Monday, December 28, 2015

#77 "The Gifts Not Under a Tree"



Eish guys Merry Christmas. I wish you could all come one day to South Africa and play soccer with me in some remote township on the outskirts of Tsakane, on a dirt field with stick-goals with a bunch of sizulu kids. It's literally just like it looks in the movies. I'll try to attach some pictures.

Football


Anyways I've been thinking lots about spiritual stuff this Christmas for once which is a little weird, not thinking about skiing too much.(i guess it's easier without snow everywhere)

Perhaps the epitome of our mortal sojourn is acquiring the praise-worthy ability to understand our Heavenly Father. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

To understand God, we need to understand that His undergirding and overarching purpose is: 'To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.'

This Christmas season, I've thought a lot about gifts, and more about the gifts that God gives us;

"Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"

But what about my wayward children? I didn't ask for that. But what about this financial crisis? Surely God could snap His fingers and fix that. What about this mental disorder? This work schedule? This overbearing bishop? This church member who has offended me? This companion? This area? This addiction? These teary nights? This broken heart?

There is a never-ending spectrum of issues we encounter in mortality; from gender confusion to political dilution.

From broken families to shattered dreams.

If God is the giver of good gifts, then how come he gives me stones instead of bread? Scorpions instead of eggs? Serpents instead of fish? I'm doing my best to be righteous and hold everything together.. Why does this happen?

What I've come to learn, is that God doesn't give us irrelevant gifts, if he wants us to cross a river, he doesn't give us a sick new car, he doesn't give us a pay-raise, he doesn't give us a plasma-t.v.; he gives us a bridge, or the ways and means to build a bridge. If he wants us to climb a mountain, he doesn't give us a boat. He gives us cramp-ons and boots and ropes and harnesses. If he wants me to cross the Sahara desert, he won't give me skis and thick socks. 

We pray for blessings, the literal definition of the word bless is: "To make sacred or holy".(v)

I have a testimony that God gives good gifts, sometimes we, with impunity, use our short-term mortal minds to turn a beautiful fluffy loaf of bread into a jagged, cold, disheartening stone.

Remember, when fierce winds bite at your heart,  it's a loving father giving us that wind to catch our sail. Giving us light to fill our countenance. He's giving us the gifts of eternity. He's giving us the gifts that will not ever corrupt or waste away. That's what a 'blessing is right? Something that makes you holier.

God gives us gifts that bring us back to Him, because isn't the greatest gift of all Eternal Life?

Not saying that he wants us to live in trevail and sorrow every day, not saying that he wants us to fake our imagination into thinking that bad things are actually good. He wants us to be happy, He also wants us back with Him someday. Hence the occasional wind. Salvation is a journey.

He gives us a camel to cross the desert.

May we, this new year, always have the carefully-focused eyes- to see that the stone is actually bread. That the snake is actually a fish.

Anyways I hope you all had a great Christmas, send me some pics of the snow asableif (please).

Happy new years Mhlekasis! Maybe your new-years resolution could be to write letters to Elder Clegg every week? lolol

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg



Note from the mom...loved Skyping Tanner on Christmas.  If you want to read Tanner's all time favorite talk and mine as well about the concept of "stones or bread", here is a link to a talk by Michael Wilcox.  It is worth the read.  If the link doesn't work, just look it up by the name of the talk.

Bread or Stones: Understanding the God WE Pray To


Monday, December 21, 2015

#76 MERRY CHRISTMAS


“...For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest..and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.. and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace... Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the same that came unto mine own, and mine own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness commprehendeth it not... Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him- Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; Wherefore, Father, spare these my bretheren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me nad have everlasting life..Fear not: for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

Shepherd's Field christmas Eve 2009
6 years ago today, I was blessed to stand on the same ground the Savior did two millennia ago. I was able to overlook the sleepy town of Bethlehem on Christmas eve, seeing the quite literally Silent and Holy night. Caught up in a spirit so sublime it can’t really penetrate through this dinky keyboard.

But I can tell you, that although I walked where He walked, and saw things He saw, I didn’t feel Him as close to me as when I’ve walked how He walked.

I have a testimony that the same Jesus who ministered in Palestine, also stands today on African soil.  He walks through the grandeur of South America, he breaths His spirit throughout all of Asia. Covers the length and breadth of America, and offers his merciful arms to Australia, and he even rmembers  those upon the isles of the Sea.

I’m grateful to Him for walking with me through this strange land. Let us remember Him, the little baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, as we each have our own Silent and Holy night, whether we’re in Utah, Ecuador, Washington, Honduras, Spain,  Argentina, California, Japan, Brazil, Russia, Bolivia, Turkey, Utah or Africa. Whether it be under a clear star-filled cold night, or under thick mosquito-ridden heat, Let us remember and reflect on that special baby whose love and kindness adorns and encompasses every corner of the this vast universe. That special baby who caused a new star to illuminate the night sky, who caused wise-men's knees to bend, and shepards to quake. Who gave the world a light that can never be darkened.



Merry Christmas, I love you guys. Just remember that lil baby.

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg


Monday, December 14, 2015

#75 "Santa doesn't visit Africa cuz it's too hot for him"



It's been so long I almost forgot what a baptism was.

Hey guys, how is the snow?

Well I had like the longest and shortest week of my life all in 7 days. I guess a mission is just like that. Long and short at the same time. Also got to dedicate my first gravesite ever, probably my first and last lol. 
Oliver, may he Rest with God.


It's been a rough past couple of weeks, but I tapped into a lot of light this week, I guess I finish this week with a sure testimony that God really is real, and that he inspires His servants.

In the midst of a very trying time, I asked a friend and fellow-missionary whom I've grown to love, to give me a blessing. As the words tumbled out of his mouth, I cannot deny that the Savior was standing beside him, whispering the words into my friend's ear. The Priesthood Authority of God literally gives the authenticity and perfectness to speak in the name of Jehova. Words came out of my friends mouth that were not his own, I cannot deny that his words were His(Christ's) words. Maybe it's blasphemy, or maybe it's God's power on earth carried out through the faithfulness and worthiness of his Latter-Day Saints.
yes my arm is indeed around a general authority.

God is real, He lives, he doesn't intend for death to be the end. In fact, death cannot be the end because of the Generous One. Mistakes and infirmities and frailties are not an eternal reality, because of that Infinite Being. He brings light to the darkest and most hopeless of human minds, the most shallow and corrupt of human hearts. He brings light even to the slums and dark, dirty crime-ridden sidestreets of Springs, South Africa.


It's a privledge to proselyte during Christmas. I love sharing the gospel. I love this work, because there is always light when you pursue it even through the darkness.

I love you guys, hope you have a wonderful week. Hope you share the video on Christmas.mormon.org with all of your friends. Don't be afraid to share your testimony. DOn't be afraid to make a difference. 

The clouds of Africa are unreal beautiful, I wish you could all see them.

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg

(My good friends, Suzi & Jim Olson, went to pick up their son Jon Olson who was finishing his mission and is a close friend of Tanner's. They sent me these pictures of Tanner on the morning they met him)




Monday, December 7, 2015

#74 This is my weekly letter, sorry it's rubbish, I can't think straight.

Tanner, Oliver, Spencer Smith.  One year ago Oliver was taught & baptized by these guys.  This week he died.  It's been a really hard week for all who loved Oliver.  May he rest in peace.

Everyone,

Eish I thought that Guateng is supposed to be less hot than Limpopo.

Well, it was easily one of the roughest weeks of my life. I guess I now understand why the central theme of the New Testemant apostle's preaching was the resurrection of the Savior. I guess it was always a bit irrelevant to me until now.

I'm just grateful for Jesus, grateful to Celebrate His birth and life this year. There's a certain spirit you feel that gently encompasses the entire land this time of year. It happens everywhere, even in the blazing Christmas-heat of South Africa.

Anyways, I look forward to a baptism this next Sunday, it's been something like 7 or 8 months since I've seen one of those happen, and magically the stars aligned and miracles are happening.

Anyways I love you guys, sorry it's short. Have a wonderful week.  Keep S'Africa in your prayers.

"Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead."

#asaviorisborn (get it all over social media)

Christmas.mormon.org