Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 63

Hello again,

Things are going well here. It's been a pretty normal week; the calmest transfer week I've ever had. No one in the district moved and we didn't have to drive anywhere or help out with anything so it's been just like another work week which was really nice.

On Monday we were supposed to go to the Tshikila’s house for one last Family Home Evening before they move to Joburg. We made a cake and bought ice cream and got there and the house was dark. They live behind Xhanti's Mom so we went to their house and they told us that they were in Port Elizabeth and didn't know when they would be back. We tried calling and no answer. We were super disappointed so we went out for dinner and then went back to our flat and ate the cake and ice cream. Turns out they got there 15 minutes after we left and were sad that we didn't come. We saw them on Sunday and we're trying to go again tonight because they leave on Friday for Joburg.

Tuesday was a normal day of appointments. Nothing too crazy and we had PEC at night but afterward we went out for milkshakes with Elder Van Zyl for his last night on the mission. It was nice and there were some Elders from George there for transfers the next day. Our new Zone Leader is Elder Tennant; he's a sweet guy and was serving in Fish Hoek back when I was being trained.

Other than that our investigators are still doing well. We've taught Asanda most of the commandments now and he was having a problem with one of them but ever since we taught him about it he's been living it. He says he's not happy about it but knows that it's what he needs to be doing. He has a lot of faith and he's a super awesome guy. He'll be baptized next month for sure. Everyone else is still progressing very well.

We haven't been able to see Lloyd in a while but we did get to see him this week and had a great lesson finishing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him. He has a strong desire but has a few problems that he's still working through. It's been a pretty calm week so I don't have much to talk about. Hope all is going well back home.


Elder Kupka

Cake for Xhanti's birthday/farewell 

Last night with Elder Van Zyl

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 62


It has been a good week for missionary work. We've been keeping busy and fortunately had our busiest week yet this past week. We also found out that the whole district is staying together for another transfer. We are all super stoked about that. I don't have much time to email today so this is going to be a bit of a shorter one.

Things are going great here. Our investigators are all doing super well but nothing really new to report. On Thursday the other set of Elders decided to rent a donkey cart. They rode it around to all of their appointments and took it through the McDonalds drive thru. It was pretty funny and they were the talk of the town. People come up to us all of the time now and ask about the donkey cart so it was pretty good publicity for the missionaries.

We had no idea that they were going to do it. They showed up at our flat on Thursday morning to tell us that we were getting a two seater convertible. I was a bit suspicious of it all and then when we went outside we saw Elder Carnielleto pull up in the cart. It was a good laugh.

Friday I went with Elder Truscott on exchanges in their area. It was nice to be in the car for a change. Most of our appointments dropped though so the curse of exchanges continues. We did get to see a guy who had contacted them and wanted to be taught but lives in our area. I got to meet him and now we're taking over teaching him and his family. He goes to the new apostolic church but he doesn't believe what they teach because they teach that Jesus is inside all of us instead of in heaven. So things should go well with them.

On Saturday we had Mormon Helping Hands in the morning. We repainted an old train museum in town and it looks much better now. After that we had Chinese food at a pretty good and pretty cheap little place.

Sunday was good. We had a good church service and had many investigators come to church. After church we had some good appointments and lunch with the Mendu family. Brother Mendu is the second counselor in the Bishopric. They have a great family; their son is like 4 or 5 years old and he is hilarious. We were playing a game with him where he would make a noise and we would have to guess what it is. It turned into a game where whoever named the coolest thing won.

On Sunday night we found out that Elder Radebe who is now Brother Radebe was in Kwano for a wedding so we went and met up with him. He's a great guy and was my second district leader. Sadly it wasn't his wedding. Things are going good here. I'm staying too busy here to worry about anything else and I'm grateful for that. I love the gospel.

Elder Kupka signing off -

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 61


It's been a pretty good week here.The Zone Leaders had training in Cape Town this week so we got to drive to Port Elizabeth to drop them off last Monday and then we had the car until Wednesday which was nice.

That night we had a Family Home Evening with the Franz family. They fed us umngqusho and tripe, samp and beans and sheep intestine. I do not recommend eating sheep intestine. It smells awful and doesn't taste much better. It has a super weird texture too. I thought that it was broccoli when they put it on our plate. I'm never eating it again but it was a good experience.

On Tuesday we had some pretty solid appointments. We saw Sister Hendrickse with Lazola. He really wanted to come with us since we had the car. We talked about our purpose on earth and the Atonement. It's been really cool teaching her. She's kind of old and her understanding wasn't that great when we started but every week you can see that she's remembering more and more and it's making more sense to her. Plus she's receiving blessings for it as well.

Apparently someone was breaking into her house and stealing her things once a week but since we've been teaching her they've stopped. She also found 300 rand on the ground the other day and she's been overcoming the flu very quickly. She says that it's all thanks to the Lord and she's so grateful every time we teach her. It's been awesome.

We also saw Yvonne on Tuesday and Thursday. On Tuesday we taught her about tithes and offerings because she's had questions about it and she was saying she wants to pay her tithing even though she hasn't even been baptized yet. Then on Thursday we had a lesson with her and her boyfriend and brought Xhanti and talked about Temples and eternal marriage.

We're supposed to teach lesson 5 before baptism now so we thought this would be a good thing to teach her and we were right. It was a very powerful lesson and it helped her to understand why this church can be the only true church. As soon as she gets married I know she'll be baptized. We asked her what she was thinking about after the lesson and she said that she wasn't thinking anything but that she felt very grateful that the Lord has sent us to teach her these things. Then on Sunday her whole family came to church. They'll be a great addition to the ward.

We met a new family this week too. They are the Booysens. They don't speak the best English but there was one women there that really seemed to understand and like what we were saying. We're going to go back this week to teach her.

Asanda is also doing really well. He's been reading from the Book of Mormon, he went to a youth activity on Friday and made it to church on Sunday as well. He has a strong desire to be baptized and it's going to happen for sure next month. We taught him about the atonement this week and he's just a great guy to teach.

The other person we were able to teach this week was Princess. Zandi wasn't there when we went. But we read 1 Nephi 1 with her and she was understanding very well and she said that she wants to know more about the book. She also made it to the youth activity on Friday, came to church and this Saturday we have the Mormon Helping hands that she said she's coming to as well. She's super dedicated right now and really wants to be baptized.

There are a lot of amazing people here in Uitenhage. These last 5 weeks have flown by. I still don't believe it's week 6. I'm hoping to stay and I'm pretty sure I am. We think that Elder Kivley will probably stay as well and we'll both be super pumped if he does. There is nowhere else I'd rather be right now and I'm so grateful that I was able to come on this mission. This is by far the best decision I've ever made in my life.

In church yesterday we spoke a lot about the spirit. It was the topic in Gospel Principles and Elder's Quorum and it made me realize how grateful I am to have the gift of the spirit and how I've been able to recognize how it works more and more in my life.

Before church on Sunday I was reading in 3 Nephi 11. It's the chapter where Christ appears to the Nephites. But before he actually comes down the people hear this voice and the first two times they can't even understand what's being said to them but by the third time they hear that it's saying "Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him."

It takes practice listening to the spirit and so you need to be worthy to receive those promptings and when you receive them you need to be able to understand what they want you to do. It all takes practice and that's why we're here on this earth. We are "practicing heaven" as Brad Wilcox puts it.

The mission has definitely helped me to practice heaven and I hope to continue to put that practice into use throughout the rest of this life and into the next.

Elder Kupka

P.S. Trent included in his personal email to me that his mission received five missionaries from the Sierra Leone mission and that they said that all of the American missionaries were sent back to U.S. missions.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 60


This week has been a pretty good one. Not the busiest week I've ever had but a good one nonetheless.  Dropped appointments are never fun but it's always part of the work. We have some good investigators still though. Satan is just working super hard to stop them. 

Yvonne is doing really well. We had two super good lessons with her this week. I don't know what it is but every time we teach her the spirit is just super strong. Our last lesson was on obedience and was super awesome. She even came to church this last week and is doing great. Her boyfriend isn't too interested in the gospel but he likes us and won't stand in the way of her getting baptized if they would just get married. 

We also met a guy named Siya this week. We talked to him on the street and he invited us over. We had a great lesson with him and we have another appointment with him tomorrow. We're very excited for him. 

Sister Hendrickse is doing very well too. Every time we visit her understanding seems to be getting better and better. She's going to make it for her baptism in November for sure. Everyone else that we have with a baptism date has been a bit difficult to see this week. But they all still have the desire and that's all it takes. I don't get down when we have hard weeks it just means that we've got to try harder than before. 

One thing that a member of the Bishopric said to us this week is that it's good to try and be patient with people but Satan's never going to be patient. He's going to be doing everything he can to bring people down so we have to try even harder than him to get them on the right path. And it's true. It can't just be the missionaries working hard, it can't just be the members working hard, and it can't just be the investigators working hard. All of us need to work together to try our best to overcome adversity. 

We have some great members here who understand that. And unfortunately there are people who don't understand that as well. We just have to keep trying and do our best. The members are getting behind the missionaries a lot more here too. Just this last week we had 5 or 6 dinner appointments. And honestly I could care less what food they give us or what it tastes like, even though we had some amazing food this week, I just like going into different member's homes and getting to know a bit more about them and seeing how we can help them and how they can help us to do the work. 

Nothing else too amazing to write about this week. We did finally get a phone last Friday. Missionary work is a lot harder without it.


Elder Kupka