Monday, December 29, 2014

#26 Soccer Balls & Christmas in South Africa

I’m gonna say this week was the best week of my mission thus far.

Number one because obviously i gotta skype my wonderful family. Seriously not sure where I would be without them.

Also cuz we watched “Meet the Mormons” on Christmas because my mission president is a boss. I came outta that so thankful and honestly proud to be a mormon, and stoked to be on mission.

Also have a huge testimony that a really big playin piece of where you get sent on a mission is due to the mission president of where you’re serving.

Anyways, this week has been absolutely insane. It’s rained every single day, except Christmas of course, Christmas was literally like 35 degrees and I’m talkin' celsius here brus it was scorching.

Christmas Eve was the best. My grandma sent some money this side so we went and bought out all the soccer balls from this store. We drove out and just gave them to little kids who looked like they needed some love on Christmas. I’ll attatch a couple pics.

Christmas Eve we also had a little braii, it was sweet just cooking meat with our hands Africa style and thinking back 5 years ago when I was with my family in Shepherd’s Field overlooking the little town of Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. A picture perfect moment, with a complimenting star that shone brighter than the rest rising over the peaceful scene. Not really the same picture I’m experiencing over here, but inevitably the same glorious message.

Amazing how a baby who was born has the ability to impact our lives on an every day basis. Even more amazing that he loves us enough to have gone through with all of the things He did.

 Christmas day we went into Roodepoort. Since the post office is on strike the members in Johannesburg put together little presents of candy and a tie and stuff for all the missionaries, it was illa tight. And the best part i think was watching “Meet the Mormons” I was in tears more than once; but mostly one I saw the monoski guy shredding Snowbird i was frothing outta my mind. Afterwards we played soccer, President Dunn was on my team and we tore it up for like 5 minutes.

Then we went back and skyped at an Afrikanner guy’s house, best thing ever.

Anyways, Christmas on mission is different, honestly it didn’t really feel too Christmas-ish, just another day. But i’m seriously so grateful to be out here. You kinda catch the true meaning. You realize how much you love your family, you realize that it isn’t about getting stuff.

I’ve been in Africa for just about 6 months now. I’ve only got 18 months to go. Only 18 months with these beautiful African people to help God to touch their lives. And then I go home, back to the real world. But for now I’m on a mission for the Savior in South Africa and the time is ticking down, I’ve only got 18 months, and I can’t get them back once they’re finished.

Yesterday was unreal, probably the koolest day so far out here. Felt more like a humanitarian aid day than missionary work, but I guess they go hand in hand.  Like I said, it’s been raining every day this week, but yesterday was like off the charts. Of course it hit right when we started biking to the outskirts of our township, a place called Gabon. It rained and rained and rained. Flash floods are things over here. Pretty soon the dirt roads were literally rivers. Like I’m telling you, we were straight up biking down a river. Dead serious, the dirt trails we once knew are now like big rivers. Seriously go bike to a river back home, get in it, and start biking down it- that’s what we were doing it was sick. UnKulu matata fela, the township was in bad shape with the flooding. Trash and all kinds of stuff floating down as you made your way down the river. Lots of these homes weren’t high enough to escape so they’ve got a nice swimming pool right next to their beds.
We reached some members little zozo houses to find them flooded, so we got to work digging trenches for the water to go out. We should’ve brought our swimming suits. But there was a main river going through the middle of Gabon, so the trick was wading around to dig a trench to the main river so the water can flow out and you could be sharp. I was handed a picaxe and Elder Savage had a shovel and we went to work for a couple of hours, seriously so much fun making dams and digging trenches to the main river that would take the water out to the fields. Just going and helping people dig from their houses to the main spillway. Needless to say I had mud caked from head to toe, but we were still able to teach a couple lessons. Everyone was still confused to see mulungus on bikes in a squatter camp(deep township) alongside our brus digging houses outta water. Super wild. I’ve never been so tired at the end of a day. Definitely I day I hope I’ll never forget.

The clusters are sweet, no electricity at the one in Minanawe, but it’s shap we don’t need it, we got our sick little electric-lights for our little living room-sized congregation. I’m just stoked it wasn’t flooded for church. Not that it would’ve stopped us I mean the rats and tsotsies don’t stop us why would a little water? Or a lot of water?

I hope you guys all had a wonderful Christmas, i don’t think I’ve ever understood the privelege it is to have a functional, loving family in today’s society until this Christmas. Also how lame material stuff is and how blessed solid human relationships are. Be happy if you’ve got a good family it’s honestly such a blessing. If you don’t, then be happy cuz you’ve got some awesome friends. And if you don’t have either, be happy because you still have the best family ever- your heavenly family.

Love you all, have a great New Year’s. In the words of brother Hokanson- Don’t do anything stupid. Pray for me not to get drunk off the stench in the air of alone of the the alcohol. December+month end(when everyone gets their paychecks and goes crazy)+New Years+ hot weather=a couple little problems & possible health hazards.  Love you mfuetzus. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the absolute best I’m telling you.

Elder T Noah Clegg

Monday, December 22, 2014

#25 Jesu Kristu

Giving away the little Christmas tree we just sent him to this cute little family

My Friends,

Nothing too outta the ordinary this week. The security guard for our cluster meetinghouse was beat up and robbed so now we have two security guards. Innovation.

It’s summer now this side, it rains basically daily. I literally have like the coolest mission call in the world, i just wish that you guys could bike through the dirt trails of Minanawe with me and catch a lil glimpse of it. It’s another planet i swear, i don’t know how to describe it. I don’t think there’s any way to fit it in pictures. I love it too much. Being the only mulugus in town is poshasha (cool/awesome).

My comp’s legit, he somehow made a ping pong table outta your everyday house materials it’s sweet.

Art by Liz Lemon Swindle
Got a chance to give a talk on Christmas and Christ on Sunday in our little sacrament meeting. We had 32 in attendance, and about 28 of those were children, but it was still a great opportunity, and you’d be surprised how reverant everyone is-

But seriously just thinking about Christmas.. the birth of our Savior. Angels rejoicing, bringing good tidings of great joy to shepherds; Multitudes of heavenly hosts shouting hosanna’s, wisemen seeking Him.

Just take a sec and think of the virgin Mary, a loving mother who would see the Son of Man grow up to fufill his divine destiny, and eventually, before her eyes to be raised up on the cross to die for us.

So why all this excitement surrounding a small baby? A small baby born in a manger. A small baby who didn’t even have a place at the Inn.

This small baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes carried the fate of humankind on his little shoulders. With fragile tiny hands, that would one day be pierced, and nailed to a cross, so we can make it back home.

 With soft little eyes, that would see the darkest, loneliest, complex, most agonizing and painful moments in the personal life of every person who has lived, lives, or will live.

With little ears, who would hear the cries of the afflicted, hear their cries and pleading for help. And the love and compassion to save them physically and spiritually.

With a gentle, little heart- that would feel depths of our despair, that would understand our fears, shortcomings, and sorrow; and would break, being filled with mercy on our behalf. Comprehending the things we can’t comprehend. Allowing real, lasting peace and light to distill upon our lives.

When we kinda start to realize how big a deal the life of Christ is for us, we start to understand how fortunate we are to have a loving Heavenly Father, and a Savior, who brings us home.

Let’s remember the true meaning of Christmas this year. It’s the gift that has been given to us all, it’s literally the life of Christ, and it’s available to us if we have faith unto repentance(ability & desire to change into something better).

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”
-John 16:33

Just know when the water gets choppy, when dark clouds roll in, when trials become your constant companion- there’s someone who knows how you feel. Someone who’s walked down that path before. Someone who’s felt the downs of being in your shoes.  Someone alot better. Choose to follow the Savior, cuz he literraly knows how to help and change you. Don’t be like the Inn. Allow him to be a part of your everyday life.

Love you all, have a wonderful Christmas. Enjoy the snow, the tree, the lights, and santa. I’ll be over enjoying the) view of the dirt soccer fields, zozo’s (lil tin shacks), with the chickens and the goats and the pap, the tsotsies (drunks/thugs) and the hot sun.

Ndiyukathanda (I love you),

Elder Clegg

“Picture a little baby Jesus,
Think of His life and words so dear.
Sing praise to Him,
Remember Him
As you picture Christmas this year”

Some awesome township kids

Max sent some of his shirts to share...the kids are trying them on.

Here's Austin...the twin to my lil brother Max's shirt. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

#24 Mulungu with the assist to the Ugandan

Mulungu with the assist to the Ugandan 
My muzunus and muzungas it’s been a really good week in mZanzi. The rainy season is in full sway, it rained on us every day. Frothy

Thought of the week-
Amazing that a little boy wrapped in swaddling clothes has an impact on each and every one of our lives for all eternity. Something I don’t entirely understand and am learning more and more.

