Monday, October 27, 2014

#17 OCTOBER SHOWERS BRING NOVEMBER FLOWERS

Elder Wilkinson with this cute lil girl we get to see a lot



Not really catchy, but keep in mind our seasons are reversed over here.  Rainy season is officially upon us, and man I've never seen a thunderstorm like an African thunderstorm.  The lightening is absolutely amazing - it lights up the entire sky as strike after strike fires through the sky - it is so tight.  It's also a good change from the brown and dry and dust and wind that has been the norm the last couple of months.

Watching conference in the cluster garage



Anyways, as the rain hits MZansi, conference finally hits as well.  We gotta watch conference this week and it was straight nectar.  Never thought I'd watch conference in a little garage in a dusty township in South Africa.  The bishop got ahold of a TV and DVD player so we were able to watch conference in our little Cluster.  LOL hopefully one day there will be a talk in Zulu or something.  I mean we had Cantonese, Spanish and Portugese, so maybe next April.  But seriously conference was off the chain, and it was weird to see so many white people gathered together.


The family we are teaching, the P_____ family (the "t" makes a clicking noise) has 4 kids who want to be baptized.   And their parent, if you will, is a 92 year old Gogo who obviously can't make it to church easily, even though we have a new Cluster close.  So the four kids, ages 15, 14, 12, and 9 dilligently walked through the rain yesterday to make it to conference.  It is super weird, the 9 year old boy reminds me so much of my brother Max back at home.
One of my favorite lil kids who reminds me of MAX

My lil brother MAX
Like if they swapped skin colors you couldn't tell the difference, they both have the same crooked toothy smile.  It was kind of a tender mercy to me, even though I'm 10,000 miles away, but still feeling close to my family.  Weird.  But it was cool, he came to Priesthood session all by himself, a little 9 year old kid, all wet from the rain in a little garage watching Conference in Africa. I hope these kids can find lasting refuge in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Keep them in your prayers.  It's not every day that a group of 4 kids valiantly walk alone to church through the rain because they know they have to be baptized because they want to be like Jesus.   Really touching.

Pic by Liz Lemon

Anyways, I don't have much time.  But I was reading 3rd Nephi 17, just getting a feel for the kinda character Christ had.  But vs, 20-24 bring tears to the eyes.  How Christ ministers to the children and takes them one by one, and blesses them and sends angels to minister unto them in His pure unfailing love.  I don't know if I'm doctrinely correct, or whatever the word is, but we are the children of Christ  in a sense that He died for us, and He ministers and fixes and heals us through mercy and love and compassion via the Atonement.  So, picturing yourself in the shoes of these children, Jesus, in His character, takes us one by one and blesses us literally, and in a sense prays for us to Heavenly Father as we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ.  

And the next step, the ministering of angels I believe is real today.  We, the children, are ministered to by angels descending from heaven.  Kinda learning about the reality of angels on both sides of the veil is mind boggling but pretty tight nonetheless.  But when we learn that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us "perfectly" that kinda bugged me because the word "perfect" felt like it inferred something set.  Like a set standard, logical robotic love to everyone.  But just the simple truth that "Jesus wept" in these scriptures suggests that He has a personality.  And His love goes deeper than just a certain standard called "perfect.  It reaches out to us in a personaly, unconditional, real, compassionate, merciful, human but Godly way.  I believe He loves us on a more personal level than we think.

Anyways, should have a few baptisms coming up so that's always a lil highlight in the mission.  Makes the tougher times pay off.  Learning too much out here that I couldn't learn back home.  You're forced to trust in the enabling power of the Atonement, as well as the guidance of the Holy Ghost while you're out here.  It's all good.

Luv you all.  Can't believe it's almost ski season in like a month. Also can't believe I was at some stupid college party with Bubba a year ago Halloween oblivious that I would be in a township in Africa serving the Lord in a year.  Figures.  

God Bless, Salinigahle
Elder Clegg
Area:  Daveyton
Companion: Elder Geoffrey Wilkinson

"Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of thy redeeming love."
~Alma 26:36,37~

Thunderstorms and clouds are bringing in November flowers.
MOMMA's NOTE:  If you are interested...we sent some more pop rocks.  So Tanner took some quick videos of his fellow missionary eating them. They are funny...the poprocks hurt him in the back of his head.  If you want to watch...just click the video clip.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

#16 AFRICAN PIONEERS


Monday, October 13, 2014

#15 MOYANA.."Are You Going?"


Visiting FNB Stadium (aka First Nation Bank Stadium, The Calabash or Soccer City):  Home of the Kaizer Chiefs F.C. and  the 2010 FIFA World Cup.  It is also the site of Nelson Mandela's first speech to Johannesburg after his release from prison in 1990 and was the venue for his memorial service in December 2013.

A week to remember. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is officially sanctioning the establishment of a “cluster” in our area of Daveyton, South Africa. The first of it’s kind; a cluster is like essentially a “group” but smaller. You’ve got wards, branches, groups, and now we have a cluster in Daveyton, that will be holding it’s first sacrament meeting next Sunday; October 19, 2014. The church is pioneering forward in Africa, and it’s really kool to be a part of it, specifically in the heart of it in Daveyton. We’ve been told the Area 70 president, President Cook should be coming down to check it out soon. Really exciting, because it means that the people we have grown to love who live clear out in the deep township areas will now be able to get to church. It means that we will be able to start finding and teaching and helping people in places that haven’t been touched yet. Really amazing to be a part of the church innovating and expanding. Keep the Daveyton East Cluster and the African children of God in your prayers.


Oliver & Me at his house
Church was a day to remember. Had my first official baptism from start to finish- this 23 year old guy named Oliver. You develop a certain love for these people. When we first started teaching Oliver, he could speak little English, and didn’t really talk much. We needed his friend, Nature, to be our English-Sotho translator.  It’s amazing to see how he’s blossomed to how he was today. After he was baptized, he bore his testimony and I just started bawling. It was the sweetest and most sincere thing I’ve ever heard. His mom and little sister walked the 8km’s to church to watch his baptism. Oliver then at the end of his testimony in the simplest, sincerest English told us how he is a changed person and he wanted his mom to belong to this church as well. It was cool to feel for a moment that I’ve been a part of something good; Something that made Heavenly Father smile.
Oliver's baptism "Something that made Heavenly Father smile."



 Anyways, stoked for conference in like 2 weeks. My soccer skills have improved since I’ve gotten this side. I’m really good at eating weird parts of the chicken, i think I ate a beak the other day. I don’t have much time, but if I can offer any advice, read Ether chapter 6, verses 4-12. Liken your trials and troubles in your life to the uneasy and furious waves of the ocean. Keep in mind that the storms and troubles, even though huge and daunting, are pushing you towards the promised land. Lots of symbolism and ideas and application you can draw from this lil passage.



Cheers, love and miss you all



Baba Clegg

Area 1: Daveyton
Trainer: Elder Spencer Smith
I love Ronnie so much...(info on him in last week's blogpost at the bottom)
OK...this is hilarious...click it.  It's Tanner asking Ronnie to say "Elder Clegg is the sickest" in one of the many languages he speaks.  Plus...it's fun to hear Tanner's voice.  Goes about 30 seconds.

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My African brothers are the sickest!

A cool text from Oliver the night before his baptism.  Love that kid!


P-day...some of the elders from our zone

Wouldn't be a real soccer field if Tanner didn't do a flip on it

Lehi Soccer almost made it this far... 
Another angle


The walk way...

This is  flippin' in Africa


Monday, October 6, 2014

#14 Tumelo huyaki tebe (Remember What We Have)

These lil kids can get to church now because the bishop bought a bus.

Grateful to be in the most amazing place in the world. The other day I was walking through a lil place called mayfeild, and I just took a second and looked. Saw all the lil African kids playing soccer barefoot on their dirt feild with wooden sticks tied together with ropes and shoestrings as goals. Saw the African Savanna surrounding the zozo’s, complimented by the setting sun rays, and the approaching Thunderstorm and warm rain, making the sky something close to Celestial. Chickens flapping and Rogue goats wandering around the piles of trash eating tin cans. Lil mamas cooking chicken feet and pap in the dirt roads, with stick huts selling any fruit you could think of on every corner for pennies. Seriously I wish I could just capture it all in one photograph or something but if I’m honest I can’t. Just gotta appreciate it and always be thankful. Also I never realized how sick it is to watch conference live until I’m in Africa where we won’t get it for like 3 more weeks or something.

