Monday, April 29, 2013

Valentine, from Mexico

Hey family!
First of all, I don't know if he gets these e mails, but DUSTIN GOT HIS MISSION CALL?! that is so awesome. The Philipines is blessed. Tell Dustin I love him please. And tell him to write me haha.
This was such a good week! I really tried to focus on how I can better help the people here throughout the week and not focus on personal things at all, and I saw many blessings from it.
We rode our bikes on Tuesday through the rain and mud to tract. And I was just so happy. It made no sense. haha. But I was just so happy. Happiness isn't found in shelter from the rain. But I have never had colder hands in my life. They were turning blue.
First awesome experience. We were tracting on Wednesday and as we were walking down the road, this red car broke down right by us on the road. A woman and her 2 kids got out to see what was wrong and tried to start the car again. I asked her "Could we help you push your car? Or is there anything we could do for you?" and she said "No, I can do it myself!" she was obviously very stressed. So we kept on going down the street, but the spirit just kept urging me to help her. So we went over and just started helping her push anyways. We pushed her car to a nearby parking lot and then left, she didn't really acknowledge us, but we just said "have a nice day! God Bless!". Then we went on our way. As we continued down the street, no one was answering their doors, and I kept on having the feeling like we should go back to the woman and her kids in that parking lot. I kept justifying in my head why we shouldn't because she was stressed and didn't want our help. But after a few more doors of no one answering, I said to Elder Payne "We should go back and talk to her." We went back to the parking lot and this woman and her 2 kids were sitting in the car, I came up to her window and she rolled it down, still looking really frustrated. I said "I'm sorry to take anymore of your time, but it seems like you are having a rough day, and the things on this website (handed her a card) have really blessed my life and always makes my day better. I know that it can help you with any problems you are having and make your day better." She then seemed to calm down a little bit and said thank you. We asked her if there was anything we could do for her. She said no, she was just not sure what she was going to do. She was out of gas and had no money at all to get home. She is living in a woman's shelter with 2 of her kids, lost her job, and she is just going through a lot right now. She told us about how her older kids are not living very good lives, and they do not treat her well. We talked with her about the restored gospel, how there is a prophet of God today who guides and directs us, and he gives us guidance of how we can raise righteous families in this wicked world. She said she was just amazed how we were so young, but such good kids, and we explained it was through the gospel. We left her with our number, a card, and a book of Mormon. We also gave her some money so she could get home. She was SO grateful. It was amazing to see her countenance change as we spoke. I am so grateful for this experience. I really felt like a representative of Christ because we just helped her and did our best to help her. I know that miracles really do happen if we are obedient and follow the promptings that the Lord gives us. I am so blessed to be a missionary and be able to serve God's children.
Yesterday at church I met an amazing man named Valentine. Valentine is from Mexico. He doesn't speak any english. A member of the ward translates for him. But whenever this member cant come, Valentine doesn't come because he can't understand anything. It was so awesome to talk to him. I was so excited to talk with him so that I could use my spanish, but I really got so much more from talking to him than just practicing my spanish. He told me (in spanish) "Yeah, it is kind of hard coming to church because no one talks to me because they cannot speak spanish. And I cannot speak english." But he still comes every Sunday that he can. He literally can only talk to 1 person at church, ONE. But he still comes, because he has so much faith and he knows the importance of going to church and taking the sacrament. He joined the church in Arizona when some missionaries came across him when he was walking home from work. He said he knew that what they taught was true, so he stopped drinking, smoking, and other habits so he could be baptized. It was just amazing for me to see how much faith he had. I cannot imagine going to church and not speaking to anyone every single week, but continuing to go. That man is converted, not to the church, not to friends at church, but converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am out of time, but I am doing so well and I am just happy. I love looking into the eyes of Heavenly Father's children and really feeling their divine nature, and feeling how much Heavenly Father loves them. If you just look deep into someone's eyes, it's hard not to love them, because you can just see straight through to their soul. This probably sounds weird haha, but really, in lessons, I can look into the eyes of the person we're talking with and it just fills me with so mcuh love for them because I can feel they are a child of God.
I love being able to serve here. I love learning how to love these people.
I love you all!
I hope you have an amazing week!
Elder Tenney

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's good to be back in the Midwest

April 22, 2013  from Warren, Ohio, USA

Heyy! I love you.
I have SO much I want to write about, but not very much time.It was so good to talk to Mom, Dad, and Garrett on Monday. I needed that. It made me so happy to hear how well Garrett is doing in Chicago. So I barely made the flight to Cleveland from Detroit, but I made it. I love the midwest so much. It was so good to not see mountains and feel the humidity. 
Then we stayed at the mission home. Oh and Elder and Sister Black, a senior couple from Mississippi are here. They said they remembered our family. That was cool. 
But the next morning, we went to Kirtland, which is part of our mission. The coolest part was in the school of the prophets. That is the place where the 1st missionaries of this dispensation were taught by the prophet and taught incredible things before going out to the field. So it was almost like the first MTC. In the same room where Joseph saw visions and Christ himself appeared. But we sat in there and the spirit was so strong. President Vallinga (mission pres) then gave us about 5 minutes to silently ponder and pray to Heavenly Father to start our missions to Him in the same place where the 1st missionaries started their missions. That was incredible. 
I later was assigned my area and companion. I was assigned to Warren, Ohio - biking. It's about 30 min from Pennsylvania. I love it here. It is a rougher, low income area. Everyone always says "be careful" when we leave their homes haha. (Don't worry mom, I'm safe). But the people here have such great faith. We get rejected a lot because so many people have so much faith in their current beliefs, but it has been awesome to see so many people with faith in Christ. I was worried about biking, because I haven't biked in forever. But I have received so much help from Heavenly Father and I haven't had any problems. I love biking. In this first week I have biked in a rainstorm, snowstorm, and 85 degree weather. Haha. It's fun.
On my 1st night here we met with April. April is amazing. She is one of the most Christ like people I have ever met. And she was so prepared by the Lord. She was raised baptist, but there were things that she just didnt't understand there, so she left the church. She studied on and read the Book of Mormon for 6 months, then she called the missionaries and said "I read the Book of Mormon, I know it's true. I need to be baptized." Wow. That does not happen everyday. She was baptized in January. And now she has been an incredible help to the missionaries here. It was amazing hearing her talk about the love she has for the gospel and for other people. She has 3 kids. But 2 of her kids live in Virginia with her ex husband. She has A LOT of rough things in her life. Like, not just a few, SO much is going wrong for her. But she is so happy. She talked to us about how she prays everyday for her ex husband and other people who have done horrible things to her. She has so much charity. She seriously amazes me. I know there are lots of reasons, but I know one reason I was sent to Ohio was to learn from her, because my perspective on life has changed just from listening to her. She's great. This week try praying for those who you may thing don't deserve it. We all could be a lot more like April. 
So we were riding back from doing yard work for someone, riding on the sidewalk of this main road. And randomly this guy with long hair comes out of his store and yells "Hey! Come here!". So we turned around and went to talk to him. He said "Hey, I just love what you guys are doing out here, come on in and talk with me a bit. I want to cook you some of my fish tacos." It was crazy. haha slightly confused I said, "umm, are you sure?" and he said "Yeah man! I love Jesus too!" haha So we went with him. His name is Smitty and he has a little take out resturaunt and he donates 100 percent of his gains to build wells for children in Africa and he's just trying to do so many things to help out the community and bring God back into people's lives. It was awesome. And his tacos were great. 
We have done a lot of tracting, and it was hard at first. I wasn't scared at all for some reason. The atonement saves me everyday. But it was hard because I feel so much love for these people. And I want SO badly for them to experience the happiness and pure joy that comes from the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. So it was hard having so many people reject it. But I am learning to trust more in the will of God and have patience, so I am grateful for that. 
We found one awesome investigator. He was the last house after we said we were going to finish two houses earlier. And I dont have time to tell you about him. 
But I am doing well. I miss you all a lot. I got a little homesick yesterday, but I forget about it when I just focus on my purpose being here. I have been relying so much this week on advice Dad has given me in the past. I am so grateful to have such amazing parents. 
I am working hard and just trying to give everything to the Lord. I promise that miracles are real. We just have to look for them. The biggest thing I'm learning is that true faith is shown when you aren't having any success, but you don't slow down. I am so grateful to be here. I love you all!
Oh and please write me letters! My address is:
2922 Dunstan Dr. NW
Warren OH 44486
Elder Tenney

Friday, April 12, 2013

REAL last week in the MTC and Reassignment D&C 39:14

Sent: Friday, April 12, 2013 10:18:35 AM
Subject: REAL last week in the MTC and Reassignment D&C 39:14

 Look up D&C 39:14!
First of all, Happy Birthday to the greatest Mom in the world! Really, I am soooo blessed to have the most amazing parents. My mom is incredible. She even inspires people she doesn't even know. In my district all of the sisters said that they want to be like Elder Tenney's mom from hearing about the kind letter you sent to Hermana Crawley and all the things I've said about you. Thank you for all you continually do for me and teach me. I'm blessed to have an angel for my mother and one of my my best friends. Te amo madre!  
It sounds like you are having so much fun in Aruba! I am so happy for you and Dad. You deserve it. Are you going to go to church there? Because one of my teachers, Hermano Hansen, his parents live in Aruba and he said he would tell them to look out for you if you are going.
And also thank you so much for the kind letters and packages. I feel so bad that I don't have time to write everyone back because I have to pack today. But they mean so much. So thank you to every one of you. Oh and I also got incredible cookies this week from the Ereksons. So thank you so much for those!
Thank you Sis. Crawley for sending these pictures!

So now mission reassignment! We went into the travel office and once again the kind lady working there looked up and down the list for my name...still loooking. I was beginning to get worried again. haha But luckily this time I was actually on the list. She told me I would be leaving on Monday to go to Cleveland, Ohio! Woohoo! I am SO excited! I will probably be there for 6 weeks or so before my Visa comes, then I will head to Argentina. There are spanish speaking missionaries in Cleveland, so I'm hoping I get to go somewhere where I can use spanish a lot. A few of the elders who really reached out to us and were super nice to us during our first week are serving in Cleveland! So that will be cool to see them. The mission boundaries go into Indiana a tiny bit haha. So I could be like 2 hours from home. So that's weird, but I am so excited to get out there and serve the people of Cleveland! It also goes a little bit into Pennsylvania. So it pretty much covers the whole top part of Ohio. So exciting. Oh and I think I might be able to call you on Monday morning. So we'll see.
The other elders in my district got called to Cleveland too! Except for Elder Decker who is going to Washington. Some of my other friends who are going to Buenos Aires, like Elder Engebretsen, are serving in LA!
General Conference was INCREDIBLE! (General Conference is a big conference that is held every 6 months, where living apostles and prophets speak to the world. You can find talks from it at Beforehand, I had been thinking a lot about what questions I could ask or what answers I wanted to receivbe through General Conference. And I came up with a lot that I knew would really help me. And every single question was answered in General Conference. Miracles are so real. I felt so uplifted and encouraged. I know that the men and women who spoke at General conference really are inspired of God. And I know that any person can receive answers to the questions they have in life through listening to living prophets and apostles of God today! It really was such an answer to prayers.
In the 1st session there were so many powerful talks. They addressed serious problems in today's society by testifying of truth. I loved Sister Elaine Dalton's talk about the divine nature of a woman. If the world understood this, it would be transformed. There was also a lot about the divine role of families. It was awesome to hear. And it was powerful. I love General Conference. It really is just like hearing God speak to us.
We went this week to Salt Lake to meet with the Argentine Consul. Everything went well. All I did was sign my name and tell the consul thank you. Then I walked around with my companion while we waited for everyone else to finish. I got to sit by Elder Engebretsen for a while, who is a good family friend. It was really fun to catch up with him and talk about all the memories we had of having fun when we were younger.
When we found out last week that we would be here an extra week, we were all a little disappointed. But I was excited to see the reasons why we would be here longer. And I really have seen so many reasons why we were here for longer, and I am so grateful. First of all, I have discovered so many weaknesses I have in teaching, contacting, and other things. I have tried to work on these a lot and I feel like I am getting better. This was super humbling. But I am SO grateful for it because it has helped me prepare even more. We have been trying to speak only spanish this week and my spanish has gotten a lot better too. There are a lot of other reasons, some that I probably do not even realize. But I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us. And we have to just trust in Him and His purposes. He loves us more than we could ever imagine and He is always going to give us the opportunities that are best for us.
I'm sorry this e mail is kind of lame. I don't have very many cool stories that I haven't told. Our lessons are awesome. We are getting better and better. The biggest thing I have learned here in the MTC is that everything is about the person you are teaching. My focus and my heart should be invested in them. And I cannot ever focus on myself. I am so excited and a little nervous, but mostly excited to share this with the world. I just want to help others feel how much the Savior loves them. The MTC has been amazing. It is a set apart place where we can learn. And there is SO much divine help in that learning. I really have learned so much. My perspective and feelings about missionary work have been completely transformed, I think I, myself have been completely transformed. I love this work. I am a little scared, but I know that Heavenly Father will be with me and I have no reason to fear. There is so much power in knowing we are children of God and in knowing how much He loves us.
Time to do work! I love you all so much! Thank you so much for all of the prayers and kind letters!
"...Thou art called to go unto the Ohio." D&C 39:14
Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Tenney

Friday, April 5, 2013

Todo esta feliz!

From: "Heath Tenney" 

Sent: Friday, April 5, 2013 9:55:19 AM
Subject: Todo esta feliz!

Hola Familia! 
APRIL 5th! Today is the birthday of the greatest man I know. I am so grateful for my dad and all that he has taught me and continues to teach me. I hope I can be like him one day! I am so blessed to have him as a father. You look great for 36! Love you Dad!
Also, welcome home to Elder Suzuki! It is hard to hear about one of my dearest friends coming home after two years, knowing that I still won't be able to see him for another two years. But there is no place I'd rather be. I am so grateful for Naoto, he has done so much for me.
Funny story, So I hosted again this week, helping out new missionaries when they get dropped off by their families. And it was so fun to see the Sauders and Amy M. when they dropped off Brianna! Anyways, there was one car where a sister got out, and she was taking pictures with an older lady, and I asked the man with them "So is this your granddaughter?" dumb question..... He then said "No! This is my niece! I'm not that old!" hahaha. That was a good learning experience. From now on when I host I'm just going to say "They will take great care of your sister here!".
Greeting Sister Sauder from Indy.  

There were lots of opportunities for us to grow as a district this week, to say the least. 
But first of all. Some of my best friends in our zone left this week for Mexico and Arizona. Before they left, I had the opportunity to be taught by them. As we were sitting in a classroom together and they were teaching me in broken spanish, their spanish wasn't very good, but the spirit was so strong. I just felt their power and spirits. I could feel that they were messengers of God. It reinforced my testimony that it doesn't matter if we cannot speak the language that well, because this is God's work and He will touch the hearts of those whom we are guided to. Those Elders are going to be so great. 
These are probably the race t-shirts a parent sent, mentioned a few weeks ago.  

I am ashamed that I failed to say nothing about Christ last week on good Friday. I don't even remember what day of the week it is most days, so I completely forgot it was good Friday. But Easter was amazing. We had a big sacrament meeting with all the missionaries in the MTC and we all took the sacrament. Bishop Causee of the General Bishopbric of the church was there. And his talk was awesome. It was definitely an experience I will always remember. But words can't describe how grateful I am for Christ. He really is the life and light of the world. I would be lost without Him. I know Christ lives and is an active part of each of our lives.
So we had a lot of trials this week as a district. We found out that Hermana C., a sister in our district, will have to go home for a while because of Health problems and it has been really hard. And it is also physically painful for her. It has been really hard watching her suffer physically and emotionally and feeling like there is nothing we can do. We can give words of comfort and tell her we love her, but there is nothing we can do to really make it better. But I have faith in Heavenly Father's plan. I know He will never lead her or any of us to unhappiness. 
This week we walked into the travel office to get our reassignments, (Wooohoo!) It was nerve wracking, like a second mission call. But I walk into the travel office, wait in a long line, get to the front, tell her my name. Then she looks for a minute on the list. My hands were shaking because for some reason I was super nervous. But then she says "hmm you're not on the list." Then we found out that missionaries who are going to Argentina will be getting their reassignment NEXT week, so we get to learn in the MTC for another week! haha So we will most likely be leaving a week from this next monday or tuesday. This was really hard for some elders in the district. But really, if it is happening, there is something Heavenly Father wants us to learn and become during this extra week in the MTC, so it's exciting to know we can learn even more in another week. 
Oh so last week after I wrote you, I got a paper telling me that we would be meeting with the Argentine consul  next week! Yay! So we will be meeting with them next tuesday in Salt Lake! So that means I will probably be reassigned somewhere outside of Utah since I won't need to be close to Salt Lake.
I also wanted to say I'm sorry to all those who have written me in the past 3-4 weeks. Every P-day is crazy and I haven't had any time to write. So I am really sorry if I havent written you back. I really love and appreciate all the letters and love. 
We also had in field orientation this week, and it made me so excited to get out there in the mission field! 
I am doing so well here. I really wake up every day feeling so happy. Nothing seems to be significant enough to make me sad or disappointed, there are so many reasons to be happy. I love this work so much! I am so blessed to be here!
I love you all!

Elder Tenney