Monday, July 1, 2013

This is not about me.

July 1, 2013
Elder Heath Tenney
2922 Dunstan Dr. N.W.
Warren, OH 44486

Hey family and friends!
This week was awesome. It blows my mind how fast weeks go by. I wasn't even sure what to write because it seems like I just wrote yesterday, but looking back at my journal, I realized this week was so awesome.

In front of the gates at Mike Tyson's House 

The weather this week was kind of crazy and not especially suitable for riding bikes in a shirt and tie, but we got through it. haha. There were thunderstorms almost every night and lots of rain. On Tuesday, we were teaching Sister Cl. a lesson on her front porch. We were talking about Joseph Smith history and as Elder Payne was reading the part about Joseph being surrounded by darkness, the dark clouds surrounded us in the air. It was really funny. We looked up at each other confused and kind of freaked out haha. Then it started to get super windy, then it started pouring. So we rode home at the speed of light. It was kind of scary because it was not safe weather at all, there were branches flying off trees as we rode past, the rain was coming down super hard so cars couldn't really see us, and it was crazy, but we made it home safe. It was fun. The rain always adds excitement to our bike rides. A similar thing happened on Saturday too with Elder Bunnell, so I am becoming somewhat of a veteran at riding through crazy rain.
That night we had a lesson with Jessica. Brother Gold went with us and he connected super well with her. At this point, we don't know where to go with Jessica because she won't come to church and she isn't sure she wants to keep meeting with us. But Brother Gold really helped her see how church is such a blessing and explained to her how much she would love it. He did an awesome job sincerely inviting her to church. Jessica was convinced, it was great. She said "You make it seem so much more appealing than they ever do." and she said she would come. When she said that, initially I was kind of thinking "Wow, we are not very good at this..." and similar thoughts, but then I remembered "This is NOT about me". I have to remind myself of that everyday, because if I have an inward focus like that, then I can never be the tool in Heavenly Father's hands that He needs me to be. I shouldn't be thinking "wow, that is sad that we didn't explain it well to her." but I should be rejoicing, because her heart was touched and she said she would come! This isn't about me and the good I can do, this is about the souls of Heavenly Father and THEM coming closer to Jesus Christ.  I just have to constantly say to myself "This is not about me", because it truly is not at all.
I also learned so much about listening this week. The section about listening in Preach My Gospel is incredible. I made a goal that this week I wanted to listen, really listen. Not just hear and process what each person is saying, but listen with my heart and really care about the things that they are saying. I definitely saw the blessings of this. During our lesson with the P family, I talked with Lucy about her concerns. She explained how she was scared to go to church because she made a promise to her mom that she would never join another church. She explained her feelings, fears, and doubts. I sat on the edge of my seat and I exerted all my mental and spiritual effort to just listen to her, not to think about what to say or do, but just listen. So I did that, and when she finished, the words that I should say just came. I talked to her about faith and how we have to exercise our faith to receive the guidance and miracles from God, and how going to church is exercising her faith and showing God that she wants to know. I somehow explained to her that if she went to church and showed her faith, that Heavenly Father would tell her if it was something He wanted her to do and if her mother would be okay. Lucy's heart really was softened and she said she would come. It really was nothing that I said or nothing that I thought of, all I did was listen with my heart and with the spirit, and then it came. There is so much power in listening with all our hearts and making listening a spiritual effort. I definitely saw that this week.
We had a good 1st lesson with this man named Deneir. He is a caretaker at a house in our area, he is 23 and he has a rough past, but he is really religious. As we met with him, he talked about how I couldn't really connect with him because he said I was a good kid and that I hadn't done the things that he has done, so I haven't experienced the same things he has, which was totally true, but that really made me think, and as I pondered the answer came. I told him "You know, you're right. I really haven't gone through the same things you have, and I was raised in a religious home where I wasn't exposed to as much of the worldly influence as some others have. So I really can't relate to you or to a lot of people perfectly, but what I do know is that Christ truly does. He has experienced every pain, sorrow, and trial that you have. He knows how to help you because He has been there. He knows and He can relate to you. So I'm not here to relate to everyone myself, I'm here to turn others to Jesus Christ, because He can relate to everyone." It really is so true. I am not here for me, I'm not here to get people to like me or connect with me (not that that should not happen), but I am here to bring others unto Jesus Christ, that should be my goal and focus, because this really is not about me at all.
Then we had a great lesson with Mirah, she didn't come to church last week because her aunt passed away so she had to go to PA. We read the Book of Mormon with her, and I shared Mosiah 16:8-9 with her, which talks about how "the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ". We then shared with her how she really can see her aunt again through Christ, and how we can rejoice because Christ suffered for us so that we may not have that sting of death, because it's not the end. She marked the verse in her Book of Mormon, and it was great to see that it touched her heart.
I am so grateful to be here. I forget sometimes how happy I really am, this is the hardest thing I have ever done, I am dead tired everyday, and I am so happy. There is no place I'd rather be. I just need to always realize the happiness inside of me. I know that this is truly Heavenly Father's work because I really cannot do this. I can't. But this really is not about me in any sense. It is all about Christ, and He can do this. I am so blessed to be here an learn to forget myself, even if it takes some time, but I'm learning. 
I love you all so much! Thank you so much for your prayers and your love! Have an amazing week!
Elder Heath Tenney 

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