Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Week 51

Hello everyone,

Today we decided to go shopping for P-day. I learned that it is next to impossible to find short sleeve white collared shirts. So it looks like I'll be sticking it out with the ones I have. We had dinner with Bishop Daubney and his wife and it was very nice. We had apple crumble for dessert which is the first time I've had a fruit pie here and it was delicious. It wasn't the most exciting P-day but it was a good one.

Today was a pretty unique day. Compared to what we had planned the day turned out almost nowhere near the same. Our first few appointments dropped and our last two appointments dropped. We saw the Masselas again and talked about temples. It was pretty good. The girls can be a bit crazy sometimes but they are awesome.  

We were also able to see one of Sister Gideon's brothers, Arthur, and his family. It was more of a visit to get to know them before we go on Sunday. They are an awesome family. They have a guy staying there from the West Coast. I can't even pronounce the name of his city let alone spell it. But he looks exactly like Mario, my roommate in college. I seriously kept thinking it was him. It was the strangest thing.

After visiting with them we had dinner with Sister Thorne and her daughter, Jan and Ryan, our fellowshipper. It was a great evening because they are so much fun and we had a huge meal of chicken and rice and curry and woers rolls and garlic bread and salad and grilled mushrooms. It was an awesome meal and afterwards we read parts of Helamen 5 with them and talked about the atonement and repentance. It was a very nice evening. You just had to be there.

Well our first appointment held today and our last appointment held and that was about it. We spent the rest of the time visiting members and scheduling some appointments and re-scheduling others. Our first appointment, however, was awesome. We saw Brother Benjamin and Sister Anna and watched the restoration DVD with them. Afterwards they understood it so well. I've never seen someone understand so well. They both expressed how Joseph Smith was a prophet and how the Book of Mormon is true and how the church is true. They both have a baptismal date now for the 27 of July. The only thing that could interfere would be Brother Benjamin's work but we’re praying for him.

We were supposed to have a dinner appointment with Sister McNish at Ocean Basket tonight so we were waiting there with the other guys and finally decided to call her. Apparently she told Bishop, who was supposed to tell us, that she couldn't make it anymore. We were already in the restaurant so we decided just to order and pay for ourselves. It was really good; the best fish I've ever had and I don't usually like fish. We ordered platters that came with the catch of the day, 12 prawns, 6 mussels, and a bunch of deep fried calimari and chips and rice. We also got cheesecake and ice cream for dessert. After dinner we had to run to see the Gideons. We read the Book of Mormon with them and are continuing to prepare them for their baptism on June 8.

Well, we taught one lesson today to Chaona about temples and eternal marriage and had dinner with the Scheepers. Things have been hard these last two weeks and it's because there is a taxi war going on Capricorn. Taxis are the biggest form of transportation here, especially in the townships and two different gangs run the taxis and now they're fighting and shooting each other.

About 20 people have been shot and killed so far in the last two weeks. So we are completely avoiding that area for now. Unfortunately, that's where most of our teaching pool is. We've been trying to build the Grassy Park side but it's hard. We're still working hard though. Hopefully we'll be blessed soon.

We did manage to stop by to see a potential investigator, Florence, and talked with her and her husband, Good Hope, for a bit and she said she wanted to come to church on Sunday. Unfortunately, her husband works on the weekends and can't get weekends off. But they have great potential.

We taught 0 lessons today. Every appointment we had dropped so that was hard. Luckily we had district meeting in the morning, Brother Mike’s for lunch, and correlation tonight instead of Saturday. It still wasn't my best day.

I got to go on exchanges with Elder Mahoney again today! It was awesome. We had a great time and were able to see Chaona and help him with his talk a bit and talked to him about teaching and learning and service in the church.

After his lesson we had lunch and I cooked for Elder Mahoney. Back in Queenstown Elder Black and I had tried to cook lunch for Elder Mahoney and Elder Obonye. It was absolutely terrible. So today I was very happy to redeem myself and I made a nice mince and bacon pasta with gouda cheese and some very nice pasta sauce that had olives in it. It was much better this time. 

Other than that we were able to see the Pietersons and the Nabbes and talk with them and share a few Mormon messages. We finished the night at Burger King with the whole zone. It was a better day than yesterday by far.

Church was nice today. We had seven investigators come to church and one of them was Florence. It was a good Sunday. Unfortunately, Florence left before we had a chance to talk to her but we'll be seeing her on Wednesday and we can find out how she liked it. After church Lordina was baptized. She's a member’s sister who's been staying here to go to school. So after church they had all of us over for lunch. 

We had three appointments today and all of them dropped before we even finished lunch so we just spent the day going around saying goodbye to people for Elder Freitas. We had dinner at the Kipela's house, dessert at the Tonkin's house, and a peach crumble to take home from Sister Jan Thorne. It was a good day with lots of food but no actual teaching appointments. I find out tomorrow night who my new companion will be and I'm very excited.

Love you all,
Elder Kupka

Ocean Basket with the Zone

The Kipela Family

Monday, May 19, 2014

Week 50

Mwribwangi Achimwenes!
(Hello, how are you friends --- in Chi Cheywa, the language of Malawi)

I realized today that I sent pictures of what we did for P-day last week but never told you what it all was. Well, we went to Fish Hoek to visit the penguins at Boulder Beach. Fish Hoek is a very beautiful place right next to the ocean. The penguins were pretty cool but to get close to them we would've had to pay 55 Rand to go down on the beach and no one wanted to pay the money or break the rules so we just gazed from afar. I get some nice pictures that I've already sent back.

We also had a lesson tonight with Brother Benjamin and Sister Anna. We just really stressed the importance of praying to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and if the Church is true. Hopefully it sunk in.

Today was a hectic day. It didn't start out too busy but we were able to follow up with some people and set some appointments and even found a new lady to teach. We also met with Sister Gideon's brother and his family and we're going back on Sunday to start teaching them. They are a very awesome family and I'm very excited.

We then saw the Masselas and talked about the temple. Then we went to the Nyrendas and introduced the Book of Mormon. One interesting thing is that the Zone Leaders had brought us more copies of the Book of Mormon this morning and when we went to teach we realized that it was the 2013 edition and things have been moved around a bit. It was a little awkward at first but it ended well. We had Chaona with us and he was able to explain things in Chi Cheywa to them and it really helped them to understand. They also fed us dinner of pap and chicken. It was very nice and filling.

After that visit we went to the Gideon's house and talked about the law of chastity. We then finished our day at the Mbombo’s house and we talked about eternal families. We're going to finish it next week because it was getting late. It was busy today and tomorrow we have nine set appointments; we're going to have to try and reschedule one so that we can fit everything in. It's good to be busy.

We started today with the nine set appointments and five of them dropped but we still had a pretty solid day. We had an appointment at 10:00 am that dropped before we even finished studying so our back up was to try and deliver a DVD referral. We've been trying for two weeks and he's never been home. So today when I closed our companionship study I prayed that we would be able to find this guy home and finally give him the DVD. Lo and behold when we got there he was there. He barely speaks English and he's moving so we didn't really get much out of it but it was nice to finally deliver it and have our prayers answered.

The other thing that happened today is that we finished teaching the Gideons all of the lessons and we were going to have them interviewed on Saturday and baptized next Sunday. But Juan, the son, has a meeting in Khayeltisha that day so we had to move the baptism back to the 8th of June.

It was a great day today. We had weekly planning in the morning per usual. Then we went to teach one of the Davison’s neighbors but they weren't home so we went to visit the Davisons. They gave us tea and biscuits and then we had a nice lesson about eternal marriage and read the Family Proclamation.

Our next appointment was with Alexsandro. He has a new job so we haven't seen him in a while so we just caught up with him and shared a spiritual thought. He really wants to come to church but his new job won’t let him have weekends off. He'll hopefully find a new one next month.

Next we met with Brother Vanderwesthuizen. He's a new guy that we met on the street. He has an Aunt who is a member in Gugulethu. The other Elders had taught him once before last Friday on exchanges so this was my first time. We taught him about the Restoration. It went very well. He really wanted to know more and when people are actually interested it's so much easier and the spirit is stronger. He still is questioning what we’re teaching but he said he'll read from the pamphlet and Book of Mormon and I know he'll get his answers.

