Monday, March 28, 2016

#90 "Happy Easter"

Hey guys, happy easter. I really hope you enjoyed the season.

This week was absolutely insane. Like an en-terrage of things happened and we were riding from this side of the mission to that side of the mission non-stop this week. Like a million trips to the airport and a million problems to deal with.

But it was a great week nontheless, Had some great exchanges, some great Johannesburg adventures. Heavenly Father is truly providing the way for us to teach His children the gospel despite the current circumstances we are in with all our restrictions and rules and things. It's really quite amazing to sit back and watch. Like it's 100% Him, and I'm starting to see that.

Anyways we attended a zone meeting down in the Vaal this week, and Elder Acey said some things that made me think a lot. 

He talked about being like a child; Having childlike humility. He showed us two pictures, this is the first one:

This is a picture of the little boy Jesus, learning how to pray with his earthly mother, Mary. You see his humility and submissiveness, His willingness to do what His mother told Him to. His pre-mature belief in Diety- maybe somewhat naive to the fact that His special soul fell into that divine category.

Then he showed us another picture:

The same Jesus, with the same childlike humility. Humility that would carry him into the deepest of human despair. Abolishing any apathy betwixt God and humankind. Certainly not a child anymore, certainly a man of unmeasurable intelligence and spiritual stature, as he 'grew and waxed strong'. But with the same genuine childlike qualities.

Anyways I thought that was cool.

Sorry I don't have many cool stories to tell this week. My mind is honestly for the most part blank. I love you guys, hope that you loved your Easter. 

We had a sweet baptism on Sunday, added two of the already 150 pakistani members of the Church into the Kingdom. Ashfaq and his wife Nazia. I'll try to attatch a picture. Super cool experience. Love you guys.


Monday, March 21, 2016

#89 Testifying Islamics

Hey guys, I totally lost my journal that I keep all my thoughts in for the week, so I can't remember much. But I can relate one jaw-dropping experience I had.

So, on Saturday I was down in the Vaal, in a town called Veereniging on an exchange with Elder Acey. We were walking up this stairwell thing in the CBD, and for those who aren't accustomed to 'cbd's' in South Africa, I'm sorry there's no adequate way to describe it.

Anyways we took occasion to stop a couple of 17 year old South Africans who were coming down from the stairs, they seemed pretty sweet. We got talking to them about the Book of Mormon and all that jazz, and while I was busy with my arms extended, with a book of mormon in one hand and my bible in the other, trying to paint a picture how they were written on opposite sides of the world, by way of inspiration of the same God etc., I saw a full on ninja-looking decked out Muslim lady come through the shanty corridor up the rickety stairwell. I quickly pulled my arms back together and threw my bible back in my bag, just out of respect or fear or something like that; And like all of us were super quiet. And we stepped out of the way forming a sort of a tunnel to allow the lady to walk through. You couldn't see anything but the slit revealing her eyes.

Anyways, for those of you who know me well, know that I have this super cynical, criticizing mind, that analyzes and doubts and picks and tears at things in the spiritual realm. And even after months and months on a mission, I guess if I'm totally real, I still have questions and always just wanna know that God is really there for sure and that He does love me and has a genuine, warm, human personality and knows and feels and understands etc. etc. That His Son is really Jesus, and that Jesus is everything that the Bible purports him to be; That he appeared to a 14 year old boy named Joseph in a special grove of trees in the year 1820, etc etc.

Now back to the story:
So, as this Muslim lady walks past, I've already put my bible away and I was just like "Salam", which is 'hello' in their language, and as she gets further from us up the stairs Elder Acey breaks the silence by continuing the conversation:
"So, about The Book of Mormon"

.. i'll never forget that lady stop dead in her tracks, flip 180 and look us square in the faces, and say "THE BOOK OF MORMON? DID YOU SAY THE BOOK OF MORMON? That is the greatest book God ever has caused to be written."

she then walked back down to our level and in her middle east accent was like "You have your Bible, and I have my Koran, but the Book of Mormon is something else. No other book has effected me like that book has. I still remember finding a copy in my grandmother's bookshelf when I was 22 years old (she was now easy 40's or 50's), and I read and read that book and that book is 100% spot-on prophecy. It's a shame that I lost it years ago. Do you guys know where I can get the Book of Mormon?"

As you can guess, me and Elder Acey LITERALLY were standing with our mouths hung open. Like Literally, my mouth was wide open, and so were the two kids behind us that we were talking to. There mouths were wide open. And as a knife through the silence, one of the kids behind us pointed at the lady, wide eyed and said the obvious: "That lady is a living testimony"

lol it was so epic. She took all the book of mormons that we had, and wanted to keep them in her safe so she'd never be without it again. It was wild eish. Before she turned to go up the stairs we got all her contact details, and she pointed at the kids and was like 'You guys are so lucky.'

Anyways, I guess I get constantly re-affirmed that this is true, and I ought to quit toying and giving reverence to the ideas that surface occasionally through my brain that this is all some kind of mind game. 

