31 December 2012

31 December 2012 - Happy New Year! (Almost)

Happy New Year! (Almost)

Me and a cockatoo named Frankie
This week was Christmas (of course). Christmas here is a bit different than the United States. For example, there was a sign in a shopping center here that said 'Jesus is the reason we celebrate the season.' I got a package from the Humble Ward Young Women and thank them for that. I am wearing the tie they sent me right now. You guys didn't send me pictures of Christmas Day! And you had all week. Noah (the only sibling who e-mailed me!) sounded like he was having fun. On Christmas Day, as I said in my call home, I was on "The Mad Farm" all day. We had lunch and supper there but didn't spend much time outside as it was raining. I learned that they also have 2 owls in addition to the rest of the animals I listed. Was the Les Miserables movie more like the musical? I know there is another movie with Liam Neeson that I actually mentioned a couple of weeks ago, so is this a new one?
The New London Elders with the Steenbeeks on Christmas
We had a pretty neat visit with a couple named Anita and Johan. I don't know if that's the right spelling. But I think they're prepared to hear the Gospel. The Spirit was present and at one point Johan said he thinks there are graded parts to heaven like "a first-class suite and a middle class room and a third class cabin." We look forward to teaching The Plan of Salvation. :)
It's been a good week. The December lull is starting to lift and we are getting a bit busier. It was great talking to you, and good luck in 2013!

-Elder Tekulve
One of two owls at the Mad Farm
Liam Neeson in Les Miserables

25 December 2012

24 December 2012 - The Mad Farm, Christmas Caroling

Dear family and friends,

Elders in my District. L to R:
Madsen, Strauss, Gillespie, Tekulve

This week there were lots of fun Christmastime activities. On Monday we went to Sister Steenbeek's farm for a Ward Christmas Party. She rehabilitates animals and describes it as "The Mad Farm." As far as I could count there were 18 cats (!), 8 dogs, 3 mules, 2 donkeys, a handful of geese, an ostrich, 3 emus, 20 goats, 5 or so pigs, maybe 3 rabbits, countless chickens, a crow, a dove, a cockatoo, a rainbow lory, another type of green parrot, 2 grey crowned cranes, a turtle, and a swan. We're going back tomorrow for Christmas Day and I'll call you from there.
2 New London Ward Members at
The Mad Farm

Father Christmas giving gifts to the children.
It's certainly a lot hotter down here
than at the North Pole.
We also went caroling on Friday with some ward members, much to my dismay. It went smoothly enough, though.
On Saturday I went on exchanges with Elder Strauss. It definitely gave me a great appreciation for the Elders in the walking area. It's starting to get pretty hot outside...
Merry Christmas and talk to you tomorrow!

Everyone who went caroling
-Elder Tekulve


17 December 2012

17 December 2012 - Mission Christmas Party, Sokhululeka, Gospel Principles

Hey, Christmas is next week!

The main highlight this week was the tri-Zone Conference and mission Christmas Party. That was on Wednesday and lasted all day. There were musical numbers by each zone (we sang "Oh Holy Night"), testimonies, training by President and Sister Wood, lunch and dinner, something like a white elephant gift exchange (I got a packet of cat food...), and as per SACTM (South Africa Cape Town Mission) tradition we got to watch a movie. Unfortunately it was a movie I've seen before; the same one I watched at the YSA movie night back in George. Like I said, I want to watch the movie with my family when I get home so I want it to be a surprise.

One other highlight of the week was an investigator that we met named Sokhululeka. She is very motivated to change and works hard at it. On Sunday she got a Gospel Principles manual to take home and by Tuesday she had finished half of it. You don't see that kind of commitment often.

East London 3rd is a good ward. It has some great Ward Missionaries and an awesome Bishop who gets things done and really connects with his ward. It's hard this time of the year because very many people only live here for work and go home to the rural areas in December. As a result most of our investigators have been lost until mid-January. That's okay though, we still do have people to teach and I'm having a great time.

-Elder Tekulve

14 December 2012

10 December 2012 - New City: New London

What was that sound? Oh yes, it was the time flying out the window.

Transfer news! I am now the District Leader in East London 3rd Ward. My companion is Elder Gillespie. His father is in the Air Force so he moves around a lot but he was born in Colorado. Elder Krieger's new companion is Elder Martin from Moscow, Idaho. Elder Martin and I switched places; he was Elder Gillespie's trainer. So I am the oldest in this 4-man district by at least a year.

Missionary work here is much the same as Fish Hoek. The principles are the same, but here we have a lot more appointments and people to teach. Some fall through but I've met some interesting people.
East London, South Africa, from the air
My camera is broken for good. I'll get a new one maybe next week as an early Christmas present. So no pictures today.
But here's an Old Testament fact: Shem outlived most of his posterity all the way down to Abraham. I don't have the numbers in front of me but that's something like his great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson that he outlived. To put that in prespective, if Shakespeare lived as long as Shem he would still be alive today.
Shem lived to be 600 years old

William Shakespeare 1564-1616

-Elder Tekulve

03 December 2012

03 December 2012 - Brother Mike, Basson Family

Hi, I'm Elder Tekulve. Would you like a Book of Mormon?
It's December! Yay!

For P-day yesterday we went to Meadowridge to visit a convert named Brother Mike. He runs a catering business and the Mowbray and Meadowridge Elders are frequent customers. He is also a very nice and interesting person. He has an incredible testimony for only being baptized about 7 months.

In the evening on Monday we taught another powerful lesson with the Basson family. The Spirit was strong and even though they didn't understand it, they felt it. Other than that it was a pretty slow week...
Elder Tekulve in the kitchen at his flat

It looks like my camera is beyond repair, but I have a few pictures for you this week.

Old Testament trivia: Jewish tradition says that Shem, Noah's son, is Melchizedek. I personally believe this is true. He actually outlived Abraham. The Bible Dictionary seems to agree with me.

Love, Elder Tekulve

26 November 2012

26 November 2012 - Plan of Salvation, Peer's Hill

The Plan of Salvation
Credit: helamangallery.com
Well, it's been a hectic day. Mostly because my camera broke. Sigh. I have some awesome pictures that I may be able to get to you next week. We'll see if it can be repaired.

What happened this week? We met a new family, the Basson family. The father's wife passed away some years ago so it was great to be able to testify about the plan of salvation. The Spirit was very strong.

Clovelly from Peers Hill
Fish Hoek is nearby

Last Monday we climbed Peer's Hill. By the way, that cave that Dad posted on the Blog a couple of weeks ago? It's labeled as Peer's Cave, but it's not. It's actually what I think is called Tunnel Cave. We found that near the top of Peer's Hill last week. It's a really sweet bunch of rocks, but the camera is broken and I'm e-mailing a bit late today so I don't have time to upload pictures.

Thinking of you (but not too much),
-Elder Tekulve

19 November 2012 - Zone Meeting, Thanksgiving at Panerotti's

Fish Hoek Chapel from the mall nearby
where the internet shop is located
Hello Family,

This week has been a good week. A pretty uneventful week as far as news home is concerned but a good week for me just because we were kept busy. We are starting to find and meet new people and continue to learn about cricket.

On Saturday and Sunday was Stake Conference. On Saturday it was broadcast from the Stake Center in Bellville and on Sunday it was a recorded conference from Salt Lake City that was sent to all of Africa. There were some great talks given there about the Priesthood and service and reactivation.

On Friday was a Zone Meeting. Among other things I learned some news: My last day in the mission may be moving. Until now it was to be July 3rd, 2013. Because of the reduced MTC time there will have to be adjustments to the transfer schedule. It could be moving to anywhere from the 26 of June to the 17 of July. I'm not sure yet but just as a heads up there it is.

Next week for Thanksgiving we plan to go to Panerotti's with the Zone. They have all you can eat pizza on Thursday nights. Yum.
Elder Krieger,
Brennan's Companion, says 'hi'

I heard Elizabeth got baptized. Wasn't she just a toddler the last time I saw her? Or was that the other Elizabeth? I can't keep track of all my cousins because every time I check I have more. Did you know Jacob married his cousins Rachel and Leah? Just an Old Testament fact.

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving week,

-Elder Tekulve


12 November 2012

12 November 2012 - Alma 5, Repentance and Cricket


This week was an unusually busy week. We visited members we haven't seen before, some of whom were very glad to see us. Last Sunday we had an entertaining and informative fireside about the history of the English Bible. I also worked on giving a CD to one of our recent converts. People in the township will just soak up anything about Jesus Christ they can hear, whether it's true or not. He had an anti-mormon CD that he got somewhere, and we advised him that while we can't tell him what to do, it wouldn't build his faith. So I put some powerful General Conference talks on a CD for him to listen to instead.

