Wednesday, July 20, 2016

#105 "Souls & Sunsets"

Well I've been in South Africa for 733 consecutive days. I guess that constitutes two years of missionary service. They call it the best two years, or something like that.

Forgive me if I can't write anything worth reading. I've been up since two this morning sending out the referrals we've accumulated from the past week. Hundreds of souls prepared for the gospel, it's been monumental, yet horribly fatiguing. I'm a little bit groggy, but I think at least my shoes are on their correct feet. However I just realized I'm not wearing socks, but that's really nothing very new.  We've had unprecedented success this last week, and have seen the Lord's hand in South Africa. It's amazing that you can develop love for another being upon first glance. I'm not talking of the cheeky 'love at first sight', but a genuine desire for their heart and soul and eternal future to be happy. We went to all kinds of places this week, from dodgy taxi ranks to SDA services. From renowned university campuses to the poor and the rural. I accomplished my dream of contacting at Ghandi Square, which is right in the heart of Johannesburg CBD, next to the highest building in all of Africa, so that was pretty cool. Looked like a ghetto-Time square.

Anyways, as I'm sitting here on the hill behind the mission home, with my companion who's reading some book in my hammock, overlooking the deep valley which jets out from Roodepoort to Johannesburg, I feel a certain something tell me that I will always remember this place. It will always be hallowed and loved in my heart. I always just wonder if it's a better place because of me. And the answer is no. But I hope that it's a better place because I tried to show people Jesus. I've seen a few people here come to Him, and as a result, today they are more happy than they were yesterday. And I guess that's the important thing.

Africa may be the most beautiful story of the Restoration. Emerging and blossoming more vividly as the days go on. I'm convinced that the best people in the world live here. And I'm blessed to have been a part of their lives. I love the people of South Africa. I love them because they are children of my same Father. My brothers and my sisters. I love them so much, and I hope that some of them could see that.

But mostly I love God. Even though I don't really always understand Him, and rarely am I synchronized with his footsteps. Even though the Devil occasionally slips through the open window in the night and injects lethal portions of ratiocination into my brain that makes me miserable and logical and liberal and analytical and critical. 

But I love Him, because I've seen how he does lighten burdens, and if there are no miracles, it's because there is no faith. I can't bring myself to challenge that statement. Because it is true, and as the Author of the epistle to the Hebrews straightforwardly inscribed; 'Without Faith it is impossible to please God.'

I've learned to look to Him. And I've learned to love him, the best I can. Jesus is real, he fixes people’s lives; we read about it in the bible. But the cool thing is that he didn't stop with the Israelites or the Nephites. The reason that there are stories of people being helped, rescued, and healed by Jesus is to show us what he is still doing today through his Atonement.

Furthermore I've learned, and I believe that the same Jesus, with scars in His hands and feet; that same Jesus who walked on Galilee, and pieced together broken hearts; also, in the spring of 1820 appeared in a special grove of trees. And spoke with a 14 year old boy, named Joseph. 

Say what you may about Joseph Smith. It's mind-boggling and confusing to me too. But in examining his life and faults and weaknesses, you owe it to God to be fair enough to not resist the Spirit, and to consider the Book of Mormon, its origin and bringing about. 

God loves all people. Irrespective of race or nationality. Why would he not speak to more nations than one? If you believe in God, and if you believe that the only way to the Father is through the Savior; then why, in the soundest reason and simplest clarity; would God not speak to His other Sheep? Say what you want about Joseph, but hold back your judgement and pre-meditated conclusions until after you've seriously accounted for The Book of Mormon.

Alright. Well, I think that's about it. Weird that this is my last email. You guys can all feel free to come to my homecoming, it's on July 31st. I'd love to meet you guys and talk about your lives under a sky full of stars; and sleep in hammocks and build rope swings or whatever. Looking forward to seeing you all. Depressed that I'll have almost no one to speak isiZulu with. Stoked to see snow and mountains. But crying not to see lions and women carrying huge water jugs on their heads.

I love God. And I love Africa. And I love you guys too.

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg

see you in 3 hours mom 

Heavenly Father, are you really there?
and do you hear and answer every child's prayer?
some say that Heaven is far away
but I feel it close around me as I pray.
Tanner & his ending companion, Adam Swindlehurst, worked hard till the VERY end.

Greeting Tanner in the airport.  YAY!

Monday, July 4, 2016

#104 "Elder Clegg's Last Week On Mission"

I can't believe that we've made it here. It's surreal to think about. I'm not sure what to write, other than the fair-weathered knob of faith I was white-knuckling to stay afloat before my mission has been chiseled into a secure foot-hold. One that I can fall back on, and hold myself up with, even when the wind gets rigid, and the world grows cold. I now can say, independent of other sources or persons I could sight, and without artificial strains in my voice that I believe in a God in Heaven. I believe that He loves His children with a love incomprehensible. And the reason I say incomprehensible is because it is super hard for mortal minds to understand. We don't think the way God does, and He lets us do things that hurt and stretch and tear us down and make us crumble. Because He loves us, and the key of true love is being mindful of the ultimate goal, and the ultimate vista we all are striving to summit; Eternal life. God is a God, and God knows what it takes to be happy, because he is God. And he wants us to be happy, so He loves us enough to allow stuff to happen that will make us happy in Eternity. Simple I guess.

The next time I write, I'll be right after talking off to the airport to pick up my wonderful parents, who have been angels to me through this experience. I wouldn't have traded it for anything else. And at the end of it, after an accumulation of days and months and years, of seeing things and feeling things and experiencing things and going places I'd never thought I'd travel mentally and spiritually, and walking at times, seemingly through the heart of Hell itself, and summiting at times, glorious vistas that pierce through the veil between Earth and Heaven; I've come to some kind of realization, that God exists, and He loves us. And he does want us to be happy. 

There is a strange feeling: It's not the product of power-positive thinking, it's not a humanistic apparition of something that doesn't exist. It's not a chemical reaction within our flesh of the human mind conjuring up a fictitious reality and disposition; it’s the spirit of God, and it's real, and nothing on Earth can create the feeling of the Spirit. It’s God-evoked, and it cannot be faked. It can be misinterpretation and misunderstood, but it cannot be forged by any natural reaction of an aching brain, but it is from God. And I believe that. And that's why I believe. Because I FEEL stuff sometimes that all the intellect under heaven can't explain. And it's real.

I love you guys. I'll write one more email next week. I look forward to sprinting through this last week, and continuing to see the miracles like perhaps I never will again in my life. The best kind of miracles. Love you.

Tanner Noah Clegg

Monday, June 27, 2016

#103 "Guinea Pigs & Hugs from Budists"

Two weeks left to go HAM.

Wow. A week of weeks. Not sure why I'm so blessed and lucky to be here doing this. Had a ton of success and victories this week. in the Affluent and poorer areas. It's been amazing. Elder Swindlehurst and I just go to sleep in awe every night after the insane amount of miracles that we see every single day. I almost hate that at the end of my mission I'm learning the most. I guess maybe that's just how it goes.

We've been the guinea pigs for testing out different modes of missionary work, one of those being riding a train called the Gautrain. We spent almost all of Saturday zipping back and forth all around Gauteng, and had insane success. 

Anyways I can't really write much. Maybe my mom will copy & paste some of my journal into my blog, which would be cooler than reading this. I'm just overwhelmed that it's coming to an end soon. Like I talk and act and eat and live like a South African. I feel like I've lived here forever. I'm going to miss more than anything wearing a badge and telling people about the gospel and about Jesus Christ and how he can help them. I love it so soo so much, and I feel that it will be a quest to find anything comparable in meaning when I live this sacred Continent. One last thought;

There are approximately 107,000,000,000 mortals who have lived on this planet. (Emphasis on THIS planet) Crazy to me that the Savior suffered for each one of them, as well as others. all the children of God. Thought blew my mind this week. And he suffered for them with a mortalized capacity, only using His Godhood to not allow his tormented spirit to leave his body. Woaa. That's an accumulation of a lot of bad days, broken relationships, mental disorders, and tear-filled nights. 

Well, I love all of you guys so much. Thanks for being my friend. 

Elder Clegg

As the FIT elders, they write up each "good" contact they have and then pass it onto the elders in that area.  They spend the days contacting.  They write up reports each night.  Here's a "glimpse" into their experience:

Day Summary:
Elder Clegg and Elder McCartney
Wow, this has been my best day since the start of the FIT experience. We started by arriving in Rynfield on Thursday night, and sleeping over into Friday morning. Their flat was a bit dirty, and they weren’t super diligent when it came to study time. But it ended up being a really great day.
We started with district meeting at 11:30, and after participating in an awesome lesson prepared by Elder Reynolds Sr., we grabbed some lunch and then went to work.
We started by all four of us going to Northmead Mall, and I’m not going to lie, it was a rough start. We experienced a lot of rejection in the parking lot, and as we moved into the mall, we were bluntly asked to leave. So we left, and I was feeling kind of apprehensive and down and thinking ‘it’s impossible to do missionary work here’. Elder Swindlehurst and Elder Nielsen were at a different part of the mall, so they remained there as we went to a different location: The Rynfield Terrace, comprising of several small businesses with a central-feature being a Super Spar. We prayed, and went to work. An interesting side-note - we didn’t pray at the first location that we attacked.
The next two hours were some of the best two of my mission, and even my life. We had absolutely unreal success, met so many affluent & Elect Father-led Families. I can’t put it into words through this keyboard how many amazing and prepared people we met. I guess the only thing I can describe the experience with is the scene of Elder McCartney walking over to me with tears rolling down his face saying ‘I was sent to South Africa to talk with that guy.’ It was so powerful, for me and for him, and undoubtedly they will have some amazing investigators from that in the form of young, open-minded FLF’s, including a young white couple (22) who have been married for 9 months and would love to know how their marriage can be eternal. Straight Kingdom-builders. We, for the most part, used the family angle and connected it with the Book of Mormon as evidence that God’s plan for families to be happy has been restored, or vice-versa. It seemed to work like a charm. On more than one occasion I received the comment ‘for some reason this sounds so familiar to me.’
After unprecedented success at Spar, we went to a new and developing neighbourhood in Crystal Park that families are starting to move into. It seemed like a total gold-mine. At the first door we knocked on sat a powerful member from Tembisa, with his local friends. So that was a cool experience, and we picked up some potential investigators. After that, on literally the next door, we went up and knocked, and the sweetest, purest lady answered. I said something that I wouldn’t normally say on a door approach. I said ‘We’ve come to your house today with a message from God for you..’ and right after I said that, as I was trying to figure out what to say next, she said ‘Can you please come in?’
It was so legit, she was so sweet, and is potentially a Father-led. Her husband wasn’t quite home yet, so we had to schedule another appointment for tomorrow. She’s a nurse, and isn’t only prepared to save lives, but prepared to have her life saved.
After an hour or so of tracting this awesome neighbourhood, with one or two more return-appointments scheduled, we then went to the Sasol Garage just off of the Putfontein Road exit off the N12, close to the Rynfield Stake Centre. Elder McCartney noted that every evening around 5 or 6 there was a huge backlog of traffic coming off the freeway there, so we armed ourselves with the #Hallelujah cards and pamphlets and basically all of our remaining supplies, and in the words of Elder McCartney, we went HAM. It was so awesome! Running up and down under the starry night sky, trying to smile big enough to get these people to roll down their windows, and many of them did! And many of them were touched, and mentioned phrases such as: ‘I’ve been wanting to know about the Mormons!’ It was so cool, and we were able to tell everyone about the church. I almost wish we could’ve had a customized pass-along card with the chapel address and service times printed on it. It was just a super powerful experience, and we were having the time of our lives, and we even met a bunch of local members, including the Bishop, who drove by and gave us the ‘thumbs up’ of approval as we were working the road. We literally ran out of pass along cards and pamphlets. It was funny, if one car took something, the car behind it almost inevitably took something too. So if you could get one guy to roll down his window, a line of 20 cars would follow suit.
After this, we went and concluded the night at the Sasol Garage right there, oblivious that we still had even MORE spiritual experiences awaiting us. For the first time ever I talked to this Bible scholar guy and his girlfriend (in their early 20’s) who knew about a distinction between the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods, and asked if I held them. They were super intrigued with the message of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon.
I talked to this white guy, who was the nicest guy ever. He happened to want a copy of the Book of Mormon super bad, even though we had just run out. So we asked him where he lives, and it turns out he lives in Discovery, two blocks away from the chapel. A straight-gold referral for the Florida Elders to add to their collection. So cool.
The very last contact of the night was a paramount one. I was talking to this super cool girl from Daveyton, and some Afrikaaner in his bokkie pulled up right behind me and was asked me if we had any pamphlets that he and his wife could read. I was almost as surprised as Elder McCartney was. The guy didn’t want to disrupt my conversation with the lady, so he told us that he would park and wait for us.
After landing that referral for Daveyton, I then went to the guy and his wife. They were inevitably prepared by Heavenly Father Himself. They talked about how they just really need help in their life. They can’t seem to find the church that satisfies their needs, and they just are missing something in their lives. They literally said those words to me. They say that their family is crumbling, they don’t know what to do, and they need God in their lives right now. They went on to say they’ve driven past the church before, but they were apprehensive to come in, because everyone was dressed in suits, and he was scared to get judged. The missionaries have a teaching appointment scheduled with them this Sunday at 15h00. I pray for them. Truly, the PMG line was fulfilled: "He will lead you to them, or He will lead them to you." What a remarkable day. It makes me sad that I only have 20 or so more of these left. I really feel like we’re on a mission, and I think the Elders we’re with each day feel that too. I’ve never seen Elder McCartney so fiery and zealous. He was so grateful for the day we had, and it seemed to really kindle his faith, and mine as well.


Monday, June 20, 2016

#102 Miracle Week

Can't keep quiet during class

We'll, I'm starting to come to the realization that it's quite possible that the stranger you're talking to on a lonely street corner or in a bustling market or in the queue of a ritzy mall has spent countless nights upon their knees, likely callused by now, praying to know that God is there and pleading for His intervention in their lives. And for whatever reason, you're fulfilling that heartfelt hopeful prayer bringing hope and love and power into the life of that individual.

It's been an amazing first week with the new assignment and with my new comrade. I feel like I have strep throat cuz my throat is literally spent and hoarse, but it is well with the soul. We've been all over the mission, helping missionaries learn how to find investigators, and oh what an experience that it has been. I've been amazed that in EVERY single area we've journeyed into, there has been at least one, if not several people who you KNEW were Elect, whom you knew would turn into followers of Christ. 

Standing in contrast to the wonderful times, it has been tough as well, especially when endeavoring to tackle some of the English/Afrikaans areas that traditionally struggle the most with landing new investigators, but it's been cool to see that there are Elect, even behind the fort Knox walls of the vista estates, and there is a broken heart behind the sleek Mercedes and electric fences. But there's always a lot of opposition on the other side of the spectrum, and repeatedly throughout the week I've felt like a little baby as tears run to my eyes when people can't see through the blue book and weird clothing and nametags and easily dismiss us as annoyers of the truth and disturbers of the public peace. Not realizing that this is Christ revealing His pure love to them. Unaware that the thing they are raising their voice against and hiding their faces from is the very thing that the Living Christ offered and is offering, while he walked the dusty roads of Palestine, healing the sick and raising the dead. Healing people’s lives, and putting the puzzle of heart pieces back in the right places. He still walks and talks today, and many times His Voice is wearing a black nametag, must be His style.

Anyways, it's just interesting how there's me, having like 3 weeks or something left on mission just learning more and more each day.. It's crazy. Like it's cool, now when I talk to someone, I stop caring about myself, and the possibility of rejection, and sounding cool. For some reason, not to my credit at all, now I can just look at people in their eyes and totally just try to lose all of my comfort zone and say what I'm supposed to say to that person, trying to become totally an instrument. It's wild. And it's hard.

Alright, well sorry to bore you with all this spiritual stuff I learned this week, it was a great one. Just one last spiritual thing for you, especially for anyone who is fence-sitting, or even allegedly fence-sitting on the prospect of serving a mission.

On June 17, 2016, I was sitting in the South Africa Johannesburg temple next to a dear friend named Zebulon Malatji, and eish guys, I've been crying way too much these days, but tears streamed down my face as I had flashbacks of one year ago, walking through a remote village in the mountains of Limpopo, knocking on a door of a single, lost guy looking for purpose in his life named Zebulon. And then, exactly a year after I saw him dressed in white, entering into a baptismal font that we had to chase all the red poisonous frogs out of because it hadn't held water in ages; I was sitting by him, and by his newly wed, dressed in white, as they received promises and blessings from a Loving God in the temple in this faraway land. It was even more special, as my companion and I sat in a very special room, witnessing someone with Authority from God seal upon our friends a matrimony of the royalist level;  for time and all eternity. And as Elder Tanner Clegg, a stupid kid from Utah with an embarrassing ACT score that liked buying cheap clothes and skiing every day and going to the beach as often as his parents would let him, he thought this thought: "The decision to serve a mission, will not only affect you. It inevitably will bless somebody else's life for eternity. There may be someone waiting for you, in a remote village of Africa, or maybe remote in the sense of being remote of the testimony and love of God, who is sitting in darkness, yearning for light." Tears (eish this is embarrassing) rolled down my face again, as I prayed and thanked God with all I had that I was privileged enough to be an advocate of happiness, and tell people about Jesus. And see at least one life change, of a dear friend, whose door I knocked on, in a village in the middle of nowhere in Africa. There's someone. SOMEONE. Waiting for you my dear friend, I just know it.  They will be blessed with the best blessings God has to offer, and you can help to unlock that for someone else, it's an amazing thing.

Well, I think that's about all I've got for today. There are people who are kept from the truth, simply because they don't know where to find it. Joseph Smith's validity is confirmed alone by that one statement in section 123. I've seen it firsthand this week, and will continue to see it.

It was cool, when President Dunn prayed with Elder Swindle and I at the beginning of this experience, he asked for the spirit of adventure and exploration, and I'm telling you it's happening. 

Alright, I love you guys. Keep me in your prayers, and keep mostly the South Africans in your prayers. Cheers

Tanner Noah Clegg

Monday, June 13, 2016

#101 "Can I get a Hallelujah!"

Gonna miss the good old MTB

I've lost my American English, so all of you who are disprivledged enough to come to my homecoming might get some laughs.   (Which will be July the mom)

Wow, what a week. And what an amazing week ahead. And what an amazing last month on mission ahead. I'm not sure what emotion I'm filled with right now but I like it.

This week, President Dunn called me and told me to meet him at the mission home. So we went there, he dragged me into his room that he usually grills missionaries in (jk he's the nicest guy alive). Anyways he talked a lot about some ideas that have been running in his crazy and inspired mind, of things he's been noticing and feedback from other missionaries on the struggles of our mission, etc. etc.

And he wants to try something totally crazy and new that I'm unbelievably stoked for.

He released me from my current assignment, and gave me a new one. It's called operation F.I.T (Find Investigators Team).

So basically, me and one of my closest mission friends since day 1 (Elder Swindlehurst), will be traveling the length and breadth of the South Africa Johannesburg Mission, with one goal and purpose in mind, which is to find as many new investigators as possible.

So for the next 4 weeks of my stay in South Africa, my only job will be to talk to as many of God's Children as possible that can fall under my voice, and share the gospel with them. To join with the areas which are traditionally ineffective with finding new investigators, and see if we can't come in contact with those who are "Kept from the truth, because they know not where to find it". We'll sleep on the road, usually; with other missionaries in their areas. We have a temporary residence behind the mission home, and a laptop to record our data, cuz we have like a totally new set of key-indicators we're piloting. So it's just gonna be insane and fun and awesome. And I look forward to growing closer to God through all of this.
Gonna miss Elder Pickup

So, no more planning MLC's, transfers, zone conferences, family road trips, baptismal records, or dinner with famous people. And I'll miss the Dunns like crazy because they are like the best thing that's ever happened to me and have helped me like none other could to battle through the trials of mission. But, I'm going to leave this land kicking hard, and I'm sooo unbelievably stoked for this new assignment with one of my best buds, Elder Swindle(who by the way I've slept in his church parking lot in Newport Beach a couple of times with Grant and McCall and other friends). Maybe I'm even frothy.

Alright, all of that is exciting but hey get this:

Remember Zebulon? The guy from that remote village called Mokgolobotho right outside of the paradisiacal town of Tzaneen who was baptized a year ago Sunday? Well he and his newly-wed are coming down to the South Africa Johannesburg Temple this Friday, June 17 to be endowed and sealed for time and eternity. The thing that gives me chills is that's the same day that my best bud Derik will enter into the Timpanogas Utah Temple to be sealed for time and all eternity to his sweetheart and partner in crime. June 17 will be a big day to remember, a special day for the 2 dearest of friends. I love you both like crazy.

Anyways, needless to say, I'm happy. And I believe in God. Even though sometimes I get confused and do know why to believe, I believe anyway. His hand is in the details. Keep me in your prayers, I'll need the strength and protection. Weird to say that but I really will. And hope I don't freeze to death cuz it's insanely cold. Love you guy’s sooo so much. Can't believe I only have 4 weeks in this magnificent land of Africa. I’ll miss it dearly. I'll miss these people. But I'm gonna cherish this new opportunity. Cheers
Another Kool experience this week that my grandma will love-

As a finding idea we've been placing copies of the Liahona in barber shops and dentist offices and places like that. Getting it out there and also generating conversations with the shop owners and also it was an easy way to not get kicked out of places. And anyways we went into one hair cutting place owned by two Islamic guys, one of them from Northern Africa in Morocco, and the other one from Jordan, just east of the Dead Sea. They were super intrigued by our message, and I was able to get hold of an Arabic Book of Mormon and give it to them.

The cool part is that my Grandma Brown played a huge role in translating the Book of Mormon from English into Arabic. So I thought my grandma would like this picture. 

E Tanner Noah Clegg

I used to think of God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I didn't really know Him.

But later on, when I met Jesus, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Jesus was in the back helping me pedal. I didn't know just when it was He suggested we change, but life has not been the same since I took the back-seat to Jesus, my Lord. He makes life exciting. When I had control, I thought I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points.

But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places and at break-through speeds; it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it often looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!" I was worried and anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into adventure. And when I'd say, "I'm scared", He'd lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me their gifts to take on my journey, our journey, my Lord's and mine. And we were off again. He said, "Give the gifts away; they're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it, but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high rocks, fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus.

And when I'm sure I just can't do any more, He just smiles and says... "Pedal."
(Author unknown)

Monday, June 6, 2016

#100 "Cheeseboy"

Sister Dunn is the best kind of friend!

Hey guys, post-transfer week. Is hectic like transfer week. 

Well here's a list of people I ate dinner with this week:

1-A. Scott Anderson, the President and CEO of Zion's Bank.
2-The Jacobsons, the owners of Jacobson's construction.
3-The son of Ken Garff, who owns Ken Garff Auto.

The Dunns have connections. 

I have 5 weeks left in this wonderful country. I hope that in those 5 weeks I can somehow find out how to send a decent email. And also make South Africa a better place.


Elder Tanner Noah Clegg

Look how energetic I look in this presenation.

Monday, May 30, 2016

#99 Howzit!

Hey guys, transfer week is a long and hard  week. I love you so much. 

Elder Tanner Noah Clegg

Monday, May 23, 2016

#98 "What are these White Guys doing at my house?"

Elder Tanner Todd & Tanner Clegg, Lehi HIgh School 2014

Hey guys,

Hectic week. Every week with 3 exchanges is always an adventure. I feel like last Monday was an eternity ago. But the days and weeks are flying nonetheless. I've grown to love going on exchanges, I've been blessed to go on two or more every week for a while. Just to see all these other guys miles from home doing there best because they believe it's true.

Anyways, exchanged with E Di Ruscio from Italy on Tuesday. I was able to go back to my old area Krugersdorp, it was good to be back in the land of the Afrikaaners. Wednesday I brought Elder Hentunen, our Finnish veteran to North Riding, had a great day with him, and on Friday I went to Germiston with E Stevenson, who lives like 5 minutes away from me and graduated from Lone Peak in 2015. Maybe some of you guys know the lil guy.

I'll try to attatch some pictures.

