Subject: Blood, Sweat, and Tears...but mostly sweat.
I'm glad to hear that family reunion went so well. It sounds like everyone had fun.
So the title of the e mail this week. It has been SO hot and humid this week. I was so grateful to have lived and spent lots of time in Texas because whenever it was super hot and I was sweating a waterfall, I just thought to myself, "At least I'm not in Texas." so that kind of helped. But riding bikes in 90 degree humid weather made us sweat so much haha. I like it way better than the cold though, so that's a blessing. We went to a members house and they said jokingly, "Oh Elder Tenney, you have sweat all over your back and down your pants....just kidding I know you guys rode through a sprinkler or something." and we said, "We didn't ride through a sprinkler..." haha.
Then the blood part...well, that doesn't really have any significance to my week, it just went with it. But I did cut my finger on my razor this week...twice.
1st of all, last night we watched the worldwide leadership broadcast, which was a broadcast for local church leaders and from the leaders of the church ALL about missionary work. It was incredible. If anyone reading this didn't have the opportunity to watch it, go to lds.org and watch it. Its so worth your time. You can feel, just by watching it, that this truly is the work of the Lord. God is pushing forward His work so much right now, and you could truly feel that as you watch that broadcast. I left feeling so inspired and excited about the changes being made and about sharing the happiness we have with others. Even though there is so much darkness, evil, sadness, and forces pulling us away from the Lord; I have never felt more hopeful, because the Lord truly truly is hastening His work. And His work is to bring others unto Him, to bring happiness to others. So even though there is so much darkness, there is no need to fear, because the message of happiness is being spread to ALL the world. And Jesus Christ is the head of this. I don't know who all gets these e mails or reads them on the blog, but I want everyone to know that our Heavenly Father really is doing a great and marvelous work. I know that this really is the marvelous work that has been prophesied, and we all have an incredible opportunity and calling to be a part of it. So please watch it if you haven't. Sorry for ranting on, I am just sooo excited about this. This is true!
So this week we had some great things happen. 1st of all, on Tuesday, our scheduled appointment canceled, and then our back up did too. So we weren't sure what to do, but the name of a less active woman came to mind, so we thought we would stop by. Sister Kay., and her grandson Cody went with us, they are such great people. We went by Sister S's house to visit with her. We came there and she came to the door crying. Sister Kay gave her a long hug, and asked her what was wrong. One of her nephews had a heart attack and was on life support. She also has a daughter who was arrested last week, and she was struggling. We shared a message about how we can find peace through the Book of Mormon. It was simple, but heart felt. SIster Kay was so sweet and exactly what Sister S needed. Her countenance changed as we met with her and she said "I promise you, that starting tonight, I will read the Book of Mormon every day." It was amazing to see our plans crumble, but they crumbled right in the hands of Heavenly Father and He guided us where we needed to be. The same thing happened with our next visit too.
On Wednesday we had a lesson with the P family. I sat there and listened and I could understand everything they were saying, but when I started to speak, it was like I just couldn't speak Spanish. It was so weird. I just couldn't speak it very well and so I couldn't really teach that much. I really just felt...useless, I just wanted to sit there and be discouraged, but that is what satan wanted me to do, so I sat up and tried my best. It didn't get much better, but I did my best. Luckily Brother M helped out a lot and we still had an okay lesson, but it really hurt my confidence. It really is hard to keep up my Spanish only speaking it once or twice a week with someone, but I am so grateful I have those 1-2 opportunities. Anna said she was planning on coming to church on Sunday, so all week I was praying for help and working hard during language study to prepare for that. Then yesterday, she came, and I translated for her. It was miraculous, it seemed the speakers talked super fast (as I'm sure it does whenever someone is translating), but I was able to clearly translate everything and help her to be able to understand. More importantly, I felt the spirit as I translated what the speakers were saying. So I know she felt it, and I know that I also felt that because it wasn't by my own strength that I was able to do that. The spirit completely helped me so that was such a blessing.
We had an awesome church tour with Mirah on Saturday. My favorite part was sitting in the chapel with her. We talked about how this is the place where we remember Jesus Christ every week and what He has done for us. We had Brother D, an awesome member, and his son Enoch, who is about to leave on his mission, with us. They helped out so much and bore sincere testimony of how Christ helps them every week. We then listened to "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" and encouraged her to ponder what the Savior has done for her, and how she can do better for Him. As we sat there listening, she wiped tears off her face. You could just tell she felt it. We asked her how she felt, and she said she definitely had several questions answered, and a few more come up. I think she is really searching to find the truth, but it is confusing for her to feel that spirit when she has been taught something different all her life. Mirah is such a good person and she has such an sweet spirit.
We also had an awesome visit with Valentine yesterday (the less active man from Mexico in the ward). One of the blessings of talking with the P family is that since they are Puerto Rican, they talk SO fast and don't really use their S's, and slurr a lot. So talking to Valentine, I understood everything he said. It was awesome, and definitely helped me feel better about Spanish. We had a great lesson with him about his baptism and those covenants. We talked about how important it is to take the sacrament every week to show Christ that we remember Him and to live the covenants we have made. I really am so sympathetic to Valentine, going to church is not easy for so many reasons. He works 6 days a week from 7 AM to 10 or 11PM, and sends all the money to his kids in Mexico. Sunday is his only day to get groceries, wash his cloths, and do everything else he needs to do. So its not easy, but at the end of our lesson he said "Elder, I promise you that I will be at sacrament meeting next week." I love Valentine.
This week especially, I have learned so much about the Atonement. One night, I knelt down to pray, and I just cried...I wasn't even sure exactly why. I had so many emotions going through me. I just felt so overwhelmed, inadequate, and just tired of not doing enough. But most of all I felt grateful. The biggest reason I was crying though was because I felt so much and know so much, that I am not doing this on my own. I am inadequate and not good enough, but that doesn't matter because Christ is here with me. As we sang "Yo se que vive mi Senor" (I know that my redeemer lives) this morning, I felt that gratitude. One line in the spanish version says "he lives, and I will always have his love. He lives and always will protect me." Singing this made me realize that the atonement of Jesus Christ isn't just some super power that sweeps down and saves us right when we need it or when we are struggling; If we have that faith in Jesus Christ and in His atonement, He is ALWAYS with us. So that incredible power that we feel to get through our trials, to feel His love, and to receive His strength is with us all the time. So it needs not to just be something we use when we are struggling, we should use it everyday, because He really is always with us, and I felt that this week. My weaknesses get better little by little, my joy increases more each day, my love for Him and for others grows a little bit more everyday, and it is ALL through Him because He is always with me. His power is infinite.
I really thought I loved my Savior before coming here to give everything to Him, and I did. But words can't even explain how much I love Him now and how much my love continues to grow for Him. I know I still have so much to learn and so much to become, but I have learned so far that when we come and give everything to Him, at first we may think it is a sacrifice, and it's hard to do, but as we actually do it, and really give everything to Him, we realize that it's not us giving everything to Him, but Him giving everything to us. I know this is His work.
I love you all! I hope you have an amazing week and feel the atonement in your lives!
Elder Heath Tenney