Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 68

Dearest family and friends,

It has been a great week for the “Tripanionship Extraordinaire.” Elder Carnieletto and Elder Truscott have made this week super fun and super powerful. It started off kind of slow last Monday with a dropped appointment after P-day ended but then we had a get together with the senior couple Elder and Sister Blatter. They usually do it at the beginning of the transfer but they did it at the end for some reason this time. They talked about keeping our boarding clean and then gave us ice cream and cake.

Then on Tuesday things got even better. We had a great lesson with Eldridge; he is the guy who was baptized with Asanda last week. We talked to him about the Holy Ghost and confirmation since that is the next step for him. We met with Sister Hendrickse; she is still doing super well and we read from the Book of Mormon with her.

Next we saw Edwina and Hilda; they are both recent converts in the other Elder’s area and we had a lesson about the Book of Mormon. We talked about how you need two witnesses to know something is true.

Our next lesson was with the Septembers who are returning members. We were planning on watching a video with them but they didn't have a DVD player. Elder Truscott and I both got the impression that we needed to read Enos with them so we did and it went super well and turned out to be what they needed to hear.

Wednesday was so great. We are continuing to prepare Siphosetu for baptism and we taught her about missionary work because she's been bringing three of her friends to church with her every Sunday. After her visit we taught the Law of Chastity to a girl in the other Elder’s area with Lazola and Sihle Franz. It was one of the best lessons I taught and she accepted to live it.

After her visit we saw Asanda. That guy is such a stud. We taught him also about the Holy Ghost and confirmation. It was scary because on Sunday it was rainy and cold and he lives far away so he was running late. He luckily made it right as Eldridge was being confirmed.

Thursday was pretty great because we had good lessons with Princess and Zandy, a girl named Mothlolipula (I probably butchered that) and Mama Tshikila.

Friday was my first District Meeting that I had to lead. It was on “Love-The Essence of the Gospel” by President Monson in the last General Conference. It actually went a lot better than I thought it would and I had a lot of fun preparing it. I'm much more excited to be a District Leader now.

We talked about how we need love in our companionships, districts, and zones. I shared the story of Alma and Amulek and how Alma didn't want to go back to teach the people there because they rejected him but an angel told him that he had to and that he would find a companion there. So I compared the angel to President Merrill telling us where we need to go and who we need to go with and if we put trust in him we can love all those who we serve around and serve with. It's been great.

I'm running out of time, but Sunday was super great. I was able to confirm Asanda a member of the church and give him the Holy Ghost. After church we gave the sacrament to a member who has been sick and then we went to the Devenish's house for lunch.

After that all of our appointments dropped but we were able to find two investigators who had moved into our area from the other Elder’s area and even found a new family to teach because we knocked on the wrong door. It's cool to see how even when things don't go right, they still work out.

That's it for the week. I'll be picking up my “son” on Wednesday. I know nothing about him, but I'm super excited to train him. The mission is great and I love it.


Elder Kupka

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 67

Last Monday we had Family Home Evening with the Franz family. They are super awesome and always make meals for us so we decided that we would cook for them this time. We made pap with chicken, broccoli, potato, onion, carrot, and curry and then Snickers cheesecake for dessert. It was a lot of fun.

We had a really great District Meeting this week too. The Zone Leaders gave us training from President Merrill about re-activating less active members. It was really cool. We read from Jacob 5 and a few other places to see how the Lord wants us to re-activate them. The Bishop is the one who holds the authority over the members so we need to work with him to find the people that the Lord is preparing to bring back. So we're going to set up a time with the Bishop at PEC this week to have a time to go and meet with him and discuss the training with him. It's some pretty exciting stuff.

We had a great lesson with Yvonne this week too. The other part of our earlier district meeting was about teaching people not just teaching lessons. Yvonne has been doing alright lately but she could be doing better so we talked to her a lot about her questions and concerns and focused on what she needs. After she told us a few of her concerns we can now tailor our lessons for her to discuss those things. She's super ready but she just doesn't feel it yet. 

The other big thing this week was Asanda's baptism. A man named Eldridge from the other Elder’s area was also baptized that day and it was so great. Asanda had an interview with the Bishop in the morning and Bishop was super impressed with him. He's been accepted really well into the ward but it's not hard because he is such a sweet guy.

The baptism went really well too. Elder Truscott and I gave the talks on baptism and the Holy Ghost. I talked about baptism and talked about the authority of it, how and why we do it, and what we are promising to do when we get baptized. You could see the smiles on both Asanda and Eldridge’s faces while I was talking. There were also some investigators there as well and we talked to them afterward. They all said that they really want to be baptized now after seeing it. They are in the other area but they are really awesome. 

