24 June 2013

24 June 2013 - Coming Home on Friday, But I'm Not Done Yet

Elder Brennan A. Tekulve and the Mbaki family in South Africa,
on his last week of his mission
Good Morning Family!

This is actually the last e-mail I'll send from Africa. Wow! It still hasn't hit me that I'm almost home. It may not until I land in Houston. My previous life seems to be just a dream now.

Mission has been a blessing to me and I'm sure you'll hear all about it next Sunday. I  have mixed feelings of course... kind of like when I left. Did you know that the day I get home - 28 June - is two years later to the day than the day I left home?

I can't tell you anything about the previous week; it was all a blur to me. I'm sure these next four days will be similar. I'm not done yet though!

I have an appointment with a progressing investigator family tonight and several more appointments tomorrow. I don't know how I'm going to fit in enough time to pack, actually. Wednesday I will spend at the Mission Home. Thursday I may drive through Cape Town with some of the other Elders going home, waiting for my flight out at 8 PM. After a 10 or so hour flight to London there will be a 4 hour layover then another 11 or so hour flight to Houston. I'll have a lot of time to think and ponder about things.
See you in a few days! (I have been wanting to say that for a long time.)

-Elder Tekulve

2 Timothy 4:6-8
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

17 June 2013 - Francis Family, Devil's Peak, Elder Bricknell coming

Hello family!
Me next to the marker for Devil's Peak

Unfortunately I am almost out of time for tonight, so I have to hurry. This week was very good. The highlight was visiting with a new family. I know them mostly by their first names but I think it's the Francis family. They are so excited to hear about the restored gospel. The father has quit drinking and is trying to quit smoking before we even met them, so he's on the way already.

Today most of our Zone climbed Devil's Peak so now I can say I've climbed "the big 3:" Lion's Head, Table Mountain, and Devil's Peak. It was a pretty difficult climb and the walk down was no picnic either. I'm pretty sure I can feel blisters right now. These shoes are so beaten up.

Tomorrow is Zone Conference with Elder Bricknell of the area seventy presiding. It should be exciting. He and his wife gave a talk to us at the MTC, nearly two years ago. And then it's my last full week in the field!! Are you as surprised as I am? It's not even real yet to me. I only have one more P-day. It gives me shivers.

Love you and I will talk to you in a week, then in 4 days!!!

-Elder Tekulve

10 June 2013 - Assistant to the President, Lion's Head Climb, Burger King

Me on Lion's Head with a part of Cape Town in the background
Hello family,
Quite a lot happened this week. As I said last week for 1 and a half days Elder Morris and I were temporary APs. We introduced 4 new Elders to the South Africa Cape Town Mission. Later in the week we did baptism interviews for a number of people in Fish Hoek and Meadowridge areas. That was a very spiritual experience, especially in the case of one sister I interviewed who had been meeting with the missionaries for 20 years now and was finally joining her husband in the Church.

Earlier today we climbed Lion's Head, a small mountain nearby Cape Town. It was from this landmark that the first missionaries in South Africa dedicated Africa for the preaching of the Gospel in the 1800s. The last part of the climb was literally almost a vertical climb up rocks and narrow footholds. It was very tiring. Then we went to the first Burger King in Africa that opened last month. It tasted exactly like I remember it.

The first Burger King in Africa

This week is a new week. 2 exchanges are planned. Last week just flew by and I imagine these next 2 will also. Take care. Show faith.
-Elder Tekulve

03 June 2013

03 June 2013 - Hail to the acting Assistants to the President

The size of the hail

Elder Morris and hail in Athlone
I only have a short time today again unfortunately due to complicated things about stats. Firstly it was a very cold, very wet weekend last 3 days and on some places it hailed! (That usually doesn't happen this far south.) See the 2 pictures attached. I also have only 3 more p-days after this! Holy cow. I'm sorry but it was an uneventful week as far as I can remember now.

Tomorrow though we get to be "acting" Assistant's to the President. There are 4 missionaries coming into Cape Town waiting for visas to clear. The APs are in East London so Elder Morris and I will be in Cape Town doing all of the orientation stuff for them. Yay.


-Elder Tekulve

27 May 2013 - Marvin, Brother Clifford, Making a Difference

Hello family,
This week we have visited with some great people. The first was Marvin, who we met 3 weeks ago and gave a copy of the Book of Mormon. We met him Wednesday and he had read all of 1st Nephi and understood it very well! We talked for 2 hours answering questions and discussing mostly how he can know the Book of Mormon is true. He is sincerely and diligently looking for the truth.

Another is Brother Clifford who has a strong desire to come back to church, but has some fears. We helped him to replace fear with faith and I am also very excited fro him. He is a very good man and has a desire to continue on not only to church but to the Temple. It is in teaching people like this that is why I love mission. You can't make this kind of difference in people's lives anywhere else.

Basically now I have one month left. I know it will pass by so fast (just like the last 23 months did). I am trying to make the best of it that I can!
-Elder Tekulve

20 May 2013

20 May 2013 - 4 New Investigators, Panchos' Mexican Restaurant

Hello everybody!

This week went by soo slowly. It was wild. But good things happened. We found 4 new investigators. 2 of them are from Zimbabwe and were so excited to hear about the Restoration. They were eager to read The Book of Mormon and accept a baptismal commitment without hesitation. I look forward to teaching them. The other 2 are a young family.

Elders in Fish Hoek dining at Panchos' Mexican Restaurant

Saturday we went to a place called Panchos', a Mexican restaurant. It was easily the best Mexican food I've had in South Africa. It is hard to find Mexican food here by the way. I had a great big burrito. It was square, though. And filled with nothing but beef with sauce and cheese on top.

I am thinking about what kinds of things I can get each of you as souvenirs. I already have decided and bought a lot of it, but I can't think of what Nik or Noah would like. Any suggestions? Maybe a lion's tooth key chain?
Well, have a great one. I really enjoyed talking with everyone on Skype and I will see you in June!

-Elder Tekulve

13 May 2013 - Transfers, Splits, Fish Hoek

(r-l) Elder Tekulve, his companion and two young men in the branch

Hello family,

It was really wonderful talking with you yesterday. I look forward to talking to you next in person!

Most of what went on this week I told you already. Also I don't have much time today. This week is transfers (my last before the END) but I don't know if I'm going or staying yet. I'm probably staying. On Wednesday we went on splits with some Young Men and it was great. We took a picture.

On Friday was another exchanges and I was in good old Fish Hoek again with Elder Burton from Wales. Last Monday I rolled my ankle a bit but it's mostly better now.

Well, gotta go. I love you and I know the Church is true!

-Elder Tekulve
Fish Hoek, South Africa

09 May 2013

06 May 2013 - Settlers of Catan, Teaching Lettie, Nik's Birthday

The Settlers of Catan game, a rare missionary treasure
This week sure went by fast. I think I've already told you about Zone Leader Council. Not much has happened since then, really. I went on exchanges with Elder Cranston from Australia and had a great time teaching and tracting. We taught Lettie last night which we haven't done in about two months because she's so busy. She is a very smart person and I really enjoy our discussions. We plan to go ice skating later today. That should be interesting... and also HAPPY BIRTHDAY NIKOLAAS! If you thought 19 was old... try 22. I'm 22?! When did that happen?
Mother's Day is this Sunday and it kind of snuck up on me so I don't know exactly what time I will be calling you on Skype. Just be logged on on Sunday morning and you'll see me.
Not much else to say. Talk to you (Mom and Dad and John and family) on Sunday.
-Elder Tekulve

29 April 2013

29 April 2013 - Elephant's Eye, Axl & Blaine Confirmations, Sick All Week

This will be a really short e-mail. For the next 3 days there is Zone Leader Council, an extended mini-conference thing at the Mission Home. It starts in only a short time.
Elephant's Eye Cave, Cape Town, South Africa

But this week was a strange one. My companion and I were on and off sick, sort of alternating, throughout the week. Not much happened and we were sick with various things, but in the end we're both okay now. We were well enough to hike up to Elephant's Eye, a cave near a place called Constantia. It was not a terribly tough hike, I hope good practice for Mt. Fuji. Yesterday Our 2 investigators that were baptized 2 weeks ago - Axl and Blaine - were confirmed. Now-Elder Giddey did both of the confirmations. He was/is their home teacher.
I will send a letter home. Tell me when you get it.
-Elder Tekulve

22 April 2013

22 April 2013 - BAT Cave, Zone Training, Every Member a Missionary

Another week, another e-mail.
This week has been interesting. I think I told you last week that we went back to Boomslang cave. Here is one picture from that.

Tuesday was Zone Training which is similar to a district meeting but because of some distant Elders we had to do the training twice throughout the day. Interesting that each time we gave the presentation it was different.

Missionaries in Boomslang Cave, South Africa
This week we have visited a lot of recently baptized members and other members of the Ward. Later in the week we did some finding on our own which consisted of making a short survey or 8 questions about religious beliefs or practices. At each door we did the survey and met many new people, some interested in learning more about us and our beliefs. We are still applying it and I think we will in the future.

Sunday was a special Stake Conference. Because the previous Stake President Giddey is now an Area Seventy we needed to have a new one. The new Stake President is President Holmes, previously the Second Counselor in the Stake Presidency. He has counselors from Bishoprics in the Stake. Elder Cook of the First Quorum of the Seventy was there and he gave a commitment to the whole Stake. He invited everyone to prayerfully consider one person who was either less-active or not a member that they can introduce to the missionaries or invite to church. If they didn't know where they can start, they can "ask the missionaries!" How hard can bringing one person into the Church be? And consider if every member did that! We would not only be able to split the Cape Town Stake, we would be well on our way to three!

I know that the Church is true with all of my heart. Like I said in the last fast and testimony meeting, nothing in the world, no new information, no outside circumstance, no person or thing, can take that away from me.
-Elder Tekulve
For those that live shall inherit the earth, and those that die shall rest from all their labors, and their works shall follow them; and they shall receive a crown in the mansions of my Father, which I have prepared for them.


16 April 2013

15 April 2013 - Uncle Craig's Passing, Four Baptisms, Teaching Jesus

Craig and Mya Wright
Dear Family and Friends,
I heard of Uncle Craig's passing. That's something no one wants to hear, especially of someone who has so many young children. I will definitely keep his family in my prayers.

I don't have much time today. We went up to Boomslang Cave in Fish Hoek again. This time there were bats! That was really cool. They were very small though. That's why I have so little time today. I am so tired!

Saturday 4 people got baptized! They are Desmond, Mzwandile, Axl, and Blaine. The last two are brothers and I have taught the last 3. It was a great service and Axl and Blaine's grandma gave a powerful testimony. She is so strong but most of her children are less-active, yet she knew many of her posterity will be blessed by the Gospel.

We also taught a guy named Jesus on exchanges. He's from Angola though so it's pronounced Zhe-zush. He was very surprised by the message of the Restoration!

Well, I'm out of time unfortunately. There is a Zone Training tomorrow that Elder Morris and I are giving that will take most of the day.
-Elder Tekulve

08 April 2013

08 April 2013 - General Conference, Mervyn Giddey

Hello family,
Elder Uchtdorf

This week seemed to be such a long week! It was transfer week and now my companion is Elder Morris who was previously in my zone as a District Leader. These past few days have been very very busy with both teaching and Zone Leader duties. Of course this week was also General Conference. As you know, missionaries love General Conference and this was no exception. I got to watch both of the morning sessions live this time, and I saw the Priesthood and one other session yesterday (see all talks here). I really loved many of the talks but one that stood out was President Uchtdorf's talk in Priesthood session (see here). I like the metaphor he makes about us being spiritual toddlers learning to walk. What father gets angry at his child if he stumbles and falls? What matters is we're making the attempt, because we all stumble and fall at one time or another. I don't know at what time we'll get to watch the Sunday evening session, but I look forward to it because I know Elder Holland is speaking there (see here).
You have heard but may not have noticed the name Mervyn Giddey mentioned in the sustaining of new area seventies (see here). That's our Stake President here in Cape Town! He will be an Area Seventy in May, and he's really a great guy that will do well in that position.
I got Grandma and Grandpa's package and card and thank them very much for that. I look forward to seeing them and others when I get home in June.
My mission has incalculably blessed my life. I know that the Church is true and everything that implies. I know that the only way to have real peace in our life is to live the Gospel.
Missionaries singing the "remixed (with ukelele)"
mission anthem at the Mission Home

-Elder Tekulve


My new companion Elder Morris working on fixing
Bro. Mike's vacuum. That vacuum has been
torn apart and then taped, screwed, or hot-glued
back together more than once to get it working again,
but it still works.

01 April 2013

01 April 2013 - Easter Weekend, Mzwandile

There goes March, then. I'm sure April will be over before I know it.
This week was really okay... half of our investigators are out of town for Easter holidays, but last night we did see Mzwandile. He' still doing awesome, and even shares his testimony with others though he's not baptized yet. I did visit some members on Easter Sunday for dinner and then to the Bishop's family where we sung some hymns. Friday was Zone Leader Council where the training for the next transfer was set out.
Wednesday is transfer day again. I know Elder Giles is going to the Eastern Cape to finish his mission as a trainer. I will be staying in this area and Elder Morris from Las Vegas, who is in my Zone now, will be my new companion. This will probably be my last companion as I only have 2 transfers (12 weeks) left.
I am having a great experience being on a mission and I think about each of you every day.
My companion took a great picture of us with a family in the Ward but he forgot his camera today...
-Elder Tekulve

25 March 2013

25 March 2013 - Birthday, Sister Missionaries to Ghana and Kenya

Elder Tekulve's birthday is March 19
Hello everyone.
This was a really fast week. On Tuesday, as you know, was my 22nd birthday. It was also the same day as another Elder in our Zone.
Some other missionaries surprised us in the evening with a small present and some pie. On Wednesday we had the privilege of helping to set apart two sister missionaries from Namibia as they go off to Ghana and Kenya. There are no Stakes in Namibia, only Mission Branches, so President Wood was the one to set them apart. The Spirit was strong there. I thought that the two blessings would be similar, but they were both very different and individualized.
Me and Elder Giles my companion at Brother Mike's

We actually have 3 people that are ready for baptism -- Axl, Blaine, and Mzwandile --  but because of Easter and General Conference they will not be able to be baptized until the 14th of April. They are very ready though.
On Friday I went back to Fish Hoek for exchanges with Elder Martin. It was great that I got to see my old investigator Alistair. He's still progressing towards baptism. I don't know when, but he will be baptized someday. It was also good to see a few old members of the Fish Hoek Branch, which is now a Ward.

Transfer week is coming up (again?!) and by next Monday I might know where I am going, but since I just got here I think I'll be staying.
I love you and remember you every day,
-Elder Tekulve
Two of Brother Mike's dogs


18 March 2013

18 March 2013 - Sir Elder Tekulve The Tall, D&C 121:45

This is the only picture I took this week...

Well hoo dee daa looks like I have more school stuff to do.

This week was Zone Conference on Tuesday. As a Zone Leader you have to come up with a zone report about all the Elders in your zone. It has to be fun and interesting and include everyone. We did a sort of fairy tale themed report and all of the Elders were called Sir Elder Whoever the Whatever. Like I was Sir Elder Tekulve the Tall. That was fun, and we made jokes and stuff.

I got both of the packages that Mom sent, thanks very much! If you could do the same things you did last year - sending a video of everyone saying hi - I would love that very much.

Gotta go. Love you! I'll take pictures tonight and have more next week.

-Elder Tekulve
Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distill upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

11 March 2013

11 March 2013 - Being a Zone Leader, See you in 108

So this week was completely uneventful. Actually, yesterday Brother Fletcher was visiting from Boston, Massachusetts and he went out teaching with us the whole day. He is a really cool guy and a good missionary, too.

Um, I have more school stuff today so I am extra distracted. But hey my birthday is in 8 days! I don't really want anything super special. You can send snacks and goodies if you want but when we get home then we'll party, okay?

Being a Zone Leader is fun fun fun. Mostly it means if someone has a problem they'll call you. But that's okay I love being busy, it doesn't matter what I'm busy with.
I love you all and I'll see you in about 108 days! :P
-Elder Tekulve

PS- The missionary e-mail policy changed and now I can e-mail friends as well as family.

04 March 2013

04 March 2013 - Elder Bricknell, Baptismal Interview,

Happy March!

It is my favorite month.

I also have school stuff to do today so I don't know how long this will be. Firstly, last week I forgot to tell you was Stake Conference. Elder Bricknell gave some powerful talks on families.

This week there was not too much going on. Zone Leader Council was on Friday in which the Zone Leaders and President Wood discuss some outstanding issues in the mission. Then we relay that information on to our Districts.
Elder Colin H. Bricknell
2nd Counselor of the
Africa Southeast Area

The next day, Saturday, I gave my first baptismal interview. It is a bit odd that I've gone this long without giving one but that's just the way it turned out. It was a very spiritual experience.

We do not have too many investigators but the ones we do have are very powerful. Just yesterday we were teaching the Plan of Salvation to one of them and it made him so happy that he had finally found something that made sense to him.

The Church is true! I know that.
-Elder Tekulve

Elder Brennan Tekulve's Mission in South Africa is also recorded at:

25 February 2013

25 February 2013 - In Mowbray - Cape Town, Peggy's 90th, Monopoly

Cape Town, South Africa


I am now in Mowbray, back in Cape Town again and having a great time with Elder Giles. It's busy work being a zone leader and I'm pretty tired come the end of each day. Even now I only have a few minutes left to e-mail you.