Also on a sidenote we straight have like 5 or 6 different languages the Book of Mormon in our flat because of the insane diversity of people found in South Africa, it’s legit, you get like every single country in Africa, all down here in mZanzi. I can now with at least a little bit of confidence tell you whether a person is from the Congo, or Zimbabwe. From Nigeria, or Ghana. From Rwanda, or Kenya. So on and so forth, but even though there are like 12 different “official languages” or whatever in South Africa, it’s inevitable that the Spirit doesn’t speak a language, the Spirit doesn’t require perfect English. The Spirit speaks Zulu, Tswana, Sotho, Shona, Afrikaans, Tsonga, Xhosa, and any other language that you encounter this side. I think that one of the things that I’ve been sent to Daveyton to learn is that a testimony doesn’t require concrete evidence of doctrinal facts or scriptural knowledge. It doesn’t require a life-changing miracle, or a beautiful jaw-dropping conversion story. It doesn’t require having money or material possessions. It doesn’t require everything to be going perfect for you in your life.  A testimony can be as simple as “I love Jesus Christ” or “I know God will help me”. Sometimes we forget that conversion usually doesn’t happen with our eyes, usually doesn’t happen in our minds; Conversion comes from that feeling in your heart, when you feel it’s true, when you feel that following Christ is our one sure way out of any trial. When you recieve some unseen hope based on the belief of the reality of the Savior, and the relevance it could potentially have in your life. Just wanna end with a quick story to illustrate this bond we have with the Savior in an example that allows me to understand:

“A tandem ride with God”
I used to think of God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I didn’t really know Him.
But later on, when I met Jesus, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Jesus was in the back helping me pedal. I didn’t know just when it was He suggested we change, but life has not been the same since I took the back-seat to Jesus, my Lord. He makes life exciting. When I had control, I thought I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points.
But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places and at break0through speeds; it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it often looked like madness, He said, “Pedal!” I was worried and anxious and asked, “where are you taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into adventure. And when I’d say, “I’m scared”, He’d lean back and touch my hand.
He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me their gifts to take on my journey, our journey, my Lord’s and mine. And we were off again. He said, “Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight.” So I did, to the people we met, and I found in giving I recieved, and still our burden was light.
I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it, but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high rocks, fly to shorten scary passages, And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beggining to enjoy the view and cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus.
And whem I’m sure I just can’t do any more, He just smiles and says... “Pedal”

-Author unknown

This describes how my life seems to be starting to play out. Let us learn to trust in the Savior, even though it seems like the mountain he is taking us over is too steep or too treacherous. He’s sick at biking, and loves the children of God.

Cheers, hope conference was off the chain. Also pray for the post to stop striking so I can get my first letter in three months.

Also gotta bury a dead guy this week by hand.

Elder Tanner Noah

Area 1: Daveyton
Trainer: Elder Spencer Smith

John 16:33
Temelo huyaki tebe. Remember what we have.

I absolutely love Daveyton, I wish you could see it. Its turning green, green with red, with little shacks with goats eating trash everywhere, all under a celestial looking sky with my black brothers and sisters going about their normal day, playing soccer and being happy together.


MOM's NOTE:  Remember the township drunk who Tanner gave the pajama pants & teeshirt to a couple of weeks ago?  He said the guy is still wearing his pants.  So that's good!

He also shared in a letter with me about someone who's really affecting his life:
"I wanna talk about a guy who really inspires me and just makes me want to be a better person, our mission leader: Ronnie. He’s just an amazing ward mission leader.  He lives in this little shack, has no family. He’s 23, has the funniest most awesome voice that I love, has the best smile and is always happy. He works 6 days a week, earning the equivelant of 10 dollars a day, and all of this money he is trying to save up to go on a mission. It almost makes me cry thinking about it. But he still always makes me laugh and is so happy, even though I have no idea how he is gonna pay for a mission, he is still saving all his money for it. He wears clothes with lots of holes in them, but he’s still a good looking young guy, I will miss him so much, seriously will miss him a ton because he just makes you laugh with the way he talks and things, but he is always just trying to bring back the less actives, on Sunday (he doesn’t go to work) He walks to all the peoples houses to walk with them the long dusty walk to the chapel. (which is in the other guy’s more nicer area of the township) I’m getting tears just thinking about Him, seriously I guarantee you nothing short of Celestial for him.  Anyways, he’s Someone who has it figured out, he won’t go to school, he’s sacrificing that for a mission. So essentially for the rest of his life he won’t really have education, which is super rough in south africa.  But just wanted to share that with you.

Some of my favorite kids!

Elder Smith's family sent him the ingredients for a cake...it was awesome