26 December 2011

26 December 2011 - Christmas in South Africa

Did you know Jingle Bells has 2 verses? I didn't.

Me with Grandma and Grandpa Westover's gifts. Thank you!
Because of circumstances in the area, Saturday we were to be back in the flat by 6, and Christmas day, besides a lunch appointment and calling home, we also had nothing to do. I am not used to so much free time. It will be the same thing again this weekend, New Years Eve and Day. Apparently "everyone and their stepmother and their second cousin" go to the beach here in Port Alfred on New Years Eve. This town is a holiday town and starting about a week ago it just exploded. Lots of people from Joburg or other places have vacation homes in Port Alfred that they spend December in. And then even more come to just spend time at the beach or visit their grandparents.
Um, I used up everything I was going to tell you when I called home. More events that are planned is that we are going to cut the grass at the Police Station in the Nemato location. The Station Commander was very happy to hear that I could also teach some of the officers to use a computer. No one uses petrol (gasoline) push mowers here. They either use electric mowers or more often than not petrol grass cutters.

More confusing word switches:
SMS = text message
Boot = trunk
Biscuit = cookie
chips = french fries
braai = barbeque grill
robots = traffic lights
cooldrink = soda
panel beaters = mechanics
garage = gas station
bakkie = pickup truck
flat/boarding? = apartment
The list goes on...

Until next week, have a happy New Years! We'll just be sitting around in our flat.

Helaman 14: 2, 3, 5, 8
2 And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.
3 And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.
5 And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.
8 And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life.

19 December 2011

19 December 2011 - A Week Before Christmas

Hello family and Merry Christmas everyone!

Us, the Robinsons, and the Zone Leaders at Elder Bagenzi's
farewell lunch at Italian restaurant Guido's
I think I'll take Dad's advice and leave what happened this past week for when I call my family. Should be fun, and you'll have something to look forward to on Christmas!

But in summary this week was another exchange with Elder Bangerter. Sunday was also very interesting. SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) has produced a short documentary about the Church and it was broadcast on Sunday morning at 9. Unfortunately that's when church starts. What we ended up doing was watching that in the church building at 9, then having Sacrament Meeting at 10.

After that we watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. The documentary was very informative, especially to a couple that was visiting for the first time that Sunday, the Moore's. And then of course the Christmas Devotional was inspiring. I had never heard of the book The Mansion before but now I want to read it.

Well, this was kind of an uneventful week but next week we'll have Christmas to talk about! If you ask questions I have more things to talk about...

"...the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream..."

12 December 2011

12 December 2011 - Elder Tlathi from Port Alfred

Me and my first and second companions,
Elders Barker (L) and Felshaw (R)
Crazy week!
In East London was a tri-zone conference on Tuesday combined with a Christmas program. It was lots of fun but our car overheated (again) while driving back to the flat we were staying at in East London. This time we discovered the radiator had a crack in it. We were stuck. Long story short it was Thursday night before we got back to Port Alfred, and that's the longest I've ever been away. But it was fun to be able to see the setting apart and farewell of the first Elder to ever come out of Port Alfred.

Elder Tlathi participated in the Christmas program with us and left for the airport on Thursday. He is going to the Ghana Cape Coast Mission. 

Elder Bagenzi from Tanzania (left), who is going home
at the end of this month, and Elder Tlathi from Port Alfred,
South Africa, who is going to his mission the next day.

While there in EL I got the Thanksgiving package my mom sent and I would love to thank her for that.

Here in our area, of the many families we met a couple of weeks ago some are starting to progress. Many know of the truthfulness of our message. Now the hard part is helping them understand what that means. And getting them to come to Church. It seems like as soon as they decide they want to come, Satan works overtime and puts small distractions in their way. The power goes out, my brother took my car, got called in to work, got sick. It's almost certain something will happen. But we still try and try our best. I can tell there's lots of potential in Port Alfred. All it needs is time and consistent effort.

-Elder Tekulve

2 Peter 1: 3-10

3According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

05 December 2011

05 December 2011 - Xhosa Culture and the 11th Article of Faith

November is over! Already?!

December is very very big here in South Africa, because it's also in summer. I'm told people generally celebrate Christmas and New Years on the beach.

In response to my mom's e-mail I did get the Halloween package. That's all so far. We have another package probably waiting at the post office for us but currently we are in East London again.

Why are we in East London? A combined tri-Zone Conference and Christmas party. I am very excited to get to see Elder Barker, my first companion again.

I'm sorry I'm taking so few pictures! I was going to take more, then I took an arrow to the knee.

I think I can take this opportunity to talk about what I know about a part of traditional Xhosa culture so far. Just about everyone is Christian but they also believe in a form of ancestor worship. There are traditional ceremonies that sometimes involve slaughtering a cow or goat. Also the brewing of homemade traditional beer is often involved. They pour it on the ground for the ancestors, you see. If someone has a dream about ancestors they go to a sangoma, called in English a witch doctor or traditional healer, and they say what the ancestors want. Usually it's beer and expensive liquor. For example, if some bees make a hive on your door, it means your ancestors need beer. They say the consequences of not performing these traditional rituals can involve angry ancestors causing sickness or even death.

Frankly I don't see how they see Christianity and the traditional things can work together.  But we have the 11th Article of Faith.

Click here to read all 13 Articles of Faith
#11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
Love you all, but I'm out of time!

-Elder Tekulve

Ether 12:27
27. And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.