Saturday, June 13, 2015

Trent Is Home!

Trent arrived home yesterday afternoon. There isn't much to say other than how grateful we all are for this amazing experience in his life. He loves the people of South Africa and we will be returning to visit as soon as possible.


You can see Trent's airport homecoming here:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B2Y2bauaPgByNVBTT3F6b2VYVFk/edit?usp=docslist_api

Monday, June 8, 2015

Week 104 - I'm Coming Home



This is the last letter that I will be writing home. Typing those words is very weird and it doesn't even sound real. These last two years have been quite the journey; a journey that I would never take back.

This last week was a great one in Panorama. I'm so grateful that I was able to finish my mission in this area. Last Monday we went to Mowbray to do a Zone finding activity. I went straight to Zita and Jean-Jacque’s house; the couple who I had been teaching when I started my mission. Zita was home and she was so happy to see me. I was surprised that she still remembered me after two years. She told me that she wasn't meeting with the missionaries or going to church anymore but she told me that Jean-Jacque loved the doctrine that we taught. I got her number and the Mowbray Elders are going to call on her this week. It was wonderful seeing her again.

Wednesday I was on exchanges with Elder Truscott. He talked me into buying a fancy leather jacket. We also went finding in the rain and I found out that my waterproof shoes have holes in them. But we did manage to find a sweet guy named Sherwin. Elder Fonua and I went back and taught him on Friday and he is super awesome. He's cautious but he's willing to learn more. He says he wants to see how persistent we are and he's excited to get a copy of the Book of Mormon. The rest of the day was filled with some great appointments with some great people.

Sunday was amazing. We had six investigators, six recent converts and nine less active members at church. Kingsly had followed us in his car so that he could know where it is and it was a great meeting; one of the best since I've been here.

In fast and testimony meeting the entire Le Roux family got up and bore their testimonies about the church and about how they are going to miss me. It brought me to tears. I also bore my testimony and said how I was sad to come on the mission because I was leaving behind my family and my friends but now as I'm preparing to leave South Africa it once again feels like I'm leaving behind my family and friends. But I promised them all that I would come back with my family so I can't wait until we get to come back. I don't want to be a liar.

Kingsly enjoyed all of church and he really felt the spirit strong. He is a great man and I know he'll get baptized. Sama also came with his daughter and thanked me after church for helping him to find "his" church. He's very busy with his shop but he does desire for he and his whole family to be baptized and become members of the church. I am so grateful that I was able to touch the lives of so many people here in Panorama. I will stay in contact with all of them.

The mission has changed me so very much. I thought I knew the gospel when I came here. I didn't have a clue. Now not only do I understand it but I understand the application of it. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can all be made perfect. We will face our trials in this life. We will have our ups and our downs but if we continue to push and continue to do those things which we know to be true we will receive so many blessings.

I am not the most articulate of people. I'm a simple man with simple faith. But that faith has helped me to reach new levels and to do more than I ever thought was possible. I left on this mission as a 19 year old boy. I'm coming back home as a 21 year old disciple of Jesus Christ. I must continue to serve faithfully. Going home is not a time to relax and get back into the old flow but rather an opportunity to come back better than before and keep the drive going. To continue to help the gospel of Jesus Christ be spread to all of the world.

This is the true church of Jesus Christ. This is the way back to our Heavenly Father and there is no other way. I know it, I love it, and I will continue to live it throughout the rest of my life until the time is come for me to stand before the pleasing bar of my Heavenly Father and be welcomed back to Him with open arms and a loving smile.

This is what I have desired for so many people over these last two years and what I will continue to desire for everyone I come in contact with throughout the rest of my life. I know that these things are true. I love this gospel and I love my mission and I cannot wait to see all of the people I love back at home.

Love,
Elder Kupka





The LeRoux Family
Rodger


Sibotobotos and Elton
Elder Truscott



Monday, June 1, 2015

Week 103



Well, this last week was pretty solid. Last Monday we hiked to Devil's Peak. I sent the pictures but forgot to write about it. It was a pretty intense hike. At the top it was super cloudy and windy and cold. It was fun though.

In the evening we went and saw the Johnsons. They are a sweet family and I'm really going to miss them. They are always so nice to us.

