carlson tried to figure it out. They don't have a laptop and that's what he needs to get it working so we're going to HAVE to go back again. I don't mind.

We then went to do service for Sister Parkin. She is a member in the Zone Leader’s area and we helped her install shelves in her kitchen and bathroom. South African construction is not the same. We had to drill a hole and then use a different bit to drill a bigger hole and then we had to pound in a fish plug and then hand screw a screw into that. It would have taken five minutes back home but here it took us two hours to hang mirrors and replace some drawer handles.

We then went to the area where we had a promising day with four appointments; all of which dropped. So we followed up on some of the people from yesterday that dropped and were able to see Thembelani. He's a stud and he'll probably be able to make it to Church this Sunday. His soccer league ends next month so then he'll be able to come more often. I'm pumped for him and I know he'll get baptized.

Other than that we did some more finding and set some appointments with people and gave Brother Johnson a blessing. He's confined to a wheelchair but he wants to get better so bad. He's also a super powerful guy and I love visiting him. I hope we can get him to Church soon because he really misses it.

Today we did the weekly planning for next transfer. It's crazy how fast this one has gone by. Most likely nothing will change on our side, but you never know. Our first appointment was with the Dwyi family. They are a bit less promising so we don't have high hopes. Brother Dwyi ended up talking about his life, and how Jesus saved it, for about 45 minutes straight. He also told us how he used to be a boxer and I was thinking to myself that he's been hit in the head a few too many times. He then tells us that he's been hit in the head and that's why he quit boxing. Poor guy. We gave him a card for a DVD and if he orders that we'll take it to him but other than that we're probably not going back.

We had another lesson but then two more dropped appointments so, more finding! I've never done so much finding on my mission. In Queenstown we were always busy and never had to. Here we've been busy enough that we don't have to but we've had a crazy week full of dropped appointments so I guess it's good to learn how to do it effectively.

We found two more guys with great potential today and we have some awesome lessons coming up. Hopefully they hold. Our last appointment was with a few girls from the South Africa women’s rugby team. One of them is a member and she and her friend came to Church last Sunday and her friend wants to know more. So we went and taught Nana and she seems very prepared for the gospel so we’re going to go back and teach her. The whole team wants us to come back and do a Family Home Evening with all of them. It sounds like a lot of fun and hopefully some more of them will start taking the lessons with Nana and start coming to Church.

Today was another bad day. We had five set appointments and every single one of them dropped. Everyone we tried to go see instead --- not there. We biked up and down the township for four and a half hours. We did find two more guys who have some potential while we were street contacting but that was about it for the day.

We ended the day at Elder and Sister Blatter’s flat. Elder Carlson fixed their internet while I sat and talked to Sister Blatter and ate brownies. It's not bad to be me. They also invited us to come over for fajitas in the future. They're going to Joburg for some PEF training for a week but after that we get to go over for fajitas. I love senior couples; they make bad days seem not so bad.

I don't know what's been up with this week. We had seven scheduled appointments and six of them dropped. Thembelani was our saving grace again. I can't wait for him to be baptized. Other than that it was an extremely windy day. Elder Carlson’s tire completely deflated and we had to go back to the flat to fix it and by the time it was fixed it was too late to go back out to do anything. It's been a rough, rough week. Hopefully things pick up again soon.

Oh, Elder Carlson bought wax strips and had me wax his chest. I had a fun time and I totally caught him off guard a few times! We filmed the whole thing but its eleven minutes long so you'll have to wait until I get back to see it. We also did a little bit of shopping but today is payday and every store is filled with people. Everyone spends all of their money on payday and then barely makes it through the rest of the month.

Church was very nice today. I love fast and testimony meetings. There are some really awesome people here. We even had investigators at Church to listen to them. One was Nana, the rugby girl. Thobile, the guy we've been teaching couldn't make it, but he sent his three kids to Church. I hope he can make it soon.

I taught the gospel principle’s lesson after Sacrament Meeting and it was about the millennium. The two investigators that were in the class hadn't even been taught the plan of salvation yet so I turned it into more of a plan of salvation lesson. It worked out very well. After Church we went to Sister Parkin’s flat for lunch with the ward mission leader and his wife. We ate outside in the garden. She fed us lots of vegetables and gamin and chicken and it was a very good meal to break our fast.

We had two appointments after lunch that the other Elders took us to but they both dropped, bringing our total up to 21 dropped appointments in one week. That's got to be a record or something. We were able to see Sister Margret and teach her and then we tried to find a guy that we had met street contacting. He said he lives behind one of the spazza shops.

Spazza shops are little shops that sell just about everything and they're all over the township. We went to the one that he said and there were a bunch of shacks and only one of them was open. We knocked at that one and the guy called us in. He was very drunk and would stutter for ten seconds before he could say anything. We asked him if he knew the guy we were looking for and he said no and then he asked us if we were the Jesus people. This went on for a bit until we gave him a pamphlet and left.

The townships are filled with so many drunk people on the weekends. Every little shabeen is full of people getting drunk. I've never smelled so much or seen so many drunk people in my life. Not to mention that there is broken glass everywhere. We tried following up on some people but had no success so we decided to call it a week because it was getting dark.

Thus ends the craziness of this week. And thus ends the 6th week of my 6th transfer on the mission. At this coming transfer I will turn 10 months old on the mission and have my 20th birthday. Elder Torr will turn 22 months on the mission and my companion, Elder Carlson, will be having his last weekend on the mission. Needless to say, we are going to party hard...but not too hard since we are still missionaries!

Love you all,

Elder Kupka