30 April 2012

30 April 2012 - Senior Companion

Hello again family and whoever else is listening in!

Most of the highlight this week was exchanges. That's when You switch places with another Elder in your district for a day for training purposes. On Wednesday I was with Elder Sheward. Because he's only just over a month old on mission that means that this is the first time I've been a "senior companion"! 10 days ago I turned 10 months old. I cannot believe that I'm almost a year on mission. It does not feel like anything like that long has passed. But then again, I can't remember much of home anymore. When asked what my favorite Muse songs were I couldn't remember any, and I used to love Muse... The old life feels like a strange dream and mission is my new reality. I'm sure anyone else who has gone on a mission can relate.

In the next 8 months over 80 missionaries (more than half of the mission) are going home. After their replacements come in I will be part of the few who are the 'face' of the South Africa Cape Town Mission to them. I feel like in the next 4 or 5 months will come a quick change to my situation.
I would like to say Happy Birthday to Nikolaas and congratulate him on finishing his Eagle Project. To Mariah and Noah I say: keep up the good work in your schooling and continue to be an example to those around you.

The George Branch's goal for the year is to split into two branches. In a meeting with the Branch Presidency we determined that the way to do that was not to baptize more people but to have a big focus on reaching out to those who once knew the blessings of the Gospel but have since fallen away.

Really the only interesting picture
I took in the past week.
Another chameleon
Elder and Sister Fowers were at church last weekend and gave a wonderful lesson in combined Priesthood and Relief Society about "ministering." They pointed out that ministering is not difficult and is within the reach of everyone there. I should have taken notes, but as far as I can remember ministering consists of:

  1. Knowing names and faces
  2. Reaching out in love
  3. Paying personal visits
  4. Strengthening faith
You don't have to be a missionary or even know much about the Gospel to do those things! The challenge was to pick one person they knew who was either not attending church or who had not heard of the Gospel and make specific plans to visit them that day. I think it was very effective and will strengthen unity in George.

As for yourselves, think about what you can do. Get to know the missionaries in your ward or branch. Missionary work is much more than just knocking on doors. When members get involved everything goes smoother and lives can be changed. In addition, please remember that we are disciples of Jesus Christ. Be worthy to represent him at all times and in all things and in all places that you may be in. We are a peculiar people and you never know who may be watching or whose heart you may touch with your kindness.

Elder Featherstone and Sheward are teaching an amazing young man who is full of zeal for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We only just met him, but I believe he will go far. He got to know us from an old woman he sat next to on a bus ride. They talked about religion and she shared with him what she knew about the Book of Mormon. She got his details which eventually made it back to us. I know that this person has been prepared to receive the truth. I don't even know who the old woman is, but I can imagine their joy will be great when they meet again, whether in this life or the next.

Well, there you go. That is my letter for the week. We've got a busy week ahead of us, so I'll talk to you all later. Next week I'll e-mail times that I'll be calling you on Mother's Day.
-Elder Tekulve

Revelation 2:10 - 11
10. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
11. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

23 April 2012

23 April 2012 - General Conference, George Peak

Standing on top of the peak marker.
Unfortunately we were inside clouds
and could not see the view
Hello gentlebody. (I heard a member say that yesterday.)

Okay, kind of a lot of things happened this past week.

Let's see...
General Conference! I loved General Conference too much (that's what some people here say to mean 'very much'). If I were to tell you about my favorite talks I would just tell you about all of them, but I can say the one I took the most notes on is Elder Scott's talk about revelation. That was very informative. I was quite surprised to hear "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" sung in General Conference. Many of you back home may not have ever heard that song before; the first time I heard it was in the MTC. I really love that song though. The whole conference was great.

That's a wild chameleon.
It was in someone's front yard
Monday: Climbed George peak. It was such a workout my legs actually noticeably changed shape. It took about 5 days to stop aching. Tuesday: Had mngqushu (try pronouncing that!) at a member's house.  Wednesday: Had a pretty powerful lesson with a new family. President Mtyobile (At his house was where I had the mngqushu) came with us and shared his testimony.  Thursday: There's a kind of old but still good DVD called Together Forever that investigators can order. We brought the DVD to a man named Enoch and he thought it was awesome. He said he would share it with his family.  Friday: Not too much out of the ordinary happened on Friday.  Saturday: The branch youth hosted a movie night and with President Wood's permission we participated. The movie was amazing. I won't tell you what it was called because I want my family to see it for the first time when I can watch it with them. :)  Sunday: At our last appointment in the day a recent convert family offered rooibos tea because it was a cold and wet night outside. In case you didn't know, rooibos tea is not actually tea and is not against the Word of Wisdom. It was bearable, but I don't think I would choose to drink it.
Today: Hasn't really started yet. We plan to clean.

Standing on top of the peak marker.
Unfortunately we were inside clouds
and could not see the view.

And all of this, of course, on top of normal missionary work. I look forward to seeing you on Mother's Day in only a few weeks.

On the way up towards George Peak,
not long after this the clouds came in

1. Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.

2. Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

3. O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.

16 April 2012

16 April 2012 - Hike to George Peak on P-Day

George Peak, South Africa
Well, I only have a few minutes today.

Sorry Mom!

The reason why is because today I climbed George peak! It was a very strenuous climb and my legs felt like jelly at the end. But we made it. It was 1.3 km up and 17 km long one-way. It took ? and a half hours up and down. It was quite an achievement but I can assure you I'm not going to be doing it again any time soon.

I got one package. It had a shirt and tie and socks and treats in it. Thank you for that.

Oh! General Conference. I'll see if I won't be able to talk more about that with you tomorrow.

The future Elder Brennan Tekulve
at about 8 years old


-Elder Tekulve

09 April 2012

09 April 2012 - First Easter in South Africa

Dear Family,

(L to R) Elders Sheward and Featherstone,
President Wood, Elders Tekulve and Speed
Well, I'm afraid I have very little time today, so I can just write and say, Happy Easter. Because of public holidays I still haven't gotten your package yet. We're watching General Conference this Saturday and Sunday the 14th and 15th.

Elder Speed is cool... for an Australian. To Mariah: my mission is definitely not all just transfers! That has happened only every 12 weeks so far.

Well, I've got to be going and doing missionary work.

Elder Holland
In the meantime enjoy this movie and message [by Elder Holland, that] President Wood shared last Zone Training (last Thursday in Port Elizabeth).

-Elder Tekulve

Click on the picture for:
"Mormon Messages - Sanctify Yourselves" by Jeffery R. Holland

Joshua 3:5
  5) And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.

02 April 2012

02 April 2012 - New Companion: Elder Speed, from Australia

Hello everybody.

New Companions: Elders Speed and Tekulve
(Brennan is in his stocking feet)

I now know the whole makeup of the new George District! My new companion is Elder Speed. He's from Australia. In the other area (town) is Elder Featherstone, coming here from being an Assistant to the President, and his brand new companion Elder Sheward. Elder Featherstone is from Utah and Elder Sheward is from New Zealand. I think it's going to be a great transfer or two.

No, we didn't watch General Conference this week. We will watch it at the chapel on the 14th and 15th of April. I am really looking forward to it.

This week we are going to Port Elizabeth again for another Zone Conference. It kind of snuck up on us this transfer.

Transfers were pretty crazy. Because of plans I had to spend all of Wednesday with the Richins because I was the only missionary in George for a while. When the others arrived their luggage had been put on another flight and didn't arrive until the next day at 2. Then we all drove to Knysna, picked up Elder Speed, dropped off Elder Andrianamantena, and drove back. I think we're finally starting to get back to normal missionary operation.

Brother Marshal, Elder Larrabee
Sister Gamuchirai

Well, once again it is time for me to get going. Have a good week and I will be sending you a letter later today. Oh, by the way I have not yet gotten Mom's package but that's because there's no post on transfer week. I will most likely get it this Friday.

Elder Simpson, Sister Richins,
Elder Richins, Elder Farley

Elder Tekulve

2 Nephi Chapter 27
Summary: Darkness and apostasy will cover the earth in the last days—The Book of Mormon will come forth—Three witnesses will testify of the book—The learned man will say he cannot read the sealed book—The Lord will do a marvelous work and a wonder—Compare Isaiah 29.