Flag: Democratic.Republic
of Congo

Later in the week we met with more of our investigators, Alastair and Ronald. On Friday I was on exchanges in Mowbray with Elder Itina from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We talked to a less active member who was baptized many years ago but had let transgression take over his life. He noticed how at the time he was baptized he was happy and life was going well, and that he was not so happy now. I was inspired to share with him some scriptures in Alma chapter 5 and felt the Spirit strongly as I testified that the arms of mercy were extended to him on conditions of repentance.

Cricket is a popular sport in South Africa.
Click here to understand Cricket
On Saturday we met with Borther Norbury and his cricket friends. It was the first time I've seen a live cricket game. I still don't understand how it works.

On Sunday we spent most of the day helping Sister Rose move.

I love and pray for everyone and love to hear any news from home there is. I am grateful for the opportunity I have to serve the Lord on a mission.

-Elder Tekulve

05 November 2012

05 November 2012 - Loving every minute..., Noah's Birthday

Brennan's brother, Noah,
celebrates his 16th Birthday

Today is Noah's birthday! Happy birthday, Noah! Sorry I don't have a hat for you this year. Right now it's only been his birthday for 3 hours. Oh, and happy Halloween too. They don't really celebrate Halloween here.

As I said last week, our area is now split and Elder Krieger and I are working in Fish Hoek, Simon's Town, Oceanview, Kommetjie, etc. Most of our investigators were in Masiphumelele which is now the other Elders' area. So the tone of our missionary work has changed.We are doing a lot of working with and visiting members, some who we have never visited before. We will have to rely a lot more on the Spirit to guide us to those who are being prepared.

We haven't found any new investigators, but Ronald who I think I told you about earlier, is doing well. We taught the Word of Wisdom and found that he was taught by his mother that alcohol was bad, that there are really no drug problems in Zimbabwe where he's from, and that he doesn't like tea and coffee and hates cigarettes. He's definitely prepared, now he just needs to sort out work so he can come to church.
Elders Nkosi and Ramosoeu,
both from South Africa
I'm loving every minute of mission and it has brought me so many blessings. Not the least of which is the opportunity to bring blessings into the lives of others.

-Elder Tekulve

Elder Dladla from South Africa and
Elder Ricketts (the Greenie) from Nevada
Simon's Town is a Naval town. This is part of the harbor.



29 October 2012

29 October 2012 - Baptism of Sister Berenice,

Elder Krieger looking over Fish Hoek
And now October is over too. Didn't it just start?

I forgot to tell you but last week was transfers again. I am still in Fish Hoek with Elder Krieger but now there are 4 Elders in Fish Hoek again. Elder Ramosoeu and Elder Nkosi (both from South Africa) are working in Masiphumelele and surrounding areas. Elder Krieger and I are working everywhere else. That's unfortunate to us because most of our investigators were in Masiphuelele, but I'm sure they will do a good job there.

General Conference was not yesterday but a week before yesterday and it was awesome! The Spirit was so strong especially in Priesthood session. I wrote many notes as usual and I'm already referring to them in teaching. Now there's only one more Conference on my mission.

Yesterday one of our investigators, Sister Berenice, was baptized. That was also a spiritual experience for everyone there but I think most especially for Berenice. Elder Nkosi and Elder Ramosoeu will continue to visit and strengthen her and her family.

Yesterday we helped one of the young men prepare a poster about "a unique ritual of a religion of your choice." He chose our religion and baptism for the dead. I'd say that's pretty unique! We worked for a while to get a succinct summary and explanation of baptism for the dead and why we do it. I'll tell you how it goes next week.

I'm thinking about all of you and pray for your spiritual and physical safety.

A view of the Fish Hoek Valley
-Elder Tekulve

22 October 2012 - General Conference

The Missionaries in South Africa view General Conference
sessions two weeks after the conference concludes

What is general conference?

General conference is a semiannual gathering of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During general conference weekend, Church members and others gather worldwide in a series of two-hour sessions to receive inspiration and instruction from Church leaders

15 October 2012

15 October 2012 - Pass-Along Cards, Faith in Christ, Les Misérables


Well, this week was the Mission President's Training and Interviews. The training was about honesty and he showed a clip from the Les Miserables movie where Jean Valjean identifies himself when the innocent man gets accused of being him. It's a really powerful scene and everyone was very excited to watch 6 minutes of an actual movie! It gets a top spot on my list of movies to watch now. There are over 80 so far.

Earlier this week I put a pass-along card on a fence next to me, just on a whim. A man passing by saw it, came over and asked if he could have it. His name was Edward. We explained it was for a free DVD called Finding Faith In Christ and he was excited to order it. On Saturday the DVD arrived and we watched it with him. He had lots of questions and wanted to invite all his friends over to watch it with him. He is a very nice man and I look forward to the next time we can visit him.

Yesterday (Sunday) was the Primary Program. The children did very well and it was a good experience to all present. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this week is General Conference! I'm so excited! And not just for the food.

Sorry, but I didn't take any pictures this week. :(

Love, Elder Tekulve

08 October 2012

08 October 2012 - Ferocious Dogs, Fellowship Investigators

Distric Elders at Panarottis Pizza House
Dear Family and Friends,
This week Elder Krieger and I were busy with a surprise training on Tuesday. Besides that we didn't have other special events, but we are teaching a lot of great people. Ronald, for example, is a great guy who really was prepared to receive the gospel. The other day when he was having a tough time he opened the Book of Mormon to a random page and found verses that comforted him. He has a lot of faith but hasn't had the chance to exercise it for a while. I am sure he will be baptized in time. He's already introduced us to some of his friends.

Dad's 2010 birthday wish was
Minecraft. He still can't
stop playing

Let's see, what else happened? Elder Krieger almost got his leg bitten off by a ferocious dog. Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration. He wasn't hurt, but some dogs sure can be scary.

You've probably seen General Conference already, but I will have to wait until October 19-21. Speaking of October, Happy Birthday Dad! Remember that Minecraft birthday wish I made for you? Can you believe that was 2 years ago? Time really flies on mission. After I finish training Elder Krieger I only have 5 more sets of 6 week transfers. And transfers can really fly.

Remember that full-time missionaries can do good but not nearly as much good as if they have your cooperation. You don't have to do anything difficult, just be a friend to those the Elders or Sisters bring to church. You'd be amazed how much of an impact that can have on one's conversion.

-Elder Tekulve

02 October 2012

01 October 2012 - Heritage Day, Indexing, Sheep's Tongue

Back row, L to R: Zone Leaders Elder Lewatle,
Elder Speed, and District Leader Elder Tekulve.
Front Row: Elder Jokoniya, Companion and Greenie Elder Krieger,
Elder Dladla (whom Elder Speed trained about 5 months ago)
I'm now 15 months old! Wow, it's like we just skipped August and September, they went so fast.
In answer to Mom's question, yes I am doing wonderful and that's what you can tell everyone who asks. I wouldn't really say I'm trunky* but I do think about home sometimes as I'm sure most missionaries do.
Heritage Day in South Africa
is Spetember 24th

This week on Monday was Heritage Day in South Africa. There was a Branch Indexing activity where I tried out Indexing for the first time. I didn't know what Indexing was until I came on mission. If you don't know either, find out here.

The only other noteworthy thing that happened this week (it was a slow week) was that I went on exchanges with my former companion and current zone leader Elder Speed, held District Meeting for a second time (it's a weekly thing), and I also ate sheep's tongue. It tasted like pork and wasn't bad really but in my mind I made it unpleasant. Because I was eating tongue. Ew.

I just want everyone to know that I'm very grateful for what I've learned on mission. It would take me a long time to list every way but I can definitely say that it's been the best 15 months for my life and I expect it to continue to be the best 2 years for my life.


Elder Tekulve

* A Note from the Urban Dictionary: Trunky (2): A slang term used amongst Mormon missionaries, describing a missionary who is excited about returning home as "trunky" as he has already packed his trunk.

24 September 2012

24 September 2012 - Fish Hoek & Meadowridge Attendance High, BYU

Well I just spent the whole allotted e-mail time planning my end of mission trip so I'll keep this e-mail short.

The picture is a picture of the Lord's district here in Fish Hoek and "over the mountain" in Meadowridge. From left to right is Elders Tekulve, Dladla, Krieger, and Jokoniya. That was at the first District Meeting I've given. It went quite well considering.

Church attendance in Fish Hoek continues to be record breaking with many people moving into the branch in the next month and also with many people bringing their friends to church. We almost have too many investigators to visit all of them, so the work is going great.

From only very brief and cursory glances at the BYU curriculum and know I want to apply there and also BYU-Idaho. I will also apply to BYU-hawaii but just as a backup. Elder Facer from the MTC said that BYU-Hawaii was the Celestial Kingdom. But he's an avid surfer. If I get into BYU Provo then I will start with a minor in Information Technology while I determine what I want to go on to do as a more advanced degree.

You're in my prayers every night,

-Elder Tekulve

17 September 2012

17 September 2012 - District Leader & A New Companion: Elder Krieger

Dear Family,
Elder Tekulve and Elder Krieger
My new companion is Elder Krieger from Draper, Utah. Yes, his name is German but he's not German for 3 or 4 generations. Elder Krieger is very similar to me. To illustrate, he's the first person I've ever met in person that has heard of Dwarf Fortress. He is the youngest of 3 girls and 2 boys, and gets mail from his nieces and nephews. I had forgotten what it was like to be young and green until I met him. Certainly the next 12 weeks will be exciting and different. Did I mention I'm also the District Leader now? There are 4 Elders in this District; the other 2 are in Meadowridge.

A picture of the Testimony meeting at the Young Mens Camp

The area has really started to catch on fire. People are bringing their friends to church left and right. Yesterday almost 10% of the people at church were investigators. I don't think I've been this busy... ever. I may have had a similar amount of appointments in Port Alfred, but at that time I wasn't the senior companion.

Here is what happened on Saturday:

6:30 am - arise and prepare
7:00 am - Be at a Stake Young Mens Camp for Testimony meeting and missionary preparation workshops with President Wood and the Assistants to the President. This goes on until 12:00.
12:00 noon - lunch
12:30 pm - prepare a progress record
1:00 pm - Correlation Meeting with Branch Mission Leader
1:45 pm - Meeting with the Zone Leaders
2:45 pm - Personal Study
3:45 pm - Companion Study
5:00 pm - Appointment with David
5:40 pm - End appointment, drive to Simon's Town
6:00 pm - Appointment with Ronald, drive back to Fish Hoek
7:00 pm - Appointment with Olwethu
8:15 pm - The other hour of companion study
9:15 pm - Plan for the next day
9:45 pm - get reports from Meadowridge Elders over the phone
10:00 pm - Give reports to Zone Leaders
10:30 pm - go to bed

This next week is completely booked until Thursday. Whew.


-Elder Tekulve
Elder Krieger (Front row, middle) and his transfer at Signal Hill.
20 Elders entered this mission this week!


10 September 2012

10 September 2012 - New Missionary Coming, Cape Point

Hello family,

Elder Brennan Tekulve standing next
to a sign and the old lighthouse on Cape Point
This past week seemed really short because of the conference I mentioned last Tuesday. But I have transfer news! I don't know all of the details yet but I do know that Elder Musimwa will be leaving Fish Hoek and I will be training a new missionary! This is very exciting and I think the next 3 months are going to be another turning point in my mission. I don't even know who I am training yet but I will find out on Wednesday I think. I'm glad the Lord trusts me enough to give me a new missionary. Believe me when I say that a missionary's first companion really shapes his attitudes and habits for his whole mission. I will always be grateful to Elder Barker for his example to me.

The rocks of Cape Point.
The top of the new lighthouse
can be seen

Last Tuesday I did in fact go to Cape Point. The views were very nice. Did you know that this is the alleged place where the Flying Dutchman sails? One of the stories tell that the captain, trying to pass the Cape in a storm, swore to the devil that he would pass if it took him until the end of time. Well, he's still trying. That's why this is also sometimes called the Cape of Storms. We were lucky that the weather was sunny and clear, but there was still an intense wind blowing constantly. There are 2 lighthouses here. The old one was too high and was sometimes shrouded in mist so they built another one lower on the Point. The whole area is a national park and wildlife reserve. We saw a couple of baboons sitting on the road on our way there.
To the West of Cape Point is the Cape of
Good Hope and the Atlantic Ocean

Know that you are all in my prayers that you may be guided by the Spirit in all of your decisions and be able to endure to the end.


Elder Tekulve

I was reading an old Church magazine
and I found an article written by
someone in my Stake!
The Flying Dutchman Ghost Ship
at Cape Point

Cape Point sign