Monday, November 30, 2015

#73 What is Thanksgiving?

Hey guys, I had like the most hectic week of all time, but it was still great. I guess in short I have like nothing to write. The weather this side is totally bipolar, it's so wild. 

I guess I'm just super grateful that we're coming into Christmas season, I'm super grateful for the birth of a Child who brings stability to the unstable and hope to the hopeless. I was just reading a verse that kinda struck me;

"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation recieved by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

...Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you."
-1Peter 1:18-20

It's just cool to know that a loving Father, before the foundation of the world; Knew that His children would stumble and trip; would fall and would cry for help. He knew that we would be imperfect, before the world was even created. It's all part of His perfect plan.

It had to take an infinite being, filled with kajillions of years experience studying the human mind to come up with things like the 10 commandments, which if you study in depth, are alot deeper than what meets the eye. The 10 commandments condemn every single whit of the natural man, leaving no loopholes or excuses or questions. It took a brilliant mind to create that, and even a more brilliant mind to fathom a way- A painful, and anguishing way; But a way, nonetheless to escape the cries of justice through the ceaseless-streaming phenomenon of mercy.

Anyways I hope you guys all enjoyed thanksgiving. I had the best thanksgiving, because I was able to see none other than JAMON HAFEN, now called Elder Hafen in the mtc. I nearly cried to see his face, it's like for the next 3 hours I was in this strange fog where I wasn't sure if I was in South Africa or Utah, it was wild. And I'm telling you, it wasn't the same guy who I played soccer with a couple summers earlier. You could tell that he was a bit scared, and a bit jet lagged, but ready to give all he could to our elder Brother.  I gained a stronger testimony when I saw him, thinking about all these vailiant missionaries enlisting all around the world, totally oblivious to where and how they will be serving, but showing floodgates of faith by answering the call to serve, wherever or whatever that call entails. In my mind I saw missionaries blanketing the 4 corners of the earth, carrying the same redeeming message to our brothers and sisters. 

Anyways I love you guys so much, hope you have a great December. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to send pictures of stuff. Have a great week.

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg

Monday, November 23, 2015

#72 "Snow in South Africa (Kind of)"

Well I have to start by thanking everyone for praying for rain. In fact, I think you may have prayed a little too hard seeing as a bunch of garages and petrol stations and township housing is now demolished due to the extreme downpour. I now can't say I've never seen golfball sized hail before. Like legit if I put a golfball and one of these hailstorms together they would be the same size. Springs looked like Utah for a couple of hours, with heaps of hail and cars sliding off the road. As we walked down the road we saw all kinds of dead birds who couldn't escape.  Brakpan-the winter wonderland. 

Anyways even in spite of the weather, the work is still progressing. I don't think there's a better feeling to get back to you flat at night and you can just see in your minds eye a bunch of people reading the book of mormon at that very moment. Things are going super well, and really I don't have much complaint.

The mission has started to go pretty fast, it's weird to think that I'm one of the old ones out here now. I love sharing the gospel with my friends so much. I've really began to gain a strong testimony of the book of mormon. Like I know that's weird to say when I've been out here for over a year, it's not like I've never believed in it. BUt it's just now that I'm realizing the power and beauty contained in it. It testifies of Christ; In a way so simple and so profound, in a way that I could never acredit to Joseph Smith's mind or intelligence or imagination. It testifies of Christ in a way that Joseph Smith never could've written on paper. It's so simple, the truthfullness of the book of mormon lies in it's simplicity. People who try to prove things tend to overcomplicate things. People who try to change things tend to get carried away in thier own imagination. The Book of Mormon is simple, and has a simple message, simple enough that a child can understand the gospel, and deep enough that professors trained in wisdom and intellect spent all the years of thier lives researching it.

Anyways I'm about out of time. I've forgotten what you even are supposed to eat for thanksgiving, seeing as no one is quite sure what that is this sidee. Love you guys so much. Have a great week. Thanks for the prayers. Lekker Wiek (V-ack). Feel free to write me!

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg

Monday, November 16, 2015

#71 "Wait...Mormon's believe in Christ?"

Hey guys, I’m already out of time today. Our week was miraculous. Missionary work is alive and breathing in Springs, it’s unreal to see how the Lord does His work. There are people who are prepared, I can testify to that.

I’ve learned a lot this week, we were able to go down to Rumsig, the cheesiest area of all of South Africa basically, and we had a mission-wide ‘Summit’, which was super awesome, we talked about mountain climbing anad reaching goals a ton so that made me think of the Wasatch front a little too much.

Anyways, we had a lady come who had summated Mt. Everest a afew years previously, she spoke about reaching goals and overcoming fears, there was one thing that stuck with me, she said ‘The miracle wasn’t the fact that I stood on the summit of the top of the world. The miracle is that I had the courage to take the first step.’

That got me thinking about what matters most, and I drew a parallel to the Savior and his miracles;

The miracle isn’t that the blind saw light, the dead stood up, the sick received healing.

The miracle is that, because of Him, the human heart can generate enough capacity and desire to change from a fallen, corruptible being into a Saint. A Latter-Day Saint. The miracle is in the God-given ability we have to grow. That there is hope in a hopeless world, and peace within widespread calamity.

That’s kinda what I learned this week. Also learned that if you eat a spoonful of raw garlic, the mosquitos don’t bite you at night, it’s super tight you all should try it.

Tanner teaching a break out session at the Summit Conference
And just going back to the first thing I wrote, there are so many parallels between life and climbing. No matter how imperfect we are, and how many times we, out of weakness and fear, miss a hold or can’t carry on and fall; There is always someone that we can’t see who is belaying us, who will never let us fall.

Anyways love you guys, hope you have a great week. Pray for rain to hammer Mzanzi, we desperately need it. Always feel free to write me.

I love mission, it’s the greatest. I’m learning that it’s a lot more than endorsing some church. It’s bringing souls to Christ, to His love and His power. And anything is worth sacrificing to be a part of that.

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg

Monday, November 9, 2015

#70 "This area is on fire somehow"

Ho gan did mi bru?

Definitely a week to remember.   I'm loving life here in Gauteng, my comp is a straight mhlegaas, he can carry like 40 copies of the book of mormon on his head at once, cuz he's from ghana, accustomed to carrying killograms on killograms of water on his head everyday.

I saw miracles this week, I saw that people are being prepared for the gospel, they are out there, against all odds.

Had a couple thin-veil experiences which was a breath of fresh air. There's nothing that tugs on, and even ripps out your heartstrings, more than seeing a grown adult-investigator, the most down-to-earth, REAL, and stable person under heaven; Break down and cry real, honest tears because they need the assurance, peace, and stability that the gospel provides. It's a beautiful thing to see real tears, not these fong-kong seeking-attention worldly tears, but the ones that come when a person catches a glimpse of the plan of salvation, of the relevance of an Eternal Savior, of the personal impact and influence He has for us. How he can tie up loose-ends, how He can stabilize the un-stable, How, when everything worldly is going against us, He can stand with us. And how all we need is faith.

He didn't just rebuke the waves and wind in the meridian of time. He is still in the business today. And I saw that in the eyes of an investigator, yearning for the 'peace that passes all understanding'. It was one of the more eye-opening experiences I've had.

If you dont have a crisis, you dont need a Savior. If you are fine on your own, you don't need a Master. But, like Isaiah says: "All, we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;  and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all."  WE all need Him, whether we know it or not. His atonement is the force that keeps the universe intact, the catalyst that gives a stable platform for our unstable mortal footsteps. The incomprehensible factor that calms and soothes and reasons justice, that freely gives grace and strength to those who seek it.

It was just cool to see it come to life in the life of a friend.

Anyways this area is on fire somehow, things are working out. The smell of baptism is in the air. Something I haven't tasted for like ages. So that's exciting.

Anyways I love you guys, hope you have a great week. Are the ski resorts open yet? Is there any snow on the ground? Always feel free to email me.

Elder Tanner N. Clegg

South Africa Johannesburg Mission

Monday, November 2, 2015

#69 What is Halloween?

Tanner's Trainer Elder Smith's last day on his mission.

I’ve fallen into this horrible contacting habit, when I talk to people on the street or at their door, often the first thing I say is ‘don’t push us away yet, we’re not Jehova’s Witness’, because everyone knows them and has heard their story and thinks that we are them.
Anyways that bad habit disastrously backfired this week when the person I said that to was a Jehova’s Witness. I was dreading that day.

Well, it would be super tight if everyone could pray for it to rain in South Africa, we’re in a freak heat-wave and the normal rainy season should be now, but instead it’s blue skies and dust storms on the daily. I guess on the bright-side it’s nowhere close to the Tzaneen heat.

Anyways I had a solid week. Up’s and downs, but a lot of up’s.
I got a new companion, Elder Arthur from Cape Coast, Ghana; My second Ghanaian companion. He’s a super sweet guy, and he’s crazy good at soccer.

It was weird to see a lot of my good friends on mission go home on Tuesday. It’s also weird that I’m something like 16 months out on mission. In the moment the work feels slow, but then you look back at all that’s happened and you feel it’s gradually slipping away, kinda like the Sprinkbok’s hopes to win the worldcup.

Well, I’m a little scared for this upcoming week, seeing as it is ‘guy-fawkes day’ on November 5th.
I’ll tell you time and time again that South African sunsets are unmatched.
 I’ll see if I can attach a picture or two.

Well, this week I’ve learned something. Not this week alone, but more over the course of my entire mission; Don’t count mistakes, count miracles, because you can’t count on mistakes, but you can always count on miracles. We had some straight, Heaven-sent miracles placed in our path this week. There’s this really cool family called the Van Rooyen family. They are straight Afrikaans, and we started teaching them this week. Anyways at the coclusion of our 2nd lesson, after testifying of Joseph Smith and the book of mormon, a baptism invitation somehow came out of my mouth, and somehow they accepted it. December 6. Like whaaat? White people in South Africa like don’t get baptized. Let alone afrikaaners; So it was a miracle, and kept my faith alive.

Well, did a lot of teaching, tracting, contacting, a mix of about everything this week. It’s a privledge to be in such a diverse area.  Springs holds slums, towns, townships, run-down highrises; Some of the most prosperous of South Africa, some of the poorest of South Africa. Locals, Foreigners, about every class, every denomination, every color you could ever imagine. Yet we are teaching them all the same message. We are testifying to each one of them that God lives, that Jesus is His son, and that Jesus bought their souls with the price of his undefiled blood. Kinda wild that the gospel can apply to everyone.

I love the thrill I get from skiing, from being on top of those high alpine basins, looking down at straight powder. I love the thrill I get from climbing, from surfing the perfect break; but there is a certain unsurrmountable thrill associated with sharing the gospel. From getting rejected 100 times and seeing someones life change 1 time.

“The Lord God will proceed to do a marvelous work among the Gentiles..which shall be of great worth..not only unto the Gentiles but unto all the house of Israel, unto the making known of the covenants of the Father of heaven unto Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.. And I would, my bretheren, that ye should know that all the kindreds of the earth cannot be blessed unless he shall make bare his arm in the eyes of the nations. Wherefore the Lord God will proceed to make bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, in bringing about his covenants and his gospel unto those who are of the house of Israel. Wherefore he will bring them again out of captivity, and they shall be gathered togheter to the lands of their inheritance; and they shall be brought out of obscurity and out of darkness; and they shall know that the Lord is their Savior and their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel.’
(1Nephi 22:9-12)

Sometimes days are hard and long, but then you remember that you are the Lord’s missionary. You have been blessed with the opportunity to fufill the promises of the Abrahamic covenant. Offering blessings of Eternal Families to the ends of the earth. Helping people become Heirs of the Covenant that God made to Abraham.
 No other kind of work results in an end-product of Celestializing families. It’s the art of rescueing. We’ve been called to rescue, and anything is worth it for that. It’s daunting that imperfect 18 19 and 20 year olds are the means by which the lord ‘makes bare his arm in the eyes of all nations’, but whoever the Lord calls, he qualaifies. It’s crazy that ‘the kindreds of the earth cannot be blessed unless he shall make bare his arm in the eyes of the nations’, makes your calling as a missionary seem more real.

Well in closing it’s just super weird and strange that the less you care about yourself, the happier you become. It’s a super weird phenomenon, but when you are selfless, you are happy

Anyways I’m just really hoping it’s gonna rain soon. We literally had a stake-wide fast for it to rain just barely. Sorry my letters are lacking lately. We were invited into some zulu prayer-hour this week with some investigators, where everyone prays at the same time and spins around in circles and yells a lot. I tried to take a video. Maybe I’ll be able to get it better next time.

Love you guys, miss you guys a lot.

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg