Tuesday, May 28, 2013

So much joy!

Elder Tenney's address for letters:
2922 Dunstan Dr., NW
Warren, OH  44486

Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 11:31:12 AM
Subject: So much joy

1st of all, no, I am not in Argentina, haha. There is still work for me to do in Ohio. Preparation day is on Tuesday this week because transfers are this week on Wednesday. I will be staying in Warren, so you can still send me letters haha. It really is amazing feeling the reasons that Heavenly Father has me here. I am learning so so much.
This week was filled with miracles.
Every week seems to have it's own theme for something I learn and apply, and this week it was definitely joy. It was an awesome week. I decided at the beginning of the week that I was going to be unconditionally joyful all the time. I was thinking about that, and I was thinking "Why would I be joyful all the time?". I found my answer looking at the wall at a picture of Christ. I should be joyful because Christ Lives! He has suffered for every one of us, he is there to help us, and he has saved our souls. We just have to come unto him to receive all of that. Sometimes, I think we forget what great joy comes from just knowing that Jesus Christ lives and loves us so much. So I wanted to do my best to focus on that throughout my week and just be happy!
Miracle number # 328547234 or something like that: We were tracting, and we came to this lady named Sarah. She was in her yard cutting her bushes. We said hello and asked her how she was doing. I then said "Could we help you out with that?" Then she said "well, I don't really know what I'm doing. I don't know how to trim bushes. Do you know how?" And I said "Nope. But I can try." She just kind of laughed and said no thank you. But then we asked if there was anything else we could do for her to help her out with anything. She said laughing, "No, not unless you want to wash off and paint my shutters and window covers". We told her we would love to do that for her. She was just confused, she said "No, like its not that easy. You have to wash them off, dry them, then paint them; without getting paint on the windows." We assured her that we really would love to do it. She was just in shock. She then started crying and told us she had just been praying earlier and asked God to please give her help somehow to do all this work with the house she has to do. Then we showed up a little later offering to help her for free. So we came back and washed off her house for her, and we are going back next week. But it was amazing. Miracles are evvverrryyyywherrreeee. Heavenly Father really knows and loves each one of us individually. He will answer your prayers.
On Thursday we had a great lesson with Jessica and Sabrina. In the Morning when we were studying (our studies from the scriptures each morning are completely focused on how we can best help those we are teaching), I was planning for Jessica and Sabrina. We knew we were teaching about faith in Christ, but I was kind of at a road block for how to teach it. But I really prayed and sought for the spirit's help and I came across a quote in "True to the Faith." It talked about how we can exercise faith in Christ when we have a correct understanding about the character of Christ. It makes complete sense. How could we trust and have confidence in someone we don't even know? So we decided to just talk about Christ and who He was and share stories about His life. It was an awesome lesson. Talking about Christ always brings the spirit.
On Thursday evening, our lesson we had planned fell through, and we were with Brother G, an awesome man in the ward. So he had a guy in mind who we could stop by who hasn't been to church in a while. His name is Quinn. We got there and he was very open to having us in. We talked with him and his wife and we talked about the power of prayer. His wife is not a member so she was kind of the focus at first.  It was a good visit, but it completely changed when we followed a prompting to ask Quinn a question. We asked, "Quinn, what role does prayer play in your life?"  It was so simple, but this question made him completely open up. He told us about how his faith is really struggling, he says he prays but feels like no one is answering. He has a lot of health problems from doing MMA for many years and some other health complications, and he told us he did not understand how God could let him go through this. I really don't remember quite what we said, but we shared several scriptures and I shared with him the experience of Mom's recent health struggles and the strength and joy she received as she turned to the Lord. Then Brother G bore powerful testimony to him that God knows and loves him. The spirit was so strong. His wife told us she had been praying just a little bit earlier for help for Quinn, because he was feeling horrible emotionally and physically. He definitely felt our love for him. And I know he felt Heavenly Father's love. He texted Bro G and told him thank you for coming, and told him it was exactly what he needed. Now we are teaching him and his wife every week.
Last Saturday, we met with the P family again. Brother W wasn't able to go with us this time, so it was just me (since Elder Payne doesn't speak Spanish). I asked them if they read 3 Nephi 11, which we asked them to read the last visit. Lucy, Anna, and Raul all said they read it. Anna, who has never met with missionaries before loved it so much. She is the same one who told us about her dreams. She told us "I have never read such a book. It was so easy for me to understand and I just felt close to Christ. It makes sense that Christ would come to the Americas because he talks about visiting all of his children in the bible. This book is so amazing and fascinating." She said she truly believes that it is the word of God....Wow. I didn't even know what to say. I just felt joy. I felt so happy that she realized and felt the blessings of the Book of Mormon, that she felt the joy that comes from it, and she realized what a miracle this book is. She told me that she wants to be baptized, she just wants some time to be sure that this is what God wants her to do. She has been prepared by Heavenly Father. This family really amazes me with how soft their hearts are and how much desire they have to do what God wants them to do. I asked Raul, and he said he already knew it was true. He has known for a long time because he asked God about it when he was meeting with missionaries many years ago. And Lucy said she loved it and felt close to Christ. She said that she knew it was truly Christ in the Book of Mormon. Raul and Anna (Anna is Raul's fiance') said they would be baptized. And Lucy said she wouldn't because she had already been baptized and she didn't want to do it again. But I asked her, "if God really wanted you to be baptized, would you do it?" and she said of course. So we invited her to pray about it and promised her that Heavenly Father would show her what He wants her to do. It was an awesome visit with them. They LOVE talking haha. We were there way too long, it was almost 2 hours, but it was so good to talk with them.
I really want to be able to start a Spanish Sunday school class here. We could get Valentine, the P family, and a few members of the ward to be in it. Then every time we go out to eat, I want to go to Mexican restaurants to find more people to teach. But it would be so awesome if we could do it. It would bless the lives of Spanish speaking families here.
I am loving it here. My love for the people here is beyond what I could have imagined when I got here. The more I serve and the closer I grow to Christ, the more I realize where true joy comes from. It doesn't come based on our circumstances or on what happens to us, or based on what others do and say to us; when we draw close to Christ, joy comes from within us. It is something that cannot be taken away from our outside circumstances or the failures of the outside, because the joy is from inside of us. So be happy!  Because Christ lives for you!
I love you all so much! I hope you have a really great week!
Elder Tenney

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