Also while serving in the township this week, kinda thought “it’s amazing how a prayer said by a 14 year old boy has the potential to affect every single person i come in contact with for eternity” by small means are great things brought to pass (Alma 37:6-7)

Biking/Kayaking through this all week long
Every day out here we’re biking like champs, biking through a township is somewhere inbetween mountain biking, and biking through a landfill, it’s seriously so much fun. And add flooding on top of that it’s like an adventure, we might have to exchange our bikes for kayaks, and on a sidenote i guarantee I biked futher than my grandpa did this week which is pretty significant.  (SIDE NOTE FROM MOM:  Grandpa Brown biked 107.8 miles this it is significant!)

It’s been great, we’ve found a way to make contact with just about every single member in the minanawe cluster, so we’ve got hold of all the members, and the area surrounding is untouched, this week we’re gonna start finding allota new people I’m stoked.

Had a bigtime safety meeting throughout the mission this week, the township right next to ours has been closed due to a hijacking/kidnapping incident, but luckily enough our friends are okay. I’m just glad they haven’t closed Daveyton. No doubt the Lord sends angels to protect us.

Love this family!  Here they are dressed in their sunday best...
Gained a lil spiritual insight this week- i had the privledge in our little sacrament room in Minanawe to pass the sacrament like i did back when i was a deacon. While passing you could see that some people take it and are super serious, super grateful, super humble about it- and others take it and are just kinda like “whatever ...we get this every week”.

I kind of thought that maybe that’s how the Savior feels- he literally has handed us His life, and some people choose to take it for granted when he reaches out in love to give it to us, while others really realize the meaning of the atonement, the reality of His sacrifice, the horrible arithmetic of the suffering, and humbly reach out to take the blood He spilt for us, the fears he overcame for us, the battles he conqoured for us, the peace he won for us. Let us remember Him, the greatest story the world’s ever heard this Christmas season. Let us remember His birth, His life, His sufferings, His attributes, and mostly His heart and the love He possesses for us. I really believe that sometimes he’s closer than we think. And we need some sort of personal relationship with Him to begin to understand God’s plan for us. So next time you take the sacrament, pretend like it’s the Savior extending his arms of mercy towards you, and giving you Him so you can make it back.

Anyways, the lightning storms are absolutely insane over here, you just spring outta bed in the middle of the night. It’s seriously like a shotgun going off in your ear, you can’t even sleep at night.

At our little sacrament meeting on Sunday, a member named Shimmy gave a talk. He says he always wonders if he lived in the time of the Savior’s mortal ministry, would he be humble enough, would he understand the scriptures enough, would he be in tune and worth and close to the Sprit enough to recognize the Savior. Would he be one of the few who knelt at his feet, followed Him as He loved and saved others, realizing why He came.. or would he just see Him as a carpenter’s son, one who hung around the wrong crowd, a poor homeless wandring stranger. Definitely was a powerful sacrament meeting even though the audience was only a few people. A testimony confirmed in D&C 6:32-34

Elder Savage walking to help paint a house
I think an important thing in this life is learning to recognize the spirit.  In mosiah 5:12 King Benjamin tells us that to end up on the right hand of God, we need to hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you.

Remember that we are the sons and daughters of God. Most of us have taken upon us the name of Christ via baptism. Let’s live in a way that allows God to speak to us through the Holy Ghost. Look for little tender mercies every day that speak to you. Enjoy the sunlight a little more fully. Put behind you the dark a little more quickly, and move forward with faith that the spirit will guide you by encouraging you to make little differences in others lives each day.

Check out the mud/water on his body

Sorry mom my suit is ruined, too much rain. Good thing it was free.

Also don’t miss out on the Xgames hype. But read your scriptures first.

Every day they've been biking in this wet mud

Love you all, make this a memorable Christmas by going out of your way to help someone else.

Elder Clegg

Here’s a video of me and Elder Natwijuka(from Uganda) working some lil tsotsie kids on the dirt soccer field.  (Just Click it...if you can see it...sometimes it works)

Cute lil girl washing my dirty name tag...

All clean...

The township toilets...

It's too muddy to even drive the car out here

Monday, December 8, 2014

#23 Don't Believe The Hype--Cluster #2 Is Formed

Cluster #2 building in the daycare center

Don't Believe The Hype

December in D-town is like Black Friday + Everyone Drunk + 100 degrees + rain and rain + mud.  It's
hectic.  Things going crazy, but in the midst of this, our second cluster in our area has opened.  The Minawe/Daveyton North Cluster.  Its in a little flooded daycare center with the windows busted and barbed wire fences around.  The tin roof is red, and there's these sick huge trees around it.  And not to mention 2 security guards with dogs to keep the tsotsies out. 

It was such an amazing thing to be a part of those 12 saints in attendance.  One of the white guys from the stake presidency in Benoni came and gave a talk--he said that the first meeting of the restored Church of Jesus Christ only had 6 members gathered, and we already have double that!  And it's just gonna boom.  The area is untouched.  And just the nature of the area--the people are unreal humble, and love to listen to stories about Jesus Christ.  It's insane that we're in zozo's, dirt paths, chickens, pigs, and sack cloth soccer balls, and less than 3 miles away are insane nice town houses.  It's like completely different worlds.  But I'm sure glad I get to be a part of this one.  Anyways, we closed the short meeting by singing "The Spirit of God" and man, even though there was only 12, you would have thought it was full.

Now we officially have 5 Clusters in the whole world.  All 5 in Africa.  One in Zimbabwe, four in South Africa--2 in the Roodeport area and 2 in Daveyton.  History in the making!  It's cool, the First Presidency back in SLC knows about the Cluster hype.

Ate alotta red oranges this week.

Also--the Lord protects His missionaries.  I have faith in that after this week.

Elder Cook (from the 12) is coming to speak to us on Thursday.  I'm frothing it should be amazing.  

Also keep the message, story, and reality of the living Christ in your heart this Christmas season, Christ is seriously the Reason for the Season.  Remember Him as you celebrate the most wonderful day of the year.  And share with others the most wonderful message the world's ever heard. 

Ngiyakuthanda muzungus
Mfuetzu Clegg
Area:  Daveyton
Companion:  Elder Stephen Savage  
MOM's NOTE:  CLICK this link to check out this week's experiences in Elder Savages's fun to read both stories and see double the pictures:   StephenSavageSouthAfrica   Plus Elder Savage invented a pingpong table for their flat.  

Visiting a family...the people wanted a picture with them...they are on bikes now most days. 
They love this guy and his cat

Their area is huge and it takes a long time to ride out to it and ride around in it. But they are working hard and getting lots of exercise.

Monday, December 1, 2014

#22 Lots and lots going on

The sky is like a painting
Lots and lots going on in Mzanzi.

Month-end in a township is like nothing you've ever seen.  Never been hugged by this many drunk-dudes.

Taught an albino guy this week, that was tight.

The most exciting news is that the Cluster is opening next week, and its gonna boom I already know it.  The area it's located in is a place called Minanawe, and apart from a few strong families, it's virtually untouched by missionaries, it's seriously gonna be so sweet, the only problem is that clear out in the deep township, English is hardly ever spoken.  So I'll have to sharpen up on my tsotsie zulu skills.

Elder Savage from South Jordan
Elder Savage is super sweet, he's 18 years old from South Jordan, went to Herriman last year. Weird to think both he and I just barely graduated high school, and even weirder that teenage mulungus walk daily through this township teaching people.  And the teaching isn't super easy, these people have their go-to Bible verses that they will die for. The book of Revelations is super popular here because it's super whack and crazy.  But we do our best with what we know.  The Book of Mormon is seriously legit. The trick is finding people who are sincere and patient enough to hear us out.

The sky over here looks straight out of a painting, it's off the chain.  Every day this week it rained in the afternoons--scorching hot in the day, rain and walking through mud and flooding roads in the afternoon.
Daveyton Soccer Stadium
Didn't eat anything weird this week.  Well, compared to American standards.  Elder Savage and I had some pumpkin, which is like candy down here-everyone eats it.  We somehow got into Daveyton soccer stadium, which is sweet because it's like Fort Knox, with spikes and barbed wire and everything.  Some security dudes were sitting up at the top and they waved for us to come in when we were walking past.  We were like "tight" and came in and taught them about the Book of Mormon and had a lil look around the stadium.

All is well in South Africa.  Missionary work is super fun if you make it fun.  It's pretty sweet to be part of the Work of Salvation in this corner of the world.

Elder Tanner Clegg
Area:  Daveyton
Companion:  Stephen Savage

“Father in Heaven
Are you really there?
And do you hear and answer
Every child’s prayer?
Some say that hea-ven
Is far away.
But I feel it close around me
As i pray
Heaven-ly Father
I remember now
Some-thing that Jesus told deciples long ago
Suffer the children,
To come to Me.
Father in prayer I’m coming
Unto thee.”

Introducing Elder Savage to the great guys in Daveyton

The streets are always full of cute lil kids

The thunderstorms come very afternoon