Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 76


This week... I don't really know what to say about this week. It was good but not the greatest of weeks. I don't really know what to write about. Tuesday-Friday were great days and we had a lot of appointments and if I wrote about each one we would be here all day. Everyone is still progressing really well.

Some highlights for the week is that Sister Hendricks and Siphosethu both passed their baptismal interviews and will be baptized this Sunday. I went on exchanges with Elder Creech in Kwa Nobuhle and we had a nice day. It was kind of nice to go back to companionship teaching because I'm still adjusting to teaching with three people.

We got into some deep doctrine though. We taught a recent convert family about Patriarchal Blessings and we read the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood with a member of the Bishopric while at the same time, back in Uitenhage, they did the baptismal interview for Siphosethu and she did great.

Our day on Saturday changed a bit because we ended up having to go to Stake Conference. So we had Sister Hendricks’ baptismal interview in the morning and then tried to teach some lessons, went to Kwano to pick up some walking Elders on their side of Uitenhage, and then went on our way to Port Elizabeth and had a good adult session there.

We came back and had a lesson with Mfundo; he's such a stud. Then on Sunday we had the other session of Stake Conference, so we did a lot of driving this weekend.

It was a really good Conference - President Uchtdorf and Elder Bednar were there, kind of. They had made a recording to show to the 84 stakes on the African Continent. It was pretty cool. In it they were very straight forward and said, “Don't practice traditions anymore such as labola and worshipping ancestors.” Now no one has an excuse; if President Uchtdorf said it then it's as good as scripture.

We came home to find out that we had no power and I was STARVING. So we had peanut butter and bread. Then we went out teaching to our six appointments and all six of them dropped. It was horrible and it was raining and we were out of Ks from all of our driving. The only thing we managed to do was get a permission slip from Siphosethu's father for her to be baptized and give Sinethemba's father a blessing.

When we got back we had power so we made some food and went to bed. It was a rough ending to a pretty solid week. This week should be better and I'm very happy that it's ending with two baptisms.

One last really sad thing is that Brother Booyens passed away this weekend. He was a great man. He was so kind and loving to everyone in the ward regardless of race. He will be greatly missed in the ward. Sorry it’s kind of short this week.

Elder Kupka

Elder Creech and me on exchange

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 75


Well, to start off I'd like to give a shout out to the Xangati family who have Googled me and found my blog. I hope you guys read this and I'll see you on Wednesday evening; it will be a golden time!

Anyway it's been a pretty solid and busy week. Who would have thought that combining two areas into one would make us so busy? Along with transfers and having to take Elder Truscott to the bus stop in Port Elizabeth at 6:00 in the morning; I am mentally and physically exhausted but things are continuing to go well.

Last Monday we gave a member named Brian a blessing for his upcoming exams and then we went around with Elder Truscott as he said some good-byes. I'm going to have to learn his area now. Neither of my companions can drive so I'll be driving everyday again.

On Tuesday Elder Decebal-Cuza and I went to work while everyone else was packing and preparing for transfers. We taught Mfundo about the priesthood, followed up on Asanda's neighbor, Siphosetu and had a good Restoration lesson with him and his sister who has started joining us.

Then we went to see Princess and Zandi and taught them about the importance of the Sacrament now that they are baptized. We then saw Sister Hendrickse and taught her about the priesthood and by the end she wasn't feeling too well because she had a headache so I gave her a blessing and told her that she'd be alright and that all of the pains will go away and they did right then and there. The priesthood is super powerful!

We then taught the other Siphosetu the Plan of Salvation with Sinethemba and Ma helping to explain things and it went well. We finished the night with Elder Truscott saying good-byes and having dinner with the Mendu family. 

On Wednesday we had to wake up at 5:00 in the morning leave Uitenhage at half past 5 get Elder Truscott to the bus station at 6:15 and send him on his way. He was gone before we were even supposed to be awake for the day. Then we came back and finished getting ready and went out to teach eight appointments which five of them dropped. It was kind of frustrating and it was basically how the rest of the week went.

We have full days scheduled but it ends up with lots of dropped appointments. It's been easier to schedule back- ups with so many people to go visit. We have 50+ people that we need to try and see between investigators, less actives, and recent converts. Luckily some of them are families so it makes the numbers a bit more reasonable but it is still difficult.

We had a good lesson with Gloria on Wednesday. She is another lady we accidentally found but is super prepared to receive the gospel. We talked about the Book of Mormon with her and it seemed to be going well; I'm excited to keep working with her.

Thursday we met with Sister Hendrickse, Mfundo and a guy named Rimano who is less active due to his work. Rimano is a super cool guy. His whole family is members but they live super far away from the chapel. Rimano comes when he's off from work but the rest can't make it very often. We had a great appointment with them. We watched President Uchtdorf's last conference talk. I love the First Presidency because they are so inspired and their talks really can apply to us in so many different ways.

