Monday, March 30, 2015

#39 Lekker Slap (Goodnight)


This week was hard. It was rough, but hey it's what I signed up for.

On the bright side I learned how to count to ten in Afrikaans, it's a nice conversation starter, because my Afrikaans is straight rubbish so when I open my mouth the people they can't hold back their laughs. My TsiPedi and Tsonga aren't much better, Zulu is definitely my mother tongue this side but unfortunately no one in Limpopo knows it.

And more good news- I've found a good way to indroduce the book of Mormon with people, it's called you just pick out someone in the crowd and say "eh eh catch neh?" and toss em the blue book before they respond, and they have no choice but to catch it and talk to you, and get them nfl recruiters this side im telling you these south Africans have soft hands. Lil rougher w/ afrikaaners they think you've commited capital crime if you toss them a book of Mormon.

Just one of those rough weeks.. not much more to say, just super grateful to be clear up here in Tzaneen. It's stretching me and pulling me and making me learn how to not just work, but work smart.

It's just.. everyone here in town I swear has got "their own church" and everyone in the village of my area has no transport or desire to drive clear to the chapel in Tzaneen. It's a crazy complex area that's tough to figure out. Times I've wondered if really this is the Lords work, I've heard all these amazing missionary experiences from friends and family through the years, all these crazy unreal stories about how they found so-and-so, this and that. At times I've failed to see His hands in this work..

Just like wondering "how on earth are we gonna do it. How are we gonna help this area accept Christ. I've been given stewardship over the like 50,000 people who live in this area, who all need the gospel even though they don't know they need it; How are we gonna do it?"

I think if God intended for everyone in Tzaneen, or to put it straight- if God wanted everysingle person in the world to perfectly hear the gospel, He would've come up with a better plan than just sending a small band of imperfect 18 and 19 year olds into the four corners of the earth, declaring these glad tidings of great joy among the people; Such a sacred message carried by a very sparse and imperfect group of young men and women.
Doors slamming in their faces, baptisimal dates falling through, facing rejection and shame on a day-to-day basis, being scorned by the learned, looked down on by their own brothers and sisters who we just wanna help to get back home.

In short: Everyone needs this but no one wants to listen to it.

So, I think if God intended for every single inhabitant of the earth to be preached the gospel in it's fullness he would've manufactured a different plan, involving better, more qualified people-and involving a way for every single one of these people to attain a perfect understanding of right and wrong- of the truth and of the cunning wiles of the devil.

So I guess I'm trying to say, that as I was walking the streets of Tzaneen this week in the hot African sun, facing a lot of long hours and a lot of rejection; a lot of fallen-through teaching appointments and a lot of discouragement, seeming as if the monkeys were even mocking from the sidelines; The thought comes to mind:

"Elder Clegg, maybe it's your turn to accept this message you've been spreading, maybe this is God perfectly teaching you the gospel perfectly in it's fullness. Maybe He's sent you clear to South Africa to preach HIs gospel to you, and now you're learning it perfectly at it's fullest by trying to get other people to hear about it."

I know that we get sent on missions for the people, it's honestly not about us at all. And I know that angels are preparing people, and that we need to keep going every day so the right one will be put in our path.

But what I'm saying is that God loves all of His children, just as much as he loves me; And I believe he'll give everyone the same opportunity to hear, feel, experience the gospel like I'm starting to right now. I don't have to worry about imperfections, I don't have to worry about every single person in town, or every single one of the 7 million in nkowankowa and mokgolobotho hearing the gospel perfectly, that's God's job.  He hastens the work. It's my job to do my best, to learn and to grow- and to keep going so that one person whom I've been sent to Tzaneen to find might open up their hearts to us. Even Mother Teresa, who was revered by millions was only a 'single drop in the ocean' but if she didn't try, the ocean would be short a drop.
Like back on the shores of Galilee, when Jesus was teaching the multitude of thousands, and all that could be gathered was a few loaves and a couple fishes. But that small offering to Christ resulted in an immense congregation being fed. Although we can't do much, we can give our sacrifice to Christ who magnifies it an hundred fold, yea, even more.

Anyways getting a new comp tomorrow, mixed feelings I'll miss my cape town colored. We've worked crazy hard together to try to build this area.

Just keep Tzaneen in your prayers. Love you guys and miss you so much.. just one of those rough weeks we all have. Tzaneen will change, it will budge- just giving my small imperfect sacrifice to the master who will magnify it beyond comprehension. Just one of those times you've gotta rely on the Savior. Because that's the only thing you can do.

Elder Tanner Clegg

"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.
Prone to leave the God I Love.
He, to rescue- me from danger;
Interposed his precious blood"

MOM's NOTE:  Elder Laminai is getting transfered.  He and Tanner drove to Johannesburg today for p-day so they are ready for transfers tomorrow.  So I chose from old pictures to put in the blog.  Tanner will get his new companion tomorrow and make the 5 1/2 hour drive back up to Tzaneen. Thank you for all your support and prayers for Tanner & Tzaneen.  Sometimes, he says he can feel them.

Monday, March 23, 2015

#38 Turn On Your Pastor Voice

Waterfalls on p-day

Preach my gospel has been taken to a whole new level

In a nutshell my week was the equivelant of riding a hippopotumas through an African shopping center during month-end, trying to reach the discounted baked goods on the day-old rack competing with like 30 other angry gogos tryna buy the same cake as you. In other words I had an insane, but if im honest really an awesome week.

Started with a nice lil jungle hike to niagra falls with my crazy cape-town colored companion, (try saying that one five times fast while rolling you r’s)  in the most beautiful place in the world. Then was followed by legit 12 ditched teaching appointments, alotta tracting and tryna get a creative spin to get this place going.

Anyways soon Wednesday rolls around, and about 3:00 in the afternoon my companion says he has to run back to the flat to use the bathroom, so we do and im chilling waiting for him.. 5 minutes go by.. then another five.. and pretty soon im like eish what’s going on?

 So I go and check on the lil guy, and I find him flaat on his back lying on the bathroom floor.

Elder Laminai was unconscious
First impression: I’m like ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’ in my head- im telling him “c’mon man we can’t take naps on mission, we’ve got people to see let’s go” He doesn’t budge.

Soon I’m like poking him and kicking his feet and splashing water on his face, and nothings going on.

So I’m like “well Elder Laminie, we’ve gotta go so I’m gonna drag you if you aren’t gonna walk yourself.”

So I started dragging the kid, and all the sudden it hit me- ‘my companion’s not sleeping.’ So I started trying to open his eyes, and shine lights in his eyes, and he was totally unrespondant. I checked his pulse, breathing, and made sure there wasn’t anything in his mouth or throat choking him. But he was as motionless as a doornail, just totally in a different world. So we got a couple other missionaries over and carried him into the car. Where I had to awkwardly sit and hug him the whole time so his head didn’t slam the window.

On the ride to the hospital we suddenly connected eyes, and decked me straight in the chin. Then went back out of it again. Think that’s a sign my comp doesn’t like me or something. Punches me even WHILE he’s not all here..

Healthy Laminie 2 days before
Anyways got him to the hospital. Eventually he snapped outta his unconsciousness- but had to get a cat scan and run some blood tests. In short, we had to stay overnight. Plus his voice was still gone it was kinda funny.

The nurse was kinda stingy unfortunately and made me leave the ward during the night. So I just went and slept on the lobby floor, cuz there’s a big sign: ‘NO SLEEPING ON THE COUCHES’ so luckily i had a lil pillow from home, but I’m telling you-  cold hospital floors in proselyting clothes isn’t the best night’s sleep.

Anyways he was discharged at about 10 oclock the next morning, and he finally got his voice back. He doesn’t remember a thing. Just glad he’s not hurt.

Beautiful Tzaneen
Anyways, he was good to go the next day-and a little honest background:

Tzaneen has been rough for more reasons than one, it’s sooooo mentally and physically draining, because it’s a super tough area to crack.. so for the past 5 weeks it’s seen some success, but a lot of insanely long hot days. So on Friday we started to see some miracles- picked up an insanely prepared new investigator on Friday, from here in town: guy named Elias, a breath of fresh air. Also picked up a sweet family(also here in town). So the miracles started rollin on Friday, and even carried onto Saturday-

So Friday we were street contacting by the street market, placing these sweet new flyers we made (cuz everyone in Tzaneen during the day is from the surrounding villages where other missionaries are working) and we found a guy who stayed in our area who was super stoked for us to come over.
Little congregation waiting for us to teach them
So we went to their house, deep in the village, and we found a congregation of people, reverently seated- waiting for our arrival. Turned on the preaching voice, taught the entire restoration in one visit. Placed every book of mormon we had in the car, and committed the whole congregation to church, as well as to read & pray to know if the book of mormon is true.

Come the next day, all but two of those investigators made the journey to church. They added an additional 17 to our(rather small) congregation, comprising of 6 investigators and all their kids. So at church Sunday we had 7 investigators. We also had alot of “Amen’s!” that rang out mid-talk during sacrament meeting. And one guy came up to me and told me he knew the book of mormon was true. Also gave a 40 minute talk in sacrament meeting as well as taught Sunday-school class so tryna get the members a little more involved and committed over here. Luckily we have a really sweet branch president along w/ his wife who are super good.
We teach a couple of investigators on top of this mountain

I dunno.. some miracles are happening. Although sometimes Tzaneen is still a little bit of a headache, it’s literally a magical place. A beautiful ‘tropiese paradys’ (tropical paradise). Although it’s always been a wonderful place to live, it’s starting to turn into a wonderful place to be a missionary.  We somehow have like 7 father-led families we’re teaching here in town we’re working on. And an immense pool of new investigators we’re teaching. What started from 0 planned discussions, and 0 investigators at church, with about 4 members in the congregation when the branch president stood to begin the meeting, has been gradually changing into something better. Something more like how Heavenly Father wants it. I just pray it will continue, I’m so lucky to just be able to watch the Lord pushing his work.
Well, love you all too much. A couple lil stats for the week:
 Animals almost hit:
Flock of mongooses

Also, while teaching a lesson outside I saw a chicken peck a scorpion to death.  Literally African chickens are lethal.

Happy 16 to my sisters

Just keep me and Tzaneen in your prayers, it would mean the absolute world. Love you guys so so much. Miss you even more. Happy Birthday to my beautiful little sisters- Ellie and Cassidy, love you guys. Don’t crash my jeep. Try driving on the left side of the road every once and a while.

Elder Tanner N. Clegg

teaching last week at the schoolhaircut elder laminie


Elder Laminie waterfall hike

tzaneen is always beautiful

waterfall on pday 
Laminie hiking

Monday, March 16, 2015

#37 Ho Gan Did (How are you doing)

It's been a brutaly difficult week to be totally honest. Tzaneen is the best, but also the most difficult of the areas in this mission. But it's been a rewarding, stretching, testimony-building one.

Started off with a legit mountain bushwack hike. too bad ill have to wait two years to develop my film. Also for all the cuts to heal from my legs cuz I swear every bush and tree in Africa is like one level under a cactus.

Endured some crazy heat. Like the sun must really love Tzaneen cuz it never seems to wanna go away.

All week we've been promoting and advertising a lil finding project- in the village and Tzannen; where we were able to get access to a primary school out in Mokgolobotho village, and use our chapel here in Tzaneen.

We passed out just about 5 million flyers. I'm convinced that half of Limpopo has one somewhere tucked in a pocket or some dark corner of their house. We told everyone "Come to the primary school at 15:30 to learn more about Jesus"..

So the big day (thursday) arrived. And at about 20 past Four we had 1 investigator, and about 15 kids who didn't know english. (ill attatch a picture) 

The next day we did the same thing in Tzaneen, and luckily we had two sisters from the tea plantation show up. There's a big mountain overlooking Tzaneen, and the whole mountain is blanketed with tea plants. There's like a mansion on top of this tea mountain, and that's where they stay.

One day we were conducting a "survey" about families in a parking lot, we saw these two ladies and helped them put their groceries in their car. They agreed to learn more about our message- and invited us to teach them at their resturant at the top of the mountain.

We've now been teaching them for 2 weeks, and they were the only ones to come to this 'movie night' we threw together in the chapel. I was a little discouraged at first, cuz we were expecting a bunch of people but it turned out okay:

We watched "the restoration" about the life of Joseph Smith, and his divine encounter with the Father and the Son. 

Instantly at the part when the 14 year old boy Joseph left his house to 'ask of God', it's like the spirit of the Lord penetrated through the chapel windows, floors and ceiling. I can't say I didn't feel something, because I did. And I was praying the whole time that these sisters would feel it as well.

When the lights came back on, and my companion stood up to testify and close the meeting, there were already tears in their eyes. 

I gained such a more eye-opening testimony of Joseph Smith on that day.. that he really did see what he saw.. I totally believe that.

Everytime mission has gotten rough since then I've just thought of hymn 26, and how people need to know about it.
Zone Conference. 

Our mission President made the journey up to Tzaneen this week for zone conference. I got another addition to my testimony that I was 90% called here because of my Mission President.

 Also in church on Sunday it was kinda distracting when you have monkeys jumping around outside by the baptisimal font. A baptisimal font that through 'much fasting and mighty prayer' will be cracked open soon. There are families. There are people in Tzaneen who need to be baptized. Who need to be baptized soon, who not only need to be baptized but need to know that Joseph Smith really saw God and Jesus Christ, and that through him the pathway safely back to Heaven has been carefully, beautifully hand-placed by our 'Great Jehova', and it's here on the earth today. The only way that baptisimal font's gonna crack open is through fasting, mighty prayers, hard work and miracles.

Anyways I'm short of words this week. All in all one of the rougher weeks on the mission for more reasons than one.. Really days get extremely long sometimes, and the work gets hard occasionly. You're testifying all day to people about the plan of happiness without being happy yourself.

But it's during these rough times that we gain the testimony. It's during this contrast of happiness that you can more easily see the good vs. the bad. The truth vs. the fake. There's times where only adversity can teach you principles of the gospel. That only adversity can keep you safely on track back to our Father. That only adversity pushes us towards God enough to qualify more fully for his 'extended arm of mercy' in our behalf. That we feel a little bit of dark, so we can enjoy more fully the light.

Just keep Tzaneen in your prayers. We need it here bigtime.

Love you all so much. God Bless.

Elder Clegg
"though we live in a failing world, we have not been sent here to fail...God, who oversees the interlacings of galaxies, stars, and worlds asks us to confess His hand in our personal lives..Have we not been reassured about the fall of one sparrow and that the very hairs of our heads are numbered? God is in the details! Just as the Lord knows all of His vast creations, He also knows and loves each in any crowd-indeed, He knows and loves each and all of mankind..Of course we cannot fully comprehend all this now! Of course we cannot know the meaning of all things right now! But we can know, right now, that God knows us and loves us individually. Part of God's 'ample provision' consists of imperfect people like you and me, committed to shining and serving in our appointed orbits, knowing all the while that we are encircled in the arms of His love"
 -E. Maxwell

Also, sweet news.  Sipho was baptized in Daveyton by Ronnie.  Elder Savage and Elder Rini attended the baptism.  so proud of Sipho!!

Some Zone Conference Pictures (Courtesy DunnsinJoburg blog)

Monday, March 9, 2015

#36 I like seeing mountains again....

Picture of villages from the mountain Lenyenye
I've been out here for like 8 months now. Still it's weird everyday to wake up and be in Africa.. like so crazy.

Had a bit of a hectic week, Tzaneen is really quite a tough area. But I think things are slowly but surely picking up here.

First off, everyone in the village thinks missionaries are satanists, that we come into houses and suck people's blood. No joke. Not sure who started that rumor but its kind of a matata when it comes to missionary work.

Another crazy thing happened this week- just were tracting in town after-dark, we suprisingly got invited into an Afrikaans household (which like doesn't happen). They said that they were doing bible study and we could join them.

It was like the weirdest most wild experience of my life.. like they were reading in a super weird way like yelling and singing stuff and speaking in what I made out to be hebrew. I tried to bring up the book of mormon, relating their scriptures to some i had, but literally as I read, my tounge was getting caught in my throat. I couldn't speak properly and I was tripping on my words. I mean, sure I mess up speaking or reading occassionally, but back at home I was studying broadcast news and anchoring so I thought that I was kinda good at speaking clearly, which wasn't the case that night.

You just sometimes wish that you could shove all the knowledge you contain into someone else's head. Especially when you're told you are wasting your time serving a mission, or that you're going contrary to what the bible says by leaving your family etc. etc.

But at the end of this 'bible study' or whatever it was, they all started praying and spinning circles and yelling and I'm telling you, there was a spirit in the room, not the familiar sweet, gentle spirit of the Lord- but kinda felt like (on a small scale) the 'marvelous power from an unseen world' which was unfamiliar and evil.

Walking down the road in the dark after they let us out, me and my comp were kinda freaked out. You could definitely feel something in there. But it definitely wasn't the spirit of the Lord, it was some other strange spirit- That had some kind of influence to make you trip on your words..

However I always find it interesting how these "pastors" and "apostles" of other faiths are all scared to death of the book of mormon. It's like you pull it out and they think you've got a gun. But I've grown to really start to love this book. The world seriously needs this book.

-The Book of Mormon literally confirms that Jesus Christ really did fufill His divine mission on earth. The bible does as well, but honestly the bible has been translated, torn and tattered by people under the influence of satan. So frankly, me as a person couldn't find solice in a book as controversial as the bible alone. Too grateful for the Book of Mormon, which confirms the truth in the Bible that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that outlines the plan of Salvation, that gives us hope that we can return again to our Heavenly home to live with our Father once again.

Well honestly I could quite possibly be in the most beautiful place in the world. There were monkeys galore in Tzaneen this week which was sweet.

While doing missionary this week I was kinda struck with an insight: We're all on the same team.

Like whenever I take a deep breath and suck up enough faith and courage to attempt knocking on an Afrikaaner's heavily guarded, unpassable gate- It's like I'm preparing for war or something, like I'm putting on armor, going to fight againsed my enemy. I've got scriptures in my mind that I could use to "prove him wrong" to "beat him" or something like that.

Sometimes we're somewhat apprehensive,
or scared or think it's a fight to try to share the gospel with someone.

But honestly that's not the case:
We're all sons and daughters of God. For whatever reason I was chosen to know the truth, (which is daunting and scary) and we are all on the same team. We're just out here trying to help our brothers and sisters get back to Father again. We can come together, and help each other along the way. Never be afraid to lend a hand in helping to guide someone back to our Father. We are all brothers and sisters, trying to get back home together.

Anyways the work here has been picking up. Learning how to use the members and get creative. Even this morning we drove to the village and got permission to hold a class at a primary school there so that was tight. Keep Tzaneen in your prayers.
Hiked a mountain by Lenyenye today, it was so legit. Ill attatch a pic or two, you could see the never-ending village houses in every direction. Makes me happy to climb mountains again.

Love you all, please please please keep Tzaneen in your prayers.

Elder Clegg

4 generation pedegree chart.  Bottom right side E Smith trained E Clegg who trained E Savage.  In the middle on the back row in the grey sweater is the E who trained E Smith.