Monday, May 16, 2016

#97 Long Boring Letter

Hoe gan did mojitos? Hope that all of you had a great week like I did.  I wish I could find all the pictures and words that adequately give it enough grandeur as it respectfully deserves. This week was full of less meetings and less statistical reports; And more missionary work in its rawest form. Weird I’m saying this but it’s seriously such a blessing to have a week like that. And I’m super freaked out to see the time going so fast.

Anyways I went on three exchanges this week, all of them super especial experiences. Kicked it off on Tuesday with an awesome exchange with Elder Broadhead, my ex-companion and super good friend. I was companions with him in Springs, and now after Nelspruit he’s back in Gauteng serving as a Zone Leader again in Soweto. Brought him to North Riding. It’s been really interesting to have primarily blank days in the planner, so we’ve had a lot of fun trying to figure out how to fill it up. Snuck into a couple complexes, got chewed out by a couple white people, but the main success of the day came from street contacting at a petrol garage (gas station), we found this awesome new Congolese family who we’ve begun to teach.  

 On Wednesday, I was able to exchange with the Benoni Zone Leaders, and go back to my previous area- Springs. It was just super cool to see families like the Maseko family and other people whom I’d grown to love, striding forward in the gospel.  I was with Elder Bergman, from Sweden. Awesome guy. He fed me some Swiss Muesli. I’ve acquired a love for Springs and the areas surrounding; To the common folk of SA, Springs is something like the armpit of South Africa, a once-prosperous, very efficiently run town on the East Rand, but now it’s like insanely run down and dangerous and dirty, and the punchline of almost any south African joke. But I’ve gown to love it, and was so privledged to serve there.

Had back-to-back-to-back exchanges, and on Thursday I went with my fellow Lehite brother, Elder Tanner Todd. Lol it was so weird to be with him in Africa together. Anyways the highlight of the day with him was standing in the middle of a busy highway in the cheesiest part of south Africa with all these cars rushing past on both sides, tryna teach people the gospel and spark interest and help them feel the spirit for a 10 second window before the light turned green again. Really cool experience, and believe it or not we found people who were super prepared. Amazing that like everyone has some Mormon connection somehow; "Oh yeah, my uncle. or friend, or co-worker".. just was really cool. Anyways it was good to be with Elder Todd the mighty Vaal Zone Leader. The same spunky weirdo you knew two years ago, with a testimony a couple kilometers deeper.

Well, I never thought I would make it this far. I have something like 8 weeks left before I see my family again. And the prospect almost tears me apart, that the days left are severely limited.. I love sharing the gospel. I absolutely love it, and I feel that nothing else over the course of my remaining lifetime will every measure up to the life that I'm living now.. And it kills me to think about.

On Sunday, we were privledged to attend the most power-packed church meeting I've ever experienced. Never before have I seen so much emotion and real conviction from a pulpit, it felt like the days of the earlier church. 

South Africa has perhaps a more rich, complex, and heart-breaking background than any other corner of the world. It's had apex after apex of dramatic form, yet calamity after calamity of dramatic tragedy. The country, once segregated at the uttermost assumption of the word; In epic fashion broke down the palisade of Apartheid in 1994, bringing tears to the eyes of millions and hope to the spirit of this nation. However, there seems to remain walls of partition, becoming stronger and more prominent than during the heroic turning point of the Nation. Race contending againsed race. Skin color vs. skin color. And as the Nephites and Lamanites of old, there exists among this diverse society 'Politic-ites, inferior-ites, superior-ites, ethnic-ites, cultural-ites, traditional-ites, irreversable-reality-ites, and unforgive-ites'. 

The theme of the conference, and frankly- The word of the Lord for South Africa, is that for this Nation to work. For the pure survival and advancement of this country into a society that functions and works and still has morals and families and hapiness; We need to break down the walls of emnity that have been decietfully crafted between us, and join together as a people- as the Saints of God. The only thing saving this counrty is the gospel. It's the only thing that has potential to be a constant in this perverse, judgemental and generational world. The Father of Lies has whispered the same phrase through the centurions, the notion that we, as people, must divide ourselves into classes. Must associate ourselves with only those individuals whom are worthy and compatible of our intelligence level, social status, and cultural differention. He teaches us that our views are superior to the views of our fellow man. And that others should humble their mind to our personal panorama of the world, and bring their life in line with ours. Lucifer wants us to compare ourselves to others. To measure our God-given attributes and spiritual gifts in the distorted light of other people's. Not receiving happiness by way of progressing and following Christ, but of seeing other mortals hindered in life and feeling above them.