We finished the evening at Brother Nyrai's house. He's leaving to Malawi for a month on Saturday so he had us over for dinner of pap and chicken before he leaves. It was nice to see him before he goes and we gave him two copies of the Book of Mormon to give to his family on his trip. It was a really great day.

We had a nice district meeting today on courage and gratitude from President Monson's and President Uchtdorf’s last Conference talks. We went to Brother Mike’s place for lunch afterwards and had chicken, rice, vegetables and pumpkin fritters. Then the rest of our day everyone dropped except for our last appointment. We did manage to make three appointments with some people we found just by trying to go to our other appointments.

Then that night as we were waiting for our last appointment I had all of these names of people to go and check on pop into my head. They all live in the same group of apartment buildings so went there to check on them. What ended up happening is that we ran into a man that we've been trying to find for a while. His parents are members but his Dad has passed away. We've met his Mom and his son a few times when we've gone there before, but she doesn't speak English. The boy always tells us we need to visit them but the Dad is never home. Well, this time we happened to get there at the exact same time as the Dad and his boy ran up to us and introduced us. He invited us into his home and we talked for about an hour and we're going to go back on Sunday for a lesson. At the end of a long hard day this made it all totally worth it.

After visiting with him we also had our only lesson that day with Charles and Sarah. Charles has investigated before but it became difficult to see him for a while and now his fiancé from Malawi came to live with him. We were able to sit down with both of them. It was a pretty good lesson and they have great potential.

Every single one of our appointments dropped and we were having no luck catching people at home. We were trying to follow up on people and went to member’s houses but nothing was working. We had a few nice visits with people but no lessons or anything.

I did get hugged by a drunk guy though. He asked me what our motto was so I said something about Jesus Christ - I don't even remember what. Then he turns to me and says, “What did Jesus Christ do for you?” I said, “He suffered for my sins.” So, the drunk guy says good job and hugs me. I kind of pat him on the back but then he pulls away, looks me in the eyes and says, “Hug Me!” and then grabs me again but much tighter. I hugged him back just so he wouldn't do it again.

That was the most eventful thing that happened other than we had correlation meeting at the Knighton’s house and they made homemade pizza for us. It was a good end to a not so great day.

Today was a good day at Church. Nothing too eventful happened. After Church we tried to see Justin, the Gideon’s cousin, but he wasn't home. We did get to talk to his Dad and Uncle though. They are just a great family. They've all been so friendly I think we're going to get a Gideon branch soon.

We then had a lesson with Brother William. He's the one whose Mom is a member but doesn't speak English. It was a really good lesson. He had lots of questions about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon but they weren't bashing questions they were genuine questions. So we had a great lesson and his Mom was able to help out in French too.

Our appointment with the Nabbes dropped so we went to the Chifarimbas and they ended up feeding us dinner which was super nice of them since we showed up unannounced. Then we finished with a lesson with Chaona. He's been assigned to give the second talk next week in Church. So we were able to show him what it all means and how to do it. It was a pretty nice Sunday and end to week 5. We're on week 6 so that means next week is transfers and I'll probably be getting a new companion since Elder Freitas has been here six months, three of them with me.

Elder Kupka

Elders Freitas and Kupka

Monday, May 12, 2014

Week 49

We Skyped for an hour and a half for Mother's Day so Trent had nothing more to say. Please enjoy the pictures:

Boulder Beach

Elder Freitas

Elder Mahoney


Boulder Beach

Who says everyone in South Africa is poor?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Week 48

After emailing we went and played rugby. All of the Zone Leaders from the mission were in town for a conference so we had a huge game. It was just the thing I needed for some nice stress relief. I've really come to enjoy rugby and I think I'll try and play down at Snow when I get back.

Our only appointment dropped tonight and it was getting late so we had to leave Capricorn so we went for sushi and ended our day. We have to be out of townships by 8:00 pm on weekdays and 7:00 pm on weekends. It's for our protection but sometimes it stinks.

We started today with a lesson with Brother Benjamin and his wife. We read 1 Nephi 2 with them and it went well. Brother Benjamin asked how he can relate it to the Bible so he can share the Book of Mormon with his friends so we showed him the cross references at the bottom. He says it's perfect and he's going to share it with everyone now.

