Elder Heath Tenney
2922 Dunstan Dr., N.W.
Warren, OH 44486
Sent: Monday, May 13, 2013 11:45:43 AM
Subject: "Perfect love casteth out all fear"
It was so good to talk to you all yesterday. I felt bad for the V's (the family whose house we called from), their kids walked by and got all scared because I was crying talking to you guys haha. It was so good for me, and I wasn't crying because I was sad or anything, I was crying because it just hits me even harder how incredibly blessed I am. And it makes me want to work even harder to bring that incredible blessing to others.
This week, at the beginning of the week I studied charity, because its something I really need to work on. And in Moroni chapter 7 (from the Book of Mormon) it says "Charity is the pure love of Christ". My entire life I have thought of charity as the pure love of Christ in terms of Christ's great love for us. But when I read it this time, I took it in terms of "the pure love of Christ" as in my pure love FOR Christ. I pondered this and thought "I know I love Christ, and I always say I love Christ. But how do I really know I love Him? How do I really know He lives?" and I pondered all the times in my life when I feel His love. When I pray and repent, when I take the sacrament, when I read about His life, EVERY DAY...in doing all these things I feel so much love for what He has done for me and I feel that He really does live. And I realized I haven't been using that love that I have like I should. "Charity never faileth". So I really wanted to focus on my love for Jesus Christ this week and let that power work in me to do more than I could do on my own.
This week was kind of hard. I felt so much joy and I loved every second, but it was hard. We had so many of our appointments cancel, a few investigators we had to drop, our progressing investigators beginnign to degress, difficulties with some missionaries... it was hard.
But with all of it, it was so amazing to see the influence of Christ's love. I would be really tempted to become disappointed or upset, but the thought would always come to mind "I love Christ so much. And my love of Christ is more powerful than my desire to be upset." So I chose to love Christ and not be disappointed. It really made the week so much easier. It really made me realize that love is not just a thought or a feeling, it really is a force. And if we choose to love Christ, that empowers us to do and be good because we already made the choice: I am going to love Christ. And loving Christ is more powerful than any temptation to turn inward.
On Friday we were tracting (knocking door to door), but before we left, I prayed and really pleaded to be blessed with charity. And I just felt so happy. But it was so cool to see the success that came when I truly felt that charity. Some might say it was just a coincidence, because I didn't say or do things much different than I usually do, but we had much more success and found lots of opportuinities to serve. As we were tracting, it began to rain lightly, then when we walk off the next doorstep it just began to pour. It was awesome. It was that same type of midwest storms that I would always run through at home for fun, but this time I got to run through it AND bring people happiness through the gospel! It was sooo awesome. I love storms so much. My companion doesn't like rain, so he thought I was crazy singing and smiling when we were soaking wet haha. People at doors are also usually nicer when we are dripping wet, so that's a plus too. As we were riding back to our apartment, it was still pouring rain, and I was riding along singing "there is sunshine in my soul today!" or something like that. But as we're riding, this white pizza delivery car drives by me, and drives through a huge, deep, brown, muddy puddle. It was like a movie. This huge wave of muddy water flew into the air right towards me. It felt like it was slow motion. Then crash...all over my white shirt, tie, backpack, everything. I felt like someone on the other side really didn't like my singing or something. My companion was dying with laughter haha, needless to say, he didn't get hit by this brown tsunami.
But this was another one of those moments, where I really wanted to just stop smiling and be bitter. But that love of Christ just came into my heart again and overpowered any feelings of anger or self pity. So I started singing again. If I have to be riding a bike through the rain, covered in brown water, and cold; might as well be happy as I do it.
Oh so last night, we stopped by this family's house who we found in our records who speaks spanish! We had tried to stop by before, but they werent there. So I got to talk to them and teach them a little bit in spanish. It was so awesome. I could understand almost everything, except for one girl who spoke super fast and slurred. But I understood her by the end. I lovedbeing able to share my testimony in spanish and pray with them in spanish. I love it because it is so simple, for some reason it is just really special. And I loved being able to do it for them in their own native tongue. They said they loved meeting with missionaries in the past, but none of the other Elders spoke Spanish after those ones left. We are going back next week! Their name is the P family! They're great.
I am really doing great and learning more every week. I love being able to help people, even if they don't accept it, I love trying because I can feel that it is what Heavenly Father wants me to do. I know that charity - pure love of Christ and the pure love for Christ- is real. It is more powerful than anything in the world. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I promise that He lives.
I love you all so much! Thank you for all of your prayers and your love! I am so blessed! Have an awesome week!
Elder Heath Tenney
Oh and the pictures: Brother's Pizza - Greatest pizza place ever. I'm totally coming here when I get home.
I think the others are self explanatory. LOVE YOU!
Additional story from personal letter: Oh, but other funny story real quick. So I have been struggling a bit with charity. So I was praying for opportunities to serve the other elders in my apartment. Anyways, the day before they were joking/making fun of me for buying eggs and bacon and a bunch of other food so I could make my divine breakfeast sandwiches. The next day I made one and was all excited to eat it. I had to show it to one of the other elders first though to show them it wasn't gross. So I ran upstairs and said "Behold." I was so excited to eat it. It was beautiful. Then Elder C. (He was the only one in the room) says "Oh did you make that for me? (not joking)". All the excitement left my heart as I thought of my prayer a few minutes earlier. I sighed and said "Yes. Yes I did." and gave him the sandwich haha. It was really funny looking back.