Monday, June 30, 2014

Week 55

Hello,

This week has been another good one and another one where I haven't been able to write my email beforehand.

Some highlights from this week though are that Mark and Sarah and their family are progressing well. We read from the Book of Mormon with them this week and taught part of the Plan of Salvation. Sarah was working on Sunday but Mark was able to come to church with the kids. We were able to arrange with a member from the ward to pick them up and take them back. They got a very warm welcome and I think they enjoyed it a lot. We're seeing them again this week.

We were also able to catch up with Justin again. He's the Gideon's cousin. We had a great restoration lesson with him and I can really tell that he believes what we're telling him. He's going to come to church this coming Sunday and he's accepted a baptism date. The only problem with him though is that his parents might be against it. He's 18 but still living with them and he doesn't want to cause contention. We told him to pray about it, talk to Juan, and talk with his parents and see what happens. We're very excited for him.

Brother Nyarai came home this week from his trip to Malawi. We're going to see him this week and hopefully his boss will let him come to church on Sundays. We also had dinner with the Kipelas on Sunday. It was an amazing meal of pap, chicken, beans, spinach and rice. It was so delicious. I love that family; they are all so sweet.

We've also been teaching Albert. We finished the restoration and he told us that there is just something different about our message that makes it feel right. I told him that there are two things that set our message apart; the fact that it's true and the spirit confirming that during our lessons. He really likes what we've been teaching him and he's coming to church this Sunday so we should have lots of people there.

Other than that we're still working hard to try and keep the area improving. Each week has been getting better and better and if I stay another transfer I'm sure it will just keep improving.

One sad thing that happened is that Alexsandro is still struggling to find a job and it's making things super hectic for him. We stopped by to see him on Sunday and he said that he'll let us know when he's free again because his life is just too stressful now. Please keep him in your prayer; he really needs comfort right now.

As for me I'm doing well; still happy and healthy. I'm really getting into the groove of everything. My scripture studies have just been really awesome lately. I've been reading 2 Nephi this week and chapter 9 took me a couple of days to get through because there is just so much to it. I've really gained a love for the scriptures on my mission; one that I wish I would've had sooner in life. They really do answer so many questions and bring so much knowledge. The Book of Mormon is so true and so is the church.

Love,

Elder Kupka

Monday, June 23, 2014

Week 54

Hello, I'm running out of things to put after hello...

Monday:
Last Monday we didn't end up doing all of the cool things that I said we were going to do. We stopped by the Mowbray chapel and got sucked into playing sports. Just about every missionary in Cape Town was there plus more because it's new Elder training so the trainers/trainees flew in from the Eastern Cape. We probably had 30+ missionaries there and it was pretty legit. We played basketball and indoor soccer and had a blast.

Afterward, the Bishop had invited us for dinner. Elder Clarke and Elder Du Plessis had to go to the new Elders training, as did the Assistants, so we went by ourselves. I was very proud of myself for being able to find his house again. I've only been there once and he lives far away in Hout Bay. When we got there he told us to get in the car and that we're going for steaks. We went to a nice Greek restaurant and he ordered each of us a 500g steak with chips and a salad. It was delicious and very filling and just awesome.

We were able to talk with Bishop for a while but it was getting difficult because the Portugal/Germany soccer game was on the tv and there were some people in there with us that were super into it so we started watching the game as well. Poor Portugal. You could say it was a pretty great day. And tomorrow is Zone Conference which I'm super excited for.

Tuesday:
Zone Conference was really great today. We talked a lot about scripture study. Both as missionaries doing our personal and companionship study and how everyone in the world can and will benefit from studying the scriptures. They truly help each of us in all situations; especially the Book of Mormon. It can answer the questions of our soul. Each and every verse in the Book of Mormon has meaning for our lives. All we have to do is study it out, involve our Heavenly Father through prayer, and ponder upon the things that we've read. Anyone who does these things will receive an answer to whatever question they may have. Studying the scriptures really is one of the most important things we can do on this earth.

I've come to love studying the scriptures. Sure some days have been better than others but that's probably my own fault more than anything else. It's definitely something I'm going to be a lot better at doing when I go home. I can't even begin to explain everything I learned today. We started at 9:00 and didn't finish until 17:30. Of course we had dinner and Zone reports as well but it was still a lot of learning.