Tuesday I was on exchanges with Elder Prisbrey. He is a great missionary and we had a really good day. Nothing spectacular happened but it all just flowed really well. All of the appointments held and we even got a surprise DA from Brother Celestian.

Thursday we had to get our car serviced. So we went up and spent the morning with the rest of the district at their boarding. The car wasn't ready until half past 4 so it kind of shafted our whole day. We did have a nice lesson with Rodger though. We just had an hour long discussion about death and resurrection which I think was really awesome. I had been studying up on it all week to help a less active member who had a question about it.

Saturday we saw that less active member and it really cleared things up for her. She's been studying with us and the Jehovah's Witnesses and she really liked our answer. We're now going to start going through all of the lessons with her again so she can gain a greater understanding and testimony.

The rest of Saturday was spent visiting a few other less active families and some new people who moved into our ward. That night we had an all you can eat sushi dinner with the district and the assistants.

Sunday was nice but everyone kept asking me when I'm leaving. It was really sad to say next week but I'm so happy to go home; such mixed emotions. After church we saw Kingsly and he is such a boss. He's coming to church next week. We taught him about the Word of Wisdom and we talked about the things that we can't have with the exception of Rooibos tea. And he said are you sure? Because I don't use any of that stuff except that I drink Rooibos tea. So he's already been living the Word of Wisdom before he even knew about it. He is such a prepared investigator and I'm so glad to have been able to work with him; he is a really sweet guy.

That's all for this week. One more week and then I'm home!

Love,
Elder Kupka




Kingsly


The Johnsons

Elder Prisbrey

District Sushi Night


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Week 102








Hello again! 

To be honest I'm getting really tired of emailing after 102 weekly updates. I can't wait to get home and see everyone in person; just two more emails. I’ll probably just send my big email on my last P-Day because I'll see everyone that week!

As for this week -  last Monday we saw the Emores and had another Family Home Evening with them. Princess lead the lesson and it is so cool to see all of them doing so well because when I got here Peter was less active and no one else was baptized. Now they are all baptized and active and having family home evening. It makes me so happy!

We've been working with Alexi and Marlaim to try and help them be ready for baptism on the 7th of June but their English is just not there yet. Which makes me really sad because the wanted me to baptize them. As long as they get baptized I'll be really, really happy still. It's great hearing about people you taught get baptized.  

Wednesday was a very interesting day. We met with a Muslim guy in the morning who had requested a Book of Mormon. He had seemed interested the first time but this time he just wanted to argue and Bible bash. Then our next two appointments dropped. So we tried to contact a media referral we had gotten that day which was for a 96 Smith Street. There are two Smith Streets in our area, one does not have a 96 and the other is an old woman who had no idea what we were talking about. So that didn't work either.

We did get to see the Benjamins which was nice. We continued to teach their cousin who came to church on Sunday and left after Sacrament saying that it wasn't for her but we'll talk with her more next week. I don't know what happened there.

Then we were going to go on splits with the Bishop and Leon, the ward mission leader. Leon was sick so we just went with the Bishop to try and contact less-actives. The first door we showed up to told us never to come back again. Then the next few weren't home. Finally someone let us in and we had a nice chat. The Bishop shared something from Conference but the lady said that she didn't want us to come back and that there's nothing we could do for her. Wednesday was very strange...

We've been visiting with a less-active lady who was baptized in France. She's also been studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses so she has a few conflicting ideas going around inside her head. So we've been trying to work them out with her. They are really deep questions too and it's really pushing me to study hard for her. She told us this last time that she cannot deny the feelings that she has when she studies with us. We had talked about personal revelation and Elder Fonua and I both bore testimony of the spirit. I think she'll be a very strong member of the church but we must first work through these questions.

Sunday was pretty nice. After church we had lunch with a family who had just moved in from Mthatha. It was nice to talk with Xhosa people again. I love the Xhosa culture and we don't have too many in the Panorama area. We also had a lesson with Kingsly. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and again invited him to be baptized. He agreed but he still believes that the baptism he has already done was recorded in heaven so he'll be baptized again just to show the members of the church that he's becoming a member. Which is good but I still want him to realize the fullness of what we are teaching. He's a great guy though and I really love visiting with him. I told him I only have 2.5 weeks left and he told me that we have to take a picture and exchange contact details; such a sweet guy.

I'm going to miss the people of South Africa so much. People always ask me what my favorite part of South Africa is and I always say the people. I have met so many amazing people who have changed my life for the better and I'm super grateful for that. I'm sad that I live so far away but I know that we will be able to see each other again on the other side (and when I come back and visit with the family.) I love South Africa and the mission and I am sad it's drawing to an end. Until next week.

Love, Elder Kupka





Monday, May 18, 2015

Pictures - Monkey Town




Week 101

Another great week - with only a few remaining! I went on exchanges with Elder Pahulu in Durbanville. We had a lot of time to go finding and we didn't get much success out of it but the rest of the day went great. We got to see a member in the ward who had been sick. She is really awesome. She has a strong testimony of the gospel and it was so uplifting that it really boosted mine a bit more.

I had also had lunch with her daughter in the Port Elizabeth Ward when I served there. She and her husband had us over one week so it was nice to make another connection. It's crazy how many connections I now have all across South Africa.

We saw Chanten, a recent convert from the other area, who I interviewed a few months ago. He is doing great and we taught one of his friends a great Plan of Salvation lesson afterward. It made so much sense to them and you could tell by their eyes that they were understanding it really well.

Wednesday was a rough day with lots of dropped appointments. Thursday was going a bit better until we got to a family who we had been seeing but they decided that they aren't going to sit with us anymore. They said that they really enjoyed having us over but that they were going to stay where they are comfortable. It was really, really sad. They even tried to give us their copies of the Book of Mormon back. I told them that they can keep it so that it will continue to remind them of the lessons we've been teaching them.

Friday was a bit better. We saw Alexi and Marlaim and Alexi is very good at English now. We went over the baptismal interview questions with him and he passed with a few small laughs along the way. Like telling us that he has committed a serious crime, had an abortion and been in a homosexual relationship (none of which are true) but he is ready. Marlaim isn't as good at English but we left them the questions to study. They want to be baptized together though so it may or may not happen before I leave.

Saturday was also a very open day. We had two appointments in the morning and one of them dropped. The one that held though was with a less active sister. She had been baptized in France but hadn't learned everything  properly through her not perfect French. So she has a slight problem with the concept of exaltation. We talked about it and read quite a few scriptures and left her with some things to read. So hopefully that will help her bolster her testimony.

We also saw Sister Emore in the morning. After lunch we went finding in a neighborhood that we had only driven past once before and Elder Fonua and I both had a good feeling about it. When we went back we knocked on four doors, got into three of them, taught three lessons and got three return appointments; those are some pretty good stats.

The last appointment was with an awesome coloured family! The father is a chemical engineer for Mercedes and a music producer;  very sweet family. We taught them the restoration. They had a few slight problems with it but they said that we can come back again. After the lesson they told us that they almost never let people into their home but they had felt something different about us. That would be the Spirit. I look forward to continuing to meet with them.

After that we met with another less active girl who had been injured at school using a machine. Her hair had been caught in it and she ended up doing something to a nerve. I'm not a doctor but it sounded very painful. She was doing much better though and came to church the next day so that was great. We ended up turning our very open Saturday into a very productive day.

Sunday was awesome because Brother Sama came to church again. He brought his two sons again and his daughter as well this time. He told us that when we see him this week he's going to make sure his whole family is there and he has baptismal date for the 21 of June which he is really excited for. The rest of his family should be joining him soon.

We also had a guy named Godfrey show up at the chapel. He had heard about the church and wanted to come find it. He had been looking since 7 a.m. and had gotten lost a few times but he finally made it. He is a golden guy. Then after church we had lunch with Sister Sharon. It was a great lunch and we were able to give her the Sacrament because she has been sick the last few weeks.

We also saw Kingsly and finished talking about the Plan of Salvation with him. It went so well! I love teaching the Plan of Salvation. He was skeptical about the spirit world and the three kingdoms of glory but after we read some scriptures and talked about it you could see it just click in him and he said that it was true! He's going to be coming to church in two weeks because he has a commitment already this week.

The work is going so well which makes it easier for me to stay motivated. I'm loving it and the mission is great but I can't wait to see all of the wonderful people back in Utah.

Love,

Elder Kupka

Monday, May 11, 2015

Week 100 - WOW!

Only a few weeks left now and this week was also great. On Tuesday we were able to see the Letoke family. They are from the DRC and there are so many people in that house that it's kind of hard to talk but they are interested so we went over the Book of Mormon with them and they said that they would read it. 

In the evening our appointment fell through so we decided to start trying to visit members to strengthen our relationship with them. We started with the Niehaus family. We went and talked for a little bit and shared a spiritual thought and left.

Next we went to the Birds. They gave us dinner with brownies and ice cream for dessert. We talked with them for a bit longer; they are a very nice family. We're definitely getting to know the members better. I've kind of had the mindset of trying to do everything myself and I'm just going to work hard until I finish but we've been trying to change that a bit these last few weeks and get the members to help as well.

Wednesday was great. We saw John in the morning and taught him about the Word of Wisdom. He was really sad to hear that tea is against the Word of Wisdom. But he said now that he knows that it's a commandment it would be a sin if he kept drinking it; I was very impressed, he's a really sweet guy.

We had lunch with the Bothwells who are a very nice older couple. In the evening we saw a less active family who the ward had asked us to visit; they are super awesome. They love to joke and to laugh and it was fun but it was also spiritual. They have a cousin who just started staying with them the week before and she has been facing a lot of trials. She was Muslim for a while but recently converted to Christianity, but she was confused why there are so many different churches. So we went over the restoration lesson with her and the less active family was bearing powerful testimony. The cousin was really interested in learning more and I'm excited to keep going but sad that it didn't start sooner.

Thursday we had Zone Conference with Elder Evans who is the head of the missionary department. It was seven hours long but it was pretty nice. He started off by talking about the Prophet and he read us a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 107:22 that says, "of the Melchizedek Priesthood, three Presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church" meaning that the  Prophet and the first presidency are upheld by our confidence, faith, and prayers. That is how we sustain them more than just raising our right hand. It is also something we need to be doing now more than ever. It was a nice last Zone Conference.

We also saw the Klaasens that day and we introduced them to the Book of Mormon and they are really excited to read it and learn more. Saturday I was on exchanges with Elder Truscott. We had a couple of nice lessons that day. The first started with a man who Elder Truscott had told me doesn't affiliate himself with any church but was willing to accept the Book of Mormon and read from it. So we went and were talking about the Book of Mormon and I was talking about how God loves and he said that he doesn't believe in God at all. That kind of caught me off guard but he was still willing to read the Book.

Yesterday in Elders Quorum the lesson was on the Book of Mormon from a talk by President Benson about how a man would draw nearer to God by abiding by the precepts of it than any other book. So it gave me hope for that man that he may begin to feel the love of God in his life.

We also had an appointment with a woman and her son who had just gotten the Book of Mormon during their last lesson. When we got there they had read something like 15 chapters each which was incredible. So we just spent the whole lesson testifying of the Book of Mormon and answering their questions and it was pretty great.

Sunday was nice because Brother Sama came to church again and the day before Elder Fonua had challenged him to be baptized and he accepted. He brought two of his sons who were in Primary and they loved it. I'm really excited for their family. His wife just had a baby so it might take a bit longer for her to come to church but it should all work out in the end. I won't get to see them baptized but knowing that I was able to help them along the way is good enough for me.

And then we Skyped home which was great. I love my family and I can't wait to see you again. There is little time remaining and I am just so excited to see you again.

Love,
Elder Kupka



Monday, May 4, 2015

Week 99


It was another great week and I only have a few more left so I hope that they are all as great as this one. We're keeping busy and working hard and it's helping me a lot. Lots of great things are happening.

On Wednesday I got to say goodbye to Elder Freitas. I can't believe that crazy Brazilian is going home and next up it's me! It was good to see him one last time though and I'm going to miss him.

Thursday we unfortunately helped the Von Thander family move out of the ward. That made me pretty sad. I was glad to help them move but I’m sad to see them go. We also had an appointment with a new older couple we had tracted into. They haven't been going to church and won't go back until the Lord tells them where they need to go - which is exactly what we did. When we got there the husband was kind of stand-offish towards us but by the end of the lesson he was begging us to come back. I'm excited to keep working with them.

In District Meeting we had a great discussion about how to help our investigators progress and we have a lot more ideas and goals to implement.

On Saturday we went to help a man who had stopped Elder Fonua and Elder Truscott and asked for help because his son hears voices that tell him to do bad things. So we went on Saturday and taught them about the priesthood and gave the son a priesthood blessing. He didn't look very good when we got there but when we finished he was smiling and looking a lot better. I'm grateful we were able to help and I'm grateful for the priesthood.

Sunday was a nice day and I bore my testimony for the second to last time on the mission. Next fast and testimony meeting will be my last Sunday in Africa and that's pretty weird to think about. After church we had great lessons with Kingsly and Jay. Kingsly is starting to trust us a lot and we're making great progress. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and he didn't agree at first but he loved it by the end. We gave a Book of Mormon to Jay and talked about it and he's excited to read it. His parents are pastors though in their own church so we'll have to wait and see how that turns out. Otherwise things are good on this side – I’m just finishing strong.

Love,
Elder Kupka



Saying good-bye to Elder Freitas

All different sorts of meat "braai'd" 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 98

Well, this was a good week but I can't remember most of it and I left my planner in the flat too so this will be difficult. The weeks just keep flying by and I only have six left; I feel very strange to be honest. I'm excited and nervous for home. I want to keep being a missionary but at the same time I feel like I've been here forever. I have so many mixed emotions and they hit me all at different times throughout the day.

I'm doing my best to finish strong. I really want to leave this area with lots of progressing people. We have some really great people who we are teaching right now. Unfortunately most of our investigators dropped their appointments this week. They all had really good reasons too. One guy said he was called into an emergency at work and he wants his whole family to be together when we come. We agreed 100% so we're going to be seeing them this week now.

I went on exchanges with Elder  Mendenhall and we had a good day. We had 45 minutes to go finding so we asked the Lord to help us to get a return appointment because it was still early in the afternoon and it was a nicer area. Well, after 40 minutes we had been rejected by a lot of people. We tried one last house and they let us right in. They were busy at the time but they said that we could come back the next day. Promise fulfilled.

Friday was Elder Fonua's birthday. After District meeting we went to Starlite Diner to celebrate. I bought him a ‘kitchen sink’ to share. It was a ton of ice cream. It's like 12 scoops, and has brownies, Oreos, pineapple, cherries and a bunch of other stuff. It was super filling and we shared it with the other Elders and we all didn't even finish it. Elder Pahulu ordered one for himself and ate the whole thing. It was very impressive.

It was a good week but nothing too spectacular happened to report on.  It should be another great week here in Panorama and I’m on my last transfer. Oh yeah, Elder Fonua and I are staying together a third transfer and I'm super happy for that. I didn't want anyone else to finish me off. The whole District is staying together too and practically so is the whole Zone; very few changes. Elder Decebal-Cuza is training so I'll get to meet my grand-trainee before I go home too.

Love,
Elder Kupka


The District

Elder Fonua's Birthday

Elder Pahulu eating the 'kitchen sink'

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 97

I just keep having great weeks! This is the last one of this transfer and then my final transfer starts, which is crazy to realize because I still feel like I just got to Panorama but I've been here for five months, and I only have seven weeks left. It’s a pretty strange feeling!

On Tuesday I was on exchanges in Bellville with Elder Prisbrey and it was great. Elder Prisbrey is a stud. We did a lot of finding and got a couple return appointments for them. We got stuck in traffic for a long time and then had dinner at the home of a less active family.

On Wednesday we had the second appointment with the powerful family from last week. When we got there they were preparing for load shedding so we were only able to sit down with the father. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and he had a lot of questions but he took it all very well. Then load shedding hit and the rest of the family joined us and said that they had been listening.

We then just answered questions that they had about the church and other things. Their daughter had Googled the church and asked if we were polygamists. We were able to clear that one up real quick because the father looked kind of nervous as she was asking. I don't know what they thought our intentions were.

They have committed to read the Book of Mormon and we're going back this Wednesday to follow up and teach about the Plan of Salvation. They are very family oriented so we're going to introduce the Proclamation on the Family, as well.

On Thursday we went to teach a family that Elder Fonua and Elder Truscott had found from their exchange. They are a very awesome family as well; very prepared. We taught them about the Book of Mormon and some of the family members had lots of questions but then the Dad chimed in and started talking about the 12 tribes of Israel, which was spot on.

