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.

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.

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!

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.

Elder Kupka

It does get cold in Cape Town