Well, that's one thing I remember from this week. Sorry, still not brave enough to take any pictures yet. I'll work on that this next week. Love you guys.

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg

Hey guys I just had like two more cool things happen that I just remembered

We're teaching this Pakistani family family (eish I've been in the middle east this week), they are getting baptized this next sunday. You'd never believe it, but Nazia, the mom- just had a baby boy and they named him Heleman. From Hindu to Heleman.

And I just had like some kind of epitome today. Not sure if it was the crazy blue sky (I'm telling you I've never seen a sky as blue as it was today), or what, but I was just thinking of why on earth I came here to South Africa and why I'm still here and all that jazz that missioanries probably often think about.

And then just a rogue floodgate of emotion nailed me, and for the first time in 20 months, the 'missionary purpose' made sense to me. That boring lame sentance thing that you quote all the time actually made sense. I came here to help people have faith in Jesus Christ. How cool is that? I came here to help them repent, to change their lives, to be Baptized, to recieve the Holy Ghost, and Endure to the End. Like it made sense for a brief second in time today when I was just thinking for a bit. I came here to show people how they can RETURN TO LIVE WITH GOD! Could there be anything cooler or more important? Than showing someone HOW TO GET BACK TO GOD? Over 52 something million people live in this country, and I'm one of a force of about maybe 400 tops acrossed the whole country, showing them the only way back to God. And I honestly don't really get why it has to be this way. It's like I'm holding an octopus and telling people that if you rub it on your face it will make you grow wings and be able to fly. Why do I have the read the book of mormon and believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet to return to live with God? I don't know honestly, why it's that way. And maybe it's not totally that way. But you have to try it to be able to know for yourself, and I guess that's the difficult thing.

It was weird for the Pharisee's and Saducess and generally all the Israelites living in Palestine to believe that they had to stop practicing the Mosaic law and follow a new and 'better' covenant instituted by this carpenter's son named Jesus.

Rewind a bit further, it was weird, when the children of Israel, being inflamed with the venom of the 'fiery serphants' were told by some guy named Moses that if they would merely 'cast their eyes about' and look at some statue he had put on the end of a stick, they would be healed.

So why should it be any different in this dispensation?
Anyways. Sorry this is all I can think of. I wish wish I had pictures. Love you.

Elder Clegg

Monday, March 14, 2016

#88 "God takes the simplest & weakest of children..."

Hey guys, this is a picture of a kid who was baptized on Sunday named Brandon. (I know, weird to hear a normal name)

Inline image 1

he was just baptized on sunday. 

He's one of the most intelligent 13 year old's I've ever met, and although I don't know him super well, it was cool to hear his testimony. 

Due to the lack of missionaries in the area, because of hijackings and stuff like that, he's been attending church meetings for something like 5 years but hadn't been baptized. So it was just cool to hear his testimony. He didn't express any frustration or any complaining, but just gratitude to his Heavenly Father for making this happen in His own timing and His own way.

God takes the simplest and weakest of children and turns them into his great ones. He turns the sons of farmers into prophets, and not to mention the son of a carpenter, into the Savior of all mankind.

He takes the boys of the Johannesburg slums and turns them into gold, I'm seeing it firsthand.

Alright, love you guys. I'll try to write more next week. I have no time.. which seems to be a broken record replaying itself each week. But I love you guys. Feel free to email me if you ever have time. Thanks for all the prayers.

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg
Over the handle bar trick while mountain biking.

Monday, March 7, 2016

#87 "Fish in a glass bowl"

Hey guys, it's been arguably one of the most obscure weeks I've ever had on mission. It's just been super... different.

Like because it's been ages since missionaries have been permitted to go into Johannesburg, we have like a ton of rules. We aren't allowed to get out of our car unless we have a native with us who knows the streets and can recognize sketchy areas and situations, and so we run into problems when we can't find anyone to come with us. I feel like fish in a glass bowl in the middle of the ocean full of other fishes. So it's just.. super hard. Because you don't feel like you're doing your job. You can't roll down your windows or unlock your door or anything so it's stinking driving me crazy!

While sitting in the Johannesburg temple this week, my eyes connected on a particular verse. Jesus Christ revealed this statement through the prophet Joseph Smith:

"Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and 
know that I am God."

It was kind of like an answer to prayers. God still does His work despite any outside forces and circumstances.
 "Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame.. and may I add 'tsotsies may opress'"

He takes care of His children. They are His children, not mine. He is God, not me. He is stable and steadfast and knows everything.

Anyways that on top of a bunch of new responsibilities has turned my world upside down, it's just been such a learning experience and I just don't really feel like.. a normal missionary you know.
But the good news is, that even when you cannot formulate the words that describe what you're going through, God knows perfectly. He has known your spirit forever. He shaped and designed and gave you your mind. So he hears the prayers that we can't even say with words, because he is perfect.

Alright, well I love you guys, I hope to hear from some of you. Have a great week! Remember South Africa in your prayers. If I get brave enough this next week maybe there will be some pictures.

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg