Monday, February 23, 2015

#34 GREETINGS FROM LIMPOPO


Playing with Lions
Sitting at transfer meeting, listening to Elder Menendez call out all the names of where people are going. All the sudden he says
...and making the 5 hour drive to Tzaneen, is Elder Clegg.

monkeys who swing around our chapel
When you're driving to your new area and you see "hippopoamus crossing" signs, you know that things are getting real. I've been called to serve in a place called Tzaneen- origanally an Afrikaans town, surrounded by mountains. I'm talking legit, straight- green hawaii-looking mountains. Also serving in the surrounding villages and township. Like I'm telling you there are straight up poisonus frogs, monkeys who swing around our chapel, and black mambas who prowl through the bushes. Tzaneen is surrounded by banana plantations and mountains, it's the coolest place on earth, and about 5 million degrees celcius. so pretty hot farenheight i guess.

My new companion is a guy named Elder Laminie, he's a Cape-Town colored (half white and half blacks are called colored over here and it's totally acceptable) he speaks fluent Afrikaans and isiXhosa. Like the two sickest languages in the world. I sometimes have trouble understanding his english, but he is really the sweetest guy, he just is always stoked to work super hard it's legit. When he bears his testimony with his accent and personality it just makes you smile. He is crazy and tells me all the insane stuff he used to do before his mission.

MIssionary work in a town is quite different than a township. I've faced alotta rejection in this short week- probably more than I've faced my entire mission. So I know how 90% of the missionaries in the world feel sometimes now. There's also gigantic bloodthirsty dogs at every single stinking house I swear to you. Like every house in town is guarded by a huge dog, or seven, as well as a gnarly electric fence. It's gonna be a challenge to get past those things and get into people's hearts.

The other day we saw this super sweet complex of houses and all the sudden this prompting came to my mind- i was like 'let's teach the security guard about the book of mormon and then have him let us in'. So we did, we taught him in his little guard station, and then were like "there's a bunch of people inside this place who don't know about this book, will you please let us in?" and he totally did, it was legit. but after knocking about 5 houses we got chased out by an old angry Afrikaaner. Ah well it was still really cool.

When I got here we straight had 0 lessons planned for the next week. Yesterday we had 0 investigators at our branch. So stuffs gotta pick up, I would totally appreciate it if you kept this little place called Tzaneen in your prayers.

We were able to go out to the village a couple times. I'm telling you Tzaneen is like right on the tropical line, it's straight green year round here- the villagers walk shoeless with stuff on their heads- there's mango trees everywhere. There's no such things as adresses in the village, you ask someone where they live and they just tell you how far up the mountain that they stay. They either live at the top of the mountain, bottom of the mountain, or by the river. KInda rough for missionary work but seriously such a sweet experience. And let me tell you- the stars out here at night are absolutely unreal, you can clearly see the milky way, makes me kinda trunky for my camera but it's all good.

I just really would appreciate if you kept me and Tzaneen in your prayers, this place is kinda dead when it comes to missionary work, and we need it to start back up.. I feel a little overwhelmed at times you know, but I keep drawing back on my experience with my buddy Paxton (now elder terry) at skills nationals.

Back in June, a week before I left on mission, Paxton and I were selected to represent the state of Utah for TV video production in Kansas City for SkillsUSA. We had no idea what we were doing, no idea how to work audio, how to please judges etc. etc. We had some great advisors who helped us the best they could, but honestly we were just two goof balls who like taking cool pictures on their cameras.
We decided that we needed to fast.
So we did, and long story short- somehow we came outta there with a silver medal.

I kinda feel like that right now, this kind of missionary work is foreign to me- im used to 17 investigators at church, but I know that the Lord will help us, no matter how unprepared or inadequate we may feel.

Love you guys so much, gonna go see some lions in a sec which will be sweet. They speak Tsonga up here, so my Zulu has gone to whack. Go to my lil brothers baptism this week. Benson I love you buddy, hopefully it'll be special.

Ek lief vir julle
(love you guys)

Elder Tanner Clegg



Lions & Tigers...









hyena
ZL Elder Olson

Using his old film
camera he bought at a 
pawn shop in SLC



And finally...the monkeys



Monday, February 16, 2015

#33 Salikahle my good friend Daveyton


Why did the chicken cross the road?  It was in a shopping cart...
Last week in Daveyton



Not sure how I can possible put this week into words if I’m honest. But I’ll give it my best shot:



My time in Daveyton has come to an end.. I honestly can’t even believe it, I’m gonna miss it a lot. Been here seven and a half months, it feels like I’ll live here forever or something. I really don’t even know how to talk to white people anymore. I’m going to remember this place forever.


So grateful for the chance to see the clusters grow, hope I was able to contribute a little to the growth, but it was such a privellege to watch with my own eyes the literal progression and pioneering of the work of the Lord in South Africa. I’ll likely never receive such an authentic, dramatic experience as this ever again in my life. I’m so grateful I gotta ride bikes through these windy township trails, through the streets and through the tin shacks and beaten goat trails under a majestic African sky. To serve and try my best to reach out to God’s precious, beautiful African children.


I’ve literally seen some of their lives change in front of my eyes. They’ve changed both physically and spiritually, absolutely transformed into something more clean, pure, fit for the Kingdom- and I have no doubt it’s because of the Savior. I’ve seen evidence that God loves all of His children, and that He’s mindful of us, “wanderers in this strange land.” So grateful to be sent to an area where the gospel has not yet been preached, where this things are completely new, trying by all means to extend this message to the ones God’s prepared to hear it.


I’ve changed a lot in 7 and a half months, I’ve seen things I thought I’d never see before, felt things I’ve never felt before. I’d say I’ll forever be impacted from these few short months in this land.


I’ve gone through ups and downs- bouts of anxiety, stirring like a blender on the inside feeling big time inadequacy to live up to the calling of being a missionary. All I’ve ever known is photography and skiing and soccer, why is it now that I have to worry about two clusters and a chapel etc. etc.


I guess doubts have always been a struggle, I dunno I’ve felt underqualified to “cry repentance” unto these people, but I found a scripture that helped me a lot,



The Lord charged Enoch with towering responsibility to preach the gospel to a nation of wicked people, here was Enoch’s response to God’s call:  “Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad…the people hate me, for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?”



The Lord replies:  “Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.

Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you.

Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.”



The part that touched me was that last line: “walk with me”- in anything in life, we are never expected to walk alone. This isn’t our work, it’s His, so just choose to walk with Him.



One of the roles of the scriptures is to show us how all these super legit guys all had weaknesses, but when they ‘walked with him’ they accomplished whatever it was they needed to.



Obviously they didn’t send this, or any other 18 year old to South Africa to preach the gospel cuz he knows what’s up, cuz he went to bible school or is good with people. On your mission papers it doesn’t ask “what was your ACT score” or “how big is your testimony”.



Christ needs all of us to be willing to be His hands, he doesn’t ask about our capability, he rather asks for our availablilty to walk with Him. He sends you through every little thing for your owngood, and rejoices at every little victory you do obtain.


I guess God doesn’t call perfect people to be missionaries, he calls the imperfect ones with some kind of seed of desire in their hearts, and then helps them along the way.



On Sunday we had stake conference, usually stake conference is a drag for everyday missionary work, mainly cuz your investigators can’t make it.. But on stake conference day I was straight overwhelmed with happiness for a sec.


Our bishop managed to hire a bus driver to get to one of our clusters, which was awesome cuz some of our investigators made it to conference. I was stoked to see these guys wide-eyed walking into the Rynfield stake center(located in a cheese-boy(rich) area), they’ve only known township their whole lives, and I’m telling you compared to our cluster the stake center is easily a temple. Ima talk about one of the guys who was able to make it-



His name is Obed, he’s like 38 years old and makes a living selling popsicles in the market. He started 1st grade when he was 10 years old, and wasn’t allowed to complete matrik(senior year) because they didn’t let him come to school because this guy was too old. He lives in nothing short of a broom closet. He’s the weirdest, most happy-go-lucky awesome guy in the entire world, and his life has been transformed.


When we found him and started teaching him, for a month and a half he wore the same clothes everyday, from the smell you could tell he smoked like crazy- wearing this crazy tangled hair on his head. He cooks on a lil fire outside his house, eats pap every day.


When teaching him the word of wisdom, we came to figure out that he smokes 20 cigarretes a day, he let us come into his “house” and it was literally covered in tobacco cluttered around the floor, spider webs and beer bottles, it was super bad, we were like “obed next week we’re coming to clean your house”

Me & Obed

Within our short time teaching him, from previously smoking 20 a day, he’s down to just one. He completely cleaned his room, shaved his head, and just looks and feels like a completely different person. (benson he’s the one I gave your tie to) He came to stake conference on Sunday and it honestly got me stoked outta my mind. I’ll attatch a pic of me+obed+plan of salvation. Should’ve taken a before and After picture of this guy you’d all be blown away. We also flushed all his dakga down the toilet.



Also at stake conference, gogo Mhlanga, the 92-year old was invited to say the closing prayer. You could barely see the tippy top of her head over the pulpit, they had to point the mic straight down because she’s so short.. but as she prayed, tears came to the eyes.. couldn’t help but think that God and Jesus were watching smiling, with tears in their eyes. I felt the spirit of the Lord come into the crowded, overflowing building. Soon we will definitely need the stake to split.



Asked drunk guy w/ beer in his hands yesterday night if he loved Jesus. He said yes so I was like dump out your buzo buzo. He just stared at me for 10 seconds, then poured it out onto the ground. Couldn’t help but smile. 

Just gonna miss Daveyton, I’ve had the roughest moments, the lowest moments of my entire life here; But in retrospect, I’ve experienced glimpses of some kind of realm of joy and happiness I’ve never felt.



I’ve realized I have so many inadequacies, I’ve also realized the importance of the Savior in my life, and have tried to convey that message to my African brothers and sisters.



Saying goodbye to those I love
“No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us, it is the very sign of His presence”-C.S. Lewis


Excited for this new change, wherever in this amazing crazy land I get sent.. Gonna miss people like Oliver and Roniey and Pule.  Feelings were evoked similar to the ones when I left my own family, and now in Africa I’ve found myself leaving my family in Daveyton.



Ngiyukathanda,



 Elder Clegg
Area: Daveyton
Companion:  Stephen Savage

Grillin' chicken feet

Monday, February 9, 2015

#32 Johnny Clegg

People I will never forget


First off you know those cartoons where the kids carry their lunch in a little red cloth at the end of a stick? Yeah that's definitely derived from mZanzi.

Interestingly enough there’s a famous guy who sings love songs in South Africa named Johnny Clegg. So people just assume that I can sing. In sacrament meeting at our clusters I on several occasions have had to give the opening tune of the hymn.. the church is kinda developing our variety of hymns is very narrow.

It was kinda bittersweet, next week being stake conference, Sunday was likely the last time I’ll ever get to attend a small cluster for church. I’m really gonna miss it, honestly One would benefit so much by just being able to attend one sacrament meeting in South Africa. Words can’t describe it. It’s been a privledge, and I can only thank Heavenly Father for sending me to such a wonderful place. I’ve never ever grown so much as I have the last 7 and a half months of my life.

Encountered a couple lil disappointments this week, our guy S--, who was lined up to be baptized just wasn’t quite ready yet.. but it’s all good, I know everything will work out for him. I’m kinda sad because stake conference is this weekend, which means no baptisms until the next week (where I’ll be somewhere else) but it’s all good- just gotta remember that your serving the Lord.

Just so cool to be on a part of the earth where the gospel hasn’t yet been preached. You go into a house and it’s completely new to them. They’ve never seen mulungus biking around talking about Jesus. I hope to come back to Minanawe in a few years time and see that the cluster has grown into a ward.

Gained an appreciation for the Book of Mormon this week. Happened while reading 1Nephi 8, and just how beautifully it fits into our lives is quite amazing.

Lehi’s dream was really emphasized in my view pertaining to the location of our meetinghouse.

Cluster meets in this daycare center
We have this dodgey little day-care center we use for church, and it’s on the only asphalt road in the Minanawe area. On this road there are like 5 other churches, the only 5 other churchs in the whole area. Our meetinghouse is small compared to the others..
We believe in our church that the priesthood authority has been restored via. The prophet, Joseph Smith, making it the only true, and living(receiving continuous revelation from Christ) church on the entire earth. As recorded in 1st Nephi 8, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is where you go to partake of the tree of life.

Literally, no joke the church straight opposite the road from is is a “great and spacious building” it’s a huge barn-looking thing called “assemblies of Christ” or something. Every Sunday, we see so many people going to church at this place. Our numbers are few compared to that church. While we are silently conduction our sacrament meeting, the church acrossed the street is just blaring and clapping and singing and dancing. It looks like they are having fun, like a straight up party.

That church across the street is a “great and spacious building” in more than one context- first off, literally it is physically great and spacious, and secondly- It too, is a spiritually is a “great and spacious building”. Just think of it- hundreds of people only meters from the truths and ordinances of Salvation, who won’t give it a chance because there’s no “clapping” or “dancing” involved. Replace ‘road’ with ‘river’, and ‘tree of life’ with ‘The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints’; and you have a real-life, so-similar-it’s-scary example of 1Nephi chapter 8.

We all, in our own lives, battle our own enticing of the “great and spacious building”. Sure, it looks exciting- looks fun, looks like everyone is having a great time. The music’s bumping, the party’s rocking-

But just across the street is where you really should be.

Satan tries to make bad things look good, conterfits things claiming that they are the truth. We all have personal “great and spacious buildings” that we need to stay away from.
So if you’re standing at the tree of life, don’t drop your fruit, leaving it for the flies and walk over to the great and spacious building. Hold onto the light, even when temptations surround to leave the ground you’ve already won. If you’re in the building; Leave. Get outta there and join the mormons at the tree of life.

A scripture was shared on Sunday, I think we could all be a little more like Moses:

-Moses 1:12
~And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.

(and here’s the part we all need to follow)

..And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God...and where is thy glory, that I should worship the?

Moses had tasted of the fruit, he knew the truth, he knew the conterfeit, and he didn’t give up the knowledge and light he had obtained. We can go about life, and when we encounter a hand-placed detour or distraction on our journey to Eternal Life from Satan, we can say “Who art thou? For behold I am a son of God..where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?”

Hold onto the light, it’ll all be worth it in the end. Don’t waste away you’re precious estate in worshipping “other Gods”.  No matter how dark the trail, how enticing the temptation to leave the safety grounds of the tree of life, follow the example of Moses. And say “where is thy glory?”. Nothing the devil ever offers us is lasting.

Just so grateful to be here. If I’m honest during my departure testimony at the tiny meetinghouse the tears almost came, as i testified that this work is true, and that I’d never forget my experience here in this place. I’ve seen people’s lives change here, the gospel changes lives, and I’ve seen that first-person here. Although I’m not kidding when I say it’s Sodom and Gomorrah in township, Christ has the ability to take the slums outta the people, allowing them to establish a personal Zion, in the midst and surrounding evils of an ever-growing Babylon full of “great and spacious buildings.” My testimony has never accelerated and grown at the rate which it has in the past 7 and a half months. To which I am ever grateful.

SouthAfrican Car Wash
Just really love you guys, miss you loads. Had a dream I thew the frothiest blunt cork 7 last night with some African kid on the ski slopes. Also I’ve built up a resistance to eating mangoes, it’s like I'm not even allergic anymore- seriously so stoked. The post office is off-strike again so feel free to write letters, I’m having some trickle in from July August and September.

Ngiyukathanda,
mHleggaz Clegg
Area:  Daveyton
Companion:  Elder Stephen Savage


PS From the MOM:  Tanner said thank you for the prayers that were offered for Pule.  He was able to eat this week, his tumor seemed to go down a little this week, and the pain lessened. Those 3 things were miracles by themselves.  There is power in prayer!

Monday, February 2, 2015

#31 Nacho loves Zimbabwean Orphans

One of my best friends Ronnie...came to SA from an orphanage in Zimbabwe

Just so grateful to be in Africa.

I’m telling you guys the sky over here is nothing short of celestial. Too blessed to be in this wonderful land, have to quote the Book of Mormon really quick because whenever I’ve had doubts about God being there this scripture helps me out:
“and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator”  Alma

Such a solid week honestly.

Elder Savage and I worked really hard this week and ended up being able to teach a solid 40 lessons. Definitely was an occasion deservant of a companionship fist bump or “shap” as they call it this side.
We’ll likely be experiencing another baptism next week- super stoked for that. Really will be wild to have a baptism where you tracted, taught, and baptized an investigator all in one transfer, so praying too much for that.

Also now our cluster isn’t just one hour we have an elder’s quorum president and a primary president so things are starting to roll too much nicely.

Also just a lil clarification: Africans, they use a very selective vocabulary of adjectives, for example, 
America: “that tastes very good”
Africa: “That tastes too much good”

America: “That girl is very beautiful”
Africa: “That girl is beautiful too much”

Also you don’t say “like” you only say “love”
America “do you like running?”
Africa “do you too much love running?”

America “this pap tastes nice”
Africa “this pap tastes too much nice”

-how was your day?
.too much nice

Also just gonna ask you guys if you could keep someone in your prayers, I honestly think there’s power in joining in prayer!

PLEASE PRAY FOR PULE
We have an investigator named PULE, he’s super sweet, like 28. Unfortunately he’s gotten extremely ill, and can’t move walk or talk. He may have been involved in witch craft, or maybe just has cancer- he’s developed some kind of tumor on his neck so he literally can’t eat, and struggles to breath. His life is a nightmare every single day, so if you could keep him in your prayers, that would mean the world. When he tries to take medicine and things he kinda just compulses and ends up on the floor, not sure if any of you guys know ENT doctors or surgeons who might know whats up, but just make sure to keep him in your prayers.

Anyway I’m gonna attach a picture (at the top), this is my best friend RONNIE, honestly the LDS filmakers need to hop on a plane asap and make a mormon message about this muzungu. Shona boy, born in Zimbabwe, walked all the way to SA, living under trees, eating outta dustbins- swimming from crocs across limpopo, running from lions till he made it to to Daveyton, where missionaries found him, and he's now a powerful member of the church, preparing to serve a mission.  

Literally have grown to love this guy too much, there are some of the best people in the entire world in Africa,  this guy has lived his life in a way that will always be an example to me. He teaches me that it doesn’t matter where you come from, how much money you have, whether you’re a runaway from a zimbabwean orphanage, forsaken by parents you never even knew; Or born into a mormon family with a mother and a father, with a complete different set of challenges on their own, there is, as Elder Holland puts it; “hope and hapiness ahead.” 

He’s taught me to never give up, to always look ahead and be happy. And never ever forget how much God loves you, and has a sometimes strange, intricate, perfect plan that- although we can’t see the finished product- it’ll work out perfectly if we believe. He’s taught me just how much He’s in the details of our lives through his story and example. We can truly draw from other people a portion of their spirit that allows our testimonies to grow.

Love and miss you guys too much.

Honestly appreciate you keeping me in your prayers, they are much much needed and appreciated.

Salinekahle (stay well)

Elder Tanner N. Clegg
“Heaven-ly Father, 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
Something that Jesus Taught disciples long Ago.
“Suffer the children, To come to me-”
Father, In prayer, I’m Coming unto thee~

MOM's NOTE:  Tanner has really grown to love Ronnie.  Here is what Tanner wrote about him last Oct.
"I wanna talk about a guy who really inspires me and just makes me want to be a better person, our mission leader: Ronnie. Not because He’s just an amazing ward mission leader or something like that, but because He is an illegal immigrant from Zimbabwe. 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), but 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, especially for a foreigner, racism is still a thing over here. Racism whites vs. Blacks, Zulu vs. Shona. Nigera vs. Like everyone. But just wanted to share that with you."
Ronnie
Also more on PULE.  Tanner is begging us to unite and pray for Pule.  He has been working with him for awhile.  His heart goes out to Pule.  Here is what he wrote me about Pule last week:

Stopped by pule’s house (the growth man) feel so so so sorry for him he cant talk and is in horrible constant pain. He can’t eat, so i went across the street to a little tuck shop and bought him some mayo (frozen yogurt) and microwaved it so it was soft and he could eat it. He just eats liquidized pap it’s so sad. So tomorrow we’re going to the store, I’m gonna buy him protein, and a blender so he can blend stuff and drink it. I think the protein will help him i swear he weighs like 90 pounds. His mom doesn’t know what to do.. i feel so bad. But at least maybe this can help. I keep asking God to lessen the struggle for him so much.. it seems unnecessary and he wants to come to church and be baptized but physically can’t. But i felt good about going tomorrow to get protein and a blender.

AND a few days later:

The other day, Pule- we went to see him and he was so so so soso sick, he hadn’t eaten in 5 days.. he started compulsing and fell on the ground, i gave my oil to elder savage and told him to anoint him, and i mustered up the most faith i had and blessed him to feel the presence of Jesus Christ’s atonement literally applied in his life, to be able to rest, i got a little teary, he was just shirtless on the dirty ground, his nose is all crooked now and one of his eyes doesn’t really work. He’s in so much pain. Then we ran to the shop and bought him some birthday cake cuz he said maybe that’s something that would help him.

Then today at the petlele’s they didn’t have any food so i went to the shop and bought them a bunch of bulk groceries- chicken, rice, potatoes, frozen vegetables, and some bread and a little seasoning and a couple liters of milk. You said others have been generous to us so i feel comfortable being generous to other people.