Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cherishing my time in Ohio.

Sent: Monday, June 3, 2013 3:27:33 PM
Subject: Fwd: Cherishing my time in Ohio

Elder Heath Tenney
2922 Dunstan Dr., NW
Warren, OH 44486

Sent: Monday, June 3, 2013 3:03:17 PM
Subject: Cherishing my time in Ohio

Hey Everyone!
1st of all, I forgot to mention Scott's birthday in my e mail last week. Scott really is one of my biggest idols. His example of hard work and diligence always inspires me. He brings so so much joy to everyone around him. I really am so grateful and blessed to have Scott as my oldest brother. I love you Scott!
This week was really really good. I feel like I say that every week, but it's because it's so true. 1st of all, the reason I am e-mailing later than usual is because I was being super unwise and doing an eating challenge at this restaurant eating a 2 pound burger. And yes. Yes I finished it. ALL of it. I'll attach some pictures, it was gross. And it wasn't even a challenge because we didn't get anything for finishing it, not even a picture. But I am printing out a picture and bringing it back to them to put on the wall anyways.

This week was filled with miracles again. Every week truly is filled with miracles if we pray for them specifically, expect them, and then earnestly watch for them.
So we had a lesson planned with Keisha. I don't think I've told you guys about Keisha before. But she came up to the elders before I got here one day and told them she wanted to be baptized. But then the elders could never get contact with her, and when they did she said she had found another church. But within the past month, we saw her everywhere and she said she was really confused with the things they were teaching at her church, so we offered to help her. She said she thought it must be a sign since she kept seeing us everywhere. But so we have taught her a couple lessons, but it is just really hard to teach because she is always watching her 2 kids, then 3 of her nieces and nephews. We also have to meet outside because her brother is anti. So the lessons aren't that reverent to say the least. But we had been praying that week that we could have a lesson with her where it was calm and an environment where she could feel the spirit. A few days later we went over there and she and her kids had just gotten back from being at the lake all day, so the kids were exhausted. We had an awesome lesson about the restoration and she really took in all that we talked about. There were no distractions, it was peaceful. It was such an answer to prayers.
We had our first lesson with Sarah this week. She is the woman who had been praying for help and then we came to her in her yard offering to help her. But we served her on Monday and it was great. Then on Wednesday, we had a really powerful lesson with her. She shared some special experiences she has had where she felt peace and saw great light, even though she was in turmoil. We related her experience to Jospeh Smith. I told her how Joseph was confused and he felt like he was in darkness. He turned to the bible to receive guidance, and he prayed. Then I shared with her Joseph's account of his experience:
"I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me, I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other, 'This is my beloved son, hear Him.'"
As I finished saying this, looking her in the eyes, she stopped me, and said, "You really feel that. You said that with your heart. I could feel that. You know that you are His beloved son too." She felt it. She really felt the spirit as we spoke. It was amazing watching someone who has never heard of Joseph Smith get teary eyed talking about his experience and similar experiences she has had. I really did try to say it with my heart. If we just recite things we know, then the spirit will not back us up. The spirit is not an intellectual being, it is a spiritual being. So we have to say things with our heart and soul if we want the spirit to be there. It is definitely something I need to work on. It was such a special experience to see someone feel the spirit as I pour out my spirit to try to help them feel that this is true. She said she is going to pray about Joseph Smith. She really feels like we are servants of Christ and she is doing awesome. We are going back tomorrow to help her out more and then teach her some more. I love Sarah. She has so much trust in God and is sensitive to the spirit.
On Saturday, we had a great lesson with Lucy P. She is the mother of the P family. In the past, other missionaries stopped teaching her because she said she had already been baptized a Catholic and she wasn't going to be baptized again. Raul was in the hospital, so it was just Lucy and I (and Elder Payne, but he can't understand what's going on so he usually sleeps haha). But we talked about authority, and how the prophets in the old testament received authority from God, and that's what separated them from other men. Then Christ had this authority, he was baptized by this authority, then he gave it to His apostles too. But after the death of His apostles, the people were wicked and rejected them, so this priesthood authority was lost. But Joseph Smith was called of God to restore this authority to the earth, and that same authority is here on the earth again today. I explained to her, that is the reason I invite her to be baptized again. To be baptized by the same authority that Christ was baptized and to receive even more blessings from Him through following His example. We really felt the spirit as we talked together. She accepted everything we talked about, and she said she will really pray to ask God if this is what He wants her to do. I asked her how she thinks she will receive her answer and she said maybe through the bible or the book of Mormon, or through a dream. I truly believe she will get her answer one day. I don't know when, but she has so much faith in God and will do anything He tells her.
On Sunday after church, I went with a new member of the ward, Brother M, to give Raul a blessing in the hospital. Brother M had just moved in the day before haha. It was so nice of him to be willing to help. He speaks Spanish, so it was great to have his help. We talked with Raul for a little bit. He is not doing well. He is having a lot of stomach problems and had to have his appendix taken out as well as some other surgeries. So please keep him in your prayers. Anna (Raul's fiance was there too). We explained what a blessing was and talked about the authority. Then Brother M  told me he would do the anointing and I could do the blessing (all in Spanish). So I was a little nervous. But as I placed my hands on his head, I just felt peace. I had no idea what to say, but as I spoke, it came. It was really simple, but I felt the spirit so much giving him a blessing in Spanish. That was a really sweet experience. Raul was very grateful. He is such an amazing guy.
Lastly, we taught Mary the law of chastity last night. We had to move back her baptismal date because she didn't feel like she was ready, and she is living with a guy who she isn't married to. So we had to work on that. We brought Bishop W and his wife with us and they shared so many great insights that were really good and simple, so Mary understood it all. It is really funny watching people talk about the law of chastity, some people are just scared to talk about it haha. But it was really good, she understands it. At the end of the lesson, we told her that part of living the law of chastity so that you are ready for baptism is not living with a member of the opposite sex unless you're married. So she would have to move out of Mike's and find somewhere else to live. Let me remind you that Mary's house burned down a couple of months ago, she lost everything, left her fiance, and lost many of her friends. So this wasn't a little thing we were asking her to do. So we said, "Mary will you exercise your faith in Jesus Christ, and live the law of Chastity? Will you move out of Mike's and live somewhere else?" She just looked at us and said, "Yeah." That's all. She understood it was something she needed to do so she just said "yeah". I was grateful it was that easy, but just amazed by her faith. There is no doubt that Mary has her struggles, but she trusts God.
I am so grateful to be here serving these amazing people. I truly know that this is Heavenly Father's work. I feel it and I see it. True happiness really is found in turning to the Savior and becoming more like Him.
I love you all so much! I hope you have a great week!

Elder Tenney
Pictures: biggest burger ever.

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