But the fact remains; Never once in your life have you ever associated, talked to on the street, greeted at the cash register, or loved in your family- a mere mortal. Because there are no 'mere mortals.' Not once have you ever looked into the eyes of an inferior human being, not once have you ever been less dependent on the blood of Jehova than another living soul. We are of the lineage that the most exalted of earthly royalty cannot measure up to, that kings, powers and principalities cannot summon up in the dreams of the night. We are the Posterity of God, His Living Children. And for you to ever attain any kind of Godly happiness, it starts with that realization. With the desire, at least, to view others through the eyes of the Messiah. Anything less isn't happiness, but the momentary thrill of being above someone else.

Anyways, I was deeply touched hearing a general authority literally shout through the pulpit in tears that South Africa can be a wonderful place. Because there are still wonderful people here. And if there is faith, God can do miracles. Lots and lots of citizens have been immigrating away from South Africa due to corruption and fears of raising thier children in a decaying civilization. But there are two things that God wants us to know- and they were announced by the angel Gabriel when he appeared in the outer court of the Holy of Holies to Zaccharias and to the young Virgin Mary's home in Nazareth. "Fear not." and "Have Faith". If there is faith. And there is good people. The nation will be held together by the hand of God. And South Africa will forever be a wonderful place if we can only burn down the walls, and build the bridges. If we fear not, and have faith, and see people for who they are. We just need need to 'seek this Jesus', because he is there and he is real, and he's so much more aware of modern stuff as it plainly is.

I came out with a rock solid testimony that God is liberal. He is plain and He is simple. He does not overcomplicate things, and he's permissive, humanistic and loving. That he asks us to do things, because he knows if we do those things we won't be miserable. Because the Nephites had Faith, Jesus came to them on that remarkable occasion, healing their sick and raising their dead. Angels clothed with fire poured down out of heaven and encircled their little children, as the Son of Man blessed them one by one, infinitely aware and understanding of each and every one's past, current, and futuristic situation. Faith can go a long way.

Alright. Eish guys I hate to just belt so much out. Sorry it's scattered and stuff. I hope you had a great week. It's freezing cold over here right now. super weird. President Dunn is in Cape Town this week, so time to try and hold down the fort.    
Party time. I mean.. 

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg

FROM his buddy ELDER TANNER TODD's LETTER THIS WEEK:  The both graduated LHS together and left 6 weeks apart for the same mission!!

I was also privileged to exchange in Northriding with Elder Tanner Clegg (it only took us nearly two years to make it happen). It was cool to be back by Fourways again, but even cooler to be with this other guy who shares my name and amount of siblings and high school graduated from. We met lots of people and I learned a lot. If you thought you knew Tanner Clegg before, just wait. He might surprise you.

 Hittin' the streets while not getting hit ourselves with my fellow Lehite. Got to have a sweet exchange with The Missionary Formerly Known as Tanner Clegg. This guy's planners seriously inspired me. He's either a hard worker or he always forgets to empty his pockets when he throws his clothes in the washing machine. You know, one or the other.

E Todd served in Fourways, so I told him to take us to the busiest intersection as it was getting dark. And so he did, cars lined up for kilometers on kilometers.

And we just stood in the middle of the road, on the white lines that divide the lanes, as the cars raced past us on both sides and we waited for red lights. It got particularly sketchy because freaking taxi drivers like switch lanes right by the lights, so you’re always freaked out that they’re going to hit you, and plus when they do that the other cars can’t see you so they’re more likelyl to hit you. And the worst part was the motorcycle drivers, who drive down the middle of the lane-spaces, and so like you have to play human-tetris and somehow stand inbetween two cars and a motorcycle as they pass you.

Anyways it was awesome, I placed at least 10 bofms, we probably placed 20 between the two of us, met some of the most awsesome people. Everyone has a friend of acquaintance that is a Mormon it seems like, and theyu were also super nice. I love just trying to cram as much love and sincerity as possible into a 3 second encounter, I feel like those type of things have impact on lives and evoke some kind of emotion.

Anyways, while I was standing there, tight-roping the lane back towards the lights, walking as cars were passing on both sides at rapid speeds. As I stood there facing them, I had a profound thought; “I’m standing as a witness of God”.. Like I’m evidence that God is real. Seeing as I’m devoting time, in a dangerous place, suffereing from public humiliation and no doubt a ton of behind-the back criticism and unkind words uttered behind closed car windows. I was standing as a witness of God, with my fellow brother, Elder Todd. In South Africa. Like Jesus would.

Anyways it was good to be with him, I love the kid and care a lot about him. Had some really really good conversations with him.

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