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.

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.

Elder Kupka

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 92


This week has been pretty good. On Tuesday I got to go on exchanges with Elder Wilhelmsen. He's a great guy and a great missionary. He's been transferred to Kwano Buhle this week so I'll never see him until he gets home; which isn't for a long time – ha ha. We had some good lessons.

We taught Eric about the Word of Wisdom. He said that from a physical point of view it doesn't make sense but from a spiritual standpoint he sees it. He committed to live it so that was good and we'll follow up on that next time we see him.

We also saw the Emores. The ward clerk had not been able to find Peter's records so we were going to have to re-baptize him so Elder Wilhelmsen and I taught the restoration and plan of salvation in one lesson to get him caught up to Sister Emore. When we went back though they had found his records at last and we didn't need to baptize him again after all so that's good.

On Wednesday we got to see Tristan again and she's doing really well. It's always fun teaching children because they ask super funny questions and you have to make it really simple for them. She asked if God is really, really big because He can see everything at the same time. When we said no she said, “Oh, He probably has a lot of twins then.”  I think we finally were able to clear things up for her, I hope. We're going back tonight to have an FHE with the whole family. 

Thursday was good because we finally got to see Andre Charles’ brother again and he's doing really well. He's been reading the Book of Mormon and understanding it. He hasn't prayed about it yet and I think it's because he's afraid of what the answer will be. But we'll keep working on it with him.

Friday was a nice district meeting. We had a reflection meeting where we talked about fun things that happened during this last transfer, things that we learned, and our spiritual experiences. It was nice to hear all of the things that have happened; it was a really good one and a really quick one and I've only got two more to go!

Friday evening we went out to Durbanville to do a baptismal interview for a 10 year old kid that wasn't baptized. I'm working with a lot of kids recently and it’s nice; he's a smart kid and he's ready for his baptism.

Saturday was Brother John's funeral. Unfortunately the hearse bringing him to the funeral broke down on the N1 so he was a bit late, but we started without him and it was a nice service. After the funeral we had correlation meeting with Leon and a couple of good appointments. We also went back to our return appointments with the people from last week that we had found but none of them were home. Even the people that we had just left pamphlets for were all gone. It was sad.

But, we did get to go to a lesson with the great potential family that we had found last week. We brought Brother Sam with us, who is a returned missionary and super awesome guy, and it was a very powerful lesson. They belong to the New Apostolic faith. We had a great discussion with them about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and they really know their stuff. Brother Sam does as well and it was a really good discussion. I don’t think I have had one like that during my whole mission. It was really powerful and they told us that we can come back every Saturday. I'm really excited for this family because they have their beliefs but they are willing to listen to what we have to say and really think about it. It's going to be great!

Sunday was nice and busy. We had a great lesson with Emmanuel and Jolene about the plan of salvation and they are doing so well. Then we saw Sister Emore. She's doing so well and she is really excited about the gospel. She is accepting it but not just accepting it she is living and applying it and it's really making a difference in her life and it makes me so happy to see. The whole family will be completed at the end of this month.

We then went to Stake choir practice. We'll be singing in the Stake Conference coming up on Sunday. I'm going to begin and finish my mission singing in this choir!

After that we had a great lesson with Mandi and Forgi and Leon about tithing and fasting. Our lesson went a bit deeper as we started talking about trials, and struggles, and how our faith can help us overcome them. It was really awesome and it went really well with two scriptures that I had found in the New Testament this week in my studies.

In Hebrews 11:40, in the Joseph Smith Translation, it talks about how without struggles we cannot be made perfect and then if you link that with Romans 8:18 it talks about how the sufferings of this life are not even worthy to be compared with the glory that we are to receive in the life to come. I found these the day after we gave Brother John the blessing in the hospital. I was really kind of depressed but when I read these scriptures it made me feel so much better. The spirit really works and the church is super true!


Elder Kupka

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Week 91

Well this week has been another week. I got really sick on Tuesday. I woke up and I could barely talk so I called the mission nurse and she sent me to the doctor because she could tell through the phone how bad I was doing. He felt my throat, looked down it, and gave me some antibiotics.

Tuesday we couldn't do anything so it was pretty boring so on Wednesday we tried to go out and do things but everything dropped; except for the Parks. They are a less active family and their daughter is 10 and wants to be baptized. So we went and started teaching the daughter. Hopefully, we can get them all coming to church and get the daughter baptized.

Thursday I finished my antibiotics and felt a lot better. Friday and Saturday we had Elder Bohn with us ; he is one of the traveling assistants. So he goes around on exchanges with a bunch of different missionaries and helps them to test the Lord's Promises. So we spent the weekend testing and finding and working hard. On Saturday night at the very last door we knocked on we found a very awesome new Father-lead family to teach.

We had spent the whole day finding and while we did find some good potential people to teach we also got invited in by a Muslim guy who then proceeded to tell us how wrong we are by quoting a random scripture in the Book of Job that wasn't even spoken by Job but by one of the people making fun of him, It says, "How can someone born by a woman be perfect?" He then said that because Christ was born of a woman he can not be perfect. It was a waste of time so we didn't get to into it with him and just left.

And then after a long day we arrived at our awesome family's place. We knocked on the door and showed her a Book of Mormon and she invited us in. We told her about the Book of Mormon and what our message is. She's a systems analyst for a big company based in the States. She has a husband and a son and a daughter. They were all super nice and we're going back this Saturday to start teaching them. I pray that they work out because they would be a great addition to the Ward.

Sunday was kind of crazy. I did a baptism interview right after church for a woman who has been a member of the church since 1993. Her records had been lost somewhere and she needs to be re-baptized. So I interviewed her and of course, she nailed every question. Then we went to choir practice which was interesting. We have a very young choir both in age and choir experience but I'm sure we'll get better.

We then went with Elton to give the Sacrament to the Septembers. From there we went to Durbanville and I did another interview for a guy named Shantin who's going to be baptized next week --- he hasn't been baptized before. He's a super sweet guy and very ready for baptism. After that we went back to our area to have dinner with the Von Thanders; I love that family. Then we went and checked up on Emmanuel and Jolene and ended up having a really good lesson and Emmanuel's brother there. His brother said that he doesn't usually like meeting with church people but that he felt something inside him as we were teaching. We tried to get his details so we could refer him to the missionaries that work in his area but he said that he would just disappoint them and not be there. So we gave him a Book of Mormon and hopefully we'll be able to see him again.

Which brings us to today. Today has been very different. We started off this morning giving service which doesn't usually  happen on P-days but that's okay. Then we came and started emailing but then Sister Salome called. She's the wife of the guy who had pneumonia. Brother John had been in the hospital since last weekend. When she called today she told us that something had gone wrong and that the blood had filled his brain and caused him to be brain dead. She asked us to come and give a blessing to him before he passed away.

So we went to the hospital and it was really sad to see him laying there with a whole lot of machines hooked up to him keeping him alive. I gave him the blessing and I was hoping that I would be able to tell him to move or do something because the doctors said that if he so much as coughed or moved a finger he would be fine. As I placed my hands on his head I knew that it wasn't going to happen. I blessed him and released him from this life. I will never be able to fully describe what I felt as I gave this blessing. It was a mixture of sadness for his passing but happiness due to the knowledge that the plan of salvation brings. I know that there is life after death and that families can be together forever but only through the gospel of Jesus Christ and through priesthood authority. I know this to be true and I know the church is true.


Elder Kupka

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 90

This week... well, this week has been a crazy week. We had miracles, we had Zone Conference, we had dropped appointments, I got sick, we gave service - it was just about everything that could happen all wrapped up into one week. But I'll start at the beginning.

Last Monday we didn't have any appointments so we went to follow up on some people and we ended up seeing the Johnsons. They are a member family who I realized hadn't been to church in a while. We went and made some return appointments and shared some messages with them and then they made it to church on Sunday.

We then saw Wayne and Arlene who is the power couple we had tracted into last transfer. We hadn't heard anything from them so we went to follow up. We were able to find them at home and they were busy and they were working and going on vacation during the weekend so we have a return appointment with them tomorrow that I am super excited about. I know that they are prepared to hear the gospel.

Tuesday was Zone Conference. We've been focusing on working miracles and finding people to teach but now President is realizing how young the mission is; there are only 13 missionaries older than me and 10 go home in two weeks so we are a very young mission. So Zone Conference was about teaching the Restoration, more specifically, teaching it in five minutes. Oftentimes people say that they don't have time to listen so now we can do it in five minutes so that they can feel the power of our message. It's actually really hard to cover it all in five minutes.

We were doing some role plays with it and I got paired up with Sister Peterson. She's one of the senior couples and her husband is the one who has helped us out with our car so many times. Well, she's been a member for a long time and I've been teaching the Restoration for 21 months so I thought that it would be kind of, I guess, boring.

Well, we got into it and it was going really well. When I got to the part about Joseph Smith she started tearing up and then I started tearing up as well. We've both heard this hundreds of times and know it is true but the spirit was so strong that we both just couldn't hold back. I know that I was a crier back home but that doesn't really happen anymore which made this even more powerful. There is power in the Restoration no matter how many times you have heard that Joseph Smith was a prophet called by God and this is the only true church on the face of the earth. I know this without a shadow of a doubt.

After the role play we had a delicious lunch of chicken broccoli prepared by Brother Mike and then we got to watch Meet the Mormons. It was awesome! It is a powerful movie that really shows that Mormons are normal people! There's one part where they show a clip of the Simpsons and Homer answers the door and there are two green aliens at the door step. He says "oh great, Mormons" and slams the door. That really is how people view us but that movie shows that we are just normal people trying to help all of God's children gain eternal salvation. Nothing weird about us at all!

After Zone Conference we had a lesson with the Le Roux family that went great; we read Mosiah 24. We then went to the Dube's house. Brother John wasn't feeling well and the next day we came back because they asked us to give him a blessing. Over the weekend he was hospitalized with pneumonia. So keep him in your prayers, please.

Wednesday was nice because we had a lot of appointments but my favorite one was with a guy named Keith. He was an internet referral that we had been trying to contact for a couple weeks. We finally met him and made an appointment for yesterday. He is powerful! He had heard about the Book of Mormon and was Googling it and requested one and that's how we had gotten his info. Well, we taught him the Restoration and it was very powerful.

Elder Fonua and I flowed so well through the lesson and we had Elton with us testifying and Keith was truly understanding everything that we were saying. It was amazing. He accepted the invitation to be baptized but his only problem is that he needs to rearrange his work schedule or find a new job but he said that he's not worried because the Lord always blesses him to find a new job and everything always works out when he prays. He is a golden investigator! 

Thursday was a pretty typical day. Friday however we didn't have District Meeting due to Zone Conference and it also happened to be the day that the Borehams were moving out of our ward and into Bellville. So we got the rest of the district to go with us and help them. It took six hours but we managed to get their house packed up and take things to the new house. They bought us KFC which made it totally worth it.

Afterwards we went and taught Princess and Enow's mother. Sister Emore wants to be baptized and join the rest of her family in the church so we're going to be completing the family very soon and I'm so excited.

Of course with all of these miracles there comes opposition as well and this weekend hit us hard. Saturday I woke up feeling kind of sick but we went to help the Le Roux's build a wall in front of their house. We had to dig holes and move the cement posts and slabs. It was hot and heavy work and we didn't even finish so we're going to finish it this Saturday. The rest of the day lots of appointments dropped and we did not have a lot of success.

Sunday I woke up feeling like death and my throat was killing me so much that I could barely speak and I was coughing up a lung. Church was nice though so I can't complain there. We saw the Zone Leaders at church since we share the chapel with Bellville and they commanded me to take the day off. I wasn't going to but then Elder Steele asked me if I thought the families wanted me to get them sick. I guess that was a fair point so we canceled our appointments and I slept the whole day. The Von Thanders still made us come over and have dinner with them, so I got some food in me which was good.

This morning I woke up and I still wasn't feeling very good so I asked Elder Fonua to give me a blessing. I don't know why but I never ask for blessings. I don't even remember the last time I've had one but I've given a ton of them. So he gave me one and literally as he was speaking I could feel my throat feeling better and I'm feeling so much better now. I'm so grateful for the priesthood and for my wonderful companion who was able to give me the blessing. The work is progressing, the church is true, and I'm doing great amidst all of the adversity. I love the work and I love the Lord!

Elder Kupka