Friday was district meeting and it was a decent one this week; I did it on studying effectively. It was interesting because on Sunday in Elder’s Quorum President Wildskut of the Stake Presidency had a lesson on studying effectively even as non-members. It added on to some of the insights that I had talked about during District Meeting and I had some pretty inspired studies this morning. I've been going through the Book of Mormon slowly. I read 3 Nephi 13 and really pondered on it and it made a lot of sense and I saw a few things that I can improve on.

I always look forward to emailing every week and then I get kind of sick of it by the end so I'm just going to talk about Sunday. It was a really good day. We went to walk with Nwabisa to church but when we got there her family said she wasn't there. We ended up meeting up with her on the way back to the church. She had started walking without us because she was too excited to wait for us to walk with her.   

Church was really inspiring this week. We were able to confirm Princess, Zandi, Claudia and Phelicia and that was followed by some great talks. I taught the Gospel Principles lesson on the Holy Ghost.

After church we went to give Brother Booyens, who is a member who has been very sick, the sacrament. He's in ICU and still struggling but he'll get better. We gave him another blessing. After that we went to the Devenish's for a delicious lunch. Then we were running late for the Xangati's so we had to re-schedule with them. 

Then we went and taught Gloria and she said she believes that the Book of Mormon is true and we just talked about what that means. Then we went to the Tshibos and watched some Mormon messages. And then we finished the night with Mama Juda and her granddaughter Q. Q is 8 and is preparing to be baptized next year because she's leaving for the holidays. We went over the baptism interview questions with her to see what we should teach her but she knew everything already.

It's been a solid, busy, stressful week. Our schedule for this week is fully booked every hour of the day until Saturday and Sunday which has a few more slots to fill. We have Stake Conference on Sunday and I'm going on exchanges with one of the Zone Leaders in Kwanobuhle this week. That's my life --- it's hectic but I love it. The church is true and I love it and all of you!

Elder Kupka

Touring the VW Factory

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 74


What an interesting but good week. To start off we got transfer news for the next week and it was quite a shocker. First off Elder Truscott is leaving and headed out to Sada in Queenstown and his replacement is no one! Elder Decebal-Cuza, Elder Welsh and I will be in a tripanionship for the coming transfer and we will be covering all of Uitenhage. I'll be super happy to have a car again. The rest will be kind of weird.

The last tripanionship was nice because it was only a week. This one will be four weeks though because no one travels the week before or after Christmas. So four weeks from today I will be getting transfer news again and we'll see if I'll be heading out after six months in Uitenhage. Stay tuned.

Last Monday we got to play American football. It was super awesome because it's been way too long since I have played. Then we had a Family Home Evening at the Xangati's house and ate chicken feet. I don't like chicken feet; it's too much effort for not a lot of meat.

Tuesday we had a pretty solid day. It was Sister Hendrickse's birthday and she had cake for us. It's hard to buy people gifts when you're walking so we didn't get a chance to get her anything. Other than that we met with Princess and Zandi and prepared them for their baptism some more. We also met with Siphosetu who is very excited for her baptism at the end of the month especially after seeing the ones yesterday.

Wednesday was a decent day for a Wednesday. We saw Stalvester and we are still trying to work with him to get him back to church so we read from the Book of Mormon with him. We then visited with a lady named Christina because she stopped us on the street and wanted us to visit her. She's from Grahamstown and is going back there but we're going to teach her until then and then send her address to the Elders there.

We finished the day with Mama Franz. We are trying to help her understand English more by reading from the Book of Mormon with her and it is going very well.

Thursday we helped the other missionaries move. They consolidated eight missionaries in three different boardings into one place and it’s nice. It's a house that's kind of divided with a bachelor pad at the side. It's not a hundred percent finished yet and they haven't had electricity for two days so I'm glad I didn't get moved. I'm perfectly happy with my flat.

After that we were able to teach Mfundo. He's such a stud and I love teaching him. Unfortunately he's going to the bush in December and on the 7th of December he's going to be the main bout in a boxing match so we are thinking of moving his baptism date back which means I probably won't be here for it. 

We also did the baptism interviews that day. Elder Thomas came to do one of them. He's working in East London now and it was great to see the Thomas' again. I got to do the other one since I'm the District Leader and it was super cool. I liked doing it. It was for a girl named Phelicia. She's 13 and she knew everything. She was baptized with her sister Claudia as well as Princess and Zandi on Sunday.

Friday was nice because we had a great District Meeting, I think, and hopefully the others did as well. I did it on teaching is more than just talking from Preach my Gospel. Then afterwards we were getting fed lunch by Sister Cook at 2:00 so we went and had a powerful lesson with Benjamin beforehand. We taught the Plan of Salvation and it really clicked in his mind about Adam and Eve; it was super nice.

