Monday, October 26, 2015

#68 Building Zion in Babylon

Hey guys, I'll pre-apologize for being short on words this week.

Springs is a crazy city, one day I'll miss walking up and down these run-down crowded streets piled and bustling with people of every nationality and color. Just about every nation of Africa has claimed a little piece of the pie in the cbd of Springs.

Anyways, we were able to watch conference this weekend. Pretty un-delayed compared to times in the past. I just picked out a thing or two from the words of our modern prophets and apostles;

What the world values is different than what God values. What God values is different than what the world values. The world praises the skeptics, applauds the cynical minds; Exalts the doubters. The World says that faith is uneducated. The world says that putting trust in things unseen is merely a scapegoat that self-alters 'true' reality: to falsly justify and soothe the dark times of human life, and to bring some artificial faith-induced light to the horizon of the unknown; to conjure up a post-mortal destiny. To create desperate, un-proven happily-ever-afters. 

The world will tell you that unbelief and being slow to trust in unseeable, good things from God is more educated and admirable in comparison to being believers.

But the thing is, it's easy to be skeptical. It's easy to be cynical. It's easy to doubt.

The world views a pathway of Christianity, or frankly any world religion; As the easy way, as a scheme to create blind security, an effort to alter reality, or a way to fathom up idealisms like 'life after death' or 'forever families'.

So what I'm trying to say is that I've learned that looking at eternal truths through a faulty, peer-influenced mortal scope is easy. Being a modernized pharisee and enlarging points of doctrine under a magnifying glass of criticism is what the world is viewing as intelligence, and is the easy way.  Being a disciple of Christ is not easy.

What I'm trying to get to, is that you should believe. Believe in God, and believe in Christ, and if you do not have ample evidence to justify your belief, do not pay heed to the mocks and cries of that great and spacious building, adorned with material wealth, and worldly elegance. You are on the right path, even if you cannot see the tree of life through the haze yet. Keep believing until God unveils His face to you. He will, trust my testimony on that one. Even if it takes a lot of fighting the urge to give into unbelief. The world will always praise the accuser of sound doctrine, who looks for a chink in the armor of mormonism, or of any sect for that purpose. But, as the Savior declared, we must be lights to the world. A world that is slipping deeper and deeper into a bottomless chasm of darkness and obscurity, who is frantically clawing and grabbing at anything and anyone it can take down with it. A path of unbelief is slippery and miserable. A path of belief is secure and happy. 

Believe in God. Because at the end of the day, God lives, and the scriptures warn us about giving into unbelief. If you believe, He will give you enough assurance to ignite your lamp of testimony, to guide and illuminate your paths through the long and complicated nights. If there's one thing that Jesus sjamboks (rebukes) in the scriptures it's when His followers didn't have faith, and it's likely a similar story today. Just hold on to whatever faith you have. Always remember that God loves you. Also remember that we worship a backwards God, or maybe we as people are backwards. We say 'show me a miracle, then I'll show you my faith'. God says 'show me your faith, and I'll show you a miracle'. Merely enduring in conjunction with believing through the thick and thin qualifies for the measure of faith necessary for God to reveal miracles in your life. So just hold on, and be believing, and everything will work out. 

ANyways I love you guys a lot. Thanks to everyone who writes me emails, it seriously means the world. I'm getting a new companion tomorrow, I'll definitely miss learning everyday from Elder Broadhead, and I look forward to even more adventures in the next six weeks.

Elder Tanner Clegg

"The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones"

Monday, October 19, 2015

#67 Modern-Day Pilates

Downtown Johannesburg, my favorite city.

Currently Brakpan and Springs are on cloud nine due to the Springboks taking the W against Wales on Saturday. Trust me when I say that missionary work is a shade under impossible during a rugby game in South Africa.

Had a couple special experiences this week, One of them was getting to go back to Daveyton; To see the growth and strength that is continually occuring in that special land, truly a place locked deep in the heart.

Also had a couple of those teaching experiences where you open your mouth and it's filled, where you had no idea how those words possibly got into your mouth, epecially when oratory and public speaking are a huge weakness.

So all is well in Springs, we get to watch conference on Saturday and Sunday which is nice. 3 or 4 weeks late is a lot better than how it was up in Limpopo, with power faliures and stolen electrical chords, plus just how remote it was. We get it a bit faster down here in Gauteng.(only like 4 weeks late bru)

We also were able to drive through Johannesburg cbd, through Hillbrow and Yeoville and Parktown; I always feel the spirit when I drive through that beautiful and crazy place, it just leaves me in awe to think that there is a temple of God in this diverse and dangerous, crime-ridden land, with angel Moroni sounding the trump for every nation and people to come, find purpose to life, and meaning for hapiness. Such a blessing. Got collects the elect out of the rough. He glorifies saints out of the ghetto.

Anyways, I've learned a thing or two this week about something called pride. Just as the Savior always has, and always will lay the cornerstone, and even be the cornerstone to His Church; it's the natural-man ailment of pride that lays the crumbly cornerstone to apostasy, basically if you resolve the issue of pride on a world-wide level, you solve every other issue that plagues the earth. More importantly, if there is no pride in the church, then the church grows and beautifies. Sometimes you get kinda tired or kinda lose zeal to do missionary work everyday, sometimes I've found myself a little like Pilate, wanting to 'wash my hands' so-to-speak, in response to answer God's call to serve. We can't be like Pilate and turn our backs on the truth, refusing to play a part in this latter-day work. There are callings to magnify, lives to bless, prayers to be answer, and the cool thing is that everyone has different capacities, different strength, and different abilities, all God-given, for the benifit of His children and the building and strenthening of His Kingdom. I hate to think of God as a stern, waiting-to-punish us Father for slacking or doing things wrong, I believe He is grateful for every sacrifice, whether it be small or great, to carry out His work here on earth. I think that one of the reasons that God sents nappy highschool kids on missions is because He wants them to get to know Him better. After a little over a year of being out here, I believe that God is an all-powerful, infinite, glorified being, who created and rules over stars, and moons, and galaxies and children without number. I believe that He is deep, and serious, and mysterious etc., but I'm also tempted to believe that He's a jovial, loving, merciful, easy-to-please, gentle, kind Father. A kind of guy that you would want to be around, the kind of guy you would want to learn from and remain close to; A true friend who always has your back, who always gives you love and hope.

Anyways, I'm short of words today. It's a privledge to serve in this area. I wish I could bring all you guys to South Africa one day, I think just a week here and one day in a sacrament meeting here would have the potential to change lives and enlarge perspectives. 

Also I've randomly been meeting tons of people from Manzini, Swaziland which is where Leo is serving and like just a couple kilometers away. Pretty wild.

Love you guys.
Elder Clegg

"Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the ressurection of the dead, being the first that should rise." -Jacob

Monday, October 12, 2015

#66 "Love & humility"

Huya morra everyone, hope everyone enjoyed watching the US getting eaten alive by the springboks in the rugby world cup. I was really hoping that America would win so these afrikaaners would be humbled and more accepting of our message. Eish. Whenever someone makes a point about it this side I just say 'eyy wat es rugby?'

Funny story, we taught a less active guy named bonganai, I tickled his little boy to death, he was crazy ticklish and super cute. Everytime I leave his house, I take his little two year old with me and wait to see how far I can get until he starts bawling cuz im stealing him, it’s kinda funny. I  usually just get out the door and take two steps then he starts hyperventilating then screams.

Anyways it's been a hectic and trying week, I've learned a thing or two about love and humility. I guess I'm just really grateful this week for the Savior. 'All things that are unfair about life are made right through the Atonement'.  I believe in Him, that He loved people in the meridian of time, and that he loves people even today. He healed and lifted in Palestine, he heals and lifts in South Africa, and all over the world.

"As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day...and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces..When the poor and needy seek, water and there is none,and their tongue faileth for thirst..I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee."

I love you guys, I apologize for not writing anything. I'm privledged to be working with the best missionaries in the universe this side. Please have a great week you guys. Totsiens.

 Also Leo (Elder Fuchs) whatever you do, don't eat the moppani worms tail-first, eat them head-first.

entanda eStqogo zako wena.

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg

Monday, October 5, 2015

#65 entanda nsqogo zako

Elders Broadhead, Clegg, Hlophe, Ndwandwe and President Dunn

Another week Pelile in the city of Springs, South Africa. My Afrikaans has expanded it's vocabulary, my Zulu is getting more manqoba zonke day by day, but most importantly my testimony is growing and strengthening drop by drop. Bikki bikki maak mier.

All you mhlegaaz are lucky to have watched conference. Clear down here in mZanzi we've gotta wait a month or two.

Funny story.  For pday we played rugby for a few hours and playing rugby in the heat is super exhauasting.