We spent a lot of time saying goodbyes for Elder Kivley this week. It's so strange that he's gone. The Zone Leaders took him this morning to Port Elizabeth and it hasn't set in yet. He was a great companion and we had so much fun together and we worked hard during these last three months. I'm going to miss him a lot but I'm also looking forward to the next three months of training a new missionary. I'm praying that I'll be able to give him exactly the training he needs. Things are going well and time is flying by.


Elder Kupka

Asanda's Baptism

Asanda's Baptism

Our last night together as a District
Princess, Zandy and Thammy

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 66

Well, it's been a pretty crazy week this week. First, I found out my transfer news for next transfer already and it’s only week 4. Elder Kivley is being transferred to Cape Town next Monday because there is a missionary going home early who is a Zone Leader and Elder Kivley is going to replace him.

Then my news is that with Elder Kivley leaving I will be the new District Leader here and with next transfer I will begin training a new Elder. I've been a junior companion for the last 15 months even though the last 7.5 months have been more like a co-companionship. But now I'm stepping it up big time to District Leader/Trainer. I was thinking I might get one or the other but both kind of caught me off guard. But hey, it should be fun and I'm looking forward to it.

We had Asanda's baptism interview this week. He passed with flying colors and he will be baptized this coming Sunday. Elder Kivley was going to miss it but President Merrill is letting him fly out the day after because he will be the one baptizing him. 

We also took Lazola and Sihle out for dinner last Tuesday since they were supposed to be leaving. We went to Guidos for dinner but then they found out the next day that they won't be leaving until the end of the month. It was still a good time though.

We had umngqusho with the Thsibos last Monday. It was super nice and they're super awesome. I went on exchanges with Elder Carnielleto this week. Nothing too exciting happened but now I can say that I've been companions with the only Brazilian and only Italian Elders ever in the South Africa Cape Town Mission.

We also got to milk cows this week. The other Elders have some investigators who own a bunch of cows and they asked us if we wanted to go milk them so, of course, we said yes. I never thought I'd come to Africa to milk cows but now I can say that I've done it.

Our investigators are doing well. After Asanda’s baptism, Princess and Zandy are the next ones up for baptism and they are doing really great. They should be all set to be my son’s (new companion) first baptisms. 

This email has been a bit all over the place but I don't have much time today. We're cooking dinner tonight for the rest of the Franz family since we took Lazola and Sihle out last week; chicken curry with pap and cheesecake for dessert. It should be great.

Until next week!

Elder Kupka

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 65

Last Monday we went to a Family Home Evening with the Franz family but they had forgotten about us. So it didn't work out too well but we still got to have a nice evening with them. Tonight we're going to the Tshibos and hopefully they don't forget about us. They promised to cook us umngqusho which is one of my favorite dishes here. (Edit: it is a stew made with hominy, butter, onions, potatoes, chilis and lemons)

Our investigators are all doing really well. We met with Siphosetu and she's doing really well. It's helped that she's been coming to church for a long time already. We should baptize her in the next few months. She has a great support system and even got up and bore her testimony on Sunday. She's such a sweet girl.

Yvonne is also doing well. She didn't make it to church again but we had some good lessons with her. We've started teaching the lessons to focus on her son who is nine years old. He comes to church even when she doesn't and has been reading the Book of Mormon so we're working with him now to help him as well.

Asanda is doing super well. We had some great lessons with him this week. He also got up and bore his testimony on Sunday; he is so ready and his baptism will be next Sunday. He is such a cool guy. I love teaching him.

We saw Lloyd this week as well. We made a plan with him to help him overcome his Word of Wisdom problem. Princess and Zandy are doing great. Zandy was sick this weekend but Princess is doing super well and she's been bringing friends to our lessons so we have a new person to teach and the other Elders have two new investigators that have come from it. So they're all doing great. They are super awesome and they're making things fly by here.

Church was pretty good on Sunday too. I love fast and testimony meeting. This one started out a bit slow but by the end it was super powerful. Even all of us missionaries got up and bore our testimonies. I don't know why because I've never seen all of the missionaries get up on the same Sunday before. We usually let other people have the opportunity since we bear testimony every day. But the spirit was just super strong.

Some sad news is that Lazola and Sihle Franz are moving to Tsitsikamma. Lazola got a super good teaching opportunity there. It stinks that they're leaving especially after the Tshikila's just left to Joburg. They were great fellowshippers and great people. We're super sad about it but it is what's best for them so I wish them all the best. That's about it from me this week. I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Kupka

Meeting Elder and Sister Cook

The Franz Family 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 64

It's been a pretty great week this week. Last Monday we had our final Family Home Evening with the Tshikilas before they go to Joburg; we had a good evening with them. They made dinner and we brought a cake and had a pretty great mini lesson with them as well. I'm going to miss them a lot.

Tuesday was a very busy day. It started off with our sink not draining which wasn't too fun. We ran to Pick N Pay to get drain cleaner and then had to wait for a few hours for the water to go down so we could put the stuff in. It all worked out though.

We then ran to our first appointment which was with Siphosetu; she is the Franz's niece who lives with them now. She's been coming to church for a long time and is 10 years old so they wanted us to start teaching her so she can be baptized. She is super smart and already knows everything but she speaks mostly Xhosa and a bit of English. She does well in English and then when she needs help the Franz's are there to translate.

After her lesson we met with Princess and Zandy and they are doing great. We read from the Book of Mormon with them and then on Friday Elder Kivley and Elder Tennant saw them because we were on exchanges. We saw Sister Hendrickse a few times this week as well and she is doing really well. She's kind of old but her understanding is getting better every time we go and she was able to come to church this week as well.

We then saw Yvonne and her family and had some good lessons. We had talked about priesthood blessings with her last week and she wanted us to give her and her family blessings of comfort and counsel this week. It was a pretty cool experience and I think it helped her. She is on the verge of gaining a testimony that this is true for herself; she's so close!

Wednesday we had Zone Conference in Port Elizabeth. We had to be there at 8:00 in the morning and it is about a 45 minute drive. So of course at 7:00 am when the other guys go out to their car they have a flat tyre and no tools to change it with. Luckily we were able to arrange rides with the other missionaries going and it all worked out well.

Zone Conference was pretty great though. We heard from President Merrill and Elder and Sister Cook. Elder Cook is the area president for the Africa South East area. Unfortunately Sister Merrill was sick and couldn't make it. It was a really awesome training. President Merrill talked a lot about obedience and how it can bless our missionary work. One thing that I thought was really cool is that he gave us a challenge to have the faith to test God. Meaning that we need to have the faith that as we are exactly obedient the promised blessings from our Heavenly Father will pour in to help our missionary work.

It's a true principle and something that can be applied throughout our whole lives. God always promises us blessings and He's never going to go back on His word so it's up to us to do our part to receive those blessings. Elder Cook talked a lot about working with members to help strengthen our investigators. The Areas main goal right now is retention. We need to retaining the people who have already made covenants and those who are about to.

He spoke about how there's not a missionary church and a member church but how it is all one and so we need to work together through all phases of the work. It was a great training but it was kind of long.

We had dinner with the Franz's that evening and that was great. I had taken some pictures but I forgot my camera cords today to email so there will be a lot of pictures next week.

Thursday was a pretty hectic day. It was the hardest rain storm I've seen outside of Cape Town; it was coming down hard. A cool experience though is that we had an appointment with a less active member and we weren't sure if she was going to hold and it was the peak of the storm at this point so we tried phoning her but there was no answer. So we decided to buckle down and walk there. We got there and she was there but she had not remembered that we were coming. I'm super grateful that she was there otherwise I would've been super disappointed and I think it showed her how dedicated we are in wanting to helping her. I think it's going to help us a lot as we work with her.

We had a good rest of the day after that and it ended at the Tshibo's house; they are going as strong as ever. On Friday I was on exchanges with Elder Ndlouvu in KwaNobuhle. It was a good exchange and it was still raining so I was super grateful for the car. We got Chinese food for lunch and then had to run to KwaMagxaki to give post to the Elders working out there and pick up a fleet card. I realized that being a Zone Leader gives you a lot more admin work.

We had a few good lessons after that too. One was with a girl who only speaks Xhosa. Elder Ndlouvu is Zulu so he was able to talk to her and the fellowshipper was also Xhosa and then I sat there not having a clue what was going on. It was pretty lame for me, but oh well. After her visit we had a lesson with two recent convert boys and two investigators after that and they all went well.

The only other exciting thing that happened was Sunday night the other missionaries had told some of their investigators that they were going to cook dinner for them and they invited us to come along. So we went and cooked dinner and had a good Sunday evening with them. All in all it's been a good week. Things are going well for me and the mission is flying by.

Elder Kupka