We then had lunch and gave Sister Cook’s grandson a blessing. We taught Yvonne and the Xangatis. With the Xangatis we taught about tithes and fast offerings and with Yvonne we talked about recognizing the spirit. Hopefully it will help her to understand the promptings and get answers to her questions.

Saturday we had a few cool experiences. We went to follow up on a guy that we had previously tracted into and the people at that home said that he was at a house two doors down. So we went there and he wasn't there but some other people were. One lady was named Gloria and she is very interested and we had a great restoration lesson with her and got a return appointment.

The other appointment was with a guy named Leslie. We had met his wife earlier in the week when she called us into her house and asked us what we do. She's part of an organization called Kolping. They work to help people get back to church and back on their feet by giving bursaries and other things like that.

She had told us that she was going to Cape Town but that she wanted us to meet her husband. So on Saturday we were going to meet him and while we’re walking up the road a guy stopped us and as we were talking to him he said his name was Leslie. I asked him if Olivia was his wife and he said yes but he was super surprised. His wife had apparently forgotten to tell him about us and yet we still managed to run into him.

We were able to go and sit with him in his front yard in the shade because it was a super hot day. We talked about what we do and what we believe in and it was very powerful. He asked lots of questions that we were able to answer and we are going to go back to meet with the whole family next week. They have some great potential and everything happens for a reason.

Sunday was very powerful because of the baptisms. We had four in the ward with two of them being from our area. I was running around the whole time getting everything set up, printing the programs, and getting all of the clothes ready. It was hectic beforehand but then I baptized Princess and Elder Decebal-Cuza baptized Zandi. I got nervous and forgot the word “of” so I had to do it again. I don't think Princess was too happy having to go into the water a second time --- ha ha.

Then when Elder Decebal-Cuza baptized Zandi he dunked her super fast. It was pretty funny but it all worked out. We ended the transfer with four baptisms in Uitenhage and we'll hopefully end the next one with even more baptisms.

Things are going well and I'm enjoying my time here. I've been in Uitenhage a long time so we'll see if some new change comes in four weeks.

Love you all,
Elder Kupka


Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 73


Happy Halloween, even though they don't celebrate it here, and it was the quietest Halloween ever.

This last Monday we went to the Mendu's house for dinner. Our appointment before that dropped but we were able to catch Benjamin home and made a time to come back for him so that was good.

Tuesday was a pretty solid day. We were able to see Mfundo in the morning and had a great lesson on prayer and scripture study. He's super cool. Then we came back had lunch and went to visit a guy named Byron who had stopped us on the street last week and wanted to come see him. We had a great Restoration lesson with him. He knows the Bible very well and is very smart. We got through the first half and then we finished the rest on Thursday and it was great. He had a lot of questions that we answered and then invited him to be baptized and he agreed. He's very promising.

We also saw Sister Hendrickse and read Mosiah 18 with her since she is preparing for her baptism. She loved it and I also love that chapter because it talks about what we promise at baptism and how the church should be established.

Wednesday was not so nice. I don't know why but Wednesdays are never good days for missionary work here. We did get to see Benjamin in the morning and taught him about the Book of Mormon and committed him to read it. Then we saw Princess and Zandy and did the Alma 50 analogy. Then we had a big gap where we went finding and followed up on people but not much happened.

We finished the week with the Tshibos and read Alma 32 and talked a lot about faith. Friday was nice; we had District Meeting in the morning. I gave the lesson on Developing the Faith to Find. It went really well and we brainstormed fun finding ideas to use as a District. We came up with having a “hymn-a-long” with the ward and having them invite people to it. We would also have chapel tours to show the people around and how things work. We're also going to try and start a scripture study class every Wednesday night and some other fun ideas. We're going to ward council next week after the baptisms so we're going to present it then.

I went on exchanges with Elder Truscott and we had a great day. We get along so well and we had some great lessons together. The first one was with a guy who was referred to them by Brother Freddy who is a cop. His name is Dillon and he has fallen into some bad habits for the last five years but really wants to change now. So we went and had a great first lesson with him. We only taught the first three principles and then we just answered his questions and discussed things with him. I felt prompted to invite him to be baptized and he said yes, he really wants that. So that was pretty cool.

The rest of the weekend went alright. We had a few dropped appointments and way too many drunk people roaming the streets. I'm getting very sick of drunk people. Every single one of them comes up and tells us that they have a problem and they want our help to fix it but if you ever find them sober they won't even talk to you. It's quite frustrating and they roam the streets like zombies on the weekends. It's just another part of the mission, I guess. That's all from me for this week.

Elder Kupka

Two Very Awkward Pictures: