Monday, June 29, 2015

#52 Africa is Cold Guys

Pictures from Elder Pier.  Thanks!  Tanner & his new comp Elder Whitesides.  Doesn't have his eyes open.


Been such an unreal week I don't have words. Like I'm not sure what's real and what's not or if I'm dreaming this is so weird.

Basically, I've been transfered. I've left the banana plantations and palm trees and have exchanged to the sketchiest of the run-down, and cheesiest of the cheese of Gauteng. I've been sent to Krugersdorp, literally one of the oldest wards in all of South Africa. Minus Cape Town, it's the oldest chapel in South Africa, literally the first place missionaries came as they migrated northward- I guess a long-story-short, one of the deepest most converted well-functioning wards on this continent.

On the other hand, we cover a cluster. For whatever reason the Lord keeps sending me to these little clusters and I love it. The cluster is in a place called 'west village'. I'll just say I felt way more comfortable walking the townships in Daveyton and villages in Limpopo at night than walking west village at night, but it's super exciting to get started here.

The only issue I guess is that a freakish cold front hit us this week, and basically on Sundays in the cluster we meet in this nursury school hall which is legit colder than the air outside, I could see my breath the entire time during sacrament meeting. Plus, being in Mzanzi, we always get our electricity cut every single day- so during sacrament we didn't have our little foot-heaters working, and when the service started we had one member from west village attending, and one investigator. Along with some powerful wward members who volunteer to come to kind of help the cluster to function. The cool thing was, after church started, three more members came and seven more investigators came. We easily had double local investigators than the local memebers we had at church.

Anyways, that's me. I guess the biggest news is that the Quorum of the Twelve has decided unanimously to split the Johannesburg mission, and now the Tzaneen, Sunnyside, and Pretoria zones are part of the Namibia/Botswana mission...

so basically, if I would have been in Tzaneen for one week longer, I'd be preaching the gospel to people in botswana and namibia...

The Tanner Clegg in me is raging frustrated. LIke that's my dream you know! I love helping the Lord where His church is still undeveloped, and unorganized, and unestablished. I dream about going further into the heart of Africa, bringing this message to the most remote of people in Botswana, and Namibia...

But I'm here. In Gauteng, in the cement and the cold.

I don't know, I'm kinda unsettled, but it will all work out. If my mission has given me a testimony of anything; It's that everything eventually works out and gets better... So I'll keep hanging on.
Anyways, my comp is a guy named Elder Whitesides, from Stansbury Park, Utah. He's super sweet, and this is actually his last transfer so I'll make sure he's squeeing every bit of every moment out of it to the best of my ability.

The members in Krugersdorp are unreal awesome. THey legit have a 'missionary moment' every Priesthood opening exercises. I guess I'm gonna have to start learning how to work through members, something totally foreign to me- I'm used to knocking the doors and gates.

Anyways I'm kinda unsettled about all this big stuff happening, but it will all work out. I'm happy to be here. This place is totally amazing.

Elder Clegg
-over mountain, plain, and sea.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

#51 Habutzi Tzaneeny



Well I'm saying goodbye to Tzaneen, I'm getting transfered to somewhere in good old Gauteng.
Sorry i'm in some rubbish email shop in the East Rand and there are viruses all over this computer.

Just felt the spirit strong the other day on an exchange w/ a guy from Ghana named Elder Kusi-Poku when we were driving in a bokkie to the mountains of Motupa. It was just surreal to think that the gospel has come this far since the 'pillar of light' in 1820. Crazy to think that my companion was from Africa. I couldn't even believe it.
I have a testimony, and although the Book of Mormon was torn apart and tested from every angle in my past 4 and a half months, I've seen the ugly face of anti-Mormon literature at every angle, seen communities as a whole treat us as satanists, and literally have been laughed to scorn for believing in something as 'ridiculous as Mormonism'. Talk about being known for 'good and evil among all nations, kindreds, tongues and people'.
But i look back on Tzaneen with the fondest of memories, trying to establish a dwindling church. Raising my voice to testify against the most hardened of hearts. Seeing an individual's life change, and my life change with it. That's the hard thing about Tzaneen, if someone becomes a member of the church, they're hated for it; Which is why I have a testimony of this gospel- never have I seen such opposition about a message that does nothing more than 'convince jew and gentile that JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD- MANIFESTING HIMSELF UNTO ALL NATIONS.
A derranged village dog tried to bite me the other day in Motupa. I threw a Book of Mormon at it, and it stopped. I have a testimony.
anyways 0 time. horrible computer. Living the best life known to man.

Elder Clegg
telling our father's story.

Monday, June 15, 2015

#50 Kissing Jessica and Mountain School



Well today I kissed Jessica. You can look her up on natgeo. She's like 100kg's. Did it out of pity, I wouldn't wanna be that huge.

