Sunday, December 29, 2013

¡Feliz Navidad!

Dec 12/23/13 1:07 PM

¡Hola Familia! ¡Feliz Navidad!
I don't have much time to write today, or honestly, much to write about as well. haha. It was a good week, we are just going through a phase of dropping a lot of investigators that aren't progressing and trying to find new ones. 
This was a week that was filled with hard things. Mabel, our baptism from last week, told us she wouldnt be coming to church this week to be confirmed because she has to go to Paraguay. So that was really disappointing. We are hoping she comes back soon so we can confirm her a member. 
One of the highlights of the week was meeting with our ward mission leader, Hermano C. He is amazing. He works 6 sometimes 7 days a week, from 7AM to really late. He barely has time to sleep. This last saturday night/sunday morning, he got home at 3 AM, had to wash his cloths for church, slept a few hours, then came to church and stayed after for the meeting. He told us that he doesn't have time during the week to come with us, but that every Sunday he is going to come with us for 2 hours. He bore his testimony to us how he knew the Lord would not give him a calling he could not do, and he knows that there are people whom he can bless in this calling. Woah. He really is such an incredible example of faith. 

Really, this week and this time is kind of overwhelming because we have nothing right now. Our investigators are kind of at a block, not progressing. We have literally no active male members who live in our area who could go with us to teaching appointments. Still trying to earn the trust of members and overcome the language barrier. It is kind of hard, but I am filled with an overwhelming hope. Because I know that this is not my work, this is the work of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Even though I dont know where to start or where to go, He does, and I know if I am obedient, he will guide us. There is really nothing to worry about when we are in the Lord's service, because if we just do our best, the grace of Jesus Christ will strengthen us, guide our path, and lead us to success. I am so grateful for the hope that comes from Jesus Christ. I know that He really lives and is a real part of this work.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have a wonderful week! 

Love,

Elder Heath Tenney

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Más Cristo

From: "Heath Tenney"  
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 12:53:22 PM
Subject: Más Cristo

Hey!
This week was a great last week of the transfer. We worked really hard and it has been super hot so it felt like we worked hard as well. 
Since it has been super hot, like 37° C, no one has been outside. It is also super humid which makes it feel worst. It is weird because there was literally no one outside haha. 
Elder Hamilton got transferred. My new companion is Elder Goyeneche. He is from Argentina, from the south! I am so excited to have a native companion. It will help my Castellano so much. He has been out 4 months. I will miss Elder Hamilton, he is great. I am excited for a fresh start. 
This week we worked really hard to teach Mabel and get her ready for her baptism on Sunday. Mabel is from Paraguay, and she doesn't speak Castellano very well...well...we're not really sure if thats the problem, she may just be a little slow, because the members in the ward who speak Guaraneit, couldn't talk to her either haha. Anyways, it was really fun to teach her this week because it is so much different than any other person I have ever taught. I wanted to be sure she understood what she was committing to do by being baptized, and not just doing it because we invited her to. We used a lot of visual things to try and help her and we had a notebook to draw things and write it out. It was fun. It filled me with so much joy towards the end of the week to hear her tell us what a covenant is and why she wants to be baptized. It was a challenge to teach her, but I am so happy we were able to do it! She was baptized on Sunday! It was kind of a crazy day, first the font overfilled and was flooding the church haha. Then Mabel fainted...Then she was scared of the water. But it all turned out great and she was so happy. 


















We also had the ward Christmas activity this week which was so good. It is one of the best feelings to see less active members or investigators we have been working with come to activities. The highlight of the night for me was the nativity. The primary asked us to act as pastors (shephards) in the nativity with the primary kids. It was so good. When the angel came to us (6 year old boy dressed up like an angel), and told us, "Don't fear, I bring you good tidings of great joy. A Savior has been born, Jesus Christ." (sorry for the rough translation). Seeing this cute kid, saying with a smile on his face, "The Savior, Jesus Christ has been born" was so powerful. It made me remember the real reason for Christmas. It is the time to remember and worship Christ. I realized this week that Christmas, in english, is like Christ mas, which means More Christ, in Spanish. And that is it. We need more Christ. It is ALL about Him. Sometimes, it is easy to be sad due to the things we may not have on Christmas, but Christmas is all about what we do have, and will always have, CHRIST. I know that the angel really came to the shepherds, that Christ really was born of Mary, and that He really did live and lives today. All we need to be happy is more Christ. 
I am so blessed to be here with these special people serving Jesus Christ. There is nothing else I would rather be doing this year on Christmas. 

I love you all so much! Thank you for all you do and your prayers!

Con Amor, 

Elder Heath Tenney



Sunday, December 15, 2013

El Valor de Una Alma


From: Heath Tenney
Sent: Monday, December 9, 2013 11:31 AM
 
Subject: El Valor de Una Alma

¡Hola Familia!
I can't believe it is already Monday again. It terrifies me how fast time is passing. This week was great. So many amazing things happened. 
1st of all, my birthday was great. The best gift of all was the day before when we had so much success. All of our appointments worked out, and we had a member who was with us who is preparing for her mission and she brought the spirit so much. Members are everything to this work. Ah. It was such a good day. Then on my actual birthday we went to a parilla libre, which is pretty much all you can eat meat. Initially it seemed like a really great idea... but after my thoughts changed. haha. I ate so many weird meats. Here it is normal to eat all these strange parts, but I told myself I would try a little of everything. I won't grose you out with the details... but wow, I ate some strange things. But some of it was really good and somewhat normal. The members here are so so kind. Everyone wished me a happy birthday and some called and sang (or attempted to sing) happy birthday in English. Then one wonderful hermana made me a cake that had my name...sort of... So "Tenney" would be pronouned "Tay-Nay" here, so I always tell people "Tennis" with out the S. Haha. But most of the people just end up calling me"Elder Tennis"which is great too. So the cake said "Elder Tennis". Ah, I love these people so much.



So the miracles of the week. Well, a few. Last night, Our landlord knocked on our door (we learned she is a less active member) but she gave us a pie, and then told us, "I have a favor to ask. My son wants to make a deal with me if he gets good grades, and his rewards that he wants are these: 1, he wants to go with you two to church every week. and 2, he wants to go with you to teach people. hahaha. It was like a dream, PIE and a new investigator knocking on our door. And the pie was delicious. 
This week we also met with Omar more. His schedule is crazy, he gets back from work at 7 in the morning, then sleeps (sometimes, or goes to another job on some days). He had told us he wasn't going to go to stake conference because it was far away and he didn't have time. I really didn't feel this huge desire to pressure him to come, because really it is asking so much of him to sacrifice. But as he told us the financial problems his family has and other problems, the spirit prompted us to invite him again. We read the scripture that talks about seeking first the kingdom of God, and we promised him that miracles would happen in his life if he puts God first. After several seconds of thinking, he looked up and said "I need to go...". We pulled out a piece of paper and made a contract with him, where he committed to come. It was so amazing to see the spirit work on him. 
Then Sunday came, all the members were to meet at the church at 830 to go together in a bus to stake conference. We passed by an hour before to verify that everything was still good, and he was getting ready. We got to the church at 8:30 and him and his family were not there. The bus was full of members, it was 90 degrees, with no air conditioning, but everyone waited for him. No one said one word of complaint. 10 minutes passed...still not there...7 more... and we told them, we should probably just go now. So we headed off, and right as we were pulling away, they pulled up to the church. So Hermano G ran to the front of the bus and told the driver to turn around, we had to go around the block to turn around, and we were hopign they wouldn't leave before we got back. We pulled up, and Elder Hamilton and I were at the back of the bus, but I could only see Hermano G, in his suit sprinting down the road to stop their car, and he did. I almost started to cry just seeing that. He doesn't even know this investigator yet, but he turned the whole bus around, sprinted down the road to catch him, and everyone on the bus waited in the 90 degree bus for one family... one. They got on, and we left. With a few more adventures later on, he enjoyed the conference. I know the Lord will bless them. 
That image just sticks to my mind... seeing a man sprinting down the road in his suit, in 90 degree weather, so that a man who he doesn't even know can go to church. That is the work of salvation. That is the Gospel of Jesus Christ coming alive. I know it doesn't seem like much, but it means so much to me. It made me think about what the worth of a soul is to Heavenly Father. Is a soul worth a bus full of people sweating for 20 minutes waiting? Is it worth a man sprinting down the road and sweating in his suit? Is it worth getting up in the middle of stake conference to go get our investigator that left? It is worth so much more. The scripture that says, "remember, the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." That scripture means so much more to me now, because great is such an understatement. 
I am so grateful for the souls that Heavenly Father trusts me to teach and to serve. I don't understand how great the worth of a soul is, but I pray I can feel it one day. I just know that whatever sacrifice we have to make, whatever fear we have to conquer, or whatever obstacle we have to overcome to help and save a soul is worth is. so worth it. There is no such thing as a sacrifice that isn't worth it when we are sacrificing for the good of others, even the good of ONE. 
I love this work so much. I love seeing it come alive within the members. They inspire me. 
I wish I could tell you about all the miracles of this week, but I don't have time once again. So go and live your own miracles of helping souls this week! 

I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Heath Tenney

Friday, December 6, 2013

Vamos al castillo del Senor"

Today is Heath's 19th birthday!  Sorry I'm slow in forwarding this week's letter.  If anyone would like to respond with a short bday greeting, I will forward them along to him.  Thanks for your prayers and encouragement.  If you'd like his address for a Christmas card, it's:
Elder Heath Tenney 
General Lavalle 1828
1646 San Fernando
Buenos Aires,  Argentina

It's $1.10 for an intl. stamp.  

From: "Heath Tenney"

Sent: Monday, December 2, 2013 11:02:42 AM
Subject: "Vamos al castillo del Señor"

¡Hola Familia! 

It is so good to hear that Thanksgiving and everything went well. I loved the picture that Courtney sent. Everyone looks really good and happy. It made me so happy just seeing you all together and happy. 
Thank you also so much for all the kind notes for my birthday. You all are so kind.
My time in Argentina so far has been the most enriching, stretching, memorable time of my life. At the end of the day, I feel so overwhelmed with blessings. And those are only the ones I see and remember. My whole life right now can be summed up with one word: BLESSINGS. I really am not the most gifted person in missionary work, but I am doing my best, and the blessings just keep coming. And I'm learning that blessings, or God's hand in our lives, are the way this work really gets done, so we just have to do our best, then His hand will come. It always will come. 
Update on the pension! This week our shower broke for good, but we really didn't have the time to go all the way over to the other Elders' pension to shower, so this week I got to shower with bottles of water everyday! Luckily we had water in the kitchen, so we filled up bottles of water, then brought them to the bathroom. The 1st day, all I could do was smile the whole time, because it felt like I was in a movie or something haha. 
Okay, this week. I met for the first time the familia F.  Hermana F kindly invited us to come back later, and we did. The moment we walked into the house, we could feel... not darkness, but just an absense of hope. No one really seemed that happy. After talking with them for several minutes, we learned that their son died several years ago, they stopped coming to church, and now were starting to question if there is a God. We only had several minutes before we had to return home. Looking into their eyes and feeling the sadness they had made me feel inadequate. I had no idea what to say...so I turned to the answer for almost everything: The Book of Mormon. We opened to Alma 40, and read with them what it says about where their son/brother is, he is in peace, in paradise. We read that, and told them as fervently as I could, "I know this is true." We told them that they can know and feel that this is true for themselves, if they only ask. There was so much love in the room. I know they could feel the love of Heavenly Father, and our love for them. After sharing the scripture, Hermana F. and her daughter began to cry. I don't remember all they said but, she said, "That is true. I know that is true." The feeling in the house changed completely. The Book of Mormon is so so powerful. It is one of the reasons God can send the weak to do His work. He knows we are nothing, so He gave us the Book of Mormon. 
Luego, we had a lesson with Hermana C (she is the less active sister who we miraculously found last week). We met her husband Omar, who isn't a member. We had such a great lesson with them and Omar knew that this is what he has been waiting for. He shed tears of joy at the end of the 1st lesson, he could just feel it. I wish I had time to tell you the details of everything that happened. He really is just stressed and tired, he needs more in his life. He needs to make time for God. For the 1st time in a long time, he felt God's love. We left him with the restoration DVD to watch and he watched it 3 times! Ahh! He accepted a baptismal date, but doesn't want to rush it, so not sure about that for now. On Saturday, he was thinking that he wasn't going to go to church, because he would feel uncomfortable, he finishes work at 7 AM and would be really tired...and other reasons. But he was driving past the church with his family, and his 3 year old daughter, Luna, who has never been to the church yells "¡Papa! ¡Mira, un castillo! Un Castillo, Papa! ¿Por favor podemos ir al castillo?" - Daddy! Look! A castle! A castle, daddy! Can we please go to the castle?"
He had to be feeling it then, and said to his daughter, "Yes. We can go to the castle. We are going there tomorrow."
What? Ahhh! I couldn't stop smiling when I heard that. Seriously, what a miracle. And he loved church and met with Bishop. Luna was sad she couldn't stay for longer. So amazing.
We really are seeing so many miracles here. In every lesson it seems someone is crying because they feel the love that Christ has for them. It is such a priviledge and blessing to be here, even though it is so hard. 
My thanksgiving was great. I feasted on some bread with strawberry jam. 
There are things to be grateful for in every place in the world. 

I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week! 

Love,

Elder Heath Tenney 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

¡Milagros cayendo del Cielo!¡Hola Familia!

Date: November 25, 2013 at 10:33:50 AM EST
 
Subject: ¡Milagros cayendo del Cielo!¡Hola Familia!
Ahh. This week was so great. I really am so grateful every single day for my health, for being able to feel well and work hard. Oh and Happy Thanksgiving this week! I really am SO grateful for...everything...for life...for the priviledge of being on a mission. My whole perspective has changed SO much since coming here. I am so grateful for so many things I have taken for granted my whole life, like running water (which we have about 60% of the time haha) but still! And grateful for a good nights sleep, free from spiders and roaches. There is sooo much to be grateful for! 
Anyways, this week literally 90% of our plans fell through. It seemed like every appointment we had either wasn't there, forgot, or just didn't feel like talking to us. So initially, it was kind of frustrating, but I remembered that at the beginning of the week, I pleaded for the Lord to guide our path to find His children who need help. When I remembered this, I knew there was a purpose in all of the cancelations, and we were blessed with so many miracles, it is crazy. 
We haven't had much success with investigators as of recently, but the work with less actives has been going so well. Sometimes, we, as missionaries, put less actives kind of behind investigators in our priorities, but when we view it through the eyes of Heavenly Father, they are all His children, who He loves SO much, and they need help. 
1st of all, Jonathen. Jonathen is such a great guy. He is 18, his whole family is inactive, but he started coming with us to some teaching appointments, and last week he came to church, by himself, for the first time in years. He told us this week how much he loved it and how he could feel himself drawing closer to God. He came again this week and loved it. He even says he is thinking about a mission now! 
Then on wednesday, I ate Mcdonalds for the 1st time. It was good to eat Icecream that tasted like icecream in the United States again. 
Then we had a lesson with Hermana G. She has been inactive for years too, but she has a great testimony and wants to come back. Her son was there and he was the one who baptized her. We taught her about repentance and the joy that we can feel from it. It seemed like every other sentence we said would remind her of the feelings she once had, and she would tell us of these experiences. We invited her to say a prayer, and ask for forgiveness of her sins (generally, not specifics). She started to pray, and gave thanks for us, and began to cry as she thanked Heavenly Father for her son, who has always been there for her. She then said, "please forgive me of my disobedience. Forgive me of my shortcomings. Help me to change, so I can serve you again." The love that we felt as she prayed is indescribable. I felt so much love for her and her son, and they felt so much love for eachother. At the end of that lesson, with tears in their eyes, they knew what Heavenly Father wants them to do, and they are coming home to church.
Lastly, last night, after a couple really good lessons, we had like 30 minutes before we needed to go, we stopped by a less active member who wasn't home. Once again, all our plans had fallen through, so we were standing in the street, looking through our planners for someone else we could stop by. We couldn't think of anyone, so we thought for a minute, then we heard someone say "¿Elderes, puedo ayudarles?" We then turned and saw a woman holding her son, and we talked with her. Her name is Hermana C. She told us she has been inactive for many years, but has brothers who served missions. She initially didn't seem to have much interest, but we asked if we could share a scripture. We shared a scripture, and asked her, "what do you think God wants for you and your family?" As she thought about that, she began to cry, and said " I know what He wants. I remember the happiness from the gospel." There were several moments like that this week, and these moments are what make being a missionary a piece of Heaven. Those moments of silence, when you can just pause for a second, and feel how much Heavenly Father loves His daughter. These are the most precious moments of my life, when I truly feel like a tool in the hands of the Lord, when I simply feel that I should tell her of His love, "Hermana, Yo sé que Dios le ama muchisimo. Le ama a su familia muchisimo." --Hermana, I know God loves you so much. He loves your family so much.-
Just telling of this, or writing about it really doesn't do it justice. I could feel so powerfully how much God loves her. These are the moments I will never forget. 
This week really has changed my perspective a lot. It has helped me to remember, I am here to be a tool in the Lord's hands to help whoever He needs me to help, whether this person in a member or not. Meeting with many less actives, some of which served missions and went to the temple, also filled me with determination that I am NEVER ever going to stop living the gospel. I never want to stop helping others to feel the love of Christ, because it really is the happiest thing in the world. 
I am grateful for His love. 

I love you all so much! Have a wonderful thanksgiving and eat lots of turkey for me. Love you! 

Love,

Elder Heath Tenney

Sunday, November 24, 2013

"This is as close as you'll ever get to 'real life'"

 A side note from his email home:  So Good news on the pension (apartment/house?). Oh, Mom, we moved pensions because we are getting more elders here, so they needed 2 pensions in Benavidez.  We had the guy who is in charge of housing for the mission come to put in our oven. And he told us it is the worst he has ever seen. So good news is, this is a great place to start out, because it can't get any worse! 

His birthday is Dec. 6th.  I sent a free pouch letter through dearelder.com-- you click on send free letter by pouch, then choose Argentina, Buenos Aries North, and then write a quick note.  It arrives at his mission office, and he gets it whenever he happens to be at the mission office.  If anyone wants to respond back with an email for him, I can forward it to him.  They have limited computer time on preparation day, so he may not be able to answer back right away.

From: "Heath Tenney"  
Sent: Monday, November 18, 2013 2:14:29 PM
Subject: "This is as close as you'll ever get to 'real life'"

Hey Family! 
Thank you so much for all of your prayers. An inspired Sister in the ward gave me some antibiotic pills for my stomach and it got rid of the infection or whatever it was, so this week I was pretty much all better! It really was a miracle. I can definitely say that missionary work is much more fun and effective when you are healthy. And it was such an amazing week. Elder Holland visited the mission this week and spoke to us, President Ayre came out with Elder Hamilton and I to several teaching appointments,...It was an awesome week. 
1st of all, this week we were on our way to our investigator, Valeria's house. She is great. She is 19, from Peru. We were planning to just stop by and see how her reading was going, but I felt like we needed to do more. So we shared Moroni 10:3-5 with her and it was exactly what she needed to hear. She opened up with several concerns she had and the spirit completely guided us in our conversation to help her. Later in the week, she told us about amazing experiences she had from reading what we left with her that resolved the concerns she had. Ahh! The Book of Mormon is SO powerful. Really, all we have to do is just follow the spirit to know what each person needs to read in the Book of Mormon, and if they do it, the spirit will touch their hearts. Then when President came with us, he bore such a powerful testimony to Valeria, the spirit was so powerful. Now, she is getting baptized this next Sunday! The Book of Mormon changes hearts. It is so true.

Having President with us for one night was so great. I was amazed at the pure love he had and shared with these people he had never met in his life. I have never seen someone who could make someone else feel so loved within minutes of meeting them. He is a powerful missionary.

The meeting with Elder Holland was sooo good. It was incredible to hear from him in person. He told us his main purpose in coming half way across the world to talk with us was to tell us of his love for us. And we could feel it. In his simple but powerful words, "I love you." you could feel the love of him and the love of the Savior. I wish I could tell you everything! He told us to not think about 'real life' after the mission, he said "THIS IS IT! This is real life. This is as close as you will ever get to real life...You are an apostle during this sacred time. You do what I do. From the morning to evening, we are focussed on saving a human soul." It was so powerful and left me inspired to give my heart more and more to the Savior and be focussed on His glory. 

Yesterday, Vivianna, who was baptized last week, was confirmed a member of the Church and received the Holy Ghost. It was such an amazing thing to be a part of. I have only been here for 2 weeks, but the changes in her have been unbelievable. When I first met her, she was kind of upset because she thought I couldn't understand anything she was saying (luckily I understood her when she said that..) haha. But yesterday when we met with her, I saw the evidence of the converting power of the Spirit.1st of all, she wore a completely modest and beautiful dress to church! Then she told us when we came into her house, "Oh, Sorry Elders, these shorts are probably too short..." Then she told us how she has been teaching her children to pray and prays with them every night. She has been reading the Book of Mormon to her inactive husband and asking him every night to pray with her. And she has been rereading all the pamphlets we gave to her so she can be ready to share them with her friends. AND, during the lesson, her kids were going crazy and not being respectful to her, but she didn't yell, threaten them, or even get angry. We were just in aw. She has been transformed, in 2 weeks, she has completely changed, 2 weeks! And I ask myself, "What did we do?" and the answer is absolutely nothing. We simply went where the Lord wanted us, and the spirit did everything...EVERYTHING. It is the spirit that changed her heart and desires for modesty. It is the spirit that helped her to be patient. It is the spirit that converted her. It is soooo humbling to see these changes and feel the difference when we are around her. I truly know that this work, the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is all about Him. We can't change hearts, it is Him. I am amazed over and over again at His power.

Thank you so much again for all of your prayers. They mean the world to me and I feel them. I am loving Argentina. I am still adjusting to a lot of things, but I can definitely say there is no place else in the world I would rather be, because I know this is where the Lord wants me. I love Him and I love this work.
Have a wonderful week! I love you all! 

Love,

Elder Heath Tenney

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mini Liberty Jail

Mini Liberty Jail
Sent By:
"Heath Tenney"  
Nov 11/11/13 12:51 PM



His new "pension."
Nov. 11, 2013

Hey Family and Friends! 

I was pondering last night, "what in the world am I going to write to my family?" Because this week was...indescribable, to say the least. I was trying to think of a positive way to describe it, and well nothing really came. It was stretching yes, it was an opportunity for growth, but really it was one of the most miserable weeks. As I pondered this week, I remembered Liberty Jail, when Joseph Smith and others suffered for months, living in absolutely horrible conditions, away from their families. I remembered this not by any means to say I was even close to the suffering of Joseph or those conditions, but because Joseph there, through his suffering, learned lessons that changed his life forever, that have changed the lives of millions forever. To paraphrase Elder Holland ( Lessons from Liberty Jail ), Liberty Jail, the place of his suffering, became a temple to Joseph, because the Lord taught him some of the most sacred lessons through his suffering. Nobody can paraphrase Elder Holland and do it justice, but this week was a mini liberty jail for me, where the Lord gave me the opportunity to learn great things through suffering.
So on Wednesday, we got called and were told that we needed to move to a new pension, so we packed up all our bags again and calles a remisse (taxi type thing) and brought all our stuff to the new pension. I almost thought my companion was joking when we pulled up haha. This new pension is a sight. We spent most of the day spraying aerosol to kill all the spiders, ants, roaches, and other bugs that were everywhere. Then that night, I was exhausted and dehydrated, so I got my filtered water bottle, and filled it with water from our house, and as I drank, it tasted horrible and was really slimy...but we didnt have any other water, and I was so thirsty, so I kept drinking it...This was the start of my liberty experience.  
We awoke in the morning and I felt miserable, in every sense. Then we found out the water had gone out in our pension (probably a blessing). but that meant we couldnt shower there haha. So we showered at the other elders pension all week. But this 1st day was a lonnnnggg day. I was just praying the whole day, "please just help me make it to the end of this day." It really was a blessing that somehow we were able to work the whole day. Anyways, the next two days were like this. With hardly any sleep, running back and forth all night from the bathroom to my bed.
 I was suffering, not only physically, but spiritually too. Thoughts of negativity came to my mind, thoughts thinking I shouldn't be here or things like that, which just brought me down further. But I know these were from the adversary. So I was feeling horrible physically and kind of alone spiritually. I never doubted if God was here or never doubted that the Lord really does know how I am feeling, I just felt like I couldn't feel him near. I thought "I know you're here and you know what I am feeling. But why can't I feel it?" 
The next day, we did exchanges, and I went to Lopez Carmella. I was with Elder Thomas and Elder Rodriguez (missionary who Elder Engebretsen trained). Anyways, I was still feeling bad, and we were walking past this river on the way to an appointment, and there was a random hole underneath some grass, I stepped and my leg went straight through all the way, and I was beginning to fall towards the river. Elder Rodriguez quickly knelt down and wrapped his arms around me, and lifted me up, out of the hole and I didn't fall. I got up and we kept walking, I said to Elder Rodriguez, "thank you for saving me." As soon as I said those words, I felt the love of the Savior. It was like a veil was lifted. My problems didn't flee, but I knew that Heavenly Father was not distant, He never is, but when we need to feel His love, He often works through others. It reminded me of President Uchtdorf, who taught about Christ saying, "you are my hands." There are so many people who need us to be "His hands" and wrap our arms around them to lift them up and help them feel the love of Christ. 
Real quickly, one other thing I learned. I was walking (we do a lot of walking) and still feeling miserable, looking for anything I could do to do better and feel better. I was praying and the thought came to my mind, "you have to see the world through the eyes of Christ." When I realized that, my focus changed, and I looked for any way I could serve, the natural man still pulled for me to just look inward, but as I looked for opportunities to do what Christ would do, and stopped focussing on myself, I felt His atonement even more. After that it seemed like more and more came: helping a woman carry things down some stairs, saying hello and smiling to people, etc. 
Sorry this is super long and all over the place. It may seem like I am complaining a lot, I hope it doesn't, but really I am grateful. In Romans, Paul says something like "I glory in tribulation, for tribulation worketh patience." and wow, I agree. I realized this morning that just a week ago, I was praying for patience... so, careful what you pray for, because God will answer you ;) 
Really, I know that God does not leave us in our tribulations. If we always knew and felt his presence right next to us, there would be no such thing as faith. So look for opportunities to uplift others this week, to be His hands, because you never know who is in their own liberty jail. 
I love the Savior. 


Love,

Elder Heath Tenney

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

¡Aventuras in Argentina!

Sent: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 11:20:11 AM
Subject: ¡Aventuras in Argentina!

¡Hola Familia!
I am so exctied that I can finally type "¡" and "ñ". Estoy enamorado con Argentina. Really, I love it so much. Saying goodbye to St. Marys and Ohio was hard. But sitting on the plane, hearing the announcements in castellano, seeing the beautiful Argentine families on the plane, and attempting to talk with them just filled me with instant love and excitement. From the 1st moment I saw this cute Argentine family waiting to board, I could feel it, this is where the Lord has called me to serve. What a crazy and amazing week it has been. I wish I could tell you about everything or show you. Everything is an adventure here. 
So my 1st day here, we went with President Ayre and Sister Ayre (they are amazing) and we got a tour of Buenos Aires. We saw the temple, all the governement buildings, and famous monuments. It was a lot to take in after living in corn fields the past 8 months, but it was exciting. Then for this last week, I was with the Zone leaders until transfers (which were today). The past week I was in Villa Soldati. Oh my goodness, it is amazing. It is all villa, which is pretty much a really poor area, I guess you might call it hood in English. I wish I could send pictures, but if I would have brought my camera, I wouldn't have kept it very long haha. The people there are so humble. It all feels like a dream. It was so humbling to talk to these people who literally live in "forts" that they built from pieces of cardboard or metal in a junkyard. Everyday, walking down these dirt roads in between these buildings that are pretty much shacks built on top of eachother, it just felt like a dream. Man, I can't believe I am here haha. I couldn't stop smiling the whole week.



I really felt the enabling power of the atonement, being able to deal with the adjustments, that on my own would be sooo hard, and still are. 1st of all, the "cucharachas" or the roaches... man. I'm almost positive they were created after the fall. The apartment I was living in had a big problem with them. We walked in the 1st night, and the roaches were everywhere. Then as I was sleeping in the middle of the night, I woke up having to hit them off my face. I was thinking to myself, "why am I not extremely disgusted by this?" haha. And I have no idea, but somehow, the atonement just strengthens me to still be happy. haha. eww. 
2nd, the Spanish. The Spanish here is NOT the same Spanish I have been learning and speaking the past 8 months haha. The grammar is mostly the same, but the vocabulary is so different. Argentina has all their own words for things. I can understand almost everything, I just have to say "un pequito más despacio por favor" (A little slower please). I have accidently said some pretty funny things haha. All the natives laugh at me which is funny in kind of an awkward way because I have no idea why they're laughing, so then I just start laughing with them haha. But a member asked me "which team do you cheer for?" and I responded, "Oh yeah, I am from the United States." Then I was talking with some other missionaries and I accidently said "The sister missionaries in Ohio are really attractive" haha I promise that is NOT what I was trying to say. Man, it is fun to make all these funny mistakes though. I am improving every day though! 
Oh and then public transportation. So one day, we were running a little late to catch the train, and Elder Pintos who I was working with, pauses and listens for a second, then says "¡Ya esta!" (Its here!) then starts sprinting towards the train tracks. So we sprinted like 200 yards, then we had to jump onto the train as it was moving away, it was SO fun. man. I couldn't stop smiling. Such an adventure. Then last night, Sunday night, we were coming back from a fireside, and on the bus, I was talking to a guy on the bus and I saw one of the other elders getting off, so I got off with them. Then as I look around for my companion, Elder Young, I realize he and the other elders in my apartment are still on the bus that is quickly pulling away...uh oh. That is such a helpless feeling, seeing a bus slowly pull away that you are supposed to be on haha. So that was scary. But then luckily the other Elders who did get off at that stop helped me get back to our apartment. 
We also had a baptism this week! It was with Miriam, who I got to teach a lot last week. She is amazing. Yesterday she told us that it was the happiest day of her life. And now her daughter, who before wanted nothing to do with the church now wants to be baptized because she saw how happy her mom was! The people here are amazing. I have been absolutely amazed by so many. By a young woman, who is 13, and was baptized 5 months ago, and comes every single week on her own, with her little brother. She has such a light to her and you can tell she lives the gospel, even though her parents dont come yet. Then a boy, who is 12. He was baptized 4 moths ago, he is the deacons quorum President, and comes to church every week in his white shirt and tie by himself. They amaze me. 
Serving in Villa Soldati this week was incredible. I learned so so much from serving with Elder Young and Elder Reber. I found out last night, Elder Engebretsen is getting transferred there to where I just left! And I am in the same district that he was just in, so we switched places kind of haha. I love Elder Engebretsen.  He is such a great missionary. Everyone just loves him here.  (Mom note, Elder Engebretsen and his family lived in our ward in Philadelphia and they were good friends.  Both families moved to Utah within 6 weeks of each other.  It was exciting when they were called to the same mission, reporting the same day.)
So I am now officially in my new area. I am in a place called Benavidez. I really don't know much because I have been here 2 hours, but it seems good. I really miss Soldati already, it is crazy how much you can grow to love people in just a week. My new companion is Elder Hamilton, from Riverton, Utah. Just like my last 2 companions in Ohio haha. Everyone is from Riverton. He has been out for over a year and a half. He seems great. I  just wish he was Latino to help me with my spanish haha. It is really humbling for me to be starting over so to speak. It really is like a completely different mission here. The people, the culture, everying is just so totally different. It is humbling for sure. It is a good reminder that I am here to be a servant, to serve wherever the Lord asks. I just want to be a tool in His hands. I am loving Argentina. Everything is great here. Oh and yes, the meat is incredible. mmm.
I love the Lord. Even though everything in my mission has changed, I know that He always remains the same. I can constantly trust Him and turn to Him, which I need a lot right now. I know He lives. 
I love you all! Thank you so much for your prayers! Have a great week!
Love,
Elder Heath Tenney

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Miracle of a Broken Heart


October 21, 2013 

Hey family!
My heart is so overwhelmed with so many different emotions. President Vellinga called us this morning and told Elder Gorringe and I that we both received our Visas. We will be leaving on Monday afternoon. The 1st thing to hit me was shock. I really have just fallen in love with Ohio, and I am lost in the work here. My heart forgot that I am called to serve in Argentina. I have never felt such love for any people whom I barely know. It is so hard to think of saying goodbye. But, oh the miracles I have seen here. I will forever be grateful to Heavenly Father for the sacred opportunity to serve my heart out in Ohio.
I said last week, "I am excited to tell you about all the miracles that we will see this week!". And I am even more excited now to tell you of what great things the Lord has done in St. Marys this week. I memorized in Spanish 2 Nephi 23:27 (or maybe 27:23)... it says..."Soy un Dios de Milagros y manifestare a los hijos de los hombres que soy el mismo ayer, hoy, y para siempre."
- I AM A GOD OF MIRACLES, and I will show unto the children of men that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever. I know that this is true. I know it.
Last week, we were driving around this small town looking for 1 of the 2 restaurants in the town, and we couldn't find it. I remembered President Vellinga saying something earlier in the month about talking to more people, he said we should turn off the GPS and just ask people for directions. So we did that. We drove by these people unloading a storage garage, so I stopped and asked them for directions. They told us where it was, and I kept talking with them. They told me they had just moved here from California. I asked them if they needed any help and the kind woman said she would love help, because she was going to have to do it all by herself. So later in the week, on Saturday, we went and helped her move, in the rain (it was cold haha, but so fun). And it was great. She told us afterwards, she had been praying for help, she said, "God, I don't know how I am going to do this. Please just help me to move this stuff. Then minutes later, we pulled up next to her, offering to help. Miracle. She and her son are so prepared. Her son especially was really interested when we told him the incredible story of the restoration. And to make it even greater, we drove past the place where we were looking for a restaurant the other day, and saw this big sign with the name of the restaurant and an arrow pointing down the road to it. We were meant to not see that sign...
It is hard typing this, because words on paper really cannot capture the excitement in my heart as I tell you of the amazing things the Lord has done. I wish I could look each one of you in the eyes, and testify to you, "miracles. are. real." I am so overcome with joy and gratitude for them. I wish I could tell you about each one of them. I know that if we pray for miracles and pray for the eyes to see them, then God will show you that He truly is the same as when he parted the red seas. There is no such thing as a small miracle.
7 Months ago, when I got off a plane, filled with missionaries, in Cleveland, I thought, "I won't be here very long. This is just a stop." I listened to missionaries speak and heard the mission song, and it never really sank in. My mind and heart were set on Argentina. I never would have thought I would be heartbroken to leave Ohio...but here I am, 7 months later, having to fight the tears thinking about leaving. I have seen miracles in this sacred place. I don't mean tiny things some people may not think are miracles, I mean MIRACLES. I have seen Heaven touching earth and hearts changed. I have seen my own heart change. One of the greatest miracles of all, is the miracle of my broken heart, because it means so much more than goodbye. It is the evidence of transformation.
I pray that nobody who reads this will ever doubt that miracles are real. All you have to do is look for them. Look, and you will see God's hand and you can know, as I do that He never changes. He is here today performing miracles in your life every single day.
I testify that He lives. I know that Jesus Christ is His son, and His atonement is the miracle through which we are transformed. Nothing can take this away from me. I will never deny it. I know He lives and His hand is in our lives because He loves us. Joseph Smith saw them both, I know it. I am sad to leave this sacred place, but I do not fear because I know He is a God of miracles and they will always be there if I just look. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
 
Love,
 
Elder Heath Tenney
 

Monday, October 14, 2013

They could not bear that any human soul should perish

1810 Winston Dr.
St. Marys, OH 45885


From: "Heath Tenney" 
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 11:49:55 AM
Subject: "They could not bear that any human soul should perish"

Hey!
I hope everyone is doing well!
 
So here is my week:
We had a great lesson with Dustin. We decided beforehand we were going to give him some time to act on his faith for his own, but he came to Priesthood pretty much on his own, so we thought he might be ready to act. He told us that he knew it was time. He said he was feeling lonely and sad, and prayed saying, "God, I just need a friend. I need your help." Then moments later, we texted him inviting him to conference and saying "we hope you are doing well!" So he knew that was a sign from God. We had a powerful lesson with him that was so guided by the spirit. We watched part of President Uchtdorf's talk, and read with him about Nephi. He is scared to change his churches, he doesn't know what will happen, but he knows he needs to. So we invited him to act on his faith and trust God like Nephi did, and come to church. We then knelt down with him and invited him to pray to ask the Lord when He wants Dustin to be baptized. The spirit was so strong, and after praying he decided on Nov. 16th. It is the most incredible feeling knowing that you were a tool in the hands of the Lord saying what He wants you to say, doing what He wants you to do.
We also had several great lessons with Joey. We watched the Restoration DVD with him and he seemed to love it. The spirit was there and it hit him. After the video ended, I testified with my heart, as powerfully as I could, that this was true. That Joseph Smith truly was God's chosen prophet and THAT is why it is so important that you read the Book of Mormon, because that is how you can know for yourself. Our next lesson, it was just Joey, no one else from his family was there, and it was so powerful. I don't remember what all I said, but we were bold and loving with him. He said he is scared to go to church because of what his family will say, and I asked him, "Joey, do you think God wants you to go to church?" ".........yeah....probably so." he replied. "Then what else really matters?" I said.
We read earlier that day in Mosiah 28:3 how the sons of Mosiah could not bear the thought of any soul suffering endless torment, the very thought caused them to quake. They loved the people SO much. And I prayed, telling Heavenly Father, "I want that kind of love. Please help me to have that." I definitely don't have it perfectly and for all souls, but in that lesson, I felt it for Joey. I really have never felt such an overwhelming love and desire for someone's happiness. I love Joey SO much. In lessons, when I am praying in my heart for him to feel the spirit, I almost get tired, because it feels like I am just pouring out my soul for him. I want this SO much for him. So please pray for Joey.

We had an amazing Zone training meeting this week which was great. I was blessed to be able to go on exchanges with Elder Bullock this week! He is such a powerful missionary. At the end of the day, we were talking to each other in excitement about what an incredible time this is and how true this great work really is, and in our simple conversation the spirit was there so strong. He paused, looked at me, and said, "Is it okay if we bear our testimonies to each other right now? The spirit is just so strong." So we bore our testimonies to each other. It was a moment I will never forget. It made me even more grateful for the sacred opportunity to be a servant of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, no one came to church again this week. It was really disappointing, but I can honestly say I am not disappointed in myself. We have done all we can, prayed as fervently as we can, sought Heaven's guidance, so now we can only invite and pray. So I have great reason to rejoice. I really feel so much love for every single person I meet here, and it fills my soul with gratitude and joy.
I am so grateful for all the many blessings Heavenly Father has blessed us with this week. I am so excited to tell you all about the miracles we will see this week! I love you! Have a great week!
 
"Service is the very fiber of which Celestial beings are made of." - President Vellinga
 
Love,
 
Elder Heath Tenney

Be not ye the servants of men.

 Hey everyone!
 
General Conference was SOOO good! Ahh. I just want to listen to it over and over again. If any of you didn't get to watch any of the sessions, you should go watch it! It was so amazing and so evident in the feelings I felt as I listened to these inspired men and women that this is Christ's church. Listening to them and feeling the power made everything so real. The restoration is more real to me, Living prophets are more real to me, Christ is more real to me! It was so amazing.
 
This week was empowering. With General Conference as the exclamation point. Goodness, I love the gospel so much.
 
1st of all, on Wednesday, we did some service with Brother Y., our wonderful branch mission leader. We did that most of the day, then came back to go find and teach in the evening. As I was waiting for Elder Gorringe, I realized I didn't have the fire and excitement I should as we were about to go out. So I opened my scriptures randomly to 1 Corinthians 7:21-24. It talks about being a servant of Christ. My favorite part is verse 23: "Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men." That gave me the fire and excitement I needed. We were bought with a price, we were saved by Christ, by His suffering, so we should never serve men, but Christ! It was definitely what I needed. The scriptures are so powerful.
That night, we tracted for several hours, and on the very last house, we met Brother B! ( it is always the last house...always) He was a member for many years, but stopped coming after a divorce. He has a testimony and such a good heart. We shared a short message with him and said a prayer with him. It felt like Heavenly Father was guiding us there, saying, "go and find my lost son." In Preach My Gospel, it talks about how when we do all we can to be guided by the spirit in planning and finding, then the Lord will guide us and others to be able to find His children. It is so true.
We had an intense and powerful lesson with Georgia this week. We knocked on her door, walked in, and she was in more pain than usual. It hurt me to see how much suffering she was in. Still, she invited us to sit, and said she has some things to tell us. "Well, my priest came by to visit me this week..." She began. Sadly, usually that is not a great sign, so I anxiously anticipated what he had said. "He gave you all so much praise for what you are doing and what you have done for me. You have brought me back to the Lord. He told me that God works in mysterious ways, and he has used you to help bring me back to him." She went on to tell us how she had seen her bible next to her bed, and realized she needs to read that more. He priest told her she should get into the word with that more and invited her to come to their bible studies at church again. She readily accepted, as she finished telling us this, she said, "So, I am going to give you back your book tonight. And I appreciate all you have done for me." Pause. These are the moments, when I know I am absolutely nothing. There was nothing I could do or say to convince her to change, nor did I have any idea what to say. So I turned to Heaven. After several seconds of silence, I asked if we could share one more scripture with her before we left. We turned to 2 Nephi 33 and read with her:
 "...if ye believe not these words, believe in Christ. And if ye believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good."
"And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye-- for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness."
After we read that, there was silence, and the spirit guided us so much. I testified to her, with all I could, pulling from the depths of my spirit, "Georgia, I know that these are the words of Christ. They are his words." The spirit guided us from one inspired question to the next. We left her to read about the story of Alma and Alma the younger, because she is struggling with one of her unbelieving children, she was very grateful and agreed to keep the Book of Mormon.
In that 1st moment, I felt like nothing and I knew I was nothing. How could it be that this woman who had so many great personal experiences with the Book of Mormon could be giving it back to us? But it is in these moments, when we know we are nothing, when the Lord can use us His best.
I don't have much more time, but real quick. We had John come to the Saturday morning session of conference which was so great! I was so glad he heard President Uchtdorf's talk. That was so powerful. Then a few other people we are working with came on Sunday morning, and they heard Elder Oaks powerful and bold talk on the law of chastity, which was definitely inspired. It was amazing to see God speaking to each person individually. As I sat there in the 1st session, hearing the choir sing, "Come to Zion! Come to Zion!" I felt the spirit so strongly. I wanted to yell to John! Come! Come to Zion! Because it is real. I know that this is Zion. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints IS the church of Jesus Christ himself here on the earth. Thomas S. Monson is His prophet! And Christ lives! He is so much more real and involved in His work than we know. I love this work and I love the Savior! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
 
I love you all! Have a wonderful week!
 
Love,
 
Elder Heath Tenney
 
Pictures of Midwest skies that I am obsessed with!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

General Conference this weekend!


10-1-13

Hey!

I don't have a ton to write about this week. It was kind of a crazy week. We had a new Senior couple come in this week, the Jensons. They are from Blackfoot, Idaho. So Tuesday we went to Lima for District meeting, Wednesday we moved in new furniture and appliances to the Jenson's apartment; Thursday, we went over and cleaned their apartment and got it all ready for them to come. President Vellinga called us and told us to give them the red carpet treatment. So we made a sticky note welcome sign (Out of several sticky notes, not just one haha), made taco soup for them to have a home cooked meal, then we showed them around St. Marys when they got here.
The branch is so excited to have them! They have already been such a blessing to us and their testimonies are so great. I really understand why Elder Holland said about Senior couples, "they bring a spirit of maturity that no number of 19 year olds can bring, no matter how good they are." It is SO true they add so much to the work. We love them and are grateful to have them!

The highlight of the week for me was a lesson we had with Brother F. He is an amazing man who hasn't come to church in a while. He really has such a great heart and testimony. He has a daughter who he hasn't really taught a lot about the gospel, but we had a lesson with them about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was so touching to hear Brother F remember and retell the story of his conversion. He bore his testimony of Joseph Smith, and as we talked you could feel and see the spirit working within him. He lit up. And he remembered what he already knows. Hearing him bear testimony and sweetly explain things to his daughter was amazing. The best part was at the end, when we all knelt together, and he helped his daughter, for the first time in a long time, to pray. Brother F usually can seem a little rough on the outside and intimidating, but as he taught his daughter to pray, he seemed like a different person. You could feel how much he loved his daughter and how much he loved the Lord.

Lastly, we had a great dinner last night with Jim and Joyce. They are so great. Jim has been agnostic since he was 15 and Joyce has been protestant most of her life. They invited us over for dinner, so we came and helped make it and then had a great meal with them. At dinner, I was pleading for the Lord to help me ask inspired questions to help Jim open up, because from our other visits, he kind of told us he didn't think the Book of Mormon was for him. As we ate, I simply asked him what he was looking for, and he explained how he wasn't exactly sure, but just for the truth. It was amazing to have him open up by simple questions. We told him about General Conference, how he could hear from a prophet of God, and he and Joyce were excited to watch it with a question in mind!

I also found out yesterday, that all Argentina Visa waiters need to re-do their FBI clearance. So it sounds like the process will start all over again... So who knows how long I will be in Ohio? haha. When I initially heard this, for the 1st time, I felt kind of disappointed the it would now take even longer. After thinking about it though, this is an amazing thing. The Lord has great things planned for me to do in Ohio! So I have many reasons to be grateful! And I love it here! If the Lord wanted a Visa, he could get a Visa. So I will do His will in Ohio.
I love you all! Have a wonderful week and an amazing time watching General Conference! Ah! I am so excited!
Love,
Elder Heath Tenney

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Break Forth into Joy!

From: "Heath Tenney" 
Sent: Monday, September 23, 2013 12:00:08 PM

Hey family!
So I left my journal at the apartment today sadly, so this will all be off memory. It has been a crazy week.
So 1st of all, on Tuesday, we had exchanges, so Elder Taylor came with me to St. Marys which was fun. We taught 6 lessons within about 3 hours, so we were busy. We had an amazing lesson with our investigator, Georgia. Georgia is in her 70's, and you will never meet a woman with more faith or more love for the Savior. I love talking with her because she amazes me, when she speaks, you can feel how much she loves the Savior. I want to have that kind of love. Anyways, when we got there, she was excited to tell us about her experience. She said that her son had said some mean things to her, so she was crying, but she saw the Book of Mormon on the table, and she remembered how we told her it was the word of God, so she picked it up and opened it. She opened to Alma 36:3 and read it. It talks about how whoever puts their trust in the Lord will be supported in their afflictions and He will deliver us. She told us in tears how that was exactly what she needed, she felt like God himself was speaking to her, and she could not deny that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It was amazing to hear. The Book of Mormon works miracles. If we can just get anyone to sincerely read it, they will change and draw closer to God. Georgia wasn't feeling very well, so we offered her a blessing, and she was blown away. She said, "You're going to baptize me with the holy spirit in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?!" I replied, "Well, it's not exactly a bapt.." "OH YES! Yes it is!" She said cutting me off. hahaha. So we explained a little more about it and gave her a blessing. She was so honored. She cried as we gave her a blessing, the spirit was so powerful. It amazes me every time I am able to give a blessing how the words just come, and they are not mine. It was such a great night with Georgia.
Later that night, we had a great lesson with Dustin. Dustin is the man. He has a testimony. He knows exactly what he needs to do and what God wants him to do. Now it's just the matter of doing it. So we went into the lesson with the plan of reading the Book of Mormon with him wherever he was at and really encouraging him to act on his faith, because there really is nothing left we, as missionaries can do for him if he isn't acting. So that's what we did. He was in Alma 37, and we encouraged him to write down a question before we started and to pray to receive the answer as we read. His question was something like, "how can I get the money I need to fix my truck?" So we started reading. The Book of Mormon amazes me, it just floods the room with the spirit if we allow it. As we read with him, I felt strongly impressed to promise him something. After we read a verse about the Lord promising something, I said, "Dustin, as a representative of Jesus Christ, I promise you, that if you will exercise your faith and come to church this Sunday, that the Lord will provide a way to get you the $250 you need." I told him I knew he would have to sacrifice, but that if he did it, the Lord will fulfill His promise to him, because it was not me promising him that. The very last verse we read, said something like, "I know the Lord will fulfill all his promises unto His children if they are faithful." It was amazing. The Lord was definitely speaking to Dustin. Anyone in the room could have felt that.
On Thursday, we had a good lesson with Joey. Brother Davis came with us and he was so helpful. Members make the world of a difference in lessons. We talked with Joey, Linda, and Stephanie about the importance of church. They seemed willing and excited to come. The spirit was there. Like I said last week, we really can't do much for them after a certain point if they are not reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church. We can't give them faith. They have to gain that on their own. So they have to come to church to progress.
Sunday. I was praying so much coming up to the Sabbath that Joey, Dustin, and all our investigators and less actives we're working with would come. I was blessing the sacrament, so I was sitting on the stand, and I looked to see if any of our investigators had walked in, but sadly, no one came. Church once again was so nourishing, cleansing, enabling, and such an amazing part of my week. I want that so bad for them. That is one of the hardest parts of serving a mission and loving these people so much: their agency. It is hard when they don't take advantage of this incredible gift God is trying to give them. It's like someone trying to give me a mint cookies and cream shake, and me letting it sit out and melt! But Church is even better than mint cookies and cream shakes!
On the bright side, Lisen and his family and several other Less Active members we had been working with come! So I am so happy they came. I really am so grateful for that tender mercy of the Lord. One thing I am learning that I definitely need to apply more is: joy is not the absence of disappointment, but the presence of blessings to rejoice about! So yes, none of our investigators came to church, which was hard, but we had several families come to church who in the past have not come very often. What an incredible thing! So I rejoice in that. And my rejoicing should overpower any disappointment. I think that is how the Savior was so happy all the time. It is definitely not that He had nothing to be disappointed about (because He had a lot), but He rejoiced more in the blessings He had. I want to become like Him.
I love the words of Isaiah in Isaiah 52:9 "Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted His people, He hath redeemed Jerusalem." We really should break forth into joy. That's not a suggestion, that's a commandment, it is our very purpose in being here. And we have the greatest reason EVER to rejoice, because the Lord has redeemed His people. He is the greatest reason to rejoice. I am so grateful that no matter what disappointments we face, we can always have more to rejoice in through Him. He lives. He is the greatest reason to rejoice. He is the reason I serve. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
 
Have a wonderful week! I love you all so much!
 
Love,
 
Elder Heath Tenney

Monday, September 16, 2013

He is Laboring With Us

Sept. 16, 2013


Mi familia!
 
This week was another really great and really hard week. I am amazed every week how miracles just keep coming. I'm realizing, they've always been coming, I'm just beginning to notice them more.
Anyways, so on Tuesday we had a lesson with Kenneth about the Book of Mormon. We got there and he had lots of great questions about the restoration pamphlet we left with him. He read all of it! He was upset at the end because he looked up all the scriptures in the Bible, but he didn't have a Book of Mormon to read those scriptures! So he ate it up! We really were so excited to share it with them. This book is incredible and it will change anyone's life who reads it. So we showed that to him. At the end of the lesson, we knelt down and invited him to pray, he was hesitant, but he agreed. We helped show him how, and he started to slowly pray. There was a long moment of silence after he said "Heavenly Father...." and I was praying so hard for him. It really was one of the hardest times I have prayed for someone on my mission. I was pleading for Heavenly Father to help him to pray and especially to feel the spirit. He gave such a simple and beautiful prayer. The spirit was definitely there. Elder Gorringe and I were ecstatic after! There is nothing else in the world that can bring that joy! Hearing someone pray for the 1st time and feeling it... ahh! It was amazing. JOY.
The next morning/night we had to get up at 2:18, yes 2:18 AM, so we could drive to Sandusky to hear from Elder Shane M. Bowen who was coming to visit our mission. And St. Marys is the furthest away in the mission, so we had to get up early. It is super weird to think I could have driven in less time from St. Marys and gotten home (to Indiana) quicker than we got there. Anyways, I was SO tired. It felt like a battle to stay awake the whole drive. It really was a miracle that I stayed awake the whole drive. Not only that, but during the whole meeting with Elder Bowen. It was SO good. We received so much guidance and were definitely uplifted. He talked a lot about getting rid of artificial limitations. Sometimes we tell ourselves, "Oh that can't happen here...we don't baptize in this area..." or things like that, and he said "Get rid of them! They're not true!" It was a great meeting.



Yesterday, at church we anxiously anticipated our investigators coming to church. We called all of them the day before to invite them, we had 3 new investigators that week we invited, we did all we could. We sat in the chapel waiting...but no one came. Church was so good. It was SO spiritually edifying. I left feeling stronger and closer to Christ. I left having my questions answered and knowing what I can do better this week. It was so good. I felt heartbroken for all our investigators. Not because of the numbers of having 0 there, not because they need to come before baptism...I felt heartbroken because they missed out on that. They missed out on that strength that comes from church. I wish so badly that any of them would have come. I am sad for them, but not discouraged. We just have to work harder to get them there! We really do them no lasting good unless we can get them to come to church. They have to come for themselves otherwise the spirit they feel is just temporary.
We are still seeing so many miracles here. We are finding prepared souls everyday who need this Gospel. The spirit is truly guiding us and so many amazing things are happening with us and with the members of the branch. Our key indicators have been improving every week and the branch is getting more excited about sharing the gospel! This week, I studied Jacob 5:70-72, where it talks about how the Lord is laboring with His servants in the vineyard. I heard someone say this week, "Well He isn't laboring with us yet...", I felt a little defensive (I know I shouldn't have). I said, "I KNOW He is. I feel it. I see it everyday. The things that are happening here could not happen without Him."
I know that He really is laboring with us today! The Lord's work isn't some future thing where He will come and "finish up" what we missed. He is fully invested, 100%. He is even more involved and cares SO much more about this than we ever will. He is so much more involved in this work than we can even imagine. This work is a joy because He is laboring with us, we have no need to fear or be discouraged because the Lord is on our side! I know these things are true.
 
Things are going great. Conversion takes time, so it is teaching us patience. But I know that when the Lord is working with us and within us, it comes. Thank you for all your prayers! I love you all so much!
 
Love,
 
Elder Heath Tenney
 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Feeling Blessed


Sept. 9, 2013

Hello friends!
I don't even know exactly where to start. We have been SO blessed by the Lord this week. I really feel like Ammon in Alma 26, I feel SO grateful for the great things the Lord has done for us this week, but "I know that I am nothing, as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God..."
One day, we had like 30 minutes, so we decided to go find people to help by tracting. As I looked at the map, I really had a prayer in my heart to be guided, then this street came to mind and we went there. We went there and found 3 people in 30 minutes! We found a woman who had just finished going through Chemo, lost her husband 3 months earlier, and doesn't have a ton of direction. We found a man named Jim, who isn't really happy with the church he is going to, and feels like he needs something more. And we found one other woman who's family is struggling and said a prayer with her. It was amazing. The spirit is EVERYTHING. All we have to do as missionaries is just LISTEN and ACT on the spirit! If we do that, we will see miracles! I am SO grateful for the spirit.

This week we drove all the way down to St. Henry to meet with Gonzalo. It was a big gamble, because his phone number didn't work and we didn't know if he could meet with us. It's like a 45 minute drive and our miles are limited. We have the biggest area in the mission and our miles got cut for this month haha. So it really was a gamble, but after praying about it, we went. We got to Gonzalo's house and I talked with him for a few minutes, but he said they couldn't meet with us tonight. Afterwards my mind initially went "Hmmm....", but then the spirit reminded me we were there for a reason! So we went to work! I looked at my planner and we had a couple streets lined up as backups, again we were inspired which street to go to. Then we went there and at the very 1st door, we meet this really cute little kid, he runs and gets his dad. Then his dad comes out. He says, "Hey! I saw those white shirts and knew exactly who you were! I'm glad to see those white shirts again." His name is Daniel. He moved here from the Marshall islands. He was baptized when he was there, but didn't even know there was an LDS church here. So we talked with him and invited him back to church. Yet another miracle, we had a Marshallese Book of Mormon in our trunk. So we gave it to him and invited him to read it with his family. So crazy. He was excited to come! What a miracle! The Lord planned out every little detail of that happening. One that we were in St. Henry; two we knew which street to tract; three, he was home because he took this day off (which he never does). and lastly that we had a Marshallese Book of Mormon in our trunk! I didn't even know what that was before my mission!
We are finding more and more brothers and sisters prepared by Heavenly Father. This work really cannot be stopped. It may take time and it definitely takes diligence, but Heavenly Father is changing hearts everyday, we just have to find them and help them.
Almost every night I pray for the members of the branch here to have spiritual experiences and to be excited about missionary work. I pray for them to be protected and pray for the well being of the branch in general. I also have asked you all to pray for them (and thank you SO much for that). We saw more miracles this week in answer to our prayers. In Priesthood meeting at church yesterday, when they asked for missionary experiences people have had, man after man stood up and shared some type of experience they had this week to share their beliefs. For 20 minutes, we listened to all the different missionary experiences. I didn't realize it right away, but that is a miracle. I can hardly type this without tears falling from my eyes. This branch is changing before our eyes.
It is a miracle. I don't want the meaning to be lost by saying it so much. Every time I type that word I mean it for exactly what it is. Like the Bible Dictionary says, they are " they are powers or mighty works, because they are the acts of One who is almighty... the natural results of the Messiah’s presence among men; they are wonders, marvels,..." They are real.
There are wonders happening before our eyes here. It truly is proof that Jesus is the Christ.
I feel just like Ammon:
" 16 Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."
This is true.
I love you all! Have a wonderful week and thank you SO much for your prayers for me and the St. Marys branch. They never go unanswered or unfelt.
Love,
Elder Heath Tenney