28 November 2011

28 November 2011 - A Still, Small Voice

Transfer news!
Nothing is happening!

I'm staying here in Port Alfred with Elder Felshaw for the next 6 weeks. That makes 6 months in my first area! This transfer ends on January 2nd so I am staying here through Christmas. I heard it gets pretty crazy in the Christmas season down here. I also got one package from Mom, but haven't opened it yet! Whatever it is, I'm sure it's great. Thank you!

L to R: Sister and Elder Robinson, me, Elder Felshaw,
Elder and Sister Smith, Elder and Sister LaPray
(who live in Texas near Beaumont),
and Sister and Elder Fower
But now it's the Thanksgiving season. Because Thanksgiving isn't a South African holiday we didn't take time out of our day to celebrate but after the day was over we paid a quick visit to the Robinsons and the many other senior couples that were visiting for Thanksgiving. We had some leftovers and took a picture.

We continue to have much success in finding families. One in particular I have high hopes for is the Marais family. Both the mother and father are police officers, and they are working hard to raise their young daughter to be morally straight in a crooked world. They don't smoke, drink, or swear. The parents can't always go to church because they are busy with work but the daughter always goes to church even if she does so alone. They even sometimes hold family Bible study! This particularly surprised and impressed me.

Others that I have high hopes for are the Doyi family, of whom the father is a police officer, and the Matika family (father also a police officer). When we were teaching the Matika family there was some kind of church meeting in the next door house's garage. You could hear the singing and clapping, and when a man started shouting and crying into a microphone it struck me how poetically appropriate the situation was. The world will shout and yell, but the voice of God is a still, small voice. In one house I-don't-know-what was being preached through a microphone, in the other the truth was being taught and expounded in a quiet living room.

I am very glad I can have this experience. It truly is unique and challenging. But because it is challenging, it is strengthening. If a balloon never stretches, it will remain small forever.

-Elder Tekulve

PS- I check e-mail at 2 or 3 Monday morning from your point of view, so get them in before then if you want me to reply that week.

21 November 2011

21 November 2011 - East London - Christmas Party

Did I mention how fast time is going along? Probably about a million times.

President Robinson, Me, Elder Felshaw,
and President Wood at the Christmas party
First off I'd like to make a correction. In one of my earlier e-mails I said ubuntu is a Xhosa word. This is incorrect, it is actually a Zulu word.

Right now I'm in East London again for a zone P-day activity. We went on a tour of the Mercedes-Benz factory here in EL! Is is the best automobile manufacturing factory in the world in 2010 and from 2009 to today it is the best in Africa, Europe, or America. So it's pretty famous I guess. Sorry, but cameras weren't allowed. Unfortunately, there was a bug in the system and all automation stopped shortly before we started the tour. So we toured a mostly abandoned factory, and almost all of the robots and conveyors were still. Nevertheless, there were one or two arms still doing their job and even that was extremely impressive. I'm sure you've all seen these factories and robot arms and assembly lines on TV and such but seeing them in person is very different. I hope to come back sometime.
Elders Felshaw and Tekulve
in the Port Alfred Marina
Last Saturday was the Branch Christmas party. In November?! Yes, pretty much everyone leaves during December to visit family so we hold the Christmas party now. It was pretty standard. There was games for the kids (seeing about 15 African children fall over trying to do a three-legged race was hilarious), a braai (barbeque), and a Primary program. The Mission President Mark Wood was there visiting for the weekend.

There's a member named Brother Hola here, he's pretty funny. There are pigs and chickens in his yard. One day Elder Felshaw asked "where did you get all these piglets Brother Hola?" he replied in all seriousness, "from my pig." Later: "Who takes care of all these little chickens Brother Hola?","their mother does."

Reading this here it seems like all I do is go to parties and tour factories, but I assure you I work very hard 7 days a week. :)

Good luck with whatever it is you're doing!

-Elder Tekulve

Numbers 27: 18 - 23

18) And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him;
19) And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight.
20) And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.
21) And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.
22) And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:
23) And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.
5th Article of Faith
also note the sustaining before the congregation

5) We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

14 November 2011

14 November 2011 - Grahamstown

Left to right: Elder Felshaw from Seattle, Washington;
Elder Bagenzi from Tanzania; Elder Tekulve from Humble, Texas;
Elder Bangerter from Pocatello, Idaho.
Is November half over already? Scary...

I'm just going to go over my notes and write things as they appear in order.
A funny story from Elder Felshaw: a member in one of the wards he served in was at a funeral. The "man of honor" wasn't a member but all the guests and his friends were. The preacher was doing his preacher thing and he said "Raise your hand if you want to be saved!" No one raised their hand. He looked confused for a second then just continued.

On Tuesday our car broke down. A radiator hose was spitting water on the engine. We were able to get it to a mechanic but it was too dangerous to drive after that. They didn't have a replacement hose that day but would the next day. So in the meantime we just walked around our neighborhood and introduced ourselves to our neighbors. We got the whole spectrum of responses. One that was and is still very promising is an instructor at the local air school who lives right across the street from us.

Chevy Spark dashboard.
It was like we were driving around in an X-wing
On Wednesday we still didn't have a car because they still didn't have a replacement hose. Luckily they lent us a courtesy car, a tiny Chevy Spark. Despite its name it is not an electric car.

On Saturday Elders Bagenzi, Bangerter, Felshaw, and I went to Grahamstown. Elders Bagenzi and Bangerter are our Zone Leaders in the East London Zone (a city in South Africa, not London, England). It is the first time I've been there in Grahamstown. We had a half-zone meeting that was very instructive then went to lunch. At the restaurant one thing they served was ostrich steak. I would have gotten one, but they were all out of ostrich...

My p-day is Monday. We have to drop off our washing either at a laundromat or at one of the members houses, pick up post, do e-mailing, go shopping for the week, stop at an ATM, wash the car, and clean the flat. And that's just a normal p-day. Sometimes we have more to do. All in all we have very very little time for play unlike Elder Cline.

I hope you're all having lots of fun,

-Elder Tekulve

"No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear; till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done."

-Joseph Smith,  (History of the Church, 4:540)

07 November 2011

07 November 2011 - Teaching Full Families, Police Officers

Port Alfred Township, South Africa
Good Afternoon! Or whatever time it is where you are.

I'm sorry to say it but it was another same-old week. Vivian had to attend a family funeral so his baptism is now the 12th.

A lot of the people we're teaching are full families, somewhat rare here. In fact, 4 or 5 of them have police officers for one or both parents. It is Elder Felshaw's observation that police officers make very faithful strong members.


They aren't interested, but we did find a family that had been visited by Elders in the 1970s. Actually I am very interested to hear from Judd what South Africa was like around about 1994.
That's a worm. A really big worm.
I was afraid it would be able to bite me

I forgot to tell you last week but I did get Dad's package. Thanks for the tissues, they're a bit expensive here. And boxed bacon was interesting as well...I always love hearing what's happening at home, especially pictures. So keep on e-mailing, even if mine aren't too interesting!

-Elder Tekulve

PS- Sorry about any typos in this message; there is no spell check on this computer.

John 18:28
28. Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.

The Judgement Hall is part of the house of Pilate, a Gentile. As the Passover was near, leaven or bread containing leaven in any home made it ceremonially unclean. Even entering such would make a Jew unfit to eat the Passover. The Pharisees and Sanhedrin were eager to crucify their God after an illegal trial, but were afraid to go near any leaven and thus break the law.

Sunset in Port Alfred, South Africa

01 November 2011

31 October 2011 - Halloween - Conference - Tim Tam

Of course, they don't have Halloween in Africa. I'll sure be missing watching The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The second half of General Conference was yesterday. I was surprised the only talk Elder Holland gave was in the Priesthood session. Usually he talks a lot. But it was great nonetheless. A lot of it seemed to be focused on investigators or those who are not members of our church. I liked Elder Bennett, Elder Cornish, Elder Callister, and of course President Monson's addresses.  The first convert baptism in Port Alfred since April will be this Saturday the 5th. Remember Vivian? He is already inviting his friends to church.  I think that's it... I need to take more notes during the week. On a parting note: Tim Tams are a chocolate-covered biscuit (cookie) from Australia. They can only be found in a certain import store in East London and they are amazing. Amazing.

Boesmansriviermond, South Africa
-Elder Tekulve

Me and my dad on the day I was baptized

Our friend the spider is....
about as long as my index finger

Tim Tam!

Doctrine and Covenants 101: 16

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