Anyways, to finish the week on an even higher note; We were able to go back to the Johannesburg chapel and baptize the Machaba family, a family Elder Pickup and I taught in one of the high-rising sketch-ghettho appartments of Hillbrow. It was so awesome, I'll put some pics. The water was FREEZING cold. And this family is from Limpopo where it is RAGING hot. And so it was a bit rough. I baptized the father and the son, and my comp did the mom and the daughter, but as soon as the 9 year old daughter's bigtoe made contact with the water, it sounded like Bafana Bafana had scored a last-minute game-winning goal againsed Nigeria. She was FANATIC, and we tried to coax her to go into the water for like an hour and a half, but it didn't quite happen.
Machaba Family
Anyways, the baptism was great. And the father gave his testimony at the end. He send something along the lines of "One day, when I was coming home from work, I walked into my house and I saw some white guys sitting with my wife and kids. in HILLBROW, and I was thinking to myself 'what the heck are these white guys doing here?' and then my wife started going to that church for two consecutive weeks, instead of just one week. Because I was used to her picking a new church every week. And then I was like 'eish this church is seriaas', and then the white guys came again the next week and I was like 'Oh no, God is getting SERIOUS with me now'. And so the missionaries at the end of the lesson asked me to come to church, and I told them that they'd see me there, and my wife was like 'HOW MADOTA' (NO WAYS), and she didn't believe me. And then the white guys kept coming and I kept coming to church.." and the rest is history.

The whole congregation was rolling on the ground. But it was just amazing to see another powerful family come into the kingdom. Even though the water was cold.
"What you do when you get kicked out of malls"
Alright, I love you guys. This next week is transfer week so I might not be able to write a ton, but I'll try my best. Also I met an American black guy from San Francisco. I tried to speak zulu to him and he was totally clueless. He was like the first guy ever at first glance to know that I was a mormon from Utah.

E Tanner Noah Clegg

In case you are interested. here is an excerp from Tanner's journal when he was at Dominoes on Saturday night:

We finished our lessons for the day and grabbed some pizza at domino’s. Funy, there’s a dominos in my area. Weird being in 1st world after coming from 3rd world.. It seems I’ve dealt with both of the extremes.

Anyways, while waiting in line and waiting for our pizza, I was able to strike up a really positive conversation with this guy from Durban. I just talked about all kinds of stuff for like 10 minutes with him, he’s super smart, educated white guy, just a cool father who was willing to entertain a conversation with this stupid American kid.  On his way out I gave him a Book of Mormon, and I felt super super good about it. Wasn’t able to get his contacts, but I was still happy.

As I was talking to him, I mentioned that I was from Utah, and then after that guy left with his BoM, a black guy behind me was like ‘I knew you were from Utah’..

And anyways I got in this long conversation with this other rich black guy who I quickly realized was from America due to the lack of his Zulu vocabulary. He’s from San Francisco, the bay area, and has an IT business that’s taking off in SA. So I was able to talk with him for forever and gave him a book of Mormon, and really connected well, and was super happy. While I was talking to him about America and stuff and how weird it is in South Africa, I was asking him stuff like ‘Do you feel safer in downtown LA or Joburg?’ And he was like “LA!”

Anyways, after I talked with the American guy, who graciously took the book but didn’t want us to come, he left, our pizza came, my comp grab it, and we went to leave, and it’s like.. I couldn’t control myself for a second. The spirit took over, and I let it,, and despite my fears I opened my mouth and talked to the college girl behind me in line.  

Anyways, I had put three book of Mormons in my bag, and I gave her the third one, and had an amazing conversation with her. Anyways, I feel that she was one of the people I was sent here to talk to. She didn’t want us to come, she wanted to investiagate it herself first. She’s from a place called ‘Greenpark’ or something in Durban. And is working in Rumsig, and commutes on the weekend. Anyways, she was awesome, and after talking to her, I walked back to the car on a spiritual high.

I thought of God, and I felt the spirit confirm to me that he was proud of me, and happy that I had endured persecution to do that. And it was as if for a moment, my mind was opened up to a later day, and I could see me embracing those three people one at a time, welcoming them into the Celestial Kingdom.. and it was probably just a conjuration of an over-creative mind, but I felt the spirit. And felt that I’d be deeply connected with those three individuals for eternity. I felt I should put three BofM’s in my bag,  and there were three people.. Idk, It was cool though and I thought a lot about it and found happiness and comfort in it.

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.