So after we finished playing rugby in the Rynveld chapel, we were driving back to Springs and I was super thirsty and hot. So anyways it was close to rush hour at the exit that goes to Daveyton on the left, and Springs on the right, and so during high traffic there's always a bunch of guys selling cool times (like these super good Popsicle things) to the people waiting in their cars. So I was looking for two rand everywhere and I couldn't find any money, and I really really wanted one of those cool times.

So finally, when we reached the guy I looked in the backseat for some money and I saw the boxes of Book of Mormons we have, so I grabbed one and I was like 'can I trade you this for a cool time' and he was like 'ya baba' and so I gave him the book and he gave me the cool time.

So me and my comp laughed our heads of after that, I'm pretty sure I committed an unpardonable sin, but hey I think it's a good investment to him to trade a little cool time for a book that can bring eternal salvation into his life, in my defense. I probably would've given it to him anyways, even if he wouldn't make the deal.

Anyways I'm short for words, I'd just like to share what I've learned this week;

There is this one question that's haunted my mind for months: "You believe in God? Do you really believe that a loving Father would allow so much poverty, suffering, crime and pestilence to plague the African continent?"

It's a broken record, and it causes you to think deep..

I guess one thing I've picked up in the past year is that our present sufferings have a purpose, and that our God is a respecter of the recompense of reward, meaning that when unfathomable, unspeakable ugly-faced demons cause your heart to shudder, as you see the calamities of the world- as you feel cold sorrow for the sicknesses and depravity, and poverty of humankind, we must remember that someone a lot better and a lot sincerer and a lot bigger sees, and feels, and cares about those suffering children, including you. The reason we wander through strange valleys; famished in hope and abundant in sorrow, is because God knows what it takes to be like Him. He knows what it takes to be happy, and based on the simple fact that every person's chemical makeup is as diverse as the people of South Africa; God tries us to our various capacities, he lets us struggle just enough to know he lives and loves, and to ensure a glorious homecoming in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Whenever we experience adversity, we are experiencing a loving Father who is Celestializing a growing child's future. Whenever we see the sufferings of the world, we must assume that their eternal reward and happiness will be unequivocal to their struggles. Without bad there cannot be good. Without fear and complex and hopelessness, there cannot be faith and simplicity and hope.

I've acquired some sort of testimony of this Jesus Christ. Google won't prove to me that Jesus is the Savior, but on my mission I've learned a simple, yet insurmountable principle; Our faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

By the revelations of the Holy Ghost, I have faith in Jesus Christ. I have a testimony that he walked on water in the Fourth watch of the Hebrew night. He rebuked mighty winds, he calmed the Galileean waves. He will calm our storms. He will calm our tempests.

I believe that he restored life and hope and stability to the lowest of the low, He humbled the greatest of the great, and he spoke peace to the fatherless. He took on my name for a brief, but infinite second in a blood-stained olive grove. Now he's asked me to take on His.

Furthermore, I have a testimony that the same God who touched the untouchable, who lifted the unliftable, who comforted the comfortless, whose hands were driven by nails into a cruel wooden cross; also appeared in the spring of 1820, in a sacred grove of trees, to a pure, inquisitive boy of 14 named Joseph. I have a testimony that the same God who bears scars on his hands and feet, spoke to young Joseph. I believe that he stands today, Lord of lords, King of kings, beaconing all nationalities, languages, colors and personalities to come unto Him, to believe in His gospel and to be saved.

I'm grateful to be a member of the Church. A Church of so many different colors. I'm grateful to be a Mormon because being a Mormon brings me closer to Jesus.

"He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (quoted by Abinadi, while standing in shackles and chains before King Noah)

Well I'm not sure what else to write about, thanks for your prayers and for your support. I love you guys so much. Keep this land in your prayers. Sorry for no pictures, if you were in this email shop you would understand.

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg

PS...Mom's note:  Another story wrote in his letter to me:

Then we went and taught a Malawian guy who lives clear out in the boonies. . Anyways it was a cool experience, we drove clear out on this gravel road super far from the church to meet this guy who was baptized in Malawi recently. He then moved this side and is now staying in a place close to Eloff, in this secluded little village that the gospel has never gotten close to. A bunch of his friends joined us for a restoration lesson, and although we couldn't really commit them to church, we did place a whole bunch of Book of Mormons and pamphlets and videos to hold them over until the church does eventually reach them, it was a cool experience.