A week ago Monday was Sister Peggy's 90th birthday. She usually invites missionaries over Monday night and this just happened to fall on a Monday so we had a little party.  We ended up getting Monopoly for her, then discovered that she has been around longer than Monopoly!
Sister Peggy and her sister, who is 88

Once I landed back in Cape Town I started learning about Zone Leader-ing and getting used to this large urban area I'm in now. We have some awesome investigators that I will tell you about next time. I hope everyone is doing well and want them to know that I love them and pray for them every day.
-Elder Tekulve

All the Guests at Sr. Peggy's 90th Birthday

19 February 2013

18 February 2013 - Will become a Zone Leader in Cape Town

Dear Family,
L to R: Elder Tekulve, Elder Tukuafu, Sister Loretta
(going on a mission to England in March), Elder Pebe, Elder Strauss

First things first, transfer week has rolled around again. This transfer was only 5 weeks long because of MTC schedule changes. I do know where I'm going on Wednesday. I will be going back to Cape Town to be the Zone Leader in the Cape Central Zone. I will be working in the Mowbray Ward and my companion is Elder Giles from Utah (I think). Elder Giles is in my transfer (meaning he came on mission at the same time as me), and this is the first time I've been a companion with someone in my transfer. I am excited, as I only have 3 transfers left and this may be my last area.

L to R: Elder Strauss, Brother Dylan (who has submitted mission
papers but hasn't received news yet) Sister Phila (going on a
mission to Uganda in March), Elder Tukuafu,
Brother Garron (same as Dylan), Elder Pebe
Transfers made me forget everything that went on this week. Let me check my planner...
Oh yeah, this week I went on 2 exchanges in one week, one with Elder Tukuafu and another with Elder Strauss. Then in between the exchanges was a leadership training where I learned a lot about what it means to be a district leader or zone leader. We had new investigators as well, and East London 3rd Ward is doing well. Today is Sister Peggy's 90th birthday and several missionaries are going to visit and have a little dinner party. I will get her a gift but I don't know what yet...

I'm having a fantastic time on mission and am very excited for Wednesday when I will be back in Cape Town.

Thank you for all your support and e-mails. I love hearing from everyone and anyone, it doesn't even matter if you think nothing interesting has happened. Mail me anyway please. :)

The Church is true!

-Elder Tekulve

You can email Elder Brennan Tekulve here: brennan.tekulve@myldsmail.net

The "Pink House"

11 February 2013

11 February 2013 - Service Week, Egyptian Construction Techniques

Dear Family,

This week has been a very unorthodox one. We did over 12 hours of service throughout the week, mostly for members of the Ward.
One interesting this we had to do was move a very heavy chicken shed. We couldn't just carry it, though we had 6 people. What we ended up doing was tipping it on its roof and sliding it along on a bamboo track. Like how the ancient Egyptians moved stone blocks around. I couldn't believe it actually worked. Otherwise it was a slow week. We spent all our time in service.

The Ward started a mission prep class this Sunday because if all goes according to plan there will be 12 missionaries from this ward out by June. And even more by the end of the year. For the class some missionaries from this Zone came up with a new rendition of our mission song. It was pretty cool, and if I can get a version to you somehow I will.

Elder Tukuafu and Brother Dylan doing service

Well, gotta go. I spent most of the time here looking for ways to make video files smaller. Bye!

-Elder Tekulve

East London 3rd Ward meets in
this chapel on Belgravia Crescent

Two Cool Dudes

I took this last night out my window.
I took over 300 pictures trying to get a good shot
and this was the best

04 February 2013

04 February 2013 - Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Book of Mormon, Aubry

Hello everybody.

I didn't get to write last week because I was busy doing urgent University application stuff. Sorry. Not much happened last week anyway.

This week, though, was Zone Interviews and Training. President Wood gave a great presentation on the Book of Mormon and it's role in gathering the scattered tribes of Israel in these last days. It was very informative and helped me realize the importance of that subject today. It's applicable because I am the Lord's hands in actually carrying out these things that have been prophesied for over 4000 years. Deep stuff.
On Friday we went to the Steenbeek's farm to help them fix up a room that had been damaged by high winds a few weeks ago. We deconstructed 2 walls and are going back this week to see what we can do about rebuilding it.

The broken down walls on the farm
On Sunday we were approached by a member and asked if we could go teach somebody named Aubry. Later in the day the senior couple called and said that had a 'golden referral' for us. Turns out it was also Aubry. I guess he was really ready to be taught. He had been introduced to the church by his fiancee and had already been reading the Book of Mormon and attending the church in Mdantsane (an area nearby East London). He understands the Restoration very well, and even asked about eternal marriage. He was there in fast & testimony meeting in December and saw everyone saying they knew the Church was true. He wondered how they knew and how he can know. Aubry already has a baptismal date in March.

It is always great to talk to you. I am loving the experience I can have in South Africa and can't believe I only have 5 months left.

-Elder Tekulve