It was crazy to think that this was President Woods’ last Zone Conference and Saturday is my last interview with him. One cool thing is that each Zone sings a hymn throughout the Conference and the last Zone sang "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" and on the last verse they had told us beforehand that they wanted everyone to stand and join in the last verse. It was powerful. There was hardly a dry eye in the room.

Sister Wood said something though that really struck me. She said that she loves us and is glad to have had the privilege of meeting us and because of that she's not going to miss us. Goodbyes aren't a sad thing. They’re a time to be grateful for the relationships that we've had with people and the song rings true because we will all meet again one day in the life to come. It's been a very spiritually uplifting day.

We had a lesson with the Gideons. It was their first recent convert lesson so we talked about priesthood and auxiliaries and the lesson went very well and then afterwards we just kept talking mostly with Juan about gospel related topics and about missions. It was just an awesome day and I feel so happy right now. I know that it's the spirit that I've been able to feel all day long. I wish everyday was like this; some days are much harder but something Coach Wong (Trent’s high school football coach) always said comes to my mind, "Nothing easy was ever worth it" and it's so true. Missions are not easy but it's worth every minute of it.

Friday:
Today we had no District meeting because of Zone Conference. The other Elders had forgotten though and called us wondering where we were. They had apparently been waiting for us for an hour before they bothered calling. We set them straight.

We had an appointment with Alexsandro but he unfortunately wasn't there. So we went to check on Mark and Sarah. Mark was home but he was just leaving so we made an appointment to see them on Sunday. We went to Brother Mikes for lunch today and it was delicious as usual.

After lunch we dropped by the Mbombo’s house and the parents weren't home but we were able to teach the kids which we might be doing more often because the parents don't get home until late. Our other lesson today was with a guy named Albert. He is a cousin of a former investigator and called us the other day and wanted us to come teach him. So we went today and had a pretty good lesson with him. He's a cool guy and is very involved with his church but he said that he's going to come and visit our church sometime because he needs to have an open mind. He has great potential.

Saturday:
Today I had my final interview with President Wood. That was pretty weird. It went very well though and it was my best interview yet. President says that I'm doing a great job and that I'll be able to step up and be a leader in the mission as President Merrill comes in and the two huge groups of missionaries go home. It was very uplifting and I'm looking forward to the next few months.

After interviews we had lunch. We didn't have any appointments set until 4:00 so we tried following up on some people and were pretty unsuccessful. Saturdays are so hard here because no one is ever home. Our 4:00 o’clock appointment even dropped. We were at least able to see Brother Nabbe and it was actually pretty cool because when we were planning for him I felt like we should share a certain Mormon message and when we did he said that it was exactly what he needed. He's going through something at work and our lesson really helped him. It was pretty cool to be an answer to his questions.  

Sunday:
We went to Ward council this morning at 7:00 because Brother Knighton has gone back to America for a few weeks. It wasn't too bad. We reported on the missionary work and then they excused us.

Church was pretty normal and afterward we had choir practice. I don't remember if I mentioned this last week. I guess all of those lost bets I had with Brother Dahl have paid off because now I kind of know what I'm doing when we sing  --- instead of being completely lost.

After choir we had lunch and then we went to see Mark and Sarah and their family. We had a pretty good lesson on the Book of Mormon and Mark said that he'd try to come with the kids to church next Sunday. Sarah unfortunately has to work.

After visiting with them we went to see Sister Beuliah. She's from Fish Hoek and has been less active for a while but is coming back to church on her own and today she brought her 20 year old son with her. She's been a member for 10 years but he was not baptized. He said after today though that he never wants to miss another Sunday, wants to join the Ward choir, and maybe wants to be a missionary one day too. We're going to start teaching him soon and I'm really looking forward to it.

After that we ran to Grassy Park to pick up Brother Chifarimba and go see Sister Nelly. We had a great first lesson with her because she was really paying attention and understanding well. Unfortunately she's busy until next Sunday so we won't be able to see her for a while. All in all it was a pretty good and busy week.

Love,

Elder Kupka

Monday, June 16, 2014

Week 53

Hello all,

This week has been another good one. I don't have a lot of time to email today and I didn't write my email beforehand.

We're planning on going up to Cape Point and then taking the Chapman’s Peak drive to Hout Bay because we have dinner at the Bishop’s house tonight in Hout Bay. I should have lots of sweet pictures next week.

Not much going on this week. Our area is in a bit of a rebuilding stage. The people that we had from last transfer are either busy, don't want to see us, or don't answer the phone and are never home. So we're working on finding new people to teach. We even went tracting which isn't something I've done a lot of on my mission. We found a few Muslim people, some people who didn't want to let us in and one return appointment that didn't hold.

We're still teaching Alexsandro though and he's doing great. He hasn't made it to church yet but he'll get there. We've been working with our recent converts and the less active members a lot and they are all doing great. We have a ton of recent converts which is always nice and three of the less active families we've been working with were at church yesterday which was a super nice bonus.

Brother Knighton and his family are going to the States to visit family for a month so we are without a ward mission leader for the next little while and the Tonkins are going to Spain and Portugal for 5 weeks so we're also without our Elder’s Quorum President for a little while. They are both some of my favorite families and we had dinner with both of them this week. It's sad to see them go and I might not be here when they get back, since it's week 4 of the transfer. Transfers just keep getting faster and faster.

There is not a whole lot else going on. Next week is Zone Conference and interviews with President Wood and then the next week he leaves and President Merril comes in. I can't believe it's actually happening. That's all for this week.

Love,

Elder Kupka

Monday, June 9, 2014

Gideon Family Baptism








Baptism of Gideon family ~

Me, Juan's girlfriend, Sister Gideon, Sister Arin, Juan, Elder Wright, and the little guy in front is Mathoni.








Good Morning America!

Monday:
Today we emailed, went to KFC for lunch and then played rugby for 3 hours. That is all.

Tuesday:
We tried to find a gym to go work out at in the mornings since our complex has no gym. The only one we could find cost 450 Rand a month which is way too much. So we're going to have to stick with P90X for now. We did get two free work outs from it though.

Things have cooled off in Capricorn so we went to see Sister Davison only to find out she's started working. Which is good for her but it will make it more difficult for us to see her. So we spent the rest of the day following up on people and trying to fill up our days again. We did get to see the Masselas and teach them about enduring to the end. Every time we go there I am so impressed by how smart they are. They just finished reading 1 Nephi 15 and understood it very well. They were able to connect this lesson to past lessons and they are just so smart and so fun to teach.

Wednesday:
We found a new family to teach. Yesterday we had been in Capricorn and we said hello to a lady and we ended up making an appointment to go see her family. Well today we saw them and we had a very good Restoration lesson with them. When we explained about the great apostasy they really understood and asked which is the true church now if it was lost with the death of Jesus Christ - which lead right into Joseph Smith and the Restoration. They are an awesome family with two kids and they have great potential.

We then stopped by Alexsandro and Chimounenji's place and got to catch up with them and we're going back to see them tomorrow. We had an appointment with the Pieterson's tonight as well but unfortunately I think I had some bad chicken for lunch and I just was not feeling well so we rescheduled with them.

Thursday:
Today was weekly planning like every Thursday. One more and then I only have 52 more to go. Woo hoo! We had lunch after weekly planning and then went to see Alexsandro. He's doing great. He's unfortunately jobless again but he's still working hard and putting his trust in the Lord. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he said it made so much sense. We also gave him a new baptism date of the 27th of July and I believe it's going to all work out this time.

We then went to check on a guy named Titus. He was home and doing well and we read from the Book of Mormon with him and he believes that it really is the word of God so hopefully he will keep progressing. We had an appointment with the Gideons tonight but they had to reschedule so we went to see the Chifarimbas. Brother Chifarimba was making butternut soup and they invited us to join them. It was very good and exactly what we needed at the end of a long cold day.

Speaking of cold days, it's been raining pretty much non-stop for the past week and a couple days. It gets so cold in our boarding in the morning that we can see our breath. It's still nowhere near as cold as Utah and I know I'm going to be a wuss when I come back.

Friday:
Today we had District meeting on planning and personal study. It was basic stuff but Elder Du Plessis seemed to enjoy it since he's a greenie. Elder Wright brought our portable DVD player to watch some PMG videos. Our DVD player is terrible though. If it's not plugged in it dies within three minutes and I've never seen it work very well. Well Elder Wright didn't know this and he didn't bring the cord so we watched the video on it and it was like a 9 minute video. We watched the whole video and then they said a closing prayer on the video. About a millisecond after they said amen the DVD player died. It's not a big deal or anything but it amazed me.

We had a lesson that night with the Gideons; just a final one before their baptism on Sunday. We read Mosiah 18 with them and they're doing awesome. After them we saw the Mbombos. We went to see them at 7:00 but only the kids were home so we talked with them for a bit and an hour later the parents came home. We had planned on sharing a lesson with them but they never get home until late so it's hard to teach them. We ended up just sharing a spiritual thought. They are an awesome family!

Saturday:
Today we met a lady who just moved into Capricorn from Fish Hoek. Her name is Sister Beuliah. She was baptised 10 years ago, but apparently for the last year she's been less active. She's come to church 3 or 4 times at Meadowridge and we're going to start seeing her every Saturday and read the Book of Mormon with her. She's very nice and has a car and helps bring Chwayitile to church.

We then went to see the Nabbes. Shireen was there today and she talked about how she wants to come back to Church and get her Patriarchal Blessing but she just hasn't come yet. She had the flu this last Sunday so I don't really blame her this time. After that we had Correlation meeting at the chapel with the Ward missionaries and Brother Knighton and then we finished our day.

Sunday:
Today was the Gideon's baptism and it was awesome. I got to speak and I talked about baptism and the Holy Ghost. I read from 3 Nephi 27:11, parts of 2 Nephi 31, and 2 Nephi 32:3-6. It was awesome and I kinda teared up at the end. After church we had an awesome lesson with Alexsandro about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he's doing awesome. He was going to come to church with Brother Davison but Brother Davison was sick so he didn't come. Next week he'll be there, I know it.

Our appointment after Alexsandro dropped so we just went around making new appointments. We met up with Brother Vanderwesthuizen and he told us that he doesn't want to meet us anymore because, "In my bible, it doesn't say there's going to be another prophet and that we just need to wait for Jesus Christ to come again"; even though we showed him a lot of verses in the Bible that talk about prophets in our day. He also didn’t know where the book of Matthew is in his Bible. When we found him he was drinking and smoking; so we told him to have a good life and that we'll have to move on.

We also went and saw the Davisons. Brother Davison is out of work again and Sister Davison is working at a Chinese store and her boss only gives her one day off a month! Hopefully Brother Davison will get a job soon so that she can quit. We're going to see them on Wednesday.

After that we went to see the Tonkins. We had dinner with them and played mau. Michael and Ines are awesome. I don't know why but they've had us over the last three Sunday nights and we're going again this next Sunday but then they leave for Spain for the next five weeks so it might be the last time I see them.

All in all it was a good week and next week is going to be even better. Our week is already almost completely booked. I'm enjoying the work, enjoying life, and looking forward to turning a year old on the mission on FRIDAY!

Love you all!
Elder Kupka


Monday, June 2, 2014

Pictures




Week 52

Hello!

Monday:
Today was a pretty normal P-day. We emailed, had Spur for lunch, then went to Pinelands and chilled at the sports field with all of the other missionaries. We had Family Home Evening with the Scheepers and went to say goodbye to the Hendricks for Elder Freitas. They are two really awesome families and it was a good night.

When we got back to the flat the APs called for transfer news. I am staying and getting Elder Wright as a companion. I'm super stoked; he was in my first district and his family is living in our Stake at home right now. He went to Timpview his senior year but we never met until here; such a small world.

Elder Freitas is going to Port Elizabeth to a township called Motherwell. It is the highest baptizing area. The church has been there for a little over a year and they have had 110 recent converts and are going to become a ward soon. We both got pretty great transfer news.

Tuesday:
We had Elder Black staying with us because he's in town to pick up his companion. He was in Queenstown when I first got there and Meadowridge was his first area so he got to say hi to people as Elder Freitas said good bye.