Another daughter asked if we believe that there could be more books out there with scripture for us and another guy, not sure if he's a friend or a family member, said that he believes that God will continue to talk to us today just as He did in times past. They had so many great insights while we were reading from the Book of Mormon. When we walked into the home of this family I just felt an immediate love for them and that was really cool. They told us that we can come back as often as want!

Sunday we met with Kingsley and he's still doing really well. He was reading and meditating on the Restoration pamphlet that we had left him and he said that he learned a lot from it and really liked it. So we introduced the Book of Mormon to him with 531 more pages for him to meditate on! He's really looking forward to reading it and we had another great discussion on it. This week we're probably going to teach the Plan of Salvation a lot since we just taught the Book of Mormon so many times.

After meeting with Kingsley we went tracting in Plattekloof which is the richest part of our area. I saw some of the biggest houses that I have even seen in my life there. We were kind of nervous but we did it anyway. There were no answers at the first two houses but at the third one the guy said that he's busy now but we can come back anytime. So we're going to be seeing them again this week.

We also tracted into a person who is a Jehovah’s Witness and he talked to us for 45 minutes on his doorstep about what he believed in. We finished the night at Mandi and Forgy's house. We had a nice lesson about Enduring to the End according to the book of Revelation in Chapters 3 and 7. They had made chipatis and we gave Mandi a blessing of comfort. It was a nice end to a nice week.

Love,
Elder Kupka



Braai with the Zone

Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 96

It has been an amazing week!

It's been powerful, it's been fun, and looking back it seems like it took forever but it flew by while it was happening --- mission time is so strange.

Last Monday we had another Family Home Evening with the Emore family as they continue to learn about the gospel, and apply it in their lives. We were going to have another one with them tonight but load shedding hit them so there's no electricity.

I don't know if I've explained about load shedding but South Africa is running low on electricity somehow and so Eskom had the great idea of having rolling blackouts throughout the country. There are different parts being blacked out all of the time which really stinks and some days it seems to follow us to our appointments as we go from area to area.

Thursday we had Zone training with President Merrill and it was very uplifting. My interview with him was pretty basic. He just asked how I was doing and said that we'd have a deeper interview during my next one because that will be my departing interview!

The Zone Leaders also do a training and their training was based around how our purpose in life and the Atonement are related and they asked me to give part of the training. It was based around a talk we got called the Donaldsen Papers. He was the mission president in the District videos and now he's working in the missionary department. Anyway it's super powerful.

He talks about how the Atonement unlocked repentance, grace, and exaltation. Then he spoke about how we only unlock that through baptism, the sacrament and temple ordinances. He went on to say that we are the only people, as missionaries, who can unlock those blessings for other people.

So here in Panorama, Elder Fonua and I are the only two who can do that for everyone in our area, because President Merrill has delegated the keys to us to do it. It was really inspiring and I learned a lot and I was able to share a lot. It was also my final testimony to the Zone because it was my last Zone meeting. It was crazy because it was so spiritual and it was sad and it was exciting --- so many mixed emotions.

Saturday I was on exchanges with Elder Truscott and we covenanted with the Lord that we would teach nine lessons that day. That is more lessons in one day than either of us have ever taught during our whole missions. We had six set appointments with a couple of hours left for us to go finding. Well, two of those appointments ended up dropping. So we spent the day tracting and teaching and we ended up teaching the restoration in five of the lessons and it was so great.

We found a new father-lead family to teach and planted some seeds for other people, as well. It was a crazy day. During one contact we knocked on the door and the father answered. We started off by showing him the picture of the first vision and asking him what he saw. It was a very straight forward approach but it got him interested. We talked a bit and explained what we wanted to share with his family but he said that he was busy and we could come back on Wednesday evening.  We said ok but as we were walking down the street he came running out of his house and whistled for us to come back.

He said that he talked to his wife and he felt a bit guilty for asking us to leave and that he wanted us to come back and share our message with them. He said that he only had five minutes though so we said that would be fine. We ended up having an hour long discussion about the Restoration and it went really, really well because everything just flowed so smoothly.

At the end of the discussion we asked the father to say the closing prayer and ask if our message is true. So he did and the next words out of his mouth after he asked that in his prayer were, "I already know that it's true, I've felt it in my heart as the Elders were teaching me." Powerful... we're going back on Wednesday to teach them about the Book of Mormon.

The mother and daughter were just as excited about it all and they have another son that is going to join us on Wednesday. It was so great and just one of the many miracles that happened that day.

On Sunday we had a lesson with a new investigator. We had met him street contacting on Friday. Street contacting is awkward because you never know who to approach but it was 12 o’clock on Friday and we didn't know where else to go. So we had covenanted with the Lord that we would give out three Restoration pamphlets in 45 minutes.

After 40 minutes we had handed out two and taught a lesson. So we needed someone else in the next five minutes. We were trying and trying and no one was talking to us. Finally we stopped one guy and he said that he'd love to hear more but that he was busy; which brings us to our appointment. It was another great Restoration lesson where everything went super well.

Elder Fonua and I are doing really well together as companions because we have great unity. After the lesson we again asked the father to pray. His reply? Why would I need to ask? I've already felt the spirit and I know that it's true, I just need to give thanks at this point. He owns his own security company and can take off whenever he needs to for us to meet with him.  The Lord has lead us to so many prepared people this week!

The work is going so great in Panorama. I'm loving it and loving life. I had an awesome birthday because on Sunday lots of people wished me happy birthday and today we went to Robben Island; all in all it was a great week.

Can't wait to see you all again!

Love,
Elder Kupka



Happy Birthday, Trent - We Love You!






Monday, April 6, 2015

Week 95

It's been a tough week this week. We've had investigators move out of our area and we've had other investigators drop us, so we are hitting the refresh button. We're going to find those people who are truly committed to learn more and be baptized and then we're going to go and find more people who are committed as well. It should be busy. We do have some good people were seeing and they are progressing but you can never have too many.

On Wednesday we saw one of these. His name is John and he's from DRC. He had met with the missionaries there but his family told him that they were of the devil and threw away all of his pamphlets. Now we're getting to meet with him again and he's doing really well and I'm very excited to keep working with him.

Also on Wednesday we got to go to the Boreham’s house for an Easter egg hunt and dinner. It was the hardest Easter egg hunt I've ever done. They are really good at hiding the eggs. We also had a nice dinner with Grant and his girlfriend who were there from Joburg.

Thursday we met with a guy named Sean. He's from Polokwane and is a member. We were teaching someone on the porch of their house and Sean happened to walk by and see us and come up and talk to us. He's been living here since January but had no idea where the church was. So we were able to explain it to him and he should be able to get there now. It was really cool because he said he's never walked down that street before and something just told him that he should that day, and boom he meets us!

Friday we had district meeting. I did it on the three pillars of eternity since it was Easter weekend. It sounded a lot like Elder Holland's talk in conference. He must've been listening in on me. That evening we went to the Le Roux's and they gave us pickled fish. Pickled fish is a huge Easter tradition in the Coloured culture. It was alright but not my favorite.

Saturday we cleaned the chapel with the ward and then afterwards contacted a referral of a guy who requested a Book of Mormon. He turned out to be Muslim which was kind of surprising but we taught the restoration and he told us that we could come back next month after he's had time to read it. It should be interesting, we'll see what happens.

In the evening we watched the Saturday morning session of conference and then the District came over to our place for dinner. We made pulled pork sandwiches and they were super good; it was Elder Fonua's recipe.

Sunday was full of conference. We watched the priesthood session in the morning and then after that we went and had an investigator follow us to Church. He seemed to enjoy Conference and he said that he's coming back again next week. We're seeing him on Saturday and hopefully we'll be able to start teaching his whole family.

 I'm just trying to work hard these last couple of weeks; it's not always easy but I'm trying.

Love,
Elder Kupka


It does get cold in Cape Town
  

Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 94

Oh, it's been such a great week!

Last Monday after the hike we went to see Tristan. She is still doing great and preparing for her baptism at the end of the month. After that we went to the Sibotobotoes and had a lesson on the pride cycle. I have been wanting to come up with a way to teach it and I finally found some scriptures for it and it was awesome.

On Tuesday we had six investigator lessons set and most of them live with members so I thought it would be super easy to get six member-present lessons. Without consulting my companion I made a covenant that we would teach six member present lessons that day. He was very surprised when I finished praying at the end of our planning meeting but we knew we could do it.

So on Tuesday we had three appointments drop and one of them we weren't able to get a member to come with us. Instead we had to take members with us while finding but we ended up getting into the homes of four different people and we taught some very powerful lessons. The last one ended at 8:45 at night.

It was so hard and physically and spiritually exhausting but it ended up working out in the end. The Lord will always hold up His end of the deal but we have to be willing to go to work and do our best. He will always provide a way.

One of the families we found when we were about to give up is a family that just left their other church and is looking for a new one. They are going to be a great new family to teach. On Wednesday we were invited to attend the New Apostolic Church by a family we've been teaching and President gave us the go ahead to attend. So we went and it was nice; they have a beautiful church and a great choir. It was different for us and they switched to Afrikaans about 1/4 of the way into it. I have a lot of questions I want to ask the family for clarification so that I don’t get things wrong before I explain them to you, and we didn't get to see them this week so I'll tell you more about our visit next week.

In my studies I've been focusing on personal revelation. That's what my topic was for district meeting and I learned a lot about personal revelation and how to understand the spirit better. There's a Mormon Message by Elder Bednar called “Patterns of Light”, it's a three part series and it's really great. I have come up with an eight step process on how to do it and how to apply it in investigator' lives and it is very powerful.

Saturday we started doing District Dinner again so we went over to the other Elders’ boarding and had dinner together. I really like the district that we have now. We have some great unity and it's going to be a good couple of transfers.

My travel plans came in today and I'll be leaving South Africa on the 12th of June and I'll get home on the 13th, exactly two years from the day that I entered the MTC in Jo-burg. It's been a great journey and I've loved every minute but I still have a few more weeks to consecrate my time and talents to the Lord.

We had Sister Emore's baptism on Saturday and she was so happy. She bore testimony about how the gospel has changed her life and how she used to run away from us when we would teach her daughters but how the spirit touched her and made her want to change and come to church. It was a great way to end the week and I hope to have a few more baptisms before I come home. The work is great and I love the Lord, and everyone who is reading this.

Love,
Elder Kupka



Sister Emore's baptism

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 93


Hello again,

We don't have a lot of time this week because we hiked to Lion’s Head this morning. To sum things up --- we had lots of good appointments, we got rid of the green piece of junk car that we used to have and got an Etios; so I'm driving manual again!

We had a great lesson with the Etsabeth family. Sister Etsabeth is a member and her husband is not. They are an older couple. Brother Etsabeth is a super awesome guy. He's very friendly and he truly wants to know if the church is true. So we had a lesson on Joseph Smith but for our next visit we’re going to talk about Personal Revelation because we feel like that's what he needs more than a lesson from the missionary lessons. Hopefully it will work!

We also committed Alexi to baptism. He's Brother Celestian’s brother who doesn't speak very much English. He is currently going to a center to learn English and we've been teaching him with the help of his brother and it's been going very well. He knows everything is true and once he learns English a bit more he will be baptized; hopefully, before I go home. We have scheduled it for the last Sunday in May.

Sister Emore's baptism interview was this week and she passed with flying colors so she will be baptized this coming Sunday. What a blessing for their family. 

We had Stake Conference this weekend and it was super powerful. During the adult session of conference the talks were all about councils for both family and ward. It gave me a few of ideas that I can apply in my District and then more ideas for when I'm home and hold callings and for when I have a family.

A member of the Stake Presidency talked about how he counseled with his 7 and 9 year old children about how they could fix a problem. The children then came up with a great idea and they applied it the very next day. It gave me some great ideas for my future life.

President Merrill gave a powerful talk about missionary work. He spoke about the miracles that have been happening across the mission. He said that one Sunday we had over 300 investigators and over 200 less actives at Sacrament meeting. The mission is doing so well because we are being obedient and seeing lots of miracles because of it. It makes me so happy and it makes me want to stay on the mission longer but at the same time I cannot wait to come home and see all of my friends and family again.

Today we hiked Lion’s Head as a Zone and at the top we set goals of things that we want to accomplish. It should be a great transfer and I only have two left so it had better be. The work is going great and I'm loving it, but I don't have much to say this week.

Love,
Elder Kupka