On a more serious note, Mountain School is raging on in the villages, so now the missionaries are required to return home before it gets dark outside. If you don't know what Mountain School is, then don't research it.

Anyways, I feel as if my adventure in the banana plantation-locked-'tropise paradys' town of Tzaneen may be winding to a close. In the which I'm somewhat unsettled, seeing as this might be my last week. This place will always have a part of my heart. This place, more than any other place is truly beautiful for more than one reason. The word "Tzaneen" means 'gathering place', and I know there are still souls waiting here to be gathered, still feel like there's a family to be found, taught and baptized on the near horizon.

Anyways, I'm truly privleged to serve on the battlefront of the unestablished Kingdom of God. Sometimes it causes heartache, where there are 100 variables in this country surrounding someone's church attendance, conversion, potential etc. etc... Transportation issues, racism, rich/poor people clashing together, traditionalism, African culture, Afrikans culture. The list goes on. Sometimes I end up frustrated. Not knowing why things don't work out, or go smoother.

Cool thing is, however that I have a testimony that God allows things to fall into place, no matter how complex or unhopeful a situation may be. No matter how strange, daunting, vast and incomprehensible our personal situations, and present circumstances at a whole may be, God makes things work out. In a life full of loose ends remaining untied, we must remember that God knows how to tie knots- for he designed shoelaces in the firstplace.

Stoked stoked about Zebulon. His face was absolutely shining when he was confirmed a member of the Tzaneen Branch. A certain spirit was in the air. The impossible had came to pass through the grace of God.


Anyways, I don't have much to say. Stuff gets so unbelievably rough on mission. The only time it seems like you are able to relax is when you finally fall asleep after an incredibly long day, only to wake up to a blaring alarm seemingly seconds later. Mission requires you to feel and push and struggle and stretch and grow as probably nothing else. Tzaneen seriously seems like an impossible prospect at times. Sometimes faith is lost when FINALLY you teach someone the restoration, they accept to read and pray about the book of mormon, and you come back a couple days later to find out that they had read, prayed, and felt like God was telling them not to read it.

It's just rough, sometimes. I've been thinking loads about Joseph Smith lately. How unimaginably tough it was for him. People who 'ought to have been his friends', heaping on the most 'bitter of persecution' to an 'obscure boy' who had little significance in the eyes of man. His whole life was 'wasted' with persecution, hatred, and tasting maybe a fraction of a drink from a bitter cup, sizably larger than anything I've ever tasted. All he did was stand behind his testimony that he had seen the Living God, and his Son, Jesus Christ. He fearlessly proclaimed his testimony, and was hated for it. He was treated inhuman. He was treated as an imposter. As an enemy to God. The same God who appeared to him as a 14 year old boy.

Think of how hard it was for him to watch his family suffer. Think of how hard it was for him to accept the commandment of polygamy.  Think of how hard it was for him to see children die as a byproduct of the devilish torment gauged at him.

For some reason, in a town with maybe 4 or 5 members in it, Tzaneen seems to be plagued with anti-mormon literature. The other day, one of our Father-Led Families in town had printed a fat stack and had it on their coffee table as we sat down to teach them. 

They demanded explanation. They were suspicious, confused, angry and defensive.

For the first time in my entire mission, and quite frankly my whole life, I quoted the standard of truth, verbatum as given by the Prophet Joseph Smith, and said simply:

I know that Joseph Smith is a true Prophet.
I know the Book of Mormon is true.
I've never ever cried in a lesson before, but I couldn't stop the tears from flooding out of my eyes and I looked into their eyes and testified of these things.

Truth is, I don't know why it's so impossible to do missionary work. Why it's so hard to establish the church in a place full of rumors, deep deep deep rooted Christians, Huge dogs, false doctrine, and angry hearts.

But I believe it's what God wants me to do. So I'll keep doing it. I'll testify to everyone that my imperfect mortal being will allow me to that Jesus is the Christ. Jospeh Smith has been called as a Prophet of God, to usher in the dispensation of the fullness of times.

Admist the heartache, deep down I know that this is the greatest life the world has ever known. Despite not having my snow-capped mountains, and sweet salty smell of my coastal highway; I believe that I'm doing the right thing. Experiencing the greatest life ever known to man.

Anyways, I love you guys. Miss you guys. I'll send some pictures hopefully to you guys.

Stay well, and know that I have a testimony.. It's not anything eloquent or glamorus; It may not sound great or look nice on a display- but it's there, and it's real. And it means something to me.

Love you, pray for us. Pray for me. God bless you guys

-telling our Father's Story

Elder Tanner Clegg

"In this world, ye shall have tribulation. But be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world." 
-Jesus Christ

Monday, June 8, 2015

#49 Miracle in Mzanzi



Everybody

Straight magical week. Well, honestly it was a really tough week. Just really grateful to be up here in probably the most beautiful place on earth.

It happened this Sunday. Somehow God put us in the right places at the right time and the newest member of the Lord's Church in Limpopo was baptized on Sunday. Such a surreal experience, I couldn't even believe it happened. Zebulon, an extremely educated tsipedi South African living in a Mokgoloboto mansion entered the gates of the Celestial Kingdom. All the blood, sweat and tears payed off yesterday. Still surreal that it happened. We now have 4 men attending priesthood rather than 3. Literally the most powerful experience ever.

As he was dressed in white, I looked at him and said 'hey, you look really good in white, on June 7, 2016, will I see you dressed in white at the temple?' He said definitely. I'm telling you, this guy is like future general authority material. It's kind of tough without a temple nearby to go regularly, but he's someone who you know will make it there.


The "font" is outside. The water was cold. It's winter in limpopo, so it's pretty cold in the mornings. (I'm just a baby now because I'm used to crazy hot) But you still felt warm with the spirit of the Lord. I know he will be a pillar for this little branch in South Africa.

Anyways, I'm short for words. Tzaneen is hard. Afrikaners are hard. We're even teaching scottish people (whom I've heard are rough) because even they are more interested to let us in their doors than these boerkkies. It's working out though. Suprisingly we're teaching several mulungus here in town somehow.  

Just keep us in your prayers, me and Elder May.  Pray that we can find and teach a family who will be sealed together in the temple. I know it'll happen.

salihabutzi

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg


telling the Father's Story 
Pictures from Zone Conference this week with President Dunn, Elder May & Clegg

Cold contacting & Singing.  Pictures from  Dunn's Blog

Monday, June 1, 2015

#48 Fire in the mountains of Modjadji



The district I'm in covers four areas, there's us here in Tzaneen (town) there's Lenyenye (village), Modjadji (village), and Motupa (deep village).

A legitimate concern and barrier of missionary work for mountain villages surrounding the valley of Tzaneen is that everyone think's we're Satanists who steal people's children and baptise them. Some people think we have a tunnel that we take people down that goes to america. Other people think that we are vampires and that we suck people's blood if they let you come teaching. Interesting how the adversary works, he inspires others to think that the good is actually him- kind of says a little bit about yourself as a person. But legit I'm telling you kids run crying, and in Motupa, there's one tar road in the whole village, and our little shack of a chapel is down the hill from the tar road in a little valley so you can see it from the road- we have a sign that says the name of our church w/ an arrow pointing to it, It's like the first sign you see when you enter Motupa.

So the sign is on the left side of the road when you're coming into the village. People straight will be walking on the left side of the road. they get like 20 meters away from the sign. They cross the road to the other side to walk past the sign, and then they cross back again to the left side, and carry on their way once they've passed the sign. Wild stuff.

Anyways as a district we've been brainstorming some ways that we could overcome this predicament- because the only reaction you get out of people is when they shoot 'fire' at you cuz that's what the pastor says keeps demons away. 

So anyways, to prove to the world that we believe in Christ, we went to the market in Modjadji, bringing hymnbooks and guitars and sang "I believe in Christ" at the top of our loungs, along while singing a bunch of other hymns. Felt the spirit super strong, couldn't help but think that Jesus was probably smiling. Guys from America, Belgium, Malawi, Ghana, England all with white shirts, nametags and ties, singing what we know to be true; Declaring it to the world. Not sure if a ton of fruit will come from it, but at least people will know that we- first and foremost worship God, our Eternal Father- and believe that there is "no other name given, nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent."

Just surreal to declare it at the top of my lungs in a bustling village in Limpopo.

Anyways, we have a baptism next week. Not sure how the Lord made it happen but it's happening. On Friday we had to pry open our baptisimal font (which took six missionaries pulling) and we got a little bit of a suprise when we found a bunch of cockroaches and a pair of bright red poisonus African frogs at the bottom. Gonna be a chore to clean the thing out. But stoked outta my mind reguardless.

Anyways I love you guys. My closest friend has a favorite book of mormon scripture; Heleman 5:12. This week, an investigator had a concern that the Book of Mormon was written by the devil as a means to draw people away from the bible. I opened up that scripture and bore the most powerful testimony that the Lord could've put in me that Satan in no way, shape or form wants people to read the book of mormon. So thank you for sharing that verse with me my friend, it's always been super close in my heart.

Love you guys so much. Try to enjoy your summer, I'll try to enjoy my tropical winter. I fear my days in Limpopo may be coming to a close, this place has etched a holding place in my heart. It's been super hard, super discouraging; But I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Cheers.

Totzings

Elder Tanner Clegg

Also pretty stoked that Africa will be welcoming Brazil with the arrival of my Muzungu Elder Leo Fuchs. So stoked that you're coming to this corner of the world with me to share our Father's story. It'll be the best decision you've ever made. Love you bru.