Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Spiritual Twist

Eta! Hallo! Sanibonani! Lumela!

I hope that this letter finds you happy and healthy.

I'm going to begin this week's letter with a slight twist:

Betty Botta bought some butter;
“But,” said she, “this butter’s bitter!
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit o’ better butter
Will but make my batter better.”
Then she bought a bit o’ butter
Better than the bitter butter,
Made her bitter batter better.
So ’twas better Betty Botta
Bought a bit o’ better butter.

Tongue twisters are an peculiar source of fun, especially when one attempts to recite one in a second language.  Like many of you are aware, in this side of South Africa, the language spoken most frequently, isiZulu, contains a lot of clicks and sounds that would twist your tongue in an everyday conversation.  However, if you journey down to the cape, you'll find yourself among the Xhosa people, whose language is saturated to the brim with a vast arsenal of clicks and sounds.

If you ever find yourself crossing paths with a Xhosa man/woman, I highly recommend that you kindly request from them a Xhosa tongue twister.  But be warned, you will be blown away from what you will hear coming out of their mouth.

Here are a few examples (the 'q' makes the click that sounds like popping a bottle):

1. Ugqirha uligqabhuzile iqhakuva elisemqolo kaqondie qhumfu
2. Iqaqa laqabaleka iqhini latyibalika laqhawula uqhoqhoqho

To any non-native Xhosa, the spectacular play on the Xhosa language in these tongue twisters invokes smiles and applause.  But if they were to investigate the meaning of these twisted tales, one would be left in confusion.

Here are the translations of the previous tongue twisters:

1.  The doctor squeezed the pimple on his back.
2. The polecat crossed the hill, slipped, and broke it's larynx.

Like 'Betty Botta' and her bitter butter, these tongue twisters entertain only the auditory senses, leaving logic and reason less than amused.
Luckily, some tongue twisters can leave us with a more  indelible impression.  In my latest reading of the Book of Mormon in isiZulu, I discovered one such tongue twister hidden deep within its pages:

'Ngalokho-ke, kufanele kube khona ukholo; futhi uma kufanele kube khona ukholo kufanele futhi kube khona ithemba; futhi uma kufanele kube khona ithemba kufanele futhi kube khona isihe.'

After a failed attempt in translating the meaning of this poem with my limited knowledge, I reverted to my English copy of the Book of Mormon.  What I read left a profound imprint on my soul.  Quoting from Moroni 10:20 :

'Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity.'

Having read this scripture many times previous, it wasn't until I stumbled across this spiritual tongue twister that I had desired a deeper study of this verse.  As I investigated the scriptures for such understanding, another famous scripture popped out as I read:

'And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.' (1 Cor 13:13)

As I continued to study, I uncovered a more meaningful meaning of charity.  While I could go on for millennia preaching about the benefits of charity and the need one must cultivate in order to attain this divine gift, I believe you would benefit greater from .  This activity won't take more than 30 seconds and will bless you with a more powerful focus towards becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

Read through this inspired list from 'Preach My Gospel'.  Keep a prayer in your heart that the Spirit may assist you in your personal reflection as you honestly seek on how you may more perfectly attain the gift of charity:

I feel a sincere desire for the eternal welfare and happiness of other people. (Mosiah 28:3)
When I pray, I ask for charity—the pure love of Christ. (Moroni 7:47–48)
I try to understand others’ feelings and see their point of view. (Jude 1:22)
I forgive others who have offended or wronged me. (Ephesians 4:32)
I try to help others when they are struggling or discouraged. (Mosiah 18:9)
When appropriate, I tell others that I love them and care about them. (Luke 7:12–15)
I look for opportunities to serve other people. (Mosiah 2:17)
I say positive things about others. (D&C 42:27)
I am kind and patient with others, even when they are hard to get along with. (Moroni 7:45)
I find joy in others’ achievements. (Alma 17:2–4)

That was quick, eh?

From what you felt and what you thought as you peered through this list, I hope you have narrowed out a few points to improve on in your path of discipleship.  I invite you to study out this divine gift of charity.  I benefited much from my studies on this topic, and felt a guiding hand as I read through pages referenced about the topic of charity.  I know the Spirit can help you discover something greater if you will simply open your scriptures and pray in the name of Christ for this gift.

As I've been released as an Assistant this week, I appreciate the moments that armed me with experience to overcome Satan, to exercise charity, and to follow Christ.  I love being a missionary in this consecrated land of South Africa!  With my last 12 weeks of my mission ahead of me, I am looking forward to an eternity in the service of God.

I'll catch you next week in Rustenburg/Phokeng!

Elder Benson

Note: This below video is from our skype visit with Elder Benson last year. He's sharing a tongue twister in Xhosa.

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