We spent the morning in Fish Hoek giving service. The township there caught fire and lots of people’s homes burned down so we went to help out. The community had donated a bunch of clothes to give to the people that lost everything and it was our job to sort the clothes into sizes; so we were quite busy. We spent about 4 hours going through clothes and I was pretty exhausted by the end. They fed us King Pie though and it was nice to be able to help.

After that we went to Brother Mike’s and got even more food. We spent the rest of the day saying goodbye to people. That night we had a ward council meeting where we went through the ward list to clean it up and they gave us a few families to check on. It was actually very productive and I realized that I know a lot more about the ward here than I thought I did and it helped me to feel confident in leading the area in the coming transfer.

Wednesday:
Today was transfer day. We took Elder Black in early for him to get his greenie and Elder Freitas had an early flight as well so I was left without a companion. They sent me with the AAPs (Assistants to the Assistants to the President) to the airport to drop people off so I got to see Elder Freitas all the way there. It was pretty sad seeing him go. We had a great three months together but with Elder Wright as my new companion I'm pretty happy.

The rest of the day was spent at the mission home waiting for Elder Wright to come in. Then we went back to the flat and he unpacked and then we had a lesson with the Pietersons. They had bought gatsby's for us (edit: hoagie sandwiches) and then asked Elder Wright to share a spiritual thought. Our other two appointments that night dropped.

Thursday:
We had weekly planning in the morning as always and had five scheduled appointments. All of them dropped except for one with the Gideons. We went over the baptism interview questions with them and found out that Sister Gideon's husband gave her permission to be baptized. So next Sunday we will have two baptisms. Other than that nothing happened today. Everyone we tried following up on wasn't home and we had no success with anything else. The Gideons made it all worth it though!

Friday:
Today we had to postpone district meeting because a less active member wanted us to help her move and only gave us an hour’s notice. So we went and helped; it wasn't too bad and it did only take about an hour. Then we went back to the flat, had district meeting, and went to Brother Mike’s for lunch.  Our funds came in so we went and got greengrocers and by the time all of that was done it was time for games night at the chapel. It was fun. We played soccer which I'm getting better at. Still not amazing but getting there.

Saturday:
We had the Gideon's baptism interview this morning. We are in a new Zone now because President realigned them with the new Stake boundaries. So our Zone Leaders are Elder Ndlovu and Elder Pebe and since Elder Wright is the District Leader they had to do the interviews. They both were super impressed at how much the Gideons know. They are so ready for baptism and I'm so happy for them.

After the interview we went out for lunch to get some pizza wraps. Then we went with Brother Chifarimba to visit a member who is in an old person's home in our area but he's from Mitchell's Plain. He's 74 and he's not doing too well. He can't really remember anything but he was excited to see us. It was nice to talk to him and he seemed happy.

After that we went to see the Nabbes. It's always great seeing them because Brother Nabbe is so excited about the gospel. He was less active for a while but he's coming back in full force. He has lots of really great insights. We go and share spiritual thoughts with him and his wife. His wife is great too but she's kind of shy so we're trying to help her through that at church.

After the visit with the Nabbes we had correlation meeting. None of us had a lot to report since it's been transfer week and all of our appointments have dropped but we still went and reported.  Afterward, Brother Knighton's son, who is two years old, is teething and he has had a fever and he fell with a toothbrush in his mouth and he was having a terrible time. So I was able to help Brother Knighton give him a Priesthood blessing. He was still crying after the blessing but it was a lot less loud and painful sounding. He's doing better now so I'm very glad for him.

Sunday:
At Church today they thought it would be a good idea to put the missionaries in charge of the Primary for sharing time. So it was the six of us and all of the Primary kids and we had no clue what we were doing. They had showed me how things work so I was able to get things going for the most part. We sang some songs and Elder Gillespie shared a story about his grandfather and the word of wisdom and then we had closing exercises and it all went really well; compared to the disaster I thought it was going to be.

After Church we had lunch with the Thornes and talked with them for a while, and we shared a spiritual thought about prayer. The Tonkins had invited us over for pancakes so we went and talked and had a good time with them. 

It wasn't the busiest week I've ever had but it was a good one. The taxi war in Capricorn has calmed down so we should be going back there this week and we should be a lot busier soon.

Love you all,

Elder Kupka