We also saw Brother Frank today and taught him about the Book of Mormon and extended him a baptism date. He was a bit hesitant and didn't accept the date but said he'll read from the Book of Mormon and keep praying and we'll see what happens. I'm sure he'll receive his answer and come around.

We taught a few other good lessons but this week is Elder Frietas' year mark so to celebrate we found a Brazilian rodizio restaurant and went out for dinner with our district and the Post Elders. Because it was “bring four people and one eats free”, we split the bill and had a great feast. It was pretty good food but not as good as Tucanos. It was more expensive but totally worth it.

Today was a public holiday which according to the white handbook is the perfect time to visit families. In reality however no one is home and those who are don't want to see us. We were able to get two of our appointments to hold after weekly planning. One was with Brother Chimonenji where we read from the Book of Mormon with them. The other was with the Gideons about fasting. Both lessons went very well and the Gideons are still on track to be baptized on the 25 of May.

We also contacted a referral named Reagan. He seems like a cool guy so far. We just talked for a bit but we’re going to start teaching him and he's actually cousins to the Smith family who are members of the Ward here. It wasn't the busiest of days but it was a productive one.

We had a Zone meeting today. We talked about revelation through prayer. I learned some new things and got some new ideas on how to teach it so that was nice. Afterwards we all went to Brother Mike’s for lunch and had Texan hash. Delicious as usual.

We were also on exchanges today.  I was with Elder Clarke in my area and we were able to see a lady who is going back to the Eastern Cape. She's been reading from the Book of Mormon; she's read the intro, all the testimonies and everything. We were able to answer her questions about the Book of Mormon and gave her some more pamphlets to read since we won't be able to teach her again. She's from a very rural area but she schools in Butterworth where there is a group who meets together but they don't have missionaries yet.

Our other lesson was with Brother Faison, also about the Book of Mormon. It went alright and he had a friend show up while we were teaching and he started sitting in and asking questions. We gave him a Book of Mormon and made a return appointment and I'm really excited for him. We finished the night at Brother Sam's place where we had a nice dinner with all six missionaries.

Things were really hard today. Everything was dropping, including correlation, so we were really struggling to find something to do. We had a lesson with the Gideons at 11:00 in the morning and then our next appointment that held was Brother Nabbie around 4:30.

We were able to contact a few people and set up appointments but one really cool experience is that we tried to see one of our recent converts but he wasn't home so as we were leaving we decided to take a different exit because of some guys who were drinking and smoking. As we did we ran into a little kid who knows us and we talked to him for a little bit but then two women came up and asked what we do. We told them that we are missionaries and they were very interested in hearing more and we scheduled a time where we can go meet with them.

It was incredible that at the end of a long day where nothing seemed to be going right we were still able to be exactly where we needed to be to find someone who is truly searching for the truth. I can't even count how many times this has happened and I know that there's no way it would be possible if it wasn't all part of God's plan.

Fast and testimony meeting was nice today, as usual. The Stake President, President Bell, was there because we got a new Elder’s Quorum President and High Priest group leader. I think that it might be in preparation for our new Branch because the old Elder’s Quorum President is staying in our area. Just a hypothesis but I hope it's true because I really want to see the Branch happen here.

After Church all of our appointments dropped until 5:00 so we went around following up on some people making new appointments. We were looking for one potential investigator who we didn't find but we found his neighbor who is from Zimbabwe and lives on the same street as the Church there and has visited before. He told us he'll come visit sometime and we got a return appointment.

We also followed up on Sister Sifa. She's doing well and had her baby and he's very healthy. We also have a time to go back and start seeing her again. At 5:00 we saw Brother James and read Alma 34 with him. He has such a strong testimony that what we say is true and he makes great insights every lesson. If he would just start coming to Church he would be baptized for sure and would help lead the rest of his Malawian friends to the true Church. It will happen but it will just take time.

We finished the day in the hospital to visit Elder Roelofze who we were told had meningitis but when we got there he said that he just had a really bad migraine and that he's fine now. We thought he was dying but apparently he's fine and will be out tomorrow.  It was so good to see him and keep him company for a bit.

All in all it was a good week and I hope more are to come - 

Elder Kupka